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Benefits of cycling

4 Bits Of Retro Cycling Tech You Should Know About


– Here at GCN, we really do
love a bit of retro-tech, and we know you do too. – So we thought we’d
share with you some of our favourite bits of old school tech. (old-fashioned music) – Starting with these
Spinergy Rev X wheels. Now the company was set
up in the early 1990’s by a former Cannondale engineer
called Ralph Schlanger. With a distinctive, striking
design, they certainly cut a dash in the Pulsar. – I love what you did there, Matt. That’s right, they were
distinctive, certainly. I mean eight carbon spokes,
essentially bonded together. You could also stiffen them up with some little Rev X inserts in there as well. – You could indeed, and they really had, as well as distinctive design, a distinctive sound, as well. – They certainly did. – A little bit like a
helicopter, really, wasn’t it? – Yeah! (helicopter blades whirling) – Now aside from ourselves, because both John and I did ride these quite amazing wheels in the 1990’s. That is actually a picture of John in his back garden. Despite the pixels, he is there somewhere. This is retro after all. Now lots of other top pros
used them, didn’t they? Mario Cipollini when he
was riding at the Seiko, Paolo Batini rode them as well. As well as Michele Bartoli, But, shat a legendary rider he was. But as the 90’s progressed there’re increasing
stories of these wheels quite literally exploding
underneath the riders, as well as other stories of them causing quite nasty and gruesome injuries as well. – Yeah, let’s face it, Matt. Essentially they were
eight blades of carbon flapping around in the
peloton weren’t they? – Indeed like llamas almost. – Yeah (laughs) that’s right. So in the end, in 2001 the
UCI took it upon themselves to ban them, ban them in competition. And then the Spinergy
Rev Xs were essentially sent to the carbon scrap heap in the sky. – Tell you what, that
despite the risk of them sort of, at any moment,
exploding underneath you, they’re still one of the coolest
wheels ever, aren’t they? – Yeah, absolutely gutted I sold mine. – Power pedals, the pedals
that make you a winner. Oh, well that’s what it says (bell dings)
on the box anyway. – What a tag line. Now these retro pedalling
tech actually date back to 1995, he used them, and came from Norway. What was most interesting about these was the fact there was a clutch mechanism inside of the spindle, making it impossible to backpedal. Which, in theory anyway, created more leverage by adding
the length of the shoe sole to the length of the crankarm during the upstroke phase
of the pedal stroke. – Wow, that was really
well-explained, John. Well actually back in 1999, I had to use these very pedals, this actual pair in fact, because the team I was riding for was sponsored by Power Pedals therefore there was an obligation to me to do so. And I must admit, it took me about a month to get used to them, especially the sketchy feeling in races where you just couldn’t pedal backwards. But the other big factor
in terms of performance was the weight of these because they are very, very hefty indeed. – I’ll tell you what, Matt. I’ve brought in some scales. Let’s compare them to a
modern day equivalent. – Let’s do it. – Right then John. I’m looking forward to what these will … Shall we weigh the modern pedals first, as a bit of a benchmark? – Yeah, let’s do them first. – So they’re full carbon,
dual race pedals aren’t they? – Yep.
– So there’s a pair of those. Let’s have a look what they weight in at. – So, 235 grammes. – For the pair. Okay, let’s put the
little Power Pedals on, well not the little Power … They’re big, aren’t they?
They are pretty hefty. – They’re actually quite small,
the platform, aren’t they? But the axles… (laughing)
– Well, it’s not looking good, John. – No it’s not. – I must admit I’ve
nearly broken the scales. Well, 446 grammes. – Yeah. – Yeah. That’s nearly over half the weight of some modern frames. – Yes, I’m not sure,
I’m not sure about that. – No. – Did you find any efficiency gains when you were using these? – Well despite their
heft and their weight, I actually did. I definitely felt a difference when using a larger gear, and I felt, especially that long drags
and shallow kind of climbs using the big gear, I felt like I was recruiting
all the muscle groups, and there was no dead spot at all. So, I obviously wouldn’t
be able to quantify it, I couldn’t quantify it at all, because we weren’t using
power metres back then. But there was definitely
something in there, in that the dead spot,
to me, was eliminated. So there’s definitely something there. – Yeah, they kind of
just disappeared though, didn’t they, in the late 90’s where they just went into obscurity. I mean perhaps the hefty weight of them, outweighed the performance gains. Who knows? – Yeah. I understand, though,
they have actually been reinvented in recent years. There’s a slightly smaller
and lighter clutch mechanism. But still, they do remain very niche. (retro guitar riff) Next up, John, we have these in the flesh. – You mean the aluminium, right? – Yeah, all right. Anyway, these, in my opinion, these Scott Drop-In
handlebars are arguably, actually not arguably, they are these most iconic handlebar of the last 30, 40, or even 50 years. Well, nearly as iconic as the guy that brought
them to fame, really. Greg LeMond, he of two World Road titles, and, of course, three times
a Tour de France winner. But more importantly, a tech trail blazer. – Yeah, he sure was, Matt. These bars were actually made by Scott, who at the time were a ski company. And back in 1990 was the
first time we saw them. And the afore-mentioned
Greg LeMond went on to pilot these to victory in
the Tour de France that year. They allowed the rider simply to get aero, low, and narrow, just like that. – Like this.
– Yeah. – I mean, I’ve pretty
much got Greg’s position. – You’ve nailed the aero there. – I mean interesting, although they were as iconic as they were, there’s only a few other
professional riders that went on to use them, one of whom was the famous
Russian TT specialist, Viatcheslav Ekimov. But what he did, he
took it a step further, he added some tri-bars that were attached to the bottom of the bars, to end up in a position just like this, which was, I must admit, pretty sketchy. And it was unsurprising really that towards the back end of the 1990’s these bars kind of fell out of favour and you didn’t really see them at all in the pro circuit. – Yeah, it’s a shame really. Some of my earliest memories
were seeing Greg LeMond, this trail blazer, like you say, and he had them, and it was really cool. I mean, I remember buying some and being so chuffed to put them on. Interestingly though, Matt, still race-legal, still use them. – That’s nuts, isn’t it? So do you fancy coming out of retirement and sticking these on your bike down the local crit at Bristol? – I’ll tell you what. You give them a go first of all, on some descents, just to make sure they’re stiff enough still, because they’ve been in
a loft for a few years, and we’ll go from there. (light jazz music) Now these ill-fated aero extensions had quite a short shelf life, didn’t they? And they had quite a divided
opinion as well with riders, both aesthetically, as
well as on safety grounds. – Yeah, they were Spinacci bars, and they were actually
developed and produced by Italian manufacturer, Cinelli, between 1993 and 1997. At the end of the 1997 season, after being used for years
by many, many professionals, they were banned on safety grounds. But what they allowed the rider to do, as John is demonstrating now, is to get into an aero
elongated position on the bike. And they could actually
be adjusted, just here, into a different variety of positions, depending on the size of the rider. – It’s hard to imagine
these days that they were actually allowed in bunch
races, weren’t they? – I know, and when you get
back into the aero position, no wonder they were banned. Look how far away you
were from the brakes. – Now one thing about these bars was that they were
ultra-fast, weren’t they? Pros, amateurs all over
the world at the time adopted these and they were using them. Rumour has it, although you can confirm, Matt Stevens here
actually took five minutes off of his P/B riding 40K to work. – I certainly did, for
exactly the same …. They were super aero, but also very, very comfortable as well. Comfortable and aero-dynamic, what more can you want? But the interesting thing for me is the pros of today, who basically we see them trying to get in an aero position they’ll
be draping their forearms over the handlebars. And surely actually having
something to support you, like the Cinelli Spinaccis, was more safe. I mean, at least it’s
kind of food for thought. – Now imagine this, Matt. Scott Drop Ins, Cinelli Spinacci combo. That is a dream. – It is the ultimate
retro aero combination. I tell you what, I’m all over it. – Yeah, I think I’m going to take this out for a spin actually later. – Well, no, ’cause I’m gonna kind of ride home on these tonight, John, to be honest with you, mate. – Oh, please? – It’s all right. – I guess you’ll get home
five minutes quicker anyway, won’t you? Please? – We hope you enjoyed our trip down the memory lane of tech, but we would love to
know your favourite bits of old school tech are. You know what to do? Leave your comments down below. – Do make sure that
also you like and share this video with your friends, And to subscribe to Global Cycle Network, click on the globe, which is
somewhere onscreen right now. To see Matt ride the
Triple Crown-winning bike of Steven Roach, from 1987, click just down here. – That was a lot of fun. And to see Simon and me battle it out on the flat on the
cobbles of West Flanders on a retro bike belonging
to Johan Museeuw no less, click just down here.

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