Where can I go online for information on buying a used bike? I found an old thing in a consignment shop probably from the 70s that weighs a ton. Forgot the name on it... something French. At first glance it appeared to be in good shape; gears shifted smoothly, brakes worked well, wheels were true... but it's so heavy, and so old... maybe these are good qualities... how much does the weight of the bike affect its performance for a casual rider?
Obrian, go to www.oldroads.com and look under the vintage lightweights forum. Ask the guys on the forum about your bike and you will get some good info.
The weight of the bike only affects your ride when you accelerate and when you go up hills. Other than that, once the bike is in motion at a certain speed, there is not much difference in bikes due to weight. Of course, typical road travel means always being in a state of acceleration and deceleration.
For the casual rider, old '70's vintage lightweights are excellent machines.
In addition to being functional and well made, they are very affordable and easy to maintain. You can buy a good vintage lightweight for about $25.00. You will have a difficult time finding a single part on a new bike for $25.00. Even the seat post costs more than that to replace on many new bikes.
Riding an old bike is also the greatest statement in recycling and environmental friendliness.
French bikes from the 70’s have their own idiosyncrasies – such as bottom brackets with strange threading and headsets that are hard to replace. However, France made beautiful bikes back then, and they were highly sought-after. Oh, la-la!
I collect old bikes, and even though my garage is on bike-overload, I never stopped until I found my Gitane Tour de France from the late 60’s. C’est tres belle!
For utility use, its better to get a bike with a currently supported wheel size. 700c tyres are standard, but 27" are obscelete.
If the bike is really heavy then keep looking. You can find rideable sports bikes in the 30-35lbs region very cheaply. In heavy traffic, the ability to accelerate out of danger is a real safety issue.
Heavier 3speeds make good machines for flatland riding, but heavy sports bikes dont seem to ride as well.
If the bike is Peugot or Motobecane, then it will be of quite adaquate quality, these were good mid-range bikes. The Frence are not really into bad bikes.
Well, I don't know about 27" wheel sizes being obsolete. You can still readily get 27" tires in any bike shop or departments store. Oh, you can't get specialty tires, or kevlar tires, or colored tires in 27", but you can get enough road skin to put on thousands of miles.
As an alternative, think about using old tires. It is one of the best things a bike rider can do for the environment besides chosing to bike rather than drive. You can get used tires and wheels for just about nothing. With a few rare exceptions, most of the '70's lightweights hubs were made by Shimano and were similar in design. Rims were similar enough not to worry about, especially if you are a utalitarian or pleasure biker.
This means that you can buy a second or third bike as a spare parts bike.