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Old 05-27-19, 10:01 PM
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Bikes: 2012 Salsa Casseroll, 2009 Kona Blast, 1997 Bianchi Advantage, 1994 Trek 930.

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Originally Posted by cook.gwc View Post
Hello all,

I am new to road bikes and I am looking for something cheap and durable, but not weighing in at a billion pounds. I think vintage bikes would be a good option for me because they seem solidly built, they don't cost too much so I won't have to worry about tossing it around, and I won't lose a huge investment if it gets stolen. I'd like to still be able to update the bikes with new parts (most likely newer parts on drivetrain, handlebars, saddle, etc.). My father has all the tools I would need to do most fixes or updates, but neither of us are very well versed in vintage road bikes, so I thought I'd take advantage of the wisdom of the internet rather than spending a lot of time researching the technical specifics of each one. Here is a list of all the models in good condition that I've seen on craigslist that seem like they might fit my criteria:

Schwinn Traveler

Schwinn Le Tour

Schwinn World Sport

Batavus Champion

And two a bit above what I want to spend but if they are clearly better I might go for them:

Giant Perigee

Trek Tri Series

What would you say is my best bet out of these options in terms of compatibility with newer parts, as well as durability and weight? I'm pretty set on spending a low amount of money on a vintage bike rather than saving up for a new one, just in case anybody was going to recommend that.
Ok, welcome to the world of vintage bikes. This is an area that I once dipped a toe in, and I still like the idea of vintage. But before we go on a few thoughts.

There is s saying in the world of road bikes. Cheap, light durable. Pick two. Simply put, a decent basic new road bike will run you $800 to $1,000. Maybe something a few years old in clean condition will run you half that, so maybe $400 to $500 in ready to ride condition. And, of course, the older or more beat up a bike is, the more money goes into repairs, so, say, you get a deal on a used bike five to ten years old for $250, but it is s little beat up and needs some new tires, tubes, bar tape, chain, cassette, and bottom bracket, even if you do all the work yourself, you are still talking about putting another $150 or so into parts, and that is just the consummables that you would expect to wear out over time. If you need a new set of wheels, then your budget is blown, and you might as well have bought yourself a cleaner bike to begin with.

So you have that issue, and then there is the issue of vintage. I would say if you go vintage, buy it for what it is, and don't bother trying to update it to modern unless you really know what you are doing. So that means, if you buy a bike with 5 or 6 speed freewheel, and downtube shifters, make sure you are ok with that as updating to modern shifters can get expensive pretty quick, and tricky, too, since modern wheels 8 speed or higher won't fit on a vintage frame.

That said, I did have success buying a vintage bike for my son, with a whole lot of mismatched parts, and somehow it all worked out. The bike is a complete Frankenbike. A vintage Gitane frame from the early 80s, but I recognized from the decals these bikes were very high quality back in the day. But someone updated to modern style shifters, albeit older Shimano 105 8 speed shifters. Mismatched, rims, but Ultegra hubs. Old 105 front derailleur. And an 8 speed Shimano 2300 rear derailleur. It shouldn't all work together, but somehow it does. And I bought it out of season in a complicated trade with the seller, where I traded him an old mountain bike, plus $100 cash for this bike, which has not needed so much as a tuneup in the 3 years my son has ridden it. When my son suggested upgrading parts, I told him not to, but rather just enjoy the bike for what it is, which is a fine vintage steel frame with mostly mid to late 90s drivetrain, and some mismatched wheels.
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