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Help Me Buy My Riv-Ish Bike?

Old 03-11-20, 12:01 PM
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reluctantsuburb
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Help Me Buy My Riv-Ish Bike?

Hey All,

At the suggestion of another poster, I'm creating a thread in the hope that y'all can help me find a good deal on my local Craigslist. I'll try to be detailed here, but please feel free to ask any follow up questions.

I live in Dallas (flat and hot) and commute everywhere on bike. My wife and I and our two kiddos do have a van, but my wife generally drives it, leaving me on the bike. I have a 4 mile each way commute, and generally don't ride more than 15 miles in a day. Currently I own an electric cargo bike for when I need to avoid sweating, haul the kids, or am not feeling up to riding full out. I also own a Marin Nicasio RC (all road bike, steel, disc brakes and IGH) but it is a bit too small for me. I picked it up for cheap when a Priority Bikes near me was closing and it has been a lesson that no bike is a good deal if it's the wrong size. Ideally, I would be replacing the Marin with whatever I'm buying here.

Because I have the electric, I'm really looking for something that I can cruise on and that will be reliable, not something I can go be a road warrior on. There was another thread on this forum about the "poor man's Rivendell" that really resonated with me. I like the aesthetics of the Rivendells (if I'm being honest) along with a lot of their philosophy (more upright posture, wider tires, a more casual approach to cycling). However, I'm not really in a position to put that kind of money into my bike.

More to the point:
  • Located in Dallas, would prefer to stay within 50 miles when making a purchase
  • I am 6'1", 165 lbs
  • I imagine I need a 58 or 60 cm frame
  • I am looking for something with more relaxed geometry, similar to a Rivendell. I have often seen this referred to as "sport touring"
  • I plan to swap the bars out to something that lets me ride upright and relaxed
  • Wider tires with clearance that allows fenders
  • Some sort of racks or mounting system for light luggage
  • To make it a forever bike, I'd love to eventually install hub dynamo lighting
  • Budget is...maybe $400? Depends on what I can sell the Marin for.
I thought I'd link a couple of examples of more vintage bikes that are being used in the kind of way I'm envisioning:
^ I see a lot of examples of these kinds of bikes online but have a tough time envisioning moving it from CL state to the above.

Last edited by reluctantsuburb; 03-11-20 at 12:30 PM. Reason: Adding some examples
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Old 03-11-20, 02:31 PM
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...if this is what you are aiming for as your final outcome, I would not buy that Volare in the other thread. Besides needing to spend money swapping out the bar and brake levers, you'll probably end up with a different saddle too (because of the more upright position.) Look for something that is closer to how you want your bike set up as the final version. Note the distance on all your examples from the rear wheel to the seat tube. This is due to longer chain stays. Look for that in the bicycles you decide to inspect.

People used to make jokes all the time here about the Richardson Bike Mart, near Dallas in Richardson. Even if you don't buy something from them, it's probably worth visiting to look at examples of bikes with longer chain stays that allow you to put on fenders and wider tyres
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Old 03-11-20, 02:46 PM
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Can you do your own work? If you can (or have access to a bike collective where you can do your work), then the cheapest is either (a) a rigid MTB or (b) an older 10 speed like that Peugeot in your first pic. Old Peugeots are terrific bikes but they have their oddities and I strongly recommend a vintage MTB. It will be much easier to work with and it already comes up flat bars that you can easily swap for something with more curve if that is your thing. You should be able to find a good one for a reasonable price well within your budget.

This MB3 is overpriced likely overpriced at $325 (but prices tend to be higher in big cities and vintage MTB prices have been trending up). It is also likely too small but it is an example of what I am talking about.

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...078060175.html

This one is also too small but it too is a fine old MTB:

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...084482935.html

This is the right size and expensive as heck at $600 but it would make a great Riv type bike as it is a Schwinn cimmaron:

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...088909395.html

Last edited by bikemig; 03-11-20 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 03-11-20, 02:49 PM
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60 cm Team Fuji in Garland...looks like a relatively easy project bike.1988 Club Fuji road bike bicycle..also possible. I see your CL people are no better than mine on measuring and listing sizes.
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Old 03-11-20, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
.
...if this is what you are aiming for as your final outcome, I would not buy that Volare in the other thread. Besides needing to spend money swapping out the bar and brake levers, you'll probably end up with a different saddle too (because of the more upright position.) Look for something that is closer to how you want your bike set up as the final version. Note the distance on all your examples from the rear wheel to the seat tube. This is due to longer chain stays. Look for that in the bicycles you decide to inspect.

People used to make jokes all the time here about the Richardson Bike Mart, near Dallas in Richardson. Even if you don't buy something from them, it's probably worth visiting to look at examples of bikes with longer chain stays that allow you to put on fenders and wider tyres
Thanks for hopping over here to continue the discussion. I'm inclined to agree with you, especially at their listed price.

I currently have an un-broken in Brooks B17 I'm planning to put on this bike. Do you think that will be compatible for the upright position?
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Old 03-11-20, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Can you do your own work? If you can (or have access to a bike collective where you can do your work), then the cheapest is either (a) a rigid MTB or (b) an older 10 speed like that Peugeot in your first pic. Old Peugeots are terrific bikes but they have their oddities and I strongly recommend a vintage MTB. It will be much easier to work with and it already comes up flat bars that you can easily swap for something with more curve if that is your thing. You should be able to find a good one for a reasonable price well within your budget.

This MB3 is overpriced likely overpriced at $325 (but prices tend to be higher in big cities and vintage MTB prices have been trending up). It is also likely too small but it is an example of what I am talking about.

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...078060175.html

This one is also too small but it too is a fine old MTB:

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...084482935.html

This is the right size and expensive as heck at $600 but it would make a great Riv type bike as it is a Schwinn cimmaron:

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...088909395.html
Thanks for the posts. I currently have a mid 90s rigid Novara that feels too small to me, so I'm guessing I'm looking at 21-23" frames. If that Cimmaron were cheaper I'd be very interested in it!

No bike coop I know in Dallas, but I'm willing to do some work, especially things like swapping out brakes and bars and running new cables and housing. Everything beyond that will be uncharted territory.
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Old 03-11-20, 03:06 PM
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I like this raleigh sports but it's a bit high at $200. Old 3 speeds can be souped up if you're game for building alloy wheels for it.

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...080799716.html

I am skeptical that the seller paid $380 for this but condition is everything and this bike is in exceptional condition. You can overhaul, ride it, and slowly set it up the way you want.

Last edited by bikemig; 03-11-20 at 03:10 PM.
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Old 03-11-20, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
60 cm Team Fuji in Garland...looks like a relatively easy project bike.1988 Club Fuji road bike bicycle..also possible. I see your CL people are no better than mine on measuring and listing sizes.
I saw both of these and think I got spooked by the sellers describing them as road bikes. I'm still new to judging frame geometry by eye, so didn't know how "relaxed" these would feel. The late 80s Japanese steel definitely caught my eye though.

Do you think they suit the style of ride I'm going for?
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Old 03-11-20, 03:07 PM
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This is not for sale, but this is a late 1980s Schwinn Sierra I set up for a friend. Nice smoked chrome frame. Added North Road bars to this mountain bike and there you go. Reused the MTB brake levers, added bar end shifters.


fullsizeoutput_3d2 by bill, on Flickr
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Old 03-11-20, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I like this raleigh sports but it's a bit high at $200. Old 3 speeds can be souped up if you're game for building alloy wheels for it.

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...080799716.html
I haven't touched wheel building yet, but I'd be happy to learn. When you say souped up, is that just from losing some weight on the old wheels?
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Old 03-11-20, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
I haven't touched wheel building yet, but I'd be happy to learn. When you say souped up, is that just from losing some weight on the old wheels?
Alloy rims brake much better in the wet than steel and yes they are lighter. Dallas is flat right so 3 speeds are more than adequate, right?

These are good rims and the price is reasonable:

https://www.amazon.com/CR-18-36-hole.../dp/B001CK0MAU

Plus you can build your dynamo front wheel. The bike comes with cool fenders. Just add a rack. One problem might be that the rear hub is likely 40 hole and you will need to find the right rim.

https://www.modernbike.com/sun-ringl...s-ea-3-590-iso
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Old 03-11-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
Thanks for hopping over here to continue the discussion. I'm inclined to agree with you, especially at their listed price.

I currently have an un-broken in Brooks B17 I'm planning to put on this bike. Do you think that will be compatible for the upright position?
Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
I saw both of these and think I got spooked by the sellers describing them as road bikes. I'm still new to judging frame geometry by eye, so didn't know how "relaxed" these would feel. The late 80s Japanese steel definitely caught my eye though.

Do you think they suit the style of ride I'm going for?
...B 17 brooks saddles are designed with a more upright riding position in mind. Many people like them for that.
Any early 80's or earlier road bike with longer chain stays (judged by eye by looking at the distance between the rear wheel and the seat tube) will probably do OK for you.

People on CL call everything that is not a cruiser or a MTB a road bike. Here they often spell it "rode bike".

Here is something that is probably tighter than you want, and I'd be hard pressed to fit it with fenders, but it makes a perfectly acceptable dry weather city commuter here:



Here is something with longer stays and fenders:

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Old 03-11-20, 04:57 PM
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If looking for a road bike, your best bet may be a 70s era "10 speed" with center pulls. These really were 10 speeds because they typically have only 5 gears on the back and they typically come with 27 inch wheels. Those bikes tend not to be expensive. They are relatively easy to change to flat bars and they have a lot of clearance for decent sized tires and fenders.

This made in Chicago Schwinn Continental has possibilities. The size looks right and the bike looks very clean. The seller is asking $95 but I'll bet you can knock that price down. I think the wheels may have aluminum rims but I cannot be certain from the pictures. The bike is a tank likely to survive the zombie apocalypse which may be handy given what is happening in the world right now:

https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/bi...090715008.html
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Old 03-12-20, 11:58 AM
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If you are looking for a good quality bicycle, vintage road bike to be more precise, then knowing what it takes to be a quality bike is a good thing to know. Armed with the information, regarding vintage bicycle quality, in Vintage Bicycle Quality will help you understand the difference between entry level and top of the line, with varying degrees of quality i between.

Anyway, have a look a do not be afraid to show us anything that you feel qualifies in your book and I hope the article is a help. I would like to add that there are many money, time and effort saving ideas shared in that website.
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Old 03-12-20, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
If you are looking for a good quality bicycle, vintage road bike to be more precise, then knowing what it takes to be a quality bike is a good thing to know. Armed with the information, regarding vintage bicycle quality, in Vintage Bicycle Quality will help you understand the difference between entry level and top of the line, with varying degrees of quality i between.

Anyway, have a look a do not be afraid to show us anything that you feel qualifies in your book and I hope the article is a help. I would like to add that there are many money, time and effort saving ideas shared in that website.
Randy, thanks so much for the reply. Funny enough, another poster just referred me to your site on a separate forum and I have been reading between work all morning! Thank you for compiling this resource. I'll be sure to reach out as I have questions.
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Old 03-12-20, 12:46 PM
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Randy, thanks so much for the reply. Funny enough, another poster just referred me to your site on a separate forum and I have been reading between work all morning! Thank you for compiling this resource. I'll be sure to reach out as I have questions.
MY "TEN SPEEDS" is not mine anymore. I sold the website to someone who wishes to take it to the next level, something that I do not know how to do. I am looking forward to seeing what the new MTS or whatever it will be called, to surface. Hopefully, the new owner will share is creativity and information here, at Bike Forums. Let's all wish him well!
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Old 03-12-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
If looking for a road bike, your best bet may be a 70s era "10 speed" with center pulls. These really were 10 speeds because they typically have only 5 gears on the back and they typically come with 27 inch wheels. Those bikes tend not to be expensive. They are relatively easy to change to flat bars and they have a lot of clearance for decent sized tires and fenders.

This made in Chicago Schwinn Continental has possibilities. The size looks right and the bike looks very clean. The seller is asking $95 but I'll bet you can knock that price down. I think the wheels may have aluminum rims but I cannot be certain from the pictures. The bike is a tank likely to survive the zombie apocalypse which may be handy given what is happening in the world right now:

https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/bi...090715008.html
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Alloy rims brake much better in the wet than steel and yes they are lighter. Dallas is flat right so 3 speeds are more than adequate, right?

These are good rims and the price is reasonable:

https://www.amazon.com/CR-18-36-hole.../dp/B001CK0MAU

Plus you can build your dynamo front wheel. The bike comes with cool fenders. Just add a rack. One problem might be that the rear hub is likely 40 hole and you will need to find the right rim.

https://www.modernbike.com/sun-ringl...s-ea-3-590-iso
Thanks for the links on the rims; that's a helpful starting point. When I very first started commuting by bike, I was on a 3 speed; you're right that Dallas is flat but I actually found the top gear did not offer enough resistance! Maybe a larger front chainring was needed?

Maybe I'm getting too hung up on it, but I think I was set on wider tires (lots of potholes on my commute); do you think the Schwinn is more of a road tire profile?
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Old 03-12-20, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
Thanks for the links on the rims; that's a helpful starting point. When I very first started commuting by bike, I was on a 3 speed; you're right that Dallas is flat but I actually found the top gear did not offer enough resistance! Maybe a larger front chainring was needed?

Maybe I'm getting too hung up on it, but I think I was set on wider tires (lots of potholes on my commute); do you think the Schwinn is more of a road tire profile?
If you want a wider tire, a vintage MTB is your best bet with a slick tire. That Schwinn continental is in good shape and the price is OK. It will have clearance for a reasonably sized tire.
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Old 03-12-20, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
When I very first started commuting by bike, I was on a 3 speed; you're right that Dallas is flat but I actually found the top gear did not offer enough resistance! Maybe a larger front chainring was needed?
...in general, gearing up a three speed bike is accomplished by changing ouit the rear cog, which is pretty simple to do, and they are cheap to buy in various tooth sizes. (They are held on by a snap ring.)
This brings up the issue of reach, and frame sizing for an upright position bicycle. Generally (again) the more upright your riding position, the closer you want to bring the bar to the saddle.

So in looking for a frame to create an upright rider, you might want to consider a smaller frame than road bike sizing would dictate.

Here's one I put together from what I think (IIRC) is a 21" frame with track dropouts. It was on sale at Nashbar back when fixies were the rage. The smaller frame gives you a shorter top tube, thus moves the bar closer to the saddle. YOu fit the bike to yourself with a longer seatpost extending up to set the saddle height correctly. In the earliest days of mountain bikes, people were commonly advised to buy a frame that was 2 inches smaller than their road bike frame. One reason was the more upright position, but another was to avoid the dreaded nut smash on the top tube.

Again,this bike is much too tight in geometry for what you have in mind. I simply include it as an example of upright positioning in your design criteria. This might open up other possibilities for you on the CL.

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Old 03-12-20, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post
...in general, gearing up a three speed bike is accomplished by changing ouit the rear cog, which is pretty simple to do, and they are cheap to buy in various tooth sizes. (They are held on by a snap ring.)
This brings up the issue of reach, and frame sizing for an upright position bicycle. Generally (again) the more upright your riding position, the closer you want to bring the bar to the saddle.

So in looking for a frame to create an upright rider, you might want to consider a smaller frame than road bike sizing would dictate.

Here's one I put together from what I think (IIRC) is a 21" frame with track dropouts. It was on sale at Nashbar back when fixies were the rage. The smaller frame gives you a shorter top tube, thus moves the bar closer to the saddle. YOu fit the bike to yourself with a longer seatpost extending up to set the saddle height correctly. In the earliest days of mountain bikes, people were commonly advised to buy a frame that was 2 inches smaller than their road bike frame. One reason was the more upright position, but another was to avoid the dreaded nut smash on the top tube.

Again,this bike is much too tight in geometry for what you have in mind. I simply include it as an example of upright positioning in your design criteria. This might open up other possibilities for you on the CL.
I really do appreciate you giving such detailed examples, and the pictures in particular are helpful.

It's funny you mention top tube length; after reading these posts yesterday and looking at some articles on frame geometry, I couldn't shake the feeling that something was off with my top tube length, so I went out and measured the mid-90s MTB (a Novara) I had previously tried to convert to find that the TT was almost 2 inches longer than the seat tube. I assume that is contributing pretty significantly to what feels like a more forward/aggressive posture than I'd otherwise want?

This bike is what I'm currently commuting on, which feels too small. After reading and looking though, I'm wondering if maybe my standards are off or unrealistic, as the geometry here doesn't seem crazy off. Although, I just have to hunch a little too much. It doesn't help though that my daily driver is a dutch-style sit up and beg ride.



I've thought about doing something like a Velo Orange Cigne stem on this to get the bars closer to where I want them, but every time I make another ~$90 adjustment I wonder if I would have been better just investing the money in a bike that fits.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:13 PM
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https://dallas.craigslist.org/ndf/bi...088894987.html

https://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/bi...091729404.html

https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...084483936.html

https://dallas.craigslist.org/ftw/bik/d/fort-worth-motobecane-mirage-road-bike/7082922224l
All of the above would make good riders with very little work for used bike Dallas is o one of the best used market's in the world you should be a able to find a really nice sized bike for under $300,

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Old 03-15-20, 08:38 PM
  #22  
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This could be a fun project if you have a co-op:



https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...075761727.html
.
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Old 03-16-20, 07:27 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
I saw both of these and think I got spooked by the sellers describing them as road bikes. I'm still new to judging frame geometry by eye, so didn't know how "relaxed" these would feel. The late 80s Japanese steel definitely caught my eye though.

Do you think they suit the style of ride I'm going for?
I've owned both ('82 Team, '89 Club) and neither has the geometry you require. Both were racier versus sport touring. Neither supported wide tires. Move on.
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Old 03-16-20, 12:55 PM
  #24  
reluctantsuburb
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I've owned both ('82 Team, '89 Club) and neither has the geometry you require. Both were racier versus sport touring. Neither supported wide tires. Move on.
Thanks for confirming
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Old 03-16-20, 01:27 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
This could be a fun project if you have a co-op:





https://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/bi...075761727.html

.
Sadly no co-op in Dallas :/
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