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Old 11-10-04, 07:33 AM
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The Vintage-Trek site is an excellent resource for component date codes. A 1983 Univega Sportour should have SunTour ARx derailleurs and freewheel, and SR cranks stem and seat post, which should have date codes that you use to corroborate what you found on the levers.

While frame serial numbers are the preferrred method of dating bicycles, the decryption keys are known only for a small percentage of the manufacturers.

Consequently we are stuck with component date codes as the next best method. However, there are pitfalls with component date codes.

1) Unless you bought the bicycle new, it is possible that the previous owner replaced parts.

2) It is possible that the components were sitting around on the frame manufacturers shelf for a long time, possibly years. Often, when new stock comes in, the old stock is pushed to the back of the shelves, instead of being used up first. Thiis practice is more likely on older bikes, when components had long manufacturing life spans and in cases of smaller companies. Larger companies, tend to rotate the stock to use up the old parts on the shelf before opening new shipments, a practice called FIFO (first in, first out).

3) Component manufacturers start to build the components for a particular model year in the fall of the previous year. This allows them to build up the inventory to meet the contracts for the fnext model year. So, it's also important to look for the month or week coding on components. If all the codes are for the last few moths of a particular year, it is likely that the bicycle was actually built in the following year.

4) On some 1970s and earlier bicycles there may be no component date codes. Many smaller manufacturers did not date code their parts and even some large large companies, such as Shimano, did not start date coding until the mid-1970s.

The best way to minimize incorrect deduction of the year due to the above reasons is to date code as many parts as possible. The more you get that agree with other, the more confident you will be that you have the correct model year. It is not uncommon to find date codes spanning a period of up to six months.

Many of the Univega frames were manufactured by Miyata, however, your serial number does not match the Miyata format. If we could get a get a dozen or more people to submit component date codes and serial numbers for their Univega, the code could probably be broken. It is relatively simple to do, and I have done this for Miyata and am currently working on some others.

By the way, the Univega Sportour was a legitimate 1983 model. I have specs for that year, if you need them.
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