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What is a vintage bike?

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What is a vintage bike?

Old 07-30-18, 09:21 AM
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What is a vintage bike?

What does vintage mean when used to describe a bike?

Originally vintage referred to the year a wine was produced, as in, “a red table wine of 2003 vintage”. Today it is commonly used to describe when just about anything was produced, such as, “a Schwinn vintage 2014 bike” or “a vintage 2014 Schwinn bike”. These I understand.

But what does vintage mean when used to describe a bike with no year of production provided?
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Old 07-30-18, 09:38 AM
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Good question. Vintage for wine means that it is not blended with wine made from other years. Why this might be better than wine that is not blended with other years, I don't know. So, is a vintage bike a bike in which all the components are from the same year?

Often when looking up bikes on Craigslist, I will use the term, "Vintage" because this is how sellers will describe their bikes, or offerings that are not antiques, but not the current model either. It is also a way to elevate an item that is out of date.

The question about "Antique" came up not too long ago and the standard answer is, 100 years for household items, but for cars, it seems to be less.

There is also "vintage" clothing, which is not the current style, or even last decade's style, but a style that goes back at least two decades. Correct me if I am wrong here because I am not much of a fashion guy.

I have to admit that even thought I regularly use the term, usually when I am looking and less so when I am the one describing, I don't know what "vintage" is.
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Old 07-30-18, 09:44 AM
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To me, vintage means old.
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Old 07-30-18, 09:50 AM
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I know OP is new, but please Search. Either Forum Search or Internet Search.

This has been done ad nauseum.
Vintage has no formal meaning in the cycling world, nor does Classic.
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Old 07-30-18, 10:13 AM
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It means whatever you want it to mean.
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Old 07-30-18, 10:26 AM
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It has to have a referance to time passed in some way. To officially be given the status of a veteran car it has be thirty years old, for me a bike has to be from the 80s at least, maybe early 90s. The ones made in the 1930s to 1950s tend to catch my interest the most. A new bike can of course be given a vintage style and look, maybe even build.

I think this bike was brand new in a 2011 show, Reynolds 953 tubing, with a very classic look, aka vintage look. It's a trendy terminology though and maybe used to promote the commercial side of it.

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Old 07-30-18, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
I know OP is new, but please Search. Either Forum Search or Internet Search.

This has been done ad nauseum.
Vintage has no formal meaning in the cycling world, nor does Classic.
I did. No results returned in a BF search, and nothing helpful from a 'net search. You seem very familiar with the issue, so perhaps sharing some links, especially any that might explain the term in context of bikes, might be helpful.

I asked the question because it is a term used by so many people selling bikes and because BF has two forums with the term in their titles - this one and the "...what it's worth" one. . Every specialty has their own "language" and seeing a commonly used term in an uncommon manner usually indicates it is part of the lingo unique to that community, bicycling in this case.
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Old 07-30-18, 11:17 AM
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Edit: Hazyguy beat me to it = thanks

Q: Is there a formal definition of Classic or Vintage?

How Old Is Classic, Anyway?
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Old 07-30-18, 11:33 AM
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This has been brought up and debated 25? 50 years (antiques dealers use this)? LeEroica year? etc. Makes me think there should be a classification for bikes built pre-internet or maybe the end of the steel era, or 5-6 speeds.The vast majority currently discussed here are that. But it probably won't be that way long..
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Old 07-30-18, 11:36 AM
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The question just keeps coming back.
It's like the circle of life.
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Old 07-30-18, 12:15 PM
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It is probably a moving target.

One definition might be a bike or frame that is out of production, and has a number of features that are substantially different than current production models.

That becomes more complicated when one considers several companies that are either making "reproduction" bikes, or continuing to work in steel.

I tend to consider my Colnago to be vintage.


It has a mix of new and old parts, and some custom parts I've built up. However, the frame has been out of production for about 20 years, and has features that have been largely abandoned by companies including a horizontal top tube and tube and lugged carbon fiber construction (although Colnago still may do that with their C60 frames). Tube sizes and shapes also more resemble the old steel frames than the new CF frames.

Nonetheless, the interpretation is in the eyes of the beholder.
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Old 08-01-18, 02:21 PM
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In France there is a special registration for vintage cars. They have to be xx years old and near as dash it original. The problem with the system is that we're now seeing things like Audi A6 and A4 cars registered in the scheme. That's why putting a date on it is near impossible and in many contexts it's the evolution of (in our case) the English language.
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Old 08-01-18, 11:27 PM
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I have a very formal set of definitions for you.

Vintage - the year the bike was made. That's it. Every bike has a vintage year.

Classic - a design that has stood the test of time and proven of merit.

Try these definitions out.

You can have a "recent vintage of a classic design" (a new steel build of an old design).

You can have "a vintage 1970 Peugeot PX-10 that is a true classic" (note the old model year for a worthy bicycle).

Last edited by Bad Lag; 08-01-18 at 11:31 PM.
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