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Eroica CA Bike-Help Me Pull The Trigger

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Eroica CA Bike-Help Me Pull The Trigger

Old 07-24-17, 09:34 PM
  #1  
johnbobey
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Eroica CA Bike-Help Me Pull The Trigger

Thank you--the response to my last post was overwhelmingly positive and informative, and I’ve been trying to take it all in and build a checklist for my new/first bike purchase as I gear up for Eroica CA 2018. Thing is, each bike I’ve looked at (now that you’ve helped me focus) has pros and cons based on my new checklist. So, at the risk of pressing my luck, below represents the current list of contenders. Also, should I need to up my budget for a more ready to roll bike (as a mechanic--thus far--I'm pure potential)…say to $600, I would be open to that (Bad Lag, thanks for looking on my behalf…I’d love to see the examples you’ve spied).

And oh—does everyone’s fiancée/spouse/significant other roll their eyes at yet more bike talk, or is it just mine?

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/fa...MsMjgxNTg4MjY=







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Old 07-24-17, 09:54 PM
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Personally I'm drawn to the red '81 Miyata 710. The lightness of those Japanese frames is awesome and it is already done! Then again its also hard to turn down something from Europe, like that Peugeot. Let us know which one makes the final cut.

And yes, I've begun to wear my family's patience thin with my bike talk. So, I've had to learn balance, it keeps the peace.

-C.J.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:06 PM
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...just an opinion, but your wife/girlfriend can probably sense that she will no longer be able to park in the garage.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:10 PM
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I'm going to break this into two or three posts. Quite a few bikes here.

To begin with, the Craigslist bikes:

1) Centurion Super LeMans (~1976) Too expensive, and kind of a boat anchor. This was butted Hi Ten, but probably a complete weight around 28-29 lbs. Looks sharp with the chrome, but not really a performance bike.

2) Centurion Super Elite (1978-80) Fair price, very clean, and probably my favorite of the Craigslist bikes. Light Tange #2 frame, quality Suntour Cyclone derailleurs, and the crank looks to have a smaller BCD, allowing for a more reasonable small chainring. (Was specced with an SR SAX5 86bcd crankset, but it doesn't look like that is what's on there. Maybe a Sugino Mighty Tour - 110bcd.)

3) Schwinn LeTour (1985-87??) Nice price, and also looks pretty clean. A bit more race oriented than the Super Elite. Older models were hi ten, or straight guage Cr-mo, but may have been double butted Tenax by this year. Not a particularly valuable model, but probably a perfectly decent bike. Might be a bit tight with 32's, but I bet they would fit.

4) Older Letour (Maybe late 70's to maybe 1981) Too expensive, by maybe $100. Parts are all over the place, and nothing too fancy either. Frame is probably hi-ten or straight guage main triangle.

5) Centurion Le Mans (1986-88?) Kind of expensive for the condition, but was a pretty decent bike for the time. Tange #2 frame, mid range shimano components. Looks to have ok tire clearance, probably better than the contemporary Ironman. Would be a good buy at $100-150, but I wouldn't spend $300 on one.

6) Peugeot Super Competition (1981): Seems quite a bit too expensive. I'm not really up on Peugeots, but the 80's were really past their prime. It's a nice clean frame, but the parts are just ho-hum. The Campy grand sport components are are second tier, at a time when Shimano and Suntour were really coming on strong. If it were decked out in Nuovo Record or Super Record, it might be a different story.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:17 PM
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...I have a lot of bikes here, and no strong opinions on any of those.

Some opinions I do have:

1.You'll do better for your dollar on Craigslist, and it avoids the extra costs of shipping. I would never buy a bike I could not thoroughly inspect in person.There have been too many ugly stories here about either stuff that was not disclosed (necessitating long, time consuming back and forth with seller...always a drag) or stuff that was poorly packed and damaged in transit.

2. Almost anything that rolls will work, but if you want to do the long ride you need clearance for some fatter tyres and some gearing for steep hills. It's much cheaper and easier to buy these things in the new bike you are buying than to attempt to correct them after you've bought something. So at least look for something with a triple (easiest to find in an older bike to assure a wide range of gearing) and enough clearance at the fork crown and the stays for gravel friendly tyres.

3. anticipate spending some money on top of the purchase price for stuff like a different stem to fit the bike to your preferred position. It's not unusual to also need to change out the saddle, and sometimes the pedals to get the thing comfy enough for longer rides like those you'll train at.

4. The whole thing ought to be fun. Relax and enjoy the ride. If you want to podium finish, buy the Schwinn Varsity to train on, and almost anything that has double butted tubing in the frame to actually ride at the event.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:19 PM
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Despite my adoration for Miyata, I'd probably go with the circa 1987/88 Tempo. At least part of it is Italian (the Tenax tubeset) and the Shimano New 105 is newer and better than the groups on the other bicycles, with notable improvement in shifting and braking. I'd think it would give the most long term riding satisfaction.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:31 PM
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I have a Centurion Super Le Mans that I bought in L.A. a few years back. I won't argue with the previous poster that called it a boat anchor because it is the only vintage bike I own. I've had lots of fun with it, rode it in a metric century with some hill climbing, and have thought about doing the CA L'Eroica event with her. I only paid $180 for her, though.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:42 PM
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Ebay bikes:

1) Schwinn Tempo: (1986?) Price w/shipping kind of high compared to your local market, and the frame looks a bit beat up, with a bit of rust. Nothing that would kill the bike, but it's far from a showpiece. Other than that, the components are decent, and it would be a nice ride.

2)Miyata 710 (1978-80??) Looks nice, especially for the price. Not as clean as the Super Elite from Craigslist, but otherwise pretty comparable. The Super Elite's components are specced a touch higher.

3)Fuji S-12-S: Not bad, but priced kind of high. Fuji's definitely have a following, but this was kind of the base model. Paint looks ok, but seems like it has a bunch of small scratches and marks. Would probably polish up better, but it definately shows some use. -- Or patina if you're trying to sell it. :-) Parts are perfectly servicable, but all mid-range. (Also, it doesn't have a Sugino Mighty Tour as listed. It might be a Fuji branded Sugino Maxy, or maybe an SR equivalent. Looks to be a small BCD though -- could probably run a 34T small ring. ++ for the Eroica hills.)

4) Schwinn Tempo: (1988?) Maybe a year or two newer than #1. Higher end components, but looks to be tighter tire clearances. May not fit 32s, probably 28mm max. Nice "race" bike, but probably not well suited to Eroica as is. Also the price is kind of high for LA. I would expect a bike like that to sell for $250-300 max around here.

5) Schwinn Tempo (1984): See #1. Pretty much the same, except the frame looks pretty clean. For a lower price, this would be a good Eroica bike, certainly to test the waters.

6) Miyata 710: Looks to be in similar condition to the Craigslist Super Elite, but the components are a notch lower. Kind of hard to tell if it's super clean, or has just been polished up well. Looks like a very nice bike, but again, priced higher than what you would pay locally.

7) Peugeot Course: Looks nice and clean, but it's pretty solidly low-mid range. Probably on par with a Schwinn Le Tour. I believe their "Special 103" tubing is just Hi-Ten. Not horrible, but you can get a much nicer frame for the money.

Of these, #2 and #5 are probably the best deals, but both probably $100 more than you could find similar bikes for on Craigslist.

If you are still looking for French, I would steer away from Peugeot, and look more at Motobecane. They were finished better in most cases, and seem to go for less. The Grand Touring, Grand Jubilee (early), Grand Record, and Le Champion are all very nice, world class bikes. There were a few Red/Black and Black/Red color schemes on these models that were especially striking in the 1975-79 time period.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...just an opinion, but your wife/girlfriend can probably sense that she will no longer be able to park in the garage.
Yeah that's a fun discussion . . . .
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Old 07-24-17, 10:46 PM
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As far as the better half is concerned, mine had 2 bikes before I revived my obsession. Now of course I have a bunch including several that I drooled over in high school and others that have piqued my interest along the way. She now has three after Christmas before last when I scored her a very clean Motobecane Grand Touring mixte and spiffed it up with a Brooks, bell, shiny black fizik bar tape, chrome Wald rack, tune, clean, lube and adjust. It was a freakin home run, one of the best reactions in 25 yrs, she loved it. She will be getting another this year that may be even better. I would encourage you to consider this strategy to help get her on board, literally and figuratively. I always think it should be a no brainer from the health aspect, who can argue with this? She/they should be the first to embrace it as most of us are getting younger by the day.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
I'm going to break this into two or three posts. Quite a few bikes here.

To begin with, the Craigslist bikes:

1) Centurion Super LeMans (~1976) Too expensive, and kind of a boat anchor. This was butted Hi Ten, but probably a complete weight around 28-29 lbs. Looks sharp with the chrome, but not really a performance bike.

2) Centurion Super Elite (1978-80) Fair price, very clean, and probably my favorite of the Craigslist bikes. Light Tange #2 frame, quality Suntour Cyclone derailleurs, and the crank looks to have a smaller BCD, allowing for a more reasonable small chainring. (Was specced with an SR SAX5 86bcd crankset, but it doesn't look like that is what's on there. Maybe a Sugino Mighty Tour - 110bcd.)

3) Schwinn LeTour (1985-87??) Nice price, and also looks pretty clean. A bit more race oriented than the Super Elite. Older models were hi ten, or straight guage Cr-mo, but may have been double butted Tenax by this year. Not a particularly valuable model, but probably a perfectly decent bike. Might be a bit tight with 32's, but I bet they would fit.

4) Older Letour (Maybe late 70's to maybe 1981) Too expensive, by maybe $100. Parts are all over the place, and nothing too fancy either. Frame is probably hi-ten or straight guage main triangle.

5) Centurion Le Mans (1986-88?) Kind of expensive for the condition, but was a pretty decent bike for the time. Tange #2 frame, mid range shimano components. Looks to have ok tire clearance, probably better than the contemporary Ironman. Would be a good buy at $100-150, but I wouldn't spend $300 on one.

6) Peugeot Super Competition (1981): Seems quite a bit too expensive. I'm not really up on Peugeots, but the 80's were really past their prime. It's a nice clean frame, but the parts are just ho-hum. The Campy grand sport components are are second tier, at a time when Shimano and Suntour were really coming on strong. If it were decked out in Nuovo Record or Super Record, it might be a different story.
I'd likely go with the centurion super elite. Everything else being equal better to buy local than via eBay. Frame and parts are very nice quality. I like that the owner has installed cane creek hoods to replace the gum rubber hoods. That's a small point but it means someone was looking after the bike. That's the shortest of the bikes though at 62 cm.
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Old 07-24-17, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by raceboy View Post
I have a Centurion Super Le Mans that I bought in L.A. a few years back. I won't argue with the previous poster that called it a boat anchor because it is the only vintage bike I own. I've had lots of fun with it, rode it in a metric century with some hill climbing, and have thought about doing the CA L'Eroica event with her. I only paid $180 for her, though.
I probably should have qualified that a bit more. They made the Super LeMans for something like 15 years. The first generation that I was talking about was butted HiTen, and pretty stiff / heavy, at least compared to a lot of the bikes on this list. By the early 80s they were straight gauge cr-mo, and would have been ok-ish by modern standards. By the mid-late 80s I think they were using a double butted cr-mo tube set, and would have been pretty good, although with lower end components.

I wouldn't pick a 1975-78 Super LeMans over many lighter bikes for serious distance riding, but they were well made, and sharp looking. They're still about 10lbs lighter than a Scwinn Varsity, and thousands of those have been ridden across the continent, some more than once. :-)
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Old 07-24-17, 11:21 PM
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I'm a low trail convert, the Fuji S-12 is a natural in that regards. You could put 650b x 42mm tires on it no problem, and it would take all of the gravel you could throw at it.

Others might be faster on pavement, but Eroica is about climbing gravel hills, so I'm told.

That said, any bike on your list could get you to the finish line. It's more the motor than the bike.
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Old 07-25-17, 02:42 AM
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As far as the spouse goes, start looking up nice sets of golf clubs and tell her you're going to spend the entire day at the golf course with them while drinking beer and smoking cigars. She'll come around on the bike riding.
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Old 07-25-17, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
As far as the spouse goes, start looking up nice sets of golf clubs and tell her you're going to spend the entire day at the golf course with them while drinking beer and smoking cigars. She'll come around on the bike riding.
My wife's her late father was and her brothers still are avid golfers, so this has always worked for me.
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Old 07-25-17, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
I'm a low trail convert, the Fuji S-12 is a natural in that regards. You could put 650b x 42mm tires on it no problem, and it would take all of the gravel you could throw at it.

Others might be faster on pavement, but Eroica is about climbing gravel hills, so I'm told.

That said, any bike on your list could get you to the finish line. It's more the motor than the bike.
True, but 30+ pounds is a lot to take up those hills, and has already been noted, that's a bit of money for the bike. Tire clearance aside, that was the very first bike I mentally scratched from the listing. I'd look for something more like the Miyata or one of the Tempos.

All this said, I prefer to deal with CL or folks here to getting a bike via eBay.
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Old 07-25-17, 07:02 AM
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How about a PX-10?
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sf...229005100.html

or a Bianchi? I can't make out the model.
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...232707921.html

Too expensive, but this Bridgestone is super sweet:
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sg...231494624.html

Centurion Accordo - on for 2 weeks, may take lower offers
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...215090333.html

This Zeus may not fit much bigger tires....
wer offers
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...215090333.html
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Old 07-25-17, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
I'm going to break this into two or three posts. Quite a few bikes here.

To begin with, the Craigslist bikes:

1) Centurion Super LeMans (~1976) Too expensive, and kind of a boat anchor. This was butted Hi Ten, but probably a complete weight around 28-29 lbs. Looks sharp with the chrome, but not really a performance bike.

2) Centurion Super Elite (1978-80) Fair price, very clean, and probably my favorite of the Craigslist bikes. Light Tange #2 frame, quality Suntour Cyclone derailleurs, and the crank looks to have a smaller BCD, allowing for a more reasonable small chainring. (Was specced with an SR SAX5 86bcd crankset, but it doesn't look like that is what's on there. Maybe a Sugino Mighty Tour - 110bcd.)

3) Schwinn LeTour (1985-87??) Nice price, and also looks pretty clean. A bit more race oriented than the Super Elite. Older models were hi ten, or straight guage Cr-mo, but may have been double butted Tenax by this year. Not a particularly valuable model, but probably a perfectly decent bike. Might be a bit tight with 32's, but I bet they would fit.

4) Older Letour (Maybe late 70's to maybe 1981) Too expensive, by maybe $100. Parts are all over the place, and nothing too fancy either. Frame is probably hi-ten or straight guage main triangle.

5) Centurion Le Mans (1986-88?) Kind of expensive for the condition, but was a pretty decent bike for the time. Tange #2 frame, mid range shimano components. Looks to have ok tire clearance, probably better than the contemporary Ironman. Would be a good buy at $100-150, but I wouldn't spend $300 on one.

6) Peugeot Super Competition (1981): Seems quite a bit too expensive. I'm not really up on Peugeots, but the 80's were really past their prime. It's a nice clean frame, but the parts are just ho-hum. The Campy grand sport components are are second tier, at a time when Shimano and Suntour were really coming on strong. If it were decked out in Nuovo Record or Super Record, it might be a different story.
Originally Posted by rocks in head View Post
How about a PX-10?
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sf...229005100.html

or a Bianchi? I can't make out the model.
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...232707921.html

Too expensive, but this Bridgestone is super sweet:
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sg...231494624.html

Centurion Accordo - on for 2 weeks, may take lower offers
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...215090333.html

This Zeus may not fit much bigger tires....
wer offers
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...215090333.html
It's not a PX 10 but a PR 10 (3 main tubes Reynolds). I have one sitting on my work stand.

Not a bad deal but not so easy to make it eroica ready since you have to deal with simplex drop outs and a few other oddities. Getting the gearing right for climbing on gravel will be tougher on this bike than the others. Getting a long cage simplex RD is virtually unobtanium but you can mod the drop out (this will cost some $) for a modern RD. The Huret honeycomb drop outs which came on some Gitanes in the mid 70s work with pretty much any RD.

Still the OP was looking for a French bike and this is a good one at a good price. Also it will take a 32c tire.

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Old 07-25-17, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by cdmurphy View Post
4) Schwinn Tempo: (1988?) Maybe a year or two newer than #1. Higher end components, but looks to be tighter tire clearances. May not fit 32s, probably 28mm max. Nice "race" bike, but probably not well suited to Eroica as is. Also the price is kind of high for LA. I would expect a bike like that to sell for $250-300 max around here.
Aren't aero levers banned, too?
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Old 07-25-17, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Aren't aero levers banned, too?
Yes.
well, there goes that Bianchi, too.

OOOH California is different!
c) we prefer the traditional brake lever setup on the bicycles, brake cables pass outside and over the handlebars (cables can pass inside the top tube of main frame), however, NEW for 2017, aero brake levers without built in shifters will be allowed.

basically, dt shifters, non-aero brake hoods, clips & straps on the pedals, and a vintage aethetic:

The original rules:
a) more recent bikes with gears and derailleurs, such as Simplex, Huret, Campagnolo, Zeus, Shimano, Suntour, etc. must have shift levers on the down tube of the frame; exceptions include pre-1980 non indexed bar-end gear shifters and rod/hand manual operated front derailleurs;

b) pedals should be with toe clips and straps or original pedals for older bikes; quick release, clip-less pedals are not allowed;

c) the brake cables must pass outside and over the handlebars (cables can pass inside the frame);

d) older geared bicycles must have original shifters such as Cambio Corsa, Cambio Paris Roubaix, Cambio Vittoria Margherita, etc.;

e) wheels must have at least 32 spokes laced to a low profile rim (20 mm depth or less, except for wooden rims); the rims must be of either steel, aluminium or wood;

f) both tubular tyres and clinchers with inner tubes are allowed;

g) we invite participants to fit saddles from the same period as the bicycles, so a model of 1987 or earlier; alternatively we suggest fitting a vintage model of modern production;

h) the change of the gear ratios is allowed due to the difficulty of the ride.

i) there are no particular rules on the type of brakes as long as they are in line with the construction period of the bicycle and are efficient for safety reasons

Last edited by rocks in head; 07-25-17 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 07-25-17, 08:51 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by rocks in head View Post
Yes.
well, there goes that Bianchi, too.

OOOH California is different!
Ah, so they are. Italy still bans them, at least for this year, I was considering going to the Italian Eroica for my yearly Euro trip before settling on something else. Wonder why Cali changed, ease of building a new retro-style bike?
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Old 07-25-17, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
wonder why cali changed, ease of building a new retro-style bike?
Originally Posted by eroica usa ride & festival inc.
note: Revised for 2017 event. Many people have asked the reason for these rules, specifically with regards to pedals and brakes. In our opinion, aero levers and clipless pedals are the sign of modern-age cycling. Both became popular in the mid-1980s and they forever changed the look of traditional road racing bicycles. Therefore, our founding members have decided not to allow them at our events. However, at 2017 eroica california, we have decided to allow the aero brake levers with brake cable routed under the bar tape (only the brake lever function is allowed on the levers) to encourage more people to participate.
fyi

Last edited by rocks in head; 07-25-17 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 07-25-17, 09:47 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by rocks in head View Post
fyi
Thanks, they didn't have that extra blurb in the actual rules area!
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Old 07-25-17, 10:07 AM
  #24  
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Gut response: one of the Schwinn Tempo's

My friend road a Schwinn Prelude of the same era on Eroica CA. We bought it off Craigslist for 100, added a Suntour ARx rear with I think a 32t freewheel, and I gave him some Gatorskins in 28c to use. Nothing to report, it road nice and had zero problems, lol.

The Miyata's are nice, I'm partial because they were the first bike brand I owned, but I find other frames nowadays a little more lively; clearly my preference.

Hey, anything with all this wheel clearance will work. I think for how far away the event is you have time to search locally and ride a few. Your butt meter will tell you a lot. I'd say aim high with the steel too, just because you can. All of these bikes could work, just put newer 28 size or higher tires on, bring tools, some spare tubes, and a good attitude. I'm interested to see what you end up with!
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Old 07-25-17, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
Wonder why Cali changed, ease of building a new retro-style bike?
Searching the California Craigslist like I do I'll say we just don't have the quantity of old European bikes like Europe does. We do have a ton of Japanese bikes though and they had aero brakes by 1987. For the US and California locale in particular it's helps because we don't have many quality, over the top cable routing equipped bikes in comparison to literally anywhere in Europe. I noticed this when doing my own prep for the race so it's just my personal conjecture as to why.
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