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Advice on vintage Supercycle bikes?

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Advice on vintage Supercycle bikes?

Old 09-24-19, 12:55 PM
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Bandolero
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Advice on vintage Supercycle bikes?

Hey all, new to this forum and proper biking in general. I'm a student looking for bikes to commute here in university. Been seeing a lot of listings for vintage Supercycle bikes. From what I gathered, looks like its a Canadian Tire brand, and people generally have mixed feelings about them.

tbh, I don't need a serious bike, but do prefer something useable and somewhat of a "beater bike" that I can work on and use to learn about fixing it up and all. Most are between 60s-80s, with a few having vintage disk brakes.

A friend advised against ones with vintage disk brakes because it'd be hard to find replacements in case anything happens to them. Anyone have any advice?
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Old 09-24-19, 01:15 PM
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Welcome to the forums. Supercyle is a brand owned by Canadian Tire and dating back to the very late 1930s. The brand was manufactured by a large variety of sources over the years, including some very reputable manufacturers such as CCM, Raleigh and Motobecane. However, the bicycles were typically designed for a very low price point., so even when manufactured by one of the big names, there are typically cost concessions in the workmanship and/or components. Given the presence of a disc brake, I suspect this is one of the 1970s models manufactured by Bridgestone of Japan. As advised, I'd avoid these. The performance of these discs suffer in comparison to modern disc brakes and as noted, replacement pads for 40+ year disc brakes are not easy to come by. At least with caliper brakes, compatible modern pads are not an issue.

Given the wide variety of models produced under the Supercycle brand over the years, I'd suggest you supply photos or links to the advertisement of the bicycle under consideration. There are forum rules that will prevent photos from attaching to the thread but they will post to a separate gallery album where members can view them.
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Old 09-24-19, 02:12 PM
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Personally, I would not want a Supercycle knowing that there are infinitely better used bikes offered, almost daily, just about anywhere. Believe me when I suggest that Supercycles are not super, at all. That said, I got back into bicycling twenty years ago and the bike I bought was a Supercycle. The bike, which was identical to the one I saw at the dump a week or so ago, started to fail in the second week of use...


Even on Ebay, right now, there are better bikes being offered for the price of a big box of beer. Be a bit patient and check Craigslist or Kijiji daily. Something nice will surface in fairly short order. And, it might be a good idea to know what make a vintage bicycle a quality bike - Vintage Bicycle Quality. Armed with the information in VBC, you will be better prepared to make a good choice and not pay an arm and a leg doing so.
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Old 09-24-19, 04:19 PM
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I wonder how old it is before it's vintage to you? I worked at Canadian Tire at Yonge and Dupont in the 1980s. The ONLY decent road bike they sold then was the white medalist with the alloy rims, stem, handlebar and brake calipers and brake levers. It wasn't a bad bike but it had 27" wheels and tires for those are getting harder to find. I believe that Canadian Tire no longer even stocks 27" tires - at least the three stores in my area don't.

Cheers
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Old 09-24-19, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Welcome to the forums. Supercyle is a brand owned by Canadian Tire and dating back to the very late 1930s. The brand was manufactured by a large variety of sources over the years, including some very reputable manufacturers such as CCM, Raleigh and Motobecane. However, the bicycles were typically designed for a very low price point., so even when manufactured by one of the big names, there are typically cost concessions in the workmanship and/or components. Given the presence of a disc brake, I suspect this is one of the 1970s models manufactured by Bridgestone of Japan. As advised, I'd avoid these. The performance of these discs suffer in comparison to modern disc brakes and as noted, replacement pads for 40+ year disc brakes are not easy to come by. At least with caliper brakes, compatible modern pads are not an issue.

Given the wide variety of models produced under the Supercycle brand over the years, I'd suggest you supply photos or links to the advertisement of the bicycle under consideration. There are forum rules that will prevent photos from attaching to the thread but they will post to a separate gallery album where members can view them.
Hey, thanks for the speedy response. One of the bikes in particular was an '83 model, which was up for $60 CAD. Out of curiosity, I negotiated and only managed to get it down to $45. It's a "1983 Supercycle Medalist MK-II (with rare early disc break)", which while looks like it's in good shape, concerns me mostly because of how compatible (?) it would be with modern spare parts, best to think these things ahead in my opinion.

There's another one that's a '60s model with rim brakes, which I don't really see much of an issue of, but it's up for $60 CAD aswell.

I'd post some pictures but I guess I need 10 forums posts first
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Old 09-24-19, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post

A brace of bikes discarded with probably still tits on the tires (as a steal-to-order car thief once put it.) Sad. Just thinking of the fuel oil it took to ship them from China, wasted.
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Old 09-24-19, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I wonder how old it is before it's vintage to you? I worked at Canadian Tire at Yonge and Dupont in the 1980s. The ONLY decent road bike they sold then was the white medalist with the alloy rims, stem, handlebar and brake calipers and brake levers. It wasn't a bad bike but it had 27" wheels and tires for those are getting harder to find. I believe that Canadian Tire no longer even stocks 27" tires - at least the three stores in my area don't.

Cheers
My friend advised against getting anything older than 2005, but I'd imagine anything under 2000s would already be considered vintage. I'm no expert though, but would be pretty interesting to know
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Old 09-24-19, 06:57 PM
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This thread got me to thinking about some of the many Super-Cycles that have come my way. Thought that I might share some pictures of the more notable ones...

This pink road bike was not a bad machine, even though it was neither exotic or high end...


Though I did like the pink Super-Cycle above, this lime green P0$ model did little to blow my kilt up...


And this really unusual Super-Cycle flexible tricycle was neat, to say the least! It was actually fun to putter around on. I swapped it for two early seventies Torpado road bikes...


The Super-Cycle Areo was neither super nor did it fly...


Ran across this old advertisement when I was looking through my Super-Cycle files...
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Old 09-24-19, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandolero View Post
My friend advised against getting anything older than 2005, but I'd imagine anything under 2000s would already be considered vintage. I'm no expert though, but would be pretty interesting to know
I remember that the white 1980s Era Medalist bicycle came with a suede-like saddle and brown handlebar tape. It was a steel frame that rode really well. For its price at the time I thought and think still that it was a great beginner's drop-bar bicycle.

I know we sold a lot of them.

Editied.

Has anyone been able to find an image of a 1980's WHITE Canadian Tire Medalist bike? I searched but came up empty.
Cheers

Last edited by Miele Man; 09-26-19 at 02:42 PM. Reason: added question
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Old 09-30-19, 12:51 PM
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Been seeing a number of listings for 10 speed touring supercycles, that either are or look like supercycle medalist bikes. Don't know how well most of them are taken care of, but alot are going for 60CAD
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Old 09-30-19, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandolero View Post
Been seeing a number of listings for 10 speed touring supercycles, that either are or look like supercycle medalist bikes. Don't know how well most of them are taken care of, but alot are going for 60CAD
Anything listed for $60 is usually not worth touching.
I think the best Supercyles were the plain Raleigh roadsters from the late 50's and 60's. This old film shot shows one of my fave town bikes. A majestic ride and Raleigh quality.
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Old 09-30-19, 02:52 PM
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I'm going to take exception to the disparaging remarks about Supercycle. While they were department store level and built to low price points, they could be decent if mediocre bicycles. The problem was the unskilled labour that most franchises hired to assemble them. It was rarely competent and led to a lot a customer dissatisfaction and a poor reputation. This reputation and the low price points meant that most owners did not take care of them and many were abused. Consequently, when you find a vintage Supercycle these days, it is typically a money pit.

Several years ago, I was hired by the local CTC owner to try and salvage two 40 ft trailers worth of bicycles that had been deemed defective by the store's assemblers. Many were customer returns. Regardless, the assemblers could not get them to work properly and some had been stripped for parts. It took a couple of weeks to get through the trailers, but I got them all working and they were sold at discount, but with warranty. The manager told me that not a single one was returned, unlike their "new" bicycles which were being returned on a regular basis with assorted issues. This experience and my work on literally hundreds of other Supercycle bicycles over the decades has led me to believe that the bicycles themselves are fundamentally OK for their price point and that the vast majority of issues are caused by improper assembly/set-up and subsequent owner abuse.
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Old 09-30-19, 03:20 PM
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I agree with T-Mar "...the bicycles themselves are fundamentally OK for their price point and that the vast majority of issues are caused by improper assembly/set-up and subsequent owner abuse." My first new bicycle was a CTC Supercycle like the red one on the catalogue page. It was a gold, single speed, coaster braked bike and, as I now know, made by Raleigh. It went everywhere and did everything that was asked of it. It was well assembled because my father had an acquaintance with the CTC store owner.
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Old 10-01-19, 07:08 PM
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Interesting, most of the listings I saw do seem to be neglected bikes. Considering that they may be a decent/mediocre choice to commute, any opinions on a restoration or modification project and whether its even worth the try? I know it's not exactly easy to find parts for vintage touring bikes, but would be pretty interesting to hear anyone's thought about this. I can definitely visit a recycle-bike shop and work on the bike.
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Old 10-02-19, 06:06 AM
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Yes, they can make a satisfactory, inexpensive commuter, if you can find one that is basically a "garage queen" with few miles on it. However, in my experience, most vintage Supercyles have bee neglected and abused and require a prohibitive amount of labour and replacement parts.. Even if you find a 'garage queen', it will still have to be completely overhauled to purge the decades old grease, correct any assembly issues and probably replace some aged consumables (i.e. rotted tires, hardened brake pads, etc). Unless, you have the tools and knowledge to do the work, this will quickly add up to more than buying a better grade bicycle that has been overhauled by a competent bicycle flipper.

Given that you're asking about Supercyles, I assume you're in Canada? If so, this is the good time of year to buy a used bicycle. School has been in session for about a month, so the student market is dying down. Winter is coming and most flippers are more willing to deal, to free up space and get some cash flow.
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Old 10-04-19, 01:42 AM
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This may not be of much help to you, but as a kid my Supercycle was the most beautiful thing I'd ever owned. A lime-green wheelie bike with a checkered-flag banana seat, bent-back high rise sissy bar, and three-speed stick-shifter along the top tube - my pride and joy, and I'm sure the envy of the neighbourhood!
Hadn't thought about it in years, but this thread title brought back some great memories...
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Old 10-04-19, 02:14 AM
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I volunteer at a big-city bike Co-op. We get dozens of bike donations per week. A lot of these are brought by folks that know deep down that the bikes they bring us are worthless crap, and only do so because we are closer and less hassle than the dump.

We have to be more selective this time of year as to what we accept, as more bikes are coming in than going out. So we are turning away all all bottom-tier bikes, which includes Huffy, Murray, Dunlop, Pacific, Magna, Infinity, CCM, and most definitely Supercycle. All of these bikes, even when new, consume more resources than they are worth bringing in the door. They are so cheaply made, and poorly assembled, that there is not much value in either fixing them or breaking them down for parts.

These bikes are a net liability for our society as a whole. They never should have been manufactured in the first place. Even when tuned up as well as is possible, they result in such a uncomfortable and unsafe riding experience, that they will ultimately cause folks to ride less, not more.
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Old 10-04-19, 10:17 AM
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Bridgestone Supercycle bikes

My brother had one. Seemed decent enough, even then had moustache handle bars or similar, can't recall the components, but it was lugged from about 1975. An old friend has a Bridgestone -Supercycle 20"wheeled (folder?) bike similar to a Brompton and still has it, although he lives a few hours away now. Not even sure if he still has it.
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Old 10-04-19, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I volunteer at a big-city bike Co-op. We get dozens of bike donations per week. A lot of these are brought by folks that know deep down that the bikes they bring us are worthless crap, and only do so because we are closer and less hassle than the dump.

We have to be more selective this time of year as to what we accept, as more bikes are coming in than going out. So we are turning away all all bottom-tier bikes, which includes Huffy, Murray, Dunlop, Pacific, Magna, Infinity, CCM, and most definitely Supercycle. All of these bikes, even when new, consume more resources than they are worth bringing in the door. They are so cheaply made, and poorly assembled, that there is not much value in either fixing them or breaking them down for parts.

These bikes are a net liability for our society as a whole. They never should have been manufactured in the first place. Even when tuned up as well as is possible, they result in such a uncomfortable and unsafe riding experience, that they will ultimately cause folks to ride less, not more.
I have had this same experience with some of recycles bike programs I volunteer for. I always say "attach a long chain to them and they make a great boat anchor".
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Old 10-04-19, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Bandolero View Post
My friend advised against getting anything older than 2005, but I'd imagine anything under 2000s would already be considered vintage. I'm no expert though, but would be pretty interesting to know
Too funny. One guy, one opinion. Myself, my newest bike is 1988. My oldest is 1960. So I guess I am out. I currently own about 100 bikes.

Can't argue with foolishness.

Now all that being said, for every decent vintage bike out there, you will see 20 crappy ones. $60 budget? And most vintage bikes WILL need significant service: tires, cables, bearings, and grease as a minimum. I am not talking a tune up. You can find vintage bikes from someone who has already done that work. None will be $60. A $60 "barn find" can cost $250 to refurbish if you have a shop do the work.

Last edited by wrk101; 10-04-19 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 10-04-19, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mayer View Post
I volunteer at a big-city bike Co-op. We get dozens of bike donations per week. A lot of these are brought by folks that know deep down that the bikes they bring us are worthless crap, and only do so because we are closer and less hassle than the dump.

We have to be more selective this time of year as to what we accept, as more bikes are coming in than going out. So we are turning away all all bottom-tier bikes, which includes Huffy, Murray, Dunlop, Pacific, Magna, Infinity, CCM, and most definitely Supercycle. All of these bikes, even when new, consume more resources than they are worth bringing in the door. They are so cheaply made, and poorly assembled, that there is not much value in either fixing them or breaking them down for parts.

These bikes are a net liability for our society as a whole. They never should have been manufactured in the first place. Even when tuned up as well as is possible, they result in such a uncomfortable and unsafe riding experience, that they will ultimately cause folks to ride less, not more.
At the co-op I volunteer at, 90% of the donations year round are that kind of "quality". Most people buy their bikes at Walmart or some other big box store, they break, they get donated. We don't refuse any donation, but boy are we full right now! Sometimes all we get off of one of those bikes is a seat or a set of pedals. We got six donated the last day I volunteered, five went directly to the scrap pile, one we got the saddle and pedals off first, its how it goes sometimes.

And sometimes we can take two or three of those bikes and make one sellable bike (cheap). As long as its a volunteer mechanic, and donated parts, we can do OK. If you have to pay someone by the hour, forget it!

And occasionally we get some knock out donations, like the modern Santa Cruz we got a couple of months ago, and the Cannondale tandem.

Last edited by wrk101; 10-04-19 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 12-12-20, 03:44 PM
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You can see more Supercycles in this C&V thread. The SuperCycle Thread- A Celebration of Vintage Supercycles - Bike Forums .I happen to like some of the older bikes and the fact that they were part of our life. I have a beautiful 1976 Excalibur that although a motley collection of specifications, rides fast and smooth and brings a smile to my face just looking at it. If the bike is decent condition and you keep under $150 (depending on your location), you might find a keeper. The cheap MTBs that Randy showed are indeed garbage but there are lots of good older ones. I'm currently looking at a Medalist (orange) but the seller is asking $350!



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Old 12-16-20, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by browngw View Post
You can see more Supercycles in this C&V thread. The SuperCycle Thread- A Celebration of Vintage Supercycles - Bike Forums .I happen to like some of the older bikes and the fact that they were part of our life. I have a beautiful 1976 Excalibur that although a motley collection of specifications, rides fast and smooth and brings a smile to my face just looking at it. If the bike is decent condition and you keep under $150 (depending on your location), you might find a keeper. The cheap MTBs that Randy showed are indeed garbage but there are lots of good older ones. I'm currently looking at a Medalist (orange) but the seller is asking $350!
I went back and looked at the thread you linked. Based on the S/N posted there, your bicycle is a 1978 model, while the sockets on the rear dropouts point to the frame being a rebranded Bridgestone Superlight.
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