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Old 11-15-07, 01:58 PM   #1
shark2000br
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A Novice Builds a Bike

Well, after getting into cycling fairly recently, I have decided to attempt to modify my slightly junky Peugeot commuter to give it a little more class and speed. I have done a little research (this forum, Sheldon Brown, ordered some popular bike mechanic books), only to find the more I learn the less I know.

Therefore, I have decided to take my project to the internets! I plan to share my project, via this thread, with anyone who is nice enough to help, rude enough to deride, or bored enough to care about my progress and questions here. I plan to post pictures of what I've got now, and what I'm looking to get.

My first questions: what is up with different chains for different speeds? That is to say 8-speed chain, 9 speed chain etc? Shouldn't the only difference in chains have to do with the size, not the number, of gears?

I am looking at upgrading to all 8-speed parts, so I have found auctioned items that all say "8-speed." Is this necessary? For instance, I found an 8 speed cassette, 8 speed chain, 8 speed front and rear derallieurs. Is this necessary to ensure compatibility? Does that even guarantee that they will be compatible??

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 11-15-07, 03:11 PM   #2
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My first questions: what is up with different chains for different speeds? That is to say 8-speed chain, 9 speed chain etc? Shouldn't the only difference in chains have to do with the size, not the number, of gears?

I am looking at upgrading to all 8-speed parts, so I have found auctioned items that all say "8-speed." Is this necessary? For instance, I found an 8 speed cassette, 8 speed chain, 8 speed front and rear derallieurs. Is this necessary to ensure compatibility? Does that even guarantee that they will be compatible??
Chains: the "speed" corresponds to the width of the chain. You need a certain width for each "speed". An 8 speed chain is wider than a 9spd is wider than a 10spd etc...

Components: If you get everything 8-speed they will work together, but you have to make sure they work with the other parts on your bike. For instance, you need to be sure you have a freehub rear wheel if you are going to use a cassette. If you said your bike is older you may have a freewheel, which doesn't take cassettes, but freewheels instead.

You must make sure your front derailer clamp size is the same as your seat tube diameter. Otherwise it wont clamp on correctly. If the clamp is bigger, you can shim it, but you cant use a smaller one.

Having all 8speed stuff isn't necessary for the parts to work together, but it does ensure they will. For instance you could use a 9 or 10 speed rear derailer fine with other 8 speed parts. Be wary of older DuraAce parts as they have weird compatibility issues if used with other parts.

If you have any more questions I would be happy to answer them.

-Jerry
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Old 11-15-07, 03:14 PM   #3
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Also be sure your shifters (if they are newer index shifters which click) amount of speeds match the amount of gears you have. For instance you cant use 7spd shifters with an 8 speed cassette/freewheel.
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Old 11-15-07, 04:57 PM   #4
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So? Where the "Before" pic?

This sounds like a fun project. I bet you learn a lot, and I'm glad you're going to share it!
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Old 11-15-07, 07:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for your responses, I've already learned a lot and I've barely started.

That info about the chain width makes a lot of sense, as does the compatibility explanation. I just found out about the freewheel/cassette distinction. However, I plan on replacing my wheels, and I'm looking at a set that uses a cassette.

I think I should give a little background about my goals here--which has been helpful to think about. I use this bike strictly as a commuter. Last week I was braking when the corroded brake cable broke near the levers. The rear brake has always been very jerky as well.

1. New Brake Levers/run new brake cables and housing--this bike didn't have the plastic hoods, and I want to add some white hood brake levers. I Like the new "aero" style that routes under the bar. After that, I want my brakes to run like butter with new cables.

2. Downtube Shifters--upgrading from top bar shifters, which I hate. Admittedly, I don't shift a lot because I live in South Louisiana and my commute is short, but it is aesthetic as much as anything. Then I would like to run new cables for these as well.

3. New Drivetrain--my chain is hideous. My deraillieurs are filthy from neglect, and were cheap and heavy to begin with. I'd like to shave a little weight and put on something I would be proud to maintain. I found a neat Peugeot crank with gearing that suits me that I would like to add.

4. New Wheels--My old wheels are heavy. Also, I'm not sure if this is a rim issue--but I did buy new brake pads so I think it's the wheels--the slightest drizzle makes it dangerously impossible to brake. The rims look like polished chrome, and I'm not sure how they could grip if wet. However, this may be worse because of my brake calipers/cables in need of adjustment. Also, I'd like to move to a 700x23 (current is a 27"x1 1/4") and change out the tubes/tires, since the old ones have trouble holding a firm psi.

Basically, I'm keeping (for now) my handlebars, fork, and headset. I plan to change out my saddle and seatpost after I get it rolling again, but first things first (and many questions first).

As promised, here is the 'Geot in all of its commuting glory:

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Old 11-16-07, 12:40 AM   #6
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I hate to be the bearer of negative news, but after looking at the Peugeot above, and the list of desired upgrades, I'd have to advise against it. For the effort and cost it'll take, you won't achieve much performance, and value.
This bike looks like an 80s upper range entry level Peugeot.
ie. the aluminum cotterless crank, the front quick release hub, but not the rear hub.
The rims are likely chromed steel Rigida rims.
The frame appears welded, not lugged, and has stamped dropouts.
The brakes look like Weinmann or Dia Compe center pulls.

Your bike is in very nicely kept condition. And set up to be a good commuter.
Even though there are shortcomings, IMHO, you should do a minimum of upgrades, it's just not worth it.
It'll be cheaper to hunt down a nice used road bike with the options you want. It will handle and be lighter than the updated Peugeot.


Brakes: Changing the brake levers is within budget/utility reasons.
Shifters: Although you hate the stem shifter, switching to downtube requires you to remove those brazed-on cable stops. Sawing, grinding, and touch up paint. Not going to look classy.
Maybe bar-end shifters are an option.
Drivetrain: Get yourself a new chain! a SRAM (Sachs/Sedi) repacement chain will be an improvement.
Simplex derailleurs, never my favorite. You don't have a dropout hanger on that frame, that means limited to claw derailleurs. That's going to be hard to get good 8-spd SIS gear.
10 spd? or 12 spd? Because this will tell you the rear spacing of the frame.
I will assume it's 10 spd = 120mm.
Wheels: you can't go down to 700C from 27", note the brakepads are already set pretty low on the calipers. 700C will require you to go even lower.
The replacement parts desired will be several times more in worth than the bike now.

A minimal cost list of upgrades I'd recommend:
New or used road brake levers and cables. (as desired).
New modern seat for comfort. (why is the seat clamp mounted backwards?)
Used bar end shifters.
Used decent set of aluminum 27" rimmed wheels.
OR
a set of aluminum rims swapped onto existing wheels. let LBS true the wheels.
New commuter tires.
New chain.
Maybe even a SRAM or Shimano rear derailleur.

That's it.
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Old 11-16-07, 09:57 AM   #7
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1 & 4: Brakes have gotten miles better since those wheels were made. New brakes and new rims will make a million Newton-meters of difference. However, changing wheel size could make your brakes not match. Put on a pair at the bike shop and see! Also, some brakes are more adjustable than others. The difference is small but meaningful.

3: Shaving weight isn't going to be very satisfying. WD40 will clean up your derailleurs nicely. Taking weight out of your wheels (as you're planning on doing) will have a far greater effect on the performance of your bike. Changing derailleurs will, by comparison, be unnoticeable. This assumes that they'll work smoothly once they're cleaned up. A new chain periodically is always a good idea.

Edit: This post was sitting around since last night and I missed some details WNG lists above, most notably the height of the brake pads. The conclusive suggestions are just what I'd recommend.
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Old 11-16-07, 11:54 AM   #8
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A Novice Doesn't Build A Bike

Wow, thanks for all of your help and ideas. I'm glad you took the time to break down my options with this bike, I'm sure it saved me hours of time and untold misery. I would still like to build up a bike, but I realize this isn't the best way to do it given what I've got now.

I will let this thread fade for now, but in the coming months I will resurrect it, hopefully with a new frame and a fresh start. If you guys are as helpful now as you have been here, I'll be in good shape.
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Old 11-16-07, 01:32 PM   #9
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Wow, thanks for all of your help and ideas. I'm glad you took the time to break down my options with this bike, I'm sure it saved me hours of time and untold misery. I would still like to build up a bike, but I realize this isn't the best way to do it given what I've got now.

I will let this thread fade for now, but in the coming months I will resurrect it, hopefully with a new frame and a fresh start. If you guys are as helpful now as you have been here, I'll be in good shape.
Don't give up so quickly; re-post this on the 'Classic and Vintage' forum and you'll get some very different opinions from folks who do this sort of thing all the time.
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Old 11-16-07, 03:06 PM   #10
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I upgraded an early '90s bike from stem shifters to downtube shifters. Of course, I did this because I broke the stem shifters, but hey, live and learn. I did not want to replace more than necessary, so I tracked down some 7-speed shifters to match my 7-speed drivetrain. They are made by Sun Race, and could be used either with downtube braze-ons, or as a clamp-on unit. I clamped them on, just above the cable stops on the down tube. I don't really notice the cable guides hidden behind the levers, so I don't see it as any aesthetic problem. This definitely was not good for the paint, though - if I ever remove these shifters, there will be a nasty scar underneath. The surprising part is how accurate they are. I am extremely happy with the shift quality, and they cost under $20.
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Old 11-16-07, 04:55 PM   #11
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+1 on WNG's entire post
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Old 11-16-07, 05:43 PM   #12
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WNG is wrong about "claw derailers". You buy the claw separately and mount any derailer you want on it. I have a Shimano 600 derailer mounted on a claw.



It's true that the plastic derailers that Simplex made in the '70s were awful, but Simplex made some of the best friction derailers ever made later on. If you have SX-series derailers and they're in good shape, keep them. If you have SLJ derailers (very doubtful), sell them and buy a new bike.

Last edited by Grand Bois; 11-16-07 at 05:56 PM.
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Old 11-16-07, 05:54 PM   #13
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You buy the claw separately and mount any derailer you want on it
+1.....I'm using a modern "nine speed" XT rear derailleur and modern Shimano indexed bar end shifters with the original adapter claw that came on my '83 Schwinn. Works like a charm-

Last edited by well biked; 11-16-07 at 06:45 PM.
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Old 11-16-07, 06:52 PM   #14
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WNG is wrong about "claw derailers". You buy the claw separately and mount any derailer you want on it. I have a Shimano 600 derailer mounted on a claw.



It's true that the plastic derailers that Simplex made in the '70s were awful, but Simplex made some of the best friction derailers ever made later on. If you have SX-series derailers and they're in good shape, keep them. If you have SLJ derailers (very doubtful), sell them and buy a new bike.

Yes, you can do that, or buy low-end clawed derailleurs that are set up for SIS. But IMHO, for the OP to experiment by trying out combos of shifters and derailleurs which are meant for hangers, may get expensive and frustrating. A claw displaces the position by ~3-4mm, and if he selects a model that doesn't have enough swing for the unknown wheel/freewheel he has, or whatever he buys, then he must start over again.
One can get anything to work, if you throw enough money at it.


Yup, my experiences with Simplex growing up were those awful plastic units.

BTW, that's a lovely Fuji.
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Old 11-16-07, 07:27 PM   #15
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Yes, you can do that, or buy low-end clawed derailleurs that are set up for SIS. But IMHO, for the OP to experiment by trying out combos of shifters and derailleurs which are meant for hangers, may get expensive and frustrating. A claw displaces the position by ~3-4mm, and if he selects a model that doesn't have enough swing for the unknown wheel/freewheel he has, or whatever he buys, then he must start over again.
As for the OP, I don't know about upgrading that bike, I do agree that there are surely better candidates to upgrade. But as for the logic of limiting yourself to cheap derailleurs that come with adapter claws because you think they'll have a better chance of working properly with indexed shifters, have a better chance of having the range to move over the cogset (even with an adapter claw), etc., I don't agree with that at all.
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Old 11-16-07, 09:15 PM   #16
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You don't have to agree, but you're pulling out specific points in my post that was focused on the OP's goals for that particular bike. Can one guarantee 100% he'll have perfect operation with whatever his 8 spd SIS choice as long as a claw adapter is fitted?
I think not. Does it make sense for him to let say buy a Deore XT for that frame, and all that is required to mount it, is a claw?
When currently, companies still produce such bike frames, and have clawed derailleur systems designed to work satisfactorily with them. I think this is the most logical and cost effective step should he insists on updating the drivetrain. A precisely made frame will better exploit higher level components.
My suggestions are aimed at his bike as a foundation for modernizing. You're taking my points out of context. Too much is required, at too much cost, to pursue his original plans. In the end, he may be constantly adjusting cables to make it shift precisely.

Bottom line, in this case...what can be done and could work, does not outweigh should it be done.
To advise otherwise, I'd be doing the OP a disservice.
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Old 11-16-07, 10:03 PM   #17
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If there's anyone out there with stamped dropouts and an adapter claw derailleur hanger, you can put whatever derailleur you want on it and it will work fine. There would be exceptions, but there are always exceptions. It's a non-issue. And if you don't already have an adapter claw, you can get them at places like this: http://www.loosescrews.com/index.cgi...d=691710110644

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Old 11-17-07, 07:26 AM   #18
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I was surprised to see adapter claws in an old Campagnolo catalog I was looking at the other day.
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Old 11-17-07, 09:47 AM   #19
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Shark, this might not be the bike, but I encourage you to consider building up a bike at some point. I built two this past year - one was a new LHT I built from a frame, and the other an older Schwinn road bike I bought for my wife. It was a complete, functioning bike when I bought it, but it was in need of some upgrades, as well as some changes specific to my wife's wants. Both were very fun, satisfying, successful projects. I learned a lot! Now I'm building up an old Nishiki touring bike I found at a garage sale. I don't know what I'll do with it when I'm finished, but I'm having fun working on it.

I have a couple of cautions based on my experience. One is that it may take a lot longer than you think. Sometimes it was because of my learning process. I'd do some research on one component, order it (or wait for an Ebay auction to come along), install it, then start the process on the next component. Buying via Ebay can be great or not so great. If you're patient you can often find the exact component you want at the right price. But you have to wait for them to come along, then wait for the auction to complete, then wait for the part to be delivered. And even then you don't know if it's going to be what you want. I had a couple of parts come that were basically worn out, and not worthy of my projects. Buying parts new is much better, but more expensive, and if you buy mail order you still have to wait for the UPS truck. If you can find something at a LBS, that's great. You support your local people, and you can drive (or ride) home with what you need that very day.

I ended up using mostly new parts, and not settling for a part that was of lower quality than I wanted. That made the projects expensive. Since I was taking my time, it meant that I would only order a part or two each month. That made the costs more palatable. If I had bought everything at once, it would have been much more painful.

The other caution is that you won't be able to ride your new project for quite awhile. I think it's best to take on projects like this when you have another bike to ride. If I didn't have a bike and wanted one, I'd be tempted to go and buy one complete, rather than take the time to build up a project bike.
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Old 11-17-07, 03:57 PM   #20
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Go to craigslist good bikes, rideable, can be had for under $100 . Learn to maintain it enjoy riding it, in the meantime you can work and tinker with your peugeot. Just sounds like things are getting to complicated for a novice in my opinion. Plus being a peugeot the parts are not all interchangeable with most bikes. Try keeping things simple for now and get out and ride.
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