| I made a nice find today at the Goodwill and just when it looks like I'm going to need a beater. A mid eighties Fuji Club. Full Cyclone. Looks like it was only ridden a season before it got put in the back of the garage. I got it home today and found that it has a crack in the seat cluster lug. It's about half an inch going down the the the side of the lug. So what should I do, go to the welding shop and have them put a bead on it or just ride it until it gets worse and then strip the parts. It's Valulite series 4. I don't remember which direction the numbers go in terms of the quality of steel.|
| Brent, I also have a Fuji Club...decent bikes. I wouldn't weld the crack but braze it. A frame-builder can obviously do it or anyone with an oxy-acetylene torch. This may cost more than frame/bike is worth but if you can get it done for 20 or 30 bucks, that would be ok. Then spot-paint and keep an eye on it. Also, it helps to drill a hole at the furthest extent of the crack to help it from traveling further.|
| I wonder how that happened. Is the seat-post the correct diameter? Too small a post will stress the lug when the clamp-bolt is tightened too far to accommodate the smaller post. Also, if the post was placed too high such that the seat-tube was barely supporting it, then the post acts like a pry-bar on the lug...with considerable torque working the lug. That's not good. I have a couple of Valite Fuji's, but they have SunTour "V"'s, not the superior "cyclone". The frames are extremely well built, but you may have gotten one with a problem. Check for correct seat-post match and keep a lot of post below the lug to spread some of that torque. Personally, I would get another bike for a beater and use the parts to build it up. I have to wonder what else may have been defective, damaged or stressed on the frame. Just my 2.|
| Yeah, that's what I thought too. It looks correct for the bike. A sugino with the recessed height markings. When I found it, the post was all the way in. I thought it seemed like an odd place for the crack. The only thing that I can think of is that when the stays were brazed to the lug, it weakened it then.|
just picked up an 85 fuji club, red with yellow head tube. I am going to keep an eye on my seatstays, for sure. Any good ideas on how to preserve the fame? its showing some rust on the top tube where the brake cable guide is.
| Does anyone know what year Sears changed from Steyr-Daimler to Huffy as a bike supplier? Or, were both brands sold at the same time in different price ranges?|
| I am wild-guessing circa 1970. Look for 3-piece cottered cranks and externally lugged frames (SDP) versus Ashtabula cranks and heavy internally lugged/electroforged frames (Huffy/Murray/whatever).|
| I know how to tell the difference, I was wondering when the change happened. I found a 1971 Sears catalog that someone had scanned, which listed all the bikes as "Made in Austria". I have a Huffy made bike that has decals that are very similar to those in that catalog, but the color scheme is different. My bike is green with a sunburst decal on the seat tube. There is a "Sears 10 speed" decal on top of the top tube. So, it seems that it was not long after 1971 that they started selling Huffy bikes. I think the "Free Spirit" name came a few years later.|
| I was probably too early with my 1970 guess. However, early-to-mid 1970s makes alot of sense, as bike boom price and production volume pressure peaked.|
| I believe the "free spirit" name overlaps the two makers, with the Austrian (S-D-P) coming along in the '60's and into the late '60's. The bike-boom was about when the quality started to go down. Too bad, because they were the best bike for the buck. Sears had them for $49 in the mid-'60's, as it was my first new bike. I suppoose that equates to about $500 in today's index. The Schwinn "varsity" was $30 more and they were slow compared to the real lightweight Steyr-Daimler-Puch built Sears department store bikes. I have a "Free Spirit" from the late '60's that is Austrian, and the quality was still there.|
| I know what you mean about old steel European bikes. In the early 1960s, I rode a bottom-of-the-line Bianchi while all of my friends had significantly heavier Varsities and Continentals. After my brother ran his Bianchi into a parked car and took it to the local Schwinn shop, they did straighten it back out for him, but not without making a snyde remark: "That cheap Bianchi frame will do that every time."|
| Where did all the bikes go? Could this have something to do with gas prices? It's just too weird. I know of at least 12 stores where there were always bikes. Sometimes there were good finds...sometimes low-end big brands....sometimes department store LW's....sometimes only mountain bikes...sometimes only kid's bikes. But most of the time - there were some bikes available. Well, over the past 6 months or so - I have seen that these 12 or so stores rarely have a bike at all. Most all of the time - no bikes.....ocassionally, 1 or 2 kid bikes. |
Are people who would have got rid of their bikes - holding onto them? Are they just all gone now and none are left? Are they showing up in these stores - but someone grabs them up the minute they hit the floor?
I just shocked.....I suppose just about as shocked that gas went to over $3 per gallon.....I'm shocked that the supply of these old LW bikes has dropped off so quickly.
| I do know what you mean, I keep reading here about all of the great finds, but never see any around my way, but lately, they have finally been popping up here and there lately. |
I have found 3 in the past week, the Peugeot Mixte I posted about last week, a Raleigh three speed, and a Motobecane Gran Jubile' a couple of days ago. All either at auctions, flea markets, or yard sales. I've seen quite a few low end bikes, that I passed up, but at least I am seeing bikes. I am starting to see people riding again too, that hasn't happened for a while. Even the occasional vintage bike. I passed a guy this weekend on an early Fuji Newest, it had to be the first road bike I saw all summer.
I took my Raleigh Super Course out on Sunday, and got all sorts of attention, the younger riders have never even seen one of these, nothing but cheap mountain bikes around here usually.
| As I've been culling the herd this summer, I've had no trouble getting 95% of my asking prices (and I'm a poor businessman!). Also, supply of nice vintage bikes is scarce although it is also a function that I won't bring just anything home like I used to when I was building a collection.|
| I've done a little herd thinning, too. The thing about it is.....when they're gone, they're gone! Because I'm not seeing any out there. AND, I'm not having much trouble getting what I ask for them either. |
I occasionally meet a cyclist on the road - but it's always a new bike.....and I hardly have time to determine what kind of bike it is. But I never see a an old vintage bike!
| Do what I do. When you see a bum or hobo, whatever they're called in your neck of the woods, on a nice bike that they probably recieved from a charity, offer to buy it up on the spot. I've built up a nice collection of top end Apollo and Sekine along with a few others that way. I've never been refused and never paid more than 20 bucks for a bike. Throw it in the truck and leave them dazed on the sidewalk with a few bucks in their hand. Zoom, off I go. They just go get another one given them and besides, to them the cash is more important than some old "ten speed".|
| Got to chip in my 2. I have seen very few bikes worth a second look at the thrifts, although my occasion to these places has been to drop off things and less frequently than when I would make a side trip just to see what they had out there. Still, I believe the supply has to be dwindling as more are collected up and more are (at least in my area) being fitted out for serious work; mostly for commuter use. The trains and buses are bike-friendly. Our local train has a whole coach for bikes-only service. That has picked it up around here. These new bikes and off-road MTB's are easily put to shame on the open road, where m,ost of the riding takes place anyway. I rarely get passed, not to make anything of it, and I ain't the toughest guy on the road either. It's the big wheels and well tuned running gear that makes the day for me. I think the advertising is taking place out where it counts...the road. I see more VLW's than ever before, but they are predominantly commuters with a lot of hard back on them who are doing the riding. Back to the store front, the bikes destined for thrifts may have a redefined mode of placement. The good "finds" are no more. Garage sales have been my best yield, so far this summer. I picked up a Raleigh with Campagnola componentry for $25 at a GS. However, another had a regular steel 10-speed for $60. Actually, the $60 bike was prettyy decent for someone looking for commute-bike, but I have too many bikes as it is, so I only get the unusual bikes or real premium condition bikes for my collection. Restoration is too expensive for one that is destined for commuter service. The gas prices have definitely increased the number bikes out there. Tight budgets make bikes an attractive alternative. I hope people take the time to learn the nuances of riding in the foray, before getting to bold. It's still a jungle out there.|
Good luck finding a bike or two, Garlyn. I figure it is a dwindling source...like placer gold mining, most of the easy pickin's are cleaned out.
| so....you're the guy who keeps offering me $20 for my old bikes..... I'm not a bum!|
| Although I'm bringing home a lot less number of bikes than I used to, their quality is higher as I am more selective. Just last week I got a japanese Raleigh/Rampar Superbe with full-chrome plated 531SL for 35 bucks! The secret is time, the more often you hit your sources the more often you will find something nice. The nice ones are snapped-up fast and you don't even know what you've missed. |
| Yes, I used to see say.....a Raleigh Record.....OK, so I think....well, I already have one.....they were the bottom of the line-up.....do I really need another Record? No.....so I would pass it up. ....or it might be a Motobecane Nomade.....or a Schwinn World....or even another World Sport......or a lower-end Peugoet.......so I would just pass on these.......|
....well, now......I mean nothing. I mean not even a Sears Free Spirit. Nothing.
| For those of you who missed my last post:|
Wanted: One AVA aluminum handlebar and AVA aluminum stem as shown in the photos below (copy/paste link into browser):
Must be in excellent used condition or NOS...or not? Getting desperate, need these parts by the end of October for the November 2nd Coral Ridge Mall show.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have these parts.
| Just an update:|
I've been working on the Torpado - re-building, cleaning, polishing, etc.
I looked up some information on-line.....there is some information from an early 80's catalog....with a spec sheet indicating the different models. From the information there - I think mine is a model "Beta".
It's red (the only color indicated for "Beta"
It has a micro-adjust seat post - just like the Beta
It has Ambrosia 19 rims (the Alpha, Beta, and Nuovo Sprint all have these.
It has Miche hubs (no indications)
It has Miche pedals (no indications)
It has Campy Grand Sport brakes with universal levers. I didn't see any model indicating Campy Grand Sport brakes.
It has Regina Extra cassette (catalog indicates Regina Coursa and Regina Extra)
Same stem and bars as indicated by the catalog for Beta
Ofmega crankset.....but I can't tell which set - it's worn off.
San Marco 313 saddle....just as the Beta and next-up model
Ders. just say Campagnolo.....so I don't know which model.
So, overall.....I'm leaning toward this being a "Beta" model Torpado.
Does anyone have any other catalog information out there?
| Oh, the cassette....the models indicated were Regina Coursa and Regina Oro......(not Regina Extra......which is what mine is)|