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Advice on a recent bike purchase

Old 08-03-11, 09:17 PM
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Advice on a recent bike purchase

Hello everyone...

I just happened across a Panasonic Sport 1000 on Craigslist that I bought for $50. Other than a couple of small scratches, the bike looks like it came off the showroom floor. Even the Selle Italia Anatomic seat is in mint condition. The bike was manufactured in 1985. The people I bought this bike from even had the original owners manual. It really has to be seen to be believed. Even the foam cover on the handlebars is in perfect condition. I'm in love with this bike even over my Trek 520 and have been riding it everywhere. The bike just feels right and seems to be built like a tank.

After some research, I found that the Sport 1000 wasn't their lowest model, but it was below their touring bikes, but I guess top of their 'cheaper versions'. After finding Panasonic's spec sheets for their 1985 bikes, I noticed that my bike has the same double-butted CroMo frame as their touring bikes, but the rest of the gear was downgraded to good, but not great 80's shimano components. So my question is, do any of you have experience with this frame for touring? I'm really considering taking the frame to a local powdercoater, refitting the bike with some newer gear, and making it my primary touring bike. I've never ridden a Surly Long Haul Trucker, but it has that geometry and 'vibe'. I'm really loving how this bike goes down the road, how I feel (with a bad back) when I get off it, and it gives me that nostalgia feeling from the 80's era that I must admit I rather enjoy. But.. it's I guess a dealbreaker if the quality isn't up to par. It doesn't appear to be in any way poorly built, rather it seems better built than my trek, but this is my first time owning one and I only vaguely recall them in magazines in the 80's. btw, I'm no speed demon when I tour, my wife and I tour for the scenery and the fun of it so the comparative advantages of a newer bike really hold no appeal for me. Especially since my wife will sometimes ride 50 miles on her beach cruiser.. so we aren't exactly breaking land speed records.

Any input would be appreciated.. I'd hate to spend the money on the upgrades and have a frame that snapped.
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Old 08-03-11, 09:30 PM
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I don't have any experience with that particular bike, but as long as it fits right and is comfortable then I don't see any reason not to use it if you can get it to do what you want. If the paint is in good shape I'd probably upgrade components first and be sure it's a keeper before doing any powder coat.
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Old 08-03-11, 10:01 PM
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That makes sense, but I guess I'm just looking for that affirmation where somebody tells me that they've beat that frame to death and it just kept on going. I've been itching to do a complete rebuild on an older bike for a long time. Part of me is going to hate to upgrade it just because it's in good enough condition that it would be a decent bike for a collecter (if there is someone looking for 80's Panasonic bikes). But! yes, the bike fits like a glove and if the quality is good, it'll be my new/old primary touring bike. I'm just hesitant to jump on it and start crossing states and borders without a bit more info.
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Old 08-03-11, 10:49 PM
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congrats on finding a bike you really like. its not uncommon for a manufacturer to build-up a frame with different levels of components to keep the price down. you should keep riding it as is and if something breaks you can upgrade to a higher quality component. before you know it you'll be riding the 1985 team issue panasonic. I would suggest replacing the foam grips w/ some proper tape, I recomend the fizik dual.
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Old 08-04-11, 01:22 AM
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Thanks Yes, I really do like this bike. I do plan on replacing the foam for sure and probably the cassette, wheels and tires. The derailleur, brakes are middle of the road quality, but I'm not in that big of a hurry to change them right now since they work very well and it shifts better than some of the newer high end stuff I've ridden. Have you or anyone heard of these frames being ridden on long hauls? I'm really guessing they are quite capable with the CroMoly frame and double butted welds, but being from 1985, I'm not finding any real info as to how they perform long term. My gut says the frame is as good as either the Trek 520 or the Surly LHT, but for all I know for sure, they might be notorious for some defect in craftmanship. I might be being going a little overboard trying to find this out, but I'm looking to go all out on making this bike perfect for me. I just hope that I'm going to do it on something that'll last a long time. I'm not one that likes to upgrade all the time but rather I want something that lasts forever if I maintain it properly.
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Old 08-04-11, 08:19 AM
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Just go for it, if you want to. It doesn't sound like you're looking for advice, but affirmation. Although if it's in as nice condition as you say, I don't know why you'd want to powdercoat it. Never heard of issues with Panasonic frames, but I haven't heard of big issues with any of the higher-quality Japanese bicycle makers in the 1980's (Miyata, Bridgestone, Lotus, Nishiki, etc.). I wouldn't have any issue with servicing the bike and hitting the road if it's in the condition you say it is.

If you are nervous, then why not just re-tape, do a hub and headset service, put on some new tires, and ride it as is for a while? Then after a few months, you can give it a total makeover.
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Old 08-08-11, 07:16 PM
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Thanks Threecar, that's pretty good advice and pretty much the path I'm following. There is really no reason to powdercoat the frame, but I'm not so much in love with the dark brown frame color and was thinking aesthetics more than anything else.

I got rid of the factory foam and replaced it with Fizik wrap which feels a lot better.

I've got one spoke to replace, but that's my fault since I couldn't locate my spoke wrench and thought channel locks would work in a pinch and all it did was destroy the nipple. It has brand new tires on it and had a full work up by the people who sold it to me about a month before they sold it. They actually spent about double on the service + tires than I paid for the bike, but they wanted to get rid of it and figured having the service done was the only way they could sell it.

I'm a big fan of quality steel frame bikes since I care more about durability than speed and this bike seems to have it all. I was just hoping to find someone on the forum that had experience with Panasonic bikes that would share their opinion with me.
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