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Upgrading an old road bike
#1
I own an old road bike from the 80’s I quite like. To this day, all the original parts are still on the bike, except the last mudguard that broke this year. The wear and tear is getting more noticeable lately, especially the wheels and the breaks. Shifting is not as smooth as it used to be, but it’s not a major concern. The wheels are probably the biggest problem since the wheel ring is not totally straight so the brake pads need to be further apart which is reducing the braking performance. Also last month 3 spokes broke. I am thinking of upgrading the bike for some time now, but I don’t know if new parts will fit on the old bike or if it can be achieved without spending too much money.

So I would like to replace the wheels because I don’t think it is worth repairing them. The current size is 27 x 1 1/4. I read a lot they can be replaced with 700c wheels. But when I look at 700c wheels I find a lot of different sizes mostly 29 inches. I don’t wanna buy wrong ones. My current last wheel has 5 gears. So should I look for a wheel with 5 gears as well ? A lot ot rear wheels online do not seem to have any gears.

The breaks are not the best anymore and it’s not easy even to adjust them. I am wondering what kind of brakes can I install on an old bike. Can I install something like Shimano sorabrakes? They are quite cheap for around 20€. I included some pictures of the bike and the brakes so you have a better picture of the bike.


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#2
hi Jerry. i believe that this bicycle is of sentimental value? replacing wheels is a good judgement, original ones seem to be of steel and heavy (not 100% confident that it's steel only from photos yet 95%). 700c wheel conversion should work, but you might have to do some frame spacing. @Jesper and @painkiller definitely have more to add here.

i'd start step-by-step with overall inspection; grease parts, take a closer look at rear derailleur etc. it's fun!

you might find useful tips in repair section: https://www.bikeride.com/guide/
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#3
Nice ride! The brakes are a problem. You need long reach calipers that are compatible to your brake levers, unless you want to replace them as well. No need to go with full STIs, downtube shifters work with higher number of rear sprockets as well, the front crank might (!) not work with the narrower chain, but give it a try!
As PapaDom pointed out you need to widen the spread of the rear triangle, but that's not problematic
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#4
Ok, the tyres / wheels issue. Your tyres have a bad seat diameter of 630mm. What most people refer to as 28" (and 29er) has a diameter of 622mm. Depending on the width of the tyres you want to use (and can use, mudguard clearance, frame clearance) you can pick the rim width. The brake arms now need to be even longer (4mm). Good luck!
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#5
Thanks to everyone, that has provided some feedback. I will add a little more info. The bike does not really represent any sentimental value for me. It is a great bike for the work commute in the city especially because it has two pairs of brake levers (vertical and horizontal) which can come in handy in the city. Lately, it does not feel as safe anymore especially when the road is wet, so I was thinking about replacing it with a new one or just upgrading it. To get a normal used road bike, that is not 30 years old, I would have to spend around 150- 200€ here. I found a dealer that is selling new front and rear wheels (27 x 1 ¼ without freewheel) for 50€ - both. Also, Shimano sora brakes (which I hope would fit - have not done the measurements yet) cost 40€ for both. If these wheels and brakes were the only major parts that I would have to replace (besides other little things) I would probably decide for upgrading. If it would end up costing me 150+, I would buy a newer bike. However, since I do not have much experience replacing bikes I come here to get some feedback about what to replace and if it is worth doing it. I appreciate your help guys!
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#6
(02-08-2020, 02:23 PM)jerry Wrote:  I own an old road bike from the 80’s I quite like. To this day, all the original parts are still on the bike, except the last mudguard that broke this year. The wear and tear is getting more noticeable lately, especially the wheels and the breaks. Shifting is not as smooth as it used to be, but it’s not a major concern. The wheels are probably the biggest problem since the wheel ring is not totally straight so the brake pads need to be further apart which is reducing the braking performance. Also last month 3 spokes broke. I am thinking of upgrading the bike for some time now, but I don’t know if new parts will fit on the old bike or if it can be achieved without spending too much money.

So I would like to replace the wheels because I don’t think it is worth repairing them. The current size is 27 x 1 1/4. I read a lot they can be replaced with 700c wheels. But when I look at 700c wheels I find a lot of different sizes mostly 29 inches. I don’t wanna buy wrong ones. My current last wheel has 5 gears. So should I look for a wheel with 5 gears as well ? A lot ot rear wheels online do not seem to have any gears.

The breaks are not the best anymore and it’s not easy even to adjust them. I am wondering what kind of brakes can I install on an old bike. Can I install something like Shimano sorabrakes? They are quite cheap for around 20€. I included some pictures of the bike and the brakes so you have a better picture of the bike.

Hello Jerry,
I'll make a quick comment and then get back to you. I got electronically poked in the side. Also, welcome to group!

I don't know much about this brand, but it is not Italian although the name sounds like it. I believe it was German made/marketed (maybe Austrian?) I'm not sure if it was distributed in the US, but I've seem them for sale in Europe ($150 or so in above average condition). It would seem to be the "Super Klasse" model; a redundant name since "klasse" essentially means: super, great, top, best, etc. Given the model name it may be the top model that was marketed, but it is not a high end frame/bike. That doesn't mean it is of poor quality; just that it was not manufactured with super light tubing and high end components. If this is your ride that you rely on for transportation/recreation and more; and you have some attachment to it for whatever reason then it would deserve a complete rebuild utilizing either the original parts if functioning properly, and/or new parts to replace worn parts and/or upgrade existing parts. From what I can see in the photos it appears to have steel rims and brake calipers. Nothing wrong with steel parts, but unless I was trying to restore to its original glory, and of course if your budget is willing; I would replace most of the steel components with aluminum alloy components (rims/hubs, calipers, seat post, handle bar/stem). You will end up with a substantially lighter bike ( can drop over 10lbs depending) and have better performing parts. I will continue on this thread for you in the next day or two; probably get some others to add their 2 cents in the interim. Changing certain parts is easy, but we would need to ensure that they will fit/mount to your frame (guessing '80s, but need more photos). You should definitely replace with original style or upgraded: cables, cable housings, brake pads, tubes, tires (unless recently replaced). Rims, if kept, need to be trued (or replaced) or braking will never be efficient and could be potentially unsafe. More detailed photos will help as well as listing the components, thread type for bottom bracket and shell width, headset, rear fork spread, seat post diameter. Let's hope we don't have French threads! That's all for now. Oops, quick question: does the frame fit you comfortably? No use rebuilding if it won't be a comfortable, efficient, and safe ride. Nota bene: 700c tires should not be used on 27" rims, if you try to do that, don't! Wrong bead diameter and won't seat properly, thus unsafe.

Take care,
Jesper
"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#7
(02-10-2020, 05:37 PM)Jesper Wrote:  
(02-08-2020, 02:23 PM)jerry Wrote:  I own an old road bike from the 80’s I quite like. To this day, all the original parts are still on the bike, except the last mudguard that broke this year. The wear and tear is getting more noticeable lately, especially the wheels and the breaks. Shifting is not as smooth as it used to be, but it’s not a major concern. The wheels are probably the biggest problem since the wheel ring is not totally straight so the brake pads need to be further apart which is reducing the braking performance. Also last month 3 spokes broke. I am thinking of upgrading the bike for some time now, but I don’t know if new parts will fit on the old bike or if it can be achieved without spending too much money.

So I would like to replace the wheels because I don’t think it is worth repairing them. The current size is 27 x 1 1/4. I read a lot they can be replaced with 700c wheels. But when I look at 700c wheels I find a lot of different sizes mostly 29 inches. I don’t wanna buy wrong ones. My current last wheel has 5 gears. So should I look for a wheel with 5 gears as well ? A lot ot rear wheels online do not seem to have any gears.

The breaks are not the best anymore and it’s not easy even to adjust them. I am wondering what kind of brakes can I install on an old bike. Can I install something like Shimano sorabrakes? They are quite cheap for around 20€. I included some pictures of the bike and the brakes so you have a better picture of the bike.

Hello Jerry,
I'll make a quick comment and then get back to you. I got electronically poked in the side. Also, welcome to group!

I don't know much about this brand, but it is not Italian although the name sounds like it. I believe it was German made/marketed (maybe Austrian?) I'm not sure if it was distributed in the US, but I've seem them for sale in Europe ($150 or so in above average condition). It would seem to be the "Super Klasse" model; a redundant name since "klasse" essentially means: super, great, top, best, etc. Given the model name it may be the top model that was marketed, but it is not a high end frame/bike. That doesn't mean it is of poor quality; just that it was not manufactured with super light tubing and high end components. If this is your ride that you rely on for transportation/recreation and more; and you have some attachment to it for whatever reason then it would deserve a complete rebuild utilizing either the original parts if functioning properly, and/or new parts to replace worn parts and/or upgrade existing parts. From what I can see in the photos it appears to have steel rims and brake calipers. Nothing wrong with steel parts, but unless I was trying to restore to its original glory, and of course if your budget is willing; I would replace most of the steel components with aluminum alloy components (rims/hubs, calipers, seat post, handle bar/stem). You will end up with a substantially lighter bike ( can drop over 10lbs depending) and have better performing parts. I will continue on this thread for you in the next day or two; probably get some others to add their 2 cents in the interim. Changing certain parts is easy, but we would need to ensure that they will fit/mount to your frame (guessing '80s, but need more photos). You should definitely replace with original style or upgraded: cables, cable housings, brake pads, tubes, tires (unless recently replaced). Rims, if kept, need to be trued (or replaced) or braking will never be efficient and could be potentially unsafe. More detailed photos will help as well as listing the components, thread type for bottom bracket and shell width, headset, rear fork spread, seat post diameter. Let's hope we don't have French threads! That's all for now. Oops, quick question: does the frame fit you comfortably? No use rebuilding if it won't be a comfortable, efficient, and safe ride. Noto bene: 700c tires should not be used on 27" rims, if you try to do that, don't! Wrong bead diameter and won't seat properly, thus unsafe.

Take care,
Jesper

Thanks for all the guidance. I will add more pictures , information and provide some measurements soon, when I am able. Thanks
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#8
Nice bike, Jerry ... Torino Super Klasse.
I second what Jesper wrote, it most likely was made in Germany even though the brand name points more toward Italy.
Autobahn
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#9
For å reliable commuter fix the brakes first. Steel rims are bad in wet weather, changing to aluminium and modern brakes and pads will improve things a lot. Good luck finding brakes with that reach, standard road bike parts will not fit. The clearance on those old randonneur style bikes is greater, plus modern wheels have a smaller rim diameter (by 8mm), exacerbating that problem. Look for the brakes first (probably new brake levers as well, not sure about the compatibility), then look at the money you will need to invest for that.
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#10
good pictures.

but having "fixed up" old 80s road bikes, I have learned a few lessons.

1. Make sure you like the fit. And compare it to a new or more recent used bike. If you find one you like, this may settle the issue. That is, of course if the price is competitive with "restoration" of your existing bike.

2. Many things have changed in 20-30 years. Many are market gimmicks, but frames, brakes, shifting, rims and tires are all different (usually much better).

eg. you will not likely find 5 rear gears on a newer wheel...they are likely a 700C with 8-10 speeds, which will likely require new shifters. and the list goes on.

3. the major decision is Cost, sentimentality (which you have denied), and oftentimes purity of a classic desirable frame. An "average" bike isnt really worth pouring money into...once you start the money trickle may begin!

don
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#11
Small correction: those shifters are not indexed. They work well with cassettes with more sprockets.
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#12
(02-13-2020, 08:10 PM)Joe_W Wrote:  For å reliable commuter fix the brakes first. Steel rims are bad in wet weather, changing to aluminium and modern brakes and pads will improve things a lot. Good luck finding brakes with that reach, standard road bike parts will not fit. The clearance on those old randonneur style bikes is greater, plus modern wheels have a smaller rim diameter (by 8mm), exacerbating that problem. Look for the brakes first (probably new brake levers as well, not sure about the compatibility), then look at the money you will need to invest for that.

Joe_W makes a very good point regarding changing rims from 27" to 700c. Certainly the aluminum rims are better for braking under all conditions (dry/wet). Considering that the size/diameter is different for the two rims I would go to a shop or find a friend who has 700c wheels and mount them (front and rear) on your frame to see if your OE brakes can be used on the smaller diameter wheel. Your front brake pads appear to be adjusted to the very top of the slot giving you adequate adjustment to fit a smaller rim which would only require about 4mm (given the rim's radius difference) adjustment. The rear pads appear to be nearly to the bottom of the slot, and may not give you the required level of adjustment needed, but 4mm (approx. 5/32") isn't a lot and you may very well have just enough room to drop the pads to effectively mate with the rim's braking surface. You can "extend" the slot by filing it a little bit, but I would not go very far as the integrity of the caliper might be compromised (more important on aluminum calipers than steel); maybe 1mm-2mm max., which may afford you the extra adjustment capability for the smaller rim. I did a 27" to 700c change on my trainer/cross bike using a set of Sun Tour "Cyclone" brakes, and my Weinmann 605's (original calipers on the bike) also worked (Sun Tour was the better performer); I believe that these were both "medium reach" calipers. I don't know if the Weinmann calipers came in a "short reach" variant, but Sun Tour did (verify reach for use on intended rim). Either type should be readily available as used parts (and probably some "NOS" parts) since they were mounted on many bikes as stock equipment back in the day, and they should be very low cost. There would be other options from the same time frame, so a little research as to what might fit may serve you well. You can certainly go with newer calipers than those models (from the mid '80s) if given adequate reach, but just putting on newer style pads with a larger braking surface area would improve the braking a lot on steel or alloy rims while keeping costs to a minimum. I am not user familiar with the Shimano "Sora/3500" brakes; they may not make a set that have the required reach, but I've heard nothing bad about them except maybe upgrading the pads. These should be readily available as "NOS" and/or used parts. I do know that adjusting some of the older steel calipers is difficult; my steel brakes on an old Raleigh take me longer to set up than most.

Take care,
Jesper
"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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