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Any thoughts on univega?

Posted By: maverickfhs

Any thoughts on univega? - 06/09/18 10:49 PM

So I have this univega classic bike laying around.

Its rusty and needs some work, like tires, brakes, chain etc...

Should I rebuild it or get rid of it? Never worked on bicycles and hence wanted to check before I go too deep into it in terms of money.

Thanks for the advice and help.
Posted By: maverickfhs

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/09/18 10:49 PM

It fits me perfectly and light weight.
Posted By: MrQuackers

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/09/18 11:47 PM

Pictures
Posted By: wha232

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/09/18 11:49 PM

They were generally better than department store bicycles. I think it sounds interesting. Don't let a little money be the deciding issue- GO FOR IT
Posted By: maverickfhs

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 12:28 AM

Its univega chromoly.
Posted By: maxdustington

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 01:06 AM

If it has a lugged frame then it is probably worth while.
Posted By: skyactiv

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 01:39 AM

It's hard to beat the ride quality of a road bike that has a chromoly frame. Until about the turn of the century, 4130 chromoly was cheaper than aluminum and now aluminum is cheaper than chromoly steel. A good chromoly frame is lighter than a cheap aluminum frame. If the bike has 700c tires it is probably worth fixing up. If the bike sat outside and rusted, I would re-grease the headset. Should probably re-grease everything anyways. Tubes, tires, brake pads, grip tape and a chain doesn't cost much. If you have a Performance Bike store near you, pay them a visit as they stock the typical stuff cheap.

https://www.performancebike.com/shop/retail/oh/columbus
Posted By: maverickfhs

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 01:51 AM

Here are some pics, thanks for all feedback.





Posted By: saginawmale50

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 02:00 AM

If youre looking to ride it, keep it. If youre thinking you can fix it up and sell it, you will lose money. And if you have never worked on bicycles before you wont know how to work on the headstem and crank or even the cables and derailler gears. But that being said if you dont mind spending 200 or so on a 75 dollar bike go for it. Most of the bikes on craigslist are junk IMHO so unless you live in a college town where cheap bikes are plentiful, Id do it but just know what youre in for.
Posted By: maverickfhs

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 02:13 AM

Originally Posted By: saginawmale50
If youre looking to ride it, keep it. If youre thinking you can fix it up and sell it, you will lose money. And if you have never worked on bicycles before you wont know how to work on the headstem and crank or even the cables and derailler gears. But that being said if you dont mind spending 200 or so on a 75 dollar bike go for it. Most of the bikes on craigslist are junk IMHO so unless you live in a college town where cheap bikes are plentiful, Id do it but just know what youre in for.


Definitely not planning to flip it, because I would rather get rid of it as-is. Instead of putting effort, money and energy into it.

I have never worked on a bicycle, that's why weighing my options if I should consider it or no?

I could spend up to $100-$150(top max) in parts and doing the work on my own, but otherwise would just get rid of it.
Posted By: maverickfhs

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 02:14 AM

Originally Posted By: skyactiv
It's hard to beat the ride quality of a road bike that has a chromoly frame. Until about the turn of the century, 4130 chromoly was cheaper than aluminum and now aluminum is cheaper than chromoly steel. A good chromoly frame is lighter than a cheap aluminum frame. If the bike has 700c tires it is probably worth fixing up. If the bike sat outside and rusted, I would re-grease the headset. Should probably re-grease everything anyways. Tubes, tires, brake pads, grip tape and a chain doesn't cost much. If you have a Performance Bike store near you, pay them a visit as they stock the typical stuff cheap.

https://www.performancebike.com/shop/retail/oh/columbus


Please have a look at the pictures of the bike, I am not well versed at the specifics of it frown
Posted By: AZjeff

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 03:19 AM

OK, an old MTB. It's a TIG'd cromo frame, traditional fork/quill stem. The LX in the name might indicate decent components. Got any pics of the rear derailleur or thumb shifters? You might get it running for as little as some tubes and copious amounts of lube on the chain and in the cables. To be right it needs a complete overhaul top to bottom. No doubt you can find Youtube vids that cover everything you'd need to do, bikes aren't rocket surgery but getting those canti brakes and the shifters adjusted correctly can be frustrating. I've got a bike in similar condition that I'll make good and give away to someone to enjoy. It takes $50-$100 depending on what all they need but it's a hobby I enjoy. It's not worth much as is or running so your call.

Edit, does the sticker on the frame say double or triple butted? Tange was good tubing BITD.
Posted By: Linctex

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 12:37 PM

Originally Posted By: AZjeff


Edit, does the sticker on the frame say double or triple butted? Tange was good tubing BITD.


I am seeing "triple butted"

What does that mean?
Posted By: Recalculating

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/10/18 01:32 PM

Thought I'd throw in a few photos of my 15 year ago purchase of a Univega. Purchased for $50. It has been in storage for 2 years and am looking to retrofit it to an upright handlebar system. You will find a serial number under the crank which be be referen


ce to year made.
Posted By: AZjeff

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/11/18 12:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Linctex
Originally Posted By: AZjeff


Edit, does the sticker on the frame say double or triple butted? Tange was good tubing BITD.


I am seeing "triple butted"

What does that mean?


Triple butted means the main tubes have been worked to have 3 different thicknesses, thicker at the welds then thinner toward the middle of the tube. Lighter and livelier ride. Not an entry level bike.

Nice lugged frame road bike Recalc. Are you moving the shifters to the bars too? Also, take a look at "alternative" bars with some sweep. Love em.
Posted By: 853okg

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/11/18 06:58 PM

I sold a lot of those Alpina Unos. I'd say that bike was sold sometime around 1990, give or take a couple of years.
Univega was the brainchild of a guy named Ben Lawee, who distributed them.
Ben was of middle eastern descent. An honest businessman. He originally had a line called Italvega, many of which were, not surprisingly, made in Italy.
The bike business is funny. Bikes are no longer made under one roof, the way Ignatz Schwinn did in Chicago. They are really a commodity business. You buy a frame from one of a handful of builders (I can't remember who built these, used to know) and spec parts. That's not to say they're identical, although in many cases they are. Geometry, pedals, paint, saddles, etc. are places where they differ. Some brands will cheap out on items you aren't aware of on day one but which are important, such as bearings or spokes.
Remember Centurion bicycles? They are so named because the guy who had them built and who sold them had just read the Joseph Wambaugh book "The New Centurions."
Anyway, I'd fix that bike up but not dump much money in it. It isn't worth anything beyond its value as a wheeled conveyance. It isn't collectible.
I'd overhaul the bearings that are serviceable (e.g. headset) replace the cables and housing, true the wheels, etc. Maybe it needs tires and tubes, maybe a chain and cassette, I don't know. I'd do anything that's free (i.e. that you can do yourself) and buy as few parts as possible, spending as little as possible.
Posted By: AZjeff

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 06/12/18 05:15 PM

^ good advice.
Posted By: DangerousDan

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 07/28/18 02:20 AM

I had the predecessor Univega Alpina from the mid 1980's. It was a rugged fairly good mountain bike at the time.

Mine took an incredible amount of abuse; 25 years of hard riding off road when I was living in Oregon. Later in life it became a commuter here in North Dakota. At the end of it's life it was pretty well shot. I replaced it because the cantilever brakes would ice up here in Nodak when the weather was in the 20's.

I pretty much agree with everything that has been said, with one caveat:
If the rear gears are a cassette, you should be able to get a replacement and put them on with a few tools and little trouble.

If it is a freewheel gear set, and it has not been taken off since 1990, good luck. Maybe if you dose it with a penetrating oil you will be able to get it off. Maybe it will come off easily, but do use the correct tool for the job.

Speaking of tools, along with every tool you can think of for working on bicycles (and a lot you would never think of), Park Tool has a pretty good video collection. Their Freewheel removal video is at Park Tool Freewheel removal vdeo

If it is a cassette, their video is at Cassette removal video

Also, if the tires or brake pads show age cracking, replace them. Get tires appropriate for how you will use the bike. No sense putting hardcore off road tires on there if you will be riding on pavement.

Mine had the infamous Shimano BioPace chain rings. If yours has them, consider replacing them if you plan on riding a lot.

Then ride it and enjoy it. I still have a road bike I bought in 1982, and while it is mostly a garage queen it reminds me of 50,000 miles of great rides and good times.
Posted By: BrocLuno

Re: Any thoughts on univega? - 11/11/18 06:26 AM

I'd fix that bike in a heart beat. It's a solid frame and a good rider - a good value bike - then and now. So the way I evaluate a fixer is with oil (duh, it's BITOG laugh ). Got an oil squirt can with a spout and trigger?

Start by inverting it on a mat or an old rug. Take your oil can and liberally oil around the steering head lower bearing (now up). I mean slowly put 1/2 oz of good conventional SAE 30 motor oil into the head. Flip the wheel back and forth occasionally as you do this. Let it sit. Those balls have not seen new lube in for ever ... After being flipped back and forth for a couple of days intermittently, it should feel pretty smooth ...

Move to the back. Slowly crank the pedals in one hand as you slobber oil on the chain. Get it shiny wet. Then watch it go round the derailleur to see if the chain smooths out. If it has kinks that won't work out after two days of occasionally trying - you need a chain. If it smooths out and starts to run well, wipe it off as you slowly hand pedal it around and around. Lube the kick stand.

Assuming the bike will steer w/o hitches (the steering head is now pretty smooth and the chain runs), you can move onto the wheels. Take them off. Letting any air out of the tires often makes it easier to get past the bakes.

Put some old towels on the rim of a round garbage can and lay the front wheel on it. Turn the axle with your fingers, it'll be rough feeling. See if there is a seal between the axle and the hub? If there is, you may be able to pry it out with a dental pick, or just hold it away on one side. Flood the hub with oil and spin it with your fingers. It'll start to run smoother. Now that the hub is near full of oil, drop the wheel back on the bike fork and spin it. Every time you walk by, spin it again. In a day or two it should start to spin really freely. You'll be getting rusty oil out both sides of the hub.

Put the rear wheel on the garbage can with the stacked sprocket up. Fill the outer end recess in the sprockets with oil. Spin the axle with your fingers and spin the sprockets. It should get smoother and you should hear a nice clicking sound as it ratchets one way. If the sprockets do not get smooth, you have an issue that could be more $$ ... Flip the wheel over and do like you did with the front wheel. Fill the hub with oil. Spin the axle with your fingers until you feel it smooth out. Put the wheel back on the bike and spin it every time you walk by. If the sprocket set runs smooth and the wheel spins freely, you have something to work on smile

If any of this does not free up, stop - you are looking at more money than it's worth. But if all spins freely (my bet is it will), you can chase down cables and a seat, etc. to get it working better. Don't forget to lube the pivot points in the derailleur.

Now you can do the tires. If they are badly cracked or split, you'll have to replace. Tubes are prolly not great. Walmart has all the tire parts you'll need for a fixer. If the tires hold air. You are good.

Now lay the bike on two saw horses chain side down. Hand crank the pedals as you squirt oil into the ends of the pedals and feel them free up. Also start flooding the crank bearings as you turn the crank set by hand. It's just a bigger version of wheel hubs. It should free up and start to show rusty oil out the other side.

Got a seat and air in the tires? Now ride it around the neighborhood. Rusty oil will be coming out of everywhere. Wear old jeans. But it should start to feel good. It should start to work smile

If it works as I think it will, you can ride it while you work one piece at a time getting it better. You can clean each bearing, add new balls with real water proof grease and preload them as they should be. Bike shops will have loose ball bearings you can get as needed. But it'll always ride as you work on one bit at a time over time.

Wash the frame with a mit and some Ajax cleanser. It'll bleach out the rust and stains and take off the oxidation. Do not use a nylon scrub pad unless you want dull paint. A little liquid car wax will make it shiny, and it'll look good in no time smile

I'm betting once the old grease and grit gets a chance to loosen up and run out the bottom of a shaft/bearing, it'll become a real smooth operator ... If it does you have a classic that will get you around just fine and you can test it out.

Tests are to hold the front break as you stand next to the bike, push back and forward. Does the fork move in the headstock? If so, you need to service the steering head bearings for real. The oil has done it's thing. Now it's time for clean, grease and preload. Ditto the axles. All these bearings are adjustable for preload. You can figure that out. It's a fine line between just enough and too much preload. You'll know if any part gets stiff and resist turning. The object it to turn freely w/o play smile
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