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Archived: Vintage Lightweights

AGE / VALUE:   Another project posted by: Derek Coghill on 6/13/2004 at 11:13:37 PM
In the throes of the next single-speed project, this time based on the remains of a Puch Prima. I've been given a large Biopace front ring and was wondering about the shape of it and its suitability for such a project; does anyone know if the number of engaged teeth on the chainring remains constant? Just wondering whether or not I'd need to use a tensioner.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Another project posted by Gralyn on 6/14/2004 at 1:30:03 AM
My guess is that if it's one of the later rings - it may not be exceptionally eliptical....and it may work in such a way that your chain will tighten and loosen as it turns - but within an acceptable range. But, I would think that for best results - you would need to use a tensioner. But, my feeling is that you would be best to use a regular circular ring with a single speed.

   single speed project posted by Elvis on 6/14/2004 at 4:31:38 PM
Don't use biopace [or ovalized rings produced under toher names], use a standard round ring, for either single speed or fixed gear [I've put together both]. The problem is that one the Biopace cranks I've seen, you cannot fit a round ring bolt pattern, as you may have to pull the cranks and replace them with standard ones. For this and similar projects it helps to keep a large parts bin. Whenever i find a discarded bike I don't want to keep, I take the time to strip almost all the parts; seatposts, bars, brakes, cranks, shifters, etc. and store them all away. You never know what you might need!

   RE:single speed project posted by Derek Coghill on 6/14/2004 at 11:36:37 PM
Ok then; it was only an idea - I already have a round gear single speed (the Schwinn) - but you know how it is when you get hold of some part or other......"hmmmm, what can I do with this?". I'll have to think of something else to do with it, then.

   RE:RE:single speed project posted by JONathan on 6/15/2004 at 6:45:17 AM
I would check the large ring to see if it circular; as Gralyn pointed out, they can be very close to circular. I have one that has a round main ring; at least it soins without any visually perceptible run out. This I have noticed by using the front derailer cage as a reference while pumping along.
Now, the MTB versions are a different animal, They seem to have eccentricity in all 3 rings. At least in the few that I have on hand. The road bike version seems to be where you'll get the round (or almost round) main ring. The low range has that irregular ellypsis...tricky to take down and get back correct.
I suspect the reason for the road bike version having a more round or round shape relates to the lower torque in higher gears and the runout might be hard on the knees at high RPM's. Just a guess, here. Biopace is a very sophisticated concept that reached beyond developmental stages and into production. I wonder why it dropped out of the picture.
I must say, the MTB application appeals to me, whereas the road bike editions are not a good trade-off., IMHO, of course.

   Biopace posted by Elvis on 6/15/2004 at 4:03:51 PM
My recently refurbished Specialized Sirrus Roadie has Biopace on Shimano 105 Cranks.

The large ring does look oval, but not as extreme as mountainbikes.

i usually don't like biopace but on this bike i do not notice any unusual feeling when I ride. And it seems to help up the hills. I just wouldn't want it on a singlespeed. This may be more due to the looks than function, i don't believe a single should have chain tnesioners so unless the ovalization of the ring is very minor it just wouldn't work fer me ...

AGE / VALUE:   PX-10 ON E-BAY posted by: Jim_T on 6/13/2004 at 7:57:47 PM
An interesting Peugeot Px-10 that has chrome nervex head lugs. Also the forks and stays seem to be chromed longer. It has ha custom paint job so maybye it was custom chromed. The chrome makes it look like a Schwinn Paramount.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   PX-10 ON E-BAY posted by Jim_T on 6/13/2004 at 8:04:36 PM
E-Bay itme # is 3682504055.

AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by: marc on 6/13/2004 at 1:14:09 PM
well I took my bianchi brava out for a ride at the lake front path here in chicago. Needless to say it get very packed and hectic during the summer and I would honestly say most people (including cyclists)using this path know nothing of proper ettiquete or even safe behaivor. For the majority of the path it is simply a two lane path, not very wide. Every day during the spring and summer you'll find groups of 3 bikers riding along side each other literally taking up three quarters of the two lane path, same goes for walkers and roller bladers. Another thing that bugs the crap out of me are the cyclists who pass without saying a word, this can be very dangerous especially on a crowded day when someone trys to pass you up while you're trying to pass up a group of roller bladers.

It gets very frustrating. Yesterday I passed by a couple, late 40's early 50's, after I yelled out "on your left" 3 times and they still didn't budge an inch to the right the gentleman as I passed shouted out, " why don you ride somewhere else!" I was shocked and horrified by this comment. I stopped and got off my bike and pointed out the bicycle symbols painted all over the ground. I told him that I had every right to be there and that he was walking on the bike path and interupting the flow of traffic. I also pointed out that there was a pedestrian path not more than 20 feet away. He didn't listen much even though I was calm and cool in my explanation.

I should have known that was a sign of things to come. I was heading home along the path and went into a blind curve and that's when another rider swirved into my lane to pass up a group of rollerbladers, I slammed on the brakes and it felt like slow motion as I checked my crash options. It was plow into the group of rollerbladers (some might say good riddens), plow into a row of metal garbage cans and very likely into a light pole or go head on with the cyclist. I could see he completely froze and braced for impact and so I said the hell with it and went head on and I managed to sort of jump off to side so that our bodies didn't slam directly into each other. I landed on my backside and after I realized that the crash actually did happend I layed down on the concrete thinking about what teeth I knock, what part of my body was bleeding. I stood up, saw that the other rider was ok and looked my self over and saw that nothing was bleeding and no teeth were missing, the only thing was sore was my left hand from holding down the front brake as we crashed and it got smashed against the other bike. I was glad I wasn't using clipless pedals and that my toe clips weren't on very tight.

I looked over at the bianchi laying on the ground and wanted to cry, imagining having to bury it rather than hang it on the wall. I looked it over, the front wheel, completely trashed and mangled. I checked the frame, no crinkled paint, no signs of being bent. I looked at the fork and seems ok, but I've been praying since last night that the steering tube is ok, I'll have to look at it today. even if the tube isn't bent I fear internal damaged as the handlebars were moved during the crash. The left brake lever was bent and sort of shaped to the curvature of my hand, luckily my hand isn't broken. The front caliper is bent a bit but may be salvagable. Everything else looks ok.

What makes it even worse is that the other rider was riding a cheap crappy no name mountain bike. If it had been at least a trek I might have felt a bit better. I know my early 80's bianchi brava isn't exactly high end but it was in mint condition and all orginal down to the handle bar tape. And so I very much want to replace the damaged parts.

I am willing to buy or trade for the following parts. I need a front caliper, modolo america and brake lever. It's a standard non aero lever. I don't Nesccesarily need the hood as the one on my lever is fine. If you have a set and are unwilling to sell just one lever and one caliper I may interested in the set. As for the front wheel, I would be interested in either a match of the rim as my hub seems to be fine, or a match of the entire wheel. The rim is a 700C ambrosio 19 extra elite. The label background is made up of three shades of blue. Next to that label is a "DUREX, marchio depositato allumag monocellulare." It's a silver label with gold lettering. The hub is an Ofmega campy clone, low flange.

Thank you all for listening to my rant and more thanks to those who may be able to help me replace these parts.

marc garcia
chicago, IL

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by marc on 6/13/2004 at 6:08:28 PM
well I just got back from the bikes shop and after they thouroghly checked out the frame it appears that everything is fine. The front drop outs were slightly out of alignment but they were able to fix that. I guess my bike and I were both lucky.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by Douglas on 6/13/2004 at 6:20:04 PM
Hmmm...let's see.

"Needless to say it get very packed and hectic..."

"Every day during the spring and summer you'll find groups of 3 bikers riding along side each other literally taking up three quarters of the two lane path, same goes for walkers and roller bladers."

"I should have known that was a sign of things to come...went into a blind curve."

"I would honestly say most people (including cyclists)using this path know nothing of proper ettiquete or even safe behaivor."

Reading your post it's clear you alone are responsible for your crash. Early on you acknowledge the multitude of dangers and the infuriating ignorance of other users.

From your account of the mishap you dove into a blind curve ignoring the potential hazards you just went into great detail describing.

Wanting conditions on the path to be suitable to your temperament and style of riding doesn't make them so. The only variable in the situation that you are in control of is how you comport yourself while on the path. If you decide to endanger yourself and others that's your choice.

You should find a location that let's you ride the way you want to ride. This crash demonstrates the bike path isn't that place.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by marc on 6/13/2004 at 8:11:32 PM
I admit that I was probably going too fast, but I don't believe the other rider was without fault. He was in the curve and who here on the list would try to pass a group of people on a narrow two line path by crossing into the opposite lane while in a blind curve not knowing what was coming in your opposite direction? Although I admit somtimes I am tempted to pass people in that situation, I don't because I know that is just asking for trouble.

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by marc on 6/13/2004 at 8:29:29 PM
I also forgot to mention that even if I was traveling at a slower rate I doubt the collision could have been avoided as the other rider would have to still been moving at the same rate and he still would have been in my lane.

   RE:RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by Douglas on 6/13/2004 at 8:49:07 PM
"I would honestly say most people (including cyclists)using this path know nothing of proper ettiquete or even safe behaivor."

From this statement it's clear that you were aware of the dangers and knew to expect "most" of the other users of this public path to behave stupidly. Going into a blind corner at imprudent speed is willfully looking for a confrontation, perhaps not a collision but a shaken fist and shouted remarks on encountering people who in your opinion are in the wrong.

They may be wrong but you're the one with the damaged treasure.

   RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by Gralyn on 6/14/2004 at 1:51:46 AM
I know what you mean. There are just certain rules / etiquette, etc. that are expected....whether it's driving a car, a boat on the lake, a bike, walking down the street, etc. When I'm driving down the highway, I expect other motorists should follow certain rules......but they just don't. Like, someone may be in the fast lane.....going really slow.....a hundred cars come up behind them, zoom around them....and yet.....they still don't get it! Why don't they get over in the other lane?

On those trails where pedestrians and bikes are both allowed....yes, I've met the folks....all walking abreast....taking up the entire path....yet they won't budge. I have to exit the path and go around them (and that's meeting them.....not coming up behind them....at least coming up behind them - you can give them the benefit of the doubt by rationalizing that maybe they don't hear you).

I'm just glad your bike is salveagable.

   RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by JONathan on 6/14/2004 at 5:27:57 AM
There is a section of path near our place that gets very heavy use by everything, including some x-country ski dryland trainers. They are unnerving, with those poles flying out to the sides. I use the trail late in the evening or early morning. I really worry about the safety factor while riding along the path during peak. Fortunately, there is a long section of dirt levee road that allows a great MTB run without much to worry about except other MTB's. I inch my way out to the dirt and then it's anything goes. You just have to find a spot. I only crashed once out there. I was slowing down to allow a bunch of coots to work their way across the path into the lake. I decided to dismount and my foot wouldn't pull loose from the toe-clip. I was completely at a standstill and just kind of crumpled to the grass on the path edge. Got bird poop all over my knee. Yuck! Very embarrassing moment for me. I would surely be distraught if I crashed into someone, especially being a "big dog", so to speak...and one that is supposed to know better and take heed. One thing that works for me, is smile and say "Hi" as you pass those who are obviously being passive aggressive about clogging it up. Keep cool, man. Good nobody got mangled in your crash. The event horizon on those blind curves is miniscule. These VLW's with dropbars can really get outa the way and through narrow seams, but you got to have a couple seconds to react.

   crashes and rude dudes... posted by Elvis on 6/14/2004 at 4:23:13 PM
My sympathy! i recently dislocated a shoulder after hitting a pothole on my fixed gear, cost more to rebuild the rear wheel than for the doctor visit...

Your story is no surprise, however, because it seems so many people are ignorant of bikes. That said, in my humble opinion, I do not feel safe on paths, because they allow no speed and tresspassers often get in the way, as you experienced. Moreover, unlike a road, path rules or behavioral norms are less likely to be followed, as in riding on both sides in either direction, etc.

I avoid paths unless I'm just riding liesurely [usually this is when i ride with someone who is less than comfortable on a bike and is afraid of the road]. All things considered, i feel safer riding in the street with the exception of sport utility vehicles. I feel a path would give me little or no room to avoid crashes, and in my limited experience, they are clogged with inattentive pedestrians. Even city riding is dangerous, people do not look both ways before stepping off the curb.
But it is not just that paths are norrow, it comes down to the rudeness of many who use them. The same rudeness is showing up in the road, more and more in battle-tank style SUVs.
SUVs are just as bad, and aside from potholes they are the main danger of the street, I've actually had shouting matches with the drivers of these monstrosities, which are not inherintly dangerous, but become so when driven maliciously or carelessly. Several times they have apparently aimed at me, and always get personally offended when I point out their dangerous ways. It doesn't phaze me much, though; If they hit my bike they'll either be buying me a new one, or I will be taking the wrecked bike and clubbing them with it ;)

All told, I'd rather ride on the road than a path, but I do wish they had more severe penalties for drivers who seem intent on killing bicyclists.
Best of luck, and be careful!

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by RobA on 6/14/2004 at 6:15:12 PM
My sympathies, Marc...there are some areas now that even though it may be a clearly marked bike path...on certain days there are simply too many people wandering around...oblivious to what's going on around them...

On my commute to work, for about 0.5km, I pass through a park with a well-marked, two lane, paved bike path... clearly and without doubt intended for bicycles, and even re-built, re-paved and re-signed just last summer...paralleling it about 5 feet to one side is a hard-pack, gravel pedestrian path... Guess where most of the pedestrians like to walk??? ...And, on top of that, a couple of years, or less, ago, our goofy city council decided that this park, along with several others, would be subject to an "off-leash" dog bylaw...the dogs are not a problem as long as they know you're there...incredibly though, I've had people calling their dog from one side of the path to the other when I've been coming along... just how 'unaware' can people get?? ...fortunately I tend to be extra vigilant the moment I see cats, dogs or wildlife...and little kids on bikes, too...last year I went down avoiding a dachshund coming around the side of a park garbage hopper..owner was a long way off...the path was under construction at the time...loose gravel, down I went...nasty road rash to my lower leg...but, fortunately no damage to my bike..and the dog was not hit...:)

Commuting to work on my bike for the past three years has given me another perspective on my fellow citizens....My conclusion simply is that most people don't mean to cause problems or get into problems when driving, walkin, cycling or whatever...but I've seen some incredibly dumb maneouvers for little apparent gain...I think a lot of people aren't always properly focussed on what they are doing...and in my humble opinion, probably... what??? 10%??, 15%??? of car drivers are... Should I be polite and say "less than skilled drivers", and should maybe find another way of getting themselves around...:)

There are risks to riding, certainly...I sometimes think in some areas I'm on borrowed time...all you can do is accept that these risks are there, try to minimize them without losing the fun of cycling, and...ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET...Hopefully, then, any 'down time' will be minimal...

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   a bit banged up posted by Ken on 6/14/2004 at 9:07:50 PM
Marc, I used to ride that path as a kid, from Foster Beach down to where it used to end at North Avenue before they straightened out that kink in the Drive- and it was hairy sometimes even then. The good news is that the word is out: multiuse trails are in demand, they increase property values, they're good for you, and best of all if they go where you're headed they also keep you out of traffic. Rob is correct that while most drivers (and pedestrians) have good intentions they also tend not to see trouble coming. Oops-sorry about the soapbox- and condolences on the Bianchi- ride safely.

AGE / VALUE:   PHONE NUMBER FOR VELOSTUFF posted by: Kevin K on 6/13/2004 at 2:19:17 AM
Hi. Does anyway have a phone number for John@velo stuff. He has the Huret rear derailleur adapters I need. I've attempted several times to email him on my wife's computer and it won't go through. Thanks, Kevin

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   bianchi specialissima? posted by: tod on 6/13/2004 at 12:42:03 AM
Found another great find today at a Garage Sale.. This year is turning out to be good for finds so far.. A Follis, my 20 dollar De Rosa and now i have found what appears to be a Bianchi Specialissima? chrome lugs.. stem,cranks and seat post brake levers all pantographed bianchi.. it is all super record.. one side of the crank is stamped circle O and the other side is diamond 9.. The serial number on the bottom bracket reads 16 0 71 .. Sadly there are no longer any stickers or original paint.. the guy hated the color and repainted it all with a cheap blue paint the is completly chipped and flaking away.. it needs some love.. he threw in two sets of campy wheels also all for 100 bucks.. I have been a happy man all day..

anybody have any bianchi info.. ?? is there a way to decipher there serial numbers.. ?

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   bianchi specialissima? posted by T-Mar on 6/13/2004 at 1:03:09 PM
Those crankset codes are for 1979 and 1980. You can corroborate the dates using the patent date next to the cable housing stop on the top pivot housing of the rear derailleur and the date codes stamped on the backside of the hubs' locknuts.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   bianchi specialissima? posted by tod on 6/13/2004 at 4:48:43 PM
looking at some catalogs online.. I believe it is a super coursa.. I found the almost exact bike in a 81 catalog.. seems that the bike has pretty much all the original parts.. except for one of the rims.. the rims were gold anodized.. i only have the front.. just needs a paint job and finding the original decals..

   Wow!!!! posted by Elvis on 6/14/2004 at 8:29:39 PM
Super Record? Specialissima? WOW! I wish they had garage sales like that around here!
Hard times and slim pickin's... these days I consider myself lucky to find a decent-hefting Panasonic 12 speed!
Even with the crummy done-it-themself paintjob, that Bianchi sounds like one hell of a find! Congrats!

   RE:Wow!!!! posted by JONathan on 6/15/2004 at 7:04:38 AM
Why would he house paint a Bianchi? They have beautiful paint jobs. You done good...again!
That's a real classic, my favorite Bianchi. Campy wheels are the best. I would go $100 for a pair of those by themselves. Have you priced them, lately?
My Bianchi has Durex wheels which are OK, but a Campy front on my Tean FUJI spins forever. That's awesome GS'ing.
Good rides!

MISC:   Bike Identification posted by: Larry on 6/12/2004 at 11:02:50 PM
I purchased two old bikes at a garage sale. The only information is a decal which reads "Free Spirit"; "Sugino" is on the pedal and "Shimano" is on the de-railer. These (his and hers) appear to be from the 60's or so. Is anyone familar with this bike or can tell me how to find out more about them? I appreciate it.

   RE:MISC:   Bike Identification posted by Randy on 6/12/2004 at 11:49:37 PM
"Free Spirit" is the brand name for bicycles sold by Sears in Canada. Generally, not a very high end or collectable bicycle as nearly as I can figure it. There were a vast array of models and quality levels over the years. More information concerning componentry and frame details would be needed for a more accurate evaluation. Hope this helps.

   RE:RE:MISC:   Bike Identification posted by Ken on 6/14/2004 at 1:36:12 PM
Also true in U.S.

AGE / VALUE:   Miyata Grand Touring... posted by: Randy on 6/12/2004 at 9:55:22 PM
I picked up a Miayata Grand Touring 1000 today and what a nice bicycle it is. The bike is in very good condition with one small exception. The rear derailleur is scuffed up a bit. Both the front and rear derailleurs have a pantograph of what looks like a bull's head on them. Does anyone know what model of Shimano derailleur these are? The rear one has the bull's head scuffed beyond recognition. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.

   RE:AGE / VALUE: Miyata Grand Touring... posted by jack on 6/12/2004 at 10:10:33 PM

You found a keeper. See http://www.sheldonbrown.com/japan.html for a description. In reality, any good wide-range, non-indexed derailleur would be fine as it is cheap and easy to swap according to your personal needs

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE: Miyata Grand Touring... posted by Randy on 6/12/2004 at 11:55:09 PM
I agree, Jack, the Miyata is indeed a keeper and I can easily fit another derailleur but I am a bit of a purist and try very hard to keep the bicycles in my humble collection as original as possible. The present derailleur works just fine. I gave the Miyata the once over and took it out for a spin. What a nice rider it is! Triple rings, fifteen gears, 700X38 tires all make for a very nice touring/commuting bicycle. I will give it the complete going over and lubricate everything before putting any more miles on it. I will keep my eye open for a proper rear derailleur. It is model number RD-M700(stamped on the back). Thanks for the advice.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Miyata Grand Touring... posted by T-Mar on 6/13/2004 at 2:29:11 AM
Actully, it is a stag's head. This is an early Deore XT derailleur from around 1984. I have decyphered the Miyata serial number codes, so if you want to send me yours, I can verify the year.

You would be hard pressed to find a better touring bicycle from that era, without going to something exotic like an Alex Singer.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Miyata Grand Touring... posted by marc on 6/13/2004 at 5:32:45 PM
does anyone know about miyata model designations. I think I remember reading that the lower the number the higher in the lineup. A friend of a friend has offered me a 700 or 710, I forget which it is exactly. I haven't seen it yet.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Miyata Grand Touring... posted by T-Mar on 6/13/2004 at 7:19:44 PM
In general, the higher model number is on a Miyata bicycle, the higher it is in the line-up. However, the system got very convoluterd over time, especially with introduction of non-ferrous frames and parallel line-ups of specialized bicycles, so there are numerous exceptions and no clear cut answer. However, the 700 series were mid-line models, with the 700/710 being from the period 1980-1986.

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Miyata Grand Touring... posted by Ron Brandmayr on 6/29/2004 at 10:02:16 PM
I have a Miyata 710 which I bought in 1982. I still ride it. It still has pretty much all the original equipment, including SunTour shifters/deraileurs. You don't see too many downtube shifters any more. But the bike runs like a top, so why buy somethig new.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Miyata Grand Touring... posted by Lee McClanahan on 7/3/2004 at 2:15:39 PM
I just found a Miyata 1024 Grand Touring bike. It is in beautiful original condition. The serial # is L228609. Can anyone tell me what year it was made and help me determine its value? Thank you very much, Lee

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE: Miyata Grand Touring... posted by Elaine Meyer on 7/5/2004 at 7:37:12 PM
I also have a Miyata 1024 Americana GT. So I am interested in the answer to Lee's question also. Mine was purchased in the late 70's, and has always been stored inside. Just needs a little cleaning/lubing up and new tires.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE: Miyata Grand Touring... posted by Elaine Meyer on 7/5/2004 at 7:44:29 PM
I also have a Miyata 1024 Americana GT. So I am interested in the answer to Lee's question also. Mine was purchased in the late 70's, and has always been stored inside. Just needs a little cleaning/lubing up and new tires.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE: Miyata Grand Touring... posted by Elaine Meyer on 7/5/2004 at 7:46:40 PM
I also have a Miyata 1024 Americana GT. So I am interested in the answer to Lee's question also. Mine was purchased in the late 70's, and has always been stored inside. Just needs a little cleaning/lubing up and new tires.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Miyata Grand Touring... posted by ag on 7/8/2004 at 3:18:08 AM
Does anyone know a website for Miyata Bicycle Company. Note: Koga-Miyata and Miyata are two different and unrelated companies.

AGE / VALUE:   Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by: jack on 6/12/2004 at 8:39:02 AM
Hi Folks,

I recently picked-up a 24.5" '74 Schwinn Sports Tourer for $50. This is one of the fillet-brazed models which is why I got it, plus it had the old style Nervar crank which looks bizarre. It has good paint and chrome and is mostly all there except the wheels but a search at LBS turned up a pair of Weinmanns w/French hubs so it will soon be good to go.

My question to those who are familiar with this bike is how much they are generally worth? I've done a web search and found they are unusual but none for sale so value eludes me. The frame size is a little large for me and I'm wondering if I should spend more time on it or cut my losses.

    Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by John E on 6/12/2004 at 11:51:37 AM
In what sense does the crank look bizarre? Did it require a BB adaptor?

If the frame is too large, you should try to arrange a swap or sale. The vintage bicycle market has not yet fully discovered these mid-level Schwinns, which suffer from looking too much like their electroforged Varsinental cousins.

   RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by jack on 6/12/2004 at 10:03:22 PM
Thanks for the response JohnE, I'm afraid you are right about most collectors not recognizing or perhaps appreciating these bikes. For those who are curious http://sheldonbrown.com/schwinn-braze.htm

About the early Nervar crank, the reason I describe it as bizarre is because of the way it looks. It presents a series of 5 concentric circles in part due to its 2 concentric chain guards. Very busy, funky, and definitely vintage, I like it.
From personal observation, these frames are not light in spite of their Chro-Moly tubing. Yet the tubing sounds lively unlike the Varsicons and other water-pipe bikes. If there was a demolition derby for bikes I think these frames would be the last ones standing.

   RE:RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by Jim_T on 6/13/2004 at 12:19:57 AM
I found a Sports Tourer at a garage sale last week, a nice blue metalic. Someone had taken out some of the chainwheel bolts and the inner chainwheel was egg shaped. The Super- Sports-Tourer are great bikes to collect. On the SS the astubla crank weighs almost as much as the frame! One problem with the SS and ST is the front derailer, its larger than the normal sized 1", I think it is 1 1/8", but the seatpost size seems to be a normal size making it easy to use a SR Laprade post. Trivia note in 1967, a cycling orginization called the "Wandering Wheels" who crisscrossed the US on bicycle tours, switched from Louison Bobet sports bikes, and made Schwinn Super Sports their official bikes. The SS's had heavier constuction, quality of components and better performance.

   RE:RE:RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by Kevin K on 6/13/2004 at 2:13:26 AM
Hi all. The Sports Tourer/Super Sport line of Schwinn bikes is truely unique in the fact that the frames were hand brazed and no two are the same. I've had SS/ST frames that looked as if the person doing the brazing was asleep, while other frames were finished very nicely. The crankset on the Super Sport is a downer. The Sports Tourer on the other hand is a really nice item to own. I've been given 2 of these unique frames. One is a 1971, the other is a 1972 in Opaque Green. I will not attempt to restore these bikes correctly but instead will use NOS French and British parts on the 72 and nice Japanese parts on the 71. If you have a nice original you should keep it original, or sell it to a Schwinn collector and use your cash to buy what you prefere to collect. While there are alot of higher quality bikes out there, these Schwinn bikes aren't a dime a dozen lugged frame pieces. They reflect a human touch. Just my opinion. Enjoy, Kevin

   RE:RE:RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by Kevin K on 6/13/2004 at 2:16:28 AM
Hi all. The Sports Tourer/Super Sport line of Schwinn bikes is truely unique in the fact that the frames were hand brazed and no two are the same. I've had SS/ST frames that looked as if the person doing the brazing was asleep, while other frames were finished very nicely. The crankset on the Super Sport is a downer. The Sports Tourer on the other hand is a really nice item to own. I've been given 2 of these unique frames. One is a 1971, the other is a 1972 in Opaque Green. I will not attempt to restore these bikes correctly but instead will use NOS French and British parts on the 72 and nice Japanese parts on the 71. If you have a nice original you should keep it original, or sell it to a Schwinn collector and use your cash to buy what you prefere to collect. While there are alot of higher quality bikes out there, these Schwinn bikes aren't a dime a dozen lugged frame pieces. They reflect a human touch. Just my opinion. Enjoy, Kevin

   RE:AGE / VALUE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by jack on 6/13/2004 at 6:16:32 AM
Thanks to all for your replies,

This '74 ST is lemon yellow with what appears to be nice smooth brazing incl BB. Frnt derail is a Schw-approved steel parallelogram. According to what I decifered from the website, most all the componentry was same as Conti cept the wheels. Now that I found Weinmann wheels (rims same as used for clincher Paramounts) it will be 95% correct. Lucky I live on the flats so the weight may not be that much of a problem.

   RE:RE:RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by Carolyn on 6/15/2004 at 4:17:36 PM
I bought a 1972 Sports Tourer when they came out, but now have to sell it. (Arthritis in my neck makes it almost impossible to ride hunched over for long). How do I find an appropriate selling price? What's the best venue: eBay, garage sale? I'm having a garage sale in two days, but don't know how to price the bike.

Everything on the bike is original. It needs cleaning and oiling, but verything is in excellent condition. The tires are cracked, but seem to be holding air. The bike has been stored in a garage, on a rack. It's a man's bike. I'm not sure of the frame size but it is big. I'm tall.

   RE:RE:RE:RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by Kevin K on 6/17/2004 at 1:03:18 AM
Hi Carolyn. Cool name. A few years back my wife had a baby that we hoped would be a girl. I wanted to name her Caroline. Close but different. Both pretty. Anyway where do you live? I'm interested in your Sports Tourer. What color is it please? These were made in 3 sizes only. I belive 22,24 and 26. Measure the head tube and I can probally help you out with the correct size. As for price only what one is willing to pay. Ebay is so so on pricing. Garage sale maybe. Your best bet is true Schwinn collector like myself. So give me some info and lets see ok. Thanks, Kevin

   RE:RE:RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by Carolyn on 6/19/2004 at 1:03:18 PM
Hi Kevin. I always wished my name was Caroline instead of Carolyn.

I live in Wichita, Kansas.
The Sports Tourer is a medium electric blue. I 'm sure it has an official name but I don't what it is. I measured from the top of the top horizontal bar to the center of the pedal shaft. That was 22 inches. The diameter of the wheel, including the tire, is 27 inches. I don't know what the head tube is. When it stops raining, I can take take it outdoors and take a picture and email it if you want. We are in the middle of our garage sale and it is pouring down rain, so everything is packed into the garage. We have several other bikes in the sale: my daughter's Schwinn Traveler (same color as mine); my oldest son's Peugeot (missing a gear and one brake line is broken) and his yellow 1973 Schwinn Stingray. We also have an old Sears 10-speed that my husband was riding the day we met. It's a cheap bike but it sure brought me a priceless husband!

Let me know if you have further questions or want a photo. I'm sorry for the delay in answering this, but I haven't had time to check the computer other than email.

Let me

   RE:RE:RE:RE: Schwinn Sports Tourer posted by Al on 6/4/2005 at 2:06:30 AM
I'm in the process of restoring a 1973 Schwinn Sports tourer. The orginal color was Kool Lemon. Can anyone tell me the PMS color for the Kool Lemon. I would like to get an exact color match.


WANTED:   Bike Shows posted by: Tom on 6/11/2004 at 11:16:15 PM
Where is the largest bike shows for vintage bikes of all kinds. Also swap meets.

   RE:WANTED: Bike Shows posted by jack on 6/12/2004 at 8:58:57 AM
There is a late sum early fall meet in Pasadena CA...contact Classic Rendezvous. Also a big meet was just held back east..NC? Unfortunately there aren't that many in USA that I'm aware of and distances are a problem. The bigger meets are announced in most of these vintage bike websites.

    Bike Shows posted by John E on 6/12/2004 at 12:05:36 PM
Although I have not yet attended one of the Pasadena bicycle extravaganzas, I have seen some very impressive photographs from years past. Several of the prominent experts and legends of vintage cycling attend year after year, and some of the bikes are incredible. Chuck Schmidt can give you lots of information about the event.

MISC:   SunTour Freewheels posted by: RobA on 6/11/2004 at 5:43:23 PM
My latest focus has been freewheels...in particular, SunTour New Winner, Winner and Winner Pro. I picked up a near-new Winner Pro a couple of weeks ago for $CDN5, with some spacer issues. With the help of a SunTour Tech Bulletin sold by www.yellowjersey.org, I now know more than I ever thought I would about these and other SunTour derailleurs, how they work, and cog interchangibility. Fascinating...the more I learn about SunTour, and stuff they made or had made as part of their trade group, the more impressed I am...and sad, too, that they went under... SunTour and Shimano put enormous positive pressure on the bike component business through the 70s and 80s, from which we, the consumers, have benefited enormously. I'm working now on figuring out some of the subtleties of the spacers, as they are the key to effective shifting...well, the main area where the home mechanic can mess up... assuming, too, one knows not to put cogs in backwards...:) Next I think I try to figure out the Dura Ace FWs...that might take a bit longer...I've only got one Dura Ace FW, and I seldom see them at the local LBS...

I've also got to find a good FW vice...at present, I'm simply screwing the FWs down to a piece of 2x6, which I then clamp into a vice. I then go at the small cog with a chain whip.

I'm curious what approaches other people take to getting the cogs off. I find that almost always I have to give the chainwhip handle a couple of good smacks with a heavy neoprene hammer...I worry about the chain whip flying apart. Do you guys have similar problems getting the 'thread-on' cogs off? Is there a more 'finessed' way to do it?

   RE:RE:RE:MISC:   SunTour Freewheels posted by JONathan on 6/12/2004 at 1:43:12 AM
The SunTour "perfect" freewheels are good, too. 34T large on some gear "boxes". Very heavy units, but they last. I've cleaned up a few that had some minor rust and they were as good as new. I use a Bicycle Research FW vise. You can do the changeouts with a couple of chainwhips; operating with the handles crossed so when they let go, the handles travel AWAY from each other.This will save a few busted knuckles. I have a Parks HD whip ($40) and a cheapo ($15) one. Both work the same, except the Parks will outlast 10 of the cheap ones. Also, the Parks has threaded pins to remove the chain if you want to replace a worn or damaged one. Or, I suppose, you could fit a different size chain, although I don't know if that is recommended.
The BR vise fits into the jaws of your benchtop vise. Two little leads of chain are mounted at one end for either dorection pulling. A heavy post sticks up to hold the FW steady. It will take the 34T units with room to spare. This only requires one chainwhip. I think the vise is about $40. I've seen another type of FW vise that has a sliding base over two steel rods. Looks pretty nice and it can work with FW's that are absent of the core. I like the BR unit as it is easy to pop in the vise and start working. Mainly I use it because I got it for $20, used. You mentioned "Dura Ace" being scarce. That stuff is top of the line gear, IMHO. Most thrift stores rarely get a bike so equipped, because their previous owners of Dura Ace fitted bikes don't seem to drop their bikes off at charity stores.
The SunTour "AR" series is very exquisite in simplicity, which is why it sems to last, despite it being a tad lightly constructed. Mine just keep shifting and I get used to the correction (trim) as it is consistent in behavior. The "Arx" can handle the bigger rear cogs. Very elegant little units, IMHO. I always look for them. I am biased, though, since I have them running on two bikes that I ride a lot and I hold to the "simple is better" motto...as long as the performance is not "simple"., that is to say. Like anaybody, I want the best of both!

   RE:MISC:   SunTour Freewheels posted by RobA on 6/11/2004 at 6:16:52 PM
Oops...I meant to say, "...I now know more than I ever thought I would about these and other SunTour FREEWHEELS,..."

   RE:RE:MISC:   SunTour Freewheels posted by Ken on 6/11/2004 at 10:38:20 PM
Rob, I'm still plumbing the depths of my ignorance, but I for one continue to be completely in awe of the quality of SunTour shifters and derailleurs. I just finished putting the Sugino crankset you sent me on a ca. 1990 Fuji Del Rey (perhaps the bottom of that lineup? T-Mar? It had Ovaltech on it...) and like three other roadies I ride, it is equipped with 6-speed Accushift downtube levers. I used a long-cage AR rear derailleur, and about 7mm longer BB. The Suntour Edge front derailleur had plenty of range, and clearance for the 32 tooth ring in the 3 largest cogs (28 max rear). Everything works! It's a treat to hook up a cable, adjust the barrel and get all the gears.

    SunTour Freewheels posted by John E on 6/12/2004 at 12:02:18 PM
For freewheel work, I put one cog in my cog vise and wrap my chain whip around another. I often have to resort to a rubber mallet to break a cog loose.

The old SunTour derailleurs were well ahead of their time, particularly in wide-range applications. The ca. 1972 Nishiki touring bikes had the same 38-100 gear range as the basic Peugeots and Raleighs, but shifted far more crisply and precisely. The success of the slant planograph breakthrough became even more apparent when everyone else copied the design when the patent expired in the mid-to-late 1980s.

   RE:RE:RE:MISC:   SunTour Freewheels posted by Paul Aguilar on 4/30/2006 at 12:48:44 AM
Does anyone posses or know where to download the disassembly instructions or parts 'exploded' diagram for
the SunTour Perfect 6 speed freewheel. If it matters,
my freewheel uses a 2 tooth/block freewheel tool for

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   7-Speed index levers/shifters combo posted by: Gralyn on 6/11/2004 at 2:17:17 PM
I was browsing a LBS the other day and saw that they had the Fuji line-up. I noticed that toward the lower-end - they had Fuji's around the $500 - $600 range...and then up to the $800-$900 range.....which had 7-speed index shifting....the combo of brake lever / shifter....like "STI" or whatever you call it. (sorry, my brain just doesn't work right sometimes). But anyway, I see the 9 and 10 speed new shifters set-up for sale from time-to-time - but never see any 7-speed.

But, I'm thinking - these were new bikes...with new equipment....and so I'm thinking that these shifters must be available. (I think they were Shimano). I have a couple of older bikes - with aero levers and D/T shifters.....but could upgrade to STI shifters - if it wasn't too expensive, and if it was 7-speed. ....and judging by the price on those Fuji bikes - I would think the shifters wouldn't be too expensive.

Does anyone know where you can find these 7-speed set-ups? Just the lever/shifter combo.......maybe the shifter cables, too.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   7-Speed index levers/shifters combo posted by Walter on 6/11/2004 at 11:20:37 PM
Harris Cyclery claims to have a good supply of 7 speed Shimano. I've never looked as my modern stuff is Campy but you sure won't find a better source of parts and info than Harris.

AGE / VALUE:   Die-cast frame Bridgestone posted by: Mark E. on 6/11/2004 at 2:26:50 AM
I've recently acquired a bike that seems a bit unusual to me, and I haven't had ANY luck finding anything about it (specifically the diecast frame) on web sites or my local bike shops. I'd appreciate it if anyone can point me in the right direction, either through your own wealth of knowledge or to another authority. Is this bike a keeper, junk, or in between?

It's a Bridgestone 10 speed, 27X1 1/4 , SN #F260723, as stamped on the bottom of the bottom bracket, inlaid with gold paint. I suppose it would be called a touring bike - fendered and front racked.

It has two features that make it unique, at least to me:

On the chrome-looking seat tube, under the Bridgestone decal, there's another decal that reads "Bridgestone Diecast Frame" and under that it says "Guaranteed World's Finest Bicycle Precision Mechanism" (This last phrase is also printed along both sides of the down tube). The frame, where the black paint has chipped, does look like some kind of alloy, and the "lugs" have a simple design but lack definition, as one might expect on cast products. I suppose they are not really lugs at all if the frame is diecast in one piece?

The other oddity is the chainring - it says "Bridgestone Oval", and I read on Sheldon Brown's site that it's probably an eliptic chainring project.

Other than that, it looks pretty standard, except the Suntour shifters operate a Shimano Eagle rear derailleur, probably replaced (the front derailleur is a Suntour Spirt - no, not "Spirit", not "Sprint" - definitely S-P-I-R-T), the front and rear hubs say "SUNSHINE 5345" with an odd little logo, the freewheel says "OE 888 Perfect Maeda
Industries, Ltd., Japan" and it has a Sugino chainwheel. It also has a front mousetrap rack, designed to accommodate the (working!) Sankyu 6V 3W generator light mounted on the right fork.
>Any insights? Is the diecast frame any good, or if not, rare enough to hold on to?
Thanks for any help.

   RE:AGE / VALUE: Die-cast frame Bridgestone posted by jack on 6/11/2004 at 4:41:18 AM

By coincidence I saw a C.Itoh bike today that also said "...Precision Mechanism". I kind of chuckled cause the bike had strange faux headlugs and spotwelded rear dropouts. If I recall correctly, Itoh was a poor man's Bridgestone. If yours is indeed a frame cast in non-ferrous metal, it should not attract a magnet and as such would be desireble.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Die-cast frame Bridgestone posted by JONathan on 6/11/2004 at 5:16:58 AM
Bridgestone made the Kabuki line of bicycles with the "Submariner" being one model. Mine has the cast Aluminum lugs and the seat-tube has a wedge locking the seat-post inside. Very interesting. There is a bolt that looks like it is a seat-post anchor, but it is only for the rear brake cable stop. The BB is one solid chunk of aluminum which extends out to accept the chain-stays. I believe the lugs were heated up to expand the I.D., thus accepting the steel frame tubes, which are pinched tight when the lugs contract back on cooling. I'm not sure of my particular model as the decals are ratty, but there is a lot of foil and striped tape, etc. Making for a snazzy lookin ride, were it not for the tattered condition. The paint is good, yellow color. I wondered if it was late '60's. The Shimano derailer is ancient. Rides steady as wooden trawler, to be sure. I kinda like the thing. I gave it away, then it appeared in my driveway, out of the blue. Seems it was "redundant". Interesting thing is they didn't ask if I wnated it back, which I did not, but since they got a "new" bike to replace it, somehow it's propriety was agin mine. I just figure it's kharma...kind of like a conga drum exhibits. WQell, I actually rode it a bit. Man, it was weathered up pretty bad, but lubed and re-braked with cables and it is now looking good, again. The headbadge is cool. Bridegestones, although not really a major bike player back then (relative to the overall size of the diverse company, they were making some innovative bikes. The "RB.1" comes to mind, although that was the USA division. I think the magnet test will be positive on the frame, but negative on the lugs and BB.
Just a guess.
Nice find. Got any pictures?

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Die-cast frame Bridgestone posted by Gralyn on 6/11/2004 at 12:28:07 PM
This is weird - because finally, yesterday, after a couple days of stopping by many, many thrift stores - where I have found bikes in the past - and had not seen a single bike.......finally, I see a VLW. It looks old, very early 70's is my guess. Kabuki. Weird little oval head badge, bicycle license sticker above the head badge, cottered steel cranks, very rusty rims, very rusty components, frame had lots of foil-looking decal work. It wasn't real heavy.....but heavy, still. It had some verbage going down the down-tube along the der. cables....like to do with a precision mechanism, precision engineered mechanism, something like that. It really didn't look like anything special at all....and with the condition.....I just left it there. Had it been in really good cosmetic condition - I may have picked it up....but I still don't know.

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE: Die-cast frame Bridgestone posted by jack on 6/12/2004 at 9:13:17 AM
It is becoming increasingly apparent that someone has disposed with their collection of "blah blah Precision Mechanism" bicycles. As I recall, 17yrs ago there was also alot of buzz about the sudden appearance of a hord of these...hmm?

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Die-cast frame Bridgestone posted by Mark E. on 6/14/2004 at 5:02:13 PM
Thanks for all your replies. The magnet test came up positive for all parts of the frame, so I assume it is cast steel or steel alloy, not forged. Weird. Yes, Jonathan, mine too has the seat post that works like a handlebar post, and the hanger only set-up for the rear break wheer the seat tube tightener is usually found. I'd guess that the cast ST tightener wouldn't have taken much flexing before it fatigued, hence the seat tube set-up. Anyway, it fits me, it rides OK, and it's in pretty good shape, so I'll hang on to it until I need space for another bike.

AGE / VALUE:   on the subject of japanese derailleurs... posted by: marc on 6/10/2004 at 2:14:07 PM
On this subject, I finally got a chance to take the dura ace equipped gran sport out for a spin yesterday. It's great! I've got a crane in the back and although I do not believe the downtube shifters are dura ace they are fantastic. They don't have a model on them but they are the type that are attatched to the center of clamp on band. They're kind of on a little bride or platform. I don't know if I'm making myself clear, I'm not sure what exactly their called. They are shimano and they are the friction ratchet type. Combined with the crane, shifting is effortless. Honestly, it felt like I was using an indexed derailleur. I'd move the shifter two clicks and the crane has shifted perfectly, no need to adjust. It was really amazing. If I see anymore of these cranes I'm snatching them up as well as these shifters.

I also met another collector, definately has a lot of high end stuff. We got into a bit of an arguement, he scoffed at my appreciation of japanese components. For him, it's all campy or nothing. That's fine, leave all those great japanese components for me that work as beautifully as they look.
The dura ace center pulls work really well also. A little screeching but I think it's just a matter of adjusting the pads. I've heard lance is using these on one of is time trial bikes and that these are getting popular and more expensive because of that. I'm glad I got mine for a total of 15.00 and didn't pay the 150.00 for the NOS set.

I finally got the centurion up and running as well. I was a little peaved when I noticed a hole in the sidewall of the otherwise in good condition rear tire. And to think I rode it a few miles like that. Too bad, I'm sure if I had noticed it before I could have knocked down the price a bit more. Any of you guys with a Performance cycling store near you, there's a sale. I picked up some nice tires and tubes pretty cheap. Continental tubes for 2.99, hard to beat that, in 700C or 27 inch. I stocked up.

AGE / VALUE:   Superbe bolt pattern posted by: Ron Slayback on 6/10/2004 at 2:48:37 AM
Does anyone know offhand what the bolt pattern is for a Superbe crank?

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Superbe bolt pattern posted by John S on 6/10/2004 at 3:20:47 PM
There were two bolt patterns. The earliest pattern was 144 to match Campagnolo. In the early/mid 80's the pattern was changed to 130, al la Shimano. Fortunately, chainrings are common for either pattern.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No grieving for Simplex Prestige posted by: Douglas on 6/9/2004 at 6:25:18 PM
A couple days ago I posted about my Mirage, a cheap french bicycle imported into Canada by Norco back around 1973.I remarked that it was an eye-catcher that performed decently for what it was. The bike was all original and that included Simplex prestige derailleurs. I commented on the numerous offers to purchase this example of this flashy but cheap, entry level french bike.
Last evening a beautiful young woman showed up prepared to buy this bike. I stood to make a very substantial profit on this sale so I was extra attentive adjusting the saddle and handlebars, etc. After each adjustment she'd ride around the block to sample the set-up.

On her third trip she came coasting in with a troubled look on her face, the bike is broken, she exclaimed. On examination both derailleur pulleys had disintegrated leaving nothing but the bushing and bolt remaining on the cage. She opened her palm to reveal the shift lever that had snapped off in her hand. Goodbye lovely lady.

I knew I had the parts laying around to repair and replace the originals but I wondered how long those would hold up. T-mar mentioned a transistion that the industry made about the time this bike was manufactured forgoing long used poorly designed french components for modern well engineered japanese equipment. I dug around and found some early Suntour derailleurs and a nice d/t shifter. The bike goes on the stand, off with all the French junk and on with the Japanese jewels. One half hour later, it's finished with no snarled cable, fiddly adjustments or excuses. It looks contemporary with the rest of the bike and there's a world of improvement in the feel of the shifts and quality of construction. Goodbye and good riddance Simplex.

I'm now willing to forgo originality for reliability. I can easily convince myself that this bike was equipped like this as it left the bike shop back in the seventies. I envision those shop employees almost pleading with customers to swap out that Simplex garbage for the wonderful new Suntour products with a ,"Do it now or do it later". I thought I'd have regrets about doing the exchange and losing the "stockness" of the bike but there's nothing but the sense of having done the right thing.

I used to strive to maintain the originality of each vintage bike, taking with that the compromises that had to be made to achieve that goal. I've left a bike 98% complete, waiting months or years for the correct part to show up. No more.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No grieving for Simplex Prestige posted by Gralyn on 6/10/2004 at 2:09:27 AM
I know what you mean! I have this beautiful....looks brand new....Peugeot.....but it has this crappy french der. It shifts like crapp - and it looks really cheap compared with the frame. I have often thought of how much better it would perform - if I traded out the old french components with some japanese of the same period. I have plenty of japanese components.....but I had wanted to keep the bike original.

   Simplex Prestige posted by John E on 6/10/2004 at 5:47:23 PM
As regular readers know, I own two shamelessly SunTour-equipped Peugeots -- an early 1970s UO-8 and a 1980 PKN-10. The late 1960s SunTour slant planograph was such a significant technological advance that everyone else eventually immitated it, when the patent expired in the mid 1980s. In the 1970s, Campag. had the best durability, materials, and craftsmanship, whereas SunTour had the most advanced engineering, and Simplex had outdated technology, such as push-rod front derailleurs.

   RE:Simplex Prestige posted by JONathan on 6/10/2004 at 6:55:30 PM
The Maino road bike that was my pride and joy for years, which has been relegated to "museum" status in my modest collection, has a very smallish (and v. lightweight) Simplex rear derailer that is considerably smaller than the Simplexes on most of my French bikes that are so equipped. We're talking late '60's here. It held up better than I imagined that it could, considering how much use it got. I'm not noted for flawless shifting, either. Maybe they expected the rider to refit with a real derailer (just kidding) like a Campy "record".
Yes, it has those white plastic wingnuts on front wheel and chromed wingnuts for the rear, with the derailer side being slightly longer to provide clearance for the derailer body. My point is the derailer shifts beautifully and it has proven quite durable. Maybe the plastic is better material or something. It works, is all I can say. My French bikes look nice with all Simplex, but the SunTours and Shimanos runner way better, except for this tiny bugger that's on the Maino. It shifts real smooth. This one has a gold color plastic insert on the outer swingarm which has "prestige" embossed across the plate. The uv lightb really trashes those plastic parts over time. Ozone might do a number on them, too. Once they are brittle, then things start snapping off. They weree cheap to repace at one time, I suppose. I really dig the way the Simplex looks on my UE-8 that is completely OEM, right down to the Soubitez ligt system. I couldn't see a SunTour on there, but it would most likely better a better running machine if so equipped.
I guess my point is that it depends on how original (or purist) you want to be. For running, I like the SunTour "Ar" series and the Shimano "cranes". They are so simple and shift flawlessly for everyday standards. My favorite is the Campy "gran Sport", but it looks funny held up to the stays on my "RB.1". The "GS" is pretty amazing workmanship, though. I really dig it. Right now, it is working on my current restoration project, "Italvega". It looks quite fine on that vintage steed.
The really troublesome Simplexes are those front derailers, which are often cracked at the yolk...they still work, but they are disaster waiting...I'd check any of those with a magnifying glass. The Plastic "delrin" type rear derailers that have the metal braces are pretty tough. They look better made than the straight plastic ones.
Just my 3 c's.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   No grieving for Simplex Prestige posted by Ralph on 6/10/2004 at 7:52:10 PM
I have a '72 Raleigh Super Course that I got from VVVintage last year. It took a pretty fair amount of work to get it overhauled. Among other things, it had Prestige derailleurs. As it turns out the broken jocky wheels were easily replaced with Sun Tour. I had another (metal) front derailleur mount to replace the cracked plastic one. Back in the day I remember telling my customers to get rid of that Simplex crap. I guess that I repaired mine to keep the bike as original as possible.

The shifting is acceptable, but not anything close to what I would want out of a bike I'm going to ride a lot. As a matter of fact the only bike I have that's worse is a Sprite 5 speed equipped with bottom of the line Huret junk. Now the Sprite irritates me enough that when I get around to it, The Huret junk is gone in favor of Sun Tour.

By the way, I have to say that I treat those flimsy Simplex levers on the Super Course with kid gloves. Back in the day they snapped with the littlest provocation. I can only imagine what time and UV rays have done to their temperament.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: No grieving for Simplex Prestige posted by James Mahon on 6/10/2004 at 9:00:35 PM
I commuted for a few months on my '74 AO-8 in early spring while I was doing a spring overhaul on my '86 Schwinn Passage. During that time I replaced nearly it's entire shifting system. The simplex piston front derailleur first because it cracked, then the rear derailleur with a suntour because of weak springs. Then one day, I also broke a prestige shift lever off in my hand. I visited the nearby Cleveland Bicycle Co-Op and bought, trying to stay true to the heritage somewhat, alloy Simplex shifters for $7.00. If I break those I will be suprised. Oddly enough, the used shifters bin at the Co-op had lots of Simplex plastic shifters in it from parted bikes. Conclusion:Low-end simplex is terrible.

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: No grieving for Simplex Prestige posted by Derek Coghill on 6/10/2004 at 11:09:56 PM
My Peugeot has a pushrod front mech. It seems to work just fine. If it breaks, I'll change it, but (1) it's not critical and (2) I have a spare.

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: No grieving for Simplex Prestige posted by JONathan on 6/10/2004 at 11:12:02 PM
Ralph, that Huret you mentioned; well I have probably the same model (with a "star") that's on my 10-sp. "Sprite". Got nothing against the bike, but that has to be one of the toughest derailers to operate. I can't dial it, either, no matter how many times it's tweaked. Probably doesn't help the cause that I managed to spin the cable adjustment screw. I might just braze the barrel onto the derailer and adjust the old-fashion way using the clamp on the body. It grinds and then clunks real good, better than a bell to warn of approach. Everyone looks back, even when I'm 10M behind, when it shifts up. What were they thinking? That is a solid running bike in all other respects. Well, the brakes are only OK. The derailer looks like a miniature scissors jack. Fun to see how it works. I left it on due to the funk-factor being so high and all.
Yes, it is the lowest performing derailer, but it will last a long time. It looks real shiny and clean after almost 30 years. Those "sprites" are nice heavy duty commuters, IMHO.

   RE:RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS: No grieving for Simplex Prestige posted by Ralph on 6/11/2004 at 7:08:32 PM
JONathan, I completely agree on the subject of how difficult that stupid derailleur is to shift. I've got the thing perfectly adjusted. It hits the upper and lower limits dead on. Those are the only good shifts I get. I feel like a derailleur rookie every time I ride that thing. As it happens, mine is one of those yellow 5 speeds. The lever is a bit shorter than most I've seen, which only adds to my attitude when I start screwing around with it on the road.

How can a 5 speed freewheel, with all the margine for error you get, sound soooooo loud? If it weren't for the pain I get from that Huret derailleur, I think I'd ride that bike more than I do. I think that the discussion is over. Quickly Robin... To the Bat-Cave. I have a derailleur to change. I'll let you know how the Sun Tour works out.