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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello weight weinies :)

I've got a very large frame (68/69) steel road bike I bought on eBay. It says Fuji Sport 12 on the frame.

I'm new to cycling and got the bike because I'm 6' 7" (215lbs) and didn't want to spend thousands (yet) on a custom frame, evidently back in the 80's their were a lot more sizes available. (The bike has a green Belittle Bicycles sticker from it's original sale in NY City, I bought it from a dealer in Dallas, TX) I'm now training for a triathlon in May, so this will be my beginner tri bike.

Are there practical (affordable, I paid $199 for the bike) things I could change on the bike that would lighten it's current 33lbs, or make it easier to ride? Any aero stuff?

My first thought on this was to buy new current components for the bike that I would later move to a custom frame. But this idea was shot down in a tri forum because evidently all the new stuff uses different size standards. Then I thought maybe there might be a supply of the high-end old stuff that would fit the bike and be cheap because no one uses those sizes anymore?

For instance, I found a set of 27" Mavic MA2 wheels with quick release hubs (mine dont' have quick release) that would fit. Would this be much of an upgrade over the stock wheels?

Thanks, any thoughts from the experts would be appreciated, I've attached at text file with all the specs I know.

Damon
 

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Damon L said:
My first thought on this was to buy new current components for the bike that I would later move to a custom frame. But this idea was shot down in a tri forum because evidently all the new stuff uses different size standards. Then I thought maybe there might be a supply of the high-end old stuff that would fit the bike and be cheap because no one uses those sizes anymore?
I'm not sure which "size standards" the tri people were on about. First, rear dropouts, today, have 130mm spacing. The Fuji frame is steel, so there'd be no problem changing the rear dropout spacing. If you're not comfy doing it, a good LBS will be able to do it. There's no real change in BB standards (although Pinarello, Specialized, and Cannondale have bikes now w/ oversized BB shells). BB shells are English or Italizn threaded...or some very old bikes might have French threaded shells. In any case, your Fuji is more than likely English threaded, so you'll be able to upgrade the BB without issue. Your steerer is a 1" steerer. Most bikes, today, come with 1 1/8" steerers. If you want to upgrade your fork, there are CF and steel forks out there that are made for 1" steerers. Likewise, there are plenty of 1" headsets out there, too.

There's nothing else that should give you a problem. Cranks, seatpost, shifters, and the like can be upgraded w/out issue. If you're anxious to upgrade to the world of brifters (braking and shifting combined in the same levers), then that's a doddle, too. Whether you go Campy, Shimano, or w/ the impending SRAM, you can get parts to mount to the downtube shifter braze-ons for routing STI-type cables.

Whether it's worth upgrading is entirely up to you. Given the age of your bike and components, it's likely that you could lose a large amount of bike weight by upgrading wheels and components. Be forewarned, though, that your frame is no lightweigt, so there'll likely be a high limit to how low you can go. Also remember that out on the road, the difference between a light bike and a heavy bike (in terms of performance) is very small, especially in a triathalon.

You can upgrade pretty cheaply to Shimano 105 group or to Campy Centaur. Again, you have to determine whether it's worth it or not. You might be just as well served to put some pennies away and buy a new bike a little down the road.
 

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A suggestion:

1. New seat and seatpost. You'll save a little weight, but it's gotta be comfy for tri distances! You may be shocked at how much a good seat costs, and you gotta try before you buy... they are very butt specific, go to a great bike shop. Seatpost- basic Richie post is cheap but good.

2. Have your frame cold-set (expensive word for "bent by an experienced mechanic") to 130 mm and get yourself some great modern wheels- look to be spending $400 and up. Wheels have come a LONG way. I suggest you have a really really nice set built for you... cause that is cool, and you a little bigger than a lot of bikers. Put a new 9 speed (you seem to like a bargain- they are on sale now!) rear cluster on your hot wheels

3. Replace the rear deraileur with shimano 105 deraileur and an indexed downtube shifter, stick with friction for the front der- that one doesn't matter $10 bucks worth, imo.

Here is the beauty of my plan-- in a year or so you probably will be ready for a new ride. You can use your excellent wheels and seat on a new build-up. The rest doesn't cost enough to bother about. By then, you'll know what you want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
alienator said:
I'm not sure which "size standards" the tri people were on about.
Thanks for the input, when I asked at BeginnerTriathlete.com I didn't get too much info so I thought I'd get better feedback from the bike gurus!

The one that took the most time to help had this to say (trimmed down)

Short answer?? No .......

Real answer (explained). You cannot really upgrade the parts to the new equipment that is available today because:

1. Your rear axle spacing in the frame is too narrow to accommodate the wider stuff that the new equipment requires. Yes, you can have the frame bent by a good local builder if you have one to fit the 130 mm axle, but shift quality is far from guaranteed.

2. The wheels will be 27", which is different than the 700c equipment out today, so even if you put on new wheels you'd be screwed. The brakes would not be able to be adjusted enough to fit the rims.

3. The fork is a 1" threaded model, so your fork choices are fairly limited compared to the newer 1-1/8" aheadset threadless style stem/forks. You can still find some good stuff out there, but nothing that will easily transfer to a new bike later.



So basically the advice was to save money and buy a whole custom bike later. But I was hoping it wasn't an "all or nothing" situation.
 

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Damon L said:
1. Your rear axle spacing in the frame is too narrow to accommodate the wider stuff that the new equipment requires. Yes, you can have the frame bent by a good local builder if you have one to fit the 130 mm axle, but shift quality is far from guaranteed.

2. The wheels will be 27", which is different than the 700c equipment out today, so even if you put on new wheels you'd be screwed. The brakes would not be able to be adjusted enough to fit the rims.

3. The fork is a 1" threaded model, so your fork choices are fairly limited compared to the newer 1-1/8" aheadset threadless style stem/forks. You can still find some good stuff out there, but nothing that will easily transfer to a new bike later. [/I]


So basically the advice was to save money and buy a whole custom bike later. But I was hoping it wasn't an "all or nothing" situation.
1. Having the rear dropouts re-spaced to 130mm isn't a big issue. It's done quite often. Also, respacing the rear isn't going to effect the chainline. Even if it did, you could buy a BB that allows you to adjust the chainline. So #1 is a non-issue.

2. This is a bit in error, too. The diameter of a 27" rim, from bead seat to bead seat is 630mm. For a 700c rim, the diameter, bead seat to bead seat, is 622mm. So going to 700c will require that your brake calipers have an extra 4mm of reach to spare. If they don't have that, you can pick up a set of Shimano 105 long reach calipers for cheap or a set of long reach calipers on eBay cheap. So #2 is a non-issue.

3. This one is true enough. Granted you won't be able to transfer, in all likelihood, a 1" fork to a new bike, but when you buy a new frame you can spec a new fork then and sell the old fork/frame on eBay. When I was upgrading a 1992 Waterford/Schwinn Paramount OS frame, I wanted a CF fork to tame some of the harshness in the front end. I bought an Easton EC90SL. When I bought a new frame, the Easton fork sold quickly on eBay. You can also keep the frame and fork and use it as a beater bike. At any rate, Easton and quite a few others make 1" forks. So your choices aren't really limited.

Honestly, I think you can upgrade your bike pretty cheaply without losing money in the deal. When I upgraded the Paramount, I took off 1989 7spd Ultegra grouppo, 1991 vintage Look pedals, and a 1992 Salsa cattleprod stem. Everything I took off that bike sold on eBay (except for the BB and HS......I wouldn't sell those. Just threw them out, instead).

Your situation is definitely NOT all or nothing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dogmeat said:
1. New seat and seatpost.

2. Have your frame cold-set ... get yourself some great modern wheels ... Put a new 9 speed... rear cluster on your hot wheels

3. Replace the rear deraileur with shimano 105 deraileur and an indexed downtube shifter, stick with friction for the front der- that one doesn't matter $10 bucks worth, imo.

Here is the beauty of my plan-- in a year or so you probably will be ready for a new ride. You can use your excellent wheels and seat on a new build-up. The rest doesn't cost enough to bother about. By then, you'll know what you want.
This sounds sensible, thanks. I've been reading all I can about components trying to figure out what changes can be done alone and what leads to other problems. Like changing the wheels and frame leads to changing the rear gears, deraileur, and shifter... also possibly the brakes, although it appears the brake pad holders have enough adjustment to reach a few mm more.

I'll start watching eBay and the bike shop closeouts. I don't mind well cared for used, maybe I can find someone who bought a high end stock bike with Dura Ace wheels who is upgrading.

Thanks for the tips,
 

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Is it this one? Nice. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
rogger said:
Is it this one? Nice. :D
That's the one. That picture was from the eBay seller, he has girls on all his auction bikes, smart move, probably gets a lot more traffic to his auctions.

Unfortunately I think the picture was a distraction from people actually answering my question, which is why I didn't use it here.

Here's some pics I took, boring, but a better view of the bike.

I just measured the head tube and found it to be 26.5 cm, so will it be hard to ever upgrade the front fork? It seems most of the carbon forks have 30 cm steerers.
 

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A second suggestion:

The pic inspired me, as did your responses. That's a nice old bike.

1) take off the kickstand
2) take off the reflector on the wheels
3) get a pair of look pedals and some good shoes- I like SIDI, but I have wide feet.
4) get some clamp-on bottle racks, put a new chain on it, and ride, ride, ride

The biggest upgrade you can do is pedals- it's your attachment from 'motor' to wheels. You might not figure this one out yourself until after you upgrade. New saddle- that will occur to you on its own.

Save that frame! If you get in to biking, you'll find out later what a great fixed-gear bike you could build it into. Basically, all the stuff that is bolted on jets unbolted and tossed or ebayed. I'm in the process of filing off my shifter braze-ons, and it's time consuming and I'll need to paint when I'm done!

Look at it this way- anyone who passes you is beating your bike, anyone you pass is just getting beaten!

'meat
 

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your chain is probably old, stretched, and has some rust. new chains are about $12 and will help your bike shift better. it will also be ever so slightly more efficient.

ps i'm not just pulling your chain
 

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No new chain!

dogmeat said:
.
4) ... put a new chain on it, and ride, ride, ride
I would pass on the new chain. If the chain is worn, the rear cogs are probably worn as well. So, if you replace just the chain and not the rear freewheel, the new chain will skip like crazy on the old worn cogs. Leave the chain for now and replace it once you are ready to replace the rest of the drivetrain (wheels, cassette, etc.).

A couple of other things to note on the bike when making upgrades. Like many bike boom period bikes, it doesn't have downtube braze ons to mount either downtube shifters or sti cable adjusters. KEEP THE DOWNTUBE CABLE STOP BAND CLAMP. You will need it for any cable routing (especially if you get STI).

The current cranks are steel (very heavy) and short for someone your height. When buying cranks look for something at least 175mm if not longer. That being said, cranks are probably the one part that can wait, since they will work with almost any setup. A modern crankset will work better with modern parts, but with proper adjustment that crank should work OK with newer parts.

Check the tires for cracking on the casing. Bikes that old may still have the original rubber on them. If the tires are showing cracking, and you aren't going to/don't want to upgrade the wheels soon, try finding some lighter weight 27" tires. For example, the IRC Road Winner II in a 27 X 1 1/8 (about a 28) is a claimed weight of 280g. Not the lightest tire, but for a 27" its pretty good. Best part is its only $15 ea.

Another place that will help is the stem and handlebar. This is a place where you can help improve the fit and comfort of the bike, and save a little weight. If the stem length is OK, keep it. If you like cycling and get a better bike, you probably won't be transferring the stem anyway. Handlebars from that time period are pretty narrow IIRC. I wouldn't be surprised if the bar is only 42cm wide, pretty small for a bike that size. See if you can find a 44 or 46cm wide bar. Even an inexpensive aluminum bar will probably save a decent amount of weight over the stock steel handlebar.

Final recommendation, get a good repair/maintenance book. A good book like Leonard Zinn's will help you find out what you need to know about bike parts in general and help you gain some maintenance skills.

Best of luck with the bike. Sounds like a fun project and a great way for a new cyclist to learn their way around a bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
beaker said:
KEEP THE DOWNTUBE CABLE STOP BAND CLAMP. You will need it for any cable routing (especially if you get STI).
Thanks for mentioning that, although I rarely throw anything away. :)
beaker said:
cranks are probably the one part that can wait, since they will work with almost any setup.
I've been reading about the crank length issue, good to know I can leave the crankset alone for now
beaker said:
Check the tires for cracking on the casing.
The tires seem to be in excellent shape, they aren't original. It says "HP Sport 27 1 1/4 Schwinn 90psi 510gm" on each tire.So it looks like I could save 430gm (about a pound? By changing tires.
beaker said:
Handlebars from that time period are pretty narrow IIRC. I wouldn't be surprised if the bar is only 42cm wide, pretty small for a bike that size. See if you can find a 44 or 46cm wide bar. Even an inexpensive aluminum bar will probably save a decent amount of weight over the stock steel handlebar.
Where are handlebars measured? The widest part of these are the tips of the drops, the outside measurement at the widest part is 41cm.
beaker said:
A good book like Leonard Zinn's will help you find out what you need to know about bike parts in general and help you gain some maintenance skills.
Thanks for that, I had actually emailed Lennard Zinn back in October when I was looking for a bike to see if he had any tall customers with used bikes to sell. He responded to each email promptly with good info and encouragement. I'm going to see if I can order his "Art of Road Bike Maint." direct from him to get it autographed. After the way he responded to a cycling newbie who wasn't a customer, when I AM ready I'll be wanting a Zinn for sure.
beaker said:
Best of luck with the bike. Sounds like a fun project and a great way for a new cyclist to learn their way around a bike.
Thanks, I've already learned a lot reading these forums thanks to helpful folks like yourself.

To review then. It seems to boil down that the best initial upgrade would include these things which have to be replaced together all at once:
  • Wheelset
  • Tires/tubes
  • Rear Cassette 9/10 speed
  • Rear Derailleur
  • Coldsetting the rear fork to 130mm
  • STI Brifters (will these work with existing centerpulls?)
The next group might include
  • Seat and Seat Tube
  • Crankset (triple)
  • Long Cranks
  • Front Derailleur
  • Handlebars
That just leaves the brakes. How do you install the modern sidepull brakes on a bike like this that has the Dia-Compe centerpulls?

I appreciate all the help,

Damon
 

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glad to be of help

The tires seem to be in excellent shape, they aren't original. It says "HP Sport 27 1 1/4 Schwinn 90psi 510gm" on each tire.So it looks like I could save 430gm (about a pound? By changing tires.

Actually, 510-280= 230, 230X2= 460, and at ~454g/lb you do save just over a pound (assuming all claimed weights are accurate, or inaccurate equally). That woudl be a nice pickupSince the tires are good, and if you plan on changing wheels soon (to 700c instead of 27"), then don't worry about the tires. You will have to replace them with the new wheelset anyway.


Where are handlebars measured? The widest part of these are the tips of the drops, the outside measurement at the widest part is 41cm.

There are two ways to measure a handlebar width. One is the way you did it. The other is also at the drops, but from the center of each tube. At 41cm, the bar might feel cramped to you. If you go for the tires from Nashbar, they also have a Modolo handlebar in 46cm for ~$15 IIRC.

STI Brifters (will these work with existing centerpulls?) That just leaves the brakes. How do you install the modern sidepull brakes on a bike like this that has the Dia-Compe centerpulls?

To the best of my knowledge, STI will work with centerpulls. If you choose to upgrade brakes to modern calipers, they will mount the same way as a centerpull, and will be even easier to set up (no straddle cable to set).


Since you mentioned that you are interested in Triathalon, one other option to consider is going with a bullhorn bar and aero bar set up instead of a standard drop bar. You could use STI with it, but bar end shifters (on the aero bars) and aero or TT style levers (mounted on the bullhorn bar) are more common. Might be a little bit cheaper in the end (STI can be expensive), but you would give up some of the stability of a standard drop bar. TT setups are generally pretty good at going straight, but give up a little at high speeds to drop bars.

Bar end shifters (also called barcons) can also be set to friction shifting. There are two types of shifting, indexed (push the lever, hear the click, and the derailleur moves to the next gear) and friction (lever is pushed but there is no click indicating that it has moved to the proper position). Why I point this out is, if you switch to barcons you could use this with your current derailleurs/ chain/ cassette/wheels when set in friction mode. Then when you get new wheels/derailleurs/ cassette/chain, you could set it back to indexing and be all set to use your new gear.

This was just another idea that hadn't been mentioned yet, and was just something to think about. Others may think of some good reasons to not use that set up. I may think of some but I'm at the end of my lunch break so it's back to the mines ;)
 

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Seems like most everythings been said...but

If you're into triathlons, you should look into getting some new handlebars that would be more comfortable, lighter and able to accept some aero bars. This would also require a new stem with modern bar diameter and a removable faceplate, a quill stem if you keep the original fork (my recommendation). Also, you should probably buy bar-end shifters they are much, much cheaper than brifters and suited to triathlons. I would also recommend the Profile tri saddle it's light (for a tri saddle), very comfortable for most people, and pretty inexpensive. If you do get a new saddle then you should also buy a new seat post.

This will get expensive, but still be cheaper than trying to find a frame in that size with modern components. When you get more into the sport later on all the parts will be migrable to a new frame, and those that don't fit can be sold on ebay.

chucksbikes.com has bar-end shifters on sale. and nashbarperformancesupergo.com also carries them.
 

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Wow, I'm bigtime in the minority on this one. My reaction was that it was absolutely positively not worth doing ANYTHING to this bike other than riding it lots, getting into shape, and seeing if the cycling bug really takes root.

You'll spend a bunch upgrading... I mean, a BUNCH, and the bike still won't be as light as modern rigs or be worth the money you put into it. Better to ride, save your pennies, and get a new rig a year from now.
 

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jtolleson said:
Wow, I'm bigtime in the minority on this one. My reaction was that it was absolutely positively not worth doing ANYTHING to this bike other than riding it lots, getting into shape, and seeing if the cycling bug really takes root.

You'll spend a bunch upgrading... I mean, a BUNCH, and the bike still won't be as light as modern rigs or be worth the money you put into it. Better to ride, save your pennies, and get a new rig a year from now.
I kind of agree with you. However, if he is going to stick with it and is interested in a tri setup he could do some of the things here and just take the parts with him to the new bike.

Anyway, you can get a stem that converts from a threaded to threadless so that you get some newer tri specific bars which you can also use bar end shifters. I have seen entire set ups even with brake levers on eBay for less than $100. The only part here that loses a place with a new bike is the converter stem.

As far as brakes go, they are not just short reach and long reach, it varies pretty widely. Your brakes look like the pads are pretty close to the lowest setting. If they are maxed as is (which wouldn't make a lot of sense) then the 700c wheels may not be possible without a brake caliper swap. Just borrow a set of 700c wheels from a friend to see if your brakes will work as is. If they won't then measure the distance from the center of the mounting post to the center of where the brake pad needs to be in millimeters and make sure that the brakes you buy are the correct "reach". If you have to upgrade your brakes, it may be possible but I wouldn't count on them carrying over to a newer bike. A new 700c wheelset will go to the new bike

With new wheels, you are likely to add gears to the rear. I am no expert, but I would put as many in as will fit correctly. For long distances, it is really nice to have just the right gear. As far as the drivetrain goes, you will need a new cassette and chain if you add gears. The cassette can stay with the wheels that will go to the new bike and I would guess the chain could to.

Possible upgrade parts and normal prices I have seen on eBay
tri specific bars $40
bar end shifters $30
brake levers $15
700c wheelset $100
cassette $10
chain $10
saddle $25
seatpost $10
converter stem $10 (destined for eBay)
brake calipers $20 (might be an optional purchase)

These are not prices for Carbon or Titanium bits, but I think that you can find good quality stuff for about $300 on eBay, and you should be able to recoup at least half of that if you end up selling them back. The only parts you won't use on a new bike is the converter stem and brake calipers.

Good luck with the new bike. My best advise is to ride it as much as you can before doing anything. If you have the opportunity to test ride any body elses set up before upgrading, that is even better.
 

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jtolleson said:
Wow, I'm bigtime in the minority on this one. My reaction was that it was absolutely positively not worth doing ANYTHING to this bike other than riding it lots, getting into shape, and seeing if the cycling bug really takes root.

You'll spend a bunch upgrading... I mean, a BUNCH, and the bike still won't be as light as modern rigs or be worth the money you put into it. Better to ride, save your pennies, and get a new rig a year from now.

I would normally be with you, but take a step back, this frame isn't 56cm so getting a modern equivalent would be very difficult, and most likely costly. However, it should not be completely rebuilt with new components... this is definately a candidate for older used parts on ebay. On a side note lightness isn't that important, especially with a tri-bike... unless you're racing on centennial drive in Berkeley.
 
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