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Brand, years, models for a nice road bike....

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Brand, years, models for a nice road bike....

Old 09-12-14, 09:49 PM
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cyrano138
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Brand, years, models for a nice road bike....

I saw some advice given in this thread about a year ago. Someone was asking where to find a nice cromo frame that would be light and decent for a road bike, but not crazy expensive. I think someone told him to look at some 80s japanese models and brands, but I can't remember what they were and couldn't find it in a search, so sorry if this is a common question.

I bought and fixed up (sort of) a 78 Raleigh Supercourse at that time and liked it quite a bit, but have left it in NC at my brother's house so I'd have something to ride when I visited. For where I live (Florida), I don't exactly have to contend with hills, so I ride a 2008 Fuji Track with a 48 to 13 ratio. I was going to keep things the way they were, but I'm planning a move to California next year where they have some actual hills (I'm told) and thought I might be better served by a nice old ten speed so I could shift here and there.

Anyway, I like the Supercourse, and it rides fine, but I'm looking for something a little more updated, at least with a cromo frame (only the main triangle on the SC is cromo), downtube shifters -- something nice and minimal. My budget is tight. The SC wound up costing me 300 altogether with new wheels. I could spend that again.

Not really sure what brands, years, or models to look for on craigslist here in Sarasota Fl.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Jack
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Old 09-12-14, 10:09 PM
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Personally I'm a big fan of Miyata and Nishiki bikes of the late 80s. Even a lot of their lower-end models are triple-butted and are usually around 25 lbs. I'm not sure how hot the market is in Sarasota but I'd imagine you could find them there for less if I can find them in SF for around 300.

EDIT: Also check out Fuji, Bridgestone, and Univega. I've never owned any of those but they are regarded well among my friends.

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Old 09-12-14, 10:21 PM
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Mid to late '80s Univega. High quality tubing, excellent geometry, high performance componentry and some of the coolest metallic and pearl colors ever.
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Old 09-12-14, 10:40 PM
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I have a 1985 Nishiki and a 1987 Miyata - both 21" mixtes and they're light and fast. Univegas or certain Bridgestones, Panasonic, maybe Centurion.

have fun and keep us posted.
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Old 09-13-14, 12:03 AM
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look for on-frame derailleur hangers, downtube shifters and cotterless cranksets. if it has these things, delve further.

favorite craigs search terms:
- suntour
- 600
- motobecane
- 531
- japanese
- univega
- vintage
- peugeot

and also misspellings, like "rode."
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Old 09-13-14, 12:14 AM
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...wait until you get to California to buy it. There are a metric crap tonne of them here, at relatively reasonable prices.
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Old 09-13-14, 12:25 AM
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Just plug this into a craigslist search: (Univega | Nishiki | Centurion | Lotus | Shogun | Miyata | Bridgestone | Panasonic | Fuji)

I copied that list from someone else a while back. Avoid anything with shifters on the stem or with "suicide levers" which are the L-shaped brake levers... and odds are you are getting a decent higher end frame.

Best to stay away from French bikes like Peugeot and Motobecane since they can have some oddball parts that you are better off not having to deal with.

Japanese built Schwinns are decent bikes, something like a 1998 Peloton would be a great classic-style bike in steel. You could also watch for models from the '00s built by LeMond(Trek) and Jamis as they had a bunch made from Reynolds 853 steel.
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Old 09-13-14, 12:51 AM
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I have 3 Univega mixtes. Metallic/pearl colors (periwinkle, misty rose, red) that make your eyes POP! Got them 5 or more years ago and only have one (Periwinkle) built up so far. Set it up as a 6 speed with '90s Grip Shift on a Wald? touring bar, 700 wheels/35mm tires, a B-67 and Blackburn rack. Built as a 'loaner/guest' bike. Intend to install fenders some day. It is the third from the right in this pic from the storage shed, where most of the bikes have been since tornado damage forced me to move a few years ago.




Next to it is the fire engine pearl red one that will be a more sporty version 12 speed with AT-2 bar, home built wheels, etc. The 5th from the right is an '84 Centurion Le Mans Mixte. Too many bikes, not enough time...I mean money...I mean...
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Old 09-13-14, 03:36 AM
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There aren't many vintage road bikes on the market without the stem shifters and "suicide levers". Even those are uncommon in this area. Most of what is offered on my local CraigsList are old cruisers, mountain bikes, women's step-through 3-speeds, and cheap kid's bikes. Old Huffy's are often listed for $75.00, and some are over $100.00! Expect to pay $200.00 for a Schwinn LeTour base model, with 1020 tubing, stem shifters, and the turkey wings. I recently ran across a Varsity with a seized handlebar stem (I removed the bolt, and the stem still would not budge!) for $50.00, and the bike had quite a bit of rust. I don't think it'll be too long before old steel-frame road bikes become like Schwinn Stingrays: Both desirable and pricey. I am sure we can all thank the hipsters and their fixies for that.
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Old 09-13-14, 04:39 AM
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Centurion Ironman.
Centurion LeMans RS.
Panasonic DX4000 and up.
Trek Elance 400.
and dozens of others.

No matter what you get, get the wheels trued and tensioned.
#1 way to make an older bike come alive; #1 most neglected item.

Any of those older bikes, lubed, adjusted properly, and with wheels done right, will surprise you.
The main reason people don't think older bikes "ride" as well is the neglected maintenance.
Get a bargain, do the work, and be ahead of the curve.
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Old 09-13-14, 12:31 PM
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Forget about this brand and that brand. Names mean little when quality is concerned, in my opinion. For example, there are good Raleigh bicycles and really poor one. Same for Bianchi, Peugeot and any other name you care to mention. So, rather than look for the best brand, look for a quality bicycle. This is accomplished by understanding what a quality bicycle looks like.

Have a look at Vintage Bicycle Quality and apply what you find there to potential purchases in the field. That way, you will know what a quality bike looks like and, if you get lucky, you might run across a real gem even though no one here will recommend it. And it would be a shame to miss a really good bicycle just because you did not recognize the name. That said, good bicycles do not always offer the top of the line designs, tube sets or component groups. My Motobecane Grand Jubilee is not really a high end bicycle, but it is one of my favorites for ride quality and vintage aesthetic appeal...

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Old 09-13-14, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by headloss View Post
Best to stay away from French bikes like Peugeot and Motobecane since they can have some oddball parts that you are better off not having to deal with.
couldn't disagree more. it certainly depends on the year, where the early '70s bikes will be less standard. by the late '70s, even peugeots were relatively straight forward. generally, old peugeots are certainly more unique than most everything else.

unless you're in my area, where i will agree and say, "yes, please stay away from the nice french bikes."
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Old 09-13-14, 05:23 PM
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Top Schwinn`s from the mid to late 80`s offer a great bang for the buck. Some where made in Japan, some in the USA. Circuit`s, Peloton`s Tempo`s, Super Sports and Voyageurs can be had for around $300. Trek made some great inexpensive bikes as well. If you look at old catalogs you can get an idea what some of the best models came with and the materials used to make the frame and get an idea where the mid level bikes share the top bikes heritage. So many great bikes can be found if you know what to look for.
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Old 09-13-14, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by eschlwc View Post
couldn't disagree more. it certainly depends on the year, where the early '70s bikes will be less standard. by the late '70s, even peugeots were relatively straight forward. generally, old peugeots are certainly more unique than most everything else.

unless you're in my area, where i will agree and say, "yes, please stay away from the nice french bikes."
The warning is fair and the OP has every right to ignore it... given he can identify what's good and what's a p.i.t.a. Some bikes are a safe bet no matter what. Other bikes, only if you know the bike. You clearly know enough to pick out the good from the bad (as do I).

Then again, not all BB's are going to be labeled Swiss/French/British. Forks/Wheels are an easy enough swap if desired. My '77 Motobecane is nothing to write home about, but I won't complain since it was free.
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Old 09-14-14, 09:22 AM
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Just wanted to say thanks for the great advice. Have been reading the thread and searching Craigslist with the terms suggested. Didn't find anything right off the bat, but I will keep at it and post updates.
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Old 09-14-14, 12:28 PM
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Bianchi Volpe from the 90's would be a good steel bike with traditional geometry.
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Old 10-02-14, 05:05 PM
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what do you guys think this bike is worth?

https://sarasota.craigslist.org/bik/4691577062.html
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Old 10-02-14, 05:17 PM
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found this one, too.

https://sarasota.craigslist.org/bik/4669468832.html
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Old 10-02-14, 05:37 PM
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One thing I would add is that CL offerings for a given city often reflect the local bike store selection circa 1987.

Where I live I almost never see Bridgestones, Miyatas, or Univegas, but there are Schwinns all day long. It's paid off for me to learn as much as I can about Tempos, Circuits, and Voyageurs, but I know nothing about the product lines of the others (except Bridgestone, because the RBX/MBX naming convention is so intuitive, future manufacturers take heed.)
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Old 10-02-14, 05:38 PM
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I think $200 is a good price for a Shimano 600 equipped bike. I paid the same for a 105 equipped Giant and haven't regretted it.

Speaking of 105, here's a possible fall-back if you don't end up with the Centurion Peugeot 16 Speed Triathlon Road Bike Considering this has been listed for 25 days, they might consider a lower offer.

I saw that Vitus too when looking through your local CL, but it looks like it needs more work and money to get it into rideable condition than these other two. The tires might be tubulars, which you may not want to mess with.

In any case- good luck!

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Old 10-02-14, 06:44 PM
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both of those are decent bikes. the centurion looks in good shape, and needs little work.i have a similar lemans r s and it rides great. Offer the guy 150, wait for him to decline. then call it even at 175. If you find a good deal on something better in a few months you can sell that one for little to no loss.

the vitus is also nice, but 250 + $40 in tires is not what id like to pay
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Old 10-02-14, 06:49 PM
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and how tall are you?
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Old 10-02-14, 07:02 PM
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The Peugeot Clang posted is new enough to have standard threading.
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Old 10-02-14, 07:56 PM
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My vote would be a ca. 1980 mixed tubeset frame, with butted moly steel (531, Columbus, etc.) main triangle -- Peugeot PKN-10, upper midrange Bianchi, etc. I also second the vote for good 1980s Japanese bikes, which were fully world class by then.
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Old 10-02-14, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by agchopz View Post
and how tall are you?
5'9" My current bikes are a 56cm fuji and a 57cm raleigh supercourse
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