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Old 07-10-09, 08:39 PM   #1
monkeydentity
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First Vintage Mixte purchase....which one??

Hi.

I am looking at 3 mixtes at a local bike shop.

for brevity...

1) below are 3 bikes that we are considering.
2) which one should we buy for a 20s athletic girl who wants a good, fast bike?
3) can you tell us anything about these bikes? (model/year/quality?)
4) is $250-300 too much to pay for any one of these?
5) would it be smarter to buy a non-stepthrough frame?

Here are pictures of the bikes, or pics i found that match the bikes at the shop:

1) pretty Fuji Absolute 4130(?) (real one has dropped bars)



2) Peugeot something-or-other(???)-will probably get dropped handle bars.


3) Raleigh Pursuit



Thanks for any help!!

Last edited by monkeydentity; 07-11-09 at 10:08 AM. Reason: simplified text
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Old 07-10-09, 09:01 PM   #2
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I would go for the Peugeot.
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Old 07-10-09, 09:08 PM   #3
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thanks for the comment! any particular reason?
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Old 07-10-09, 10:23 PM   #4
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bump for the edits
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Old 07-10-09, 11:57 PM   #5
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Oh Gosh, get that beautiful Peugeot!

Reasons: tradition, history, aesthetics.

French road bikes from the '70s are a notion onto themselves. The term "mixte" is a French one. They were great, elegant, had their own eccentricities, but also their own unique charm. And Peugeot was one of the best makers at the time.

Also, I happen to think that the specific Peugeot you are looking at is especially beautiful. Normally, I prefer the look of Motobecane over Peugeot, but this is an exception. Get in, fit it with a Brooks brown leather saddle and with cork grips, and you will have a true thing of beauty.
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Old 07-11-09, 02:16 AM   #6
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When purchasing a vintage bike, look for things like a bolt-on rear derailleur, cotterless cranks, alloy wheels, forged rear drop-outs, alloy seat-post, braze-ons for a water bottle, alloy handle bars, and a higher end component group.
Try to find a local woman's racing or riding club and see what they are using.
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Old 07-11-09, 03:11 AM   #7
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Regarding these points:

> 4) is $250-300 too much to pay for any one of these?

That depends entirely on what has been done to the bikes. If they are in 100% functional condition and have new tires, then the lower end of that range is fair. If no new tires, then the price is too high.


> 5) would it be smarter to buy a non-stepthrough frame?

That depends entirely on your lifestyle, way of dressing, aesthetic sensibility, and what you plan to use the bike for. So the question is, smarter for what? If you plan to use this bike exclusively for racing while wearing athletic clothing, then yes, consider a diamond frame. If you plan to use this bike for commuting, relaxed touring, riding in your regular clothes (including skirts and dresses), installing a rear rack and basket, etc., and if you appreciate easy mounting/dismounting, then the mixte is smarter. Also, some women prefer the graceful, "female" aesthetics of the mixte. So it is really up to you!
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Old 07-11-09, 10:06 AM   #8
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Well, she doesn't intend to race it....but doesn't intend to wear skirts while riding either. She is, however, a long-distance runner and when she rides, it's often pretty far. The point of getting the new bike is to try out the efficient and fast road bike that ought to perform better than her Schwinn Frontier hybrid (and do so with some class).

She really likes the step-through design, but after reading through the forums she's a bit worried that they aren't suited for hitting the 15-20 mile rolling trail she likes to ride.

any comments?

Also....I don't know what some of these parts are (bolt-on rear derailleur, cotterless cranks?). And, I cand go in and take a ton of pics and leave to post them on the net for a couple days.....any handfull of things I should look for that make the most difference?

Thanks a ton for the comments so far, you've all been very helpful!
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Old 07-11-09, 10:29 AM   #9
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those bikes should be fine for 20 mile rides when tuned -- are they all the same size? fit matters
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Old 07-11-09, 10:32 AM   #10
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... She really likes the step-through design, but after reading through the forums she's a bit worried that they aren't suited for hitting the 15-20 mile rolling trail she likes to ride.
That is a non-issue with the bikes you listed. Should be able to go multi-day touring on those mixtes with no problems.
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Old 07-11-09, 10:45 AM   #11
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One point I'd make is based on experience: I bought a Japanese Mixte for a girlfriend and after she complained about how slow it was during a long haul on the Coastal route, I fitted drop bars and she gained a *lot* more speed against head winds. On that basis I go with the Raleigh or the Fuji (which you say has drops and I assume 2 brakes), I think the Raleigh has slightly better tubing, but the Fuji is a very close 2nd, and are typically well-made. The Peugeot looks like it suffered fork damage, but maybe "they ALL do that"
Any will benefit from pedals with either clips/toestraps of a clipless pedal/shoe...or my favorite: the PowerGrip strap. (whatever she is comfortable with), maybe fit barcons, too (lose those stem shifters!)
In any case, a Mixte frame is a performance compromise: if she really is an athlete, she'll want to graduate to a diamond frame that fits.
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Old 07-11-09, 11:59 AM   #12
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those bikes should be fine for 20 mile rides when tuned -- are they all the same size? fit matters
The raleigh and the Peugeot are the same size and fit her fine. she hasn't tried the fuji, but will when we go back. there's also a schwinn varsity that looks like its from the 70s....not a mixte, but we didn't consider it...mistake?

I'm hearing that there's no huge difference between the reputations of these bikes? The peugeot wins for looks but the raleigh for the frame(is it enough to make a difference?)? The differences in comments so far seem to be such that there isn't an obvious winner....just whichever she feels best riding.

Are these, then, approximately equal level bikes? None of them are particularly notable or low-end?

thank you thank you thank you for the help....we're hoping to head over there this afternoon or tomorrow morning to pick one of them up-any more comments would be wonderful!
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Old 07-11-09, 12:07 PM   #13
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Go with the Peugeot if it's still available. I just think of the stereotypical mixte as being a Peugeot. If it's no longer available, I think the Fuji is a higher level bike, the Raleigh Pursuit is in the lower end of the Raleigh line (and I think made in Taiwan).
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Old 07-11-09, 12:16 PM   #14
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I am a bike n00b, but I JUST shopped for a nice mixte as you are, in my case for 18-y-o daughter.

Maybe those prices are reasonable for buying bikes that are perfect in every way from a great LBS, but that was a lot more than I was looking to spend on a 25 year old bike. I figured I should go out and try to find one myself.

Obviously my market is different from yours, but in the last two weeks or so I've seen 10 or 12 mixtes come up for sale on CL or eBay, all more or less in my area. There was a sweet Motobecane at $85 (eBay BIN, local pickup only), a Univega at $90, a rough French Follis at $40, a Peugeot that likely needed some work at $135, another Motobecane at $90 but from a CL seller suspected of being a thief! The two highest priced were yet another Motobecane at $250 from a 'shop' (or permanent garage sale) in a pretty gentrified neighborhood, and a Miyata at $260 recently turned into a fixie. The only one in a real LBS was a Raleigh Marathon for $150 that turned out to have a bent fork--we got out of that shop in a hurry.

Finally we have ended up with maybe the best of all, a 1986 Miyata in near-mint condition, from the original owner, which I snagged for $75 from southern Michigan with the help of CVer cb400Bill. I'll post up a pic of it in a separate thread.

Like I said I'm a noob but I've done a little work on our kids' MTBs and figured that if we found a basically sound mixte, I could do some tuning up if necessary, or take it to a reliable LBS. Besides hunting for the bike was fun and an education in itself---this forum is an incredible resource and people are extremely generous with time and information. If you go that route you may get lucky like we did and score a great bike at a great price. If you are willing to look a bit outside your immediate area, so much the better.

Here's one that is on the Chicago area CL right now, just listed as a 'Fuji Bicycle.' I find it tempting and I am not even 'looking' anymore!

http://chicago.craigslist.org/nch/bik/1264037017.html
Fuji Bicycle - $130 (Wilmette/Evanston/Skokie)

Reply to: sale-gjnnp-1264037017@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]
Date: 2009-07-10, 10:41PM CDT


This is a Fuji "Absolute" Bicycle with 26-inch tires and 12 speeds in excellent condition. Seat, tires and frame in new condition. $130. Can deliver if near. Please call or email me with questions. 847-251-4030

  • Location: Wilmette/Evanston/Skokie
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests



Good luck!

Last edited by Chicago Al; 07-29-09 at 07:35 AM. Reason: added link to awesome looking mixte!
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Old 07-11-09, 12:26 PM   #15
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there's also a schwinn varsity that looks like its from the 70s....not a mixte, but we didn't consider it...mistake?


I have a lot of fun with varsity builds, but it doesn't sound like the bike for her -- heavy, long bikes, designed to withstand cold war politics and 12 year old kids (and really old 12 year old kids like me)


Quote:
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The differences in comments so far seem to be such that there isn't an obvious winner....just whichever she feels best riding.
bingo
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Old 07-11-09, 12:28 PM   #16
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Based on your description for the rider, I would get a standard frame bike. For the price range you are talking about spending, you should be able to get a lot more bike for the money compared to these mixtes. These are all low end bikes, you should be able to find a mid range or above.

The challenge with mixtes is that it is really hard to find anything mid range or above, and the pricing for mixtes is high, compared to a similarly equipped road bike.

At the $250 mark, I would expect to get indexed shifting, Shimano 105 or better, good/very good cromoly frame, alloy crankset, spotless and ready to ride.

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Old 07-11-09, 12:39 PM   #17
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Based on your description for the rider, I would get a standard frame bike. For the price range you are talking about spending, you should be able to get a lot more bike for the money compared to these mixtes. These are all low end bikes, you should be able to find a mid range or above.

The challenge with mixtes is that it is really hard to find anything mid range or above, and the pricing for mixtes is high, compared to a similarly equipped road bike.

That really does get to the crux of the matter. I want a real road bike for her, something she can really fly on and fall in love with....and also be proud to own when she learns the history. I was bummed when I bought my 70 something Jeneut only to later find out that is was a very low end bike...and then it broke(twice). I really don't want to see $250 go away for a low end bike this time...so that's good info-thanks!

I'll forget about the Schwinn too. I took a look at CL and found a Motobecane that might be her size (or a bit too tall-we'll have to see) that might be a nice alternative??....http://lawrence.craigslist.org/bik/1254391980.html
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Old 07-11-09, 01:00 PM   #18
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That's an overpriced low end Motobecane.
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Old 07-11-09, 01:09 PM   #19
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That's an overpriced low end Motobecane.
wow, that easy huh? well thanks! There's a huge sale on bikes that need some work for $20 at another LBS:

http://lawrence.craigslist.org/bik/1260968496.html

maybe we can find something there.....
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Old 07-11-09, 01:13 PM   #20
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thanks for the comment! any particular reason?
Classic French bike - the others look cheap.
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Old 07-11-09, 01:39 PM   #21
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Yes, it is just that easy. Chrome wheels, cottered crank, stem shifters, turkey levers. Bottom end. Once you get an eye for it, you should be able to spot it immediately.

If you want a mid range vintage bike, you want alloy rims and crank, preferrably stainless spokes, cromoly frame (it will be labeled, just assume if it is unlabeled, that it is low end gas pipe), preferrably name brand tubing, good components, and so on.

If a bike is listed at $125, and it has been on C/L for a while, it is almost certain to be bottom end. The good deals go faster than that (but not always).
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Old 07-11-09, 02:29 PM   #22
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Turkey wings were on just about everything in the early- to mid-80s, until aero levers became popular.

My sis-in-law is in town and went on a breakfast ride with me this morning. If there was any way to get the old garbage-picked Fuji mixte that she rode, home to New York, she'd have it. There is something about the ride and look of a mixte. You either love it or you don't.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 07-11-09, 02:47 PM   #23
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Turkey wings were on just about everything in the early- to mid-80s, until aero levers became popular.

.
Agree, but turkey levers plus stem shifters plus steel chrome rims plus cottered crankset all together is the bottom for most brands. Any one characteristic by itself may not mean bottom end. All of them together, bingo.

Various pieces of this work up the ladder a tad, primarily the stem shifters and turkey levers. But if you want a way to quickly judge a picture, just look at those parts in total, and you will have a good guess as to quality.

Mixtes are great, I am building one for my wife right now. But I will be upgrading it significantly, as it came pretty basic. Fortunately, I have some parts in the bin I can pull out and I picked up the frame/work/crankset for $20.

$250 to $300 for lower end mixte just doesn't have the value IMHO.
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Old 07-11-09, 04:18 PM   #24
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The Verdict is In!

Thank you everyone for all your comments, tips etc!

We lokked at these and a few more bikes today, and while I had a whole bunch of great info for her, she really had to like what she was riding....and for that, the ole' butt test trumps all. I was pulling for the Peugeot but when she rode each bike there was one that rode more smoothly, responded more quickly, and resulted in the highest fun factor. The winner is, the Fuji!

It does have alloy wheels, a chromoly frame, new tires and port welds. I don't know enough about it to confirm more....if you do, please share! I'll be scrounging the forum for more info in the coming days....also will be looking for a rack and/or basket that accents the charm of the bike. Any help in these areas would be awesome!

Thanks again!
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Old 07-11-09, 04:30 PM   #25
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The Fuji might be the highest level bike of the three.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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