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Some questions about getting parts in preparation for a long ride.

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Some questions about getting parts in preparation for a long ride.

Old 06-07-10, 10:13 AM
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avner
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Some questions about getting parts in preparation for a long ride.

Hi everyone,

I'm looking to do my first serious touring ride with my friend and I have a few questions. They range from Mechanical to picking out a whole bike. First section regards my old Univega that is currently not in great condition. Old third or fourth life Rims, god knows what happen to the casette. Friction shifters, all kinds of good stuff. Needless to say it doesn't feel right anymore and I want to fix that. What i'm looking to do is replace the front and rear deraileur, shifters, front and rear wheel and casette. I believe it is a Universe Arrowpace 10 speed or 12 speed.

I don't exactly know how to go about modernizing the drive system. I'd like to put indexed shifters on it. However every ergo style i've seen has been 250+ just for the brake/bar pieces. Even used their really pricey and I would like to try and stay on the less costly side, so are there any alternatives for an indexed shifting system? And what are my other options as far as shifting goes?

Then, wheel wise, I've been doing a lot of reading on fixed gears, so I am not really sure what to look for wheel wise to replace mine with. I would like to do both front and back wheels. I believe they are 700C, if I have clearance would it be acceptable to get a 27inch? Is there a difference?

Than regarding a new bike, my friend who recently moved, and left behind his old, dying, beater MTB is now on the market for something a bit slicker. He is considering a hybrid but we live in Los Angeles, he wont be using it to commute or ride in bad conditions much I think a road/touring bike would likely be fine. His budget is 800 dollars. Craigslist or LBS is fine. Even online. So some bike suggestions would be great, along with ideas about what to look for and watch out for in a bike.

Thank you all in advance.

Last edited by avner; 06-07-10 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 06-07-10, 10:26 AM
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You may want to consider that something like a Jamis aurora MSRP is about $800 before you spending _any_ money on your current 'touring' bike. This is a tiagra equipped bike with STI and decent wheels.
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Old 06-07-10, 10:42 AM
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So you're saying that basically it isn't worth it to invest anymore money in the old frame?
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Old 06-07-10, 11:03 AM
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Would you be doing the work yourself as a learning exercise or would you pay an LBS to do the conversion for you? That's a very important question right up front since if you're not doing the work yourself then fixing up the old bike becomes instantly financially overboard and putting the money into a new(er) bike becomes really the only practical way to go.

As you've outlined there's a bunch of issues with upgrading the old classic bike. Frankly I'd suggest that if you have pondered the idea of a single speed or fixie this is the one to do it on and the time to do it. Otherwise you're looking at a heap of money spent on a bike that won't even be worth what the parts will cost if you go to sell it. Also the old frame will require cold setting to adapt to the new and wider rear wheel that you'd need if you want to go with a modern multispeed setup.

So if you've pondered the idea of trying out a single speed or fixie then this is the time to do it and use the Univega as the donor. The easiest way is to just use all the stuff you have now along with a cleanup. To convert the rear wheel to a single speed spin off the old multi cog freeewheel and spin back on a single speed freewheel in the proper gearing size for you. The old frames typically had semi horizontal dropouts so with some care and fitting of the chain you've got the ability you require to adjust the tension. Some playing with the axle spacers and redishing of the wheel may be needed for the best chainline but these are skills that you can learn without too much pain. Your present wheels, bottom bracket and steering headset will likely require a good strip down and cleaning. But if they are not damaged from overuse, rust or neglect they should still be very useable for this application.

Stick with 700c wheels unless your Univega has 27's and the wheels are in OK condition and don't require replacement. There's not that may decent 27" tires but they are out there. If you definetly need new wheels then go with 700c as there's a LOT more tire options. But you may also need to switch your brake calipers since the 700c rims are about 1/2" smaller in diameter and not all the old brakes will reach that far. If you need them Tektro makes some budget priced dual pivot long reach calipers that work very nicely.

For your friend if he wants a hybrid then that is a good solution for city riding. Hybrids come in a variety of styles from very upright beach cruiser setups for casual sun rides to serious flat bar road racer like setups. They even come with disc brakes for that little something extra or where sloppy weather commuting is the goal. Without knowing a lot more about what he wants or how he rides there's no way to suggest anything specific. It would just be guessing on his part. And the things to look for when buying a used bike would fill a book. I'm sure someone has written up something on the subject if you try a few good keywords and some google'ing.
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Old 06-07-10, 11:21 AM
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Yeah, all work would be done by me. I've got a fixie so I'm not really looking to convert and I don't have the money to invest in an entirely new bike, unless I'm sticking under a 300-400 budget, even than that would be blowing the bank. I enjoy working on bikes. I'll double check my wheels when I get home and see what the exact size is. I'd rather stick with friction shifers and just get new deraileur's, I thought it might be a nice little upgrade for the old frame but frankly i've got nothing against the friction shifters, but they are not shifting in a clean manner anymore so would there be an efficient way to replace them?
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Old 06-07-10, 11:55 AM
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If shifting is a problem check the chain 1st, as they tend to be less stiff laterally and therefore shift more poorly if worn. Derailleur pivots do eventually wear as well, so replacement may help.
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Old 06-07-10, 11:59 AM
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You can probably find indexed bar-ends for around $50, and they're often prefered for touring since you will be able to switch to friction if something goes wrong. However, if the friction shifting is not working well, new shifters will not fix it. The first thing to do would be to check if your derailleur hanger is bent, and to replace the shift cables and housing. A newer derailleur and cogs (the kind meant for indexing) will also improve your shifting performance, even with friction shifters. All of this can be done pretty cheaply, especially if you're happy with 7 speeds (going higher will also require you to widen your rear triangle).

For wheels, 27" is slightly larger than 700C. You can usually go from 27" to 700C, but the other direction will depend on how much clearance your bike has and how wide your tires are. You also have a much more limited tire selection in 27", so it would be best

For your friend's bike, rigid mountain bikes from the 80s can make very capable (if heavy) tourers when set up with slick tires and trekking bars. Sport-touring bikes are also likely to show up on Craigslist fairly often, and they should be able to handle a lighter touring load. Take a look at the C&V forums for a better idea what to look for. As a rule of them, shifters on the stem and safety levers (brake extensions going to the top of the drop bars) are signs of a low end bike. Steel bikes should have a tubing decal near the bottom bracket, which is also a good thing to check. Quality goes 1020 High-Tensile < 2030 Cromoly < named tubing (Reynolds, Ishiwata, etc). Double- or triple- butting is also a very good sign. Check the frame carefully for crash damage/serious rust. Other people can probably give you better recommendations for new bikes.
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Old 06-07-10, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by avner View Post
Yeah, all work would be done by me. I've got a fixie so I'm not really looking to convert and I don't have the money to invest in an entirely new bike, unless I'm sticking under a 300-400 budget, even than that would be blowing the bank. I enjoy working on bikes. I'll double check my wheels when I get home and see what the exact size is. I'd rather stick with friction shifers and just get new deraileur's, I thought it might be a nice little upgrade for the old frame but frankly i've got nothing against the friction shifters, but they are not shifting in a clean manner anymore so would there be an efficient way to replace them?
There's freewheels that you can get that are in 6 and 7 speed configurations that have the ramps and hooks on the cogs to make shifting more easy for the indexed options. Used with friction shifting it could make the shifts go easier. But it might also make it more difficult to catch just the one speed without having things jump up the next gear as well. I've never tried friction with that style so perhaps someone else could indicate if it works better than the old regular gearing or not.

Any old derrailleur would work. But as mentioned there's a few things to check first. One- your freehwheel gears may be worn and so they aren't catching the chain well to aid in ramping it up and down. Two- the chain may be worn ("streached") to where it isn't catching the tips of the teeth and shifting smoothly. Three- the derrailleur hanger may be bent so the derraileur isn't lined up flat with the freewheel anymore. Generally the friction systems I've tinkered with work well as long as none of these three issues exist. If you haven't checked these out for quite some time it's entirely possible that at least one of them is a factor with your bike. If the pivots of the derrailleur are VERY sloppy then it'll allow the cage to swing enough to make it act like condition Three. In that case a new derrailleur will fix the issue. The good news is that almost any old cheapie will work. You'll likely want to use a short cage option. But a long cage would work just as well but look a bit odd on a road bike. Find something on sale for around $15 from an LBS or online source.
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Old 06-07-10, 02:30 PM
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what part of the deraileur is the pivot?
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Old 06-07-10, 03:18 PM
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There's 5 points that can wear and cause trouble. The main pivot where the whole derrailleur swings back and fouth for one. Then there's two pins that support 4 pivot points of the actual parallelogram that swings the jockey pulley cage in and out to shift the chain from cog to cog. You can easily feel if the derrailleur is resonably good or not by grabbing the cage that holds the two jockey pulleys and try to swing them side to side. If it moves easily over quite a range and allows the cage to be twisted so the pulleys can point side to side more than about a 3 to 6 degree arc of movement then the derrailleur is shot and your shifting would gain a lot by replacing it. Granted this is a judgement call and "easily" is hard to communicate over the net. If it's OBVIOUISLY sloppy then it's toast. If you're not sure then take the bike around to a shop and have a mechanic look at it. If they say it's decently tight then perhaps pay the bucks to have them check and straighten out the actual derraileur hanger on the frame. Or if this is a bike that has the hanger as part of the actual derrailleur then either the whole dropout may have been tweaked during some past crash or pressure and needs to be tweaked back or there could be something else at play.

The whole point of all this is that there are a number of possible things that could affect how accurately the jockey pulleys are held in place and how well they are controlled against shifting around in an unwanted manner. It is the path and degree of control that the jockey pulleys are moved that determines how well the chain shifts. Old worn jockey pulleys or a worn or mis-aligned derrailleur frame will not hold or move the jockey pulleys accurately and properley to allow smooth, consistent and accurate shifting.

That help?
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Old 06-07-10, 03:36 PM
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yes, significantly.

I'm going to mess with it, Definitely replace the wheels, rear casette and chain with something newer. Than look into upgrading the rest of the system if it needs it. If not just tweak it into good function. Thank you all for your help.
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Old 06-07-10, 04:28 PM
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I've noticed that on this forum there is a bias toward the new, while on the Classic and Vintage, there is a definate bias toward the old. If you had posted this on the C&V forum, you would get a lot of encouragement to keep as much of the old stuff as possible. The Pace Arrows I've seen are nice with a Miyata built steel frame. Although not specifically designed for touring it should be adaptable, and work fine.

Friction shifters work fine, and can be used with a lot of different derailleurs. I still use the old Suntour Power Ratchets.

For touring, you might want to change the chainrings to something like 46-34 in a double. Some Univegas with double chainrings had cranks drilled for a small inner ring. This made them easily convertable to triples
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Old 06-07-10, 04:41 PM
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that is something I definitely want to look into. I just don't know how to articulate all of the questions I have quite that clearly yet.so I'm trying to learn more with each step. I don't have a preference for old or new. I'm interested in function. I think this is a high tens steel frame. But it's lugged and it looks nice with a dark blue and grey color scheme. I think it doesn't ride like it should because of neglect on my part and a lot of poor quality componets. Old chain, very untrue wheels, god knows the shape of the hubs. The one I rebuilt is not great so I think it's worth replacing. I like working on my bikes which is a reason enoug to do all of that. Maybe one day I'll pick up a nice frame from the 90's that will be lighter and better suited that I can work on to my hearts content
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Old 06-07-10, 08:35 PM
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If it's truly high tensile steel rather than chrome moly then you will get it to be a nice but not truly great bike. From my dabbling with 30 some odd various bikes over my almost 20 years since I became a "born again cyclist" I found that Hi Tens can work very nicely as a casual riding bike but they really held me back once I tried to "break through the barrier" and use it for any sort of performance riding. But I had an old Canadian Tire (think "Walmart) bike for a few years that I used for quick 5 block radius errand and breakfast run bike. And up to a suitable pace for coming home with a backpack full of groceries or a full tummy it was a superb bike the way I had fixed and primped it for that sort of riding. I finally replaced it with an old mountain bike frame made from Tange Ultimate that I picked up for $40 and sold the CT bike through a local consignment shop.

With a little care you'll end up with a rideable bike for little money and learn a lot. Not a bad combo at all to my thinking.
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Old 06-08-10, 02:55 PM
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Nope,

Definitely not in my opinion. I could go out and buy a new bike but really it's more fun to muck around with my own bike and get to swap out parts and work on learning a new skill.
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