Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

What Makes a Bike "Vintage?"

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

What Makes a Bike "Vintage?"

Old 02-02-05, 09:22 AM
  #1  
Blackberry
In Memory of One Cool Cat
Thread Starter
 
Blackberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 2,722

Bikes: Lemond Victoire, Cannondale.Mountain Bike, two 1980s lugged steel Treks, ancient 1980-something Giant mountain bike converted into a slick tired commuter with mustache handlebars, 1960-something Raleigh Sports

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
What Makes a Bike "Vintage?"

A couple of years ago, I was informed that I was a retro geek. This came as a surprise to me. I was on a big group ride, cycling along on my 1983 Trek lugged steel trek. I had bought it new, and it was my regular, trusted steed. The truth is up until that point, I simply rode a lot without considering equipment very much. I didn't read bike magazines and was not trying to make any kind of "statement." I guess I had seen clipless pedals, ergo/sti shifting, but never gave it much thought. On that ride I realized that I was among a miniscule percentage that was using down tube shifters.

Oddly enough, that "retro geek" comment intrigued me, and the person who made it sent me to Rivendell Sheldon Brown, etc. I ended up finding out that there is indeed a sizable community of people who enjoy older bikes, and I came to respect my older bike in a new way. (I also ended up buying a modern road bike--partly because I wanted to experience the changes I had missed out on over 20 years. I came to like both bikes)

Ok, so the question is at what point does a bike become retro or vintage? Ten years? Twenty? Pre-WWII? Or in our disposable society, are bikes considered out of date even sooner? I realize that there can be all kinds of answers to this question. Just curious what y'all think.
__________________
Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.
Blackberry is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 10:54 AM
  #2  
ofofhy
Chronic Tai Shan
 
ofofhy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: PHL/BAL
Posts: 1,118

Bikes: Pake Single Speed

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Blackberry
Ok, so the question is at what point does a bike become retro or vintage? Ten years? Twenty? Pre-WWII? Or in our disposable society, are bikes considered out of date even sooner? I realize that there can be all kinds of answers to this question. Just curious what y'all think.
I usually apply the classic rock radio station methodology, which is about 10 years.
ofofhy is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 11:33 AM
  #3  
lotek 
Senior Member
 
lotek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: n.w. superdrome
Posts: 17,688

Bikes: 1 trek, serotta, rih, de Reus, Pogliaghi and finally a Zieleman! and got a DeRosa

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 9 Posts
I think 20 years about does it. Classic Rendezvous pics 1983 as their
cut off, last year for Super Record components.
I think 10 isn't quite in the classic/vintage group yet.
Blackberry, what model Trek do you have? I'm restoring (sort of) a
late 1983 Trek 770 (oct 83, decals from 84), also have 85 670.

Marty
__________________
Sono pi lento di quel che sembra.
Odio la gente, tutti.


Want to upgrade your membership? Click Here.
lotek is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 11:39 AM
  #4  
alanbikehouston
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 5,250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
There seem to be "watershed" moments in design where a machine becomes distinctly different than it was before. Although the patent offices around the world were busy registering "new" ideas, the "average" bike owned by American adults changed very little between around 1898 and around 1935. Then, the huge fat tires introduced by Schwinn introduced a new style of bike that dominated the American market between 1935 and 1965. The "fat tire" bikes were mostly for kids, as fewer adults rode bikes in that era.

Then, in the early '60's, the Schwinn Varsity and Continental intoduced American adults to "ten speed" bikes (although many adults preferred the cushy tired five speed versions, such as the Suburban). So, from 1965 to 1985, there was a "boom" of adults riding bikes that LOOKED like racing bikes and had five or ten speeds. Those bikes were steel framed and generally lacked any kind of indexing or "easy shift" mechanism. The moderately priced steel framed road bike got much better, and much lighter between 1965 and 1985. The 1985 Schwinn Super Sport is a "world away" from the 1965 Schwinn Varsity.

The next era began around 1986. The advent of aluminum frames and indexed shifting. This enabled companies to sell easy shifting entry level bikes that weighed about as much as the top of the line steel frame bikes of 1965. And, mountain bikes brought millions of people back into cycling. Then came more complicated indexing systems such as STI, 8 cogs, 9 cogs...titanium and carbon. Expensive "improvement" with no significant value to the average person riding for relaxation and enjoyment.

So, today, a lugged steel frame bike with 5, 6, or 7 cogs and NO indexing of the shifting is distinctly a machine from a very different era. The best bikes of 1980 to 1985 had light, strong, lugged steel frames, strong rear wheels (free of the ultra-dishing that weakens today's wheels) and shifting systems that allowed "mixing and matching" drive train components from a variety of companies, yet always worked smoothly and easily. These machines allowed owners to "upgrade" to new shifters for $30, without having to replace any other aspects of the drivetrain. The best bikes of that period are the modern "classic" road bikes...the best road bikes ever made for use by average folks of moderate means.

Of course, today, there are places such as Rivendell where you can still buy a lugged, steel framed bike with friction shifting and just eight cogs. Instant classics, enjoyable today, and collectable thirty years from now.
alanbikehouston is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 11:44 AM
  #5  
SoonerBent
<><
 
SoonerBent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oklahoma City
Posts: 768

Bikes: RANS Tailwind

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I used to buy, sell, trade, etc. a lot of old cars. I think the definition of classic/vintage would carry over. With technology moving forward as fast as it does these days things don't seem to have to be as old as they used to be. They need to meet 3 criteria:

1. There isn't anything made anywhere near like it today.
2. It was high quality, desirable or unique when it was made which makes it....
3. Valuable to a collector or other buyer now.


SS
SoonerBent is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 11:46 AM
  #6  
Blackberry
In Memory of One Cool Cat
Thread Starter
 
Blackberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 2,722

Bikes: Lemond Victoire, Cannondale.Mountain Bike, two 1980s lugged steel Treks, ancient 1980-something Giant mountain bike converted into a slick tired commuter with mustache handlebars, 1960-something Raleigh Sports

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by lotek
I think 20 years about does it. Classic Rendezvous pics 1983 as their
cut off, last year for Super Record components.
I think 10 isn't quite in the classic/vintage group yet.
Blackberry, what model Trek do you have? I'm restoring (sort of) a
late 1983 Trek 770 (oct 83, decals from 84), also have 85 670.

Marty
Hi Marty,

I have a Trek 700 "sport touring" bike. In many ways it reminds me of the Rivendell Rambouillet (https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/rambouillet.asp ). A good all around bike for everything except fast racing or fully loaded touring. It even came with braze-ons for a rear rack (but only one water bottle mount. Go figure). I've also got a 720 touring bike, which I've used for some fairly extensive touring. Do you have any snaps of your bikes?

By the way, just in case you haven't seen it, here's a site you might find interesting: https://www.vintage-trek.com/
__________________
Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.
Blackberry is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 03:49 PM
  #7  
Berodesign
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 517
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 1 Post
When people start to look funny at you, and you have problem finding parts, then it is vintage
Berodesign is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 06:10 PM
  #8  
TheOtherGuy
Knows Bigfoot's Momma
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,543

Bikes: yeah; got a couple...

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's the stuff that would've given me a woodie when I was fifteen, and first getting into quality road bikes... Couldn't afford much of it then.... That's about 30 years ago. The good stuff from my teens and earlier is "classic" to me.
TheOtherGuy is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 09:34 PM
  #9  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 21,299

Bikes: 1959 Capo Modell Campagnolo; 1960 Capo Sieger (2); 1962 Carlton Franco Suisse; 1970 Peugeot UO-8; 1982 Bianchi Campione d'Italia; 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10;

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 925 Times in 620 Posts
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
... So, today, a lugged steel frame bike with 5, 6, or 7 cogs and NO indexing of the shifting is distinctly a machine from a very different era. The best bikes of 1980 to 1985 had light, strong, lugged steel frames, strong rear wheels (free of the ultra-dishing that weakens today's wheels) and shifting systems that allowed "mixing and matching" drive train components from a variety of companies, yet always worked smoothly and easily. These machines allowed owners to "upgrade" to new shifters for $30, without having to replace any other aspects of the drivetrain. The best bikes of that period are the modern "classic" road bikes...the best road bikes ever made for use by average folks of moderate means. ...
I like your definition, which fits everything I ride, but I would add toeclips to the list of distinctive retro features. Generous tyre and mudguard clearances and comfortable, resilient frames are other useful features of at least some classic road bikes. I have zero motivation to exchange any of my bikes for something "modern." I have the Bianchi for speed/fun, the Peugeots for practical transportation, and the Capo, whose ornate, perfectly-crafted lugwork makes everything else look pretty drab.
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 02-02-05, 10:17 PM
  #10  
john999
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 198
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Pre-1970, when the Taiwanese 10-speeds flooded the market.
john999 is offline  
Old 02-03-05, 12:22 AM
  #11  
mswantak
Glutton for Punishment
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Leandro, CA
Posts: 2,896
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Berodesign
When people start to look funny at you, and you have problem finding parts, then it is vintage
That happens to me, but it's because I'm ugly and forgetful.
mswantak is offline  
Old 02-03-05, 01:13 AM
  #12  
N2NH
Newbie
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll take my vintage Atala Super Record anyday. Seems to be able to beat most riders except for a woman that is a great mountain bike rider. She just breezes by me.

Add a portable amateur radio to that camera and a bike - heaven.

Last edited by N2NH; 02-03-05 at 01:21 AM.
N2NH is offline  
Old 02-03-05, 05:16 AM
  #13  
Blackberry
In Memory of One Cool Cat
Thread Starter
 
Blackberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 2,722

Bikes: Lemond Victoire, Cannondale.Mountain Bike, two 1980s lugged steel Treks, ancient 1980-something Giant mountain bike converted into a slick tired commuter with mustache handlebars, 1960-something Raleigh Sports

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by Berodesign
When people start to look funny at you, and you have problem finding parts, then it is vintage
Yeh, more and more that sounds like my personal life.
__________________
Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.
Blackberry is offline  
Old 02-04-05, 01:49 PM
  #14  
Raleighman
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Irmo, South Carolina
Posts: 33

Bikes: 1971 Raleigh Professional, 1980 Raleigh Competition, 1987 Raleigh Team Professional, 1987 Cannondale, and a 2001 Trek 4900 Moutain Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
To me there is nothing more beautiful than a lugged steel frame with the head tube painted a different color from the rest of the bike. I have a 1971 Raleigh Professional, a 1980 Raleigh Competition GS, and a 1987 Raleigh Team Pro. I also have a mid 80's Cannondale. I get so many positive comments on the Raleighs from the folks I ride with. I built the Team Pro up with STI shifters. The frame set was new old stock. To me the STI shifters are like driving an automatic and the friction shifters are like a manual transmission. I love them both and they both have their place.
Raleighman is offline  
Old 02-04-05, 02:50 PM
  #15  
Ч
=== o^`o
 
Ч's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I know in the world of collectibles (like cars, guitars, and comic books) :

a manufactured object becomes "Classic" at 25 years
(that's when appraisal values - and sometimes insurance rates jump a level)

and I think "Vintage" could describe something older, like 50 years...

I'm not too sure, but I think at 75 years, it becomes an "Antique"...

- and doesn't "Retro" mean a new object that mimics an older style/design?
(Like the Chrysler PT Cruiser, for example?)

I don't think an old bike could be Retro, but the rider could be...

-mastersemanticsdebater

Last edited by Ч; 02-04-05 at 03:12 PM.
Ч is offline  
Old 02-04-05, 03:05 PM
  #16  
giant99
Senior Member
 
giant99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 139
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
[QUOTE=Raleighman]To me there is nothing more beautiful than a lugged steel frame with the head tube painted a different color from the rest of the bike. I have a 1971 Raleigh Professional, a 1980 Raleigh Competition GS, and a 1987 Raleigh Team Pro. I also have a mid 80's Cannondale. I get so many positive comments on the Raleighs from the folks I ride with. I built the Team Pro up with STI shifters. The frame set was new old stock. To me the STI shifters are like driving an automatic and the friction shifters are like a manual transmission. I love them both and they both have their place.


You wouldnt have a pic of your 87 would you. I was told the frame Im building is an 80s Raleigh Team Pro. Mine was black when I got it so far its bare metal about ready for paint. thanks 99
giant99 is offline  
Old 02-04-05, 04:43 PM
  #17  
Raleighman
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Irmo, South Carolina
Posts: 33

Bikes: 1971 Raleigh Professional, 1980 Raleigh Competition, 1987 Raleigh Team Professional, 1987 Cannondale, and a 2001 Trek 4900 Moutain Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I do but do not know how to post pictures. Mine is a pearl white with a blue head tube and fork. This are also blue, red, and yellow stripes on the chain stays and the seat tube. I can email you some pictures if you like.
Raleighman is offline  
Old 02-05-05, 10:18 PM
  #18  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 21,299

Bikes: 1959 Capo Modell Campagnolo; 1960 Capo Sieger (2); 1962 Carlton Franco Suisse; 1970 Peugeot UO-8; 1982 Bianchi Campione d'Italia; 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10;

Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1251 Post(s)
Liked 925 Times in 620 Posts
Originally Posted by Raleighman
To me there is nothing more beautiful than a lugged steel frame with the head tube painted a different color from the rest of the bike. ...
Why, thank you. (I had CyclArt paint my Capo red, with a white head tube, following the Austrian flag and an original-finish 1960 Capo I had seen on the Internet.)
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Carlton: 1962 Franco Suisse, S/N K7911
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 02-05-05, 10:32 PM
  #19  
TheOtherGuy
Knows Bigfoot's Momma
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,543

Bikes: yeah; got a couple...

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Raleighman
To me there is nothing more beautiful than a lugged steel frame with the head tube painted a different color from the rest of the bike.
Same here...
TheOtherGuy is offline  
Old 02-05-05, 11:42 PM
  #20  
Blackberry
In Memory of One Cool Cat
Thread Starter
 
Blackberry's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 2,722

Bikes: Lemond Victoire, Cannondale.Mountain Bike, two 1980s lugged steel Treks, ancient 1980-something Giant mountain bike converted into a slick tired commuter with mustache handlebars, 1960-something Raleigh Sports

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
Same here...
Bellisimo! Beautiful!
__________________
Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.
Blackberry is offline  
Old 02-06-05, 10:59 AM
  #21  
toomanybikes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Okanagan Valley, BC
Posts: 431

Bikes: Too Many

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
By and LArge, anything which pre-dates the mid-80's period, possibly as late as 1990.

After that everything pretty much was indexed shifting, Aluminum or other alternate materials, 8 speed or greater, etc.

The bikes of earlier than date tended to be good quality, lightweight steel lugged frames ( this of course is the high end bikes of the period) and good quality componenets with dt shifters, all this stuff still works great 25 years on.

In the case of my 1971 Claud Butler, this stuff all works great 36 years on!
toomanybikes is offline  
Old 07-14-14, 07:32 PM
  #22  
RTapz
Junior Member
 
RTapz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Winter Haven, Fl
Posts: 7

Bikes: 2008 iZip Trailz AL, 2008 eZip Trailz, 1980 Raleigh Mixte, 1983 Sears Free Spirit Tourney 10 speed I've owned since 1992

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Vintage and classic bikes, cars, etc...



I though I might add that the patents on things plays a big part in what is a vintage.
Classic represented things that were in high demand by consumers and become collector items when they are no longer made.

U.S. Patents filed after June 8, 1995 expire 20 years from the date of filing.
U.S. Patents filed prior to June 8, 1995 expire 17 years from the date of issue, or 20 years from the first non-provisional patent application in the family - whichever is later.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
3.JPG (76.1 KB, 45 views)
RTapz is offline  
Old 07-14-14, 07:35 PM
  #23  
mapleleafs-13 
Senior Member
 
mapleleafs-13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,814

Bikes: Pinarello Veneto, Pinarello Montello, Bianchi Celeste

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
mapleleafs-13 is offline  
Old 07-14-14, 08:40 PM
  #24  
Velognome 
Get off my lawn!
 
Velognome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: The Garden State
Posts: 6,253

Bikes: 1917 Loomis, 1923 Rudge, 1930 Hercules Renown, 1947 Mclean, 1948 JA Holland, 1955 Hetchins, 1957 Carlton Flyer, 1962 Raleigh Sport, 1978&81 Raleigh Gomp GS', 2010 Raliegh Clubman

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 93 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 88 Times in 45 Posts
Zombie!? This thread is 9 years old, according to ofofhy , it's just 1 year of shy of being vintage!
Velognome is offline  
Old 07-15-14, 01:28 PM
  #25  
Rocky Gravol
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Rat City, WA
Posts: 465

Bikes: Peugeot Course, Motobecane Super Mirage(RIP), Peugeot PKN10e Motobecane Grand Touring

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Vintage implies it had some value when new.

Otherwise it's just old.
Rocky Gravol is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.