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Old 09-30-11, 06:08 PM   #1
Flying Merkel
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Univega Gran Turismo on the road!

Way back in 1980 I saw a Univega road bike (they weren't called that at the time) with 3 chainrings up front. It had a total of 15 speeds. My 19 year old self was amazed by the technology. And the brakes weren't side pull or center pull- they were something called cantilever. Beyond belief, it was. I wanted this fantastic bike.

So this last June I was scrolling through Craigslist when I saw a Gran Turismo for sale. Had to have it, never mind the condition. $40.00 from a guy who had a garage full of bikes of all types and conditions. The Univega was beyond his level of commitment. More of a clean and lube flipper. He was honest, I was OK with the price, capitalism worked. It's a 1982.

I quickly went overboard. The rims were trashed. A set from a Peugeot complete with new Cheng Shin 27x1-1/4 tires for $25.00 showed up at the right time. Ordered Jagwire cables, Koolstop pads, and a no kidding Brooks B-17. Had the frame sandblasted and powdercoated. Worth every penny. The rest of the components were cosmetically aged but unworn. Bike looked like it lived outside leaning against a garage for the last 29 years. Only one stuck fastener in the whole bike, a chainring bolt. A $7.00 Blackburn rack finished off the bike.

Don't know if it's the touring geometry, the steeliness of the frame, the big tires or the Brooks, but this is the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden. Put about 60 miles on it in shake-down rides. Took it to the library today. It's a heavy bike, but having the triple up front works out nicely. The ride took me through areas of road construction and bad pavement- no problem.

Going to change the stock pedals for my standard Crank Bros Candy-Cs. Need a bottle cage and some kind of lighting. My new favorite bike.
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Old 09-30-11, 06:35 PM   #2
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Very nice job. The bike looks fantastic.
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Old 09-30-11, 07:08 PM   #3
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Nice job on the bike. I just flipped a coin about half an hour ago to figure out which bike I will ride with a group tomorrow, a faster light bike with no racks or my Gran Turismo, with racks at both ends, 32mm vitoria randonneurs, and some serious heft. The GT won. I really could not decide. The penny did it for me. If I am slower than every one else, I will stop, make some tea, and then ride some fire road shortcuts and single track that the rest will not be able to do on skinny tires. That should put me even or ahead of the group. I like my fast bike, but the Univega is so comfortable...
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Old 09-30-11, 07:18 PM   #4
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I use my GT for my around town rides where I KNOW the roads could get sketchy. I added barcons, and swapped the bars. I'd like a shorter stem to shorten the reach but I generally ride it at a leisurely pace for 10-20 miles at a time, 27x1.25s eating bumps.
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Old 10-01-11, 08:15 AM   #5
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Nice work on bring it back to life. Can you post some bigger pictures?

I recently rebuilt a GT that was also left out leaning againts the house for who knows how many years. They're good bikes.
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Old 10-01-11, 08:37 AM   #6
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Good work! Thats a close cousin to my 82 Viva Touring. Now take advantage of those braze-ons an put on some fenders and a front rack!
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Old 10-01-11, 10:42 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by old's'cool View Post
Good work! Thats a close cousin to my 82 Viva Touring. Now take advantage of those braze-ons an put on some fenders and a front rack!
Don't know about fenders, but a front rack might come in handy. What's a good period-correct one?
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Old 10-01-11, 01:21 PM   #8
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Jim Blackburn, of course!
I adapted a Sunlite rear rack to the front of my Viva touring. Works great.





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Old 10-01-11, 03:47 PM   #9
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Looks great, I'll join the rest of the GT advocates in that they are sweet bikes. I had to pass mine along, and I still think about how great that bike was to ride, even if it was a hair too big for me. It's on my list of bike to own again.. someday.
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