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What's so special about Univega?

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What's so special about Univega?

Old 06-06-09, 10:58 PM
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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..
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Old 06-06-09, 11:29 PM
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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.
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Old 06-06-09, 11:37 PM
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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.
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Old 06-06-09, 11:41 PM
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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.
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Old 06-06-09, 11:55 PM
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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.
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Old 06-06-09, 11:57 PM
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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.
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Old 06-07-09, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by krems81
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
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Old 06-07-09, 01:05 AM
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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!
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Old 06-07-09, 06:59 AM
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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.
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Old 06-07-09, 07:05 AM
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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.
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Old 06-07-09, 07:07 AM
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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
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Old 06-07-09, 08:11 AM
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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.
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Old 06-07-09, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll
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!
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Old 06-07-09, 08:55 AM
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They came with good performing components and modestly light weight frames. The touring bikes are a great platform to build on.
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Old 06-07-09, 08:56 AM
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There is a cult around the Miyata 1000. Well, maybe cult is too strong a term. But the 1000 has a lot of admirers.
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Old 06-07-09, 09:21 AM
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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.)
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Old 06-07-09, 09:24 AM
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Don't forget Bridgestone ;-)
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Old 06-07-09, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by TheDL
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.
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Old 06-07-09, 11:26 AM
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This is a forum member's bike and I always liked how nice and clean the lines were on this Univega

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Old 06-07-09, 05:16 PM
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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,
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Old 06-07-09, 08:48 PM
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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.
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Old 06-07-09, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by jet sanchEz
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.
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Old 06-07-09, 10:36 PM
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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..
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Old 06-08-09, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SingeDebile
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.
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Old 06-09-09, 09:53 AM
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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.
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