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Old 08-13-09, 10:49 PM   #1
annod
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vintage bike for commuting (or vintage "style" new bike)

Hi,

I want start commuting my 7.5 one-way route regularly. Commute will including some long stretch of slight slopes (from Oakland to Berkeley), very rough, uneven streets with lots of potholes , lots of traffic. Occasional steep hills to climb.
I have to carry grocery/ heavy books/laptop +a Kryptonite U-lock regularly. Also, i live in Oakland, so there is rainy season. So fenders, eyelets for racks a must.

I had a Bianchi Brava but sold it because it couldn't take fenders, and I didn't like bending over so much, and also how unstable it was when I have heavy things on top of the rear rack.

Now I ride a Dahon 20" folder (speed P8), which is a chore when riding uphill with a lot of stuff and long distance on rough roads.

I would like a step-thru frame, north-road handlebars, upright geometry (7-8 speed at least) racks/ fenders, relatively light, comfortable...Doesn't need to be super fast like a true road bike, but definitely faster and more comfortable than my current Dahon Speed P8 for my commute.

I love the vintage english racer bikes look and geometry, but with more gears...

I would like to spend <$500-$600. I was considering the new "commuter" bikes inspired by the vintage bikes. I like the look/specs of the Trek Allant WSD, which is available in my LBS for $499 with lifetime free (minor) adjustments.

Then I thought: maybe I can save some money if I buy a vintage bike (like the schwinn Breeze/world voyager). A good condition one in my area runs $200-$300. But since I don't know how to fix anything on a bike besides a flat, will getting a vintage bike end up costing me more because of hard-to-find parts, etc. Are they also heavier?

Please let me know the pros and cons of getting a true vintage bike vs. a vintage style new commuter bike.

Thanks a lot.
Donna
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Old 08-14-09, 09:23 AM   #2
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old schwinns (electroforged) are heavy as hell, with heavier than hell components


a well tuned one gives a terrific ride, though



old Raleighs tend to be lighter than Schwinns, and nearly as easy to find




replacement parts are fairly easy to find for either, for most things
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Old 08-14-09, 09:31 AM   #3
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niagaracycle.com has low prices on cheap-to-middling parts.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:07 PM   #4
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If you don't mind derailleur gearing, then you've got lots of choices. The Trek Allant WSD looks pretty good; it'll definitely be much lighter than a comparable '60s/'70s derailleur bike like a Schwinn Suburban or Raleigh Sprite. On the other hand, vintage friction shifting systems are much simpler and easier to maintain than the current index shifting systems. And then there's theft: while any bike can get stolen, a new one definitely asks for it. You didn't say how much you want to spend, but you could probably get a nice vintage bike for less than half the price of the Allant, even in the Bay Area.

If you'd prefer an internal hub gear (which would allow you to use a full chain enclosure like the Hebie Chainglider, protecting your skirt/pants), the word seems to be that the Rohloff hub shifts more smoothly and is more reliable than the Shimano Nexus 7/8 speeds, but it's also way more expensive. Haven't tried them myself, so this is pure hearsay.

Me, I can't afford any of the new internal hubs, but I'm planning the best of both worlds, I hope: an '80s Japanese steel touring frame with a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub, Hebie Chainglider, and moustache bars. Gotta get all the parts together and actually build it. You might look around for someone who'd build you exactly what you want -- in many cases, a custom vintage build-up will still cost less than a new bike.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:10 PM   #5
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Sorry, you did say how much you want to spend. Read, boy, read.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:22 PM   #6
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I commute 8 miles each way daily on a '71 and '72 Schwinn Continental. I love it, very simple to maintain, durable, and parts are cheap and easy to get. You can use one of these and add fenders, or if you like upright handlebars, get a Suburban that already has fenders.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:25 PM   #7
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Hi Donna,

My recommendation would be to look for a new 'retro' styled bike rather than buying a true vintage bike. If your primary concern is performance and low maintenance a newer bike might be the best fit, especially if the shop is offering free life time tune-ups. I think a lot of us interested in vintage bikes are also gearheads, and part of the fun is building and riding a bike you put together yourself.

I don't mean to suggest vintage bikes require more maintance than modern bikes, which they don't, but they're often bikes that have decades of deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed before they're roadworthy.

Of course there's always the possiblility of a prestine vintage bike that meets your needs turning up, but searching can take awhile. That's time better spent riding .

Just my opinion.

Cheers
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Old 08-14-09, 01:28 PM   #8
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A nice 70's Schwinn Sport Tourer would suit your needs, They are fillet brazed Chro-Mo so are lighter than most electro forged Schwinns, they are (like all vintage Schwinns) built to last, they will most certainly out last any newer bike you may buy.
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Old 08-14-09, 01:30 PM   #9
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^+1, vintage is great but it does usually mean a good deal of labor. If you have the know-how or patience to learn you can really save yourself a lot of money. Of course in the beginning you will be buying tools and everything so it still adds up very fast.

Have you seen the new retro styled Schwinns? I have never ridden one but sort of like the idea and 400.00 seems to be ok. Even though they are entry level I bet they outperform a Vintage Schwinn breeze any day. The have most of what you could want on a entry commuter, fenders, rack and easy gearing and a bit of style.

This is the Schwinn "Jenny"
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Old 08-14-09, 01:36 PM   #10
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^+1, vintage is great but it does usually mean a good deal of labor. If you have the know-how or patience to learn you can really save yourself a lot of money. Of course in the beginning you will be buying tools and everything so it still adds up very fast.

Have you seen the new retro styled Schwinns? I have never ridden one but sort of like the idea and 400.00 seems to be ok. Even though they are entry level I bet they outperform a Vintage Schwinn breeze any day. The have most of what you could want on a entry commuter, fenders, rack and easy gearing and a bit of style.

This is the Schwinn "Jenny"
Don't do it! you'll be lucky if that bike last you a few years! It's nothing but a Pacific Cycles bike in disguise!

EDIT! Nothing personal mkeller234!
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Old 08-14-09, 01:51 PM   #11
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Old Schwinns are tough to pedal, but nothing is more durable and reliable. I've been lucky to find a bunch of them lately. I currently have two Varsitys, one Collegiate, and one Hollywood. I've never seen anything as sturdy.

I have someone coming to look at one of the Varsitys tonight, considering buying it. My daughter's friend tried it yesterday, and she fell in love with it. It's darned heavy, but there's something charismatic about it. I suspect it's the steering geometry. Plus, the heaviness might contribute to a feeling of momentum.
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Old 08-14-09, 02:01 PM   #12
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No hard feelings at all. Here is my vintage version, it cost me very little but tips the scales at over 52 pounds as pictured.

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Old 08-14-09, 02:10 PM   #13
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Steel wheels and the ashtabula crank will do that, the Sport Tourer has alloy wheels, hubs, stem, bars, and three peice alloy crank, but your bike is the cats meow dude! Really nice! I built this for a guy I new (thought I knew...long story.) it was pretty light and cool looking, and did the job it was built for, that I know of still is.

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Old 08-14-09, 02:58 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the replies.

Looks like I may as well just buy a new bike, since I am not so handy myself. I tried fixing up my bike once, and didn't work out, and still had to take the bike shop. So I ended up spending both time and money...

Maybe in the future when I have the time and energy, I will learn to fix up bikes. Then, I will buy a vintage to tinkle with.
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Old 08-14-09, 03:10 PM   #15
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Looks like I may as well just buy a new bike, since I am not so handy myself. ...
That's a reasonable decision. Since I have almost all of the tools I need, including a workstand and a wheel truing stand, my commuter of choice is my trusty old Peugeot UO-8, with its non-stock aluminum cranks and rims and Japanese derailleurs. I just got back from a 30-mile round trip to visit the library and meet with a professor at the university, and I did two 15-mile round trips to work earlier in the week.

This is looking like another 90-mile week, with 25 fun miles with the club on the Bianchi and 65 utility miles on the Peugeot.
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Old 08-14-09, 03:22 PM   #16
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My wife recently got a Trek that is similar to what you want. She really likes hers but we quickly replaced the stock saddle. Talk about ouch! We replaced it with another low end vintage looking saddle, I think it was a Bell purchased at Walmart. Much more comfy for her.
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Old 08-14-09, 04:44 PM   #17
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I think if you want a vintage bike for the looks you should try to get one. There are shops that sell ridable vintage bikes, and lots of the guys in this forums restore and sell older bikes all the time.

Personally I am a fan of the mixte. Look at this thread and follow the links in it. Nitto Flat Bars & Milano Bars

Here are some more links:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...68#post9441668

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=561391

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=227038

http://www.velo-orange.com/vomamifr.html

http://www.rivbike.com/products/list/bicycle_models

http://www.somafab.com/bvista.html

Coolest bikes, and I think just right for a lady!

Try to find out if anybody from this forum that is selling bikes is in your area. Look where bikes and bikeparts are advertised for sale in the forums.

I suggest a mixte with a Internally geared hub.

edit: http://www.flickr.com/groups/mixte/pool/ More brainwash.
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Old 08-14-09, 08:04 PM   #18
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Then I thought: maybe I can save some money if I buy a vintage bike (like the schwinn Breeze/world voyager). A good condition one in my area runs $200-$300. But since I don't know how to fix anything on a bike besides a flat, will getting a vintage bike end up costing me more because of hard-to-find parts, etc. Are they also heavier?
IMHO, vintage bikes are best suited for people that can do some/all of the repair work. It's not that they take a lot of upkeep, but often they need a fair amount of work up front to get them right. Such work can cost more than the bike is worth if you drop it off at your favorite bike shop. Once a vintage bike has been FULLY rehabbed/restored, maintenance should be no more than a new bike. And often, vintage bike routine maintenance is going to be easier and cheaper. Look what has happened to shift levers. We have gone from simple friction shifters (cheap and super reliable), to integrated brake/shifters. Look at the cabling on a new modern road bike and compare it to a decent vintage bike. The older bike is a lot simpler.

So if you can find a reliable bicycle hobbyist/rebuilder in your area, you should consider buying from them even if the price is a little higher.

Parts on mid grade vintage bikes are cheaper than parts on modern bikes, at least in my experience.

As far as weight, my 1983 Lotus Classique (nice vintage steel bike) weighs within one half pound of my 2005 aluminum frame/carbon fork Trek. Weight is an issue with the old Schwinns, and lower end vintage bikes. In your market, I do not know if you are going to find a Lotus Classique within your budget (around here, you could).
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Old 08-14-09, 08:11 PM   #19
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I suggest a vintage 3 speed. I do 20+ Km on mine daily and it's a great ride I even do that on my huge worksmen trike sometimes. lol My 3 speed is a Raleigh Sports and it's very heavy and is outfitted almost like peewee's bike. lol
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Old 08-14-09, 08:33 PM   #20
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Two thoughts:

A year or so ago, I wanted to get a "campus bike" for my son. On CraigsList found a Trek 7200, don't even know what year: aluminum frame, sloping top bar, 3x8 speeds all Shimano, with 700C rims. It probably weighs 30-32#, but it has lots of gears and 32 mm wide tires. NYC price: $150. I did practically nothing to it, and he rides it regularly.

I have a decent road bike, but wanted a wet-weather commuter. So I got an old Falcon frame (not really lightweight or double-butted) that I just like the looks of, and had new wheels built for it, rear with a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hub. Regular drop bars, Weinmann centerpull brakes; like the one above, 700C rims with 32 mm tires. I probably put 4 or even 5 times the money into that one that I spent for the Trek, but it's a hobby, right? And I really like riding it! I spent some time thinking about how to gear it -- and used something a bit lower than the standard 46/18 -- but I'm glad I did because, while it's only got 3 gears, they're just the ones I can use comfortably on my commute: downhill, flats and uphills/heavy traffic.


still need to install the fenders

Oh, and I didn't even bother with the Sturmey-Archer trigger and associated hardware for shifting -- I'm just using a standard downtube friction shifter because it's simple and it works fine. I just put marks on the lever and fixed plate to show where middle gear is.

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Old 08-14-09, 08:35 PM   #21
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You might consider a hybrid and put fenders, a rear rack, a lightweight head lamp, bell, and saddle bag on it. Wald has a collapsable pair of steel "basket panniers" (what I call them) for about $35 that attach to each side of the rear rack. They are heavy but good for groceries, etc. There are quite a few bike options out their, and you probably can read reviews online (Bicycle Magazine probably has them online, too) You might also consider a Mixte frame bike with alloy wheels. You can add SKS commuter fenders to it. If you get a used "vintage" bike ... "hardly ever used and never abused" is what you want...ideally it sat undisturbed in a climate controlled environment collecting a light film of dust. It may still need tires and dismantling for regreasing, as well as wheel alignment ("trueing"). Whatever type you decide on...make sure it is the right size, you feel comfortable on it, it is known to be dependable, and sit suits your needs and budget.
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Old 08-14-09, 09:07 PM   #22
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Donna,

PM sent.

I just finished overhauling a 19" step-thru fame Schwinn Mirada. It would be a perfect rough street/commute bike. Sugino triple crank, 5 gears in the back (32 or 34t low gear - need to count ) for hills. Full fenders, new tires/tubes, rack mounts (I might even have a rack that fits), upright bars, thumb shifters, Shimano Light Action dérailleurs, and cantilever brakes.

All cleaned, overhauled, tuned up, and completely ready to ride. I'm in San Ramon, not too far away. PM if you're interested - I just took photo's of it, and am ready to list in on CL.
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Old 08-15-09, 05:24 AM   #23
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Give Bigbossman a shout. He does good work and you can be confident you are getting a well prepared bike that is ready to ride.
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Old 08-15-09, 06:13 AM   #24
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That's a beautiful three-speed, Charles, and I love the downtube shifter idea. In all my years of bike wrenching, I have never heard or thought of that.
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Old 08-15-09, 07:35 AM   #25
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Two words: mix te
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