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  1. #1
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Keep old bikes as is, upgrade, or buy something new?

    I have been away from cycling for the last 18 months but I ready to get back to riding. I currently have two bikes. A '97 Bianchi Advantage hybrid (chro moly frame, 7 speed AceraX/Alivio, gripshift) and a mid 80s Schwinn Le Tour Luxe Touring bike (Suntour group components, downtube friction shifters, 6 speed freewheel, triple on front.) Both bikes are set up with SPD pedals. Both bikes are in decent, rideable shape. The Bianchi was tuned up a few years ago and the Schwinn completely tuned up and overhauled by a LBS 4 years ago. So aside from some minor adjustments, both bikes are pretty much in rideable condition.

    So, I realize that I have some work to do to get back into riding shape. What that means to me is, weekend rides of 30 to 40 miles, and weeknight rides of 15 or so miles. Riding is almost exclusively road or paved trails, though I have occasionally done dirt or crushed limestone trails. 4 or 5 years ago, that is what I did with the Bianchi, though I found that even when I was in good riding shape, 30 or 40 miles was about the limit for the Bianchi, which is why I bought the Schwinn.

    Thing is, I think I am done with the C & V thing, and especially the whole downtube shifting. Also, even 18 months ago, I had trouble riding the Schwinn in the drops. I thought about trying to modernize the Schwinn, but my other thought is to sell it as is and put the money towards something like a Salsa Casseroll, perhaps fitted with wood chipper bars or some sort of modified drop bar that I could actually use.

    So, modify the Schwinn, buy something new like the Salsa, or maybe a Kona Jake, or just ride the hell out of the Bianchi?

  2. #2
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    What is the problem with the drops? If it is simply that you are out of shape, that will come back - and anyway, for ordinary riding on a touring bike I don't spend that much time in the drops, using them mostly for headwinds or just for variety.

    Personally I'd suggest you ride what you've got to get yourself back in shape. At that point you can evaluate what you feel about the current bikes, and more importantly, you'll be better able to assess what you might want in a new bike.

    One thing I wouldn't recommend is immediately spending the money on modifying the Schwinn. A new groupset is expensive, and you'd need a new wheelset - well, at least a new rear wheel - to accommodate it. For that money you could pretty much have a new bike.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    I have been away from cycling for the last 18 months but I ready to get back to riding. I currently have two bikes. A '97 Bianchi Advantage hybrid (chro moly frame, 7 speed AceraX/Alivio, gripshift) and a mid 80s Schwinn Le Tour Luxe Touring bike (Suntour group components, downtube friction shifters, 6 speed freewheel, triple on front.) Both bikes are set up with SPD pedals. Both bikes are in decent, rideable shape. The Bianchi was tuned up a few years ago and the Schwinn completely tuned up and overhauled by a LBS 4 years ago. So aside from some minor adjustments, both bikes are pretty much in rideable condition.

    So, I realize that I have some work to do to get back into riding shape. What that means to me is, weekend rides of 30 to 40 miles, and weeknight rides of 15 or so miles. Riding is almost exclusively road or paved trails, though I have occasionally done dirt or crushed limestone trails. 4 or 5 years ago, that is what I did with the Bianchi, though I found that even when I was in good riding shape, 30 or 40 miles was about the limit for the Bianchi, which is why I bought the Schwinn.

    Thing is, I think I am done with the C & V thing, and especially the whole downtube shifting. Also, even 18 months ago, I had trouble riding the Schwinn in the drops. I thought about trying to modernize the Schwinn, but my other thought is to sell it as is and put the money towards something like a Salsa Casseroll, perhaps fitted with wood chipper bars or some sort of modified drop bar that I could actually use.

    So, modify the Schwinn, buy something new like the Salsa, or maybe a Kona Jake, or just ride the hell out of the Bianchi?
    I have been in a simular situation as you. But it was after I got back into cycling for about 4 years. I started looking for a more classic backup bike for a N+1. The search was a bit harder than I thought it would be because I had several spare wheels I could use that were set up for 8-9-10 speed hubs. That meant I needed a rear axle setting of 130 rather than the classic 126. So whatever you decide on just remember it is easier to upgrade a more modern frame. I won't get into trying to cold set a old steel frame. If it were me I would keep the Bianchi and replace the Le Tour with something newer or with newer equipment. Just my opinion, and I ended up going with Klein with 130 rear drop outs.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    I would not suggest modernizing an old frame unless there is something special about it. (sentimental value, wonderful ride, classic model ....) Otherwise go for a modern bike of some sort from the start.

    Keep one of your bikes for a rain/winter/commuting bike.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  5. #5
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    @ Homebrew01. Not sentimental over it. I bought the Schwinn on CL, had it overhauled at a LBS. I thought about modernizing it back then, but the guy at LBS suggested just basic things like tires, brakes, and parts that were actually worn out, which were surprisingly few. It is a classic, lugged chro moly frame, but is it a stone, cold classic as it sits? Don't know. I figured that if I can find the right buyer, I should be able to get at least a couple of hundred for it, maybe more.

    @ chasm 54. With bar ends, the Bianchi gives me 3 hand positions. In theory, a drop bar should also offer at least 3 hand positions, though I find riding the tops hard on my shoulders and riding the drops, hard on my back. Yes, I am out of shape right now so I agree, I need to ride more before making a purchasing decision.

    @ mobile155. Thanks for the advise. I think you are right about the Schwinn. I bought it on a lark, at this point I am in it for a couple of hundred, but I think as it sits, I might just about break even if I can find the right buyer.

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Run what ya brung! I would be riding the hell out of the Bianchi, try a handle bar swap if you need a change up. FWIW I have wayyyyy to many bikes (30+ ) most are vintage, but that is what I prefer to ride. Get in better shape then decide if you really want an upgrade.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
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  7. #7
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    Once you lose some weight and firm up, you'd be surprised as to how much your bike's performance improves.

    You've got some really nice bikes...Keep 'em!
    Last edited by SlimRider; 05-05-12 at 08:30 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Appreciate the feedback. Looks like the consensus so far is to stick with the Bianchi, sell the Schwinn, and hold off on any new purchases. I was wondering if anyone thought it made sense to modernize or upgrade the Schwinn, but so far the consensus is no.

    Much as I respect the advice I get from my LBS(s), every one of those guys happens to have a bike or three that will outperform my old rides.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    Thanks guys. Appreciate the feedback. Looks like the consensus so far is to stick with the Bianchi, sell the Schwinn, and hold off on any new purchases. I was wondering if anyone thought it made sense to modernize or upgrade the Schwinn, but so far the consensus is no.

    Much as I respect the advice I get from my LBS(s), every one of those guys happens to have a bike or three that will outperform my old rides.
    Just one more point. If you already have tried CL then look there again for something with STI shifters and at least 8 rear cogs. That way if you fall in love with the machine it will be easier to upgrade and keep when the N+1 urge hits you. Lots of people but some pretty good road bikes and never ride them. Look for Giant OCRs, what they made before the Defy, maybe a Cannondale, Early Trek, Specialized or a Jamis Ventura anything made to take a 8-9-10 speed hub. If you get something that is the right size for you and a bit more relaxed like the OCR the drop from the saddle to the top of the ramps will be higher and easier on your back. Flip the stem up and you might find the drops are easier as well. Just remember maybe half to 70 percent of the people that buy new bikes give up riding in the first year. Hold out for a clean bike and you could be on your way. If you have questions simply come back and ask.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
    Just one more point. If you already have tried CL then look there again for something with STI shifters and at least 8 rear cogs. That way if you fall in love with the machine it will be easier to upgrade and keep when the N+1 urge hits you. Lots of people but some pretty good road bikes and never ride them. Look for Giant OCRs, what they made before the Defy, maybe a Cannondale, Early Trek, Specialized or a Jamis Ventura anything made to take a 8-9-10 speed hub. If you get something that is the right size for you and a bit more relaxed like the OCR the drop from the saddle to the top of the ramps will be higher and easier on your back. Flip the stem up and you might find the drops are easier as well. Just remember maybe half to 70 percent of the people that buy new bikes give up riding in the first year. Hold out for a clean bike and you could be on your way. If you have questions simply come back and ask.
    I hear you, and will keep my eye out on CL for a modern road bike, cyclo cross, or touring bike that might be a substantial upgrade.

  11. #11
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Whatever bikes you currently have-Ride them. It will take a while to get your fitness back and if you work hard enough should be by the end of Summer. Keep the bikes running and decide what you need in a bike- different size- different style- better components.

    Then come Autumn and the 2012 bikes will have to be shifted by the dealers at a good price for you. By that time you will have found out that your current bikes do the job you want from them- OR NOT.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  12. #12
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Whatever bikes you currently have-Ride them. It will take a while to get your fitness back and if you work hard enough should be by the end of Summer. Keep the bikes running and decide what you need in a bike- different size- different style- better components.

    Then come Autumn and the 2012 bikes will have to be shifted by the dealers at a good price for you. By that time you will have found out that your current bikes do the job you want from them- OR NOT.
    Thanks for the reality check. You are correct that it may take several months to get back to where I was even 2 years ago, or even 4 or 5 years ago. Your advice also reminded me of a group ride I did about 4 years ago back when I was much fitter. That summer, I did a Saturday group ride every weekend over the summer. I consider it a point of pride that I finished every group ride I went on, including one particularly hot day we set out on a 40 mile ride when some of the folks in high end road bikes seemed to have been snake bitten, with one guy giving up because of 2 flats, and the rest (including the group leader) cutting the ride short because of the hot weather. Ironically it was a small group of us riding the "slower" hybrids that actually finished the ride. The group leader sent us ahead, telling us the faster road bikes would catch up down the road. It wasn't until we were more than 15 miles out that we realized that they weren't coming.

    It isn't just the gear, but rather also the rider.

  13. #13
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Update. Just took a liittle detour. Saw an add for a Bianchi Milano on Craigslist. Didn't hear back from the person for a week, then got an email saying the seller had been out of town and just got back. 12 hours later, I am the proud owner of a mid 2000s ('07 maybe?) Bianchi Milano, in black, but wiith celeste fenders.

    Took it for a spin yesterday. I like the feel of the 8 speed internal hub gears. Very smooth. Saddle is harder than I like. Love the feel of the leather grips and the slightly swept back handle bars. That being said, with 26" wheels and stock 1.5" tires, it feels a bit slower than my hybrid.

    Today, my wife will riide it and give me her impressions. I know this is a detour, but the Bianchi is so pretty.
    Last edited by MRT2; 06-03-12 at 11:09 AM.

  14. #14
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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  15. #15
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    looks like the river on Commerce St!
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  16. #16
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    That is a good solid bike for general riding. I wouldn't use it for the TdeF, but for getting to and from places under 10 miles away it will be hard to beat. Most of my bikes fall into that category.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  17. #17
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
    looks like the river on Commerce St!
    Don't know. It is the seller's picture.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    I would not suggest modernizing an old frame unless there is something special about it. (sentimental value, wonderful ride, classic model ....)
    Well, I guess that's why they have both chocolate and vanilla.

    I'd modernize any old frame in a heartbeat unless there happened to be something special about it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Well, I guess that's why they have both chocolate and vanilla.

    I'd modernize any old frame in a heartbeat unless there happened to be something special about it.
    Cost of parts will quickly exceed the value. If you have parts laying around that is one thing, but to go an build up a bike from scratch is expensive. I bought a Redline Graduate to get the wheels and crankset off of it, then sold the frame to someone that wanted to make a fixie out of it. I came out money ahead over buying the components and building up wheels, even allowing for my time in taking the bike apart.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
    RIDE, YOU FOOL, RIDE!"
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  20. #20
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Cost of parts will quickly exceed the value.
    Sometimes there's a difference between cost and value. Cost is what it is. Value depends on what you plan to do with it. True, if you plan to sell it, value is what you can get for it. If selling it isn't your intention, value becomes more subjective. What's the value of a grand child?

    I don't build bikes to sell so what I can get for them isn't relevant.

  21. #21
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Well, I guess that's why they have both chocolate and vanilla.

    I'd modernize any old frame in a heartbeat unless there happened to be something special about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Cost of parts will quickly exceed the value. If you have parts laying around that is one thing, but to go an build up a bike from scratch is expensive. I bought a Redline Graduate to get the wheels and crankset off of it, then sold the frame to someone that wanted to make a fixie out of it. I came out money ahead over buying the components and building up wheels, even allowing for my time in taking the bike apart.

    Aaron
    That is the question. Since I am not much of a DIY er, is the quality of the columbus tubing on the LeTour as good or better than, say, a modern steel frame from Salsa, Surly, Raleigh, or maybe a few others.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    is the quality of the columbus tubing on the LeTour as good or better than, say, a modern steel frame from Salsa, Surly, Raleigh, or maybe a few others.
    What are you looking for?

    A Wally World special might be made from gas pipe. It'll be heavy but it won't break. As you move up the steel tubeing food chain the alloys get stronger but not necessarily the bike frames. They just use less steel to produce a frame that's lighter yet still strong enough not to break.

    You could say that the lightest frame that won't break has the best quality. You could also say the Wally World frame is best because it's cheapest yet still doesn't break.

  23. #23
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    What are you looking for?

    A Wally World special might be made from gas pipe. It'll be heavy but it won't break. As you move up the steel tubeing food chain the alloys get stronger but not necessarily the bike frames. They just use less steel to produce a frame that's lighter yet still strong enough not to break.

    You could say that the lightest frame that won't break has the best quality. You could also say the Wally World frame is best because it's cheapest yet still doesn't break.
    The ride and durability of a classic Cro Moly road or touring bike but, perhaps a more upright riding position, and modern 8 or 9 speed gearing, and indexed shifting.

  24. #24
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Sometimes there's a difference between cost and value. Cost is what it is. Value depends on what you plan to do with it. True, if you plan to sell it, value is what you can get for it. If selling it isn't your intention, value becomes more subjective. What's the value of a grand child?

    I don't build bikes to sell so what I can get for them isn't relevant.
    I will let you try and explain VALUE to my insurance company. I wanted a rider on our homeowner's insurance to cover the cost of my C&V collection in case of total loss. None of my bikes are particularly valuable from a collector's point of view, however trying to replace them would be difficult and in some cases expensive. I have a couple of bikes where the closest new bike to replace it would cost in the $750+ range, insurance adjuster can't see it. He wants to assign a value of ~$250 because that is what I paid for it a couple of years ago, and isn't interested in the cost of parts that I have used to upgrade some of my bikes.

    FWIW I don't typically build bikes to sell either, and in some cases have spent 5 or 6 times the cost of the bike in upgrades. But I own those upgrades and can move them to another bike quickly if I choose. If someone is not building their own bikes it is most likely a losing proposition.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

    ISO: A late 1980's Giant Iguana MTB frameset (or complete bike) 23" Red with yellow graphics.

    "Cycling should be a way of life, not a hobby.
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    "Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
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    Which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?"
    _krazygluon

  25. #25
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I will let you try and explain VALUE to my insurance company.
    Believe it or not, there are insurance companies that do that. What you have to ask for is an "Agreed Value" policy. I have no idea what the cost would be for bicycles. For collectable cars it's actually pretty reasonable because they have so little road exposure.

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