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Old 06-03-08, 07:47 AM   #1
Anemic
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Vintage Bike Rehab Blues

What a great resource. I have learned a lot here, thanks very much.

I used to ride quite a bit, so I got a better bike; around 1979 when I was about 14. Then my rims got wobbly after a few years (those Rigida Blue Labels never were what I'd call tough), so I got a new wheelset (same). The hubs didnt slide right into the dropouts, which puzzled me so I parked the bike. I got a series of MTB's. Time marched on. I aged. God gave me a spouse, then children. I ran some marathons. My knee hurt this year. I picked up the bike. It was hanging in the garage, dusty but dry. Campy hubs. 6 speed cogset, which didnt work on my frame, so the LBS put my old 5 sp freewheel on my new wheelset. I stretched the frame to get the hubs to fit, easily enough. My RD was bent in storage, so I straightened it the best I could and the LBS straightened the dropout. But it didnt work as it should. I noticed suntour Vx RD and Superbe were going for the same money on ebay. I scooped up a Superbe Pro. Last night I spent hours trying to get a 7 sp RD choked down to a 5 sp freewheel. The best I could do was to limit the throw on the small-tall cog, till it wouldnt grab 5, then back it off and grab 5 again. But on the #1 large cog I cannot get the RD to stop throwing it right over the top into the spokes. I played with the limit screws and the cable, over & over. Is it not possible? It just seems to have too much throw. It's a short cage.

The other trouble was my new (zero miles) 1985 tires. The wire bead protection rotted and left the tube to fend for itself. The wire bead won out repeatedly. I have parked the bike awaitingnew tires to ship from an ebay bike shop that claimed they were in stock (ebay auction!) and took over a week to ship. I'm looking forward to the new tires (conti gatorskin 27 x 1.25) even though I am picking up 140g per wheel, I am also gaining a lot of kevlar protection.

The final thing is a buddy had me jump on his TT bike for a Saturday ride. It was as heavy as the sunday newspaper and a lot more fun than my old bike. What is it that we like about lugged steel again? If given the choice wouldnt we rather be on a stiff light responsive fast aluminum modern bike w/ultegra?
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Old 06-03-08, 07:55 AM   #2
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What is it that we like about lugged steel again?
Lugged steel doesn't have to be heavy.

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If given the choice wouldnt we rather be on a stiff light responsive fast aluminum modern bike w/ultegra?
Aluminum -- No. Ti maybe. New steel definitely. My next bike will be a custom Winterborne with SRAM.
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Old 06-04-08, 10:00 AM   #3
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Well the tires arrived and it was fun to spin around the neighborhood a little bit before dark. Very different, cornering is much more comfortable now.

So where is the weight in my bike? I have a decent wheelset that is surely not too far on the heavy side if at all. The basic seatpost and saddle dont seem to weight much. Brakes could not possibly weight much. That leaves the crankset. It's an old sugino supermaxy. Is that a heavy part? Cranksets are available on ebay for $75 to $100 or so, campy, 105, lotsa cool options. Superbe's are surely going for a premium. So what's the gains to be made in weight & performance from a crankset upgrade? I imagine the shifting performance alone might be worthwhile.
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Old 06-04-08, 10:36 AM   #4
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How heavy is heavy? My Bottecchia when configured with tubulars and a Cinelli Unica saddle weighs 22-lbs. My modern steel Bianchi which has a carbon fork, crank, and seatpost weighs 20.5-lbs. You could probably take 1.5-lbs off that with really light wheels and a few lighter components. Actually I ride the Bottecchia with heavier touring clincher rims and tires and a Brooks saddle so it weighs in at 24-lbs as ridden. I just rode two centuries on it in the last couple of weeks. The Bianchi is hanging in the garage. I'm in no particular hurry to get anywhere. If I find an extra $10,000 laying around I wouldn't mind a nice new sub-15-lbs carbon fiber rig with full Record but it would still spend most of it's time parked while I cruised leisurely on the Bottecchia.
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Old 06-04-08, 11:29 AM   #5
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...Aluminum -- No. Ti maybe. ...
Amen to that. Even though aluminum is much better than it used to be, I have no interest in it. Still too much road chatter for my liking.

Something must not be right with your derailleur. I can crank the stops all the way down to where I effectively have a single speed on most RDs.
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Old 06-04-08, 11:58 AM   #6
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Really appreciate the feebacks - thanks.

23.6#. Maybe it's not that bad. The saddle & post are 'basic.'

I had this problem with the Vx RD, but the cage was bent in storage. The shop straightened the hangar, but they must have eyeballed it, because that is the only remaining possiblity. Before installing the Superbe Pro RD I didnt try too hard to get the Vx to trim down from overshifting the large cog, assuming the bent cage was the problem. The Superbe Pro RD is of course a 7 sp device and I am 5 sp spacing (going to ultra6 in a jiffy)

I am going back to the LBS with a Winner ultra6 freewheel right now and have them review their hangar work. Also having them install a new pair of black brake hoods. So, I am 24 hrs away from possible joy.

I misplaced the OEM post & saddle. I had to guess (w/micrometers) at the size and 25.8mm is too small. I've had marginal success shimming it. I'll have the shop size it up for me today too. Maybe I can get a carbon post in there? They arent much money, and they do have that cushy reputation? Will I have seatpost clamp trouble?

Nobody thinks I should spring $100 for a new crankset? I am leaning that way anyway.
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Old 06-04-08, 12:59 PM   #7
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So how much does your bike weigh now? Also what make and model?
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Old 06-04-08, 01:20 PM   #8
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It was 23.6# pounds with the 1" tires. I need to scale it with the new conti's. but they should only add 280 grams / the pair. When I pick up my friends 19-ish pound modern bikes they seem sooo much lighter than the 5 # difference.

It's a bizarrely obscure bike. 1978 Azuki Imperial. Lugged. I was told it's double butted, but the label merely says Cro-Mo. The bike is not like the blue touring style Azukis I've seen in corners of the web. It's a pearly red paint job that is durable & handsome. Somebody highlighted the lugs, which are decorative, with gold paint in thin lines, and it has suntour dropouts. No brazeons, all clamps. It's a good looking bike. I know pics - after home from the LBS. The ultra6 freewheel went right on. The shop tech took 30 sec max to get the shifting limited (maybe it only SEEMED like I tightened it to the max twice). So now its a 12 speed, it shifts awesome it's got tires that protect the rim really well & roll great and salmon brake pads on the diacompe g's w/drilled levers, with a proper fitting seatpost & new saddle soon.
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Old 06-05-08, 07:22 PM   #9
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the love is back I had a great 2 hr ride tonite. The new cush bar tape & meaty but fast tires make a huge user friendly impact. The superbe / ultra6 combo make for snappy shifting. It's real easy to overshoot a cog. Still gotta get you guys a pic.
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Old 06-06-08, 09:16 AM   #10
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Vintage Bike Rehab Blues

Now with photos
Attached Images
File Type: jpg My Bike 009 small.jpg (42.0 KB, 79 views)
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Old 06-06-08, 09:19 AM   #11
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Vintage Bike Rehab Blues

more jpgs. figured out how to post multiple shot per post.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg My Bike 008 small.jpg (48.6 KB, 69 views)
File Type: jpg My Bike 007 small.jpg (53.2 KB, 124 views)
File Type: jpg My Bike 006 small.jpg (34.0 KB, 84 views)
File Type: jpg My Bike 005 smaller.jpg (45.9 KB, 50 views)
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Old 06-06-08, 10:04 AM   #12
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That bike is a keeper! I worked at a Nishiki/Peugeot shop which sold a few Azukis during a Nishiki shortage. Your bike is not particularly heavy -- it weighs about the same as Capo #1. Unless you are racing, that bike will do everything for you that an expensive newer machine would. Many of us do like the ride quality of steel frames. I am told that one can design an aluminum frame which is not overly harsh, and I think I believe this, but I have never ridden one personally.

Don't bother to replace the crankset, unless you either no longer trust it or need a smaller inner chainring than it can accommodate.

Enjoy the Azuki. Red bikes are awesome.
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Old 06-06-08, 12:46 PM   #13
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Very kind. Thanks John E!

I got the bike when he was just a two year old. Maybe. I'm 40. The bike is 30? I was 10? Can't be. I was 12 actually. I was an early self-motivated, self-starter type.

So the bike is older the 1978, must be a 1976. Wow. It's cooler than a 1976 Datsun.

I have to admit to a strange sort of attachment to it considering where life took me over the intervening years. Mom & Dad still live 'there' and it's about 10 miles away, and all the routes are still there and still good, and more packed with bikes than back in the day. it's fun to revisit.

I would love to figure out how some posters put up clearer photos. I started with a beautiful set of 2 MB shots and the downgrading to 100kb muddies it up.
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Old 06-06-08, 12:53 PM   #14
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I would love to figure out how some posters put up clearer photos. I started with a beautiful set of 2 MB shots and the downgrading to 100kb muddies it up.
Get a free account at a photo hosting site like photobucket.com and paste in the IMG code provided.
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Old 06-06-08, 01:18 PM   #15
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Great looking bike! Good onya for not simply trashing it and going out for the latest greatest.

It may just be me, but the drive side dropout looks like it is too far open. Perhaps this is causing the trouble with your shifting. (I didn't catch whether you got that sorted out or not.) Could be a trick of the camera angle.
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Old 06-06-08, 01:25 PM   #16
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I did have the dropout trued up and double checked - thanks. I was really close on the shifting and the shop finished the job for me in a jiffy, now it's shazam.

Thanks for compliments. I'm clearly among my people here, it's great.

mparker thanks for the tip. I did a photobucket account, got some images there and did not succeed. either it's still too large to post, or the IMG Code fails. Hm. Oh well.
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Old 06-06-08, 01:44 PM   #17
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mparker thanks for the tip. I did a photobucket account, got some images there and did not succeed. either it's still too large to post, or the IMG Code fails. Hm. Oh well.
Quote this reply and look at the tags around the image.

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Old 06-06-08, 02:48 PM   #18
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Also if you have the account set to private it may not allow access to the photos from outside the album. Good looking bike by the way!
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Old 06-11-08, 12:20 PM   #19
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Hey I'll try the photos again soon because the look of the bike just changed nicely. the Thompson seatpost & Selle Ponza saddle transform the look & feel of the bike. That is one fine seatpost - wow. To adjust the tilt, you adjust one screw against the other, for micro-fine tuning. The saddle feels like it was custom made for me. I no longer lust for a Brooks. I wish it were leather covered but for $40 new it's quite a saddle.

With the kalloy post & random saddle swapped out, with the 240g but failure prone tires replaced with conti ultra gatorskin 27x1.25's (an over reaction), plus cushy bar tape which might add a decimal - the bike gained weight - 24.0 pounds now versus 23.8. Not bad. A great improvement in useability. The bike never felt this good in 1984. It's gotten quite fun & the blues are gone. Thanks. Pic coming soon.
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Old 06-11-08, 12:32 PM   #20
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Hey I'll try the photos again soon because the look of the bike just changed nicely. the Thompson seatpost & Selle Ponza saddle transform the look & feel of the bike. That is one fine seatpost - wow. To adjust the tilt, you adjust one screw against the other, for micro-fine tuning. The saddle feels like it was custom made for me. I no longer lust for a Brooks. I wish it were leather covered but for $40 new it's quite a saddle.

With the kalloy post & random saddle swapped out, with the 240g but failure prone tires replaced with conti ultra gatorskin 27x1.25's (an over reaction), plus cushy bar tape which might add a decimal - the bike gained weight - 24.0 pounds now versus 23.8. Not bad. A great improvement in useability. The bike never felt this good in 1984. It's gotten quite fun & the blues are gone. Thanks. Pic coming soon.
The best is yet to come. Wait until you see the difference after you rebuild the front and rear hubs with fresh grease and rebuild the bottom bracket likewise. Then you really will not believe it.
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Old 06-11-08, 10:01 PM   #21
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So the bike is older the 1978, must be a 1976. Wow. It's cooler than a 1976 Datsun.

My 76 Datsun was a 280Z.
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Old 06-12-08, 08:42 AM   #22
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sailorbenjamin,

The 'Z' is in a class by itself. I did not have that in mind. I was more thinking along the lines of a Japanese bike and a Japanese car, both of 1976, both mid-range. Perhaps like my 310GX. I bet you still wish you had that 280Z! Those have stood the test of time, but they are rare and when you see one it's cherry.

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