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just picked up a vintage bicycle for C$75 and want to use it as a project bike. I'm curious before I start exactly what bike it is. The bike has the brand Sprinter and it says Gran Touring on the top tube. I can't seem to find any info online. It seems to be made in Canada and has a sticker at the bottom for Calgary Co-op, which today is just a grocery store. I've posted some pictures here in case someone can identify it.

Sprinter 0
Sprinter 1
Sprinter 2
Sprinter 3

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It's a lugged frame, so definitely better than bottom-of-the-line. And it appears to be a tall frame (though can't tell for sure without measurements), so the odds are better than even that it was a bike shop bike vs a department store bike. The plastic retainer for the shift cable dates it probably after about 1975. Some shots of the shifter, brake levers, cranks, derailer, and dropouts would let the quality & age be judged a bit better. Clearly the bike has not been ridden very much, or left exposed to the weather. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 30 '11 at 21:31
    
Great bike, I can't offer any input however; I just bought almost the identical bike except it is for a female. It has the same decals in the same locations and is also the same color. I paid $30 Canadian for it (preowned) but not sure if I should keep it or sell it...any comments? –  user3137 Dec 30 '11 at 9:39
    
Just to keep everyone posted, here's some pictures of the final bike. –  fideli Jan 9 '12 at 19:04

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

'Gran Touring' alludes to 'Gran Sport' and 'Gran Turismo'. These were Campagnolo names used in former times for their derailleurs. I am not old enough to remember when those former times were, but they were decades and decades ago!

The brand means nothing if this is a department store bike. That means you have free reign to do what you like with it. You can even get it shot=blasted with braze-ons for those cables if you really wanted. Personally I would be tempted to keep the cables as is but maybe get some proper clips to hook them onto the frame. You can get them from a retro bike specialist, e.g. one that does Sturmey Archer 3 speeds.

The geometry and ride should be good, maybe put the seat back so it is mid-rails instead of inch or so forward. Thebolt holding the seat on should go behind the seatpin, not in front.

I guess you have a non-standard wheel size, treat yourself to some Schwalbe ones to fit, read the ERTRO size off the side and special order from your LBS accordingly. In that way you won't have to pay postage. Modern Schwalbe tyres will be consistent with the bike and be puncture 'proof'. This will make the difference between oddity and everyday utility bike.

Bikes of that vintage had saddlebags for carrying stuff, consider getting one as this will make the bike look better than it is, albeir doubling the price if you get a UK Carradice one.

Those 'Northroad' bars are really comfy when riding in traffic or on bumpy trails. The turning circle will probably be that of a bus with that steering rake so adjust your riding style accordingly.

If you are doing a full refurb then give yourself a whole weekend for re-packing the bearings etc. Some sizes may be non-metric, that might be to watch out for. Given the super paint quality apart from the top-tube scratches you could just ride as is and put some 'One Less Car!' stickers on the top-tube after you have got the 'gran touring' stickers off. Steal some nail-polish remover from someone female if you haven't got any useful thinners for that. T-Cut should bring up the shine on the chrome not that it really needs it.

Very nice find, definitely just a department store bike though, which is good because you can do what you want to it without destroying some notional priceless heritage.

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@ʍǝɥʇɐɯ: Awesome answer. I may take a few more shots of the components if that might help narrow it down, but you've given me quite a lot of information to work with. My brother and I are looking to build it up from scratch and he wants to paint it blue. Is it worth the trouble if the original paint is in such great condition? –  fideli Aug 2 '11 at 20:18
    
Definitely! You may want to take it to a paint shop that does a job for less than it will cost you in paint and time. There is a question on here about the different paint options you may want to look for... It depends on the look you want, personally I think it will be well worth the effort even if the bike is of no great interest to the majority of cyclists. Good luck! –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Aug 3 '11 at 0:23
    
@ʍǝɥʇɐɯ: To keep you posted, we've got some pics of the bike so far at tumblr. Stripped it down, cleaned it, and sent it to get painted. Today we repacked bearings and reinstalled the headset and bottom bracket. Wheels are pretty non-standard 26x1-3/8 (E.A.3 I'm guessing) but the tire tread is still good so we're keeping it. Any idea what to look for in terms of cable clamps? Just need to run two cables. One to the rear derailleur and one to the rear brake. Links to pictures would help, thanks! –  fideli Aug 14 '11 at 8:05
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Most of them just spring on, however they also turn around of their own accord, to scratch the paint. You can also get the ones that screw on: condorcycles.com/Brakes-Levers/8170-Condor-Cable-Clips/… You should be able to get these locally, or stick with cable ties until some turn up in a LBS for you. Good to see that you have gone with the project and enjoy getting it completed - I am sure you will! –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Aug 14 '11 at 8:41
    
...and that is a very nice blue, b.t.w. Expect to get more comments from 'civilians' about this bike than you would if you had the latest and greatest carbon fibre. –  ʍǝɥʇɐɯ Aug 14 '11 at 8:43

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