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bobotech 04-22-12 06:05 PM

90's Univega Via Carisma, pics and questions
I recently bought this bike from some guy on CL. Paid 30 dollars for it. I bought it mainly as a frame to be fixed up. When I got it, it was a mess. One of the bottom bracket cups was starting to crack. He had a 1" seat post in a 26.0 mm hole (ugh). The rear derailleur was an late '80s Huffy style Shimano SIS model. The front derailleur looked like it sat in a vat of something corrosive. The shifter was a cheap stem shifter. Mismatched brakes. 700c tires in okay shape but I just didn't care for them. Crunchy front and rear wheel bearings. Bad cables all around. Drive side crank was okay (factory SR alloy). Non-drive side was some really low end HEAVY steel black crank, WTF? Cantilever brakes that were badly adjusted and backwards.

I had no idea what the stock parts were so I just kind of threw it back together with what I could find. I thought that the paint on it was really bad at first but after cleaning it up after tearing the bike apart and polishing and waxing, it turns out that the paint is decent even though there are scratches and chips. The lettering is coming off and I'm not sure what to do about that.

I replaced the bottom bracket with cleaned up good cups and nice fresh grease. Replaced the crankset with FSA crankarms that matched and the rings that were on the factory SR arms. Replaced the derailleur with a FD-R443. Replaced the rear derailleur with a Sora derailleur. Cleaned and repacked the front wheel bearings. Cleaned and repacked the rear wheel bearings. Replaced the tires with the ones that are in the pictures. Replaced the shifters with Deore LX cantilever shifter/brake levers. New cables run for the shifters and brakes.

Cleaned up the brake pads and adjusted everything. There was plenty of meat left in the pads so I left them alone, just adjusted them properly. Replaced the seatpost with the proper sized one. Put everything back together and the bike looks great. I want to ride but can't due to my broken leg! Ugh.

Here are the pictures:

Daisy the dog

bobotech 04-22-12 06:09 PM

Questions, what do I do about the lettering that is coming off? Should I just gently rub/scratch it off (it comes off pretty easily leaving the good basepaint underneath) or just leave it and keep waxing it like I have?

And I am not sure what the best front derailleur I should use. It has 7 speed shifters (the deore LX) and a 50t big chainring. The FD-r443 doens't appear to be as compatible with the 7 speed as I hoped it would be. Shifts but I had to leave some slack in the cable.

Any idea what the factory derailleurs were used?

I have no idea what year it is either, any clues?

Bianchigirll 04-22-12 06:18 PM

Nice bike! from your before description you did a great job. You could sit and peel the decals off but that would take away for the time you could be riding. I would just leave them be.

I am thinking this is a '90 or 91. I believe '92 and later would have had a BiAxial PowerOval sesigned frame the bubes would eb ovalized. the original group was likely something like Exage 500LX I think this was just before STX. with a 50T chainwheel you'll need a Deore FD from the early '90s when MTB typicall had 28, 38, 48 chainwheels.

bobotech 04-22-12 06:30 PM

Well the odd thing is that they aren't decals. They appear to be silkscreened paint. They are painted on. That is why they seem to rub/scratch off.

Do you have any idea which Deore FD I should be looking for? I want to look on Ebay and other places for a good FD.

Also do you know if my whole bike is cromoly or just the main tubes? The sticker on the bottom of the seattube says "Cromoly frame".

bobotech 04-23-12 12:20 AM

Anyone have any more ideas?

wrk101 04-23-12 06:18 AM

Look for the best deal, preferably, just pick up a MTB donor bike. Don't buy parts and pieces one at a time, you will be way upside down by the time you are done. Building a MTB via ebay is an expensive proposition. Any of the Shimano MTB derailleurs are quite good from that era. The higher end ones tend to be lighter in weight, and are more attractive.

Now if you just need a single RD, ebay can work out if you aren't in a hurry (I've gotten an occasional really good deal on ebay, but you really can't beat a donor bike).

Sticker says cromo frame, then my guess the entire frame is cromo. The ones with just cromo tubes usually stated that.

I personally like the STX stuff, but with the black crank, it would look out of place.

Or if you have a co-op in your area, that can work really well too. I donate various bike items about once a month to the co-op, and occasionally pick up an odd item here or there.

Bianchigirll 04-23-12 06:37 AM

The decals may be under the clearcoat, I don't think they would be applied by silkscreen or painted on, that may explain the way they seem to be flaking.

As to the FD what is a R443? The cage looks big enough to handle the range of the rings but is it a double or triple? What kind of shifters? It has been awhile since I played with that type of shimano setup but IIRC there should be a slight bit of slack in the front cable. That allows you take up the slack to 'trim' the FD in the granny before shifting to the middle ring.

bobotech 04-23-12 11:29 AM

The FD-R443 is an off series flatbar/roadbike triple derailleur. It is intended for large front chainrings (52t) but is compatible with flat bar MTB style shifters.

The bike currently has Shimano Deore LX shifters from the early '90s on it. I think the issue is that its is intended for a 9 speed. I used the same derailleur on my other hybrid but that is a much newer bike. My other hybrid has an 8 speed setup and that FD-R443 works great on it. Currently the Deore LX shifters pull too much cable for the FD-R443 to work flawlessly, I have to leave a bit of slack at the resting position. I didn't realize that the FD-R443 came in 2 styles, an 8 speed and a 9 speed. When I bought it from Ebay, the 9 speedd was the only one available (15 dollars shipped).

I want to replace the cranks with alloy cranks. The problem is that I only have the drive side crank, I want to get the matching non-drive side alloy crank.

I would like to really replace the front stem with an alloy stem, replace the crankset with a nice alloy model, and replace the front derailleur with the proper model.

brian3069 04-23-12 12:22 PM

I have Exage 500 crankset, FD and a stem from a Via Carisma. Maybe some other parts. If you're interested, let me know.

bobotech 04-23-12 01:56 PM

Originally Posted by brian3069 (Post 14134704)
I have Exage 500 crankset, FD and a stem from a Via Carisma. Maybe some other parts. If you're interested, let me know.

I sent you a PM. thanks...

trevil 06-11-12 11:52 AM

I have what looks like the same bike as you -- with the same red/black color; except my chainset is 28/38/48T. I also have the original product catalog that lists each of the 1990 Univega bikes and the components. I am starting the process of pricing to replace the worn parts to see if I should repair or if I should replace the bike.
Here are some of the specs:
Frame: TANGE Chromoly Tubing with forged dropouts, double bottle cage bosses and rack fittings.
Fork: UNIVEGA Hi-Tensile Radius Bend Unicrown with Forged Ends
Headset: Univega, Black
Stem: DELTA Alloy, Anodized black
Drivetrain: 21-speed Hyperglide
Derailleurs: Shimano 300LX with STI Rapidfire Shifters
Crankset: Shimano 300LX Alloy Cotterless, Sizes 170-175mm with 28/38/48T Black Biopace Chainrings
Pedals: HTI-P03 with Chromoly Axle
B.B. Set: TANGE with Chromoly Spindle
Freewheel: Shimano HG50 7-Speed, 12-28T
Chain: Shimano HG50, Black
Brakes: Shimano 300LX Cantilever with SLR Levers
Hubs: Shimano 300LX Alloy Small Flange Freehub with QR front and rear, sealed

Rims: ARAYA SP-20 700C Alloy, Silver
Spokes: Stainless, 14G
Tires: TopGear Road Hog 700-38C Skinwall

sgnl2nz 06-12-12 11:44 AM

My own (1990?) Via Carisma, modified for hauling/touring/cross. I bought it completely stock for $50 two weeks ago and kept the original Shimano Exage 500LX drivetrain and brakes.
At first, I tried using the MTB bars and riser stem, but I just needed more of a road feel and added a quill road stem, bullhorn handlebars, reverse brake levers and dura-ace bar-end shifters (both set for friction). I don't know how much it weighs now with the Blackburn racks, but (unloaded) I could still catch speed on the flats with the 48t-11t combo and this thing is a torpedo down hills.

I have the original Exage LX (one is labeled Deore LX, but I believe it was original to this bike) shifter/brake lever combos if anyone needs them. They're worn but work.

Someone was asking about the seatpost size a while back: Mine is 26.2mm.

Bianchigirll 06-12-12 12:50 PM

Great looking bike! That blackchrome was a big seller. Where was this taken? Looks like your on a long trip.

sgnl2nz 06-12-12 05:14 PM

[QUOTE=Bianchigirll;14346626]Great looking bike! That blackchrome was a big seller. Where was this taken? Looks like your on a long trip.

Grizzly Peak, just south of Tilden park in the Oakland/Berkeley Hills. That's Oakland and San Francisco in the distance. I was taking it on a fully-loaded shakedown ride for a weekend of camping- just a trial run that I didn't want to stop.

Nothing fell off, nothing blew up. I nearly did a few times. I had some nasty brake/fork judder on the way down, but the bike held its own and after new brake pads and headset adjustments, is good to go.

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