Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

What's so special about Univega?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

What's so special about Univega?

Old 06-06-09, 10:58 PM
  #1  
Gambutrol
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Gambutrol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 443

Bikes: 3Rensho SRA

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What's so special about Univega?

I always thought they were just crappy old hybrid bikes and low-end road bikes, but everyone on here seems to go nuts for them. What's their deal? Maybe I've just never seen a nicer specimen..
Gambutrol is offline  
Old 06-06-09, 11:29 PM
  #2  
Bianchigirll 
Bianchi Goddess
 
Bianchigirll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Shady Pines Retirement Fort Wayne, In
Posts: 27,248

Bikes: Too many to list here check my signature.

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1906 Post(s)
Liked 692 Times in 435 Posts
Hello you are somewhat correct. Univega made not crappy but nice low end Hybrid, road and ATB bikes like everyone does. they were equal in quality to comperable priced bikes sometimes even nicer. they did make some nice high end bikes but that more back in the early '80s. some of their MTN bikes in the early '90s were pretty nice. they also imported some nice bikes under the Bertoni label.
Bianchigirll is offline  
Old 06-06-09, 11:37 PM
  #3  
TheDL
Survival of the Fitest
 
TheDL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: PDX
Posts: 1,559

Bikes: 198? Univega Custom Maxima, 2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
In their day they were a great bike value. They had great build quality for the price. They were a really great deal. And since you can't get them anymore, just like anything else that becomes scarce, a "cult" group springs up to collect and restore them.

According to Sheldon Brown's blurb about the brand, Univega was the first brand to push the mountain bike craze in the early 90s.
TheDL is offline  
Old 06-06-09, 11:41 PM
  #4  
tmh657
Senior Member
 
tmh657's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 2,917

Bikes: A few BSO's.

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 160 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
I just picked this up last week. The intel from a previous post says it's probably made by Miyata because of of the diamond lug piercing. It's triple butted and very light. Nice paint as well.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Frame.jpg (44.0 KB, 1446 views)
tmh657 is offline  
Likes For tmh657:
Old 06-06-09, 11:55 PM
  #5  
banjo_mole 
Bicycle Adventurer
 
banjo_mole's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 1,512
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
That could be the highest quality univega frame I've seen.

As for you, OP, take a look at Machin Shin's Univega and then ask me what's not to go nuts over. Or Lamplight's.

Great bikes... A favorite of mine.
banjo_mole is offline  
Old 06-06-09, 11:57 PM
  #6  
krems81 
Senior Member
 
krems81's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 786

Bikes: Schwinn Voyageur

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
They made some very nice road bikes, like most other Japaneese companies. And I particularly like their paint schemes and designs. In a field of quality competitors, sometimes a nice choice of colors is enough to set you apart.

They did make very nicely finished bikes with good component choices, as well as lower and mid end options, like everyone else.
krems81 is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 12:26 AM
  #7  
TheDL
Survival of the Fitest
 
TheDL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: PDX
Posts: 1,559

Bikes: 198? Univega Custom Maxima, 2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by krems81 View Post
In a field of quality competitors, sometimes a nice choice of colors is enough to set you apart.
yeah, as I just posted in the Unofficial Univega Supporters Thread, they have some great colors. Beautiful blues and a very eye catching green. In a...classier...way than the Bianchi celeste
TheDL is offline  
Likes For TheDL:
Old 06-07-09, 01:05 AM
  #8  
Panthers007
Great State of Varmint
 
Panthers007's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Dante's Third Ring
Posts: 7,476
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 10 Times in 10 Posts
The Uni's had personality: A pleasurable ride that said to their owners - Keep going! They were lightweight, considering many other brands, and their components were what you'd choose if you were building a bike and had a way of getting things. Suntour was their main choice in this. And they had a spirit to them. It was a feeling you got as you rode it. It responded to you in the way it turned, accelerated, slowed - it was alive.

I owned a Motobecane back then, but had the opportunity to ride many friend's Univega bikes. They were/are out and out NICE!
Panthers007 is offline  
Likes For Panthers007:
Old 06-07-09, 06:59 AM
  #9  
jacksbike
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: New Haven, CT area
Posts: 1,407

Bikes: Trek 7.5 Hybrid, Trek 1.1 Road, Holdsworth touring,Raleigh International,Ritchey Commando,Italvega Speciallissimo,et.al.

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
I sold Univega bikes for many years. They were very classy bikes. The quality, frame construction, and component choices were excellent. As noted, they did a superb job in color choices and contrasting handlebar tape and cable outer core. They just looked nicer and more attractive than other bikes and they were great values. The company who imported them, Lawee, was also fantastic to work with on a dealer level.
jacksbike is offline  
Likes For jacksbike:
Old 06-07-09, 07:05 AM
  #10  
roccobike
Bike Junkie
 
roccobike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Raleigh, North of New Hill, East of Harris Lake, NC
Posts: 9,582

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Specialized Roubaix, Giant OCR-C, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Stumpjumper Comp, 88 & 92Nishiki Ariel, 87 Centurion Ironman, 92 Paramount, 84 Nishiki Medalist

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 8 Posts
I've had a couple of Supra Sports pass through my hands. IMHO, their frames were a cut above other entry level bikes (triple butted Chromoly Steel). I've also had two of their NuovoTech 450s (and still have one). They're a nice combination of aluminum mainframe and chromo steel forks and stays. I guess being a Nishiki fan, I've noticed the brands that are no longer available more than those that are.
__________________
Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator
roccobike is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 07:07 AM
  #11  
EddyR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Locust NC
Posts: 608

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale R900 1992, Cannondale R900

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 28 Times in 18 Posts
I have flipped two Univega's. They looked to be identical to my Centurions. One had Shimano light action and the other one had 105 and light action. They were to big for me or I would have kept one.Both were 1987-88
They had 27" not 700 wheels
Ed
EddyR is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 08:11 AM
  #12  
Bianchigirll 
Bianchi Goddess
 
Bianchigirll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Shady Pines Retirement Fort Wayne, In
Posts: 27,248

Bikes: Too many to list here check my signature.

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1906 Post(s)
Liked 692 Times in 435 Posts
Hello. yes I think I recall that some Univegas were made by Miyata. this may or may not be the best kept secret in the bike industry but... when I was in the business in the late '80s early '90s there was atleast 12 to 15 brands of bikes. the ones that but bikes from entry level to very high end, not the real fancy and custome stuff stuff. all those brands contracted 4 or so manufacturers to build their bike to there spefications. I forget the exact name of the factories but I think Miyata was the onkly one that put out bikes with their own name on it.
Bianchigirll is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 08:50 AM
  #13  
Gambutrol
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Gambutrol's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Dayton, OH
Posts: 443

Bikes: 3Rensho SRA

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Hello. yes I think I recall that some Univegas were made by Miyata. this may or may not be the best kept secret in the bike industry but... when I was in the business in the late '80s early '90s there was atleast 12 to 15 brands of bikes. the ones that but bikes from entry level to very high end, not the real fancy and custome stuff stuff. all those brands contracted 4 or so manufacturers to build their bike to there spefications. I forget the exact name of the factories but I think Miyata was the onkly one that put out bikes with their own name on it.
3Rensho, Miyata and a few other Japanese companies made bikes for Specialized in the mid 80s.

So people like Univega for the paint job and because they used good steel for a better price than their competitors? Why isn't there a cult around Miyata as there is Univega? Or maybe there is and I'm just oblivious too it.

Thanks for all the responses so far!
Gambutrol is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 08:55 AM
  #14  
SoreFeet
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,116
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 6 Posts
They came with good performing components and modestly light weight frames. The touring bikes are a great platform to build on.
SoreFeet is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 08:56 AM
  #15  
cb400bill
Inoxidable Moderator
 
cb400bill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Kalamazoo MI
Posts: 18,671

Bikes: Fuji SL 2.1, Cannondale Synapse, Trek 710

Mentioned: 40 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2121 Post(s)
Liked 1,978 Times in 1,229 Posts
There is a cult around the Miyata 1000. Well, maybe cult is too strong a term. But the 1000 has a lot of admirers.
__________________
I like brifters
cb400bill is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 09:21 AM
  #16  
roccobike
Bike Junkie
 
roccobike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: South of Raleigh, North of New Hill, East of Harris Lake, NC
Posts: 9,582

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Specialized Roubaix, Giant OCR-C, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR, Stumpjumper Comp, 88 & 92Nishiki Ariel, 87 Centurion Ironman, 92 Paramount, 84 Nishiki Medalist

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 56 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 8 Posts
Continuing what I pointed out before, brands that are not available today have a certain amount of mistique or sentimental value. I've noticed that my favorite, Nishiki typically sell for more than it's parent brand Raleigh for similiar bikes. The same can be said for Univega, also owned by the same folks who own Raleigh (and Nishiki).
Another example is Centurion. If you find an Ironman you'd be lucky to get it for $200. CompTA's are easily bringing $250 in good shape. But if you find the newer version labeled as Diamondback, there's not as much interest. I've not seen much of a following of the D-back label on these forums, but mention Centurion and they pop up all over.
Miyata fits nicely into the same catagory. There is one requirement to be in this club, the manufacturer must have produced numeous quality bikes. I don't see any of the off brand department store bikes fitting into this group. (This is an interesting thread about fallen flags.)
__________________
Roccobike BF Official Thread Terminator
roccobike is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 09:24 AM
  #17  
TheDL
Survival of the Fitest
 
TheDL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: PDX
Posts: 1,559

Bikes: 198? Univega Custom Maxima, 2009 Motobecane Fantom Cross Uno

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Don't forget Bridgestone ;-)
TheDL is offline  
Likes For TheDL:
Old 06-07-09, 10:01 AM
  #18  
Flying Merkel
Senior Member
 
Flying Merkel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Costa Mesa CA
Posts: 2,638
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by TheDL View Post
In their day they were a great bike value. They had great build quality for the price. They were a really great deal.......

Exactly. Not the best bike, not the cheapest but the best for the money. I still have a 25 year old Super Strada. Wish I could find a Viva Sport like the one sold. Good all-arounder.
Flying Merkel is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 11:26 AM
  #19  
jet sanchEz
Senior Member
 
jet sanchEz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 8,680
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 781 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 359 Times in 172 Posts
This is a forum member's bike and I always liked how nice and clean the lines were on this Univega

jet sanchEz is online now  
Old 06-07-09, 05:16 PM
  #20  
karmat
Vintage French Bike Fan
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 628

Bikes: Peugeot UO-8, Peugeot 80's 12 spd

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
To correct some information from earlier... Univega did not rebrand Miyata-built frames. Miyata built them under contract. Univega designed bikes and had them built by others (first in Italy: Italvega) and then in Japan. Miyata then built similar models based on the Univega designs (there must have been some agreement between the two companies). Some are exact crossovers (e.g. Univega Specialissima = Miyata 1000) others are just similar. They were great riding, great looking bikes with nice, high quality, tough paint and very good geometry.

Cheers,
Karl
karmat is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 08:48 PM
  #21  
Bianchigirll 
Bianchi Goddess
 
Bianchigirll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Shady Pines Retirement Fort Wayne, In
Posts: 27,248

Bikes: Too many to list here check my signature.

Mentioned: 142 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1906 Post(s)
Liked 692 Times in 435 Posts
Hello thanks Bob, I did not know that. we had a few Bertonis in the shop but they were hard to sell. I do not know if it was that red color or what. I had seen a Lawee show some real nice Bertoni Frames one year but could not talk the owner into buying some.
Bianchigirll is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 09:19 PM
  #22  
oldbobcat
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 3,020

Bikes: '79 Gios, '80 Masi, '06 Felt, early '60s Frejus

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by jet sanchEz View Post
This is a forum member's bike and I always liked how nice and clean the lines were on this Univega
That bike says it all. Fuji needed five years to produce a bike with that much class.

You have to remember the context, too. Quality of the low to mid-priced European bikes was on the decline, and the bikes Fuji was sending over were well made but uninspired. Suddenly Univega showed up with appropriately priced bikes that were well made and looked like the Italian racers and French and English tourers that were either too expensive for most of us or no longer being produced. You knew that someone in this company was passionate about bicycling.

There were many inspired bikes produced by Miyata, Panasonic, Centurion, and, sporadically, Fuji, and 3Renshos are among the best bikes ever made, but the timing and depth of the Univega line make these bikes memorable.
oldbobcat is offline  
Old 06-07-09, 10:36 PM
  #23  
SingeDebile
Senior Member
 
SingeDebile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 592
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
the lugwork on the miyata univega my friend has is is simply perfect for what it is thin/detailed/sharp but subtle. The perfectly applied paint helps show it all off as well without any 'fancy' lug lining etc..
SingeDebile is offline  
Old 06-08-09, 08:30 PM
  #24  
oldbobcat
Senior Member
 
oldbobcat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boulder County, CO
Posts: 3,020

Bikes: '79 Gios, '80 Masi, '06 Felt, early '60s Frejus

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 22 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by SingeDebile View Post
the lugwork on the miyata univega my friend has is is simply perfect for what it is thin/detailed/sharp but subtle. The perfectly applied paint helps show it all off as well without any 'fancy' lug lining etc..
Last winter I overhauled a 30-year-old Gran Turismo for a friend. Seamless butted tubing, impeccable brazing and finish work around the lugs, attractive and bulletproof paint, with frame and components perfectly suited for moderately loaded touring. She'd just graduated from college, gotten married, and bought it for less than $200 for a tour of Ireland with her new husband.

Compared to the sloppy workmanship on what Raleigh was sending over, or the sloppy workmanship plus crappy tubing on what Peugeot was sending at that price point, that Univega is manufactured work of art.
oldbobcat is offline  
Likes For oldbobcat:
Old 06-09-09, 09:53 AM
  #25  
PolishGuy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 228
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
A couple of years ago I refurbished a 1982ish Super Strada that my son-in-law was going to give away at his garage sale. After I cleaned it up and rode it for a few months I sold my 2002 TREK 1000 road bike since the Univega just rode circles around the TREK; smooth, quiet, responsive etc. It has the complete Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain with the weird Dyna-Drive pedals. I bought the adapters from Loose Screws (thx for the referal T-Mar) so I can use my LOOK pedals. It's still a great riding bike but at 63cm (my TREK was 58cm) it's just a little too big for me. Been trying to find a good home for it for a while now but no success. Anyway, Univega's are great riding bikes. PG.
PolishGuy is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.