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Good Lord, a heavy old touring bike can MOVE when tuned!

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Good Lord, a heavy old touring bike can MOVE when tuned!

Old 07-14-12, 10:23 PM
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AlbertaBeef
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Good Lord, a heavy old touring bike can MOVE when tuned!

So... Yesterday I finally got my old Motobecane Grand Jubile all overhauled and tuned... I ripped apart the wheel bearings and bottom bracket and cleaned, repacked them with fresh grease and adjusted them as anal-retentively as I could... Then I replaced every cable and housing on the bike as well as the brake pads and took it for a ride...

I was planning on doing about 60km leisurely... was doing anywhere from 20-27km/h (13-17mph) just "toodling" along... about 45 minutes in, the phone rings, so I pull over and answer it... It's my wife...

Wife: "Where are you?"
Me: "Out riding."
Her: "You almost home?"
Me: "No... only about 1/4 into my ride..."
Her: "You're supposed to take Jeff to a movie at 1pm" (my son)
Me, after looking at time... "C R A P"...


So I headed off the back road and onto the highway, figuring the smoother road and straight line will hurry me home, and I booked it...

Danged it that heavy old touring bike didn't fly... 30km total trip distance and the last 14km of the trip was over 40km/h average ... no wind, only a slight 40m elevation loss... Yee ha.

https://maps.google.ca/maps/ms?msa=0...a1e0a779aa49a6 is my mytracks link...

I had no idea I could get up and maintain that kind of speed on an old beast like that. That's with 700x28c heavy-arse kevlar-belted tires on touring rims, lol.

How can people NOT love vintage bikes? I think I'm in love with this one!
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Old 07-15-12, 12:01 AM
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I recently gave my Univega the same treatment (after putting it off for ages) and it really did make a world of difference. I'm nowhere near as fast as you, but I do find it surprisingly easy to maintain a fairly speedy pace on it after a thorough tuneup and new 32mm tires. And it's comfortable!
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Old 07-15-12, 01:34 AM
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Did something similar yesterday to my favorite mtb - heavy beast with front shocks and all. New Hubs, lighter wheels, new sprockets, new chain, New cables, adjusted the brakes so they are perfect. Yeah gods its a different bike. Its amazing what a little tlc will do to any bike.
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Old 07-15-12, 04:19 AM
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I think the rider might be partly responsible for being faster than expected. Pretty cool how it tracks like that, is it your phone or a computer?
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Old 07-15-12, 05:24 AM
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The main limiting factors for speed are the rider, the head-wind and the tires.
The high gear combinations on a C&V bike can carry you along at a break-neck speed (literally) anytime you like.
Having a modern bike with more gears (especially lower ones) does not make you faster.
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Old 07-15-12, 12:36 PM
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I wouldn't consider a Grand Jubile a heavy touring bike.
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Old 07-15-12, 01:06 PM
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What? Did you expect less from a classic Motobecane??

I love to take the casual cruises with my Super Mirage. The smooth shifting 5sp freewheel and suntour Vgt is totally refreshing. Though the bike isnt nearly as nimble as the other two speedsters, it still has that ride that I recall as a kid.
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Old 07-15-12, 01:10 PM
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I recently took my Trek 720 on the Saturday morning group ride. Everyone else had modern carbon, mostly dura-ace. My bike was coming in over 10lbs heavier than most. Kept up with the group for 55 miles and over 3000ft of elevation gain. I think the main reason I could keep up was because of the 24T granny and my ability to spin spin spin up the hills. That and getting a lot of inertia on the accompanying 3000ft elevation loss. :-) We got done with all the climbing and stopped for coffee and one of the other guys picked up my bike and said "Holy s(-)!t" and put it back down
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Old 07-15-12, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
I think the rider might be partly responsible for being faster than expected. Pretty cool how it tracks like that, is it your phone or a computer?
That's my phone with the MyTracks app. I've set it to suck back battery life by doing more-often-than-default GPS positioning and 1km data updates. I've got it that way so I can really break down my hill climbing progress... Lets me see how I'm doing overall on each section.

After seeing reviews here I got setup with strava too - I can easily export the mytracks data to gpx and send to strava. http://app.strava.com/rides/13284515 ... Strava is kind of neat to see it estimate your power output, etc. I wonder how accurate that is?
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Old 07-15-12, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mparker326 View Post
I wouldn't consider a Grand Jubile a heavy touring bike.
My main road bike is a 19.2lb Cannondale... so comparatively speaking...
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Old 07-15-12, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
What? Did you expect less from a classic Motobecane??

I love to take the casual cruises with my Super Mirage. The smooth shifting 5sp freewheel and suntour Vgt is totally refreshing. Though the bike isnt nearly as nimble as the other two speedsters, it still has that ride that I recall as a kid.
I wasn't sure what to expect... I haven't ridden a 70's or 80's bike since about 1990... I was a fool in the 90's and jumped on the "lighter is better" bandwagon. But stiff aluminum frames and my middle-aged body with degenerated discs do NOT complement each other.

I've currently now got the Motobecane and a 1982 Nishiki Continental in my stable. I've also got a really nice Norco Magnum SE with the Arabesque group on it for my son if I can convince him to ride it... I'd really rather not sell it...
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Old 07-15-12, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Lamplight View Post
I recently gave my Univega the same treatment (after putting it off for ages) and it really did make a world of difference. I'm nowhere near as fast as you, but I do find it surprisingly easy to maintain a fairly speedy pace on it after a thorough tuneup and new 32mm tires. And it's comfortable!
Comfortable is sooooo important.

... and meh, I'm not fast. Whenever I think I'm fast I go ride with a guy in my local cycling club that's a Cat3 racer... He's fast. I chalk it up to his being 152lbs and young. He actually said to me once "You're pretty strong... for an old guy..." I'm still not sure how to take that.
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Old 07-15-12, 01:31 PM
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Motobecane grand jubiliee was a top tier touring bike. Is it reynolds 531 or vitus? I have read stellar things about the grand jubilees. Don't be surprised by the speed, just consider what people used to race on! Even my low end vintage raleigh which is very very heavy can go very fast(except that it starts to wobble). The weight of a carbon fibre bike is often only marginally lighter than a high quality steel bike. In fact, I picked up a reynolds 853 lugged steel bike that was lighter than a carbon fibre bike.
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Old 07-15-12, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by haaseg View Post
We got done with all the climbing and stopped for coffee and one of the other guys picked up my bike and said "Holy s(-)!t" and put it back down
Priceless.
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Old 07-15-12, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Heatherbikes View Post
Motobecane grand jubiliee was a top tier touring bike. Is it reynolds 531 or vitus?
This one is the Vitus 172. When I stripped it down I must admit it was a much lighter frame than I was expecting. It's a lighter bike than my Nishiki Continental (same size) with Tange Champion No2 tubing...

Originally Posted by Heatherbikes View Post
I have read stellar things about the grand jubilees. Don't be surprised by the speed, just consider what people used to race on! Even my low end vintage raleigh which is very very heavy can go very fast(except that it starts to wobble). The weight of a carbon fibre bike is often only marginally lighter than a high quality steel bike. In fact, I picked up a reynolds 853 lugged steel bike that was lighter than a carbon fibre bike.
I wish I could find an old (pre-Trek) Lemond 853 bike... I'd love one in my size. I have a slightly longer torso and benefit from the Lemond top tube length...

The Motobecane is great - I'd like to put a longer stem on - but it's stupid french size makes it hard to find. I'm actually thinking of just sanding a 22.2 down, lol...
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Old 07-15-12, 03:43 PM
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I have many times discovered a bike's seemingly unlikely speed potential when I was in a big hurry.

All kinds of bikes, too big, too small or (gasp) even a 2-speed, can be brought up to speed with the right motivation!

Now the duration of such an effort can become a real issue, especially when unprepared with the right clothing, pedals and water and food, but I've made a deliberate habit of procrastinating before leaving for a store that's closing in 20 minutes, just so I'll attack a couple of good hills in the big ring to get there in time.

I have even approached my best road-bike times while riding a mounrtain bike on trips of up to an hour when there was something urgent on the line.

As long as the bike has a tall enough gear for any long descents, I've put my touring rigs to the task of nearing my best times on urgent utilitarian journeys. It's mostly then a matter of staying focused and aero while anticipating any technical maneuvers, traffic or traffic signals.
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Old 07-16-12, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by AlbertaBeef View Post
Comfortable is sooooo important.

... and meh, I'm not fast. Whenever I think I'm fast I go ride with a guy in my local cycling club that's a Cat3 racer... He's fast. I chalk it up to his being 152lbs and young. He actually said to me once "You're pretty strong... for an old guy..." I'm still not sure how to take that.
This reminds me, I'd been riding my Long Haul Trucker to work (with only a handlebar bag), but last Monday I'd gotten sick of it so I decided to start commuting on my Univega. It had been a while since I'd ridden it, and I was amazed at how much faster and smoother it was than the LHT. Carrying so little weight, the LHT rides like an old work truck with incredibly stiff springs. It simply needs more weight to ride nicely. The Univega is more like...a somewhat sporty grand touring sedan. I was feeling really good, riding along at a nice pace. In fact, it felt like I was riding a comfortable rocket! I was really proud of myself and my bike. Then a guy in full kit on a carbon road bike passed me like I was standing on the side of the road. I mean, I probably could have reached his speed on that same stretch of road, but I couldn't even dream of maintaining it for more than a few seconds. Come to think of it, I'm not sure my bike even has a high enough gear to pedal it up to his speed.
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