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restoring Univega Nuovo Sport / mostly the drivetrain

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restoring Univega Nuovo Sport / mostly the drivetrain

Old 08-31-11, 12:26 PM
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SurlyLaika
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restoring Univega Nuovo Sport / mostly the drivetrain

So I bought my gf an old Univega and it's actually in worse condition than I first thought. The people said they bought old bikes and restore and sell them. There's not a damn thing on the bike that looks like it was recently replaced. Oh well...
I'm now realizing that it's more of a slower townie bike than anything meant for performance, but I'd like her to have a nice bike and she's not quite ready to buy a serious, new bike. So restoring this one on a budget seems like a good idea. Where to begin?

The tires were dried and cracked, so I replaced those. Rides smoother now. Good thing, too, 'cos the guys at REI said it's unsafe to ride a tire in that condition, a tire blow out is likely, when I just thought, "why put a new inner tube in a crappy tire."

The shifting is not very smooth. It seemed to get stuck between gears. I took it to the LBS and the man said that skipping noises are normal because it uses friction shifters. The shifters are Suntour stem shifters, the crankset has 2 chain rings and the rear freewheel has 6 chain rings (?, I read on BF that cassettes begin at 7 gears and up) The LBS said if I want to fix it up, I could replace the freewheel/cassette, the derailleur, and the chain. The chain should just be replaced anyways. I'm pretty sure it's been the same chain on there for the last 20 years. As far as the derailleur, I've read that even modern low end derailleurs perform better than midlevel derailleurs of the past. I could get another 6 spd free wheel/cassette...but if it is possible, I'd like to make it a 7 speed.

Please, break this down into stupid for me and let me slide if I referred to components by the wrong name. Refer me to parts that would be compatible. And finally, will revamping the drive train, changing the tires and pedals really improve the ride of this old bike or is an old bike simply always an old bike?


Thanks for all the help.
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Old 08-31-11, 12:27 PM
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$115 for complete Univega in crappy condition.
$60 for new tires.
$15 for new pedals.

for a total of
$190

If we resell it for an upgrade, it will definitely go for more than we bought it.
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Old 08-31-11, 12:38 PM
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Would this 6spd freewheel be compatible?

Mod: please move this to Vintage if it's better suited there.
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Old 08-31-11, 12:54 PM
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Yes this freewheel will work for you . Any old bike is what it is worth to you , to most people they don't pay much for old bikes ,because of what it takes to restore them ,but if you take the time and funds to do so ,the bike will pay you back with a nice ride .
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Old 08-31-11, 02:04 PM
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Derailleur is probably fine. I often/usually replace six speed freewheels with seven speed. Just did one yesterday. Old derailleurs, cleaned, lubed and ready to go work fine. Old crappy derailleurs are just that, it really depends on the condition of the derailleur.
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Old 08-31-11, 02:14 PM
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which derailleur?

Originally Posted by bikeman715 View Post
Yes this freewheel will work for you . Any old bike is what it is worth to you , to most people they don't pay much for old bikes ,because of what it takes to restore them ,but if you take the time and funds to do so ,the bike will pay you back with a nice ride .
Okay, good...$9 for the free wheel, $14 for the chain. I just need to find a derailleur? I get confused with the short cage, mid cage, long cage, friction vs. indexed shifters...whether or not it needs a hanger, etc. Would either of these Tourneys work?
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Old 08-31-11, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
Derailleur is probably fine. I often/usually replace six speed freewheels with seven speed. Just did one yesterday. Old derailleurs, cleaned, lubed and ready to go work fine. Old crappy derailleurs are just that, it really depends on the condition of the derailleur.
6 and 7 spd free wheels are more or less equivalent then?
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Old 08-31-11, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
So I bought ..an old Univega and it's actually in worse condition than I first thought. ..restoring this one on a budget seems like a good idea. Where to begin?

The shifting is not very smooth. It seemed to get stuck between gears. I took it to the LBS and the man said that skipping noises are normal because it uses friction shifters.
That's a somewhat warped truth. With friction shifters it's up to the rider to provide adjustment. You can't just poke the lever and hope for the best. It takes a modest amount of practice and dedication to get your "hand" in, but after that friction should shift just as quietly as indexed shifting. A decent number of people still prefer friction b/c of ease, or lack of adjustment. Indexed has to match up real good to work. Friction, you just tweak the lever a tad bit more until the chain runs quiet again. Also, with indexed you need a 3-way match between sprocket spacing, derailer stroke and shifter pull. Friction, pretty much anything goes.

Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
..the rear freewheel has 6 chain rings
Rear freewheel is a bit redundant, and they're commonly known as sprockets when you refer to them individually. Unless you talk BMX, that is...

But in terms of understandability, you're doing good.

Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
..], I read on BF that cassettes begin at 7 gears and up
Usually but not exclusively. You can find 9-speed freewheels these days.

Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
..The LBS said if I want to fix it up, I could replace the freewheel/cassette, the derailleur, and the chain. ... I've read that even modern low end derailleurs perform better than midlevel derailleurs of the past.
I don't see the point of replacing the derailer straight off, particularly not if you intend to keep the shifter(s).
If it's really worn and floppy, sure, but otherwise, with friction shifting, the gain from a new derailer is quite modest.

Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
..I could get another 6 spd free wheel/cassette...but if it is possible, I'd like to make it a 7 speed.
The only case of a 6-speed cassette that I know of is the old Shimano Uni-Glide. There's no need to try to resurrect that even if you manage to beat the obsolescense issue.

And 7-speed is a so-so proposition. Sure, a 7-speed freewheel will bolt right on, but depending on how varied your riding terrain is, the payoff from adding a gear can easily be slim-to-none.
Easiest path to a cassette design is a new wheel.

Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
Please, break this down into stupid for me
Financially speaking, renovating old bikes is a risky business. Don't expect to recover your losses. Unless "for the fun of it", it's usually better to shop around for another used bike in better condition.

My first option would be to keep it as much as-is as possible. New tires, new brake pads, new wires, new chain. If needed, new 6-speed freehub. Clean-and-lube all round.

My second option, if I just couldn't stand the friction shifter, would be to source a 6-speed thumb shifter to go with a 6-speed freewheel. If you're having doubts about the drop bar, this is the chance to swap it out.

Originally Posted by albertmoreno View Post
.. will revamping the drive train, changing the tires and pedals really improve the ride of this old bike or is an old bike simply always an old bike?
Well, don't expect too much. Bicycles are real mature technologies, most change has been gradual, not monumental. Indexing and integrated brake + shift levers are fairly important in my view, but plenty of people do fine w/o them.
Thing is, I don't know where on the scale your bike started out, and what conditions bearings etc are in. An old mid-range bike can certainly be resurrected to a perfectly serviceable bike for pretty much anything but race usage.

Last edited by dabac; 08-31-11 at 02:42 PM. Reason: couldn't keep 5-to-6 speed apart from 6-to-7 speed.
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Old 08-31-11, 02:43 PM
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+1 I just took a six speed cassette off a bike last week. They are out there, but are unusual/uncommon.
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Old 08-31-11, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by dabac View Post
That's a somewhat warped truth. With friction shifters it's up to the rider to provide adjustment. You can't just poke the lever and hope for the best. It takes a modest amount of practice and dedication to get your "hand" in, but after that friction should shift just as quietly as indexed shifting. A decent number of people still prefer friction b/c of ease, or lack of adjustment. Indexed has to match up real good to work. Friction, you just tweak the lever a tad bit more until the chain runs quiet again. Also, with indexed you need a 3-way match between sprocket spacing, derailer stroke and shifter pull. Friction, pretty much anything goes.

Rear freewheel is a bit redundant, and they're commonly known as sprockets when you refer to them individually. Unless you talk BMX, that is...

But in terms of understandability, you're doing good.



Usually but not exclusively. You can find 9-speed freewheels these days.



I don't see the point of replacing the derailer straight off, particularly not if you intend to keep the shifter(s).
If it's really worn and floppy, sure, but otherwise, with friction shifting, the gain from a new derailer is quite modest.


The only case of a 6-speed cassette that I know of is the old Shimano Uni-Glide. There's no need to try to resurrect that even if you manage to beat the obsolescense issue.

And 7-speed is a so-so proposition. Sure, a 7-speed freewheel will bolt right on, but depending on how varied your riding terrain is, the payoff from adding a gear can easily be slim-to-none.
Easiest path to a cassette design is a new wheel.



Financially speaking, renovating old bikes is a risky business. Don't expect to recover your losses. Unless "for the fun of it", it's usually better to shop around for another used bike in better condition.

My first option would be to keep it as much as-is as possible. New tires, new brake pads, new wires, new chain. If needed, new 6-speed freehub. Clean-and-lube all round.

My second option, if I just couldn't stand the friction shifter, would be to source a 6-speed thumb shifter to go with a 6-speed freewheel. If you're having doubts about the drop bar, this is the chance to swap it out.



Well, don't expect too much. Bicycles are real mature technologies, most change has been gradual, not monumental. Indexing and integrated brake + shift levers are fairly important in my view, but plenty of people do fine w/o them.
Thing is, I don't know where on the scale your bike started out, and what conditions bearings etc are in. An old mid-range bike can certainly be resurrected to a perfectly serviceable bike for pretty much anything but race usage.


That was educational.

Okay, I'll just get the chain and free wheel. Pretty cheap, less than half a tank of gas...at least in my gf's car. I need to find a competent mechanic but that shouldn't be too difficult. The only problem with the LBS here is that I have a really hard time understanding the dude.
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Old 08-31-11, 03:27 PM
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"I need to find a competent mechanic" Not necessarily. With the information available online, especially the Park Tool and Sheldon Brown Web sites, and the helpful folks on this forum, you should be able to do the simple repairs and adjustments needed yourself. You might need help/tools to change the freewheel and need to buy a chain tool but most of the tasks on a bike are fairly simple. Be careful, though; one bike leads to another!
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Old 08-31-11, 05:49 PM
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I have two Univega road bikes, an '85 Super Strada and an '82 Gran Turismo. Both have 6 speed freewheels and friction shifting. My recommendation is to try the bike for a few weeks before you go crazy changing parts. Generations before used friction shifting. Just takes a little practice and willingness to f(iddle) with it.

Betcha the derailleur's fine. Both of my bikes are still using the original.
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Old 09-01-11, 09:15 AM
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Modern freewheels have a distinct advantage over the older freewheels- nowadays the teeth and profile of the gears are made so that the shifts are a lot easier and more stable- they will rattle less because if it's rattling, the ramps and tooth shaping will tend to shift the gear to the adjacent cog.
That being said, you still need to adjust friction-shifters to the center of the gear or it will annoyingly shift gears unexpectedly.
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Old 09-05-11, 02:11 PM
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well, we took it for a ride...and the derailleur pretty much broke, shifting uphill. I tried to reattach the chain to the free wheel and shift on level ground but it would not catch. I think I'm just going to overhaul it. $50 in drive train parts isn't going crazy with it, in my opinion. I want her to have a reliable, comfortable ride. The other option would be to buy a new bike, which would be more expensive, or get another used bike which is just another gamble. Maybe I don't have the eye for picking out good used bikes.
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