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Best vintage road bike under $500

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Best vintage road bike under $500

Old 02-12-24, 09:10 PM
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Best vintage road bike under $500

Hey everyone, looking to get back into riding. Love the look of the vintage road bikes and was wondering what options I have <$500?
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Old 02-12-24, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Phaseshift
Hey everyone, looking to get back into riding. Love the look of the vintage road bikes and was wondering what options I have <$500?
Depends on your market, but this is a great time to buy.

Vintage bike prices are wildly variable. Some people sell a bike as a "collector" and ask a hefty sum, while some college kid hawks his grandad's frame he inherited that is a size too small for him for laundry money (that was me, oops).

Better to find a vintage cycling niche you enjoy (Italian racers, Japanese sport tourers, French randonneuses, etc) and learn to spot a good deal.

Also depends on if you're going to modernize any of the components or go full-hog retro and deal with freewheels and French sizes and the like.
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Old 02-12-24, 09:48 PM
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If you don't mind rim brakes and downtube shifters, your $500 budget will go a long way.

If you try for something more modern - say brifters and / or disc brakes - $500 might get you there, but it might not.

As the post-pandemic selloff continues, vintage bike prices have steadily decreased. So that $500 gets you a lot more today than it did a year or two ago.
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Old 02-12-24, 09:51 PM
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Wow. These days 500 bucks can get you a nice one.
eBay / CraigsList finds - "Are you looking for one of these!?" Part II
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Old 02-12-24, 10:35 PM
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Go here:
The Official Vintage Bicycle Manufacturer Catalog List w/Links
Study all the catalogs, and see which bike speaks to you!
It's a buyers' market. Patience pays off.
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Old 02-12-24, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jPrichard10
Depends on your market, but this is a great time to buy.

Vintage bike prices are wildly variable. Some people sell a bike as a "collector" and ask a hefty sum, while some college kid hawks his grandad's frame he inherited that is a size too small for him for laundry money (that was me, oops).

Better to find a vintage cycling niche you enjoy (Italian racers, Japanese sport tourers, French randonneuses, etc) and learn to spot a good deal.

Also depends on if you're going to modernize any of the components or go full-hog retro and deal with freewheels and French sizes and the like.
I would like to have the option to modernize it at one point.

I was even thinking of maybe getting a frame and build from there. I definitely like the Italian racers and at one point I did have a Japanese Univega Gran Rally which was my first and only vintage rode bike.
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Old 02-12-24, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Phaseshift
I would like to have the option to modernize it at one point.

I was even thinking of maybe getting a frame and build from there. I definitely like the Italian racers and at one point I did have a Japanese Univega Gran Rally which was my first and only vintage rode bike.
There is a Bianchi Specialissima listed near me for $600 and its been there for months. For $500, you can for sure get a top-tier vintage bike if you are patient.
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Old 02-13-24, 12:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Phaseshift
I would like to have the option to modernize it at one point.
- stick with frames that have 126mm or 130mm dropouts . these frames typically came with 6 or 7 speed freewheels or freehubs originally. Frames that originally came with 5 speed freewheels made before 1980 or so, could have 120mm drop outs- less preferable if you want to modernize.
- stick with frames with Campy style down tube shifter mounts sticking out the sides of the down tube; and external shift cable routing. These can easily be switched to cable stops. Easily identifiable by the square bases. Avoid the 'aero mount' ones that piggy back on top of the down tube. Avoid frames with internal shift cable routing inside the downtube. Also avoid the ones with Shimano friction shifters with 4.5mm mounting screw- identified by the keyhole shaped base.
- pay attention to tire clearance. Some frames made in the 80's barely clear 700x23 tires. Depending on how much you weigh- you might not be happy rolling on 23mm width tires.
- Not really a deal breaker, but frames with recessed brake mounting are more convenient to modernize than nutted mounts. They do make conversion bolts for Shimano brakes. No idea if same thing exists for Campy though.
- Some of the frames which originally came with center-pull brakes, have too much distance between the brake mounting hole and the rim braking surface. This would be a problem if you want to switch to a more modern dual pivot brake. Tektro does make long reach dual pivot brakes, but they look bad and don't match the rest of your groupset.

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Old 02-13-24, 12:53 AM
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What size do you ride? Racing or sport touring type...commuter, gravel?
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Old 02-13-24, 02:42 AM
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Beautiful lugged Tange Prestige with 9-speed Dura-Ace for just $550 in LA? Sign me up.

Of course, what is your size range? There is much out there that is in period-correct trim (down tube shifters etc) for cheap. Some will be updated with modern stuff, and that will run you around $400-500 in good shape (per what I've been able to sell).

Starting with a frame or updating from a vintage frame that was a complete bike, prepare to pay more than you would for a "package deal" complete bike. It's just the name of the game that I and many of us have played. We'd have to buy all those individual components for $5-10 each to make any money on the bike if we were to sell it.
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Old 02-13-24, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by jdawginsc
What size do you ride? Racing or sport touring type...commuter, gravel?
my last road bike, a univega gran rally I truly enjoyed, so racing or riding as that a sport touring lol Will be on asphalt 100% of the time. I want something I can get on and just ride for 15-30 miles
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Old 02-13-24, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel
Beautiful lugged Tange Prestige with 9-speed Dura-Ace for just $550 in LA? Sign me up.

Of course, what is your size range? There is much out there that is in period-correct trim (down tube shifters etc) for cheap. Some will be updated with modern stuff, and that will run you around $400-500 in good shape (per what I've been able to sell).

Starting with a frame or updating from a vintage frame that was a complete bike, prepare to pay more than you would for a "package deal" complete bike. It's just the name of the game that I and many of us have played. We'd have to buy all those individual components for $5-10 each to make any money on the bike if we were to sell it.
im 54cm
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Old 02-13-24, 03:53 AM
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Take your time

Living in S.F. prices have plummeted so you can afford to take your time and find something you are gonna want to jump on, not just when the sun is shinning. I've seen Japanese Bianchi's, 022 , with great sets for around $250. Wheels, wheels, wheels very important , can end up breaking your bank.
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Old 02-13-24, 07:49 AM
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One of the most versatile classics out there for only 200 bucks. It’s a 56 center to top but you should check it out.
https://santamaria.craigslist.org/bi...711183570.html
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Old 02-13-24, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Phaseshift
Hey everyone, looking to get back into riding. Love the look of the vintage road bikes and was wondering what options I have <$500?
Hard to put a price tag on a vintage item. If you go to a retailer, 500 will not get you that far. If ou r lucky, you might find a nice specimen for that or less. i didn't pay more than 500 for my Kessels-Merckx or my Rabeneick 120 Campagnolo... there are people who bought Mod Bs or SCs for less...
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Old 02-13-24, 09:27 AM
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Any reason why I shouldn’t pull the trigger on this?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/256389183194?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=Dxn-35HKQ3W&sssrc=4429486&ssuid=8b06zmbms5u&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY
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Old 02-13-24, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Phaseshift
Any reason why I shouldn’t pull the trigger on this?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/25638918319...mis&media=COPY
Is it your size? Do you know what Columbus Formula 2 tubing is? Can you finish a $360 frame for $140 bucks? You've gotten a ton of great advice here, with several advocating patience, which--as is often the case--you seem to have chosen to ignore.

That Wheeler @RiddleOfSteel posted is insane, and you'd never be able to build up the Bianchi with those parts for probably less than a grand.

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Old 02-13-24, 09:45 AM
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Sourcing parts might (will) put you over your $500 budget. It's a nice looking frame, spread for modern hubs, though I'm not familiar with Columbus Formula 2 tubing. If I were you, I'd look around for something local or put a WTB post in the sales forum, I imagine many members here will have what you're looking for at your price point and some will be local.
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Old 02-13-24, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Phaseshift
Any reason why I shouldn’t pull the trigger on this?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/25638918319...mis&media=COPY
Well, you’ll be at least 2x the asking price for a complete rideable bike.

I like Univegas and I sold a very nice riding 54cm SportTour with horrible paint for $150 last year. Pic before I finished wrapping the bars.

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Old 02-13-24, 09:49 AM
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If you're willing to spend up to $500.00 on a frameset, and you liked your Univega, check out a Lotus Supreme, but it's not really the type of bike that you would want (or need) to modernize..
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Old 02-13-24, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Phaseshift
Any reason why I shouldn’t pull the trigger on this?

https://www.ebay.com/itm/25638918319...mis&media=COPY
It seems overpriced for a mid-range Bianchi. My big knock is that it's not Celeste. If you are shopping for a Bianchi- look for one in their signature Celeste color. Just like if you're buying a Ferrari you would buy a red one and not a green one, right? As smd4 says: patience.
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Old 02-13-24, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by 1989Pre
Nope...Get a frame weight first, though, or more info on the model or tube-set.
The auction listing shows a Park digital scale showing 6 lbs, 12 oz. Presumably for the frame, fork and BB.
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Old 02-13-24, 10:03 AM
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You guys aren't paying attention- the OP says he wants Italian:
Originally Posted by Phaseshift
I definitely like the Italian racers
So stop suggesting he look at Japanese bikes (is Wheeler from Taiwan?). The man wants an Italian bike!!!
Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel
Originally Posted by Classtime
One of the most versatile classics out there for only 200 bucks. It’s a 56 center to top but you should check it out.
Originally Posted by 1989Pre
If you're willing to spend up to $500.00 on a frameset, and you liked your Univega, check out a Lotus Supreme, but it's not really the type of bike that you would want (or need) to modernize..
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Old 02-13-24, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
You guys aren't paying attention- the OP says he wants Italian.
He said he "likes" them. I never got the impression that's all he would consider.
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Old 02-13-24, 10:08 AM
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Might be easier to get one modified and bring it back to spec...
Been up for a month so they probably would take an offer.
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sf...705885197.html

Centurion Ironman Master road bike - $400 (Van Nuys)

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