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Old 09-16-05, 09:47 PM   #1
Little Darwin
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Univega Custom Ten Help

I am trying to figure out what I have... It is a Univega Custom Ten that doesn't seem to really exist...

After looking at Sheldon Brown's site, It looks like I have a 2003 model of a bike that ceased to be in 2001 (if the serial number pattern is right).

It is a lugged steel 23" frame, burgundy in color 27 x 1 & 1/4 tires. No quick release components.

Suntour Spirt (no typo, that's what it says) front derailleur

Solar crank (52-40) 165 mm

Square spindle in the bottom bracket

Suntour Seven rear derailleur

Suntour Perfect 14-28 cluster

Serial number 01003768

Any ideas about how old this bike is? I got it from a retired LBS owner's stock.

Also, what would be the easiest way for me to affordably get a lower gearing, should I locate a 14-34 cluster, or try to find a crank with a smaller chainring? I am 6' tall so I would guess advice concerning a longer crank might be a factor too.

This is just a bike to get into road cycling on a true road bike instead of my Giant Sedona, so I don't want to put a lot of money into a bike destined to provide a year of use (very likely to buy a new bike next year), and then be relegated to a beater status or given away... actually, I guess that you could consider it a beater now, I just want lower gears to haul my large body up hills until I lose some of it.

I am awaiting a wider set of bars, and have already installed a Brooks saddle so what should I do to make hills easier in the spring? I will ride at least one organized imperial century on this bike by this time next year, which is my only real goal, but I haven't selected any specific rides yet.

I know I don't have a prize winning bike by any stretch of the imagination, but any helpful advice would be welcome.
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Old 09-17-05, 07:42 AM   #2
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My estimate based upon the components is the bike was originally sold around 1980.

Probably the best and easiest way to get an easier hill climb gear would be to replace the existing crank and bottom bracket with a triple but be sure to think it through before you start. That's the kind of project where you can keep finding it necessary to buy one more new part to make what you already have work. Every dollar that you spend on a bike like this makes it that much harder to just walk away from it. At best, when you get done, you'll have a 25 year old bike with some upgraded components. At worst, when you get done, you'll have bike with 25 year old technology that cost you nearly as much as a brand new bike.
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Old 09-17-05, 07:49 AM   #3
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Your RD probably won't handle a 34. As RG says a triple can create lots of headaches, but can be done cheaply if you buy used stuff right. A 110 bcd crankset will allow a ring as small as 33, and is a relatively cheap option if you can score a crankst and BB cheaply enough.A big mistake would be throwing too much money at a bottom of the barrel bike..There would have been more cost effective places to start.
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Old 09-17-05, 10:08 PM   #4
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Agreed that this bike is from around 1980. Changing to a triple is going to be an expensive route-new crank, bb, front and rear deraillerus, maybe new chain and freewheel depending on wear. The SunTour seven rear derailleur, as far as I can remember , came in 2 versions: a short version that handled up to 28T rear cog and a longer version that handled up to 34 T. Probably better to go the long cage rear der(if needed) and wider freewheel route . I am quite sure that this bike had a crankset that you could not replace the individual chainrings, but I could be wrong. I do not think that you could fit anything smaller than a 39T front chainring on anyway. Carefully weigh your options as to how much money you want to put in this bike.
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