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What to buy?

Old 05-10-21, 01:20 PM
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Buell77
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What to buy?

New to biking, looking at road bikes for the last few weeks and Iíve narrowed it down to a Ď74 Trek 501@$200, early 90ís KHS@$125. Both are said to be in good shape, Iím expecting to have to wrench on them a bit, am mechanically inclined so that doesnít bother or scare me. I just donít know much about either model, any help words of wisdom would be appreciated. Remember, Iím new to riding so please be kind...
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Old 05-10-21, 01:31 PM
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You are considering a 47 year old bike? As your first bike? Did Trek even make a "501" model or does that number refer to the Reynolds tubing used?
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Old 05-10-21, 01:34 PM
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Have a mod move your thread to C & V. You'll get plenty of responses there.
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Old 05-10-21, 01:37 PM
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Welcome to the wonderful world of road bikes!

Personally, I would be hesitant to buy the '74 Trek for two reasons:
First, it's old enough that it's considered a vintage bike, which is fine except it's often difficult to find parts (at a reasonable price).
Second, I'm a kind of wimpy rider, so I find the gear ratio of '70s road bikes daunting. I know I road them at the time, but I must have been stronger (and was comfortable with a much lower cadence) than I am now.

The Trek has down-tube shifters while the KHS has integrated brake/shifters (which is what virtually all road bikes use today). So, if you got the KHS, you wouldn't have to re-learn those motor memories when you upgrade (which I suspect you will if you stick with road biking).

Whichever you do get,, have lots of fun riding it!
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Old 05-10-21, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Buell77 View Post
a ‘74 Trek
You're looking at a 1974 bicycle by a company that was founded at the end of 1975?
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Old 05-10-21, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You are considering a 47 year old bike? As your first bike? Did Trek even make a "501" model or does that number refer to the Reynolds tubing used?
The guy keeps calling it a 501 Trek but from what I can tell itís a 501 Reynolds frame.
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Old 05-10-21, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Have a mod move your thread to C & V. You'll get plenty of responses there.
I appreciate the help, like I said am completely new here and have no idea what you just said...Iím a bit of a dinosaur in some ways...
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Old 05-10-21, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
You're looking at a 1974 bicycle by a company that was founded at the end of 1975?
Just going off what I was told tome by the owner, I love how a newbie gets treated by certain people...really makes a guy want to ride and keep to himself, way to help promote the sport.
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Old 05-10-21, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Buell77 View Post
I appreciate the help, like I said am completely new here and have no idea what you just said...Iím a bit of a dinosaur in some ways...
There is a section here called Classic and Vintage. Given the age of the bikes you are considering, the posters in that area will be able to give you some good advice. You can contact a forum monitor who will move your post to that section.
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Old 05-10-21, 01:55 PM
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Old bikes ride nice and look great. However when you start fixing them up you'll have to decide on overpriced used stuff from eBay to keep it all original or put new modern components on it... if they'll fit.

Either way, you'll end up putting more money into the bike than it's worth. Maybe even more than what a new bike with a decent modern group set.

However if you are looking at it just for the educational aspect of learning to DIY your own bike, then maybe well worth the expense. Having done it myself, I wouldn't do it again.
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Old 05-10-21, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Buell77 View Post
Just going off what I was told tome by the owner, I love how a newbie gets treated by certain people...really makes a guy want to ride and keep to himself, way to help promote the sport.
Sorry, that was meant to come off lighter.

My point is, it's hard to know what to tell you about that bike, because neither yourself nor the person selling the item seem to know what it is.

Originally Posted by mcmoose View Post
Personally, I would be hesitant to buy the '74 Trek for two reasons:
First, it's old enough that it's considered a vintage bike, which is fine except it's often difficult to find parts (at a reasonable price).
Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Old bikes ride nice and look great. However when you start fixing them up you'll have to decide on overpriced used stuff from eBay to keep it all original or put new modern components on it... if they'll fit.
Assuming it's actually an American bike from the wake of the bike boom, this is unlikely to be a big issue. Lots of the standards commonplace in that era are still fairly well-supported.
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Old 05-10-21, 02:16 PM
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Best I could tell they actually only used the 501 frame from around Ď83-85?
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Old 05-10-21, 02:29 PM
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Yes you are dealing with vintage bikes. An the average bike owner today has little knowledge of bike made past a couple of years ago.
Trek models
Trek Bike Models by Year and Color

KHS
https://www.bikepedia.com/Year.aspx?search=KHS

If it was me buying I would buy a used Trek.
If you like working on bikes you can do all kind of fun projects with a vintage frame.
Todays new bikes are priced so high I can see why you are looking at vintage. There may be even a vintage bike shop in your city.
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Old 05-10-21, 02:46 PM
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I am discovering that old bikes are a lot like old watches - they seem cheap, but there are a lot of hidden costs. With a watch, it's the price of getting it serviced, which means taking it down to its smallest parts, cleaning and reassembling it. Anything broken or worn gets replaced. Bikes are the same. Figure new tires, new cables, new bar tape, probably new cable housing, new brake pads and new chain, minimum. But really, you SHOULD strip down and repack the hubs, BB, and headset. This is how a $100 bike off Craigs List ends up costing you $300.
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Old 05-10-21, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Sorry, that was meant to come off lighter.
I found the question light and informative. In fact, when I first saw the OP I did a quick Google search and didnít see any Trek models pre-1976. Now I think I know why.
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Old 05-10-21, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You are considering a 47 year old bike? As your first bike? Did Trek even make a "501" model or does that number refer to the Reynolds tubing used?
Trek didn't begin until 1975, and production started about a year later. Reynolds 501 tubing didn't come on the market until the early 80s. I suspect the OP made a typo or some other mistake.
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Old 05-10-21, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Trek didn't begin until 1975, and production started about a year later. Reynolds 501 tubing didn't come on the market until the early 80s. I suspect the OP made a typo or some other mistake.
See post #8.
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Old 05-10-21, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
I am discovering that old bikes are a lot like old watches - they seem cheap, but there are a lot of hidden costs. With a watch, it's the price of getting it serviced, which means taking it down to its smallest parts, cleaning and reassembling it. Anything broken or worn gets replaced. Bikes are the same. Figure new tires, new cables, new bar tape, probably new cable housing, new brake pads and new chain, minimum. But really, you SHOULD strip down and repack the hubs, BB, and headset. This is how a $100 bike off Craigs List ends up costing you $300.
that goes for any bike. You replace the bar tape and wheels and maintain your bike all the time.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Buell77 View Post
New to biking, looking at road bikes for the last few weeks and Iíve narrowed it down to a Ď74 Trek 501@$200, early 90ís KHS@$125. Both are said to be in good shape, Iím expecting to have to wrench on them a bit, am mechanically inclined so that doesnít bother or scare me. I just donít know much about either model, any help words of wisdom would be appreciated. Remember, Iím new to riding so please be kind...
Which one appeals to you more? Try to negotiate the price downward and just buy it.

My personal recommendation is to do the least You can to get it rideable and just ride it. The value in owning a bicycle isn't in the bike itself. The value is in the experience.
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Old 05-13-21, 03:14 PM
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Don't be intimidated by tales of wildly overpriced vintage stuff you'll have to score from ebay and blah blah whatever. Vintage bicycles are very wallet-friendly unless you are going for a full restoration on a truly special bike. Get the one that fits you better. Expect some outlays for tires, cables, etc., but I've found most old components clean up to solid functionality unless the previous owner has truly beat them to hell.

And as suggested above, spend some time in the Classic & Vintage forum.
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Old 05-13-21, 03:14 PM
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I love old bikes too, but a word of caution - the older bikes with single pivot brakes are significantly worse in the braking department than the bikes with dual pivot brakes (roughly 1990 is the switchover point). This is especially true if you ride with your hands on the hoods instead of on the drops. Speaking of which- the older bikes are less comfortable to ride on the hoods with. The bars and brake levers don't have the right contours for that.
All of the above can be remedied if you don't mind swapping in more modern parts. That Trek would be a perfectly fine blank canvas for that exercise.
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Old 05-14-21, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Buell77 View Post
New to biking, looking at road bikes for the last few weeks and Iíve narrowed it down to a Ď74 Trek 501@$200, early 90ís KHS@$125. Both are said to be in good shape, Iím expecting to have to wrench on them a bit, am mechanically inclined so that doesnít bother or scare me. I just donít know much about either model, any help words of wisdom would be appreciated. Remember, Iím new to riding so please be kind...
What are your budget/financial constraints? If you're unable or unwilling to pay much more than $200, then the older bikes are a good place to start. If you're able to go to $500+, that will get you a very good more modern bike. If you're able, I would recommend a more modern bike mostly because of the modern drive trains that have wider gear ranges and improved brakes. I also like the integrated brake/shift levers. Don't get me wrong, I love my older bikes and spend too much time over on the C&V forum. The older bikes are great bikes that ride nice and can still be very rideable.
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Old 05-14-21, 06:48 PM
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The old Treks are great bikes. Can't go wrong with them. Great bike to learn basic mechanics. Trek selected nice components for their bikes, no need to buy anything but perhaps tires. Clean, lubricate and adjust. Bikes aren't like cars. Parts rarely break or stop functioning. Very simple machines.
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Old 05-14-21, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
This is especially true if you ride with your hands on the hoods instead of on the drops. Speaking of which- the older bikes are less comfortable to ride on the hoods with. The bars and brake levers don't have the right contours for that.
Very odd statement. I ride on the hoods the majority of the time on 1970's Weinmann brakes. It was just as common to ride on the hoods in the 70's as it is today. Its not a new concept.
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Old 05-14-21, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Very odd statement. I ride on the hoods the majority of the time on 1970's Weinmann brakes. It was just as common to ride on the hoods in the 70's as it is today. Its not a new concept.
Here is the OP's Trek from 1984:

Notice you can't put the butt of your palm on the handlebar, because that part of the bar is sloping down. You are more or less resting on the web of your thumb and your carpal tunnel.

Now the same bike, with modern brifters and handlebars:

Notice the top of the handlebar and the hood of the brifter, form a continuous horizontal surface. Much more comfortable to put your whole palm on the bar now.
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