Author Topic: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike  (Read 1285 times)

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Offline geegee

Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« on: December 07, 2013, 10:19:05 pm »
I got my first real touring bike back in 1994, a custom made steel frame from Marinoni with an all Campagnolo drivetrain. I rode it for 15 years through several continents until the paint started to crackle and rust, and the most of the parts just got too worn out. I reluctantly abandoned it five years ago, stuffing it up in the rafters of the shed before riding off to Alaska with a new Trek 520.

In a fit of nostalgia, I decided to dust off the old beast, striped it down and sent the frame back to the builder to get it completely repainted. I just got the frame back and it is better than new, even its rusted braze-ons were replaced, and a superior quality paint was used. I will slowly rebuild the bike with new parts as a labour of love through the winter. I've ordered a new wheel set, using Velo Orange Grand Cru hubs with their RAID rims to retain a bit of the vintage feel of the bike.

Looking back, the Campy parts were beautiful, but I hate the range of their gear cassettes, and how relatively limited and expensive it is to obtain replacements. So I'm going to switch over to Shimano. I had Ergo shifters, but I'm leaning towards low maintenance thumb shifters — any opinions regarding these?

Since it's a chance to start from scratch, I'm also looking to get some recommendations on a new triple crankset and other aspects of the drivetrain — should I lean towards Deore, SLX, Tiagra or 105 etc? As most of us learn over the years, expensive isn't necessarily better, and my experience is limited only to the group sets I've used so it would be great to hear from other touring cyclists regarding reliability and robustness. Any personal opinions on where the current line is drawn between the various components — where what you pay for durability ends, and you start wasting money on light-weightness is ?

Offline staehpj1

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2013, 04:55:47 am »
I have recently done a few tours including a coast to coast one on 1990-ish bikes and Shimano components from that vintage.  I found the bikes to work out well and be very enjoyable.

By thumb shifters do you mean bar ends, Paul Thumbies, MTB thumb shifters, or something else?  Personally I like brifters, but on that bike I used down tube shifters and was quite satisfied with the choice.  Bar ends or MTB thumb shifters really do not cut it for me.  My arthritic thumbs no longer tolerate the MTB thumb shifters well.  The Paul thumbies look interesting, but the price seems excessive for what they are.. 

This is all personal preference stuff though.

Offline geegee

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 07:44:33 am »
I was thinking of Paul Thumbies or this quill stem mount, both of which are basically re-mounted down tube shifters. I will be installing pursuit bullhorn handlebars which prefer over drop bars.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013, 08:44:32 am by geegee »

Offline DaveB

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2013, 07:48:24 am »
What number of "speeds" does you bike have and what's the rear dropout spacing?  If it's 130 mm you can use any modern road components.  If it's 126 mm you are limited to 7-speeds or you will have to either force fit (it's not that hard) a 130 mm hub or have the frame "cold set" to the wider spacing.

The widest range Campy cassette in 9 or 10-speed I know of is 13x29 and the Veloce version is about $40 from a number of UK vendors like Ribble, Wiggle or ProBikeKit.  That said, Shimano offers a lot more choices.

As an alternative to brifters have you considered "Retroshift" shifter (retroshift.com)?  These are modified Tektro brake levers with an adapter to accept downtube shifters or the shift levers from barend shifters.  They are significantly less expensive than most brifters, are very durable and have nearly all the advantages and convenience of brifters.  Front shifting is friction but I've found that an advantage since nearly any front derailleur can be used with any crank. 

I have Retroshifts on three bikes, one 8-speed and two 10-speeds, and absolutely love them.  BTW, I've ridden Campy Ergos for almost 50,000 miles and Shimano STIs for a lot more than that as well as downtube and barend shifters so I'm well aware of their advantages and disadvantages.   

As to a suitable crank on a road bike, consider Shimano's 105 triple (FC-5700).  It is geared 50/39/30 and the 30t granny can easily be replaced with a 26T or even a 24t
chainring. 

Offline dkoloko

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2013, 08:55:39 am »
I modified an older steel racing bike for touring. I found my modified bike had several shortcomings compared to a touring bike. The front end could shimmy descending a long downhill with a full touring load, and the sidepull brakes were at their limit on a long steep descent. You don't say type of touring you will do. For Rando (credit card) touring a lighter steel tubing bike may suffice. Shimano LX is the standard for touring, with a few opting for the more expensive XT components. A common upgrade is an XT rear derailleur on an otherwise LX equipped bike.

Offline DaveB

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2013, 10:08:31 am »
Shimano LX is the standard for touring, with a few opting for the more expensive XT components. A common upgrade is an XT rear derailleur on an otherwise LX equipped bike.
One precaution if you use a Shimano MTB rear derailleur.  Newer 10-speed Shimano MTB rear derailleurs (aka Dyna Sys) are not compatible with road indexed shifters. If you use an MTB rd be sure to buy a 9-speed version or earlier.

Offline geegee

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2013, 11:15:27 am »
The bike originally had 8 speeds, and has a 130mm dropout spacing. I'll probably keep it at 8 or maybe upgrade to 9 at most. I get the impression that 10 speed chains are just not as robust for loaded touring.

@ DaveB, I am intrigued by the Retroshift, have you seen or tried it on bullhorn handlebars? I also looked at the 105 crankset but  the bottom bracket could be problematic for my older frame. I will likely keep my old bottom bracket which is still in great condition but has a square taper interface.

@dkoloko, I mostly do solo self-supported fully loaded tours. The frame is touring-specific and was custom measured to me (albeit a younger 30-something me). However, when I'm done refurbishing this bike, I will probably ride it mostly close to home, which could mean anywhere around the Northeastern US or Eastern Canada. For the trips that require airplane transport, I'll take my newer, easier-serviced bike. I'm learning a few lessons sourcing parts that will work, and finally realized why my LBS advised me to buy a new bike 5 years ago!

Offline DaveB

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2013, 05:00:14 pm »
The bike originally had 8 speeds, and has a 130mm dropout spacing. I'll probably keep it at 8 or maybe upgrade to 9 at most. I get the impression that 10 speed chains are just not as robust for loaded touring.
Your bike's spacing opens up the entire world of components so it will be easy to set up however you wish.  Actually I've found 10-speed chains to be as long lived as 9-speed so you can go either way.

@ DaveB, I am intrigued by the Retroshift, have you seen or tried it on bullhorn handlebars? I also looked at the 105 crankset but  the bottom bracket could be problematic for my older frame. I will likely keep my old bottom bracket which is still in great condition but has a square taper interface.
They will only work on bars that accept standard dropbar-style brake levers so it depends on how your bullhorns are shaped.   I've never used bullhorns so I have no idea if they can be made to work.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 07:32:14 am by DaveB »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2013, 10:25:49 am »
Shimano LX is the standard for touring, with a few opting for the more expensive XT components. A common upgrade is an XT rear derailleur on an otherwise LX equipped bike.

I would say the using mountain bike components is  a wise choice.  LX is certainly good, but I think Deore and SLX (successor of LX?) are worth looking at too. 

I am intrigued by the new 2x stuff, but I personally need lower gears that a 26/38 would provide.
Danno

Offline PeteJack

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2013, 08:42:22 pm »
If you really want to go top drawer and have Vee brakes Retroshift shifters look to be the bee's knees. If you can get 'em. They appear be brifters for Vee brakes. Can't wait to try them.

Offline DaveB

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2013, 06:16:11 am »
If you really want to go top drawer and have Vee brakes Retroshift shifters look to be the bee's knees. If you can get 'em. They appear be brifters for Vee brakes. Can't wait to try them.
Yes, Retroshifts come in a model that work with regular road calipers and cantilevers (CX2) and a model that works with V-brakes and some mechanical disc brakes (CXV).  Both have the same for shifter mounts and work alike.  As the old ad used to say; "try it, you'll like it."   

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2013, 07:47:40 am »
As the old ad used to say; "try it, you'll like it."

Isn't that the same ad that went on with, "So I tried it.  Thought I was gonna die!"?

:)

Re: OP and Campagnolo parts.  If the original bike had 9 speed shifters, it's possible to rebuild those, get a NOS derailer, and use it with a Shimano 9-speed cassette.  Same great shifting you like, with as low a gear as you want.  (Well, up to a point...)  The Campa front shifter will run any front derailer with its clicking-not-indexed mode, so you can put on a mountain crank and derailer.  22x34 is pretty easy, although I haven't tried the new 36 big cassette in back.

Offline DaveB

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2013, 12:27:42 pm »
Isn't that the same ad that went on with, "So I tried it.  Thought I was gonna die!"?:)
Yeah but not in this case. You really will like it.  ;D

Re: OP and Campagnolo parts.  If the original bike had 9 speed shifters, it's possible to rebuild those.....
Campy is getting out of the rebuild parts business for older brifters so be sure you can get the replacement G-springs and ratchet plates before deciding on keeping them in service.   Only Chorus and above newer (2007 and later) Campy front brifters have the micro-click shifting that makes them so versatile and even these have a reduced number of trim positions compared to earlier ones.   Centaur and below shift like STI's.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 12:32:20 pm by DaveB »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2013, 02:28:48 pm »
Only Chorus and above newer (2007 and later) Campy front brifters have the micro-click shifting that makes them so versatile and even these have a reduced number of trim positions compared to earlier ones.   Centaur and below shift like STI's.

Campagnolo actually returned to that click shifting pattern in 2007.  Up until about 2005, all Campy brifters had it, which might put OPs' shifters into that population.  Not knowing the exact age, I don't know if his bike originally had 8 or 9 speeds.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 02:30:37 pm by pdlamb »

Offline big_dummy2013

Re: Opinions on refurbishing/re-equipping a 20-year old bike
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2013, 06:01:56 pm »
Whit a 8 speed you can get a mountain bike drive train 22,32,42t chainring setup.With a 9 speed you can get a 22,32,44t chainring setup  either one is great I have both  I like the 11-32 cassette it just shifts better to me.With a 11-34 cassette it will shift ok but just not what I like but ever one is different so what I like you may not.I would also go with a salsa woodchipper 2 handllebar with friction shift only from velo-orange.I love old bicycles.And you have done the best you can for the frame now just get the best parts for her.I like shimano parts as well I use them as much as I can for a chain I like the SRAM PC 971 Chain - 9-Speed.I have just finish building my new Surly Big Dummy 2013 model with this drive train setup 11-32 cassette and 22,32,44t chainring running velo-orange friction shifters only with the salsa woodchipper 2 and just love it I am going on a trip to Bangor Maine in 2014 with this setup and yes my bike will be very heavy but with these gears it's easy to pedal even up hills.Hope this might help you a little.