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Old 06-21-09, 09:49 PM   #1
EraserGirl
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Your ideal bike

I only got into bikes last year...sure before that i HAD a bike, but i hadn't gotten 'into' bikes. I hadn't looked at bikes the same way I do now. Last summer I dragged my bike out of the barn and started using it regularly. 'MY' bike 'Daisy' is a '69 Armstrong 3-speed, and if i wanted to keep using it, I needed to learn how to tune it and keep it in good repair myself. It was too expensive to pay someone else to do it.

Personally, I think a 3-speed is a good bike to learn your ass from a hot rock, you can just about dope it out alone. If something is too tight loosen it, if something is too loose tighten it, keep fiddling with it until you find the perfect balance for THAT bike. The Sturmey Archer internal hub is a masterpiece of design, unless there is something blatantly wrong with it, you may never need to open it. All it demands is a little oil now and then.

Last year I acquired about 2 dozen bikes, a lotta Schwinns, a few named Raleighs and quite a number of 'other' bikes - all sorts, whatever was cheap and plentiful. I tried to learn what was junk and what was worth my time, I am STILL learning. I also found i had and have no interest in racing or mt bikes, and that I will never learn everything there is to know about bikes. I decided to narrow my focus and get really good at what interested me.

I decided that my ideal bike is the English Road bike, preferably with a Sturmey Archer hub. When I look at one, I SEE a bike, when I look at anything else I only see a variation on it. A Raleigh made bike will catch my eye from a mile away or in the background of an image. I can even pick one out from a pile of other bikes, and not even notice what else is in the pile. I can patiently remove rust, happily humming away for hours, whereas I get seriously impatient after only a few minutes with any other bike.

I still pick up the odd Schwinn and perhaps a couple of other reasonable road or commuter bikes, but that's just for money. I don't tackle those bikes with anything near the joy I feel scraping the rust off a Raleigh 3-speed. I can easily put many more hours of labor into one of these than what it is worth to resell it. When I am done I can rock back on my heels and can be so happy with how it turned out, that I just like looking at it.

I think I'm gonna stick with my bike of choice.

Anyone else have an 'ideal' bike?

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Old 06-22-09, 05:36 AM   #2
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I too like the 80's 12 speed bikes. They are lightweight, and cheap to purchase. Friction shifting just adds to the simplicity of it all!
If I had to pick an ideal bike, it would be any bike purchased for $20 and very little or nothing invested in it to get it on the road. As long as it is not a money pit, I am happy.
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Old 06-22-09, 06:48 AM   #3
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Erasergurl, nice to see you, and that you're still doing the Mombike gig!

I don't think I have an ideal bike. I'm branching out from friction and 3-speed only to learn to tune Shimano and Campy indexing. I guess one thing that always draws me is tubulars (I know, not on 3-speeds!).
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Old 06-22-09, 08:29 AM   #4
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My ideal road bike:
at least 12 gears;
friction shift, downtube or barcons;
steel frame with fast touring (somewhat relaxed) geometry;
tensioned leather saddle (e.g. Brooks Pro);

I think I'm there, with the Bianchi for climbs and sprints, the Capo for long rides, and the Peugeot for theft-resistant transportation.
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Old 06-22-09, 12:28 PM   #5
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I have different ideal bikes based on use

for touring/randonneuring either a
Ahearn Giuseppe Randonneur


or a René Herse


I think I've got my ideal road bike (steel Casati Laser) but for pure vintage "dress in tweed" fun I'd love to work with a Caminade




I really like unusual bike makes and handmade craftsmanship. Italian, French, English are my preferred countries of origin. I'll splash out on the extra cost because it's usually worth it. You get quality construction, individualism, and enduring style. My current road bike was worth it - amazingly tight clearances, super nimble handling, climbs like a mountain goat, extremely light for steel, great paint job, and a heritage in a small shop. Plus, I haven't seen another one in the city.
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Old 06-22-09, 12:58 PM   #6
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I don't have an ideal bike...I have ideal bikes for different purposes and it would be a long list. At this time I don't have any that fit the bill even though I have tons of bikes.
What I think would be my ideal (even though everytime I build what I think would be ideal I'm dissapointed).
)MTB: Polished GT Zaskar with an eclectic mix of hand picked components like Bullseye, Kooka, Proshift, Topline. etc...
)Road: A handmade just for me steel frame from an American builder with an eclectic mix of hand picked components like Stronglight, Simplex, Campagnolo, Mavic, Hi-E, Pino Moronni, etc...
)City: Fixed gear with a semi upright seating position. Full alloy fenders, inversed levers, Brooks, high flange hubs on tubular hoops, etc...
)Folder: A Raleigh with a Sturmey AW for taking on the train.

I could keep going...The list changes daily.
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Old 06-22-09, 01:36 PM   #7
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I've had at least a dozen Raleigh 3 speeds. I get them for $0-$50. I spend 2 or 3 or sometimes 4 hours cleaning and tuning and sell them for $100-$125. I feel like I've done an honest days work and the buyer is getting a bike that has had every bearing cleaned, inspected and lubed. Good for another 50 years.
If the bike is a total junker, I put all of the usefull parts in a box and save them for the next bike. I rarely have to go to the store for parts any more.
For my rider, I've got a Raleigh Supercourse. I've picked picked up several 10 speeds, including high end Schwinns and Treks. They don't match the fun level of that dumpster dive Supercourse so I flip them. Maybe someday I'll find one that I like better.
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Old 06-22-09, 07:39 PM   #8
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I'm glad that you're getting so much enjoyment out of your bike. To me that's the key to this whole thing.
For me though, I like Merckx if only because Eddy made it.
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Old 06-22-09, 07:49 PM   #9
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I know, it's not vintage. But I'm getting A LOT of enjoyment out of my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Sure, there are better bikes. But it does what I need it too, and it's surprisingly fun to ride. Sure, it doesn't feel like it's gonna shoot out from under me like my Panasonic does, but being able to go damn near anywhere I want to on a bicycle is a great thing. I have a different feel of confidence on that bike. It's a good thing. I feel, when I'm on my Panasonic, that people are like "Roadie" and I don't get any respect. But when I look all fred on my Surly, I seem to get room, and acknowledgment that I'm an actual human, and not some annoying little turd in the road.
Though my Panasonic is still a blast to ride, it's not the same as my Surly.
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Old 06-22-09, 08:20 PM   #10
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I know, it's not vintage. But I'm getting A LOT of enjoyment out of my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Sure, there are better bikes. But it does what I need it too, and it's surprisingly fun to ride. Sure, it doesn't feel like it's gonna shoot out from under me like my Panasonic does, but being able to go damn near anywhere I want to on a bicycle is a great thing. I have a different feel of confidence on that bike. It's a good thing. I feel, when I'm on my Panasonic, that people are like "Roadie" and I don't get any respect. But when I look all fred on my Surly, I seem to get room, and acknowledgment that I'm an actual human, and not some annoying little turd in the road.
Though my Panasonic is still a blast to ride, it's not the same as my Surly.
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The joy is gone from mine. Something about failing to complete a 200k brevet on my 35 pound steed, and cramping while going up hills within the first 25 miles can change one's attitude. Haven't been on the beast since then.

I have to say there is no singular "ideal" bicycle. I'm in the "bicycles for occasions" camp. I'm pretty happy with what I have now (Surly LHT notwithstanding). Perhaps my favorite all-around is my Fuji - which is back in favor after getting a crankset that permits smaller chainrings.
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Old 06-22-09, 08:54 PM   #11
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I really love the old French made bikes - both because of their styling, and because of the attitude surrounding them, that sort of "well, I build bikes, but pfff, maybe today I will build it differently than yesterday, because ha, I am French. Also, as a country we will make most of our pieces differently than the rest of the world, because they are French pieces" It's an idiosynchratic character thing, I suppose. Also, I particularly love (and desire! if anyone out there is selling...) Urago bikes, because A) they are beautiful, and B) their badge looks like this:



Now, I know that it's referring to Nice as the location that it was built, but really, it just looks like it's that guy saying "Urago! Nice!", which I find deeply satisfying and really, really hilarious for some reason.
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Old 06-22-09, 09:07 PM   #12
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Old 06-22-09, 09:09 PM   #13
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I've had a lot of fun acquiring a few 80's road bikes, but I'm still searching for my ideal vintage road bike.
My ideal MUP rider is still that old 88 Nishiki Ariel MTB, the first bike I bought when I returned to cycling four years ago. Two 2002 Trek MTBs came my way recently but they can't touch the Ariel for the comfort and ride that old chromoly steel frame provides.
As for a mountain bike, I tried some vintage MTBs, the only one that comes close to the new bikes is the 92 Nishiki Ariel, with elevated chain stay.
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Old 06-22-09, 09:57 PM   #14
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That's always a hard question but I definitely lean toward mid-80's French (Peugeot or Gitane) 12 spd Super Vitus steel frame bikes. I've had three and love the ride and feel of these machines.
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Old 06-23-09, 09:10 AM   #15
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I think another way of asking since there really is no ideal is if you were to take a bike along on a three-hour tour and the tiny ship was tossed, what would you like a-ground on the shore?

Not limited to vintage, a Moots Psychlo-X in full SRAM XX. Vintage: Davidson Signature modified with Record 10
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Old 06-23-09, 09:27 AM   #16
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The joy is gone from mine. Something about failing to complete a 200k brevet on my 35 pound steed, and cramping while going up hills within the first 25 miles can change one's attitude. Haven't been on the beast since then.

I have to say there is no singular "ideal" bicycle. I'm in the "bicycles for occasions" camp. I'm pretty happy with what I have now (Surly LHT notwithstanding). Perhaps my favorite all-around is my Fuji - which is back in favor after getting a crankset that permits smaller chainrings.
As a favor to a fellow C&V member, I can come take that monstrosity off your hands. I hate to think of your LHT mocking you!!!

I must admit that your experience makes me a little glad that I spotted my 1986 Voyageur when I was looking for a touring frame. It is pretty much my ideal bike at the moment. After building up the way I wanted it, and modernizing the drive train. I saw my Voyageur frame as a preferable alternative frame to the LHT to base my build on. What's not to like about lugged Columbus steel, even if it isn't high end Columbus steel.

I actually was watching another one on Ebay recently but it went for too much. If it had stayed reasonable, I was considering buying it and keeping it in the stable with vintage components for when I want to ride a vintage touring bike.
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Old 06-23-09, 09:51 AM   #17
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I like different bikes for different things, but in general I like slack head tube and seat tube angles, fancy detail cut lugs, sprung leather saddles and English bikes, especially Raleigh's...I own two but I want more!
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Old 06-23-09, 11:36 AM   #18
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I think another way of asking since there really is no ideal is if you were to take a bike along on a three-hour tour and the tiny ship was tossed, what would you like a-ground on the shore?
oh, in that case I'd prefer this bike

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Old 06-23-09, 01:52 PM   #19
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I don't have an ideal bike yet, but I think I'll know it when I ride it. I still have my Armstrong though and I won't get rid of it until I'm able to fix the rear rim and find a rider who is the right size and would cherish this special piece of history like I do. I'm glad to see you're still riding with your Armstrong, it's a special bike.
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Old 06-23-09, 07:43 PM   #20
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Recently, I've been telling myself, "If I don't ride it, it's not ideal. So find someone who will!" I've been successful in finding new homes for three bikes this past winter and spring. It felt good finding someone who would really enjoy them and paid a fair price. I also gave away another 1/2 dozen, and that felt really good!

Ideal for me? I have a soft spot for fillet brazed joints.

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Old 06-23-09, 09:30 PM   #21
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[QUOTE=Casrider;9152159]oh, in that case I'd prefer this bike

I was thinking something more like this...

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Old 06-24-09, 11:52 AM   #22
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"I was thinking something more like this..."


Now with Gilligan's Island in mind, I myself am thinking something more like this...


Tina Louise...yea, baby, yea!!!
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Old 06-24-09, 08:39 PM   #23
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I'm a little like Amani576. I have bikes I really like and like to ride, but an ideal bike sometimes is not the prima donna ride, or even the sport model, but the Chevy Impala of your stable.

Lately, my wife has discovered shifting a mountain bike can make it easier to ride, and taken my GT as hers. This led me to ride her 2x5 1988 Raleigh Horizon, friction thumb shifters, 401 steel frame, chrome wheels. It's smooth as silk, solid, shifts quietly and has a great gearing range.

I could ride it on a century at 13-14 mph comfortably, push it to 25 if I wanted to check local EMS response times, and replace the wearable parts from WalMart (gag). Yeah, it's kind of an ideal bike.
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