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Cleaning and adjusting my vintage road bike

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Cleaning and adjusting my vintage road bike

Old 10-03-12, 05:54 PM
  #1  
casey86
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Cleaning and adjusting my vintage road bike

I recently won an auction on eBay for a 1980's Sanwa 110 road bike. The bike had been used for 10 years then put in storage for 20 years in a dry clean place. It rides decent but I can tell it needs some cleaning and work. I noticed that the inner parts of the steering pipe are pretty grimy. The bike is all original parts including the chain and I don't know how comfortable I feel with a chain that could be 32 years old on a used bike. I've taken the bike out twice and it rides decent. The right brake is almost completely "stuck" and the left brake stops the bike within about 3 seconds so both of those need work. The auction said the gears are operable but I can't get them to do anything. I'm not even sure how to use them. Nothing happens when I pull them back. No clicks or anything. Other than that, I'd just like to give the bike a good cleaning. What is safe to clean bikes with as well as removing grime and inner pipe grime / rust? I purchased White Lightning easy clean chain and gear cleaner which removed a lot but still needs some more cleaning.

The only other thing that I may want to change is the tires. Now the tires are fine and hold air just fine, but they are tall. 27" I believed and I feel like I have less control on taller bikes. Is it possible to put smaller tires on bikes like this? Will it affect anything?

Here are pics. Let me know if you need more pics.

http://i.imgur.com/NFyp8.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/OvWGS.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/Keysq.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/zcGAh.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/2seaN.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/UqNJm.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/M47Vn.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/aFBGU.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/3i64D.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/zpwZI.jpg

Last edited by casey86; 10-03-12 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 10-03-12, 06:20 PM
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There is not much one can determine from the photos except it appears to be in good shape. The odds are all you need to do is pull all the cables out of the housings, clean or replace, grease and reassemble. You should also clean and re-grease the wheel bearings, headset and bottom bracket. Once these maintenance issues are completed you can determine if any additional repairs are necessary. As far as the 27" wheels go, you can go to smaller wheels but you will have to find some after market brakes that have a longer reach; it's not an issue as they are plenty around, but it's an expense you'll have to factor in for smaller wheels.

Edit; cny-bikeman is correct, this is a lower end bike, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. Along with cleaning and greasing the cables you can shoot some WD40 into the housings; you should be able to reuse almost everything (best not to sink any money into the bike). This also goes fro the chain; if it isn't rusty and hasn't elongated, then all it needs is a good cleaning and some lube. The shifters and derailleurs are the old Z-series (this dates your bike as 1984), meaning 5 speed friction shifting (no clicks).

Last edited by onespeedbiker; 10-03-12 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 10-03-12, 06:22 PM
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I'm sorry to break this to you but you may have made a few mistakes.
  • This is a very low end, off-brand bike, worth perhaps $30-40 at best. 1980's is stretching it - I would say late 70's at best.
  • Some or all of the brake and shift cables may need to be replaced.
  • It is totally impractical (both complex and expensive) to change the tire/wheel size.
  • If the seat height is right as it is right now (slight bend in the knee at the bottom of the stroke) the frame is too large for you. Probably you would need close to a 32" inseam (jeans/pant size) for that bike to fit you.

The above post makes the process of reconditioning the bike sound straighforward, but for someone who has done none of it before it is by no means easy, and certainly not cheap.

p.s. The things that stop the bike are brakes, not breaks.
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Old 10-03-12, 06:50 PM
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Looks like a 1020 sticker on the seat tube - it's a lugged frame made of hi tensile steel. Chromed steel rims will never provide optimal braking.
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Old 10-03-12, 07:29 PM
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
I'm sorry to break this to you but you may have made a few mistakes.
  • This is a very low end, off-brand bike, worth perhaps $30-40 at best. 1980's is stretcing it - I would say late 70's at best.
  • Some or all of the brake and shift cables may need to be replaced.
  • It is totally impractical (both complex and expensive) to change the tire/wheel size.
  • If the seat height is right as it is right now (slight bend in the knee at the bottom of the stroke) the frame is too large for you. Probably you would need close to a 32" inseam (jeans/pant size) for that bike to fit you.

The above post makes the process of reconditioning the bike sound straighforward, but for someone who has done none of it before it is by no means easy, and certainly not cheap.

p.s. The things that stop the bike are brakes, not breaks.
The bike was what I was looking for. It is a full metal build with no plastic parts. It was well taken care of and is much better than the department store bike I recently bought off Amazon. Given that, I do not regret what I paid for it and your opinion will not sway me. I am not a bike enthusiast. On a side note I saw this same bike in a classified ad online asking $250 which is almost double what I paid for it.

Secondly, over half of your reply was not on topic to my thread. I appreciate your outlook on it, but I was just looking for cleaning advice. I like the bike. I may have paid more than its worth and I may not have. The parts alone on this bike are worth more than $30-40. I do not care about name brand value.
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Old 10-03-12, 08:40 PM
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"Full metal build with no plastic parts." Whatever that means.
Plastic RD pulleys, cable housing, reflectors.
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Old 10-03-12, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
"Full metal build with no plastic parts." Whatever that means.
Plastic RD pulleys, cable housing, reflectors.
That is a little too technical to defend a statement, don't you think? I was comparing my new bike to my other bike which is almost half plastic. In my opinion plastic should never be used on a bike. The cable housing is plastic on all bikes, right? (Please don't get technical with better kinds of plastic..) Reflectors have nothing to do with the quality of a bike. Safety yes, quality no. And yes the RD pulleys on my new bike are plastic but considering they've been on there for at least 30 years and still going strong as compared to the ones on my other bike that are starting to fray after a few months I'd say the quality on that one is much less than this one. If you must be technical then I will say the bike is mostly metal. Everything that is plastic on my other bike is metal on this bike and still going strong after 30+ years.
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Old 10-03-12, 09:22 PM
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I would like to ask that all further replies to this thread please be on subject to the OP. I'm asking for cleaning help, not your opinions on my bike.
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Old 10-03-12, 09:37 PM
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We'll reply however we like, thanks.

You are asking for our help, gratis.

Sheesh.

Your bike is a cheap POS because it's almost all steel and nasty. In incredible condition, but bottom-end nonetheless.

This is pointed out to you as a matter of fact and education, and you have complaints about it? There's the door.

Originally Posted by casey86 View Post
The right break

Last edited by Kimmo; 10-03-12 at 09:43 PM.
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Old 10-03-12, 10:20 PM
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http://www.mytenspeeds.com/My_TenSpe...ITE_1_HOME.htm
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Old 10-03-12, 10:26 PM
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/looks at cover pic

Mmm, now you're talking. Gear like that is worth keeping in the condition of the OP's bike, which is pretty much perfect for a museum and not much else.

Originally Posted by casey86 View Post
The only other thing that I may want to change is the tires. Now the tires are fine and hold air just fine, but they are tall. 27" I believed and I feel like I have less control on taller bikes. Is it possible to put smaller tires on bikes like this? Will it affect anything?
Your wheels suck; they'll buckle easily and perform poorly, particularly braking. It looks like you can lower the pads on your brakes by 4mm, so you should be able to throw on 700c wheels, with 20-23mm wide tyres for a quite noticeable performance upgrade.

Keep your eye out for a cheap pair with tyres ($100), or at least a front ($40).

But I wouldn't throw any more money than that at this bike... I'd hang onto the old wheels and put em back on when I got rid of it.

Last edited by Kimmo; 10-03-12 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 10-03-12, 10:39 PM
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I think you could make a rider out of it, regrease and rebuild the bottom bracket, headset, and the wheel hubs, get a new chain for 8 bucks, stick with those wheels, get new brake pads (hopefully they grip those wheels) and drip some 3in1 into the freewheel and it should spin decently enough.
It will be a learning experience. I think the frame is pretty someone could ride & enjoy the bike.
Get that foam off the bars.
I think it's reasonable to say you like it being all metal or mostly metal. The plastic parts mentioned are trivial.
You're lucky it's shimano and not suntour so future upgrades are easier for whoever owns it.
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Old 10-03-12, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by dinobyte View Post
You're lucky it's shimano and not suntour so future upgrades are easier for whoever owns it.
It's not 700c so it doesn't really have much of an upgrade path.

And a non-indexed group isn't really worth upgrading, as such - you'd just bugger off all the crap and start fresh with a HG cluster, slant parallelogram RD, etc anyway.
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Old 10-03-12, 10:57 PM
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I would say get a pair of these tires:

Link: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._1089790_-1___

They are only $10, rated 95 psi, probably high pressure than what you have, ride faster, better, less rolling resistance.

Forte Strada Tire comes in 27inch by 1.25 inch

Forté Strada Road Tire

Item #50-7922 Sale $9.99


Also squirt out the cables with WD-40 and put in some oil or chain lube in the housing and re-assemble if brake and shifter cables are not working well, WD-40 to clean out rust and dirt like a solvent. Then after cleaning them out, lube with oil. I think someone else already mentioned this.

Last edited by mike6024; 10-03-12 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 10-03-12, 11:21 PM
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Casey- Sorry you got flamed. Most people on here are nice. So what if your bike isnt the best quality. Work on it and learn, then the next one you buy will be MUCH better than the previous two. I understand your pain from the first bike.

Cleaning- Shucks almost anything. A soft brush and some mild detergent will get rid of the grease and grunge. DONT power wash it at the car wash! Because of its age you need to remove all the bearings, clean them, and reassemble. Old grease turns into hard lumps and stops doing its lubrication duties. You may run into the need for a few special tools.

There is lots of information on here when you need it. Learn to use the search function. SOmetimes you find exactly what you want and sometimes you dont. Then say you couldnt find it in a search and ask away.

Have fun with it.

-SP
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Old 10-03-12, 11:44 PM
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An old low end bike can ride just fine if you make sure it is mechanically sound. I have one that is from 1984 and am the original owner. Many parts are still the original ones that came on the bike! Other new parts are ones that replaced broken parts or parts that were too worn to function well. My only complaints are that it's heavy and the single pivot caliper brakes are not very good quality.

I recommend getting a book like Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance or the Bicycling Magazine Guide to Compete Bicycle Maintenance and Repair. They have illustrations and explain why and how to do various maintenance tasks and repairs. When you need clarification, then you can ask a specific question on the forums. Good luck!
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Old 10-03-12, 11:45 PM
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Well Casey I am more then a bit of a noob, but I must say you got a nice looking bike. I too feel that to get a good entry level solid bike sometimes its better to buy what we can afford then work on it. There is a lot of great info here and if you need to see how something is done. I am finding you tube to be a life saver!
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Old 10-03-12, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by milkbaby View Post
An old low end bike can ride just fine if you make sure it is mechanically sound.
Making sure that bike is mechanically sound involves losing the chrome front rim and those turkey wings / suicide levers.

Otherwise it's an accident waiting to happen if someone does any halfway-serious riding on it...

Being able to stop is like, priority #1.

Just sayin'.

Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
Casey- Sorry you got flamed. Most people on here are nice. So what if your bike isnt the best quality.
I'll hazard a guess as to why the thread went 'OT' in the OP's view: 'vintage road bike' implies something worth preserving, like a fine wine. What we have here is vintage vinegar... go figure. Of course there's gonna be some disillusion in the offing, particularly since it's mint in box vinegar.

Last edited by Kimmo; 10-04-12 at 12:02 AM.
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Old 10-04-12, 12:04 AM
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OK, this is a rare enough occasion in Classic & Vintage, but I'm closing this thread for a moment for clean-up and adjustments.

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Old 10-04-12, 12:27 AM
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And we're back in business. Please keep it civil from now on. If you notice your post missing, it was either out of our Guidelines, specifically the part about respecting other members, or in reply to an out-of-Guidelines post.

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Old 10-04-12, 12:29 AM
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Turns out that maiden post (now deleted) was most likely not a sock puppet, so I apologise to the pair of you on that score.
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Old 10-04-12, 06:15 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by casey86 View Post
The bike was what I was looking for. It is a full metal build with no plastic parts. It was well taken care of and is much better than the department store bike I recently bought off Amazon. Given that, I do not regret what I paid for it and your opinion will not sway me. I am not a bike enthusiast. On a side note I saw this same bike in a classified ad online asking $250 which is almost double what I paid for it.

Secondly, over half of your reply was not on topic to my thread. I appreciate your outlook on it, but I was just looking for cleaning advice. I like the bike. I may have paid more than its worth and I may not have. The parts alone on this bike are worth more than $30-40. I do not care about name brand value.
Well taken care of?

"The right brake is almost completely "stuck" and the left brake stops the bike within about 3 seconds so both of those need work. The auction said the gears are operable but I can't get them to do anything."

I was service manager at a bike co-op (we catered to non-enthusiasts) where we reconditioned bikes that were as old as yours, so I can tell you that it is indeed quite possible for a bike with original equipment to still be fully operational - if indeed well cared for.

I am not asking you to regret what you paid for it, just giving you information. I can easily pull up bikes on Craigslist, let alone what one can find a garage sales, that are much newer and have aluminum rather than steel components and wheels for well under $100. Advertised prices mean nothing, only the final sale price. Ebay has thousands of overpriced items that never sold.

If you asked a dentist about the best product to use to reduce tooth pain and described the symptoms of an abscessed tooth, would you consider it "off-topic" for him to tell you that you needed more than pain relief? I posted as I did in an effort to help you avoid undue expense on a bike that may not even fit you properly, which can affect both comfort and safety. As for just asking for cleaning advice, why did you mention the brakes, derailleurs, tire size and chain?

You should NOT be subjected to any posts that include personal attacks, as some here apparently did. But part of a public forum is that you may get honest, expert opinions that you may not like, and you may get posts from well-meaning folks that leave out important information, such as the fact that used 700c wheels may have rear cogs that are worn out, or with bad bearings or damaged rims that you can't detect, or that if you don't adjust the derailleur properly for the new wheels it could send the chain into the spokes.

As for a new chain - if you even need one - it's important to tell you that it may skip on the smaller rear cogs, as chain and cogs wear together, and a great number of people back in the 70's and 80's rode around in "5th" gear most of the time. You can't buy just a single rear cog, so that would entail a new freewheel - $15 if you are lucky. Also the chain often requires a specialized tool, as does the freewheel for removal.

Overhauling bearings? A bad idea right now if they are working properly, especally when you have no experience with bike repair. Best to focus on what is in immediate need. Likewise with a tire change or the foam handlebar pads - if they work keep them.

Yes, you can do whatever you want with the bike, makes no difference to me. I'm here to provide information, not to tell you what you must do or feel.

p.s. If by "inside of the steering pipe" you mean the fork column where the stem is inserted just wipe it out, put some grease on the stem before insertion. Any other grime is of no consequence.

p.p.s. The crooked valve stems indicate that the bike has been ridden on underinflated tires. The tires need to be deflated, moved on the rim so that the valves are straight, then fully reinflated.
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Don't tell me what "should" be - either it is, it isn't, or do something about it.

If you think I'm being blunt take it as a compliment - if I thought you were too weak to handle the truth or a strong opinion I would not bother.

Please respect others by taking the time to post clearly so we can answer quickly. All lowercase and multiple typos makes for a hard read. Thanks!

Last edited by cny-bikeman; 10-04-12 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 10-04-12, 07:31 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
Well taken care of?
To be fair, it's one blingin' 30yo department store bike.
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Old 10-04-12, 07:52 AM
  #24  
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Hi Casey. Great looking bike. yeah there are some nay sayers on here but you know what... YOU are happy with the bike and it is perfect for your needs. It is a great basic bike to learn how to workon a bike and there is little tricky stuff to trip you up like index shifting or centerpull type brakes.



If you were close to me I would gladly have you bring that over an put it my stand and help you get it tuned upa nd ready to ride.



Great bronzey color. I see lots of potential on this bike. I would not go changing wheels just yet but I would upgrade the brake pads to a KoolStop brand Salmon colored pad. While it won't be as good as having Alloy wheels it will make your braking much better.



chains seldom break and I suspect the actual milage on this chain is very low.
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Bianchis '87 Sport SX, '90 Proto, '90 Campione del Fausto Giamondi Specialisma Italiano Mundo, '91 Boarala 'cross, '93 Project 3, '86 Volpe, '97 Ti Megatube, , '90 something Vento 603,

Others but still loved,; '80 RIGI, '80 Batavus Professional, '87 Cornelo, '09 Motobecane SOLD, '?? Jane Doe (still on the drawing board), '90ish Haro Escape
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Old 10-04-12, 09:08 AM
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Flying Merkel
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Casey, it is a lower-end bike boom bike. A bike that old needs all the bearing cleaned and re-greased, including pedals (if possible) and rear derailleur jockey wheels. Get a set of new cables & housings. Koolstop pads help greatly. A set of 700c alloy rims with stainless steel spokes will probably fit up nicely if you can find a set that fits your dropouts. I found a set of 27" alloy rims with freewheel & newer tires for $25.00

I have refurbished many 10 speeds. There's a reason that there's a lot of them still on the road doing commuting duty. Ride it, enjoy, upgrade as you see fit.
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