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  1. #1
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    Advice on wheels and tires

    Hello to all,

    I'm 47, kind of an ex-jock in several sports (alpine skiing, tennis, b-ball, golf) looking to improve my fitness level and have fun! My bike is a 1981 Panasonic DX_4000 sport/touring bike which was given to me--gratis. I"m 6'2, 205 lbs. and the frame is 61 cm. I'm happy as a clam as I've not had a bike since my Schwinn Continental was ripped off when I was 15. (I know it weighed a ton, but I thought it was pretty hot then though I really wanted a Peugeot--in 1974).

    As I was a bike/gearhead neophyte, I spent some money at the LBS to install new tires and tubes, have drops installed, and have it tuned up and checked out. So I now I have a VG road/light touring bike: Cr-MB, Tange No. 2 lightweight lugged frame w/Shimano 600 "Arabesque" drivetrain and sidepull brakes, with old 27 inch Araya wheels and 32 spokes, a 40-53 and 14-26 threaded freewheel, Ultegra 170 mm double crankset setup, friction shifters mounted down below, and period-correct 44 cm Modelo drops. The rear wheel spacing is 126 mm.

    The bike rides like a dream--very comfortable and smooth--brakes are great, and the friction shifting is fine. I am comfortable with the drops and experience no discomfort either saddle-wise or back-wise. I try to knock off at least a 16 mile ride every night. I can do this comfortably in an hr. and this is on a narrow trail where one's speed is limited. I feel that my cycling spinning technique is improving and want to try group rides soon. I've done a 50 mile ride and my climbing technique here in the lower Hudson River valley is improving. I've invested in a pair of 2d hand clipless pedals (10 yr. old Shimanos that are great), bike shoes and a pair of bike shorts.

    I want to rejigger the gearing (which will be a separate post), have the frame "cold set" and need to get wheels to accomodate 130 mm spacing. I'm now using 75 psi cheapie 27 inch Kendas w/a 1.25 tire width. I'd like to upgrade to a good quality 700 size wheel. I don't intend to race so ultra-light is not a concern but I want a good combination of strength, performance, and value for road use and light touring. For wheels I'm thinking: Mavic Open Pros which I understand will be about $225, Shimano 105's or maybe Ultegras. For tires, I'm thinking of a good performance road/touring tires from Continental, Michelin or Panaracer, in probably 25 or maybe 28 mm width.

    Sorry to be long-winded, but specifically my questions are as follows:

    1. Wheels: custom-build or stock?...I think Sheldon Brown's shop will do Mavics /w for about $225--other suggestions as to good wheelbuilders would be appreciated--any experiences with BikeParts USA custom builds? What about 2d-hand wheels from say Used Bike Warehouse on EBay?
    2. Tires ?--Continental Gators seem to be heavy...how much anti-puncture protection is advisable...are the separate Kevlar strips a good idea...also Sheldon B. says 1.45 to 2.00 is a good ratio for bead width to tire width so I'm thinking a wheel with say 16mm bead width would be good...I'm throwing this out but have no idea as to actual widths and pros/cons. Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Frames and components have come a LONG way since the 70's and 80's. That bike was given to you "gratis" because that's all it was really worth. So, I wouldn't drop a lot of money into it other than what you need to maintain it and keep it running.

    Keep riding. Do the group rides you suggested. See what you like and don't like about your rig. Then (within a year or so) upgrade to a nice, modern bike. Use your "classic" as a spare or rainy weather bike.

    Bob

  3. #3
    Know Your Onion! badkarma's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry about a few extra grams from the gatorskins, they have very good flat protection, and to me, they're great tires for the money (I paid $24/tire through probikekit.com with free shipping).

    I echo Bobby Lex's comments about upgrading. I'd recommend putting on new tires, but that's all I'd really do for now.
    We Are Penn State

    2006 Kestrel Talon

  4. #4
    Senior Member John Wilke's Avatar
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    You could upgrade the wheels, but I wouldn't bother re-setting the dropout distance. CHeck the local bike 'shops' (as opposed to a bike 'stores' which to me is like a grocery store for bikes), to see if they have any old wheels that you could upgrade to. You should be able to find some nice wheels for $100 or so. Save the big bux for a new bike in the future.

    jw

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