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Upgrading my bike(7 posts)

Upgrading my bikebbird
Jul 29, 2002 4:57 PM
I have a 12-spd Lotus Eclair I purchased in '80 or '81 for $400. It's the only bike I've ever owned. Rode it in Ireland, rode a century, and rode Skyline drive with it. Is it worth upgrading or should I stop being sentimental? I'm looking to replace everything but the frame eventually. I'm trying to lighten it up a bit and be up-to-date.

1. Are forks all the same length? I was thinking of a carbon fork. I noticed that the installed fork curves away quite a bit from the downtube, and some forks I've seen reviewed on this site are pretty much straight. Do I have to be careful with that?

2. Will I be able to purchase any front and rear cassettes and derailleurs I want or will I be limited in any way due to the age of my bike?

3. Will putting lighter parts on the bike make it handle differently, throw the bike out of kilter?

3. Was Lotus considered a good bike back then? The frame is in great shape. Ive always kept my bike in the house and haven't wrecked too much.

Thanks for the help.
re: Upgrading my bikeCarbon fiber fanatik
Jul 29, 2002 5:59 PM
In its day, lotus was awesome... In my opinion? Keep it..!! Restore it with great care and hang it over the mantle in the den.
Take it out a few times a year to relive some fond memories. Buy a new bike. Keep it simple and make sure it fits..!

If you really want to get rid of it? Send it my way...
re: Upgrading my bikeeddie m
Jul 29, 2002 7:25 PM
I had a Lotus Elite with Shimano 600 compononents. It was a nice bike but hardly a classic. If I still had it, I'd convert it to fixed gear and ride it. Very few (if any) bikes are worth restoring.
re: Upgrading my bikesprockets2
Jul 29, 2002 8:32 PM
Last things first, if you are going to upgrade everything but the frame, you had better make sure the frame is of the highest quality, and a great performer. Alas, I do not know the model so I cannot provide guidance. I say that the frame should be super-duper because by the time you have replaced everything with decent components (decent, because otherwise why do it) the cost will be getting close to a new bike.

Responses to your questions...
1. No forks are not the same. It ain't just the curvy bit either. A carbon fiber can be had for a decent price but make sure you get your LBS to figure out what the specs are on the fork.

2. Once you have someone stretch your rear triangle, you will likely need to buy a whole new drivetrain, so there will be few limitations on you, just price. It is hard to piece together drivetrains from modern and ancient pieces.

3. No. Lighter is better if it is quality stuff that fits. The most noticeable thing you can do is to upgrade your wheels to a lighter, stronger set. You will notice a difference, but unless you are a spaz, nothing to worry about.

4. Lotus made some nice bikes and some ok bikes, find out what you've got before you drop a wad on it.
don't waste your money...julio
Jul 29, 2002 9:03 PM
It would probably cost you more to upgrade your bike than a much better new bike would cost, and your bike isn't worth it. My advice is to find a nice new bike for long rides and keep what you've got as a commuter/rain bike, you could convert it to single speed if you like them.

If you do decide to upgrade it though you'll save a bunch of money buying a build kit, that comes with everything but the frame and fork, from a big mailorder shop, rather than buying piece by piece..
I agree, don't bother upgradingOffTheBack
Jul 30, 2002 5:25 AM
Get a whole new bike. It probably won't cost much more and will be a lot less aggravating (see archives for posts titled "can't remove bottom bracket"). Frames have come a long way in the last 20 years, so you will end up with a better bike.
I disagree, somewhat...Matno
Jul 30, 2002 8:35 AM
I just did the same thing to an old Schwinn SuperSport 12 speed. I upgraded everything but the frame, fork, bars, and brakes. That is: new drivetrain, BB, Wheelset (which I made myself), stem, seatpost, saddle. I love the new ride - it's MUCH lighter and smoother. Cost me just over $300 with a mix of 105, Ultegra, and DuraAce 9 speed stuff. (I originally paid $200 for the bike!) For me it was worth it because building it was a lot of fun. Road bikes really haven't changed as much as some people think. (I road a 1000 mile tour on a 70's Bottechia racer that worked wonderfully for me - except for the too big gears!) However, I recommend you add up ALL the cost of upgrading ahead of time (don't forget shipping if you're buying online), then compare that to what you could get in a complete bike before you make any decisions.