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Classic Bike Identification Chart

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Classic Bike Identification Chart

Old 12-03-16, 03:08 PM
  #1  
IMontoya
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Classic Bike Identification Chart

I am just beginning to look at classic bikes. I've learned a couple of brand names, but the difference between a desirable frame and entry-level baffles me. I really wish someone would make a chart like this for classic bikes:

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Old 12-03-16, 03:24 PM
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Maybe not a chart, but randyjawa (who posts here frequently) built and catalogued a website for your exact purpose: FREE SITE 1

The site has a whole resource on what to look for when trying to find quality vs. garbage.

My apologies in advance for erasing the rest of your free time for the weekend.
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Old 12-03-16, 03:54 PM
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Italy actually made some pretty good airplanes.



did you know they still wear feathered helmets today? (rhetorical question)

Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-03-16 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 12-03-16, 04:30 PM
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For every airplane model there's likely 1000 bikes so your chart will be a little unwieldy. Quality begins in the frame details so start studying, taking pics and use search engines to do your research. It's often said it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert or truly adept at any discipline so start now!
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Old 12-03-16, 05:21 PM
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The De Rosa of World War II The do everything Mosquito.


Last edited by Wileyone; 12-03-16 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 12-03-16, 05:31 PM
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I have a couple of family members on my side and the gal's side that do quite a bit of garage sale-ing(?).

I've made them a quick guide of things to look for when looking at a vintage road bike. Side by side pictures of stamped/forged dropouts, 1-piece/3-piece crank, shifter locations, etc. If something hits most or all of the boxes, text me.
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Old 12-03-16, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Wileyone View Post
The De Rosa of World War II The do everything Mosquito.
just make sure you keep it away from termites...
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Old 12-03-16, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by FullGas View Post
just make sure you keep it away from termites...
Yes the Wooden wonder.
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Old 12-03-16, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by IMontoya View Post
I am just beginning to look at classic bikes. I've learned a couple of brand names, but the difference between a desirable frame and entry-level baffles me. I really wish someone would make a chart like this for classic bikes.
I once read (maybe Randy's site) that if a bike has a brand name that you never heard of, but it's a foreign name that ends in a vowel, then give it a second look.

Signs of vintage entry level bikes: turkey levers (extensions off the normal brake levers), stem shifters, big metal or plastic dork disks (between freewheel and spokes on rear wheel), protective rim outside of big chain ring. Lots of exceptions, and those things can be removed fairly easily, but usually original owners, and lazy bike flippers, leave those things alone.

If it has a sticker on the seat tube (usual location) that states the tubing type (531, Columbus, Champion, etc), then that's a good sign. The list of quality tubesets is much shorter than the list of quality bike models.

The components are a whole additional huge topic. Generally Campagnolo was on the better bikes, but again that stuff can be stripped off, so a great frame may end up with lesser components.

It's a deep subject. Probably the quickest way to learn is post on the appraisals C&V forum whatever cool bikes you see on Craigslist, and read all the threads you see like that. But do a quick search here first, you'll start figuring out a lot of it on your own.
Save
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Old 12-03-16, 08:04 PM
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The Cinelli of aircraft! just beautiful (no copyright issue as I did the painting).
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Old 12-03-16, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Pogliaghi View Post
(no copyright issue as I did the painting).
Not gonna lie, that's one of the better stealth brags I've ever seen.
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Old 12-03-16, 08:06 PM
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Just look for these "Axle Adjusting Screws" on the rear drop outs. Almost always found on a quality frame, but I did once see them on a Sekai Hi Ten steel frame, so not a foolproof guide. Don
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Old 12-03-16, 08:13 PM
  #13  
Pogliaghi
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Not gonna lie, that's one of the better stealth brags I've ever seen.
Thank you sir! I did not know how to put the sentence without it looking like a brag :-)
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Old 12-03-16, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by IMontoya View Post
I am just beginning to look at classic bikes. I've learned a couple of brand names, but the difference between a desirable frame and entry-level baffles me. I really wish someone would make a chart like this for classic bikes...
The friend vs. foe airchaft charts were intended to train ground and air crews in quick and proper identification of aircraft types. The charts give no indication of the abilities of the aircraft which were established in combat situations and became a matter of reputation. As such, the charts provide no more information than knowing the brand and model of a bicycle.
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Old 12-03-16, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Pogliaghi View Post
The talent in this forum frequently amazes me. Well done!
Brent
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Old 12-03-16, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Spoonrobot View Post
Not gonna lie, that's one of the better stealth brags I've ever seen.
Yer darn straight. Awesome painting.
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Old 12-03-16, 10:08 PM
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Here's some quick identifiers to let you know it's probably something of decent quality...

Unscientific - but lift it up. Lighter is usually better.
Forged drop outs are a pretty good indicator.
The lugs and details.
The parts on the bike can be a good indicator - learn your levels of Shimano, campagnolo, etc.
Tubing says a lot. Learn your Reynolds, Columbus, tange and Ishiwata stickers...most 531 is quality, but there's a big difference between a Raleigh supercourse and an Ephgrave.
Generally (not always) a kick stand, suicide levers, and turkey stems come on lower end bikes.

Brand/model preferences are often biases from nostalgia, or they can be based on experience. Some brands/models are more prestigious than others, but it's always debateable. You have folks with bikes that are distinctly less desireable who love them...price/demand isn't always quality. We all have biases, and there are a LOT of bikes out there that may be good for different people. I have bikes I like.
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Old 12-03-16, 10:11 PM
  #18  
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Actually forged dropouts are good starting point
not that every bike with stamped dropouts is a dog, either - it's just usually the first step up in quality.
Choice of lugs picked for the frame is a little more subtle.

The choice of steel tubing affects the weight and performance of the frame. There's straight gage and butted (thicker at the joined ends than in the center of the tube length), and grades of butted (double, triple, quad). If you're looking for a lightweight quality bike, you're looking for butted tubing.
Some like Tange made it very obvious by giving you 5 thickness grades and numbering them. Others like Columbus can be a little strange with names that changed every 4 or 5 years.
A sport-touring bike built with the heavy gage tubing is going to on the low-cost end, but a touring bike with one of heavier butted grades was built that way to haul a substantial load. (Think of it as a Lancaster and you're the 4 Rolls Merlins)
Picking the frame probably depends on what you want to do with it - lightweight road bike (classic racer) vs. utility bike and load hauler - there are geometric differences in the frame and fork that makes these two types of frames handle differently, and a sport-touring bike tends to fall in between the two geometric extremes, may be light weight and sporty and good at handling a front load. Within any of these styles of bikes, there are quality levels and extremes.

Again, I'm going to throw out my old Raleigh Grand Prix that I kept rebuilding for 40 years as a well-designed economical frame.
Fast and sporty, stable with a load, certainly heavy.
But even today people hunt these bikes out to build them into tour bikes (especially tall people because of the sizes available).
Yes, stamped dropouts and straight-gage steel, but Carlton geometry and a stable low-trail fork.
Though the fit is very similar, it's not going to compare to the turn-in quickness and acceleration of a good Italian road bike, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better load-hauling utility bike. And still, this is a fast bike - it's just heavy.
If your goal is not bulletproof load hauler, you should be looking at lighter, sportier frames.


Last edited by bulldog1935; 12-03-16 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 12-04-16, 06:09 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by Pogliaghi View Post
The Cinelli of aircraft! just beautiful (no copyright issue as I did the painting).
It didn't become the "Cinelli" until the Brits put the RR Merlin in it. The Mosquito had two of them.

Nice job with the painting some of us can barely draw stick people.

Last edited by Wileyone; 12-04-16 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 12-04-16, 07:25 AM
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No boat anchors, but I have an otherwise full gamut, from a humble, very common, basic entry level frame of ordinary carbon steel (Peugeot UO-8) to a rare and highly collectible frame made with double-butted Reynolds 531 (Capo Sieger). I find that riding pleasure and overall utility depend more on frame geometry than anything else, and every bike in my stable fills a valuable niche for me. Above all else, make sure whatever you buy fits you properly, or can be made to with judicious adjustment of saddle position and stem reach.
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Old 12-04-16, 07:55 AM
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A chart, that's pretty simple.

Italian bikes.



French bikes.



English bikes.



Belgian bikes.



Spanish bikes.



American bikes.



Japanese bikes.



Rest of the world bikes.

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Old 12-04-16, 08:00 AM
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Whatever works. Don't believe the nay-sayers. Take it for a ride and see how you like it.

Last edited by 1989Pre; 05-05-18 at 06:09 PM.
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Old 12-04-16, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre View Post
Whatever works. Don't believe the nay-sayers. Take it for a ride and see how you like it.
the Russian's favorite tank-killer
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Old 12-04-16, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by bulldog1935 View Post
the Russian's favorite tank-killer
Definitely helped them win the War. Along with the T-34.
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Old 12-04-16, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bulldog1935 View Post
the Russian's favorite tank-killer
Speaking of the Soviets, I see no mention of the Yakolev Yak-3, which was arguably the best dogfighter of WWII. Their kill ratio was so impressive that the Luftwaffe issued orders to avoid combat with them at altitudes below 5000m. The Free French squadrons operating in Russia reportedly turned down Spitfires and Mustangs in favour of the Yak-3.
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