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Classic and Vintage bikes that didn’t wow

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Classic and Vintage bikes that didn’t wow

Old 10-17-18, 10:13 PM
  #51  
vintagerando
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Never much liked the Schwinn Voyageur I had. Bought it and sold it in a year.
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Old 10-17-18, 10:23 PM
  #52  
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I've posted about this one before, but my '84 Trek 610. Reynolds 531 main tubes. Dead, sluggish, and slow. God I hated that bike. In theory, everything about it should've been perfect for my purposes, but there was just something that didn't click
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Old 10-18-18, 07:24 AM
  #53  
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-Bianchi SX Sport, meh, as my daughters would say
-every aluminum frame with the exception of a Vitus 979, one, IIRC a Raleigh, I blame for loosing a filling.
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Old 10-18-18, 08:54 AM
  #54  
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I will obsess over fixing a crappy C&V ride, and can usually isolate an issue and eliminate the problem. It may go against "retro-grouch" orthodoxy of keeping original components on a bike, but I truly believe that choice of tires, tire pressure, wheels, fork can overcome a lot of issues on C&V bikes. And your three points of contact with the bike can often be customized for rider comfort by swapping stems, handlebars, seatposts, etc.

But I find these three issues difficult to overcome:

1. Frame clearances. A lot of "harsh ride" issues can be overcome where the rubber hits the road. An early fat-tube Cannondale or Klein can be a wonderful ride if you can manage to get some wider tires with more air volume on a modern wheelset at the appropriate pressure for your weight. But these frames are problematic when you don't have clearance for wider tires, and of course you can't "cold set" an aluminum frame from 126mm to 130mm for a rear hub. Fat tubes often mean less clearance.

2. Handling issues. Wheelbase, center of gravity, trail, and bottom bracket height are pretty hard to mess with. You can change your fork rake or length, but the effects can be unpredictable and permeate through the rest of the frame geometry.

3. Frame flex in the wrong places. I'm not talking about the flex in vintage steel frames that people seem to actually enjoy. But some of the early carbon frames (Kestrel comes to mine) had a lot of bottom bracket flex. We had a Kestrel in our shop that was so flexy that it became a selling point for the stiffer Trek OCLV frames--which I couldn't afford at the time, anyway.
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Old 10-22-18, 11:52 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by bocobiking View Post


Thanks, but my stable is already too full 🙂

I was thinking a trade for you 63cm 88 frame!
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Old 10-22-18, 01:20 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post


...I have tried to like the handling of this bicycle, but I just can't.
It looks like relaxed angles to me, so likely a shorter stem length would really liven up the steering.

But if the saddle-to-bar reach is already on the short side for you, then it might be hopeless.

I find that old bikes with very relaxed frame angles (such as my 24" Varsity, my Legnano and my Steyr) handle and fit me well in their larger frame sizes for my height, using shorter stem lengths (the Steyr has a low-trail fork so does handle best with a longer stem than the others).
The larger frame sizes (with longer toptubes) make up for the forward reach that is lost to the slack seattube angle, so a longer stem may not be needed.
Geometry, fit and weight distribution are so inter-related with respect to a bike's handling and overall performance.




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Old 10-22-18, 06:52 PM
  #57  
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Bikes that didn't work for me..
Put Cannondale on the list and I tried so hard because they were made in usa and the company itself was great to work with.

Centurion Accordo
Mondonico with octogon tubing iirc
Clark Kent titanium
Miyata titanium
Trek bonded aluminum

Some others
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Old 10-22-18, 07:53 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post


...I have tried to like the handling of this bicycle, but I just can't.
So what have you done with it, it looks like one I would love with the slack angles and all.
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Old 10-23-18, 07:46 AM
  #59  
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It's interesting that some models that some of us love are those that some of us don't. But taste accounts for a lot, as well as other hard to quantify things such as physique and riding style. I agree with @HarborBandS that adjustments to fit can make all the difference, so much so that we blame the bike without knowing that the handlebars or saddle or even the handlebar tape might be making the difference.

I had a Motobecane Le Champion that I sold because I didn't like the way it rode. I came to that decision after I had invested in an expensive repaint job. Thinking back about it, it might have been that the bike was too big for me. It might even have been possible to make it work by getting a shorter stem. But I'll never know.

I also had an Atala Competizione that was twitchy. The last straw was when I hit a rut I didn't see. It knocked my hands off the handlebars, and suddenly my elbows were on the bars, where, of course, I couldn't control it. The wheel flopped sideways, and I was tossed off the bike and landed on my back. It was as painful as it sounds. I felt like a mother bird whose chick was touched by human hands. I didn't forgive the bike, and I sold it.
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Old 10-23-18, 09:18 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I had a Motobecane Le Champion that I sold because I didn't like the way it rode. I came to that decision after I had invested in an expensive repaint job.
I experienced the same with a Super Course, 1969 I think. It was a $10 Goodwill find with bad, but pleasing color of Coppertone paint. That and the Nervex lugs led me to invest in a paint job by Acme of Portland. The result was fantastic: he improved on the Coppertone color, and added a contrasting, Ivory head tube that showed off the ornate lugs. Charged a reasonable price at the time. As often occurs, there were a few surprises in decal font & location, but I was happy.

I built the bike with NOS Shimano Arabesque and found the ride was good. Over time I found the bike stable at speed, especially on long, mountain descents. Other bikes came to me. and I wasn't riding the Raleigh so much. Why?

Compared to my other rides, it was too stable. Like a locomotive on descents, no matter how fast I went, but for most of my riding, it was never lively. No Zip, I had a 1978 SC for some time and it had quicker handling, same for the 1973 SC I have now, so different wheels or tires, a stem change or maybe a fork trail change could have made a the difference, but I had other rides I liked better and sold it on to a co-worker. Don
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Old 10-23-18, 10:01 AM
  #61  
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Well, there you go. I love my 1971 Super Course, and to me, it feels lighter than it actually is. I find it to accelerate and climb better than it "should" at its weight. And calling it stable is weird to me, too, because I find the steering to be floppy, though I tolerate it. That is a very nice paint job! Do you have more pictures?
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Old 10-23-18, 10:34 AM
  #62  
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A Raleigh Gran Sport from the 70s (now adapted to a commuter bike with a Shimano Nexus 8-speed IGH). Frame on the big side, and it just feels too upright and weird. Plus the whole "toe clip hitting the front tire" thing isn't fun. Somewhere back in cycling design history someone must have thought it cool and ingenious to try and see less and less of your front tire while riding.

Graham
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Old 10-23-18, 10:46 AM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by grahamtillotson View Post
A Raleigh Gran Sport from the 70s (now adapted to a commuter bike with a Shimano Nexus 8-speed IGH). Frame on the big side, and it just feels too upright and weird. Plus the whole "toe clip hitting the front tire" thing isn't fun. Somewhere back in cycling design history someone must have thought it cool and ingenious to try and see less and less of your front tire while riding.

Graham
Ha! Another case in point. I love my (slightly too big) GS and have since I bought it in ‘73 - although I admit I like it more with 700c wheels.
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Old 10-23-18, 11:33 AM
  #64  
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Time and effort

What improves the ride - in my experience at least, is you spend hundreds of hours restoring any bike, it has to feel good otherwise you'd become an alcoholic - or more of one let's say.
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Old 10-23-18, 11:51 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Well, there you go. I love my 1971 Super Course, and to me, it feels lighter than it actually is. I find it to accelerate and climb better than it "should" at its weight. And calling it stable is weird to me, too, because I find the steering to be floppy, though I tolerate it. That is a very nice paint job! Do you have more pictures?

Maybe it was the fat 27 x 1 1/4 tires? Or the new wheelset? Tires were by Vredestein but I don't remember details. Here's 1 other pic I found. There are more, just not organized well enough to find easily. The Painter removed my Heron badge then glued it back when he didn't have right sized rivets or screws. I think I eventually put used small brass screws to fill the holes. Don
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Old 10-28-18, 11:37 PM
  #66  
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Originally Posted by Johno59 View Post
What improves the ride - in my experience at least, is you spend hundreds of hours restoring any bike, it has to feel good otherwise you'd become an alcoholic - or more of one let's say.
This is a hilariously underrated comment. Of course neither of us are promoting alcoholism, but the thrust of your comment carries truth. At least we can sell our work and never see it again, recouping a few of those many hours monetarily.
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Old 10-10-19, 06:24 AM
  #67  
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For me it was a Trek 560, the '86 vintage with cool fastback seat stays, and 531 main tubes. This is when Trek started added exotic materials and the frame set number system slid back a notch. I just couldn't mesh with that bike. I now realize it was a size too small for me. I gave the frame to a friend who has modernized the components and it's his favorite ride.

Like a previous poster I have an '84 Trek 610. Unlike their experience it's my favorite bike to take out! 😆

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Old 10-10-19, 06:31 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by MobiBike View Post
Bikes that didn't work for me..
Put Cannondale on the list and I tried so hard because they were made in usa and the company itself was great to work with.

Centurion Accordo
Mondonico with octogon tubing iirc
Clark Kent titanium
Miyata titanium
Trek bonded aluminum

Some others
I’m curious about the 2 titanium bikes on the list. What about them didn’t work out for you?
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Old 10-10-19, 06:51 AM
  #69  
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I've had two Treks (510 and 710 framesets built up) and thought both were too whippy. Never toured on the Ishiwata 022-tubed 510 but the Reynolds 531-tubed 710 alarmed me on descents with an unsettling wobble. I was always able to ride it out but my old hi-ten Batavus did the same thing; not a feeling you want in the Alps.

When I retired I bought myself a Bridgestone RB-T and while attempting a TransAm tour learned it did the same thing, that good ol' shimmy on a down hill. It's fine for normal riding or for touring on flat ground but I want a bike that's rock solid with four panniers on a downhill. Incidentally, I tried the RB-T with four panniers and separately with a B.O.B. trailer and it shimmied less with the trailer but still did it. Do not like that feeling.

That's really what I care about as far as performance goes. If a bike fits and works I'll ride it. I'm not fast, and not particularly discriminating as far as responsive and acceleration go. Get me there without scaring the hell out of me and I'm happy.
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Old 10-10-19, 07:10 AM
  #70  
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1987 Schwinn Tempo. American-made, Columbus tubing, built during the apex of steel frame technology. Inspired stage-racing geometry. I really wanted to like it.

But I could just feel the frame flex "eating" the energy of each pedal stroke. I would stomp my foot, and the frame would flex a bit, but the energy that went into causing the flex just seemed to vanish into thin air. There was almost no "pushback", of the kind you get from a quality steel frame. A frame ought to flex immediately back again, this one just did not seem to at all, it felt "dead".

Gave it away to someone who probably won't ever notice what I did.
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Old 10-10-19, 07:30 AM
  #71  
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Around Y2K, I had a mid eighties Miyata 312 that just felt dead. So as a sucker for punishment, I now have another, same size and colour, in the queue waiting for a town build. I'm hoping that vintage frames age like wine.
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Old 10-10-19, 07:44 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by thumpism View Post
I've had two Treks (510 and 710 framesets built up) and thought both were too whippy. Never toured on the Ishiwata 022-tubed 510 but the Reynolds 531-tubed 710 alarmed me on descents with an unsettling wobble. I was always able to ride it out but my old hi-ten Batavus did the same thing; not a feeling you want in the Alps.

When I retired I bought myself a Bridgestone RB-T and while attempting a TransAm tour learned it did the same thing, that good ol' shimmy on a down hill. It's fine for normal riding or for touring on flat ground but I want a bike that's rock solid with four panniers on a downhill. Incidentally, I tried the RB-T with four panniers and separately with a B.O.B. trailer and it shimmied less with the trailer but still did it. Do not like that feeling.

That's really what I care about as far as performance goes. If a bike fits and works I'll ride it. I'm not fast, and not particularly discriminating as far as responsive and acceleration go. Get me there without scaring the hell out of me and I'm happy.
Yeah, that does not sound fun.
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Old 10-10-19, 08:04 AM
  #73  
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I had a mid-90s Litespeed Tuscany that I let go of pretty fast.

It fit beautifully and "disappeared" underneath me.

For me, the frame was too soft and flexy. It didn't transfer power well and seemed to loose momentum easily.

The rear triangle had an alignment issue, so I was able to get a refund. I consider this dodging a bullet.
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Old 10-10-19, 08:09 AM
  #74  
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I remember NOT posting in this thread a year ago, fearing an outcry of contempt.

But I never really liked the ride of this mid-80s Trek '600 Series'.
Frame felt flexy. I never measured but I think it had a lot of BB drop.
(Maybe I'm just not of a Touring Mindset)
It wasn't simply that the frame was a tad large because my SuperCourse (same size and heavier than the Trek) was a more pleasant ride.


The Raleigh had a long stem and I could really stretch and relax on this bike, just not a climber.
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Old 10-10-19, 08:39 AM
  #75  
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My '82 Austro Daimler Alpina. It felt fine while it was my only bike, but when I got my Maruishi, I felt so much faster. The Alpina is a sport touring frame, but the front end geometry is floppy at all speeds. It requires rather large amounts of countersteer in turns, enough that you can't turn no-handed. The frame was reasonably stiff (far stiffer than my Maruishi, which I imagine rides like one of the aluminum Vitus frames), but when you really stomped on it, it just died. It wouldn't "spring back" and you had to countersteer HARD. It would twitch/snap in a heavy, loaded way.
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