Classic & Vintage - Bicycle for my daughter - any thoughts?
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01-08-12, 12:35 PM
I'm working long distance here, so please excuse me for any faux pas. My daughter, who lives in Chicago has decided she wants a bike for local commuting, running errands, and such. I told her I would help her find one, as much as I could. She is pretty short - 5', so I am looking for input as to the size she would ride. Should I be looking for a 48cm? I'm thinking that a three or five speed internal hub would be pretty cool, and low maintenance which would be a big plus. She lives in the Oak Park area, so would be looking fairly locally in that vicinity; but I also thought if possible I could find something down here are attempt my first c&v fix-up. Looking for any words of wisdom you all can provide.
01-08-12, 12:41 PM
My wife and daughter are not "bike people". They like their mixties. Nothing special, just older Peugeots, fenders, baskets, racks, obnoxious bells. My wife's needed virtually nothing as it came with aluminum rims and a 3-speed hub. My daughter's required new wheels and drivetrain to rid it of the plastic Simplex/steel rim mess. It went fairly smoothly, especially since French cartridge BB's are now more readily available.
01-08-12, 12:49 PM
A Mixte with a comfy seat is my vote.
I sold this 80's Raleigh Sprite 5-speed recently for $130. It was my $20 dollar find off Craig's List. Just needed freewheel lubing, handlebar painting (was rusty), a new tire n' tune-up!
01-08-12, 03:31 PM
Small man's frames are very hard to find and generally, to get the shorter seat tube, the bottom bracket height is raised. The suggestion for a Mixte is a good one, or even a step through design such as this old Falcon...
Or this lovely old Peugeot Mixte...
Either bicycle will be fun to ride, vintage for sure and are far more likely to fit the young lady.
01-08-12, 03:45 PM
Look for a Raleigh Colt or possibly a Space Rider. My bride is just a tad taller than your daughter and cannot ride anything over 17" comfortably. You need to be looking in the 43cm range.
Another possibility would be a folder. They fit a wide range of different sized people. If you want vintage and cool, look for a Raleigh Twenty.
There is are several shops in the Chicago area that are very vintage friendly, as well as a strong group of 3 speed riders. I would suggest posting up on The ChainLink (http://www.thechainlink.org/) and asking around.
If all else fails let me know I have a spare Colt or possibly a Twenty that I would be willing to part with, it could be shipped up via Amtrak.
01-08-12, 03:50 PM
I'll keep my eyes open for you. This is a good time to buy bikes as they often sit on CL for a long time. Your daughter would definitely ride a small bike, but a 48/49cm mixte with the seat down might work for her. Actually there was a bike over in Wicker Park advertised not long ago...I'll try to find a link for you.
Recently spotted a nice Miyata mixte in the unusual larger (21") size and as my wife and two daughters each already have a vintage mixte I recommended it to a friend who was, like you, looking for a bike for his daughter. It was a screaming 80s pink which my friend did not like, but his 16 year old, predictably, absolutely loves.
01-08-12, 04:10 PM
Another option is a bike with a smaller wheel size. Lots of MTB's come in pretty small sizes. My son rides a Raleigh with 24" wheels.
01-08-12, 04:48 PM
Yes, a Colt or a Spacerider!
01-10-12, 08:49 PM
Thank you all for the input. Looks like @ 17"/43cm is the large end of the range, and I'll keep my eyes open for the Raleigh models you mentioned. A twenty would be exceptionally cool, if one can be had for the right price.
We have some friends with an old Batavus that I would like to buy, but may be a bit large. Very cool old three speed commuter, though. I'm thinking it might be fun for a project whether it fits her or not.
Will also put her onto the web site.
01-10-12, 09:11 PM
How about a Terry style Centurion?
01-10-12, 09:16 PM
I would think Chicago would be a bountiful place to shop for a bike. I'd only add that although it may have been due to my maintenance, the internal-gear hubs used to let go and I'd hit my knee on the handlebar.
01-10-12, 10:39 PM
ffbob: PMed you, did you get it? However until you have 50 posts I think you can't reply. I have a line on bike that sounds darn nice to me; still available too as I checked with the seller. I'll PM you my email and you can contact me direct.
and my favorite $10 or price
01-10-12, 10:50 PM
My daughter (now 21) had a Gary Fisher hybrid since she was 15 or so that she hardly ever rode. For her 21st birthday, I built up a Raleigh Sports frame for her that is now her pride and joy.
I just built an old centurion mixte up for my girlfriend (5' 0") and it sure beats the old schwinn varsity step-through she was riding. It still looks a little odd with the 27" wheels, but it fits, and that's what's important. I smaller mountain bike with narrower slicks may be a good alternative too.
Having lived in the great lakes region while I was a college student and bike co-op mechanic, I think an internally-geared system (or single-speed even) would be ideal. A full school schedule makes it more difficult to keep up on drive train maintenance, especially during the salty, snowy winter.
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