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Initial Impressions on My Univega Gran Turismo

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Initial Impressions on My Univega Gran Turismo

Old 07-21-21, 09:58 AM
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robertj298 
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Initial Impressions on My Univega Gran Turismo

Spent 3 hours riding on it this morning and here are my initial impressions .The bike feels heavier which makes sense
because it is. It takes bumps and road irregularities much better due to tires and weight. The Suntour derailleurs and
shifters both require more trimming than my other friction shifters to limit chain noise. I am going to put more hours on it
before I decide whether to keep it or sell it. It will be hard to sell such a beautiful bike in almost new condition.
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Old 07-21-21, 10:47 AM
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It's a touring bicycle. A different mindset helps. Don't think about speed, acceleration. Slow, steady, all day long.

Last edited by Hobbiano; 07-21-21 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 07-21-21, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
...The bike feels heavier which makes sense because it is.
Yep... That's OK with me. At 250 pounds or more I need a sturdy bicycle. Plus I ride over some torn up roads a few of which have gotten the better of me and my bike. Gradually my UNIVEGA has evolved into more of a gravel bike than a touring bike... Happy HAPPY, Joy JOY!!!
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Old 07-21-21, 11:45 AM
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Drop the dork disc, wheel reflectors, front reflector and rack to shave probably 1.5 lbs off. Otherwise, slow, steady and comfy is the name of the game for these. Catalog has it at 27lbs with rack, if you can get it down to about 24lbs that's a pretty comfortable weight IMO.

Last edited by polymorphself; 07-21-21 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 07-21-21, 11:59 AM
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The Disraeli Gears guy does not give a glowing review of the XC rear derailleur. You should try a different long cage derailleur before sending the bike along, and keep the XC for originality's sake (and in case you sell it eventually). You might grow to appreciate the Cadillac ride -- sometimes I miss my gas pipe Puch Bergmeister, which had a boat anchor frame, but a massive wheelbase. Your Gran Turismo is much lighter than that one, and a better bike overall.
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Old 07-21-21, 12:30 PM
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On my older keeper purchases, I put on new chains, usually Sram 850. I know that the Sedis stock chain on many are supposed to be great, but a new chain has always quieted the driveline and improved shifting for me. As others have said, that bike is for miles, not speed. You want to keep it if it fits or you will be mad at yourself later.
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Old 07-21-21, 04:31 PM
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It would be a shame to cast off a beautiful vintage touring bike.
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Old 07-21-21, 05:07 PM
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Well, if you still have the original tires on it, change them. 1 1/4" Panaracer Pasela's will roll much better and give you a good ride. I find that on my Miyata 610 they roll best with about 75 - 80 psi in back and 65 - 70 in front and still ride pretty nice. Much less and they start to feel a little sluggish.

My 610 has a Shimano Deore XT rear derailleur and a newer cheap Shimano 6sp freewheel. It was like that when I bought it a few years ago. The down tube shifters are Shimano Light Action ratcheting shifters - as originally equipped. I can't believe how well it shifts, with truly a light action compared to standard non-ratcheting levers. It's a pleasure to change gears.

I also have an '84 Miyata 1000 with the original shifters (non-ratcheting) & Deerhead derailleurs. It doesn't shift nearly as well as the 610. Much stiffer lever action and clunky gear changes. I think I'm going to try a newer Shimano freewheel like the one on the 610 to see if that improves the shifting and also Suntour bar-end shifters (just because) and they have a ratcheting action so don't need to be adjusted as tight as standard friction levers.

Last edited by Hobbiano; 07-21-21 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 07-21-21, 07:15 PM
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I have an '84 Gran Turismo, and it's easily my favorite bike. It was in rough shape when I dug it out of a scrap pile behind a thrift shop, so I didn't bother trying to keep it original.

I cleaned and kept the front derailleur, but I replaced the rear with a Suntour XCM...one of the pulleys was some weird proprietary thing I couldn't find a replacement for.
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Old 07-21-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
I am going to put more hours on it before I decide whether to keep it or sell it. It will be hard to sell such a beautiful bike in almost new condition.
No. It would be easy to sell.

Last edited by Hobbiano; 07-21-21 at 08:19 PM. Reason: forgot to put the smiley
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Old 07-21-21, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by arex View Post
I have an '84 Gran Turismo, and it's easily my favorite bike. It was in rough shape when I dug it out of a scrap pile behind a thrift shop, so I didn't bother trying to keep it original.

I cleaned and kept the front derailleur, but I replaced the rear with a Suntour XCM...one of the pulleys was some weird proprietary thing I couldn't find a replacement for.
Gotta post pics. Also, what about it makes it your favorite?
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Old 07-22-21, 02:32 AM
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27 inch wheels ride smoother than 700c because they're a larger diameter. That's why on MTB's the 26 died and 29 became the rage. I wish they would make a comeback. I've always thought it would be a good wheel size for gravel bikes, they would be more stable on gravel roads.
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Old 07-22-21, 12:31 PM
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As others have mentioned, it may be the tires. Perhaps one of your other bikes with better tires could be used to test. If both are 27”, you may be able to just swap wheels to see what you get. Keep in mind that the rear dropout spacing should be the same, and you may need to set the rd limit screws to avoid possibly dropping the chain.

I’ve recently purchased a couple cheap to me bikes and was wondering tires too. One Trek with Isiwata 022 I expected to ride nicely. It had on some tires with very thick tread casing with “Armadillo Technology”. I was surprised at how dead it rode, and I am just a beginner to that stuff. Tires maybe?
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Old 07-22-21, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by sd5782 View Post
As others have mentioned, it may be the tires. Perhaps one of your other bikes with better tires could be used to test. If both are 27”, you may be able to just swap wheels to see what you get. Keep in mind that the rear dropout spacing should be the same, and you may need to set the rd limit screws to avoid possibly dropping the chain.

I’ve recently purchased a couple cheap to me bikes and was wondering tires too. One Trek with Isiwata 022 I expected to ride nicely. It had on some tires with very thick tread casing with “Armadillo Technology”. I was surprised at how dead it rode, and I am just a beginner to that stuff. Tires maybe?
Specialized Armadillos. The best-named worst-riding road tire the Big S ever made. The best thing about them was that they probably wouldn't flat if you shot them with a nail gun and they lasted forever. Of course, given how awful they rode, that was also the worst thing about them, because you'd never have a good excuse to throw them away and get tires that you didn't hate.

Seriously, Armadillos made Gatorskins feel like Dugast silks.

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Old 07-22-21, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
Gotta post pics. Also, what about it makes it your favorite?
It just feels really nice riding it. Feels effortless...which, given my weight, is something I don't often feel.

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Old 07-22-21, 10:10 PM
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Old 07-22-21, 11:25 PM
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Yep, tires. I couldn't believe the difference when I swapped tires on my Miyata 710. Yeah, they're 700c, but the point is still valid. When I changed from thick, heavy Vittoria Randonneur to Vittoria Rubino Pro Tech III, it dropped almost TWO POUNDS of rotating weight! The Rubino Pros also rode much nicer!

That said, I also have a '84 Univega Gran Tourismo - it now wears Paselas PT in 27x1-1/4. Nice ride for a 'flat-resistant' 27" tire.

FWIW, the Gran Tourismo rides pretty much like my beloved old '75 Fuji S-10S. Both have a long wheelbase, low trail, and a stable ride. Both are 29-30 pounds with rear rack, bottle cages, full-size frame pump and fenders - the latter a 'must' for touring!. Both are equipped (Fuji was 'upgraded') with triple cranks and 6-speed SunTour Winner Ultra-spaced freewheels. Both have friction-shifting SunTour barcons. I've always been a friction-shifting guy! The right chain can make a big difference. I < think > I'm using KMC X8 chains these days on both...

BUT, your '88 Miyata 615 is a refinement of the older Gran Tourismo. I had picked up one of those for my niece, and it rode quite nicely with it's indexed Shimano light action shifting. I'm normally not a fan of indexed shifting for various reasons, but when they're set up right they are nice.

Bottom line - try tires and a newer technology chain. Oh, and newer Teflon-lined shifter cables with slick stainless inner wire - you'll thank me later!
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Old 07-23-21, 02:08 PM
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Had a blowout on the rear yesterday. Guess I should have taken everyones advice. Ordered 2 Panaracer Panaselas today.
Guess I have to learn the hard way lol
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Old 07-23-21, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by robertj298 View Post
Had a blowout on the rear yesterday. Guess I should have taken everyones advice. Ordered 2 Panaracer Panaselas today.
Guess I have to learn the hard way lol
You won't regret it. Paselas are just plain nice.
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Old 07-23-21, 07:31 PM
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Pre-index Suntour touring derailers like the Cyclone, etc. were designed with the older, less-flexible chains in mind.

So, in order to fully exploit the shifting benefits of modern chain, you may want to entirely remove the B-tension screw, unless your freewheel is bigger than 30t or so.

On my Pro-Tour, I got further improvement in shifting over the 13-28t Uniglide 6s freewheel by actually filing some metal off of the Cyclone GT's B-tension screw boss (which moved the guide pulley that much closer to the freewheel).

The other alternative would be using something (rear derailer) more modern, but which will increase the required cable pull (which I tend not to like).

Lastly, your choice of freewheel and cable housings, and having the cable wire running on some kind of plastic liner at the bb guide, can lead to the holy grail of shifting response.
And lastly-lastly, I much prefer the feel of a non-floating top pulley for use with friction-shifting.
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