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Tired vs dead components. Tipping point?

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Tired vs dead components. Tipping point?

Old 07-22-21, 10:27 AM
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RustyJames
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Tired vs dead components. Tipping point?

Another way of framing this - how much persnickety-ness do you tolerate before that old component is declared dead? I realize thereís a ton of factors that go into this - rarity, ease of upgrades/repairs, amount of useful life given how often old bikes are used, etc.

I ask because the Campy derailleurs on my old Legnano are a bit wonky and I am inclined to use the bike less because of this. Iíll tolerate a certain amount of vintage charm/patina but if itís no longer a joy I get frustrated.

Your thoughts?
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Old 07-22-21, 10:35 AM
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I'd first try disassembling, cleaning, and reassembly with fresh grease/oil where needed. If that doesn't work, replace the component with one in better condition.
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Old 07-22-21, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames View Post
Another way of framing this - how much persnickety-ness do you tolerate before that old component is declared dead? I realize thereís a ton of factors that go into this - rarity, ease of upgrades/repairs, amount of useful life given how often old bikes are used, etc.

I ask because the Campy derailleurs on my old Legnano are a bit wonky and I am inclined to use the bike less because of this. Iíll tolerate a certain amount of vintage charm/patina but if itís no longer a joy I get frustrated.

Your thoughts?
I would start with either functional or performance standards to determine whether/when a component is no longer suitable. Look at the words you chose (highlighted).
- persnicket-ness: is this a measure of inability to hold adjustment, i.e., reliability, or is it whether or not full function (e.g., holding the gear chosen while under load, flex in pivots or rivets working loose)?
- wonky: what does this mean?
- amount of patina: this is an aesthetic measure, what do you want and what does it lack?

I can't offer you much on the basis of what you've asked. Parts must function reliably or I won't use them. The patina must be consistent with the remainder of the bike (i.e., not glaringly out of place one way or the other). Minor annoyances, if I can't tune them out or repair them, lead to dissatisfaction.

At this point in my life, as my active years are waning, there is no reason why any bike shouldn't absolutely delight me. If it doesn't, it gets sold. Period. And I've sold some pretty nice bikes, because...they don't thrill me when I ride them.
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Old 07-22-21, 11:02 AM
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bearing spalling, un-redeemable slop.
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Old 07-22-21, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I would start with either functional or performance standards to determine whether/when a component is no longer suitable. Look at the words you chose (highlighted).
- persnicket-ness: is this a measure of inability to hold adjustment, i.e., reliability, or is it whether or not full function (e.g., holding the gear chosen while under load, flex in pivots or rivets working loose)?
- wonky: what does this mean?
- amount of patina: this is an aesthetic measure, what do you want and what does it lack?

I can't offer you much on the basis of what you've asked. Parts must function reliably or I won't use them. The patina must be consistent with the remainder of the bike (i.e., not glaringly out of place one way or the other). Minor annoyances, if I can't tune them out or repair them, lead to dissatisfaction.

At this point in my life, as my active years are waning, there is no reason why any bike shouldn't absolutely delight me. If it doesn't, it gets sold. Period. And I've sold some pretty nice bikes, because...they don't thrill me when I ride them.
It is my understanding that old Campy derailleurs arenít that great but back in the day it was normal and no one knew better. Do I accept this and revel in the quaintness? Itís an existential question but Iím curious how others view this.

Patina - if the part has lost some of its finish but works well Iím fine with that. In my world, functionality trumps aesthetics.

Wonky - kinda vague, I know, but letís say said component functions 80% as well as it did when new. Acceptable since weíre talking about 60 or 70 y/o bikes? I know this is highly subjective but Iím curious how many of yíall will only tolerate ďas good as newĒ. I know Iím casting a wide net that may be better answered using a poll but Iím always interested in the gray areas and what other peopleís standards are.
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Old 07-22-21, 11:25 AM
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For me, if a bike continually frustrates me when riding then something has to change. Repair/replace/sell/toss. Otherwise what's the point of having it? (other than a wall hanger)
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Old 07-22-21, 11:29 AM
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I take it pretty far. By the time I get to the point of DXing a component its is FUBAR.

I have a box of pretty nice stuff that is all worn out but I keep just for sentimental value. By the time a Campy component makes it to that box its been around a long, long time...
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Old 07-22-21, 12:02 PM
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I donít have the long experience with vintage Campy that many here doÖbut last year I restored a Davidson with a full NR group (my first) in good condition and there is nothing wonky about any of it. The NR rear derailleur, paired with C-record era Doppler retrofriction levers, works much better than internet lore led me to expect. Yes, it demands a slight overshift followed by a trim. So what. I installed a Soma cage and it shifts onto a 32 with no complaints.

If yours isnít working the way it should, and it isnít a setup issue, replace the offending part. Thereís plenty out there.
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Old 07-22-21, 12:35 PM
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Any tire with a hole large enough for you to put your thumb through is pronounced DEAD...

Inspect your Campy bits carefully. What year and model?

I've worn out a bunch of stuff on my old Colnago over time. And, didn't think much about upgrading as needed.

Campagnolo Nuovo Record jockey wheels tend to crack, and it may cause them not to hold the chain properly. Just replace and keep riding.

I've see steel on steel bushings wear to the point where they were barely functional.

Hard to say, but perhaps one could repair the bad bearings/bushings if one worked hard enough. Disassemble, braze (or replace spindles), redrill, and reassemble. Even aluminum can be brazed.
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Old 07-22-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames View Post
It is my understanding that old Campy derailleurs arenít that great but back in the day it was normal and no one knew better. Do I accept this and revel in the quaintness? Itís an existential question but Iím curious how others view this.
Bikes have come a loooong way. I definitely look at my 1970 Paramount more than I ride it.
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Old 07-22-21, 12:39 PM
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Oh, and I'm a big fan of the shifting of the modern hyperglide (and similar) cassettes and freewheels.

I do think they wear faster than the old chunky freewheels, but the shifting is so much nicer.
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Old 07-22-21, 01:21 PM
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Personally, I mostly think about this in regards to fatigue and failure of structural elements. Primarily, this is about the potential for broken cranks, stems and handlebars.

I have one bike that I bought used with an unknown number of miles, and it still has the original components. I think I've put 16,000 miles on it over the 25 years that I've owned it, so it doesn't get a ton of use, but I do check the cranks for cracks. I'm fairly light, 155 pounds, and not too powerful, so I hope that I'm not subjecting it to too much stress.

As far as other stuff.. if it gets worn out (i.e. not functioning properly), I replace it.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 07-22-21, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames View Post
It is my understanding that old Campy derailleurs arenít that great but back in the day it was normal and no one knew better. Do I accept this and revel in the quaintness?
People knew better. I rode a Trek 760 for years which came with SunTour Superbe components. Somewhere along the way I thought it would be cool to have a Campy derailleur. I bought a NR from who knows where (pre-Internet) and installed it. I swapped back to the SunTour derailleur after a couple weeks. That said, in the 70s I rode NR gear and found it worked fine. But perhaps I didn't know any better.

You didn't mention how old your bike(s) are or which actual derailleurs you have, so your Campy derailleurs might be of the dime-a-dozen sort or made of unobtainium. As others have pointed out, clean, reassemble, adjust. If you keep them within their normal operating range and they aren't completely knackered, I find that those I have (NR, SR first and second gen) all work fine. In particular, when I'm riding my ItalVega with its NR derailleurs and SunTour Ultra-6 freewheel, shifting seems pretty crisp. Perhaps a bit of adjustment fiddling (sliding wheel fore or aft in the dropout, f'instance) or replacing the chain or freewheel if they are worn, might improve things. If you decide the derailleur is worn out, NR and second gen SR are easy to find and not terribly expensive ($<100). Older stuff can sometimes be pricy to replace. If the parallelogram pins are worn out, people like Jim Merz (and maybe @oneclick here on BF? - someone I think) can replace them for a price. Jim recently had some second gen SR parallelograms for sale on CR which had new pins.

I do wonder if some of these pre-indexing derailleurs would work better with stiffer chains than the usual 8sp stuff we often use from SRAM, KMC, etc. Even with the derailleur adjusted properly, I think there might be a little extra give in modern chains which makes the shifting sluggish.
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Old 07-22-21, 02:30 PM
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When you say 'old Legnano', what do you mean? People spend a lot of money trying to get bikes back to original so hesitate just for a moment.
We love pics!
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Old 07-22-21, 02:39 PM
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This will give many an idea of bike age. VERY pre-bike boom era. ~1960


This should give you an idea of component age.

The RD is my current source of frustration. Iíll take it off and see whatís going on. Movement in both axis is a bit gummy so hopefully a cleaning and light oiling will rectify that.

FWIW - the Universal 68s (incorrect for the bike) are fabulous brakes!
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Old 07-22-21, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by droppedandlost View Post
For me, if a bike continually frustrates me when riding then something has to change. Repair/replace/sell/toss.
+1. I'm willing to put up with a fair amount of "character" from my bikes (this is C&V, after all), but if something causes me stress or frustration over the course of a ride, it's not worth it.
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Old 07-22-21, 03:13 PM
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RustyJames How big is your largest cog? Maybe 26T is the max for Record? (Velobase is apparently down at the moment, so I can't check there.)
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Old 07-22-21, 03:29 PM
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I never take a chance with dried brake pads, old tires, wear on cables. Stopping well is my component priority.

I have been remarkably lucky with 35+ year old components. Close inspection upon initial cleaning and reassembly is king.

Another benefit of a large fleet = once cleaned, inspected and installed - the bike will be a relatively low mileage rider given the rotation cycle. Also means more than the tire pressure gets checked before a ride.
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Old 07-22-21, 04:20 PM
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Parts wear out. Springs don't stay springy forever.

That said, I'll second the question about largest cog size. Also, that cable housing has run its course. And I'm not sure a modern bushingless chain is best over toothless pulleys. Others may know better.

The planned clean up is a good idea.
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Old 07-22-21, 04:29 PM
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Depends on whether the bearings and springs can be replaced cost effectively. And whether the components were collectible or at least held personal value to me, such as wanting to retain a treasured bike in original condition.

Springs would be trickier to replace, but also easier to homebrew than bearings. You can buy raw stock to make coiled and flat springs. The heat treatment isn't as difficult as it might seem. I've homebrewed replacement flat springs for my granddad's old guns using raw stock that I heat treated in a burn pile in the garden, and finished off in the barn with other makeshift materials. No idea how long those springs would last, it was just to restore them to functionality for keepsakes.
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Old 07-22-21, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
RustyJames How big is your largest cog? Maybe 26T is the max for Record? (Velobase is apparently down at the moment, so I can't check there.)
Good input. This bike has a 28T. The Record RD was on the bike when I bought it and I knew it wasnít original but I believe it had a Sport model and those are rather unfortunate.

Another problem - the head of the dropout saver is being brushed by the chain. Thatís not good. Iíll see if I can shim the wheel over.

The rear bit of line will be replaced soon. Thank you to the keen-eyed C&Ver who spotted that.
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Old 07-22-21, 05:33 PM
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All my old Campy stuff works great.

Okay, I have a little bulge in a vintage Araya front rim that doesn't make braking the smoothest on really fast descents. There's one particular route I avoid with that bike. And I have another new, really smooth wheelset I can substitute just resting on a nearby wall. But that old wheelset is original to the bike. And it's kinda badass with its beautiful Miche ("me-kae") hubs. What can I say? I put up with it.
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Old 07-22-21, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
ÖAnd I'm not sure a modern bushingless chain is best over toothless pulleys. Others may knowÖ
Now you really have me questioning things. Iíll get back to you after 3 or 4 hours of googlingÖ.🙂
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Old 07-22-21, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RustyJames View Post
It is my understanding that old Campy derailleurs arenít that great but back in the day it was normal and no one knew better. Do I accept this and revel in the quaintness? Itís an existential question but Iím curious how others view this..
I think that's inaccurate. Old Campy derailleurs were designed to shift low tooth count close-ratio racing cogsets. For that function they were superlative and, as long as the pivots have not worn terribly so that there's massive play, will continue to be so. If the pivots are worn then you can either repair or replace. If you are trying to push the derailleur to do things for which it was not designed, you can either replace it with something designed for the task at hand or you can accept performance that is slightly less pristine than what a modern derailleur can do. Many of us choose the latter.
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Old 07-23-21, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
...I do wonder if some of these pre-indexing derailleurs would work better with stiffer chains than the usual 8sp stuff we often use from SRAM, KMC, etc. Even with the derailleur adjusted properly, I think there might be a little extra give in modern chains which makes the shifting sluggish.
Absolutely... Especially with longer chains and big freewheel cogs with long cage derailleurs. If that big spring in your dťrailleur is getting a little lax it can be a bugger to fix.
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