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My Story/My Goal/My Ideal Bike

Old 10-01-20, 02:12 PM
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johnbobey
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My Story/My Goal/My Ideal Bike

Thanks for all the advice so far in previous threads. I thought, as I solicit (and greatly appreciate) more advice, it might be more helpful to start fresh, share where I am and what it is I'm trying to accomplish. Forgive me if this is an overshare. I'm 51, living in San Diego, and have always been a below average athlete. Given that, I'm looking to accomplish many rando series on my way to (and including) PBP in 2023. This is an above average goal I know, but it might be the entirety of my bucket list. I am prepared to do the work and have some local riding/training support. I'm no bike mechanic, but am willing and eager to learn.

Back in 2017-18 (as I set my sights on PBP 2019) I got some great advice and leads on even greater bikes. Through some bad luck and even worse decisions, I'm now bikeless. A custom build is cost-prohibitive, and I've looked into the usual suspects for a new rando bike...Riv, Crust, Velo, Soma, Masi, QBPs...and all of those are going to easily put me north of 2k. I'D LOVE TO SPEND HALF THAT or less. I'd also love to tackle a frame-up build, but feel it's likely smarter to try to find as complete a bike as possible and use my time to start turning the pedals as often as possible--the idea of riding 100kms is daunting, to say nothing of 12 of them IN A ROW. I'd love to explore this hobby further and go the DIY route in the future, but right now I'm looking to get up and running as soon as possible. (Maybe get a placeholder bike for training and build something concurrently? That's likely an option.)

I've owned a 62 cm Centurion Super Elite that was likely perfect (see bad decisions comment above), 63 cm Schwinn and Motobecane tourers, and those were nice too. Other than my XXL Fuji Feather (61 cm), that's about it since I was a kid. I know my greatest value lies likely in American and Japanese bikes (maybe British), and feel strongly those machines loffer a less steep learning/spending curve with wrenching and pricey/scarce parts with European models. (Though I am a sucker for a pretty face.) Below are what I've found online as starting points--any thoughts or advice would be sincerely appreciated. I know there's a lot here, but I also know you probably like looking at bikes. Lastly, should anyone know of someone looking to part with something in my SoCal area, I'm all ears. AND THANKS!

Raleigh
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1971-Raleig...53.m1438.l2649 (Ticks all the boxes but feels overpriced?)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/1975-Raleig...y/264513461974
ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...205450643.html

Schwinn
https://www.ebay.com/itm/1973-Schwin...53.m1438.l2649

https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/...206208689.html

KHS
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-KHS...53.m1438.l2649

https://losangeles.craigslist.org/la...205280575.html

Fuji
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Fuji-1980s-...53.m1438.l2649

Windsor
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/...206234143.html

https://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/...205810687.html

Miyata
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/nsd/...205664887.html

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Miyata-One-...53.m1438.l2649

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-MIY...53.m1438.l2649

Nishiki
https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...203014050.html

Quintana
https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/...188276050.html

Univega
https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/...178492330.html

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Univega-Sup...53.m1438.l2649

Puch
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vtg-Kuwahar...53.m1438.l2649

Centurion
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Centurion-S...53.m1438.l2649

https://www.ebay.com/itm/VTG-CENTURI...53.m1438.l2649

https://www.ebay.com/itm/CENTURION-I...53.m1438.l2649

Velosolex
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-197...53.m1438.l2649

Lygie
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Yel...53.m1438.l2649

Trek
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Tre...53.m1438.l2649

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Classic-Tre...8AAOSwWpFfdeOw

https://www.ebay.com/itm/TREK-700-TR...cAAOSw8PpfSsad

https://www.ebay.com/itm/27-Speed-Me...MAAOSwq~5e2W1C

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Trek-Vintag...YAAOSwGMVfVpCJ

Emperor Maruishi
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Emperor-Mar...53.m1438.l2649
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Old 10-01-20, 04:04 PM
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I'd really recommend just buying a newer used bike that has a decent gear range, maybe even a triple if you're gonna hit the mountains. I built my first rando bike out of nice columbus tubed road frame and another out of a miyata 1000. Both were okay, but I found a used carbon endurance bike in 2016 and have really enjoyed using that bike more than any other for doing brevets.

I like vintage bikes for their style but I don't know (or) really believe they have that much to offer these days.

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Old 10-01-20, 08:12 PM
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I'll take the opposing view and say start with a vintage bike and customize it into what you need. That's what I did with my 1976 Austro Daimler Vent Noir. It took a bit of effort, mainly cold setting the frame and replacing most of the components. (Now only the original brakes, cable guides, and headset remain.) But I liked the work, and I ended up with a bike built exactly how I wanted it for around $1300: a springy Reynolds 531 frame, clearance for 32s and fenders, and with fancy Rene Herse tires, a dynamo hub and Edelux headlight, and all sorts of great parts. The bike weighs 24.5lbs with dynamo, fenders, and a leather saddle, pedals, everything except bags. Planning some changes to bring that down another .5lbs. Not so bad for an old steel frame.

I rode that bike on PBP in 2019 and it's still my brevet bike of choice. Would I have been happy with a fancy carbon frame? Yeah, no doubt. But I liked the romance of the BQ style old timey randonneuses, the creative process of building something up yourself, and the connection to history you get from riding an old frame. Plus, it makes you feel just a little bit more hardcore than the people on the new stuff.


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Old 10-01-20, 11:04 PM
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I only clicked on the first two links you posted, first was a 1971 Raleigh with 27 inch wheels. I worked in a Raleigh shop in 1973 (yes, I am that old) and I think buying a bike from that era with a plan to work up to PBP is a mistake. For one thing, that bike was listed as having 27 inch wheels, they were common in the 70s but are now quite rare. Maybe those wheels were stock in 1971 or maybe not, but the 1973 International had tubular tires, not 27 inch clinchers. I think you want 700c wheels.

The second link you posted is listed as a Raleigh, I think it is not. I do not recall any Raleighs from that era having pump pegs above the downtube on a derailleur bike and all Raleighs of that era had a head badge riveted to the head tube. And if it is a Raleigh bike, if it is a Nottingham bike then it would have an odd thread for the bottom bracket that was unique to that factory. In that era, the better Raleighs were made in the Carlton factory, the lower end ones in Nottingham, the Carlton bikes should have better frames with more common threads.

If you really want a vintage Raleigh, you should look for a Carlton bike with 531 Reynolds tubing. Early 70s were probably all 120mm rear dropout spacing, I am not sure when they would have switched to 126mm, probably late 70s? You could easily run a modern 130mm hub in a frame with 126mm spacing. Others would know more about cold setting than me, I can't comment on cold setting a Reynolds frame.

Modern drive trains are so much better than drive trains of that era. While some people enjoy riding vintage bikes with vintage drive trains, I think you will find that indexed gearing with more and wider gears are what you really want.

I am not going to recommend a particular model, most of my bikes I built up from the frame, thus I really do not know what complete bikes out there would be a good off the shelf rando bike.

Good luck.
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Old 10-02-20, 12:09 AM
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Does your PBP goal include a budget? Not just to Paris but also donít you need to attend events to qualify? It seems like the bike would be the least of it
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Old 10-02-20, 07:07 AM
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I wish I had taken my vintage bike to PBP last year, probably would have finished. It features a 531 frame I built myself with modern components on it. People are still building bikes just like it, nothing significant has changed with frame design since the '70s. Start riding now, you are lead time away from a respectable PBP effort. You don't have to ride a grand randonnee next year, but the year after you should if you want your pick of start times and avoiding the stress of possibly not being able to register at all.

I would definitely price in some 700c wheels. The problem with older bikes is usually gearing. People didn't believe in low gears until sometime before 2000. And only in the last 5 years or so has the industry fully embraced low gears. With a few exceptions, most brevets in the U.S. offer a lot of climbing, so low gears are essential. If you can ride 100k, you can ride 200k. 200k is the distance that will get you to being able to ride longer. I remember the epiphany I had when I got to the 200k mark in my first 300k. I knew I felt good enough to ride another 100k. And then it's a small step to 400k, which is the classic randonneuring distance. A 1200k is just a 400k strung together with a couple 300k's and a 200k. Easy.

As Clasher said, a more recent used bike is probably worth looking for. Supply is somewhat poor right now, but enthusiasts are dumping their small tired bikes for something that will clear much larger tires.
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Old 10-02-20, 12:42 PM
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I can handle the costs leading up to and including PBP--right now just looking for a bike to get me there...
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Old 10-02-20, 05:30 PM
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Amen to that--I couldn't agree more, and your build is a real inspiration!
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Old 10-04-20, 08:45 AM
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As alternatives to the used bike/vintage resto-mod route, which is a great way to go if you know what you're doing and have the patience, Diamondback has some good budget options; Century 2 ($850) or Hanjo 3 ($1000) would make fine brevet bikes. For something a little more traditional, the DIY Velo Routier ($1400) is a decent option. In that same price range, there are also a few of off-the-peg touring bikes (Jamis, Surley, Kona) that plenty of people including myself have used to get started in randonneuring.
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Old 10-04-20, 04:41 PM
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My impression- you're well on your way to paralysis by analysis.
If the idea of a 100k seems daunting, I would not be worrying AT ALL about what to use for PBP. Get a bike and start riding and work out the details as you go.
My first 100k, first four 100-mile centuries, and first 200k were all on a Worksman cruiser. I wouldn't recommend that route, but the point is, to ride rather than to agonize over bikes.
If you like tinkering with bikes or restoring old bikes or building up bikes or rescuing old bikes, or reading about bikes or buying/selling/trading bikes, or collecting bikes, etc., that's all great ,but those are completely different hobbies from randonneuring.
If your area is all mountainous, find something with good (low!) gears, good brakes, and get at it.
At past local rando rides, I've documented the bikes being used locally (north Texas). I think we had one person using the big-bag-up-front style of bike which is favored by many people. Had some recumbents, some tandems, some touring-style rigs, some racing-style rigs. Values ranging from maybe $1,000 to $15,000 or so.
For longer rides, you need to be able to carry enough crap to do the ride, but how you figure that out is by doing a bunch of 200k/300k/400k rides and discovering that you weren't warm enough or that you're carrying a steamer trunk when everyone else is carrying a wallet, etc.
You qualify for PBP by doing maybe a single series, but you prepare for that by just riding the heck out of your bike(s).
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Old 10-05-20, 01:21 PM
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Stephen and others...you're right in that I need to get pedaling first and foremost--just bought an 80's Miyata 1000 to start training. Also, I've decided to build up a vintage frame into a more "customized" rando bike, and a member from the C&V forum--gugie--will be doing the build. I'll take what I learn from riding the Miyata and work that into the new/old bike.
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Old 10-05-20, 03:50 PM
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I finished my first 400K on a miyata 1000, they're pretty great for rando, the only thing I changed were the stock wheels; far too overbuilt for my needs and I wanted a dynohub.


On tour, so I had a rear rack but for brevets I just used the small handlebar bag and the big saddlebag if it was longer than 400k or I needed rain gear.
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Old 10-05-20, 04:09 PM
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I finished my first brevet series on my early '80s racing bike. 44-25 low gear, that was fun. I really got tired of shifting the downtube shifters on the 600k.
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Old 10-12-20, 11:16 AM
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I'm really looking forward to riding and training for my first milestone...the populaire. The Miyata has arrived and I'm about to unbox!
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Old 10-12-20, 01:06 PM
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I just looked for recently sold Miyatta 1000 on Ebay, saw one sold on Oct 4. If that is the one you got, I did not look at any of the text, only the photos:
  • Looks like a Brooks Pro saddle. You should get a can of Brooks Proofide and put a bit on the leather, top and bottom to protect it and preserve the leather.
  • You do not want that saddle to get too wet in the rain, a waterproof saddle cover would be a good idea.
  • If you are new to bikes with steel frames, you should grease the seatpost where it contacts the steel, otherwise dissimilar metal corrosion can occur with the aluminum alloy seatpost.
  • Crankset is half step plus granny gear. Nothing wrong with that, I have half step plus granny on two of my touring bikes. More on that here. https://sheldonbrown.com/gear-theory.html
  • If I just bought a bike like that, I would re-grease the hubs, headset and bottom bracket. Headset might be loose balls that you drop all over the floor if you are not careful.
  • It looks like a couple small hooks at the bottom of teh fork. I suspect they were for an older style handlebar bag that used bunge cord to hold the bag in place, you could remove those if you choose to do so.
  • The tubes appear to have shrader valves. If you choose to switch to presta, there are small rubber or plastic sleeves that take up some of the space where the smaller diameeter presta valve stem is inserted into the rim.
  • If that is a decades old chain, the newer chains look very different, so if you buy a chain and it is different, that should be expected. The older chiains did not have a quick link, you need a chain tool to remove the older chains, that tool is also used to shorten a new chain if you buy one that is too long.
  • Derailleurs are Suntour, I liked the older Suntour equipment.

If you are going to do a lot of the work yourself, there are some good youtube videos by Park Tool, but I am not sure if they cover the older bottom brackets or not. But they are invaluable on lots of topics, for example one pedal is left hand thread, the other right hand, etc.

Good luck.
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Old 10-12-20, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by johnbobey View Post
...-the idea of riding 100kms is daunting, to say nothing of 12 of them IN A ROW.
Good luck on your pursuit.

Several years ago at age 44, I got into rando training, with the intent to build up to my first 1,200km. I built up to doing 100km's 2-3 days per week with a 200km every other Sunday, got up to back-to-back 250km's, a 320km (double imperial century), and I topped out with a 525km (325 miles) in 24 hours. Then knee pain entered my life (probably due to too much sprint training, when I wasn't rando training), which ended my rando pursuit, to this day. The difference in effort between 100km and 300km is absolutely huge, and the jump from 300km to 500km even bigger, and I would imagine that the jump from 500km to 1,200km is astounding. What I found in my training was that doing a really long ride is one thing, but the ability for me to ride 300km, recover quickly, and then do it all again the next day, and the next day after that, and then again! (aka 90hr time limit for PBP) is yet another thing altogether, and takes a ton of trial and error with regards to fueling, supplements, and stretching, and is something I hope to be able to train for again someday. At the moment I'm back to 100km being my limit, and I'm perfectly happy with it, for the moment.
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Old 10-12-20, 04:28 PM
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The trick to riding 1200k in 90 hours or less is, as said above, being able to ride consecutive 400ks. In an SR series, the first time one gets a taste of that is riding that 400k with a 200k after a very few hours' sleep. It becomes quickly apparent that one has to be able to ride fast at a low effort level to be able to recover well enough to do that. And PBP is not flat, not at all. That doesn't take great talent as much as it takes great conditioning and an ability to suffer while still riding well. Lay down a huge aerobic base this winter, then attempt an SR series each summer. Probably won't be able to finish one this coming summer, but try. Main thing is to accumulate a lot of miles/year by doing a lot of long rides in hilly terrain. You can get in more miles by keeping the effort down.

A great bike would be any 9 or 10 speed carbon bike with an Ultegra triple, 53-39-26 on the front and anything between a 12-25 and 11-30 on the back, depending on your strength. Trek 5200 is a good choice, available for between $600 and $900. You'd have to figure on new rings and cassette.
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