DRF aka Thrifty Bill
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The NC Mountains
Bikes: 86 Katakura Silk, 87 Prologue, 87 Cimarron, 14 frame school custom, 73 Paramount
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Originally Posted by roccobike
For $400 you could go newer with brifters, but you'll almost certainly have an aluminum framed bike that will have a harsher ride than your Schwinn. It all depends on your objectives.
+1 The vintage bikes roccobike mentioned are sure to continue to appreciate.
On the brifter end, you can find the occasional steel brifter bike within your budget. I picked up a 1995 Giant Kronos for the keeper fleet (I only keep lugged steel frame bikes). It is a 7 speed brifter, lugged cromoly frame. As a rider, the Kronos is a pretty decent choice. I picked up mine for less than $200 on C/L. (Finding a good ready to ride brifter bike for under $200 takes some luck.) The Kronos is somewhat unusual for that era as it still had a lugged steel frame, while most of its competitors had already moved to TIG welded steel frames (Giant moved to TIG welded the next year). If you are not stuck on finding a lugged frame (like I am), there are several more good choices of steel bikes from that era. I had a 1996 Schwinn Passage brifter bike earlier this year with a cromoly frame (TIG welded) that moved on to a new home. It would be within your budget. Other good brands made steel brifter bikes in the 1990s as well, such as the Trek 470 (which should be within your budget and was TIG welded as well).
The 1995 was the last year for the Giant lugged frame, and newer versions have aluminum frames.
There are also higher end steel brifter bikes, but those would be way outside your budget.
Last edited by wrk101; 10-01-09 at 12:23 PM.