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  1. #1
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    Best Model from the Best Brands Opinions!

    Hello everyone. I'm a vintage bike newbie looking for some opinions from bikers like you.
    What are some of the best models from some of the "best" brand in terms of road bikes?
    Like Nishiki, Univega, Miyata, Bianchi, Schwinn, Peugeot, Centurion, Raleigh, Motobecane, etc ....
    What are some of the best model made by these companies? Feel free to add more to the list!
    Which of these models have the best frame (i.e. Cr-Moly) and what was the year?

    SIDE QUESTION:
    Is there any good website that have a list of vintage bikes that provides details and information about the bike models/years/frame materials?

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited by simvase; 09-30-13 at 11:33 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Kactus's Avatar
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    Wow... your question could take a book to answer! Every make will have different models that are "best"; a lot depends on what you want, a light weight sprint bike, road bike, touring, etc. I think the easiest thing would be to determine what frame material a particular bike has. As a general rule, better vintage bikes from the '60s, '70s and '80s will be made using Columbus SL, SLX; Reynolds 531 double butted, Tange No.1 or No.2 for the main triangle, stays and fork.

    Also, different nationalities of bikes have their own "style". Italian bikes are different than French bikes, are different than British bikes, etc. For a first bike, narrow it down to a make that appeals to you and then look for the differences in their models.
    1978 Raleigh Professional
    1983 Sekai 4000
    1985 CIÍCC Designer 84
    1992 Trek 850 Antelope

  3. #3
    billy chuck eschlwc's Avatar
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    my favorite brand (so far) is motobecane, from '75 through '81 or so. here's a catalog link, by year: http://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Catalogs/Motobecane/

    i prefer the mid- and upper-level models with pretty cotterless cranks, on-frame derailleur hangers and down tube shifters. these three characteristics often lead to nice framesets (531 and vitus).

    the bikes i've owned have just kinda come to me through luck, in the following order:

    '76 moto grand record *
    '73 falcon san remo *
    '81 univega gran rally
    '83 nishiki international
    '84 club fuji
    '89 miyata 312
    '80 moto grand jubilÚ *
    '80 peugeot pkn10 *

    * i've kept these (so far).

    they've all been a joy to own and restore, even though a few have had their idiosyncrasies.

    one of these days i'll own an italian...

  4. #4
    Trek 500 Kid Zinger's Avatar
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    ric-1980-univega-gran-rally-66.jpg
    There were higher range bikes in Univega's line than the Gran Rally but that's the model that I had and liked it very well. Responsive bike with Shimano 600 parts and they did well......This one isn't mine but that's the color I had and I keep the photo to remind me not to sell my bikes anymore just because I build a new one.
    "I never lost a race because my bike was too heavy".......George Mount

  5. #5
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    All of the names you mentioned are factory bikes. For the "best of the best", my short list is: Rene Herse custom randonneuse, Alex Singer custom randonneuse, Eisentraut custom and Eddy Merckx Corsa or Corsa Extra. Failing any of those, I suppose a DeRosa Professional would do...

    SP
    OC, OR

  6. #6
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    The best bike is the one that fits you, matches your riding style and the roads you generally encounter, and on which all the componentes work well. Really.

    Or the best bike is the one that fits your budget. Are you looking to spend tens or hundreds or thousands?

    Most manufacturers have produced very good bikes, or they wouldn't stay in existence very long. The question is always which model for what kind of riding and at what cost. That's why you got all the answers above. Until you can 'splain yourself and your expectations we can't help!
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  7. #7
    Senior Member rootboy's Avatar
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    The French Connection:

    Peugeot PX-10
    Motobecane Le Champion
    Gitane Super Corsa or Tour de France

  8. #8
    Senior Member mechanicmatt's Avatar
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    Lugged Trek's, basically all of them. Then like other's have said, tubing is a good way to go Reynolds, Columbus, True Temper, Tange.
    Bike Junk Punk.
    My gift is that I am somewhat handy, my curse is that I am somewhat lazy.

  9. #9
    category ii hoarder orangeology's Avatar
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    best build quality. best price. best ride quality. best looking. best brand affinity. best reputation. best collectible. best seller. best accessibility. best overpriced. best understated. best resale value. best loved. best hated. best what else... even a book will not be sufficient, i'm afraid.
    Last edited by orangeology; 10-01-13 at 06:34 PM. Reason: removing redundant

  10. #10
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    There are, in my opinion, no best brands or best models. There is, however, poor quality and good quality. I prefer to focus on the quality level of a bicycle, rather than its name. For example...

    Many people would argue that Raleigh is a great brand - I would not. Some would swear by the Bianchi, or Peugeot, or what ever, not knowing that those are, often times, mass produced cleverly marketed bicycles.

    The point is this. There is no short cut to finding out what brand is better. Nor is there a short cut to learning with model is best in a brand line-up. To me, it is all about the quality of the bicycle and that is a product of caring craftsmanship applied to high quality materials - something that does not come off of an assembly line, in my opinion.
    Learn how to find, restore and maintain vintage road bicycles at... MY "TEN SPEEDS"

  11. #11
    Senior Member zukahn1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
    The French Connection:

    Peugeot PX-10
    Motobecane Le Champion
    Gitane Super Corsa or Tour de France
    I would also add a Jeunet 640 to this list but they are bit hard to find.

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone for your inputs! I know it's nearly impossible to choose what's best cause everyone has a different opinion. But I'm glad to hear some inputs and new names. I will definitely check those bikes out.

  13. #13
    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simvase View Post
    I know it's nearly impossible to choose what's best cause everyone has a different opinion.
    It's not because everyone has a different opinion. It's because there is no answer.

    In the end the "best" bike is the one you find that works for you, regardless of the name.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

  14. #14
    Senior Member mechanicmatt's Avatar
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    Also the "best" bike is the one that fits your body geometry, a bike can be awesome but if it doesn't fit, it won't be comfortable...

    Good luck.
    Bike Junk Punk.
    My gift is that I am somewhat handy, my curse is that I am somewhat lazy.

  15. #15
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    If you follow that bulgier.net link (from post #3 ) you can work back to the home page and see that lots of brands are listed. If you spend a bunch of time perusing the catalogs, you can figure out which models were top of the line. But, like others said, top of the line doesn't always equate with the "best" bike for a given individual. The top models often are race-oriented bikes with stiffer, more responsive frames. That's great if you race, but for spirited recreational and long distance riding, many people would rather be on something a bit more forgiving - typically the models a step or two down from the top. That said, it's also nice to own "the best." This is but one of the many reasons that one bicycle simply isn't enough. It's an empirical fact.

  16. #16
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    "Best" is a vague word, without a context.
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

    Tom Reingold
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Employer: Larry's Freewheeling, 301 W 110 St, New York, NY 10026
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  17. #17
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Bikeforums.net has been around since at least 2005, and although I've been a member only about 1.5 years, this very same question is asked every other month. If you know how to use google or the search engine here, you can read up on 8 years of opinions. Since your asking about C&V bikes, generally 20 years or older and pre-grifter, the list won't have changed at all.

    Most vintage catalogs are available on line too.

    Read up on mytenspeeds.com too, a site published by Randyjawa.
    Last edited by oddjob2; 10-04-13 at 08:54 AM.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyager, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1

  18. #18
    Senior Member IthaDan's Avatar
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    Usually the best bike a manufacturer makes is the one with the best parts. There are only a handful of component manufacturers, much more economical to learn those instead of memorizing every model name.

    Shimano : Click :: Campy :: Snap :: SRAM : Bang

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