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Tour de Freds: 1988 Huffy vs. 2020 Cannondale

By Spencer Powlison

Published

The bikes have changed; the training has changed; the budgets have grown, and the TV broadcast has gone worldwide. But one thing remains the same at the Tour de France: The riders still have to pedal their bikes up France's toughest climbs over hundreds of miles.

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We wanted to get a taste of that glorious suffering, and we wanted to see the difference between the bikes of yesteryear and today's modern machines.

With a bit of inspiration from the Tour and unlimited access to The Pro's Closet's Bicycle Museum, we dreamed up Tour de Freds. We planned a ride that simulated the queen stage of the 2020 Tour de France, stage 17. The queen stage is recognized as the hardest day of the race and this year goes up two huge climbs over the course of 108 miles.

To take on the ride, I chose the bike of America's original Tour de France team, a 1988 "Huffy" built by Serotta for the 7-Eleven team. Bruce rode a 2020 Cannondale SuperSix Evo, the bike of today's American Tour team, EF Education-Nippo. (Trek-Segafredo is also a U.S.-registered TDF team.)

Why is it called "Tour de Freds?" I think road cycling needs to become more inclusive, and I don't think we experienced riders have any right to look down our noses at enthusiastic newcomers. Sometimes, beginners are derided as "Freds." It's time to turn this on its head! All of us are out riding bikes for fun, challenging ourselves, and maybe even watching the Tour. No matter how old your bike is, how fit (or unfit) you are, or how many miles of experience you have, let's not take ourselves too seriously. If you're a cycling enthusiast, you're a Fred, just like me. 

2020 Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc Ultegra

Pros:
  • Modern aerodynamics
  • Stiff but still has great comfort and vibration damping 
  • Shimano Ultegra R8000 is crisp feeling and reliable
  • Stealth black colorway
Cons:
  • 18+ lbs weight (more expensive Hi-Mod builds are lighter) 
  • Comes with tubeless-ready wheels but not tubeless-ready tires
  • It looks like every other new 2020 road bike
  • It won't make you an instant superstar (you still need to train!)

1988 Huffy 7-Eleven team bike

Pros:
  • Awesome aesthetics
  • Pretty stiff for a steel bike
  • Reliable shifting
  • Bombproof
Cons:
  • Pretty stiff for a steel bike
  • Bottom bracket knocks (user/mechanic error)
  • Gearing makes you feel like you're on a fixie sometimes
  • I can't keep it forever

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