Old School Touring

1985 Nashbar Toure MT

1985 Nashbar Toure MT

Of all the fads and trends in the cycling industry, the touring era that accompanied the 1976 BikeCentennial in the U.S. was probably the most positive.  While not everyone wants or needs a touring bike – a touring bike is a bike that can work well for all kinds of riding.  And, due to economic conditions during this era – favorable exchange rates for the Japanese yen and the oil crisis of the early 70’s – the U.S. market was flooded with low cost, high quality touring bikes in the mid 70’s to mid 80’s.  These bikes often survive intact, as they were quite well made to begin with, and were usually equipped with top of the line components.

Japanese brands like Centurion, Nishiki, Bridgestone, Fuji, Miyata, Panasonic, and Univega were among the most well known manufacturers to build high quality touring bicycles.  Raleigh, Peugeot, Trek, Specialized, Austro-Daimler, Gitane, Motobecane, Mercier, and others also joined in to build some of the nicest touring bikes ever mass produced.

These touring bikes of the late 70’s and early 80’s hold a special place in my heart.  Their excellent build quality and beautiful design represent freedom, exploration, and adventure.

2016-09-13-013 2016-09-13-012

This lovely 1985 Nashbar Toure MT is a great example of the quality that could be had for a reasonable price.  The frame was built for Nashbar by Maruishi – a Japanese builder not as well known as others, but still producing a beautifully brazed machine of double butted cro-mo steel.  The gorgeous blue sparkle paint and well brazed seat cluster show off its quality.

2016-09-13-032 2016-09-13-024

All the finish work is top notch.  This is a bike I would keep for myself if it were my size.

2016-09-13-034

Brazed on rack mounts

2016-09-13-026

Sealed Tange headset

2016-09-13-025

SunTour downtube shifters.

2016-09-13-023

SunTour sealed cartridge bearing bottom bracket with chain line adjuster on the drive side.

2016-09-13-020

Sealed cartridge bearing hubs. No maintenance required.

2016-09-13-011

Classic Blackburn bottle cage.

2016-09-13-044

2nd bottle cage mount underneath the downtube.

2016-09-13-045

Seat tube has no bottle cage braze-ons – left clean for mounting a frame pump.

There are so many nice features on this amazing bike that it’s hard to list them all.  One reason that the bike is so pristine, however, is because long ago the SunTour Mountech rear derailleur had failed, and the bike was put away, thankfully in a dry, clean space.

2016-09-13-008

So, I replaced the rear derailleur with a Shimano 600 long cage mechanism from the same era.  It works perfectly with the original 100% SunTour drivetrain.

2016-09-13-007

Triple crank with half step gearing.

This bike was built in the days of gear shifting pattern obsession.  Half step gearing was a way to have a routine shifting pattern that would maintain cadence as the terrain changed.  In practice, at least for me, I prefer not having to constantly double shift, so I am not enamored with half step gearing and have, when confronted with it, replaced the large middle chain ring with something smaller, such as a 40 or 42.  But, some riders love half-step gearing and more power to them (pun intended).

2016-09-13-021

Araya 27 Inch rims.

2016-09-13-033

Nashbar logo on the downtube.

2016-09-13-029

Sealed cartridge bearing hubs, Suntour freewheel.

2016-09-13-030

SunTour Mountech front derailleur

2016-09-13-028

SunTour chromed forged dropouts with single eyelets on the rear.

2016-09-13-010

Powerful Dia Compe cantilevers.

2016-09-13-041

Lowrider fork mounts.

109

SunTour sealed cartridge bearing bottom bracket with chain line adjuster on the drive side.

093

Beautifully machined BB shell.

It would be tough to find a similarly engineered touring bike with these quality components, for a price that even remotely comes close to what you can buy this bike for now.  One problem is that most cyclists associate Nashbar with low end liquidation components, rather than any kind of quality.  But, back in the 1980’s, the arrival of the Nashbar mail order catalog was an exciting event.  I ordered many wonderful and interesting components for my old 1976 Centurion from Nashbar back then.  Today, however, the company is known for its discounted and discontinued parts, rather than for quality bicycles, for better or for worse.

This wonderful old touring machine is going to a friend’s stable in Southern Oregon, where I know it will be ridden and appreciated.  I hope to join him and his spouse on some wonderful rides through Southern Oregon wine country, and I will be a bit jealous his bike.2016-09-13-001

 

1970’s Austro Daimler Inter 10

1970's Austro Daimler Inter 10

Here is a late 70’s Austro Daimler Inter 10.  It is built with Reynolds 531 butted tubing and has an unusually nice mix of quality components.  I have overhauled and restored it in my usual way, which involves removing all components for cleaning and mechanical overhaul, cleaning and waxing the frame, treating the frame internals for rust, then putting the bike back together with new: cables, housing (if needed), tubes and tires and of course a rebuild of hubs, bottom bracket, and headset.  With its high quality frame and excellent overall condition, this is a bike to keep as original as possible.

2014-08-13 001 005

Campagnolo Nuovo Record Long Cage Derailleur

2014-08-13 001 003

Campagnolo Front Derailleur

2014-08-13 001 014

Top end Red Label Normandy Lux Competition Hubs

2014-08-13 001 017

Stronglight crankset with 42/52 rings – showing no wear

Not all Austro Daimler Inter 10’s were made with Reynolds 531 tubing, but they were mostly set up with components for light touring and sport riding.  This Inter 10 also has higher end components normally found on the upper level models such as the Super Light and the Vent Noir.

The drive train is geared for touring, with a 14/34 freewheel mated to a 42/52 crankset.  With this wheel size, the yields a gear inch range of 33-100.  That’s a pretty good range conducive for all types of riding.

2014-08-13 001 019

Rare and beautiful GB Maes bars in fantastic shape.

2014-08-13 001 016

Atom 600 pedals

2014-08-13 001 007

Weinmann 605 Sidepulls with quirky Mathauser finned brake shoes

 

Maillard 14-34 5 speed freewheel

Maillard 14-34 5 speed freewheel

I encountered just about every marquis existing in the bike world in the 70’s on this bike:  Reynolds, Campagnolo, Weinmann, Normandy, Maillard, SR, Atom, Simplex (the seatpost bolt!), GB, Shimano (forged chrome drop-outs), Stronglight, and Huret.  To clean the component mix up, I replaced the Huret downtube shifters with Campagnolo shifters from the same era.  I also replaced the Weinmann levers, which were in bad shape, with these Campagnolo levers also from the same era:

2014-08-13 001 012

Campagnolo downtube shifters

2014-08-13 001 021

Campagnolo levers – this style first introduced in 1976

2014-08-13 001 011

Campagnolo shifter cable guides

I also had a nostalgia moment when I removed these “extras” from the bike – an odometer, tire savers, and flick-stand.  These were de rigueur back in the day.  The flick stand is actually a very useful device that I will probably use for one of my bikes.  The Huret odometer shows less than 1600 miles on the clock – that seems about right given the nice condition the bike was in.

2014-07-10 002 002 2014-07-10 002 012 2014-07-10 002 015

All of the Austro Daimler’s I have encountered have been surprisingly nice.  The company had a lengthy and complex relationship to bicycle manufacturing.  If you want to know things you never dreamed of wanting to know about the company, here is an amazing manifesto on the subject.

This frame is built with Reynolds tubing. The sticker is missing on the seat tube, but still present on the fork.  This bike’s top tube is 57 cm, even though the seat tube is 53 cm.  Apparently, Austro Daimler just used the same top tube length for most of its bikes, regardless of seat tube length.  Fortunately, when the bike was built up, a short reach and tall SR stem was chosen, so the ergonomics on this bike still fit like a typical 53 cm bike.  The bike has an unusual seat post – a “G.S.” San Marco, which is actually very attractive and has the diameter inscribed in a helpful location.

2014-08-13 001 009

The build quality of the frame is extraordinarily nice, with Shimano forged drop outs, lined lugs, a chrome fork crown, and top quality finish work on the seat lug.  There are no braze-ons of any kind, but the clamp-on Campagnolo and Weinmann guides are very attractive.

2014-08-13 001 022 2014-08-13 001 018 2014-08-13 001 013 2014-08-13 001 010

This is another great example of a quality touring/sport-touring bike from the late 70’s.  Although a production build, the bike has survived quite well and has many miles left to go.

Update October, 2016:  Sold!  Congratulations to Bob in Pennsylvania.