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  1. #1
    Pauly
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    I'm sometimes embarrassed by my old bike.

    It's 1997 Lightspeed hardtail:
    Vee brakes
    Short travel fork
    26" wheels (of course)

    I always considered xc to be 90% about the physical condition of the rider and not that much about the bike, not even about riding skill (well, somewhat).

    Now I'm starting to wonder how much faster I could be on a newer bike. I'm getting back to racing at a very low lever after taking time off.

    My races are about 1 hour long.

    Please discuss.

  2. #2
    PeT
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    That's a quality bike and if it fits and the fork still works (does it have a 1" head tube), you're not going to improve on it more that 3.5% by spending a couple of thousand bucks on a new steed (IMO). Again, if the fork works, what are you missing? Disc brakes I guess, but as someone who goes back and forth between V and disc brake equipped bikes all the time, there's simply not that much difference. If you're into the 29er thing (and I am and have been for years), then there's that, but I get beat by too many 26" riders to think it's any significant advantage. More gears? Too many fast single speeders to think that 8 speeds in back is a liability. For what it's worth, I love to be underestimated -- that "underdog" thought process works for me. In my case, I'm older than most of the guys I race against and have always had a dough-boy face, making me look slower than I really am. Use your bike to your advantage!
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  3. #3
    Pauly
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    Thanks for the vote of confidence, PeT,
    I have 9 speed cassette. The fork still works. I have Mavic crossmax wheels. On the underdog thing, I guess I know what you mean. At least I am a good descender. It's probably my strongest skill. It's surprising that I can hammer the descents on this bike. I'm impressed by the high end Cannondale and Scott bikes but not excited by the prices.

    Anybody else want to weigh in on this?

  4. #4
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    I'm sometimes embarrassed by my old bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pauly F View Post
    It's 1997 Lightspeed hardtail:
    Vee brakes
    Short travel fork
    26" wheels (of course)

    I always considered xc to be 90% about the physical condition of the rider and not that much about the bike, not even about riding skill (well, somewhat).

    Now I'm starting to wonder how much faster I could be on a newer bike. I'm getting back to racing at a very low lever after taking time off.

    My races are about 1 hour long.

    Please discuss.
    Don't be embarrassed. Race, have fun, improve. Let others be "embarrassed" about being beat by a guy on an "old" bike.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  5. #5
    Pauly
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    Thanks, Shiggy!

  6. #6
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    Yep, sometimes I'm embarrassed by my carbon wonder bike when I get passed by someone on an old beater. Way more than I need.

  7. #7
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    I think it's all fine and dandy to be comfortable on your Lightspeed. It's like an old shirt you really like and don't want to give up.

    But you can be comfortable on a Cannondale Scapel too...There's nothing wrong with appreciating newer tech. That's half the reasoning I'm into riding bikes.

    Just do whatever pleases you.

  8. #8
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    I have a early 90's Diamond Back, if I had the time or knowhow to get used parts for it I would in a heart beat. If you can afford a new bike, try one and buy it. If you want. But if your just getting back into racing right now (even if you were racing for awhile), I think there's nothing cooler than hammering an old bike. Biking culture has changed a lot in the 20+ years I've been riding but real down to the core mountain bikers will appreciate you showing up on your bike.

    On a side note - I raced a guy last year that had a new Raleigh bike HT. Bike must have easily weighed 30+ and couldn't have been more than a few hundred bucks or so. I respected the fact he raced with whatever it was he could afford, thought it was really cool.
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  9. #9
    go vegan!
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    i raced on a older bike then that up until a couple years ago. my only gripe was stuff just started to break after awhile and it wasn't the best fitted bike for me.

    dont worry about what people may think just ride faster then them

    and of course... HAVE FUN!

  10. #10
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    A 26 hard tail is a 26 hard tail. And that's what most World Cup guys are still racing.

    But a Litespeed is pretty sweet!! Get a good fork and replace parts as they wear out. I'd love to have a ti hard tail.
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  11. #11
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    " I'm getting back to racing at a very low lever after taking time off. My races are about 1 hour long."

    did I post this in some sort of time warp?
    I got badly out of shape after 20 years away from regular riding and racing. I have an older Litespeed 26er, 3x7 with my old XTii (thumbshifters) and newer xtr v brakes, old xt hubs and 3rd/4th rims on those from wearing them out and rebuilding. I started racing cyclocross fall of '12, after riding regularly for one year. I had found a good deal on a sworks tri-cross in late spring of '12, -super nice sub 20# cx bike. I raced the old Litespeed twice in the cx series instead of the cx bike, and my finishes were very consistent with both bikes. Over the winter I decided to do some cat2 mtb races, -about an hour long. I bought a good used 29er hardtail which is about exactly the same weight as my litespeed (both 24.5). I did race the old bike at one of the smoother venues, with a consistent finish. A couple of guys wanted to talk about the old bike, because old litespeeds are very cool, nobody notices the newer 29er.
    I like the 29er a bit more over the rough bits, the ride is a little smoother. I also like the bigger contact patches on sand and looser gravel, so I do choose the 29er most often for racing, but I still really like the old ti bike.

    For getting back into racing, especially at a lower level, just ride the old bike proudly, and keep up with the maintenance. Plus, it's fun to beat guys on $8k bikes on an old bike.

  12. #12
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    In yesterday's 8 hour mtb race one of the top finishers was on a 26" steel frame hardtail with 3x8 and V brakes. He absolutely smashed all but a few riders. He passed me and others like our tires were flat: I was on an expensive carbon XTR 29er.

    Found out he was a local pro in the Open Men's duo division, and just out having fun in the 95 degree heat from 9 to 5. It was truly awesome seeing that old bike fly down the rough nasty trail.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by chunkylover53 View Post
    Yep, sometimes I'm embarrassed by my carbon wonder bike when I get passed by someone on an old beater. Way more than I need.
    +1.

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