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1980's Gran Premio question

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1980's Gran Premio question

Old 10-21-05, 12:10 AM
  #1  
mfen350
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1980's Gran Premio question

Hi All,

I am new to the forum, but it looks like you are a helpful bunch so hopefully someone can steer me in the right direction.

I recently acquired blue Univega Gran Premio that looks like it is from the early 80's. It is in remarkable shape for the era it came from and I was told it was all original components down to the tires.

My question for you all is whether I should bother to try to maintain the originality of the bike or should I upgrade to make it more pleasant to ride?

The seat is rock hard and the bike is geared way too tall for me which makes it tough to ride. But, I noticed a posting on Ebay for what appears to be an uglier rendering of the exact same bike and thought maybe I should preserve its stock condition.

http://cgi.ebay.com/UNIVEGA-GRAND-PREMIO-1980S-54cm-AMAZING-SHAPE_W0QQitemZ7190611483QQcategoryZ98084QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Are these rare or sought after?

Thanks for your help.

Mike
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Old 10-21-05, 06:30 AM
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First off, let me congratulate you on acquiring a very nice bicycle. As, to whether you should change things to make it more rideable, the answer is a definite YES! Bicycles were made to be ridden. However, I would suggest that you keep the original parts for retro-fitting, in the event of selling it. I wouldn't call the bicycle rare or sought after, but it was one of Univega's top models and sold for $500 US in the mid-1980s. I'm sure that most of the most of the members at BikeForums would snatch one up, if they stumbled across one in their size, so re-sale should be relatively easy.

Most of the Gran Premio that I have seen were geared quite close to the derailleurs' capicities. They came with 42/53T chainrings and 13-26T cogs. This gives a chain wrap ((53-42)+(26-13)) of 24T and a maximum cog of 26T. These are quite close to the advertised limits of 28T and 26T respectively, for the SunTour Cyclone MKII derailleurs that came on most Gran Premio. However, there is a bit of safety factor in the advertised capacities of most derailleurs and you may get away with going 2T more than the stated capacties.
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Old 10-22-05, 08:48 PM
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Thanks T-Mar,

I do in fact have 53T/42T chainrings and SunTour Cyclone derailleurs. Can I get away with putting smaller front sprockets on it?

After looking at the bike a bit more, I took note of some of the other parts I had only glanced at previously. The bike has Nitto bars, Araya rims, Gran Compe brakes, Italia seat, SR crank, a matching Impero pump, and a Huret rubber band driven odometer on the front hub that reads 944 and still works! Do these sound like original components or could these have been added at a later date?

To be totally honest, I am not sure that I want to ride this bike because it appears to be in too good of condition for a novice rider like myself. I am tempted to sell this bike to buy something a bit newer that is not quite so nice cosmetically rather than spend a bunch of money putting new parts on a vintage bike.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 10-22-05, 10:25 PM
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My approach has been to leave old bikes as original as possible. However, I always put on a Specialized Body Geometry saddle...my rear likes that saddle. And, I replace the pedals with BMX pedals, as those work well with what I'm wearing on the average day (wingtips when riding to a "work" appointment and sandals or tennis shoes when riding to the coffee shop).

I keep the "original" saddle and pedals so that I can put them back on when I let the bike go. I'm generally very happy with "original" era brakes and shifters. No "modern" brake has a nicer feel than the best Sun Tour and Shimano brakes of the 1985 to 1989 era.

If a bike as a "silly" cog set-up (something like 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20) I will put on a cogset that is more "knee friendly", such as a 14 to 26 setup. And, you can save the original setup for the day that you part with the bike.
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Old 10-23-05, 01:57 AM
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Is 944 miles or km good for a vintage bike?
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Old 10-23-05, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mfen350
Thanks T-Mar,

I do in fact have 53T/42T chainrings and SunTour Cyclone derailleurs. Can I get away with putting smaller front sprockets on it?

After looking at the bike a bit more, I took note of some of the other parts I had only glanced at previously. The bike has Nitto bars, Araya rims, Gran Compe brakes, Italia seat, SR crank, a matching Impero pump, and a Huret rubber band driven odometer on the front hub that reads 944 and still works! Do these sound like original components or could these have been added at a later date?

To be totally honest, I am not sure that I want to ride this bike because it appears to be in too good of condition for a novice rider like myself. I am tempted to sell this bike to buy something a bit newer that is not quite so nice cosmetically rather than spend a bunch of money putting new parts on a vintage bike.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Mike
I have the specs for the 1983-1985 Gran Premio. There were small changes from one year to the next, but your bicycle doesn't quite match any of them. So it could be slightly older or newer, or maybe some components have been changed, as you suggest. One of the best ways to determine originality is via the date codes on the components. If they are within a year of each other, they most likely original. If you find a component or two that are several years removed from the majority, then they are replacements. The Vintage-Trek website is a great source for component date codes.

Whether or not you can go to smaller cogs/chainrings on the front will depend on the bolt circle diameter (BCD) of the crankset. This is the diameter of the circle for the five mounting bolts for the chainrings. Since no two mounting bolts are diametrically opposed, this is hard to measure accurately. However, by measuring from hole center to hole center (HCHC) of two adjacent holes we can determine the BCD. Here is a chart of common BCD & HCHC and their corresponding minimum chainring sizes.

110mm BCD / 64.7mm HCHC: 34T min.
118mm BCD / 69.4mm HCHC: 36T min.
130mm BCD / 76.4mm HCHC: 39T min
144mm BCD / 84.6mm HCHC: 41T min.

As you can see, if you have a 144mm BCD crankset, you are pretty much stuck with the existing chainrings. You can get a small improvement if you have 130mm BCD. Hopefully, you have 110mm BCD. The 118mm BCD is not as commmon as the other three and it may be harder to find chainrings. Please note than if you go to smaller chainrings, you will have to remove a number of links from the chain so that the rear derailleur will properly wrap the chain.
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Old 10-23-05, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mfen350
Is 944 miles or km good for a vintage bike?
An odometer can be affixed at any point... so this number could be useless.

However, for the sake of discussion, under 1,000 miles for a 20 year old bike means it is extremely low mileage. That is an average of under 50 miles per year, and many people ride that many miles in a week. I am fat, and have 1900 miles on my 3 year old bike.

From how you describe the bike, it seems possible that the mileage is that low, and it is extremely low.
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Old 10-27-05, 02:04 AM
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Well, assuming that these pics attach properly...does it at least look like an odometer from the correct era?
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Old 10-27-05, 06:02 PM
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A huret multito, I think they were called. Yeah, exactly the right vintage. They were a big deal, before little tiny batteries...
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Old 10-28-05, 12:20 AM
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Right on....

Where are the date codes normally stamped on components? Are the date codes on the components typically the same year as the bike was made or is one usually newer than the other?

Thanks for all you help!
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