Video: Stephen Roche’s 1987 Battaglin Vs modern carbon bikes

Posted on: May 20th, 2018

When Stephen Roche’s 1987 Battaglin bike, on which he won the Giro, Tour and Worlds was taken for a spin against a modern carbon fibre racing machine, how did it compare?


In the clip below, former pro riders Matt Stephens and Simon Richardson compare a modern carbon fibre racing bike with the Battaglin Stephen Roche rode in 1987.

It was the year he won the Giro, Tour, Worlds treble and the machine was the best on the market at the time.

The bike was around 3kg heavier than the carbon machine Richardson was riding in the clip below.


Roche’s machine in all it’s glory


The camera’s panning from the same sections on the retro and modern bikes really brings home the changes in the 27 years since Roche won the treble; the shoes, pedals and helmet the Irish man used look prehistoric.

The Columbus SLX tubing also looks extremely narrow compared to the over sized tubing on the modern bike.

The down tube gear shifters are like something from the history books – which of course they are.

And every time Stephens takes his hands off the bars to change gears it looks like his stability is compromised.


Some of the features look so dated; really reminds you of how far technology has come.


Trying to shift gears going uphill under pressure looks like a crisis moment; but the riders who rode these bikes were well used to that action and would have done it seamlessly.

Stephens also said the drop in height from the saddle to the handlebars was much lower than the preferred modern position, meaning he felt quite elevated at the front.

However, he felt the bike was surprisingly rigid and was also comfortable; absorbing anything the uneven road surface had to throw at him.


Some parts of the bike look spectacular; really classic piece of cycling history


But when both riders press harder up a narrow steep climb, Roche’s bike reaches its limits, with Stephens looking laboured on his high gears, which much smaller selection of sprockets.

And Roche’s bike simply looks a lot less responsive.

Have a look at the clip, it’s well worth a watch.


Roche’s 1987 bike put to the test