I saw this Univega listed for $80 the same day I had just come home with another bike, and initially I wasn't that interested. It had the same component level as the bike I had just picked up, and I couldn't tell which model it was. I didn't need another bike, I had just bought one! And besides, this one has a ubrake, which are kind of a PITA
... but it nagged at me, and as I did research, I realized it was most likely an Alpina Pro with Tange Prestige triple butted MTB tubes. MTBs from the 80s with prestige tubing are rare to find, as not a lot were sold and even fewer survived. If this was really an Alpina, I would be foolish to miss out on it. I googled the name, even image searched looking for any Univega with a similar color, but nothing matching turns up on Alpina Pro from the time of ubrakes and thumb shifters (late 80s). Only hint is a 1988 Alpina Ultima for sale
with the same decals.
The bike had been up on CL for a few days at $80, which was priced low enough to sell no matter what the quality level. I called the seller hoping to come look in the morning after I figured out what the likely model was. He says 1pm the next day, and didn't seem to be in a big hurry nor indicate he had any other interest. I thought maybe people just didn't know the Univega name, because good deals rarely last long around here.
So today I go and check out the bike. My suspicions are correct.. Alpina Pro with Tange Triple Butted tubes! I take a test ride and everything seems fine, though the front derailleur isn't rerailling, even though the shifter and derailleur are moving fine. I figure it just needs some adjustment, but try to use that as an easy way to low ball the guy. "Will you take $60?".. "Sorry, someone else is planning on coming in an hour from now and says he will buy it for sure" It could have been a line he always uses, but honestly it just made me happier to know I beat out someone else interested in the bike! I hand over his full asking price of $80 without hesitation..
Here's some pics "as found"..
Almost immediately when I get home I realize the frame has been repainted.. it's not a horrible job, but it seem unnecessary. It looks like underneath the finish is some kind of anodized or chromed body (exactly like the pics of the [url="http://store.bicycleczar.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=07120050"]1988 Ultima[/url] actually) . Someone also went nuts with a sharpie on the logo decal.. I'm not sure if both the paint and sharpie were deliberate attempts to make the bike "ugly" and hide the fact it's actually really nice, or what. Who ever painted the bike took the reflectors off and put them back on.. that is kind of funny to me. I'm hoping I can remove all of the green paint with acetone or something without damaging the decals or the finish underneath. I know I can take off the sharpie on the decals, hopefully it didn't stain.
The fork has a cool reinforcement lug.. (can also see the Deore logo peaking out from under the black paint on the headset)
In the pic below you can see the 3 spoke chainstay protector just like Diamondback Apex and some Scott bikes.. it seems this frame feature wasn't quite as rare as I once thought
Frame is Tange Prestige triple butted MTB tubes, components are Deore including headset and hubs. Araya "Super Hard Anodized" rims with almost no wear on the braking surface. This bike seems all original (down to the wheel reflectors) except the saddle and seat post which are ultra low end.. i'm guessing the seatpost was stolen at some point. The cheapo plastic pedals also don't seem to match the quality of the rest of the components. Weight is just over 30 pounds according to the bathroom scale.
I suspect it is a 1988 model year, mostly due to process of elimination. It's not an 1989 based on the 6 speed Deore components and ubrake, and in 1987, the Alpina Pro was offered with Deore XT. In 1988, the Alpina Ultima was offered with XT, while the Alpina Pro carried 'regular' Deore. The decals also match the decals of the Ultima being sold as an 1988.
This is the lightest MTB I've owned and the handling is very quick without feeling "twitchy" at all. I went out for a quick test ride and photoshoot, came back an hour and a half later, not wanting to get off the bike. The way it rides reminds me of a massively upgraded version of my 86 Apex... still kind of "cruisery" but with a more nimble, smoother ride. This is in contrast to how my 1989 Apex rides, which feels like a totally different beast completely. The 89 Apex is actually kind of "aggressive" and feels better off road, while the 88 Alpina Pro feels like an ideal base for a "roadified" mtb.
Earlier this week I was a little concerned about buying yet another bike, but I'm very glad I made this purchase. This is the bike I've been wanting for the last few months, I just didn't know it yet! I think it may be easier to n-1 now that I've made an acquisition that I'm so pleased with
I'll update this thread with changes and other progress. Gotta remove all those reflectors.. i bet there's like 1/2 a pound right there!