Since my son Kieran, a senior in high school, committed to doing the ride a few weeks ago, I’ve been back on Craigslist searching for a third touring bike big enough to fit him. He’s tall and leggy, and needs something in the 61-63 cm range. There are lots of great, mostly Japanese touring bikes from the mid-80s, but they weren’t made in huge numbers, and the smaller frame sizes seem a lot easier to find.
Then, yesterday morning, I found a local post for a “Univega Gran Turismo”. This is one of the models on my list, made by Miyata for a U.S. importer. I clicked on the post and saw FREE bike. Rear derailleur is damaged, but can be used for parts. No info on the size, the age or anything else, but at worst I figured I could rob a few parts for the other bikes.
When I got there, I was stunned to see EXACTLY what I’d been searching for—a 62 cm bike in lovely gunmetal gray, in beautiful condition except for the rear derailleur. The derailleur hanger was bent, but looked fixable. The rest of the bike was stock and hadn’t seen many miles in its lifetime. With a little research, I determined that it was a 1983 model, which originally looked like this:
Sadly, I once again neglected to get a photo of the full bike before tearing into it, but at the moment it’s stripped down to the frame; everything that we’re keeping—cranks and bottom bracket at least—will get torn apart, repacked and reconditioned. It’ll need wheels, as the originals are 27 inch and I want 700cc rims for everyone, and will require new, wider bars and some bar end shifters, but I’m hoping to finish this one for under $500. A better-than-new lugged steel touring bike for $500? That would have been a screaming deal back in 1983, the year this beauty was born. Here it is in the stand, torn down to the frame but sporting one of the wheels I got for him on ebay, a set of 36 hole Mavic MA 40s with Campagnolo low flange hubs:
The second shot shows the jumble of bikes in the garage at the moment, including Monte's Peugeot and my Fuji frame awaiting build: