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Holy Grail Garage Find

Old 08-23-20, 10:00 AM
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Sjtaylor
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Holy Grail Garage Find

Just had to post this. Itís a 25-1/2Ē 1984 720. Got it last night and took some before photos this morning. I think itís basically completely original including bar tape and cable housing. Looks just like the catalog photo. Canít wait to service and ride it.






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Old 08-23-20, 10:03 AM
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Nice, toss on some new cloth tape and you've got a real good rider. Hope it fits.
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Old 08-23-20, 10:36 AM
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Grease and lube before!
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Old 08-23-20, 10:37 AM
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Dangit.... I thought this was going to be about the actual Holy Grail.


I love that mech- Huret Success? There's something very "mechanical" about the look of those that I just find irresistible.
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Old 08-23-20, 10:43 AM
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I thought it was going to be the Holy Grail Garage.

Nice find!
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Old 08-23-20, 11:19 AM
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Nice Score!
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Old 08-23-20, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by sheddle View Post
Dangit.... I thought this was going to be about the actual Holy Grail.


I love that mech- Huret Success? There's something very "mechanical" about the look of those that I just find irresistible.
It's a Huret Duopar. It can handle a lot of chain better than most derailleurs. You have to baby it a bit when shifting under a load. That's true for any RD but this one needs it more than most. It's a fine RD; I used one on my 1982 Trek 720 when I did a cross country bike ride in '97.
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Old 08-23-20, 12:46 PM
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Feels good to find something unexpected, doesn't it?
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Old 08-23-20, 01:11 PM
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I haven’t checked out the gearing yet. I live in the hills, I’m 6’3”, 220 lbs, old and struggle a bit extra on climbs. I worry that the gearing will be not low enough, just like the other modern bikes I’ve ridden.

This purchase was from a CL add that never came up on the searches I was doing. I’m not sure how I got the add to come up but it had been posted for a while for a pretty ridiculously low price. I feel lucky to have purchased it. I’m going to ride it tonight.

I know nothing about the rear hub. It one of those helio-matic thingies. I’ll have to learn enough to see how to service and lube it.
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Old 08-23-20, 01:20 PM
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The stock gearing on this bike is low. It will get you up those hills. And if it doesn't, the next lowest gear is walking and there's nothing wrong with that.

You will want to overhaul the bike and replace the consumables before you ride it too much.

Those are great pedals by the way. They look like SR SP 11s; nice platform pedals. The headset looks like a stronglight A 9 which may be the finest vintage headset ever made. It uses roller bearings and is fairly indestructible. The suntour barcons are nice too.

Helico hubs are not hard to service.

This is a lovely bike and you will like the way it rides. It has a plush, forgiving ride that handles a load very well.

It looks that by '84, Trek switched to Reynolds 531ST for the main tubes; that's good especially on a big bike like this.

27 inch, right? Panaracers Paselas will work well with that bike. Swift sells 27 x 1 and 3/8 tires that would look good on this bike as well; they're made by Panaracer.

Also those shimano XT cantilevers are very good and they have some adustability so they *should* work if you decide to go with 700c wheels. That will give you more tire choices and should let you run a little fatter tire.

I worked in a Trek store in the 80s. The first really nice bike I owned was an '83 720 that I rode across the country. This is a really good find.

Last edited by bikemig; 08-23-20 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 08-23-20, 02:26 PM
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Bikemig, I need to keep in touch with you. An 80s bike shop gearhead is also a great find. It’s Sunday and the LBS is closed so no replacement cables or cable housings yet. I already proofided the seat and am about to clean and lube the derailluers and chain. Possibly the bottom bracket too depending on how it feels. I have to get one test ride before I go crazy with the bicycle face lift.

I felt a photo opp here. This is my current daily rider. I have several bikes in my fleet but this is my favorite. You gotta check out an old PX 10 frame with the rear axle slammed way back in the horizontal drops. The ride is really awesome.

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Old 08-23-20, 02:31 PM
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Old French racing bikes that came stock with Mafac brakes can generally take pretty fat tires. Is that a fork off a UO 8? What size are those tires? I've been riding a 1979 Trek 510 lately as my daily rider with 700 x 35c tires. But I have a mid 70s Mercier 300 on the build queue I need to get to one of these days.
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Old 08-23-20, 04:55 PM
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Good catch bikemig. That fork is probably from a UO8. The larger tire hit the crown of the PX 10 fork. Of course that makes the Mafac centerpull brakes mis matched. I have short pull brake levers and the braking is still relatively poor. I haven’t figured a fix yet.

The tires are Continental Town Center with puncture protection. They physically measure 37cm and 40s would fit with lots of room. 42s would fit but with not enough clearance to make me comfortable. Slamming the axles in the dropouts is a cool hack discovered by accident. The chainstay length is 47.5 cm, the same as the 720.

Im servicing the720 for its test ride. Both derailleurs cleaned up nice but the Simplex FD doesn’t seem to have enough throw to shift to the outside chainring, like maybe it was really for a double. If the crank was closer to the frame it would be better. I think I’m maxing out the stop screw and the barcon to get as much as I’m getting.

I think I may modernize the running gear. Not sure yet. The 720 test ride is tonight (grin). It’ll have to be a pretty WOW ride to compete with my Frankenbike Peugeot. BTW what other vintage race frames have the likeable features of the PX10 minus the French threads and tube sizes?

Thanks.
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Old 08-23-20, 05:04 PM
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those pedal reflectors... I think you can let those go, and the spoke mounted too, headset... leave the rear, get a strobe LED
the rims show zero wear... an bike bought with a goal, set aside.
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Old 08-23-20, 05:11 PM
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That is a great find, in such original condition!

I bought mine in 1986 and was happy to be rid of the original "TT Radial" tires. Also the brake pads did not grip the rims well. I changed to Madison Aztec pads and shortened the front straddle cable, much later I changed to 700c wheels and the braking leverage improved even more.

I re-laced a 7s Hyperglide hub into my original rear rim, ran that setup for years until the rims suffered damage from a BMW turning in front of me into a gas station, ran over my tires just enough to tweak both rims.

I chose to use a 7s cassette and also wanted to improve shifting, so I changed the shift cables and housings to modern stuff for a huge improvement in the shifting.

The Brooks saddle did take me a long time to break in, maybe because I am light.

These bike's frames feel flexy but have a truly plush ride quality over rough surfaces.

One thing to check for is if Trek used a 25mm Beleri-Franco handlebar inside of the Cinelli stem's 26.4mm clamp. That's what I recall on my bike so I changed both the bars and stem with longer/wider Cinelli bits.
I eventually changed to RSX 7s brifters, and changed the chainrings to a 38-50t double using a much shorter bb spindle. I ran it like that as a commuter, even in the foothills, since I was in racing form back then.
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Old 08-23-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I thought it was going to be the Holy Grail Garage.
That would be this place, Neal.

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Old 08-23-20, 05:43 PM
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That is cool. Just for kicks, before you start replacing "consumables" just rebuild, clean and lube everything. I recently picked up an '85 620 missing only the rear Derailleur. If you haven't used 1/2 Step plus Granny gearing, read up on it a bit and ride the stock bike as is. It's pretty brilliant. I've got 700c wheels on mine now but I'm going to give the Matrix/Helico 27 inch wheels a workout when I get some tires.
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Old 08-23-20, 06:04 PM
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dddd, I see you’re a Northern California resident. You may know the El Dorado Rail Trail in Placerville. That’s where I’m headed for the test ride. I left everything original for the test ride. I spent a few hours going through the mechanics. Both friction shifters were loose allowing the derailleurs to walk. The RD has some damage from chain drop off the jockey wheel due to the derailleur walking home. I think the derailleur moved between rides. Starting off with the derailleur home without the chain was bad. It looks to have happened many times.

I doubt the running gear and cockpit will remain original in the long run. I’ll ride it as is for a while
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Old 08-23-20, 06:38 PM
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That trail looks interesting, seems that it's got many gravel sections? I've never ridden down there except to Placerville from Auburn.

Looks like you could start near Folsom or Eldorado hills and make a good three hour ride of it.

The trails that parallel the current railroad tracks from Auburn up to Grass Valley have a lot of altitude changes, steep sections and rocks. I got away with riding 1" (25-630) sized Pasela tires earlier this year over the whole route, but some luck had to have been involved. Those tires are by now, tired (plenty of sidewall trauma).
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Old 08-23-20, 07:27 PM
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I would look for an old XT derailleur and save the Huret.
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Old 08-23-20, 07:37 PM
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The paved portion of the trail goes from El Dorado to Camino. It’s thirteen miles one way. I like the round trip, 26 miles, 1700 feet of climbing. At the top you can cross Hwy 50 and lots of options after that. I’m not too fit so I haven’t explored too far east yet. The unpaved portion is tough I’ve heard. It parallels the track.
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Old 08-23-20, 08:16 PM
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Congratulations!

You seem to be pretty aware that the 720 is a bike that people search a really long time for... you have an early 1984 720- as evidenced by the dual eyelets on the dropouts and the fork ends. The components on this bike were considered the best or among the best of their time.

That Simplex SLJ FD is one of the best you're going to find- it will work on a triple- something just isn't adjusted correctly.

The Shimano 6206 crank set is one of the best triple cranks ever... IMO- a toss up between that and the Sugino AT.

The BR-MC70 brakes are nice, the SP-11 pedals are the cat's pyjamas, the Suntour Barcons are great, the Maillard front hub is great, and as goofy as it sounds- I love the Maillard skewers.

The rear Helicomatic hub is one that you need to pay attention to- Do some reading, find some pictures. The Helicomatic cassette/freewheel thing comes off with a little lock ring- if you use a pliers to take it off- be careful not to crush it- it'll turn. If you're going to be doing some riding on that bike, I'd suggest getting some new wheels- as Miguel said, the MC-70 brakes will work for a 700C conversion.

As far as the Duopar goes- the Titanium Duopar was a crazy expensive unit back in the day. When it's in good working order, in that system- I swear it was the smoothest shifting I've ever experienced... honestly, I didn't know the shift happened until the pedaling got harder/easier... But if your Duopar is damaged- it's a fragile piece and it'll cause you trouble and heartache. But it sounds like you're planning on swapping that stuff out anyway..

Enjoy the bike! It's a great riding bike- some people call it "flexy," but I think it's more stiff and sturdy than my Trek 620. Let us know if you have questions- there's several 720 riders here!
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Old 08-23-20, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
It looks that by '84, Trek switched to Reynolds 531ST for the main tubes; that's good especially on a big bike like this.
That's really interesting- I would have totally laid money on the catalog saying it was 531C. I still haven't seen any 84 720s with a 531ST decal- they all have 531C decals- that I've seen.

I wonder if that was a change after the catalog was printed or if they just opted not to use the 531ST decals.
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Old 08-23-20, 09:15 PM
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Nice find! That thing is begging for the open road.
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Old 08-24-20, 06:16 AM
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I don't know if I've ever seen a bike with a longer wheelbase.
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