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My 40 year old eco-friendly bicycle

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My 40 year old eco-friendly bicycle

Old 09-27-13, 07:43 PM
  #1  
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My 40 year old eco-friendly bicycle

Thinking about how much easier it is to keep up a 40 year old bike than a 40 year old car.

I have a 1972 or so French bike that I just love. It isn't set up for commuting or bad weather, but is wonderful for Sunday rides and nice weather.

Most of the parts on it are original and -- since I volunteer at a bike co-op -- I often see bikes that old with still functioning parts.

When people talk about bikes being eco-friendly, few think of the durable parts that go on them.

I'm guessing some of these bikes will be around in 50 years too.

Hopefully you aren't trading in your bike every year... you really don't need to.
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Old 09-27-13, 10:15 PM
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I've got a handful of bikes from the '60s, '70s and '80s. In fact, my favorite "road" bike is my '82 Trek 720 touring bike. I hadn't realized how disposable cars had become until a couple of years ago when my somewhat disabled neighbor bought a new car. She said her mechanic wouldn't work on a car as old as the one she was driving at the time. It was less than fifteen years old. I only have one bike that is that new and it is a custom tandem. (Both our tandems are custom, comes with the territory of our size and captain/stoker preferences being outside the norm.)
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Old 09-27-13, 10:27 PM
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This is part of the reason I like them so much. Good luck handing a car down - far more trouble than it's worth! One day I hope to have a 50's era English 3 speed. Some day!

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Old 09-28-13, 06:48 AM
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40 years old and still going strong. American Eagle- Nishiki. For many decades it was my main commuter. That role has been taken over by a young upstart that's only 25 years old.

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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 09-28-13, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
I've got a handful of bikes from the '60s, '70s and '80s. In fact, my favorite "road" bike is my '82 Trek 720 touring bike. I hadn't realized how disposable cars had become until a couple of years ago when my somewhat disabled neighbor bought a new car. She said her mechanic wouldn't work on a car as old as the one she was driving at the time. It was less than fifteen years old. I only have one bike that is that new and it is a custom tandem. (Both our tandems are custom, comes with the territory of our size and captain/stoker preferences being outside the norm.)
All the electronics in car is what's making alot of people go carfree. The days when you could order an expensive part and do the installation are over. If you don't have the costly equiptment, you can forget fixing the electronics. It's a great way the motor companies can keep you going back to their dealers for repairs again and again. This more than anything else was the reason I became carfree.

I think all these electric and hybrid cars are disposable. Who wants to buy a used electric car with a used battery that can't hold a charge?
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Old 09-28-13, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
She said her mechanic wouldn't work on a car as old as the one she was driving at the time. It was less than fifteen years old. I only have one bike that is that new and it is a custom tandem.
Some of this is purely attitude. There may be no real reason why you couldn't repair that vehicle.

Except possibly for the availability of parts!!!!!

An example.Here's my oldest bike (early 70s I would guess...)


When I got it, the crank and BB were removed. Someone had been working on it and had given up.
I couldn't find a bottom bracket spindle that would fit the crank. At least, at a modest price. Then I discovered that Velo Orange offered a French bottom bracket that would fit.

It fit perfectly and the bike proved to be an extremely nice rider.

It is possible to keep vehicles... cars/bikes... on the road, but not possible unless manufacturers help out.
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Old 09-28-13, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
my somewhat disabled neighbor bought a new car. She said her mechanic wouldn't work on a car as old as the one she was driving at the time. It was less than fifteen years old.
Your neighbor could have found another mechanic and saved some money. Where there is a desire or necessity to keep old cars running it can and is done. For a trip through the past, Detroit style, go to Cuba.
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Old 09-28-13, 10:30 AM
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I like vintage bikes and I've been lusting after one for a long time... As for very old cars, I don't see a lot around here. Driving old cars is just a seasonal hobby for car-enthusiasts around here, they get put in storage when the weather turns bad, nobody uses 40 year old cars as their daily transportational vehicles, winter weather and rust is what destroys vehicles around here.
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Old 09-28-13, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I think all these electric and hybrid cars are disposable. Who wants to buy a used electric car with a used battery that can't hold a charge?
For sure. I don't think any of these modern electric/hybrid vehicles will even last 20 years, without some extremely expensive repairs, which have to be performed by specially trained technicians...Unlike a bicycle which is cheap, easy and simple to maintain and work on.
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Old 09-28-13, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
As for very old cars, I don't see a lot around here. Driving old cars is just a seasonal hobby for car-enthusiasts around here, they get put in storage when the weather turns bad, nobody uses 40 year old cars as their daily transportational vehicles, winter weather and rust is what destroys vehicles around here.
Having an old car as a daily driver is much more doable in Southern California. When I lived there, my newest daily driver was made in 1970. But the orange bike I posted above has seen all of my cars come and go. I bought it before I bought a car and it's still here while the cars have gone.
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Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
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Old 09-28-13, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Unlike a bicycle which is cheap, easy and simple to maintain and work on.
Bicycle technology is pretty straightforward and I'm gonna say more "human". When a technology hits a certain level of complexity (say...computerized carburetor or anti-lock brake), the likelihood of finding parts and know-how become extremely limited.

Perhaps the term is "over-engineered".
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Old 09-28-13, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Bicycle technology is pretty straightforward and I'm gonna say more "human". When a technology hits a certain level of complexity (say...computerized carburetor or anti-lock brake), the likelihood of finding parts and know-how become extremely limited.

Perhaps the term is "over-engineered".
I wonder if some bikes are becoming over-engineered. Could most home mechanics fix hydraulic disc brakes, for example? Do people ever fix 10 speed cassettes, or just replace them if something goes wrong?
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Old 09-28-13, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Do people ever fix 10 speed cassettes, or just replace them if something goes wrong?
Good point. But no one ever fixes even a 5 speed cassette. At the bike co-op we just send them for recycling. You'd think you could just replace the cogs that had gone bad, but instead we just chuck the whole thing out. Like chains and to a less extent chain rings, it's considered disposable.
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Old 09-28-13, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
Hopefully you aren't trading in your bike every year... you really don't need to.
I purchased last week a 10 speed that was in mint condition. This bike looked like it rode for 200 miles then parked in a garage and left there for 30 years. Tons of used bikes from the 80's selling for a couple of hundred dollars. (many in very good condition)
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Old 09-29-13, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Your neighbor could have found another mechanic and saved some money. Where there is a desire or necessity to keep old cars running it can and is done. For a trip through the past, Detroit style, go to Cuba.
Sure, she could have. Unfortunately, for her and our society at large, there is neither the desire nor the necessity to keep old cars running. On the bright side, the newer cars do a better job of burning the fuel.
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Old 09-29-13, 06:58 AM
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My commuters are both around 20 years old so they're pretty new compared to the OP's bike. They're easy as pie to find parts for and tough as nails since they're both fat tire Japanese made bikes (a 93 bridgestone xo-2 and a 88 specialized stump comp).

I love older European bikes but I don't own any. I got into bikes around when the Japanese where handing the Europeans their collective head on a plate when it came to bike and so my vintage bikes are Japanese (with some American). They were new at the time but over the years have become eco-friendly.
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Old 09-29-13, 03:12 PM
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Bikes are easy to upgrade and can be fairly easy to swap components between, cars not so much. I have a buddy of mine that just did a major engine/transplant on an old Chevy Suburban he has. Cost as much as a small sedan, but his money, his choice.

I have bikes from 1940's-2006 models. Most are from around 1970-1990. Parts are still readily available for most of them. Cars not so much. I needed a fuel filter cannister for one our farm trucks, the individual parts are NLA had to purchase the entire assembly for $275 to get the $25 part I really needed, the truck is only 17 years old. Top end bicycles are becoming much more complicated to include electronic shifting and 12 speed clusters, they are disposable.

Many years ago you built freewheels up from parts, we had a huge cog board and stocked freewheel bodies at the shop I worked at, then the cassette style came along which actually made it easier to swap cogs, but if the free hub gets damaged you have to trash the hub. Parts are harder and harder to come by. FWIW I have a lot of IGH (Internal Gear Hub) bikes, I can buy parts for the old Sturmey Archer 3 speeds from the 60's and 70's, but not for the newer Shimano ones... go figure. My single most ridden bike is a 1970 Raleigh Sport Standard 3 speed, the bike has seen in excess of 35,000 miles and is still being used today as a backup grocery getter, just got done updating the lights on it because it is getting darker earlier. I normally keep this bike at my parents house in town and use it for the 2 mile run to the grocery store or pubs.


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Old 09-30-13, 01:02 PM
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My motor vehicles are all old. My bicycles are my newest vehicles, a '93 Rocky Mountain and a 2012 Salsa Fargo. My motor vehicles (this is embarassing to say on this forum!), all of which I work on myself: '58 Chevy half ton 4WD pickup, '70 Triumph Bonneville, '81 BMW R65 (motorcycle), and '81 Toyota 4WD pickup. One of the pickups will go when I finish restoring the Chevy. More motorcycles may show up, though.

I work on my bicycles too, but it's not easy for me. It seems harder to find manuals for the components, and sometimes even parts. Can I replace the bearings in my Fargo's rear hub? Apparently they are sealed so I don't need to clean and repack them. I found the brand name (Formula) for the hub but have not been able to find a parts diagram for it. Stuff like that. And I can't seem to call a local bike shop, tell them I have a 2012 Fargo and need a new freehub for it, and have them know if they have it in stock. They need to see it. I'm still learning all this stuff. But if it turns out I always have to make two trips to the lbs (one to show them the part and order it, one to pick it up) then ordering on the internet may be easier for me, just like it is with many of my auto parts. I hope you guys are right and as I do more of the work I'll pick this stuff up.
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Old 09-30-13, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Your neighbor could have found another mechanic and saved some money. Where there is a desire or necessity to keep old cars running it can and is done. For a trip through the past, Detroit style, go to Cuba.
Also, in Cuba it's against the law to drive any car,truck, etc. with one person in it. Carpooling is dmanded and the legal norm.
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 09-30-13, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Your neighbor could have found another mechanic and saved some money. Where there is a desire or necessity to keep old cars running it can and is done. For a trip through the past, Detroit style, go to Cuba.
Yep. It certainly could be done with cars. But you'd probably need a major manufacturing crisis to get it in motion. I can just imagine the effort that goes into keeping these cars on the road.

(Of course, if you've ever worked on a French bike, you'd understand how difficult things can be when parts are in short supply.)
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Old 10-01-13, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
My motor vehicles are all old. My bicycles are my newest vehicles, a '93 Rocky Mountain and a 2012 Salsa Fargo. My motor vehicles (this is embarassing to say on this forum!), all of which I work on myself: '58 Chevy half ton 4WD pickup, '70 Triumph Bonneville, '81 BMW R65 (motorcycle), and '81 Toyota 4WD pickup. One of the pickups will go when I finish restoring the Chevy. More motorcycles may show up, though.

I work on my bicycles too, but it's not easy for me. It seems harder to find manuals for the components, and sometimes even parts. Can I replace the bearings in my Fargo's rear hub? Apparently they are sealed so I don't need to clean and repack them. I found the brand name (Formula) for the hub but have not been able to find a parts diagram for it. Stuff like that. And I can't seem to call a local bike shop, tell them I have a 2012 Fargo and need a new freehub for it, and have them know if they have it in stock. They need to see it. I'm still learning all this stuff. But if it turns out I always have to make two trips to the lbs (one to show them the part and order it, one to pick it up) then ordering on the internet may be easier for me, just like it is with many of my auto parts. I hope you guys are right and as I do more of the work I'll pick this stuff up.
Yes the sealed bearing hubs need maintenance. Some parts diagrams exist but it takes a massive search to find many of them. There is a book called Glenn's Manual that can be a help. However manufacturers are cranking out "new and improved" stuff that ain't. I buy primarily vintage bikes that have the old style loose bearing in them that can be easily repaired. The reason your bike shop can't tell what you need by the make, model and year of your bike is because there is little consistency in the parts even within a single year's production. I have been wrenching on bikes for over 35 years both as a job at one point and later as a hobby. Bicycles have become like everything else, you replace parts rather than repair them.

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Old 10-06-13, 09:28 PM
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I like this thread. Today was warm under super clear skies so I went out for a leisurely 43 mile loop to Laguna Beach and back on my 31 year old Ciocc Mockba road bike. It is a fair weather, non-utilitarian machine but remains my first choice for a Sunday morning ride.

I am the original owner and the Ciocc still has some original parts like the brake levers, sidepull calipers, seatpost and front derailleur. The Nuovo Record hubs are from mid 1980s and have been moved several times to be laced onto new rims. The Ciocc still uses a 6 speed freewheel, and although I modified the bike with a triple crank and moustache bars with a bar end shifter for the rear derailleur, everyone who sees it knows that it is an old machine.

I like doing the routine maintenance on my own bikes, especially the old Ciocc. I recently did a ball bearing and grease replacement on the MKS platform pedals that are on Ciocc. Less than a dollar for 24 little ball bearings per pedal with some new grease, and the pedals are good for another 8K or so miles. It's so simple, no special tools and no special parts needed. In contrast, many (most?) new bikes have all different sorts of non-starndardzed cartridge bearings which are pretty expensive to buy as replacement parts. Some people toss out the entire component when it needs routine maintenance because it becomes less expensive than buying the replacement cartridge bearings, if you can even find the correct bearings an an LBS.
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Old 10-06-13, 10:40 PM
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Old bicycles are so kewl, sometimes I just buy them fix them up so I can ride them a few times and sell them lol I sell them cause I cant keep them all and shouldnt. I am 60 years old (-:
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Old 10-07-13, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by howeeee View Post
Old bicycles are so kewl, sometimes I just buy them fix them up so I can ride them a few times and sell them lol I sell them cause I cant keep them all and shouldnt. I am 60 years old (-:
Those bikes look great. I wish you lived in my neighborhood! I would be a good customer, since I don't have a lot of interest in working on bikes myself.

I enjoyed seeing your last two pictures of Schwinns. I'm two years younger than you, so they both brought back childhood memories. I was just about a year too old to catch the Stingray craze. By the time Stingrays caught on, I already had a great bike that was similar to your Schwinn Panther. No way would my parents buy me a Stingray when I already had "a perfectly good bike"! A lot of my friends had Stingrays, and I think I was a little jealous. By the time my perfectly good bike was ready for replacement, I was ready for an adult bike similar to the 10 speeds in your other pictures. I think it was a Varsity, but I can't remember for sure.
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