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Suggestions for a 50s-60s Road bike project?

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Suggestions for a 50s-60s Road bike project?

Old 09-23-14, 08:30 AM
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KenNC
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Suggestions for a 50s-60s Road bike project?

After refurbishing (and currently enjoying) some 70s road bikes, with ample help and suggestions here, I'd like to try something from the 50s or 60s.

Projects so far have been a 73 Schwinn World Voyageur, a pair of 1977 Motobecane Grand Tourings; a 76 Motobecane Grand Record; and a 1981 Peugeot UO10. Am riding the Schwinn and the Grand Record; the others were for friends & family.

Looking for a "rider" representative of the era, roughly comparable in quality to the above, but without "breaking the bank." Thought I'd ask for suggestions here first!

Thank you!
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Old 09-23-14, 08:44 AM
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The current supply falls off radically before 1970, and prices correspondingly rise. Your best bets from the 1960s are probably British 3-speeds and Schwinn Varsinentals, but you may get lucky -- or spend a lot of money -- and find a nice Bianchi, Peugeot, Raleigh, or CrMo Schwinn. I got very lucky with the 1959 Capo, which was a $20 yard sale find, but I recognized the marque and the other customers did not know it had a Reynolds 531 frame. I paid a lot more for the 1960 Capo, because the seller knew he had a top-of-the-line racing bike from that era, with all of the original components. As a teenager I had a low-end 1962 Bianchi, which would be comparable to a Peugeot AO-8, and similar bikes do occasionally show up on eBay and elsewhere.

Good luck in your quest! It will not be easy, but it may be very rewarding.

EDIT: I really like rhm's recommendation regarding casting a wide net and allowing yourself to be surprised. Do let us know what you come up with.
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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

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Old 09-23-14, 08:58 AM
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My advice would be to cast a wide net. If you decide the bike you want is a Raleigh Lenton Grand Prix (not a bad choice, by the way) the odds are you won't find one. You'll find something else first, and most likely it will be something you hadn't thought of and none of us suggested. So familiarize yourself with the features you want your bike to have --Campagnolo dropouts, for example-- and look for those features. And let yourself be surprised.
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Old 09-23-14, 12:58 PM
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Hilarystone.com+Mastercard=50's-60's vintage British project build

There's a nice one in the Bargains section, would be about $260 to your doorstep

(Mmmmm thin stays & round fork blades)



And you'd have something like this when you were done



enabling is so much easier with pictures
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Old 09-23-14, 01:31 PM
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I don't know if this is a consideration, but the performance and reliability of many road bike components (shifters, pedals & hubs especially) on mid-range and top-end models improved hugely from the early fifties to the late sixties. If you are doing this to make a reliable rider, I'd suggest aiming for the newer end of your time line. If not, do what RHM suggests: stay open to whatever comes along.
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Old 09-23-14, 02:14 PM
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I think you can skirt the reliability issue by component selection. Certainly the older the bike gets the harder it will be to source parts but a 50's FM hub, Chater Lea pedals, Williams Crank and GB bars and stem are about bomb proof.

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Old 09-23-14, 02:20 PM
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+1 Cast a wide net, really wide. My LBS sold me a 1960 Carlton project at a reasonable price. I wasn't looking for a Carlton, but it is what I ended up with.
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Old 09-23-14, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Hilarystone.com+Mastercard=50's-60's vintage British project build

There's a nice one in the Bargains section, would be about $260 to your doorstep

(Mmmmm thin stays & round fork blades)



And you'd have something like this when you were done



enabling is so much easier with pictures
Yeah, yeah, that looks sweet, but if it was really such a great catch I know a Russian orthodox priest who works have snapped it up by now.

Oh wait, I may have spoke too soon... maybe he has.
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Old 09-23-14, 03:47 PM
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Prices can be all over the place. Patience is probably the biggest thing.

There's some sleeper bargain 50's / early 60's bikes to be had, complete and way under $200 to even $50. It's easy to get carried away on ebay or such and spend for one but I prefer a more methodical with budget approach.

Sometimes a bike will find you. I answered an ad for a particular bike and promptly left to buy it. Very satisfied. But.... in the barn, buyer asked if I'm interested in another. But of course and it was the best deal of the two! He offered a ridiculous low price and I told him its worth far more if restored or preserved. Buyer didn't care and was just pleased to know it was going to be enjoyed once again.

Most are not really advertised. Look for those specialized estate auction houses at the auction house or place of business. Majority of bidders are into old furniture or household stuff, and never into an old 'clunker' bike as they call it. Its even better when its all greasy and has flat tires. Deduct major dollars right then and there! The auctioneer job is to pump you up but in the end, the family or heirs want everything sold no matter what.

Parts? Buying vintage parts on fleabay can get bid crazy but then again, some of the same stuff is found for a fraction... go figure. Waiting and the hunt is what its all about.

others I'm following on BF:
I'm enjoying Orangebike's thread on his 1960's Sears w/ Campagnolo project. Because of the brand name, its one of those bikes that remain reasonable but fun. (Actually is an Austrian made Steyr.)

Then just the other day, there was another thread started by a member who picked up a Belgian made single speed for super reasonable. None of business to broadcast what he might have paid but really looks like a fun project. If mine, I probably would add a period 3 speed rear derailleur set-up and some sort of drop bars - perhaps rando or moustache.

As for reliability, its only what one makes of it. To see iab hammer down on his early 1930's Frejus with wooden rims says it all.
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Old 09-23-14, 04:27 PM
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How big? And where are you?
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Old 09-23-14, 04:43 PM
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Raleigh Lentons from the 1950s were produced in large numbers and come up on eBay, CL, and other places fairly regularly and not for lots of money. Last I heard, RHM had one to sell. Hmm.

Requisite photo of my Lenton Sports:

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Old 09-23-14, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Yeah, yeah, that looks sweet, but if it was really such a great catch I know a Russian orthodox priest who works have snapped it up by now.

Oh wait, I may have spoke too soon... maybe he has.
If the Priest was shorter this frame would have been in the States long ago! Look at the description:

Frame tubing: Reynolds 531 double butted
Seatpost size: 27.2mm
Bown was an East London framebuilder and this frame dates to just pre-war days I am certain. It appears to be well built and has very attractive round section front forks with I think possibly a BSA fork crown. 95

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Old 09-23-14, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
Last I heard, RHM had one to sell. Hmm.

Requisite photo of my Lenton Sports:
You're worse than I am! Hey can you still private message rhm by clicking on his rhm ...at post #8.? That would be a good way to find a project bike
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