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  1. #1
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    1984 Huffy TechtraLITE

    I have owned this bike for the better part of 2 years. It is a heavy steel frame, that came with cheap components and stamped dropouts. I bought the bike for $30 and just had to put air in the tires. I am posting this as somewhat of an information archive for others who have bought this frame set and are searching for information. I would also like any information you guys have that I don't.

    I would also like to note, this is not the POS that most everyone tries to make it out to be. I have a little over $400 into mine, and, while heavy, I ride with the local club without a problem. Basically, I was lucky that the bike fits me so well, and I can't find a better bike for $430.

    The frame is welded straight gauge cold rolled welded seam steel, the later bikes came with stickers that said "DuraLite" tubing, which was solely to sell the bikes, the weight did not change any between pre-sticker and post-sticker. They were sold in department stores for something like $40-$100 between the early 70's to the mid to late 80's (I do not have the dates nailed down.) The earlier versions were called the "Olympia", and then there were the "Aero Wind" and my Techtralite. The frames were originally fitted with 26x1 road wheels, but they changed to the 27" standard later. This lends the well to moving to a 700c, as you don't need super long reach calipers. The crank was a one piece, and it was crappy and heavy. I switched to a truvativ BB converter and am now running a Shimano 600 TriColor, and I saved some 5 lbs. Saved some more weight moving to an aluminum bars and more modern brake levers.

    A little more on the history/components of my bike, it was built in or around 1984, when huffy was the official sponsor of the US cycling team. My bike is painted in red and white, with stickers that say "US cycling team". In reality, the bikes used by the U.S. cycling team were hand made Serottas that were badged huffy. Huffy did the same thing with the 7-11 cycling team. The department store bikes (like mine) were not made in the same place, or to nearly the same quality. My bike came from the factory (as did many like these) with Araya rims laced to some strange "chair" hub. Legend has it that cast aluminum quill stem is made by 3T, but there is little documentation on that. Two really, really strange things about this bike is the seatpost, and the headset. The seatpost is the older Peugeot 24mm standard, and legend has it that this is so because Huffy had Peugeot make the bikes, and on accident used their 24mm seat tubes. Again, there is no real documentation on this, just random posts around the web. The other strange thing is the head set. The head tube takes the 30.8mm {I am going to take mine apart and re measurer the parts to be sure** O.D. race cup, when the standard is 30.2mm. I have no idea why, but it does. The brakes are cast aluminum polygon single pivot medium reach calipers, and the dérailleurs are Shimano SkyLark both front and back. It came with a six speed French Mallard screw on free wheel, and a double chain ring on the front. I will have to find the old parts to count teeth.

    I have read time and time again that these bikes are not worth the price paid for them (in one case, the buyer only paid $15 for the bike, and was berated into saying that he made a mistake). I have received well over $430 worth of fun, fuel savings, and health cost from my bike. These bikes, with a little bit of time and a small amount of money, can be turned into great reliable commuters or even fun road bikes.

    (google image search for both the Aerowind and the Olympia: https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...O6e42gX17IGQBQ

    https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...POSG2gWo1oGwAg )
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by jonainmi; 03-18-13 at 01:22 PM. Reason: added pictures
    I ride my bike because I love to ride, it makes me feel better, it's good for the planet, it helps keep me in shape, it is fun, because it is what I love to do.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Narhay's Avatar
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    Happy you enjoy your bicycle and I don't disagree with anything except $430 can buy quite a bit of vintage bike. Show us some photos.

  3. #3
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    Sounds cool. Post pics when you can!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Don't mean to demean your choice or say you shouldna done it, but here's what $350 can get you off C-list:

    Trek Series 500 - Reynolds- USA made - $350



    Made in USA, Vintage mid 80's Trek 500 Series 10 speed road bike. It is in very nice original condition, just a few knicks in the paint here and there.
    Beautiful lugged frame made with Reynolds tubing (21"/53cm). Quality pre Ultegra Shimano 600 conponents: crank, shifters, derailers, brakes and brake levers. The hubs and handlebars are French made, and the seat is a Selle San Marco. The bar tape and control cables are red, not pink as they may look in the photos. 700x23c Vittoria Rubino tires, tubes, and the cushioned bar tape were all recently installed.
    It's a very smooth riding, quality classic bike.
    350 dollars, cash only, no shipping.
    Pronounced "Murkle"

  5. #5
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    I really want to see pics, sounds interesting even if it is considered throwing good money after bad. I guess most of the expensive components, you could keep and move to a better frame if you ever decided to. Just don't spend any money repairing or getting custom paint/powder coat done on the frame itself.

    I'm assuming that you have replaced the low quality original external parts like the front/rear derailleurs, the brake, etc. If you did, then you are pretty much all set to move to a much nicer frame that is your size someday if the opportunity presents itself so its not really wasting your money, its just waiting for a better frame to pop up someday.

    I worked on someone's Huffy Aerowind a few months ago at my co-op and the drivetrain components and brakes were very low quality/heavy/hard to adjust. The brakes in particular were bad, they were these weird aero-cam pull brakes.

    I have often wondered if you replaced all the external heavy components on an old Huffy dept store bike how it would ride. Not much different than a heavy Varsity with updated components I guess.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  6. #6
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Narhay View Post
    Happy you enjoy your bicycle and I don't disagree with anything except $430 can buy quite a bit of vintage bike. Show us some photos.
    +1 Glad you are happy with it. The choices at the $400 mark are almost endless. Around here, $300 will buy a lot of bike.

  7. #7
    Senior Member PatTheSlat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonainmi View Post
    I have a little over $400 into mine
    I wish there was a way to properly type the sound I made when I read this.

    It's great that you're happy with your bike, but I suspect that if you ever did ride something that was actually worth $400... you'd no longer be very happy with your bike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cattywompus's Avatar
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    I'm interested with what you've done with your bike, and I can't wait to see pictures of it.

  9. #9
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    Added pictures, including one of my wifes Orbea Mitis with full campy Ti record that we built for around a thousand dollars.

    I realized that I didn't think that most of you guys are in cities or towns that have more bikes. Our craigslist is full of Schwinn varsities that people want $200 for, or Next mountain bikes for $100... Any road bikes around here tend to be full carbon, or aluminum for upwards of $600.


    To answer how it rides, it flexes a bit around the bb, but is rather sturdy. It also handles fairly well, and at the end of the day, it makes me happy. And that is all cycling is about if you ask me.
    I ride my bike because I love to ride, it makes me feel better, it's good for the planet, it helps keep me in shape, it is fun, because it is what I love to do.

  10. #10
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    These bikes, with a little bit of time and a small amount of money, can be turned into great reliable commuters or even fun road bikes.
    I seriously doubt that anyone, who knows much about vintage road bicycles, would agree. And, for what it is worth, $430.00 is not a "small amount of money" in my vintage bicycle book.

    The OP is entitled to his opinion, of course, just as I am. But, for anyone who does not know much about vintage road bicycles, look to the general concensus, offered by other forum members who have responded to this thread, and do not take the OP's opinion as fact.

    Sorry if that is offensive but I so strongly disagree with your opinion of the bike
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    I seriously doubt that anyone, who knows much about vintage road bicycles, would agree. And, for what it is worth, $430.00 is not a "small amount of money" in my vintage bicycle book.

    The OP is entitled to his opinion, of course, just as I am. But, for anyone who does not know much about vintage road bicycles, look to the general concensus, offered by other forum members who have responded to this thread, and do not take the OP's opinion as fact.

    Sorry if that is offensive but I so strongly disagree with your opinion of the bike

    To quote from your website, good sir:

    I have learned that some bicycles work for me and some don't, no matter who manufactured the bicycle. I have owned and ridden top of the line bikes that simply felt wrong to me.

    One of the nicest rides I have experienced in my life was on a lower end Legnano that wore an extremely well developed patina of age. True the bicycle was a Legnano, but it was an entry level model with high tensile tube set and pressed steel drops. No sophisticated technology. Ordinary componentry. And even sporting 27" wheels. How could a bike like that have made such a lasting impression on me? But the bicycle did impress. The ride was magical.
    I feel very lucky that my $30 find fits so well and rides the way I like. My wife has not been so lucky, she's spent far more trying to find a bike that fits and rides the way she likes - but that's a whole nother story.

    I should also point out my $430 figure is over the lifetime of my ownership and includes consumables like tires and tubes.
    I ride my bike because I love to ride, it makes me feel better, it's good for the planet, it helps keep me in shape, it is fun, because it is what I love to do.

  12. #12
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    Frankly, I think it is great the OP is enjoying his ride so much. I loved our old 240 Volvos my wife and I drove them both for 20+ years. Friends constantly mocked us about the "Landing" lights on the front (yes, the headlamps were rather large) and how pokey they were, but we were very happy and contented with them.

    Just keep riding your vintage Huffy and let the snobs have their day!

    By the way, I test rode a Specialized Roubaix S Works(pricey top line plastic bike) at the Morgan Hill facility 3 years ago and thought it sucked. Handled like a wide load over limit truck. To each his own.

    Ride on, bro.

  13. #13
    hi YoKev's Avatar
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    good for you

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
    Frankly, I think it is great the OP is enjoying his ride so much. I loved our old 240 Volvos my wife and I drove them both for 20+ years. Friends constantly mocked us about the "Landing" lights on the front (yes, the headlamps were rather large) and how pokey they were, but we were very happy and contented with them.
    Its funny you bring up an older foreign car. We drive a 1985 Mercedes 300D :-) It has won the nickname of "White Elephant" from one of our good friends, in an attempt to make fun of it
    I ride my bike because I love to ride, it makes me feel better, it's good for the planet, it helps keep me in shape, it is fun, because it is what I love to do.

  15. #15
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Great for you very interesting build I can understand spending a lot on steel frame you love
    but this one does seem a little low end for this level of build. This comes frome a man who spent about $400 parts value and a 20-30 hours minimum building up old Juenet 620 with a rusty frame.
    gr

  16. #16
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    $430 for a bike you enjoy is well worth the money. I have an lower end vintage Fuji I ride. I probably have $300-400 into it. It gets me where I want to go and looks pretty good.

  17. #17
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    I just found out the stem is made by Sakae, it is also .833"

    I should have just read my stem instead of reading random internet ramblings...
    I ride my bike because I love to ride, it makes me feel better, it's good for the planet, it helps keep me in shape, it is fun, because it is what I love to do.

  18. #18
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    Have to say that it does seem time to try a "higher quality" frame, just to see the difference. An 80s Trek or decent Nishiki (or the like) could provide an interesting comparison for under $100 and a day's labor switching the parts. On the other hand it seems like you are into the fact that you have made a great rider out of a frame most would pass on, and I respect that. Given that every Surly is straight gauge 4130 (not much different than your tubes?), who's to say?

    I think you will get a lot of people who will support your right to ride and enjoy any bike you want, but I doubt you can convince people that these are somehow "overlooked" quality frames. There are just too many Japanese-made double-butted steel bikes out there to seriously argue about quality.

    I'm one who says enjoy what you like but don't overlook the joy of riding something different! Or, if you enjoyed building and riding this bike, why not another?
    "You didn't see him on the road did you?
    "I passed the felly of it on a bike...going like flames."
    'We'll pass him before he gets to the main road" said Sholto.
    But Sholto had underestimated the speed of his man, who was safe in Taylor's public-house in Swords, drinking in a way that Mr Taylor did not like...
    --Samuel Beckett

  19. #19
    Senior Member that_guy_zach's Avatar
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    Im glad you got a bike you enjoy. I still see these and some of the Murrays running around down here being used everyday.

    Have fun with it

  20. #20
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    Ride what you like and like what you ride.

    After a lot of yrs of not riding I recently started up again, and I just put 2 or 3 hundred into my old 83 Team Fuji. My wife tired to convince me to just buy a nice newer bike off CL, and I told her I bought it new and this is what I want to ride.

    If it makes you happy, why not?

  21. #21
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    In the OP's defense guys, out of that $430, it looks like most of that is parts that are tranferrable over to another frame/project. $75 saddle, $200 in the crank and pedals no doubt -- looks like updated brake levers, cant tell if the wheels are stock painted steel, or some type of Velocity setup


    but also, Jonaimi - I just paid $350 for a '87 Ciocc with complete Campy group on it though -- so the deals are still out there if you roll over enough stones - link to thread - http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...mid-80-s-Ciocc


    I am also in agreement that although that bike has served you well, -- you would love , love a vintage steel frame like a Trek or Centurion, vintage Cannondale even (they ride a bit rougher but are still lightweight, even by todays standards) -- many different choices out there for low coin if you're patient in the pursuit

  22. #22
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    I in no way meant to say this bike was better than, say, a motobacane or even a Piaggio Bianchi. It is a heavy frame with cheap components. though, to be fair, the rear dérailleur has served since 1984 and is still going strong (about to be replaced with a 105 though...) The point of this thread is to compile what little history there is on these bikes, and to let someone who just bought one at a yard sale know that (contrary to what some will tell you) these bikes are worth keeping and riding. They are not "only good for scrap". My bike has made a wonderful commuter, it holds up well to the abuse of getting hit by cars, and the poor road conditions. I personally have a thing for steel, and I am currently looking for a nice steel frame in my size.

    The wheels cost $100 on ebay brand new, they are Vuleta aeroMAX wheels, and they have held up better than the crappy Bontrager wheels on a friends brand new trek. The saddle cost something like $20 on ebay, and the crank was free (dumb luck). The peddles were something like $15 or $20. New brake cartridges & pads cost somewhere around $20. Bar tape and brake levers were $40 or something like that. $18 for the SRAM 8 speed cassette, a little time to stretch the frame to fit the newer wheel width standard, and we are in business. The rest of the $400 (about $182 for those keeping track) is tied up in shoes, cleats, brake cable/housing, shift cable/housing, tires and tubes.

    A little money here, a little there, and I have a fun to ride bike. :-)
    I ride my bike because I love to ride, it makes me feel better, it's good for the planet, it helps keep me in shape, it is fun, because it is what I love to do.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    If you enjoy riding the bike, the money is not important.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Lascauxcaveman's Avatar
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    Real men do it - on a HUFFY!

    But seriously, I just acquired a 29+ lb Ross Gran Tour Professional that I wanted to love, because it was free, my size, and because it was all decked out in 600 Arabesque, but every time I ride it, it only takes a couple miles for me to really start missing my 23 lb Schwinn, My 23 lb trek, my 22 lb Peugeot...

  25. #25
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    I had originally recalled that my bike weighted about 23-24lbs. I was going to say "but, hey this bike isn't that heavy!". Turns out the bike weighs about 29.5lbs... Well, it feels like it up hill, and the weight comes in handy down hill, but other than that, I know what you mean.

    I did almost have my hands on a aluminum 700c threaded fork, but that fell through. I could have shaved about 3 lbs there.

    can someone point me in the right direction (as far as brands go that is) for a cheap but nicer steel frame please?
    I ride my bike because I love to ride, it makes me feel better, it's good for the planet, it helps keep me in shape, it is fun, because it is what I love to do.

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