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What is your grail bike and why?

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What is your grail bike and why?

Old 03-14-15, 10:24 PM
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willydstyle
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What is your grail bike and why?

Sorry if this thread is really common, but I'm new to C&V and still learning about what separates an old junker from a nice vintage bike. So what separates a nice vintage bike from a great vintage bike?
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Old 03-14-15, 10:50 PM
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The same things that seperate today's bikes are relevant when comparing classic C&V. Frame materials used on top tier bikes today would include carbon,titanium,stainless, where as the top tier bikes of yesteryear had reynolds, Columbus etc. clues when looking for quality bikes would be decals indicating quality materials, drop outs from well known makers, and components. Look for components that are period correct and of high quality. Suntour campagnolo huret shimano dura ace.... Figure out the hierarchy of the different component groups and you will be well on your way to recognizing quality bikes when you see them. Junkers IMO would be any department store roadbike such as huffy, freespirit, murray. Nice vintage bikes would be well taken care of entry level bikes ex. Schwinn volare, prelude, raleigh gran prix , super course, Japanese stuff like nishiki international, shogun... All nice stuff....great bikes will be handmade limited production artisan frames with top tier group componentry..... There are lots of different ones out there some much more heard of than others. Examples to name a few: raleigh professionals, schwinn paramount, masi, merckx, de rosa, colnago, and many many others. Hope this helps you and welcome to c&v.
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Old 03-15-15, 05:20 AM
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I'm pretty fond of my 1999 Litespeed Tuscany. It is comfortable, light and looks good to my eyes. As far as vintage goes I would have to say one I those Motorola Merckx bikes. I've never even ridden one, but they are so beautiful and those who own them seem to really enjoy the ride.
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Old 03-15-15, 06:05 AM
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My grail bikes are a classic '70's Paramount, with Campi components, and a Schwinn Krate.

Why, I sold Schwinn's in the early '80's working my way through college.
I could afford a Traveler - lower in the Schwinn line up. I always wanted a Paramount. I rebuilt the Traveler with very quality Japanese components, and rode it for 25 years. So no regrets with that bike - although I always have been drawn to the Paramount. It is my personal belief that the '70's were the zenith of the Paramount line. (As a note, I have a '99 Waterford Paramount to build, really a quality bike - and I can't get excited about it. I would trade 853 steel for 531 steel in a heartbeat.)

Krate - because I had an off brand Stingray when I was a kid, and always wanted the Krate.

Neither will fill a functional void - but it is nice to dream......
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Old 03-15-15, 07:05 AM
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A Fuso is my grail bike because it has a neat headbadge.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:06 AM
  #6  
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I define a grail as a personal choice that is difficult to obtain. Could high or low end. Something that floats my boat that I can't get at the local garage sale. Currently, a 1920s Stucchi in my size would do it. Or a Taurus Model 19.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:11 AM
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Look KG 253 Pista
why: cuz you can never find it on sale.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post
So what separates a nice vintage bike from a great vintage bike?
The "grail" isn't so much about a "great vintage bike," as much as it's *THAT* bike. The one you've dreamed about, the one you've searched after, the one that was gone 3 minutes before you called. The white whale- to mix metaphors.

I think I'm probably a little different than most here- I wasn't into cycling as a kid, bike racing doesn't interest me, the TdF has nice scenery... I took up bicycling purely so I wouldn't get fat when I quit smoking. Everything I lusted after was based on what little experience I had. Because my 1 bike that I had for 20+ years was my 1987 Schwinn High Sierra mountain bike- I thought MTBs were the ****- so I started lusting after a Paramountain. It was a one year, frameset only bike that Schwinn made. Through looking into that I started getting into components and then realizing that MTBs weren't exactly what I wanted...

So as far as my "grail..." The bike I looked for the longest was a 1986 Trek 400 Elance. Yeah, it was a step above entry level for Trek then- but it had a 531 frame and it was so beautiful to me. I managed to find one- I overpaid for it, but it's clean and it fits me perfectly and I've had fun building it and rebuilding it and riding it and really discovering a lot about bikes with it.

As far as a dream bicycle now, I want to get a custom built Ellis touring bike. But I'll probably build it up like the rest of my tourers.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:42 AM
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Mid-1960s Bianchi Specialissima. I got tired of hearing disparaging comments about my low-end Bianchi from the local Schwinn shop, so it was refreshing to visit another shop whose owner actually liked my bike and took me in the back to see his personal stash of high-end Bianchis. I am also partial to Schwinn Paramounts and Raleigh Professionals and Internationals of the 1970s.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:44 AM
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Mine would be something in Colnago or Merckx.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:56 AM
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I wanted a pre-Trek Greg LeMond. I bought a mid-range 1989 recently with all the right parts except the for the seatpost which I am replacing with a fluted SR Laprade. Mission complete...no buyers remorse. The bike is nifty and I enjoyed the hunt.
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Old 03-15-15, 07:59 AM
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Right now a 74 -76 Raleigh Super Course in root beer brown, simple 531 yet good frame that has a nice look.
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Old 03-15-15, 08:13 AM
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Pegoretti!
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Old 03-15-15, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
Mid-1960s Bianchi Specialissima. I got tired of hearing disparaging comments about my low-end Bianchi from the local Schwinn shop, so it was refreshing to visit another shop whose owner actually liked my bike and took me in the back to see his personal stash of high-end Bianchis. I am also partial to Schwinn Paramounts and Raleigh Professionals and Internationals of the 1970s.
Ugh... who would do that? Who would talk **** about a customer's bike? It seems to be a great way to lose a customer.
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Old 03-15-15, 08:35 AM
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I didn't really have one for awhile but since I had to let my Hetchins go I will have to start looking for another in a few years. I would really like to find a Hellenic stayed Hetchins Mixte or maybe get one built.
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Old 03-15-15, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I didn't really have one for awhile but since I had to let my Hetchins go I will have to start looking for another in a few years. I would really like to find a Hellenic stayed Hetchins Mixte or maybe get one built.


Like this one? That's wild. I'd guess those absorb a bit of road shock/vibration but man they just look super structurally unsound to me.
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Old 03-15-15, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I didn't really have one for awhile but since I had to let my Hetchins go I will have to start looking for another in a few years. I would really like to find a Hellenic stayed Hetchins Mixte or maybe get one built.
Hellenic stayed Hetchings I get, saw one long ago on a rack at a shop, yellow with blue head and seat tube panels, it was a long time ago, but I think it had scorpion lugs.

A Mixtie, I have seen one. Nice. But I cannot imagine a Hellenic stayed one of those.

There is a track bike I would love for the owner to name a price to, but I dont think that will happen.
I'm satisfied at present. A Colnago C60 in a simple color scheme with Super Record mechanical is interesting, but nothing I need.
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Old 03-15-15, 08:54 AM
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I kind of gave up the romantic vision of a grail bike. I have the bikes I have and for the time being I don't foresee getting anything else.
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Old 03-15-15, 08:55 AM
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Yes like that one but Hellenic stays and maybe a Bates fork

This one is dreamy too

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Hetchins Mixte '93.jpg (101.3 KB, 1092 views)
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Old 03-15-15, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I didn't really have one for awhile but since I had to let my Hetchins go I will have to start looking for another in a few years. I would really like to find a Hellenic stayed Hetchins Mixte or maybe get one built.
Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Hellenic stayed Hetchings I get, saw one long ago on a rack at a shop, yellow with blue head and seat tube panels, it was a long time ago, but I think it had scorpion lugs.

A Mixtie, I have seen one. Nice. But I cannot imagine a Hellenic stayed one of those.

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Old 03-15-15, 09:01 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
Yes like that one but Hellenic stays and maybe a Bates fork

This one is dreamy too

Having looked up hellenic stays... the articles I've found say that the stays attach to the top tube, but mixtes don't have a top tube, so I have no idea how that works. The curly stays are really unique-looking though.

Bates forks? Man, you're blowing my mind with all these weird bicycle geometries I've never even known existed. Only time I saw a picture of a bike with a Bates fork I assumed that it was horribly damaged.
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Old 03-15-15, 09:03 AM
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at this point, no grail on the list. no list actually. i think i have enough bikes. the CIOCC was my grail. the others were desired. hoping to finish the Bianchi today. always had a soft spot for Bianchi and finally found a nice frame to go with all the parts sitting in the corner. but that's it for me. time to stop building them and just just ride them.
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Old 03-15-15, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post


Like this one? That's wild. I'd guess those absorb a bit of road shock/vibration but man they just look super structurally unsound to me.
The curvy chainstays are structurally sound and are functionally equivalent to straight stays, they were designed when manufacturers were not allowed to put any badges or decals on racing bikes so the stays set them apart and made the bicycles easily identifiable.

I don't know how you would build a mixte with hellenic stays since they don't have a conventional top tube.
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Old 03-15-15, 09:10 AM
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I am currently building up a custom randonneuring bicycle with hellenic stays as per the customer's request...
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Old 03-15-15, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by willydstyle View Post
Having looked up hellenic stays... the articles I've found say that the stays attach to the top tube, but mixtes don't have a top tube, so I have no idea how that works. The curly stays are really unique-looking though.

Bates forks? Man, you're blowing my mind with all these weird bicycle geometries I've never even known existed. Only time I saw a picture of a bike with a Bates fork I assumed that it was horribly damaged.
As Sixty Fiver points out they harken back to the days when advertising was forebode and I believe the Bates style fork dates to the same era. The curly stays are said to have some shock absorbing effect but I never rode mine enough to notice it.
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