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Q: Is there a formal definition of Classic or Vintage?

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Q: Is there a formal definition of Classic or Vintage?

Old 05-14-10, 12:01 AM
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Q: Is there a formal definition of Classic or Vintage?

To my knowledge, up here in British Columbia, an automobile is eligible for Vintage plates when it is 30 years old. Just what constitutes Vintage, and how is this any different from Classic, amongst bicycles? Does anyone consider that a bicycle built in 1981 or later is already "vintage?" Does a bike have to be Vintage in order to be Classic? Or is Classic older than Vintage?

I did a search through some of the old threads in this group and could find nothing approaching an operational definition, so I guess Vintage/Classic is either innate or is what you think it is. Fats Waller is said to have once replied to the question, "What is jazz?" with "Lady, if ya don't know what it is, don't mess with it." Somehow this does not satisfy my sense of propriety.

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Old 05-14-10, 12:50 AM
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This is strictly my interpretation:

Classic largely refers to a style or form that (usually) has roots in an era or some golden age. Vintage refers to something that was produced in some defined era.

Hence, you can have modern or contemporary classics, but modern/contemporary vintage doesn't really have much meaning.
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Old 05-14-10, 12:53 AM
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Well, I'll let another C&Ver rebuke me if they think it's in order, but there are only two generally accepted rules I've seen C&V'ers go by-

1. "Vintage" means pre aluminum/carbon fiber era. Sometime in the 80-90's (different times for different makers), the focus in manufacturing went from making durable machines built to last to making the lightest machines possible. Problem is, frames often don't last as long. Also, the focus on artistic lugwork, hand pinstriping, and artistic details went way down. As a result, bike making went from being an art to being an industry - and profit was key factor in manufacturing. Quality declined. As the saying goes, "Steel is real," and C&V'ers typically scoff at any aluminum or carbon bike.

2. In general, down-tube shifters or bar-ends constitute a Vintage (basically anything non-STI/Brifter). You could call us slave to torture, but most bike vintage aficionados seem to look upon STI/Brifters as being "too luxurious."

As far as dates go, it's hard to say. I've seen early 90's lugged chromoly Schwinn MTB's referred to as "Vintage" - and although they don't fall within the 30 year rule, they're definitely manufactured in a completely different way than a Schwinn MTB you could purchase today. I think the term "vintage" is more about the material and the means and method of production than about a year...

But that just me -- interested to see what the rest of C&V has to say.
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Old 05-14-10, 05:43 AM
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"classic" is a term widely used by State DOTs to describe cars of a particular age that can get particular plates and some priviledges/restrictions. They, like people here, do not happen to agree on what the cutoff is or whether only particular cars (sorry Yugo) get the designation (google: classic plates DOT.) In the state where I live, the cutoff is 15 years. I buy that.

"vintage" is a mightly mis-used term that is used to discribe the creation of a batch of wine from a particular year's harvest. Yes there are some 2009 white vintages around these days. In the collecting world (and the 2nd hand clothing word,) and here, has been misused to describe "old stuff". I guess 80s falls into "old stuff" now. But the vintage term does not have 'oldiness' associated with it, per se.
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Old 05-14-10, 05:48 AM
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I think it depends who you ask but I think the last time this topic was brough up a general concensus was pre-STI levers. Mass produced carbon bikes go back to the early 80' yet they were spec'd like bikes from the 70's. The same holds true for aluminum frames.

For the purposes of the this forum I think anything pre-STI/Ergo levers certainly falls into C&V. If you think about it is a 1995 model with down tube shifters ant different than a 1985 model? No.

If you ask the Road Cycling sub foum what C&V is they'll tell you anything older than 2005.

Last edited by miamijim; 05-14-10 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 05-14-10, 07:03 AM
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if you think it looks old and cool, post it here.
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Old 05-14-10, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by miamijim
If you think about it is a 1995 model with down tube shifters any different than a 1995 model? No.
I thought about it... and that statement is 100% true.
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Old 05-14-10, 07:17 AM
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We've kind of beat this topic to death here, but periodically we revisit it. I can only answer "no."
I've got a 1989 bike with a 2009 group, including down tube shifters. 99% of the people say, "I like your old bike."
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Old 05-14-10, 07:41 AM
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No formal definition. We're laid-back and easy going here.

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Old 05-14-10, 07:42 AM
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Classic=nice
Vintage=old
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Old 05-14-10, 07:43 AM
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Vintage: Anything that was built of older technology no longer used by "modern" manufacturers, and before the times of the younger generations. So that more than likely, anyone born after 1990 or so would consider bikes with down tube shifters to be "vintage"
Classic would be anything of high quality that was built during the golden years. 1955 to 1980 (bicycles I mean).
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Old 05-14-10, 07:51 AM
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IMHO I consider anything pre '84/'85 ish as true C&V. back is the heady days when brake cables flapping in the breeze, friction shifters, toeclips and straps, 5,6,7spd FWs and hairnets ruled the peleton. I believe this is the class or era of bikes this forum was meant to address.

I like think of bikes from about '85 to the mid '90s as Nouvo Classics. index shifting (DT shifters) aero brakelevers, and clipless started to become standard items on bikes.

I don't pay too much attention to using the DOT style of determining C&V for bikes. while a '82 Huffy 10spd migh well be 20+ years old I don't think anyone would really call it a classic, same for a Ford Fiesta or Caddilac Cimmaron LOLO
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Old 05-14-10, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
No formal definition. We're laid-back and easy going here.

-Kurt
+1...if you think it's a classic, that's good enough for me. Maybe I'm biased because a lot of my bikes are early 90s and have STI/Ergo.

I really don't find DT shifters much more difficult than STI/Ergo. The only time I really dig STI/Ergo is on climbs, but DT shifters tend to make me work harder. Barcons are evil torture devices.
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Old 05-14-10, 08:08 AM
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The way I see it, "classic" and "vintage" have distinctly different meanings, and when you lump them together you get a mishmash that suits us pretty well.

But wait. I have an idea that you'll see in a new thread!
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Old 05-14-10, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Maddox
Well, I'll let another C&Ver rebuke me if they think it's in order, but there are only two generally accepted rules I've seen C&V'ers go by-

1. "Vintage" means pre aluminum/carbon fiber era. Sometime in the 80-90's (different times for different makers), the focus in manufacturing went from making durable machines built to last to making the lightest machines possible. Problem is, frames often don't last as long. Also, the focus on artistic lugwork, hand pinstriping, and artistic details went way down. As a result, bike making went from being an art to being an industry - and profit was key factor in manufacturing. Quality declined. As the saying goes, "Steel is real," and C&V'ers typically scoff at any aluminum or carbon bike.

2. In general, down-tube shifters or bar-ends constitute a Vintage (basically anything non-STI/Brifter). You could call us slave to torture, but most bike vintage aficionados seem to look upon STI/Brifters as being "too luxurious."

As far as dates go, it's hard to say. I've seen early 90's lugged chromoly Schwinn MTB's referred to as "Vintage" - and although they don't fall within the 30 year rule, they're definitely manufactured in a completely different way than a Schwinn MTB you could purchase today. I think the term "vintage" is more about the material and the means and method of production than about a year...

But that just me -- interested to see what the rest of C&V has to say.
I'd like to see the term "vintage" reserved for old stuff. I find it very misleading when a new IRD freewheel is headlined as "vintage."
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Old 05-14-10, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by EjustE
"classic" is a term widely used by State DOTs to describe cars of a particular age that can get particular plates and some priviledges/restrictions. They, like people here, do not happen to agree on what the cutoff is or whether only particular cars (sorry Yugo) get the designation (google: classic plates DOT.) In the state where I live, the cutoff is 15 years. I buy that.

"vintage" is a mightly mis-used term that is used to discribe the creation of a batch of wine from a particular year's harvest. Yes there are some 2009 white vintages around these days. In the collecting world (and the 2nd hand clothing word,) and here, has been misused to describe "old stuff". I guess 80s falls into "old stuff" now. But the vintage term does not have 'oldiness' associated with it, per se.
I agree it's highly misused. But that just makes it all the more ambiguous. One could know the year of a Campy Record rear mech, but not of many other older parts, nor of some frames.
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Old 05-14-10, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
I'd like to see the term "vintage" reserved for old stuff. I find it very misleading when a new IRD freewheel is headlined as "vintage."
I totally agree with that statement, and wouldn't call anything produced nowadays "vintage." Maybe "classic", certainly not "vintage."
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Old 05-14-10, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jtgotsjets
I thought about it... and that statement is 100% true.
+1. I agree!!!
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Old 05-14-10, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
I'd like to see the term "vintage" reserved for old stuff.
Watch out, someone's going to press you to define "old stuff" now.

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Old 05-14-10, 09:43 AM
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From a customer yesterday:

"You know, it's an old bike, like 15 years, it has one of those square bottom brackets."
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Old 05-14-10, 10:00 AM
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The way I see it, "classic" and "vintage" have distinctly different meanings, and when you lump them together you get a mishmash that suits us pretty well.
I'm just happy it's C&V V&C otherwise someone would be tempted to coin the word "Vlassic"

Just remember in 30 years Carbonfiber, Brifters and all the rest are gonna look pretty cool to our kids. Trust me my brother's Raleigh 3 speed in 1976 was about the dorkiest thing you could ride. I wish I had it now!

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Old 05-14-10, 10:11 AM
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I think of classic as representing a certain style of sorts. For example the style of bike that they raced in the tour back in 1985 or something. But it's a style regardless of time. I saw a Kirk bike for sale today, only a few years old but steel lugged and definitely classic. Vintage on the other hand is defined by time. What year is the bike regardless of the style. Could be a 1980 Jim Redcay or a 1980 Huffy, they are both vintage but the Redcay is a classic. The difficulty is in defining when vintage is, I say pre STI like some others but then when I look at the earliest STI bikes now they have a vintage feel to them, or is it classic?

Some day that definition will have to change though as time progresses.
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Old 05-14-10, 10:27 AM
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My Motorola Team Merckx has Ergo levers...is anyone going to try and say that isn't a classic?
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Old 05-14-10, 10:36 AM
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My Motorola Startac is a classic now

I simply draw the line at 1990.
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Old 05-14-10, 10:48 AM
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Def: Vintage;

adj.
Of or relating to a vintage.
Characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal; classic. << I like that one.
Old or outmoded.
Of the best: played songs that were vintage Cole Porter.
Of the most distinctive: "Fatalism has coexisted with vintage American overconfidence" (Thomas Oliphant).

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, alteration (influenced by viniter, vintner) of Old French vendange, from Latin vīndēmia : vīnum, grapes + dēmere, to take off (dē, de- + emere, to obtain).]

Def: Classic;

adj.
Belonging to the highest rank or class.
Serving as the established model or standard: a classic example of colonial architecture.
Having lasting significance or worth; enduring.
Adhering or conforming to established standards and principles: a classic piece of research.
Of a well-known type; typical: a classic mistake.
Of or characteristic of the literature, art, and culture of ancient Greece and Rome; classical.
Formal, refined, and restrained in style.
Simple and harmonious; elegant: the classic cut of a suit; the classic lines of a clipper ship. << Another favorite
Having historical or literary associations: classic battlefields of the Civil War.
n.
An artist, author, or work generally considered to be of the highest rank or excellence, especially one of enduring significance.
A work recognized as definitive in its field.
A literary work of ancient Greece or Rome.
classics The languages and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Used with the.
One that is of the highest rank or class: The car was a classic of automotive design.
A typical or traditional example.
Informal. A superior or unusual example of its kind: The reason he gave for being late was a classic.
A traditional event, especially a major sporting event that is held annually: a golf classic.


Interesting that neither definition mentions age.
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