Bicycle Mechanics - Where do I start?
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11-16-10, 02:34 PM
i have a 1980 Centurion Omega, yes I am a newbie. I want to do my first Tri in April '11. my bike is pretty much all original as far as I know.
I want to get aero bars and bar end shifters but i don't see 12 speed bar end shifters anywhere.
Should I convert to a different number of speeds? 12 speed doesnt seem to be around any more.
Many more questions but this is a start. Thank you for all of your help.
11-16-10, 03:08 PM
Sad to see a 30 year old functional bike with original equipment be converted. I guess you have your reasons.
If you want to be super competitive I would upgrade the wheels and and change the drivetrain to 20 speed. If you are going to do all that might as well look for a cheap tt frame. If not I would look at the course and if its not that technical I would add clip on aero bars and give it a shot.
11-16-10, 03:16 PM
When there were only 5 cogs on the freewheel and 2 chainrings, we spoke of a ten-speed bike (5x2)
When six cog freewheels came out, we spoke of a 12 speed bike. (6x2)
Since then, cogs and chainrings have gone nuts. seven to ten cogs on the cassette, and 2 or 3 rings on the front. People seem to speak of the cogs and chainrings separately. 2x8, 2x9, 3x10, 3x9...
Bar end shifters can be used in an "index" mode where the cable is pulled a specific distance for a particular cog spacing. They can also be used in "friction" mode where the rider eases the cable just enough until the chain jumps to the next cog.
If you want to put bar end shifters on your bike, they will work in "friction" mode.
Enjoy setting your bike up for your first triathlon, and enjoy the triathlon!!!
Careful not to get into over improving your bike so that you can't sell it for the investment you have put into it.
When my son started triathlon, he bought an inexpensive bike and got a kick out of passing middle aged lawyers and accountants on 3 and 4 thousand dollar bikes.
11-16-10, 03:39 PM
I have to ditto the last part of the post above. It's the RIDER not the BIKE. You don't need bar end shifters or aero bars to race. Just because those are popular for tri's does not make them indispensable. Upgrading the wheels won't make you super competitive - better to spend the time training rather than hours researching, upgrading and then retuning your bike. Folks, it may be hard to believe but people raced fast before STI, 3x9, carbon and aero.
I would bet that lighter wheels and aero bars would be lucky to cut your time by a few percentage points - far less than you can do with more training. Once you have learned (and possibly saved) more you will know what you need/like, either in equipment or a better bike.
11-16-10, 04:38 PM
I thought I'd mention that you could get a basic aerobar like Profile Design Century Aerobar (~$60) and use your current
downtube shifters by getting a shifter adapter like this:
...but then I see that these adapters retail for near $40. That's a bit more money than I
would have expected.
11-17-10, 01:41 PM
Thank you for all of your information. I know that without hard training, any upgrades are worthless.
11-17-10, 03:15 PM
Remember that it is far more about the engine than the bike. Clip on Aerobars might be nice but I wouldn't upgrade the bike until I've raced it a few times and am clear on what I want. I ride an entry level road bike only for training time for my MTB and have raced the bike segments of Triathlons on a team and did just fine. As another poster stated above, it's kind of fine to pass poseurs on big dollar bikes when you are riding something more basic. If you really want speed, tune the engine first.
11-17-10, 04:03 PM
12 speed , as said is a 6 speed rear cluster, You can buy different size freewheel combinations
Straight block such as a 13,14,15,16,17,19, and a normal 52/42 chainring combination Is a racing gear set.
if you can spin out a 52 13 gear for the length of the bike section, you will be towards the front of the group.
don't have to have the fastest bike if you can have the shortest time on the non equipment 2/3rds of the event.
Swimming and running.
11-18-10, 03:05 AM
The problem with upgrading an older bike like this is that once you accept that you need one part you sort of have to upgrade the whole package. This is the reality that the folks above are giving you in pieces.
Before you start figure out what you'll need and add it all up. You may well find that it's as cheap or only slightly more expensive to just buy a used but decently current tri bike than to upgrade this old warrior.
After all so far you're looking at;
new bars and shifters
likely you'll want aero brake levers instead of the old flying housing levers
tri bars to replace the old drop bars
the indexing bar end shifters
new wheels and cassete to go with the shifters
cold forming the old frame to adjust the dropouts to accept the new wheel
and likely a new rear derailleur to go with the index shifters
All of this is going to set you back a pretty penny. Add it up and see if you really want to put that much into the old Centurion or if you'd rather just buy a newer used tri bike and not need to buy all this other stuff along with installing it.
Upgrading an older bike is not necessarily wrong. It depends on what you want to do with it, and how much it will cost you. The centurion omega was a relatively low end bike in its time. Considering that the list above is correct if you want to make a quasi racing bike. I have a 1985 centurion comp ta (Japanese manufacturing at its best, cheap, high quality, lasts forever) that I have upgraded over the years, and love it dearly as it is a dream to ride. I'm not trying to race it though.
11-18-10, 05:26 PM
I'd advise buying a new bike within your budget. You'll spend far more than it's worth getting that old rig running well.
11-18-10, 06:15 PM
It might not be the fastest wheels on the road but if I was strapped for cash and wanted a new bike, I'd consider the GT Traffic 3.0 http://www.evanscycles.com/products/gt/traffic-30-2010-hybrid-bike-ec020924?currency=CAD&country=CANADA
Oops, it says country=Canada but you could always change that.
Fact is, by the time you end up upgrading certain bikes, you've already spent the same as a new one.
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