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A few options, unsure how to determine which!

Classic and Vintage Bicycles: Whats it Worth? Appraisals. Use this subforum for all requests as to "How much is this vintage bike worth?"Do NOT try to sell it in here, use the Marketplaces.

A few options, unsure how to determine which!

Old 06-12-19, 02:33 PM
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duff83
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A few options, unsure how to determine which!

Hello! New to the forums but lurked for some time, hope this is the right place for this post. I'm looking to pick up my first used vintage bike for some errands/commuting and occasional longer rides around NYC + boroughs. Some options I've come across (cannot link URLs because of post count...) :
  • Schwinn Caliente 10-speed (51 CM frame, 27 inch wheel)
  • Raleigh Grand Prix (58 CM frame, 27 inch wheel)
  • Another Raleigh Grand Prix (56 CM frame, "700C" wheel)
  • Schwinn World (51 CM frame, unknown wheel)
  • Gavin (unknown model) (53 CM frame, 26 inch wheel)
I'm 5'9", would likely store outside/sometimes indoors, budget hard max of $300. Would need to support me + "cargo" in a tote here and there, no more ~15 lbs. Thank you for any insight at all! This is so difficult to decide. I have an opportunity for the Gavin bike @$300 which seems good - it has a specific anti-theft locking mechanism that cost ~$100 and recently had the bottom bracket replaced (chain's a little tight though).
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Old 06-12-19, 02:54 PM
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I'm 5' 6.5", down from 5' 7". My legs are relatively short for my height, and my torso relatively long. The 51 CM frames are too small for me if they're measured BB center to seat tube top, so I think they'd be way too small for you. I think your best bet is to check out one or 2 bikes of different sizes.

Nowadays it looks like people think the most important measurement is 'effective top tube.' Having come down hard on the top tube of a bike that was too big for me, I think standover is most critical, especially in a city of any size. That means: straddle the top tube with your feet 1' apart and make sure you can lift the front wheel an inch or 2 before it hits bone. That usually comes out to 9"-10" less than 'cycling inseam' (floor to pubic bone, in stocking feet).

That's an old way of sizing a bike. Where emergency stops are likely, I wouldn't do it any other way. Of course, as I said, I've experienced the pain of coming down hard on a top tube, and I do NOT want to do that again.
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Old 06-12-19, 08:47 PM
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Can't tell much without pics but the 56cm Grand Prix while not a great bike is likely the only one that is a good size. These are all likely similar level quailty bikes so fit should be one of the main issues when making a decision.
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Old 06-12-19, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by zukahn1 View Post
Can't tell much without pics but the 56cm Grand Prix while not a great bike is likely the only one that is a good size. These are all likely similar level quailty bikes so fit should be one of the main issues when making a decision.
Unlinked URL below. Thanks! That makes sense.

newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/d/brooklyn-raleigh-grand-prix-56cm/6907713670.html
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Old 06-13-19, 02:27 AM
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Take the time to learn about what a quality bike looks like. You can learn this quickly by looking through Vintage Bicycle Quality. Learn what to watch for and you will have a much better chance of finding a really good bike for a decent price. Make sure that it fits, though...
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Old 06-13-19, 02:38 PM
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Old bikes are fun to ride and look cool. But, they're old and will eventually need new parts. My advice to someone new to vintage rides is to find a mainstream bicycle built sometime after 1982. English, Japanese and, USA brands are all good bets. Be cautious before purchasing a 60's or 70's era French, German or Italian bicycle. Don't even think about buying a 60 year old bike made in Switzerland. It can be very hard to locate replacement parts should they be needed. And of course, the most important thing is how a bike fits. A bike needs to fit your body like a good shoe fits your foot. At 5'-9" you probably want something around a 54cm frame.
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Old 06-16-19, 06:41 AM
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Caliente is a real DOG. So is the World. The 1970s Grand Prix was a dog too. The 1980s Grand Prix on your link above is better.


Within your budget, there is a Dawes Atlantis that looks pretty interesting on your C/L. Nice Lotus Excelle too. Nice Atala but too small.

Simple "trick" on Craigs list. Do a search by price, be sure to put a low price and high price in your search, otherwise you get all the bikes that don't have a price listed, which will be a lot. The other place to look is Facebook Marketplace. Its really coming on strong here with sellers, buyers are not yet up to scrutinizing it, so I have found some GREAT deals on FB marketplace. The other tip, not so sure about Brooklyn market, but bicycle co-ops can be an excellent source. I volunteer at a co op in my area and buyers get nice bikes that have been checked out, adjusted, and are ready to ride.

If your budget is $300, put in a lower price as most used bikes will need some attention, tires, tubes, etc.

Last edited by wrk101; 06-16-19 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 06-16-19, 09:08 PM
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I am a hair shy of 5'11". 55-56cm is my zone in sizing. There was a 54cm 80s Cannondale for $85 on the Savannah CL a few weeks back.

Hit some garage sales, thrift stores and the mystical barns sales that everyone keeps finding (but me). I am guessing you will find a gem at a fraction of CL prices, and still have money left over for fenders, tires, rack and a bag for the carry-ons!
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Old 06-16-19, 09:11 PM
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Just for reference:

https://charleston.craigslist.org/bi...901985020.html
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Old 06-17-19, 04:45 PM
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Here is a Bianchi that might be fun to update...in Conn.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-BIA...8AAOSwPGtcK8Yr
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