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C&V Buying Tips?

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C&V Buying Tips?

Old 02-08-24, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
Probably the biggest question apart from bike fit...do you enjoy working on bikes? You said time is your most coveted asset, but just like money time is only valuable when it is spent. If you are interested in spending time restoring a bike, that can be very rewarding. If you just want to have and ride a beautiful classic bike, that's still possible but it changes the options a lot. For example, you asked about a vintage frame with modern parts. It's relatively unlikely that you'd find what you're looking for ready made. You could buy the frame and parts and pay someone to assemble it for you, but that gets really expensive in a hurry. Gathering all the tools you need to do it yourself can be expensive too, but the joy of good tools is a topic in and of itself. If you don't want to spend time and money on the build/restoration process, that leaves obviously you with looking for complete bikes in good working order. It sounds like you're willing to put some time into restoration, but it isn't clear how much or which parts you're comfortable doing yourself.

Regarding selection of the candidate bike, tubing is probably a better indicator than brand. Not that you'll necessarily notice a big difference between different tube sets, but it's an indication of the market the bike was targeting and therefore has a correlation to quality. You can't go wrong sticking with Columbus SL and Reynolds 531, and those are plentiful. Once you're into the 1980's, there were also some good Japanese tube sets under brands like Tange. The brand of the bike will probably give you some satisfaction, and it's also a rough guide to the kind of geometry you're going to get.

The brands with big reputations come with correspondingly big price tags that don't necessarily get you anything extra other than the name. Bianchi, Colnago, and DeRosa, for example, are all great bikes in high demand, but (with the exception of low end Bianchis) it's hard to find them at reasonable prices. A slightly off brand can be a real bargain and often has its own appeal once you learn more about it. For example, I have a Colnago C97 and a Machiagi-built Coppi Reparto Corse, both from the late 90's, both with very good original paint, both with chrome lugs. The Colnago has Columbus Thron tubing while the Coppi has much lighter Columbus Genius tubing. The Colnago cost me three times as much as the Coppi, and by most objective standards the Coppi is a better frame.

Mainstream American brands like Trek, Specialized, and Centurion were producing very good quality bikes in the early 80's, but in my opinion they aren't as sexy. They're really good for figuring out if you're going to enjoy riding a vintage bike though. I see that you're in Wisconsin, so you probably can't walk out your front door without tripping over a vintage Trek. Don't shy away from them. The 600 and 700 series bikes especially were very nice.

Consider tire clearance. As you get into the mid-to-late 80's you start losing the ability to use tires wider than 700x25. You're probably aware that this trend has reversed and many people are recommending 28's or wider these days. This is a personal choice, but it's something to consider.
Extremely well-said, and thorough, as usual from you Andy!

Iíll mention my favorite Marinoni, well-built with North American finish (he lives outside Montreal), but with Italian tendencies in his geometry.

The OP would gain plenty of brand/model awareness looking through this recent thread about our favorites (I need to contribute there!):

Your #1, and why
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Old 02-08-24, 06:15 PM
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Wow thanks for the help, holy @#$%, seriously didnít expect the myriad of responses. Great info and great links,

a couple rPiff not the best pic, but this seems to fit me the best and honestly I love the ride- before you beat me up I know itís not DSO. LOL


jdawginsc , mostly ride side roads and rail in SW Wisconsin and crushed limestone rail trails in the Midwest, no super crazy rides yet, have a strong desire to hit some multi day rides but time probably wonít allow much more than a few days
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Old 02-11-24, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K
Probably the biggest question apart from bike fit...do you enjoy working on bikes? You said time is your most coveted asset, but just like money time is only valuable when it is spent. If you are interested in spending time restoring a bike, that can be very rewarding. If you just want to have and ride a beautiful classic bike, that's still possible but it changes the options a lot. For example, you asked about a vintage frame with modern parts. It's relatively unlikely that you'd find what you're looking for ready made. You could buy the frame and parts and pay someone to assemble it for you, but that gets really expensive in a hurry. Gathering all the tools you need to do it yourself can be expensive too, but the joy of good tools is a topic in and of itself. If you don't want to spend time and money on the build/restoration process, that leaves obviously you with looking for complete bikes in good working order. It sounds like you're willing to put some time into restoration, but it isn't clear how much or which parts you're comfortable doing yourself.

Regarding selection of the candidate bike, tubing is probably a better indicator than brand. Not that you'll necessarily notice a big difference between different tube sets, but it's an indication of the market the bike was targeting and therefore has a correlation to quality. You can't go wrong sticking with Columbus SL and Reynolds 531, and those are plentiful. Once you're into the 1980's, there were also some good Japanese tube sets under brands like Tange. The brand of the bike will probably give you some satisfaction, and it's also a rough guide to the kind of geometry you're going to get.

The brands with big reputations come with correspondingly big price tags that don't necessarily get you anything extra other than the name. Bianchi, Colnago, and DeRosa, for example, are all great bikes in high demand, but (with the exception of low end Bianchis) it's hard to find them at reasonable prices. A slightly off brand can be a real bargain and often has its own appeal once you learn more about it. For example, I have a Colnago C97 and a Machiagi-built Coppi Reparto Corse, both from the late 90's, both with very good original paint, both with chrome lugs. The Colnago has Columbus Thron tubing while the Coppi has much lighter Columbus Genius tubing. The Colnago cost me three times as much as the Coppi, and by most objective standards the Coppi is a better frame.

Mainstream American brands like Trek, Specialized, and Centurion were producing very good quality bikes in the early 80's, but in my opinion they aren't as sexy. They're really good for figuring out if you're going to enjoy riding a vintage bike though. I see that you're in Wisconsin, so you probably can't walk out your front door without tripping over a vintage Trek. Don't shy away from them. The 600 and 700 series bikes especially were very nice.

Consider tire clearance. As you get into the mid-to-late 80's you start losing the ability to use tires wider than 700x25. You're probably aware that this trend has reversed and many people are recommending 28's or wider these days. This is a personal choice, but it's something to consider.
some excellent advice here, I will heed these words for sure. You’re right about the treks here, perhaps I’ll keep an eye out for one. I do enjoy working on them, second only to riding them! lol. Nothing will be quick, moving next month but the basement is an open canvas, so it will have a Bike shop and a wood shop in the basement. Getting a little antsy. My new place will be about 1 block off a10 mile paved bike trail, which connects to about 120 miles of rail trails. So getting on the bike more frequently is a main goal!

I greatly appreciate you taking a few minutes and sharing your knowledge.
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Old 02-13-24, 06:00 PM
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A rule of thumb that I have found very helpful in my search for a bike is to sum up what the total will cost is after purchasing the frame, along with the cost to "restore" it.........then multiply that number by at least 4.
Following this rule has led me to never try to "restore" a bike but to purchase one that is nice (not perfect) and service it to make it safe and then enjoy it. I am happy to leave the perfection to the restorers.
Good luck, Ben
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Old 02-13-24, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
Wow thanks for the help, holy @#$%, seriously didnít expect the myriad of responses. Great info and great links,

a couple rPiff not the best pic, but this seems to fit me the best and honestly I love the ride- before you beat me up I know itís not DSO. LOL


jdawginsc , mostly ride side roads and rail in SW Wisconsin and crushed limestone rail trails in the Midwest, no super crazy rides yet, have a strong desire to hit some multi day rides but time probably wonít allow much more than a few days
Myriad is what we do, a finer, more capable lot of enablers you will not find.

We excel at this in ways that you simply cannot find elsewhere in a more diverse and like minded group is probably impossible to come by.

I'm pretty sure you're in the right place.
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Old 02-13-24, 10:53 PM
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Watch for a local bike swap. Get there early and hang out awhile. Talk to sellers and try some bikes out. If you don't have the tools already it can cost you as much as a bike but if you get the bug they sure come in handy. Good luck.
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Old 02-13-24, 11:07 PM
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Schwinn Super Sport

For 6 months they sold a pearl white/ cherry paint scheme. Tri color running gear.
Colombus Tenax frame. Top of the range 1987.
I found a beautiful example for $100 with 105 hubs while searching for the ever elusive Curcuit in red , complete Sante.
The Super Sport definitely ranks top tier and you can find a great example, maybe not the '87, for $200.
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Old 02-14-24, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by curbtender
Watch for a local bike swap. Get there early and hang out awhile. Talk to sellers and try some bikes out. If you don't have the tools already it can cost you as much as a bike but if you get the bug they sure come in handy. Good luck.
there is a big swap in Feb near me sadly, I missed it this year, but will continue to look for other swap meets. Fortunately I've kind of been a tool junkie for years, and work in that industry, so honestly acquiring bike specific tools doesnít seem to be too hindering.

Originally Posted by brixxton
For 6 months they sold a pearl white/ cherry paint scheme. Tri color running gear.
Colombus Tenax frame. Top of the range 1987.
I found a beautiful example for $100 with 105 hubs while searching for the ever elusive Curcuit in red , complete Sante.
The Super Sport definitely ranks top tier and you can find a great example, maybe not the '87, for $200.
did just see a pearl centurion frame Iíve been eyeing.
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Old 02-14-24, 06:11 AM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1
A rule of thumb that I have found very helpful in my search for a bike is to sum up what the total will cost is after purchasing the frame, along with the cost to "restore" it.........then multiply that number by at least 4.
Following this rule has led me to never try to "restore" a bike but to purchase one that is nice (not perfect) and service it to make it safe and then enjoy it. I am happy to leave the perfection to the restorers.
Good luck, Ben
Iím pretty convinced it will cost me more to restore one than buy oneÖÖ.but like cycling itís about the journey not necessarily the destination. Or thatís at least what I tell myself, lol

and just to clarify not sure restoration and perfection will ever be synonymous in my wheelhouse!
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Old 02-14-24, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
Wow thanks for the help, holy @#$%, seriously didnít expect the myriad of responses. Great info and great links,

a couple rPiff not the best pic, but this seems to fit me the best and honestly I love the ride- before you beat me up I know itís not DSO. LOL


jdawginsc , mostly ride side roads and rail in SW Wisconsin and crushed limestone rail trails in the Midwest, no super crazy rides yet, have a strong desire to hit some multi day rides but time probably wonít allow much more than a few days
Youíd probably want a sport tourer type vintage that would allow for 700c and wider tires.

Plenty of choices. I just got a Raleigh International circa 1971 and it fits pretty wide tires based on feedback.

The Colnago Super I got recently also fits surprisingly wide tires. The 57 cm MBK Atlantique I built up is a perfect hybrid. Itís a cyclocross model and is equally at home, road or trail.
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Old 02-14-24, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
Iím pretty convinced it will cost me more to restore one than buy oneÖÖ.but like cycling itís about the journey not necessarily the destination. Or thatís at least what I tell myself, lol

and just to clarify not sure restoration and perfection will ever be synonymous in my wheelhouse!
You're right about this and the mindset can be invaluable.

Don't be to sure about costing more to restore, if you find a complete you like, it may take more to find out that you could have started with a frame or lesser one and made it your own, either way yields experience, balancing it is the key in the long run.

Either way you're also right about the journey, the process will set the tone for things to come and will also be invaluable.

The epiphanys and pitfalls can build a lot of skill and satisfaction as well as shape your program, wheelhouse will be all yours once you get there whatever that happens to be.
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Old 02-14-24, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
there is a big swap in Feb near me sadly, I missed it this year, but will continue to look for other swap meets. Fortunately I've kind of been a tool junkie for years, and work in that industry, so honestly acquiring bike specific tools doesnít seem to be too hindering.
This is also key, if tooling hinders the process, its off on the wrong foot.

Many want to cheap out which as we know can be a disaster, good tools and good process is the best chance of success even more so when we first dive in and if we think bikes are simple, how hard can it be?

As a lifelong mech/tech/hack including auto professional, I never hesitate to step up to help ensure a good outcome.
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Old 02-14-24, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac
This is also key, if tooling hinders the process, its off on the wrong foot.

Many want to cheap out which as we know can be a disaster, good tools and good process is the best chance of success even more so when we first dive in and if we think bikes are simple, how hard can it be?

As a lifelong mech/tech/hack including auto professional, I never hesitate to step up to help ensure a good outcome.
my wife thinks part of the reason I started cycling, was my way to validate a tool expansion. lol
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Old 02-14-24, 07:50 PM
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Bogey,
It is possible that the enablers here will help you out. I just got this F&F in but it is starting from scratch for you. I think it is newer like a 2013 model but should be in the right size range for you. If interested please PM me. The guestimate of the value is around $100 but I will send for cost of shipping likely around $75. Lemme know, Smiles, MH

As it came in. New and never built up, but a few scratches from being in a shop.

Model is Allez comp from a good company.

Sizing note on the frame.
This an aluminum frame that is newer design item but should be a good rider, if it fits for you.
This one has left the shop.2-17-24 Smiles, MH

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Old 02-14-24, 09:35 PM
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Iíll offer a bit of reality to C&V. Iím not saying donít chase after that bike, but the reality for me is I have more spare parts than I can possibly use in my lifetime.

I canít speak for others, but even with all the backups I have, every now and then I still need hunt something down. And If I see something at a great price, that I could possibly use someday, I buy it and bin it. I cannot imagine starting from scratch today with nothing.

You need to research potential candidates and identify a short list of bikes you want. You also need to figure out where you can get certain parts. Co-ops are great, but what you find is what they got.

If it were me, Iíd look for a 90ís steel bike, although aluminum might work. Getting one upgraded with newer components is fine, but personally I hate black on a classic frame. My personal preference would be a 90ís Serrota with Shimano Ultegra; maybe 7700 hubs.

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Old 02-14-24, 10:48 PM
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Consider a "second tier" bike, such as my Bianchi Campione d'Italia, which is arguably as serviceable and enjoyable as a high-end Specialissima, but which can be found at a much lower price point. Same for a Peugeot PR-10/PKN-10 instead of the iconic PX-10. I do have three top-of-the-line bikes (Capo Siegers and Schwinn KOM-10), but I got good deals on all three. Speaking of Capo, obscure, less-known frame builders are fine.
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Old 02-15-24, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
Havenít seen much for clarification on type of geometry on vintage bikes, but this may be do to my lack of knowledge. When I utilize a geometry comparison tool, it seems the difference is negligible. Other than the handlebars being slammed, Iím not sure Iíd notice. Currently I purchased my Topstone which falls under the endurance category, and this position seems to suit me the best.
A couple clues that are a rough indication of the geometry of a frame are the tire clearance and wheelbase. You can spot this by looking at how much space there is between the rear tire and the seat tube, and to some extent, the space between the front tire and the downtube. A bike built with touring in mind will have a longer wheelbase, around 42 inches or more, so you can fit your whole hand between the tire and seat tube. They usually have a more forgiving ride over rough roads. Older racing bikes were built with similar geometry because of the terrain the races were run over. A lot of people like these bikes for long day trips or light touring. Starting in the 1980s, bikes built for racing usually had a shorter wheelbase, around 40 inches. There is just enough space to fit a finger in between the tire and seat tube. They usually have quicker handling and a stiffer ride.

Another thing to look for is the height difference between the saddle and the tops of the handlebars. Like you, I prefer the endurance set-up, with the bars at or just a hair above saddle height. If the frame is too small, with a lot of seat post showing, you will have a harder time getting the bars up where you want them.

These aren't hard and fast rules, just some things to help filter out bikes that aren't what you're looking for.
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Old 02-15-24, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
some excellent advice here, I will heed these words for sure. Youíre right about the treks here, perhaps Iíll keep an eye out for one. I do enjoy working on them, second only to riding them!
I would second the advice on vintage Treks given your neighborhood.

It's been said by many that Trek's low-tier bikes were as good as any other company's mid-tier.

The 70s and early 80s Treks were hand silver brazed using excellent butted tubesets and have (imo) the perfect sport touring geometry for spirited rides with decent tire clearances with fenders (some of the rear seats yay bridges were a little low).

There's better frames out there, but I don't think a better value exists, especially in Trek heavy areas like the Great lakes and (strangely) Portland.

The market is slow right now, and I ended up "rescuing" too many of these frames. I'm sure it won't be hard for you to pick up a nice 510 or 710.

One of the big draws of these frames is the ride quality and tire clearances, so allocate a good part of your budget for some excellent tires.
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Old 02-15-24, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk
Bogey,
It is possible that the enablers here will help you out. I just got this F&F in but it is starting from scratch for you. I think it is newer like a 2013 model but should be in the right size range for you. If interested please PM me. The guestimate of the value is around $100 but I will send for cost of shipping likely around $75. Lemme know, Smiles, MH

As it came in. New and never built up, but a few scratches from being in a shop.

Model is Allez comp from a good company.

Sizing note on the frame.
This an aluminum frame that is newer design item but should be a good rider, if it fits for you.
wow thanks for the offer seems like an excellent value, however Iím thinking I want to stick with steel.

Originally Posted by 70sSanO
Iíll offer a bit of reality to C&V. Iím not saying donít chase after that bike, but the reality for me is I have more spare parts than I can possibly use in my lifetime.

I canít speak for others, but even with all the backups I have, every now and then I still need hunt something down. And If I see something at a great price, that I could possibly use someday, I buy it and bin it. I cannot imagine starting from scratch today with nothing.

You need to research potential candidates and identify a short list of bikes you want. You also need to figure out where you can get certain parts. Co-ops are great, but what you find is what they got.

If it were me, Iíd look for a 90ís steel bike, although aluminum might work. Getting one upgraded with newer components is fine, but personally I hate black on a classic frame. My personal preference would be a 90ís Serrota with Shimano Ultegra; maybe 7700 hubs.

John
this seems to make sense, this may also let me upgrade components here and there as time permits.

Originally Posted by John E
Consider a "second tier" bike, such as my Bianchi Campione d'Italia, which is arguably as serviceable and enjoyable as a high-end Specialissima, but which can be found at a much lower price point. Same for a Peugeot PR-10/PKN-10 instead of the iconic PX-10. I do have three top-of-the-line bikes (Capo Siegers and Schwinn KOM-10), but I got good deals on all three. Speaking of Capo, obscure, less-known frame builders are fine.
thanks!

Originally Posted by Pompiere
A couple clues that are a rough indication of the geometry of a frame are the tire clearance and wheelbase. You can spot this by looking at how much space there is between the rear tire and the seat tube, and to some extent, the space between the front tire and the downtube. A bike built with touring in mind will have a longer wheelbase, around 42 inches or more, so you can fit your whole hand between the tire and seat tube. They usually have a more forgiving ride over rough roads. Older racing bikes were built with similar geometry because of the terrain the races were run over. A lot of people like these bikes for long day trips or light touring. Starting in the 1980s, bikes built for racing usually had a shorter wheelbase, around 40 inches. There is just enough space to fit a finger in between the tire and seat tube. They usually have quicker handling and a stiffer ride.

Another thing to look for is the height difference between the saddle and the tops of the handlebars. Like you, I prefer the endurance set-up, with the bars at or just a hair above saddle height. If the frame is too small, with a lot of seat post showing, you will have a harder time getting the bars up where you want them.

These aren't hard and fast rules, just some things to help filter out bikes that aren't what you're looking for.
great tips, this should help. My initial assumption, was trying to evaluate the position of the front axle compared to the forks.

Originally Posted by jPrichard10
I would second the advice on vintage Treks given your neighborhood.

It's been said by many that Trek's low-tier bikes were as good as any other company's mid-tier.

The 70s and early 80s Treks were hand silver brazed using excellent butted tubesets and have (imo) the perfect sport touring geometry for spirited rides with decent tire clearances with fenders (some of the rear seats yay bridges were a little low).

There's better frames out there, but I don't think a better value exists, especially in Trek heavy areas like the Great lakes and (strangely) Portland.

The market is slow right now, and I ended up "rescuing" too many of these frames. I'm sure it won't be hard for you to pick up a nice 510 or 710.

One of the big draws of these frames is the ride quality and tire clearances, so allocate a good part of your budget for some excellent tires.
yeah Iím a bit concerned about finding a cool eBay find to realize I can only put 23-25 cm wide tires on it.
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Old 02-17-24, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
My initial assumption, was trying to evaluate the position of the front axle compared to the forks.
In my experience, the front axle was always positioned at the end of the fork blades.
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Originally Posted by smd4
In my experience, the front axle was always positioned at the end of the fork blades.
😂

yeah, being the ďgeometry noviceĒ I probably said that wrong.
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Always - *always* - run your finger under the downtube behind the head lug.

If there's a wrinkle it's not a bike, it's parts.
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Old 02-18-24, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by oneclick
Always - *always* - run your finger under the downtube behind the head lug.

If there's a wrinkle it's not a bike, it's parts.
thanks this seems lit a tip that had I not know could have cost $, frustration and possibly an injury.
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell
thanks this seems lit a tip that had I not know could have cost $, frustration and possibly an injury.

Not sure if you are closer to Madison or Dubuque, but I would check Fb MP. But anothe route is to go to a Co op if one is close. More likely to find older steel bikes/frames.

If you buy a frame, ask to borrow some 700c wheels to estimate rear and front clearance, or if you have some 700cs, throw some 28mm tires on the front one (you can use it to gauge the back pretty easily) to use in frames there to see what you can possibly do.

If you buy a bike, you can assess the components and strip it down for cleaning and rebuilding without too much extra cost.

Coops have lots of gem parts hidden among the crapperiffic ones.
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Old 02-18-24, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc
Not sure if you are closer to Madison or Dubuque, but I would check Fb MP. But anothe route is to go to a Co op if one is close. More likely to find older steel bikes/frames.

If you buy a frame, ask to borrow some 700c wheels to estimate rear and front clearance, or if you have some 700cs, throw some 28mm tires on the front one (you can use it to gauge the back pretty easily) to use in frames there to see what you can possibly do.

If you buy a bike, you can assess the components and strip it down for cleaning and rebuilding without too much extra cost.

Coops have lots of gem parts hidden among the crapperiffic ones.
I live about halfway between Madison and DBQ, and travel for work, Iíve been browsing FB market place and Craigslist, have been spying several. Once I get settled in the new place I will snag something. Honestly probably find something that I can ride immediately and swap parts and rebuild it as I go.
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