Worth Restoring ? ......or shall i just go out and buy new?

sentinal
sentinal Posts: 11
edited October 2010 in Road beginners
I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

so............

Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

Thanks in advance
«1

Comments

  • Finlab6
    Finlab6 Posts: 127
    Part with your cash and buy a new one.
    I dont think that any amount of updating will get your bike to the standards of todays budget bikes for the same money. Alternatively save even more money and buy second hand.
    MTB GT Avalanche 1.0
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  • You'd need STI's if you intend to use it seriously, they'll set you back £170 for a decent pair, and that's just the start, by the time you've upgraded the wheels and tyres and whatever else needs doing you may as well of bought a new bike...
    Carrera Vanquish....
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    You'd need STI's if you intend to use it seriously, they'll set you back £170 for a decent pair, and that's just the start, by the time you've upgraded the wheels and tyres and whatever else needs doing you may as well of bought a new bike...

    I've done about 4000 miles this year, mostly commuting, on a bike with downtube shifters . Not only do you absolutely not need STI's if you want to use it seriously, you should bear in mind that the mechanical simplicity of down tube shifters makes them probably much cheaper to run in the long term. I have Suntour Cyclone on an old Raleigh and they are superb components. They'll probably outlast you and, in the unlikely event that they did break, you could pick up a replacement part from Ebay for a tiny fraction of the cost of replacing a new part.

    Refurbing the old bike would be far cheaper than buying a half decent new one and it will almost certainly cost much less to actually run it. You will have a narrower range of gears (which depending on terrain might matter) but they won't wear out like modern gears (much chunkier). It does sound like it might be a good quality frame and components and worth renovating. I wouldn't update it - just clean and fettle the old components.

    For what it is worth, I run both modern and old bikes. I like both. As to the comment about the quality of modern bikes - a mate of mine has a Peugeot from about 1990. Thats a 531 frame and it is barely heavier than a modern Bianchi Via Nirone Sora that cost another friend £700.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Thanks Rolf !

    When I used to cycle it regularly I got a sixth sense to where to move the downtube shifters to change gear smoothly. So I am not too worried about STi's just yet.

    Might be an idea to look on ebay though, can you still get new cogs to replace the old worn ones? or even new old style cassettes?

    I'm sure I can strip down the whole bike and give it a overhaul, re-greasing the bearings etc.

    The paint is a little tired, might be tempted to get it re-sprayed too.

    Ideally, I would like to do a cheapish refurb, see if i get the bike bug again, then maybe treat myself to a new one, and use this as a commuter/winter bike.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    by the time you've upgraded the wheels and tyres and whatever else needs doing you may as well of bought a new bike...

    This is sound logic...if you are thinking of spending several hundred pounds. If you are thinking of getting a bike on the road for a coupe of hundred quid absolute tops, the refurb is a far wiser move. There is a good chance the biggest investment is time rather than money

    You'd need STI's if you intend to use it seriously, they'll set you back £170 for a decent pair, and that's just the start,

    Rolf has this one covered I think!

    Sentinal, good luck, pics would be good.

    I have just had a seasons riding out of my old Raleigh Road Ace that I have completely neglected for the last 7 years. I stripped it down totally to the constituent parts of the derailleurs and put it all back together after a good clean.
    I had said to myself that I would ride it for the summer and decide if it was worth paying for a re-spray (there are rust issues). It seems you can get powder coating for around £60 but I am thinking of getting close to the original paintwork replicated which is looking close to £200.
  • I've done about 4000 miles this year, mostly commuting, on a bike with downtube shifters . Not only do you absolutely not need STI's if you want to use it seriously, you should bear in mind that the mechanical simplicity of down tube shifters makes them probably much cheaper to run in the long term. I have Suntour Cyclone on an old Raleigh and they are superb components. They'll probably outlast you and, in the unlikely event that they did break, you could pick up a replacement part from Ebay for a tiny fraction of the cost of replacing a new part.

    Absolutely. The only thing you need for cycling is a bike. The only thing you need for serious cycling is a bike that gets you where you want to be without falling apart.
    A lot of modern innovations are great and make things easier but downtube shifters have a proven history. They work - and friction shifters are not difficult in making precise shifts. OK, STI and Ergo shifters may make the difference in a racing situation = and might be preferable to many, but they require regular farting about to keep them shifting smoothly and the shorter cable run of downtube shifters can make for slicker shifting.
    It's not a case of what you need but what you want.
  • I agree, if the budget's tight just upgrade the bits that need upgrading. I love downtube shifters, I used an old 531 framed steel bike with non-indexed downtube shifters for my commute for ages and they were fantastic, you could literally shift from lowest gear to highest in a flash, something that's hard to do with STIs. As Rolf points out, they are so simple that nothing ever goes wrong with them. I must admit I like that I can brake and shift down at the same time with "brifters" but downtube shifter are perfectly OK.

    My steel bike also had "period" Weinmann brakes and Campag mechs. Everything was literally 20 off years old and worked like a dream. Just service it a bit, relube everything, perhaps change the tyres and off you go. If after a year you love cycling enough that you still want to join a club, upgrade then.
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • AidanR
    AidanR Posts: 1,142
    If you are comfortable riding the bike, and the components aren't too knackered, then just ride it as-is. If you yearn after some modernity, by a new (or newish) bike. Upgrading is not the way forward. You don't need some slick new machine... although you might want one, which is fair enough.
    Bike lover and part-time cyclist.
  • Cheers for all the positive and encouraging advice guys, I do think too many people "think" you need the lastest toys and gadgets, when what you already have will do.

    On closer inspection last night, I do think the jockey wheels for the suntour derailleur are worn, and also the front chainring is worn too. When I did ride it a few years ago, I ran out of gears at the high end so might see if there is soemthing that i can do there.

    Will head off to the workshop for some more advice, thanks so far, I'm sure there will be plenty more questions......

    Will have to post some pics too.

    Cheers

    Lee
  • I think there is some romanticism about old bikes being displayed here.

    I recently passed on a 25 year old 531c framed bike. It was custom built for me, and held a lot of great memories.

    However, I wouldn't deny that the brakes were rubbish, modern derailleurs infintely better, modern oversized head tubes stiiffer, STI shifters miles better than friction shift etc. 126mm oln wheels are a pain too. Freewheels difficult to source and a pain to service as opposed to freehubs / cassette. Threaded headsets and quill stems awkward to service too.

    I wouldn't spend too much on your bike, just do enough to keep it on the road. If you end up dropping a large amount of money you would be best placed putting it towards a modern bike - in my opinion.

  • I wouldn't spend too much on your bike, just do enough to keep it on the road. If you end up dropping a large amount of money you would be best placed putting it towards a modern bike - in my opinion.

    I agree. Make sure the bike is road worthy. Brakes, gears working, cables not frayed, Brake blocks OK and chain not too worn and cleaned up with a bit of white spirit and re-lubed. Tyres shouldn't be too worn and wheels should be true. That should be it.
  • I think there is some romanticism about old bikes being displayed here.

    No more so than here:
    I recently passed on a 25 year old 531c framed bike. It was custom built for me, and held a lot of great memories.

    I have no romantic notions. These are not memories. I prefer to use non-indexed gears by choice in everyday tasks like commuting and school runs with trailer.From a practical perspective, downtube friction shifters are substantially more reliable than STI. Cold forming the rear dropouts is not rocket science - that puts cassettes within easy reach (and screw on freewheels are not extinct).
    For a non-competitive cyclist, the difference in stiffness between a threaded steerer and an aheadset is not of greatest importance and some dérailleurs of old are more reliable than a lot of modern ones (Campagnolo classics, for example). Yes, brakes are probably better than 30 years ago - and clipless pedals are a great step forward (though they have been on the go for some time now).

    Perhaps some people never fully learn how to use friction shifters. With the right technique, they can be slicker than STI etc. However, the point about being able to brake and shift simultaneously was valid.
    There can be few examples more testing of reliability in all weathers than commuting, and some of the more basic mechanisms have stood the course of time.
    Upgrading a bike is a personal choice. The parts lose value once they are ridden anyway, and a lot of modern parts will unlikely last as long as some of the older stuff.
    There is a fair market for old bits. There is nothing to stop you selling them to help finance newer equipment - if that's what you want.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Weejie54 wrote:
    Yes, brakes are probably better than 30 years ago - and clipless pedals are a great step forward (though they have been on the go for some time now).

    Even that might be questionable. How are modern brakes better? Given the same rim material, the same pad material (perhaps where the difference really lies) and the same leverage (after all, all a brake is is a lever), where would the difference be?

    As for clipless pedals - they fit just as well on my 1980 Raleigh Record Ace as they do on my 2010 Look 585.

    Romanticism? No. Practical? Yes. More so for low maintenance riding than a modern bike.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Even that might be questionable. How are modern brakes better?

    Dual pivot brakes are relatively modern and they do seem to be better at stopping.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Weejie54 wrote:
    Even that might be questionable. How are modern brakes better?

    Dual pivot brakes are relatively modern and they do seem to be better at stopping.

    True - they are designed for greater stopping power at the expense of modulation but then single pivots are still used as well. The overall leverage will also be a function of the design of the brake levers - but I can't help thinking that the blocks are more of an issue. I can certainly exert quite a strong pressure onto the rims with old brakes.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • balthazar
    balthazar Posts: 1,565
    Weejie54 wrote:
    Even that might be questionable. How are modern brakes better?

    Dual pivot brakes are relatively modern and they do seem to be better at stopping.
    Dual pivot brakes usually operate with a higher mechanical advantage than older types, meaning less pad travel for a given lever travel. That has pros and cons. It's not new technology in any sense, just a change of intention to target those with weaker hands and "lever-squeezers" in bike shops, rather than high-mile cyclists who might prefer brakes which can track a buckled wheel, and which can wear pads right down without adjustment. Single-pivot brakes from the 80's are perfectly effective on modern bikes.
  • NervexProf
    NervexProf Posts: 4,202
    sentinal wrote:
    I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

    I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

    It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

    I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

    There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

    so............

    Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

    Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

    or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

    Thanks in advance[/quote
    Restore - well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Jockey wheels would cost around £10. New tyres say 30 - Bar tape, new chain and chainset say £40 and you are set to go!

    I have restored 4 bikes over the past year. All have doublt downtube friction shifters and the work fine.

    See here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41489547@N04/
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • NervexProf
    NervexProf Posts: 4,202
    sentinal wrote:
    I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

    I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

    It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

    I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

    There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

    so............

    Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

    Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

    or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

    Thanks in advance[/quote
    Restore - well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Jockey wheels would cost around £10. New tyres say 30 - Bar tape, new chain and chainset say £40 and you are set to go!

    I have restored 4 bikes over the past year. All have doublt downtube friction shifters and the work fine.

    See here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41489547@N04/
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • NervexProf
    NervexProf Posts: 4,202
    sentinal wrote:
    I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

    I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

    It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

    I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

    There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

    so............

    Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

    Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

    or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

    Thanks in advance[/quote
    Restore - well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Jockey wheels would cost around £10. New tyres say 30 - Bar tape, new chain and chainset say £40 and you are set to go!

    I have restored 4 bikes over the past year. All have doublt downtube friction shifters and the work fine.

    See here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41489547@N04/
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • NervexProf
    NervexProf Posts: 4,202
    sentinal wrote:
    I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

    I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

    It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

    I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

    There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

    so............

    Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

    Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

    or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

    Thanks in advance[/quote
    Restore - well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Jockey wheels would cost around £10. New tyres say 30 - Bar tape, new chain and chainset say £40 and you are set to go!

    I have restored 4 bikes over the past year. All have doublt downtube friction shifters and the work fine.

    See here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41489547@N04/
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • NervexProf
    NervexProf Posts: 4,202
    sentinal wrote:
    I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

    I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

    It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

    I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

    There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

    so............

    Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

    Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

    or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

    Thanks in advance[/quote
    Restore - well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Jockey wheels would cost around £10. New tyres say 30 - Bar tape, new chain and chainset say £40 and you are set to go!

    I have restored 4 bikes over the past year. All have doublt downtube friction shifters and the work fine.

    See here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41489547@N04/
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • NervexProf
    NervexProf Posts: 4,202
    sentinal wrote:
    I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

    I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

    It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

    I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

    There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

    so............

    Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

    Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

    or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

    Thanks in advance[/quote
    Restore - well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Jockey wheels would cost around £10. New tyres say 30 - Bar tape, new chain and chainset say £40 and you are set to go!

    I have restored 4 bikes over the past year. All have doublt downtube friction shifters and the work fine.

    See here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41489547@N04/
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • NervexProf
    NervexProf Posts: 4,202
    sentinal wrote:
    I'm looking at getting back on my bike and getting fitter, want to start doing weekend rides and maybe join a club next year, so..

    I've got an old bike which has been in the family for over 25 years, It hasnt been used much over the last 10 or so, but I have done the L2B and a few rides on it over the last few years and have enjoyed riding it.

    It looks like its been re-sprayed and has a 531 sticker on it and some Favori stickers on it, though I cant 100% guarantee that they are correct.

    I am sure its had its components changed around too, its has suntour levers, suntour cyclone front changer and suntour superbe rear, and Galli brakes.

    There is also a number on the bottom of the frame, though i would have to remove the gear cable guide to read it.

    so............

    Would it cost a lot to update it , i know parts have move on a lot and I wouldnt know where to start, so a few pointers would be good.

    Would there be anyway to identify the frame, find out who the original manufacturer was?

    or shall i just part with my cash and buy a new and up to date one?

    Thanks in advance[/quote
    Restore - well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Jockey wheels would cost around £10. New tyres say 30 - Bar tape, new chain and chainset say £40 and you are set to go!

    I have restored 4 bikes over the past year. All have doublt downtube friction shifters and the work fine.

    See here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/41489547@N04/
    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom
  • Single-pivot brakes from the 80's are perfectly effective on modern bikes.

    Agreed. I do find dual pivots more effective, however (not new technology - but certainly a relatively modern fitment). I find that the cantilevers on my tourer work best, despite the different feel. Great in dreich weather. For practical purposes, less effort equals more effective, even though the stopping distance might be the same.
  • NervexProf wrote:
    ......well made 531 frame will last a lifetime.

    Unless, of course, they start to rust from inside the frame. Tell-tale rust signs from around the bottom bracket and seat stays are a sign of this happening. :cry:
  • I like old retro bikes as much as the next person, but having had many years of experiencing both:

    - STI shifters are reliable and work flawlessly - how can friction shifters be slicker than simply pressing a button or lever? In fact, if friction shifters are so good why has pretty mcuh everyone abandoned them in favour or ergos / STIs despite friction shifters being lighter? It would certainly be entertaining trying to friction shift on a 10 or 11 speed cassette. I Used friction shifters for about 25 years so think I managed to get the hang of them.

    - The difference between dual pivot and old school side pull and centre pull are night and day, both in terms of braking performance and ease of centring

    - Aheads do look ugly, but when swapping a stem over I know which I would prefer.

    - I am hardly a competitive ccyclist but can easily tell the difference in stiffness between an inch threaded steerer with quill stem and 1 1/8 threadless

    The comment about modern parts not lasting is incorrect in my view, and if something does need replacing then at least you can go to a shop and buy a new part, rather than having to trawl Ebay or bike rallies!
  • satanas
    satanas Posts: 1,303
    The most important thing about the bike is still whether it fits the rider, not what it's made of, or how many cogs there are, etc.

    While I generally agree with Chris's points, there's no reason why a well-fitting, high quality steel framed bike cannot do the job very well. I'd be inclined to service the current bike (which shouldn't cost much) , replace any tyres and small parts that are past it and do some test riding over the next little bit. FWIW, I'm still regularly riding a frame built for me in 1982 quite happily, despite it not having STI/Ergo, and having a 126mm 7-speed cassette hub. It still fits me better than anything I could buy off the peg.

    If the OP wants to throw money about, then yes, he will probably be better off to start from scratch. Otherwise a bit of TLC might be all that's required.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,442
    I've got a nearly 20 year old 653 frame with Ultegra 600 kit on it which was still my only bike 12 months ago. It has done well in excess of 50,000 miles in all weather conditions and when I got back on it last year all it needed doing was replacing the tyres and tubes and cleaning and oiling the chain. I did splash out on new chainrings, cassette, jockey wheels and chain as well as cables but that was the first time the any of it other than the chain and cables had needed replacing. As for modern brakes being better than they were 20 years ago, I would say my Ultegra 600 perform as well as, if not better than, my current Tiagra set up. I spent about £80 refurbishing my old bike so I would definately say it was worth doing, it will now be used as a winter bike - the first time I've ever had one - just because I fancied something newer and bought a carbon machine.
  • Pross wrote:
    I've got a nearly 20 year old 653 frame .

    You've done well, in fact far better than my son who had a made to measure 653 race frame built by Brian Rourke back in 1994 which, unfortunately, he had to scrap around 5 years ago because it was rusting through around the chain stays. It had been used for road racing however. :cry:
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 42,442
    Used mine to race for 6 years, had a few crashes on it. I got it resprayed after about 5 years which may have helped but it has lived in a garden shed for the past 14 years and spent most of last winter under a tarpaulin in the back garden! It hasn't got any sign of rust and I'm not the best at looking after things :oops: Sounds like your son got unlucky.