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What are your rules when upgrading to more modern components?

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What are your rules when upgrading to more modern components?

Old 01-27-19, 09:24 PM
  #1  
Barrettscv 
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What are your rules when upgrading to more modern components?

None of my bikes are historically significant or one-of-kind rare. Most are iconic and difficult to procure, but that doesn't make them museum pieces. My theory of repair and refurbishment is as follows: Most good frames receive new components after the original component saw a few years of serious use. Replacing components with a more modern generation is acceptable.

Almost every bike I touch has a few components that would not have been available at the time the bike frame was completed. I like open tubular tires and only one of my bike has sew-ups with period correct rims. I also find it tempting to add a few cogs to the gear range and Ergo levers in place of downtube friction shifters. These changes allow me to ride smoothly in a moderately fast group. A bike should function and perform very well, but should retain a classic aesthetic.

However, I won't randomly add modern components. I like to think any modernization is done with respect for the heritage of the bike. I usually replace Campagnolo components with Campagnolo components that are newer, but not modern, for example. I'll have the paint expertly spot repaired, but I won't do complete repaints.

Here is an example: 2x9 Campagnola Chorus drivetrain, shifters and brakes. Chorus hubs with Velocity A23 rims. 700x28 Vittorio Corsa G+ tires. NOS S. Marco Concor genuine suede saddle.




What are your rules?

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Old 01-27-19, 09:39 PM
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Im pretty picky about having all parts matching and from the same group. Even when replacing a broken part ill replace it with the same.
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Old 01-27-19, 09:40 PM
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ďAnything GoesĒ

actually, thatís not true. I donít put ugly modern parts on a vintage bike. Some parts are better looking than others.

No threadless stems; no 4-arm cranks, etc.
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Old 01-27-19, 09:46 PM
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I like the threadless adapters because its so easy to remove the bars if necessary , and its easier to experiment with stems . Having said that I like the look of a quill better , and I like having matching components but its not always possible because I work with what I have in the bin a lot of times.

However I think that the 3x9 drive train is the perfect drive train and nothing newer or older is as good from a gear range perspective , if originality is not an issue or I plan on keeping the bike to ride I prefer my bikes to have 27 speed drive trains
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Old 01-27-19, 10:20 PM
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Does it look completely out of place on the bike? No? Then Iím typically fine with whatever works, or works better. Having said that, I think vintage frames always look best with period parts. But, looks arenít everything unless itís a show piece. If it makes it more enjoyable to ride who can really argue.
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Old 01-27-19, 10:50 PM
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"Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules."

But I had fun building my Schwinn Superior with mostly first-series Shimano XTR parts:
Green Superior on Flickr
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Old 01-27-19, 11:29 PM
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I can't seem to push myself to ever install any modern parts on any of my bikes, except for tires, which still have to have tan skinwalls on them.
Anothher place where i do not histate using modern component is with my pedls. Quite a few of my bikes are sporting Look Keo Classic pedals
If I modify or upgrade a bike, it will be with components within the time the bike frameset was built.
I also try to keep the groups on the bike all from the same model line, except for my bikes built with late 80's C Record era Gruppos. where I would not hesitate to mix C Record stuff with Chorus stuff, as those gruppos weren't consistently good performers, so I take the best from each group when I can. As for derailleurs and shifting, I tried indexed shifting at the downtube but did not really see the advantages for me going that way personally, and quite, still prefer non-indexed friction shifting at the downtubes with all my bikes.
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Old 01-27-19, 11:39 PM
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Back when the bikes were relatively new, it wasn't unusual for an owner to replace worn or broken parts with new or upgraded components, so I don't see anything wrong with doing the same thing now. A lot of bikes were built to meet a price point. Cheaper components was one way to cut costs, so an owner could get a decent frame and upgrade the components as the budget allowed.

My son's Club Fuji was built near the end of the 7 speed era. I found a deal on some 8 speed 105 STI levers and a set of wheels that were only a few years newer than the bike. Some may not think it was an upgrade to take off the down tube levers, but he wasn't comfortable with them. I see this as an upgrade that could have been done back in the 1990's by a rider trying to keep up with his competition.



1989 Club Fuji w/ 105 STI

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Old 01-28-19, 12:42 AM
  #9  
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I'm not into suffering involuntarily. So, tires, bar tape and saddle.

Can't imagine how the original 700x18 or x19 tires would ride and not really interested in finding out unless it's perfect smooth asphalt. So, decent 700x23 tires at reasonable pressure to handle the worst of our local chipseal and busted up patches that can't be avoided.

No gumwalls. I get nervous about rubber that cracks from ordinary use or storage. They look good on the right bike but I'm not that picky about looks. I feel more confident in tires with plenty of carbon black in the sidewalls. Although I'll admit my Centurion has new Conti Ultra Sport 2 tires have blue stripes -- adhesive. Eh, why not, they were on sale cheap and go with the blue paint accents.

Never liked ribbon bar tape. Even in the 1970s the first thing I did was double or triple the tape, or find some padded tape or foam wraps. Nowadays I'll use just about any decent padded tape. There are plenty of good ones for $10 or so.

Saddle. I can't get along with the classic Turbo, or most curved top or hammock type saddles -- I'm constantly scooting around trying to find the non-existent sweet spot. My butt seems to like the narrow, flat Selle Italia with long nose. Just enough flex and padding to do the job. Good shorts or bibs do the rest.
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Old 01-28-19, 12:46 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman View Post
ďAnything GoesĒ

actually, thatís not true. I donít put ugly modern parts on a vintage bike. Some parts are better looking than others.

No threadless stems; no 4-arm cranks, etc.
Amen brother.
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Old 01-28-19, 02:03 AM
  #11  
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For me, it generally has to match the purpose of the bike, and the components have to complement the frame/frame color/frame details. This usually means a matching groupset, but with touring bike builds, that goes out the window. For my riding and commuting (no wall hangers with me), the bikes need to stop. Now. So dual pivots are spec'd. Hills are steep/steeper and everywhere, so I'd like gearing for that lest my knees mutiny. So a 39-28 low combo is nice to have. On the other side of a hill, I don't like to spin out within the first 100 feet, so if I can get a 53-11 or 52-11 for the top end, I'll go for that. I like speed, too. Many vintage cranksets are 170mm, and although I can get used to them, they feel like prison to my legs--it's much easier to find 175mm cranksets that are more modern. Downtube shifters are fun, but friction shifting in stop and go manic city traffic with bumpy roads makes for a crummy, if dangerous, experience. Indexed down tube shifting is vastly preferable and naturally, almost exclusively spec'd (when I'm not running STIs/Ergos).

Purpose matched with capability matched with aesthetic. If I can get all those things singing, we have a bike and it's usually a pretty good time.
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Old 01-28-19, 03:35 AM
  #12  
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Ok, you asked! Ready?

Iíve planned many a build, but have yet to actually build. Thatíll change!

In my short time since taking up riding again, and in C&V steel as a means to do so, Iíve fallen deep into the seemingly bottomless rabbit hole of researching, bike swapping, and parts hunting. This has led to a lack of productivity with a wrench, but has also developed a certain intent.

Over this course my riding needs, and my personal tastes have been forming, simultaneously, ever changing the directions this whole thing is taking me in.

Where Iím at currently is here... two builds which will serve two distinct purposes. One, a sporty city ride to handle my daily affairs and light commuting. The other a loaded tourer.

The first build mentioned is based off of a rare custom frame built locally in 1981. It uses Columbus SL tubing and is equipped with Campy dropouts. The PO shared with me that despite the more recent Japanese componentry itís presented with now, he had initially built it with a Campy group from the era. There was only one way to go here, as the frame seemed to practically beg to be restored to its former hybrid Italian/American status. Iíve set out to rebuild it with a NR/SR group. From head to toe the bike will be decked out in period quality parts with only the tires possessing any modern attributes while still offering a classic aesthetic. No big responsibility for the bike to live up to. It needs to ride well. Ride fast. Be simple enough to maintain. And look killer while doing so.

The tourer on the other hand is an even older, but also high end frame. Iíd like to keep it as period as well. 1976! However, due to the nature of its job to keep me rolling, and stopping in the road many miles from home. It will see some careful mixing of the old with the new. For instance, Iíve purchased a brand new set of modern GC610 brakes for reliability, and Iím tempted to go with a 7 speed cassette. Might do aero levers to cut down on the clutter up front, easing access to the handlebar bag, and reducing chances of getting hung up should I need to lean the bike in the brush while out in the sticks. Other details yet to be worked out, but I canít let myself get too caught up in ďperiod correctnessĒ with this one as function over form needs to be the rule here. I donít care if it ďdoes not look right,Ē to purist type observers.

For me, ďif it ainít broke, donít fix it,Ē applies to bikes in the sense that as long as the need is being met, and things look right (to my eye), then itís all good! Otherwise, do whatís necessary to make it so, and donít worry about others opinions.

Its been a long time coming, and one hell of a learning experience, but these two vintage bikes will be built, and theyíll be built exactly how I need them to be built.

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Old 01-28-19, 03:55 AM
  #13  
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Beyond consumables, my rule is "don't". It ends up being a poor substitute for a new bike as well as destroying most of the immediate and future collector value. If I want a new bike I'll just go buy a new bike, but I'm here because I like old bikes and that's what I ride.

Remember that there's a whole lot of stuff in museums that wasn't historically significant or one-of-kind rare for a long time. It's tough to go wrong by respecting our history.
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Old 01-28-19, 06:22 AM
  #14  
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I try to keep a similar look and appearance. I have a late '60s Peugeot that I bought with a cheap replacement front derailleur, a Simplex Prestige rear derailleur that may or may not have been original, and a slightly rusting Cyclo cottered crankset. None of those components had much intrinsic value to me or to the bike, and the cottered crank wasn't cleaning up very well.

The drivetrain has been replaced with used Shimano 105 5500 series derailleurs. They're far from original or even correct for the period, but they're shiny and look classy on the bike. The crank is now a shiny Sugino 5-bolt triple. The original crank was a 36-50 double, and I'm working on parts to make this into a 26-40 double with a classy silver chain guard in the outer position. The wheels were 27"/630mm wheels, one of which I think was original, both of which were in generally poor condition. So they've been replaced with 700c/622mm wheels, but they're silver with silver spokes and silver hubs -- trying to keep it looking as it would have when it left the factory. The saddle was a Henri Gauthier leather saddle that's really roached. I have plans to have this re-done with new leather, but I have a cheap saddle on it now just to ride it.

I love classic bikes, mostly for The Look. I like the steel tubing and I like the anodized/shiny components. I grew up with cars that had chrome that took time to detail, and I've come to like the same in bikes. The components don't matter that much to me as long as they fit The Look. I also have modern bikes, but I appreciate them for different reasons.
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Old 01-28-19, 06:46 AM
  #15  
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Interesting points of view.

For me, each bike is different. A couple of mine will always stay original, to keep their value and that great old-school feel, while my others will see mods.

For instance, my latest build, a 91 Pogliaghi, has a mix of old and new. Old is the bars, cotton bar wrap, quill stem, seat post, saddle and clip pedals, and new is wheels, a modern Campy drivetrain and brakes, but with a Velo Orange crankset. I think it came out killer looking while giving modern performance and reliability. But my 78 Colnago Super will never see upgrades like this and will remain original.

I think its fun to have both original bikes and bikes you can add your own personality.
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Old 01-28-19, 06:54 AM
  #16  
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It's just a bike. At the end of the day, they were built to be ridden and enjoyed. Spending too much time worrying about what they would've worn BITD versus what will make them more user friendly today is a waste of time. Do what works best for you.
If you're into aesthetics, by all means make them pretty. Want functionality first? Go for it. It's your bike.
But above all, RIDE THE BIKE.
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Old 01-28-19, 07:01 AM
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I am super strict about my rules.
Hahahahahaha! Hahahahahahaha!
It needs to offer better function than what is being replaced.
Hopefully, it doesn't look worse than what is being replaced.

Besides the requisites = quill stems only, no Japanese on Italian frames, tubulars, silver, etc.
At least one fendered roadie for wet duty.

But then my rules only apply to me!

No wall hangers or museum pieces.
Everything gets ridden.
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Old 01-28-19, 07:55 AM
  #18  
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I don't generally worry about 'upgrading' anything unless it is broken or worn out.. I'll change bars and stems or even longer cranks for a better fit and more comfortable ride. I might put a set of wheels aside in favor of set that fits multiple bikes in possession but that is about it.

This is one of the most serious changes to a bike, bnut I only enhanced it to make it a better rider. Newer RD for smoother shifting, slightly longer cranks wif a triple, more comfortable bar/stem and brake levers. Oh I sold the bike these fabulous wheels were on so I figured this bike was a good home for them. It took about 3 or 4 or 7 different reworkings to come to this.

This is just after I got it, new tires and newer RD are the only changes.


This is how she looks today. Unless your in the know the biggest change is the fenders but the only original kit left is the post and cantilever brakes.
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Old 01-28-19, 08:15 AM
  #19  
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My #1 rule is to never get a bike that I'd have heartburn about making updates to. While I appreciate vintage bicycles that are put together with fidelity to how they would/might have been equipped when they rolled out the door of the shop, I would not enjoy the hobby half as much as I do if I felt locked in by having some standard to rigidly follow. That said, I do have a few bicycles that I've been faithful to. (Though in my book, pedals don't really count because they're so easy to change out, and I am pretty used to clipless.)

My decisions are not based on rules per se. I have ideas for builds, and while you won't see me putting carbon bars or seatposts on a vintage bike, and I strive for a vintage vibe, I have a few bikes with brifters and newer derailleurs, brakes and wheels, etc.

Over time, I've gotten better at being selective in acquisitions, and I have a "vision" (or sometimes a back-up vision) of what I want each bike to be before I get it.

I have no qualms about replacing rims or brakes with newer because I enjoy riding, and stopping safely is non-negotiable.

Sorry for the somewhat scattered response, but I'm trying to write fewer "books" here in C&V.
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Old 01-28-19, 08:30 AM
  #20  
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My basic rule is to only upgrade when its a really good frame, like my 1987 Prologue pair. Doing significant upgrades of something basic doesn't make any sense to me. It takes the same $$ in parts, and the same amount of time.

Now I only upgrade for friends and family (including myself). I don't for bikes to sell, as prices are not in line with the investment in parts (I would lose money). Now if someone comes to me with a special request, sure, I will do it.

8 speed Dura Ace:


1987 Prologue by wrk101, on Flickr


9 Speed Dura Ace (mostly)


1987 Schwinn Prologue by wrk101, on Flickr
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Old 01-28-19, 10:12 AM
  #21  
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I commit bike heresy on a regular basis. My "rules" are more of a vision towards the best riding synergy I can build, given my budget. Generally, I build it as if I'll be riding it, with the intent that if it works for me, it should work for anyone. This leaves a very small group of like-minded colleagues.

However, this can cross the lines of function vs. dogma, perhaps. I have no doubt it hurts the value if I was selling.

A person buying older Italian generally wants older Campy on it.
I generally don't.
A person buying modern Dura Ace generally wants it on a modern bike.
I generally don't.

Therein lies the rub, if I were selling.

There are relatively few who appreciate a steel frame, and then filter out those who want the period-correct components, and it's a small group. Small enough so that it leaves me doing what I want, come what may.

I guess I'm about the frame/fork, and then pretty much veer into the abyss from there.
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Old 01-28-19, 10:14 AM
  #22  
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Rules? Fit & function.
If something works, leave it alone.
If not repair or replace, sometimes with a new generation of hardware sometimes not.

My '74 sports a '50's IGH/Hybrid drive-train, my '77 converted to an even more obsolete FG drive-train, my '92 to a then "modern" 10 cog drive-train.
None will be featured in the Period Correct Police 2019 wall calendar, which suits me just fine.

-Bandera
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Old 01-28-19, 10:29 AM
  #23  
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I have one bike that's deliberately kept period-correct as a vintage showpiece, but all the rest I'm happy to use modern parts. My only rules are that the bikes all have to ride well and be visually coherent and appealing.

Oddly enough my favorite bike to ride is the one that's the least period accurate - carbon cranks and seatpost, parts from many different brands including a mixed drivetrain, and modern-ish wheels on a really nice older steel frame.

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Old 01-28-19, 11:31 AM
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I think @Bandera a @lasauge put it about as concisely at it can be put.

My favorite bike to ride is the one that's the least period accurate - carbon cranks and seatpost, parts from many different brands including a mixed drivetrain, and modern-ish wheels on a really nice older steel frame.
Rules? Fit & function. If something works, leave it alone.
If not repair or replace, sometimes with a new generation of hardware sometimes not.

None will be featured in the Period Correct Police 2019 wall calendar, which suits me just fine.
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Old 01-28-19, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
None of my bikes are historically significant or one-of-kind rare. Most are iconic and difficult to procure, but that doesn't make them irreplaceable. My theory of repair and refurbishment is as follows: Most good frames receive new components after the original component see a few years of serious use. Replacing components with a more modern generation is acceptable.

Almost every bike I touch has a few components that would not have been available at the time the bike frame was completed. I like open tubular tires and only one of my bike has sew-ups with period correct rims. I also find it tempting to add a few cogs to the gear range and Ergo levers in place of downtube friction shifters. These changes allow me to ride smoothly in a moderately fast group. A bike should function as well as a modern bike, without being completely modern.

However, I won't randomly add modern components. I like to think any modernization is done with respect for the heritage of the bike. I usually replace Campagnolo components with Campagnolo components that are newer, but not modern, for example. I'll have the paint expertly spot repaired, but I won't do complete repaints.

Here is an example: 2x9 Campagnola Chorus drivetrain, shifters and brakes. Chorus hubs with Velocity A23 rims. 700x28 Vittorio Corsa G+ tires. NOS S. Marco Concor genuine suede saddle.




What are your rules?
I wouldn't say any or these are rules, but they are preferences of varying degrees of strength.

I usually don't replace original or as-received parts unless they are totally ugly or they do not function satisfactorily. For example, I've kept original single-pivot side pulls on most bikes if they have enough braking power and do not require excessive maintenance, such as to loosen the center bolt and re-align the caliper after every ride. Example: I usually feel that Shimano 600 6207 calipers will not remain aligned and feel squishy or squeegie (choose one or both terms) even after I have replaced and blueprinted the cables (fine-tuned the outers routing and length, made all ends square, all outers have teflon linings, and all outers are routed for teh straightest paths with no sharp changes). One exception: the rear brake on my Trek 610 is still the original 6207. I guess it proves that somehow not all 6207s are garbage. But when there is a problem, without fail replacing with Campy DP does the trick.

Cranksets: I don't go for carbon with one exception: my 1984 Mondonico really needs a compact double, will only accept Campy, and stamps her feet and whinnies loudly if she doesn't get what she wants. I found a 5-arm UltraTorque. I would not use a four arm, besides the prices are mostly $$$. No recent Shimano cranks due to styling, and no high-Q MTB triple cranks unless I can bring the Q down with correct roadie chainline and balanced Q (my feng shui).

If I go from friction to index, I mainly observe color consistency and mechanical compatibility - all-Record is not generally followed, but I try to stay with silver. Mrs. Road Fan's newer Terry has the Campy 3x11 system in all black. The Campy 3x10 (now 2x10) on the Mondonico has black 2006 Record hubs, because that was all that was on the market in 2007.

Wheels: I like 126 and 130 700c, but I also prefer Campy drivetrains, so wheels with Campy hubs. However, I've been reading in Tandems about a lot of riders are mixing within a given bike drivetrain, so I have to take a better look.
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