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Vintage Bike Options

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Vintage Bike Options

Old 05-28-19, 04:19 PM
  #26  
ryansu 
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I would say +1 on a rigid fork MTB being a great commuter platform/bang for the buck. Also Fit, Fit and Fit as your 3 rules of finding a bike. A cheap bike that doesn't fit is no bargain . For help in working on a bike if you have access to tools are; Sheldon Brown on the web, mytenspeeds.com by a BF member, lots of great tips and RJ the bike guy on You Tube also if you have a bike co-op in your area they can be a great source of parts and some rent out workspace and tools for repairs.

Good luck OP and welcome to the forums
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Old 05-29-19, 11:32 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
If it was an easy fix, the guy would have fixed it. And no, a bike without a front brake is not safe to ride, "no problem". The front brake provides close to 90% of your braking. So if it might take 50 feet to stop, it could take you 500 feet to stop. Since you are looking for a commuter, STOPPING is the most important aspect!

Anyone who presents a bike in that manner = run away, as fast as you can. He is looking for a sucker. Don't be one.

An experienced bike seller surely knows how to fix a brake. Not fixed = more complicated.

We have a seller in my area like this, I do occasionally buy bikes from him. But I can do all the repairs myself, I have piles of parts, I know values well (better than he does). So sometimes he will have a diamond in the rough. I try to get a bike before he "works" on them, as his work is terrible. Stuck seat posts and stems, rusty cables, wonky wheels, those are normal for the guy in my area.

Frankenbike might seem "cool" but more likely its a mess. In the vintage era, not all the brands were compatible with each other. As a minimum, both derailleurs and shift levers need to be the same brand.

Trust the experienced, knowledgeable, local guy (Steve above).

And IMHO, no better short distance commuter than the good old rigid frame MTB. Just aim high, get a good one. The difference in used pricing between a MTB that originally sold for $900 and one that originally sold for $250 is often $25 or less. Better MTBs will have better wheels, better components, better frame, better everything.
Gotta agree on the front bake comment. You need both brakes for safe stopping. I mildly disagree on the shifters and derailleurs though. Suntour and Shimano are mostly completely compatible especially on older bikes. Seven speed freewheels and freehubs are identical for both makers and sis or accushift worked the same. Dura Ace is another matter. In my mind if they work, they're clean and everything is tight, go for it. A word about stuck seat tubes and head sets: if you know they're stuck, negotiate the heck out of the deal. You can sometimes get a crazy good deal and spend a day or two freeing a jammed part to wind up with a bike way better than you could afford. I got a Jamis Quest for $100 that way.
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Old 05-29-19, 12:19 PM
  #28  
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As has been noted, finding a bike that physically fits you will be priority one. Some adjustment can be made to the seat height and setback, as well as the stem height, but you need to find one with a frame that's in the ballpark.
You're the only one who can accurately asses this, but based on the 5'-11" and 35" inseam you gave, you're looking for a tall bike with a shorter top tube. Many here at C&V would refer to these proportions as "French fit".
This means a road bike with a 61cm frame or thereabouts, as measured along the seat tube from the center of the crank to middle of the top tube. The top tube should measure the about the same or slightly less, from the middle of the seat tube to the middle of the head tube.
This gets a little trickier with mountain bikes. Most of them have short seat tubes and long top tubes. You'll be looking for a frame that has a head tube long enough for at least a hand width of height, between the top and down tubes.
Note the head tube height shown in the examples below. These will generally be called "extra large".


The last example shown is technically an "all terrain bike" (ATB), otherwise known as a hybrid. The Trek Multitracks are well known for versatility, are fairly light for steel, and make excellent commuters. They can generally be found for reasonable prices, although the taller ones aren't very common.
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Old 06-01-19, 08:35 PM
  #29  
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Thank you all for the insight! I ended up finding a 58cm '92 Schwinn Paramount PDG3 that was in great condition with new tires and cables for $180 (I know it's the Japanese manufactured one but from what I've read it's still a good bike). The fit feels pretty good (in my non-expert opinion) and after cleaning it up a bit it looks great- the paint and stickers are all well preserved and I have yet to find any problems with it after some test rides and disassembling it a bit to clean more thoroughly. I'm thinking the first thing I'm going to try and find is a saddle that fits me well, and then go on to other hardware upgrades from there. My buddy who is very into cycling is coming over in a couple days to help me tune it and fix any issues he sees, as well as putting some of the more complicated mechanical parts into my ultrasonic cleaner. If you guys have any comments or suggestions I'd love to hear them. I would post a photo but apparently I don't have enough posts to do so yet.
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Old 06-01-19, 09:49 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
Most valuable part of any used bike is the stickers. See all posts above suggesting name brands. Stickers are just stickers. They do sell bikes. Second most valuable part is paint. Skeptical as I might sound I will buy a bike for paint. Most anyone will.

Unless you already know everything Everything! buy a bike that can be test ridden. One that scores as perfect on test ride. Sellers who say no test ride can be forgotten real quick.

One possible exception is garage queens that plainly have never been ridden. Or did 50 miles only many years ago. Now I'll tell you the secret of those. Many of them, probably the majority of them, have one great big original assembly error. Which is why they were never ridden. If you can analyze and identify that error quickly, and before you risk any of your own skin, and if you can repair that error for free with scavenged parts, if you can do all that then unused garage queens are great buys.

Clean looking bikes with desirable stickers that are going to be a nightmare sell for just about same price as exact same bike in perfect operating condition.
Your comment on garage queens hit home with me. I bought a really nice Centurion Ironman that obviously had very low miles. It had flat tires and a rear derailleur cable housing that had unraveled from age so I couldn't test ride it. I fixed those minor things and when I rode it the bottom bracket clunked every pedal stroke. I checked it out and the fixed cup was loose. I imagine it was so annoying to ride with it clunking that it just sat in the garage.
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Old 06-01-19, 10:07 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by cook.gwc View Post
Thank you all for the insight! I ended up finding a 58cm '92 Schwinn Paramount PDG3 that was in great condition with new tires and cables for $180 (I know it's the Japanese manufactured one but from what I've read it's still a good bike). The fit feels pretty good (in my non-expert opinion) and after cleaning it up a bit it looks great- the paint and stickers are all well preserved and I have yet to find any problems with it after some test rides and disassembling it a bit to clean more thoroughly. I'm thinking the first thing I'm going to try and find is a saddle that fits me well, and then go on to other hardware upgrades from there. My buddy who is very into cycling is coming over in a couple days to help me tune it and fix any issues he sees, as well as putting some of the more complicated mechanical parts into my ultrasonic cleaner. If you guys have any comments or suggestions I'd love to hear them. I would post a photo but apparently I don't have enough posts to do so yet.
The Japanese steel bikes are usually great bikes. The Europeans had frame design down really well so Japan copied a lot of their ideas & customized them for the US market. The dollar was strong and their quality was outstanding. BOOM good bikes at a affordable price. 30 years later and lots of them are still going strong.
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Old 06-02-19, 01:47 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by cook.gwc View Post
Thank you all for the insight! I ended up finding a 58cm '92 Schwinn Paramount PDG3 that was in great condition with new tires and cables for $180 (I know it's the Japanese manufactured one but from what I've read it's still a good bike). The fit feels pretty good (in my non-expert opinion) and after cleaning it up a bit it looks great- the paint and stickers are all well preserved and I have yet to find any problems with it after some test rides and disassembling it a bit to clean more thoroughly. I'm thinking the first thing I'm going to try and find is a saddle that fits me well, and then go on to other hardware upgrades from there. My buddy who is very into cycling is coming over in a couple days to help me tune it and fix any issues he sees, as well as putting some of the more complicated mechanical parts into my ultrasonic cleaner. If you guys have any comments or suggestions I'd love to hear them. I would post a photo but apparently I don't have enough posts to do so yet.
The Japanese manufactured one is a Panasonic. Quality on Panasonics was superb. You did well.
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