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Old 10-31-09, 12:54 PM   #1
Chop61
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Touring with an old Fuji-wisdom needed

My friend and I are planning a tour of Virginia in May. approx 500 miles. My set up is fine, but she has this old fuji (80's) she wants to do the tour with. We've test ridden the novara randonee, the LHT and the new Fuji tourer, but she doesn't like the fit or the ride. She says the old Fuji is better. Honestly, she's right, it is cadillac-like. But there are some problems.

Needs new brakes, not just pads. That would involve some drilling, I think. It's got 27" tires, and It really probably needs a triple up front. It's an old 6 speed, so there's that too.

She is a strong rider, but I think she's being unnecessarily stubborn. You could get a Windsor tourist for what it will cost to upgrade. Any advice...fix it up...or arguments for a new one would be appreciated. The good thing is that we have time on our side.
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Old 10-31-09, 01:03 PM   #2
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Load up the bike as-is with racks and panniers and put as much weight in the bags as you think you'll use. Take her out on a "test ride" and she'll realize the bike needs upgrades and see the reality of it all. Be sure to find some good hills, haha.
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Old 10-31-09, 01:11 PM   #3
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Starting with a few things just to minimize verbage : What does she hate about..?
What type of shifters does she : know about, like, have, want to have ?
What's the reason for the new brake system ?
Will she settle for staying with 6 speed in the back & and a triple up-front ?
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Old 10-31-09, 01:21 PM   #4
Niles H.
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Originally Posted by Chop61 View Post
My friend and I are planning a tour of Virginia in May. approx 500 miles. My set up is fine, but she has this old fuji (80's) she wants to do the tour with. We've test ridden the novara randonee, the LHT and the new Fuji tourer, but she doesn't like the fit or the ride. She says the old Fuji is better. Honestly, she's right, it is cadillac-like. But there are some problems.

Needs new brakes, not just pads. That would involve some drilling, I think. It's got 27" tires, and It really probably needs a triple up front. It's an old 6 speed, so there's that too.

She is a strong rider, but I think she's being unnecessarily stubborn. You could get a Windsor tourist for what it will cost to upgrade. Any advice...fix it up...or arguments for a new one would be appreciated. The good thing is that we have time on our side.
From what you say, it seems to me that one good line of approach would be to roll with the punches, let go of your own view, and let her go with hers. If it makes her happy, why not? If she's happier about things, that's worth considering. It affects the quality of the trip and the relationship.

Most women don't like to be told what to do.

Even if upgrading and improving the bike would cost as much as a new one, it might be better for her to go with the one she likes. It could end up as a fine bike -- possibly even better than a new one. And how will she know whether or not she likes the ride of the Windsor? What if she doesn't? Or what if she still likes the Fuji better?

That was a great era for Japanese-made bikes.

There's a happy solution that's wide open here: just toss your preferences overboard, and go along with her choice, and make it work. Be happy with her decision, and about the trip, and generally, and make her happy.

***
You might also listen for a few minutes to that old song that has the lines "...she said that...she would never be free when I was around....she's got a ticket...."

People need to feel free. They're happier that way, and they're happier with a person and a relationship that have that spirit or atmosphere.

Last edited by Niles H.; 10-31-09 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 11-01-09, 05:18 AM   #5
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A reconditioned 1980s Fuji will probably be better than a new Windsor.
What is the problem with brakes?
You could do a 27" to 700c conversion. This gives access to modern parts and tyres and increases the tyre clearance. You may have to open the rear triangle a bit but maybe not.
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Old 11-01-09, 06:28 AM   #6
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I second, or third, the old 80s Fuji. Those were good bikes and worth the repair. Whatever new brakes cost, if it needs it, just do it. If she is a strong rider and your 500 miles dont have a lot of hills then I would not stress out too much about the gears. IF there are a lot of hills then I would recommend recommending to her that she add a triple up front. A 6 in the rear is not the end of the world, a lot of people have crossed continents on single speeds so 12 should not be a deal breaker either.

Cheers
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Old 11-01-09, 07:00 AM   #7
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What model Fuji is it? Does it have side pull or cantilever brakes? What is it about the brakes that make you feel they need to be replaced? The six speed rear would likely be fine if it has a wide range cassette/freewheel on it. Switching the front to a triple would make sense, or perhaps just going to a smaller inner ring and leaving it a double.
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Old 11-01-09, 07:34 AM   #8
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IF there are a lot of hills then I would recommend recommending to her that she add a triple up front.
Cheers
Check the cost of doing this- I considered it prior to my transam and found that it was crazy expensive. I'll admit that I wanted to keep the bike in Dura Ace (bring money), but I think the cost was $1100 or so. Yikes! Made do with a compact double (50-39).
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Old 11-01-09, 08:10 AM   #9
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The frame fits and rides well? Upgrade the components.
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Old 11-01-09, 08:49 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Chop61 View Post
My friend and I are planning a tour of Virginia in May. approx 500 miles. My set up is fine, but she has this old fuji (80's) she wants to do the tour with. We've test ridden the novara randonee, the LHT and the new Fuji tourer, but she doesn't like the fit or the ride. She says the old Fuji is better. Honestly, she's right, it is cadillac-like. But there are some problems.

Needs new brakes, not just pads. That would involve some drilling, I think. It's got 27" tires, and It really probably needs a triple up front. It's an old 6 speed, so there's that too.

She is a strong rider, but I think she's being unnecessarily stubborn. You could get a Windsor tourist for what it will cost to upgrade. Any advice...fix it up...or arguments for a new one would be appreciated. The good thing is that we have time on our side.
Does SHE think the brakes, 27" wheel and 6 speed are issues?

Last edited by bobframe; 11-01-09 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 11-01-09, 10:10 AM   #11
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If I have to replace with newer brakes, I'll have to drill because of the recessed nut. Not a big deal, just a hassle. They just don't stop well enough, especially if loaded.

Can a downtube friction shifter handle a triple? It's all suntour componetry, with a clamp on shifter. I could just change out a chainring.
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Old 11-01-09, 11:03 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ryandood View Post
Load up the bike as-is with racks and panniers and put as much weight in the bags as you think you'll use. Take her out on a "test ride" and she'll realize the bike needs upgrades and see the reality of it all. Be sure to find some good hills, haha.
+1

This is the whole point isn't it? To be ABLE to complete a tour. Make the test ride a short weekend get-away. You may not need to upgrade much if she can handle what shes got.

If the tour a flat or hilly one? Why mess with upgrading or changing things, when you don't have a clear handle on WHAT or IF things need changed.

**my $.000002**
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Old 11-01-09, 11:54 AM   #13
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Can a downtube friction shifter handle a triple?
Yes. Many Japanese touring bikes in the 80's came standard with downtube shifters.

My Univega Gran Turismo has down tube shifters and a Shimano triple, though I just recently changed to bar end shifters (very easy upgrade with the Rivendell bar end shifter kit).

There are still a couple of good tire choices for 27-inch wheels (Pasela Tour Guards, Continental Gatorskins). Upgrading an old bike for touring is definitely possible, not necessarily inexpensive.
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Old 11-01-09, 12:30 PM   #14
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If I have to replace with newer brakes, I'll have to drill because of the recessed nut. Not a big deal, just a hassle. They just don't stop well enough, especially if loaded.

Can a downtube friction shifter handle a triple? It's all suntour componetry, with a clamp on shifter. I could just change out a chainring.
Unless damaged, you really don't need to often replace brake units themselves. They may need refurbishing though, first remove the brake and inspect it, disassemble and clean all parts thoroughly (hint, if your not sure of what your doing, take digital photos as you disassemble, you can then use the photos to see what to do during reassembly). Inspect all the parts to make sure nothing is bent or broken. . Put the brake unit back together, using fresh grease, replace the cable and housing with new ones, put on new pads, and adjust properly. Most of the time, the old brakes will work like new.

Downtube shifters should have no problem with a triple, in fact they often work better then indexed shifters, because if it rubs on the chain you can just bump it a little to get it to work.
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Old 11-01-09, 12:36 PM   #15
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If I have to replace with newer brakes, I'll have to drill because of the recessed nut. Not a big deal, just a hassle. They just don't stop well enough, especially if loaded.

Can a downtube friction shifter handle a triple? It's all suntour componetry, with a clamp on shifter. I could just change out a chainring.
Drilling to presumably put Cantis ? More than just a hassle, inherently problematic on an old narrow-spaced boss bike. I've read THAT here before, encounterd similar myself.

Why not find GOOD Center -Pulls, tourers were cicumventing the planet, loaded prior to the invention of Cantis so .......
Not simply a "matter of cost ' as the man said, it's being practicle.
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Old 11-01-09, 12:37 PM   #16
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Bar-ends /BarCons are a matter on manual dexterity while riding with heavy mittens.
Not an absolute nec... IMO
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Old 11-01-09, 12:57 PM   #17
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I think this is one of the things where you step back from involving her in your desires for the bike and stick with hers as you're likely to distract from both of your enjoyment if you are focused too much on the bike she is riding. Are these regular long reach side pulls? I'm not familiar with fork crowns and brake bridges that have threaded sections in them, are you sure you have to drill out the hole?
The only thing I'd suggest doing is re-wrapping the bars with some cusion on the tops if it doesn't have any and making sure the gear range is wide enough.
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Old 11-01-09, 05:46 PM   #18
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Drilling to presumably put Cantis ? More than just a hassle, inherently problematic on an old narrow-spaced boss bike. I've read THAT here before, encounterd similar myself.

Why not find GOOD Center -Pulls, tourers were cicumventing the planet, loaded prior to the invention of Cantis so .......
Not simply a "matter of cost ' as the man said, it's being practicle.
Not drilling to put in cantis...these sidepull brakes have an external nut. More modern brakes have a shorter post with a recessesd nut, so I would have to slightly enlarge the hole at the top of the fork.

Thanks for everyone's help, I've been noodling on this all day. Think we're going to load this up and go to north georgia next weekend and see how she feels. I'm thinking she'll probably want a triple. I can make that work with minimal expense. Also, I'll be taking apart the brakes, found some kool stop pads, and try new cables.

the 27" wheels don't bother me. I don't think there's ever been a spoke wrench on 'em and they seem to be as true as can be. You can find tires at any wally world. So, the thing is to just load it up and see.
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Old 11-01-09, 05:54 PM   #19
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Chop,

I'm in north Georgia....where you going to head? I'm doing my first shakedown cruise next week- Tallulah Falls SP and Moccasin Creek SP.
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Old 11-01-09, 06:14 PM   #20
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I'd say there are two pretty-much necessities. If they're covered, her bike should work fine. One is a wheelset that won't break spokes. I'm 6'4", weigh 205, and typically carry a big load. I've broken spokes on tour and it's definitely a drag. Your friend undoubtedly weighs less and her gear is likely also lighter. Her wheels won't need to be as strong as mine, but if they're not up to the task and spokes break, she'll be sorry. I suggest having a rear wheel built by someone who knows about the rigors of touring.

The other necessity is a gear ratio low enough to climb steep, long hills with a load in relative ease. Can she install a wide range cassette and a triple crankset with a low granny?

If she can pedal her load up the hills without too much discomfort, and if she can get through the tour without breaking anything, she should be quite happy with her Fuji. If not, she likely won't.

Maybe if she considers these things (among others) she'll see the advisability of a better tourer. I'm wondering if her love for the ride of her Fuji has to do with the fact that she's got the fit dialed in. I'm guessing if she buys a new bike and tweaks the fit she can be just as happy if not happier with the ride. I love my LHT's ride with a load, but it's different than my old tourer and took a little getting used to. After I got my new Allez, I didn't like the LHT's ride quite as much in comparison, but I certainly wouldn't want to try the Allez with a touring load.

Ultimately, though, I agree with those who say it must be her decision. My wife and daughter were both happier with their bikes when they got to have the final say. They liked to listen to my advice, but wouldn't want me making their choices for them.
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Old 11-01-09, 07:05 PM   #21
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Bob, We'll probably Start in Rome...the other side of N. Georgia from where you'll be, and maybe head towards Chatt. Tallulah Falls and that area will be gorgeous this time of year.
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Old 11-01-09, 11:47 PM   #22
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I have two 1980's Fuji America. One I bought new and the second used some time ago. This week I rebuilt my original using a set of 105 components and 700 c wheels. The brakes are standard 105 double pivots and they barely make the grade seating on the 700 rim. Could use a longer 57mm reach brakes. The bike originally had 27 inch wheels as I recall.

I did drill out the fork crown to use the recess nut for the 105 front brake. I used another 105 front brake on the rear using the original nuts and washers. I used the 105 STI brakes and shifters. The America came with bar end shifters,

The other bike converted to a credit card tourer with S&S couplers and had the braze-on reworked for the brake bridge, brake cables etc. My son now has it along with his Opus III and S-10-S from the same era.
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Old 11-03-09, 02:58 PM   #23
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BigBlueToe is right on about breaking spokes. I pulled my 80's Fuji out of the garage a few years back and loaded it up for a rebirth of the touring spirit. Over the summer I replaced every spoke on the drive side of my 27" Wolber wheels. I'd make sure you had a handful of extra spokes and a freewheel tool - JIC. Good Luck.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:04 PM   #24
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BigBlueToe is right on about breaking spokes. I pulled my 80's Fuji out of the garage a few years back and loaded it up for a rebirth of the touring spirit. Over the summer I replaced every spoke on the drive side of my 27" Wolber wheels. I'd make sure you had a handful of extra spokes and a freewheel tool - JIC. Good Luck.
The most common reason for a spoke to break is where the spokes are not of sufficient tension. This allows the spoke to flex (bend slightly) as the wheel goes around, what happens if you take a piece of wire and bend it back and forth repeatedly, well it breaks. Best thing to do, is a few weeks before the first tour of the year, get a good wheel smith to true and tension the wheels, you will rarely see broken spokes that way. Another thing you can do is get a spoke tension meter, get the wheels done by a good wheel builder so you know they are true and properly tensioned, then check some spokes with your tension meter, so you know what they should be. Before a tour, check them again, if they are good, then your done, if not then you have a tensioning job to do. As part of your tour preparation.

Tourists and heavy riders have this issue because of the weight that is placed on the wheels, a 125lb rider on a racing bike basically needs the spokes attached at both ends. A 200lb rider with 50lbs of gear, with the wheel in the same condition, will be counting the number of broken spokes by the mile.

If you break a spoke, replace it, break a second spoke, replace it, break a third spoke, get the wheel rebuilt with new spokes. Your going to replace them all anyway and it's a lot more annoying to do so one at a time.
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