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Swapping out low end vintage parts for low end modern parts

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Swapping out low end vintage parts for low end modern parts

Old 06-02-17, 02:17 PM
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Swapping out low end vintage parts for low end modern parts

Hey Everyone,

I have a small frame mixte which I just want to modernize a bit, component-wise. Not looking to spend a ton of money or a ton of time on this project. It's mostly a learning experience for me, to practice on a side project w/o taking apart my daily ride.

My question... can I use modern, relatively generic rim brake calipers (I have a newer bike with Tektro v-brakes and those are perfectly adequate for my taste) and also drop bar levers to replace the old stock ones ? How does one tell if the new parts are compatible with the old frame?

Thanks. And apologies if this is a stupid question, I just don't know much yet. And I don't have a lot of wiggle room in terms of budget. Wish I could afford shiny expensive vintage parts. Maybe one day...
jessica

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Old 06-02-17, 02:29 PM
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If you could provide pictures, that would help a great deal. The short answer is that it depends. If you have something from France and the 1970's, it's not that easy. If you have something from Japan in the mid-80's, it's much easier. Start with a full drive-side shot with the crank and derailleurs, and make sure you capture any sticker or logos if you can. If components are stamped with names, try to get pics of those, too. The group here is very knowledgeable and will be able to give you recommendations very quickly with that type of information.

This is not a stupid question at all -- standards changed a lot from country to country and decade to decade, with things getting pretty standard by the late 80's. Many folks on this forum worked in shops in those years, and they know these old standards inside and out.

Good luck!

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Old 06-02-17, 02:34 PM
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pic, brand, current components and wheel size will be a big help.

a lot depends on what your meaning of modernize is and what you budget is, other than low. Saying what you are looking for will help

as example do you just want to get better braking? it may be as simple as new pads like cool stops, or new brakes and levers, or new wheel and the above

do you want to move to indexed shifting......that is an entirely different deal.
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Old 06-02-17, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
If you could provide pictures, that would help a great deal. The short answer is that it depends. If you have something from France and the 1970's, it's not that easy. If you have something from Japan in the mid-80's, it's much easier. Start with a full drive-side shot with the crank and derailleurs, and make sure you capture any sticker or logos if you can. If components are stamped with names, try to get pics of those, too. The group here is very knowledgeable and will be able to give you recommendations very quickly with that type of information. Good luck!

Thanks, good suggestion. There are some pictures of the bike in question here: https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...lee-mixte.html
Sorry for the link instead of directly posted photos, I haven't done anything since I got it except I did put on new tires and tubes. I will take it out of the closet this evening and take more specific/more clear photos if I can. But maybe this can get people started.

Regards.
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Old 06-02-17, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
pic, brand, current components and wheel size will be a big help.

a lot depends on what your meaning of modernize is and what you budget is, other than low. Saying what you are looking for will help

as example do you just want to get better braking? it may be as simple as new pads like cool stops, or new brakes and levers, or new wheel and the above

do you want to move to indexed shifting......that is an entirely different deal.

Helpful, thanks...... I figured switching to indexed shifting would be complicated, so that's a distant future changeout if I decide to do it at all. Better braking is a priority, other issues I'll address once the braking is to my satisfaction.

In what way does a new wheel improve the braking? I would like to, at some point, replace current wheels with quick release (skewers I suppose they are called?) And was not sure if I needed whole wheel swap-out for that or just the axle somehow.

thank you.
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Old 06-02-17, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
Helpful, thanks...... I figured switching to indexed shifting would be complicated, so that's a distant future changeout if I decide to do it at all. Better braking is a priority, other issues I'll address once the braking is to my satisfaction.

In what way does a new wheel improve the braking? I would like to, at some point, replace current wheels with quick release (skewers I suppose they are called?) And was not sure if I needed whole wheel swap-out for that or just the axle somehow.

thank you.
if you have a steel rim wheel then braking is worse, especially when wet, than a alloy (aluminum) rim as an example
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Old 06-02-17, 03:03 PM
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Oh! Also, I think I need to get a longer/taller seat post. Would the diameter of a new one be the same as this old bike's seat tube?
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Old 06-02-17, 03:14 PM
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Do you need the 24" wheels? (would you be too short on the bike with 700c wheels) Will the bike take 700C wheels? (as on Capt. America).

You may need some REALLY long reach brakes if you swap brakes. And you may have issues mounting the brakes to that back position- the cable is routed down from the brake instead of up.

If you have aluminum rims Try something like Kool Stop salmon shoes- that may eliminate the need for changing any brakes around.

Shifting and levers is all up to you as your budget allows.

It's a cute and elegant bike- you've got a lot of options with it.

By the way- cool old house- I dig the pocket door!
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Old 06-02-17, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post

My question... can I use modern, relatively generic rim brake calipers (I have a newer bike with Tektro v-brakes and those are perfectly adequate for my taste) and also drop bar levers to replace the old stock ones ? How does one tell if the new parts are compatible with the old frame?
...limiting my response to the brakes alone, there are two issues with using a Tektro dual pivot sidepull caliper brake on your bicycle. First is that you have "nutted" brakes, so your bike is not drilled to allow mounting a recessed nut type brake on your frame as configured currently. The second is reach, which is a highly technical term we use to define the distance in mm between the center of the brake mounting bolt hole and the spot below it where the shoes hit the rim.

Tektro makes thos suckers in a wide range of reaches, so you're probably good there, but it's hard to find anyone making and selling nutted brakes any more, so you might need to either figure out how to properly drill your mounting holes for recessed nut brakes, or more likely find someone with the expertise to do that for you.


Were it me, I would first attempt the new brake shoes/ aluminum alloy rim solutions already suggested, but there's no denying those Tektro dual pivot brakes are a good deal, and work very well when properly installed.

If you're going to do much of this stuff, buy yourself a cheap Vernier caliper and learn how to measure with it...you can use it to measure brake reach, The plastic ones (good enough) are like three bucks at Harbor Freight.

You ought to be fine going to just about any drop bar brake lever. Most people go for the aero style with the cables routed along the bar and under the bar tape. Those might already be aluminum rims. Check them with a magnet.
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Old 06-02-17, 04:20 PM
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Based on the link and comments this is a cute, mid to low end, 24 inch wheel bike. 24 in adds challenges.

how does it fit? if you are needing a seat post, it sounds like it may be small.

I would not put a lot of money into this, and even less if it does not fit.

for first goal of improved braking
* put a set of Kool stop pads on
* inspect cables if anythng looks rusty, binds or is worn, replace cable and housing, otherwise lubricate (triflow)
* Levers can we swapped out maybe ones designed for smaller hands Tektro RL341 Brake Lever Set - Silver - Short Reach -

beyond that lube everthing (headset, BB, wheels, shifter cables, etc)
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Old 06-02-17, 07:20 PM
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I don't think the cable routing will allow many options for the rear brake. Alloy rims and good brake pads are the way to go.
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Old 06-03-17, 12:22 AM
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Bikes too little for you -- unless you are gifting it to a niece or nephew

Don't waste your money on it - it will never fit someone who is 5'4 ish
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Old 06-03-17, 12:36 AM
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You can do practically anything with that. What you have there will work really well, it looks mint. I was looking for this very bike for my g/f before I found her bike. She's 4'11" and rides a 24" road bike that's full SORA with brifters and all. The most interesting part is the 155mm double crankset. So if she can have a full SORA 2x8 brifter setup you could easily do a full Claris 2x8 brifter setup. That's Shimano's latest, budget, STI/brifter setup and I have about 3000 miles on my setup and it purrs. All probably more than the bike though =P

I'd recommend getting new Panaracer Paselas (full black or gumwall, they have both looks) , new Koolstop brake pads and maybe slip off the foam handlebar tape for some real handlebar wrap. Your drop bar brakes would be a nice upgrade while you're putting on real bar tape.

If the brakes you have mount the same they'll probably work. I'd be inclined to keep what's on there and just put good pads in with your new levers.

If you need a taller seatpost then does the bike not fit, is it too small? You got it for 30, you could probably flip it for 5x that doing absolutely nothing, it just needs the right buyer, like a boyfriend finding a bike for his incredibly short girlfriend But yes, same for same. So whatever size the post is that's in there now, take it out and get the same diameter, just longer =)

Quick releases just require you to change the axle. Find a local bike co-op, hit it up, they'll show you how it's done. If you're not crazy short, then this is probably crazy small for you though >__<

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Old 06-03-17, 12:37 AM
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I wouldn't because modern stuff is blacked out and this needs shiny.

But gosh it's cute
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Old 06-03-17, 12:55 AM
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These (UK auction but I assume they are available in the US) NEW Dia Compe DC806 Deep Drop 57-75mm Dual Pivot Brake Caliper NON-RECESSED NUT | eBay are dual pivot brakes that you can fit to a vintage frame without drilling, although they wouldn't work on the rear of this bike. I've not actually bought them, but I've had them bookmarked for when I do build a bike that would suit them.

My personal feeling is that this is a nice original bike (even if it is low end) and modifying it to suit your requirements would be both a shame and more work/expense than it's worth.
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Old 06-03-17, 01:11 AM
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Go get this for $100

https://stlouis.craigslist.org/bik/6057951021.html
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Old 06-13-17, 02:20 PM
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Sorry for the long delay in responding to this thread. I'm not way "into" social media so it's easy for me to check out/forget. But I've got some folding money in my pocket and ready to swap out some parts on this bike.

I think I will not replace the brake calipers for now, and instead try the Kool Stop pads that were recommended here. I would like to replace the suicide levers with new levers. And a new, longer, set-back seat post. That'll probably be enough to get me started and get the bike rideable. I feel certain that at some later date I'll get a wider set of drop bars (these ones are narrow) and maybe a longer stem too but we'll see.

Thanks for all your input and advice. Very helpful. I'll post pictures when I'm done but who knows when that will be? Hope to have it ready to ride in 2 weeks when some friends and I are riding downtown for a ball game. It's good to have deadlines sometimes.
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Old 06-14-17, 01:18 PM
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Hey all. I took it to the bike shop and asked them to measure my seat post diameter. He was a little vague about it.... he said about 25.6 but their tool couldn't measure something so precise very easily. Anyway, he adjusted the brakes for me, and he said my pads were fine and that Kool stop-pers weren't going to provide marked improvement on the steel wheels.

So all that's fine.

You guys... I'm not crazy right? There are full-grown adults who ride BMX bikes, and those are mostly 20" if I'm not mistaken. So, why can't I put a tall seatpost and handlebar stem on this bike for me?

Seriously.... I'm not crazy, right? It's my bike, can't I do what I want?

I'm just tired of people saying "that bike's too small for you". Ummmmm it's not like I spent a couple thousand dollars on a teeny tiny CF frame that's too small for me. I just picked it up for a few bucks, it's in mint condition, and I think it'd make a cute back-up bike for rides around the neighborhood. Plus being unconventional is delightful.

thanks....
sorry for whining.
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Old 06-14-17, 01:47 PM
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@College3.0 - Look, we' re total bike geeks. We look at and notice every minuscule thing. We all have strong opinions about one thing or another. Bike sizing is a whole topic unto itself that has and will continue to be debated and discussed for eternity.
Of course - experiment! It's these inexpensive ones that give you the freedom to do all sorts of things. The main thing is that if you like it and it's fun to ride, then it doesn't matter if anyone else "approves".
Now go and enjoy your bike!
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Old 06-14-17, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
Hey all. I took it to the bike shop and asked them to measure my seat post diameter. He was a little vague about it.... he said about 25.6 but their tool couldn't measure something so precise very easily. Anyway, he adjusted the brakes for me, and he said my pads were fine and that Kool stop-pers weren't going to provide marked improvement on the steel wheels.

So all that's fine.

You guys... I'm not crazy right? There are full-grown adults who ride BMX bikes, and those are mostly 20" if I'm not mistaken. So, why can't I put a tall seatpost and handlebar stem on this bike for me?

Seriously.... I'm not crazy, right? It's my bike, can't I do what I want?

I'm just tired of people saying "that bike's too small for you". Ummmmm it's not like I spent a couple thousand dollars on a teeny tiny CF frame that's too small for me. I just picked it up for a few bucks, it's in mint condition, and I think it'd make a cute back-up bike for rides around the neighborhood. Plus being unconventional is delightful.

thanks....
sorry for whining.
You could totally ride it, it's just that it might be like a circus bear on a little bicycle. That said, if it's fun for you, you don't mind buying the long stem and seatpost to make it work and it's not uncomfortable, then go for it!

Quick note: you mentioned adult BMX bikes. They do have smaller wheels but have an appropriately long top tube so that it fits adult torsos. The riding position and style is totally different for BMX bikes too.
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Old 06-14-17, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
In what way does a new wheel improve the braking? I would like to, at some point, replace current wheels with quick release (skewers I suppose they are called?) And was not sure if I needed whole wheel swap-out for that or just the axle somehow.
If the old wheel had steel rims and the new wheel has aluminum rims, there will be a huge improvement in braking. If the old rim is worn out then there will be an improvement as well.

In many cases all you need to do to improve braking is replace cables, housings and brake pads. Especially if you are on a small budget you'd be wise to start there and see if the results are satisfactory.

The biggest incompatibilities you're likely to encounter with brake calipers are reach and the mounting bolts (recessed vs non-recessed). However "caliper" usually means "side pull" and you mentioned V-brakes. You can't just replace one with the other. Does the bike in question actually have calipers, or does it have cantilevers?
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Old 06-14-17, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by College3.0 View Post
Oh! Also, I think I need to get a longer/taller seat post. Would the diameter of a new one be the same as this old bike's seat tube?
It damn well better be the same, or it won't work. Seat posts come in a variety of diameters. Measure it and get the right one.
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Old 06-14-17, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Do you need the 24" wheels? (would you be too short on the bike with 700c wheels) Will the bike take 700C wheels? (as on Capt. America).
If that bike has 24" wheels there's no way a 700C wheel is going to fit. Considering how much smaller this bike is than the one next to it (which presumably fits you) it's hard to see how you're going to fit on it, even with a monstrously long seat post.

Before you spend a nickel on any parts, see if you can fit on the bike, or find someone else to ride it.
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Old 06-14-17, 03:11 PM
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The seat post's diameter may be printed on it. No guarantees, though.

I think most adults riding BMX bikes are still on kid sized bikes,despite the existence of larger frames. They don't really sit on them per se, they stand up to pedal and squat to coast, so fit is not the same issue.
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Old 06-14-17, 03:58 PM
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Adults ride BMX bikes because BMX riding doesn't require you to straighten your leg at the bottom of the pedal stroke. On a road bike, you do want your leg fully extended (or just a tad short of fully extended). That's why size matters. If you ride any distance, your legs will hurt, and you won't want to go any further. Watch people riding their full size bikes, and try to match their forms.
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