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  1. #1
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    upgrading a fuji s12s

    Greetings! I just joined this site. I used to be an avid biker (before I learned to drive), but I haven't really ridden in years...decades really. I'm just getting back into biking. My dad bought me a steel blue s12s in 1981 and I can remember the excitement of going to a LBS to pick one out. My dad wanted to get me a bike and the other one we (more like my dad) was considering was the Raleigh SuperCourse. Which one was the better bike?

    Anyhow I remember the bikes that hung on the walls of the shop and the smell of rubber, manufactured metal, plastic, and probably chemicals - all of which now I attribute to good bike smells. I had a choice of colors - steel blue, ebony, or...brown I think it was. I chose the blue and I still have it to this day. I've replaced the suntour vx RD with vx-GT then with a shimano altus. I've replaced the brake hoods, a few of the cables and the bar tape. Rest of the components are stock original. It's still a pretty good ride at 25 lbs or so.

    I'd like to know what component I can upgrade to in order to drop the weight. How much would I have to spend to do these upgrades? or should I keep it as is as it's running fine? I do have some newer bike envy (anything newer than 81) so I've been thinking of selling this bike and buying another one (steel or titanium framed) or just upgrading this one and buying another one. Thoughts? Thanks!

    On a side note what tools should I get to work on bikes? I don't mind spending money on tools....

  2. #2
    OCD Moderator cb400bill's Avatar
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    Greetings! I just joined this site.

    Welcome to Bike Forums!


    I'd like to know what component I can upgrade to in order to drop the weight.

    Pretty much all of them. Wheels, bars, seat post, saddle, etc.


    How much would I have to spend to do these upgrades?

    Most likely, too much.


    or should I keep it as is as it's running fine?

    Better idea.


    I do have some newer bike envy (anything newer than 81) so I've been thinking of selling this bike and buying another one (steel or titanium framed) or just upgrading this one and buying another one.

    Newer steel road bikes can be quite a bit lighter than your S-12S. Depending on your budget, commonly as low as 17 lbs.


    Thoughts?

    Keep your old Fuji as it is. Overhaul all the bearings and change the brake pads, tires, and tubes, if needed.

    Buy a new lightweight road bike for your go fast riding.


    Thanks!

    No charge.


    On a side note what tools should I get to work on bikes? I don't mind spending money on tools...

    Many tasks can be done with common hand tools. But, to start, I suggest a good work stand, headset wrenches, cone wrenches, cable cutters, chain tool, spoke wrench. Get more as you need them.
    Laterally stiff yet vertically compliant.

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  3. #3
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    S12S was a fine bike, 1981 Super Course was nicer.

    Tools is a real personal choice, and depends on how much time you want to spend working on bikes (just a couple of bikes, or ramping up to more), and the era of bike(s). Some tools are common across eras, but a lot of tools are specific to the bike and era: bottom bracket, freewheel, chain tool, headset, crankset are all specific to era and sometimes to the specific bike as well and country of origin (lack of standardization).

    I have a lot invested in tools, and I am not close to having everything covered.

    +1 I do not mind spending money on tools either.

    Most of my tools were bought USED, I have bought higher end tools in general, rather than cheaper new tools. Example: bought a used Park TS2 truing stand for less than what a cheap Spin Doctor truing stand sells for new.

    +1 Want to significantly cut bike weight? Sell yours, and buy a much lighter weight modern bike, or a higher end vintage bike.

    +1 On tool basics: spoke wrench, good chain tool (not a cheapie), good cable cutter (not a cheapie), cone wrenches, crank puller, bb tools, and start your collection of freewheel tools by getting the one(s) that fit your bikes (there are dozens of them).
    Last edited by wrk101; 07-16-12 at 07:14 AM.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member ScottRyder's Avatar
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    Draftmeister ... the S10-S/S12 is the quintessential Fuji, you made a good choice in their line-up. I've got a 1978 S10-S in light blue, the only changes I've made were to swap out the Vx group with 1st generation Cyclone. Not that much difference in weight or performance but it sure is pretty. More recently I've been riding the S10 with a set of Superbe hubs with Ukai tubular rims/tires. It has a much lighter feel in it's handling and acceleration.

    You have lot's of choices, I'd ride the hell out of it and at the same time look for something lighter. Or a Super Course!

    Scott

  5. #5
    Senior Member cycleheimer's Avatar
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    Is yours an 18-speed?

    Does it still fit your correctly?

    These bikes are really pretty decent. Durable, dependable and smooth riding. Plus, plenty of sentimental value here. My dad went with me when I got my first Fuji "Special Road Racer" (S-10-S). I've had several more since then, and I've never met an S-10-S or S-12-S that I didn't llike. Selecting the right tires will probably be the most important decision here. I have 27" x 1" Pasela Tour Guards mounted on mine. I ride it on well maintained smooth paved surfaces, so they work for me. Other than tires that bike is nicely spec'd "as is". You can do a 700C wheel conversion (I myself have always found the original 27" Ukai rims on the Fujis to be excellent) and numerous other changes, but what you've got (if it is in good shape) is still pretty decent the way it was when when your dad bought it for you. Most important thing is to grease the bearings in the bottom bracket, hubs and headset. Then make sure the wheels are "true". Probably best to change the brake pads, and at least clean and oil the cables. Drip oil into the cable housings, too. Niagara Cycle Works has the best prices on what you will probably need, and Nashbar periodically has some incredible sales on tires, etc. Good luck with it.


    My 1981 S-12-S (18-speed) ... I still have the original saddle safely stored away...

    Last edited by cycleheimer; 07-16-12 at 09:30 AM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Welcome to C&V draftmeister!
    ...A lot of excellent advice given here already.
    Apart from all the tools and maintenance, new rubber etc, the only change I would make is to go back to the vx-GT: It is a fine derailleur and still available at reasonable cost.
    - Auchen

  7. #7
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    +1 On a replacement VxGT, a fine RD for sure, much nicer than the Shimano IMHO, and if you are patient, you can find them at a reasonable (low) price.
    See some of my bikes on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BillsVintageSteelBikes

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  8. #8
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    thanks a lot for your replies! My bike is in pretty good condition but it has a little rust. Yes, it's an 18 speed. I was amazed at the number of speeds back in 1981.

    @auchencrow -why go back to vx-gt? period correct? I have noticed that when I move my power shifter it only uses about half the range (perhaps the altus is for a mountain bike with more gears?)

    My bike has the "road look" saddle (who made this?) and I put some black cork like bar tape on it. No fenders. Can I take the dork disc off just by unscrewing the rear wheel and unscrewing the lever? or do I need a special tool to take the rear gears off to get at the dork disc?

    So the majority of you would not upgrade the components? I guess I'll look for another bike...

    Also what's the correct technique for fixing rust areas? Fine grade sandpaper, primer spray (rustoleum?), then spray paint or nail polish? I'll take some pics later.

    btw what's up with the constant refresh need for this site? When I go to post this reply I had to log back in...

  9. #9
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Nix The Altus

    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    +1 On a replacement VxGT, a fine RD for sure, much nicer than the Shimano IMHO, and if you are patient, you can find them at a reasonable (low) price.
    ^^^ this. Immediately remove the Altus and toss it into the parts bin. Replace with period correct VxGT derailleur. Wash hands.

    There will be a freewheel tool that will fit your (SunTour) freewheel. Keep the spoke protector in place. No need to remove it on a vintage bike like your S-12S.

    Resume normal programming...

    The one thing that might help you is to verigy that the fit is set up properly for your body's greatest efficiency and aerodynamics.

    Otherwise, if you feel that you "need" a lighter bike - then buy one complete. You can likely get into the 21-22 lb range with a modest investment. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it until you find that you can't get a fraction of speed improvement by any other means - that is you're at the physical limit of what your body and the machine can do together.

  10. #10
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    should I also get the vx-gt FD? My bike came with the suntour NSL stock. I'm guessing it's because of the triple ring?

    what about the suntour cyclone? Better selection of those.
    Last edited by draftmeister; 07-16-12 at 10:33 AM.

  11. #11
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draftmeister View Post
    should I also get the vx-gt FD? My bike came with the suntour NSL stock. I'm guessing it's because of the triple ring?

    what about the suntour cyclone? Better selection of those.
    Cyclone MkII would be excellent for your use, but pricier.

  12. #12
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    ok would the cyclone mkII FD work on the 3 ring? I assume I would need the medium cage GT version? or is the regular version ok? What's the difference?

  13. #13
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draftmeister View Post
    should I also get the vx-gt FD? My bike came with the suntour NSL stock. I'm guessing it's because of the triple ring?

    what about the suntour cyclone? Better selection of those.
    I wouldn't necessarily change the FD.
    I think the Suntour NSL FD is a nice, all-alloy, light-weight derailleur.
    - Auchen

  14. #14
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    Can I also use the cyclone 1st gen? Cyclone 7000 series? Long or medium cage RD? Thanks again!

  15. #15
    Senior Member auchencrow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draftmeister View Post
    Can I also use the cyclone 1st gen? Cyclone 7000 series? Long or medium cage RD? Thanks again!
    The long cage 1st gen Cyclone GT or 7000GT rear derailleurs would serve well, but the latter was Suntour's stab at being more modern and IMO they don't look the part.
    The 1st gen Cyclone is (generally) going to cost a lot more than the VxGT, but the performance is about the same.

    The long "GT" cages are usually recommended because they can handle more chain with lower gearing.
    (If your big cog is more than 24T you may need to go that way. The short cage was spec'd for 24T though some people can get away with more, depending on their hanger &etc)
    - Auchen

  16. #16
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    ok I think the rear is 14-30 6 speed while the front is 36-44-53. Would the cyclone mark I or II still work in the front if I wanted to match the rear? I know you mentioned the NSL is decent though.

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