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  1. #1
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    newbie looking for a used road bike

    Im a college student who recently road a friends fixie and want to start riding a road bike. I liked how light it was and how comfortable it was to ride a bicycle after years of not riding. anyway ive been looking on craiglist and recently found a schwinn continental from the 70s for about 65 dollars. Ive been reading a bit and it seems this bike is not recommended because its heavy and and not compatible with modern upgrades.

    I want to get something I can slowly piece together and eventually end up with a pretty cool fixie. what is a good started bike that I can upgrade?

    this is what im looking at

    right off the bat, Id want to change the handlebar tape and seat.
    they guy selling it says its rideable, just replaced the tires and tubes.

    thanks guys.

  2. #2
    Senior Member bentchamber's Avatar
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    what is your budget?
    if you want a fixie just hit up www.bikesdirect.com
    very inexpensive for a decent bike.

    otherwise, look for a nicer old road bike, bikes made of reynolds 531 or columbus tubing, or some nice tange 1 or 2 tubing.
    That schwinn looks like garbage, but you can still get new parts for it. Get some long reach brakes and a set of 700 wheels and you could modernize that bike, although I dont think it would be worth your effort.

    I actually missed those cranks. I would steer clear of that schwinn bike if you want something you can build up.
    Last edited by bentchamber; 10-26-10 at 01:32 AM. Reason: mistake

  3. #3
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentchamber View Post
    otherwise, look for a nicer old road bike, bikes made of reynolds 531 or columbus tubing, or some nice tange 1 or 2 tubing.
    That's pretty hard to do; I lol'd at the columbus part... to make it easier on you, just look for old bikes with cromoly frames. If you run into a peugeot; HLE tubing is acceptable; maybe even carbolite, if the frame is in excellent condition.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Deshi's Avatar
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    Pick something that fits you otherwise what ever money you put into it to make it a sweet fixie is a waste.
    Quote Originally Posted by PedallingATX View Post
    dude...you can't "no ****" something THAT ****. That's like saying "sometimes I just like to make out with dudes...no ****"

  5. #5
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    my budget right now is only about 100-150 dollars, thats why i've been looking on craiglist, maybe find a a deal. how will I know what bikes have cromoly frames? what are better brands than schwinn but can still find pretty cheap. This bike isnt going to be for long rides, mainly just commuting and riding around campus. however I dont want to buy something that isnt worth putting the money into you know?

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    Just save up a little more and go for a BD bike or get an SE draft.

  7. #7
    dsh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hectordagreat11 View Post
    how will I know what bikes have cromoly frames?
    Ask the person who is selling it.

    If they don't know the frame material, google the make/model and year. For example:
    "1970 schwinn continental tubing"
    Returns a number of useful results, all of which describe the bike as what it is: a low end, heavy, mass produced offering from Schwinn.

    As for the people recommending buying new, that's certainly an option, but don't think that getting a used bike is a bad idea. None of my bikes have frames manufactured more recently than 2002. Unless you're going to the high end, steel technology hasn't really changed much in the last few decades, so a good quality chromoly 1980's frame won't be in any way inferior to a brand new 2010 (low end) chromoly frame.
    Last edited by dsh; 10-26-10 at 08:07 AM.

  8. #8
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry about the tubing of the frame if you want a college beater to get back and forth to class with. I've made up some nice SS bikes with old Schwinn's including a World and a Le Tour. The problem you have is wheels. It's possible to redish the rear wheel on the Schwinn and you can just spin a track cog on the freewheel threads and rotafix it. But it's a lot of work and taking a chance that the parts will work out. Otherwise you need to buy a rear wheel which will cost you about a c-note. Also I'd guess the Schwinn has 27in wheels and a new track wheel will be 700 C. Doable? Yes.

    Does your college have a bike co-op? That would be a good place to start.
    If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=

  9. #9
    Nü-Fred ichitz's Avatar
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    i think that schwinn continental is just fine for simple commute and around the campus..
    Quote Originally Posted by dsh View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by fixedgear80 View Post
    once you go fixed.....
    ...you generally go back in like a year.
    http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1...ig_mercier.jpg http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1...ig_3rensho.jpg http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e1...ig_peugeot.jpg

  10. #10
    Senior Member renton20's Avatar
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    buying used is a bad idea IMHO if you know nothing about bikes. Lots of stuff can go wrong, and may already be wrong with bikes you are looking at, and you will never know. I bought a used bike when I was just starting to ride again. The hubs and bottom bracket were grinding and needed to be replaced, the tires were crap, the chain was super stretched, the bars needed new wrap, etc... Total cost for a $75 bike was probably around $300, at which point I still only had a bike that was really worth about $75. If you are super stretched for cash try to get an SE draft on closeout from a local bike shop(should be right around $200) or even better save a little bit more and get either http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/thehour.htm or http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...r/timeline.htm
    with a used bike you might get a deal, but more likely you will end up with a ton of unexpected problems.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mihlbach's Avatar
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    The problem with buying used is that the best deals are usually bikes that need some work, so you end up spending more money on repairs and replacement parts. And if you don't know what you are doing, you'll end up with an inferior bike that is incompatible with modern components (such as the one you posted above). Buying used is best for people with experience or have someone willing to help them work out the kinks. It also may take a lot of time to find a really good deal. The resale prices for decent used bikes are often too high. If you know what you are looking for, it usually takes a lot of searching and long time to find really great used deals. If this is your first bike you are much better off, and will save money in the long run, buying something new. I second the recommendation to have a look at bikesdirect.com. Even the cheapest singlespeed/fixed gear listed on there is a really great bike and will provide a lot more use than a typical used bike.
    Last edited by mihlbach; 10-26-10 at 09:57 AM.

  12. #12
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    Thanks everyone for your response. I'm trying to learn as much as I can. is a cromoly frame basically an aluminum frame? What older models usually have them? Or what brands also what's the difference between the 27 inch and 700cc wheels?

  13. #13
    Senior Member bentchamber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happypills View Post
    That's pretty hard to do; I lol'd at the columbus part... to make it easier on you, just look for old bikes with cromoly frames. If you run into a peugeot; HLE tubing is acceptable; maybe even carbolite, if the frame is in excellent condition.
    hey man, I find columbus frames all the time here.
    I bought my thron tubing colnago decor for 250 complete.
    picked up an old SLX frame for my girlfriend for 75 bucks.
    It does happen, you just have to know what you are looking for and looking at.

  14. #14
    Senior Member bentchamber's Avatar
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    oh and I forgot to add, it you need some people to tell you whether an old bike is good or not hit up the classic and vintage form.

  15. #15
    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hectordagreat11 View Post
    Thanks everyone for your response. I'm trying to learn as much as I can. is a cromoly frame basically an aluminum frame? What older models usually have them? Or what brands also what's the difference between the 27 inch and 700cc wheels?
    CroMoly is a type of steel. It is not aluminum. 27 inch wheels are slightly larger diameter than 700c wheels. A 700c wheel will fit in a frame designed for 27" wheels but not vice versa. If you use 700c wheels in a frame meant for 27" wheels, you will need to move the brake blocks down about 4mm to align with the braking surface on the rims.
    What, Me Worry? - Alfred E. Neuman

    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
    I'd like to think i have as much money as brains.

  16. #16
    THE STUFFED Leukybear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentchamber View Post
    hey man, I find columbus frames all the time here.
    I bought my thron tubing colnago decor for 250 complete.
    picked up an old SLX frame for my girlfriend for 75 bucks.
    It does happen, you just have to know what you are looking for and looking at.
    Quote Originally Posted by happypills View Post
    That's pretty hard to do;
    Not impossible.

  17. #17
    Senior Member 02Pilot's Avatar
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    It should be mentioned that one of the few advantages those old Schwinns have is that they can be disassembled and reassembled without specialized tools. If you can get it cheap enough, and it fits, it is a good bike to learn the basics of bicycle mechanics. They are also largely indestructible.

    FWIW, I've got an old Varsity (that I got for free) in pieces right now that I'm building up as a SS, just for fun.

  18. #18
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    update*

    found an older miyata 110
    im trying to find what year it is. I did see it has shimano 600 stuff on it. It was pretty light, I rode it but it seems a little worn and is pretty dirty. It looks like it has some surface rust on the bottom of the seat, which might be able to clean off/polish? anyway its blue and fades to yellow and white, am currently looking for and equivalent bike but having no luck. It has quick release tires also and are pretty worn looking and were flat when I looked at it. He also told me they were 27 inch not 700cc, dont know if thats good or bad, lol. I might go back and take a picture. he wants 70.

    good deal or no?
    Last edited by Hectordagreat11; 10-26-10 at 01:20 PM. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
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    Buying a used bike = bad idea without the knowledge.

    First off its hard to imagine that you can properly size yourself to the correct bike. This will be the biggest thing to come back and bite you in the ass.

    Components- The parts on a used bike, especially those that are 20+years old usually need service/replacement. This will equal you spending a bunch more money on parts and probably labor as well.

    If you do end up buying something used do yourself a favor make sure its the correct size. Maybe bring someone with you who knows a bit about bike and can give it a once over. This alone can save you 50 dollars in repairs for someone who can notice loose hubs, headsets, and bottom brackets. Could a little labor fix these things? possibly. Its also possible that there is no adjustment and the worn parts need to be replaced. That being said, try to find a seller who has owned the bike for a long time, has put work into it thats needed, and has it ready to ride problem free. Considering the rest of the factors that come into the purchase (size,condition, frame material, components) it may be a long time before you find the right bike.

  20. #20
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    thanks gt35,

    what is the best way to size the bike? so far I have only stood while on the miyata and there was a couple inches between the top bar and my crotch, lol.

  21. #21
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    You want to have stand over clearance, but not a whole lot. Also when you have the seat adjusted for the proper leg extension, You don't want to have to have a super high seat post. If you do, the bike is most likely too small. The bike should be long enough for you (top tube length) but your better off searching for bike by seat tube length. How tall you are and your inseam will determine that, and there are alot of online sites that can calculate it for you.

  22. #22
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    thanks a lot. so component-wise what should i check when buying used bikes? I did the common visual inspection, wheels spinning true, no bends/cracks on frame, and check brakes.

  23. #23
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    I hate to say it, but from your posts it seems like you don't know enough about bikes to make an informed decision on an old used bicycle. Don't worry, we were all there once. Buying a new bike is a good idea, but if you're poor/cheap like me you don't wanna drop $200 on a beater to ride to school.

    What I did back when I didn't know anything was buy the cheapest useable bike I could find. I paid $10 for an old Firenze mountain bike. I learned how to do minor repairs, and then slowly worked up to more major repairs. It's an inexpensive way to learn. I only stuck about another $10 into the bike for cables and other misc stuff. Just make sure you buy a bike that is complete and rideable. The nice thing about buying a really cheap bike is that if it's complete garbage you're only out what you paid for it.

    Then once you know more about frame material, proper fit, etc you can start looking for a nice old road bike to convert. Honestly, if you can't do basic maintenance I wouldn't suggest you jump into a FG/SS conversion. You'll be in over your head and probably get frustrated and give up.

  24. #24
    dsh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hectordagreat11 View Post
    update*

    found an older miyata 110
    im trying to find what year it is. I did see it has shimano 600 stuff on it.
    I'd buy it. If it had Shimano 600 bits on it, then it wasn't a bargain basement bike. 600 was in the upper end of Shimano's line back in the day, and Miyatas were all pretty well made even in their entry level frames.

  25. #25
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Ok I just got to say, buying a used bike does not equal a bad idea if you don't know much about bike's. The best way to learn something in life is to make mistakes. Bikes are not rockets, they can be relatively easy to work on though sometimes they can be a huge PIA too, chalk it up to the learning experience. I think if you are going to ride a bike you will be a better rider, more in-tuned with your machine, and happier all around if you are intimate with every part of the bike because you put it together yourself. The buy now bikesdirect/walmart instant satisfaction model seems wonderful on the surface but it can also leave a cheesy bad taste in your mouth. There are lots of good bike frames out there from the glory years of the bike boom that are probably just as good or better then the cheap crap sold at virtual big box bike stores. Reviving an old bike that would have otherwise rusted away in some one's barn can be a rewarding experience. You are in college, you have plenty of time, I suggest skipping your 8 o'clock classes and building a bike, you'll learn more doing that then sitting in a class with 500 other students listing to your professor read out of the text book.

    Like dsh said the Shimano 600 bike is probably a good ride, I'd be tempted to leave the 600 on it in that case however but to each their own.
    If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=

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