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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
All,

Ive been riding for a year now, but I am still very much a beginner. My bike is an early 80s Club Fuji. I have ridden the bike for 100s of miles over the last year and I am in need of doing some repairs on the bike. I am wondering how much an old bike limits someone like me. I try to average 100 miles per week and the longest Ive gone in one day is 56 miles. So, I'm still a beginner, but I wonder how much better I would be with a newer, better bike. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Bicycle Bicycles--Equipment and supplies Wheel Tire Crankset
 

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As long as the bike fits, the seat is comfortable, and all the parts work as they should, you'll be fine. People will wax poetic and spooge all over the new technology that's come about in the 30 years since your bike was purchased, but in the end, it's just a bike. Most of the improvements over the last decades are conveniences or refinements of what worked fine before.

When the cost of repairing your bike isn't financially justifiable and/or parts are no longer available, then it will be time to upgrade.
 

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All,

Ive been riding for a year now, but I am still very much a beginner. My bike is an early 80s Club Fuji. I have ridden the bike for 100s of miles over the last year and I am in need of doing some repairs on the bike. I am wondering how much an old bike limits someone like me. I try to average 100 miles per week and the longest Ive gone in one day is 56 miles. So, I'm still a beginner, but I wonder how much better I would be with a newer, better bike. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
If you're putting in 100 miles a week, I think you've gone from "beginner" to enthusiast. As for the bike, I think it depends on what repairs need to be done and how well its holding up to the miles you're putting on it. That said, the basic philosophy around here is "n+1" when it comes to bikes so why not treat yourself to a new ride now that you've caught the cycling bug? It may not make you any faster, but the fact that you're asking the question at all suggests it might make you happier...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Peter and Opus. Im currently wrapping the handlebars, and more significantly, the freewheel needs replaced as there are some broken teeth. Id also like to put a new chain on it. I thought about installing a cassette instead of a freewheel, but I think this would entail a new rear hub and/or rear wheel. Im not sure I want to invest the amount of money required for a different rear wheel.
 

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Yes you will need a new rear hub/wheel if you want to use a cassette. it’s easy enough to find new 7 speed free wheels. Do not be tempted to get an 8 speed freewheel. If your chain is old and worn, definitely get a new one. I use KMC and SRAM 8 speed chains on my 6,7,8 speed bikes. You might be able to ride a little faster on a newer bike but if you enjoy your current bike, stick with it. I find modern caliper brakes easier to set up and adjust, but otherwise older bikes are easier to work on and repair. I have a lot of bikes and I enjoy my 40 year old riders every bit as much as my “new” 10 year old carbon fiber fancy bike (Colnago EPS).
 

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Get a new bike, aluminum, disk brakes, 105 mech gears if you can find one in your size. Most bikes are sold out, but just browsing the comments, that bike is not worth messing with unless you can't find a new one.
 

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Go test ride a new bike and see what you think.
Very few people, if any, would go from an 80's bike to a modern bike and go ewwww I don't want that.

However, given the current economy and global bike shortage, now is a terrible time to bike shop. Most shops don't have much, if any inventory. Bikes are back ordered months. And used bikes are way over priced because of supply and demand.

I'd recommend sticking it out for a bit. Live with your bike. Fix it up if you can. I have a feeling in a few months there's going to be an abundance of used bikes for sale at discount prices once things start opening up and back to normal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Go test ride a new bike and see what you think.
Very few people, if any, would go from an 80's bike to a modern bike and go ewwww I don't want that.

However, given the current economy and global bike shortage, now is a terrible time to bike shop. Most shops don't have much, if any inventory. Bikes are back ordered months. And used bikes are way over priced because of supply and demand.

I'd recommend sticking it out for a bit. Live with your bike. Fix it up if you can. I have a feeling in a few months there's going to be an abundance of used bikes for sale at discount prices once things start opening up and back to normal.
Good ideas. I think I will fix mine up. I am thinking about getting some more modern wheels, adding a cassette and new chain. Hopefully that will make a significant difference. Just to be clear, I very much like my bike, and Im cheap so Id prefer to keep the bike I have. But its difficult to argue with the advancements of modern technology.
 

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If you keep your bike, just get it good enough to ride. Once you ride a new bike, even if you are very frugal, your going to want a new one, if you like to ride. It's just soo much better. A new lower tier bike is not that much more than what you stay your going to do. ...and everything is new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes you will need a new rear hub/wheel if you want to use a cassette. it’s easy enough to find new 7 speed free wheels. Do not be tempted to get an 8 speed freewheel. If your chain is old and worn, definitely get a new one. I use KMC and SRAM 8 speed chains on my 6,7,8 speed bikes. You might be able to ride a little faster on a newer bike but if you enjoy your current bike, stick with it. I find modern caliper brakes easier to set up and adjust, but otherwise older bikes are easier to work on and repair. I have a lot of bikes and I enjoy my 40 year old riders every bit as much as my “new” 10 year old carbon fiber fancy bike (Colnago EPS).
Thanks for the tips. My Fuji has a 6 speed freewheel. Can I use a 7?
 

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This is it exactly, if you knew how to work on bikes and all the little things about them that is one thing, but you don't. I would be easier to get a new bike, cause you don't know and once you get a new bike, you don't need to know cause most the things U will learn don't apply to a new bike, you just dump that one at good will.
 

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Thanks for the tips. My Fuji has a 6 speed freewheel. Can I use a 7?
You mentioned getting new wheels. I think your 6 speed has 126 mm hub spacing. Modern wheels are 135mm.

I think you're looking at wasting a lot of money trying to upgrade that bike. Make it rideable and enjoy it as is. Put the rest in the bank and save up for a real upgrade.
 

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the old bike has zero resale value and doesn't really deserve new parts, just keep it as-is for a back-up/rain bike.

get something newer that fits your budget.
 

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Thanks for the tips. My Fuji has a 6 speed freewheel. Can I use a 7?
Yes, a 7 speed FREEWHEEL will fit on a hub with a 6 speed freewheel. However, if your bike has indexed shifting, it won't work with your 6 speed shifters unless your shifters have a FRICTION mode. See the slippery slope you're going down with the repairs?

Are you sure the 6 speed freewheel has broken teeth? That's almost unheard of.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You mentioned getting new wheels. I think your 6 speed has 126 mm hub spacing. Modern wheels are 135mm.

I think you're looking at wasting a lot of money trying to upgrade that bike. Make it rideable and enjoy it as is. Put the rest in the bank and save up for a real upgrade.
I think this is a good summary of what others have been saying. I will forget the wheels and repair the freewheel. Ill probably put a new chain on it as well. Ive ridden it for hundreds of miles and I can't imagine not being able to continue especially with a few new parts.

You are correct Duriel: I dont know everything about bikes. But I do hope I can learn. Ive worked on cars and motorcycles for years so I hope I can figure it out.
 

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A free wheel and chain is probably a good idea. Probably wouldn't hurt to clean and pack the bearings when you pull the free wheel, front bearings too. There are different free wheel tools so you'll need to get the right one, or maybe a shop will remove it. You don't really need one to replace the free wheel, just spin it on and the first few pedal strokes will snug it up. Check the cables and brake pads and replace if needed. Brake pads can be freshened up with some sandpaper on a flat surface to remove any glazing, unless they are too dried out, then they would need replacing. Freshen the handlebar tape and check the tires.

As long as everything works you basically need to go over the wear items, something that needs to be done on any bike that's ridden any way. That's not up grades, that's maintenance. Just remember that everything is smaller than on the cars and motorcycles so use less muscle.

A new bike ain't gonna make you faster, riding a bike will. Work on the motor and handling skills, as those develop the need for a new bike may show itself. Plus you'll have a better idea of what you'll want and what kind of riding interests you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks velodog for the helpful and thorough response. I wrapped the bars with some new tape and will replace the free wheel and chain soon. The cables definitely need replacing. I think the brake pads are fine. I've replaced the tires fairly recently.

I think your last paragraph says it all. I can't really understand the limitations of my bike until I perform the aforementioned maintenance items AND improve my riding techniques.
 

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All good food for thought here (except the SPAM post #3).

My take is this. Do you like your current bike? Does your current bike motivate you to ride? Would a new bike motivate you to ride more? At some point, the new bike bug will bite. And if you ride in a bike club with others, you will be seeing what others ride and be tempted more. As others have stated, bike supply is scarce now - both bikes and parts. So your best bet is to keep your current bike rideable with small repairs until things settle down in the market.
 
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Thanks for the tips. My Fuji has a 6 speed freewheel. Can I use a 7?
Maybe. Are you using index shifting, or friction? If the latter, yes. If the former, no. Also, the problem with freewheels is this; it's been 35 years since 'good quality' road-bike freewheels have been made, that all the good quality, lightweigh freewheels have been used and worn out. All that are left are the junky, heavy Chinese freewheels made for dime-store bikes. Anything really decent (like old Shimano 600 'color' freewheels) still new-in-the-box sell for ridiculous amounts. Anything else you'll find used on EBay, and you'll be taking your chances with old junk.

Moving up to cassettes, even decent 7-speed cassettes suffer from the same issue. I have 1 old bike (1978 Trek 710) that I updated with a really nice Shimano 600 wheelset with 8-sp components, which I had to spread the dropouts to allow me to fit 130mm wide rear hub equipment. At least high-quality 8-sp cassettes are still available.

My advice to you is that you will soon get to the point where newer ableit used equipment will be cheaper and more reliable than keeping your old equipment going for regular riding.
 

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Hey Ducati! Do you ride a motorcycle? I just got my M1 endorsement 3 years ago and I'm enjoying my 97 Honda Shadow ACE VT1100! I'm an old dude and my engine is not what it used to be. The V-twin will do. Anyway, in my previous life I was nuts about bicycling. I still have 12 bikes. Half are steel with down tube shifters. 3 with STI and one carbon (just to see what all the fuss is about). I started riding in the era of steel bikes (1990s) and to this day I love a good steel ride. All that fancy mechanical shifting do-hickies and plastic fantastic whatnots has it's place if your racing but if you just like the pleasure of long rides with your buds, a good steel frame with down tube shifters are fine. Hey, they're 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 speed compatable!

My body can not take the rigors of riding hard anymore. My racing days are over. I may occacionally race on the velodrome, but that's it. I say if the bike fits you well then learn as much as you can and ride the hell out of the steel steed. It'll only get better. I promise.

Stay safe and keep the rubber side down.
 
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