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Best classic bike of each decade?

Old 06-24-20, 02:51 AM
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wagonfanatic
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Best classic bike of each decade?

I'm playing around with the idea of collecting 1 bike from each decade that showcases "modern" technology and innovation from that era. Part of me likes the idea of having a different nationality for each decade-- English for 50s, American for 60s, Italian for 70s, Japanese for 80s, ect.

If you had to choose only one classic bike from each decade -- 50s through 90s -- which would you choose?

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Old 06-24-20, 05:29 AM
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1970's would be a Schwinn Varsity
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Old 06-24-20, 05:32 AM
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Well, after the early 1970s, nothing. These days only the older steeds interest me. That said, from each decade (50s, 60s and 70s) my suggestion for most collectible would be a top dog Cinelli. I have never owned one, though, so cannot comment on how good they really are.

I would warn that seeking a specific something from a specific sometime might prove frustrating. In my case, I hunt and what I find is, way more often than not, not what I was looking for. An example would be a late sixties Raleigh Carlton. Not high end but wonderfully appealing, thanks in part, a big part, to the chrome plated head tube lugs. Though entry level, it will be fun to build and ride this bike but it is not anything special. Just a cool looking old bike...


Poor picture of the chrome lugs but it was the lug work that sold me on this bike that I got for free...


For me, my personal choices these days are the older steeds and ones that sport chrome plated socks, front and back, and chrome plated head tube lugs... I even like, really like, all chrome plated bikes, such as this entry level Torpado Luxe and check out the lug work...




1950s - Rabeneick 120d which I happen to have...


1964 Torpado Professional which I happen to have...


And a 1973 Peugeot PX10 0f which I have had two but none now. I might add that the Peugeot PX10 from the fifties, sixties and seventies is something special and, perhaps, iconic in nature...


As for the eighties???

There is a bit of a point here. Don't restrict your search. Doing so might mean that you miss out on something really really cool. That is what I have learned after many years of collecting and sharing of vintage road bicycles.
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Old 06-24-20, 05:45 AM
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1980's....Huffy Aerowind
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Old 06-24-20, 05:54 AM
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Yea, Schwinn Varsity for the '70s. If Japanese for the '70s my vote would be for the Fuji "Special Road Racer" (S-10-S).
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Old 06-24-20, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by branko_76 View Post
1970's would be a Schwinn Varsity
You're funny.
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Old 06-24-20, 05:59 AM
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1930s: Raleigh Sports
1940s: Raleigh Sports
1950s: Raleigh Sports
1960s: Raleigh Sports
1970s: Raleigh Sports

They kind of fell apart after that.
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Old 06-24-20, 06:26 AM
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Why 70's for Varsity? In 60's they had downtube shifting.
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Old 06-24-20, 07:10 AM
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1950s: Raleigh Sports. From 1900 to 1946, the USA market had been largely closed to foreign brands, as a result of prohibitive import duties that had been put in place to help the American bicycle industry recover from the implosion of the very late 1890s. Relaxation of duties started in the post World War II era, first with British, in an attempt to help them rebuild their cycle industry, to aid in repayment of their war debt to the. USA. American armed forces stationed in England during the war had become familiar with British IGH models, so when Raleigh aggressively expanded in the opened USA market in the 1950s, their Sports model became a best seller and icon of the era.

1960s: Schwinn Sting-Ray. You say you what a revolution? The Sting-Ray was the genesis of the hi-riser craze that swept the children's market for about a decade, eventually giving rise to the BMX market. It could even be argued that Staing-Ray and its brethen drove the rise of the 10 speed, because once they had grown out of their hi-risers, the baby boomer teens wanted something "new", with some of the excitement they experienced with the Mustang. They certainly weren't going to settle for their parents' single speed roadsters.

1970s. Masi Gran Ctiterium. I'll always associate the 1970s with the early 1970s bicycle boom and the rise of the derailleur equipped lightweight bicycle to mass acceptance. From that perspective, my choice would be the Peugeot UO8, as it was arguably the most successful model for the first couple of boom years. Then the American public realized the Japanese were masters of QC and value, so the market started shifting. However, the OP"s requirement is Italian and the most respected Italian builders of the boom era were Cinelli, Colnago and Masi. I'm giving the edge to Masi because it more of a pop culture icon due to being Dave's bicycle in Breaking Away.

1980s: Specialized Stumpjumper. To me, the legacy of the of the 1980s is the rise of the ATB and the symbol of that is the Specialized Stumpjumper. ATBs almost killed off the road bicycle in the late 1980s. If the ATB hadn't come along, the bicycle industry would probably have been ina pretty sorry state by 1990. SBI's Stumpjumper was the first of the mass volume ATBs and the best seller that spawned a new discipline.

For those with a 1980s road bicycle bent, I'd say a 1987 Centurion Ironman Expert. In the 1980s the mid-range sports bicycle became the most popular adult class and Japan was where it was at. Almost without exception, the Japanese manufacture mid-range models were well manufactured and provided excellent value but the Centurion was set apart by it's Dave Scott endorsement and Ironman license. The fuschia and yellow paint epitomized the pastel coloured Miami Vice influenced colour trends of the mid to late 1980s.

1990s: I'm not sure which one, because I don't think there was a standout. But it would be a Taiwanese manufactured hybrid.

Now, none of these would necessarily be by personal choices but for the average person, these would probably be bicycles that symbolized their era and the evolution of the bicycle industry.

Edit: I had originally typed Schwinn Mustang, cross breeding my American and Canadian hi-risers.

Last edited by T-Mar; 06-24-20 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 06-24-20, 07:31 AM
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1940's - anying Cambio Corsa
1950's - Raleigh Sports
1960's - Can't think of anything ATM.
1970's - Carlton Flyer
1980's - Cinelli Laser (?)
1990's - Can't think of anything ATM.
2000's - I have nothing better than to add the Gazelle Friiik here. It was extremely innovative for someone to figure out how to get a derailer inside a chaincase. It didn't amount to much though. Why use derailers when IGH's will shift from a stop?

-Kurt
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Old 06-24-20, 11:36 AM
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I associate riders to the "best" bikes.

1920s - Binda/Legnano
1930s - Bartali/Legnano
1940s - Coppi/Bianchi
1950s - Anquetil/Helyett
1960s - Merckx/Peugeot
1970s - Hinault/Gitane
1980s - Fignon/Gitane
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Old 06-24-20, 11:47 AM
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Tech-wise the 70's had Teledyne Titan and Exxon Graftek.
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Old 06-24-20, 12:29 PM
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The Colnago Super/Mexico is the embodiment of the 70s.
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Old 06-24-20, 12:34 PM
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Yes to the px10 for the seventies.
how about a tTJ Flying gate in there somewhere or a Hetchins with curly stays.
woodrup for the sixties.
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Old 06-24-20, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wagonfanatic View Post
I'm playing around with the idea of collecting 1 bike from each decade that showcases "modern" technology and innovation from that era. Part of me likes the idea of having a different nationality for each decade-- English for 50s, American for 60s, Italian for 70s, Japanese for 80s, ect.

If you had ti choose only one classic bike from each decade -- 50s through 90s -- which would you choose?
You've floated (at least) two very different ideas here. Do you want a bike that showcases the best technology from each decade? Or do you want the most iconic bike from each decade? Which (if either) of these bikes a person would "choose" from each decade most definitely depends on the person you ask.

Following your first ideas, showcasing the best technology of the era AND choosing a spotlight nationality for the decade, I've got your 80's bike right here.



Japanese-built, American-branded. Tange 1 tubing. SunTour Superbe components. Because the 80's were all about style over substance, this wasn't a popular bike, but this was the best technology the 80's had to offer.
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Old 06-24-20, 12:59 PM
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I don't even know what "best" means.
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Old 06-24-20, 01:27 PM
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If you're going influence, 90s has to be the Giant TCR.
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Old 06-24-20, 02:06 PM
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This is the sort of thread that exposes enthusiasts' souls.

I have two lists. One that sticks to the premise of one country per decade, and one that doesn't. For starters, I'm sticking to adult road bikes, and anything over 30 pounds is disqualified (I may fudge that for the PH50). I can barely go back to the 40's, but will reach to the 1930's for the inclusion of something Italian.

I am leaving out bicycle models created by single builders - with the exception of Rene Herse. As things move into the 50's that field begins to get rather thick in England, and beyond that, it just continues to expand. It's almost a given that a custom frame by one of these master builders is almost certainly going to be on a plateau above even the best bicycles that are mass produced.

Country per decade with no repeats:

1930's Legnano - Italy was one of the early leaders in creating racing cycles
1940's Rene Herse - arguably the most innovative and technologically advanced bicycle of the day
1950's tempted to go with a Rotrax, but there are so many great British bikes across the decades - so will go with Schwinn Paramount
1960's RIH Randonneur - Great British and French options abounded, but Holland has a great heritage that shouldn't be overlooked, and this is an elegant bicycle
1970's Raleigh Team Professional
1980's Miyata 1000
1990's Orbea Omega

And we're out of the C&V timeframe.

List 2 No limits (*) - honorable mentions

1930's - Hetchin's Brilliant (Legnano, Automoto)
1940's - Rene Herse Custom Randonneur (Bianchi Folgore, Schwinn Paramount)
1950's - Rotrax Concours (Peugeot PH50, Cinelli Super Corsa)
1960's - Peugeot PX-10 (Carlton Franco Suisse, Frejus Torino)
1970's - Raleigh Team Professional (Wilier, Fuji Ace, sooooo many others)
1980's - Colnago Master (Gitane Team Professional, Centurion Iron Man, Miyata 1000)
1990's - (not going there)
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Old 06-24-20, 02:44 PM
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I'm going to change it. By decade, the bikes I want.

1910s - Stucchi, dominate team back in the day
1920s - Legnano, because of Binda
1930s - Frejus, I have one, I'm good there
1940s - Viscontea, there is a Masi-built one with first gen cambio corsa
1950s - Maino, saw a great one with second gen Gran Sport
1960s - DeRosa, would be cool
1970s - I'm done, don't need anything modern
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Old 06-24-20, 02:50 PM
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1980s: a 7-Eleven Serotta
1990s: Merlin Extralight
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Old 06-24-20, 03:51 PM
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I think you need one from several country's per year as many had very specific iconic traits as well as discipline's that they excelled in.
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Old 06-24-20, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
I think you need one from several country's per year as many had very specific iconic traits as well as discipline's that they excelled in.
Now its really going to get interesting
Calling Exel, is there an Exel in the house?
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Old 06-24-20, 04:07 PM
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This thread needs more pictures. Isn't there a BF rule against posting the words "7-Eleven Serotta" without posting a picture of one? Here's my favorite bike from my stable for each decade represented.

1960's: 1969 Raleigh Competition (English) -- also the only 60's bike I own.


1970's: 197x Stella SX-76 (French) -- Mostly based on aesthetics, this is my favorite overall.


1980's: 1982 Specialized Sequoia (Japanese-American) -- I'd like to say my '83 Gios is my favorite 80's bike, but my riding history strongly contradicts that.


1990's: 1997 Colnago C97 (Italian) -- another best of one entry, but a very good one


2000's: 2001 LeMond Buenos Aires (American) -- Can I still claim this is C&V? It meets my personal criteria.


Looking over my list, I see that what's glaringly missing (apart from a few bits on the Raleigh, most of which are still anachronistic) are C&V components. That is, however, representative of my tastes.
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Old 06-24-20, 04:59 PM
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That I have owned myself? 1950's--Helyett, 1960's Peugeot PX10, 70's Griffon (steel, USA road bike, not the tri bike) 80's Davidson Discovery Sport. Fave 21st century bike is a tie between the Feldman Zona single speed and. my Bike Friday tourist.
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Old 06-24-20, 06:19 PM
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I don't know about best per decade, but that orange and white Stella is hot!
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