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Looking for a Rando Conversion Candidate: Fuji Espree?

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Looking for a Rando Conversion Candidate: Fuji Espree?

Old 09-29-21, 03:13 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
A friend pointed out this paint-chipped Fuji America...Worthy of consideration, especially if I were to eventually powder coat? I've never bought a bike online, I feel somewhat wary of it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/124793766350
Buying frames online can be hit-or-miss. You never really know how the seller measured the size. You don't know if they'll do a good job packing the bike. You don't know if there are hidden flaws that the seller didn't show. Etc., etc. I've had generally very good experiences buying frames online, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. As a general rule, I try to only buy from people that I have some reason to believe know and love bikes. The seller for that Fuji has a good rating, and based on the pictures they aren't just selling something they found in there garage. Looks kind of like a bike shop with an online presence. The rust on that frame is a bit worrying, but at that price it seems like a decent risk.

The big question is how comfortable you are building and maintaining vintage bikes. If you have to take it to a shop to get even basic work done, the expense of starting from a frame is probably going to be painful. If you can do you own work, or know someone who can help you with it, or you're willing and eager to learn to do the work, you have a lot more options.

How do you feel about the buying and selling process? There's really no better way to figure out what you want in a bike than to buy one and ride it. Then if you don't like it, sell it and buy a different one that addresses what you didn't like. If you're patient, you can sell used vintage bikes for what you pay for them, as long as you don't spend a lot making them rideable. Until you have a bike that you love riding, I would avoid spending money on any kind of customization. Focus on things that you can easily move from one bike to another. Wheels and tires are the biggest bang for the buck, and within limits they're easy to move from one bike to the next.
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Old 09-29-21, 03:25 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
This Diamond Back looks pretty sweet.

Or this Trek 560.

Or this pretty Peugeot.

This Velosolex Saint Tropez may be too small, I just thought it looked interesting.

One of these Peugeots would be great, if the seller was a bit more realistic.
Thanks for taking the time to scour the CL Listings!

I may be a diva for this, but I had ruled out the Diamondback and the first Peugeot based on lack of lugs :/

The Trek could be a great contender but is too small for me at 19.5" The yellow Peugeot is an interesting candidate but $600 is nuts!

I'm interested by the Saint Tropez. I had not paid it much mind due to the bad pics, but looking it up, it says it's Reynolds 531. On the other hand, seems like a low rake fork? Maybe worth a look?
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Old 09-29-21, 03:26 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Buying frames online can be hit-or-miss. You never really know how the seller measured the size. You don't know if they'll do a good job packing the bike. You don't know if there are hidden flaws that the seller didn't show. Etc., etc. I've had generally very good experiences buying frames online, but there are a lot of things that can go wrong. As a general rule, I try to only buy from people that I have some reason to believe know and love bikes. The seller for that Fuji has a good rating, and based on the pictures they aren't just selling something they found in there garage. Looks kind of like a bike shop with an online presence. The rust on that frame is a bit worrying, but at that price it seems like a decent risk.

The big question is how comfortable you are building and maintaining vintage bikes. If you have to take it to a shop to get even basic work done, the expense of starting from a frame is probably going to be painful. If you can do you own work, or know someone who can help you with it, or you're willing and eager to learn to do the work, you have a lot more options.

How do you feel about the buying and selling process? There's really no better way to figure out what you want in a bike than to buy one and ride it. Then if you don't like it, sell it and buy a different one that addresses what you didn't like. If you're patient, you can sell used vintage bikes for what you pay for them, as long as you don't spend a lot making them rideable. Until you have a bike that you love riding, I would avoid spending money on any kind of customization. Focus on things that you can easily move from one bike to another. Wheels and tires are the biggest bang for the buck, and within limits they're easy to move from one bike to the next.
Very sensible approach--thanks for writing it out. Given all of this, I don't feel great about buying online. I do have a friendly fellow BF member who helps me out with wrenching when I need it so I'm not afraid of getting into something that needs a bit of work, but to your point, I should probably ride it first!
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Old 09-29-21, 03:41 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
A friend pointed out this paint-chipped Fuji America...Worthy of consideration, especially if I were to eventually powder coat? I've never bought a bike online, I feel somewhat wary of it.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/124793766350
I had an America and it was specified well, with the Sugino Might Tour crank and Suntour Cyclone derailleurs, but I was not thrilled with the ride. I'd likely not bother with buying a frameset either. I feel totally comfortable buying online too. Most of my favorite bikes were bought online.

I'd keep an eye out for something that has mounts for downtube shifters and an integrated derailleur hanger. From there, just find something comfy.

I'm also curious if you really want to have a bag up front or want to carry panniers anywhere on the bike. Plans would help.
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Old 09-29-21, 05:14 PM
  #30  
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@reluctantsuburb,
With your stated 89cm PBH, which is very similar to my own, all of those bikes except perhaps the big yellow Peugeot, would probably end up too small. You said that 60cm seemed like a good size, and depending on bottom bracket height, you very likely could go bigger. My black Miyata 912 in Post #16 is a 25”/62.5cm frame that still fits well after more than 40 years (with appropriate cockpit adjustments as I’ve changed). FWIW, I spent about 38,000 very happy miles on a 60cm Klein in my 40’s and early 50’s (now 72YO), but it became increasingly difficult to get the bars high enough as I lost torso length and flexibility over the years, which is one of the problems with trying to make a too-small frame work.

Remember that frame size in the US is usually specified from the center of the bottom bracket (BB) to the top of the Top Tube (TT), often abbreviated as ctt. If a frame has a higher BB, then the standover height will be greater for the same frame size. That’s not important to everyone, but its worth noting. And that could be important to you as you get used to a different style of riding. I recently worked hard to make a very nice 25.5” Fuji S12-S Ltd meet my needs, but because Fuji uses a significantly higher BB, it ultimately seemed a bit too big even though the frame size was very similar to my Miyata and other 63cm bike with BB’s about 1cm lower. But that could mean that a 24” Fuji might work very well for you! Fujis and Miyatas of the 80’s are really well-built, nicely finished, intelligently equipped, and lend themselves to upgrading with newer components.

Are you aware of this sticky?
https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...t-w-links.html

Being able to peruse the catalogs of bikes that looks interesting can be very helpful.

And that Saint Tropez? Besides looking distinctly small, the “turkey” brake levers, chain ring protector and big chrome spoke protector are all signs of a lower end frame, rarely one made with better tubing and construction.

That big yellow Peugeot shares some of those lower end indicators. But its worth noting that lower end “Pugs” get rave reviews for great ride quality. One of my best friends has a newer but similar lower quality Pug that he absolutely loves.

Last edited by Dfrost; 09-29-21 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 09-29-21, 08:33 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
Thanks for taking the time to scour the CL Listings!

I may be a diva for this, but I had ruled out the Diamondback and the first Peugeot based on lack of lugs :/

The Trek could be a great contender but is too small for me at 19.5" The yellow Peugeot is an interesting candidate but $600 is nuts!

I'm interested by the Saint Tropez. I had not paid it much mind due to the bad pics, but looking it up, it says it's Reynolds 531. On the other hand, seems like a low rake fork? Maybe worth a look?
Please, diva away! It's your bike; I was just grabbing anything that looked remotely interesting. I've been having zero luck with my diva search, so it was fun to look for mine while looking for yours. I hope you find your heart bike.
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Old 10-02-21, 05:10 PM
  #32  
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Well, in what may prove to be a major detour, I found an mid 80s SR Pro Am which I grabbed for $80. Suntour Cyclone-II components, frame is overall in pretty good shape. It took a fair bit of digging to find some info about the bikes, apparently they are of Japanese origin and may have been assembled / manufactured in Mexico before being imported to the San Diego area.

Once I got the bike home, the front tire held air but the rear did not. Wheels were 700x25 and 700x28, front and rear respectively. I tried a new 700x35 wheel from my wife's bike on the rear but there was some significant rub near the brake mount. Ended up simply robbing one of her tires of its tube so I could take this thing on a test run.

Like I said at the beginning of the thread I had never ridden a drop bar bike before. I'm surprised that the position is as comfortable as it is. Right now though my neck feels really scrunched when looking up, I almost feel like I need more distance between seat posts and bars. I also need to play around a bit with saddle height. Likewise it was my first time using downtube shifters and using friction shifters. Lots of get used to but my initial impressions of the frame are that it is lively and light.

Lots of pics below

After I transferred my Brooks saddle over from my current commuter








A bit of surface rust on both the fork blades and pedals
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Old 10-02-21, 05:14 PM
  #33  
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To clarify I decided to grab this because it seemed like a good value which I think is important at this phase as I'm really just evaluating whether or not this proposed riding style is even worth further investment in. If this bike turns out to be a candidate for the rando excellent, and if not I hope that I can pass it along to somebody who can make use of it
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Old 10-02-21, 05:32 PM
  #34  
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You just won. That is a heck of a nice place to start and cheaply, so you can go step at a time. Champion #2 stuff is no slouch and SR got some solid builders to make their bikes if I recall correctly.

You can almost definitely get 32s in there, I'd think as is. I find they feel nearly as plush as 35s, and are easy to source (I love Zaffiros at 32...I have not yet partaken of Paselas however.) The Cyclone group is REALLY flexible and solid stuff. You could possibly get a compact crank rather than change the freewheel, or even get a triple. Not sure what the Hubs/rims are but they look decent enough.

As far as reach (from seated to bars, were you felling scrunched with your hands on top of the levers, on the drops, or on the straight part of the bars?

And by the way, tin foil and barkeeps friend/WD40 will take that rust right off the chrome parts of the fork. Drop the derailleurs and shifters, skewers and rusted parts into evaporust...they'll look blingy. And the frame should polish up beautifully.
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Old 10-02-21, 06:07 PM
  #35  
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Nice find. I think you did great for $80. You mentioned saddle height. I can't tell what size the bike is but the head tube looks like one for a 25" frame. Could be the contrasting color makes it looks like that. Anyway, If it is a 25, that saddle looks high. I have a 92 PBH and I would have less seat post showing on a bike that size. However, bike fit is pretty personal so go with what works for you. Regardless, have fun with it while you figure it out.
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Old 10-02-21, 06:24 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc View Post
You just won.

You can almost definitely get 32s in there, I'd think as is. I find they feel nearly as plush as 35s, and are easy to source (I love Zaffiros at 32...I have not yet partaken of Paselas however.) The Cyclone group is REALLY flexible and solid stuff. You could possibly get a compact crank rather than change the freewheel, or even get a triple. Not sure what the Hubs/rims are but they look decent enough.

As far as reach (from seated to bars, were you felling scrunched with your hands on top of the levers, on the drops, or on the straight part of the bars?

And by the way, tin foil and barkeeps friend/WD40 will take that rust right off the chrome parts of the fork. Drop the derailleurs and shifters, skewers and rusted parts into evaporust...they'll look blingy. And the frame should polish up beautifully.
Hooray! All great tips, thanks.

For the squished feeling, mostly in the drops but felt some in general. I was having a tough time with the brakes unless I was in the drops. Looking at pics, I wonder how much I'd benefit from stem and seat being roughly the same height.

Originally Posted by beicster View Post
Nice find. I think you did great for $80. You mentioned saddle height. I can't tell what size the bike is but the head tube looks like one for a 25" frame. Could be the contrasting color makes it looks like that. Anyway, If it is a 25, that saddle looks high. I have a 92 PBH and I would have less seat post showing on a bike that size. However, bike fit is pretty personal so go with what works for you. Regardless, have fun with it while you figure it out.
Totally, I think I need to drop it down. I was used to a seat post that used a quick release and couldn't find my Allen wrench. And I think it is the 25"/62cm frame!
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Old 10-02-21, 08:39 PM
  #37  
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You could possibly get a threaded stem adapter and get a longer extended stem, but learning the best position on drops will sort most of it out.

I almost exclusively have ridden on the hoods except for downs on a long descent...
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Old 10-03-21, 04:03 PM
  #38  
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Hard to tell from the pictures, but the top tube looks kind of short relative to the seat tube. If you look around on the web there are $20 adjustable quill stems with 120mm of reach. Their ugly, but effective for figuring out what stem you will end up needing.

I've got an 1989 Centurion Sport DLX thats been tinkered towards being a Randoneuse-esque sports tourer. Its moth balled for the time being but I put a lot of miles on it and with out doing a full rebuild, yet... Your starting out with much better "bones"

The brake cable is a ploy to draw the eye away from......

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Old 10-09-21, 08:02 PM
  #39  
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Well, in a few turns, I'm in a slightly different (hopefully better) position.

I sold the SR to another BF member after trying out a few tire sizes and deciding I would not have much success in finding a wider tire without modding the frame, something I'm not looking to do.

Then I bought this 1980 Univega Specialissima. It seems to be in great condition, though I need to make a few adjustments to the cockpit. That same BF member who bought the SR from me offered to rewrap the handlebars for me, as well as swap in a Nitto Noodle bar, so I'll grab a few new pics when that happens, but in the meantime, here it is on day of purchase:

I'll note that the ride quality was remarkably smooth in comparison to what I was expecting. Perhaps my expectations were too low given all the Rivendell stuff I read, but I was pleasantly surprised. I think this will be a more viable rando candidate. The only thing that gives me pause is top tube length, but we'll see how a stem swap can help that.
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Old 10-09-21, 08:48 PM
  #40  
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I can't see the picture ^ ^ ^
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Old 10-10-21, 05:08 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by rgvg View Post
I can't see the picture ^ ^ ^
Huh, it shows on my end both desktop and mobile. Any better?
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Old 10-10-21, 05:41 AM
  #42  
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Before you go down the 650b rabbit hole, Iíd overhaul this bike and try out the ride with the fattest tires that will fit. You may be happily surprised by the ride quality. The Univega is a fine bike.
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Old 10-10-21, 07:25 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Before you go down the 650b rabbit hole, Iíd overhaul this bike and try out the ride with the fattest tires that will fit. You may be happily surprised by the ride quality. The Univega is a fine bike.
After my initial ride, I totally agree! Open to specific recommendations if you have any.

For now I'm glad to know there are others who have done successful 650b conversions if I decide to go that way but I'm hoping it will be a nice ride without having to drop a ton more money. That and I can more easily play with 700c wheels that are around me

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Old 10-10-21, 07:51 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
After my initial ride, I totally agree! Open to specific recommendations if you have any.

For now I'm glad to know there are others who have done successful 650b conversions if I decide to go that way but I'm hoping it will be a nice ride without having to drop a ton more money. That and I can more easily play with 700c wheels that are around me
Were the original wheels 27 inch or 700c? Go with 700c if since you apparently have a set since that will give you better tire choices and a bit more clearance for the tire (and maybe fenders).

People love to argue about tires so you will get a lot of different suggestions. I like the Schwalbe marathon supreme 700 x 32c tires. They're, IMO, nicely balanced tires. They ride well and they're reasonably light weight and flat proof.

Last edited by bikemig; 10-10-21 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 10-10-21, 08:14 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Were the original wheels 27 inch or 700c? Go with 700c if since you apparently have a set since that will give you better tire choices and a bit more clearance for the tire (and maybe fenders).

People love to argue about tires so you will get a lot of different suggestions. I like the Schwalbe marathon supreme 700 x 32c tires. They're, IMO, nicely balanced tires. They ride well and they're reasonably light weight and flat proof.
The originals are 27" but my wife's bike has 700c wheels, so I can temporarily steal to try fit out
Thanks!
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Old 10-10-21, 08:34 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
The originals are 27" but my wife's bike has 700c wheels, so I can temporarily steal to try fit out
Thanks!
Panaracer makes good quality 27 inch tires. You likely need wired on clinchers with those wheels. Check to see if the rim has a bead or a hook. If not, get wired on clinchers and don't pump them over 75-80 PSI.
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Old 10-10-21, 12:07 PM
  #47  
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That is a very nice first drop bar bike. With your Cimarron, you are all set😉

Donít start buying stems and stuff for fitment until you put some miles on it because your body can and will undergo some adjustment on its own. Fingers crossed those are hooked rims and you can get some folding Paselas to ride while you have fun.
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Old 10-13-21, 02:25 PM
  #48  
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Alright, to anyone still following my (not so) exciting saga, my friend Paul helped me tinker with some bits on this, including new bars, hoods, brakes, pedals, stem, cables/housing.

I got it out on a 6 mile spin over lunch and in general, things felt great. The bike is light and lively without being too twitchy. It was a fun ride. As you can see, I'm easing into the drop bar posture with a very upright stem. I imagine this will drop a bit as I get used to it.

Some thoughts as I get used to it:
  • I now know the feeling of buzz from the road, something I don't generally feel on my Rat Trap Pass Tires. I'm excited at the possibility of wider tires in light of that but...
  • I'm started to feel scared of converting to 650b based on some comments I've seen in the thread. I found a nice-looking wheelset for just over $200 and part of me wants to pull the trigger but another part of me is worried it won't deliver what I hope it will, or it may compromise the ride in unforeseen ways. I think I'd feel better about pulling the trigger if I was certain the 650b's could move to another bike in the future, but not sure how knowable that is?
  • If this is my rando candidate, I'm not sure that it qualifies as very low trail? Without a bag at the moment, steering feels smooth, perhaps even a bit slow to respond. Unsure how it would feel with a front load.
  • I still feel pain in my neck from being in a forward posture and looking up to see my surroundings throughout the ride. I may be doing something wrong, it may be working unfamiliar muscles, or I may have a bad fit. Very open to input here.
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Old 10-13-21, 02:59 PM
  #49  
polymorphself 
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
I admit Iíve only followed this thread casually- but whatís up with the stem here? I understand using taller stems to make up for small size differences but this seems to imply you should be on a frame several sizes larger.

As for the wheels moving to another bike, they definitely can!

And Iím not sure but I imagine this bike is not very low trail, as most tourers of the era donít seem to be. Youíd want a specifically rando bike for that geometry or maybe to have somebody modify it.
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Old 10-13-21, 03:03 PM
  #50  
reluctantsuburb
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Originally Posted by polymorphself View Post
I admit Iíve only followed this thread casually- but whatís up with the stem here? I understand using taller stems to make up for small size differences but this seems to imply you should be on a frame several sizes larger.

As for the wheels moving to another bike, they definitely can!

And Iím not sure but I imagine this bike is not very low trail, as most tourers of the era donít seem to be. Youíd want a specifically rando bike for that geometry or maybe to have somebody modify it.
The stem is a two-piece solution cobbled together while I figure out what size I want or if I want to continue putting money into this build at all. I know it looks goofy but it's a fine solution for me for now while I get used to it! I don't know that I'm looking for a super aero posture--having the tops at or slightly above the saddle will probably be fine by me.
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