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Thread: Old bike

  1. #1
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    Old bike

    I was thinking about buying a road bike from 1970. I intend to gradually replace the whole drivetrain as parts wear off. Is it possible to find new parts for it (hubs, cassettes, bb)? If i replace bottom bracket with a modern one, would i be able to put a modern crankset (from road or mtb), are mtb and road cogs compatible? What should i pay attention to on the steel frame, is this idea worth it?
    Last edited by bikern; 06-15-2017 at 07:33 AM.

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    is this idea worth it?
    Not really; not the way you've stated. It may make sense to buy it, if the price is right, and it may be worth fixing/replacing parts that fail. But there's no reason to plan on replacing the whole drivetrain. That would be a waste of money.

    Some specifics:

    -There's no reason the hubs are likely to fail. It probably has old-fashioned cup-and-cone bearings, which are easy to overhaul.

    -it has a freewheel, not a cassette. You can get new freewheels (if it needs one, or you want to change cogs).

    -The bottom bracket can also be overhauled, most likely, but you could replace it with a simple sealed-bearing unit if it's really shot.

    -The only reasons to replace the cranks, IMHO, are if it's (1) steel (therefore heavy), or (2) a cottered design. You can find square-taper cranksets to go with a new BB. I wouldn't bother with a more "modern" design. There'd be no real advantage to spending the money.

    -are the wheels crappy, or in bad shape? If it's a cheap bike with chrome steel rims, upgrading to aluminum rims would make sense. You could possibly rebuild on the existing hubs, but freewheel hub wheels are still made.

    -look for rust on the frame.

    What brand/model/level is it? There are good frames out there that are worth some effort, and cheap ones that will still ride fine, but you don't want to spend more than necessary to make things work.
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    Sounds like you want to build a neo retro bike. It might be worth it if the frame is nice enough to invest in it. Everything is possible, there many people who build old frames with modern components.
    There are some limitations, depending on the frame you might have 120 or 126 rear spacing which will allow you to only go with a certain number of gears. The wheel size might force you to use long reach calipers or do some other adaption.

    Can I ask you why you would like to do that? Is it for "cheap transportation" or just the charm of an old frame? Maybe you like the feel of steel vs aluminum?

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    Reason number 1 is steel frame; ive read how they are much better for shock absorbtion; however age scares me. The owner doesnt know its history; there are some scratches, practically no rust; teeth on the cogs look good; could it be drivetrain parts are still original? People did not drive much at that time or they are from another bike or they are made of very durable material?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikern View Post
    Reason number 1 is steel frame; ive read how they are much better for shock absorbtion; however age scares me. The owner doesnt know its history; there are some scratches, practically no rust; teeth on the cogs look good; could it be drivetrain parts are still original? People did not drive much at that time or they are from another bike or they are made of very durable material?
    I would advise to start from a decent steel frame. I have a steel bike, an aluminum bike and a carbon one and I have to admit that the steel frame is great. I am taking about an Italian Columbus SL frame which is pretty light even compared to today's standard.
    In that case it would be worth to take time and spend the money to build it with modern components, but if it's a 1970s Murray I would let it go.

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    Im choosing between this, fuji touring (steel) and gt grade (alum). I need a touring bike, not racing and budget is limited.

  7. #7
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    Frame material doesn't matter much; shock absorption is mostly in the tires, anyway. With a limited budget, you test ride the bikes and get the one that feels like the best fit to you. If two feel equally good, get the one that looks like it's in the best shape.

    It certainly could have original parts, and could be in good shape. There are lots of 40-year old bikes around that spent most of their lives in a garage.

    Again I ask: what is the brand and model of the bike? And if there are any names on the components, list those, too.

    And again I say, upgrading to more modern components is probably a waste of money. The truth is those bikes from that era worked fine. The improvements recently have mostly be incremental (more gears, slightly lighter frames and parts). The one piece where there's been a real qualitative change is the integrated brake/shift levers (rather than friction shifting with downtube levers as on your 1970 bike), but changing that would almost certainly cost much more than the whole bike is worth (levers, derailleurs, new rear wheel, cassette, etc.).

    I'd give it a good test ride, and if it fits and feels good, get it, and fix it up as inexpensively as possible. You can overhaul almost everything for not much more than the cost of grease. It may be that the only bits you'd actually have to buy to make it serviceable are tires, brake pads, and handlebar tape.
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    Im considering several models but any one of them would be a bike like this:
    80's vintage red SPECIALIZED ALLEZ steel lugged ROAD BIKE suntour / rare | eBay
    or
    koga miyata vintage retro road bike 60cm | eBay

    I cannot know what components it has, i thought they are all similar for those kinds of bikes: 126 mm rear hub, freewheel 5-6 sp, bb may be modern thread, may be some old type, cranks old type; i dont know anymore. What im paying attention to is presence/absence of rust spots on the frame.
    Last edited by bikern; 06-15-2017 at 12:01 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikern View Post
    Im considering several models but any of them would be a bike like this:
    80's vintage red SPECIALIZED ALLEZ steel lugged ROAD BIKE suntour / rare | eBay

    koga miyata vintage retro road bike 60cm | eBay

    I cannot know what components it has, i thought they are all similar for those kinds of bikes: 126 mm rear hub, freewheel 5-6 sp, bb may be modern thread, may be some old type, cranks old type; i dont know anymore. What im paying attention to is presence/absence of rust spots on the frame.

    Unless you love vintage bikes, that is a lot to pay for an 1980's used bike. This one is almost $500 when you include shipping.

    If you have your heart set on a steel touring bike, look for a used Trek 520. This is a good solid bike and is one of Trek's better efforts. You may even find a recent one. Don't forget about your correct size:

    trek 520 in Cycling Equipment | eBay

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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikern View Post
    Im choosing between this, fuji touring (steel) and gt grade (alum). I need a touring bike, not racing and budget is limited.
    Although I agree that frame materials aren't all that important for shock absorption, IMO steel is the better choice for touring bikes. Sans rust, they can last nearly forever.

    RE: upgrades, on older bikes I'd vote no. It's likely by the time you finished you could have purchased a complete bike, cheaper. As parts wear, replace with like/ similar parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    And again I say, upgrading to more modern components is probably a waste of money. The truth is those bikes from that era worked fine.
    Wont they wear off after a few thousand km? I thought that like on any bike freewheel and crank would have to be replaced after some time, then rims (would wear off from breaking), then hubs.

    My main concern is not to be stuck with a piece of metal.

    Among new ones
    Fuji Bikes | Touring
    or
    wiggle.com | GT Grade AL (Sora - 2017) Adventure Road Bike | Road Bikes - Race
    or theres also one cheaper with claris derailleurs
    Last edited by bikern; 06-15-2017 at 12:27 PM.

  12. #12
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    Wont they wear off after a few thousand km? I thought that like on any bike freewheel and crank would have to be replaced after some time, then rims (would wear off from breaking), then hubs.
    What's a "few" thousand km? A freewheel might last 10,000 km or more, and lots of old bikes never got ridden that much. Chainrings might last several times that (cranks don't wear out -- if the ring is worn you can just replace the ring; you don't need a whole new crankset. Rims might wear depending on use and conditions, but they can also last a very long time. Hubs? Bearings can be overhauled or replaced, and that's the only part that really experiences wear.

    In any event, the fact that some parts might need to be replaced depending on wear does not lead to the conclusion that all (or any) parts should be upgraded. If you want to be economical and sensible, you fix what needs fixing (which could be very little). And as PJ says below, if you replace, replace with similar.

    What happened to the 1970 bike you referenced in the first post? All the ones you linked are later than that.

    And one more question? Do you know how to find a bike that fits you? Both the used bikes you linked are big frames, for pretty tall people.
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  13. #13
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    buy a vintage bike on craigs.
    make sure it's at least mid-level.*
    buy $100 in tools.
    learn to fully overhaul it.
    buy a few others.
    sell those you don't want for $100s more to pay for new hobby.
    keep doing it.

    .
    .
    * mid-level vintage bikes have chromoly frames or better, cotterless cranks, all aluminum components, forged dropouts with on-frame rear derailleur hanger, and downtube or bar-end shifters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    And one more question? Do you know how to find a bike that fits you? Both the used bikes you linked are big frames, for pretty tall people.
    Frame size

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    184cm is only 6'.

    6' is usually 58cm bike frame or so.

    you should ride before you buy if you only intend on buying only one bike. a better idea is to buy two or three and sell those that don't work out. if you live in a big market, you can normally get more bike for the money locally as opposed to ebay+shipping.

    june is the worst time to buy and the best time to sell.
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  16. #16
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    Essentially, it sounds like you want to build a modern bike on a classic frame. In that case, a frame like the one the Miyata has can be bought for less than $100. That bike is worth $200 at best, as it sits.

    The Allez is also a $200 bike, and most certainly NOT "rare". Add to that the breathtaking $125 shipping charge, and you have about a $300 "sucker tax" added. There IS a reason why NOBODY is bidding on it. I assume when the auction ends with zero bids, he'll lower the price, and try again....

    Just look for a bare frame to work with. Your choices of EBay auctions suggests that you don't have a good handle on what these things are really worth.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikern View Post
    I was thinking about buying a road bike from 1970. I intend to gradually replace the whole drivetrain as parts wear off. Is it possible to find new parts for it (hubs, cassettes, bb)? If i replace bottom bracket with a modern one, would i be able to put a modern crankset (from road or mtb), are mtb and road cogs compatible? What should i pay attention to on the steel frame, is this idea worth it?
    If you've got the cash, that Fuji touring bike wold be the perfect touring/commuter bike. It'll ride nice and balanced with loads on the rear wheel, has nice durable wheels, and steel rides really nice, loaded or unloaded, comfortable and responsive. All the components on that bike are built for long distance touring, strong and durable. The toe clips and straps would work fine with street shoes. It'll take thicker tires to carry the loads, and there's room for fenders, a definitely worthy upgrade.

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    These models both have 32mm tires and according to their users max size that could be squeezed is 35, 38 is very doubtful. Are they any good for riding on unpaved roads, forest trails, or i should better take mtb 29er and put there 1.75" tires?
    Last edited by bikern; 06-16-2017 at 01:32 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikern View Post
    These models both have 32mm tires and according to their users max size that could be squeezed is 35, 38 is very doubtful. Are they any good for riding on unpaved roads, forest trails, or i should better take mtb 29er and put there 1.75" tires?
    That all depends on the trails. If they are all hardpacked, 32mm would be fine. If there are stretches of sand and loose gravel or you will be riding in wet and muddy conditions, you will probably want something that can take at least 38mm tires.

    If you will be doing technical trails in a forest with obstacles like tree roots, you will need a mountain bike. Others may disagree, but if I'm choosing a mountain bike for narrow technical trails, I would choose one with 26 or 27.5 wheels. I don't like 29ers as their turning radius is too ungainly.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikern View Post
    These models both have 32mm tires and according to their users max size that could be squeezed is 35, 38 is very doubtful. Are they any good for riding on unpaved roads, forest trails, or i should better take mtb 29er and put there 1.75" tires?
    Lombard is right on. Depends on the riding opportunities around where you live. Here in NVA, you could spend all day on paved trails or roads and go anywhere you wanted, on 25 mm tires unloaded, 28s or 32s if carrying stuff in panniers.

    In the west there are great routes that you would avoid with 32 mm tires. The trade off with bigger tires is bike weight, speed, and to a certain extent, handling. The lighter the tires, the faster they'll go, and the more "responsive" the bike will feel, IMO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico;5159455The trade off with bigger tires is bike weight, speed, and to a certain extent, handling. The lighter the tires, the faster they'll go, and [B
    the more "responsive" the bike will feel, IMO.
    With an emphasis on the word "feel" Everything above is true to a small degree. But unless you are racing or obsessed with overtaking other riders' achievements on Strava, it won't be a whole lot of extra speed you will gain with lighter tires. They will feel faster because they will accelerate faster. Once up to speed, the difference is a lot less. I can still fly with a pair of 38mm slicks. However, knobbies or anything with a tread is a totally different story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    What's a "few" thousand km? A freewheel might last 10,000 km or more, and lots of old bikes never got ridden that much.
    I dont consider myself a serious cyclist by i ride on my old mtb 25 km per day * 20 days = 500km per month in warm time of the year so this equates to 3 k km, if rode a little more i could easily make it 5k in a year.

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    When choosing between 2 suitable sizes should i go for a little too large or too small? In my case its either 58 or 60 cm; what im concerned is the overall length of the bike (effective top tube length + hb stem length), how far i would have to stretch, on which would depend weight distribution between rear and front wheels, comfort of the back and saddle-handlebars drop . On my mtb i have ett 61 + stem 12 = 73 cm - overall length. On 58 road ett 58 + (stem (11), hb (8) = 19 ) = 77 - 4cm longer; on 60 cm frame 60 + 19 = 79, 6 cm longer. On the other hand i can reduce this length by 3 cm, putting 8 cm stem instead of 11, so even on 60 cm frame with ett 60 cm, i can get the overall length 76 cm, just 3 cm longer than on mtb.
    Last edited by bikern; 06-29-2017 at 09:05 AM.

  24. #24
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    If I were pressed to answer your fundamental question, a bit too small is better than a bit too large. However, the goal is to get a bike sized correctly, then dialed in for optimal fit.

    I would suggest forgetting frame sizes and concentrate on the geo numbers. As you stated, you want to be positioned for correct f/r weight distribution and effective TT length along with stem length are key fit parameters - along with saddle to bar drop.

    On the comparison of fit requirements between MTB and road, JMO, but that's a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. Besides, you're now focusing on getting road bike fit right, so stay with that mindset.

    Re: your number crunching on ETT's and stem lengths, keep in mind that frame geo grows and shrinks proportionally. For example, a 110mm stem on a m/ml frame is generally acceptable, but an 80mm on a large is not. Again, you want to get f/r weight distribution right, or handling will suffer.

    Hope this helps. If not, ask more - and maybe other members will contribute.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikern View Post
    When choosing between 2 suitable sizes should i go for a little too large or too small? In my case its either 58 or 60 cm; what im concerned is the overall length of the bike (effective top tube length + hb stem length), how far i would have to stretch, on which would depend weight distribution between rear and front wheels, comfort of the back and saddle-handlebars drop . On my mtb i have ett 61 + stem 12 = 73 cm - overall length. On 58 road ett 58 + (stem (11), hb (8) = 19 ) = 77 - 4cm longer; on 60 cm frame 60 + 19 = 79, 6 cm longer. On the other hand i can reduce this length by 3 cm, putting 8 cm stem instead of 11, so even on 60 cm frame with ett 60 cm, i can get the overall length 76 cm, just 3 cm longer than on mtb.
    I'd get a fit program to confirm this, but if you want to sit up, the larger bike will get the handlebars up higher. That will put more body weight on the back wheel, and get it off the front wheel. You'll be able to handle the slightly more stretch without pain in the shoulders and hands, than if the bars are lower, as they would be on a smaller frame, unless you get one of those crazy tilted up stems. The lower the bars, the more weight is rotated onto the front wheel.

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