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Univega Specialissima rebuild

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Univega Specialissima rebuild

Old 12-18-11, 03:22 PM
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Univega Specialissima rebuild

Hey, folks, I came across this vintage touring bike and wanted to show my progress in rebuilding it. I say rebuilding because what I'm doing is far from a restoration. I'm merely cleaning, replacing the broken parts, and generally making it ridable again.
It was in a pretty sad state when I got it but at 98% complete, it's starting to look pretty good.
It's my first real touring bike and I'm quite happy with it.
Enjoy!
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Old 12-18-11, 03:26 PM
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Sweet ride! I love the brown on gold. What's up with the padded top tube?
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Old 12-18-11, 03:32 PM
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There was some rust Inthe top tube so I had to get to grinding. The paint I used was a pretty good off-the-shelf match but it was too noticeable for my taste. My mom is a seamstress, she made the cover out of pleather.
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Old 12-18-11, 06:01 PM
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looks like a really nice bike. Kissing cousin to my 82 Viva Touring.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by old's'cool View Post
looks like a really nice bike. Kissing cousin to my 82 Viva Touring.
+1
And the Viva Touring was a great bike with a straight chromoly frame --
Standard issue - What does your frame label say? I would be curious to know if it is butted.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:38 PM
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viva touring < gran turismo < specialissima. the gran turismo was double butted, and the specialissima was probably triple butted (miyata 1000). the viva touring is like a miyata 210...
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Old 12-18-11, 07:53 PM
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I could be wrong but I think the Specialissima was double butted, at least until later on.
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Old 12-18-11, 07:56 PM
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Regardless, it's a nice score, Standard Issue. I have a Miyata 615 that I love, but that doesn't stop me from being on the lookout for a 1000 or a Specialissima.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:14 PM
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It is double butted. I've heard many comparisons between unis and miyatas and I know miyata made both frames but I don't know if they were indepentently designed or if they were just rebranded. I'm looking forward to getting it on the road. I've got hoods on the way and I plan on swapping the fenders and ideale saddle over from my trek 420 before selling that. This bike perfectly achieves the look I wanted in a touring bike. The bar end shifters, rando bars, braze-ons galore and canti brakes are the cat's meow.
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Old 12-18-11, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by old's'cool View Post
Kissing cousin to my 82 Viva Touring.
I just sold a viva sport to a member and it's a really nice bike. Triple butted, full cyclone, 22 lbs. Other than the mangaloy fork, which is only slightly heavier than cromo, I don't see what would put it behind the others.
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Old 12-18-11, 09:00 PM
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Very nice bike, but I am biased in that it looks exactly like my Gran Turismo. I recently got a topeak water bottle cage holder for the seat tube because like yours mine has only mounts for one cage, which has the big 1.5 liter bottle cage on it. Thats about the only drawback I can think of. I did eventualy change out the crank, because it just was not low enough. Also, when I put 700c wheels in it the cantis had just enough room to make it painless.
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Old 12-18-11, 10:01 PM
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The single bottle braze-ons is bothersome especially when seeing others with as many as three. I
This won't be an issue, though cause I plan on mounting a cage on the handlebars.
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Old 12-18-11, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Standard Issue View Post
I just sold a viva sport to a member and it's a really nice bike. Triple butted, full cyclone, 22 lbs. Other than the mangaloy fork, which is only slightly heavier than cromo, I don't see what would put it behind the others.
And I'm excited about getting it in. It should be here by Wednesday, just in time for me to assemble it for Christmas for my fiance.
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Old 12-19-11, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by illwafer View Post
viva touring < gran turismo < specialissima. the gran turismo was double butted, and the specialissima was probably triple butted (miyata 1000). the viva touring is like a miyata 210...
I think it really depends on the year with these and there is a lot of overlap. Someone may correct me, but I don't think the Specialissima ever made it to the later miyata-built / "CTB" triple butted phase, and the Gran Turismo took the top spot then. I believe the viva touring didn't get introduced until later either. I'm assuming the switchover is when Univega started adding the Lawee Design labels and the CTB style tubing labels to the top tube instead of these older style ones on the top of the downtube.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe the later style burgundy Specialissimas with the Superbe components were lawee design / triple butted. Anyone have one to confirm?

Sure would be nice to see some Univega catalogs from the 84-87 era.
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Old 12-19-11, 10:59 AM
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+1. It all depends of the exact year. The CTB tubing was introduced circa 1985. I don't have hierarchy for every year but the Specialissima and Gran Turismo co-existed in at least 1984, possibly longer. In 1984 the Specialissma was the higher end model, costing $555 and had a full CrMo frame with a butted main triangle, while the Gran Turismo cost $360 and used CrMO only in the main triangle, though it was butted. Below that was the $290 Viva Touring, with CrMo only in the plain gauge main triangle. Of course, there were also additional variations in some of the components. The Univega models were built mostly by Miyata but were designed/spec'd by Lawee.
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Old 12-19-11, 09:32 PM
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Agree with the above posts, Univega model spec's seem to ascend over the years. My 82 Viva Touring is straight gauge Cro-Mo, but that's fine with me as it is a workhorse Frankenbike that I use for bad weather commuting and leaving locked up for in-town errands & outings. The olive green frame with its advanced patina is a definite asset for this purpose.
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Old 12-20-11, 06:10 AM
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I have a mid-80's Nuovo Sport that is the same paint scheme as the OP's. Timeframe - it was the first model year with index shifting. It is triple butted, also has the rust on the top tube. I'm working on replacing the brake cable guides and trying to get rid of some of the rust to get it rideable again.
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Old 12-20-11, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
I have a mid-80's Nuovo Sport that is the same paint scheme as the OP's. Timeframe - it was the first model year with index shifting. It is triple butted, also has the rust on the top tube. I'm working on replacing the brake cable guides and trying to get rid of some of the rust to get it rideable again.
Don't assume same year based on paint schemes. The OP's bicycles is very early 1980s, sometime pre-1984 based on the frame features. A Nuovo Sport with first year indexed shifting would be 1986. However, indexing was a very popular upgrade and CTB was available prior to indexing, so I would assume that year either. The best way to determine the year is to post the serial number (and pictures).
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Old 12-20-11, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
... The best way to determine the year is to post the serial number (and pictures).
Actually, the best way for me to determine the year is to find my original receipt - '86 sounds about right. I'm not overly concerned about the year, I just want to be able to get it in riding condition again.
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Old 12-20-11, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ArtM View Post
Actually, the best way for me to determine the year is to find my original receipt - '86 sounds about right. I'm not overly concerned about the year, I just want to be able to get it in riding condition again.
Not necessarily. I can can assure you that LBS often carry models over into the next year, sometimes several years. Besides, checking the serial number would probably be faster and less frustrating than trying to find a 25+ year old receipt.
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