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Vintage first-buyer.

Old 05-17-17, 05:51 PM
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Hilt
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Vintage first-buyer.

How informed do you think a first-buyer needs to be in order to make a good purchase on a vintage bicycle?
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Old 05-17-17, 05:53 PM
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You need some minimal information but we can help you make a decent choice. You need a working budget, an idea of what size you need, and an idea of the kind of riding you want to do. You can then post some ads from craigslist (here in the US) or the local equivalent and you'll get some feedback. You'll also need to be willing to learn how to do some basic repair work on the bike. It's not hard and there are plenty of online sources but you'll need to do it when buying 2d hand.
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Old 05-17-17, 06:06 PM
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What is your purpose in purchasing? Building a museum, general rider, Experience the feel o' steel? Makes a difference.
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Old 05-17-17, 07:57 PM
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I've only been a member to this forum since late last summer, when I got my first vintage bike (I come from the modern mountain bike world). What I've learned to look for is:

proper fit/frame sizing.

Cro-Mo tubing or better (Reynolds 531, Columbus, Japanese double butted, etc.)

Downtube or bar end shifters, vs. stem shifters.

Alloy rims over steel rims.

Non-cottered cranks.

I'm still somewhat in the dark on drivetrain components, but most beside Simplex Delrin seem to be okay, by this forum at least.

I'll let the experts and old timers chime in for more.

Last edited by Dirt Farmer; 05-17-17 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 05-17-17, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
What is your purpose in purchasing? Building a museum, general rider, Experience the feel o' steel? Makes a difference.
I think that is very important ^

I was in your boat quite a few years ago, and ended up spending a lot of time on these forums just reading and doing research. Lots of great info here, take advantage!

Ultimately, I ended up looking for the best deals I could find on old bikes local, and before I knew it I had about 5 vintage bikes in my possession. That helped me understand what I liked and what I didn't like. The ones I didn't like, I just sold for what I paid for them.
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Old 05-18-17, 03:09 AM
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It has taken me years and hundreds of vintage bicycles to learn how to determine a bicycle's quality level. Though there is a lot of information, check out some or all of the links on Vintage Bicycle Quality. Doing so will help you understand what is best and what is not. This is valuable information, to take into the field with you, when viewing a potential acquisition.

Hope it is a help.
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Old 05-18-17, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Hilt View Post
How informed do you think a first-buyer needs to be in order to make a good purchase on a vintage bicycle?
Plenty of good info above, and yes, posting possible purchases here will give you decades of experience and knowledge in moments.

There are three areas I think you should be focused on. First is fit. Figure out what size you need, so you're not wasting time. Second is the quality of the bike and suitability to your needs (I'll lump those together). This is what takes a lot of experience, and where this forum will help significantly.

The third area is bike condition. The forum can help if you provide good photos, but a lot of this is common sense. A bike that is well maintained and tuned up and ready to ride is worth a lot more than one that's been left in the weather, has sat unused for years, is dirty, worn out, has damaged components, or damaged frame. Carefully examine the bike, seeing if everything works, if things spin very smoothly, looking for areas were the paint might indicate underlying damage (wreck or rust), etc. You can expect to refurbish and replace some things most of the time, and it's kind of fun, but can be time consuming and require some specialized tools. If you enjoy fixing things and learning vintage techniques and acquiring new tools, then you can widen your search. If not, then you need to focus on condition as much as you focus on underlying quality.
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Old 05-25-17, 09:13 AM
  #8  
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When looking at a vintage bike check the frame carefully. I have an old Specialized touring frame I intended to build up. On close inspection I fount a crack in one of the chain stays right at the bottom bracket shell. Pretty much makes the frame Junk. Check that the wheels are round (seriously) and that the stem and seat post are not stuck. If either is frozen it can lead to a lot of work , frustration and possibly junking the frame. If the frame passes inspection, wiggle the wheels to see if the bearings are loose and check that they spin freely. wiggle the cranks to see if the bottom bracket bearings are loose and turn the pedals to check for smooth operation.

If the frame is straight and sound most anything else can be rebuilt or replaced on a bike. A good vinegar bath can clean up rusty parts. Derailleurs, brakes , freewheels and chain rings will look like new after cleaning in solvent. add new cables and covers, bar tape , and a nice saddle and the old girl will look like new.

If an enthusiast has done all that for you , expect to pay something extra.

Beware of the bike that has been pulled out of the garage and sold as is. It may have nice paint and look o/k but will need a complete service if you are going to ride it. That will cost you $200 or so done at a bike shop.
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Old 05-25-17, 02:46 PM
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As far as frame quality is concerned, the quickest thing to check are the rear dropouts; are they cast, stamped, or jut pinched-end dropouts?
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Old 05-29-17, 01:10 PM
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Re the frame,

A simple test of quality of the frame and really the bicycle is whether of not the rear derailleur uses a separate claw to attach to the rear drop out of if there is an attachment point built in . There are some nice bikes built without a built in derailleur hanger but anything having it built in is going to be a higher quality bike. Maybe someone knows of an exception but I have never seen one.
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