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I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 4:45pm
by ibgarrow
I'm 67, male, in NE England. Used to be fit, and have been attracted by the prospect of a way to regain fitness apart from gym sessions.
I'm a total novice at cycling!
I was also silly enough to be seduced into buying a 20-year-old bike because it was once a good bike. Unfortunately, it proved to be a bad idea, as any of you could have told me had I asked you, because:
A) things have moved on over the last 20 years-what was top-class then may well be run-of-the-mill now
B) a 20-year-old bike is old, and like me, things wear out.
C) it is unsuitable for my level of (in)expertise, ability, or purpose.

It's a '99-'01 Specialized S-Works M4 Road.
Spec here although the colour scheme is like the '99 page

My local bike dealer has pronounced:
The frame may have been dented and filled
The rear wheel (Shimano R500) is cracking around the spoke nipples and is dinged
The chain is stretched
The stem bearings have play.
In short, I'd be throwing money at it, possibly to nil purpose.

So I'm debating whether to break it for parts to recoup my (modest) outlay
The derailleur gear, front chainwheel and brakes are Campagnolo Record, with Xenon QS levers.

Does anyone have any advice or opinion? (Apart from the universal condemnation)

And if I decide to take up cycling, then I shall buy a bike from a local dealer which is suited to my needs, ability and size!
After consulting you all, of course

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 4:59pm
by peetee
Top class then is still top class now. Things have moved on, yes, but generally speaking the changes are small and largely irrelevant to a novice cyclist. The machine you have does sound tired and could be restored for a reasonable sum but if the frame is, as I suspect, aluminium you would have to get a proper assessment of the (hidden) damage as large dents can kill a frame.

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 5:05pm
by peetee
I would also add that it has a irregular mixture of parts that probably wouldn't work together. Perhaps split and sell is the way to go and start again by posting a few comments here and let us guide you to a new purchase.

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 5:05pm
by Canuk
Break it for parts, throw away the wheels. If the Campagnolo Record is clean you'll probably get your money back on the initial purchase of the bike on eBay. Record 9 and 10 speed vintage is very much sought after. Record Titanium especially, gear levers can fetch £100-200 depending on condition. Search for the same on buy it now listings, price it 10% cheaper and you'll definitely sell it. I had to do this recently with a nice Bianchi. The bike ended up owing me money in the end.

You could keep the frame for a winter bike. We all have to learn, but by using this forum you can learn by other people's mistakes, hopefully! :lol:

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 5:11pm
by eileithyia
Not sure what to advise with bike apart from you live and learn.
Chain stretched... well chains wear and stretch anyway so it's part of the ongoing maintenance of running a bike, just like replacing other wearable parts; brake blocks, tyres, etc.

Wheels again can start to fail, I went to get some new rims re-built on old hubs some years ago only to find the hubs did have a couple of hair line cracks starting to appear around the spoke holes. Bike shop owner was concerned taking the tension off then putting it back on again would cause further problems. Again wheels can be items that are part of the wear and tear of cycling.
So don't beat yourself up too much.

If there are parts that can be salvaged then do so... you might want them as spares or, as with the case with derailleurs, they might have some value at CycleJumble / or sale site for those restoring old style bikes..

As and when you are ready to try some cycling and want a bike certainly come and ask. You will be bedazzled with the answers and might be a good idea to have an idea of what type of riding you will be doing first ie; all off road, canal / old railway type tracks / roads only, day rides, touring, commuting...

Certainly also talk to your local bike shop (LBS) but remember they may also be trying to sell you what they have in stock...

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 5:17pm
by pwa
My feeling is that if you are returning to cycling after a long break and don't intend racing, a bike that lets you sit up a bit more, with the bars higher, will probably be more enjoyable. And one with nice low gears for the hills.

Spa Cycles in Harrogate do bikes like that, but give us a better idea of where in the NE you are and others will no doubt suggest good bikes nearer to you.

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 5:26pm
by Cyril Haearn
I would get a simple robust bike secondhand for a couple of hundred, or maybe try decathlon

Be glad you didnae join a gym with a two-year contract and a monthly fee :wink:

Lots of advice on these fora already, just search

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 5:43pm
by ibgarrow
More info:
About me: ex-international judo competitor but after injury and 4 years off, I'm unfit. Regular gym sessions are helping. Live in Northumberland near Hexham, so hills all round.
No real cycling past. I have an Aldi-special MTB which I used occasionally to travel the two-mile trip to the railway station.

Appreciate the dealer would wish to sell me stock, although he gave of his time willingly. He's a Giant dealer, and had a Contend 1 on sale.

Having ridden the S-Works down to the village and back I found it very twitchy, the gears very close, and the riding position very much over the front wheel (unsurprising given my total lack of experience on a road bike)

Having looked at Campagnolo stuff on eBay, it'd appear that the prospect of selling off the Record stuff might recoup my original £.

The front wheel is Miche, the rear R500 so I'd take the advice to bin both, unless I can find a recycle shop which could use bits.

The S-Works frame has apparently had a bolt drilled through the top of the seat tube, presumable to clamp it more tightly. This, together with the duff stem bearings and the possibility of damage, would suggest I should consign it to the scrap bin too. (I attempted to tighten the bearings up, but the play, whilst reducing, never disappeared and the steering became stiff)

So probably a day's tearing down and photographing, putting on eBay, then looking at "first road bike" models like the Giant.

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 5:55pm
by Cyril Haearn
It's a racing bike, plusminus
In your situation I would just try riding more and more on the MTB
'It's not about the bike', wrote Lance Dopestrong :wink:

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 8:58pm
by drossall
I'd want to see whether I could keep it going. Sounds a nice bike.

As peetee said, if there are serious dents, that's a killer for an aluminium frame. However, it's odd that your dealer is saying that there could be filled dents. It ought to be possible to tell quite easily? Is it just that there's a bit of paint touch-up?

Record kit is top-drawer stuff. Odd that it's mated with a Shimano rear wheel. Shimano and Campagnolo have different shift ratios. Now the thing that matters is the cassette - you'd normally expect a Shimano rear wheel to take a Shimano cassette, and I'm not totally clear whether you can get a Campagnolo freehub for a Shimano rear wheel. If that's what you have, and if it's a Campagnolo cassette, no problem. If they don't match, it will show up as gears slipping however much they are adjusted.

The wheel is on its way out anyway, so you could just get a Campagnolo-fitting replacement rear wheel. The default with many wheels would be to replace just the rim, but there's no point if the freehub is wrong, and I'm not clear whether the R500s are factory wheels that you couldn't really rebuild with a new rim. But a wheel rebuild could be an option otherwise.

What your dealer said about the chain and headset sounds odd. Worn chains are unremarkable on a bike of that age. You just replace them, as eileithyia said. And the headset may just need adjusting. I'd be inclined to get a second opinion, from a trusted dealer.

A lightweight race bike is going to feel nervous for the first few rides. Don't decide about that till you've done at least 100 miles. Some here like tourers, and some comments reflect that. I like all bikes :D It can be great fun to get onto a real lightweight, however much I enjoy riding a tourer. You need to know what kind of riding you want to do before buying any more bikes.

The levers are the most valuable bits to resell. Xenon aren't worth anything like what Record go for. Sounds as though there's been some swapping around of parts here. Did it come from a reliable source?

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 9:03pm
by pwa
One thing to take on board with a race bike is that at speeds over a few mph you mostly lean to steer, rather than turning the bars.

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 9:14pm
by thirdcrank
... The chain is stretched ...

A bike chain won't stretch, but it will elongate through becoming worn. There's some explanation of it here:-

The main thing is that a worn chain will quickly tend to wear the teeth of the drive train. A new chain will almost certainly jump on worn sprockets. If there's any doubt about this, check the availability of suitable replacements.

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 9:21pm
by ibgarrow
Re: frame damage:
As I wrote earlier, there's an extra bolt through the seat tube, which isn't helpful, and a bump under the decal on the top tube. This could be a sort of efflorescence from the alu frame, or a dent, filled then decaled over. Dealer also pointed to "corrosion" on the fork junction with the stem. The fork is Time carbon...
The stem bearing slackness was what prompted me to take it in firstly, as I'd tried to adjust but all that happened was the steering got stiffer (yes, I loosened the stem bolts) and I couldn't get rid f the play.
Then I saw the slack chain-possible to pull it clear of the large chainring.
Dealer's sure the cassette is Shimano-pointed out the mismatch.
By the time i'd:
Replaced chain, replaced the wheels, replaced the stem bearings, worried about the rear mech./gear mismatch
I'd still have a 20-year-old frame with possible defects....and a bike which is too extreme for me to make effective use of.
You lives and learns...

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 9:45pm
by hercule
FWIW I bought a Moulton spaceframe bike in a bike shop... it was what I’d wanted for years, the price was good, I bought it.

It was only a little time after that I took off my rose tinted glasses and noted the mismatched components, and more seriously the fact that it persistently pulled to the left... and a bit more examination revealed that the front forks were bent out of true.

In retrospect I’d bought a crashed bike that had its good bits salvaged and then put up for sale.

I could have thrown it away, but I did a careful inventory with a more critical eye. Apart from the forks and the odd components, everything else seemed sound. More than 25 years on I still have the bike, although the only original part apart from the frame is the seatpost! It’s my favourite bike and we’ve done a lot of miles together. The route to the present day bike has probably not been the most economic (and Moultons are very much an individual taste) but the end result for me justifies the means.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for some of us at least bikes are not just tools but can have greater personal value. Your Specialized may or may not hit that indefinable mark but if it does (or perhaps another bike) it might be worth slow incremental development.

Re: I know I was stupid to buy it...but now?

Posted: 3 Jan 2019, 9:56pm
by thirdcrank
Looking at this from another angle, if you are thinking of taking up cycling to improve your fitness, I'd suggest borrowing one. If you ask around, you probably know quite a few people who bought a bike, tried it out then stuck it at the back of the garage. It doesn't really matter what sort of bike it is so long as it fits. Do a few rides and see what you think before shelling out £££.