Newbie - Part interchangeability?



Socracheese

New Member
Jan 12, 2012
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Hey guys! I'm going to go pick up my first road bike tomorrow- a cheapo off of craigslist for fifty bucks. I've already googled and identified the bike: its a cheap Raleigh from the 70s under the name RAMPAR. I have also researched and I know that they were generally cheap and lower quality. I have a few questions:

- Am I wasting my time with this bike? I'm just looking for a basic commuter that I wouldn't kill myself if it got stolen.

- If I bought new parts such as cogs, handlebars, wheels, etc, are they relatively universal on road bikes? I think it has 27" wheels.

- Anything else I should watch out for or keep in mind?

- I've never ridden a fixie, how impractical are they? Does such a thing exist thats only like two-speeds, to make it a little easier to deal with?

- Basically Later on I'd love to break this thing down and get it powdercoated and put it back together with nicer parts, and I want to make sure its worth doing.

This is the bike itself:
http://i.imgur.com/MU51i.jpg

Thanks!
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
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The frame looks quite large. Hopefully your a little on the tall side.
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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The bike you are considering retailed for around $200 bucks over 30 years ago. It's very similar to my first bike, a total tank that weighed 27lbs. A bike who's archaic centerpull brakes struggled to grab onto shiny steel rims in the rain threatening to shorten my life on every steep hill. A bike I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy. But nonetheless a bike that after hundreds of dollars of upgrades earned very slowly at a minimum wage of $3.35/hour took me to my first podium spot at Bear Mountain. I think with a little more searching, and a slight increase in budget of another $50 or $100 bucks you could probably end up with a newer bike that initially retailed for more.

It looks to be at least a 25" frame, probably good for someone 6'2" or taller.

A fixie is good if are riding on the track, already an accomplished fixie rider, live in a completely flat part of the world, or are needing to fit into a group of hipsters. IMO a fixie is about as practical as a down jacket in the Sahara.

If this bike has forged dropouts, as opposed to stamped steel dropouts, I would consider it. I doubt it does, but that would be my threshold considering what you've indicated as to upgrading parts down the road or nicing up the finish. They're stronger and indicative of a better quality build. Some of the parts are going to be tough to find at a bike shop, as many of them are obsolete and would require hunting on Craigs or eBay.

Ultimately it's all about your needs. And I would add that a lower quality bike that fits you well is better than a quality bike that doesn't fit.
 

Socracheese

New Member
Jan 12, 2012
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Thanks for this. Noting the frame height, I asked the seller about it, and it would be uncomfortably tall for me, so I called off buying it. Your advice will help me on my search.
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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Search online for 'bicycle size chart', you will find a bunch of baseline tables which will help you narrow it down size-wise. They are available in both inches and centimeters as some bikes come labeled one way or the other. The charts all vary a bit and it's just a baseline. It's usually older bike models that may have been sized using inches i.e. 21",22", 23" instead of say 52cm, 54cm, or 56cm. Once you find something and give it a quick test ride you'll have a better idea if it feels good or not.
 

RoadBikeGerman

New Member
Jan 12, 2012
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i'm in the same boat you are as far as modifications... my bike is a 70's bike as well with 27" wheels.

i'm going a different route than you sound like you are though. and as far as i know, in order to make it a 2 speeder you'd have to probably get cassette style wheels? at least that's what the guy at the LBS sounded like he was saying, like you can stack gears. so if you find two different sized one-speed cassettes it sounds like you could stack them and lock em in....

but the problem is, the type wheel you have is like mine probably? and the freewheel threads on rather than just pushes onto splines. and i think that's where you're gonna run into problems if you want to start changing speeds and whatnot. it looks like with my situation at least if i want that splined cassette style, i'll have to get 700c wheels, and lonnnng brake calipers to make sure i have enough adjustment for the slightly smaller wheel.