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Old 09-24-07, 09:57 PM   #1
rugerben
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What would be a good bike for me?

OK so here's the deal. I have always been enjoyed cycling, but only in the past couple of months have I really gotten "into" it.
I went to my LBS, and tried their newest wiz-bang CF, Brifter, blah blah blah bikes. I actually liked the feeling of CF, but truth be told, there is something special about an older road bike.

I'm looking for a vintage/older road bike that I could use to put a good amount of mileage (let's say 3500 miles per year), at high speed, possibly do centuries, and be able to keep up with people on the newer bikes if I do my part.
Right now I am riding my father's old Puch Brigadier from 1972-3(?). I love that thing. Fast, relatively light, awesome handling. Really great bike. If I could find one just like it, I'd get another, but barring that option...
I'm looking for something similar of my own. Can any of you make any recommendations for an "old school tech" steel bike that would be good for my purposes?
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Old 09-24-07, 10:13 PM   #2
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Ok, another question. On oler bikes, if I want to change out gears in the back if I want higher or lower gearing? (chainring right? I'm not too good on the terminology yet).
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Old 09-24-07, 10:33 PM   #3
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There are hundreds of options. We would really need a lot more information. How much are you willing to pay? What size are you? Long legged? Long torso? What is the geometry of the bike you are riding now.
First you want to start with something that has the geometry you are looking for. Next you want to look at the frame material. You want to get the best tubing you can afford: Columbia SLX, Reynolds 531....
Next look for quality construction. Look at the seat cluster, the bottom bracket, fork crown etc. Are they put together well, do they have some flair? How are the lugs made? Next look for the components you want. Campy, Shimano, Suntour? Do you want something proprietary like Schwinn or Raleigh or maybe French? What level components do you want. Do you want indexed shifting or friction. Do you want a project bike that you can spend hours fiddling with or do you want something that you can just get on and ride and have the lbs do all the work on it?
The gears on the back are called the cogs or the freewheel. They are easily changed with the right tools.

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Old 09-25-07, 12:21 AM   #4
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I figured I'd et an answer like this. Ok, well here goes with showing my ignorance.
I'm 5'11.5" with a pant size of 34 in the length, so I usually ride medium to larger sized frame. I don't know exact size though. I'll measure the Puch tomorrow because that fits me pretty well.
I already know that I tend to prefer steel for a tube material. I'm not one of those "steel is real" guys. I just like the feel of it better than Aluminum.
What do I look for in lugs?
I'd be fine with any components that work. Suntour is what I have now on the Puch and they are great, but anything that is precise and works well is fine for me.
Friction shifters would probably be preferable, but honestly, I'd be ok with indexed.
The brand of the bike is not as important as something that is solid and will last under the conditions that I mentioned before. Something with a little bit of rarity is cool, just because it makes a good conversation peice. On the other hand, if it would interfere with the ability to find parts, forget it.
I'd like to be able to work on the bike myself, although I have a very good relationship with the LBS, and could very easily bring the bike to them and the mechanic would gladly help me fix any parts. As for being a project bike, I kinda like keeping things original. The only change that I might make to a bike would be to possibly put on some aluminum wheels, just becuase they are lighter, and might ride better. Even so, I'd take some Mother's mag polish to them, and polish them up to look like steel.

I'd be willing to spend...let's say up to the $400 range if it was something really really good. But would very strongly prefer to stick with $300 and below.
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Old 09-25-07, 04:59 AM   #5
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I figured I'd et an answer like this. Ok, well here goes with showing my ignorance.
I'm 5'11.5" with a pant size of 34 in the length, so I usually ride medium to larger sized frame. I don't know exact size though. I'll measure the Puch tomorrow because that fits me pretty well.
I already know that I tend to prefer steel for a tube material. I'm not one of those "steel is real" guys. I just like the feel of it better than Aluminum.
What do I look for in lugs?
I'd be fine with any components that work. Suntour is what I have now on the Puch and they are great, but anything that is precise and works well is fine for me.
Friction shifters would probably be preferable, but honestly, I'd be ok with indexed.
The brand of the bike is not as important as something that is solid and will last under the conditions that I mentioned before. Something with a little bit of rarity is cool, just because it makes a good conversation peice. On the other hand, if it would interfere with the ability to find parts, forget it.
I'd like to be able to work on the bike myself, although I have a very good relationship with the LBS, and could very easily bring the bike to them and the mechanic would gladly help me fix any parts. As for being a project bike, I kinda like keeping things original. The only change that I might make to a bike would be to possibly put on some aluminum wheels, just becuase they are lighter, and might ride better. Even so, I'd take some Mother's mag polish to them, and polish them up to look like steel.

I'd be willing to spend...let's say up to the $400 range if it was something really really good. But would very strongly prefer to stick with $300 and below.
Assuming you are referring to rims, most good older bikes have aluminum ones.
Doesn't sound like you're too particular but want something that will ride and perform decently in a range of settings and at a relative bargain price. One of your best bets in that price range would probably be an older (80's) Trek. They came in racing, touring, and "sport" flavors, so you could probably find something that suits your purpose. Also a range of components, but they all perform pretty decently. Frames are all at least decent material, too. They're really a bit undervalued as classic riders, though they're generally not head-turners. You can do some research here:

http://www.vintage-trek.com/
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Old 09-25-07, 05:23 AM   #6
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I'm sure i'm not the only one who does it this way?

get on ebay - sporting goods - cycling - road bikes and parts - bikes. then get some filters happening!
5'11" - (as an estimate) filter for 56-57cm. Then filter for steel, then filter for used. you then get maybe 100 bikes to choose from... craigslist will work the same but i dont think you can filter concurrently? i know a lot of people bash the bay, but for this type of thing, its hard to beat

for $400 you can expect a pretty nice rig from the early 80s. if you find something from a brand name that sounds familiar (or better yet, you see mentioned here in a positive light) made from reynolds, true temper or columbus tubing and any campag gear, or shimano 105, 600, dura-ace, buy it... you'll love it and i think it will be exactly what you are hoping for. I'm excited for you buddy!

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Old 09-25-07, 06:14 AM   #7
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There are lots of nice old steel lugged frames for sale all the time on eBay. I'm about your size (5'11" and 33" inseam) and I ride size 57 center-center frames. The secret to getting a nice frame on eBay is to search for quality frames from lesser known brands. The brands that get all of the attention -- eg, Colnago, Pinarello, Merckx, De Rosa, Pegoretti -- usually get bid up to higher prices although sometimes buyers get lucky. Some quality Italian brands that generally sell for lower prices include Bianchi, Ciocc, Guerciotti, Gios, Casati, Moser, De Bernardi, and many others. Don't overlook some of the mid-80s Japanese brands such as Miyata, Panasonic, Bridgestone that made some high quality frames. Also, some of big-name US brands imported high quality Japanese steel frames in the 1980s, such as Specialized and Trek.

Personally, I ride a Merckx Corsa 01 and De Bernardi, both steel lugged frames. I bought the De Bernardi off eBay last winter for only $450 with the head set. It was an older frame that had sat in a shop for a long time, but had never been built up. I've also owned a steel Gios Compact Pro, which was a very nice riding frame, and they are still available new from Excel Sports in Colorado.
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Old 09-25-07, 06:32 AM   #8
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tarwheel mentions some nice bikes, but I suspect that many of them will still cost over the $400.00 the OP says he wants. If you can find them for that price, you'll have certainly scored a deal. I suspect though, you'd have more luck looking for an Austro Deimler, Puch, Miyata, Nishiki, Fuji, Raleigh, Trek, Peugeot, Gitane, Motobecane or such. The potential hazard here though, is that all these makers made a whole range of models, and some of the lesser ones would no doubt leave you disappointed. Look for Reynolds, Columbus, Tange or Vitus tubing, and you'll avoid most of the hazard of getting a bike you don't like
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Old 09-25-07, 07:23 AM   #9
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Zorro. Sounds you are describing thi bike pretty much!
http://cgi.ebay.com/Motobecane-Jubil...QQcmdZViewItem

Unless you think it's too large...hrm...
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Old 09-25-07, 07:48 AM   #10
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Zorro. Sounds you are describing thi bike pretty much!
http://cgi.ebay.com/Motobecane-Jubil...QQcmdZViewItem

Unless you think it's too large...hrm...
Not to disuade you, but that particular Vitus tubing is straight-gauge rather than butted. With what you are looking to spend, I would personally be looking for a bit higher quality of tubing, but maybe that's just me.
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Old 09-25-07, 07:51 AM   #11
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I had never even heard of those terms before!!! Thanks for the tip.

Thanks to all of you by the way. I really appreciate the help.
You've all helped to steer me in a good direction.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:03 AM   #12
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I had never even heard of those terms before!!! Thanks for the tip.

Thanks to all of you by the way. I really appreciate the help.
You've all helped to steer me in a good direction.
That Motobecane could be one heck of a bargain, and I think it would be very close to, if not an ideal size for you. Plenty of people would be happy with that frame, but as Picchio Special noted, you should have no trouble finding a better frame (quality-wise) given the price range you mentioned.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:09 AM   #13
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hrm....how do I know if a frame tube is butted?
like for instance, this one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/MOTOBECANE-LE-VE...QQcmdZViewItem
The auction doesn't say.

By the way, I apologize for asking so many questions. I'm just fascinated with classic bikes, and I'm trying to learn as much as possible!! and also, you guys are really nice. If I asked this many dumb noob questions over in the road bike forum, they'd all be laughing and criticising me for not knowing.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:10 AM   #14
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You can still find good deals on eBay, but the fixie crowd has been driving up the prices -- particularly for nice Italian steel frames with horizontal dropouts. You can sometimes actually get better deals on newer frames with vertical rear dropouts because they are more challenging to convert to fixies. Here are some other tips:

-- Know what size range will fit you, particularly the top tube and seat tube angle. If you don't know, then it might be worth your while to have a frame fit done by a good bike shop. Or at the least, fill out one of the various on-line fit calculators.
-- Keep an open mind. If you start out thinking you absolutely must have a Colnago, then you'll probably end up paying more. There are literally dozens of lesser-known brands that make excellent frames and often sell for lower prices.
-- Be persistent and check eBay every day. Deals come and go.
-- If you find a suitable frame with a reasonable "Buy it Now" price, jump on it. If the auction runs its course, the price will probably climb higher or you will get outbid.

Also, don't rule out some new steel TIG frames that sell for very reasonable prices, such as:
-- Soma Smoothie and ES, cost about $400 without fork.
-- Salsa Casseroll, about $450 with fork.
-- Surley (various models), about $300-400 with fork.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:22 AM   #15
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hrm....how do I know if a frame tube is butted?
like for instance, this one:
http://cgi.ebay.com/MOTOBECANE-LE-VE...QQcmdZViewItem
The auction doesn't say.
Now you're entering the murky waters of classic bicycle esoterica - congratulations. That frame is not only not butted, it's not cro-moly. Better quality frames are built with tubing that is made of chrome-molybdenum (cro-moly, cro-mo, chrome-moly for short) or manganese-molybdenum. You want something made with that level of tubing at least (made by the manufacturers USA Zorro already listed for you). Frames like the Motobecane you just linked to are made with lower quality carbon steel tubing commonly referred to as gaspipe. A frame tubing sticker will let you know what quality of tubing it is and whether or not its butted, once you know what to look for. The most common tubing types for higher-quality butted (double butted usually) frames are Reynolds 531, Columbus SL, Tange Prestige, Ishiwata 022, and Super Vitus 980. And there are others that are butted, including some lighter than those I listed (Reynolds 753, Ishiwata 019), and some good tubesets that are a bit heavier and stronger (Columbus SP, Tange No. 1).
To add to the confusion, Columbus SLX is generally considered to be higher-end than SL, but it actually weighs more. While Columbus Record, which is silly-light tubing, is actually straight gauge rather than butted.
By the way, when a tubeset is referred to as "butted" it means that it gets thicker as it gets closer to the end. "Double butted" is thicker at both ends. "Triple butted" means the thickeness at each end is different. "Straight gauge" tubing is of uniform thickness along the length of the tube.

Last edited by Picchio Special; 09-25-07 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:26 AM   #16
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Also, don't rule out some new steel TIG frames that sell for very reasonable prices, such as:
-- Soma Smoothie and ES, cost about $400 without fork.
-- Salsa Casseroll, about $450 with fork.
-- Surley (various models), about $300-400 with fork.
Not saying these aren't excellent frames. But the OP did mention that he feels there's "something special about an older road bike." One of those things is lugs.
(Apologies to those who love a good fillet-brazed bike, as I include myself in that category.)
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Old 09-25-07, 08:28 AM   #17
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If you really want a European marque, the best deals out there are the circa 1980 mixed tubeset upper mid-level frames, including, but not limited to, the Bianchi Campione d'Italia and the Peugeot PKN-10. These have the same double-butted chrome moly (e.g. Columbus) or manganese moly (e.g. Reynolds 531) main triangles as their high-end littermates, but ordinary carbon steel forks and/or stays. On the road, I defy anyone to tell the difference in ride quality or performance. You pay a weight penalty of less than 250 gm or about half a pound and you don't get the cache of owning a top-of-the-line thoroughbred, but you save a very significant amount of cash.

Otherwise, Treks and the better Japanese frames of that era are great options.
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Old 09-25-07, 08:51 AM   #18
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Also, if you're open to a bike with a mishmash of components, you can get a better deal. There's a 58 cm Colnago auction ending tonight that, at least last night, had no bids at $399.

Because it has a mixture of non-original components and because it's pink (dusty rose?) and from a less than prime era (1979 rather than 1972?), it seems like it will go for a very reasonable price. I don't know much about Colnagos but it seems like a great deal to me. May not be ideal for the collector but I bet that it's a great rider.

If I hadn't just bought another bike, I'd be putting a bid in tonight. The bay is blocked by my work filters, so I can't give you the link but a simple search should turn it up.
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Old 09-25-07, 09:09 AM   #19
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Now you're entering the murky waters of classic bicycle esoterica - congratulations. That frame is not only not butted, it's not cro-moly. Better quality frames are built with tubing that is made of chrome-molybdenum (cro-moly, cro-mo, chrome-moly for short) or manganese-molybdenum. You want something made with that level of tubing at least (made by the manufacturers USA Zorro already listed for you). Frames like the Motobecane you just linked to are made with lower quality carbon steel tubing commonly referred to as gaspipe. A frame tubing sticker will let you know what quality of tubing it is and whether or not its butted, once you know what to look for. The most common tubing types for higher-quality butted (double butted usually) frames are Reynolds 531, Columbus SL, Tange Prestige, Ishiwata 022, and Super Vitus 980. And there are others that are butted, including some lighter than those I listed (Reynolds 753, Ishiwata 019), and some good tubesets that are a bit heavier and stronger (Columbus SP, Tange No. 1).
To add to the confusion, Columbus SLX is generally considered to be higher-end than SL, but it actually weighs more. While Columbus Record, which is silly-light tubing, is actually straight gauge rather than butted.
By the way, when a tubeset is referred to as "butted" it means that it gets thicker as it gets closer to the end. "Double butted" is thicker at both ends. "Triple butted" means the thickeness at each end is different. "Straight gauge" tubing is of uniform thickness along the length of the tube.
Just to clarify, all the Vitus tubing variants that start with "9" indicate a good grade of steel. Ishiwata 025 is good too, as is True Temper 4130 (which is found on some 80's Treks and Schwinns), and also much of the "house brand" steel tubing that Fuji, Nishiki and Miyata used, and simply called Chrome Moly (often further qualified by "butted", "double butted", "triple butted", "splined triple butted", or "quad butted"), and steel versions of Fuji's "VaLite" tubing.
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Old 09-25-07, 09:09 AM   #20
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I had never even heard of those terms before!!! Thanks for the tip.

Thanks to all of you by the way. I really appreciate the help.
You've all helped to steer me in a good direction.

They are steering you onto the path of Ratto del pacchetto della bicicletta!!
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Old 09-25-07, 09:10 AM   #21
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They are steering you onto the path of Ratto del pacchetto della bicicletta!!
Like you wouldn't if we hadn't beaten you to it.
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Old 09-25-07, 09:11 AM   #22
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Also, if you're open to a bike with a mishmash of components, you can get a better deal. There's a 58 cm Colnago auction ending tonight that, at least last night, had no bids at $399.

Because it has a mixture of non-original components and because it's pink (dusty rose?) and from a less than prime era (1979 rather than 1972?), it seems like it will go for a very reasonable price. I don't know much about Colnagos but it seems like a great deal to me. May not be ideal for the collector but I bet that it's a great rider.

If I hadn't just bought another bike, I'd be putting a bid in tonight. The bay is blocked by my work filters, so I can't give you the link but a simple search should turn it up.
That bike does have one bid. It actually sold at that price before but was relisted. I'd pay that for it, definitely, dusty rose or not. But at 61 C-T it may be a little big for the OP(?) Especially given the amount of miles he plans to put on it - might be different if it was going to be an occasional weekend rider.

Last edited by Picchio Special; 09-25-07 at 09:21 AM.
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Old 09-25-07, 09:20 AM   #23
Picchio Special
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Originally Posted by USAZorro View Post
Just to clarify, all the Vitus tubing variants that start with "9" indicate a good grade of steel. Ishiwata 025 is good too, as is True Temper 4130 (which is found on some 80's Treks and Schwinns), and also much of the "house brand" steel tubing that Fuji, Nishiki and Miyata used, and simply called Chrome Moly (often further qualified by "butted", "double butted", "triple butted", "splined triple butted", or "quad butted"), and steel versions of Fuji's "VaLite" tubing.
And so far, we haven't even delved into the Reynolds 531 variants!

(Good tip re: Vitus, BTW, thanks)

One other tip is to ask about or look for seatpost size, as 27.2 is usually an indicator of quality tubing. Not a hard-and-fast rule, but can be helpful, especially where tubing decals have absented themselves from the frame, as they are wont to do. Lesser quality frames usually take smaller diameter seatposts.
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Old 09-25-07, 11:14 AM   #24
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Wow.
So must information have the masters of C&V. I am but young grasshopper. Grasshopper have mch to learn in the way of two wheeled magic machine.
Grasshopper bring you this bike. Also Puch like grasshopper currently ride.

http://cgi.ebay.com/PUCH-PACIFICA-AU...QQcmdZViewItem

No idea what metal it use, or if metal has butt? big butt? small butt? double butt (is that like a double chin, but from the rear?)
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Old 09-25-07, 12:29 PM   #25
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I have to say this is an awesome thread. There's a lot of information I wanted to know in here. Thanks OP for bringing it up and thanks for everyone that's replied. I'm in the same boat as op and i'm taking notes about this thread.

I have another question about the bike makers...I saw a good list of bikes and I like to be thorough so what other companies made quality bikes? Another name I haven't heard mentioned that I read about was Masi..but I hear they are expensive. I think Univega is suppose to be ok bikes but only their better line bikes are worth it.
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