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Old 12-27-07, 06:26 PM   #1
Tujunga Kid
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Older road bikes worth rehabilitating

Hello, guys -

I'm coming to the end of a two-year Raleigh Sports love affair and I find myself becoming interested in older road bikes, of which I'm rather ingnorant.

I'd like to find a 1970s-ish garage sale "10-speed" that I could spend some time rehabilitating, but I don't know which old road bikes would be worth putting time and money into; maybe something European.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Mark in Tujunga
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Old 12-27-07, 06:37 PM   #2
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Well if you're going to ride it most bikes will be worth working on. But you will want to find a bike that is your size. Easy sizing is standover height, you're want about and inch or two of clearance when you stand over the top tube, even though it doesn't have to be exact and it varies with personal preference.
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Old 12-27-07, 06:55 PM   #3
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Ah, I remember those days.

Best advice: worry about fit foremost
Next best advice: at first just find something that will work fine for you, then with the pressure off you can wait for the special one to come along

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Old 12-27-07, 08:22 PM   #4
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I concur that fit is the single most important aspect of any bicycle. Next is suitability to your application (club riding? commuting? transportation? beach crusing?).
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Old 12-28-07, 10:22 PM   #5
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Personally, I like '80's bikes, because I like the quality of the Shimano and SunTour drivetrains and components from that era.

French-made bikes had a big market share in the USA during the 1970's, but use parts that often are NOT interchangeable with non-French parts. So, I were to buy a '70's bike, my first choice would be something with a Reynolds 531 frame and fork and all Campy parts. On my list of things to buy when I win the lottery is a 1976 Schwinn Paramount...Reynolds, Campy, and American craftsmanship. Anyone know what number to buy for tomorrow's lotto?
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Old 12-28-07, 10:41 PM   #6
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Personally, I like '80's bikes, because I like the quality of the Shimano and SunTour drivetrains and components from that era.

French-made bikes had a big market share in the USA during the 1970's, but use parts that often are NOT interchangeable with non-French parts. So, I were to buy a '70's bike, my first choice would be something with a Reynolds 531 frame and fork and all Campy parts. On my list of things to buy when I win the lottery is a 1976 Schwinn Paramount...Reynolds, Campy, and American craftsmanship. Anyone know what number to buy for tomorrow's lotto?
Some of the 80's treks are really nice too. I just bought a 531 trek 760. Nice bike
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Old 12-28-07, 10:57 PM   #7
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Best advice I can offer, besides finding a bike that fits, is to understand that the second bike you build will truly be THE one. In other words, have fun with the first but don't pressure yourself to make it perfect. Learn what you like and think about the bike as a whole as opposed to the sum of its parts.

And don't be afraid to ask for help....

Good luck.

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Old 12-28-07, 11:34 PM   #8
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And sometimes it's the 15th, or 20th.....
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Old 12-29-07, 01:50 PM   #9
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If I hadn't already resuscitated an 85 Trek 400 I'd be calling dibs on the blue rustbucket in the Pay It Forward thread.
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Old 12-29-07, 02:06 PM   #10
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If you are going to build a suitable vintage bicycle it could be costly or economical. It all depends on your desires. A good starting point for affordable vintage components is Shimano 600/Suntour Cyclone.. They are very good units and last quite awhile. I would go to a reputable shop and get a fitting done.

Stand over height is important to some degree but should not be the be all end all of fit. I have one bike with very little clearance over my privates but the top tube length fits perfect. Do not simple straddle over a bike and call it too big or too small. Some bikes have short seat tubes and longish top tubes.

My personal favorite for the budget minded vintage bicycle enthusiast are the tre tubi columbus Schwinn Tenax frames. They aren't the most beautiful in terms of lugs but weight and ride quality is pretty damn good.

Look for Reynolds 531 tubing decals or Columbus decals...Get a brooks saddle...Maybe get some tubulars if you are willing to do a little extra work. The value of old sew up rims seems to be pretty low. For the fraction of the cost of a low spoke weight weenie wheel you can get nearly the same weight with better durability...
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Old 12-29-07, 02:53 PM   #11
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Do you have a budjet in mind? How fast do you want it? You can wint up paying a couple hundred with the buy then parts plus labor or if you take your time and look in at the thrift stores , yard sales, auction, metal yards and just keep an eye out when you drive. If luck shines you can get a who knows for next to nothing. Its all over the map without knowing the budget. And it is nice to see every one agrees , it needs to fit and you need to like it.
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Old 12-29-07, 06:40 PM   #12
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I have built up bikes in the past, primarily Asian touring machines, so I appreciate getting a frame that fits.

In the research I've done since this last post, it appears 70's and 80's French bike are something like what I"m looking for in terms of quality and price, like Gitane, Motobecane, Peugeot. However, I am concerned about the French non-interchangeabilty of parts. Are parts of this vintage readily available on eBay, etc.?

I know I'm jumping the gun, I ought to do several months of research/worship, I just thought, hey, If I happen to see something at a garage sale, what's a reasonable model to give a second look to.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old 12-29-07, 08:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
Personally, I like '80's bikes, because I like the quality of the Shimano and SunTour drivetrains and components from that era.

French-made bikes had a big market share in the USA during the 1970's, but use parts that often are NOT interchangeable with non-French parts. So, I were to buy a '70's bike, my first choice would be something with a Reynolds 531 frame and fork and all Campy parts. On my list of things to buy when I win the lottery is a 1976 Schwinn Paramount...Reynolds, Campy, and American craftsmanship. Anyone know what number to buy for tomorrow's lotto?
+1, I like the 80's bikes as well. Personally, I like 12 speed and I like the ride of a butted, chromoly frame that is much more common on 80's bikes.
To the OP, each area of the country is different when it comes to finding older bikes. In my area, yard sales are by far the best way to go, in other areas, thrift shops are the best. As for finding that special bike, in three years I've found two bikes at yard sales that could be called "special" that were my size, a Trek 560 and a Woodrup with Reynolds 531. (I go to no less than 10 yard sales each weekend, about 45 weekends per year). It's not easy. But finding an entry level bike that's my size can usually be accomplished in a month or two.
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Old 12-30-07, 02:11 AM   #14
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Just research it on a per-bike basis, and you can determine plenty from the tubing and the components.
Telling you every bike that might be worth building is not going to happen.
But for example, this is a decent bike that's made in the 80's, and even though it's cheap and was on the lower end when it was made, it's still better than most of the stuff of the 70s:
Fuji Espree TB VALITE JAPAN Road Bike Bicycle 53 cm
I have this model and it's nice.
Also I think there's a thread that generally shows how good a bike it.

Last edited by mastershake916; 12-30-07 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 12-30-07, 08:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Tujunga Kid View Post
I have built up bikes in the past, primarily Asian touring machines, so I appreciate getting a frame that fits.

In the research I've done since this last post, it appears 70's and 80's French bike are something like what I"m looking for in terms of quality and price, like Gitane, Motobecane, Peugeot. However, I am concerned about the French non-interchangeabilty of parts. Are parts of this vintage readily available on eBay, etc.?

I know I'm jumping the gun, I ought to do several months of research/worship, I just thought, hey, If I happen to see something at a garage sale, what's a reasonable model to give a second look to.

Thanks,

Mark
There are some safe bets that, assuming it fits you and is in good nick, are usually worth jumping on. Raleigh, Peugeot and Gitane automatically fall in the category. If you're looking for something a bit less common, any of the Dutch or Belgian marques were very competent in the low-price category. Something about those two nation's products always gave me the feeling that they took the concept of a cheap bike a bit more seriously than their neighbors. Want to go Italian? I'd always feel reasonably safe looking at an Atala, and have good memories of them when they were new (I worked for an Atala/Fuji dealer for a short while).

My big discovery this year is to NEVER underestimate a Peugeot UO-8. I picked mine up more to keep it from further deteriorating in the seller's back yard than any real need for another bike. It's turned into one of my favorite riders, definitely the best cheap bike I've ever ridden.

French interchangeability: I've always felt this is a non-issue, once you get used to the differences. If you can reuse the headset and bottom bracket cups, there's nothing to worry about. If not, replacements are out there. Yeah, it'll take a bit more looking than comparable English-threaded components, but the operative words there are 'a bit more'. There's lots of parts out there.
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