Advice on a roadie (2000 Principia Rex Pro)

none of you back down. this is an interesting debate.

As much as i can appreciate older bike parts and bikes, working on them can be a royal pain. And while i agree that much of the bike industry’s ‘advances’ are totally created to make money, the fact remains there have been many, many mechanical advances that make the rider’s (and mechanic’s) lives much easier. But ride what you want, so long as you are prepared to recognise the pitfalls in any kind of bike.

I agree that a 105-equipped bike will be equivalent or better than this 10 year old bike. BUT, you need to spend close to $2500 to get a decent new bike. Anything less than that and manufacturers start cutting corners by using cheaper mismatched cranks, brakes, cassettes etc.

Initially I thought shipping would be $250 or so, making the Principia $650. Given that this is my first roadie, I’d rather spend $650, work out what I like/dislike about it, and then buy something more suitable for $2-3k when I’m a little bit more savvy.

Now it’s starting to look like shipping it from the US is near impossible, so unless you guys have some suggestions on affordable shipping, looks like I’m back to keeping an eagle eye on eBay.

Mismatched cranks??
You’d be surprised at how well a sub 2k bike can actually ride, given the fact the market they’re aimed at is probably upgrading from a 15 year-old POS. Especially if you go for a brand like Giant or Kona. Even the entry level Argon 18’s are really good value at around $1700 with 105. A decent set of tyres on an entry level roadie can make a world of difference, and is usually the first thing I end up changing on any new bike.

I am however a big sucker for new shiny shit, and won’t even bother pretending like I’m not. Having said that though, there’s more to new technology than (in my opinion) people appreciate. Have a look at a SRAM XX cassette… that shit takes 9 hours to CNC. I for one appreciate that shit. It looks damn cool, it weighs next to nothing, and I don’t think anyone could try to say that a complete XX groupset doesn’t shift nicely, because it’s just as snappy as the best road groupsets out there. Whether you’re going to buy XX or not, the point is that the ‘space-age’ technologies filter down, and as someone pointed out earlier, 90’s Dura Ace is going to be no better than 2010 105. Sorry, but it’s not.

No technological advances? I’m sure as hell happy I’ve got indexed shifting, as well as having no more downtube shifters, or even worse, seat stay shifters (REALLY old Campy anyone?). Agreed, 11s is overkill, but then again, according to most people here, isn’t ANY amount of gears overkill?

Buy an old bike for the sake of buying an old frame, but not because it’s got what used to be great components. I’ve seen too many people get burned this way. I know he says it hasn’t been ridden much, they all say that. If it were me, I’d go SRAM Rival: it’s affordable, responsive, and it just works.

No, I wont back down

I agree that a 105-equipped bike will be equivalent or better than this 10 year old bike. BUT, you need to spend close to $2500 to get a decent new bike. Anything less than that and manufacturers start cutting corners by using cheaper mismatched cranks, brakes, cassettes etc.

I dont’ agree. I got my cough Giant for 1650 (2 years ago) and it is full 105 (cranks brakes everything). You’ve just got to buy the 2009 model at the start of 2010.

No technological advances? I’m sure as hell happy I’ve got indexed shifting, as well as having no more downtube shifters, or even worse, seat stay shifters (REALLY old Campy anyone?). Agreed, 11s is overkill, but then again, according to most people here, isn’t ANY amount of gears overkill?

What he said.

i really like the argon 18s. a friend of mine couriered on one in montreal - anything that can survive those winters is a decent bike indeed.

You are absolutely dreaming if you think a 20yo top of the line roadie is anywhere near a quality entry level bike from 2010. Frame stiffness, weight and gear indexing the main differences you’d notice straight up.

Ride (maybe Procycling) magazine had a good great articles a few months back comparing just this such thing.

Back on topic for shipping from the states.

There are really only two options in my mind, but both of them will be a lot less that the $700+ that wou have been quoted (I guess that was FedEx?).

Option 1 is the easiest. Get him to put it in a box, doesnt really matter what size (or get a bike shop to do it for $50 or so) and take it down to DHL. I had a 12kg bike shipped from NE USA for under $300 that way. I dont know what their online calculator says, but they are great.

Option 2. Try to get it into a size that USPS will send to Aus. Theyve changed their size limits recently, but i’ve had luck with getting a frame and fork box (with fork taken out and secured to middle of frame) and a seperate wheel and grouppo box. This ended up being about $250-ish anyay, and the ork involved in ripping it aprt meant that I now use DHL whenver I need to. I did just get a frame, fork, two bars, two stems, seat post, BB nd other little bits sent via USPS from Eastern US for $145, so it can be a bit cheaper, but with a lot of work.

And re: old vs new, it really depends on why you ride, dun it?

I ride to feel good and have a good time, and have a “man’s” reason to keep disgusting hair off my legs. With that in mind, I ride bikes that I think are beautiful and ride comfortably, have ain interesting history and are conversation pieces with people that i like. gears dont even enter the equation, all bikes pretty much ride the same for me, geared or not.

I dont ride to brake later than other people in corners, get angry about my gears not snapping into place 1/10th second faster and being dropped by a bunch of dudes who dont like me enough to let me back on. If you ride like this (and I know you’re a bunch of hell-men, so maybe this IS you) then get a new bike… dont expect (my idea of) interesting people to talk to you about your bike, dont expect it to be something beautiful or have a history, or any of its parts to have been touched or assembled by a human.

As for BBs that arent noodles and gears that shift properly, thats something thats you should really talk to your trusted bike mechanic about. a properly adjust cup and cone, spindle BB wont flex, thats all there is to it. Thats a steel spindle in there. Things around it might flex, but it wont. And gears that shift “properly”… I dont even know where to start.

Thanks for the tip on DHL, I’ll see if I can get a quote on them.

Not sure how the bike has evolved into a 20 year old beast with non-indexed downtube shifters, but it seems some of you need to reread the original post!

Where did you pull 20 years from?
I don’t know why my experience is different, but to me my 1998 hybrid with shimano tourney 7 speed drivetrain shifts as crisply as a few year old crabon ultegra fancy shit bike that I tried out. Maybe you guys grind away through the shifts.
The new stuff is lighter and prettier. It still indexes the same and still uses hyperglide cassettes (the cog profile is the same for all groups).
Colour me unimpressed by the advances between 2000 and 2010.

A couple of the replies advocating a new bike haven’t read the original post, and have assumed that the bike is 20-odd years old. See below:

Perhaps a photo would make things easier:

Do you think their online calculator would be wildly different to the rates they’d charge in person? Shipping a 22lbs 58x28x8" box from OH to SYD comes in at $777.78. The only thing that makes a difference to the price is reducing the size of the box.

*1
i don’t want to sound or look like a show off, but:

the bike is, in my opinion beautiful.
if by history you mean someone has fanged it into a wall at 50km/h then no, but 55 years of making bikes means something to me.
seeing as the frame was handmade, and i assembled the thing lovingly myself, i guess i catch you on that one too.

all of this and my gears do change in 1/10th of second!

*2
ive changed my mind…ok, so the spindle doesnt flex…but the cranks do.

*3
i thought gears didnt enter the question.

brilliant!!

First, gears dont enter into the question for me and my riding style, but i think someone mentioned them in the old vs new debate? its just another point of buying bikes to try to ride them hard and expecting peak performance or buying lovely bits that give you a joy to touch and use even if they arent at the top of the performance game.
And yes, I agree that cranks probably flex less now than they used to. Could I care less? No. Would I prefer any set of alloy campag cranks over any carbon set? Absolutely. And give me the matching bb while youre at it.

Its bloody fantastic that you assembled the bike yourself, and someone built it who has been building for 55 years (who is that, by the way?), i think your frame has a nice history to it, too. But your bike really doesnt fall into either category here… its not old, and its not new and cheap.

Actually, your bike and its mix of old and new style seems a pretty good testing ground for philosophy on old vs new. if you feel like answering questions, it’d be interesting to hear the answers to these:
Why a lugged steel frame?
Why a colnago?
Why a straight blade fork?
Why the new grouppo?
Why the seat post, bar and stem that you chose?
What is the wheelset, and why did you choose it?

I’m certainly not asking for justification, just out of interest on this topic.
When I look at your bike, I cant help but think that you understand the love of things that were wicked a little while ago, but arent as high performance these days

Oh, and re: DHL, get your friend to take it to the depot and have them give a quote. I can only tell you what I’ve paid before, and I reckon the online calc is not on the money.

1 because its what i wanted, having ridden one back to back i know that it (it…not its owner) can perform up there with a lot of very good frames of today. that said i did not buy it for total performance purposes (again…look at rider), if i had been after a super crit bike i would have got a cx-1 or eps. i don’t expect it to perform as these two bikes do. so yes, i do have a love for things of yesterday, but do i expect that much of it, no. its my smilewhileriding bike, but in saying that, i don’t believe many, if any older style steel frames will compare in performance to this, in my opinion it is the pinnacle of lugged steel design (in terms of geometry ride) and anyone else would be kidding themselves if they said their bike was better.

2 who else makes a comparable frame? (see 1)

3 because straight blade forks out perform curved forks in ANY situation…when colnago teamed up with ferrari for their first production cabon bike, ferrari rhetorically asked “why is the fork curved?” "ernesto said “mmmmk” and voila who doesnt make straight forks these days?

4 because the new groupo, works brilliantly, spare parts are just a phone call away, it weighs naught, and by god…its pretty.

5 seatpost came with frame (not 100% sold on it, record posts arent long enough though and im not a fan of the 3t posts), 3t kit is comfortable, light stiff and relatively cheap. alloy is better for this application than carbon.

6 record/comp/ambrosio chrono f20. the wheelset is light, stiff, readily repairable (nasa doesnt have to build me a spoke), comparatively cheap and incredibly smooth rolling thanks to the hubs and tubulars.

*i would say his name is giuseppe or something else italian. (i was indicating colnagos history in bike making, and the fact that this bike (and the eps) are still made in italy, by hand, out of colnago steel tubing (or ferrari carbon))

“its my smilewhileriding bike,” YES! exactly. Some people have a bigger smile when they use older style components too. Not everyone, but some people. And I’m one of them.

“i don’t believe many, if any older style steel frames will compare in performance to this, in my opinion it is the pinnacle of lugged steel design (in terms of geometry ride) and anyone else would be kidding themselves if they said their bike was better.” I’ve never met you, but I find it hard to believe that this is a serious statement.

"because straight blade forks out perform curved forks in ANY situation…when colnago teamed up with ferrari for their first production cabon bike, ferrari rhetorically asked “why is the fork curved?” “ernesto said “mmmmk” and voila who doesnt make straight forks these days?” . A better question would have been “why is there a picture of bike rider on the top tube?”. Curved blades are my preference, and i cant imagine any situation where straight blades meaningfully out perform them. I find straight blades to absorb a lot less road bumps and buzz.

Damn, i love Principia!!

it is a serious statment. name a better frame.

there isnt.
does your riding involve turning corners at all? funnily enough its a situation i often find myself involved in.

I guess we should be PMing this, but I’ll go on. I’m suprised nobody else is chiming in here…
“Better” is a tough one since we all want different things in a bike, but without knowing much about you, and keeping your bike otherwise identical, I’m pretty comfortable in saying that a “better” bike for you would have a longer seat tube and longer head tube. Spacers under a a stem are not ideal, but I guess you’d have read something that contradicts that. If its stand over that youre after, then a head tube extension. That’s nit picking though, it seems like you’ve built what you think is a sweet bike. I doubt there’s anyone on this forum that would build that exact bike if it were up to them, though.

We’ve all built bikes to our exact taste, and soemtimes its hard to think of anything better…but challenging other people to think of a “better” bike is a naive thing to do.
Google JP Weigle, Richard Sachs, Curt Goodrich, Landshark, Vanilla, Cherubim, Chas Roberts, Dave Yates, Inglis and you might find yourself reconsidering your statement that there is no better frame in existence. Or maybe not.