Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Bicycle Mechanics
Reload this Page >

Which old road bikes/brands are great for customizing?

Notices
Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

Which old road bikes/brands are great for customizing?

Old 10-06-14, 06:43 PM
  #1  
Bustaknot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Bustaknot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: West end Toronto
Posts: 113

Bikes: Crappy ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Which old road bikes/brands are great for customizing?

I'm wondering what older brands and makes are great for tinkering, fiddling, swapping parts, and have a large selection of compatible peices. I hear French brands may have part sizes which can be hard to find?

I'm surfing around craigslist looking for a fun project bike for a beginner bike mechanic.
Bustaknot is offline  
Old 10-06-14, 06:48 PM
  #2  
bikemig 
Senior Member
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 18,436

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 158 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5079 Post(s)
Liked 1,641 Times in 1,080 Posts
A vintage mountain bike with a rigid fork.

A japanese vintage road bike preferably with long reach sidepulls or center pulls.
bikemig is offline  
Old 10-06-14, 06:58 PM
  #3  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 39,920

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 485 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6872 Post(s)
Liked 1,502 Times in 950 Posts
There are too many to list, but my favorite might be the Raleigh International of the 1970's. Lots of Raleighs are nice.

It's true that French bikes can pose problems because of threadings and dimensions. I feel it's a shame the metric system lost in the bike world, but that's what happened.

The most predictably standardized bikes might be the Japanese bikes of the 1980's. They were also very well made.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 10-06-14, 07:22 PM
  #4  
bobbyl1966
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 808
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have customize upgrade one steel road bianchi strada lx. is had the old freewheel i put cassete on that bike i have wheels. From 12 speeds i make that bike 18 speeds now is have crank 53/39 and cassete 9 speeds 12-27. And fulcrum racing 7 wheels. But i have problems with the rim tape is move on the side and the innertube go in the spoke holes and do hole in the innertube. Is 16mm rim tape. Does anyone know what size rim tape that wheels take? Also mountain bikes steel is good to upgrade. I have one steel mountain bike with rigid fork. is trek 830 antelope. 18" frame.Is had triple crank 48/38/28. I put on that bike crank 52/40 and i want try put crank 53/39 and 9 speeds cassete 12-25. Now the cassete is 7 speeds 13-30 i feel is too wide. My height is 5`7" and my inseam is 32". The 18" frame size is okay for me or i need bigger frame?
bobbyl1966 is offline  
Old 10-06-14, 07:29 PM
  #5  
Bustaknot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Bustaknot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: West end Toronto
Posts: 113

Bikes: Crappy ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You should make a new thread on this, bobbyl1966. You'll get more people seeing it.
Bustaknot is offline  
Old 10-06-14, 07:32 PM
  #6  
Bustaknot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Bustaknot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: West end Toronto
Posts: 113

Bikes: Crappy ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for those raleighs.
Bustaknot is offline  
Old 10-06-14, 08:19 PM
  #7  
HillRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 32,796

Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1645 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 500 Times in 377 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
There are too many to list, but my favorite might be the Raleigh International of the 1970's. Lots of Raleighs are nice.
The OP has to be careful of Raleighs from the mid-70's and prior, particularly the UK built ones. They have proprietary threading for the bottom brackets and steerers and compatible components are getting hard to find. I believe the "Raleigh Internationals" have English threading but be sure of what you buy.

As to Japanese bikes from the 80's and 90's, I certainly agree they make a very good basis for restoring, modernizing or customizing. They are generally well made and take conventional and readily available parts. Many are quite cheap but some have gotten pricey (Bridgestones in particular) as they have collectors value. Older Trek frames are also a good start.
HillRider is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 07:11 AM
  #8  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 4,404
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1139 Post(s)
Liked 539 Times in 356 Posts
Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
The OP has to be careful of Raleighs from the mid-70's and prior, particularly the UK built ones. They have proprietary threading for the bottom brackets and steerers and compatible components are getting hard to find. I believe the "Raleigh Internationals" have English threading but be sure of what you buy.

As to Japanese bikes from the 80's and 90's, I certainly agree they make a very good basis for restoring, modernizing or customizing. They are generally well made and take conventional and readily available parts. Many are quite cheap but some have gotten pricey (Bridgestones in particular) as they have collectors value. Older Trek frames are also a good start.
Higher end Raleighs like the International, Professional and the Competition used standard English threading, it was only the lower end bikes that used proprietary Raleigh threading and those frames would be much less interesting for someone wanting to update
alcjphil is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 07:15 AM
  #9  
HillRider
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 32,796

Bikes: '96 Litespeed Catalyst, '05 Litespeed Firenze, '06 Litespeed Tuscany, '20 Surly Midnight Special, All are 3x10. It is hilly around here!

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1645 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 500 Times in 377 Posts
Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Higher end Raleighs like the International, Professional and the Competition used standard English threading, it was only the lower end bikes that used proprietary Raleigh threading and those frames would be much less interesting for someone wanting to update
Right, but the OP may not know the difference unless it is pointed out. To the newcomer, an old Raleigh is an old Raleigh.
HillRider is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 07:21 AM
  #10  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 4,404
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1139 Post(s)
Liked 539 Times in 356 Posts
Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
Right, but the OP may not know the difference unless it is pointed out. To the newcomer, an old Raleigh is an old Raleigh.
Very true, however, the specific suggestion of looking for an International is a good one
alcjphil is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 07:45 AM
  #11  
qclabrat
Senior Member
 
qclabrat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,373
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 257 Post(s)
Liked 70 Times in 63 Posts
good advice from everyone, I start the tinkering bug about 15 yrs ago and also started with a bunch of japanese, english and american bikes. my first "good" bike as a kid was a lower end Peugeot, but haven't worked on a French bike since. Italian bikes aren't the best value either and most use their threading, ironically I started with a early 80's Ciocc 15 years ago with this craze as it was the bike I wanted but couldn't afford as a kid, hence the low end Peugeot. If you are looking to strip the bikes completely and swap parts, I would suggest mid 80s to early 90s steel bikes using 700c or 26" wheels. A few early bikes with aluminum head tubes bit the dust when I started hammering on them with home made tools you'll learn to make along the way. Happy hunting...
qclabrat is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 08:30 AM
  #12  
dbg
Si Senior
 
dbg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Naperville, Illinois
Posts: 2,669

Bikes: Too Numerous (not)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
+1 on 80's Japanese 10 speeds. They are very good donor bikes for a project (Nishiki, Panasonic, Bridgestone, Miyata, ...are some of the common ones)

+1 on early no-suspension mtb bikes (Specialized, Trek, Gary Fisher, etc). They make excellent commuter frames.

I generally don't go back farther than 80's because of threadings and sizes (French, Italian, etc) and I avoid cottered cranks.

But the best advice I would give you (if you haven't already discovered the reference) is to go read all the stuff from Sheldon Brown. He was pretty amazing.

Last edited by dbg; 10-07-14 at 08:35 AM.
dbg is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 09:46 AM
  #13  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 8,964

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 26 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2345 Post(s)
Liked 638 Times in 386 Posts
I guess I would have to say almost any brand of the pre-'85 brazed lugged frame bike in good condition would be fine
rydabent is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 10:27 AM
  #14  
Velocivixen
Senior Member
 
Velocivixen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: The Great Pacific Northwest
Posts: 4,515
Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 397 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 18 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
There are too many to list, but my favorite might be the Raleigh International of the 1970's. Lots of Raleighs are nice.

It's true that French bikes can pose problems because of threadings and dimensions. I feel it's a shame the metric system lost in the bike world, but that's what happened.

The most predictably standardized bikes might be the Japanese bikes of the 1980's. They were also very well made.
+1

Mid-'80's Japanese brand bikes seem to have fairly standard components. My first ever "tinker" & learn on bike was a '70's Motobecane Grand Jubile. I knew it would likely have different threading, etc., but was still frustrating for a beginner.

Remember to have fun.
Velocivixen is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 10:44 AM
  #15  
Bustaknot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Bustaknot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: West end Toronto
Posts: 113

Bikes: Crappy ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
These are some amazing suggestions. Thank you all, this has been a HUGE help.
Bustaknot is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 10:44 AM
  #16  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,315 Times in 826 Posts
Yea for a while France wanted to be all Metric, so they rounded off the fractional equivalencies every one else used . frame tube and stems and so forth

so things that were 7/8" 22.2mm were 22.0mm, 1"/25.4mm to 25.0mm , and so forth ...
fietsbob is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 10:48 AM
  #17  
Bustaknot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Bustaknot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: West end Toronto
Posts: 113

Bikes: Crappy ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Higher end Raleighs like the International, Professional and the Competition used standard English threading, it was only the lower end bikes that used proprietary Raleigh threading and those frames would be much less interesting for someone wanting to update
Is there a way to visually tell if it's an International, Professional or Competition? Some listings and pictures don't have that information. Any visual queues to help me out?
Bustaknot is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 11:01 AM
  #18  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,315 Times in 826 Posts
Read back thru the many pages here ? : Classic & Vintage
fietsbob is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 12:29 PM
  #19  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 39,920

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 485 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6872 Post(s)
Liked 1,502 Times in 950 Posts
Smartazz.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 12:32 PM
  #20  
lostarchitect 
incazzare.
 
lostarchitect's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Catskills/Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 6,960

Bikes: See sig

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by Bustaknot View Post
Is there a way to visually tell if it's an International, Professional or Competition? Some listings and pictures don't have that information. Any visual queues to help me out?
They were different in various years, so I could tell you some visual cues, but they would apply to some years and not others, which would be confusing.

I will say that if the serial number begins with W, then it is one of the higher quality bikes made at the Worksop Carlton factory, but even that only applies to bikes after the early 70's.
__________________
1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 1974 Raleigh Gran Sport, 1986 Schwinn High Sierra, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2011 Dick Chafe, 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

Last edited by lostarchitect; 10-07-14 at 02:05 PM.
lostarchitect is offline  
Old 10-07-14, 12:38 PM
  #21  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 39,920

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 485 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6872 Post(s)
Liked 1,502 Times in 950 Posts
There are scans of catalogs available on the 'net which will help you tell models apart. Also, google images helps a great deal.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 10-08-14, 03:10 PM
  #22  
Bustaknot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Bustaknot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: West end Toronto
Posts: 113

Bikes: Crappy ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
There are scans of catalogs available on the 'net which will help you tell models apart. Also, google images helps a great deal.
You mentioned the Raleigh International (which looks amazing and I'll be keeping my eye out for it), but what about the Raleigh Grand Prix? I've fallen in love with this green model:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
7873824210_3395fc3186.jpg (58.5 KB, 24 views)
Bustaknot is offline  
Old 10-08-14, 03:17 PM
  #23  
alcjphil
Senior Member
 
alcjphil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 4,404
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1139 Post(s)
Liked 539 Times in 356 Posts
Originally Posted by Bustaknot View Post
You mentioned the Raleigh International (which looks amazing and I'll be keeping my eye out for it), but what about the Raleigh Grand Prix? I've fallen in love with this green model:
If you look at old catalogs, you will see that the Grand Prix was an entry level bike, very much at the lower end of the line. I wouldn't look at any old Raleigh lower down the line than the Super Course
alcjphil is offline  
Old 10-08-14, 03:24 PM
  #24  
Bustaknot
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Bustaknot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: West end Toronto
Posts: 113

Bikes: Crappy ones

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Interesting. I guess i'm digging into some old Raleigh Catalogs tonight Thanks for info.
Bustaknot is offline  
Old 10-08-14, 04:03 PM
  #25  
cycle_maven
Collector of Useless Info
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,407
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I like the mid to late 80's Panasonic-built Schwinns with the Tenax tubing. All standard parts and generally sweet geometry, low weight and inexpensive. Can't go wrong.
cycle_maven is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.