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Worthwhile Bike Upgrades

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by lastpubrunner, 18 Mar 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I have an elderly FW Evans bike which I guess i about 25 years old. The frame (I think) is Reynolds 531, though there are no transfers to confirm this. I have been told that FW Evans produced a few frames in a lighter tubing, so it might be made from that.

    Someone (probably FW Evans) has gone to a lot of trouble to make the bike as light as possible - the frame has been drilled in few places such as underneath the bottom bracket.

    I bought the bike not long ago in an effort to get fit. I realise that Aluminium/Carbon Fibre & titanium are the frames to have; but I reasoned that there was little point on outlaying money into something that I might not enjoy. I know that a steel frame is heavier, but since I would like to lose a stone and a half, I'm not worried about a slightly heavier frame.

    I like the bike very much, but the seat is extremely uncomfortable; the seat and seat post are also very heavy.

    Can anyone recommend a seat post and saddle which might suit this bike ?

    Some previous owner has already fitted 700c wheels & tyres, but at the risk of making a 'silk purse out of a sow's ear' are there any other worthwhile modifications that I could/should undertake ? Is it 'worth' upgrading an old 531 frame ?

    Thank you very much
     
  2. swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    That's a nice looking bike...if you like that sort of thing, which I do. As for seat and saddle, I'd get on ebay if I were you - you can get some real bargains. Do beware tho' - seat stems are of all sorts of different sizes, some varying by just fractions of a mm. If you're lucky, yours will have its diameter stamped into it - otherwise, you'll need to measure it accurately. Other than that, the best upgrade is often held to be wheels. Light and narrow wheels with 23mm tyres pumped up hard - 100 at the front, 120 at the rear - will make a big difference to performance. (You'll need a track pump - another worthwhile buy.) Apart from that, some good chain lube - I recommend this stuff, tho' others have their favourites. Enjoy your bike - like I say, it looks like a nice one.
     
  3. alecstilleyedye

    alecstilleyedye nothing in moderation Staff Member

    i would keep that, my old reynolds 531 framed bike (winter bike, see the link in my sig) is a lovely ride when it's not spoiled by the rattly lights and mudguards.

    i would upgrade the brake calipers to dual pivot if they are the old style, and clipless pedals/shoes will be an excellent upgrade. if you are used to the downtube shifters, there's no need to feel you have to get stis/ergos. just upgrade stuff when it wears out.

    i'd be tempted to take the bike to lbs for the seat post, they'll probably have a tool for measuring and lots of different circumferences to choose from. i got one for less than a tenner.
     
  4. swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    What's the advantage of dual pivot? I'm not disputing it, just curious.
     
  5. Bike Seat

    I've been given a Brooks Colt saddle which seems to be in nice condition; for my 50 mile bike ride in a few weeks time, should I use that, or would I be better getting a lightweight gel saddle ? The Brooks does seem quite hard, but I've not gone more than a mile on it.

    Thank you very much for any replies.
     
  6. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    It's a nice looking bike, so as long a the frame is sound then you can upgrade to your hearts content.

    I happen to think that a nice Brookes saddle would not look out of place on that bike. There are plenty of cheap and light seat posts around, just make sure you buy the correct size for the frame.

    A new groupset would not be a waste of money for you, it would transform the whole feel of the bike. New clipless road pedals and shoes, as Alex says, are always going to be a good investment.

    And a new set of decent lightweight wheels and tyres will stand you in good stead.
     
  7. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

    there are many people who disagree with that, and i'm one:biggrin:

    that's a great bike, and if it was mine i'd rebuild it with fresh consumables such as cables, brake blocks, grease and one or two cosmetic things...who'd pick yellow bar tape?:smile:


    fit it on, go twenty miles and see. there are some of us who swear by them, and other people who really can't get on with them. only miles with you on that saddle will know which side of that fence you sit on.
     
  8. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member

  9. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    Seconded.

    My Brookes was perfectly comfortable from first sittings and just continues to get more and more comfortable with use.
     
  10. e-rider

    e-rider crappy member

    Location:
    South West
    This bike looks like a classic. The rolls saddle was big news in the late 1980s! Beware of up-grading some components as the sizes and fitting standards have changed since this frame was built - eg, rear hub spacing for road bikes changed from 120mm to 130mm. There are many other things to consider with gear changes - your frame will not take a 9 or 10 speed cassette which is the norm these days. Up-grading an old machine is a minefield eg. dual pivot brakes are only available in allen key fitting, and you 'probably' have bolt through brakes - these are now very hard to find. I would change the saddle and just 'get out and ride' - good luck shifting the lbs!
     
  11. e-rider

    e-rider crappy member

    Location:
    South West
    one more thing - your front mech needs adjusting! Lowered by a few mm
     
  12. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    Location:
    Crewe
    ...although not impossible - I found some sold by a place called Byers Cycles - they do offer mail order, but by order form and cheque only.

    If the "drop" of the brakes is long enough, Alhonga deep drops are very easy to find, but the drop is very deep indeed.
     
  13. The current spec. of my bike is as follows - I'd be very pleased if 'strengths' and 'weaknesses' could be identified, so that I might know what to tackle first.

    FRAME - STEEL FRAME WITH SOME DRILLED OUT LUGWORK AND CAMPAGNOLO BRAZED ON CABLE GUIDES AND REAR DROP OUTS.
    WHEELS - CAMPAGNOLO HUBS WITH MAVIC OPEN 4 CD RIMS - TYRES Bontrager race lite 700 x 23
    BRAKE LEVERS - SHIMANO EXAGE WITH WHITE HOODS GEARS - CAMPAGNOLO BRAZE ON SHIFTERS -
    FRONT CAMPAGNOLO RECORD BAND ON & REAR SHIMANO SIS
    CHAINSET - SR ROYAL CRANKS WITH DRILLED OUT CHAIN RINGS MAKE UNKNOWN
    BRAKES - SHIMANO EXAGE
    BOTTOM BRACKET - CAMPAGNOLO
    HEADSET - CAMPAGNOLO
    HANDLEBARS & STEM CINELLI
    SADDLE - SAN MARCO WITH SR POST - heavy & uncomfortable !!!
    DIMENSIONS - CENTRE OF BOTTOM BRACKET TO TOP OF SEAT TUBE 23 INCHES & CENTRE SEAT TUBE TO CENTRE OF STEM 22 INCHES

    Many thanks for all the comprehensive replies - far better than I could have hoped for !!!
     
  14. hubgearfreak

    hubgearfreak Über Member


    i'd change this...but purely for cosmetic reasons. it sounds like a cheap (or maybe just easily available) replacement for what broke earlier. if it works then there's no need

    for mostly the same reason i'd have new tyres and bar tape, in the colour i wanted. the tyres could be past their best anyway. i would go for 25 or 28 width, they're substantially comfier and only marginally (if at all) slower
     
  15. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    I'd keep it! Old 531 frames are lovely IMO, I have one that's nearly 60 years old so your antique is still youthful.
    I also have an Evans 531 tubed MTB (see picture) which is pretty rare now and I use it for general running around/commuting, I'll probably convert it to a fixed-wheeled slicked-up urban mean-machine, I never off-road.

    You have a great project. Many would convert the bike to a fixed-wheel IF it has a screw-on rear block rather than a modern cassette system. If you want to keep it as close to standard as possible, then there are places where spares are available and modern parts can also be used. One point worth checking is the spacing of the rear-dropouts, modern wheels are 130mm, older frames can be as narrow as 120mm. Frames can be sprung a certain amount and "Cold-Set" to widen the gap if required.
    I think a good LBS and a bit of research could produce a classic!