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  1. #1
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    Highest quality build of 70's80's road/touring bikes...

    Hello.
    I am new to this forum and new to cycling.
    I've been having a lot of fun on my late 70's Schwinn Varsity and I ride it at least 100 miles per week.
    It rides fine, but I want to get some modern or vintage parts on there to handle hills better and also to improve braking.
    Went to some bike shops and have been getting quotes on some of the work I want done.
    Seeing that I'm in the $500 + range for parts and labor, I thought I might consider riding some other decent condition, used bikes of those periods, to see if I can find a bike I like even more.

    So what I'd like to know from anyone here who cares to share, are some lists of bike makes and models which were considered to be excellent build quality for their time.

    I don't care about weight.
    I don't need to be told that the bike I have is not worth putting the work into.
    I have no interest in a newer bicycle.
    I don't care much about speed.
    I test rode dozens of new bikes for two months.
    Liked none as much as an old 70's steel frame bicycle.
    I like the weight. I like everything about the frame. I'm unattached to the rest of it, despite liking the looks.

    I do care about durability and strength.
    I wanted to go to an aluminum wheel because I was told I'd get better stopping power in wet conditions.
    This led me down a path where changing nearly everything, was what I was told was necessary to get what I wanted while still retaining several choices for parts.


    Any advice on accomplishing the work to this bike, and/or opinions on other quality steel frame bicycles of yore, would be greatly appreciated.


    Thank you.
    Last edited by Brandosees; 12-19-13 at 01:41 AM. Reason: Noticed some typos

  2. #2
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Obviously, you have not had a chance to ride a quality vintage road bicycle. To that add that you, again obviously, do not want negative advice that would suggest spending $500 on such a bicycle would not be wise. So, there is little advice that I could offer, even though I have published a 600+ website aimed at helping people (like you) who are new to the interest in owning, building-up and riding vintage road bicycles. With that in mind, enjoy the bike and, if the bug catches, a few years from now you will realize that some of the things you won't allow to be offered, would have, in fact, been pretty useful to a newbie, such as yourself.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  3. #3
    billy chuck eschlwc's Avatar
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    yeah, don't be at all closed off to information from expert c&v'ers on what they would do in your shoes. the people of c&v love steel road bikes, and if 95% of them were in your shoes, they would take that $500 and buy one or two steel roadies from maybe the '70s or '80s that were lighter, more reliable, more lively, safer, and a trillion times more fun to ride when doing 100 miles a week.

    i'd look for a better bike with a nice groupset and buy the tools needed to overhaul it yourself. this is what i did, spent around $100 initially on tools and have used them repeatedly. this site and sheldon brown can teach you anything quickly.

    as far as steel bikes, look for one in your size that has an on-frame derailleur hanger, aluminum rims, and a cotterless crank. these items will normally steer you towards good butted or double butted frames. with your budget, you can buy something with suntour cyclone, shimano 600 or similar. after tuning it yourself and adding new consumables (pasela tires, salmon pads, etc), you'll wonder why you rode that varsity so long...

  4. #4
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    ?

    Quote Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
    Obviously, you have not had a chance to ride a quality vintage road bicycle. To that add that you, again obviously, do not want negative advice that would suggest spending $500 on such a bicycle would not be wise. So, there is little advice that I could offer, even though I have published a 600+ website aimed at helping people (like you) who are new to the interest in owning, building-up and riding vintage road bicycles. With that in mind, enjoy the bike and, if the bug catches, a few years from now you will realize that some of the things you won't allow to be offered, would have, in fact, been pretty useful to a newbie, such as yourself.
    You couldn't have just used the same energy in writing this, to name some great bikes for their time? Oh, you could have, but you chose to be contrary simply because I was specific about my areas of interest.
    I never said I didn't want negative advice.
    Mechanical or size issues I may run into, etc. That's fine.
    I said what I didn't care to hear because it's already been considered.
    I wanted to skip the part I've seen on so many threads where they tell a person what would be better for that person. Some people don't care about money and just want to know how to get from a to b.
    A helpful person might share what they know and leave it at that.
    I joined this forum with trepidation after reading many abusive threads where more experienced members berate people who are new to this. They go on long diatribes about how much they know, yet don't answer simple questions.
    I took a shot, anyway.

    You shouldn't make assumptions. I have ridden some classic Raleighs and Fujis, as I have a friend who raced competitively, years back and has quite a collection. I didn't name them because I came on here for what I don't know. I wanted a broader view. People who've lived in an era can give info that someone researching may not have access to.
    I like the Varsity precisely because it is not ranked up there, yet offered a better ride(to me, subjectively) than all of the new bikes I tested ranging from $800 to $2,000.
    Ride. Not speaking of shifting. Speaking of comfort.
    Many seasoned cyclists also recommended saddles, but they were horrible. They all advised not to get a brooks saddle, yet I couldn't be happier with the comfort.
    Some people know what they like.

    Enjoy your "600 + website" not sure what that means(perhaps 600 pages.)
    I'm sure it's full of tips, but it should be said that if youre unable to offer advice to someone simply because they know what they don't want, then your advice can't be worth much.

    You old goats are entertaining, at least.
    Thanks for being predictable.
    Canceling membership.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandosees View Post
    You couldn't have just used the same energy in writing this, to name some great bikes for their time? Oh, you could have, but you chose to be contrary simply because I was specific about my areas of interest.
    I never said I didn't want negative advice.
    Mechanical or size issues I may run into, etc. That's fine.
    I said what I didn't care to hear because it's already been considered.
    I wanted to skip the part I've seen on so many threads where they tell a person what would be better for that person. Some people don't care about money and just want to know how to get from a to b.
    A helpful person might share what they know and leave it at that.
    I joined this forum with trepidation after reading many abusive threads where more experienced members berate people who are new to this. They go on long diatribes about how much they know, yet don't answer simple questions.
    I took a shot, anyway.

    You shouldn't make assumptions. I have ridden some classic Raleighs and Fujis, as I have a friend who raced competitively, years back and has quite a collection. I didn't name them because I came on here for what I don't know. I wanted a broader view. People who've lived in an era can give info that someone researching may not have access to.
    I like the Varsity precisely because it is not ranked up there, yet offered a better ride(to me, subjectively) than all of the new bikes I tested ranging from $800 to $2,000.
    Ride. Not speaking of shifting. Speaking of comfort.
    Many seasoned cyclists also recommended saddles, but they were horrible. They all advised not to get a brooks saddle, yet I couldn't be happier with the comfort.
    Some people know what they like.

    Enjoy your "600 + website" not sure what that means(perhaps 600 pages.)
    I'm sure it's full of tips, but it should be said that if youre unable to offer advice to someone simply because they know what they don't want, then your advice can't be worth much.

    You old goats are entertaining, at least.
    Thanks for being predictable.
    Canceling membership.
    Hey Randy,

    Nice try.

  6. #6
    billy chuck eschlwc's Avatar
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    merry christmas!

  7. #7
    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Touring bikes tend to be of pretty uniformly good quality across the board. So, if you find one for a good price, snap it up.

    Road bikes? Most every brand had great, good, okay, and bad models. So the list of good ones would be uselessly long. Instead, look for bike with good components, then you know you have one that is worth putting thought and effort into.

    Simple as that.

    jim
    Cross Check Nexus7, IRO Mark V, Trek 620 Nexus7, Karate Monkey half fat, IRO Model 19 fixed, Amp Research B3, Surly 1x1 half fat fixed, and more...
    --------------------------
    SB forever

  8. #8
    Senior Member redscampi's Avatar
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    Wow, that was quick! Looks like he was pretty sure no one could teach him anything and was out to prove it. I'm pretty much a noob and Randy's website and the wealth of information available there are what led me to be here.

  9. #9
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    Someone just did a sock puppet to have fun with us old goats. You don't pick a Varsity as your grail w/o some knowledge. Come on, fess up. BTW, Randy's website is THE resource for starting with old bikes.

  10. #10
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    Lighten up, folks. I have a son who has Aspergers. He asks questions in very specific ways. When I get off track with my answers or try to bring up questions he hasn't asked he loses interest. That's who he is. Not saying the OP has Aspergers. I am saying we can't know the person behind the post and it's probably better to draw people in by engaging them around what they have asked instead of dismissing them with a much too comma laden shot across the bow.

    I am now on my third rebuild in the past several months. I could not have done my rebuilds without this site and others like Randy's, but I confess to being bored at times by the pissing contests. We're allowed a limited number of keystrokes in life. Don't waste them.
    "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." Emerson

  11. #11
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    OP said that he was familiar with Raleighs and Fujis. There are plenty of bikes between those brands to meet whatever real or imagined requirements he might have.

    My immediate recommendation would be for counseling in the areas of anger and contentment.

  12. #12
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    To the OP, here's your bike, the 1978 Fuji America:

    http://classicfuji.com/America_1978_Page.htm

    Find one in your size. It's everything that you want and more. PG

  13. #13
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Ooh, this stuff doesn't happen in C&V too often.

    FWIW (and that probably isn't much), when I read the initial post I felt like posting something much like randyjawa's. It seemed as if the OP had already been told his bike was what it is and he had already taken offense.

    A guy with a chip on his shoulder walks into a bar...

    Oh well. A lost opportunity for all.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  14. #14
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    Brandosees, When it comes to old bicycles, you have to take the negative opinions along with the positive ones as both can have a positive effect on a project. Your Varsity is generally considered an entry level bicycle, despite yours and other's affection for them. The aluminum rims are a good modification, but I wouldn't go much further unless maintenance issues are included. Search for the gas pipe thread for ideas.

    There is no list of C&V bicycles. There are simply too many brands and models, add to that few are still in OEM condition nor OEM equipped. Browse through this forum and read some comments on member's builds for good bikes.

    Brad

  15. #15
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    I am sorry that I cost Bike Forums a member. That was not my intention.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  16. #16
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    From the speed of the anger reply coming back I can see why the sock puppet idea came first, but Randy, and his site, are probably one of the best resources around and he is above reproach in my opinion (I know about most peoples thoughts regarding opinions, the relation to human waste elimination orifices and odor, etc.) The word troll comes to mind with the almost immediate response and the tone of the OP, I was wondering from the first reading of it what his real purpose was. When he comes back to flame me for this I won't be surprised, most people that walk off with the line about canceling membership and such lurk around to see what they can draw out of us.

    Want to place wagers on how fast the OP comes back to set everyone straight?

    Bill
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    From the speed of the anger reply coming back I can see why the sock puppet idea came first, but Randy, and his site, are probably one of the best resources around and he is above reproach in my opinion (I know about most peoples thoughts regarding opinions, the relation to human waste elimination orifices and odor, etc.) The word troll comes to mind with the almost immediate response and the tone of the OP, I was wondering from the first reading of it what his real purpose was. When he comes back to flame me for this I won't be surprised, most people that walk off with the line about canceling membership and such lurk around to see what they can draw out of us.

    Want to place wagers on how fast the OP comes back to set everyone straight?

    Bill
    Yeah, I won't take you up on that wager, Bill, but I'd sure appreciate seeing that signature paired with a more gracious post containing fewer completely uninformed assumptions.
    "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." Emerson

  18. #18
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    FWIW, Bill, I learned recently that we are not allowed to call someone a Troll on BF, even though the appropriate emoticon is provided. I'll refrain from voicing an opinion about this, just passing along information.

  19. #19
    Casual Student of C&V J.Oxley's Avatar
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    Man. That was ... something.

    RandyJawa: I wouldn't get too bummed about costing bike forums a member, especially since you did nothing to warrant his asinine reaction. (I love opportunities to use "asinine." Sounds like a swear word but is totally legit vocabulary.)

    So yeah. To the OP -- There's a 'search forum' feature in the top right. If you can't engage in a conversation without warrantless blasting of long-time members, I suggest you use it. Less time typing, more time learning, less offense taken by all.
    That's enough out of you, legs. Shut up and pedal.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    It all happened too fast for me. I was going to ask him what his bike shop was going to give him for $500, and what his vision was for the finished product. Then we could help him with details and help him to see the more specific trade-offs.

    For example if he was asked to take brifters, that drives a lot of things a newbie might not expect, like new handlebars and stem. But then will the stem fit the skinny Varsity steer tube? And was he doing new wheels or new rims? If the bike was re-rimmed, no other drivetrain changes are necessary. And on and on, you guys get this stuff.

    Randy, don't sweat it. You've already captured your thoughts on your site, and it can expand the mind of the seeker. It's then up to the seeker to decide how to approach it.

    I didn't appreciate the "old goats" thing, even if I have called us "cranky and vintage" at times ....

  21. #21
    Senior Member Germany_chris's Avatar
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    Since when did reading about something become to hard? I'm seeing this more and more recently in my little Linux world, people don't want to be pointed to the manual/Wiki they just want the answer.
    I'm an angry angst ridden anarcho-punk socialist you should just generally disregard my posts--Germany_chris

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    From the speed of the anger reply coming back I can see why the sock puppet idea came first, but Randy, and his site, are probably one of the best resources around and he is above reproach in my opinion (I know about most peoples thoughts regarding opinions, the relation to human waste elimination orifices and odor, etc.) The word troll comes to mind with the almost immediate response and the tone of the OP, I was wondering from the first reading of it what his real purpose was. When he comes back to flame me for this I won't be surprised, most people that walk off with the line about canceling membership and such lurk around to see what they can draw out of us.

    Want to place wagers on how fast the OP comes back to set everyone straight?

    Bill
    Very clever, Bill. By the wager comment, you shut the whole thing down- If the OP comes back, then it positively identifies him as a troll, and if he doesn't, good riddance. Ignore Randyjawa's advice at your peril- he spent hundreds of hours to create his web site to spare folks like the OP lengthy threads about what exactly they want from C&V, and he was good enough to share it to all of us, and we're better for it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
    Since when did reading about something become to hard? I'm seeing this more and more recently in my little Linux world, people don't want to be pointed to the manual/Wiki they just want the answer.
    +100 I get it all the time in my IT world. One guy I know ONLY calls me when he needs info. I just say, "did you google the question?".
    Uh, no is the answer. I do believe some folks are not very adept at googling for info. Hence the existence of http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+google#seen

  24. #24
    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    It's possible that I was the mechanic who assembled the OP's Varsity.
    If he was the original owner "back when" and came back to our shop to inquire about upgrades we'd have told him: "Waste of $, sell it and buy a Super Sport, Gran Prix or Mirage until you can afford 531."

    If he was argumentative we had a door.

    -Bandera
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  25. #25
    Senior Member Germany_chris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tmh657 View Post
    +100 I get it all the time in my IT world. One guy I know ONLY calls me when he needs info. I just say, "did you google the question?".
    Uh, no is the answer. I do believe some folks are not very adept at googling for info. Hence the existence of http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+google#seen
    I really don't mind giving people answers but you gotta try first, a little self sufficiency is all I ask. Information is easier to get now than ever before, you used to have to actually go to the library to answer questions not google touring bikes of the 70's and 80's.
    I'm an angry angst ridden anarcho-punk socialist you should just generally disregard my posts--Germany_chris

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