Road Bike Dilemma - stick with steel or go for new?

alaslas
alaslas Posts: 20
edited January 2013 in Road buying advice
Hello all - wondering if you could help with a bit of a dilemma.

I currently ride an early 1990s 531 steel frame bike - RX100 groupo, downshifters, light-weight for its age - but the non-compact chainrings and downshifters are becoming frustrating in the use it gets. Though this would have been an excellent race bike in the early 1990s, I'm not sure whether it suits my needs and aims, which are primarily: getting fit, doing long(er) distances, having fun, going up and and down steep hills in the Peaks and North in general, maybe getting in to club runs.

I'm considering selling this bike and buying Decathlon's Triban 3. It's marginally lighter than my steelie, has brifters, and is far more stable in the front end. It also has eyelets for a rack, which might come in handy if I choose to tour in the spring/summer. While this may not be a great leap forward, the few advantages are economically prudent, bearing in mind what it might cost to go compact, install brifters and stabilise the front end on the steelie.

The third option would be to wait out for a £200-£300 (max.) bargain in classifieds or on eBay, but I really can't afford to pay for repairs or upgrades, and am really concerned about getting stung.

So, what would members advise? Stick with a quality but ageing steel bike, move on to a well-reviewed budget new bike, or hang around for a second-hand offering? Or option x?
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Comments

  • YIMan
    YIMan Posts: 576
    Test-ride the new bike and compare to your current bike, ignoring the difference in shifting. How comfortable is it....how agile is it......how does it feel.....how fast/nimble does it feel?

    Then you're going to have a comparison between what a new bike would feel like versus how your bike rides (accepting that you can upgrade/STI-upgrade shifting & chainrings).
  • ride_whenever
    ride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    Upgrade the steelie, £300 will buy you a complete tiagra groupset from ribble with some change.

    It'll be a nicer ride than the decathalon and have a higher grade of kit. The decathalon is a bargain, but you'd be throwing away your steelie for rack mounts which can usually be p-clipped on.
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    Thanks for the replies. Having test-ridden the Triban 3 I can tell there's a big difference, especially in the stability of the ride. More positive forward movement, better balance... but... it's £300 I don't really have, and I've not given the Triban 3 a lengthy ride by any description.

    The steelie is flighty in comparison. Not sure if that's good or bad to more experienced riders, but I certainly find fast long downhills in the dark a bit hairy on it, to say the least!

    Other factors - yes I could get a fancy Tiagra groupo for £300, but then I'd have to get it fitted, which I admit I could not do properly myself, plus I'd still have the same problem with stability (which, again, might be more to do with my relative inexperience and history of hybrid/MTB riding than the bike).

    Hmm..
  • 16mm
    16mm Posts: 545
    The 531 bike may have a good resale value. If it's a decent northen 531 builder like Bob Jackson someone in London may take it off your hands for a few quid....

    But if you don't have the £300 for a triban, just get on and enjoy what you have. Make sure the forks arn't bent as this will affect the handling badly. Decent racing bikes in the 90 had pretty good handling, so this sounds odd.
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    Yes, I imagine the resale's quite strong, but have seen similar bikes to mine go for around £120ish.

    As far as I'm aware, the forks aren't out of line at all, just something to do with position. In the drops it's a very aggressive low position, and pushing up hill - and we're talking serious pushing up serious hills - in the drops the front wheel goes with the power flow rather than the line of control. Again, could just be me.

    The major issue is gearing, I think - to save my knees and get more out of my rides in the hills I really need to gain a lower ratio. Also, a new alu frame/carbon fork set-up would presumably be better at transferring power into motion, right?
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    alaslas wrote:
    The major issue is gearing, I think - to save my knees and get more out of my rides in the hills I really need to gain a lower ratio. Also, a new alu frame/carbon fork set-up would presumably be better at transferring power into motion, right?

    Probably not. The gearing is the important thing as you say but ring up somewhere like Spa cycles and they can sell you a suitable compact setup for not much money - eg this Stronglight one for £50. http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... 2b2s109p45

    You may need a new front mech and chain but those things are both cheap. You can get a front mech for £20 and a chain for a tenner. So all in £80. As for the combined brake/shifters (please, not "brifters" - ghastly! :wink: ) - they are good but not better than downtube shifters. As long as you are using DT shifters on friction (rather than indexed) then they require next to no maintenance or adjustment ever, they weigh less and they give a more connected feel to the bike. If you do ever need to replace them, they cost about £5 rather than £100. The combined setup are better for commuting (hands never far from the brakes) and you can still shift easily if you get caught out by an unexpected climb and find yourself stood out of the pedals in the wrong gear - dt shifters force you to sit down costing valuable momentum! This is the only real disadvantage of dt shifters I've ever noticed.

    I think that power into motion stuff sounds like you've been reading too many Bikeradar reviews :lol:

    A bike fit might be useful though.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    Thanks for that - very informative. Might well look into changing the chainset to compact after all, though I'm confused as to whether I'd need a new bottom bracket too, plus the other compatibility issues. Again, even the basic cost mentioned is 1/3 of the price of the Decathlon bike. I know how the odd bit of work by the LBS mounts up (and no, I'm not capable of fitting a new chainset/derailleur/BB at this point!).

    Agreed on DT shifters (they are on friction, btw), though I've certainly been caught out more than is comfortable out of the saddle painfully grinding away in the wrong gear, especially on winding hills.

    Maybe you're right about power transmission! Though going from the steel bike to my alu framed Trek hybrid, there seems to be less flex and more direct power (though this could be a gear ratio thing too, most likely).

    Have just read Sheldon Brown's page on upgrading older bikes - seems that my early '90s French 531 frame has the kind of geometry influenced by criterium racing rather than touring or more casual road riding. Maybe this is why it's a bit of a harsh ride and twitchy in the front?
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    alaslas wrote:
    Thanks for that - very informative. Might well look into changing the chainset to compact after all, though I'm confused as to whether I'd need a new bottom bracket too, plus the other compatibility issues. Again, even the basic cost mentioned is 1/3 of the price of the Decathlon bike. I know how the odd bit of work by the LBS mounts up (and no, I'm not capable of fitting a new chainset/derailleur/BB at this point!).

    You might need a new bottom bracket but the bike isn't so old so hopefully not - but shops like Spa will know straight away. You should be able get the bottom bracket and have it fitted for £25. TBH, the only skill is really the one of knowing how to screw in a thread! However, I was nervous of BBs for a long time. But the other stuff - you can only really learn by doing it! Loads of instructions on the net - give yourself lots of time and an encouraging glass of Scotch and be ready to ask for help here if it does go wrong! It's the nice thing about simple, old bikes. Most of it really is about doing bolts up!

    FWIW - I have modern and old bikes and I going from DT to combined and back again helps me appreciate the charms of both! But I couldn't say one was better than the other.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    Rolf F wrote:
    alaslas wrote:
    The major issue is gearing, I think - to save my knees and get more out of my rides in the hills I really need to gain a lower ratio. Also, a new alu frame/carbon fork set-up would presumably be better at transferring power into motion, right?

    Probably not. The gearing is the important thing as you say but ring up somewhere like Spa cycles and they can sell you a suitable compact setup for not much money - eg this Stronglight one for £50. http://www.spacycles.co.uk/products.php ... 2b2s109p45

    You may need a new front mech and chain but those things are both cheap. You can get a front mech for £20 and a chain for a tenner. So all in £80. As for the combined brake/shifters (please, not "brifters" - ghastly! :wink: ) - they are good but not better than downtube shifters. As long as you are using DT shifters on friction (rather than indexed) then they require next to no maintenance or adjustment ever, they weigh less and they give a more connected feel to the bike. If you do ever need to replace them, they cost about £5 rather than £100. The combined setup are better for commuting (hands never far from the brakes) and you can still shift easily if you get caught out by an unexpected climb and find yourself stood out of the pedals in the wrong gear - dt shifters force you to sit down costing valuable momentum! This is the only real disadvantage of dt shifters I've ever noticed.

    I think that power into motion stuff sounds like you've been reading too many Bikeradar reviews :lol:

    A bike fit might be useful though.
    This is good advice.

    As for shifters I have been using bar-ends for more than 30 years. They have the simple charms of the DT shifters - no maintenance and cheap and reliable - but you do not need to reach so far down to shift.
  • 16mm
    16mm Posts: 545
    The fitting cost may be an issue. DIY also requires tools, so costs a bit. Upgrading is great, but vs a brand new bike can turn into a money pit.

    How many teeth does the biggest sprocket at the back have? I had a 12-17, and a lot of people used 13-18 in the late 80's. You can probably go to a 24 with just a new cluster and chain, and this will make it easier.

    Also you may be able to raise the bars a bit, especially if you have a quill stem.

    Can you ride this bike, keep it in good nick and save a bit of cash for a new bike in the summer?
    If you enjoy riding with others, join a club / ctc. You never know what people have in the shed to sell.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    16mm wrote:
    The fitting cost may be an issue. DIY also requires tools, so costs a bit. Upgrading is great, but vs a brand new bike can turn into a money pit.

    Doesn't have to cost much. Ideally, you get a cheapish bike toolkit. I got one for about £45 branded Lifu (which is similar to Icetoolz). This has loads of stuff in it and it is perfectly reasonable quality. You do end up needing to upgrade some of the tools over time but I have used every item in the toolkit and done at least 5 bike rebuilds with it.

    Or, buy as you need. Replacing a square taper crankset should only really need a crank extractor and the bottom bracket tool if that needs to be changed. Both would likely be in the toolkit but both could be got off Ebay for less than a tenner the pair.

    Arguably, the modern stuff is more of a money pit. Look how many people come on here with a new, cheap bike and start asking about what wheels to upgrade it with etc. You don't do that with old bikes. Once you've fettled them, that's it!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • 16mm
    16mm Posts: 545
    Yeah, tools are great, but the initial outlay is a lot. Also we probably agree that people who buy a new bike and immediately look for upgrades are a bit silly. A triban3 would just need a new chain, brake blocks and tyres every year to keep it running for the first few years, the same as any other bike.

    Can alaslas post a pic of his bike and we can scratch our chins and see what we think?:-)
  • daviesee
    daviesee Posts: 6,386
    alaslas wrote:
    The steelie is flighty in comparison. Not sure if that's good or bad to more experienced riders, but I certainly find fast long downhills in the dark a bit hairy on it, to say the least!
    .....plus I'd still have the same problem with stability (which, again, might be more to do with my relative inexperience and history of hybrid/MTB riding than the bike).
    ...As far as I'm aware, the forks aren't out of line at all, just something to do with position. In the drops it's a very aggressive low position, and pushing up hill - and we're talking serious pushing up serious hills - in the drops the front wheel goes with the power flow rather than the line of control. Again, could just be me.
    ..
    I think that inexperience of road bike riding is more of a culprit than mechanicals. Practice will help, lots.
    PS:- Very few road cyclists climb while having their hands on the lower section of the bars. Each to their own though.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    16mm wrote:
    Yeah, tools are great, but the initial outlay is a lot.

    As I said though, probably about £4 for a crank extractor isn't a big outlay. And one of those toolkits is cheaper than getting a bike serviced by someone else. Ultimately, anything that costs less than a tank of petrol and helps you to ride indefinitely is worth scrimping for if you have to.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • 16mm
    16mm Posts: 545
    The Op seems a bit skint and not too keen on DIY though. He/she may not be buying petrol and doesn't mention commuting. just riding for fun. Maybe not mechanically minded?

    Also there are a lot of unknowns with DIY. I removed my last old style cranks recently. My campag extractor pulled out two perfect coils of thread instead of the cranks. A cheaper extractor may have stripped instead, either way you could be left with a new set of cranks and a problem.
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    Again, thanks for all the replies.

    The bike is pretty much identical to the following: http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/files/ ... 80_762.jpg

    though I've got a 56/57cm frame (seat tube length). 5' 11" rider, long-ish legs, wide-ish shoulders, around 12 stone.

    I'm all for mending/making do, but £40 or so for tools, £20ish for a new BB, £55 for a new crankset, plus derailleur if necessary, plus a wider bar to increase stability at the front - we're nearly halfway to the cost of the new bike here. You've also got to consider that the Decathlon bike would come with a warranty, 5 yr guarantee on the frame, anytime mechanical attention from my local store...

    I don't mind having a fettle, and can follow instruction, but would prefer someone with experience to fit new cranks/BB, for instance.

    Regarding experience, I'd probably say I'm intermediate - I've ridden plenty of bikes. @daviesee - do you never sprint up hills in the lower drops out of the saddle, a classic racing position?! (e.g. http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/photos/ra ... sprint.jpg :shock: )

    Running repairs and upgrades are a strong idea here, which is why I'm torn, but I've found that in the end, after paying for maintenance, the older bike can be a false economy. This is probably true of my hybrid, which I inherited from a mate: thought it was incredible on the road, but then needed to fix up to my cumulative cost - wheels truing, new chain and headset, new seatpost, new bolts to fix an old bodged repair job, and after this winter's commute I'm going to need a new chain and cassette. All done by my friendly LBS. That's my commuting bike - the racer is for training/fun/exercise.

    As for mechanicals on the steelie - I've got a 52-42 front crankset, but I haven't checked the cassette - it's quite a close range 7-speed though. Getting this up hills in the Peaks is really hard going, despite my good fitness/strength.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    alaslas wrote:
    Running repairs and upgrades are a strong idea here, which is why I'm torn, but I've found that in the end, after paying for maintenance, the older bike can be a false economy. This is probably true of my hybrid, which I inherited from a mate: thought it was incredible on the road, but then needed to fix up to my cumulative cost - wheels truing, new chain and headset, new seatpost, new bolts to fix an old bodged repair job, and after this winter's commute I'm going to need a new chain and cassette. All done by my friendly LBS. That's my commuting bike - the racer is for training/fun/exercise.

    As for mechanicals on the steelie - I've got a 52-42 front crankset, but I haven't checked the cassette - it's quite a close range 7-speed though. Getting this up hills in the Peaks is really hard going, despite my good fitness/strength.

    Well, you need to go with your instinct but you also need to be fair about the costs! The initial costs of your hybrid do tend to apply to any second hand bike to some degree but once they are done, they are done. You can't complain about the new chain and cassette needed after the winters commute as that applies to any bike, old or new - the only difference is that eg seven speed systems last far longer than 9 or 10 speed systems. The difference is that the components of old bikes are far cheaper than new ones. One thing you can guarantee is that a properly looked after, already fettled old bike will cost less to run than a modern bike. It is the modern bike that is the false economy.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    Do you think it's worth upgrading/sticking with my Peugeot then? Bearing in mind it wasn't exactly top spec in the early '90s, gives a harsh ride, and needs quite a bit of work to make it suitable to my needs. The new bike might not be the economical option over a period of many years, but then I'm not riding a Dawes Galaxy here, and my cheap-ish racer is becoming an investment rather than a stop-gap while I'm skint.
  • rrsodl
    rrsodl Posts: 486
    I have a Reynolds 531 based bike that I upgraded a few years ago. To be honest with you, to consider an upgraded 531 vs a Triban 3 - I'd have the 531 any time. There was an initial "wow" for the Triban 3 but now more and more threads with issues on that bike. Wheels and tyres seem to be the weak point. So, spend £300 on a triban 3 and after a month or so you'll be wanting to upgrade the bike.

    You'll find that modern shifters make a huge difference.

    My second bike is a modern type bike (2k) and the difference is not huge...... that's how good those 531 frames are. If you could also afford some good CF forks then you would have a lovely bike that would perform well and be quite light too.
  • daviesee
    daviesee Posts: 6,386
    alaslas wrote:
    Regarding experience, I'd probably say I'm intermediate - I've ridden plenty of bikes. @daviesee - do you never sprint up hills in the lower drops out of the saddle, a classic racing position?! (e.g. http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/photos/ra ... sprint.jpg :shock: )
    To me hills and sprinting are mutually exclusive. :wink:
    Also depends on the hills. What is in that shot doesn't look much like a hill to me.
    This is what you are looking for, but it is not for me, or most recreational cyclists.
    pantani-attack1.jpg
    Look at the guys behind Pantani :P
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Ah those were the days eh, Pantani sprinting off up mountain leaving carnage in his wake. Such dope fuelled occasional exploits were always exciting, its just a shame Armstrong and his team mates got so good at the doping part the excitement bit dissapeared into a dope fueled procession behind the US postal team.

    Keep the steel bike is my vote, DT friction shifters are much better for trimming against chainring rub.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
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    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
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    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    daviesee wrote:
    This is what you are looking for, but it is not for me, or most recreational cyclists.
    ...
    Look at the guys behind Pantani :P

    Exactly! That's the kind of explosive power I like to demonstrate 8)

    But seriously, getting up a mountain on a 42t front chainring and a limited cassette requires some force!

    So - on the back of this discussion: switch out the crankset to a 50-36 front Stronglite or similar (opinions on ratios?), get a wider handlebar (opinions? Should it be as wide as my shoulders? Necessary?). Anyone know whether the bike I linked to above would take the Spa Cycles crankset Rolf F linked to?

    Cheers for all advice.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    daviesee wrote:
    Also depends on the hills. What is in that shot doesn't look much like a hill to me.
    This is what you are looking for, but it is not for me, or most recreational cyclists.
    pantani-attack1.jpg
    Look at the guys behind Pantani :P

    Pantani looks worryingly like me on that climb! I think my bendiness helps but I use the drops anywhere and everywhere!

    The crankset will fit - the question is will it fit with your current bottom bracket. The recommended by Spa one is Stronglight JP400 107mm. The newer version, which they only list in 170mm, uses a 113 mm BB - if your bb matches one of those, then the easiest option is to go for that crankset. Unless you take the crankset off, I don't think you can measure the BB so, I think your best bet is to ring up Spa and see what they say. If you know the model of the existing crankset, it should be enough.

    As to the ratios, just count the teeth on your biggest cassette sprocket. That will determine your best choice of inner chainring.

    FWIW, I renovated a Peugeot not dissimilar to yours - a 1990 Triathlon. The lowest gear on that is 42-24. (cassette is 14-24). I quite covet that bike - I fit it better than my mate who it belongs to and I think he's hardly ridden it since I restored it but it was his late fathers bike so I don't begrudge him that! It certainly isn't a harsh ride. Just a bit tough on the hills but somehow much easier than my 1980 Raleigh even though that has lowest 42-28. And the Raleigh is full 531 whereas the Peugeot is 531 main triangle only.

    If you do have something like 14-24 on your bike, I'd definitely go with the usual 50-34 chainring option but maybe keep an eye open for a slightly wider range cassette. You can still get 7 speed cassettes though the options are not always huge.

    P1070388.jpg
    Faster than a tent.......
  • daviesee
    daviesee Posts: 6,386
    alaslas wrote:
    daviesee wrote:
    ..... getting up a mountain on a 42t front chainring and a limited cassette requires some force!

    So - on the back of this discussion: switch out the crankset to a 50-36 front Stronglite or similar (opinions on ratios?), get a wider handlebar (opinions? Should it be as wide as my shoulders? Necessary?)...
    If you are struggling up hills then the answer is to use lower gearing, not go low on the drops.
    The bars should match your shoulder width for comfort but wider bars will flex more if you are putting that much power into them.
    In your shoes I would be looking at the cassette, front rings and a new chain to fit first.
    None of the above should be taken seriously, and certainly not personally.
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    Rolf F wrote:
    As to the ratios, just count the teeth on your biggest cassette sprocket. That will determine your best choice of inner chainring.

    FWIW, I renovated a Peugeot not dissimilar to yours - a 1990 Triathlon. The lowest gear on that is 42-24. (cassette is 14-24). I quite covet that bike - I fit it better than my mate who it belongs to and I think he's hardly ridden it since I restored it but it was his late fathers bike so I don't begrudge him that! It certainly isn't a harsh ride. Just a bit tough on the hills but somehow much easier than my 1980 Raleigh even though that has lowest 42-28. And the Raleigh is full 531 whereas the Peugeot is 531 main triangle only.

    If you do have something like 14-24 on your bike, I'd definitely go with the usual 50-34 chainring option but maybe keep an eye open for a slightly wider range cassette. You can still get 7 speed cassettes though the options are not always huge.

    Oh - yes, looks as though it's the same ratio groupset - 42-24 is the lowest. The cassette seems to only allow for a narrow selection of gears, but as long as I could get down into something for hills, perhaps it'd be best just to get hold of new cranks for now. Will ring Spa tomorrow to check on the compatibility issue.

    Your Triathlon looks almost identical to my Optimum, apart from the paint! What are those pedals on it, and where could I get some? I've had to make do with a pedal/cleat combo pedal, though I'd prefer to ride in toe clips.

    I'm not necessarily struggling up hills, just putting in massive effort and feeling it in my knees after rides. So yes, first thing to alter would be the cranks/gears.

    Anyone think the 3rd option might be worth a go? We've not discussed second-hand yet. I've got a non-credit card budget of around £200 - could I not do better by leaving the upgrade to an enthusiast and getting hold of something newer, lighter, better geared on the used market? Considering that it might cost up to £200 to upgrade my current bike, this might be an option worth consideration.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    It is actually more different than you think - your frame is lugged. Otherwise though the geometry looks much the same. You can fit a wider range cassette on that bike but you need to think about the range that the rear mech can handle. It gets complicated! Spa list a 12-28 7 speed cassette but your rear mech might not handle it.

    The pedals are the original Shimano 105 clips - I think you can get them easily and cheaply on Ebay but they aren't a patch on clipless pedals - these are they; http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/VINTAGE-SHIMA ... 416fac7069. Unless you wear proper cycling shoes, they are an absolute pain! Hard to get a normal shoe in (eg a trainer with a slightly lumpy tread), as soon as I tried to push hard on a climb one of my feet would come out of a pedal! They look cool though! I'd recommend Shimano M520 clipless pedals. You'll thank yourself in the long run!

    Another second hand bike is risky for the reasons you already know - eg you might need to budget for a number of mechanical fixes that don't become apparent until you've got a few hundred miles under your belt. It could get you a great bike but I think you need a contingiency fund that it doesn't sound like you have!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    You're right - the contingency fund is dwindling and not being replaced by incomings! So, have decided to stick with the steelie for now - again, this thread and all the members' advice has been essential in making that decision, so thank you again.

    After a ride out tonight having made a few adjustments I feel a lot more positive, and knowing that I can fit some new cranks without massive expense has been a relief.

    Good advice on the pedals - I tend to use lightweight walking shoes with stiff soles rather than bike-specific shoes, so I should probably just stick to my de-SPD'd dual side pedals with toeclips. I might decide to go to clipless in the near future, though the pedals and shoes are another expense I'm holding off for now.

    I think, having a look just now, my rear mech does go up to a 28t actually (though my count can't be trusted) so things might not be as bad as I thought.

    Can I just ask, while I'm here, is is usual to have rust spots/paint peeling very slightly (3mm or so) around the BB cable routing under the bike frame, and spots around the lugs? What would you advise on these?

    Second question - would you advise touring with the Triathlon? From what I've read on other threads, early '90s racers can be dangerous loaded up. Thoughts?
  • 16mm
    16mm Posts: 545
    It's probably normal to have paint missing on a car of that age so you should be fine. You can polish off the rust and repaint, and keep on top of it, like anything steel.

    Touring with a saddlebag and barbag may work. I'd avoid panniers, the bike wasn't designed for them.
    Good luck.

    One thought, get an LBS opinion on removing the cranks, you may want to remove the cranks before you buy the new ones in case there are issues getting them off. They may have never been removed since it was built 20 years ago.
  • 16mm
    16mm Posts: 545
    Just realized, compacts were not even thought of in the 90's. Check your front mech can be adjusted downwards if it's a braze on. It may need to go a cm or two lower to work with the smaller chainrings. It would be annoying to get a new crank fitted adn realize your front mech won't adjust low enough.
  • alaslas
    alaslas Posts: 20
    I'm going to seek advice from another LBS that specialises in steel builds, to see if it'll take a compact. The FD looks like it's tightened on, rather than brazed on, but I've no clue really - perhaps the braze on is under the clip that goes round the frame. I suppose if it won't take the new cranks I'm going to go for a new bike - Triban 3, TDF, Raleigh Airlight, type thing - on the credit card.