Help ID this bike (mid-80's Murray Serotta?)

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by pearl-drum-man, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    I've had this bike since the late '80's, and have recently dug it out of storage and wanted to know if it was worth refurbishing for use. Based on my research thus far, it appears it may be some variant of a Murray Serotta, though it doesn't appear to be one of the coveted team/Olympic bikes.

    Here is some brief history, my Mom purchased the bike for me off of one of her cousins in the late '80's. He was really into cycling, and had a new bike so sold her this one for me. I rode the bike for 4-5 years, and then my brother took it out one day and wrecked it. The bike has been in storage ever since.

    I'm no bike expert, but just looking at this thing it seems to be a quality frame (at least for the 1980's). It is extremely light compared to my current mountain bike. Looking at the Murray Serotta pics I have seen online it seems to resemble them in build and style very closely, though I have not seen any whites yet such as the one I have.

    Have a look and tell me what you think! Basically I want to figure out if it is worth getting back on the road or if it is nothing more than scrap metal. I will try to get additional info (serial #'s and the like later).
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I can tell you immediately what the value is if you can list the components...assuming their original equipment that is.
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Well, I don't see where your brother wrecked the bike (scrapes don't count) ... unless the fork is bent.

    REGARDLESS, while I don't believe that it was a particularly expensive bike when it was new (what gives you the idea that SEROTTA had anything to do with the bike?!?), I have to tell you that unless the frame-or-fork is actually bent, it is certainly worth gettting back on the road.

    FYI. The bike's frame appears to have been designed to use EITHER 27" wheels OR 700c wheels (with the bike currently having 700c wheels, it would seem).

    I presume those are Weinmann brake calipers ... some Weinmann brakes were pretty good, some were just 'okay' (hey, but certainly good enough) ... the brakes on your bike are closer to the latter.

    The crankset is a really inexpensive crank (it mostly means that it's heavier & not finished as nicely).

    Overall, the bike was probably in the lower end of the middle of Murray's product line.

    Anyway, while it is NOT worth restoring to its original condition unless you have some sentimental reasons to do so, it might be worth updating with some contemporary components ... most of the components you put on the bike can be moved to another bike in the future, so your budget is your limitation ...
    For $300(US)-or-less you could actually update it with some 10-speed (non-QS) Campagnolo shifters + a 7-speed SunRace Freewheel + a 9-speed Shimano rear derailleur ... with other updates being optional. If you were ambitious, you could respace the rear dropouts to 130mm and install a new rear wheel (or, relace the rim with a new hub) and install a 9-speed Shimano cassette.

    You can certainly spend MORE than $300, particularly if you have someone else do the work.
    BTW. If that saddle is set at the correct height for you, then the frame isn't the best size for you & THAT is possibly the only reason that you should find a new home/owner for the bike. If you've grown in the past few years, then I would suggest you spend as much-or-little as you want & ride the bike a little longer ...

    What kind of riding did you want to do AND what is your budget?
     
  4. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I never heard of the Murray Serrota and nothing significant popped up on a web search. However, I've actually seen one of each, a custom built Huffy and Murry racing bikes with Campy Nuovo and Super Record stuff on them back in the 80's!! Both, if I remember correctly, came out of New York. That's why I was asking the question about components. Both, the Huffy and Murry with Campy stuff are very rare and I've never seen once since.
     
  5. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    Thanks, I'll try to catalog what I see today and update. Regarding your next post, here is a pic of a Murray Serotta team bike (note "serotta" on the rear lower frame-rail). Based on my research Serotta provided bikes for Murray who was the sponsor from 1984-1986, then Huffy got involved from something like 1986-1988. Clearly my bike is not a 7-eleven team bike, but still trying to track down what it is as it resembles said bike very closely. I guess mainly I want to determine if the frame is a worthy foundation to add decent parts and make ride-able, or if I'm better off scrapping it and looking for a new/used bike.
     
  6. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    I responded to a couple of your specific comments in red in the quote above. Thanks for the suggestions on parts. I'm not a "hard-core" rider, but do it for enjoyment and exercise. I want a competent bike, but am not looking to spend a ton of money for top shelf parts. I am willing to sink a few hundred in this bike if its determined that the frame is a higher quality piece.
     
  7. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    The crankset looks just like the one on my '85 Schwinn World. It is of somewhat better than basic quality. The crank may not be original though.

    The way to tell a high end steel frame is: 1. what does it weigh? and 2. are the dropouts forged?

    Anyway, it's probably a somewhat better than basic bike.

    Why not rebuild it? You won't need $300 assuming the rear axle is all that's bent. Get a new rear axle, bearings, and cones, regrease the rest of the bike, learn to straighten wheels, and you're good to go. The parts are all still available.

    A better frame would be a bit lighter and would ride better. It would also impress a select few aficionados. A nice helmet, shorts, and jersey would do better for most folks.
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Re-aligning the rear derailleur can be a DIY project unless you are visually-or-physically challenged ... some bike shops can also remedy the problem.

    As a DIY task, you need a relatively large adjustable wrench OR a typical pipe wrench (both will have handles which are 12", or longer) ...


    A pipe wrench with a couple of scraps of plywood to sandwich the derailleur hanger is probably easier to use than an adjustable wrench because of the 90º angle of the jaws to the handle ...
    • Remove the derailleur
    • Clamp the derailleur hanger in the "jaws" of the "wrench"
    • TWEAK with whatever you perceive to be 5 lbs of force (the steel is softer than you probably realize)
    "Measure" and repeat as necessary.
    • Put the derailleur back on.
    Done!

    Is your frame one made by Dave Serotta? IMO, probably not.

    Tell tale signs include the excessive tire clearance which suggests it was (as I indicated) designed for EITHER 27" or 700c wheels (based on where the brake pads are located within the adjusting slots of the calipers) with fenders -- a very consumer oriented design (nothing wrong with that ... most of us are just plain-folk, aren't we?).

    If you look at the lugwork which joins the tubes, you will see that the joints lack the crafstmanship that one would expect from a high end frame builder.

    The lugs, themselves, are not the type which are typically used on high end bike frames.

    The components are, as I indicated, good-enough, but would be classified as low-middle (by me, anyway).

    As garage sale GT suggest, you don't need to spend $300 ... after aligning the rear derailleur hanger, you probably only need to re-wrap/replace the handlebar tape to get the bike as useable as it was before your brother "wrecked" the bike.

    However, $300 (if spent judiciously) can make your bike almost comparable to most bikes you would pay minimally $800+ for in a bike shop. $600 can put your bike in the $1500+ category.

    BTW. I'm not sure that a "better" frame would actually ride better because some would have a geometry which is better suited for are more demanding riding situations (e.g., relatively tight turns at relatively high speeds).
     
  9. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    Thanks for the insights. I agree, fixing the frame should be an easy enough task. After which I will remount the derailleur and see if it is functional, although I did notice today that one of the small gears is completely missing a tooth, probably from the wreck. I may look into new wheels, not really sure what kind of shape these are in now.
     
  10. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    Gathered a bit more info from the bike which will hopefully prove useful.

    Brakes are Dia Compe
    Shifter/Derailleur are by Suntour (Vx)
    Crank is Sugino (also says Idol down the pedal shaft).
    The entire bike's weight is 26lbs. (Is that light for an '80's road bike?)

    I added a couple more pics of the Olympic decals, and the stamps on the handle bars. My gut feeling is that this bike may have been produced as some sort of consumer "replica" of the Olympic team bikes. I found the Serotta website so I may contact them and see if they can offer any insights, as I believe Murray is no longer.
     
  11. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Not.

    I can assure you Serotta never made a bike like this. You do have a decent low-mid-level campus bike of mid-80s vintage.
     
  12. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    Any idea/explanation what the other bikes pictured are then?
     
  13. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    The one on the left definitely is. No quality builder would have counterfeited Serotta's pantographing on the seatstay cap. Case in point--Andy Hampsten's Giro D'Italia bike was made by John Slawta (Landshark), was painted in Huffy livery, but has no detailing that tries to pass it off as a Serotta.

    The one on the right probably is. It looks right, it's definitely team issue--note the brazed on number plate bracket. I have no reason to believe that it isn't. Anyone good enough to build this bike would not be in the counterfeiting business.

    Here's the tailless one's guide to picking fine steel lugged competition frames from the '70s-'80s:
    - Tube quality: A fine bike will not always have tubing decals so you have to look closely and judge in context. The tubes are never seamed. Examine a '70s Peugeot UO8 with your fingertips and see what I mean.
    - Proportions: the wheels are 700c, the clearances--tire to bridges, tire to seat tube--are snug but practical.
    - Lug work: some builders taper their lugs to lighten them and make them look prettier, others just clean them up and leave them full for strength, stiffness, and to facilitate repair.
    - Profile: the angles are 72-74 degrees, the bottom bracket is low (26.4-27.0 mm ground to center), and the fork bend is artful, never a hook or a dogleg.
    - Details: the fork crown is never capped. There are often stiffening tangs added where the fork blades meet the crown. Cutouts are often present in the lugs and bottom bracket shell. Pantographing on the lugs is often present, on the seat stay ends, fork crown, bottom bracket shell, or other lugs. There is chroming--whole fork or just the crown, chainstays, chainstays and seatstays, or just on the drive side. You can often gauge the vintage by what's chromed and what isn't. The dropouts are forged, not stamped, they are branded, and the right rear includes the derailleur hanger. Top Italian, British, Japanese, and US bikes nearly always take a 27.2 mm seat post.

    Serotta never built a less than artisan quality steel bike, although some of his early '70s frames pushed the profile parameters a bit.
     
  14. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    You really need a keener eye + you need to stop obsessing about whether or not your bike is a high end bike or a consumer level bike ... it was-and-is a reasonably good frame with 'okay' components.
    My gargantuan 60cm Gitane [yes, that's the size the shop sold me -- I'm 5'9"]which was made with "gas pipe" (i.e., seamed, high carbon steel tubing) weighed within a couple ounces of 24 lbs. after I changed the wheels to tubulars, the crankset to a Sugino, the derailleurs to Shimano & the original handlebars to an SR, and some other component changes.

    If I had THAT MODEL frame in a smaller size (because I ride a smaller size, now), I wouldn't hesitate to refit it with contemporary components EVEN THOUGH it could never weigh less than 23 lbs. because I know what a great riding bike it was.
    What is your potential budget regardless of whether or not you eventually deem your Murray to be worthy?

    Almost anything you might buy to use on your Murray can be used on a different bicycle ...

    So, unless you are someone who wants/needs the latest-and-greatest I think you should take the time to straighten the derailleur hanger (in the WORST CASE SCENARIO, you would remove the derailleur hanger and then buy a derailleur hanger that was commonly used on bikes in the 60s & early 70s for between $3-and-$10 (depending on fair your local bike shop is).

    Another reason to consider a different bike is if you HATED the way the bike rode ...

    BTW. It was not uncommon for the decals of one bike maker to be used on a bike made by someone else.

    Even if the second bike isn't a Serotta, it is clear (apparently, to everyone but you) that it is very different from your bike ... and, the components are better, too, than the components on your Murray.
     
  15. pearl-drum-man

    pearl-drum-man New Member

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    Thanks for the detailed insights!!!
     
  16. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    I'd say the tapered lugs were stronger because they avoid a sudden concentration of stress where the lug leaves off and the unsupported part of the tube begins. Things like that can lead to cracks.
     
  17. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    It's a low-mid level bike, not the rare Murry I was hoping you had. The components and weight gave it away. I have two mid 80's bikes and the Miyata weighs 23 while the Trek weighs 21 (though the Trek use to weigh 19 when I raced it with some lighter stuff on it then what it now has). So no, at 26 pounds that's heavy, BUT most department store Murrays actually weighed more like 30 to 33 pounds, so you have a lighter Murray then commonly purchased back in the day for that brand.
     
  18. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Masi and Gios are two that did not taper lugs, or if they did it was very minimal. Furthermore, the points on the head tube lugs on every Masi Gran Criterium, Italian and Californian, I've seen, including the one I ride, are remarkably short and blunt.

    I trust the masters. More often the cause of cracking is overheating the tube ends in the brazing process.
     
  19. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    They had some issues with the bottom bracket lugs weren't long enough to support some other older lighter tubing and the lug would peel open the down tube, and sometimes the seat tube like a can opener. But they eventually fixed that by making the lugs longer and/or the butted tubing at the bottom bracket area a tad thicker. If I remember this was more of an issue with mostly French racing bikes, and only a minor issue with the Italian steeds, due to the French tubing was more "noodly" thus it flexed more in the bottom end.
     
  20. slm

    slm New Member

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    Well, not much comes up on the net, but I DO HAVE ONE OF THESE BIKES. I contacted Ben Serotta by mail, and he wrote back, verifying that it was an Olympic support bike (serial number). It is a Serotta frame, with Murray written on the frame, Campy components. I bought it from a guy who won it in a raffle for Olympic Games employees. It's a super bike!:D
     
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