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Help! What kind of bike do I have???(10 posts)

Help! What kind of bike do I have???aarontoy
Aug 9, 2002 12:42 PM
I bought this ten speed bike, brand new in 1981, when I was 12 years old. I worked all summer in a grocery store (illegally I might add) and paid $230 at the time. Now that I'm 35, I'd like to use it as a project bike to rebuild/upgrade. I know it will be cheaper to buy a new one but it has GREAT sentimental value. The only clues I can offer is the it was purchased in 1981 at a bike shop in Salinas, CA. It has a small badge on the front the says "SENTINEL" with an engraved eagle. It is a steel frame and when new, it had all Shimano components (Shimano RS Rear Der, Shimano FE Front Der), shift levers are mounted on the handlebar stem and it has center-pull brakes. Anyone have a clue as to the manufacturer? Any help would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks,,,Aaron
It is called a charitable donation.onespeed
Aug 9, 2002 12:46 PM
Do yourself a favor and give it away to someone that needs a bike but cannot afford to buy one.

I dont even think a bike shop would have options for "upgrades" at this point; unless it was for a new bike.
re: Help! What kind of bike do I have???yeah right
Aug 9, 2002 1:08 PM
things have changed a little since 1981...

I stopped crawling

ronny is no longer in office

and on a more serious note:

rear wheel dropout spacing has changed
sti has come into play
frames often weigh less than six pounds (jk.)

anyway, i'm sure the bike has fond memories associated with it, but it's worth nothing. still you should keep it, ride it for fun, but if you want a better bike, buy new/newer used. it'd be hard to upgrade that shimano stuff, without replacing it with old campy parts probably (i'm out of my league here), but in other words, no "modern" shifting systems will work (out of the box) on that frame.

get a great steel bike like a lemond, khs, jamis, gunnar or something for not too much and enjoy.
all true, reason not to ride it.Silverback
Aug 9, 2002 1:12 PM
Spending a lot of money to upgrade would be a financial mistake (perhaps not an emotional one, if you really like it). Just getting it running and riding it around, though, probably would be cheap and pretty easy. Tires, brake pads, new cables and housing (or maybe just lube the old ones) and a bearing repack might put you on the road for quite a bit less than $100.
like i said...aarontoy
Aug 9, 2002 1:21 PM
it has sentimental value. it was the 1st major purchase i ever made. $230 in 1981 was major bank back then, esp for A 12 YEAR OLD. plus he got me all thru high school. you're all probably right. i'll just strip it, clean it and steel wool it, relube and put him back together. i'm new to this board as i usualy ride mtb, but since i separated my shoulder on a jump, i haven't been able to get on dirt. so i clean my mtb and worship it and long for when i can hit the trails again...that's the only reason why i'm getting interested in road bikes, well...and of course the hottest damn cyclist on the planet from our very own USofA.
re: Help! What kind of bike do I have???VW
Aug 9, 2002 2:38 PM
I hate to tell you this, but I don't recall any decent bike having shift levers on the handlebar stem. If you have what I think you have, these shift levers can be very hazardous to your health if you are a male. My first bike, a 40 lb Taiwan bicycle made in the late 1970's had shift levers on the handlebar stem. These shift levers were also found on old (70's) Schwinn Varsity (some people might consider Schwinn Varsity a good bike though).

Maybe you should change over to downtube shifters before riding it.

An Art project.....gerwerken
Aug 9, 2002 4:10 PM
may be a good way to let your old steed live on in both your heart and your home. I have seen a few old bikes tastefully hung from walls like paintings (the handlebar wheel combo is usually a problem though).

Let the old guy retire and spend some money on a bike you spent all day/week/month to pay for. That way if you fall your consern is monatary rather then sentimental.
Single speed it. [nm]Ahimsa
Aug 9, 2002 5:11 PM
If you like it, ride itWalter
Aug 9, 2002 6:55 PM
Youngsters around here are too used to disposable if very expensive bikes and don't (yet) realize the power of sentiment.

I agree that trying to upgrade to modern drivetrains would be prohibitively expensive but why would you do that anyways? If I read you right you're looking to get back into riding so friction shifting is what you know anyways. With a good setup it's not that bad and is IMO still the logical application for a front derailleur anyways. (Apparently Lance A. agrees).

Switching to old Campy is also expensive but eBay often has a decent amount of older Shimano and SunTour and unless it's DuraAce or Superbe Pro it goes pretty cheap. I agree with the poster who said lose the stem shifters. Downtube shifters can be found, I have a set of old Shimanos you can have for the price of shipping. BarCons from SunTour might even be better but they're still a bit pricey as tourers love them. You probably have 27" wheels. Tires are rarer but around. Check out Bike Nashbar. Are your hubs decent? How about the rims? Some KoolStop pads for those centerpulls, a good overhaul and you're on your way.

Enjoy the memories and FWIW there're worse ways to spend your money at least I think so.

PS: The Retro Board might be able to help a bit more.

Oh, I don't recognize the name but during the 1970s there were literaly hundreds of importers importing hundreds of thousands bicycles.
If you like it, ride itChainstay
Aug 9, 2002 7:12 PM
It's nice to see someone was sincere enough to give some thought to the problem. $230 was a lot of money to put on a bike at the time and would have gotten something of the calibar of a Raleigh SuperCourse or Grand Sport. I am surprised that the components are not Shimano 600. This or SunTour Crane would be a good upgrade if you can source the stuff on ebay. You can find a good Suntour article through