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Old 11-19-07, 05:16 PM   #1
Niles H.
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Which vintage bikes are a blast to ride?

Someone on another thread commented on how an old Univega that he found rides surprisingly well.

Are there other vintage bikes that are unusually responsive, or have surprisingly good ride qualities?
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Old 11-19-07, 05:29 PM   #2
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I have about 10 vintage bikes, and all of them have good ride qualities.

The two best (my estimation) are a 1972 Fuji Finest - which is a very plush ride, and a

1952 J.A. Holland - which is a very lively frame that is quite happy going up hills, even though I don't have the gearing completely fine-tuned. The liveliness is a little surprising, especially given that it also has a very plush ride - although that might have a lot to do with the tires I have on it, and the kind of loose spokes on the wheels I built.
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Old 11-19-07, 05:41 PM   #3
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I'm with USA-Z: I dump the vintage bikes that don't have good ride qualities (with the caveat that you want certain qualities for certain kinds of riding--you won't take a bike with skinny tubulars on a mountain trail). Cast out of the herd for that reason has been a Bridgestone XO-3, a 1972 Schwinn Super Sport (not yet sold, actually), a Raleigh Competition GS, and a few others I've forgotten about. I tend to flip bikes that are my size so that I at least have a chance to decide if they'll be keepers with ride qualities I find favorable.

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Old 11-19-07, 05:52 PM   #4
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What are you looking for?

An old Schwinn Collegiate has a 'plush' ride, and old Italian racer has a 'responsive' ride. 'Twix the two there are many bikes that ride 'well'.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:07 PM   #5
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For a quick, responsive ride, my Trek 660, full Ultegra with criterium geometry.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:11 PM   #6
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Love my Trek 660! I'd been riding it as a fixed gear but after I get it powder coated I'm going to hang a 9speed DA/Ultegra group on it (with NOS downtube shifters). Fast and responsive.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:43 PM   #7
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I believe the 660 was Trek's entre into international cycling competition. The 7-11 team rode them in at least one of the tours. I surprised that it seems to be under appreciated by collectors. I have a 1989 that I use as my workout bike. And, I just picked up a 1985 in excellent condition for $150.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:46 PM   #8
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What are you looking for?

An old Schwinn Collegiate has a 'plush' ride, and old Italian racer has a 'responsive' ride. 'Twix the two there are many bikes that ride 'well'.
One thing I am looking for is a bike that has an unusually responsive or exhilarating ride. (I also appreciate other ride qualities; but this is what I am aiming for in the next bike -- I have some very well-mannered bikes that are relaxing to ride; I am now looking for one that is agile, responsive, quick, invigorating -- as someone else put it, "THIS BIKE RIPS!" -- not necessarily faster in mph terms, but subjectively -- it feels fast -- as if the bike likes or wants to be ridden fast and aggressively -- as some bikes do.)

Last edited by Niles H.; 11-19-07 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:49 PM   #9
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"A workout bike" -- that's one way of putting it. Some bikes have that quality -- you get a workout without trying, in a sense. You just spontaneously ride them in a different way, and end up naturally getting a good, enjoyable, exhilarating workout in the process.

Last edited by Niles H.; 11-19-07 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:52 PM   #10
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Trek 560, extremely stable and rides like a dream to me. No handlebar wobble tendencies, nice firm responsive ride. Next is the Peugeot PH501, very similar to the 560 I imagine since both are 501 frames.
It's a little twitchy compared to the 560 though. I only rode it a short while but the 531 PX10 was my best bike yet. No twitch at all in the bars, and rides like only a Peugeot can. I just got a set of Campy/Matrix rims for it, I can only imagine how much sweeter the ride will be. Waiting on tires to come in.,,,,BD

Almost forgot the Voyageur 11.8! Man what a sweet smooth ride. Very relaxed style. Great for when you're just wanting to enjoy a ride rather than race.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:57 PM   #11
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I continue to marvel at how different the rides offered by my herd of 70's-80's bikes are. My current "blast" ride is an '82 Austro-Daimler Starleicht with all-'82 Dura-Ace, except the Sugino Aero Mighty cranks, and a Campy wheelset mounting Vittoria tubulars. It's the first bike I've ever had on which I feel completely comfortable opening it up all the way on the steepest, longest downhills; incredibly fast, smooth and stable.

When I have one of those dreams in which I can fly, that's just about what it feels like.

You can't beat that.
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Old 11-19-07, 06:57 PM   #12
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Niles H.

Find yourself a nice Italian steel bike. Start with one of the 'lesser' marques, and you may find a diamond in the rough. I've also found late 80's Japanese bikes to be decent, Panasonic with Tange #1 comes to mind, but there are many others out there.

An early Panasonic DX-4000 was the only bike I've ever regretted selling.
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Old 11-19-07, 07:41 PM   #13
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As far as a responsive ride, I love my Bertoni when I want to go fast. Mind you that's not very often, but every now and then I get that urge. It accelerates like a bullet compared to my other bikes (though I'm sure that is largely aided by the modern drivetrain and shifters.) and I have never come close to pushing it to it's limits. I've taken 90 degree turns at just under 30 mph without a hint of trouble, and I'm afraid to try anything faster. It's also relatively plush, for a "racing" bike. However, my brother has an early '80s Colnago and I think it is livelier than my Bertoni. It feels like it may have a slightly steeper head angle, because it has extremely quick steering. Almost too much at times. I've watched my brother easily take a sweeping 90 degree turn at 36 mph as if it were the easiest thing in the world, and he said the bike felt like it could easily do more if it were possible for a person to reach a faster speed at that particular spot. To be honest, I don't ride my "fast" bikes very often anymore, as my riding style and taste in bikes has changed. Also, my Nishiki is a nice mix between a race bike and a touring bike. It's great for just cruising along and has rack and fender mounts, but it is also capable of some fairly impressive handling feats, as well. It has given me a greater appreciation for the '80s Japanese bikes that many people overlook.
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Old 11-19-07, 07:43 PM   #14
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My vintage 88' Marinoni is a fun bike to ride.
The previous owner called it " a nervous little bike" when I bought it, but to me its pure fun.
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Old 11-19-07, 08:25 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
One thing I am looking for is a bike that has an unusually responsive or exhilarating ride. (I also appreciate other ride qualities; but this is what I am aiming for in the next bike -- I have some very well-mannered bikes that are relaxing to ride; I am now looking for one that is agile, responsive, quick, invigorating -- as someone else put it, "THIS BIKE RIPS!" -- not necessarily faster in mph terms, but subjectively -- it feels fast -- as if the bike likes or wants to be ridden fast and aggressively -- as some bikes do.)

You want something light, stiff, and hence, expensive. Look for Columbus, Reynolds, Tange tubing; the higher grade the better. Aggressive geometry, narrow tires at max air pressure.
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Old 11-19-07, 08:34 PM   #16
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Find yourself a nice Italian steel bike. Start with one of the 'lesser' marques, and you may find a diamond in the rough.
Amen on that thought. My Rossin is my favorite vintage steed when I want to go out and scream. Once I have the Raleigh Gran Prix sorted out in it's current incarnation, I'll be looking for another Italian frame (preferably another Rossin) in my size to transfer everything over.
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Old 11-19-07, 08:37 PM   #17
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I've tried to respond to this thread 3 times with different opinions and examples each time. It's so damn subjective. If you are looking for something you haven't tried before in steel look for vintage 531 with criterium geometry or 753, think high end raleigh and trek from the early 80s. I think 531 feels noticeably different from chromoly while SL and SP which is marketed as "Nivacrom steel" or something does not feel that much different from 4130.
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Old 11-19-07, 08:43 PM   #18
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An old ornate Mercian Vincintore !!!!
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Old 11-19-07, 09:43 PM   #19
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Its all pretty subjective. I have never ridden a Pinarello that I didn't like. Speedy, consistent, good climber, good descender. "...vertically stiff, but laterally compliant..."

heh.
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Old 11-19-07, 10:09 PM   #20
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I love my '85 Trek. I can't identify the model, maybe a 300, but it is lugged 531 steel, retrofit with Campy wheels, brakes, hubs, dérailleurs, Ergo Power brifters. Very responsive, and rides better than my 2006 Trek 1000 aluminum. Part of it may be the 28mm UltraSport tires. Thanks again, Ryan!
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Old 11-20-07, 07:20 AM   #21
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My '79 Trek 710 has a great ride. I have converted it to 7 spd cassette and triple chainring with 700c rims and tires. I found a set of wheels with 105 hubs and it will coast forever, even better than my LeMond.
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Old 11-20-07, 08:20 AM   #22
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+1 for the Japanese roadies. 1988 Nishiki Modulus, Kawamura CrMo frame, Ultegra 6500 build set, 700 x 25. Quick,responsive and fun to ride. Lp
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Old 11-20-07, 08:53 AM   #23
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I believe the 660 was Trek's entre into international cycling competition. The 7-11 team rode them in at least one of the tours. I surprised that it seems to be under appreciated by collectors. I have a 1989 that I use as my workout bike. And, I just picked up a 1985 in excellent condition for $150.
Trek sponsored the 7-Eleven women's team for a a few years circa 1983-84. They never sponsored the 7-Eleven men's team, which therefore didn't ride Treks in the Tour. Trek did sponsor the U.S. Postal Team beginning in 1996.
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Old 11-20-07, 08:54 AM   #24
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ca. 1960 Capo: With its long chainstays, 72-degree frame angles, generous tire clearances, and moderate fork rake, this is a superb bike for any long ride, particularly one with a few bumps. The ride is smooth, stable, and comfortable, but the bike is still light and quick enough to feel sporty. This frame was engineered by a retired Austro-Bohemian bicycle racer, Otto Cap, back when the Tour de France was still run over cobblestones. With 700Cx28 clinchers or some fat touring tubulars, the bike is great for anything except heavily loaded touring or hard sprinting, either of which emphasizes its only real weakness, its lateral flexibility.

ca. 1980 Bianchi: What a difference two decades makes. This race-bred frame geometry, though relaxed by current standards, results in a noticeably stiffer ride. Predictably, this frame enables the rider to climb and to sprint efficiently, but one does feel the bumps on a long ride. Perhaps the problem is in the rider rather than the machine, but, particularly in a crosswind, I feel noticeably less stable on this bike than on the Capo. I tend to keep my hands on the drops, and I am considering switching from downtube levers to barcons to make myself feel more confident.

ca. 1980 Peugeot PKN-10: My beloved "Goldilocks" frameset, an outstanding compromise between the Capo and the Bianchi. Stiff and efficient, it is still resilient, stable, and comfortable. Unfortunately, it is also 2 cm too tall for me, so I gave it to my elder son, who seems to be getting good use out of it. It can take real 700Cx28 tires (the Bianchi can take 700Cx28 Continentals, but these measure about 25mm), which are my preferred size for general purpose road cycling.

My bottom line recommendation would be to consider a late 1970s or early 1980s Peugeot PX-10, or, if you are of Scots descent or otherwise value-conscious, a PR-10 / PKN-10.
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Old 11-20-07, 08:57 AM   #25
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I have had a couple miyatas. That all seemed to ride nice even the low end stuff. Just sold a centurian elite that road great. Miyate 916 was super also
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