1985 Guerciotti road bike
Retro versus modern, “old school” as opposed to being on the cutting edge, early versus later.
These descriptions make it necessary to assign a turning point in time where earlier iterations get the former designations and later versions get the latter. For a lot of road bike elements, the years 1985 through 1987 mark significant changes.
This Guerciotti road bike sits at a turning point in road bike history and has elements that are both old-school retro (probably more of these) and elements that are cut from more modern cloth.
A gentleman named Robert Johnson raced this bike at the Ironman Hawaii in 1986. His bike here has a Columbus steel-tubing frame, sew-up tires glued to tubular rims, “retro” toe-clipped pedals and brake cables that sprout exposed to the wind from the top of the brake levers. Modern elements include indexed shifters (affixed to the downtube as handlebar-mounted shifting was still a couple of years away), a pretty modern airbrushed paint job courtesy of Ten Speed Drive Imports, and Japanese Dura-Ace components affixed to a top-end Italian bike, which was a pretty modern choice in 1985.
Steel-framed bikes constituted the overwhelming majority of racing equipment at the earliest triathlons, but by the end of the ‘80’s nearly every bike had aluminum or composite frame material, aerodynamic handlebars, indexed shifting and ski-binding style clipless pedals.
Outfitting a new race bike in 1985 was a little bit simpler than making similar decisions just a year or two later. Which Italian builder do you want to make your bike? Paolo Guerciotti was a solid pick (after you learned how to pronounce his name gware-chee-oh-tee). Campagnolo Super Record equipment, tried and true, or Shimano’s innovative click-shifting Dura-Ace? Innovation it is. Airbrushed multiple colors for paint or traditional single colors? Beautiful choice.