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What makes a good vintage century bike build?

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What makes a good vintage century bike build?

Old 07-05-20, 05:34 PM
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Chr0m0ly 
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What makes a good vintage century bike build?

I have been upping my miles and speed during the past few months! It's been a lot of fun, and I would like to continue to go further and faster. Speed is not the ultimate goal, but a way to get more miles under my belt, and I would like to work up to a century, and from there who knows.
I have a friend who regularly rides big miles who will help with training, and I've picked up a copy of Burke and Pavelka's Complete Book of Long Distance Cycling. I'll be slowly increasing miles, adjusting nutrition, and basically doing my best to progress steadily without injury. After the stress of the shutdown, and still not being able to really visit with friends, I've taken on a new personal challenge. I fully realize my engine is what needs the most tuning, but selecting one of my rides and building it up for this purpose will be fun and motivating.

So for me, a mechanic at heart, the fun now is to select and build up a fast century ride!

My first thoughts are light weight, some carrying capacity, and most important comfort. I thought I would not use a touring bike for this, in the interest of the light and fast part, with the possible exception of a cannondale ST, which is lighter than the steel road bikes I have. Possibilities include...

1985 Miyata 710
1979 Trek 514
Both of which are built and ready for some miles

I also have some frames I'd like to get up and running, and I'll be working on them in the evenings, and trying them out when ready to roll. those include...
1985 Cannondale ST500
1974 Raleigh International

These represent the sportier rides in my stable of mostly touring bikes, I know I'll eventually try all of them, but I'm excited to do build right now, so what would you pick? I have my leanings but I'll save those for later.

Cheers!!
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Old 07-05-20, 05:52 PM
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Why not the touring bikes, as that is what those vintage tourers were made for? I am not up to that level, but did it years ago and if I were to progress to that level, my newly acquired miyata 1000 would be my choice over my sport touring bike that is a wee bit lighter.

I guess the added comfort and stability would lessen the fatigue factor greatly for mere mortals. The vintage tourers it seems are way more sport leaning than the dedicated tourers of late.
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Old 07-05-20, 05:58 PM
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So I haven't yet ridden a century on my vintage bike but I have ridden many many centuries on just about everything else I own. Fwiw, I totally planned a century on the vintage but it got cancelled due to covid, familiar story.

Anyway, it's legs, butt, and back. For me, upper back but for others, lower.

Legs - most people have 50+ in them today if they had to. Like life or death. The key is getting enough distance to enjoy the miles and to still feel ok after mile 70. I think you're doing ok here.

Butt - three parts. 1. a saddle that is shaped properly for you. 2. Adjusting the position of said saddle to make it comfortable 3. Time on the seat to harden the butt. In general, this pretty much comes with training your legs. For vintage, I could see a problem if your ideal saddle just hurts. I know he'll would have to freeze over before I'd switch mine, even if it hurt. However, my vintage bike isn't my big day bike.

Back. Kinda like the saddle. You've got to get the fit right. This is stem length, height, and handlebar width. On a vintage bike, the "hoods" riding position isn't as easy so you'll need to tinker. Of course seat height matters here too. Also, make sure you can ride hands free long enough to stretch and eat. Those throbbing muscles don't get better if you stay in the exact same position for 5-8 hours.


Other than that, just make sure you can carry enough water or have support. Choose a route that compliments the gearing on your bike. I know with UG on mine, I'd have to change more than I'm willing to if I wanted to make it a mountain goat.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
Why not the touring bikes, as that is what those vintage tourers were made for? I am not up to that level, but did it years ago and if I were to progress to that level, my newly acquired miyata 1000 would be my choice over my sport touring bike that is a wee bit lighter.

I guess the added comfort and stability would lessen the fatigue factor greatly for mere mortals. The vintage tourers it seems are way more sport leaning than the dedicated tourers of late.
I was thinking that something a little sportier would be fun. I had been using an '83 trek 720 for most of my miles and its comfy and steady, but I want something a little stiffer for hill climbing. No reason not to use a stripped down tourer, it probably wouldn't be noticeably heavier.

Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
So I haven't yet ridden a century on my vintage bike but I have ridden many many centuries on just about everything else I own. Fwiw, I totally planned a century on the vintage but it got cancelled due to covid, familiar story.

Anyway, it's legs, butt, and back. For me, upper back but for others, lower.

Legs - most people have 50+ in them today if they had to. Like life or death. The key is getting enough distance to enjoy the miles and to still feel ok after mile 70. I think you're doing ok here.

Butt - three parts. 1. a saddle that is shaped properly for you. 2. Adjusting the position of said saddle to make it comfortable 3. Time on the seat to harden the butt. In general, this pretty much comes with training your legs. For vintage, I could see a problem if your ideal saddle just hurts. I know he'll would have to freeze over before I'd switch mine, even if it hurt. However, my vintage bike isn't my big day bike.

I use a B-17, or a Belt, both are comfortable for me.

Back. Kinda like the saddle. You've got to get the fit right. This is stem length, height, and handlebar width. On a vintage bike, the "hoods" riding position isn't as easy so you'll need to tinker. Of course seat height matters here too. Also, make sure you can ride hands free long enough to stretch and eat. Those throbbing muscles don't get better if you stay in the exact same position for 5-8 hours.

As my mileage has gone up, I've found I've been more comfortable lowering my bars a little. I started with the bars about even, or a smidge higher than saddle height, and I'm finding 15 to 20mm below saddle to be better. I like the French Fit, but that gives me some room to get juuuust a little aero.

Other than that, just make sure you can carry enough water or have support. Choose a route that compliments the gearing on your bike. I know with UG on mine, I'd have to change more than I'm willing to if I wanted to make it a mountain goat.
I've been gradually adding miles, and I can do 40-50 miles for fun, but I need to 'recover" afterwards. I want to get to a point where I can do it again the next day.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
I've been gradually adding miles, and I can do 40-50 miles for fun, but I need to 'recover" afterwards. I want to get to a point where I can do it again the next day.
I would guess you're already close to your goal. In addition to the fit/comfort issues already mentioned, you have to figure out what foods work best for you on the bike. Your legs will keep working if you keep putting energy in your body. The biggest change for me was learning my body's salt habits. I lose a ton when sweating so I have to plan for it. If you are low on salts and drink more water, you just further dilute what you have in you. I used to bonk after 50 miles, now 100 is no big deal if I'm riding somewhat regularly.
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Old 07-05-20, 06:43 PM
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The answer is:

What kind of a century?

Gearing and fit may be top ‘o th list!

AustroDaimler Puch made a ‘fast touring’ frame. Went on Vent Noir, Olympian and (maybe) Force bikes. 531 dB framesets (in the early 80’s anyway). Also put a slightly lesser fork (and therefore more damped) on it and hit a lower price point with a great riding bicycle. I forget all the models.

Both 61cm with tall headtubes, so really what is today called Endurance.


The Olympian maybe a year older, and fewer braze-ons.

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Old 07-05-20, 07:17 PM
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In addition to what's already been pointed out, the choice of bike depends on terrain (do you need gears for hills?), need to carry water, overall comfort. I find that on rides longer than 50 miles, I start feeling every imperfection in the road, so wider, supple tires are most welcome on longer rides. When I do centuries or longer, I also plan when I'm going to stop and eat or just chill for a bit, rather than going until I don't feel like going. I used to think the ideal for a century was a brief stop at 25, a longer lunch break at 50, a rest/recovery at 75 miles. My nutrition and fitness have changed, so unless I run out of water, I usually only stop once to eat some food about halfway through a century.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:17 PM
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Fit.
Fit.
Fit.
Fit.
Then...
Fitness.
That is all.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by droppedandlost View Post
I would guess you're already close to your goal. In addition to the fit/comfort issues already mentioned, you have to figure out what foods work best for you on the bike. Your legs will keep working if you keep putting energy in your body. The biggest change for me was learning my body's salt habits. I lose a ton when sweating so I have to plan for it. If you are low on salts and drink more water, you just further dilute what you have in you. I used to bonk after 50 miles, now 100 is no big deal if I'm riding somewhat regularly.
Oh, I lose a ton of water, last year I did a 3 day tour and ended up putting a camelbak bladder into my handlebar bag. It kept me hydrated on the move and kept the water off my body. I'd do something like that, but maybe use a frame bag hanging from the top tube.

Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
In addition to what's already been pointed out, the choice of bike depends on terrain (do you need gears for hills?), need to carry water, overall comfort. I find that on rides longer than 50 miles, I start feeling every imperfection in the road, so wider, supple tires are most welcome on longer rides. When I do centuries or longer, I also plan when I'm going to stop and eat or just chill for a bit, rather than going until I don't feel like going. I used to think the ideal for a century was a brief stop at 25, a longer lunch break at 50, a rest/recovery at 75 miles. My nutrition and fitness have changed, so unless I run out of water, I usually only stop once to eat some food about halfway through a century.
I'm back in Chicago now, at least for the time being, but I like triples. at the very least I'd have a 32/34 tooth bailout on the back.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rccardr View Post
Fit.
Fit.
Fit.
Fit.
Then...
Fitness.
That is all.
... maybe it's time I bite the bullet and get a pro fit...
I've hesitated because I'm not sure where to get a touring/endurance/comfort-for-long-distance fitting. I'm not looking for a recruit-all-muscle-power-while-in-a-super-aero-position fit.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
Oh, I lose a ton of water, last year I did a 3 day tour and ended up putting a camelbak bladder into my handlebar bag. It kept me hydrated on the move and kept the water off my body. I'd do something like that, but maybe use a frame bag hanging from the top tube.
Certainly water too, but I was referring to salt/electrolytes. Years ago, I got back from a 30 mile ride and my wife asked why I wore so much sun screen. I didn't have any on, it was a layer of salt on my face. The point is simply that the nutrition side of things will keep you going for a longer period.
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Old 07-05-20, 07:49 PM
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Fit

tubeset that eats up road shock

gearing for the terrain or wind

2 water bottle mounts
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Old 07-05-20, 07:50 PM
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I agree that fit and comfort are paramount. Weight is not. I have done all my century rides (which are not that many so far) on my McLean which is fairly heavy.
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Old 07-05-20, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by droppedandlost View Post
Certainly water too, but I was referring to salt/electrolytes. Years ago, I got back from a 30 mile ride and my wife asked why I wore so much sun screen. I didn't have any on, it was a layer of salt on my face. The point is simply that the nutrition side of things will keep you going for a longer period.
I sweat a ton, and lose a lot of salt. I recently stocked up on Nuun tablets to help a bit.
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Old 07-05-20, 08:23 PM
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Well, I'm not expert but I'd say go for fit and then comfort above all us. Gearing will come into play also according to the route.

It's a little newer then what you are considering but I took a 1989 Lemond Ventoux and turned it into a comfortable century machine for me. The key for me was the contact points. Went with a Brooks saddle that has always worked well for me. Then since most roads out here are rough chipseal I addressed that. This is the only bike I put bar gel pads under the cork tape on. It winds up thick but my hands never get tired on it and it really kills all the road imperfections. Then the other reason I picked this frame was decent tire clearance. It the past I ran it with a light set of November wheels with GP4000s II 700 x 28 tires with latex tubes. Last year I swapped them in favor of some tubular rims with veloflex vlaanderen tubulars for a really cushy ride. Years ago I had tested my fast C.F. bikes against several steel ones and found out that for 100 mile rides the extra compliance and comfort of the steel frames let me ride the distance faster as my body just wasn't getting beat up. Hence this build and my foray into mainly all steel rides. For me also I wanted the pump peg and two water bottle mounts that were low enough on the frame to carry the larger camelbak bottles I prefer.



The 700 x 28 setup



The tubular setup
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Old 07-05-20, 08:59 PM
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WRT the salt/electrolyte thing: NuSalt can be found in the seasoning/spices section of the supermarket. NuSalt is 100% Potassium Chloride. 1 gram (1/6tsp) is 15% of your RDA & about 3 bananas worth of Potassium. It is often called "Salt Substitute." There should be only one ingredient on the lable.

You'll find that all the leading electrolyte drinks & mixes are suspiciously light in potassium content. Favoring Sodium Chloride (table salt) Calcium, & Magnesium in various forms. Potassium salt & table salt, although similar, are not interchangeable. Potassiums big benefit is staving off cramps, regulating blood pressure & heart function.

I always make sure to add 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon ~45% RDA) to my water bottles in addition to NUUN tabs before any rides that are going to be particularly warm, long, or intense.

Honey: Honey is made of glucose & fructose. Basically glucose is muscle fuel & uses 1 uptake channel. Fructose is easily converted to muscle fuel & uses another uptake channel. So by taking honey, you can tremendously increase the amount of energy you can replace in a given time. Up to some theoretical maximum of ~500 calories per hour.

If you simply must buy prepackaged supplements, Shot Blocks are straight glucose.

In the absence of honey or Shot Blocks: To sort out the second easiest sugar to take in fructose: Dried mangos & figs travel well.

HFCS, maltodextrin, & others are ok. But it takes 45 minutes for your body to break it down to something useable & still isn't as readily available in the multiple uptake channels in the way that honey is & are expensive unless your plan is plain candy bars, anyway.

Don't forget nut butters. A big ol' peanut butter & jelly sandwich is calorie dense & has all the protein you need to keep absorbing carbs. Not a nutritional road block you'll likely experience on a century, but you probably will on a double.

As always, not everything works for everyone. Experiment around & find out what works best for you. As for me? Potassium was the key to getting my blood pressure & heart palpitations under control.

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Old 07-05-20, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by thinktubes View Post
Fit

tubeset that eats up road shock

gearing for the terrain or wind

2 water bottle mounts
^ I've ridden a bunch of centuries, and this is it. Any of your bikes would be great for a century, by the way. Let's go do it.
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Old 07-05-20, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Sedgemop View Post
^ I've ridden a bunch of centuries, and this is it. Any of your bikes would be great for a century, by the way. Let's go do it.
I finished up my summer semester finals tonight, and I have a few weeks of summer vacation startiiiing........ NOW!
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Old 07-05-20, 10:08 PM
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Have you considered a more modern vintage looking steel frame?

My brother has a Soma San Marcos and he loves it. Fits a modern cassette, even though he rides it as a 3x8. Very smooth ride.

I know this is C&V, but it is a pretty classic design.

John
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Old 07-05-20, 10:28 PM
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The bike doesn't really matter that much, but you know that. Of the ones you mention, I'd probably go with the Raleigh International. Because I like them. The Cannondale might be good. I did plenty of 100 mile plus rides on mine BITD. Some people think they are stiff riding, but I never really noticed that. Pick whatever inspires you.

I kind of think anyone can ride a century with no particular training, if they have any rides in their legs at all. I'd say do a couple ~60 milers to prepare, then just go for it. It will probably hurt a bit, or maybe not. Some of it is genetic. If you're naturally more slow twitch than fast twitch in your muscle make up, it's going to be easier. If you are more of a sprinter, it could take a little more prep.

You will need to eat during the ride. If you don't you might get the bonk around the 3 hour mark.
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Old 07-06-20, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I agree that fit and comfort are paramount. Weight is not. I have done all my century rides (which are not that many so far) on my McLean which is fairly heavy.
+1 to these thoughts, as well as @rosefarts’ comments about a saddle and it’s location that you are sure fits. Use the fattest, most supple tires that your nicest riding bike will accommodate at moderate pressures, unless you are blessed with better pavement than most. Be sure the bar height and brake lever location are set up for your comfort, not someone else’s ideas of “proper” esthetics.

The Marinoni Sports Tourer with Berthoud saddle was a joy when I rode it 140 miles in a day, and even more so when I got back on it the next day for another 70.
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Old 07-06-20, 05:01 AM
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The 1985 Cannondale ST 500 has 3 water bottles. It has a long wheelbase and long chainstays which was common on 80s era touring bikes but it rides more like a racing bike because the aluminum frame is stiff and responsive. I'd run a little fatter tire for that reason. It will soak up some road shock and it deals better with bumps and the like. So run a lightweight 700 x 32c tire and 3 x 7 gearing. That is how I have my 1985 Cannondale ST 400 set up. I've used that bike for a lot of long rides. Also very good is that 1979 Trek 514. It is a full Ishiwata 022 frameset and it's low temp silver brazed. It is a fine bike that tends to fly under the radar because it's not Reynolds or Columbus steel. It only has one water bottle though but a camelbak is a good option; plus a bag can hold more water bottles if need be.
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Old 07-06-20, 06:05 AM
  #23  
JaccoW
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+1 on the comfort over weight.

My Batavus Randonneur GL can fit 35mm x 700C tyres with fenders and is not a lightweight either. It's not quite a touring bike but not a road bike either.
What it does have is a relatively low trail, meaning I can ride it no-handed, which helps a lot by the end of the ride as it makes the bike less twitchy and thus less tiresome.

I've used it for touring and 130 km (80 miles) days and where my riding companion was pretty beat up by the end on his modern aluminum road racing bike I was still pretty comfortable. If I had to replace it with something similar I would be looking at a Miyata 1000 LT or its Dutch market equivalent the Koga-Miyata Randonneur Extra as it has lighter tubing than the Batavus and some nice additions.
Then again, I have had a soft spot for Koga-Miyata since working on a couple of them and seeing the nice little details, I've started a thread with some more info: Show us your Koga-Miyata

Last edited by JaccoW; 07-06-20 at 06:09 AM.
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Old 07-06-20, 07:37 AM
  #24  
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Sent you a PM.
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Old 07-06-20, 08:40 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Have you considered a more modern vintage looking steel frame?

My brother has a Soma San Marcos and he loves it. Fits a modern cassette, even though he rides it as a 3x8. Very smooth ride.

I know this is C&V, but it is a pretty classic design.

John
I want to use one of the bikes I already own, I sure have enough of them!
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