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Old 12-21-06, 11:46 AM   #1
mirkee
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Univega Mixte...opinions?

This bike is available on ebay and I'm considering it.

My interest is in tinkering and I want something that will look real nice and allow me to customize, restore or upgrade. I'm new to this and have never touched a bike before. I'm even new to riding and I ride a new Trek 7100 Hybrid. I wish I had just bought a used bike now that I know my wish is to tinker. I should have known as all my other hobbies have always turned into tinkering

It's on ebay at

http://cgi.ebay.com/UNIVEGA-12-Speed...QQcmdZViewItem

It's a Nuovo Sport. Does anyone know what it's made of? It's listed as a 49 cm. frame. I'm 5'9 - 5'10" and weigh 225. I'm a man but like the women's frames. I suspect it may be a little small for me but it may be a good entry into playing with old bikes and if it's too small I would like to get my money out of it, or at least most of it.

Lastly, I assume this is a plain vanilla type of bike and components are available used on ebay without too much problem. I've been told to stay away from French bikes as components may be harder to get. Is that also the case with Raleighs?

Thanks in advance,

Mirko
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Old 12-21-06, 12:06 PM   #2
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Well, Univega's certainly aren't French, so you're not going to be talking about the really wierd thread standards. It's a nice, base model bike, and if it's in as good a mechanical condition as it appears to be cosmetic, it seems worth while. Figure plain old seamless steel tubing, then again that's not a problem unless you'e really into snob value.

Something like this could probably be picked up for $50.00 or less at a yard sale - but the catch is finding one in the first place. I've never considered $100.00 too expensive for a good, clean, basic road bike, but figure in the shipping, too. That may put it over reasonableness. Then again, $100.00 plus shipping seems to be something of an eBay standard for a complete bike.

You're 5'9"-5'10"? I'm assuming about a 32" inseam. You probably should be riding a 56cm (22") frame, although that's going to be difficult to find in a mixte. I've rarely seen anything over 22-1/2" (55cm), and those aren't common. After all, by that point in time, women were normally riding 'mens' frames, and the real value of a mixte was for those short of leg.
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Old 12-21-06, 12:14 PM   #3
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Part of my motivation is the fact that it's an easy pick up for me in So. Cal.

Wish it were better, lighter steel.
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Old 12-21-06, 12:31 PM   #4
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It's much too small for you. I'm your size and my wife has a couple of mixtes that size. They're very uncomfortable for me. Larger mixtes are rare, but there's a Puch on ebay right now. I think it's a better bike, too.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Puch-mixte-frame...em260058728533
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Old 12-21-06, 01:19 PM   #5
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I will throw in another opinion--if the Puch were smaller (and RED ) it would be up here living with me in Seattle.

It's huge for a mixte. As sykerocker pointed out, most women who were taller simply tossed the skirts and threw their legs over a top tube. Mixtes are designed for those who wear skirts, are short, like the 'openess' of the cockpit, or just like the look of the mixte. In other words--me!

Another wise soul on this forum once mentioned that mixtes tend to be in better condition (Dr. Deltron's garden ornament notwithstanding) because they did not get ridden as hard as a man's bike. They tend not to be of 'better' steel, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for you. High tensile steel still is a nice ride.

The seller does have this listed with a 'best offer' option. If you offer $50, and shipping is $50, it's only $100 total. He's had this mixte listed for a few weeks now, so he might bite.

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Last edited by East Hill; 12-23-06 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 12-21-06, 01:53 PM   #6
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56 cm sounds big for me! Am I missing something here?

Are you also saying that you think the Puch is just a much better bike than the Univega?

I'm getting very enlightened here!

Thanks for your replies...looking forward to more opinions.

I just left a message for seller of the Univega to see if I can just come by and see.

Mirko
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Old 12-21-06, 08:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mirkee
56 cm sounds big for me! Am I missing something here?

Are you also saying that you think the Puch is just a much better bike than the Univega?

I'm getting very enlightened here!

Thanks for your replies...looking forward to more opinions.

I just left a message for seller of the Univega to see if I can just come by and see.

Mirko
My standards for fitting a bike go back to my days when I put myself through college working in bicycle shops (1970-76), and are somewhat constrained by frame shapes, primarily the positioning of the top tube. I've always ridden bicycles with top tubes that are parallel to the road (I'm an old fart, I consider those bikes with slanting top tubes to be girls bikes, period), and since you're looking at vintage steel, I think my old standards will certainly work for you.

Remember that a bicycle frame is a very interlocked entity: Lengthen or shorten the seat tube and there's going to be a certain amount of integral changes in the three remaining tubes in the diamond. The headset tube is the most obvious, and to a certain extent, automatic - to the point that I can often guess a bike's size by looking at the head tube. The lengths of the top and downtube aren't nearly as automatic, and can be played with for desired performance, but there are limits to what you can do depending on the size of the seat tube. The big point here is that while you can always jack up the seatpost to get enough length for the leg (more on that later), the tied-in length of the head tube is going to have a lot to say about how bent over you are when you're riding, even when you're on the top of the bars, much less down on the drops.

OK, there's two rough critical measures on fitting yourself to a bicycles (and for the moment, I'm going to limit myself to what were moderately priced, mass-produced frames): The first is the standover height. For obvious reasons, you don't want hard contact between the top tube and your soft parts. Actually, you'd want a little bit of room in between, just in case you've got to jump off in an emergency. I can straddle a 59cm frame (23-1/2"), and one of my bikes in the garage is that size. That's because I really wanted that Gitane Tour de France, and nothing smaller was coming around in that condition, for that price. I'm comfortable riding it, but it's definitely at the limit of my comfort. A 60+cm frame is right out of consideration, except as trading bait. Given that desired gap between ball and tubing, a 56cm frame fits me the best, 57cm is just as good, I'll gladly ride either.

Now, obviously I can ride a 53cm frame. However, once I've lofted the seat up high enough to stretch my leg properly (this is the second critical fit - full extension either has your heel touching the down pedal - modern style - or there's a 1/2" gap between heel and pedal - the style 35 years ago) that head tube length really comes into play. Figuring two almost identical bikes, one 56cm and the other 53cm with the seats set at equal height (and assuming bottom brackets in the same position, just to keep things simple), when I'm riding the 53cm bike, I'm going to be bent over significantly more, all the time.

This is great for a racing bike in terms of aerodynamics - which explains why time trial bikes seem to have seat posts as long as frame seat tubes. They're deliberately riding what would otherwise be too small a frame for this specific purpose. This is bloody awful for touring, recreational riding, or just puttering around the neighborhood.

OK, you're looking at a mixte. Same difference. Even though there's no horizontal top tube, the relationship between seat and head tubes stays roughly the same. Then factor in that a short legged person is usually shorter overall, and you can readily assume that a short bike in height is also going to be shorter in length (top and down tubes). Get it too small and you start looking like a circus monkey on a tiny bicycle. Trust me, I've delivered (ridden) bikes home for customers who were a lot smaller than me, and it's not fun - especially climbing up a hill.

The fit makes the difference in everything. My 85 Rossin is 56cm, and also fits me so well in top and down tube length that it's almost a custom bike for me. And if you watch me ride it, the difference is easily discernable. I'm a bloody maniac on that bike, screaming through the curves and pedaling my heart out, whereas my slightly too-tall Gitane has me just pedaling rapidly but riding sedately over the same stretch.

By the way, the one place where personal taste always had me going to the top end of my frame size is on a bike that built up for long haul touring with panniers and probably camping equipment stapped on. The longer head tube really has me sitting upright, I'm still clearing the top tube (barely), and tossing the bike through the curves isn't an issue when you're carrying 20 lbs of personal gear. Just the same, unless you start long haul touring, stay with a slightly shorter than max frame - my current bagger, is 57cm and works just fine. I don't really miss the extra height.

Hopefully this helps.

As to the brand stuff: In general, Univega's were very good mass-market bikes. Puchs, also in general, were a step or so higher in price, market, and quality. No, they're not up there with the snob Italian and French marques (Masi, Colnago, etc.), but Puch never really sold that much (under their own name - I'm ignoring the Sears branded bikes) to the low end mass market. Both are good brands. Puch's are just a bit better, and usually worth the extra money.
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Old 12-21-06, 10:14 PM   #8
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Does the fork look bent on the Puch?

I constatly search eBay for mixtes and that is the first man size one I've seen.

Last edited by Grand Bois; 12-21-06 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 12-22-06, 12:22 PM   #9
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Hi mirkee,

I am about your height and I ride a 54cm road bike. Sometimes a 56cm will work for me too. So I agree with others and suggest trying to find something larger. It will feel very cramped and uncomfortable to ride a 49cm: you'd need to raise the seatpost WAY up, and the reach to the handlebars will be too short.

As for the "nuovo sport" mixte (women's frame, as you call it) model, I found one inexplicably abandoned in the trash a few weeks ago. The sticker says it's triple-butted cromoly: relatively light, good stuff, nothing to sneeze at! But it's hard to tell if the ebay item is the same year; if not, it may be different, even though the model name is the same. I'm slowly finding parts for mine to build up for my girlfriend, but I would totally ride it myself if it were larger.

FYI, I see men riding mixte's all the time.
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Old 01-18-14, 01:09 AM   #10
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I'm 6' 4" so you'd think a mixte would be out of the question, but I made a custom
xtra long double tube seat post and added a long Dutch style stem to this
'cruiserized $25 Raleigh. Today I scored a mint 'nuova sport' for $60 on CL
in rust free, unridden condition. I love these frames. They flex ever so slightly
giving a bit of suspension not to be found in typical road bikes. This was a 5 spd.,
but I converted it to 10 with a French crankset.

Oops. I lied, the long stem is now on the bike that the stem shown came from.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 5th configuration 002.jpg (98.8 KB, 28 views)

Last edited by rawly old; 01-18-14 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 01-18-14, 01:27 PM   #11
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I'm 5'11" and have a couple of 21" Raleighs I like to ride. The white Record is being rebuilt as a 5sp townbike and the black Sprite is one of my keepers.

Both Raleighs have a longer effective top tube length than a similar diamond frame. With a suitable seatpost and stem length it is very comfortable for an upright bike for someone of my height.

I also have a 1975 Sekine 20'' Mixte that has the longest wheelbase any of my bikes and a fairly long reach as well!



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Old 01-18-14, 06:31 PM   #12
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I am about your height as with 30" inseam and I prefer 53/54 seat tube

As for the Nuovo Sport, I just finished one for my daughter and I think they're a pretty nice bicycle...........triple butted, integrated hanger, forged drops, DT shifter bosses............

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Old 01-19-14, 12:37 AM   #13
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More than seven years between post #9 and post #10 . Is that a new record for a zombie thread?
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● 1971 Grandis SL ● 1972 Lambert Grand Prix frankenbike ● 1972 Raleigh Super Course fixie ● 1972 Peugeot UE-18 Mixte ● 1980 Apollo "Legnano" ● 1982 Bianchi Limited ● 1983 Nishiki Landau ● 1984 Peugeot Vagabond ● 1985 Trek 600 ● 1985 Shogun Prairie Breaker ● 1985 Raleigh Elkhorn ● 1986 Univega Nuovo Sport ● 1986 Merckx Super Corsa ● 1987 Schwinn Tempo ● 1990 Cannondale ST600 ● 1993 Rleigh Technium ● 1996 Kona Lava Dome ● And a Bike to Be Named Later ●
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Old 01-20-14, 08:44 PM   #14
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can't be helped; dem old univegas just keep turning up.
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