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Old 04-10-11, 03:20 PM   #1
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Sr. Citizen Questions; A Bunch Of, Please


Haven't gone biking in probably 20 yrs, but would like to do a little, again, for some light exercise.
Would have to be light, as am now in my 70's.

Have a 20 yr old, possibly more, Fuji bike.
Pretty much the regular, normal, looking style.
Road type, Not a Mountain bike style.
Think the frame is steel ?

The tires are the narrow road style.


a. I can't read the psi inflation info on the side.
I seem to remember about 90 psi.
Does this sound about right.

b. The bike is really heavy. Steel frame, probably.

Are the new Road bikes, certainly not not "racing" bike styles,
meaningfully lighter ?

How about the Mountain Bike styles; significantly lighter ?

c. Guess I should also get a helmet.
Was in Sports Authority, and saw a Giro "Indicator" model for
about $ 35.
Is this a good brand ? The reviews in Amazon for the Indicator model seem a bit mixed.

Would really want as light a weight as possible, and not any more than about the $ 35.

Other suggestions, and opinions would be most appreciated ?

And, let me ask this also, please:

The wheel hubs on this old Fuji being threaded on both ends to take a nut.
Certainly doesn't appear to be hollow.

Would like to get a Quick-Release cam for the front wheel.

I see they all seem to use "skewers," and use a hollow axle.

Any quick release cam mechanism available for just a threaded, non-hollow, axle ? Any other possibilities without having to buy new wheels ?


Much thanks,
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Old 04-10-11, 05:21 PM   #2
Kurt Erlenbach
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Take the bike to your local bike shop and have them check it out. You probably need new tires and tubes, a good cleaning, and lube. Otherwise, the bike should be fine. Newer bikes have many newer, better, fancier features, and many are very worthwhile. But an older bike is a good way to start out. Get it rehabbed, ride it for a few months, and then decide on getting something new.
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Old 04-10-11, 05:38 PM   #3
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From OP:


Thanks for advice; certainly makes sense.
Will certainly do.

Concerned a bit about the weight.

The Fuji seems to weigh a ton.
Really seems very heavy.
The weight is going to be a real factor me, I think.

If you get a minute, might you comment on my questions re the weights for a new bike compared to the Fuji; both the road style and the off-road style, please.

BTW: which would be easier for me to pedal at my age
(paved roads only, or at least for the most part; a little on dirt/gravel too, probably) ?

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Old 04-10-11, 06:08 PM   #4
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Older rims may not be constructed for high pressure. Your Local Bike Shop (LBS) can give you advice on that.

It is easier to pedal on pavement or cement than gravel.

You are making too much about the weight. Once you get going it takes about the same amount of power on flat land, no matter the weight. Hills are different, but 10 pounds difference on the bike, at your stage, is not going to make much of a difference. Besides, isn't one of your goals to get in shape? If so, you will get in shape just as fast on a heavier bike.

Your best bet is to get the bike tuned (post above) by your LBS, ride it awhile. This experience will be invaluable in making further bicycling decisions. ALso, mountain bikes are generally heavier than a comparable age road bike, but will likely weigh less than your current older bike.

Yes, new steel, TI, Carbon and Aluminum bikes weigh less. You can spend a LOT of money to save a few grams.

All helmets (even WalMart) must meet minimum safety CPSC standards. The differences in cost are caused by weight, bling, cooling, style. Get one at modest cost that fits well.

Good luck.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 04-10-11 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 04-10-11, 06:46 PM   #5
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Good advice so far, but I love this subject so I'll add a few of my biases. They're not necessarily supported by reality.
I've rehabbed a few bikes from that era (still ride one I converted to singlespeed), and I generally like them. It would be a mistake to spend a ton of money on it (you'll enjoy it, but you can't get the money back), but...
A magnet will tell you if the frame is steel. If it sticks, it is. If it falls off, it isn't.
There's nothing wrong with steel frames, by the way, though older ones can be heavyish.
If the RIMS are steel (magnet again), it's worth replacing the wheels. Not cheap, but you'll feel it immediately and on every ride.
You probably need new tires, so you might as well see if there's room to go up a size or two (will they fit between the front forks and under the brakes?). I'm only a little younger than you are, and I'm much more stable and comfortable with tires in the 28-35mm range. If you have 27-inch wheels instead of the now-standard 700c, your choices will be small, but a bike shop can help. On some (not all) bikes, you can swap to the 700 wheels with only a brake adjustment, which will give you a much wider choice of tires. New wheels also will almost certainly come with quick release, and aluminum will lighten the bike considerably compared to steel. Whether it's worth doing all this to a bike that probably never will be worth more than $100-$150 is something only you can decide (I'm assuming it's not some rare collector-grade Fuji, but one of the mass-market bikes).
At some point, the bottom bracket (bearings where the crankset attaches) and headset (where the handlebar stem goes into the head tube) should be replaced or at least cleaned and greased. It's easily DIY-able but a little finicky. Instructions are widely available online.
Ideas about setup have changed quite a bit since you and I and that bike were young. You may want to consider raising the handlebars (easy with a quill stem, which you probably have). Personally, I almost never use the drops (lower portion of the bars) and I'd be just as happy with a straight bar. If you need a new stem and can't find one locally, Rivendell carries a bunch of them:
As far as "upgrading" the derailleurs, shifters etc., it's probably more expense than it's worth. I'd replace the cables and lube everything, and it will probably shift fine.
What else...? Oh--new or at least cleaned and lubed chain, and new brake pads to replace the old ones, which will be old and dried out and friction-free.
A bike shop can do all of this, of course, and will be happy to take your money. It's not difficult to do on your own, though, and you don't need many special tools. Might as well learn as you go. I'm only an average bumbling mechanic, and I haven't had to take a bike to a shop in 20 or 25 years.

Last edited by Velo Dog; 04-10-11 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 04-10-11, 07:24 PM   #6
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Check your local thrift shops for clothes, helmets, etc. I found a brand new helmet, my size for $4.00 + discount. Check for wicking tops also, usually between 2 to 4 dollars. LBS can estimate your bike needs to get it road worthy. Nothing wrong with heavy bikes, once you get them going its a smooth ride. Enjoy the summer.
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Old 04-10-11, 08:29 PM   #7
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All good advice so far. I'll just add that Fuji made, and still makes some very decent bikes, so depending on what model you have, and the condition of the frame, upgrading could be very worthwhile.
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Old 04-10-11, 09:21 PM   #8
Pedaled too far.
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I'd do it step by step. Let your Fuji teach you about bicycling. Odds are, what it needs are some new tires and tubes and brake pads. Lube the chain and you should be ready to get started riding.

Take a short ride. Then take another one. These rides should give you fun and fill you with questions. As your rides get longer, then you'll become more attuned to your bike and to yourself as a rider.

Come on back here with more questions. At some point you'll probably want another bike. But until you get to the point where your present bike is holding you back, it's unnecessary. And when you do hit that point, your experience will let you know what kind you need.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 04-10-11, 09:34 PM   #9
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dnvrfox gave you the best advice so far, take it to the local bike shop (LBS) and have then go over it. Don't fret about it's weight yet, but don't spend a lot of money on it either. Ride it until you are comfortable riding again and if you decide you want to change it out, let us know why you want to and what you are looking for and maybe we will be able to get you pointed in the right direction. BTW, those old heavy gas pipe frames may not be the fastest up a hill but they did give a pretty comfy ride as the steel was soft and absorbed a lot of rode vibrations.
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Old 04-10-11, 09:43 PM   #10
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By the way it's much cheaper to lose the weight from the engine than from the bike, may not be easier though.
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Old 04-11-11, 12:08 AM   #11
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Whatever else you do, when you go by your local LBS to have them get the old Fuji ship-shape, do not test ride any of the newer bikes. If you do, they will plant seeds of desire deep in your psyche and you will not rest until you acquire one. At least that is what I have been told by those who have gone over to the plastic side.
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Old 04-11-11, 10:31 AM   #12
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From OP:

Hello all,

Just a quick thanks again for all the replies and great info.

Really appreciate all the time everyone took to answer my questions and concerns.

Thanks again; most appreciative
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Old 04-11-11, 11:08 AM   #13
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We started last summer about where you say you are now. We had mid 70’s Schwinns (steel frame and rims). We wondered about the bike weight when we started. While new bikes are lighter once you get used to them you don’t think much about it. The biggest difference is probably in shifters. The old “lever style” shifters are still a pain to use even after all these years. Everything now is a form of “indexed” shifters. You click and it changes gears. No adjustments to get it in the right place. When you couple that with all the gears you now get “standard” there is a lot of difference. One other big difference is in bearings. What we have (and I think you have) are solid shafts, a ring of bearings on both sides and a hollow hub. These need to be kept lubricated. The new wheels have sealed bearings which makes life easier. You will also probably need to update your chain. That technology has changed also and the new ones run a lot smoother. We still think the steel frames get us a nicer faster ride especially on narrow harder tires. There are advantages to a little extra weight and stiffness. I wouldn't change just for the weight. Ater riding for a while, I would change for the other reasons. We did and are not going back.
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Old 04-11-11, 11:14 AM   #14
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The first advice is the LBS. I really can not say how "good" your current bike is. With luck, it might work fine for you to learn on until you get a good idea of what you want or in the case of many of us "lust" after.

The helmet. I believe that ALL BIKE helmets sold today have to meet ANSI standards. The standards are the amount of protection they provide. It is all pretty equal. If you pay more $$$, you get less weight and more vents for better air flow and, of course, better styling. Go with something that fits your noggin and you should be fine.

Tire inflation is another subject. I heard a possible myth that the inflation values on the tires are 1/2 of their rim blow off amounts. So a tire rated at 100 lbs will blow off the rim at 200 lbs. Rolling resistance decreases with pressure but rolling resistance approaches a limit at about 100 lbs. Narrow tires require more inflation than wide tires and heavy riders need to inflate tires more than light riders. You want to have enough inflation to make sure that you do not get pinch flats. So there is no single answer on this one. A light rider (say < 140 lbs) with a 28 mm tire can probably do fine with 80 lbs of pressure. A heavy rider (say > 220 lbs) with a 20 mm tire will need to inflate to 120 lbs.

Unless your bike is amazingly heavy like 38 lbs or so, weight is not that big of an issue. Weight is an issue in changing velocity: rapid acceleration, hard braking and climbing hills. Also many cyclists pack a good 20 lbs + of extra weight on their body. Paying $$$ for a really light bike when one is 40 lbs overweight is not really very effective. Personally, I could afford to lose a good 10 lbs. That extra weight is more right about half of the weight of my current bike. If I bought an ultra top of the line bike, the most weight loss I would get would be 5 or 6 lbs. I think you might get the picture.

If your bike is over 30 lbs, well learn on it and if you enjoy cycling, you can scheme about your new bike.
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Old 04-11-11, 01:41 PM   #15
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A couple of points, not so much in disagreement with what's below but as an alternate view:
Friction ("old-style") shifting is NOT hard to learn. I have the indexing turned off on my main bike (barcon shifters give you the option) because I like to shift. My cars have manual transmissions, too. There's no reason NOT to use indexing if you prefer it, but any fool can learn to shift a bicycle.
No need for alarm about cup-and-cone bearings, either. My newest set (of four bikes) has at least 12,000 miles on it with no sign of trouble. My wife's sealed bearings do, too, but the notion that cups and cones are inherently troublesome is wrong.
Be careful about "updating" your chain as well. If you have a six- or seven-speed cassette (or does that Fuji have a freewheel?), it probably won't work with a "modern" (8-, 9-, or 10-speed) chain. I don't remember all the details, so let the bike shop be your guide there.
And I still don't think you need to go to a bike shop except for parts or if you run into trouble. Learn to work on the thing now and save yourself a long walk someday.

Originally Posted by ncbikers View Post
... The old “lever style” shifters are still a pain to use even after all these years. Everything now is a form of “indexed” shifters... One other big difference is in bearings. What we have (and I think you have) are solid shafts, a ring of bearings ... These need to be kept lubricated. The new wheels have sealed bearings which makes life easier. You will also probably need to update your chain.
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Old 04-11-11, 05:37 PM   #16
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A 20+ year old Fuji with nutted hubs is going to be a heavy bike. You can easily find a new bike that weighs around 10 pounds less. The question becomes "How much are you willing to pay?"

The good thing about the Fuji is you already own it. My advice is to ride it for a month or so until you figure out what you like and hate about it. Then buy a new, lighter bike that maximizes what you like and minimizes what you hate.
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Old 04-11-11, 11:54 PM   #17
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From another person who is both a newbie and over 70:
>Do Not equate age with how much exercise you do. You said your work level would need to be light since you are over 70. Balderdash!!! Your physical and mental condition as modified by your desires are what counts, not age.
>It is too early to worry about how heavy your bike is. Assuming you are fairly comfortable on the bike you have use it until you get better dialed in. Instead really work on your body weight and conditioning.
>Take the bike to a LBS you trust and have them set it up for you.
>When you are ready then buy a new bike that fits what you want. Who knows you may end up being happy with what you have.

Most of all, have fun. No one here can give any advise on that except: Ride, ride and ride.
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Old 04-12-11, 06:43 AM   #18
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Would have to be light, as am now in my 70's.
I've got a guy around here in his mid to late 70's who can ride the pants off anyone. I've got another guy - we call him "Mister 40 miler" who rides 40 miles per day day in and day out He is a year older than I am. Heck, I am 71 and ride over 3,000 miles per year, swim, lift weight, etc.

You are as old as your mindset. Which is why I hate when folks start calling themselves "geezers," "old," etc., especially when they are only in their 50's. Soapbox ended.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 04-12-11 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 04-12-11, 07:10 AM   #19
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Assuming you have experience with that old bike, just cut to the chase and get a new one. Spend money on a new bike and nothing on the old. No regrets.
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Old 04-12-11, 01:47 PM   #20
Time for a change.
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
Assuming you have experience with that old bike, just cut to the chase and get a new one. Spend money on a new bike and nothing on the old. No regrets.
Could agree but WHAT new bike?

Makes sense to get the current bike into ride condition but as cheap as possible. You could go either way on cycling--Decide it is no longer for you- or decide to use the bike for fun and fitness. Never know- you may have a bike that still suits you- fits well and is completely adequate for your needs. BUT----- you will have realised the other way and find that a new bike is required (Or wanted) and that may be of a different type to suit your body. Just don't go Full suspension on the mountain bike you will be talked into as you want to take up offroading.
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