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Looking at a couple of possible new projects

Old 04-20-10, 10:39 AM
  #1  
FreeSpirit10
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Looking at a couple of possible new projects

Hey everybody.

I was on here about 2 years ago with a garbage Free Spirit 10 speed, hence the username. I got that nicely repaired. It works great, but it's a little tall for me. I've been using it occasionally for awhile now.

So, I started looking around for a new project.

At local store, I see 2 bikes that I know very little about.

A Columbia Formula 10 with rusty chain and bad paint. Everything mechanical seems to be in easily repairable condition, but I wouldn't call it ridable yet. It will also need new tires. I have no idea what year it is. It's $25.

Would it be simple to find a new chain for it? It looks very bad.

A "Vornado Ascot 10". It is in much better mechanical condition. The frame has rust on it, but not very much. It will also need new tires, but everything seems intact. It has a very ugly paint job. It currently lacks reflectors as if they were removed prior to sale or something. I've never repainted a bike, but I can learn that. It's $20.

I really know nothing about that one. I'd really like to know more if someone's owned one of these.

So, do either of those seem like good deals and/or fun projects? I'll probably pick one of them anyway, just because I'm in the mood to fix something.
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Old 04-20-10, 10:47 AM
  #2  
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I've only looked at a few pics online but if I were to chose one I'd go with the Vornado

For only 20-25 bucks either is a good project and good practice.
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Old 04-20-10, 10:55 AM
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The Columbia is donation fodder, a real junker. Aim higher. Hit garage sales and similar, and you should be able to find a bike shop branded (higher quality) bike in the $25 to $50 range. Read some of the threads on repainting (rattlecan) bikes. Most report very poor durability on the paint jo, and lots of work on prep. Working on low end bikes is a good way to gain experience, but when you are done, you will have more money into the bike than it is worth. Put the same amount of effort/time/money into a better bike, and you usually can make money on your time. I much prefer making a little money while I gain experience. And it helps fund the next bike.

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Old 04-20-10, 11:06 AM
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Does anyone know anything about the Vornado? Was it some kind of dept. store bike? How old is it most likely? It looks mid 70's to mid 80's to me, but I'm not very knowledgeable about this stuff.

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Old 04-20-10, 11:44 AM
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From what I know, Ascot made gas pipe, boom-era, department-store bikes. Not particularly notable.

The Vornado looks to be a low-level 10 speed with heavy, inexpensive components. I haven't heard about how these bikes hold up and how easy they are as restorations, but as far as rideability and value - seems like you should really hold out for something better. I don't think you'd regret holding out for a better buy.
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Old 04-20-10, 11:49 AM
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Vornado is a department store bike. Here is one posted on the Old 10 Speed Gallery:
https://oldtenspeedgallery.com/owner-...ascot-vornado/
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Old 04-20-10, 11:59 AM
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Hmm. Okay, I think I might try to wait for a better bike then. That's too bad.

I almost never see anything good on craigslist around here. I'll probably be waiting awhile. I might just buy it anyway. We'll see.
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Old 04-20-10, 04:37 PM
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+1 Ascot 10 is a dog as well. Look beyond C/L: garage sales, thrift stores, post a WTB ad on Craigs List, neighborhood newsletters, etc.
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Old 04-20-10, 05:28 PM
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A stroke of luck: My dad remembered an old bike in my Grandparent's barn that used to be his.

It will be awhile before I can check it out, but he says it's some kind of Columbia Tourist. At first, he said "Tourister", but I think that "Tourist" is much more likely. (Unless there's actually such a thing as a "Columbia Tourister"?)

He says it's a 5 speed. He thinks he got it around 78 or so. As far as I can tell, it is a superior bike to the ones that I've been looking at, right? Probably a worthwhile project when I can go pick it up. Any thoughts on this one? It's free, so I can't go too wrong with it.

Edit: I'll have a chance to go pick it up tomorrow, if I can actually find it in that barn...

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Old 04-20-10, 05:37 PM
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FreeSpirit, you seem to be a junk magnet. No offense. I had the same, er, virtue when i started getting into bikes. Collected a lot of total garbage until I, er, learned some thing and started collecting partial garbage.

But tinkering with those was how I learned to wrench.

Anyway, if it were easy to come by our dream bikes, you wouldn't hear us grouches grousing so much (#$$%^&! e-bay!).

My sense is that columbia has been making consistently crappy bikes for multiple generations. However, if that one has some family connections, there's nothing wrong with fixing it up.

Eric
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Old 04-20-10, 05:53 PM
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From what I've been reading, it's better than the others that I've encountered so far. Nonetheless, it's a pity that I can't seem to find anything better.

I regularly check craigslist, and I pull over to look at bikes in the trash when I see them. I've just been having very bad luck. If I saw a good bike in need of repairs, I'd buy it in a heartbeat. The problem is, that hasn't happened to me yet.

I've read that some people actually like the Columbia Tourist line, so it's got one up on the Free Spirit. LOL
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Old 04-20-10, 08:10 PM
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Can someone at least reassure me that a Columbia Tourist 5 speed is better than a Free Spirit 10 speed? (Or am I just fooling myself here?) I'd like some incentive to fix it, and I'd like to think of it as an "upgrade" if possible.

Does anyone have some handy tips for finding more valuable vintage bikes?
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Old 04-20-10, 08:14 PM
  #13  
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If you want a fun project pick up a mid 70's French bike.
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Old 04-20-10, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by FreeSpirit10 View Post
Can someone at least reassure me that a Columbia Tourist 5 speed is better than a Free Spirit 10 speed? (Or am I just fooling myself here?) I'd like some incentive to fix it, and I'd like to think of it as an "upgrade" if possible.
?
Columiba-Huffy-Murray-Free Spirit = Yugo-Yugo-Yugo-Yugo
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Old 04-20-10, 08:23 PM
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Um... Yeah.... I wish I could....

Edit: ( I had previously removed a comment regarding whether the lugged frame construction on the Vornado made any difference. ) Just for the record, so mickey85's post makes more sense.

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Old 04-20-10, 08:39 PM
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Lugged frames don't mean a lot. There are a lot of crap from the 60's and 70's that are lugged. Heck, the bottom end Raleigh (you know, the 40 lb "lightweights) are lugged.

The Columbia Tourist is a decent bike, if you're seriously wanting to stay with stuff like this. A lot of people will dig on it, but it's reliable, easy to maintain, and bombproof. I'd say that it's probably like the Raleigh Sports's bastard cousin. Not quite as good, but it'll do all the same things.

Where are you located?
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Old 04-20-10, 08:40 PM
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Yeah, I had just enough time to figure that out and remove it from my post. (Oops.)

Thanks for the reassuring words on the Columbia Tourist.

I'm in the Rochester, NY area.
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Old 04-20-10, 08:45 PM
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Here's some bikes from your CL. Don't know your budget or size, but I'd take that Raleigh GP in a heartbeat. mmm...

https://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/1702165117.html

https://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/1701231626.html

https://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/1700828350.html

The last is basically your Columbia rebadged.
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Old 04-20-10, 08:51 PM
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See if this Raliegh is still around

https://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/1695075460.html

PostingID: 1695075460
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Old 04-20-10, 08:57 PM
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Is $50 a good deal for that one? I can't tell what model it is, and $50 is a lot for me right now. I would probably be willing to buy it if I thought it was a good deal, but I don't know whether it is or not.

Edit: I did some more research, and it looks like a good deal. I emailed him asking for some more info about availability year, model, etc.

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Old 04-20-10, 09:08 PM
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The Raleigh looks pretty good, though I'm not too familiar with Raleighs and can't tell what model that one is. If it's not heavily rusted and the wheels are in salvageable shape, I'd say it'd be a good one to learn on. If that were posted in my area the seller would probably be asking 3-4 times that price.
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Old 04-20-10, 09:10 PM
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By the way, I sympathize with that "new project itch."
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Old 04-20-10, 09:28 PM
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I'm on break from college. The schoolwork keeps me busy, but whenever I get some free time I need to find something to work on asap. I like fixing things. Maybe that's why I put up with cheap bikes.
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Old 04-20-10, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mickey85 View Post
Here's some bikes from your CL. Don't know your budget or size, but I'd take that Raleigh GP in a heartbeat. mmm...

https://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/1702165117.html

https://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/1701231626.html

https://rochester.craigslist.org/bik/1700828350.html

The last is basically your Columbia rebadged.
Thanks for that. I guess I missed that post. I saw all of those, except for the last one, the Schwinn. I like the looks of that project. Maybe I'll call about that one if the Raleigh that curbtender showed me is already gone. They both fit within the reach of my meager budget for hobbies.
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Old 04-21-10, 06:33 AM
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Well, I got a response. It's too tall for me. The seller is about my height and has trouble getting onto the bike. (It's not like I'm short or anything!)

I think I'll just work on the Columbia for now. See what turns up in the meantime.
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