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View Full Version : "Vintage" bikes, building a commuter, and Craigslist



Certifried
07-03-2012, 11:08 AM
So, I've really been wanting to find myself and old steel frame "vintage" bike to make in to a commuter. You know, one with the ability to mount a rack since my roadie would be completely ruined if I put a rack on it :rolleyes:

There are about a bazillionty Vintage bikes on CL, most of them low-end box-store mass-produced junk that people think are worth hundreds that are really only worth $20. I have found one guy that posts regularly on CL, and am wondering if anyone knows about him. He has this bike up currently:
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/doc/bik/3115842448.html

here's his gallery
https://plus.google.com/photos/116598188651447503868/albums?banner=pwa

1) any suggestions, gotchas, or things I should think about or be looking for in finding a nice steel frame commuter?
2) anyone know this guy? Or someone like him that might build these old bikes up and sell them reasonably priced?
3) What I can find on this Fuji indicates it was a mid-level hybrid that might be great for what I'm looking for, anyone heard of it? Is the price decent?

Thanks, I know there's a ton of other questions I should be asking, and this isn't a simple thing I'm looking at doing. I might be better off just buying a touring/commuting bike and not getting in to such a mess like this. I'm thinking I could gain a whole lot of wrench-smarts by doing this though. And if I can drop a few hundred $$ instead of a few thousand, it might be worth it

eminva
07-03-2012, 11:20 AM
Wasn't Dismal Scientist selling some bikes recently? If any are left, would they be the right size? All other things being equal, I would feel more comfortably buying from someone I know who has maintained the bike well, or would disclose any shortcomings.

Liz

KLizotte
07-03-2012, 12:12 PM
A friend of a friend of a friend recommends this guy in Alexandria: Charles Dewey, 571-212-7231. I've been told he builds customs bikes using used/new parts on the cheap simply for the love of biking. He reportedly has bike parts everywhere in his house. I've never spoken to him or seen his handiwork so can only go via word of mouth. You may wish to give him a call to see if he has a frame that would suit your needs.

DaveK
07-03-2012, 12:29 PM
Give a call to Phoenix Bikes and see what they have - http://www.phoenixbikes.org - I'd trust them more than 99.9% of the people on Craigslist.

elcee
07-03-2012, 12:30 PM
The guy who sells at the Arlington Courthouse flea market on Saturdays also lives in Alexandria. Maybe he's your CL poster? I went to his house once to look at a couple of nice Andy Gilmour and Eddy Merckx bikes that rode too stiffly for me, but I thought were fairly priced. This was a few years ago, but you can try calling Dan at 703 859 6909.

DismalScientist
07-03-2012, 01:35 PM
All depends on what you are looking for. There are valuable "vintage" bikes and crap "vintage" bikes. I generally look at what the frame is made of and the level of componentry. (A pet peeve of mine is when people say a bike has "Shimano" gears; that tells me almost nothing.)

My first suggestion is that you may want to consider a clamp on rack that goes just on your seatpost. Do not do this if you have a carbon seat post. Do not do this if you want to carry a lot of stuff on your rack (more than 5 poiunds or so.)

The first thing I suggest is that you decide what you want. There is as much variety in vintage bikes as in new bikes. The example you show is a Fuji Mountain bike with street tires on it. This is not what I would consider when buying a commuter, particularly for a long commute. However, your mileage may vary.

If I were trolling CL for a commuter, I would first decide on what type of bike I was looking for. Do I want a mountain bike with city slicks, a touring bike (by which I generally mean a road bike with drop bars and rack mounts [generally with long geometry]), or more of a racing-type bike. Next, I eliminate all department store bikes and the crappier models of known brand bikes. For example, I won't consider any bike with stem shifters or suicide levers, which generally indicate cheap components.

Good frame materials include: Reynolds, Columbus tubing and Japanese frames of the era. For deraillers, I look for Suntour Cyclone, maybe VGT and Shimano 600 (105s from the late 80s and Deore for mountain and touring bikes.) Brake types will vary by bicycle type. 70's bikes will have centerpull. Mountain and touring bikes will have cantilever, while racing bikes will have sidepull. Make sure the crank is a three piece type.

If I were to look at a bike, I generally check whether the frame is straight, the wheels are true and the components work. I wouldn't be surprised if the tires and cabling are shot and would take an appropriate discount for any work I would do myself on the bike. Similarly, if the bike required that axles or bottom brackets need to be repacked, I would ask for a discount.

For the bike in question, the Fuji Boulevard appears to be a mountain bike made in the mid '80's with Valite tubing and Suntour AR derailleurs. Interestingly, it seems to have road bike-like forks. The price is in line with what I would expect. I wouldn't get it because I wouldn't want a mountain bike.

A CL guy (who offered a trade for my Bianchi mountain bike [likely too big for you; I wouldn't want Clovis upset with me.]) offers this: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/bik/3106655393.html. It a mountain bike converted to a touring bike. I'm not sure how the geometry works out. I might prefer larger wheels, but your mileage may vary.

PS: The 22" Marin Limited Edition is still available, but I don't know if it would be too big or whether you would want to put a clamp-on rack on the seat post:http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/bik/3098722343.html

Certifried
07-03-2012, 04:19 PM
Thanks for the great info!

I can't clamp on a rack to my Trek because it does have CF post. I've seen the Tubus rack that would fit my bike so I could put panniers on it, but I'd really rather just have 1 bike for when I want to go fast and 1 bike for when I want to commute (and then 1 more bike for something else, and another for something entirely different!)

Heading out to look at a Fuji S-10 now that's the size I need.
EDIT: err... he lists the stand-over height at 31.5, which I think might be a little too big... I'll give it a ride and make sure though. It looks to be in good condition too, though not sure about the price. It seems a little high from what I saw online
http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/bik/3116187275.html

DismalScientist
07-03-2012, 04:32 PM
This bike is a steal: http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/bik/3117006946.html

Classic '80s touring bikes include the Trek 720 and 620 and the Miyata 1000. Just below that is the Miyata 610. I bought one for my girlfriend and she rode a 610 across the country. As a bonus, the 610 has 700 cc wheels rather than 27".

Certifried
07-03-2012, 05:21 PM
I guess the real question I have is what I can do to one of these bikes. Ultimately what I want is a steel frame with mounts for racks, the reason I'm looking at "vintage" bikes. I also want new components on it; STI shifter/brakes, etc. I'm not even sure that can be done, so need to look in to this a bit more before I pull the trigger. It might end up that what I need to buy is just a new (or lightly used) commuter/touring type of bike. So, yeah, I need to research a bit more, but quickly because I really want something soon lol

DismalScientist
07-03-2012, 05:53 PM
I guess the real question I have is what I can do to one of these bikes. Ultimately what I want is a steel frame with mounts for racks, the reason I'm looking at "vintage" bikes. I also want new components on it; STI shifter/brakes, etc. I'm not even sure that can be done, so need to look in to this a bit more before I pull the trigger. It might end up that what I need to buy is just a new (or lightly used) commuter/touring type of bike. So, yeah, I need to research a bit more, but quickly because I really want something soon lol

One of the joys of vintage bikes is that you can slowly upgrade them as you wish. See the following upgrade of a Miyata 610: http://brazenbicycles.com/Miyata-610-re-build
One of the advantage of having an old bike with 700 CC wheels is that the braze-ons for the cantilever brakes are in the right place when you put on new wheels with the 10 speed cassettes, the old canti brakes will work. You can get indexing with bar end shifters. Or you can just ride the bike as it is originally set up. (That half-step/granny triple sure looks sweet.:rolleyes:) Step one would be replacing the brake levers with aero levers and un the cables under the bar tape. (That would get rid of the silly suicide levers.:rolleyes:) Step two would be replacing the downtube shifters (if that is not what you want) with friction bar end shifters. Finally, if it is time to replace the wheels, go for the full STI treatment. (Even bikes with canti brakes often are drilled to accept side pull brakes as well.) The key is that you don't have to do all the upgrades at once.

Another option you might wish to consider is looking for a mail order touring bike. I purchased a Nashbar touring bike off the internet for about $600. I primarily did it to get 700 CC wheels so I could mount studded tires for winter riding. That said, I still prefer riding my 1984 Trek 620. I put on the aero levers, and because I upgraded to a seven speed freewheel, I use some old Suntour bar end friction shifters instead of the old down tube indexed shifters.

elcee
07-03-2012, 06:43 PM
I guess the real question I have is what I can do to one of these bikes. Ultimately what I want is a steel frame with mounts for racks, the reason I'm looking at "vintage" bikes. I also want new components on it; STI shifter/brakes, etc. I'm not even sure that can be done ...

Some time in the transition from 7-speed to 8 or 9, the rear dropout spacing went from 126 mm to 130 mm. What this means is that you can't get 9- or 10-speed STI into your vintage bike. You can still find used 7- or 8-speed STI brifters, but all of them eventually wear out and apparently aren't easy to fix.

Certifried
07-03-2012, 06:49 PM
Is that a bike you're selling? This sounds like what I want, from that page and your description.

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

DismalScientist
07-03-2012, 09:50 PM
Some time in the transition from 7-speed to 8 or 9, the rear dropout spacing went from 126 mm to 130 mm. What this means is that you can't get 9- or 10-speed STI into your vintage bike. You can still find used 7- or 8-speed STI brifters, but all of them eventually wear out and apparently aren't easy to fix.

This is the joy of a STEEL frame. You can just stretch the dropout spacing from 126 to 130mm by putting in a wider axle. You don't even need to "cold set" the frame a la Sheldon Brown. Do not attempt this with an Aluminum or Carbon frame though. They are not sufficiently elastic.

This is not my bike for sale. If it were any bigger, I might buy it, but my wife will kill me. I only troll CL for ridiculously under-priced bikes from people who don't realize what they have. I bought the '78 Raleigh SuperCourse for $150 off CL Off ebay, I got the Marin Limited edition for $100 and my favorite racing-type bike, a mid-70's Mizutani Super Seraphe for $135. Once someone was selling a wind trainer and would throw in a Bridgestone touring bike that was just my size for $50. It pained me to let that go, but a married man can only have so many bikes. It was just wild circumstance that that bike showed up in the middle of the thread.:rolleyes:

Certifried
07-03-2012, 09:58 PM
Awesome, this is one (of the many) reason why this site is just so incredibly awesome. While STIs aren't a deal-breaker, I really do like them. I just think back to the old bikes my dad and mom had (Nishiki and Azuki) and remember all the squeeking and clanking they did, and compare to how smooth and silent my Trek is. I really like the smoothness!

Certifried
07-04-2012, 06:54 PM
I've got a shiny old Miyata 610 sitting in my front room :)

Thanks DismalScientist!

edit: serial # is NA40917. The "N" in the serial # makes it an '85. will post pix later

KLizotte
07-04-2012, 08:38 PM
Whoa. That is one pink bike. You'll be easy to pick out on the trails. Congrats on the new stead. Great price too.

Certifried
07-04-2012, 08:57 PM
Wrong CL ad lol, I didn't get the pink one. Mine is the blue 610 in Dismal's other link

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

Certifried
07-04-2012, 10:31 PM
http://i.imgur.com/gETDt.jpg

Certifried
07-06-2012, 03:08 PM
So, I need a bike rack for the back, any suggestions on what kind I should get and where to get it from?

Also, trying to figure out which way I want to go on my "build". I have 3 options I'm considering
1) "honey" or brown saddle, wraps, tires, etc
2) white saddle, wraps, racks, whitewalls? lol
3) black rack, saddle, fenders etc...

What do you all think would look best? I'm leaning towards the brown/honey look

Tim Kelley
07-06-2012, 03:15 PM
So, I need a bike rack for the back, any suggestions on what kind I should get and where to get it from?

Also, trying to figure out which way I want to go on my "build". I have 3 options I'm considering
1) "honey" or brown saddle, wraps, tires, etc
2) white saddle, wraps, racks, whitewalls? lol
3) black rack, saddle, fenders etc...

What do you all think would look best? I'm leaning towards the brown/honey look


How about pink?

DismalScientist
07-06-2012, 03:21 PM
I have no suggestion on color, but if you are rewrapping the bars, this is the time to put on aero brake levers if you want them.

My favorite mail order store is www.niagaracycle.com

KLizotte
07-06-2012, 03:27 PM
White wraps get grungy looking within two weeks. Yuck.

Certifried
07-06-2012, 04:19 PM
I have no suggestion on color, but if you are rewrapping the bars, this is the time to put on aero brake levers if you want them.

My favorite mail order store is www.niagaracycle.com (http://www.niagaracycle.com)

I'm definitely going to aero, just haven't decided whether STI, bar end, or those awesome ones you posted :)

Certifried
07-06-2012, 04:20 PM
How about pink?

I'm not man enough

DaveK
07-06-2012, 06:48 PM
I'd go with a brown saddle (Brooks or other vintage-look), brown bar wrap, and hoods. Add gumwall tires and chrome/metal fenders and rack. Match the cable housing to the decals as close as you can. It'll look beautiful.

Certifried
07-06-2012, 09:44 PM
I'd go with a brown saddle (Brooks or other vintage-look), brown bar wrap, and hoods. Add gumwall tires and chrome/metal fenders and rack. Match the cable housing to the decals as close as you can. It'll look beautiful.

Yep, that's the way I decided to go. Just pulled the trigger on this:
http://selleanatomica.com/products/titanico-x-details/
They've got 'em for $134. I chose golden, which is a bit lighter than "brown", but we'll see how it looks.

Certifried
07-07-2012, 09:05 AM
Selle also offers leather handlebar tape that would match the saddle. How good is leather handlebar tape? Any issues with it? Would it stand up to the weather as well?

mstone
07-07-2012, 11:28 AM
Selle also offers leather handlebar tape that would match the saddle. How good is leather handlebar tape? Any issues with it? Would it stand up to the weather as well?

this is for a commuter? do you have covered parking & mostly stay out of the rain? if not, I'd skip the leather. I prefer a leather saddle also, but if you're going less than 30-40 miles at a time it doesn't really matter and I'd go for low-maintenance instead.

Certifried
07-07-2012, 12:33 PM
this is for a commuter? do you have covered parking & mostly stay out of the rain? if not, I'd skip the leather. I prefer a leather saddle also, but if you're going less than 30-40 miles at a time it doesn't really matter and I'd go for low-maintenance instead.

It is mostly commuter, and some eventual touring. It will be out of the elements, except when I'm on it. My commute is 20 miles one-way, so I definitely want something a bit more comfortable. Selle uses their "watershed" leather, so I was thinking it might hold up better. I'll probably just go with the low-maintenance/cost option for now and try to find a tape that matches the saddle as closely as possible.

KLizotte
07-07-2012, 01:00 PM
I would think good quality leather would hold up better over the long term and be more comfortable so long as it doesn't get soaked or is out in the rain much. All the stuff they use on horses (saddle, reins, etc) is made out of leather. Also, good quality golf clubs use leather grips. Since you saved $ on the frame, I think you should go all out.

As every lady knows, it's all about the accessories. ;)

(Spoken by someone who won't be getting the credit card bill)

Certifried
07-07-2012, 01:18 PM
I would think good quality leather would hold up better over the long term and be more comfortable so long as it doesn't get soaked or is out in the rain much. All the stuff they use on horses (saddle, reins, etc) is made out of leather. Also, good quality golf clubs use leather grips. Since you saved $ on the frame, I think you should go all out.

As every lady knows, it's all about the accessories. ;)

(Spoken by someone who won't be getting the credit card bill)

Yes!!!! Someone who understands! LOL 1328

I really want this thing to be bike porn. There are some beautiful examples in this thread
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php/762624-The-New-Classic-Rigs-and-Rides-Thread-1-1

KLizotte
07-07-2012, 03:45 PM
Well, I'm learning the hard way that if you don't buy what your heart really wants right off the bat you end up upgrading six months to a year down the road and don't save any money in the end.

americancyclo
07-19-2012, 12:15 PM
A friend of a friend of a friend recommends this guy in Alexandria: Charles Dewey, 571-212-7231. I've been told he builds customs bikes using used/new parts on the cheap simply for the love of biking. He reportedly has bike parts everywhere in his house. I've never spoken to him or seen his handiwork so can only go via word of mouth. You may wish to give him a call to see if he has a frame that would suit your needs.

Just saw this guy posting some bikes on CL. I might check his selection out at some point. Anyone else worked with him?