new flat bar or used curly?

Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts

new flat bar or used curly?

Postby esemce » Wed Oct 10, 2007 9:42 pm

Budget limitations (<$500) restrict me to looking at either a new low end flat bar road bike or (my preference) a used curly bar road bike.

My current bike is an old Repco 14 speed, not sure what's wrong with it, but everyone (of course) is reccommending a replacement over repair..
My uses are really recreational/transportational, with a back of the mind fitness motive and I guess I have the same (perhaps totally unjustified) bias against flat bar bikes that all curly bar riders have.

Am I going to get better value and enjoyment out of a low end flat bar as I will an older (but presumably better set up) mid range curly?
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by BNA » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:35 pm

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Postby stryker84 » Wed Oct 10, 2007 10:35 pm

Well, I for one am NOT recommending you upgrade from your old Repco roadie, at least not at your current budget, unless you really want a flat bar over drops ("curly"). And from the sound of it, you're perfectly comfortable with drops (and not everyone is).

My advice? From someone who went flat (mainly cos I wasn't comfortable with the idea of drops then, and slightly for $$ reasons as well), I wish I'd gone with the drops instead. Save your dollars now, spend a tiny bit on sprucing up the old Repco, and upgrade to a dream bike when you can afford it. It's agony compromising for now, and having to put up with drooling at the spiffy machines for years to come.

...
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Postby europa » Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:23 pm

Welcome to the nuthouse esemce.

Where are you? Old roadies are really easy to get working again, though it's true that some will never be more than 'ride to the shops and hope someone nicks it' :roll: many others can be turned into lovely riding machines without a lot of expense and bother.

Your budget isn't great and so, seeing you have a bike already, it's worth having a good look at it to repair it. Shops won't be interested, but a tinkerer like myself would be willing to have a go.

Depending on the age, a lot of those old Repcos had really nice frames and hence, sensible addition of modern bits can take an old clunker and turn her into a very nice bike, and that's something that can be done gradually, as you find the right bits and as you can afford them.

Until you start riding regularly, you won't know what you want or how you'll be using your bike. You can guess and postulate, but there's this horrible thing called 'reality' that screws up a lot of plans. You may find yourself forcing the old steed to do 100km rides every saturday, you may find yourself exploring fire trails. You won't know until you get out and start riding. Hence the beauty of getting the old girl working for you.

So I repeat, where are you?

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Postby Mulger bill » Thu Oct 11, 2007 1:19 am

G'Day esemce, nice to read you. :)

Methinks Richards hit it on the head here. Unless the Repcos frame is bent to buggery or seriously rusty you should get quite a few more years out of her without great expense. There's enough reasonably competent fiddlers here who could have a look over her and let you know what you need.... there's just one thing missing, to quote an average looking blonde. "Where the bloody hell are you?"

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Postby MountGower » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:42 am

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Last edited by MountGower on Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby esemce » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:40 am

Firstly I'm in Adelaide, Australia and have now updated my profile to show it..
I think the frame is in fairly good nick, it's a CrMo frame, although the Grade of steel I'll have to get back to you (writing this from work), rust is purely cosmetic at this stage. The model is Olympic 14, if that helps anyone... The shifters are on the cross beam (??) of the frame. I bought it secondhand from a Triathlon rider about 10 years ago.. I'm unsure of the year, but I'd say it was around 15-20 years old. (it has the signature of someone on a decal, I'll check that when I get home too...might date it)

It still rides quite well, I cruise at about 35kph and break into flat sprints, limited by lack of muscular and aerobic capacity more than the bike, to about 43kph, I'm no sprinter. At 6ft, 70Kg!!
The sprockets are all in good nick, the teeth are still very flat and the chain is within tolerance, both wheels (Mavics) have a slight wobble (more on that later), the brakes are in need of attention.. but probably just need new pads..
I'm not sure what model Dérailleur's are on it, it has a sticker (I can see it in my head, but can't read it!!), TAYA perhaps (it's all Shimano anyway)... (having Googled Taya, I think that's what it must be..it's the right age too..) The RD needs a tweak, it's a little out of alignment through the middle of the range, otherwise no complaints really.

I do enjoy its effortless riding.. but the furthest I'm likely to ride it is 30Km, on a round trip with a break at halfway.. I've been riding for long enough that I know that's about the limit of enjoyment for me...
It's not had an easy life for the past 3 years, previously been stored in a shed undercover, but since moving I have no sheltered storage, best I can offer it is under a grape vine, so it's somewhat in the weather, although due to our extended drought it's probably only sat in the rain for perhaps 30 hours!!

My reason for looking at upgrades is that it has started making a not nice sounding, "crack" from (I think) the rear...seems to be periodic and I haven't identified a cause or source to be able to replicate it to an "expert". It doesn't seem to happen during acceleration, but during cruising or deceleration. I've taken it to 3 shops and been given 3 opinions, hub, cassette and (one that I hadn't considered) loose spokes.. It could just be loose spokes, I have done nothing to them in the 10 years I've owned the bike!! And that might also sort out the wobble...

A second issue is that I find the rear wheel lugs slip, over what I consider to be a short time. Every few weeks (and I'd only do at most 150Km/week) I need to realign the wheel to prevent it scraping the frame, I assume that's due to the pull of the chain against the lugs, but I can't tighten them any harder!! Going uphill once, I actually pulled the wheel out, didn't realise for a few seconds and couldn't work out why the hill was suddenly so hard to get up!!

Glad I asked here.. the temptation of buying new (and blowing my budget) was getting strong!!! I've always lusted for swingshift gears, but that's the only bit of my bike that I don't "like"...
I'm still kinda interested in the used options though...

Edit: Thanks for the responses everyone...looks like you have a great community here.

Second Edit: Richard, I've just noted that you're an Adelaidian too!! Are there social groups I can join to do short reasonably flat rides?? I have joined a small group from JT Cycles a few times but they seem to do just the Torrens Linear Park ride and don't socialise!!
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Postby europa » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:20 am

There doesn't sound like there's much wrong with that bike. Let me guess, you took it to someone like JT cycles? Young blokes? Racing background? Cynicism about some segments of the cycling industry is pretty much standard around here.

I went through the same thing with my Europa. I was quoted over $300 to get a heap of simple things done to her. I put her back on the road for the price of new dr, a set of tyres and some tinkering - cost about $50.

Wheel rebuilds are pretty cheap. Spokes are easy to replace yourself (if you can get the right length but my lbs has old stock and I've got spokes for 27" wheels before). Truing the wheels isn't hard either but a shop will only charge about $25 assuming there's nothing horrid like frozen spokes.
You're unlikely to have ruined the hubs. Just pulling it all apart and regreasing it will probably be all you need ... a comment that, of course, guarantees you've broken something horrible :roll:
Chains are cheap and easy to get.
Gear clusters are available new off ebay.
There's nothing scary in any of the work.

Adjusting the gears is simple. New cables may make a difference but they're cheap.

If you get this old dear working again, she'll give you a lovely ride that'll do all you want. When you can afford a nice new bike, she'll give you something to ride when you don't want the 'new' bike left chained to a fence somewhere and something for those lazy nostalgic days.

Give a yell if you need some help doing it all - working with those old bikes is fun.

Richard
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Postby europa » Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:25 am

esemce wrote:Second Edit: Richard, I've just noted that you're an Adelaidian too!! Are there social groups I can join to do short reasonably flat rides?? I have joined a small group from JT Cycles a few times but they seem to do just the Torrens Linear Park ride and don't socialise!!


The Bicycle Institute of South Australia has a series of links that take you to recreational groups. I've been strongly tempted to join one of these rides but have always been able to come up with some excuse not to :roll:

Richard
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Postby esemce » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:14 am

Yeah, JT, Bicycle Express and Super Elliots, I live in the city, so they're all convenient to me.. All young guys, some racing types but mostly MTB..
JT and Bicycle Express were equally dismissive of a repair job, although JT changed their tune a little when I ruled out a new bike with the comment "if you don't think it's worth fixing, I'll be buying used"..
Super Elliots suggested the spokes could be the issue, but were still keen to move a new bike (of course) and said 2 weeks was the earliest repair slot..

Although I am a tinkerer and have done some adjustment on the RD, I really have no idea what I'm doing, just making adjustments that look right and seem to work OK..
Playing with spokes is something I didn't even know could be done, let alone seen anyone perform and packing hubs sounds scary too with something I really want to be back on the road ASAP... Are there bike repair books (or sites) like you can get for cars??

It's booked in at JT tomorrow for their $70 overhaul, I'll get them to true both wheels and buy a new front tyre (the current one is cracked along the sidewalls and I've been meaning to do that job for a while) and brake pads all round.
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Postby europa » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:18 am

That should see her right mate. After that, give a yell when you want to do some work. Bikes are more scary than difficult. Those old girls were rather elegant in their simplicity, which is something I have against the modern foolishness.

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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:58 am

Based on your performance figures, you wouldn't be happy on a flat bar.

Find the fault and fix it and then save up for the right bike, or just keep the one you've got.
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Postby esemce » Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:28 pm

Well it's back from the shop and riding nicely.
The wheels are beautifully straight and I didn't come across the cracking sound, although I reckon the front hub is sounding a little rough..
The one complaint I have is the RD shifter seems a bit slippery, it popped out of gear low gear a few times and has always been problematic through the middle cogs. The service tech noted that as a problem too.

Can I upgrade the shifter fairly easily to a click shifter? I'm guessing I'll have to find one on eBay.. lukecampagnolo seems to be selling some appropriate items
SHIMANO 105 7 SPEED SIS LIGHT ACTION SHIFTERS
and
SUNTOUR SL ACCUSHIFT PLUS 7-8 SHIFTERS INTEGRATED SHIFT
(I can't post links yet, not registered for long enough)
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:34 pm

How much are the shifters?
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Postby esemce » Sat Oct 13, 2007 6:43 pm

$15 and $20 respectively (+$8 shipping)..
I discovered that my shifters are Suntour Accushift, they're adjustable between Friction and Indexing, I've had a twiddle and they click a lot better now, and fiddled with the RD cable so now it shifts better too.
Much happier, I'm going for another ride and check it out properly.
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Postby mikesbytes » Sat Oct 13, 2007 7:23 pm

Thats a good price, 7 speed shimano shifters are hard to get
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