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Univega Sportour - what have I got?

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Univega Sportour - what have I got?

Old 10-07-07, 08:31 AM
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jahphotogal
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Univega Sportour - what have I got?

Hello,
I've just started competing in triathlons, and wanted something better/faster than my c.1990 Trek Antelope mountain bike (which I LOVE and have ridden happily, but it's HEAVY), but have no dough. My sister in law gave me a Univega Sportour she'd gotten for $10 at a garage sale that was too big for her. I haven't ridden it yet (just got it, tires are flat) but it seems like it fits me OK. It's a little lighter than the trek. I'm curious to know anything about it - is it considered a good bike? Would it be appropriate for a slow fat triathlete such as myself? Or would I be better off scrounging up $700 for a Giant OCR3 or the like?

Here's what I wrote down, and pics below. I'm new to all this so my apologies if I use the wrong terminology!

The whole bike is black (except for the blue pedals, which seem to have spd cleats - they look much newer than the rest of the bike. )
The cranks (?) are sugino gt
Sticker says: chromoly double-butted mangalight fork hi-tension stays
below that there is another sticker with a little rainbow
12 speed, derailleur, Suntour cyclone M-II
Shifters on downtube: Suntour Symmetric
Brakes: Dia Compe 400
Wheels: Araya 700c
On the bottom of the bike is a number which I assume is the serial no.: M339436

From what I've read on other threads, it must be early to mid 1980's?

If it's worth keeping, what should I do to it (or have done?) to put it in good riding condition?












Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-07-07, 08:50 AM
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I think the Univega is a much better candidate for you to ride in the triathlons compared to the Antelope. Looks like it is in nice condition--after a bath and some component polishing it sould look great with new bar tape and a saddle.

The rainbow sticker(s) are Univega logos. That stem is rather high.

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Old 10-07-07, 09:07 AM
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The use of the word 'Mangalight' on the tubing sticker leads me to believe that this is one of the frames that Miyata made for Univega (a good thing). First thing, make sure the seattube and stem aren't frozen in the frame.
IIWM, I'd then repack the BB and hub bearings, check the cables and housing and replace what's needed, maybe repack the headset, put on new tires and tubes, and ride.
Worth keeping, for sure.
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Old 10-07-07, 12:01 PM
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Those are Miyatas, very nice riding frame. I would find a eight, nine or ten speed wheelset and coldset the rear triangle (see article by Sheldon Brown) and find a modern brakeset.
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Old 10-07-07, 01:00 PM
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Thanks for the advice so far! I don't actually know what most of your suggestions mean, but I'll take them to my local bike shop and ask them if they can "repack the bb" and "coldset the rear triangle" - I'm sure they'll know and be happy to do it!
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Old 10-07-07, 02:27 PM
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"Coldset the rear triangle" = spread the rear dropouts (the place the rear axle goes into) to 130mm from the current (probably) 126mm or (possibly) 120mm in a safe and controlled manner. This allows you to use modern 8/9/10 speed hubs/wheels. Assuming you feel you need more gears on the back than it currently comes with. Nothing has to be done to the front, the 100mm standard is the same for the last 40 years or so.

"Repack the bb" - Take the bottom bracket (the axle around which the crank and pedals spin) apart, clean and regrease. Normal mandatory maintenance for any long stored bike that's coming back into service.

That's a very decent bike, and will probably last you for the rest of your (riding, if not natural) life as long as you give it a reasonable amount of care.

You've just joined the vintage crew. Congratulations, and have fun!
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Old 10-07-07, 02:54 PM
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If you end up redoing the entire bike with new components like the LBS will no doubt try to talk you into, send me the Cyclone!! You will be very impressed with the shifting. With an index shifter it will really shine. In other words, don't let them talk you out of it(Cyclone),,,,BD

BTW, looks like a really nice ride that just needs a refurb. NICE find.
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Old 10-07-07, 04:31 PM
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That looks to be a good ride, when you get it cleaned up. I would guess it will come in at least 7 lbs. less than your Antelope.
In simple terms, what you need to do is clean it up and get a tune-up. This will involve lubricating everything and probably replacing all the cables and chain. We in this forum eschew the lbs in favor of the DIY approach. I imagine this would cost around $150 if you have your bike shop do it.
I would also suggest you have it fit for you. Those bars are way to high for racing a triathlon.
Once you have ridden it awhile, you can start looking at upgrades. Come back here often and you can learn all kinds of ways to spend time and money.
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Old 10-07-07, 05:01 PM
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OK, if one should avoid the LBS, how does a complete newbie such as myself learn to DIY (or DIM, as the case may be)? Is there a book? Why not support my local business and pay an expert to do it right?
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Old 10-07-07, 07:18 PM
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It's your money; spend it as you will.
But if you invest the same money (or less) that a bike shop would charge you in a couple of cone wrenches (for the hubs) and a BB wrench and pin spanner (for the BB) you'll learn more about your bike, acquire knowledge that can be used on other bikes, and cement your membership in the C&V community as we talk you through it.
Your call.
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Old 10-07-07, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jahphotogal View Post
OK, if one should avoid the LBS, how does a complete newbie such as myself learn to DIY (or DIM, as the case may be)? Is there a book? Why not support my local business and pay an expert to do it right?
It may be a Miyata-made frame, but I would not enlarge the rear triangle. It should be just fine for you just as it is. Unless you are pounding lots of hills, should you consider doing a upgrade such as that.

This bike will ride differently than the Antelope. You'll have to get used to the new shifter position, as well as the drop bars.

I'd cut the cables, remove and clean the parts you can (brake calipers & shifters), remove the bar wrap and then go to a place where they will help you restring it and get some new bar wrap on it. (If the brake levers on it are scuffed up you may want to find some better looking replacements before you do the bar wrap).

The mechanics forum can be helpful, and there are instructions and tutorials on how to do stuff on the Park Tools website, and other sites too. An older "Complete Guide to Bicycle Maintenance and Repair" by Bicycling Magazine is a good book with lots of photos and thorough instructions.

There may be some bike co-ops in your area that will help you do the work for minimal cost and parts are not expensive. Also, I know of one chain of shops here in northern California that sets aside a few hours a week for customers to come in and the mechanics will help you fix your bike. Parts aren't free but basic things like cables and brake pads, etc. are not expensive. You learn while you are there and you have the comforting knowledge that a real mechanic helped you through it.

Or one of the C&V members here may be local to you and would be willing to help you out.
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Old 10-08-07, 12:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jahphotogal View Post
OK, if one should avoid the LBS, how does a complete newbie such as myself learn to DIY (or DIM, as the case may be)? Is there a book? Why not support my local business and pay an expert to do it right?
There's, nothing wrong with supporting your local bike shop. The problem is that having an LBS update your Univega is of course going to cost you more money than doing it yourself.

On craigslist today I saw a 2005/2006 Felt 90 and a 2003 OCR2 for $450. Before dropping a couple hundred or more on that Univega, you might want to consider if what you'll end up with is worth it. It's not that hard to spend $200 or $300 updating a bike just on parts.

The Univega is a nice bike, but it appears to have more of a touring geometry. Ideally for a triathlon you want a steeper seat tube.

I'd get a tune up, some decent tires, and use the bike for at least part of next season to get comfortable with a road bike. I think you'll be better off learning to do as much work on the bike yourself as you can. There are books. Some bike shops have classes.

If you want to spend some money, get a good cyclo-computer that'll display cadence. Maybe a set of aero bars. These things you can easily move to another bike down the road.

FWIW, I'm going through some of the same issues too. I have an old, heavier bike with down tube shifters I've been using for triathlons and I'm trying to figure out how much money to stick into it vs just getting another bike.
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Old 10-08-07, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
Before dropping a couple hundred or more on that Univega, you might want to consider if what you'll end up with is worth it.
that's exactly why I originally posted - wanting to know how good a bike this is, and if it would be worth it to invest time and money, vs. saving up for a new or slightly used road bike like the OCR3 (or OCR2 if I could find a little more money!)

Looking at sites like Nashbar and Performance Bikes, it looks like I could spend a little ($40 on a new saddle) or a lot (hundreds on new gears, brakes and other goodies) - I'm inclined to see how much I can accomplish for $100 or so and then ride it a while to see how it feels. When I tried out the new giant at the LBS I LOVED it but I don't have much to compare it to. The only bikes I've ever owned are the Trek and the c.1979 Schwinn 10-speed I bought new for $150 when I was 14 years old. I still have that in the basement too - it hasn't been ridden in - what, 20 years? (Maybe that's a good one too - my recollection is that it weighed even more than the Trek! I rode it throughout high school and college - there's a lot of miles on it! As well as a "Nobody for President in 1980" bumper sticker on the top tube!)

If anyone on this forum lives near northwest CT and wants to teach some basic bike maintenance skills, let me know!
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Old 10-09-07, 11:36 AM
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Great bike and definately worth keeping, cleaning and upgrading as time and money allows. I view the Univegas, Miyatas and other UJB's (Universal Japanese Bikes) as a great value for the money and in the same league as the old Dynaco tubed audio equipment from the 1960s and '70s. Solidly made, cleans-up well with a little effort and can be modified to equal or surpass any currently made product. As with any mod (modification) always start with the simple stuff as noted above by the other posters and then make the upgrades one at a time so that you can evaluate the effectiveness of the single mod rather than trying to figure which one of many aren't quite doing it for you. I've found collecting, refurbishing and riding older bikes a great joy and far more satisfying than diddling with audio equipment. Most of all, have fun. That's my $0.02 worth. PG.
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Old 10-09-07, 11:55 AM
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Nothing better than to have "Quadrophenia" spinning on the VPI and blasting through the Spendors while I work on my Raleigh Ltd. 3. Much better with the 6550's than KT88's.

I've discovered that waxing my bikes makes them really shiny and it's good therapy for when I'm waiting on parts and it's raining outside and the last thing I need to do is drive to the bike shop and spend more money.
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Old 10-09-07, 12:04 PM
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Suntour symetric

Suntour symetric
The Suntour symetric shifters have an automagic adjustment that seems to be considered not the best https://www.bikeforums.net/bicycle-mechanics/181834-tell-me-suntour-symmetric-shifters.html.
I have the shifters on a touring triple and have thought about replacing them. The only place I found for top mounted downtube shifters was here: https://www.thethirdhand.com/index.cg...d=349599611524

they also have an nos durace i believe.
Have fun.
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Old 10-09-07, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jahphotogal View Post
that's exactly why I originally posted - wanting to know how good a bike this is, and if it would be worth it to invest time and money, vs. saving up for a new or slightly used road bike like the OCR3 (or OCR2 if I could find a little more money!)

Looking at sites like Nashbar and Performance Bikes, it looks like I could spend a little ($40 on a new saddle) or a lot (hundreds on new gears, brakes and other goodies) - I'm inclined to see how much I can accomplish for $100 or so and then ride it a while to see how it feels. When I tried out the new giant at the LBS I LOVED it but I don't have much to compare it to. The only bikes I've ever owned are the Trek and the c.1979 Schwinn 10-speed I bought new for $150 when I was 14 years old. I still have that in the basement too - it hasn't been ridden in - what, 20 years? (Maybe that's a good one too - my recollection is that it weighed even more than the Trek! I rode it throughout high school and college - there's a lot of miles on it! As well as a "Nobody for President in 1980" bumper sticker on the top tube!)

If anyone on this forum lives near northwest CT and wants to teach some basic bike maintenance skills, let me know!
I think $100 is a reasonable amount. If you do end up wanting more gears and shifting controls combined with brake levers (very nice feature of modern bikes), I would sell the Univega and get a new/used OCR3 or equivalent Trek (1000).

If your end goal is an improved cycling time in triathlons, then that's a better way to spend your money. You may catch the vintage bug however and find yourself wanting to hold on to your Univega and update your old Schwinn just for fun.

Like I said, I'm kind of in the same boat. I have an old Peugeot that I've been riding in Triathlons. I keep looking at new/used wheelsets, brifters and whatnot. When it comes down to it though, it would be cheaper and easier to get those things as part of another bike. Problem is that I like this one ;-)
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Old 10-11-07, 02:26 PM
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Well... I went on ebay and bought a copy of the bike maintenance book recommended here. We'll see how much I can learn to do myself - it will be a fun project if nothing else! Thanks everyone for all the great suggestions!
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Old 12-07-09, 11:46 PM
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I have done refurbishing on a lot of bikes over the years and like the Japanese Bikes best. Panasonics, Univegas, Schwinn Le Tours because they made them very well. I just picked up a Univega Sportour 12 Speed and just spent the night cleaning and polishing. I ususally do the simple stuff first like clean everything including chain, derailer, rear sprocket, front sproket, and wheels. If you have access to a bike stand its 100 times easier to do all the service on the bike. Spin the wheels and make sure they are true. If not adjust with spoke wrench. Make sure all spokes have some tension to them, ( some may have loosened up) make sure brakes hit the wheels evenly and there is some pad there for adequit braking. Check condition of tires, if cracked you should replace as a safety factor. When this is all done take it for a ride and see if it rides smooth and stops smooth. If it passes the test, then lube bearing in wheels. Lube all moving parts, like derailer, cables, brakes. Lube bearing in bottom bracket. Now that you have done all the work go out and enjoy a ride for 20 miles or so and see if the bike feels comfortable. If you haven't upgraded the seat your rear end probably hurts. Get one of those seats that is open in the center so its not crushing the family jewels. Nice handlebar tape is cheap and always feels better. Drive the bike alot before you jump into any major changes, like with gears. I have always found the ten or twelve speeds do just fine for the most part. Good luck and enjoy your bike

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Old 12-08-09, 12:27 AM
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OK, if one should avoid the LBS, how does a complete newbie such as myself learn to DIY (or DIM, as the case may be)? Is there a book? Why not support my local business and pay an expert to do it right?


Here are some other good places to start.

https://www.parktool.com/repair/

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/

https://bicycletutor.com/
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Old 12-08-09, 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
I think $100 is a reasonable amount. If you do end up wanting more gears and shifting controls combined with brake levers (very nice feature of modern bikes), I would sell the Univega and get a new/used OCR3 or equivalent Trek (1000).

If your end goal is an improved cycling time in triathlons, then that's a better way to spend your money. You may catch the vintage bug however and find yourself wanting to hold on to your Univega and update your old Schwinn just for fun.

Like I said, I'm kind of in the same boat. I have an old Peugeot that I've been riding in Triathlons. I keep looking at new/used wheelsets, brifters and whatnot. When it comes down to it though, it would be cheaper and easier to get those things as part of another bike. Problem is that I like this one ;-)

Tjspiel, that is twice now I've heard you reccomend a modern bike. This is not acceptable.

We should't try to talk newbies out of riding vintage bikes. To heck with geometry.

Everyone knows bike ride well or poorly depending on their lugs.

Duh.



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Old 12-08-09, 01:57 AM
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That Univega is definitely a good bike of it's time. Whether it's good for your goals is a different question.
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Old 12-08-09, 08:36 AM
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I wonder what he/she decided to do? It's been over two years now...
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Old 12-08-09, 09:33 AM
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It's about an '84. It's 700 wheels. in those days, a year or so later such bikes were marketed as Triathlon Worthy and they were. Bianchi, Cent., Miyata who made your bike ; as well as other Co.s got in on the Tri act. Yours is a 710ish 310 kind of. Univega were at times in some models virtually identical to their respective Miyatas but not always. Yours seems not exact to a 710. Anyway, it's a VERY worthy bike as even the 310s were essentilly ABOUT as "good" as a same 710 judging from the fleet I have.
A serial # can determine the birthday of the frame or bike within 2 yrs. of accuracy. I don't care, you shouldn't either. The Mang. forks are OK and the Cyclones work well. I myself wouldn't take the cold-set trip for reasons that I don't feel like explaining. I feel so nuetral about it that I only mention it 'cause others have. There's nothing "wrong" with the drivetrain or the brales. I've shread many a tire on that sort of bike after having ridden through a puddle as well. What else can one ask from one's brakes ?

I strongly suggest that you pay attention to all that spathfinder3408 has written. Read everybody's, all of it. He gets down to the nuts and bolts and share's much the same as I do. The bike can be made to reach a twenty two pound wt., with pedals, W/O a great deal of expenditure. For now, if I were you, I would go spathfinder's route. Lightening it up will take dif. wheels etc. so..... leave it at that.
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Old 12-08-09, 11:05 AM
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Two year old thread. OP's last post was October 2007, so I don't think he is listening.
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