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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just posted this on the New Members thread in The Lounge ... thought I'd post it here as well.

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Hi, I’ve been on RBR for a few months now, but I never properly introduced myself.

I’m a 38-year-old headhunter named Peter. I rode a lot in high school and college, and just got back into it last year when I moved to Madison, Wisconsin, which is a great place for cycling.

The RBR Politics forum has been a wonderful/terrible time waster, and the Retro-Classic forum regulars have helped me a lot with invaluable bike restoration advice. I wanted to thank everyone who has helped me out, and share the story of my re-introduction to cycling and my introduction to vintage bikes.

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Last summer, I knew only two things about road bikes: 1) I wanted one, and 2) I didn’t want to spend any money to get one.

I combed craigslist and the local “freecycling” listings daily, and eventually saw “Pivo bike – getting thrown away, pick it up and it’s yours free.” Um, what’s a Pivo bike? The picture showed a skinny, dented blue thing with its skinny wheels off, leaning dejectedly against a garage wall. But it had the loopy handlebars that I knew signaled “road bike,” and the price was right, so I grabbed it first and asked questions later.

View attachment 74896

The donor knew nothing about the bike – she was storing it for a friend who’d moved away. She called it a Pivo because of the Pivo engraved on the handlebar stem. Other parts had funny names on them like Campagnolo, Specialités TA, and Fiamme Ergal. Thus began my research and restoration project. I pestered the donor’s friend with questions, visited Yellow Jersey (our vintage-specialty LBS), got a couple of bike repair books, became an eBay junkie, and discovered a wonderful Internet discussion forum called roadbikereview.com.

The Yellow Jersey store owner identified the bike as a Sekai 5000 he’d sold new around 1977, for $900 or so. “We sold hundreds of those … Mark Pringle won the US Nationals on one in 1975 and so they sold very well.” Then a mechanic weighed the bike at around 19 lbs. and said “holy sh*t!” I began to think that maybe this piece of rescued junk was something special. And it even fit me pretty well.

My cyclist friend laughed over the tubular tires. “You’ll get so many flats!” (Not one yet, fingers crossed.) The first time I rode the bike any distance, the rear derailleur cage fell apart. Things got better from there, and the riding has been great overall.

Five months later, I’ve spent about $350 (a lofty sum for me, cheapskate that I am … so much for not spending any money) on parts, tools, LBS service, and assorted bike gear. Plus uncounted late-night hours working on the bike. I’ve touched up the paint job since these pictures. I’ve learned some vintage bike arcana. And I’ve learned that my wife, kids and friends really don’t care about the difference between cartridge bearings and cup-and-cone bearings, or how hard it was to find a 23mm crank puller for $20. There’s plenty more I could do to improve the bike (like getting it dent-rolled and repainted) but I’m trying to keep the costs down here, so I need to pace myself.

RBR has been an essential resource, and I just wanted to thank you again for all your helpful advice!

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snowaholic
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294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dave Hickey said:
That is an amazing find.....An absolutely beautiful bike
Thanks Dave, and thanks for all your help.

I am going to take your advice and get some lye to treat the pedal cages. Not sure if you can tell from the pix, but they have a brownish-blackish outer coating with many worn and scraped spots where the silver metal underneath shows through. I tried the Easy-Off cleaning method, which got them nice and clean but did not take off the dark outer color.

I would do this on the main body of the pedals as well, but I can't figure out how to take them apart. I took off the dustcap on one pedal, exposing the bearings, but couldn't get any further. The pedal was not coming apart easily, and I did not want to apply too much force. So I decided to leave well enough alone, and I'll clean up the outside of the pedal bodies without overhauling them.
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Lawrencer2003 said:
Try some clipless pedals! You'll neer want to ride those rattraps again.
Thanks - I have yet to try clipless pedals, as this bike is my re-introduction to cycling. I'm sure they are better in terms of comfort and efficiency. I'm going to keep this bike as is, 100% retro, since it has all original parts and some pretty nice ones. But I'll do clipless one of these days when I have a modern bike or I do a retro/modern update.
 

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Are you sure you're in the right forum?

Lawrencer2003 said:
.....You'll neer want to ride those rattraps again.
......'those rattraps' are Suntour Superbe road pedals. Did you just hear a rustling sound? That was the multitude of bicyclists in heaven, who stand and take off their caps when that name is mentioned.
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
bicyclerepairman said:
......'those rattraps' are Suntour Superbe road pedals. Did you just hear a rustling sound? That was the multitude of bicyclists in heaven, who stand and take off their caps when that name is mentioned.
Thank you for that comment ... :blush2: ... but I may not deserve it? I did a quick Google Images search for Suntour Superbe pedals and I see the resemblance ... but at Yellow Jersey they said these are Weyless. They did make me swear never to sell these pedals, unless it was to them.

A better photo of one of my pedals is here:
http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=82071

As an aside, I just got a pair of vintage cycling shoes to go with these pedals, but I'm having a hard time finding a pair of old-style slotted toeclip cleats for them at a reasonable price. Any suggestions?
 

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Vintage shoes? Cleats?

Man, are you a glutton for punishment!

I say sell the pedals to Yellow Jersey and go clipless before you wind up with gravel embedded in your skin! I too revere all things Suntour, but certain technologies are just exponential improvements that make a huge difference even on a vintage bike!

PS: Check out the 79 Bianchi on the Yellow Jersey site!
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Lawrencer2003 said:
I say sell the pedals to Yellow Jersey and go clipless before you wind up with gravel embedded in your skin! I too revere all things Suntour, but certain technologies are just exponential improvements that make a huge difference even on a vintage bike!
Hmm … are vintage shoes and toeclip cleats really that bad compared to modern clipless? I wouldn't know - complete noob, cycling-shoe virgin that I am. So far I've only ridden these pedals with their toeclips, wearing ordinary running shoes. I loosen the toeclip strap to get my foot out, but I can also just yank free from a still-tightened strap if I need to in a pinch. Are you saying old-style slotted toeclip cleats are too strongly locked in, and therefore unsafe?
 

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Absolutely! It is very difficult if not impossible to remove your foot from the pedal with the cleat engaged and the straps tight. These were designed for racing and implied a pit crew for the rider. (Hence the term "Rat Trap".)

Clipless pedals are like ski bindings, Look, who basically invented them, is a major ski binding maker. You clip in via a cleat on the bottom of your shoes and can unclip with a simple twist of your foot. They are really easy to use. You get the same benefits of gaining more power from your pedaling without the dangers inherent in the old design.

The only way to screw up is to come to a stop and forget you are clipped in. Happened to me a few times when I started using them. You will quickly get the hang of it.

There are several systems..

1) SPD pedals (Shimano Invented) use a clip that is recessed into the soles of the shoes making it easy to walk but a tad more tricky when clipping in. Shoes that use them are not as stiff as road racing shoes.(Good for casual riding, touring and mountain biking). I use these and prefer them.

2) Look, Campi and Speedplay use various cleats that protrude from the shoe and cause you to walk on your heals. The advantage is a stiffer shoe, more efficiency and easier in & out. (Best for racing)

Your local shop can set you up. A good shop will do a fitting to make sure your mechanics are correct. The cleats come with the pedals. I've mounted my own cleats to shoes in the past but it is best to have the shop do it while you are on the bike and in a roller stand.

There is nothing to recommend use of that nasty old system.
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, now I'm struggling between wanting to preserve the retro integrity of the bike build, and wanting to ride it safely.

Great, thanks a lot! (kidding)
 

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sekaijin said:
OK, now I'm struggling between wanting to preserve the retro integrity of the bike build, and wanting to ride it safely.

Great, thanks a lot! (kidding)
If you are going to ride alot, and do a lot of climbing, it really does makes sense to upgrade the pedals, you won't regret it. If you are attached to the originals for retro reasons, keep them, and put them on when you want to go All Original. You can buy decent used pedals on EBAY....

b21
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, sounds like you're both right ... I know, safety first ... grump grump. I already had my 2005 cycling season end early when I took a spill and broke my hand. I'll do a little more asking around locally but I will probably end up doing one of these options:

1) switch to clipless pedals and shoes per your suggestions
2) keep using these pedals and toeclips with uncleated touring or running shoes that can yank out
3) or I could use these pedals with Power Grips (http://powergrips.mrpbike.com/pg_benefits.shtml) which I already use on my commuter/kid hauler bike. Maybe that's no worse a retro foul than the other options? They attach to rattrap pedals, with a pretty good tight fit that's still easy to step out of. I like em for commuting and family riding b/c I can wear any street shoes in em. (I would leave my cycling shoes at home for riding with family ... they think I take the bike geek stuff way too seriously!)
 

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snowaholic
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Postscript

After mulling the comments here and inquiring elsewhere, I think I'll keep the old pedals and toeclips (for vintage integrity) but ride in uncleated shoes (for safety). I'm thinking of getting Adidas Samba indoor soccer shoes, which seem to be popular as a poor man's toeclip cycling shoe, and have a retro look.

Thanks everyone!
 

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Boobies!
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Great resto--& I like the idea of keeping the vintage pedals/clips.

I'm weighing in late, but I rode thousands of miles with the oldstyle cleats. I disagree with Lawrence2003 that they are inherently more difficult to get out of than modern shoes.
Everyone got used to riding with their straps not so tight (much like you're already doing) and then would cinch them up on the fly, for sprints, climbs, etc. No one in their right mind road in traffic with them really tight, just like now, no one in their right mind cinches up their Looks if they're riding in traffic either.

Getting out when required a bit of a kick forward, then pick up and out--no harder to master than twist left or whatever for the new shoes.

All said and done, the new pedals are better, since you can set them up more precisely--how tight do you want to be?--and especially the new shoes are better since you are no longer at the mercy of some shoe maker to nail on cleats. I think you can find New/Old shoes with bolt-on old-style cleats--I think it's worth a try,
 

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I say this with the greatest respect. If you are interested in efficiency, and that is why the cleat/rat trap was invented, why bother if you are going to keep your set up loose? While you are reaching down to tighten or loosen straps there are a myriad of catastrophies to experience. Clipped in to a set of modern pedals, you are efficient no matter how loose/tight you set the release and you are focused on the road. I can say this having flown over my bars chasing down a "rabbit" after I popped out of my pedals...You do need to set up a clipless system correctly. You also don't want a ski binding set too loose if you are an expert skiier. Still, you are always clipped in and nano second away from a clean release. Yes, you can get used to anything, but as I type this, I'd never trade my PC for a typewriter.

Stay retro Paredown, and have fun with it but defense of the cleated rat trap is akin to defending the bear trap ski binding that led to the sport being associated with broken legs.
 

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Boobies!
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Ouch--I never meant to defend the old-style as superior to modern clipless, only to add a little correction that they were not so dangerous as you first made out, nor did we rely on mechanics etc to deal with getting in and out.

Ergo, Sekaijin can ride them without fearing for his life at every minute & I thought even old-style cleats would be an improvement, since he's decided to stay retro. As for me, I'm using Looks--except on my original racing bike which still has the original Campy pedals with toeclips, but I haven't ridden that except for coffee for 10 years.

(And btw, when the straps weren't tight, you were still held in to a degree, since the cleat was over the edge of the pedal and fairly tight in the clip...and, a small benefit to not being totally locked in, may have been a smoother style....)

The problem of unclipping was/is a very real one (want to see my scars?), especially on the track where the 'jumps' tended to be severe. One of my old friends lost his heat at the Munich Olympics when he pulled his shoe out in the individual pursuit...An early attempt to solve the problem involved bolting shoes to the pedals, & for that you really did need a mechanic to help you 'put your bike on'.

But as a born again cyclist, I think the new equipment rocks--brakes are better, ergo shifters rock, wheels are better, there is more variety in frames (and some unbelievable improvements, in weight and strength), and geez 10 speed clusters and perfect spacing (and still be covered for varieties in terrain)--wow, that is a dream come true.

I'm still reserving judgment on threadless steerers, since replacing a fork to get a different height set up seems to be a retro step, but that's another conversation.
Cheers,
 
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