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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Well, I did it. For $20 I got the Univega Viva Sport 12 speed. The guy called me and I took a look in the dark (and a one-block ride). I figured I couldn't lose for $20 so I bought it and brought it home.

    Here's what it has:

    The frame has a decal which says Wheel 2 Transit Authority. God only knows what that means.

    The shifters are Suntour. The frame has a decal saying it's Chromoly Tripple Butted.

    The derailleurs areSuntour LePose.

    The brakes are Diacompe (never heard of it).

    The rims have a decal which says Araya Rim 27x1. The tires are whitewall, and look to be very old. They do hold air, but the rubber looks just sort of soft, if you know what I mean.

    The bars have almost no tape, and what's there is pretty crappy.

    Even though I prefer flatbars, I think I can handle this one for short trips (2-3 miles to the gym and back). When I ride on the tops (?) of the bars it's almost like a flatbar.

    Shifting is weird, with the shifters down the frame. But it does shift.

    Oh yeah...the brakes work, but they are really out of tune. They need adjusting badly.

    So....fellow gearheads and wrenches -- NOW WHAT DO I DO???

    Do i take it to the LBS and have them tune it up? Can I do some things myself (remember, I ain't mechanical).

    Did i get a good deal? Any idea how old it might be?

    Oh fiddlesticks -- I just realized I've lost my last excuse for not going to the gym. Sigh.
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  2. #2
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    Gary, what you do now is take it for a ride, (carefully!). Then upgrade the safety bits, (tires & brakes). Congrats I think a beater bike is a neat thing, something you can really play with and learn repair without fear of breaking anything.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Worst case you've got a nice frame. If you'd rather have flat bars, keep your eyes open for a $20 MTB at garage sales that have handlebars that will fit the Univega. Use a decent lock. That thing would disappear in a hurry near my work.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  4. #4
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Stay with the original bars - they'll grow on you. If you didn't buy Leonard Zinn's "Zinn and the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance" before, look also at Leonard's road bike maintenance book. You probably don't need them both, but one of them is worth the money. You'll save in the long run by buying some tools yourself and using them with Leonard's book(s). You don't have to be mechanical - Leonard makes it pretty simple.

    The safety stuff (like brakes, tires, and drive train) you ought to learn enough about to at least do emergency repairs and simple adjustments. If you aren't there yet, take the bike to your shop ASAP and ask for a safety inspection - we don't want to lose you!! DON'T RIDE THE BIKE WITH BAD BRAKES!

    If you want some bar tape, PM me and I'll send you a pair of rolls as a belated Christmas present. You'll be amazed at how new bar tape can make a bike look sharp!

    Congrats on the new ride. You got the right price! If you ever want to upgrade again, you can sell the parts of your $20 bike for over $100 on e-Bay!

  5. #5
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I shall take the bike tomorrow morning to the LBS for a safety check and lube. I'd also feel better with new tyres and I want those brakes looked at. I shall also get the recommended book. I bought a book put out by Bicycling Magazine that has proved to be worthless to me. It has lots of pictures but never seems to have a picture of the thing I'm trying to do.

    You guys are gonna convert me one way or d'other on road bikes, aren't you. Hmmmph!
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  6. #6
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    ...I shall also get the recommended book. I bought a book put out by Bicycling Magazine that has proved to be worthless to me. It has lots of pictures but never seems to have a picture of the thing I'm trying to do...
    For great online help, try the Park Tools website: http://www.parktool.com/

    They have good photos, descriptions, and tools!

  7. #7
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    I shall take the bike tomorrow morning to the LBS for a safety check and lube. I'd also feel better with new tyres and I want those brakes looked at. I shall also get the recommended book. I bought a book put out by Bicycling Magazine that has proved to be worthless to me. It has lots of pictures but never seems to have a picture of the thing I'm trying to do.

    You guys are gonna convert me one way or d'other on road bikes, aren't you. Hmmmph!
    Perhaps wiser with your expertise. Get the wheels retrued and retensioned at the same time, as you can bet that they need it. Before you take it to the LBS, give it a good clean, and if possible look at parts as you go. Does it change into all gears? Do the brakes actually have a braking effect? How does the saddle feel?, can you adjust the seat post or is it rusted in?

    On the road conversion- Some of us don't want to lose you to the other side. If you go there, all we'll get is how fast you are going, how many miles you've done today, and we won't get the summaries of your rides- unless it is all dark coloured- about the colour of asphelt as you disappear into the distance, legs pumping away and head down.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  8. #8
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    On the road conversion- Some of us don't want to lose you to the other side. If you go there, all we'll get is how fast you are going, how many miles you've done today, and we won't get the summaries of your rides- unless it is all dark coloured- about the colour of asphelt as you disappear into the distance, legs pumping away and head down.
    I am comforted to know that not every cyclist over 50 is obsessed with speed and logging miles on a computer spreadsheet. I had my doubts.

  9. #9
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    Sounds like fun, enjoy!

  10. #10
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Sounds like a perfect bike!! I bet it turns into something similar to the "dog" that folks find that are homeless and take it in. Maybe you should name it Lucky since it is now very lucky to have a home where it is wanted!!!

    Probably a good idea to have the LBS give you a list of things you can work on. Would agree to have the wheels checked out but you could probably learn how to do the rest.

    I agree with keeping the handlebars!! It's part of the make-up of the bike and you certainly would not want to do unneeded "plastic surgery" and change Lucky's character. The new bar tape will really, really make a difference. Plus we might just be getting you one step closer to a real road bike!!

    Welcome to the world of downtube shifting!! It will make you appreciate STI or "brifters" even more over time!!!

    What color is it?

  11. #11
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    While I was cheering for a 3 speed $20 for a functional bike is very
    ok to.......congrats.

    While you should NOT spend much more money I'd get new tires/ tubes
    and have the wheels /brakes checked for safetys sake. Then I'd just
    ride it.

    One thing that you might cruise e-bay for is fenders. Ya never know when it
    gonna rain on the way to/from the gym.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Until you let the bike shop "fix" it the most that you can lose on this deal is $20.00.

    My question is: "Why did you buy it?" "What do you plan to do with it?"

    To me, half of the fun of a beater bike is customizing it for whatever purpose you intend. This looks to me like a golden opportunity to start learning to futz with your bike, what works and what doesn't while only risking a $20.00 investment.

  13. #13
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    That didn't take long at all! Good find too -- especially for $20.

    Shame you aren't close by, I'd have you swing around and get it all taken care of in an afternoon (plus, you could see how it's all done for later adjustments yourself).

    Dia-Compe brakes weren't the best of their time, but they are a very decent brand name from "back then". Sounds like they're center pull brakes. They'll feel a little "soft" or squeezey in action compared to side-pulls -- but a classic brake nonetheless.

    Do get your wheels checked (for true and spoke tension) -- but ESPECIALLY have the hub bearings/races checked for smoothness. Having bearings freeze up on a bottom bracket is one thing -- having them freeze up on a spinning wheel is not good.

    I'd replace tires. If not both, then definately the front.

    Sorry that the Bicycling magazine book isn't working out for you. I worked for the publisher for 15 years during the publications better days. All of the originals have gone. That's all I'll say about that.

    Get it a good once-over and you'll enjoy the ride for many more years.

  14. #14
    jcm
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    You can't go too far astray for $20. Alot of those old bikes had good steel. Have fun!

  15. #15
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Congratulations. Univegas were always well thought of. Good start.

    Since this is a short distance beater, I'd say have the lbs check it over. See how the tires hold air. If they do, then you're good to go in that department. Of course have a patch kit. Replace the tires as they wear out. Even if they are cracked on the sides, as long as the threads in the casing are sound, the tires will hold air.

    Of course, have the brakes inspected and the rims. If they aren't broken, don't fix em.

    Handlebar tape. Nice project for you to do. Wrenching on bikes is not like cars. It's very personal. Now is a good time for a new hobby. I think you will enjoy it. Start on something simple like greasing the front wheel bearings.

    If you don't have tools, maybe its time to hustle over to Sears in El Cajon and scoop up a tool kit (metric) at an after Christmas sale. There should also be some good tool suppliers in Kearny Mesa. While you are at it, pick up a can of white grease for the bearings. One can should last you your entire life. Other posters were warning you about frozen bearings. Keep them awash in white grease and you should be good. As long as the wheels and cranks run smoothly, you should be fine. This is a beater. As long as it rolls smooth and stops well and the gears change smoothly, you don't have to keep it to racing standards.

    And yes, there is a reason for road bikes. Roads are fun to ride. You'll like the drops when you do a hill or start going fast. Down tube shifters are strange at first, but they let you shift without ruining your aerodynamics.

    I have Dia Compe brakes on my American Eagle/Nishiki. In almost 30 years of riding, they haven't let me down. Do get the pads changed and the brakes adjusted.

    Have fun.

  16. #16
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    This is fun! I couldn't wait for daylight to see my new PINK Univega in all its finest. I washed it and took it for another short spin. It became quite shiney, although there is a bit of rust I'll have to work on on the handlebars.

    The bike shifts beautifully throughout the range, front and back. Really smooth, actually, and not that difficult to remember where the shifters are (lol).

    The brakes feel soft and I'll probably have the LBS replace the pads and adjust them. The tyres are really, really old -- although they do hold air. There are little hairs of tyre coming out in various places, if that makes any sense. Not like new tire hair, this is old fraying (?) tire rubber. Probably have the tires replaced and of course get some spare tubes.

    Comparitively speaking, the bike looks a lot simpler to work on than the stuff out there now. Plus, all the parts seem more accessible if that makes any sense.

    Now, if I just knew what a bearing was, and how one greased it, I'd be all set!

    But I have the feeling that six months from now, I'm going to be a half-bad wrench. Of course, now, for my $20 beater, I need a stand, some tools, a couple of books, some parts, and on and on and on. Oh well -- like someone said -- it's a hobby now.

    I have to remember to have the LBS measure the bike. I can't believe my good fortune but this thing fits me like a freakin' glove. Even the drop handlebars are "almost" comfortable already.

    I like that it's pink. Thieves don't like pink, right?
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  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    I am comforted to know that not every cyclist over 50 is obsessed with speed and logging miles on a computer spreadsheet. I had my doubts.
    I like to regard myself as a fit 59er, And I do have to train hard to keep that fitness--- But not all the time. Since my computer batteries ran out- I have not bothered to replace them So guesstimate milage done from previous rides now, and the only place I am fast nowadays is Downhill.

    As I say- plenty of time for high milage training runs- but those gentle rides out with my unfit neighbours are getting more enjoyable- Or will be when I can get them up to a 20mile round trip so they can buy the Pies at the halfway point.

    Gary- Trust you, Not only do you get a half decent bike for a pittance-- You get it in Pink. Not my choice of colour but what a "Babe magnet"
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  18. #18
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    DeeGee,
    Congrats on your find......I once owned a Univega Nuovo Sport with very similar componentry and frame...you probably have a totally chromoly frame which includes the stays....good. My Uni was mid 80's. Is your shifting indexed? If not, PM me and I'll gladly send some bar-end shifters that will work well altho only friction. Setting up new friction shifters is easy. Remember that seemingly minor adjustments to bar and seat height can make a big difference in comfort. We all have stems getting dusty in the garage if you want to play with how far the bars are from your saddle. If you have the original bars, they may be relatively narrow by today's standards. I have extras...let me know.

    And if the bike goes back far enough to have brake extensions (little handles that run along the top of the bar which let you brake without going to the hoods or drops)....they don't work & are unsafe. Please lose them.

    Enjoy!

    Pics?
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
    .

  19. #19
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Did someone say Pics???

    And thanks to jppe, its name (her name?) is LUCKY.

    So...look below and tell me what you think...and she really is PINK, although in some of these pictures se looks red.
    Attached Images Attached Images
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  20. #20
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    Very nice indeed!

    Interesting how the shifters are attached to the downtube. Nice lugwork and fastback seat stays. You really cleaned up for $20. Good to see that the brakes are sidepulls. A few new pads should make a big difference. Go around the side of the rims with a little cleaner and remove the old rubber marks after you install the new pads. Don't leave any cleaner on the rims.

    It's a shame that the tires are showing the signs of age on the sidewalls, tread looks in pretty good shape (all things considered).

    If you find another bike for $20 in your area, you should buy it just to strip it down for learning. Get inside the hubs, bottom bracket, headset, etc.

    Once you get the maintenance/repair bug though, it sticks for life!

  21. #21
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    You may think it is a beater bike, but the thieves won't!

    It won't take too much to make that into a really presentable bike.

    Congratulations on your find.

  22. #22
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Nice score! I bought a mid 80's Univega Maximo Sport frame to build my Single Speed and payed $50.00 for just the frame and fork.... $20.00 is a very good price. I believe those rims may not have hooked beads so when you replace the tires, get some that will work with non-hook rims. Replacing the brake pads with a good quality pad such as Kool Stop may be all you need to do to get it to stop properly. I think you're going to like the Univega.

    Dogbait

  23. #23
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Well, I just got back from Adam's Avenue Bikes, and I'm stoked. STOKED!

    They told me the bike "as is" is worth $100-150. We discussed lots of options, and the one I liked the most, and we're going to do is convert the bike into a single speed freewheel bike. I'm going to replace the tires with Armadillos, replace the brake pads, have the wheels trued, swap out the handlebar for a Northroads Touring Bar (I know, I know...it's not like drops), install some cool cork grips, and swap out the saddle for a "used" saddle (in this case, one that was removed from another bike and never used). And a new chain.

    I think that's everything. Stage II (optional) down the road will include some fenders and a rack. Stage I is going to cost about $250 ($100 labor, $150 parts). I think it's quite reasonable and I'll have a fun alternative to the Trek 3900. I have to wait until at least Friday to pick up the bike (not all the parts were in stock). I can't stand waiting! But it's promised by Tuesday at the latest.

    These guys were so friendly, just great bike geeks who loved talking bikes and parts and options. I did not feel like they were trying to "sell" me anything in particular. Interestingly, one guy took me outside to see the bikes THEY ride -- yep -- all singlespeed conversions. That said, I still don't think they were trying to sell me something I didn't want. I think it's going to be a fun bike.

    So, I guess I WILL have to worry a little bit about bike thieves after all, because this is going to be one cool bike. I'll get a good lock.

    Or...

    Another beater...
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  24. #24
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogbait
    Nice score! I bought a mid 80's Univega Maximo Sport frame to build my Single Speed and payed $50.00 for just the frame and fork.... $20.00 is a very good price. I believe those rims may not have hooked beads so when you replace the tires, get some that will work with non-hook rims. Replacing the brake pads with a good quality pad such as Kool Stop may be all you need to do to get it to stop properly. I think you're going to like the Univega.

    Dogbait
    Your bike is gorgeous! I hope mine looks half as good as that when it's finished.
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  25. #25
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    Gary - I think you've got a nice bike there. The pics are good and the bike appears a classic steel frame.
    It sounds like fun changing it to a fixed gear. I agree with others, you are still going to need to watch that bike or it will be gone. A great find, I should look for one like that. You can't have too many bikes!

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