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Free mid-80s Shogun 400 12-speed

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Free mid-80s Shogun 400 12-speed

Old 08-04-21, 08:14 PM
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molleraj
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Free mid-80s Shogun 400 12-speed

Hi all, this is a follow up post about my new free road bike. It looks to be a mid-80s Shogun 400 12-speed made from Tange 900 Chromoly tubing. I found it with a paper labeled "free" taped to the seat beside an apartment complex on Battery Lane in Bethesda, MD. So far it looks like minimal repairs are rear brake adjustment, chain de-rusting, and bar tape.

Just tonight I applied WD-40 to the rear brake line and worked it back and forth until it moved freely. Fortunately, it works great now, even smoother than the front brake. Unfortunately, a tiny (~6 mm or 1/4 inch) piece of the plastic sheath around the cable fell off near the front end of the cable. The metal sheath is still there, but I thought about wrapping it in a small layer of bar tape, and I bought a replacement brake line and housing for $7.

Regarding chain rust, WD-40 has pulled some of it out. Tomorrow I will soak the chain in WD-40, remove rust with a wire brush, and wipe with a rag. The bike does pedal fine now with WD-40 and some rust removal. I will then apply some Tri-Flow when I'm all done removing rust.

Finally, the bar tape should be coming in a few days, which will be a nice teal color to go with the frame.

Does this look like it could be rideable? I have never used a bike with drop bars. Also - shockingly, the tires are relatively new and the tires and tubes hold pressure (60 psi).

I'm hoping to ride this bike down DC bike trails (e.g., Mount Vernon, Capital Crescent).



Left side

Right side

Front view

Tange 900 Chromoly

Front closeup with Shogun badge

Rear view with reflector

Shimano derailleur

Sakae CR crank
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Old 08-04-21, 09:09 PM
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Chain looks a bit slack. What is the condition of bottom bracket, hubs, fork? Do they need greasing? Is there play in any of them?
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Old 08-04-21, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by rgvg View Post
Chain looks a bit slack. What is the condition of bottom bracket, hubs, fork? Do they need greasing? Is there play in any of them?
The chain is indeed a bit slack and my next step is to clean it with WD-40 and a wire brush. The bottom bracket, hubs, and fork probably need greasing, but I didn't feel any play (tilting or pulling?) in them. I will definitely check again though.
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Old 08-04-21, 10:22 PM
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Well sure, it could be ridable. How much work you want to put into it I guess is up to you.

If it were my bike, I would check those moving bits if they need grease or adjustment.

Maybe change out the some of the consumables like the cables and housing, chain, maybe the brake pads if necessary.

Are the wheels true? Are the spokes well tensioned?

Does it go? And just as importantly does it stop?

Clean and wash too.
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Old 08-04-21, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by rgvg View Post
Well sure, it could be ridable. How much work you want to put into it I guess is up to you.

If it were my bike, I would check those moving bits if they need grease or adjustment.

Maybe change out the some of the consumables like the cables and housing, chain, maybe the brake pads if necessary.

Are the wheels true? Are the spokes well tensioned?

Does it go? And just as importantly does it stop?

Clean and wash too.
It does go, but until now it didn't stop easily - massive problem. Now that the rear brake is tuned up and the cable is freed it stops fine. I did order an extra brake cable/housing though.

I need to adjust the seat too for my height. It feels like I am way up, but maybe that is normal. I am 5'10" and this looks like a shorter frame ignoring the raised seatpost. Then again, I have never ridden a bike with drop bars before.

The spokes are well tensioned but I don't know about wheel trueness. I am definitely going to put grease on the appropriate parts and Tri-flow on the drivetrain.

I will see how much rust I can remove from the chain with WD-40 and a brush. The results from tonight looked promising. If not tomorrow, definitely a new chain.

Yes, definitely I will clean and wash the bike.
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Old 08-04-21, 11:20 PM
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Well, granted people can be shaped differently, I think you are right this is a smaller frame. It's free so that's good. But 5'10" on this frame might be a little bit out of reach. At the very least you should check that the seat post is not raised past the line that should be on the seatpost. If it is raised too high it is not good and may damage the frame (and you).
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Old 08-05-21, 06:37 AM
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If you can't find a frame that fits you, my advice is to splurge for a new 8-speed chain on eBay and find a modern seatpost, tall enough to ride safely.
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Old 08-05-21, 06:52 AM
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Congrats on the new bike! Good advice already given by the members here. The old axiom applies, “ free or cheap does not stay that way for long.” Don’t ask me how I know!

Jealous of your plan to ride the railways up there!
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Old 08-05-21, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
If you can't find a frame that fits you, my advice is to splurge for a new 8-speed chain on eBay and find a modern seatpost, tall enough to ride safely.
Thanks, both good ideas. I think the seat post is already raised high enough for my legs to fully extend, but I might want to raise the handlebars for safety. Idk.
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Old 08-05-21, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
Congrats on the new bike! Good advice already given by the members here. The old axiom applies, “ free or cheap does not stay that way for long.” Don’t ask me how I know!

Jealous of your plan to ride the railways up there!
Thank you! Finding it was quite a shock. Yes, there are lots of rail trails here
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Old 08-05-21, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
Thanks, both good ideas. I think the seat post is already raised high enough for my legs to fully extend, but I might want to raise the handlebars for safety. Idk.
Speaking of which, there is also a line on the stem. Do not raise it past that line. Good luck!
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Old 08-05-21, 10:27 AM
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If it were my bike, which it is not, but if it were and I was planning on rail trail rides or anything where I was going to be a few miles from home, I would replace the brake cables, pads and chain. I would also repack the wheel bearings and bottom bracket. Just because I cannot stand things that are not right, I would see if the seat post and stem are not frozen and I would repack the headset bearings. Also clean and lube the rear der jockey wheels.

That frame is small but you know that. That bike is a decent but entry level Asian model from the mid 80s You are going to need a chain tool to remove the rivet on your new chain and some way to cut the outer brake and shifter cable covers. If you buy replacement cable kits it should include the inner cable caps that keep the cable ends from fraying. There are tons of youtubes on fixing bikes. Have fun!
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Old 08-05-21, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
I think the seatpost is already raised high enough for my legs to fully extend.
Does the bottom of the post extend past the seat tube lug? That's the point being made.
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Old 08-05-21, 12:30 PM
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I concur, this appears to be 1985 +/- 1 year. The serial number should allow us to determine the build date. The derailleurs and brakes are Shimano Z-series, which was quite common on upper entry level models of this era. The rear derailleur appears to be the Z503-GS model, while the front is a Z204 and the brakes are Z570. While it uses Tange 900 double butted CrMo, it is only used in the main triangle. The stays are hi-tensile and depending on the exact year, the forks are either hi-tensile steel or Mangaloy. MSRP was $250-$270 US during 1984-1986.

I agree that this is a very small frame for someone 5'10". This looks like about a 19" frame and normally I'd recommend a frame size of about 22" for an average proportioned male of this height.
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Old 08-05-21, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Does the bottom of the post extend past the seat tube lug? That's the point being made.
I don't think so? If that means the post has come out of the seat tube...
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Old 08-05-21, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I concur, this appears to be 1985 +/- 1 year. The serial number should allow us to determine the build date. The derailleurs and brakes are Shimano Z-series, which was quite common on upper entry level models of this era. The rear derailleur appears to be the Z503-GS model, while the front is a Z204 and the brakes are Z570. While it uses Tange 900 double butted CrMo, it is only used in the main triangle. The stays are hi-tensile and depending on the exact year, the forks are either hi-tensile steel or Mangaloy. MSRP was $250-$270 US during 1984-1986.

I agree that this is a very small frame for someone 5'10". This looks like about a 19" frame and normally I'd recommend a frame size of about 22" for an average proportioned male of this height.
Nice, it is quite light, but also small as you said. I will check for the serial number and post it here.
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Old 08-05-21, 03:43 PM
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Upon further examination, the rear seatpost bolt (seat clamp) is bent and the front derailleur wire and housing are gone. These are next to fix. The chain is much cleaner now and the rear derailleur adjusted so that the chain slack is gone. There is also slight play in the bottom bracket, so the bearings will possibly need to be repacked.
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Old 08-05-21, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
I don't think so? If that means the post has come out of the seat tube.
It's really easy to check. Mark the point on the post where it enters the seat tube. Remove it and place it next to the seat tube at the same point. Note where the bottom of the post is in relation to the lug. It should be well below the bottom of the lug, maybe by an inch or more. From Sheldon:

"There is usually a "minimum insertion" mark about 2 inches (5 cm) from the bottom of the seatpost, to remind you to leave enough post inside the seat tube for security. If in doubt, pull it all the way out and check the length. If you can't get it up high enough without going past the minimum-insertion mark, you should buy a new, longer seatpost."
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Old 08-05-21, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
It's really easy to check. Mark the point on the post where it enters the seat tube. Remove it and place it next to the seat tube at the same point. Note where the bottom of the post is in relation to the lug. It should be well below the bottom of the lug, maybe by an inch or more. From Sheldon:

"There is usually a "minimum insertion" mark about 2 inches (5 cm) from the bottom of the seatpost, to remind you to leave enough post inside the seat tube for security. If in doubt, pull it all the way out and check the length. If you can't get it up high enough without going past the minimum-insertion mark, you should buy a new, longer seatpost."
Oh OK, this makes sense. Once I get a hex key to adjust the seat I will be able to tell.
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Old 08-05-21, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
The serial number should allow us to determine the build date.
Where would I find the serial number? I don't see it on the dropouts like I did on my Schwinn Collegiate.
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Old 08-05-21, 05:38 PM
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Oh wait, this should work...(from another thread)
"...the serial # is stamped on the underside of the bottom bracket."
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Old 08-05-21, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rgvg View Post
Chain looks a bit slack. What is the condition of bottom bracket, hubs, fork? Do they need greasing? Is there play in any of them?
I think there is something broken (possible an internal spring that isn't serviceable) or misadjusted with the rear derailleur. It may work ok since this is probably a simple friction shifting system, but @molleraj you will get better shifts and won't drop your chain as much once you figure out how to get that derailleur to put more tension on the chain or replace it for one that functions correctly. This is an entry level derailleur so a replacement wouldn't be much money, but you may not want to invest much money (you are already spending some on a cable and housing and potentially a new chain) into this bike if it doesn't fit you.

The correct angle for that series of derailleur should be something more like this. This is a Shimano RD-Z505 and I think yours is a Z503 but they are very similar. (from 1985 Schwinn Tempo)



Also, I can't imagine that angle of saddle would be that comfortable. Most people run their saddle perfectly even. Some will tilt it forward or back but it's not super common. Get that saddle level, and then play with the fore-aft adjustment to find what feels best (lots of articles on the web about this). Right now it's slammed all the way back in the seatpost clamp which isn't ideal from a fit standpoint and it's hard on the saddle rails. The saddle rails can break over time since there is so much leverage on them in that position. If that fore-aft saddle position is what fits you on this bike then maybe not a problem if you are just keeping this bike for a short while until you can find one that fits, but if you are keeping it for a while then a seatpost with a longer setback would be helpful, but would be more investment.

Last edited by tricky; 08-05-21 at 06:08 PM.
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Old 08-05-21, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
I think there is something broken (possible an internal spring that isn't serviceable) or misadjusted with the rear derailleur. It may work ok since this is probably a simple friction shifting system, but @molleraj you will get better shifts and won't drop your chain as much once you figure out how to get that derailleur to put more tension on the chain or replace it for one that functions correctly. This is an entry level derailleur so a replacement wouldn't be much money, but you may not want to invest much money (you are already spending some on a cable and housing and potentially a new chain) into this bike if it doesn't fit you.

The correct angle for that series of derailleur should be something more like this. This is a Shimano RD-Z505 and I think yours is a Z503 but they are very similar. (from 1985 Schwinn Tempo)



Also, I can't imagine that angle of saddle would be that comfortable. Most people run their saddle perfectly even. Some will tilt it forward or back but it's not super common. Get that saddle level, and then play with the fore-aft adjustment to find what feels best (lots of articles on the web about this). Right now it's slammed all the way back in the seatpost clamp which isn't ideal from a fit standpoint and it's hard on the saddle rails. The saddle rails can break over time since there is so much leverage on them in that position. If that fore-aft saddle position is what fits you on this bike then maybe not a problem if you are just keeping this bike for a short while until you can find one that fits, but if you are keeping it for a while then a seatpost with a longer setback would be helpful, but would be more investment.
Regarding the rear derailleur, you are completely right. I freed up one of the springs and now the geometry is as pictured and the slack is gone from the chain.

Regarding the saddle, it is loose on the seatpost clamp and the bolt holding the clamp down looks bent. I will remove the bolt and see if I can get a new one to save the clamp. Otherwise the solution might be pretty complex (i.e., seatpost replacement).

Last edited by molleraj; 08-05-21 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 08-05-21, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by molleraj View Post
Regarding the rear derailleur, you are completely right. I freed up one of the springs and now the geometry is as pictured and the slack is gone from the chain.

Regarding the saddle, it is loose on the seatpost clamp and the bolt holding the clamp down looks bent. I will remove the bolt and see if I can get a new one to save the clamp. Otherwise the solution might be pretty complex (i.e., seatpost replacement).

Oops! Yeah, I've done that before on a derailleur. You might be able to get the spring tension back be resetting the spring.

Also, seatposts aren't that expensive. You may be able to find a co-op in the area that has a seatpost you can use. You just need to find the correct size. It should be stamped on the seatpost somewhere below the minium insertion line. I found this list of bike shops that includes some non-profits in Maryland. Not sure which of the co-ops listed here actually stock parts, but some of them might be a good source for cheap parts. Failing that, you can find cheap seatposts online. Again, just make sure you order the right size.
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Old 08-07-21, 12:49 PM
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I just found the serial number for the Shogun 400: S3L01485. I can hardly see the S though.
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