Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Tell me More About 1980's Road Bikes! (1980 Norco Monterey)

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Tell me More About 1980's Road Bikes! (1980 Norco Monterey)

Old 11-13-20, 10:17 AM
  #1  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Tell me More About 1980's Road Bikes! (1980 Norco Monterey)

My understanding is that this was an entry level bike back in the day. Can anyone tell me more about the differences between high vs low end bikes of the era and some details regarding manufacturer lineups? My understanding is that pretty much all frames back in the day were made by the same manufacturer and were all high quality regardless of the components being chosen.


Moisture is offline  
Old 11-13-20, 10:57 AM
  #2  
pcb 
Senior Member
 
pcb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Joisey
Posts: 1,246
Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 265 Post(s)
Liked 395 Times in 177 Posts
There's an awful lot to unpack here, but except for recognizing this Norco was an entry-level bike, your understanding is pretty far off the mark.

In terms of sourcing, there were many dozens of mfrs worldwide in the '80s whose products wound up in North America, even after the yen devaluation drove most US-import production from Japan to Taiwan. So most frames weren't made by the same manufacturer.

Regarding quality, I suppose it depends how you define "high quality." Even if we take mass merchant (department stores, sporting goods stores, etc) bikes out of the equation (Huffy, Murray, Ross, etc) the frame on a US$200 bike-shop brand bike was nowhere near the same quality as the frame on a $400 bike, which wasn't as good as a $700 bike, which didn't match a $1k bike. There were significant/distinct quality differences moving up the line and price points, in materials, in production methods and in finish/paint. That Norco frame is a nice step above the average dept store bike of that era, but nowhere near the quality of a high-end frame.

And the differences between lower-end and higher-end complete bikes was basically everything. They shared not a single component I can think of, so not only the frames, but every single part hung on the frame had significant quality differences moving up the line. I guess it may not be obvious, but, for example, there were/are quality differences in spokes. Spoke nipples. Not just rims, but rim strips.

I did just think of one thing----most bikes I assembled shipped with basically the same set of Cat-Eye reflectors. That's it for parts sharing.

I think randyjawa's page on identifying/evaluating bikes is a really good start, and you'll learn a lot delving into Saint Sheldon Brown's bicycle pages.
__________________
Fuggedaboutit!
pcb is offline  
Likes For pcb:
Old 12-14-20, 08:12 PM
  #3  
Moisture
Banned.
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 766
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 515 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by pcb View Post
There's an awful lot to unpack here, but except for recognizing this Norco was an entry-level bike, your understanding is pretty far off the mark.

In terms of sourcing, there were many dozens of mfrs worldwide in the '80s whose products wound up in North America, even after the yen devaluation drove most US-import production from Japan to Taiwan. So most frames weren't made by the same manufacturer.

Regarding quality, I suppose it depends how you define "high quality." Even if we take mass merchant (department stores, sporting goods stores, etc) bikes out of the equation (Huffy, Murray, Ross, etc) the frame on a US$200 bike-shop brand bike was nowhere near the same quality as the frame on a $400 bike, which wasn't as good as a $700 bike, which didn't match a $1k bike. There were significant/distinct quality differences moving up the line and price points, in materials, in production methods and in finish/paint. That Norco frame is a nice step above the average dept store bike of that era, but nowhere near the quality of a high-end frame.

And the differences between lower-end and higher-end complete bikes was basically everything. They shared not a single component I can think of, so not only the frames, but every single part hung on the frame had significant quality differences moving up the line. I guess it may not be obvious, but, for example, there were/are quality differences in spokes. Spoke nipples. Not just rims, but rim strips.

I did just think of one thing----most bikes I assembled shipped with basically the same set of Cat-Eye reflectors. That's it for parts sharing.

I think randyjawa's page on identifying/evaluating bikes is a really good start, and you'll learn a lot delving into Saint Sheldon Brown's bicycle pages.
Other than the use of different types of steel, what would be the main difference between different frames of this era?
Moisture is offline  
Old 12-14-20, 09:28 PM
  #4  
clubman 
Youngman Grand
 
clubman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Nova Scotia
Posts: 7,002

Bikes: roadsters, club bikes, fixed and classic

Mentioned: 97 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1592 Post(s)
Liked 669 Times in 450 Posts
Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Other than the use of different types of steel, what would be the main difference between different frames of this era?
There are decades of information to pull out of one's nether region to answer these big questions. Other than steel choice there's design, purpose, builder, production processes and their execution, paint decals art, lug choices, cultural considerations, even politics and economics. Mojo and nuance everywhere.
Look up the history of some interesting marques and brush up on them. There's must-read websites (as mentioned by @pcb and Sheldon Brown is one of the first, It's opinionated, thorough and not always correct but he was an original online 'influencer' in the resurgence of vintage bikes.

Or just read BF posts. I wish we had a 'Best of' collection of C&V threads that deliver the goods.

Last edited by clubman; 12-14-20 at 09:46 PM.
clubman is offline  
Old 12-14-20, 09:52 PM
  #5  
Realsteel95 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 71

Bikes: 1986 Centurion Ironman, 1989 Trek 660, and 1972 Zeus Competition

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 11 Posts
Others on this forum are certainly more knowledgeable on this topic but I can help a little. Higher end road bikes would have a shorter wheelbase for starts with a lighter weight steel frame. Typically higher end road bikes would have downtube shifters and 700c wheels. On low end bikes you would usually see 27" rims with bolts instead of quick releases although high end touring bikes often still had 27" rims. Dropouts would be horizontal. Generally the heavier the frame, the lower the quality. There were drastic technological advancements in the 1980s with shifting and braking so by the late 1980s almost all top-end road bikes would have had index shifters and the brakes levers would be more aero-dynamic. Usually a good give away that a bike is low-end is stem shifters and 27" rims without quick releases. Sometimes good touring bikes would have stem shifters though.


Some examples of components that you would see on high end bikes would be things like Campagnolo components like Super Record, C- Record, Nuovo Record and others towards the late 80s. Higher end road bikes with Shimano components would be things like Shimano 600 and Dura-Ace or in the late 80s- Sante as well. Higher end Suntour components were Suntour Superbe, Suntour GPX Cyclone was mid to high level, Suntour Sprint was higher level and Cyclone was a mid level component that you might also find on higher end frames. There is also Simplex, Huret and other components that offered high end components that were found on road bikes but I am not an expert on those so I don't want to give you inaccurate information. There are so many more than this and I like using Disraeligears.co.uk or this forum if you are wondering about Derailleur quality or where it may have fell in the range.

I found the sites mentioned by PCB to be super helpful when I was first getting into buying bikes.
Realsteel95 is offline  
Old 12-14-20, 10:13 PM
  #6  
pcb 
Senior Member
 
pcb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Joisey
Posts: 1,246
Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 265 Post(s)
Liked 395 Times in 177 Posts
I'm not really sure how wide a net you're throwing with this question.

Realsteel95 just gave you a pretty awesome summary of some of the differences you'll find.

Have you checked out Sheldon Brown yet? Lots of great info there, lots of potential questions answered.

Originally Posted by Moisture View Post
Other than the use of different types of steel, what would be the main difference between different frames of this era?
__________________
Fuggedaboutit!

Last edited by pcb; 12-14-20 at 10:27 PM.
pcb is offline  
Old 12-14-20, 10:56 PM
  #7  
Markeologist
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Marin County, Alta California
Posts: 188

Bikes: Since new: 85/86 Rodriguez Tandem, wife's 87 Gitane Team Pro, 92 Burley Rock-n-Roll, 85 Fisher Comp, 88 Puch Pro, two 92 Bridgestone X0-1s; later: 66/67 Gitane Champion du Monde, late 60s/early 70s B.Carre, my 87 Gitane Team Pro, 77/78 Ritchey Tandem

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 59 Post(s)
Liked 116 Times in 63 Posts
Try as I might, I could not just let this request alone.

Can anyone tell me more about the differences between high vs low end bikes of the era and some details regarding manufacturer lineups? Yeah sure, there are probably lots of folks willing to synthesize a decades worth of worldwide road bike production for you. What are you going to be doing in the weeks it would take to provide?

My understanding is that pretty much all frames back in the day were made by the same manufacturer and were all high quality regardless of the components being chosen. I'm going to assume you misread something someplace. There were 100s of millions of bicycles produced worldwide in the 1980s. Look here for the yearly totals for the sale of bicycles with 20 in wheels and larger sold in the US alone from the National Bicycle Dealers Association (the number sold figure is in millions, took me about two minutes to find some 1980s bicycle numbers):
https://nbda.com/bicycle-industry-data-overview/

Now these numbers include Mtn Bikes and BMX too but even if just a third (or even a quarter) of the volume represents road bikes sold in the US, you are still looking at millions and millions of road bicycles sold in the US alone in the 1980s. There is absolutely no way one can reasonably assume that a single manufacturer was responsible for all road bike production in the 1980s.
Markeologist is offline  
Old 12-15-20, 05:32 AM
  #8  
T-Mar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 20,618
Mentioned: 555 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3657 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1,063 Times in 797 Posts
Norco alone used at least a handful of different sources during the 1980s; Dodsun, Fairly, Miki, Kawamura and Yamaguchi. There were literally dozens of manufacturers in Japan and Taiwan alone, and hundreds, if not thousands, worldwide.

As for the differences between low and high end bicycles, that could fill a book and varied depending on the exact year, as the developments in the 1980s were legion. However, they all centred around several major factors: lighter weight, increased performance and ease of use.

The one thing that did happen during the course of the 1980s was that the disparity between low and high models gradually shrank over the decade, in almost all factors, other than price. Engineering from the high end started trickling down faster and manufacturers were increasing their workmanship standards and becoming better at quality control. This may be the basis of the statement that everything was high quality. It wasn't, but the differences were definitely shrinking, as most manufacturers realized they had to up their game to stay competitive and survive. For instance, there are lots of members who will swear that a late 1980s, mid-range Japanese bicycle is just as good as a high end Italian machine of the same era.. While debatable, that statement would have been laughed at, only a little over a decade earlier.
T-Mar is offline  
Old 12-15-20, 12:36 PM
  #9  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 11,954

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '88 Schwinn Premis , Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo

Mentioned: 97 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4854 Post(s)
Liked 2,081 Times in 1,243 Posts
Moist- please dont bring your game to this forum. The c&v forum is one of the last places on the internet where sincere discussion takes place, information is extensive, and mindless/troll threads dont exist.
mstateglfr is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.