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Upgrade from vintage steel to aluminum?

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Upgrade from vintage steel to aluminum?

Old 08-23-11, 06:56 PM
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vincavinz
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Upgrade from vintage steel to aluminum?

Didn't know whether to post this here or (C&V)

I'm currently riding my retro-modded '84 Club Fuji. I've upgraded to newer wheels (entry level alex. It is a 58cm and weighs are 23 lbs 9maybe a little less without accessories or heavy TourGuard tires. I'm thinking of upgrading to an aluminum frame road bike built up with older 8/9 speed STI's of 105/ultegra level and nice wheels. I figure I might be able to reduce the weight of my bike by about three pounds, while keeping within $400 (I have access to parts). Would this small weight change and the stiffness of the aluminum frame really make a difference in my performance (My Fuji is Valite, which is supposed to be fairly stiff) ?

Thanks for any help!

Last edited by vincavinz; 08-23-11 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:13 PM
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you might be better served to simply spend $400 to upgrade your wheels to something better than "entry level alex" not to say you couldn't in theory have some nice alex wheels but in general people don't use alex rims when building nice road sets. when it comes to saving weight, you get the biggest bang for your buck in your wheels. When I overhauled an old bike, I saved a ton of weight by going to a more modern crank and bottom bracket as well. do you just want a faster bike for cheap or are you looking for a new bike? are you dead set on keeping the vintage bike vintage or are you considering putting sti's on it?
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Old 08-23-11, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
Didn't know whether to post this here or (C&V)

I'm currently riding my retro-modded '84 Club Fuji. I've upgraded to newer wheels (entry level alex. It is a 58cm and weighs are 23 lbs 9maybe a little less without accessories or heavy TourGuard tires. I'm thinking of upgrading to an aluminum frame road bike built up with older 8/9 speed STI's of 105/ultegra level and nice wheels. I figure I might be able to reduce the weight of my bike by about three pounds, while keeping within $400 (I have access to parts). Would this small weight change and the stiffness of the aluminum frame really make a difference in my performance (My Fuji is Valite, which is supposed to be fairly stiff) ?

Thanks for any help!
Not sure that it's that much of an upgrade at all - or rather an upgrade that you'll be able to feel. Wheels and tires would be better like motobcane69 said.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:24 PM
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I had a similar experience as you did - 1983 Trek 760, upgraded to 9-speed (see story here), was working fine, but I had the opportunity to buy a 2000 Fuji Team for $500, ended up $300 higher with saddle and pedals. The bike was aluminum with carbon fork, full Ultegra 9-speed (early model STI - 6501) with Mavic OpenPro 32-spoke rims. I swapped a Dura-Ace 9-speed group in, the bike is currently around 18lbs. I use it mostly for short, fast rides - it's very responsive, fun, the lighter weight is not as important as the stiffness, the bike really jumps when I accelerate. I still use the Trek on longer rides because it fits a little better and is really comfortable, but I have ridden the Fuji on a 2-day 150mile charity ride with no trouble (Brooks saddle helped). I used to get tired of the aluminum after 40 miles, I think I've just gotten used to it by now.

Not sure what kind of bike you'll find in your price range, but I wouldn't be afraid of aluminum, might be a nice change-of pace.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
you might be better served to simply spend $400 to upgrade your wheels to something better than "entry level alex" not to say you couldn't in theory have some nice alex wheels but in general people don't use alex rims when building nice road sets. when it comes to saving weight, you get the biggest bang for your buck in your wheels. When I overhauled an old bike, I saved a ton of weight by going to a more modern crank and bottom bracket as well. do you just want a faster bike for cheap or are you looking for a new bike? are you dead set on keeping the vintage bike vintage or are you considering putting sti's on it?
The alex wheels are decent - they are what you might find on tiagra level bike...I might put some A-class wheels on that I have from another bike soon...

I commute on in now, so I definitely want a non-commuting bike. i'm just not sure if i'll find a different commuter (another vintage w/ bar ends) or if I'll turn my fuji into a commuter and upgrade... (my commute is 30 miles round trip)

Ive actually already gotten 7 speed sora sti's but want something a little bit better...

Will look into cranks

Thanks!
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Old 08-23-11, 08:44 PM
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http://classicfuji.com/1984_10_ClubFuji_Page.htm

you can see it in it's original glory. Nashbar makes a 1" threadless carbon fork. I think they also make it threaded too but in limited sizes so it may or may not work but you could switch to a threadless setup with the carbon fork and shed lbs and smooth out the ride. some people are against this because it doesn't keep it vintage. I did it on a vintage bike that was hi ten steel and looked like crap to begin with. I took the hi-ten steel bike and got it down from 32lbs to about 23 or 24 and it actually rode really nice. you could nashbar the crap outta this thing and change it up nice. they have a decent road crank for $60, new bottom bracket to go with it for $30 A cheap threadless headset is 20 bucks, a cheap new stem is 20, you can probably use the existing alloy bars. the nashbar fork is usually under $100 and then cap it off with their 10 speed brifters for $100, a new 10 speed chain and a casette and you are in business. Many people will tell you not to do this because you won't recoup it in resale. of course you could just buy a nashbar aluminum frame road bike or a bikes direct bike for cheap and keep the vintage fuji vintage and just make subtle changes to it like maybe the carbon fork but leave the drivetrain as is.
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Old 08-23-11, 08:46 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
The alex wheels are decent - they are what you might find on tiagra level bike...I might put some A-class wheels on that I have from another bike soon...

I commute on in now, so I definitely want a non-commuting bike. i'm just not sure if i'll find a different commuter (another vintage w/ bar ends) or if I'll turn my fuji into a commuter and upgrade... (my commute is 30 miles round trip)

Ive actually already gotten 7 speed sora sti's but want something a little bit better...

Will look into cranks

Thanks!
IF you've got 7speed sora sti's than use them til they die. You shouldn't need a new crank or chain with those but you will need a spacer to use a 7speed casette on a modern 105 hub if i'm not mistaken
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Old 08-23-11, 08:51 PM
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I own a 2003 Lemond Nevada City which is made out of Reynolds 520 tubing. It weighs in around 24.5lbs with pedals.
I also own a 1997 Klein Stage (aluminum) which weighs in around 22.5 with pedals. Both bikes have nearly idential wheelsets and identical tires.
I dont notice much of a difference from the 2lbs of weight, but the difference in stiffness is huge! The Klein responds way better. As a larger rider, I feel more stable out of the saddle. I also feel that the klein is right on par as far as ride quality is concerned too.
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Old 08-23-11, 10:58 PM
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I have a steel bianchi that weighs 22lbs, a 21lb steel colnago, and a fully modern 20lb aluminum frame bike. As others have said the biggest difference is the stiffness. The stiffer bike translates to faster feeling acceleration, less fatigue climbing out of the saddle, more solid feeling sprints. Having a stiffer bike doesn't automatically mean it will handle better though. It might be easier to control for some people. As far as measurable performance, I don't think there is a significant difference between them, especially if you're not racing. A hard climb is still going to hurt no matter how stiff and newfangled the bike is.
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Old 08-26-11, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by motobecane69 View Post
you might be better served to simply spend $400 to upgrade your wheels to something better than "entry level alex" not to say you couldn't in theory have some nice alex wheels but in general people don't use alex rims when building nice road sets. when it comes to saving weight, you get the biggest bang for your buck in your wheels. When I overhauled an old bike, I saved a ton of weight by going to a more modern crank and bottom bracket as well. do you just want a faster bike for cheap or are you looking for a new bike? are you dead set on keeping the vintage bike vintage or are you considering putting sti's on it?
Any suggestions for a nice - affordable set of wheels (I could build them). I'm a very light rider so I think open pros won't be necessary...
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Old 08-26-11, 08:45 PM
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I have a 1992 Paramount with 9sp DA that I ride most of the time. It weighs about 20lbs. Because I really don't want to crash it or scratch it up or have it stolen I built up a cheap aluminum frame with Rival that I use for events and to travel. It weighs 17lbs. My best efforts on each on my regular 38 mile solo loop are with in 1 minute of each other. The aluminum bike is set up a little more aggressively so I can attack harder with it, but overall it is less comfortable to ride so the longer I go the more I want the Paramount.
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Old 08-26-11, 08:49 PM
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These are a nice, affordable all around set:

http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com...-/prod_34.html

Or you could build your own version with Kinlin rims, import hubs (those have Formulas but you could use Novatec or whatever) and the spoke of your choice.
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Old 08-27-11, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
These are a nice, affordable all around set:

http://www.bicyclewheelwarehouse.com...-/prod_34.html

Or you could build your own version with Kinlin rims, import hubs (those have Formulas but you could use Novatec or whatever) and the spoke of your choice.
That's a little more than i want to spend on wheels alone because if I upgrade my fuji I still need to find a decent commuter

If I built wheels up with Tiagra hubs, Open Sport rims, and nice Dt spokes, the wheel would be around 1900g. My current Alex wheel-set weighs around 2230 g WITH the cassette- do the tiagra rear hub's weight of 362 g include the cassette? This set would cost around 150 or possibly less...

Would I be better off getting a carbon fork or a modern crankset/bb? How much weight could these knock off?

Thanks everyone's help!
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Old 08-27-11, 09:20 AM
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Just checked - My bike weighs 26.5 lbs with rack (which is 1.5 lbs), cages, light mounting bracket, cyclometer, pedals, etc, so even if I cut two lbs off the wheels it would come out to 24.5 lbs with the rack - which is necessary for commuting, soooo i think the best option for me it to have a dedicated commuter and a separate "go - fast" bike (n+1 prevails!)that I'll have my clipless pedals on -I haven't used them since I started commuting Would you guys suggest getting a frame and groupset (I'd be looking at 8/9 speed 105 or ultegra) or buy a used and complete bike that was either 90's higher end or a newer used tiagra....

Any other ideas???

Thanks
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Old 08-27-11, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
Just checked - My bike weighs 26.5 lbs with rack (which is 1.5 lbs), cages, light mounting bracket, cyclometer, pedals, etc, so even if I cut two lbs off the wheels it would come out to 24.5 lbs with the rack - which is necessary for commuting, soooo i think the best option for me it to have a dedicated commuter and a separate "go - fast" bike (n+1 prevails!)that I'll have my clipless pedals on -I haven't used them since I started commuting Would you guys suggest getting a frame and groupset (I'd be looking at 8/9 speed 105 or ultegra) or buy a used and complete bike that was either 90's higher end or a newer used tiagra....

Any other ideas???

Thanks
Buying a whole bike is almost always more economical than building one by pieces unless you already have some spare parts or a frame. But if you are competent enough to build a bike you should be up for the minor set up and tuning required of a bikes direct bike:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm
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Old 08-27-11, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
Buying a whole bike is almost always more economical than building one by pieces unless you already have some spare parts or a frame. But if you are competent enough to build a bike you should be up for the minor set up and tuning required of a bikes direct bike:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm
I'd like to stay away from 10 speed though...I can't/don't want to pay for a 10 speed chain every x miles

I'd be looking at used 105/600/Ultegra 8/9 speed
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Old 08-27-11, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
That's a little more than i want to spend on wheels alone because if I upgrade my fuji I still need to find a decent commuter

If I built wheels up with Tiagra hubs, Open Sport rims, and nice Dt spokes, the wheel would be around 1900g. My current Alex wheel-set weighs around 2230 g WITH the cassette- do the tiagra rear hub's weight of 362 g include the cassette? This set would cost around 150 or possibly less...

Would I be better off getting a carbon fork or a modern crankset/bb? How much weight could these knock off?

Thanks everyone's help!
Go to bikehubstore.com they have lightweight hubsets for 100 bucks. I have 2 sets of them branded as "circus monkey" and they are great. I built them with velocity fusion 32 hole rims and and a combination of dt revolution and super comp spokes and my wheelset comes in at 1575 grams. if i were you i would build them with kinlin xr200 or xr 270 depending on how much you weigh and I would go 20/24 or 24/28 again, depending on how much you weigh. I'm 240lbs and my wheels have held up without issue. Keep the sora 7speed sti's especially if you are using it as a commuter and will be locking it up outside. as others have mentioned, you will just need the proper spacer to use a 7speed casette with a modern hub. The $100 nashbar carbon fork is probably around 500 grams vs your existing steel fork which is probably closer to 1500 grams so you can shave 2 lbs by changing the fork. You could probably shave a lot of weight with a new crank bottom bracket setup but that might cause issues if your keeping it a 7speed so I would leave that alone.

if you want to keep this bike as a commuter go ahead and install the 7speed sti's so you don't have to reach for downtube shifters in traffic or when your bike has stuff loaded onthe rack and call it a day. if you want a 9 speed go fast bike, look at bikesdirect.
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Old 08-27-11, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
Just checked - My bike weighs 26.5 lbs with rack (which is 1.5 lbs), cages, light mounting bracket, cyclometer, pedals, etc, so even if I cut two lbs off the wheels it would come out to 24.5 lbs with the rack - which is necessary for commuting, soooo i think the best option for me it to have a dedicated commuter and a separate "go - fast" bike (n+1 prevails!)that I'll have my clipless pedals on -I haven't used them since I started commuting Would you guys suggest getting a frame and groupset (I'd be looking at 8/9 speed 105 or ultegra) or buy a used and complete bike that was either 90's higher end or a newer used tiagra....

Any other ideas???

Thanks
Stop putting money into the fuji. Just keep it as it is and use it as a beater once you buy a nicer bike (save up, or slowly build one over time starting with a good frame)
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Old 08-27-11, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
Stop putting money into the fuji. Just keep it as it is and use it as a beater once you buy a nicer bike (save up, or slowly build one over time starting with a good frame)
Ya - that's what i plan on doing - I'm going to keep an eye on Craigslist this fall/ winter (I'll be in school) and hopefully either get a complete bike or a frame + parts by next spring. I just figures I could build a nice set of wheels, then put them on the new bike...

@ motobecane69 - i've switched to 7 speed sora's and I'll never go back to down tube! Crime is not a concern where I live and working at a bike shop and parking next to much nicer bikes makes it even less of one

Thanks for all your help!

Last edited by vincavinz; 08-27-11 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 08-27-11, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
working at a bike shop
You work at a bike shop??
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Old 08-27-11, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by canam73 View Post
You work at a bike shop??
Only recently started and only part time, but I'm starting school
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Old 08-27-11, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
Only recently started and only part time, but I'm starting school
Well that should help. I take stuff home from work all the time. Unfortunately I don't work in a bike shop, though.
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Old 08-27-11, 09:24 PM
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I say, keep your steel frame as an investment for the future. Put good components on your newly powder-coated steel frame and Viola! There's your new bike with the greatest of components.

PS.

Aluminum is just a ploy of a capitalistic conspiracy to make more money for bicycle manufacturers. If your not racing your bike, then always go with steel.

And that comes from a pure Capitalist!

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Old 09-04-11, 01:06 PM
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Pciked up a Binachi Randouneer the other night. I'm going to build that up as my commuter with my sora STI's and I'm going to upgrade my Fuji to mirage 9 speed because I got a good deal on a NOS shifter. I'm going to eventually upgrade once the right frame/bike comes along...

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 09-04-11, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by vincavinz View Post
Didn't know whether to post this here or (C&V)

I'm currently riding my retro-modded '84 Club Fuji. I've upgraded to newer wheels (entry level alex. It is a 58cm and weighs are 23 lbs 9maybe a little less without accessories or heavy TourGuard tires. I'm thinking of upgrading to an aluminum frame road bike built up with older 8/9 speed STI's of 105/ultegra level and nice wheels. I figure I might be able to reduce the weight of my bike by about three pounds, while keeping within $400 (I have access to parts). Would this small weight change and the stiffness of the aluminum frame really make a difference in my performance (My Fuji is Valite, which is supposed to be fairly stiff) ?

Thanks for any help!
Who says going from steel to aluminum is an upgrade? A change, yes. But an upgrade, that is debatable. I have both and a carbon ride, and don't consider any one of them am upgrade or downgrade from the others, just a change.
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