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Old 06-30-08, 09:35 PM   #1
cccorlew
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What to do with this bike....

Perhaps inspired by Taxi777s new Fixed gear/SS he posted here, I dragged my oldie out of the garage and cleaned it up.

It was my almost-first real roadie. I got it used in 1976 and, like a kid, thought I could turn it into the bike I wish I had by changing parts one at a time as the years passed.

Here's the spec:
  • Mid-70s Gitane Tour de France
  • Had it painted and had braze on shifter and water bottle bosses added
  • Fork had problems, so I added a new one, but Columbus instead of Reynolds steel, and a Shimano 600 headset
  • New brakes (Old Weinmans were awful)
  • New seatpost and seat
  • New bars and stem ( I relly on't know why)
  • Campy high flange hub new wheels (36 spokes, dude!)
  • Replaced bar end shifters with real carbon downtube shifters
  • I just ordered new brake levers. What's on there now is an old Diacomp tandem lever that pulls both brakes (Don't ask why). I never liked it.

It really is a FrankenBike. It has no historic value. But It's kinda cool and I had a ton of miles on it in the olden days. Plus, I think I can't sell it for much, so I should have some fun, right?

But what to do? Whatever it is, it has to be cheap.
Commuter? But the downtube friction shifters are so....
  • Tour bike? But then I'd want a lot of expensive changes....
  • Single speed? I think all I need is a single speed BMX style freewheel.
  • Fixie? But then don't I need a new rear wheel, or at least hub?

What should I do that's cheap and fun?




Look, I bought carbon shifter levers because I thought I'd have a cool bike


Shimano Crane. FIVE speeds baby!


Sugino cranks


I don't even remember buying these, but I do remember the Weinmans were really bad...


I even had my name added when i got it repainted
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Old 06-30-08, 09:47 PM   #2
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I rather like it send it to me and I'll change my name to Curtis Corlew. Seriously if it doesn't matter just make it fixed for as least amount as you can and if you want to change it back ever then you're not out a lot. I really do like the black with the red cable housing and I'm used the Crane RD on my Volare and my wifes mixte, a very nice shifting piece if you want to get rid of it let me know.
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Old 06-30-08, 09:59 PM   #3
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Cool bike, keep it as is.
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Old 06-30-08, 10:08 PM   #4
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Cool bike, keep it as is.
It is cool, but as it is I'm just not going to ride it. I have a nice Kestrel RT700 I love, and a Mountain bike turned commuter bike.

I don't see myself making a big effort to ride a down tube shifters 10 speed.

I want to make it something I'll actually use.
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Old 06-30-08, 10:15 PM   #5
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Cool bike, keep it as is.
I second the motion.
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Old 06-30-08, 10:51 PM   #6
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I agree with the other posters, it's cool the way it is. I love that fork...what is the frame made of? I can't read the decal but unless it's made of gas pipe, it's a keeper.

If you put it in the rotation with your other bikes, it will save wear and tear on them.

Hell, Curtis...it would be like a fling with an old girl friend.
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Old 06-30-08, 11:12 PM   #7
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The frame is Reynold 531. The steerer had weird problems, so when I got it painted (in about 81 maybe) I had a Columbus steel fork put on.

I'm leaning toward singlespeed. That way it could always go back if there was a need... And it would still look cool.
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Old 06-30-08, 11:28 PM   #8
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531...ooooooh If you've a hankerin' for ss, go for it. I can't advise...I've never done a conversion, but it can't be too difficult.
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Old 06-30-08, 11:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cccorlew View Post
It is cool, but as it is I'm just not going to ride it. I have a nice Kestrel RT700 I love, and a Mountain bike turned commuter bike.

I don't see myself making a big effort to ride a down tube shifters 10 speed.

I want to make it something I'll actually use.
It does look seriously nice as is, and there's more than one way to "use it". I'd be happy enough to have the thing around just for those "Yeah, I'd love to go for a ride if...." moments.
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Old 07-01-08, 03:55 AM   #10
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Leave it alone - it's a beaut. Ride it in style - like tooling around down in a mint MG.
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Old 07-01-08, 04:56 AM   #11
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I understand. Cool bike but it doesn't fill a nitch in the stable. Singlespeed would be easy, but fixed would be more appealing (to me).

I have a similar problem with my Fuji. Really nice wheels with freewheel - not practical to convert to fixie without a wheel change.
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Old 07-01-08, 08:20 AM   #12
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I understand. Cool bike but it doesn't fill a nitch in the stable. Singlespeed would be easy, but fixed would be more appealing (to me).

I have a similar problem with my Fuji. Really nice wheels with freewheel - not practical to convert to fixie without a wheel change.
Converting to a singlespeed freewheel would make no sense whatsoever, because you can obtain the same result simply by not shifting. I am not a fixed gear fan, but I do concede that fixed gear would give you an entirely different riding experience.

If you dislike taking a hand off the bars to change gears, why not convert to friction barcons?
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Old 07-01-08, 08:30 AM   #13
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The frame is Reynold 531. The steerer had weird problems, so when I got it painted (in about 81 maybe) I had a Columbus steel fork put on.
What kind of problems? My first bike has weirdness too, but they say the fork is straight. But it doesn't act like it.
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Old 07-01-08, 03:30 PM   #14
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If you dislike taking a hand off the bars to change gears, why not convert to friction barcons?
Oddly, that's what it had when i got it. I just never liked them. I lived with downtube shifters until last year. Those darn brifters are a thing of wonder and delight.
Single speeds I hear are quieter and feel different than just not shifting. Maybe they are more efficient as well, in their own way. Or so says Sheldon Brown.

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What kind of problems? My first bike has weirdness too, but they say the fork is straight. But it doesn't act like it.
I almost remember. It was something like...The steerer tube was very short, and the headset got loose and the threads got chewed up beyond being able to salvage. There just wasn't enough there to screw anything on to.
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Old 07-01-08, 03:53 PM   #15
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Wow, that is one fine looking vintage ride. As I look at your close ups I recognize so many parts that I've had on bikes in the past. I especially enjoyed the Crane rear dérailleur. I had a short and long cage version. Both performed flawlessly. While I understand those who say leave it the way it is, I also understand your sense of utility. I'd probably go with a fixie in order to try that particular riding experience. I implore you, however, to keep all of the parts so it can be restored in the wonderful condition displayed in your photos. Who knows, maybe some day you'll be in to riding it much in the same manner folks with vintage cars like driving them... not as an everyday ride, but as something special on the odd occasion.
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Old 07-01-08, 04:05 PM   #16
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I'm in the same boat as you, I've got 2 older 10 speeds that don't get ridden as much as the 2 newer road bikes. I've been down the fixed path once before and that doesn't have any special appeal to me and I can't ride fixed from my house with our 1.5 mile steep hill. So I've made the older ones the foul weather gear with fenders, etc. Gets me out on days when I might otherwise pass.
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Old 07-01-08, 05:14 PM   #17
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I like it as is--but if you've got to have a project, it's a no brainer. Fixed gear.

Why?

Because it's the cheapest while also being the most rad change you can make with that bike. And it will make you a cycling god.
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Old 07-01-08, 05:20 PM   #18
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I do want to be a cycling god...
But I don't want to buy a new hub or wheel....
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Old 07-01-08, 05:46 PM   #19
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I do want to be a cycling god...
It's your fate. You must bear it with dignity.
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Old 07-01-08, 06:51 PM   #20
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If I had a nice older frame with a good drive train in good shape AND if it had clearance for largish tires and fenders, I'd put 32-35 mm tires and fenders and a rear rack and bag on it and ride it back and forth to work.
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Old 07-01-08, 07:18 PM   #21
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A fixed gear with a set of these in RED
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Old 07-01-08, 07:30 PM   #22
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Fixie or single speed would be nice. It's not like it's irreversable in any event. You may need to look around for a special needs rear wheel to do it but it's not hard.

The big ring may need to move to the inside of the crankarm so it lines up. But again there's nothing that you can't undo with such a conversion.
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