About finding & restoring a time-capsule, almost unridden 1983 Gran Turismo


Part 2: the restored bike! (with some 2018 changes as indicated)

I finally finished the restoration of the bike in September 2011 after playing with the work all summer. It didn't need much actually, besides a new BB, handlebar covering & brake hoods, tires; tubes; & cloth. Also replaced a few things (see below).

And, the bike rides grrrreat!! It's like riding a on a magic carpet - quiet, the best shifting I can remember (28t largest cog never hurts!), nimble and comfy, brakes work perfectly with no squeal, and looks, in my opinion, pretty doggone good in sliver, silver, and brown!
(2018 note: maybe my color perception is changing; I plan to 'phase out' the brown parts for black, maybe gray handlebar tape; I think it looks better with the silver & gray).

And I'm sold again on a standard-5 freewheel after shifting with this. Lots of space for the chain, and sturdy, quiet shifts (granted it's a 14-28 at present!).


I've kept it mostly original 1983, but:

Replaced:
- Replaced the squirrel-gnawed original with a Brooks "Flyer" brown seat (the springed B17) .. seat, not saddle dammitt!
- Swapped the original MKS AR-1 quill pedals for MKS Sylvan touring 'prime', since I like the wider cages (a little shinier seems to be the only difference with that 'prime' addition).
- Tires to Panaracer 'Pasela tourguard' 27x1.25.
- Brake hoods with Cane Creek brown (what else? see below for 2018 what else!).
- Replaced the still pristine but now old stock Dia-Compe pads with nice Velo Orange adjustable brake pads (the black, regular compound).
- I swapped the regular Dia-Compe triangular canti cable hangers with the "wheeled" ones from my 1984 Trek 830
- Replaced the 48t chainring with a Sugino 40t (need to replace the 52 with a 48 or so).
- The BB needed replacement as mentioned; got the excellent Tange LN-3922 sealed; the 127.5 fit about right with the GT crankset, maybe 125'd be a wee bit better.
- Replaced the brake cable housings with some cool translucent silver (reused the still perfect original cables!) from the very-recommended Porkchop BMX folks (the original derailleur cable housings are the wound-stainless SunTours, so also match well).
- Had to replace the original Esge fender struts, as the original installer (see below?) had trimmed them absolutely down to the minimum edge of the bolts for the original 1.125 tires; adding the 1.25s necessitated longer, so found a set of NOS Bluemels struts that works well. These remain untrimmed at the ends of course!
- replaced most eyelet bolts with new stainless; a few were already thus.

Added:
- Grab-on maxi grips (I've used them since before even this bike was made!)
- Tressostar brown tape over the Grab-ons. Used 4 rolls total and silicone adhesive in some areas for additional durability. This was my first attempt at taping over Grab-Ons for better look and durability; I did a little bit of a hatchet-job [later I've come to call this my 'disheveled mummy look'], but not too bad.
- Original Mirrycle rear-view mirrors mounted on the brake levers (both left and right; it's a real luxury to have two instead of one on a tour bike!). The photos here show the 'Third Eye' bar-end mirror that I had in the interim; I didn't like this position as much after trying it, so was pleased to replace with Mirrycles when they arrived).
- Added MKS pedal flips (but rats! - I can't use the reflector on that side anymore with the flips).
- Added Crane 'Suzu' brass bell.
- Added Sugino Autex bolts for the cranks.
- Added a Velo-Orange "elk leather" chainstay protector (this isn't very good quality, and will probably peel off soon; we'll see).
- I even contacted the original Greg's Greenlake Cyclery to get logo water bottles... I'm guessing that this bike rolled out of the shop 28 years ago with their bottles in the cages.
A later (late 2011) update on that idea: I telephoned them several times but got switched back & forth to people who knew nothing - the same person several times - & in the interim holds listening to corporate propaganda about how huge their several stores are, before being promised an email back but no reply... suffice to say it took numerous attempts! Finally agreed to have them mail me two ($20 shipped, a lot, but was going for the match, you see). Unfortunately, while their logo still looks like the one on the frame sticker, they have their website THREE %$**ing times in large print on the bottles! Not historically correct, dangit! (And no telephone number on them, oddly, which I'd think'd be more useful, after all what idiot can't find a website?)

Removed:
- Ditched the front & wheel reflectors.
- Removed the 'keep the axle 1cm from the back' rear dropout screw-ins
- Removed the pump umbrella clip, handlebar bag bungee hooks, etc. of course.
- Also added, then removed in buffing, lots of car-polish!


Still to do (2011; partially revised, see below):
- Maybe I'll swap the freewheel for a 13-34 or the like.
- Maybe try a behind the seat tube pump fit, Zefal HP silver if I can get one, I suppose.
- Wd. like to get some US-made Jim Blackburn lowrider & standard front racks too...
- Maybe get a decent era Avocet touring II seat (a rare brown one?)!
- Add some reflectivity - maybe tape on the fenders and some velcro-on wheel reflectors like Rivendell used to have.


In autumn 2018 I made a few changes:

- Three things below in the new 'I changed my mind; brown doesn't go with gray anymore' theme:
  1. Changed seat to Brooks B17 black (I think black looks better with silver & gray). The brown flyer that I added 2011 was on my Kibo for a year or so, then I moved it to my new Woodrup touring bike (and the old green & brass B17 from the previously incarnated LHT touring bike went on the Kibo).
  2. Wrapped bars/Grab-Ons/brown tape over with Newbaum's tape, black.
  3. Changed brake hoods to Dia Compe 204 semi-anatomic, black (completion of the 'un-brownification', and better than the Cane Creek ones) (what else in 2018 now includes Dia Compe 204 hoods)
- Changed shifters to 'historical' Suntour LD-1500 ratchets - the very set of ST ratchet shifters that I bought new in 1982, and which last 'rode' September 21st 1983 (35 years ago exactly!!) on my 1960s Dawes, the night I crashed it. So sort of an anniversary. I don't think I have any other bike parts from that bike. Besides, they're nice shifters!
- Replaced the 52t outer chainring with a Sugino 48t, and the 2011-installed 40 middle with a Sugino 38; so now I have a nice 'symmetrical' 28-38-48.
- Added a proper stainless chainstay protector (& ripped off that damned VO 'elk hide' one).
- Added Jim Blackburn front rack & lowrider (these originally bought in the early 1980s for my Cannondale ST-500; probably won't tour with this much, what with my Woodrup & Kibo, but as it has the lowrider mounts may as well dress it up for future possibilities!). (I have NOS too, but my old used ones have historical/sentimental value like the shifters! These toured around Lake Superior in 1990, among elsewhere)
- Replaced the LH Mirrycle (had busted in moving/storage sometime 2012-2017).
- Pleaded, compelled, threatened, and reasoned with fenders to clear the tires... Grimaced at the unsightly fender line (thanks to Mr. Phillip Clark for originally pointing that out).


What I haven't done yet...

is swap out the 27" wheels for 700c.
This bike is way too tight with 27" wheels for wide tires, let alone fenders! 700c would solve this to a large degree.
I have an interim set of 700c wheels: Mavic 550 hubs with Campagnolo Omega 36° rims. Great wheels, but a little late & non-Japansese for this bike... And I just can't bear to not use the NOS wheels!
So maybe will wait and build a new set with my in-stock NOS Suntour, Specialized, or Avocet sealed hubs and Velocity Atlas or Nobs rims in 2019.)
- I'll see if the Dia Compe 981 cantilever brakes will adjust OK to use 700c wheels. Else may swap with Kibo for the Dia-Compe 983 eccentrics.


This is my first Univega, and first Japanese touring bike. I like it.


If you missed it, here's all about the bike and what it was like when I found it unchanged from 1983!

Or just go to the pictures if you haven't already! The first ones are immediately after I got the bike home *all original dust is still intact*, and then after all restored and polished.


A few links of reference for this bike:

(but I believe this page is the best documentation for the bike anywhere as far as componentry and construction)
Someone else's 83 GT on Bikeforums - and still more if you search.
Another 83 GT, this one got a little 'bastardmodernized', not a lot, wheels mostly...
Here's an appreciative commentary on the Univega 'concept' & history.
I originally posted the first part: pre-restore on Bikeforums.
I originally posted the second part: post-restore there too.

More bike stuff on my velo pages.

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edition: 2018.09.30 | © robert liebermann
url: http://rjl.us/velo/83univega-2.htm
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