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Top 5 most desirable steel frame classics.

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Top 5 most desirable steel frame classics.

Old 09-16-21, 08:41 AM
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RH Clark
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Top 5 most desirable steel frame classics.

Hello everyone. I love all kinds of bikes but maybe because I'm 53 and only started cycling at 50,I am drawn to classic steel frame bikes. I would love to know the top 5-10 bikes on everyone's wish list to own or maybe you already own what you consider the best. In either case I would love to know more about the best bikes ever made. I would rather the list be made up of bikes that might still be found though than bikes that are only desirable because of their unicorn scarcity.

My classic bikes that I currently own.
Miyata 610
Trek 400 USA True Temper double butted
Trek 560 USA Pro Series Reynolds 531 frame
Lemond Reynolds 853

I would love to have a Team Miyata, and I don't know what else, which is why I want to see your wish lists. I have a few other bikes but not really classics.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:02 AM
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I have:
Cinelli Supercorsa
Miyata 1000
Team Miyata

My winter project this year is building up a Trek 760.
I would love to get my hands on a Colnago Master, but I need to make some space first; there may be no such thing as too many bikes, but there is such a thing as too many bikes in my apartment!
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Old 09-16-21, 09:03 AM
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.
...I know your intentions are pure, in asking this question. But similar threads in the past have drawn some abuse, because it's really an impossible list to construct. These road bikes were produced in steel versions at the higher end of the marketplace for many, many years. They evolved somewhat, so the 70's frames are different from the 80's frames, in terms of geometry and handling. Likewise, the components with which they were equipped managed a simlar evolution over the years, up until the 90's when plastic, reinforced with carbon fiber and aluminum alloy became the fashion.

Your best bet is to figure out the handling and componentry you like, which may or may not have something to do with when the bike was originally made and sold, then scan your local Craigslist for example, in your size, of higher end bikes from any manufacturer that meet your preferences.

There is a link up in the C+V stickies to many of the old catalogs that are available online, so you can figure out where a particular bike fits in the hierarchy for that year. Good luck I have a couple of Cinelli's and a Bob Jackson I think are very nice. Those might not be what show up in your size, and it might turn out you prefer indexed shifting.
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Old 09-16-21, 09:51 AM
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I used to be happy with whatever mid-range 70s/80s bikes I would find that were my size. Then I started finding top-end 531 production bikes that were nicer. Now, I've been finding vintage full-custom bikes that exquisitely engineered and constructed, but are brand names few, even here, would instantly recognize.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:04 AM
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Most Desirable Bike v/s Bike I Most Desire To Ride...
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Old 09-16-21, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...I know your intentions are pure, in asking this question. But similar threads in the past have drawn some abuse, because it's really an impossible list to construct. These road bikes were produced in steel versions at the higher end of the marketplace for many, many years. They evolved somewhat, so the 70's frames are different from the 80's frames, in terms of geometry and handling. Likewise, the components with which they were equipped managed a simlar evolution over the years, up until the 90's when plastic, reinforced with carbon fiber and aluminum alloy became the fashion.

Your best bet is to figure out the handling and componentry you like, which may or may not have something to do with when the bike was originally made and sold, then scan your local Craigslist for example, in your size, of higher end bikes from any manufacturer that meet your preferences.

There is a link up in the C+V stickies to many of the old catalogs that are available online, so you can figure out where a particular bike fits in the hierarchy for that year. Good luck I have a couple of Cinelli's and a Bob Jackson I think are very nice. Those might not be what show up in your size, and it might turn out you prefer indexed shifting.
This thread is purely for fun and personal preference. I have no interest in any heated debates on which one are subjectively superior, just personal desires and opinions. BTW I much prefer friction for durability and simplicity.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Most Desirable Bike v/s Bike I Most Desire To Ride...
Throw them both out there. This is just for fun.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark View Post
.... BTW I much prefer friction for durability and simplicity.
...you've already self selected something that will help dictate your choices.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:12 AM
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Here's my list (others will scratch their heads), in order:

1. Colnago
2. Centurion (have one)
3. DeRosa
4. Koga/Miyata
5. I can't think of any single one to place above others.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:13 AM
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Closest to my "dream" list of bikes that are readilly available if one has a few nickels to rub together.

Except for new production Colnago Masters or Waterfords, the price on any of these pales compared to a midrange modern carbon bike ---

We complain about a classic Colnago or DeRosa costing 2k when an Ultegra level Tarmac is now around 5k


1) DeRosa Primato

2) Colnago MAster

3) Custom Waterford

4) Yeti FRO on the MTB side

5) DeRosa PRofessional
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Old 09-16-21, 10:19 AM
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Yup/ Lots of opinions and there will be differences based on individual tastes and experiences. I'm almost always open to learning more about bicycles and what models there are, and what have been made. Tastes do seem to have a way of being flavored by our age (and what the bicycles we really wanted when we were 15-18 or so were, but simply couldn't afford). I gravitate to 1970's bicycles, and seeing your list, it sounds like it's the 1980s for you.

With that in mind, here are a few observations I have, and I'll limit things to bikes that didn't need to be special ordered.

1. I love Raleighs from the 1970's. I have at least one of nearly every model made in the decade from Reynolds tubing. Build quality is known for being inconsistent, but in general it seems the closer they are to the top of the heirarchy, the more likely one is to have been brazed properly. I have a 1977 Team Professional, which is virtually flawless in it's construction, and a 1970 Professional that is nearly as good. Aside from Team Professional all the frames have some versatility. Geometry is similar on all save the 1973 RRA, and they work well with both narrow and relatively wide tires. My favorite all-around is a converted 1972 Competition that now has cantilever brakes, 650b wheels, 42mm tires and a 2 x 9 indexed shifting drivetrain. My favorite one without frame modifications is the 1974 International.

2. If you get the opportunity to ride a Bob Jackson, don't pass it up. They may not impress everyone, but I've owned two and they have been very nice.

3. When I went off to college in fall of 1977, I got my first "good bike" - an 1978 Raleigh Super Course. It was very noticeably better than any of the previous 10-speeds I had had. The bike got stolen shortly after I got out of college and I was then away from cycling for over 20 years. When I decided to get back into cycling, I got the same year/color/size, and largely because of my fitness not being what it was, it didn't seem to have the same "magic". However... I came across a deal on a 1972 Fuji Finest shortly afterward. That bicycle was a revelation. As much better as the Super Course was compared to a Peugeot U-08... that Fuji Finest was just as much better than the Super Course. I half joke that if I had to get rid of one bike, it would probably be the Fuji. However, if I could only keep one... it might well be that same Fuji. If you can get a 1970's Fuji Finest, Newest or Ace, I think you'll be very impressed.

4. Miyata made wonderful bicycle frames. They made their own, I think they made Bridgestones, and I know that they later adopted "Centurions" - all of which have devoted followings. I have contemplated getting a Centurion, but I just haven't, but having owned a Miyata 210, I can say I found it very well made, nicely finished and a very stable bicycle. All traits one would like to see in a Touring bike. The downside is that, if you're not touring you'll notice that they are heavy and not particularly nimble. I realized this when I rode the 210 on the Civil War Century. I was quick to pass the bike along as I was hoping for something with a bit different feel. Why do I bother noting this? I see you have a 610 - which is one model up. I know it is a little bit lighter, but have never ridden one. However... I did acquire an early Miyata 1000 (their top model touring bike), which is noticeably lighter and more nimble. It is also a size small for me as I got it for my wife to ride, but as a suggestion... if you find critiques of your 610 that are similar to mine of my former 210, you might want to try a 1000. This said, I am certain that people will say to try a Centurion. If you have a realistic view of what want from the bike, you'll be in a better position to establish filters for yourself when looking for one.

5. I have never seriously ridden an Italian road bike. There are legions of folks who love Cinelli, Masi, Colnago, Pinarello, DeRosa, Somec, Casati, Wilier, etc. etc. Whether it's due to function or fashion or scarcity or something else, they seem to command a premium over bicycles from other nations. Similarly, my only experience with French bicycles has been with models quite far from the top of the food chain. Since I'm restricting myself to production models, I'd consider the better Gitanes and Peugeot models with 10 in the name as the pinnacles. I know my own limitations, and it is next to impossible to be an expert on everything (although T-mar comes pretty close). I guess what I'm trying to get at is to say there's nothing at all wrong with doing the sort of thing that you're doing with this thread. Take advantage of what other people know about bicycles and models. At the same time, recognize that you will get opinion mixed in with the facts (for example - I'm likely not the person to hit up with questions about how people like riding their Treks, as neither of the two I had felt special enough to keep), and in the end, the person who should be happy with your decisions is you. Don't be afraid to get what you can from others and then make your own call.

Welcome to C&V. It sounds like you're going to stick around.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:32 AM
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I tend to gravitate towards the oddballs. My current wish list is:
1. Nishiki NFS Altron , or NFS Alpha or NFS Beta
2. Hamilton Sattui
3. Trek Y-Foil
4. KHS Aero Comp, with the curved seat tube
5. Peugeot PS10, or any bike with Super Vitus 980, 983 or 971 tubing
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Old 09-16-21, 10:40 AM
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I don't know why this should spark any kind of debate. I can tell you the bikes that I find desirable, and Ebay prices reflect their desirability pretty well.
Colnago Master
Tommasini Prestige
Masi Gran Criterium
DeRosa Primato
Mondonico Diamond
Anything SLX, EL, EL OS, or a high quality Columbus tubing, imported by Ten Speed Drive. Guerciotti, Tommaso, Ciocc, Rossin.
As you can tell, I'm mostly into Italian bikes. I know there's a lot of nice stuff out there from all over the world, most of those don't excite me very much, aside from maybe a Waterford made Paramount from the late 80's / early 90's.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:42 AM
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As a rider, I'm not worthy of any bike on my list. My love of Colnago stems from the fact that they are good bikes, of course. But, I want one above all the others for something else. I like the logo.
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Old 09-16-21, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
As a rider, I'm not worthy of any bike on my list. My love of Colnago stems from the fact that they are good bikes, of course. But, I want one above all the others for something else. I like the logo.
Sounds valid to me! I love my brass badged Legnanos for the same reason.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:05 AM
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5 bikes I would buy if I found one in my size at a good price:
  • Ritchey Road Logic
  • Pinarello SLX
  • Chris Chance - Slim Chance
  • Tesch Highway 101
  • Casati EL OS
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Old 09-16-21, 11:05 AM
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I have a list on my white board in my home office:
  • De Rosa Professional
  • P1050321 on Flickr
  • Colnago Master Pui
  • Pinarello Montello
  • IMG_20180930_085551 on Flickr
  • Masi Gran Criterium
  • Cinelli Super Corse
  • Bianchi
  • Ciocc
  • Tommasini
  • Geos Super Record
  • late 80s Bottecchia
Now look at my list on the left.
1983 Colnago Superissimo
1983 Colnago Superissimo on Flickr
1973 Bottecchia
1972 Bottecchia Giro D'Italia (Professional conversion) on Flickr
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Old 09-16-21, 11:07 AM
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I don't think I really have a wish list. I am rather content.

Well, maybe one: a Mondia Super, 56cm, 531SL with perfect original paint.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:19 AM
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1986 Trek 700 "Tri Series" - full Reynolds 531c tubeset with sport touring geo / clearance for 32mm rubber. Offers the right amount of flex given my weight, style of riding, etc. Very underrated imo
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Old 09-16-21, 11:39 AM
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I don't know what the most desirable steel frame classics are. I find myself drawn to Japanese bikes from the 80s, right now, possibly because I like the idea of something as good as the more sought-after Italian bikes, but for lower cost because they're underappreciated. I've got a Ritchey with Tange Prestige tubing, as well as a pair of Lotuses from 1982 with Tange Champion #2. And this weekend I'm picking up a Centurion Ironman with Tange Champion #1.
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Old 09-16-21, 11:40 AM
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My wishlist tends to be certain types of bikes I would like to try.

Would like to try:
Carbon super bike
Long travel downhill bike on a lift assisted course

Would like to actually own:
Reasonably priced carbon road bike
Chrome Paramount road or touring bike

Most desirable to me:
My currently owned 2007 Lemond Poprad disc. Love that bike
Fast roadie of some kind. Maybe this is a weight weenie steel build or maybe it's a plastic fantastic bike, as listed above.
Non-unicrown Celeste Bianchi with a silver brifter Campy drivetrain

Edit:
There are a few bikes that are very interesting to me that I would acquire if the right deal came up and I had the space:
Land Shark
Davidson
Fat Chance (Road or MTB)
Vintage Ritchey (Road or MTB)
Colnago

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Old 09-16-21, 11:42 AM
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Old 09-16-21, 11:45 AM
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1. Confente
2. pre colombo Cinelli SC
3. De Rosa Professional
4. Masi Gran Criterium
5. Gios Super Record

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Old 09-16-21, 12:04 PM
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The ones I have that I love:
Super Vitus 980/983 framed bikes
Mid-70's Gitane 531 - rides so smooth
Vitus 979
Colnago Super

Still desiring - mid-80's pearl white Olmo Professional or Competition
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Old 09-16-21, 12:31 PM
  #25  
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Bike boom production

Paramount, done, 1958, 74, 76

Raleigh Pro, done, 74, 76, 78

Moto TC, done, 74

Cinelli SC, done, 1960-1ish

Bianchi SC, done, 1981


Custom

Merz, done, x5

Strawberry/Newlands, done x3

DiNucci/Strawberry, done, 76?

Gordon, done, 78

Moulton/Fuso, done x3


Other

3Rensho, done

Specialized 3Rensho built Allez, done

Merz Specialized Allez SE, done x2

Ritchey MTB, done, chrome 75?

Marinoni, done, x2

Peugeot PX10, done x2

Pretty good start on things and also already have way too many others.
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