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  1. #1
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    what to upgrade on my old Miyata?

    I have a 610 Touring bike and from what I'm told, the parts are quite good and would cost a few hundred to upgrade. If I spend that much, I would probably just buy a brand new bike.

    Alternatively, I could spend $200 for a complete overhaul (complete disassembly, tune-up, replace cables, clean all bearings, adjust anything else but no major part changes).

    Would this be worth it to keep the bike for awhile longer or just save a bit more and buy a brand new one? I'm told the Miyata could last me for ten more years easily, but some newer frames might not (sorry for such broad statements, as I'm not a bike expert).

    I use my bike as a commuter, at most 2 seasons out of the year.

  2. #2
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I don't get what your goals are. If you like your bike and it continues to serve its purpose, you should keep it, and this is probably your least expensive route.

    Why are you asking about upgrades? Is there something you want to get out of the bike that it doesn't currently provide?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  3. #3
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    If it's working fine - don't fix it. If you do just one thing - maybe a new set of wheels? How are the current ones?
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  4. #4
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    I like my bike, but other bikes I've ridden feel much smoother, both the ride and how it feels when I pedal. The wheels are good, no need to replace them. Just wondering if a complete overhaul would make it ride smoother or perhaps simple getting all the bearings cleaned (which would only cost about $65). Don't think I need new cables or other tune-up issues taken care of as it seems pretty good otherwise.

  5. #5
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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    yeah.. maybe the tires/tubes and brake pads. Heck, why not pick up an allen wrench set and do the majority of the stuff yourself? Brakes and derailleurs are easy to adjust...have a look at parktool.com.
    Also, if money is really tight, i'm sure you can find cables/housings/tools online for a pretty good price?? ..or spray grease into your cable housings and push the cables through.. your brakes and shifting might be better...plus it give you an opportunity to pull the cables out to see if they are truely rusted/kinked/cut??

    Also, i think your miyata is steel... lots of ppl swear by steel over aluminum. But i guess you'd have to figure that one out yourself.

  6. #6
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    Well, the Miyata 610 is a really good touring bike. In the mid 80s, it had the same amazing frame as the Miyata 1000. That's the kind of bike that can last for many decades if properly taken care of.

    You say it's not running smoothly - sounds to me like your bearings aren't so good. What I suggest is that you assess the condition of the bearings.

    There are four main bearings on a bike. You want bearings to be tight and have no play, and you want them to rotate freely without them feeling gritty.

    1. The headset - the steering bearings - that rotate your fork, front wheel and handlebars around the frame. To test those bearings, lift the front wheel and turn the handlebars - does that feel smooth or gritty? Does the steering seem to be "indexed", stopping in incremental positions rather than being smooth? If you try to move the handlebars around by pushing down on one side and pulling on the other, does there seem to be any play? You can feel play in the headset by putting your finger between the head tube and the headset.

    2. The bottom bracket - the bearings that your pedals and cranks turn around. Those bearings take the highest load of any bearings on your bike - your whole weight and force when pedaling, an even greater force when you're standing up on the pedals and mashing. It takes a bit of tooling to work on those, but you can do a cursory inspection without removing anything. First, you want to grab a crank and move it from side to side, and see if there's any play. Then, to check if the bottom bracket is smooth, you want to derail the chain off the chainring - shift to the small chainring, and manually force the chain inboard so it's not sitting on any chainring. Then, turn the cranks and see if that's smooth.

    3. The wheel bearings. You can lift either wheel off the ground and give it a spin - do it spin well, and for a long time? Good wheels bearings spin a long time before stopping. Then, you want to check if there's any play in the wheels. Put both wheels down on the ground, grab the tire and rim, and try to move it from side to side - is there any play or does it feel tight? The last, and most revealing check of wheel bearings, requires you to remove the wheels from the bike. Once you have the wheel in your hand, grab the axle (not the quick release, the axle inside the quick release) and turn it by hand - it should feel smooth and not gritty. There should be no side-to-side play.

    If there's a gritty feeling, an indexed feeling, or any play in the drivetrain bearings (wheels, bottom bracket), that would explain why the bike doesn't feel good to ride, and would mean you need to overhaul the bearings to get back that smooth rolling feeling. Anyway, regular overhaul of bearings is a good idea.

    Good bearings on a bike are more important to how it rides than perfectly adjusted gears. Bad, gritty, dry or over-tight bearings sap your power, loose bearings make your bike unstable...

    I don't know if you're the mechanically-inclined type - but I want to tell you that overhauling a bike is something you can do yourself. Consider the cost of having the overhaul done - it's more money than you need to purchase every tool necessary to do the overhaul yourself. If you're interested in overhauling your own bike, there are lots of ressources on the Internet to help you do that. In fact, on this very forum people will help you choose the proper tools and do the repairs yourself.

    If you haven't overhauled the wheel bearings in a long time, that's the place to start. Wheels that spin smoothly are essential to a bike that rides well. The front wheel bearings are easier to do, and that's where I'd start. Then you can do the same with the rear wheel. As for the headset and bottom bracket, you can certainly do those yourself, but more tools are required and the job is more complicated - if you don't have real-world assistance, it's no shame to have those done by a bike shop.

    I believe that the ability to inspect bearings yourself is important to any serious cyclist - so at least they can know the bearings need servicing.

    So, consider all this, give a shot to inspecting your bearings, and tell us all about it! Good luck!

    P.S. I love steel-framed touring bikes - in fact, I love steel bikes in general. While they're not usually as light as other bikes, a few pounds doesn't matter for commuting or touring. I think your bike deserves some love, and you can certainly put it back into perfect working order so that it works just as well as a brand-new touring bike.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the input, very helpful. I'm far from a mechanic, but it looks like I'll be getting the bearings cleaned out

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by parksung View Post
    Thanks for the input, very helpful. I'm far from a mechanic, but it looks like I'll be getting the bearings cleaned out
    You have a great bike. I recently learned how to do all of the above myself, and can make a few tips:

    1. Buy a Park Tools big blue book of bike repair. It's worth the $20 even if you don't do much bike maintenance. You may have an LBS with "tool school classes" for free - it's worth going to these.

    2.. A new sealed-bearing bottom bracket from Shimano is about $20. These are disposable, idiotproof parts that can outlast most of the rest of your bicycle. If you have BB damge (quite common) or aren't sure what to do with it, go buy a more modern replacement. (DISCLAIMER: I quite like old ball-and-cup BBs...but I won't spend money on one.)

    3. If you keep the old BB, buy new bearings. Cost me a whopping $3. Ditch the old bearing retainer, and fit in as many balls as you can into the races - it will work just fine.

    4. When in doubt, add more grease. In fact, the only good way to get the bearings to stay in place while assembling a BB or hub is to use a ton of the stuff.

    5. Buy waterproof grease. The blue stuff for boats is supposed to be pretty good, but I use bicycle grease because I can get it in convenient little tubes and I don't use enough of it to justify buying a tub.

    6. Headsets seem to be the most prone to pitting, but unlike a BB or hub, a headset is still safe to ride when damaged. Replace bearings, replace grease, and ignore. Replacing headsets DIY is a pain in the kiester without expensive tools, and having the pros do it is pricey.

    7. Repeat the same tricks with the hubs as the bottom bracket, but also check the spokes. If some are way higher than others - you can tell by flicking them with a fingernail and listening to the tone of the "plink" sound - you might want to have a mechanic look at them before use. (If you can't hear a difference, then don't worry about it.)

    8. New tires, tubes, and chain. These are must-dos.

    9. New brake cables are optional, but if the old ones look okay, just spray some chain lube down the tubes. Same goes for shift cables. Rust == BAD.

    10. I don't know much about Miyatas other than that they're out of my price range, but if you don't have indexed shifting, upgrade. A nice set of old Shimano shifters, a Shimano derailleur, and some new shift cable/housing (this is a must have) will give you a nice, inexpensive improvement. Also, if your hub uses cassettes that are no longer avalaiable, you may need a new rear wheel if you wish to replace it (check with mechanic.)
    Last edited by Spasticteapot; 06-15-09 at 05:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    I have to say that you have a nice bike, but I'm not sure an overhaul is going to make it a whole lot different in terms of your "feel". You will get some crisper shifting and braking, but I don't think you'll notice much else. Bearing repack is mostly for longevity, like replacing car oil. Bearings have to be terribly adjusted or in really bad shape for you to notice a difference from the saddle after you repack.

    So, to reiterate, your best option for a different feel from the saddle is a new bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tellyho View Post

    So, to reiterate, your best option for a different feel from the saddle is a new bike.
    New stem, new bars, and a new saddle can make a big difference.

  11. #11
    Senior Member vredstein's Avatar
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    If your bike doesn't feel smooth while pedaling, it's likely that one or more parts of your drivetrain are dirty or worn. This includes the chain, front chain rings, rear cogs, and derailleur pulley. If one or more of these parts are worn, then getting the bike to feel really smooth can be expensive. If one a chain is really worn out, it's likely that the chain rings and rear cogs are also worn. If you were to put a new chain on a bike with worn chain rings and cassette, it still won't run smooth. It should be the job of the bike shop to determine the condition of all these parts and then tell you whether one or more of them needs replacing.
    It's easy to feel a difference between smooth and rough bearings with your fingers, but hard to feel a difference in smoothness of wheel bearings while riding a bike, unless they are really, really bad.
    "See, it's not that getting wet is a big deal. Really, it's what you're getting wet with.
    Fenders....because it's probably urine."
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  12. #12
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    Friction bad... Index good

    So, all wise. I have a 1986 310 that was ridden twice and put in a basement. It had the original tires and tubes and the tubes held air... for a bit. Good way to freak out neighbors if you live in a Condo. I want to upgrade the shifters to Indexing or SIS. I have a 105 groupset but it has braze on shifters and the 310 has a wacky top mount. Any ideas of the best approach? I was thinking on modifying the the braze on cups and doing some sort of retro fit,any ideas? For updating, I added a quill adapter, great investment. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_whtVpXkKwl...0-h/img104.jpg

  13. #13
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    To the guy with the 310, I would suggest you start a new thread.

    To the guy with the 610, +1 Bearings come first. Do not reuse loose ball bearings, replace them. I buy mine in bags of 144 for $3, so you are talking about 2 cents per ball. After that, inspect your cables. Cables are cheap, just be sure to replace the housings as well.

    See the Park tool site for details and do the work yourself. It will cost you very little, and you will get to really know your bike.

  14. #14
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    I personally doubt you could feel a bad bearing while riding unless it was real bad.

    The ride you experience depends a great deal on tires. Rock hard 28mm's or 1-1/4's will ride harder than modern 23mm's even with 20 psi more in the 23mm's. (a broad, subjective estimate.) You don't have to use max pressure listed on the sidewall.

    Before messing around with the bearings, I would take the wheels off and see how the bearings are doing. They may be smooth or have a very, very slight lumpy feel while twirling the axle in your hand but should smooth out while you roll the wheel on the ground while holding the axle and putting weight on it.

    If you have a bolt-in wheel you can just unbolt it and do the test. If you have quick release wheels, clamp some washers between the hub ends and the quick releases, and tighten the quick releases with the same tension you use on the bike, even if you have to readjust the quick release. The quick release skewer tension does affect bearing adjustment a great deal.

    If you feel roughness when you roll the wheel with weight on it, it's time for bearings and possibly cones.

    If the bike's been used regularly for a while there is a chance you have fatigued and bent your rear axle. Twirl one end and see if the other just twirls or if it wobbles.

  15. #15
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    @ guy with the 310. Read this
    Aero Mount to Downtube Shifter Adapter

    And this
    Top Mount DT Shifter ?'s
    Last edited by Cynikal; 06-26-09 at 12:02 PM.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  16. #16
    Senior Member peripatetic's Avatar
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    To 610 owner; I don't agree indexing will necessarily make anything feel better, but if you do that, you should probably upgrade your drivetrain to make the shifting as smooth as possible--get a hyperglide freewheel.

    I've hopped on old, neglected bikes and the bearings felt terrible. A lot of times w/ older bikes, especially in the bottom bracket and wheels, you get some water that drips down the frame tubes, collects dirt, rust and gunk as it makes its way to the bb. The bike sits there for a long time and the grease in the bb just gets all clumpy and dry and dirty, and when you hop on, it ends up feeling gritty and sticky.

    The thing about older bikes is that you just never know what they've been doing for all these years...

    If I were doing the basics, I'd get newer, hard bearings or replace the bb with cartridge, re-pack the wheel bearings, true the wheels, upgrade brake cables and housings. You can get new brake shoes or just file down the old ones, too. They're often still good after a little cleaning.

    Also, if you don't have them, aero brake levers really improve the quality of the braking.

  17. #17
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    thanks a lot for the great tips. i got the bearings overhauled and don't feel a whole lot of difference. they told me at the shop that all of the parts are looking good, that nothing needs replacement. i suppose if i do want to replace things that don't need it, it'll be purely upgrading which could cost a lot but make it feel smoother. a new front tire would help though.

    either way, i think the bike simply won't feel as amazing as some of my friends' newer ones, it's just that type of bike, but i love it for what it is and won't get rid of it and learn to be happy with how it is.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by parksung View Post
    thanks a lot for the great tips. i got the bearings overhauled and don't feel a whole lot of difference. they told me at the shop that all of the parts are looking good, that nothing needs replacement. i suppose if i do want to replace things that don't need it, it'll be purely upgrading which could cost a lot but make it feel smoother. a new front tire would help though.

    either way, i think the bike simply won't feel as amazing as some of my friends' newer ones, it's just that type of bike, but i love it for what it is and won't get rid of it and learn to be happy with how it is.
    The padding in the saddle may be old and hardened. Foam rubber doesn't last forever.

    Not all steel frames have a sweet ride. The ones with thicker tubing simply won't be as supple as a reynolds bike or a bike with carbon fork and stays.

    One place you could upgrade would be to poke around for a bargain on a saddle which did not have steel rails, although I would seek the advice of an LBS on whether your seat clamp was up to the task, because non-steel rails are softer and possibly could damage Ti, Mg, or carbon rails. Ti rails may be as strong as many grades of steel but Ti has only a little more than half the stiffness of steel. I feel this is a better upgrade than a carbon seatpost and you are much more likely to find one that fits an old bike to boot. I have seen them for $50 or so on sale.

    I don't know why you can feel every tooth of the sprockets and rings engage on an old bike but I don't think it's a big deal. Maybe the thicker, stiffer frame transmits more vibration.

    The tire sidewalls are supposed to affect ride quality. A high TPI skinwall with a thin tube may ride smoother than an old 27tpi gumwall. I like my Nashbar Primas.
    Last edited by garage sale GT; 06-29-09 at 08:38 PM.

  19. #19
    Living 'n Dying in ¾-Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by parksung View Post
    either way, i think the bike simply won't feel as amazing as some of my friends' newer ones, it's just that type of bike, but i love it for what it is and won't get rid of it and learn to be happy with how it is.
    And that, as they say, is "the Wisdom to know the difference."

    +1

  20. #20
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I agree with garage sale GT that some nice tires will make the biggest difference. As he said, tires with a high number of TPI (threads per inch) are supple and responsive. Inflate them to 110 or 120 psi.

    Plus make sure your chain is clean, and oil it.

    As my signature says, oil on the chain and air in your tires make more difference than anything else you can do on your bike.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

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