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Questions for those who tour on vintage bikes

Old 06-05-19, 05:34 PM
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Questions for those who tour on vintage bikes

Looking at my bike, what would you change to have a worry free high mileage tourer? I’m waiting for FedEx for my fenders, and I’m collecting racks and bags, but as far as mechanical what would you change? The stem look is new to me I’m usually looks before fit, but I’m planning long hours on this and I want it to be comfy.











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Old 06-05-19, 05:45 PM
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Chuck the mountech.

Really nice rd but you need to keep the upper jockey wheel really clean - they are known to blow up and replacements are not available on the road. Same issue with the knuckle - gets real dirty and the coil spring can snap.

I went down down the mountech superbetech road and ended up with a handful of extra arts just in case. You can have them for a song if you want to stay with the mountech.

Cyclone 2 gt would be my recommendation or a shimano mt-60
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Old 06-05-19, 06:28 PM
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I recently finished a short tour on Paselas. I didn't like them for that purpose. YMMV of course.
Agree on ditching the Mountech.
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Old 06-05-19, 07:25 PM
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no suggestions, but what a fantastic bike.

if the post fluting extends into the seatpost, I would switch to a smooth post to prevent water entry.
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Old 06-05-19, 08:30 PM
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IMO you are pretty good to go. Make sure everything that's repackable has been repacked, an everything is properly set up, lubed and adjusted.

If you were to upgrade something, I agree the Mountechs could be improved upon. Consider Suntour BL derailleurs. Nicer build and finish than a V-GT, but more rugged than a Cyclone, and you can buy them cheap cuz no one knows what they are. Cyclone and V-GT are also good choices of course.

The other thing that kind of catches my eye is the wheels. Spokes and rims are much better now. You'll probably be fine with those, but bring a couple extra spokes and a freewheel remover. Spokes popped fairly often BITD. With 40H in the back, you'll be able to ride far enough to borrow a big wrench from a garage or something.

If you are feeling extravagant and want to upgrade those, IMO keep them at 120/5spd, and lace up some new rims with double butted DT or equivalent spokes. 40H is a bit hard to come by these days, but they are available. Velocity Dyad is one. Yeah, you could alternatively spread the frame to modern 130 and run a 10 spd freehub or whatever, but then you're going to have to change lots of other stuff, and the wheel won't even be as strong. 15 speeds (total) was good enough for touring when this bike was new, and it still is.
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Old 06-05-19, 08:32 PM
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First mechanical change I'd make: Replace the downtube shifters with barcons. Keeping a hand on the handlebar as I shift is important when I start carrying any kind of load up front. Helps steady the load, and I know exactly where the shifter is without looking for it.

If you're not carrying much up front other than a handlebar bag and a light load, might not make much of a difference.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:27 PM
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I'm up for the modern wheels, too. Especially if you're going to load the thing down. Friction shifting keeps thing simple and adjustable. I wouldn't go with brifters, although I admit two of my tourers have index shifting (one bacon 8-speed, one downtube 7) I've never actually toured on them, though.

If you like the Mountech, and its properly set up and lubed, keep it and bring a Suntour ARx (or any long cage) as a spare. You're an experienced enough mechanic to change that out in 10 minutes on the road.

I disagree that leather saddle is inappropriate for touring "because it's going to get wet." Not with good fenders. Not if you have a grocery bag or two to put over it when you have to park it in the rain.
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Old 06-05-19, 10:32 PM
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I'd consider carrying a folding tire as a spare. 27 inch tires might be hard to source on the road.

Pump? If you're going to use a frame pump that could benefit from a pump peg attachment, Zefal makes an adjustable one that would fit that top tube. The Zefal HPx pumps probably still come with the pump head guts to switch between presta and schrader valves (your frame size would probably fit an HPx3 length).



Based on its reputation, I'd second the idea of considering swapping out the Mountech RD for another model.

If you're going with the existing wheels and freewheel set-up, There's a small freewheel vice that BF member @jonwvara sells, that would work with the freewheel removal tool, in case you have to do some spoke replacement on the drive side of the rear wheel.

OCD issue, put the tire labels at the valve position.

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Old 06-05-19, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
First mechanical change I'd make: Replace the downtube shifters with barcons. Keeping a hand on the handlebar as I shift is important when I start carrying any kind of load up front. Helps steady the load, and I know exactly where the shifter is without looking for it.

If you're not carrying much up front other than a handlebar bag and a light load, might not make much of a difference.
It's got aero shifters. He'll need one of those adapter things to get the cable stops on if he goes to barcons.
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Old 06-05-19, 11:53 PM
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I would suggest some thread locker or beeswax on the attachment screws for the Symmetric shifters. They loosen just like any downtubers, but you have pull out the allen key to adjust, so it would be nice to avoid having to do that too often. Otherwise, I've come to really like them -- great shape.
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Old 06-06-19, 12:18 AM
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Here is mine, an 81, I went full Shimano 5700 10 speed, Brifters, Half step + granny. I want a Nitto M14 rear rack someday. I love mine, the riser stem looks odd but it works for me.

IMG_20161122_124629931 by Bwilli88, on Flickr

Right now it does not have the fenders as the big Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tours do not fit well. 700c X 42. Here it is getting ready for my birthday ride, 63 years, 63 KM or miles whichever I have the energy for.

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Old 06-06-19, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
I recently finished a short tour on Paselas. I didn't like them for that purpose. YMMV of course.
Agree on ditching the Mountech.
Can you be more specific on the discontent with the paselas? I tried a pair of 32c and 35c tires and absolutely fell in love with how smooth they rode. I didn't inflate at the suggested 90 PSI, instead I had them at 70.
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Old 06-06-19, 02:28 AM
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Double check that the brake pivots are firmly attached to the frame. I had a MTB with that style that was only swaged into the 'box' and one popped off in my hand.

Your bike is, though, a Miki built Centurion, so I have few doubts that the build quality is excellent.
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Old 06-06-19, 03:29 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Exactly what I was looking for.
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Old 06-06-19, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Chuckk View Post
If I was going to suggest mechanical change, I'd go with a modern wheel set. The new rims are SO MUCH STRONGER and freehubs are stronger and easier to maintain. Drive side spoke replacement on the road can ruin your day on a vintage wheel.
If the canti brakes will reach 700c rims, I would agree. Something like a 7sp 600 tricolor or 1055 would likely slot right in. You'd also gain some room for fatter tires+fenders, which would make for many happier miles in the saddle. If you're feeling rich, a pair of Herse 700 x 32 or 35s would be the bees knees.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:00 AM
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If really wanting "worry free" touring, mount the tires with the label centered over the valve stem. When this is done, you know you have everything covered.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:25 AM
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Beautiful bike. I have no issue on the existing wheels as long as they are properly tensioned. I'd take it out on a few short local tours to see how the wheels hold up first.

Two things to think about if going with new wheels.

First, 700 x 32c is certainly more common than 27 inch but it can be difficult to find out in the boonies. That has been my experience in any case. 700c tires for hybrids are available but those run larger and most vintage touring bikes are limited to 32 or 35c. I took a 1983 Trek 720 across the US and had difficulties in replacing a 700 x 32c tire. So I'd carry a spare tire regardless of whether I was riding 27 inch or 700c on a tour.

Second, it can be surprisingly difficult to swap out 700c for 27 inch on a bike with cantilevers. Most calipers have the necessary adjustment; a great many cantilevers do not. Plus modern cantilevers may not work right on your bike as the posts are narrower on vintage bikes. You can find vintage cantilevers with the necessary adjustment but it may take some trial and error. My 1983 Trek 720 was designed around 27 inch wheels and it took me a few tries before I found cantilevers that would work. I ended up a set of modolo cantilevers but those have become expensive on eBay.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:25 AM
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I kinda thought the Araya rims with Sugino sealed hubs would be bombproof.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
I kinda thought the Araya rims with Sugino sealed hubs would be bombproof.
I'm with you. I'd try the existing wheels first before deciding to swap them out. The biggest problem with old wheels is that they tend to lose tension over time. But if they're in good shape, I'd tour on them.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by jcb3 View Post
Chuck the mountech.

Really nice rd but you need to keep the upper jockey wheel really clean - they are known to blow up and replacements are not available on the road. Same issue with the knuckle - gets real dirty and the coil spring can snap.

I went down down the mountech superbetech road and ended up with a handful of extra arts just in case. You can have them for a song if you want to stay with the mountech.

Cyclone 2 gt would be my recommendation or a shimano mt-60
+1 on the Mountech. I had encountered a number of them on used bikes broken and not worth repairing.
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Old 06-06-19, 06:55 AM
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Aside from stressing to replace the Mountech RD, the only thing I’d add is balancing the load between front and back- if you have to carry your bike, it’ll be a fun adventure with all the weight in the rear end.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:04 AM
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BTW- regarding the stem... I got a riser stem, and then Technomics because I wanted to be more upright- it’s had the unforeseen benefit of being so much easier on my neck. Being able to look around and enjoy the sights of being in the middle of “nowhere” is one of the big reasons for riding out there in the first place.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by BikeWonder View Post
Can you be more specific on the discontent with the paselas? I tried a pair of 32c and 35c tires and absolutely fell in love with how smooth they rode. I didn't inflate at the suggested 90 PSI, instead I had them at 70.
At anything less than 100 psi the rear always appeared to be flat as I was rolling along. It bothered me. Perhaps that's why I prefer blackwalls.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
BTW- regarding the stem... I got a riser stem, and then Technomics because I wanted to be more upright- it’s had the unforeseen benefit of being so much easier on my neck. Being able to look around and enjoy the sights of being in the middle of “nowhere” is one of the big reasons for riding out there in the first place.

Exactly, most my bikes the stem is low. Head down and pedal hard, takes a lot of enjoyment out of riding.
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Old 06-06-19, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by sloar View Post
Exactly, most my bikes the stem is low. Head down and pedal hard, takes a lot of enjoyment out of riding.
That’s going to take some getting used to-

When I have ridden with friends that were more “suffer” oriented- there was no 8-10 mph with them. And they didn’t see the broken down old farm house, or the huge expanse after clearing the trees, or even notice that they crossed a cool looking stream...

Some of that changes on dirt/gravel/“crushed limestone”.
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