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  1. #1
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    trying to decide on cross country touring bike, old or new?

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new to this forum and relatively inexperienced with cycling and not at all knowledgeable about bicycles. I have done quite a bit of research but I have gotten conflicting advice and I would like to consult this community and see what y'all have to say.

    I have been riding my dads old '77 Fuji S-10-S and I love the bike. I have gone on a week long tour on it through the Blue Ridge Mountains and I had no problems, but that was a year ago and the bike just feels "rough" since then. The gears don't change smoothly (they click sometimes) and the brakes have basically gone to ****. I could use new tires and possibly new wheels. I think I would benefit from getting a crankset with 3 front gears as the bike is currently a 12 speed.

    So I took the bike into a shop to talk to them about my biking needs and they said a new bike, even on the low end, would be infinitely better for my purposes. I knew that these guys weren't working on sales commissions and were clearly experienced and knowledgeable, but I had a hard time seeing the logic in what they told me. They told me that my bike was too big for me (It is but I have ridden it enough to know that I don't care- it doesn't hurt my back like they suggested) and then they told me that getting new gears, brakes, etc would really pile up. After test riding a $1700 bike that didn't feel particularly awesome, I don't really see how it could pile up that much.

    So do you think I could get a complete overhaul on the Fuji for under $600? New gear system, brakes wheels etc.? Won't that make the bike ride like a new (although yes- steel framed) bike after that? Some of the alternatives I have seriously considered are the Windsor Tourist ($600) and the Trek 520 ($1300). My concerns are that the spokes on the Tourist will pop on me for the whole two months and the Trek 520 will deplete my budget so severely that I will have to ask my parents for money during my voyage.

    What really has me questioning the necessity of a new bike is that the ones I test rode just didn't feel that much better, with the exception being the brakes. (They told me that the gears would be adjusted if I decided to buy a bike...) Maybe I am too dense to realize the difference.

    In conclusion, I like my dads old bike and I don't care if it would be a little bit easier to do it on a new bike. That being said, I don't want to be grossly stupid and make this trip twice as hard as it might otherwise be.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Nycycle's Avatar
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    2pendulums,,, Hope what I write helps.
    I have an old bike from the early 80's,,,I am learning the hard way, not worth fixing it up unless you love the frame enough to spend a bunch on it. And if you got to pay a bike shop to do the work, I agree, time for a new one.Take your time, shop around. As far as steel frames go, I sure like my Surly. It took me 4 years to decide.


  4. #4
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    If you haven't already done so, Google "77 Fuji S" for 4 links to previous BF threads. Might be helpful.

    You seem pretty determined, maybe for sentimental reasons, to make this Fuji your touring bike. As long as it can be made mechnically reliable within your budget, and you can ride it 5-7 hrs/day in some degree of comfort, it's a touring bike. If you're willing to accept its limitations, go for it.

    A modern, dedicated touring bike might get you from A to B a bit faster(better gearing for hills), and be more comfortable(fit.) But that doesn't sound like your priority.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  5. #5
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    I've just pulled out my '78 Sekai touring bike that I haven't ridden for 25 years (I've been riding cargo, folding, electric bikes in the meantime). I put new brake pads, a new bottom bracket ($20), regreased all the moving parts and it is great. I am getting a different stem so I can raise the drops a couple of inches (getting older). So if the bike fits you, ride it. Put new brake pads on, look at youtube about how to adjust the gears. Presto, you're rolling. I doubt you need new wheels, maybe tires but unless your rims are worn through from the brake pads, you are good to go.

  6. #6
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Last week I bought a used 2010 Novara Randonee for $600 plus shipping. You'd be much better off putting your money into a used modern touring bike.

    If you stick with the Fuji, you'll need to upgrade with a modern drivetrain. This means you'll need atleast:

    Rear wheel $200
    Cassette $40
    Chain $25
    Crankset $150
    Derailleurs $100
    Bar End Shifters $80
    Total: $595, if you do the labour youself.

    Another drawback of the Fuji is that it uses caliper brakes and therefore has limited tire and fender clearance. This probaby means you'll forgo fenders to maximize the tire size. Touring without fenders is extremely unpleasant. While other problems associated with adapting a road bike into a touring bike can be resolved with various hardware solutions, you can't go from caliper brakes to cantiliever brakes.

    Buying a used modern bike will solve all of the above problems for about the same amount of money, and will also give you touring specific steering geometry.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  7. #7
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Alternate Estimate For DIY Upgrade to Fuji

    If the frame doesn't fit, then you may have to make other adjustments. But let's assume that the frame is okay. You'll need to cold-set it to 126mm to accept a 7-speed rear hub.
    New estimates:

    36H 27" Touring Wheelset $150 (Check Harris Cyclery)
    Freewheel $30
    Chain $15
    Crankset $110 (Sugino Triple)
    BB Cartridge $25
    Derailleurs $60 (SunTour Cyclone or X-1)
    Bar End Shifters $50 (SunTour Friction)
    Cables $20
    Brake Cartridges/Pads $35

    Total: $495, if you do the labor youself. You'll also need to check the stem reach and height, if that was the concern of the bike shop. Maybe $50 additional for a Nitto Technomic to fit you better.

    Keep your current DiaCompe brake calipers, they're fine. Add KoolStop salmon cartridges and pads for a low-cost upgrade. I'm assuming the DiaCompe levers are also fine.

    I have a 'S-10S, and the geometry is fine for touring, as is the clearance for fenders. Agree with Yan, above. You'll want to add them. This is also a neutral cost to whatever bike project you choose, but it'll run ~$55 for a set. You can do it yourself.

    What did you do for loading on the front of the bike? You may need to add a front rack w/panniers and/or a handlebar bag. Factor these costs in as well. Although it's a neutral cost as it applies to whatever bike you choose.

    What size is the current S-10S, and what are your relative dimensions - leg length, torso length, height, etc.? Maybe it's not a solvable problem...

    I re-built a 1988 Fuji Conestoga for my touring bike, and I love it.

    Phil
    Last edited by Phil_gretz; 05-31-11 at 06:10 AM. Reason: Added Brake Costs. PG

  8. #8
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    2pendulums, While I understand the sentimentality aspect, I vote to buy the Windsor and have the LBS retension the wheelset and finish off the assembly. Save the Fuji as a spare and work on it a little bit at a time to improve your bicycle mechanic skills.

    Brad

  9. #9
    Senior Member la traviata's Avatar
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    if you love the bike get it tuned up, ride it and be happy. sounds like you already made up your mind. don't worry, your not being stupid.
    the clouds are like headlines
    on a new front page sky

  10. #10
    Senior Member m_yates's Avatar
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    What Phil_gretz said is the only way to do it cheaply. No modern bikes use 27 inch wheels or freewheels. If you want to use modern wheels, they would by 700c size, which may mean new brakes with a longer reach. Modern wheels also use cassettes instead of freewheels and have different rear hub spacing. That means you'd have to cold set your rear frame triangle to match the spacing of the new rear wheel. Installing a triple crankset probably means a new front derailleur, as well as a new long cage rear derailleur. It becomes a domino effect where upgrading one thing means upgrading another. In the end, you can end up with just the frame and a few other minor components original and replacing nearly everything. The cost almost always becomes similar to or greater than a new bike.

    Even if you do what Phil_gretz said, add the cost of tools if you do the work yourself. You'll need some bike specific tools like a crank puller, bottom bracket tool, freewheel tool, and cable housing cutter.

  11. #11
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Upgrading the Fuji sounds like a good choice, if you want to tour you will end up with a steel frame. It's not as complicated as the LBS makes it sound,and learning to do the work is a plus. You can replace what you want as it fits your budget, still have the bike to enjoy and save up for a new one as you learn. Hang out in the CV forum to pick up some tips and ideas.

    Marc
    Read Simply Cycle

    "I can still do everything I used to, but now I'm mature enough to take a nap without being told." - Me

    "You don't deteriorate from age,you age from deterioration" --Joe Weider

  12. #12
    BeaverTerror Yan's Avatar
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    Neither the Fuji's 126mm rear dropout spacing nor its 27" wheels are problems. People regularly use modern 130mm hubs on frames spaced at 126mm. 700c rims are only 8mm smaller in diameter than 27" rims. If your brake calipers have 4mm of excess reach, you can upgrade your wheels without changing your brakes.
    Yan

    2013 True North custom touring; 2010 Novara Randonee; 2009 Unicycle.com Club 24"; 1989 Miele Tivoli; 1979 Colnago Sport

  13. #13
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    You definitely don't need, and don't sound like you want, a gaudy expensive touring-marketed new bike. Just find a more respectful and less avaricious shop to tune up your fine old bike. Those old Fujis are an abolute joy. Tires for 27" wheels are available at every bike shop and every Walmart in North America. Ride your dad's lovely old bike with pride. It's totally capable of bearing you through beautiful tours.

  14. #14
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    get a new bike. Your old one probably doesn't have serviceable wheels in that the spoke nipples are probably corroded to the spokes. The Windsor with tuned wheels will last longer. Cheap replacement wheels for the Fuji won't be better than the ones on the Windsor once a mechanic goes over them. Old wheels may be rideable but once you load stuff on the bike spokes WILL start breaking. That's what I saw in the 80's when folks were touring with their "old bike" that was never ridden with loads.
    With properly inflated tires your effort won't be any different between that old bike and a new one, what will be different is that the old bike as it sits won't hold up and as you say requires a massive replacement of major components, and we're assuming the headset and bb. are ok and not pitted. You don't have to spend $1200 but if the bike as it sits requires $600 you're much better off looking for a used bike in better condition or a new bike for under $750. While you say the expensive bikes aren't awesome your existing bike really isn't up to the task without major rennovation. So don't get an expensive bike and consider options that start you off with new wheels and new drivetrain.
    If you are stuck on using the old bike I'd suggest heading out replacing the rear wheel, tires, and the cheapest low gear setup possible and learn to do it all without the shop except for items requiring special tools.

  15. #15
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    First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who responded to this thread. I considered all of your suggestions & opinions and I decided that I am going to use the Fuji. I am going to go over it with an expert this Friday so I can learn about maintenance while actually replacing the chain and brakes and whatever else needs to be fixed. Ultimately, I decided that I want to do this tour on a bike I am familiar and comfortable with.

    Phil, I decided that the size of the bike is a non-issue. I have ridden it enough to know that there are no ill effects associated with the sizing, it just isn't the frame size that a professional would fit me with as my dad is 2-3 inches taller than me.

    Kuan, thank you for your suggestion. I hadn't looked at that bicycle before.

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