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Computer on a vintage bike???

Old 05-02-10, 06:12 AM
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Computer on a vintage bike???

Help me out here. There are times I'd like a cyclocomputer, mostly as a simple odometer. For a long time in the old days I'd used one of those mechanical things with a star wheel turned by a pin on a spoke. (It tightened up so much it wasn't usable any more.) But I can't see putting an electronic computer on the '73 Gran Sport. It just seems wrong. The aesthetics call out for simplicity. Such a dilemma.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:17 AM
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Do you have the same issues with the rest of your riding stuff? Tires? Shoes? Pedals? Jerseys? Bibs/shorts? Seat Bag? Water Bottle? Saddle? Cell phone in your pocket? Ipod?

No dilemma for me. Its a modern convenience, and one that does no harm to the bike (no grinding, no drilling, no modifying at all).
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Old 05-02-10, 06:21 AM
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I have a Cateye computer on one of my De Rosas.

I've been riding since I was 6, and I'm going to be 52 this summer.

I have a pretty good idea of how slow I'm going at this point.

Trust me.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:24 AM
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No dilemma for me. Its a modern convenience, and one that does no harm to the bike (no grinding, no drilling, no modifying at all).
Yup! That's the way I see it, too. I no longer use traps and straps when clip in pedals and shoes are available. I prefer clinchers but will, for special bikes, retain tubulars. Water bottles are a must, but it does take a bit to get me into my, hand me down, Spandex, bib less shorts.
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Old 05-02-10, 09:55 AM
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For a Gitane you need the Huret "Multito" belt-driven odometer to stay authentic:
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Old 05-02-10, 09:57 AM
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I have one of those Huret Odometers, works perfectly and I've been using it for a while. The cool thing is its totally silent...no ticking noises.

Are they hard to come by or something?
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Old 05-02-10, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
Help me out here. There are times I'd like a cyclocomputer, mostly as a simple odometer. For a long time in the old days I'd used one of those mechanical things with a star wheel turned by a pin on a spoke. (It tightened up so much it wasn't usable any more.) But I can't see putting an electronic computer on the '73 Gran Sport. It just seems wrong. The aesthetics call out for simplicity. Such a dilemma.
I'm guessing converting to brifters isn't in your plans.
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Old 05-02-10, 10:11 AM
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garmin forerunner 305. its great, especially if you have multiple bikes (who doesnt?). can be had for around $175.
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Old 05-02-10, 10:13 AM
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Wireless systems without cadence sensors are not that noticeable. I picked up a few recently and I am happy with them. I need the odometer for directions.
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Old 05-02-10, 10:23 AM
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I have computers on all my bikes. I like them much better than the ticking odometers.
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Old 05-02-10, 10:42 AM
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Might as well go for a vintage Avocet computer for a vintage ride. Limited feature set but great if all you want is speed and odometer. Small, unobtrusive, and very lightweight.
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Old 05-02-10, 12:48 PM
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The other night, I was having a conversation with my cousin (an engineer) about modifying an old-fashion head and tail light set with guts scavenged from a modern LED light set. He was confident he could do so easily and cheaply, and create a retro-looking product with all the modern conveniences. The next day, I found myself wondering if he would be as optimistic about the idea of installing the guts from a modern computer into a cheap, old-fashioned analog speedometer. I might have to ask him next time we talk.
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Old 05-02-10, 04:15 PM
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Old 05-02-10, 04:21 PM
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It's great to get a sense of perspective. I've been eye-ing the CatEye wireless units. Maybe...

In the meantime, I've got this nifty idea for an accessory, big plastic tubes which fit over those narrow steel tubes to give your bike the modern carbon look. No more lug seams messing up those flowing lines either. Whadaya think?
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Old 05-02-10, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by buck mulligan View Post
The other night, I was having a conversation with my cousin (an engineer) about modifying an old-fashion head and tail light set with guts scavenged from a modern LED light set. He was confident he could do so easily and cheaply
If this is a reasonably high-power headlight, then be sure he's taking the cooling requirements into account. Many of those lights are counting on a stream of air flowing over them.
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Old 05-02-10, 04:38 PM
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Nothing wrong with adding brifters IMHO.

My latest project. Sold in 1987 as a frameset only (7 speed). It is now sporting modern wheels, all 2003 era Ultegra 9 speed components including brifters (except for crankset, its a Tiagra compact crank with a hollowtech II bottom bracket, FD which is still Shimano 600 tricolor, and the seat post, which is Shimano 600). Pretty far from original design. But no drilling, no grinding, no irreversible changes. Trading for a different wheelset, then I will be "done" (for now). And then I will add clipless pedals, and probably upgrade the computer to a Garmin product. Then I will be done... (Yeah, sure).


I rationalize since the bike was only sold as a frameset, there really was no "original" component set up on this bike.

My next project will be either upgrading my 1984 Lotus to nine speed, or the 1986 Basso frameset I have.


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Old 05-02-10, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by illwafer View Post
garmin forerunner 305. its great, especially if you have multiple bikes (who doesnt?). can be had for around $175.
I've been using the Foretrex 201 for the past 7 years and really like it. I have a mount on each bike and it takes all of 15 seconds to remove and then install from one bike to the next. No calibration, and it gives you a perfect read out within a few feet regardless of which bike I'm on. Garmin sells models which do cadence, but that requires a sensor.

It has more functions then a typical cycle computer, including altitude, odometer, speed, time, compass, a cookie crumb track, and much more. I also use it for hiking, snow shoeing, canoeing, etc. Very adaptable to what you want, very sturdy, and the charge lasts about 20 hours.

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Old 05-02-10, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Good grief - you hit 52 mph?
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Old 05-02-10, 05:41 PM
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Was it on during the drive to the ride?
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Old 05-02-10, 05:46 PM
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My Garmin 305 goes with me everywhere...classic or modern.
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Old 05-02-10, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by buck mulligan View Post
Good grief - you hit 52 mph?
Before 911, I took my GPS up on an airliner, saved a max speed somewhere around 550 MPH. Got a lot of laughs out of that one.

I love Garmin products, but they just make too many models. No way can I figure out the benefit/cost of the various models out there.

Foretrex 401 is kind of interesting, as it is compatible with cadence, HRM and has barometric elevation.

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Old 05-02-10, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Before 911, I took my GPS up on an airliner, saved a max speed somewhere around 550 MPH. Got a lot of laughs out of that one.

I love Garmin products, but they just make too many models. No way can I figure out the benefit/cost of the various models out there.
I've done it after 911.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:36 PM
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My vintage stuff is in constant rotation with my modern, and I'm a mileage geek. Which means, every bike has a computer. And, as long as I can get them, every bike has the same make and model computer, which makes setup a lot easier.
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Old 05-02-10, 06:40 PM
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What does 9/11 have to do with anything? Therre's no rule against having a GPS on an airliner. Heck - some airlines give you one on the screen in the seatback in front of you!

If all you want is an odometer though, how 'bout just a GPS in your back pocket? No need to mount it on your bike. When you want to see how far you've gone just fish it out of your back pocket and look. I have an app on my Blackberry that works a treat and I often take my Garmin GPSMap 60Csx mountain biking.

OTOH, I have an ancient Avocet computer (one of the original candy colored ones - mine's Kawasaki Green) that might actually qualify as vintage. It's from the mid-'80s sometime IIRC. That's as old (nearly at least) as my Super-Record equipped Gianni Motta......I don't suppose anyone would argue with THAT being C&V.


edit: ah....missed that vintage Avocet already mentioned by new member Jonsan. Good thinking and Welcome, Jonsan!

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Old 05-02-10, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
For a Gitane you need the Huret "Multito" belt-driven odometer to stay authentic:
There was a vintage computer in 1974, it used needle readouts for cadence and speed, and hall effect sensors, pretty amazing for 1974, it was expensive. Ron Skarin used one on the road and track. I forget the name, Barry Wolfe was seen often promoting them, no trip odometer, they were for pacing cadence vs speed. The Avocet killed them off.
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