Advice needed for buying 'correct' parts

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Pondo

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I've been collecting vintage parts to build a '70s era Klunker the same way the Marin crowd did back in the day. I've done pretty good at finding most of the stuff I need with some notable exceptions. I'm still looking for affordable deals on a Brooks B72, embossed Ashtabula stem (probably never happen), and shifters plus some other small parts. The current dilemma is that I have found a perfect set of shifters, NOS complete with NOS cables. The problem is the price, $85! I really hadn't planned on spending that much. I think I can find some eventually but I only do one swap meet a year and the area I live in isn't exactly rich with vintage bike goodies. So I'm trying to decide if I should splash out on these shifters now or make do until I can find a better deal on reasonably priced ones? The bike isn't going to be a show piece, just a retro bike for my collection that I will actually ride as intended now and then, including riding Repack at some point. So what do you guys and gals think?
 

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Beware of waiting on cheaper parts. I passed on many, many, many embossed (Schwinn or Ashtabula) stems pre-chinavirus because $60-70 seemed 'a bit high'... doesn't feel great, now. Ashtabula stamped forks, same deal...I passed on $100 for a chrome one pre-covid, look up what those go for now. :43:

I did snag a couple sets of embossed cranks before they quadrupled+ in cost...that's something.
 

MattiThundrrr

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It's that nos thing. It is for collectors, not riders. If you can score a used set of deerhead thumbs by Shimano, they can be refurbished easily. I found two sets for ten bucks a piece, took em apart, cleaned, lubed and polished them in an hour or so and they're great. Didn't have to replace a thing, because they're almost entirely steel.
 

Pondo

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Beware of waiting on cheaper parts. I passed on many, many, many embossed (Schwinn or Ashtabula) stems pre-chinavirus because $60-70 seemed 'a bit high'... doesn't feel great, now. Ashtabula stamped forks, same deal...I passed on $100 for a chrome one pre-covid, look up what those go for now. :43:

I did snag a couple sets of embossed cranks before they quadrupled+ in cost...that's something.
I did exactly the same thing. I thought $60-70 for a stem was too high but now asking prices are $250-$400. Yikes! Same with the forks and cranks. I'll likely never get any of these unless I luck into something somewhere.
 

Pondo

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It's that nos thing. It is for collectors, not riders. If you can score a used set of deerhead thumbs by Shimano, they can be refurbished easily. I found two sets for ten bucks a piece, took em apart, cleaned, lubed and polished them in an hour or so and they're great. Didn't have to replace a thing, because they're almost entirely steel.
I feel the same about the NOS stuff. The used shifters I'm looking at, Suntour Mighty, are not much less in used condition. I've been looking online wherever I can think of: craigslist, marketplace, pinkbike, here, the cabe and of course the big auction site. Ebay is great for finding hard to find parts but tends to be really expensive. I checked the deerhead shifters too and the ask on those is even higher than the Suntour shifters. Did you pick yours up at a swap meet?
 

Pondo

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I get period correctness, but sometimes compromise gets you riding instead of eternally waiting.
Very true. Keeping this build on a budget is proving to be quite challenging. I'll probably have to use some other shifters till I can find a 70s or early 80s bike for cheap that has the parts I need. Maybe I'll use a set of quill stem shifters mounted sideways over/under the bars like Charlie Kelly used to do. :thumbsup:
 

Couch tater

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This is 100% why I quit restoring and started ratting. Prices for parts, looking and waiting for months, bidding wars, no thanks. Build it with what you have or can get that is suitable and if you luck into grail parts, you can add them later.
 

Pondo

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This is 100% why I quit restoring and started ratting. Prices for parts, looking and waiting for months, bidding wars, no thanks. Build it with what you have or can get that is suitable and if you luck into grail parts, you can add them later.
I'm with you 100% on this. My other builds are mostly klunkers too but just using what I have on hand and from donor bikes I can get for cheap or free. It's a fun way to build a cool bike. I did get sucked into the vintage thing for my tribute klunker though. Eventually I do want to have all vintage parts on this bike but I'm going to have to make some compromises for a while probably.
 

MattiThundrrr

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I feel the same about the NOS stuff. The used shifters I'm looking at, Suntour Mighty, are not much less in used condition. I've been looking online wherever I can think of: craigslist, marketplace, pinkbike, here, the cabe and of course the big auction site. Ebay is great for finding hard to find parts but tends to be really expensive. I checked the deerhead shifters too and the ask on those is even higher than the Suntour shifters. Did you pick yours up at a swap meet?
Found em in a guy's garage. He bought up a shop in the nineties, has little to no interest or knowledge of vintage MTBs. I guess I'm lucky, most of the bike guys around here are like that. They only want the old bikes, anything after the muscle era doesn't register with them. I got a nos set of XT thumbs from him too.
IMG_20220415_162217070.jpg
 

Pondo

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Found em in a guy's garage. He bought up a shop in the nineties, has little to no interest or knowledge of vintage MTBs. I guess I'm lucky, most of the bike guys around here are like that. They only want the old bikes, anything after the muscle era doesn't register with them. I got a nos set of XT thumbs from him too.View attachment 206270
That's pretty cool and some nice finds. Most of the bikes I see around here are cruisers (almost exclusively) with most of them now being ebikes. I do live in the mountains so I'm sure the electric assist is nice. It's just not something I've gotten into yet.

I'm getting better informed on vintage mtn bikes so I know what to look for when I'm cruising the adds or swaps. I'd like to find an early Stumpjumper at some point that has all or most of it's original parts. Those are pretty cool bikes. Basically a copy of the earliest Ritchey/MountainBike design built by Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly & I certainly can't afford one of those.
 

MattiThundrrr

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I'm getting better informed on vintage mtn bikes so I know what to look for when I'm cruising the adds or swaps.
Yeah I'm a few years ahead of you in the research thing. Been stockpiling information for a while. Have you read Gary or Charlie's books? Here's a great resource for clunking information:
Also, a great spot to follow along on period correct restoration, with a great archive of catalogs and spec info. These guys do it proper!
 

Pondo

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Yeah I'm a few years ahead of you in the research thing. Been stockpiling information for a while. Have you read Gary or Charlie's books? Here's a great resource for clunking information:
Also, a great spot to follow along on period correct restoration, with a great archive of catalogs and spec info. These guys do it proper!
I've been researching and collecting parts for the last couple of years. I've been to Alan Bonds clunkers site many times, including over the last few days. It was cool to chat with him briefly at the museum when I was there but he was busy so there wasn't time to get too deep into clunker stuff. Same with Charlie Kelly and Joe Breeze. I'm pretty sure Otis Guy was around somewhere but I didn't bump into him. The one I talked with most was Joe Breeze's wife who is very knowledgeable on these old machines herself. I have Charlie's book as well as a bunch of his old Fat Tire Flyer magazines. I haven't gotten Fisher's book yet but I will. I just ordered a copy of The Birth of Dirt: The Origins of Mountain Biking by Frank Berto. It's supposed to have some good info in it.

I haven't spent much time on the retrobike website recently though I have been through their klunker threads pretty thoroughly before. They do take their retro bikes seriously which is pretty fun.

I recently came across this website:


Have you guys seen it before? It's got a lot of great info on the evolution of the modern mountain bike.

 

Pondo

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This is one of Gary Fisher's old klunkers from the late '70s:
gary_fisher_excalibur.jpg


It's amazing how much it costs to put one of these together these days. But in the '70s it cost around $400 to build one which is in the neighborhood of $2000 today so I guess it's always been spendy.
 

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I raced a Schwinn Varsity Klunker in the very late 70's and early 80's in Northern California. If your klunker has a one piece crank then I advise a chrome moly one piece crank. If your seat post is the old American standard 7/8" or 13/16" then again I advise a chrome moly seatpost. These two additions will go a long way in making your klunker safer and more durable.
 

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