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What do you love about vintage bikes?

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What do you love about vintage bikes?

Old 04-28-14, 12:02 PM
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Trixie Soech
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What do you love about vintage bikes?

Hey, Y'all!

I've seen a lot of ads for 'vintage' bikes, some of which look like they're just junk, and some of which look pretty good. Obviously it depends on which bike, but I'd like to know what do you guys see and feel about it.

I guess what I'm asking is, are older bikes like that well-built, as in "They don't make them like that any more'? Or are they a money pit waiting to happen? It has an elegant look to it, so I was just curious.

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Old 04-28-14, 12:06 PM
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For me...several reasons:

(1) Steel rides better...smoother...not quite as light weight, but, since I am a 190-200 pounder (depending on season)...I can lose the weight of a bicycle!

(2) General looks...I find the old, metal bikes to be more attractive...

(3) I can work on a $200 bike without worrying as much about damage...that first "pop" on a $3000 carbon fiber...well...generally it is quite expensive!
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Old 04-28-14, 12:11 PM
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Cheaper, ride better, and I like old **** with history and patina opposed to new stuff, but I'm biased for work related reasons.
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Old 04-28-14, 12:21 PM
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In the case of road bikes, I think they should be shiny and attractive. Modern road bikes are not, in my opinion.
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Old 04-28-14, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Trixie Soech View Post
Hey, Y'all!

I've seen a lot of ads for 'vintage' bikes, some of which look like they're just junk, and some of which look pretty good. Obviously it depends on which bike, but I'd like to know what do you guys see and feel about it.

I guess what I'm asking is, are older bikes like that well-built, as in "They don't make them like that any more'? Or are they a money pit waiting to happen? It has an elegant look to it, so I was just curious.

They're both.

Older, quality bikes are well made- even not so well made bikes are out and about. I see plenty of older turkey-levered bikes on the bike trails- 30+ years down the road.

I do find older bikes elegant. Level top tubes have a more classic look, the shiny paint and chrome of older bikes exude class- as opposed to the matte black and blazing logos of more modern stuff.

Will you spend money on it? Depends on what you're doing. If you're trying to create a museum piece wall hanger sourced from individual parts off ebay- yeah, that'll cost some money. To get a reasonably well maintained old bike up and running with a mix of old and modern functional parts- not so much.
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Old 04-28-14, 12:58 PM
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All my tools fit.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
All my tools fit.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:05 PM
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I like the detail. It appears that all products go through a phases. In or near the beginning they are trying to capture market. In the past is was about value for the dollar often with quality and performance attributes. If you thought you were getting a lot of value for your dollar, it was likely a good quality product. Classic and Vintage bikes have a strong link to performance and quality. You can see it and feel it.

I happen to love nearly any frame that has chrome on the lugs or rear stays. A whole bike of chrome is not my cup of tea though. Because of my age, it is likely to have Campagnolo parts. For me those parts are associated with a man who was intent on getting better performance out of his equipment which led to innovative products that everyone benefited from to this day.

It is also about aesthetics. It looks classy and functional to a purpose all at the same time. I could post yet another picture of my Colnago, but it is more classic than vintage. I won't do that because I just discovered a tandem that is close to capturing what I like about vintage bikes: https://www.bikeforums.net/tandem-bik...dem-1940s.html
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Old 04-28-14, 01:05 PM
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I own too many of them. . . .
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Old 04-28-14, 01:06 PM
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I like the elegance and simplicity of the older bikes - both from an aesthetic and mechanical perspective.

Call me a Luddite.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:10 PM
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Old 04-28-14, 01:15 PM
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1. well make.
2. now day more choice but all make for one reason Money, old bike make for rider.
3. Look different, every bike and part come with own story, now day all bike n part with media story.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Trixie Soech View Post
I guess what I'm asking is, are older bikes like that well-built, as in "They don't make them like that any more'? Or are they a money pit waiting to happen? It has an elegant look to it, so I was just curious.
You actually ask a bunch of different good questions. Most if not all of the active contributors to C&V prefer older styling over current styling, like the ride properties and durability of steel frames, like the fact that components can be mix-n-matched so easily, like the fact that maintenance is easy and fun. What's not to like about shiny paint, bright chrome, and tasteful, artsy logos? These are things we grew up with and thus we like to see them and work with them now. The advantages of modern bikes are generally in performance but if you, which is to say we, aren't racing then there is no value. Some components have gotten better (double-pivot brakes), but most bike components reached levels of greatness or at least perfect acceptability decades ago.

Your second question is really not so pertinent. Unlike cars where with use things loosen up or come apart or wear out or break and must be replaced, bikes are simple and durable. Bikes made during the early 70's bike boom may or may not have been well-made but many (like my 42 year old inexpensive UO8) show no signs of wearing out per se. With reasonable maintenance and avoidance of abuse a steel bike simply doesn't wear out in a normal lifetime, and if it didn't have flaws from the factory then it is what it is and will remain. For little cost you can ride the same bike for decades, and upgrade pieces as you wish to or need to. Of course if you can't do something yourself and must pay your LBS, it costs more. But most work is easy. The long-run costs of a good vintage bike may be lower than any modern bike, not even counting the high cost of a good new bike.

That being said, some bikes were and still are better than others. For higher cost a builder could use better frame materials and spend more time on the fabrication and paint. Since it makes little sense to put expensive components on a cheap frame or cheap parts on an expensive frame, the expensive bike was usually better in all areas. If you start with a low budget you'll get a low budget bike regardless of its age, and though you can upgrade parts for performance the frame's weight and ride characteristics won't change. This is simply to say that just because a bike is old doesn't make it necessarily better, since there were better and worse bikes back when they were new. Even so, a good old bike is a joy to ride and keep.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
All my tools fit.
And...my personal Box Of Crap is usable.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:35 PM
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1. I am a gearhead. I like to tinker. I can do everything from machine tool work, welding, rebuild engines from flathead Ford to 32V Cadillac Northstar V8, rebarrel a target rifle (and use it too), and so on. When I rediscovered cycling I had to pick up some cycling specific tools but I already had tools, a big garage, parts washer, air compressor and so on. Older bikes just fit my love of working with my hands.

2. Economics. I'd be poor if I did the same thing with new bikes.

3. Function and use. My lugged steel bikes perform as well as my newer aluminum frame/carbon fiber fork bike, and I ride them hard for exercise.

4. Aesthetics. Newer cranksets, threadless stems, STIs, huge graphics. I personally do not find these things appealing.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:35 PM
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Other [carbon] riders think I'd be faster if I rode a modern bike.

I know I'm going to be slow no matter what.
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Old 04-28-14, 01:40 PM
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Many top of the line C&V bikes are still a bargain to buy compared to top of the line modern bikes that will require me to sell a kidney just to afford one..... and maybe that's not even enough!!
Anyway, I find most modern bikes quite fugly too, while there sure is a lot of beautiful C&V bikes still out there for us to build, collect and ride!
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Old 04-28-14, 01:42 PM
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Steel, looks, and I can fix them...
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Old 04-28-14, 01:54 PM
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See what happens when to come to a thread a bit late? All the good answers are already taken. :>
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Old 04-28-14, 01:56 PM
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And yet…a big consideration, if it makes any difference to you, is beauty. Which is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. To me, modern bicycles aren't beautiful. With very few exceptions.
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Old 04-28-14, 02:01 PM
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I like the looks of lugged steel, I like the fact I have all the tools to work on what I would call a "normal" bike, I like the ride of a nice steel frame...so smooth.
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Old 04-28-14, 02:58 PM
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I like that we can have one of these threads about once every 15 days, beat it to death, and still not have an official answer anyone agrees on.
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Old 04-28-14, 03:08 PM
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if any of the parts are campagnolo open up your purse since it will cost you
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Old 04-28-14, 03:12 PM
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See what happens when to come to a thread a bit late? All the good answers are already taken. :>
I get more compliments (even for a plain Jane Trek) than CF riders that I know get.
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Old 04-28-14, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Trixie Soech View Post
Hey, Y'all!

I've seen a lot of ads for 'vintage' bikes, some of which look like they're just junk, and some of which look pretty good. Obviously it depends on which bike, but I'd like to know what do you guys see and feel about it.

I guess what I'm asking is, are older bikes like that well-built, as in "They don't make them like that any more'? Or are they a money pit waiting to happen? It has an elegant look to it, so I was just curious.
Like aged wine, some are good and some are vinegar.

There are lots of good vintage bikes and lots of junky ones. Craigslist adverts often really stretch the definition of classic or vintage.
Some are on the bubble. Worthy of continued use but not restoration.

Of a vintage bike of decent quality, the surprise to many is that functionally an old and new bike can be essentially the same when considering effort in and performance out.
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