Recently acquired an old (1980's) road bike, it's barely ridable. Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Alex Lin, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. Alex Lin

    Alex Lin New Member

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    I was recently given an old Suteki bike from the 1980's, and I want to brush it up and use it as a commuter since I plan to go back to school soon. Given that this is my first bike that hasn't been from Walmart, I'm kind of new to the bike building/upgrading scene so everything I know about components I've learned in the past hour or so via Google.

    Here's the low down: It has Shimano 600 front and rear deraileurs, and some tourney brakes. It uses lever shifters that are mounted above the fork and below the handlebars on the headtube, one of which doesn't work at all, and the other which only works halfway. I'm not sure if this is normal or fixable. The brakes don't work unless you depress them all the way down, and even then, they only provide a small amount of stopping power. I'm sure this is fixable with a small amount of adjustments and replacing the brake pads. The chain and wheel spokes are rusted over, and I'm guessing will have to be replaced.

    Upon further research, It seems that the Shimano 2200 (2300) entry-level groupset fits my needs, but are the newer (2010-2011) parts compatible with my 1980's bike? What other options would you guys recommend. I'm trying to spend under $200 making this ridable around campus and the city.

    Much thanks
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Bikes are much more expensive bought piecemeal than as complete packages, so try not to catch upgradeitis. For a bike that'll be left in public places there's also the added worry that something (theft, vandalism) should happen to your precious. I wouldnn't change anything(apart from consumables) unless it was really broken.

    www.sheldonbrown.com is a great place to read up on how your bike should work, and what you can do to get it there. www.parktool.com is nice to. click on the "repair help" tab.

    Exatly what you need is hard to spot over the 'net. The tires might be good, or they might be rotted. Things can have dried up, or they might have rusted. We have no clue to your general level of mechanical ability.

    Chains do rust, and they are fairly cheap. But unless it's rusted solid, a thorough lube and wipedown should bring it back to life.
    The overwhelming majority of spokes are made from stainless steel, so try giving the spokes a rub first. I wouldn't expect mild steel spokes on a bike with Shimano 600/Tourney parts on it. They're decent enough.
    Only thing is if you have steel rims, then I'd look for a compatible replacement wheelset on the cheap. (aluminium) Alloy rims offer better braking in the wet.

    The easy, rational approach is to get a chain, brake pads (Kool Stop Salmon a common favourite) shifter + brake wires + housing. Oh, a chain tool too. Chains are sold overly long and cut to fit. Replace all in one go and see where you're at. Tires if needed.

    If you're more mechanically inclined, tear stuff apart more. Brakes are easy, you can leave one as reference to see how it's meant to go back together, Same for your shift levers. Clean out old gunk, apply a little grease, and stick it back together again. A few special tools will let you repack your wheel bearings etc.

    Assuming it's a steel frame it's theoretically possible to lift it to current standard. But unless someone gives you the parts,it'll be far less expensive to get a newer, used bike instead.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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  4. Alex Lin

    Alex Lin New Member

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    Fucking awesome replies, thank you guys.

    dabac, to your advice, I got new brake pads, tires, brake/shifter wires, and brake levers, and cleaned the rust from the wheels, sprocket cartridge, and chain. A ton of the screws and miscellaneous other metal parts on the bike are rusted, so tomorrow I'm going to begin the tedious process of taking the bike apart and putting everything back together to learn about how the mechanical components work and apply lube to anything and everything.

    A few questions:

    What components/parts should I pay special attention to when applying lube?

    Re-wiring the brakes was easy, but when I tried to re-wire the shifters, I didn't really know how to attach the wire to the rear derailleur. I know where the wire connects to and what screws and such to tighten/loosen in order to put it in the right place, but I what position does the derailleur need to be in and what position do the shifters need to be in when connecting the two using wire? I have this question regarding both the front and rear derailleur.

    The braking power is still subpar with new brake pads, I can't seem to figure out if this is a problem or if that's just how its supposed to be. It takes about 2 seconds to stop going at a good pace. (maybe 10-15mph) My theory is that because I'm used to wider-tired mountain bikes, I have an illusion of slow stopping, but the narrow tires on the road bike don't allow for as much friction as mountain bikes when applying brakes. Is my bike supposed to stop immediately, or is a one to three second standstill normal?

    Also, given the website kdelong posted, what do you guys think of the bike itself? Does this bike have a dreadful history I'm not aware of? If you guys were to guess at the longevity, would this bike last me for two more years assuming I take care of it?

    Thanks again.
     
  5. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    There's a spring in the derailers pulling them towards the smallest sprocket/chainwheel, that's their resting position. So you want to have as little wire as possible wound up on the shifters when the derailers are in their "home" position. Haven't used stem shifters for ages, so I'm not able to tell if this coincides with the shifters being "up" or "down". But you should be able to figure out the "as little wire as posssible" bit by looking at them.

    Most important lessons about lube are probably these:
    - know where to use oil, and where to use grease. Oil goes on the chain, and perhaps into the freewheel. Pretty much all the rest is grease. Get the old, booger like stuff out first if you can. The oil that does any good is the one inside the chain, so apply, then wipe off leaving only a sheen.
    - Enough is enough. More lube will just act as flypaper for dust/dirt.

    For the brakes: check your cable routing. www.sheldonbrown.com has a page about it. You want transitions that are as smooth and short as possible. Big swaying loops will steal energy.

    You might want to wipe the rims down with a fine scouring pad and some rubbing alcohol for instance. There's also a question on how well the pads line up to the rim, sometimes you need a bit of wear before there's optimal contact. Also, check that you haven't got stainless steel rims. There's just no sensible way of getting good braking out of those.

    And no, don't blame the tires. Unless you're skidding the tire, the reason is to be found elsewhere. But there is a difference between road brakes and MTB brakes, so don't expect them to be mirror images of each other. A stopping time comparison is hard to do, as it has a lot to do with how hard you hit it. Even a road bike will stop pretty darn fast with a rider that's slung himself low and to the rear before clamping down hard. Sheldon has a page on brake technique too.

    As for longevity: some frames do crack just from riding, but it's unusual. Most bikes will die of neglect and boredom, not usage. Depending on its previous life, the wheels might give out eventually, and you may need to replace more drivtrain parts. But that's about the limit of probable outcome.
     
  6. doiturself

    doiturself Member

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    Those old brakes are terrible. I restored two 1980 bikes, a Nishiki and a Centurion (12-speeds) and it cost a lot of money. I finally had to toss the Dia Compe brakes because we live in a lot of steep hills and brakes are essential. Replaced them with good quality Sora and Tektro 530 and noticed a huge difference. If you do elect to replace, make sure you know the reach of the brake caliper, ya might need a long reach.
     
  7. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    For under $200 you can buy a set of 10-speed (non-QS/non-Xenon-based are much better) Campagnolo shifters (easily under $150 on eBay) + 7-speed SunRace Freehwheel ($20 +/-) + 8speed-or-9-speed Shimano rear derailleur (this may not be necessary, try your existing rear derailleur, first ... allow $30 +/-) miscellaneous cables & sundries.

    7-speed & 8-speed spacing are almost the same ...

    10-speed Campagnolo shifters + 9-speed Shimano rear derailleur == 8-speed Shimano indexing

    Tires & tubes as needed, of course.
     
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