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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I found this Univega Nuovo Sport at a garage sale for $20:



Suntour derrailers, Diacompe brakes, chromed steel bolt-on 27" wheels, stem shifters... overall it seems kinda low-end but it was $20 and fits me perfectly. Maybe it'll become a single-speed if I can't get these Suntour components to work properly ;)

The thing I can't figure out though is how old is it? I have never before seen a "UniVega" logo using this font:



I am more familiar with the all-caps UNIVEGA with the horizontal lines, like on my old '89 Rover and all other 'vegas I've seen. It also has a blue-white-red rectangular badge riveted to the steering head. Is this thing really, really, old, or is it fairly new and just poorly cared for?
 

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Guessing...

late 70's, early 80's...

If you're taking build requests, I'd have to suggest fixed!

I like all road bikes, never met one I wouldn't ride. But these low end bikes lack any kind of cool factor unless...You remove all parts and fix gear it.

Since the age and origin of the bike may be in question, what ever you do, don't throw away any parts, especially headset or bottom bracket and cranks. Years ago, what was standard then may not be standard today and hard to find matching threads.

On the cheap, I'd have the rear wheel dish removed (rim centered with hub) so you can thread on a fixed gear. If you keep the rear brake on and promise to never slow down using your cranks, this method would be fine.

Remove all other parts, pack all of the bearings with grease (wheel axles, bottom bracket and headset). Have a blast on it.

A cool find, even at low end, these bikes are a part of the US road bike boom and makes them historic...to the person who can appreciate it.
 

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racerx said:
mid to late 70's...

If you're taking build requests, I'd have to suggest fixed!

I like all road bikes, never met one I wouldn't ride. But these low end bikes lack any kind of cool factor unless...You remove all parts and fix gear it.

Since the age and origin of the bike may be in question, what ever you do, don't throw away any parts, especially headset or bottom bracket and cranks. Years ago, what was standard then may not be standard today and hard to find matching threads.

On the cheap, I'd have the rear wheel dish removed (rim centered with hub) so you can thread on a fixed gear. If you keep the rear brake on and promise to never slow down using your cranks, this method would be fine.

Remove all other parts, pack all of the bearings with grease (wheel axles, bottom bracket and headset). Have a blast on it.

A cool find, even at low end, these bikes are a part of the US road bike boom and makes them historic...to the person who can appreciate it.
Low end from the 70s would have a cottered crank. Of course, the shifters being where they are mean that it is far from high end.
 

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As near as I can see, it has the exact same spec as my 1979 Rampar. SR Silstar cranks, Suntour shifters and derailleurs. Are those Polygon center-pull brakes? Hi-ten frame and fork too. A $200 ten-speed in 1979 dollars, far from top of the line, 2nd level up from the bottom of bike shop bikes. I probably did as much riding on that bike as my next 2 bikes combined!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
bwana said:
Low end from the 70s would have a cottered crank. Of course, the shifters being where they are mean that it is far from high end.
The head on the right side of the crank actually says "Univega Cotterless" and has a keyhole-like opening. What this means I don't know :confused:

I always wondered what the gripe was about stem shifters; I half suspected it was just snobbery. IIRC I had stem shifters on my Murray 10-sp. back in the '80s and I don't recall disliking them. OTOH I was 13 years old and don't remember much at all. But I aired up the tires and took this thing out for a ride today, and man those friction stem shifters suck. I get it now :p

This bike is getting a single-speed conversion for sure, though I'm not sure that I'm ready to go fixed gear. What are the potential gotchas on a bike this old? I'm perfectly willing to replace the wheel and crank if necessary.
 

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Keep as much as you can...

undies said:
The head on the right side of the crank actually says "Univega Cotterless" and has a keyhole-like opening. What this means I don't know :confused:

I always wondered what the gripe was about stem shifters; I half suspected it was just snobbery. IIRC I had stem shifters on my Murray 10-sp. back in the '80s and I don't recall disliking them. OTOH I was 13 years old and don't remember much at all. But I aired up the tires and took this thing out for a ride today, and man those friction stem shifters suck. I get it now :p

This bike is getting a single-speed conversion for sure, though I'm not sure that I'm ready to go fixed gear. What are the potential gotchas on a bike this old? I'm perfectly willing to replace the wheel and crank if necessary.

The same, especially the crank. Looks like you should be able to remove the extra chain rings.

Also looks like you have 27 inch wheels rather than 700. I bet you have a screw on freewheel too, so if you want to go single speed, you have a couple of options.

1. Keep the freewheel on and simply use the cog that best lines up with your front small ring. I'd guess it would be your third from the smallest cog.

This option is cheap, as in $0 and removes the need to re-dish, but takes all of the coolness factor out.

2. Remove the freewheel and buy a bmx style freewheel. These are simply a single cog freewheel.

This will cost you LBS time unless you happen to have the right tools to remove the existing freewheel.
And it adds the cost needed to redish, unless you get lucky and line up OK. Not likely.

But it brings back some of the clean look and some cool points.

3. Bite the bullet. Get a 27 inch wheel with a fixed/flip-flop hub and go totally fixed. Keep the brakes though (my opinion).

Based on reading between the lines, I think 2 or 3 (especially 3) gets you what you want.
 

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If I remember correctly, only the inner chainring is removable on that crank, which would leave you with a 52T as your only ring.
 

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If that be the case...

bobj said:
If I remember correctly, only the inner chainring is removable on that crank, which would leave you with a 52T as your only ring.
I'd leave the crank in tact until I stumbled across a good crank that would fit the existing bb spindle. Again, I'd want to convert this one on the cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
bobj you are correct, only the inner ring is removable. I can just put a slightly larger ring on the rear to compensate; it'll take some experimentation for sure.

I bought a new 27" wheel from the LBS for $35. It should be a lot lighter than the original steel rim, and anyway the original wheel was badly untrue and I'm not sure it could be straightened. I'm thinking with the new wheel I should have some flexibility because I can use modern components. I should be able to use some spacers to get the rear sprocket lined up.

To be completely honest I'm very ignorant when it comes to bicycle stuff so I'm using this as a learning experience. I'm sure I've already made a few mistakes. But I am coming into this from motorcycling, so even if I sink $100 into this thing it still seems like a very cheap project to me ;)
 
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