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To all the newbie- young dudes

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To all the newbie- young dudes

Old 09-27-11, 11:06 PM
  #1  
IknowURider
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To all the newbie- young dudes

Lately, I've been seeing a lot of old steelies riding around town by all the kids , and this makes me giddy.

The LBS mechanic flips me old parts and tires that are still ok, old pedals are my favorite, when people "upgrade" to clipless. In return, I give him frames, but the last one was too small (21"). The other day though I curb-scored a Fuji Monterey, the bike looked like it had been ridden a year , the tire popped and so down in the basement it went. It took me ten minutes to strip it down.

The kid usually rides an expensive looking carbon Canondale, but decided to go steelframe for commuting, a smart choice.

You should have seen the look on his face, he was totally psyched. You'd think he'd have pick of the marketplace working in a shop, but I guess he doesn't have time

The Monterey was a basic Hi-Ten steel frame, but this one was practically mint.

"It's kinda heavy", he said.
"Don't worry about that, wait 'till you see how stable and comfortable it is", I responded.
He had been on a Schwinn World Sport, 4130 tubing, but the smaller size and slightly racier geometry made the bike "ride weird" he said. I call it "squirrely". But he built it up beautifully, nice wraps etc. This Fuji should look great.

So here you are , 21 years old reading posts on C and V, trying to figure out how to get the best value.

You see guys arguing over tensile strength in tubing, lugwork, componentry, it can get maddening.

First, let me say this: If you are 5 foot 11 to 6 foot 2, Your chances of finding a 58 CM (23") steel frame on Craigslist these days, regardless of price, are getting pretty slim. I've only been seeing tall bikes and short bikes lately. During the start of the gas crunch they were out there for $125.00

Sure, someone will immediately post here "Oh on my first day I scored this Motobecane Grand Jubilee with double butted 531 for $50.00" yeah it happens but don't hold your breath.

I suggest alternative methods. Networking, the guy who has the "My Ten Speeds" site on here (Randy is it?) has some great ideas.

1. get to know the major brands. Some will surprise you, like my Hi-Ten Panasonic that I just did an AMAZING ride on tonight. (see pic) The bike is just perfect for night combat. I got this for free on Freecycle.com. By the way, if you get an item off there, ask the homeowner if he/she has "any old ten speed PARTS" in the garage. You'd be amazed what you will turn up. This bike had very, very few miles, came out of an apartment basement.
Landscapers and contractors are always picking stuff up too. ASK!!!

2. Do not become paranoid and obsesso-compulso about tubing. Understand that a lot of the tubing buzz is leftover from vintage racing. Do you weigh 160 lbs? Do you haul ass up big giant mountains all the time? Be honest here. If not, you will be perfectly fine with "Gaspipe" (Hi Ten) tubing, despite the flaming I will receive for writing this.

Also, if you blow 200.00 on a Double butted 531 racing frame (which won't be as comfortable because of steeper angles) there's a chance the bike had been ridden hard or crashed. Money wasted if you don't have the inspection skills yet.

Just get a Hi Ten (or...okay... 4130 or Tange 900 and consider that a plus) frame and make it fit. Get rid of the Turkey (aka "suicide") levers, tilt the bars up, Move the levers up a bit, adjust the stem height, make the cockpit feel good. A good upgrade is some decent wider handlebars, I like 16" or wider, as I have wide shoulders. Nashbar.com has some Bontrager bars for 34.99 that I bet are freakin' awesome. Profile I think the model was. Putting good bars on these old midrange bikes will totally change everything.

A lot of the base models had narrow steel bars and I find them uncomfortable, but if I was starting out on a limited budget, I could adapt to them at first,

You can tell a 58 CM (23" frame) at a glance by the length of the headtube, it's usually between 5 3/4" to 6 or 7", (depends on brand) half the ads on CL never list frame size.

I think the reason they got chucked in the basement was the owners were never taught how to adjust the fit. So they got frustrated and bought a mountain bike...

3. Ditto as above for saddles, a lot of the old Vinyl saddles were actually pretty decent. You can patch a ripped saddle with vinyl and some epoxy. Could you imagine a cowboy tossing his saddle because of a tiny tear?

Your butt is just going to hurt for awhile until you get it in shape, Just accept that. Don't bother getting a 130.00 Fizik or a Brooks B-17 just yet.

4. Other than handlebars, I think most of the componentry on the vintage bikes was perfectly serviceable, if it's not rusted into oblivion. Ok, the Simplex stuff and some of the Sachs stuff was not exactly Sun Tour or Shimano, but try to get it working before running around looking for upgrades, You'll feel better just riding the bike, trust me. My first derailleur was one of those black Simplexes and it ran just fine for years until I outgrew the bike at age 13.

5. Don't Obsess about having steel wheels. If you happen to get a pair that were built well, I think they're pretty damn awesome. The Arayas on the Panasonic have a zillion miles, have hit countless potholes, and they are still true.

Ok. Yes.. someone will post here... .steel wheels don't brake well in the rain. But how much riding in the rain are you really going to do? Again, be honest. If you get caught in the rain, one alternative that will save you some bucks is to ride real slow. The next day it will be sunny again, and you will forget all about the alleged horrors of steel rims.

Sure, upgrade to some cheap singlewalled Araya alloys, but expect them to need truing more often (I do like the old Rigidas and Weinman alloys much better. Yes I know double walled Mavics are superior, etc...)

Steel Wheels also are less prone to theft.

High flanged hubs are beautiful.

Other upgrades like downtube or barcon shifters, cool pedals, maybe a decent Sugino Crankset I think should come later on as you continue to network and "stumble into them".

And there is nothing wrong with Weinmann or Dia-Compe centerpull brakes. Once properly adjusted, I think they perform fabulously. They just went out of vogue because someone wrote a magazine article in 1983 or whatever. Or someone slept with the CEO of Shimano...

For all-around tires, I love (gasp!) Cheng-Shins. I often dredge them for free. New they are only 9 bucks. Yes they are heavier. So what. Just make sure they are inflated properly.

Just talk to other riders around town, on campus, you will then be indoctrinated into the secret "Bob" society. I'll let someone else explain that.

But seriously, learn how to fit yourself to your bike. It's not that tough, and doesn't require lazer-guided computer analysis. Put all your "Mileage" on this bike, as you incrementally build your "dream" bike that you keep in the bedroom.

The point to this whole thread is to be grounded and realistic if you are trying to understand the intense world of "drop bar" cycling. There can sometimes be a lot of competition on these forums, but also a lot of really good advice and good people.

I see a lot of posts from the newbies on "what should I look for? How do I get started? There's probably a mile long sticky on that here, I forgot to check, but that's my .02.

Sometimes I weep and moan when I see studio quality pics here of a 58 CM Grand Jubilee with all Campy that some guy said he found in a barn in Nebraska, but chances are he bought it on Ebay for $600.00 (plus shipping) .

So here's a pic of my Panasonic , with better bars and no turkey levers. total cost was .00.

So just learn how to measure frames, fit yourself, and spot stuff at a distance.
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Old 09-27-11, 11:10 PM
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Old 09-28-11, 12:43 AM
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Almost every thread you see here by a newbie asks what year their bike is, but the year a bike was made means basically nothing. Most bikes are made for years with only slight equipment and color changes.

Looking at the equipment on the bike will tell you a lot more about its value than the brand name. That said, if you type the brand name into Google and don't come up with anything, there's a 99% chance it's a generic hi-ten bike.

Just about anything parts-wise you'll need for your bike is still in production somewhere. There's nothing wrong with cheap new parts for your bike: The parts that fit are cheap because they're obsolete. Most of the time you don't need to get an exact replacement for the bike's OEM equipment, so mix new and vintage parts as you see fit.
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Old 09-28-11, 12:48 AM
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I blew about 500 dollars figuring out what a good vintage bike was but I wouldn't trade the experience of building up those crappy bikes and flipping them for the world. live, make mistakes, learn.
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Old 09-28-11, 04:20 AM
  #5  
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I'm new to this board, and new to c&v bikes. I'm not new to riding bikes, but new to fixing and restoring them. I'm also a 'young dude', at 22 years of age.

My first reaction to this thread was.. what the heck?

What annoys incredibly much about these "expert boards" is that newbies/youngsters always get picked on. You should be happy about youngsters that are willing to take on a new hobby or new line of interest.

When starting a new hobby, you always start with finding out the best possible gear, the best possible ways to excercise this hobby, and so on. This is some kind of natural reaction for all people. Whether its cars (I'm gonna buy that new porsche!), or guitars (lemme have that Strat Hendrix was playing!), you always aim for the top. You can not reach the top (or even start..) without asking silly/stupid questions, without making mistakes, without having any regrets or risking a little.


When I started my new hobby (earlier this summer), I knew practically nothing about bikes, except for the "common knowledge" all people have. My first C&V bike was a early 70's Raleigh. I posted a thread about it, thinking I would be accepted in this new forum. Well, since about 90 % of the replys in my thread was "the fork is bent", I seriously considered leaving this board. That because I immediately felt a non-welcoming atmosphere around here.
Nowadays I've learnt quite much about c&v bikes, which I'm happy about.

Oh, and pointing out that "this bike is probably an entry level/low-end bike..". What's up with that? just trying to make us new guys feel bad about our acquisitions?

Let us youngsters believe that Campagnolo is the only way to go (which it isn't), that steel wheels are crap (which they aren't).
Eventually we will learn, and turn into annoying "know-it-all's".

We all (yes, even you, old farts) have been new to this hobby at some point in our lives. Have you forgot all about it?


Sorry for turning my reply into a rant. I just got quite wound up by this.
And sorry for missing the point slightly, and for asking stupid newbie questions.
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Old 09-28-11, 04:50 AM
  #6  
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I can say for myself that anytime I would have typed that into a reply, the aim would not be to denigrate the bike or the rider (I ride a lot of entry level stuff) but to keep the inevitable upgrade enthusiasm in check. Having gotten certain bikes and starting thinking about all the upgrade possibilities.

Glad you stuck around and sorry to hear that your initial reaction to the CV board was not good. I have always (almost always) found it to be a very friendly and reasonable place.

(QUOTE=SaabSport;13288508]
Oh, and pointing out that "this bike is probably an entry level/low-end bike..". What's up with that? just trying to make us new guys feel bad about our acquisitions?
[/QUOTE]
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Old 09-28-11, 05:16 AM
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Originally Posted by SaabSport View Post
Oh, and pointing out that "this bike is probably an entry level/low-end bike..". What's up with that? just trying to make us new guys feel bad about our acquisitions?
It was (is) probably someone trying to save a newbie hours of work and piles of dough on a bike that is not worth the effort. I understand the joy of wrenching and recovering a lost bike; but the fact is most of us don't have time and money to waste. And we figure newbies don't either.

Bottom line; take it all with a grain of salt......it's just words anyway.........
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Old 09-28-11, 05:42 AM
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Having owned and ridden several high ten frames this summer as well as some higher echelon steel and aluminum bikes I find their is one crucial difference. I have a lot more fun on the higher end frames. I am also more likely to bike somewhere if the bike doesn't throw my back out every time I have to carry it up and down stairs. For a lock up beater there is nothing wrong with entry level but I think a better bike will provide more fun and less annoyance and encourage you to ride more.
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Old 09-28-11, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Thumpic View Post
It was (is) probably someone trying to save a newbie hours of work and piles of dough on a bike that is not worth the effort. I understand the joy of wrenching and recovering a lost bike; but the fact is most of us don't have time and money to waste. And we figure newbies don't either.

Bottom line; take it all with a grain of salt......it's just words anyway.........
This. If you think us old guys are picking on you, and you would rather be called a unique and beautiful butterfly, and get a trophy for participating, move on. Otherwise, stick around, thicken up that skin, and learn something.
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Old 09-28-11, 06:44 AM
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Good post Rob, relevant and well put. Being a young guy myself and having only been involved with this thing for a couple of years, I have learned quite a bit. I used to work on cars as a hobby but I found working on bikes was a bit cheaper (usually) and allowed me to be much more productive with my school schedule. It soon became apparent to me that there are literally tons of old bikes hanging in garages and leaned up behind barns that should be ridden. Lots of bikes have since been through my hands and I've learned to keep it simple when I'm getting them back in running order.


Originally Posted by sonatageek View Post
I can say for myself that anytime I would have typed that into a reply, the aim would not be to denigrate the bike or the rider (I ride a lot of entry level stuff) but to keep the inevitable upgrade enthusiasm in check. Having gotten certain bikes and starting thinking about all the upgrade possibilities.
I think this is super relevant. I think especially for younger riders, the draw to "upgrade" is pretty strong, and I admit that when I found my first vintage ride, a nice Nishiki Olympic that I found next to a FREE sign(https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...iki?highlight=), that I spent about $50 on tires, a truing at a bike shop that I probably didn't need and some new brake levers just for the black hoods. It worked out because I got the bike for free but I quickly smartened up. I've since scoured the local CL, tag sales, etc. for deals and I've come across many, but I've been patient and I've learned that if I pay $30 for a nice old say mid to low-end japanese bike, that everyone benefits if I just utilize what the bike has got, rather than go trying to upgrade all kinds of stuff. I only replace consumables and what is need to make it a reliable rider. As the old saying goes "run what you brung." That Motobecane you had emailed me about was a prime example. Low end tube-set, little snob appeal, but man was that a sweet riding bike. It's been added to the list of bike I wish I could've kept, right along side that one-size-too-big Univega Grand Turismo.


Also having had a bunch of bike pass through my hands and having taken lots of test rides, I've learned what works for me, and what I need/want in a bike so when that sweet 531 frame in my size comes up for a song on craiglist, I can build it up to be exactly what I need in a bike.

Anyways, this place is a tremendous resource for those young people, or anybody so inclined to research their old bike on an internet forum, and this thread has a good message. I think a lot of people are realizing that most of these old bike, even the lower end ones, are much better bikes than what you can buy at Walmart and are much more versatile. For the $150 you can spend on a uselessly fully suspended Next mountain bike, you can buy a nice refurbished ten-speed from your local flipper and ride it for another 30 years. I think the reduse-reuse recycle thing applies heavily here, but of course the most important thing is just getting out there and riding.
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Old 09-28-11, 07:20 AM
  #11  
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you do realize that "the fork's bent" is also something said playfully around here?

Look, a lot of us have done it already, and if our collective wisdom and crankiness
can save you some time and money why not listen?
putting Campy super record on a varsity? not really a fiscally smart move.
If you go and read the archives you'll see that one of the more beloved
bikes here is the Peugeot UO8, not anyone's idea of a high end bike.
Y'all should be glad that Pokey, D*Alex and especially sydney aren't
here to post, they pulled no punches and were at times brutally
honest.
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Old 09-28-11, 07:48 AM
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Good, common-sense post by IKnowURider. I like it.

Two comments:

It's not just young newbies who come here for bicycle advice. I'm 2.5 times your age, and I was new at this when I joined the forum three years ago. I suspect there are many more members like me -- older and less knowledgeable about bikes. I'm very glad I found this resource, and the helpful people on it.

Second, it IS difficult in the beginning to absorb the advice of forum members, due to the sheer volume of sometimes conflicting posts, plus a new member's unfamiliarity with established members' backgrounds, tastes, experience. One can't tell at first which members have, say, worked in a bike shop, or won bike races, or ridden ten thousand miles, until it is mentioned in passing. These experiences form the basis for those members' advice, and also informs the reader that member is a subject matter expert.

That's why I try to remind myself that certain people on this board may have 30-40 years of bicycling and bicycle maintenance/rebuilding experience from which to draw their conclusions. I'll give them some leeway on their enthusiasm for upgraded componentry or frame composition.

Speaking of brutally honest --or just plain brutal -- I see a previous poster's handle is SaabSport, so I'm guessing he likes Swedish automobiles. I also have owned two Swedish cars myself, both of them Volvos, and I joined an owners forum to learn how to fix them, same I did here for C&V bikes. Just one thread from me attracted such flaming, I lost interest immediately in continuing on that forum.

We have it pretty good here on BF C&V. Let's aim to keep it that way.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:06 AM
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Old 09-28-11, 09:18 AM
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wondered how long it would be till we saw that one.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:21 AM
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Very neat! I guess I don't qualify as a "kid" but I tend to ride a bike that was made a year before I was born.. and if not that one then one that's 3 years older then me...
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Old 09-28-11, 09:30 AM
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If you think it's bad here, post in the road biking forum.

There is something about conversing by text. You lose a lot of connotation. As stated earlier, toughen up--just words.

When I started learning about bikes, I was pretty happy that people would point out what was low/high quality. Saved me a lot of time, money, and heart ache... I also ended up with some really nice bikes without ever having to dip into my own pockets.
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Old 09-28-11, 09:35 AM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by mudboy View Post
This. If you think us old guys are picking on you, and you would rather be called a unique and beautiful butterfly, and get a trophy for participating, move on. Otherwise, stick around, thicken up that skin, and learn something.
The unfortunate part is that's what kids of this generation have been told for their entire lives. You're special....no matter what. Everyone wins, trophies for everyone in little league, win or lose.

Much to learn here young guys/new guys...you just have to absorb, evaluate, conduct supporting research on your own, and come to a conclusion. Then try. Reevaluate. Learn. That doesn't come easy for most.

The best advice anyone here can give you:

https://www.google.com

site:bikeforums.net <your search terms>

I won't even say LMGTFY.
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Old 09-28-11, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SaabSport View Post
What annoys incredibly much about these "expert boards" is that newbies/youngsters always get picked on. You should be happy about youngsters that are willing to take on a new hobby or new line of interest.
The advice/knowledge you'll find here is free. Don't expect to get "expert" advice anywhere for free. But, you will learn a lot here just by asking questions. Ignore the crankiest of curmudgeons and you won't be too offended. Nice to have a Fin here. You may be the only one.

Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Carry the news!


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Old 09-28-11, 10:42 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by sillygolem View Post
Almost every thread you see here by a newbie asks what year their bike is, but the year a bike was made means basically nothing. Most bikes are made for years with only slight equipment and color changes.

Looking at the equipment on the bike will tell you a lot more about its value than the brand name. That said, if you type the brand name into Google and don't come up with anything, there's a 99% chance it's a generic hi-ten bike.

Just about anything parts-wise you'll need for your bike is still in production somewhere. There's nothing wrong with cheap new parts for your bike: The parts that fit are cheap because they're obsolete. Most of the time you don't need to get an exact replacement for the bike's OEM equipment, so mix new and vintage parts as you see fit.

+1. I saw some Sun Tour VGT rear derailleurs that were NOS for 15.00 on ebay. Some even had way cool colored anodization. I have a whole bin full, scrounged from the curbs. You would not beleive the stuff I find around here.
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Old 09-28-11, 10:59 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
The advice/knowledge you'll find here is free. Don't expect to get "expert" advice anywhere for free.
If you are not paying for it, you're not the customer; you're the product being sold

There is a community here, but the underlying premise still holds. Most people will look at your thread for entertainment, and bent fork spotting seems to be popular. But among all the riffraff some communal knowledge seeps out.
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Old 09-28-11, 11:06 AM
  #21  
IknowURider
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SaabSport, I am not dissing the young guys. If you want to go all-out and get that dream bike, that's fine, do it. These days though I see a lot of industrious young guys who just want to ride, get in shape and save on gas. If you have the cash to blow on a dream bike and, as an extra bonus to us all, the dedication to research and learn how to ride it responsibly in traffic or in a group, then go for it.

In America, we all want the best, and we want it now with as little effort as possible. The Europeans could easily have put alloy wheels on the bikes they shipped here. But in the early 70's especially, we didn't have the capacity for "service departments". Local bike shops didn't exist till a few years later. So they smartly sent us big fat and velo- naive Americans big heavy steel bikes so they wouldn't break and have to be shipped back to France and GB. Of course it all changed in the late 70's and beyond as we all started watching the Tour and buying magazines.

Of course we all want the trick components or whatever, but I was just trying to calm the fears a little. there's a lot of postings here that say thing like "HI-Ten crap" . I maintain that there are many amazing frames out there that will get you on the road without breaking your wallet or making you get all OCD. Your old Raleigh is actually an amazing bike. The "forks bent" joke is just one of those idiotic forum things. Just take the bad with the good.

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Old 09-28-11, 11:11 AM
  #22  
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The OP holds much wisdom.

I'm seeing more & more bike boom ten speeds being ridden by kids a decade or so younger than the bike. Seeing a cute junior college girl perched on a Varsity or Peugeot is a blast from my past.

One of the nicest riding bikes I ever had was a Viscount Sebring picked up from some guys lawn for nothing. "Free to good home"? That's me! Steel wheels and stem shifters- no problem. Sold it to a kid starting his senior year of high school.

Don't obsess overly with equipment. Ride the damn bike. If I'd have learned that one years ago, I'd have saved a lot of money and heartbreak.
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Old 09-28-11, 11:28 AM
  #23  
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This bike is probably an entry level and low-end bike. No Campagnolo on it either. And get a Brooks Professional for c....

Just kidding. Good piece of prose, IknowURider! I'll co-sign that anytime.

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Old 09-28-11, 11:51 AM
  #24  
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I have found, refurbished and sold hundreds of vintage road bicycles,sending them to almost every corner of the planet. I have learned that my customer base is incredibly varied, from the kid in school to the old guy/gal who is trying to fill up his/her retirement years, like me.

But one thing holds true, a person, new to any interest, lacks knowledge and experience. And that is exactly why I publish MY "TEN SPEEDS". To help the new, and been around a long time, guys and gals. I get well over 1,000,000 hits per month on my website and I get lots of emails asking me for advice on this or that. And I give that advice, be it expert or not, for free. I do invite people to donate to the website with hopes of covering my costs and, perhaps, supplement my ravaged pension.

And as for the comment about toughening up - its just words. Honestly - can you think of anything more powerful? Just ask your young son or daughter what is wrong with them enough times and they will start to believe that there is something wrong with them.

All that said, I really enjoy sharing and gleaning information on this Classic and Vintage Forum.
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Old 09-28-11, 11:53 AM
  #25  
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Jamie, thank you, I could not have said it better. I was going to post your ad for your Super Mirage as an example, but it's sold already. Kudos. You only wanted 160.00 for it, it could have gone 200.00-225.00 easily, IMO. I don't think that frame is "low end" at all, I'm finding the french had some wonderfully mysterious ways with making their own tubing, and it rides great. I mean, 2040 is not Chromoly, but it's pretty damn nice, and will impress most riders. I also have a Peugeot P-4 Corbier which was a "base" model. This bike is similar in its awesomeness. (It has good wheels though)

I have the same Moto frame, it was dredged from a landscaper's pile. The wheels and BB rusted to toast. But I regularly crank out serious mileage on this bike because it's comfortable and stable, I can ride no-hands, a personal acid test of stability for me.

My new Raleigh Supercourse frame was acquired by trade, which I consider near-free. So I finally worked my way into a 531 frame, oh, but it's straight guage, so it's "midrange", and some on this forum will still sneer at this, I don't care. I am toying on repainting it, as I have a good contact for that, but then again I think it looks totally bad-ass with its battle scars. I hope to get at least one ride on it before the next nuclear meltdown or mass riot

Sidenote: I found a new magazine called Bicycling World, I'm pretty sure that was the title (not Bicycling) that targets the practical rider, no carbon fiber hype, the front page is for a modern Ralieigh Clubman, pretty cool. (yes built in China, oh well). Pictures of hot chicks with nose rings fixing bikes. Tell me that doesn't rule.

It's nice to see a media outlet realize there's a market for those who just want to ride a practical bike with wider, fun tires , racks and fenders. Interviews with bike co-ops, etc.

Allez Vite!
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