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  1. #1
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    I don't know alot about bike companies -- especially ones that aren't around anymore. I was wondering if someone can provide a list of older (80s-ish) road bikes (touring or race) with higher quality steel frames that use 700c wheels. I'm looking to build something up with bar-end shifters and suntour components I have lying around, but I would like to put some real money into a nice new wheelset. I've seen a lot of brand names mentioned around here that I've never heard of -- and nearly all brands have their lemons, so I'm just curious to see a list of bikes the resident experts lend their seal of approval to.
    Poop will always be funny.

  2. #2
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    TNTC

    Lab rats (no offense Stacey) will understand.

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    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Atala, Assenmacher, Azuki, Basso, Benotto, Bianchi, Bill Boston, CCM, Cinelli, Colnago, Co-Motion, Dilecta, Eisentraut, Fuji, Frejus, Guerciotti, Gitane, Heron, Hercules, Jeunette, LeJeune, Klein, Kestrel, Merlin, Mercier, Motobecane, Nishiki, Nobilette, Otis Guy, Pinarello, Paramount, Peugeot, Raleigh, Ritchey, Rossin, Steelman, Serotta,Trek, Urago, Viner, Yeti, Zeus and Zinn . . . among many others

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    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    Atala, Assenmacher, Azuki, Basso, Benotto, Bianchi, Bill Boston, CCM, Cinelli, Colnago, Co-Motion, Dilecta, Eisentraut, Fuji, Frejus, Guerciotti, Gitane, Heron, Hercules, Jeunette, LeJeune, Klein, Kestrel, Merlin, Mercier, Motobecane, Nishiki, Nobilette, Otis Guy, Pinarello, Paramount, Peugeot, Raleigh, Ritchey, Rossin, Steelman, Serotta,Trek, Urago, Viner, Yeti, Zeus and Zinn . . . among many others
    That's a pretty lame list.Some could certainly be built around 27" wheels, some never made a steel bike, and some made botom of the barrel or lower.

  5. #5
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    Cheap but good list:

    Miyata, Fuji, Panasonic (including Schwinn 80s upper-end road bikes), Centurion (especially Dave Scott Ironman if you can stomach the often ugly paint), Trek (from the mid 80s), Nishiki (higher end ones, anyway), Maruishi , Univega (be careful, lots of junkers)

    All of these go for really cheap but are totally nice bikes. Shhhh.... Don't tell anyone how well they ride and how cheap they are
    Last edited by rybowen; 03-11-05 at 07:52 PM.

  6. #6
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker
    I was wondering if someone can provide a list of older (80s-ish) road bikes (touring or race) with higher quality steel frames that use 700c wheels.
    Lou Deeter is that someone. His bike buyer's guide is a good list!

    You might also want to check out:

    http://www.classicrendezvous.com/ and

    http://www.wooljersey.com/gallery/

  7. #7
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    Buying by "brand" names can be a bit tricky. Panasonic, Raleigh, and Schwinn built some pro quality bikes in the '80's, as well as entry level bikes. The same is true of most bike suppliers.

    When judging the quality of an '80's bike, clues are the steel tubing used, with Reynolds, Columbus, and Tange being some of the "bigger" names, and another clue are the components used, with Campy, Dura-Ace, Shimano 600, and Sun Tour Superbe being major names. Dozens of brands combined those tubes and components during the '80's to make some nice bikes. Today, you could find a Reynolds 531 bike with Shimano 600 components for as little as $75 on E-Bay. No bike made in 2005 for under $1,000 comes close.

  8. #8
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rybowen
    Cheap but good list:

    Miyata, Fuji, Panasonic (including Schwinn 80s upper-end road bikes), Centurion (especially Dave Scott Ironman if you can stomach the often ugly paint), Trek (from the mid 80s), Nishiki (higher end ones, anyway), Maruishi , Univega (be careful, lots of junkers)

    All of these go for really cheap but are totally nice bikes. Shhhh.... Don't tell anyone how well they ride and how cheap they are
    I like that list. They would even be appropriate with Sun Tour componentry.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rybowen
    Cheap but good list:

    Miyata, Fuji, Panasonic (including Schwinn 80s upper-end road bikes), Centurion (especially Dave Scott Ironman if you can stomach the often ugly paint), Trek (from the mid 80s), Nishiki (higher end ones, anyway), Maruishi , Univega (be careful, lots of junkers)

    All of these go for really cheap but are totally nice bikes. Shhhh.... Don't tell anyone how well they ride and how cheap they are

    Thanks for the brand list - but what models in particular should I be looking for? I'm sure most of them made some real lemons at some point -- most companies do.
    Poop will always be funny.

  10. #10
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker
    Thanks for the brand list - but what models in particular should I be looking for? I'm sure most of them made some real lemons at some point -- most companies do.
    If you find one that is either "double butted", "triple butted", "quad butted" or "fully butted" you are getting a a good frame (provided it hasn't been damaged at some point). A couple other general rules (which aren't without exception) are to look for a separate derailleur hanger on the rear dropout, and to also look for adjustment screws on the rear dropout.

    I have a couple of suggestions for you on specific models that are relatively common, generally not very expensive, and IMO, quite good bikes (ride quality, though not necessarily standards of finishing) from the '70's. The Raleigh Super Course is a favorite of mine from my days growing up. The '77 and '78 models had SunTour Cyclone derailleurs and the skinny, Weinmann a-124 concave clincher rims. Any Peugeot with a '10' in the name designation is a nice riding frame. If you can get your hands on Fuji "Absolute", "The Finest" or "The Newest", they're worth consideration. They are all excellent frames that came with good components. For whatever reason, demand for vintage Fuji's isn't all that strong, so when they come along, they can be had for a reasonable price. I have to stop here because I'd only be passing on stuff I've heard, but not experienced first-hand if I went any farther.

    Good luck in your quest.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  11. #11
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    Besides the big brands there are scores of smaller builders who made top quality bikes. I can't tell you the brand of my bike, I just don't know, but it looks good, feels good and rides good.
    There are indicators to quality:
    Frame stickers indicating the grade of steel: beware that some use only one or two tubes of "named brand" so they can apply the sticker.
    The shape of the lugs: fancier lugs indicate a better quality bike. Look for curved rather than flat-cut lug ends. Look for a thicker moulded dropout rather than thin stamped steel plate.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slacker
    Thanks for the brand list - but what models in particular should I be looking for? I'm sure most of them made some real lemons at some point -- most companies do.
    Walk away from the yellow ones.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    The shape of the lugs: fancier lugs indicate a better quality bike. Look for curved rather than flat-cut lug ends. Look for a thicker moulded dropout rather than thin stamped steel plate.
    I have seen nice and fancy looking lugs on junk.

  14. #14
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Oh, prove it. Everyone knows there are no exceptions to generalities, and they're always true -- otherwise people couldn't say them.

    Sydney, how's your campaign going to get party-pooping into the Olympics?

  15. #15
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Just curious; what bikes or frames does Sydney recommend?
    Like e-CHUCKIE says "my favorite bike is the one I'm riding today"... (for me that'll be the Woodrup).

    BTW Slacker, a frame that seems to be a good value (but not thrift store cheap) is the Titan frames talked of in another thread. You can do a search for Titan here & you'll find the info. Since it sounds like you may be wanting to build a sport-tourer... Is that correct?
    Last edited by TheOtherGuy; 03-12-05 at 10:27 AM.

  16. #16
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    The lug party is one worth pooping on though.

    I understand the nice lugs argument as it pertains to vintage French, Swiss and many British bicycles. It isn't a hard and fast rule, but generally, if you know what a Nervex lug is, and find a bike that has them, you will have found a frame that's at minimum a decent one.

    However, a simple lug is not a sure sign of junque. There are many excellent bicycles made with rather plain looking lugs. As much as I prefer the appearance of the elegant and fancy lugs, consider all the excellent creations made with the "long point" lug, and similarly "plain" lugs. A simple lug on a heavy frame is a sign of a not very good bike. A simple lug on a light frame is simply an element of design philosophy.

    I'm sure I'm making this up, but consider the macho attitude of: "I'm a bicycle racer. Why do I want flowers and un-manly adornments on my frame?" Look at Italian bicycles. Look at the early Raleigh Professionals. You'll be hard-pressed to find fancy lugwork.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  17. #17
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    However, a simple lug is not a sure sign of junque. There are many excellent bicycles made with rather plain looking lugs. As much as I prefer the appearance of the elegant and fancy lugs, consider all the excellent creations made with the "long point" lug, and similarly "plain" lugs.
    Absolutely true. Especially here in the States during the late '70s- early '80s, plain looking long point lugs were very popular with custom builders. Their quality in finish was obvious though; you know you're looking at a nice hand built frame when you see them. One builder famous for the plain & simple look who's still building is Chris Kvale... His stuff is gorgeous:
    http://www.velostuf.com/chris_kvale_cycles.htm

    Lugs are plainly styled, yet it's his finish work that's fancy.

    I like both the plain and fancy lug styles, but if either is finished sloppily, it's easy to see.

  18. #18
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mswantak
    Oh, prove it. Everyone knows there are no exceptions to generalities, and they're always true -- otherwise people couldn't say them.

    He's right. I've seen many high-ten frames with elegant lugwork. Some examples would be Jeunet, Peugeot, & Motobecane low end models.

  19. #19
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    Yeah, I saw a low-end Centurion with seamed tubing that had really nice chrome lugs. Weird. They were really thick, though.

    My personal favorites are the Trek 531c frames from the mid '80s. I have two. Simple paint, long wheelbases, light, nice workmanship (thanks to the robotic brazing) cool investment-cast lugs (post '86). The models to look for are the 610 and 700 "tri series". I bought a near-mint one for $125 and a rough looking one for $75 (I paid too much but I liked the first one so much I couldn't resist the second).


    Schwinn Voyageur models are the panasonic ones.

  20. #20
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro

    Why do I want flowers and un-manly adornments on my frame?" Look at Italian bicycles. You'll be hard-pressed to find fancy lugwork.
    D'oh? And just how many lugged Italian frames have you seen? My Tecnos and Master Light even have 'flowers' in them. The Tomassinis and Masis are no dogs or wallflowers either.

  21. #21
    Glutton for Punishment
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    Well, you know how those Italians are; a little light in their Guccis.

  22. #22
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sydney
    D'oh? And just how many lugged Italian frames have you seen? My Tecnos and Master Light even have 'flowers' in them. The Tomassinis and Masis are no dogs or wallflowers either.
    My apologies. I must have missed seeing the Technos and Master light in the TDF peleton. I sent requests to Mrs. Bianchi, Colnago, DeRosa and Masi asking them to show me their flowered lugs. I expect it could be a while before I hear from them.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  23. #23
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAZorro
    My apologies. I must have missed seeing the Technos and Master light in the TDF peleton. I sent requests to Mrs. Bianchi, Colnago, DeRosa and Masi asking them to show me their flowered lugs. I expect it could be a while before I hear from them.
    What's the zip code for that cave you live in? The Master Light a pro ride of choice, even in the Tour, back when steel was king. Certainly you aren't going to see luggd steel in todays tour.

  24. #24
    Glutton for Punishment
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    I saw a calf with six legs once.

  25. #25
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mswantak
    I saw a calf with six legs once.
    Was it being ridden in the Tour?

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