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Old 09-04-10, 12:30 AM   #1
snarkypup
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What new (old) bike should I get?

Okay, stop laughing. You all knew this was coming. I can't stop. I want another vintage ride, but I don't know what to buy.

Here are my thoughts: I'd like a bit of a project bike, something to take apart, clean up and learn with, so it needs to be something I can reasonably tackle cleaning/servicing myself. It should be a road or touring bike, as I have the '69 Sports, and I don't need another English 3-speed. Something I can ride 30 miles without my legs falling off, as they would with the Sports. I'd like it to be under $100, but I'd pay up to $200 for something pretty.

I say I'd like vintage steel, but I see a lot of Raleigh Techniums around, and hear they're nice. I like old machines. Nothing new, please (unless someone's got a Clubman for under $200 they'd like to sell me... saw one of those in the shop today and oh, are they pretty! But I digress).

Biggest problems: I'm a girl (which isn't normally a disadvantage, necessarily). I need something small, as I'm 5'5" and have a 31" inseam. Therefore, the frame needs a step-over no more than what... 30"? Not a lot of small, cheap road bikes floating around. What's more, I'm a newbie, so I probably can't do something finicky and French. I don't want to sink more than a couple hundred into it, and I'd like that money to be spent mostly on pretty-ing it up, rather than repairing major problems. Finally, I live in the Seattle area, which is a very pricey world for bikes (though of course now there are cheap Sports everywhere, since I already bought mine. Ain't that just the way?).

Thoughts on what brands/models I should look for? Am I dreaming? Can the above be achieved? The boys at work all suggested Trek 520s, but they aren't exactly a dime a dozen around here, much less cheap. I'm willing to pay eBay folks to ship to me if the bike is a great deal. What do you folks think?
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Old 09-04-10, 01:16 AM   #2
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I would try to find one of the late 80's racing schwinns, super sport, prelude, peloton, circuit... They seem to be good values for the money. The tenax frames are excellent IMO having owned two, and go for way less than they should.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:05 AM   #3
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Depends on what you're interested in. THe old Raleigh Sports are very interesting to take together...you do need to buy a $50 cotter press though. Otherwise, try something weird - a French bike, or an Italian bike, or something like that. What do you currently have?
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Old 09-04-10, 06:06 AM   #4
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got bit by the bug did you? I seem to have trouble finding affordable large bikes and always see lots of nice smaller ones.

is a 51 too tall? this may not be exactly what you are looking for but seems nice. sometimes when I see something like this I might save it and check back a few days later and see if it sold then try and negociate a lower price.

I do agree Mazada thought those Schwinns usually are a nice deal. also if you search on CL look for nashbar, performance and nouvara too. these are usually pretty nice bikes but since they are nonshop bikes usually get over looked

http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bik/1933309763.html

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Old 09-04-10, 06:15 AM   #5
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I had a Raleigh Technium, and it was the worst speced and designed bike I've ever had, by a long, long, shot. Personally, I avoid them like the plauge.

I'd look for off-brands, in particular Japanese off brand road bikes from the eighties. The lesser known names-- like Shogun, for instance-- tend to be ignored. People buy what they know, so they're perfectly willing to drop cash on a Fuji, but not the same cash on a better Shogun. Aside from Fuji, Bridgestone, and Miyata, most Japanese brands are undervalued. Another good bet is a Ross Signature-- because they're Rosses, no one thinks much of them, but the Signature line of bikes is superb. Hard to find, but priced low when you do. The Greenville Schwinns ( the models mentioned above) also tend to be lower priced.

Searching for a small ride presents unique problems-- you will likely pay a premium, no matter the brand.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:15 AM   #6
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A 31" inseam on 5'5" frame is pretty unusual. In general, women have shorter legs than men, and most 5'5" to 5'7" men would be dragging trou legs with a 31" inseam. With road bikes, the fit is going to be more important than that Sports.

At 5'6" and with a 30.5" inseam, I ride a 56. Charts put me at a 54-56. I'm guessing you'd be comfortable at 52-54cm. Given the measurements you sent, you've probably got a shorter torso, so a top tube of 52cm may be all you can handle, with a medium to short stem, too.

$100-$200 would put you looking at yard sales, as the CL bikes in your area can get pricey. Schwinns carry different brand recog in different areas. I agree with Poguemahone, a Greenville Schwinn could well be underpriced for it's value, especially an aluminum one (but make sure you get the seatpost on one of those). A Centurion Lemans, Nishiki Sport, Panasonic Sport, Univega, Shogun, Miyata, almost any number of mid-80's Japanese bikes would fit the bill. Best idea is to find some examples and float them via PM to folks who may know, especially in your area.

I find Technium's pretty reasonable, but probably wouldn't pay over $150 for a really nice one. I fully agree with Poguemahone on Ross bikes. Very cheap here.

The market here is flooded right now with triathlon bikes and folks selling that bike to get ready for school. Not a bad time to buy at all. You may also want to check with the local shops on trade-ins, tell them what to look for, so they don't have to take one in, rehab it, and charge more than the bike's worth.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:45 AM   #7
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I'll echo the statements on the Schwinns. I just started biking this year with a brand new 2010 Trek that had a major failure a couple of weeks ago (still waiting to hear on the warranty). So I needed a bike and went out and found a 1999 Schwinn Circuit. It turns out to be a wonderful bike, fast and comfortable. Nice set of components to include a triple crank which now that I know better will serve me well here in Utah. I live in a small valley and have to ride over a mountain in all but one route out of the valley. Be it the geometry, gearing, whatever, the Schwinn has proven to be significantly faster on my standard 20 mile evening loop. And despite being heavier it does climb better, for me, than the Trek did. Now I do suck at climbing so I think it's a gearing thing but it is a fact for whatever reason. Like you though I am looking for yet another cheap road bike. I want something to beat on in bad weather and during the winter days when the roads are clear and I can ride outside. Don't want the lovely Schwinn trashed by all the salt and sand on the roads.
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Old 09-04-10, 08:28 AM   #8
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I'll pipe in with a Fuji suggestion

The Del Rey can be found reasonably priced, usually has nice Suntour components, and has (except for the 82 model) a nice quad-butted VALite frame.
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Old 09-04-10, 08:39 AM   #9
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Just sold a bike that would have been perfect for ya. A rare Nishiki Prestige Proportional

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Old 09-04-10, 10:14 AM   #10
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Thanks everyone.

There are two older Shoguns on CL right now, one of which is a 54cm. That doesn't mean I can step over it, though. I'm going to see if I can go see it later today. I sent the other guy an email asking about step-over height. As for the rest of my personal geometry, yep... long legs, short torso, short reach. I wear the same inseam as my boyfriend, who is 6'2"! So I'll have to see what bike works best.

I also have a disease that causes pinched nerves (kinda like whole-body carpal tunnel, if you can imagine!) in my hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, feet... you get the picture. So personal geometry is really important and no bike is going to be ideal until I've played with it, fixed it up and riden it extensively. So whatever bike I buy will be a crapshoot, even if it "fits" initially, until I can get some miles on it and see how I feel. The Sports is ideal, except for the rock-hard grips I put on (I'll switch those later). Lovely ride quality, and I have the ability to shift all over on it as I ride, which keeps me from going numb. I hear drop bars are even better for this, but the leaning forward may be interesting. So we'll see. I'll keep you posted.
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Old 09-04-10, 10:24 AM   #11
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http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bik/1933309763.html

That one looks like a good deal, too. I'll check it out!
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Old 09-04-10, 10:52 AM   #12
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I also have a disease that causes pinched nerves (kinda like whole-body carpal tunnel, if you can imagine!) in my hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, feet... you get the picture. So personal geometry is really important and no bike is going to be ideal until I've played with it, fixed it up and riden it extensively. So whatever bike I buy will be a crapshoot, even if it "fits" initially, until I can get some miles on it and see how I feel. The Sports is ideal, except for the rock-hard grips I put on (I'll switch those later). Lovely ride quality, and I have the ability to shift all over on it as I ride, which keeps me from going numb. I hear drop bars are even better for this, but the leaning forward may be interesting. So we'll see. I'll keep you posted.
Have you considered moustache bars? You shouldn't have to bend down as far, if that bothers you, but you will still have multiple positions.
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Old 09-04-10, 11:30 AM   #13
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I just spoke to the owner of what looks like a pretty Shogun road bike, and it's a 54cm, which seems to be the right size. He says it was recently tuned up and is ready to ride. $225. We'll see. I'm going to go ride it at noon, and if the size is good, I'll go for it. It's very, very pretty from the photos. But it will have to fit, or I'll move on.
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Old 09-04-10, 11:59 AM   #14
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When you want a deal, a really good deal, you need to be ready to launch in your car immediately and scoop up the bike. 54 may be a little big for you, you will have to see. Bikes smaller than 54 sell at a premium around here, as they are much harder to find.

You are in a relatively hot market (Seattle), where anything good at a decent price is going to sell fast, really fast.

I would spend a little time up front dialling in on size, so you know what fits. Fitting bikes via the internet is not very accurate, better off visiting a few shops, and looking at a few vintage bikes in the 50cm to 54 cm range.

Once you have your size identified, POUNCE on a deal, as there are others out there ready to do the same. Great deals are often at garage sales and similar. But you have to go to a lot of garage sales before you find a good bike, and then finding one your size makes the odds even tougher.

Sounds like a nice Shogun, hope it fits.
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Old 09-04-10, 04:10 PM   #15
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It fit! I guess I'm very long-legged for my height (which would explain nicely why my pants always seem to become instant highwaters when I wash them the first time... everyone else gets another quarter of an inch, or something). Got a good deal on it, brought it home.

It's a Shogun Crmo 500, and everything except the stem appear to be original. Tires are mismatched and also need to be replaced, but no shock there. Serial number M2E19918, which would make it May of 1982, right? The paint isn't in fabulous condition, but I'm not a lover of mint, as I tend to be tough on my bikes (I fall over a lot). The components are Shimano Deore, which I hear is good.

I already hate the stem, and the brake levers. The stem made the frame longer for the former owner, who was a much larger person than me. I'd like to replace the stem quickly with something shorter. I don't know how stems are measured. What should I be looking for? Moving the bars a bit closer to my body is good. They're okay where they are, but closer would be much better. The brake levers are just butt-ugly. Is there an option there someone would recommend?

I'm going to do the servicing myself. The bike works, though the shifting isn't exactly smooth and pretty right now. It's filthy, so cleaning and adjusting will make the whole thing better. The ride is wonderful, though. Very smooth and responsive. So... can someone point me to the best resource to walk me through getting this sucker cleaned up and tuned perfectly? Is there a book? A website? Something very, very newbie friendly. Photos are below.


shogun8 by snarkypup, on Flickr


shogun4 by snarkypup, on Flickr


shogun2 by snarkypup, on Flickr


shogun3 by snarkypup, on Flickr


shogun1 by snarkypup, on Flickr
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Old 09-04-10, 04:29 PM   #16
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So... can someone point me to the best resource to walk me through getting this sucker cleaned up and tuned perfectly? Is there a book? A website? Something very, very newbie friendly. Photos are below.
That bike looks nice and I was rooting for you to pick it, but I don't know much about Shogun. I've suspected that they are underrated bikes though. I hope that you prove my thought to be correct. Love the headbadge!

Sheldon Brown is great. Otherwise, I used internet videos to learn. It really isn't difficult once you get in there. The most trouble that I have comes from stuck parts.
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Old 09-04-10, 04:35 PM   #17
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That bike looks nice and I was rooting for you to pick it, but I don't know much about Shogun. I've suspected that they are underrated bikes though. I hope that you prove my thought to be correct. Love the headbadge!
They are. Like Lotus, Shogun used very good materials, like Tange 900 double butted chromoly on an entry level bike in the mid 80's. As an example, one of my favorite brands, Nishiki, would have you go toward the middle of the line-up before offering double butted chromoly, and it was generic, not Tange.
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Old 09-04-10, 05:17 PM   #18
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That's a pretty little bike. For a quill stem, you want a shorter reach. Try your local bike co-op, I'm sure Seattle has one.

I've had a Shogun I use as a beater for years. Reliable and well made. Yours looks to be in very nice shape, and priced about right for an end user.
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Old 09-04-10, 05:44 PM   #19
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Reading up, I'll probably need to go to my lbs to get a stem that fits me and fits the bike, but what's the first thing I should do, maintenance-wise? It'll need new tires, definitely, and new pads, cables and tape (because I don't like the brilliant blue). But first I want to get it cleaned and tuned up, and I don't even know where to start. The headset seems to be moving well, and I don't want to mess with it until I do the new stem. So I guess the drivetrain or brakes or something should be first, but I don't know what. I can read Sheldon, but there's so much info, and I need to take this one step at a time. If you get a beat-up old bike, what's the first thing you do to it to get it ready to ride? I want to start there.
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Old 09-04-10, 06:24 PM   #20
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make sure the moving parts move smoothly. As I recall that you are a teacher, you may be familiar with this type of format

In no particular order:

1. take wheels off bike and turn hubs by hand. If you feel like the hub doesn't turn smoothly, one or all of these may be the problem. I cannot tell if it is sealed bearing, so I am guessing that it is not.
a) the bearings may be bad
b) the races may be pitted
c) the hub may just need grease
d) all of the above

2. Remove cranks and turn spindle by hand, again feeling for roughness in turning.
-see above causes

3. check headset for similar problems

For all of this, you will need some basic tools.

hub tools
2 cone wrenches

headset tools
1 headset wrench and one generic large crescent wrench
allen keys(I got some that fit on my socket wrench)

bottom bracket tools
crank puller
sockets to fit inside of crank(if you have trouble getting your standard sockets to fit inside of the crank, try picking up a cheap 12 point socket set)
bottom bracket spanner(probably the wrench with the strange hook on the end)

general use stuff

socket wrench
grease
bearings
rags
gloves if you are too girly for grease

If you lived near me, I would invite you over to use my tools and show you how to do it. Maybe a friendly Seattle C&Ver will offer the same.

Last edited by beech333; 09-04-10 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:40 PM   #21
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Thanks, Beech333, that's very helpful! I need a mentor, I think, definitely. I have some very bike-y friends (one of my best friends works at Phil Wood, for heaven's sake!) but none are nearby. I'll have to bug my friend and see if she has some local connections. I bet she does.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:42 PM   #22
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Thanks, Beech333, that's very helpful! I need a mentor, I think, definitely. I have some very bike-y friends (one of my best friends works at Phil Wood, for heaven's sake!) but none are nearby. I'll have to bug my friend and see if she has some local connections. I bet she does.
Perhaps you could volunteer at a co-op. I bet the mechanic would be willing to teach you, plus you could play with other bikes. You might even be able to use their tools on your bike.
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Old 09-04-10, 07:47 PM   #23
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Maybe this will help just a tad. BBs are just as easy as hubs.

Once you get the hub open(remove the nuts, cone, spindle, and dust cover) this is what a loose bearing freehub looks like on the inside.



clean out the old bearings and grease


put in new grease, then bearings, then a bit more grease. the initial grease will hold the bearings in place.


insert the spindle with one cone attached, to hold the bearings in place. Flip the wheel over, while keeping the spindle/cone in place to hold the already installed bearings, and do the other side. Sorry, no more pics. I hope this helps just a little.

Note: Sometimes you will see a retainer inside the hub, which looks somewhat like this:



In this case, this retainer goes to a BB, not a hub, but I just wanted to give you an idea of what you might see. There are also sealed bearings, but I don't have pictures of those either.

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Old 09-04-10, 08:53 PM   #24
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Congratulations!

As you replace the stem and bars and since you hate the brake levers, you might consider changing to aero levers, which have a cleaner look and can be easier on your hands. Just about everyone likes the Tektro R200s, esp at the price (under $20 at Jensen USA and Lickbike.com will price match). They are good for small hands and have a fat hood, good for gripping.

Our 1983 Shogun 400 mixte is the same color as your bike, and has nearly the same graphics, pinstriping and all. Shoguns may be common around Seattle; we got one with its original manual that states that parts can be ordered from Alpha Cycle, Seattle, presumably the importer.

BlueShogun.jpg

ps: Deore drivetrain is certainly a later addition to the bike.
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Last edited by Chicago Al; 09-04-10 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 09-05-10, 08:22 AM   #25
Grand Bois
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
A 31" inseam on 5'5" frame is pretty unusual. In general, women have shorter legs than men, and most 5'5" to 5'7" men would be dragging trou legs with a 31" inseam. With road bikes, the fit is going to be more important than that Sports.
I'm sorry, but I can't agree with that. Women, on average, have proportionally longer legs than men. For instance, my daughter is 3" shorter than me but we ride the same size frame. She just needs a stem with less reach because her trunk and arms are shorter.
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