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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
Typical bicycle noobie here. I have an interest in getting a vintage road bike fixing her up a bit and just have an easier time on the road than with my heavy mountain bike. I would like a vintage frame because I think it would be fun to build her up myself. Only problem in there are a ton of vintage frames for all sorts of prices. What should I be looking for and what constitutes a good vintage frame? Any help and/or reccomendations would be much appreciated.
Cheers!
 

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If you are wanting to spruce up an old bike frame, check out the welds and make sure it hasn't been tampered with in the past. Look closely for cracks. Don't sandblast it!!! Use beads instead. Trust me, I sandblasted a vintage go cart and it was an awful idea. After you get the paint off look again for cracks. Sounds like a really fun project. I've got a vintage bike myself, check out my blog.
 

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'57 Schwinn Wasp
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Look at a lot of bikes until you get an idea of what you might like. I got books and scanned them until I found the vintage style I liked and then I started looking for the perfect bike.

I thought I wanted a schwinn phantom until I selected the one on my profile page which was much like my first bicycle. Don't hurry, enjoy the project because all too soon you will be finished and looking for a new project. :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the posts everyone.

Are there brands to look for or avoid? I am assuming a huffy should be passed on. What about schwinn varsitys? There seem to be a lot of those.
 

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bike geek
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Nearly anything made with lugs and made in Japan would be a good starter bike. These are light weight and bullet proof. Miyata, Bridgestone, panasonic, Trek, Giant and Schwinns made in Japan. There are lots of them. Some have better components and that is the reason for the wild gyrations in price. The components are the key to price; many times the components are more expensive than the frame.

The Schwinn Varsity is the lower end line of the schwinn road bike. They are bullet proof though.
 

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I agree with the vintage Japanese bikes, they were fantastically made. But as all bike companies they had their low end bombs so it would behoove you to do a lot of internet reading on the various brands and their models and the components they offered. Fuji is another serious consideration, in fact I rank Miyata from models 510 on up (higher the number the better the bike to they get to Team-their top of the line) with the triple butted splined tubing, followed by Fuji with the Valite Quad butted tubing, as the best frames that came out of Japan. Those frames are very responsive frames and will last forever. Fuji for some reason rated their bikes heavier then they really were, I have a 58cm 1988 Fuji Club that according to the catalog weighs 23 pounds, mine weighs 20.8 pounds and it's all original so I've done nothing to lighten it up. This Fuji I bought this last spring, it had 5 miles on it, it's in excellent condition and it cost me $100 through CraigsList. You do need some patience going through Craigslist because most people are trying to rip people off on the vintage factor. I saw a 1982 Motebecane Record Sport, a cheap low end bike with a poser name, in fair condition and the guy wanted $600! He's looking for the fool who knows nothing about vintage bikes. Others won't have a clue as to what they have and well sell them cheap, those are the guys your looking for.

Treks can also sometimes be found for reasonable prices, any model with a 400 designation or higher are great bikes, made in America but used mostly Ishawata or Reynolds tubing. See this for extensive info on Treks: Vintage Trek - A brief history of Trek Bicycle Corporation and its steel bike frames

Any bike that comes with the dual brake levers, one for activation at the hoods or drops and another bar that's used for activation when on the bar tops is a good indication the bike is a lower end bike, stay away from those.

There are archived catalogs available on line for a lot of brands, these will have a wealth of information. Here's a few catalogs I found because I own these bike brands:
Miyata: Miyata Bicycle Catalogs
Fuji: Fuji Models to Thumbnails
Schwinn: Schwinn Years by Model

I do not own a Panasonic but they had some really nice bikes that were highly under rated; here's some info on those: Panasonic Bicycle Ads from the past… | Panasonic Bicycles Virtual Museum

I disagree with the Varsity. I was a teenager when those came out new and they were junk when they were new, plus they weighed 45 pounds! Sure the frames were tough but the components were crappy. And because the baby boomers are trying to buy back our youth and the Varisty figures into that equation as a popular culture bike thing back then, people are selling them for way more then their worth at between $100 to $250! There not worth their scrap value!!! sorry, just my opinion.
 

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Came across a "80"s KHS 67cm Winner road bike at a local junk store today. They only wanted twenty clams for it..
It followed me home!, I swear!..

It has a mixed collection of Shimano Skylark and Dura ace brakes and derailiers.. I'm betting it was orig. equiped with Skylark comp.s, unless someone Knows better?.
Someone?.
 

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My last "Tractor" bike was a Varsity. True it was a 4 ton tank and like all tanks it was bullet proof!.
I paid something like $35.00 for it at a garage sale. It finally died of cancer last summer. It was 35 years old. It hauled alot of beer and grub for the 6 years I had it!.

Rust Kills!.
 

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Re: the KHS. It sounds like a Japanese road bike from the late 60's or early 70's . Price is great, obviously. The Skylark derailleur was the bottom of the line, however early Dura-Ace brakes were also basic Shimano alloy models. Or, I could be totally wrong and you have fantastic later model Dura-Ace brakes. Either way, you have got a winner !
 

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'80's ColumbusTenax tubed 63cm Schwinn Tempo I had repainted. It's my touring bike. Put Ultegra 9 speed from my old Litespeed on it. This is a nice feeling ride.
 

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Came across a "80"s KHS 67cm Winner road bike at a local junk store today. They only wanted twenty clams for it..
It followed me home!, I swear!..

It has a mixed collection of Shimano Skylark and Dura ace brakes and derailiers.. I'm betting it was orig. equiped with Skylark comp.s, unless someone Knows better?.
Someone?.
I was givin a set of Shimano SIS derailleurs for this bike.. Any "nasty's I should be aware of?.
 

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Keep an eye open for later Schwinns from the 80's that were either Japanese or American made. I had a Schwinn Prelude, made in Georgia with Columbus Tubing . Pelotons were nice as well .
 
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