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Good LBS story this time :)

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Good LBS story this time :)

Old 07-08-07, 03:33 PM
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Buglady
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Good LBS story this time :)

After calling around and getting three more "oh you should buy a new bike" responses (what the %$#@&*?? - anyway...) I talked to some very nice folks at Cyclepath in south Calgary. They were very encouraging about being able to find parts and so on, so I brought the BRC road bike in today to have them look it over and help me sort out the priorities. I was really pleased with the service! They did ask if I was thinking about a new bike at any point in the next few years, but I was OK with that since it was more so they knew what to suggest for the level of investment I was looking at.

I have a service appointment on August 2nd, when they will install bar-end shifters to replace the current downtube positioning. They didn't even peep about keeping the friction mode! They'll also move the brake levers up and back a tad to make it easier for me to reach them when riding on the hoods (I would do that myself but there's no sense unwrapping the handlebar tape twice!).

They helped me sort out the shifters for now, and I took the bike out for its first longer spin (not that long, but I think I got a good 4 or 5 miles in anyway). Wow, is it ever different from my other bikes! I am so not used to road bike handling. It's zippy all right!
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Old 07-08-07, 03:54 PM
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I hope that works out well for you!

Nice to find a LBS who isn't in to intimidating you to buy a new bike.
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Old 07-09-07, 01:17 AM
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I found this thread searching for one of those "LBS says it's too old, pushing new bike" threads... the reason is I want to make a point. I have been working in the business for a few months now... 2 cases today..

1. I picked a rear derailleur out of the metal recycling bin yesterday and brought it home where I spent 2 hours in 2 chunks over the evening rebuilding it and cleaning every little bit and piece... it's a damn nice derailleur and it seems to work fine now but it took a lot of work and penetrating oil, and triflow and degreaser and water pressure... the labour cost would have been $100, $50 pre hour (the LBS has to pay overhead and employees etc..) makes a lot more sense to sell them a new derailleur for half the price.

2. I was overhauling a wheel today and after 5 minutes stopped and called the customer and left a message saying I wasn't working on their wheel further because I thought their money would be better spent on a new wheel... They need a hub overhaul ($20 labour plus parts) and the wheel true/retension (again $20)... the rim was in bad shape and the spoke tension would have had to have been to variable to get it in acceptable form... better to spend $60-75 on a new wheel than $55 for one that isn't going to last more than a few months because the tension is screwed.

A lady brought her scwhinn traveller in which she stored outdoor by the coast. The 3 month old tires were totally cracked, the seatpost completely seized. I said we should recommend she buy a new bike but she decided to go ahead and spend MORE to have the bike in ridable shape. An amount should could have spent to get a bike in way better shape off craigslist or something.

I know sometimes they just push new bikes without really taking into account what you have but when someone comes in and want to replace the fork and wheel on their 70s bike boom hi-tensile POS you have to tell them that it would cost less to buy another similar bike than to get theirs in riding shape. It's just honesty... We love old bikes and I jump at the chance to work on nice early MTBs and old road bikes, but sometimes the most economical choice is a new bike and this is in the customers best interest not ours since we would make more getting their bike in rideable shape than by selling them a new one.
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Old 07-09-07, 08:37 AM
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Well, in every case where I've been told "buy a new bike," they haven't even LOOKED at the old one. I do see what you're saying, and if a bike tech tells me that something is too far gone in terms of actual damage to fix, I am fine with that. It's the "I don't want to be bothered" knee jerk reaction without even looking that annoys me so much.
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Old 07-09-07, 09:37 AM
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Not to mention that some if not all of our bikes are more than just an old cool bike, I know (as crazy as it sounds) my bike is like a member of my family, would you take your kid to a doctor for treatment and be happy to "get a new one" cause itll cost to much to get the old one healthy again? Think about it
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Old 07-09-07, 09:42 AM
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Glad you found a shop that will work with you. Every one should have a good old bike shop to work with.
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Old 07-09-07, 10:13 AM
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The other thing is that I've yet to see a road bike under $800 here (and that was an aluminum frame that I wouldn't trust as far as I could spit it). Generally they are running $1500-2000 for the "starter" bikes...

I am quite happy pouring a few to several hundred bucks into an older bike when I am looking at that kind of price differential!

While I was at Cyclepath, two other people came in with older bikes and were greeted by name. Always a good sign. And they do stock Brooks saddles, a huge range of parts, very few flashy jerseys, and lots of tools.

I've got to get out in the evenings this week to get used to the handling and learn to get my feet in and out of the toe cages without killing myself... (clipless is down the list a fair way).
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Old 07-10-07, 01:23 PM
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My shop stocks brooks... We are working on bikes that are used for commuting mostly and if someone brings in their bike and wants work done on it and it's going to cost them $300 bucks to get it in riding shape and a similar bike sells for $150 on Craigslist in ridable condition I will tell them that and also suggest a new bike in the $500 range will give them a reliable commuter... then if they say no there is sentimental value to it (like this women the other day with a totally corroded schwinn with seized seatpost and a BB that looked like it was now part of the frame).... we worked on it and she gladly paid to keep it running because she was attached to it. I generally usher in anyone who has an older road bike and hope I get to be the one to work on it.
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Old 07-10-07, 01:59 PM
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After riding this bike on my commute this morning, the Brooks saddle moved up the list a bit

I think I will also need to take another look at replacement brake levers - not so much for the reach, but I think I need some with a lighter touch. I've tightened the actual cables as much as I can, but the geometry of the existing levers has left my hands quite sore. I want to be able to feather the brakes from the hoods, rather than going into the drops every time I need to brake, and right now the angle just doesn't work! I'm not actually sure that moving them up on the handlebars (as planned) will be enough.

Or I may have to re-visit cyclocross levers in the middle of the bars - I had decided against them because they'd interfere with a handlebar bag, but I can probably figure something out.

So far I am looking at about $200 in parts and labour for this bike (not counting the saddle as it will move from bike to bike, I suspect). It's a good lugged steel frame that fits me (not an easy thing to find as I am long-limbed and short in the torso) so for me it makes sense to work with it for a few years.
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Old 07-10-07, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Buglady
After riding this bike on my commute this morning, the Brooks saddle moved up the list a bit

I think I will also need to take another look at replacement brake levers - not so much for the reach, but I think I need some with a lighter touch. I've tightened the actual cables as much as I can, but the geometry of the existing levers has left my hands quite sore. I want to be able to feather the brakes from the hoods, rather than going into the drops every time I need to brake, and right now the angle just doesn't work! I'm not actually sure that moving them up on the handlebars (as planned) will be enough.

Or I may have to re-visit cyclocross levers in the middle of the bars - I had decided against them because they'd interfere with a handlebar bag, but I can probably figure something out.

So far I am looking at about $200 in parts and labour for this bike (not counting the saddle as it will move from bike to bike, I suspect). It's a good lugged steel frame that fits me (not an easy thing to find as I am long-limbed and short in the torso) so for me it makes sense to work with it for a few years.
Sounds like it's a great bike to work with. What kind of calipers/cantilevers does the bike have and what kind of brake levers? Perhaps some of us on the form can suggest combintation for lighter action. I find a more modern caliper (dual pivot aside) like shimano SLR (dura ace is best) or late model campagnolo (i.e. any post 1987 caliper (not delta). have stronger springs and if they are adjusted to have very little clearance between the pads and rim braking from the hood is more effective because the lever need not be depressed as much and modulation is improved.
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Old 07-10-07, 03:16 PM
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I'm a computer guy and every now and then I'll hear somebody that such and such isn't working on their computer and they've got Windows 98 or something like that.

My first reaction is: "Windows 98? Your computing life would be so much better with 2000 or XP or OS X". Now I don't actually say that and I know there are people who see no need to spend money on an upgrade, - but that's what I'm thinking.

Part of the problem is that it's been so long since I've used Windows 95 or 98 that I have a hard time troubleshooting those systems. I'm sure that's an issue with the wrenches at an LBS too. A younger mechanic may never have dealt with a cottered crank before (for example).

Anyway, my opinion is that the best approach for an LBS when a customer with an older bike wants some work done is to not immediately recommend a new bike even if they think it's in the customers best interest. Just provide a dollar figure for whatever work the customer wants/needs on their old bike. Once that's done, I don't see anything wrong with saying that repairs on this bike are going to cost $xxx and for that price you could get yourself a much better used bike or get you close to the price of a new bike. That to me is good customer service.

I'd be leary of recommeding anything on CL unless they know what to look for and how to judge whether or not a bike is in good condition.

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Old 07-10-07, 10:32 PM
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I haven't had any problems with shops wanting to sell me a new bike (I have 7 and three of them are fairly new) but I have a lot of trouble finding shops that are competant to do the work on old bikes. When I wanted my cranks tapped out from French thread to 9/16-20 I went through three LBS to find one that would do the work. Not that the others couldn't - they certainly all had a tap set. But they didn't know how. But the same shop that happily tapped my cranks didn't have the tool to pull my old worn out Regina free wheel while one of the others that couldn't tap the cranks not only had the tool but NOS freewheels on the shelf. You never know. What really bugs me is when the shop doesn't put the same emphasis on the aesthetic quality of the work as I would like. One of my newer bikes has Campy hubs laced to Mavic CXP21 rims and a rim needs to be replaced. To me that means a new CXP21 (which are out of production) or a CXP23 which is the nearly identical replacement. Neither are easy to find so the shop tried to talk me into a CXP22 or CXP33 which they can order from their supplier. No dice man. What's an OCP cyclist to do if his rims don't match? I told them to call Mavic if they had to. Just makes sense to me. So what if I can buy a pre-build wheel cheaper? It won't match the other wheel. I would die of embarrassment!
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Old 07-11-07, 06:11 AM
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I think cyclotoine has valid points, in general. There are $500 road bikes (and you can find them less if lightly used) that are far superior in function and quality than lots of the gaspipe bike boom stuff of the 70s. Now, move into the 80s, especially in regards to the Japanese bikes, and you'll see much better quality. Of course, a high end vintage lightweight from any of these eras is a competent bike, although even "entry level" components today are often superior due to technology trickle-down (but sometimes much heavier than earlier high-end stuff).

And, then, of course, as mentioned, sentimental value is important.

However, that being said, the bike you refer to, Buglady, is not low end gaspipe junk. It was probably mid range at best, but it's still a decent bike, and being a touring bike, it's even harder to replace. No $500 road bike is going to have all those braze-ons and clearance for fat tires and fenders. And the geometry of a $500 roadbike is not as relaxed as a touring bike geometry. It will be much more aggressive in design, and the steering will be much more "twitchy". Aside from ghastly hybrid models or dedicated touring models, the frame geometry you have is hard to find.

What surprises me is your comments on the handling. If it has true touring geometry, it should be very stable. Is this your first experience with drop bars?

As for the braking, I'll second cyclotoine's recommendation on the SLRs (Cane Creek's SCR-5's are equivalent in design, with nice big ergo hoods that are very comfortable to ride on). I have some cross/interrupter levers on my touring bike, but I don't often ride on the flats, because the hand position is very close and not very comfortable for very long. However, it does afford the opportunity to change hand positions and still have immediate access to braking - and they do have good power. The other thing to look at is how your cantilever brakes are set up. You need to maximize your mechanical advantage. If you have too little mechanical advantage, you have to apply more pressure to stop, and if they are very poorly setup, they may only be slowing, rather than stopping you. Look here for Sheldon Brown's article on cantilever geometry. Finally, I'm using salmon Kool Stop MTB pads. They are very grippy and in my opinion increase stopping power. However, they might cause chatter on the front (I had this problem until I installed a fork mounted cable stop), though you might not encounter that problem.
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Old 07-11-07, 08:59 AM
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Thanks JunkYard Bike and cyclotoine for the brake recommendations. I will be looking into those this weekend for sure.

As for the handling, yes, it is my first experience with drop bars and I am finding the difference in handling to be pretty significant at low speeds. Bear in mind that I've been riding *heavy* bikes with flat or English style handlebars! The simultaneous switch from platform to toe-clip pedals is also a factor. I'm getting used to it though, and I'm sure in a couple of weeks I will feel completely confident. I tend to have a bit more of a learning curve than some people in physical skills - I get there, but sometimes a little more slowly. Legacy of a klutzy childhood I think!

By the time I got home yesterday I was already feeling more relaxed in the new position. I think I will raise the bars a tad just until I get more used to them - right now they are about an inch above the seat, which is still pretty relaxed, but maybe I will go another inch up just for a little while.
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Old 07-11-07, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclotoine
Sounds like it's a great bike to work with. What kind of calipers/cantilevers does the bike have and what kind of brake levers?
The brakes are short center-pull cantilevers with a straddle cable. Both brakes and levers are Dia Compe. I will ask the bike techs to show me how to set up the brake pads properly because I think I may have too much of the little peg from the pads showing, and the calipers then are too spread out. I have a feeling that replacing the cables and housing will make a difference as well.
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Old 07-11-07, 10:19 AM
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[QUOTE=Buglady]The other thing is that I've yet to see a road bike under $800 here (and that was an aluminum frame that I wouldn't trust as far as I could spit it). Generally they are running $1500-2000 for the "starter" bikes...

I am quite happy pouring a few to several hundred bucks into an older bike when I am looking at that kind of price differential!

Not to hijack this thread, but I had to reply to this. I have an 05 Aluminum $800 dollar bike that currently has over 5000 miles on it, and it shows no signs of fatigue whatever. I am sure it has many thousands of miles left in it. Actually there are quite nice new road bikes in the $600 dollar price range (Trek 1000, Giant OCR3). You may not like them as well as the older stuff, but that doesn't make them of less quality.
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Old 07-11-07, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Buglady
I've got to get out in the evenings this week to get used to the handling and learn to get my feet in and out of the toe cages without killing myself... (clipless is down the list a fair way).
Are you using slotted cleats? They would stay stuck in pretty firmly. I went with Adidas Sambas and it's not hard to slip one out in a pinch, even if it's strapped in.
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Old 07-11-07, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyb
Not to hijack this thread, but I had to reply to this. I have an 05 Aluminum $800 dollar bike that currently has over 5000 miles on it, and it shows no signs of fatigue whatever. I am sure it has many thousands of miles left in it. Actually there are quite nice new road bikes in the $600 dollar price range (Trek 1000, Giant OCR3). You may not like them as well as the older stuff, but that doesn't make them of less quality.
$800 Canadian. It makes quite a difference, not just with the exchange rate, but I think we pay a lot in hidden taxes and duty. The Trek 1000 sells for $850ish around here (and I make $15 an hour...). Your bike would probably be one of the $1200 and up models I was talking about as out of my price range. (Heck, everything is out of my price range).

Lower end aluminum frames do exist and don't seem very safe to me - which I fully admit is a personal bias. My father worked on airplanes for a while and filled my head with stories of metal fatigue and crunched aluminum components. I also don't like aluminum frames because I find the ride really harsh. I know they can add carbon forks and such to absorb some of that vibration, but that takes the price further out of reach.
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Old 07-11-07, 11:05 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by sekaijin
Are you using slotted cleats? They would stay stuck in pretty firmly. I went with Adidas Sambas and it's not hard to slip one out in a pinch, even if it's strapped in.
I was just wearing my running shoes. I think I'm going to have to look for something with a harder sole though. If I can get a clipless system reasonably cheaply I'll do that soon I think.
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