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Steel touring decision: '88 Panasonic DX-3000 or '85 Fuji Del Rey

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Steel touring decision: '88 Panasonic DX-3000 or '85 Fuji Del Rey

Old 03-31-23, 11:14 AM
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Steel touring decision: '88 Panasonic DX-3000 or '85 Fuji Del Rey

Hi all, first time poster here.

I've been in the market for a used vintage steel bike that I could use for as a heavy-duty commuter and touring bike. After diving into quite the rabbit hole these last few weeks, I've given myself the deadline of this weekend to pick a bike. My criteria are: steel frame (hopefully indestructible) for more comfortable, longer rides; eyelets and mounting points for front and rear racks; and sufficient fork clearance for thicker, more comfortable tires (though the vast majority of my riding will be road riding). I've narrowed it down to two: a 1988 Panasonic DX-3000 and a 1985(?) Fuji Del Rey.

My question is: which would be better for longer road touring rides? I recognize that these aren't traditional touring bikes and weren't back in the day, either, but I really love the looks of them. I haven't done bike touring before, but I'd like to load one of these up with racks and gear and get on some long rides now that the weather is getting nicer. Is there something I'm not considering that might make one bike deficient compared to the other or otherwise unsuitable for touring? From what I can tell, they both have eyelets that I can use for racks. Any red flags that I should know about before I pull the trigger on one? The site isn't allowing me to post photos, but imagine that both are in equivalently good-to-fair condition.
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Old 03-31-23, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by oship View Post
I haven't done bike touring before, but I'd like to load one of these up with racks and gear and get on some long rides now that the weather is getting nicer. Is there something I'm not considering that might make one bike deficient compared to the other or otherwise unsuitable for touring?
Yes, a lot. Basic criteria and expectations of a touring bike:

- Relaxed geometry/long wheelbase, this provides a more stable ride while loaded. Without this you will have poor handling, especially on descents and ascents. Speed wobble/shimmy is a concern.
- Eyelets for both front and rear racks as well as fenders. This typically means two eyelets in both front and back. Fenders are of course not a requirement, but they really can come in hand in conditions that call for them and you'll be glad for them.
- A triple chainring for lower gearing options, especially helpful for climbs when loaded. There are other setups that can achieve close to similar, but I'm talking about the baseline for vintage touring bikes.
- More than one water bottle mount, often three.
- At least 36 spokes on both wheels, often 40 in the rear.
- Cantilver breaks for increased stopping power when loaded.

I'd have to look at the Del Rey again to be sure, but off the top of my head I'm pretty sure neither of these bikes meet any of the above criteria. Some will say you can tour on any bike, and that is of course true, but you seem to be looking for an honest answer on how those bikes compare to an actual touring bike. I think frame geo/wheelbase and gearing are most key here.

That being said, vintage touring bikes are quite easy to find, either on this very forum in the Classic & Vintage sales section or on CL and Offerup. If you let us know your location somebody may know of something available. It's also worth looking through this thread to get an idea of models and features: Show us your vintage touring bikes.

Some popular options are trek 520/620/720, Schwinn Voyageur, Miyata 210/610/1000, Centurion Pro Tour, Panasonic PT-3500, Fuji Touring Series, Nishiki Cresta. The list goes on. ~1984-1988 are the years I'd look at for any/all vintage touring bike models (unless I wanted something very specific from earlier years for my own niche reasons).

Last edited by polymorphself; 03-31-23 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 03-31-23, 01:36 PM
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If they are both complete and unmolested and available now, I’d go with the 88 Panasonic for the 105 SIS group. It’s got some brazeons for two bottles and racks and if you like the touring/camping thing, get a Tourer later.
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Old 03-31-23, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by oship View Post
Hi all, first time poster here.

I've been in the market for a used vintage steel bike that I could use for as a heavy-duty commuter and touring bike. After diving into quite the rabbit hole these last few weeks, I've given myself the deadline of this weekend to pick a bike. My criteria are: steel frame (hopefully indestructible) for more comfortable, longer rides; eyelets and mounting points for front and rear racks; and sufficient fork clearance for thicker, more comfortable tires (though the vast majority of my riding will be road riding). I've narrowed it down to two: a 1988 Panasonic DX-3000 and a 1985(?) Fuji Del Rey.

My question is: which would be better for longer road touring rides? I recognize that these aren't traditional touring bikes and weren't back in the day, either, but I really love the looks of them. I haven't done bike touring before, but I'd like to load one of these up with racks and gear and get on some long rides now that the weather is getting nicer. Is there something I'm not considering that might make one bike deficient compared to the other or otherwise unsuitable for touring? From what I can tell, they both have eyelets that I can use for racks. Any red flags that I should know about before I pull the trigger on one? The site isn't allowing me to post photos, but imagine that both are in equivalently good-to-fair condition.
Do you already have a lead on the two bikes mentioned, in your size? If not, then youíre significantly limiting your options, especially within your time frame.

@polymorphself has identified a number of seriously good candidates to also consider.

If you are quite sure that youíll do fully loaded touring, I.e., with camping equipment, etc., as opposed to lighter ďcredit cardĒ touring that doesnít require carrying all the camping stuff? Your candidates fall into the latter category. Worth saying is that many around here on C&V find that those additional suggested models are also wonderful everyday bikes, especially with good wheels and fat (not ďthickĒ) supple tires that are now available. For myself, I wouldnít worry about 36/40 spoke wheels unless I was heavy myself with a huge touring load front and back. Well-built 32-spoke wheels should be plenty sufficient.
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Old 03-31-23, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post
For myself, I wouldnít worry about 36/40 spoke wheels unless I was heavy myself with a huge touring load front and back. Well-built 32-spoke wheels should be plenty sufficient.
I agree with this, I guess I was just thinking that OEM the bikes in question would have mostly come with 36/40 setups.
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Old 03-31-23, 03:02 PM
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Echoing the above...and a twist. A good few rules of thumb are
(1) two eyelets in the rear and/or front
(2) clearance that you imagine a fender or bigger tire fitting between the rear tire and seat tube
(3) Cantilever brakes


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Old 03-31-23, 03:41 PM
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88Panasonic DX3000 would be my choice
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Old 03-31-23, 04:32 PM
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Thanks, all for the replies! Iíve done some considerable searching in CL and FB marketplace for most of those bikes that were mentioned by name in this thread but havenít found any in my size. The DX3000 and the Del Rey are in my size ó they correspond to specific bike postings that are available near me.

Iím leaning towards the DX3000 - as noted above itís got two eyelets on the rear that, with a nice rack and bags, I think will be sufficient for my caliber of touring, at least for the time being. Plus the 88 model has a super slick 80s look with purple and blue highlights.

I think Iíll do a final sweep of the online marketplaces for those more established touring bike models before I pull the trigger
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Old 03-31-23, 04:37 PM
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Welcome! Either of those bikes is better than what I toured on the first time, a steel-framed (NoCroMo dontcha know) with cottered crank, steel wheels and a 40-52/14-28 freewheel. I crossed the Alps with that gearing but would never attempt it now. People have toured on less-nice bikes than either one of yours for generations. Make sure the bike's in good mechanical shape, be careful out there and have a blast.
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Old 03-31-23, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by oship View Post
Thanks, all for the replies! Iíve done some considerable searching in CL and FB marketplace for most of those bikes that were mentioned by name in this thread but havenít found any in my size. The DX3000 and the Del Rey are in my size ó they correspond to specific bike postings that are available near me.

Iím leaning towards the DX3000 - as noted above itís got two eyelets on the rear that, with a nice rack and bags, I think will be sufficient for my caliber of touring, at least for the time being. Plus the 88 model has a super slick 80s look with purple and blue highlights.

I think Iíll do a final sweep of the online marketplaces for those more established touring bike models before I pull the trigger
The Del Ray would be a definite no go for touring for me. Just rehabbed one and they were more of a sport bike with decently tight geometry.

Honestly unfamiliar with the DX 3000 but Panasonics are well regarded...my friend had a sprightly DX2000 back in the day.
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Old 03-31-23, 04:46 PM
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Agree if either is going to be the one go with the Panasonic. Well regarded frames, especially by the late 80s, and I do love their late 80s paint jobs. It screams 1988 without being tacky.
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Old 03-31-23, 10:30 PM
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I have a DX3000 - I believe it is an 87 model

I believe the OEM gearing would be a little tall for touring use

not too familiar with the drivetrain - not sure which would be the best way to provide lower gearing

also not sure of the tire max width
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Old 04-01-23, 10:18 PM
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I canít speak to the Fuji, but I had a DX3000 for a while and it was a very nice rider.
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Old 04-02-23, 01:32 AM
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Looking at your pics, my first observation is that the Fuji has a smaller frame size. The Fuji appears to have slightly longer chain stays and larger cogs, which are desirable attributes for touring, but not as important as correct fit.
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Old 04-02-23, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by oship View Post
Thanks, all for the replies! Iíve done some considerable searching in CL and FB marketplace
Where abouts are you located? People here LOVE to shop and spend other people's money.

Seriously, people LOVE to search CL and marketplace and present good options for you- heck- even a state or quarter of a state (eg: SE WI) if you don't feel like putting in a city or anything.
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Old 04-02-23, 09:22 PM
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There's this: 1985 Miyata 610, 58 cm
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Old 04-02-23, 11:32 PM
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I had a 1985 Fuji del Rey for a little bit. 32s and fenders were tight but could be done. Nice braze-on features, solid frame, longer chain stays. Great commuter for sure. I built it up for a 6'9" guy and he loved it!

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Old 04-04-23, 12:20 PM
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Update: I tried out the Panasonic, which was a 21Ē, and found that it was too small for my liking. It was tough to pass on it, but I wanted something more substantial. I passed on the Fuji, which I think would make a great city bike, but didnít sound like it quite hit the mark for my intentions.

Instead, I ended up buying a 1991 Trek 520 with a 23Ē frame. The thing is a beast no doubt ó a little on the big size for me (I wish they made 22Ē frames) ó but itís comfortable when riding, in great shape, and has many of the original components. Plus it came outfitted with a lot of the touring accessories I need. Needless to say Iím very excited about it!

Does anyone know of resources (books, e-books, manuals, video series) that I could reference when looking to do maintenance work for this bike? Any must-haves in the world of vintage bike maintenance?
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Old 04-04-23, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by oship View Post
Instead, I ended up buying a 1991 Trek 520 with a 23Ē frame.
Pic Assist - https://www.bikeforums.net/g/picture/28602244

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Old 04-04-23, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by oship View Post
Update: I tried out the Panasonic, which was a 21Ē, and found that it was too small for my liking. It was tough to pass on it, but I wanted something more substantial. I passed on the Fuji, which I think would make a great city bike, but didnít sound like it quite hit the mark for my intentions.

Instead, I ended up buying a 1991 Trek 520 with a 23Ē frame. The thing is a beast no doubt ó a little on the big size for me (I wish they made 22Ē frames) ó but itís comfortable when riding, in great shape, and has many of the original components. Plus it came outfitted with a lot of the touring accessories I need. Needless to say Iím very excited about it!

Does anyone know of resources (books, e-books, manuals, video series) that I could reference when looking to do maintenance work for this bike? Any must-haves in the world of vintage bike maintenance?
on line https://www.parktool.com/en-us/blog/repair-help

paper book... I like this one covers vintage and modern

https://www.amazon.com/Zinn-Art-Road...0633660&sr=8-1
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