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upgrading original gears to modern set (1984 kuwahara pulsar)

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upgrading original gears to modern set (1984 kuwahara pulsar)

Old 01-02-15, 08:52 AM
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upgrading original gears to modern set (1984 kuwahara pulsar)

Hi. I am completely new to all this. I have recently fallen in love with biking and bought an old kuwahara pulsar. I bought it because it fit me, is a light frame, and I could afford it. I want to change the gears and wheels to something more modern but have no idea how this would be done. Any advice would be greatly appreciated on what I would need to buy or do.
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Old 01-02-15, 09:50 AM
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A few thoughts.

First, when asking a question like this, it really really helps to post some good, clear pictures of the bike that show the drive side (where the chain is). Don't assume that people know what a Kuwahara Pulsar is. I think it is a 1984-ish bike with mid range Japanese components.

Second, complete used bikes can be pretty cheap, but buying individual bike parts can be pretty spendy, and bike mechanic labor especially so. The bike probably cost you $100 or so; have your bike shop start replacing components and you can quickly spend 3x that.

Third, road bicycles had a hundred years of development by 1984, and they were pretty darned good. The gain from switching to modern components won't be like night and day; in most cases, the modern stuff is lighter and more convenient, but doesn't actually work too much better.

Fourth, the difference in riding experience between a poorly maintained, misadjusted bike and a well tuned bike is bigger than the difference between a 1984 bike and a 2014 bike. Get your bike in top condition, which means a thorough cleaning, regreasing all the bearings, lubrication, true and tension wheels, properly inflated new tires, new brake pads correctly adjusted, derailleurs adjusted. This will cost $100-150 for labor and supplies at a bike shop, plus $50+ for tires. You can buy the necessary tools and supplies for about the same price, and learn to do it yourself.

Fifth, the most (by far) important part of a bicycle is the motor. Improving and upgrading that is what you should really focus on, for at least the first year of riding.

So, basically, I wouldn't change any components except possibly the freewheel if you absolutely need lower gears for the local hills (being exhausted and in pain on hills does not constitute a need for lower gearing; being unable to even turn the pedals over may constitute a need), and in a couple months, possibly fitting some clipless pedals.

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Old 01-02-15, 09:56 AM
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What components does it have now? I assume it's either 6 or 7-speed and possibly a freewheel and not indexed. It may also be spaced 126 mm (6/7-speed) rather than the current 130 mm (8/9/10-speed). What type of shifters does it have? We will need a lot more info before any specific recommendations are possible.

Upgrading older frames can indeed be done but it's not usually straightforward or cheap, particularly if the work has to be done by a bike shop rather than the owner. Depending on how "modern" you want to go, it may be more expensive than buying a newer, more modern complete bike.
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Old 01-02-15, 09:57 AM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...i-s-ergos.html

Lots of people have done this. As said, cost can vary. My personal experience has been with smart shopping (new & used parts), and doing the work myself, I was able to build a bike with much better level of components for a lower price than a comparably equipped bike. It did take some time to wait for and find deals, but I wasn't in any hurry.

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Old 01-02-15, 10:01 AM
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I want to change the gears and wheels to something more modern but have no idea how this would be done.
Perhaps Buy a New Bike and strip It for its parts and put it on the beloved frame ..

Its hard to beat the wholesale costs of OEM parts, buying each piece at Retail.
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Old 01-02-15, 10:04 AM
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As I said, there is no question that it can be done, certainly if cost isn't a major consideration. However, the OP stated he bought his bike because it was cheap and a thorough upgrade will very quickly turn cheap into expensive.
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Old 01-02-15, 11:14 AM
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Thank you. The main reason I want to switch them is that the shiftier is on the bottom tube of the frame and using them is fairly difficult.
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Old 01-02-15, 11:36 AM
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1984 is likely a 6 speed rear and if you want to just move the shifters stem or bar end shifters are an option, with stem the cheaper option.

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Old 01-02-15, 11:50 AM
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I agree that 90 percent of the issues I am having are that I am 50lbs over weight and out of shape. I mostly want to move these shifters to the handle bars and get ones that click (for lack of a better term) from gear to gear. Theses ones just slide to where you move them and often i end up between gears.
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Old 01-02-15, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by justintcjordan View Post


I agree that 90 percent of the issues I am having are that I am 50lbs over weight and out of shape. I mostly want to move these shifters to the handle bars and get ones that click (for lack of a better term) from gear to gear. Theses ones just slide to where you move them and often i end up between gears.
To get what you want will probably cost more than a bike already equipped with handlebar mount index shifters. Changing to index shifting will involve new derailleurs as well as shifters, your derailleurs are not designed for index shifting. You would also have to modify your rear wheel, decent quality index shifting starts at 7 speeds and would not work with your current 6 speed freewheel. Stem mount shifters may sound like a good idea, but are not that great in practice. My first road bike had stem shifters and I found them very awkward to use, I ended up switching to downtime mount shifters within my first year. Friction shifting just requires practice, you shift, then adjust until the chain stops rattling, takes less than a couple of seconds
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Old 01-02-15, 12:09 PM
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Agree with post no. 10. You should work on this bike to get it in good riding shape and get used to the bike. You may find that the bike works fine as is (the bike has good quality parts) and you will get used to the downtube shifting.
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Old 01-02-15, 12:19 PM
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Looking at the pictures, that bike needs a good overhaul. Some of your shifting woes may be due to cables with far too much friction. Looking at the picture of the rear derailleur area, everything there looks dry, dusty, rusty, and in need of lubrication. Replacing all cables for brakes and shifters would be a good first step
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Old 01-02-15, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Looking at the pictures, that bike needs a good overhaul. Some of your shifting woes may be due to cables with far too much friction. Looking at the picture of the rear derailleur area, everything there looks dry, dusty, rusty, and in need of lubrication. Replacing all cables for brakes and shifters would be a good first step
Yeah, she will be going to the shop this week for a complete tune up. Unfortunately I have to wait for my paycheck due to being broke at the moment. I am hoping that will help.
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Old 01-02-15, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by justintcjordan View Post
Yeah, she will be going to the shop this week for a complete tune up. Unfortunately I have to wait for my paycheck due to being broke at the moment. I am hoping that will help.
You would be surprised just how much of the work you can do yourself, especially if your goal is to save money. One advantage of older bikes without index shifting is how much easier they are to set up. At a minimum, before you send it out for work, give it a good cleaning. You should also inspect the stem. On any stem, there is a minimum insertion mark, it is dangerous for the stem to be set at a height above the mark, it is easy to break one off. You can't tell from your photo, but your stem is set very high, I wouldn't be surprised if it is above the mark
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Old 01-02-15, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
You would be surprised just how much of the work you can do yourself, especially if your goal is to save money. One advantage of older bikes without index shifting is how much easier they are to set up. At a minimum, before you send it out for work, give it a good cleaning. You should also inspect the stem. On any stem, there is a minimum insertion mark, it is dangerous for the stem to be set at a height above the mark, it is easy to break one off. You can't tell from your photo, but your stem is set very high, I wouldn't be surprised if it is above the mark
I hadn't even looked at how the stem was set, and you were absolutely right. It was way too high. Waiting on ups to deliver my new saddle now so I will also be adjusting the seat. Lucky for me there is a thread all about that ☺
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Old 01-02-15, 12:49 PM
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For around $50 in new parts (online) the rear derailler (shimano tourney claw mount 6/7 speed), a new shimano 6 spd freewheel (TZ 20), and some shimano indexed 6 speed stem shifters along with some new cables (W/indexed housing) would move the shifters to a "better" location for the OP, give him "click" shifting, and likely vastly improve the shifting also. New chain wouldn't hurt to be added in there too. Is it worth it? Can the OP do the work and adjustment themselves? I can't answer those.
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Old 01-02-15, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by justintcjordan View Post
Thank you. The main reason I want to switch them is that the shiftier is on the bottom tube of the frame and using them is fairly difficult.
Here's what I did on two bikes: I found a pair of Suntour Barcon bar-end shifters to move the shifters to the ends of the handlebars. Much easier to reach. Note that you also have to pick up cable housing stops. I also put on a ramped freewheel on the rear wheel to make shifting much smoother. I went with a 7 speed freewheel and got away with it although clearances are tight, 6 is safer.

The expense of doing this is minimal, maybe $50-100 depending on how much you pay for the Barcons.



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Old 01-02-15, 01:18 PM
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If you can't do the work yourself and money is tight, then forget about modernizing the bike. It will cost too much.

After you get a little better at riding, the downtube, friction (non indexed) shifters won't be a problem. Don't throw scarce money at the bike to solve problems that will go away as you get more practice riding.

Are you mechanically inclined at all? Do you own any tools?
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Old 01-02-15, 01:31 PM
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Probably your best bet would be to find a more modern bike (doesn't matter the size) for sale used that still has all the parts working. Maybe even a crashed/broken frame (where the parts weren't damaged) for sale cheap. Then transfer all the parts over yourself (lots of good guides for that). I've gone the other route (individually bought parts - a mix of new a used - installed by myself) 2-3 times and gone way over my expectations with regard to cost every time.
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Old 01-02-15, 01:36 PM
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Adjusted stem, and adjusted seat height. She is already riding much better.

Yes I am mechanically inclined and own many tools. I am attempting to learn to do all my own work, just get nervous about breaking things.

Also dedhead and doohickie thank you for the advice.
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Old 01-02-15, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by justintcjordan View Post

Yes I am mechanically inclined and own many tools. I am attempting to learn to do all my own work, just get nervous about breaking things.
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Old 01-02-15, 01:58 PM
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Thank you
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Old 01-02-15, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by justintcjordan View Post

Adjusted stem, and adjusted seat height. She is already riding much better.

Yes I am mechanically inclined and own many tools. I am attempting to learn to do all my own work, just get nervous about breaking things.

Also dedhead and doohickie thank you for the advice.
Your mechanical skills are a huge advantage. Bikes are simple. There are a few specialized tools, but they don't cost much. If you have basic tools already, the bike-specific tools you need to overhaul that bike will cost maybe $60. Add consumables and you can overhaul that bike for $100 or so. You will also be able to buy used parts, install them yourself, etc.

I would buy a cone wrench or two for the hubs, the appropriate bottom bracket wrench to remove the adjustable cup of your bottom bracket, a chain tool, the correct size spoke wrench. With your regular tools, some grease and light oil (whatever you have laying around is fine), you should be able to do everything that bike needs. If the cables don't move smoothly in their housings, even after dripping or spraying a little light oil in there, then maybe you'll need a cable and housing cutter too.
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Old 01-02-15, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Doohickie View Post
Note that you also have to pick up cable housing stops. ]
The OP's bike has clamp on DT shifters so there are no bosses to bolt on standard cable housing stops. He will need a clamp-on housing stop like this one:

IRD Clamp-On Cable Housing Stop 28.6mm - www.AVT.Bike

I also have a couple of simpler, cheaper ones from Shimano and Sun Tour in my parts box and an older bike shop may have some of these laying around. For friction shifting, they will be sufficient. For indexing, a pair of in-line cable adjusters will also be required.
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Old 01-02-15, 09:55 PM
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Thank you all for the great advice. Tomorrow i will be biking to my lbs to get some lube so that I can clean and relube my gears and brakes. I am going to take the advice of trying to get used to the non indexed shifters once they are cleaned up and in good condition. Hopefully I can get better at using this setup and not need to change anything.
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