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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 08-02-14, 04:03 AM   #26
ak08820
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The biggest Pro for vintage bikes is the clean diminutive look, especially pretty if lugged. I hate the way most current bikes look with weird oval shaped oversized down (and other) tubes, diameters so large that it could be used as sewer pipe for a small city, extensive use of plastics and worst of all, the name of the manuf. plastered in 3+" high letters, extracting lifelong free advertising from you on top of exorbitant prices. To me, a lugged bike is a proper bike. It is like drinking champagne from a proper champagne flute vs. drinking the same from a disposable polystyrene cup.
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Old 08-10-14, 10:03 PM   #27
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^^What this guy said. I recently picked up an '84 Centurion Elite GT to replace my '87 Centurion Lemans RS that was pulling commuter/beater duty. Only reason I upgraded was the deal was great, and the Lemans just didn't have room for bigger tires on it, and I want to start riding the crushed limestone trails around here. As for reliability, what's the concern? They've lasted 30 years, and are still going strong, so I'm not concerned. I do my own work and maintenance, so I don't have to deal with a bike shop that can't/won't work on it. Parts availability, for the time being, is just fine. I'm not scared of using an "old" bike for touring, or commuting.
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Old 08-10-14, 10:10 PM   #28
hueyhoolihan
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old bikes aren't great if you want to win criterium, track, or road races, but for recreation, commuting or touring they are fine.
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Old 08-12-14, 07:28 PM   #29
surfjimc
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I commute daily on on an '85 Specialized Expedition, and tour on it in the summers. It is a great bike. I bought it used, stripped it, powder coated it, and fitted it with Shimano XT drive train. It has become my favorite bike to ride. I set it up with bar end shifters, but they aren't everybody's cup of tea. They can get bumped around on the train portion of my morning commute, but a quick adjustment and I'm on the road without problem.
Pros:
Nice lugged frame
Lots of brase ons
Classic look
Well designed for touring

Cons:
126 rear triangle needs to be spread to accommodate modern 9/10 speed drive trains
Threaded headset and quill stem (some people see this as a negative, I don't)
Current gearing might need upgrade to get correct range of gear inches; 52-42-30 was common up front.
Price gouging for old "classics"

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Old 08-13-14, 12:36 AM   #30
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The market is probably different in the US, but here in the UK I'd pay the sterling equivalent of between $400 and $500 for that bike in decent condition. The first thing I'd do is take the headset and bottom bracket apart and inspect the bearings, regreasing and replacing as necessary.

Beyond that I'd say there are very few downsides to good 1980s touring bikes. Yes, it's only a 6-speed freewheel so the gear ratios aren't as tight, but the triple gives a decent range and the biggish steps at the back are a minor inconvenience - you're touring, not racing. The downtube shifters are fine with me, but it's easy to move them to the bar ends or stem if you want. Altogether fit for purpose and probably a very nice-riding bike.
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Old 08-13-14, 02:58 AM   #31
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By far the biggest downside to 30 year old bikes is a lack of clearance for wide tires. Stick a pair of your favorite size touring tire on there before you buy. If the tires don't rub the frame, you're good to go.

Don't worry about replacement parts, there are plenty of new parts available that will fit that frame. It's a nice bike. Maybe not $500 nice, but nice.
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Old 08-13-14, 08:28 AM   #32
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I don't think others have mentioned this potential con: odd frame specifications. I don't know if the bike you are considering presents this issue, but my older Schwinn Voyager certainly does. The fork and headset are not the standard 1" size, but instead is .67" which means 1" quill stems don't fit. Very difficult to find high or medium quality stems for this bike, and similar issue for headset. Some older frames may use non-standard bottom bracket sizes or threading or have brake posts that don't work with current brakes (canti or V-brake). If the frame you seek comes in with modern standard sizing and fittings, then all is good, but if not, it could be difficult to find good replacement parts.
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Old 08-13-14, 11:42 AM   #33
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I just rebuilt this 1978 Motobecane for my wife. Since she was used to thumb and finger shifter on her hybrid, I went with Shimano Tiagra brifters and the rest is 105. I think I've spent about $200 in the rebuild. I still have to add the rack on the rear and perhaps some fenders. The handlebar stem and handlebar, I got at a bike collective and the rest on Ebay. We had a longer stem at first, but, while my wife is long torsoed, she's not long armed so the shorter worked better. There's lots of good, old equipment out there. Look for recyclers and collectives that rebuild the old bikes for charity etc.
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Old 08-13-14, 12:15 PM   #34
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I don't know for sure on this 620, but on my Trek 400s it was a super-easy conversion from six- to seven-speed just involving adding a washer or two to the axle to re-space the dropouts to about 128mm from 126mm and tweaking the dishing. (There is still plenty of axle for the dropouts.) The 2mm increase in spacing is easily accommodated without any frame work and the seven speeds allows running a 32t big cog which, when combined with the triple, gives you plenty of gear range for anything other than heavily-loaded touring in the mountains (and I'd get a more modern touring bike if this was on the agenda). I'd do this before going to the hassles of upgrading to a 9-10 speed.

I have barcons on one of my 400s and the original downtube shifters on my other. The downtubes work fine, but I MUCH prefer the barcons - there's a reason you don't see downtube shifters on any current bikes.

These bikes are worthy of attention and a bit of money. They make nice all-arounders. They don't have the stiffness and brakes of a high-end modern bike, but they're very comfortable. If you're a big guy, replacing the handlebars and brake levers with modern stuff really opens up the cockpit - the originals were pretty dainty.

- Mark

Last edited by markjenn; 08-13-14 at 12:19 PM.
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