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What to look for when buying vintage?

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What to look for when buying vintage?

Old 03-27-20, 09:03 AM
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bolshlife
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What to look for when buying vintage?

Hi all! New to cycling, especially vintage, and looking for guidance.

What are the most important things to look for when buying a vintage bike online?

I know to look for wear on the gears and brake pads, check for cracks or bends in the frame, and to look for brand names like Campagnolo, Shimano and SunTour to determine quality/hierarchy.

I am thinking of buying a vintage bike for short commutes to work, but I'm concerned that I'll end up sinking a ton of money into repair and replacement parts. Which parts are most costly to replace?

I found an old Bianchi Axis on eBay. I like the steel frame, and the parts look ok, but the cassette seems worn. Anything else I should look out for?
ebay.com/itm/Bianchi-Axis-Celeste-52cm-Road-bike/383468820367

Cheers!
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Old 03-27-20, 09:53 AM
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For "short commutes to work" I found an old Raleigh 3-speed to be just about perfect. Bomb-proof Sturmey-Archer IGH hub, "All Steel®" construction, inconspicuous enough to be left outside all day while working. What's not to like?
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Old 03-27-20, 10:21 AM
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fit, no matter what else it has to fit

define short commutes to work abit better.... how many miles each way, will you go year round? will you be carryng stuff, will you want fenders and a rack, hilly or not hilly, etc

personally I think big bang for the buck for such a bike is in 80's Japanese bikes Brands like Nishiki, Miyata, Univega, Bridgestone, Fuji, Panasonic

if you have an idea of budget and your size, if you post your general location people will often take a peek at craigslist in your area and give you some ideas.
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Old 03-27-20, 10:28 AM
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Have a look at Finding Vintage Bicycles and you should come up to informed speed quickly. Understanding Buying/Selling Vintage Bicycles might also prove helpful...
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Old 03-27-20, 10:31 AM
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You can never go wrong with a late 80's Fuji Club, Centurion Ironman, Miyata 1000, Shogun Samurai, Bridgestone RB-1, Lotus Excelle, Kuwahara and, about a half a dozen other "unobtanium" bikes made in Japan.
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Old 03-27-20, 10:41 AM
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My thoughts on avoiding "sinking a ton of money into repair and replacement parts:"
  1. Identify a few bike models that would be ideal for you before you go shopping. This way you wont have to change this and that component to better suit you.
  2. Know your ideal size. Buying the right size for you means no swapping of stem and seatpost.
  3. Find a garage queen. This is not so difficult if you are patient. Bikes are one of things people tend to buy but not actually use. You may have to re-pack some bearings regardless, but grease is cheaper than chains, freewheels and chainrings.
Enjoy the hunt! Come back and post some pics of your bike when you find it.
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Old 03-27-20, 10:41 AM
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Walmart is full of "Shimano" bikes. Its all about the grade of Shimano, rather than just the brand.

Assuming I have the size right, the next thing I look at is frame condition and cosmetics. Its relatively expensive to address major cosmetic flaws.

I prefer either Sport Touring, Touring, or rigid MTB models. I want the highest parts group as its cheaper to get a bike with great parts than to upgrade a bike later. Frame/paint/decal condition plus higher end group plus signs bike has been well maintained. COO I could care less, but Japan and Taiwan made some quality bikes that tend to sell for less than other COO.

It used to be touring bikes demanded a hefty premium. Basically double a good road bike. And a good road bike tended to be double a good vintage MTB. That has changed. Vintage touring bike premium has softened up A LOT. Rigid MTBs can still be found CHEAP. Just aim high. Myself, I do not fixate on a particular brand or model. In the world of MTBs, if it is my size, from the 1980s, with Shimano XT parts, I'm in! (or Suntour XC Pro). Others tend to fixate on particular model which leaves these lesser known brands and models available at low prices. Example, this year I picked up a 1988 Mongoose with full XT parts for $25.

Picked up a Fuji Professional with XC Pro group for $25. Meanwhile, the bottom end Trek MTB was $100 and people were grabbing it.

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Old 03-27-20, 10:59 AM
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Wow, this is all super helpful! I have so much to learn. Thanks all.

For anyone with some free time (ha), I would be happy to receive CL recommendations.
  • ~$300
  • Madison, WI
  • Spring, summer and fall use
  • No cargo, I have clip-on fenders
  • 8mi commute round trip
  • 53cm (I'm 5'8")
  • Drop handlebars, steel frame preferred but not required
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Old 03-27-20, 11:16 AM
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I see three treks that might fit the bill. The 520 may be a bit small. The red one doesn't have drops. And there is a blue one. Seem a little high in price. The red 330 is pretty.


https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...093408080.html
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Old 03-27-20, 11:21 AM
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Nope. Drive to Hartford and get this Ironman. 150 bucks for a Master in good condition.

https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik...083395238.html
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Old 03-27-20, 11:33 AM
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here are some ideas

ok a little above budger $400 and at 55mm but nice if it fits

DeBernardi Road Bike, Made In Italy, 55 cm, Shimano 105! - $400 (Fitchburg)

https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...094688054.html


panasonic DX 3000 55 / 56CM, Shimano 105 Tange - $230 (Verona)

https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...088726419.html

1990 Trek 1400 Road Bike *56cm* *Excellent Shape* *105* - $300 (Madison

https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...097079918.html



not maidson

1989 Centurian Ironman Master Dave Scott 56cm Road Bike - $150 (Hartford)

https://milwaukee.craigslist.org/bik...083395238.html
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Old 03-27-20, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bolshlife View Post
Wow, this is all super helpful! I have so much to learn. Thanks all.

For anyone with some free time (ha), I would be happy to receive CL recommendations.
  • ~$300
  • Madison, WI
  • Spring, summer and fall use
  • No cargo, I have clip-on fenders
  • 8mi commute round trip
  • 53cm (I'm 5'8")
  • Drop handlebars, steel frame preferred but not required
My choice to look into...lots of potential
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-DAW...AAAOSwFqZeWXC8



Found some really cool possibilities, but then read your size, which killed a few.
Trek that looks in decent shape.
https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...079810148.html
Three conversion possibilities over time (gravel conversion)
https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...079810148.html
https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...094341185.html
https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...092341495.html

A sharp looking Raleigh
https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...097191065.html

Off the Bay
Too large...56cm
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Trek-1000-R...kAAOSwuAVcZvg9
https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...082087900.html
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Old 03-27-20, 12:42 PM
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Best value IMO is a mountain bike. If you are buying used look for non-suspension, good condition chrome-moly steel framed bikes with as many original parts as possible.
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Old 03-27-20, 12:50 PM
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I see you said, "no cargo" but for me a commuter should have the option adding racks. Personally, I would look for eyelets on the fork and rear dropout for adding a rack *just in case* even if you don't think you need it now and are using clip-on fenders. The Bianchi,, Dawes, Club Fuji and Trek are good options. +1 to test riding and making sure it fits you. I wouldn't be too concerned about the "wear" on the gears. A new chain and cassette/freewheel are fairly cheap, but it's most likely just some grease that will clean up easily.
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Old 03-27-20, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
...from the 1980s, with Shimano XT parts, I'm in! (or Suntour XC Pro).
Is there a site with an easy "tech tree" chart showing all the Shimano name variations for road and MTB? I'm finding that to be the toughest part in learning to assess a bike.
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Old 03-27-20, 01:39 PM
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What to look for when buying vintage

For me, it fits, is at least mid-level* and has a matching 700c wheelset.

* Mid-level: chromoly frame or better, cotterless crank, down tube shifters, on-frame rear derailleur hanger, all aluminum components.
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Old 03-27-20, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
I see you said, "no cargo" but for me a commuter should have the option adding racks. Personally, I would look for eyelets on the fork and rear dropout for adding a rack *just in case* even if you don't think you need it now and are using clip-on fenders. ...
My mountain bike lacks eyelets since it was designed for competition back when Schwinn sponsored Ned Overend, but it does have a chain hanger braze-on on the inside of the drive side seat stay. This in turn enabled me to use clamp-on eyelet substitutes with my Blackburn mountain rack, without fear of them sliding down the stays and scratching the paint. It has become my go-to errand runner, with a set of panniers thrown over the rack.
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Old 03-27-20, 02:41 PM
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John E A chain hanger is an under-rated thing! I wish all my bikes had 'em.
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Old 03-27-20, 07:32 PM
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Decent potential in this Lotus.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/LOTUS-PRO-S...kAAOSwE91d2C34
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Old 03-27-20, 08:35 PM
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I always try and check the stem and seatpost to make sure they aren’t seized. If I remember my Allen keys that is.
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Old 03-28-20, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bolshlife View Post
Wow, this is all super helpful! I have so much to learn. Thanks all.

For anyone with some free time (ha), I would be happy to receive CL recommendations.
  • ~$300
  • Madison, WI
  • Spring, summer and fall use
  • No cargo, I have clip-on fenders
  • 8mi commute round trip
  • 53cm (I'm 5'8")
  • Drop handlebars, steel frame preferred but not required
For a novice rider I'd recommend a hybrid style bike. The fatter tires and more upright position will be more comfortable while you get used to riding. Something like this Scott should work well. Take it a shop and get a good tune up and new saddle. Most shops have a box of slightly used saddles. a water bottle and cage and maybe some bar ends to give you a second hand position will will help. This style of bike has provisions to easily install a rack if you want one later.

https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...099417239.html





That Bianchi Axis is a great bike and might be a great deal if it didn't have to be shipped.
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Old 03-28-20, 06:56 AM
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No reason to pay shipping from eBay (and the typically high prices) when you can buy an excellent 54 cm road bike or a 17-18 inch MTB from CL.

This 54 cm Trek is a very fair deal at $150.

https://madison.craigslist.org/bik/d...099822659.html

It is a quality steel frame (looks like Ishiwata main triangle from the sticker) and Trek paint jobs were absolutely top notch. Plus the parts run from very good (shimano 600 brakes and front and rear derailleurs) to very decent (SR custom crank). I can't make out the wheels but Trek used a lot of rigida rims. The paint job looks to be in great shape. This is a fine bike at a fine price assuming everything checks out on inspection.


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Old 03-28-20, 07:18 AM
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Ok bolshlife
go get that TREK ^
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Old 03-28-20, 08:42 AM
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seconded on that $150 early 80s Trek!! looks like a perfect fit for the requirements, and that it's a classy ride is icing on the cake. Super clean condition and even looks like brakes have been upgraded from stock.
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Old 03-28-20, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by cranky View Post
Is there a site with an easy "tech tree" chart showing all the Shimano name variations for road and MTB? I'm finding that to be the toughest part in learning to assess a bike.
Things change over time- both Shimano's and Suntour's hierarchical lines changed some.

You can always figure Dura Ace was the top of the line racing group- with 600 (Ultegra) beneath that, with 105 (Golden Arrow) underneath that.

For Shimano MTB stuff... it's a little complicated.

First there was Deore- that's what there was. Then it split into Deore XT as top of the line, and Deore directly beneath it. Then the name of Deore became Deore DX, and I think LX was beneath that. Round about 1994 XTR was placed above XT and DX was changed to LX and then...

For Suntour, Superbe (or Superbe Pro- {I'm still not entirely sure Superbe and Superbe Pro were just different names or separate lines}) was top of the line, early on- Cyclone was underneath that, later it was Sprint, later it was SL. Groups changed a LOT underneath Cyclone- with a lot of pieces on the same level.

The MTB stuff is just as kooky- The original TOTL MTB/ATB group was XC (just "XC"), beneath that was XC Sport, Later on, XC Pro became the TOTL and XC Comp was directly beneath that- but there were loads of other lines that showed up and disappeared. The old MOMBAT site had an EXCELLENT chart of the timeline and the hierarchy.


If you google "Shimano hierarchy" or "Suntour hierarchy" you'll get some nice charts and some nifty timelines.
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