1980s Norco Monterey - Lugged or Not Lugged?
I just bought a Norco Monterey 12-spd from an older gentlemen who's had it stored in his shed for many years. It's in pretty good condition(even original Norco-labeled tires have new-looking tread) with just some minor surface rust which should clean up ok. Overall a nice riding bike. I noticed that everything is lugged except the fork. Is this a bad thing or is this fork considered acceptable or good? I'm new so I don't know the difference. It's looks more aerodynamic and stronger. Here are pics of it.
Dia-compe brake levers/side calipers
SR Custom Cranks
Suntour - FD/RD(Suntour Seven)/Freewheel/DT shifter
Weinmann hubs and rims
Tange 900 Double-Butted Cro-Mo tubing(says 'Sport Series' right below the Tange sticker on Seat tube)
Very similar to my Shogun Custom Sport except for fork and this Monterey doesn't have eyelits for fenders(none in front and only one in back for rear rack). I guess it's designed for racing?
Last edited by Junior; 12-13-06 at 03:34 AM.
This a recreational/fitness model. Some people like the unicrown forks while others hate them. In my experience, these opinons revolve around appearance more than the functional aspects of the forks. They were certainly more than adequate from a structural aspect. These forks originated because they were less expensive to manufacture than using a standard crown and separate blades.
Your bike is strikingly similar to a CyclePro I just sold. Someone speculated that CyclePro may have been a relabeled Nishiki - similar to Norcos I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong). The Cyclepro had Tange 900, nearly identical lugwork, but it had a crowned fork. It even had the same paint colors, but in a slightly different scheme. Here is the thread with a pic.
The Cyclepro was an '87, yours looks slightly older. You can probably verify age by finding datecodes (two letters usually) on the Suntour components and matching them at Vintage-Trek.com.
T-mar, are the unicrown forks weaker than a standard lugged fork? I would have thought this design is stronger... but what do I know? Why is this cheaper to make? Is it because welding is cheaper?
Originally Posted by Junior
Cyclepro and Nishiki were both brands of West Coast Cycle, so there's a common design team, if not manufacturer, at least in the US. The Nishiki models in Canada often varied from US models. Canadian Nishiki were distibuted by Norco, so there is some commonality, but I wonder how far it goes. I have limited Norco serial number data, but so far I have yet to come across any manufactured by Kawamura, who were respobsible for most of the Nishiki.
Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
The bicycle is question is newer than 1987, at least according to my literature. The 1987s were two tone, but not faded, and still used a traditional fork crown
Made from equivalent tubing, a unicrown should be equivalent in strength with a standard fork. In my experience, the weak point of forks are the blades themselves. Basically a unicrown attaches the two blades directly to the steering column, eliminating the cost of the crown. It also eliminates one joint (crown to steering column). I would think that these two factors are larger than the cost saving of TIG welding over brazing, but regardless, when you add them all up there are lots of ecomonical reasons for unicrown. The weight of a crown is also more the weight of the extra length of the blades, resulting in a lighter fork. So you've cheaper cost, comparable strength and less weight. It's an all around win-win situation, with the possible exception of aesthetics. Many, especially the vintage guys, just do NOT like the appearance.
Originally Posted by Junior
Also, consider that the unicrown first appeared in BMX and ATB before making int's way into road bikes, and that should quell any concerns over strength.
Last edited by T-Mar; 12-14-06 at 06:45 AM.
Thanks T-Mar for the detailed explanation... and infinityeye for the concise answer
On another note, would anyone happen to know what are the breaks in the paint job on the top and down tubes near the head tube lugs? It looks like some sticker/label which was then painted on. Could this frame have been repaired? I may try to find some nailpolish to paint over it to make it look more continuous. I've never see this on my other lugged steel bikes.
Normally, this is the classic indicator that the bicycle has been in a front end crash. The top and down tubes are bent, increasing the fork angle. The top of the tubes tubes stretch, causing the paint to crack, while the bottom of the tubes compress. However, this normally results in several cracks. You have one large crack, which seems ot go around the most of the circumference. Rather than a crack, it looks more like a scratch. It looks very straigtht and does not appear to be the result of a crash.
Originally Posted by Junior
The scratch seems to clearly define the end of the paint fade , almost as if it separates a masked area. Very strange.
Last edited by T-Mar; 12-14-06 at 06:56 AM.
Yes... I was worried it was in a crash but there are no other signs of damage. It isn't a crack but a deep scratch to the metal...That short section close to the lugs looks like it was painted white and it was not clearcoated so I was able to scratch it off with my fingernails. What I see below looks like bare steel though the bottom half of the tubes I cannot scratch off as the there does appear to be some clearcoat or the paint has cured on pretty solidly. I'll try to get a pic soon. I may just end up touching it with nail polish as there is no sign of damage to the metal.