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Archived: Vintage Lightweights

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by: Rob on 5/26/2003 at 5:33:55 AM
JONathan...I posted the following in your thread below but somehow it didn't queue properly timewise...You likely wouldn't have noticed it, so I'll try again...

"Hey JONathan...I've got one of those!...mid '70's Centurion LeMans...I bought a year or so ago for the parts...Very rusty...big blotches all over...and a slightly bent downtube which I noticed later...some of the parts seem OK...the same as you listed...it's also a tall bike...I've been gradually stripping off parts. I bought it from one of my second hand bike shop friends....$20CDN ($14 or so US)...He wanted that much because of the nice Eise (sp?) fenders, one of which I damaged by getting it caught in the spokes of another bike I was moving around, Oh well...

I hear they are not too bad...a good average bike. I think they were imported by WSI, and later morphed into 'Diamondback'. Maybe someone can confirm...

One thing though, mine has a triangular tubing sticker at the top of seat tube, white with red detail...but it's so faint I can't make it out...can you read the one on your bike?"

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by JONathan on 5/26/2003 at 7:43:16 AM
Hello, Rob. Yeah, it's like riding a botswains' chair on the mainmast. Everything looks small. This fella was put out to pasture for years, too. However, everything's moving that needs to and visa versa. I'll check about that decal. Too late, to crash around in a shed with a flashlight. I'll check and post back, tomorrow. I think there was a decal like yours. The price was too much for me to resist. I'll give a full run down. Doggone bike looks like he can hunt! I sure like those '70's Japanese bikes. When I get done with the Mercier ( a basket case) I'm startin' on the Le Mans. It is in good shape, too. I got a Nishiki for $2, too. I went home, forgot about it. The next day, I went to the sale and it was still there, so I got it. The only other bike was a Murray 10 speed...the kind you need all ten gears to get to 15 mph on level road. The Nishiki is practically new after the dust came off with the garden hose. The rack is funky and the generator and lights work! What can a guy do...JONathan

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by Rob on 5/26/2003 at 5:28:52 PM
Nishiki...What nice bikes!!! I've just finished pulling one together for a friend, and decided this morning to give it a test ride on my commute...nine miles so far. What a nice, light response and feel!! Model is Landau, about 1979 ...V-GT Luxe rear der. and V-Compe front der. Dia Compe 'G' brakes, nice bars, etc. I don't know the tubing type...likely plain gauge of some type, maybe Tange. I picked it up curbside about a year ago, minus wheels and with a minor brake lever issue. I put on average Arraya rims and a Perfect freewheel, and decided to change the crank...off a slightly newer, but fatally injured Nishiki Olympic (that's a another interesting story...seat tube separated from the BB, and not from rust!!!...I'll leave that story for another post)

I've become quite a Nishiki fan...I have several...they seem to be terrific bikes...I have an International with Tange #2 tubing that I'm looking forward to getting on the road...it needs a fair bit of work, though....

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by JONathan on 5/26/2003 at 7:40:33 PM
Rob, thanks for the Nishiki tidbits. Those Japanese bikes were really something during that period. The $2 "wonder" is white, 23" frame and pretty long time span...I'd say early '60's with the cottered cranks. The fenders, rack and light system (French) are in great shape. Wheels are good quality steel rim. The paint job held up real well. Let me get back on that decal for "Le Mans". Today has turned out to be chock full of activities. I'll get there eventually. I'm curious about it, too. BTW, the Nishiki is a heavy-duty machine. Made for commuting in all-weather, I presume. I like working on the Japanese bikes because of the quality and it's easy to get parts for change-outs. I'll do some homework on that "le Mans" and get back on it...Have a good day, JONathan

   Nishiki history posted by John E on 5/26/2003 at 8:27:23 PM
Nishiki was introduced into the U.S. market, under the "American Eagle" marque, in the late 1960s. The first model was the Semi-Pro, which evolved into the Nishiki Competition: DB Ishiwata CrMo main triangle, Raleigh-style wraparound seatstays, Sugino Mighty Compe crankset, SunTour V derialleurs, Weinmann-clone Diacompe centerpulls, Sunshine QR hubs, 5-speed wide-range Maeda SunTour freewheel, and heavy Araya aluminum rims. The Olympic (steel frame, cottered crankset) and the Kokusai / International (Maxy cotterless crankset, straight gauge CrMo) came along in 1972, slotting nicely between the all steel, non-QR Custom Sport and the Semi-Pro. Almost all of the early specimens have a spongy, leaden ride quality, but by the late 1970s, Nishiki was turning out world-class road bikes.

Disclosure: I worked part-time at Bikecology, a Peugeot and Nishiki dealership, in the early 1970s. I bought an American Eagle Semi-Pro in 1971 and rode it for 20 years and about 40K mi / 65K km, until the frame broke.

   RE:Nishiki history posted by JONathan on 5/27/2003 at 4:39:02 AM
Thanks for the information, John E. I have an "Olympic" with cottered cranks. It is a heavy lightweight (oxymoron) with a loose ride characteristic. It appears well made with ornate lugs and forged dropouts. I think it was before the Japanese caught on to what the American buyer was looking for in a road bike in that it seems more suitable for riding day-in, day-out on all kinds of roads. It is tough enough for abusive commutes. I'd like to swap the derailers for a 3 sp. SA, AW hub. I have an "American Eagle" 3 sp. with a Shimano "333" hub. It's ride is smooth and easy, as long as you don't try to push too hard. It is another all-service bike, although a heavy one. I presume it's a Nishiki?
The Nishiki 10 sp. is about early '70's, if I follow what you said about their emergence on the market. I like the bike.
Rob, I got a looksee at that Le mans in the shed. The decal is about an inch sq. blue background with white lettering. "TANGE" is across the middle. Above is sm. block lettering; "SINGLE BUTTED TUBE" and below is; "High tensile steel". The bars are Sakae, "road champion", SunTour "superb" shifters (use on my Mercier) with SunTour "V" der.; brazed-on brake cable bridge below seatpost; Sugino, 165mm crankset with 52/42(?) alloy chainring (v. nice); a leather seat which may not be original; SR stem and wheels were alloy. I know these were mass produced bikes, yet they have a handmade look. I wonder if they had a lot of highly skilled frame builders in three shifts. I mean, it looks like a quality bike from the European theater. I can't wait to get it on the road. It has a real stiff frame at the BB and rear triangle....JONathan

   RE:RE:Nishiki history posted by JONathan on 5/27/2003 at 4:53:58 AM
BTW, I noticed that the rear wheel is a 26 inch steel rim! The Dia-Compe cp was set to maximum reach and the shoe had worn off a lot of the sidewall of the tire on one side (left) and some was rubbed of on the right side. The left brake shoe was removed probably when the rider felt the tire wouldn't take any more abrasioin, but the right side hadn't reach the limit, so it was kept in use. The kind of confused state of mind that would concieve such a plan is beyond the scope of comprehension. Fortunately, the bike's frame escaped any harm, except some paint was rubbed off the inner side of the left chainstay; probably as a result of the wheel shifting under brake pressure from the right side with no counterbalance force from the left (absent of brake shoe). I have never seen anything like this, never. Cheers, JONathan

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by Gralyn on 5/27/2003 at 4:48:31 PM
So far as a Centurion LeMans - I have one - but it's from the 80's....maybe mid 80's. I took all the components off the frame - because it was too tall for me. It's a 25" frame. Also, it's like a pinkish...light purplish....(not sure what to call the color) and white. I guess it dates to that time when it was considered OK for a man to wear a pink shirt...something like that. Anyway, it's a really nice frame...and light...like triple butted ChroMo or so. I have been trying to decide what to do with it. I could try to sell the frame on e-bay. I could build it up and sell it as a complete bike - on e-bay or just locally. If anyone might be interested - just let me know.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by Rob on 5/27/2003 at 5:49:47 PM
JONathan, I like your turn of phrase, "The kind of confused state of mind etc..." The fatally injured Nishiki Olympic that I mentioned above seems to have come to that fate by another "confused state of mind". I had planned to part out the bike...a very tall frame...but decided to give it one last slow ride around the lane behind my house. (The tires were fully inflated...a rarity on curbside pickups.)

Anyway to make a long story short...I noticed the seat tube was cleanly separated from the BB. As I investigated more closely I found the crank and spindle setup was quite loose and sloppy, and that the adjustable cup was screwed well into the BB...and no locking ring. And, by the fresh grease I knew someone had been in there fairly recently. As I pulled the BB apart, to my amazement I found it had been reassembled without the left side bearings, and I also noticed a very well defined circular grooving around the spindle consistent with it having come up against the end of the seat tube projecting into the BB. It hardly seems possible, but the whole setup must have been loose enough for the spindle to have actually contacted the end of the seat tube and the pressure to have broken the brazing.

Maybe the seat tube had projected too far into the BB...a design or workmanship issue, or myabe the lack of bearings was enough to upset the design criteria.

Of course, the question remains as to why someone would think the bike would perform properly without a propert BB setup...for an analytical, 'cause and effect' mind such as I have, I can only wonder what they would have been thinking...hoping for the best I guess.

The seat tube decal on my LeMans is triangular with red detail...I can just make out a word that looks like 'tubing', but that's it...so maybe the bikes are different years.

Further to Gralyn's comments on bike colors...I have a Miyata 912 (2003 spring cleanup sidewalk find) which I was recently informed is 'sterling black...interestingly, it has pink highlights including the head tube area and the bar tape. It has a full Shimano 600EX gruppo (6207)...and apparently that was the standard color scheme for around 1986...It is a very small frame...I had assumed it was intended to be a teenaged girl's bike, but I guess not.

Pink...and no other choices???

   frame failure posted by John E on 5/27/2003 at 6:11:28 PM
Failure of the BB shell's seat tube lug (been there, done that with my 1971 American Eagle/Nishiki Semi-Pro) and failure of the downtube near the head tube lug are probably the most common end-of-life scenarios for Japanese frames of that era.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by Rob on 5/27/2003 at 6:41:59 PM
Yes...of course...the other scenario is that the seat tube lug failed and then struck the spindle...that seems more likely, doesn't it...

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by JONathan on 5/27/2003 at 7:37:30 PM
That's a kicker; no bearing, no caring. I can't imagine how that must have worked the rider's knee joints. Still, bad bearings are better than no bearings, so they must have had no clue...egocentric, maybe. Who could guess what? The noise must have attracted squirrels from miles around...or wildcats. That's got to rank up there in the top ten. Can't the tube be brazed back, even beefed with an inserted lug sleeve? Yeah, yeah...go get another bike. That's what I do. Remember; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" (?, credit); I say; "If it is broke, don't fix it"...unless there's nothin else to ride.

   RE:RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by JONathan on 5/27/2003 at 8:28:35 PM
Heat, heat and more heat. That's what probably caused the seat-tube to separate form the BB. Think about it. You have a coeffiecient of friction approachong 1.0, steel-on-steel with a heat sink (the brass in the brazed joint). Then the leverage is on the chainstays pushing up to the seat lug, working with advantage on the top tube-head tube joint. The net effect is to make two traingles into a box! We used to pop stumps with a similar mechanism (reverse fulcrum). Imagine what the pedals must have been like in terms of heat. That wouldn't be hard to do on any bike except mabe a Schwinn "varsity", but are we counting those as LW's?
I get satisfaction in taking a scrap-heap bike and fixing it up to road status. That's a lot of the fun, for me. To ammend my comment; "If is broke, don't fix it", to include; "If you don't get fun out of fixing"... "Fun" is the operative word.

   RE:RE:RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by Tim W on 5/27/2003 at 11:50:57 PM
Just want to say 'I have one of those too', a fairly heavy PG steel Centurion LeMans. I grabbed it from an alley because of the Suntour bar con ratchet shifters. Can't decide whether to build up the frame for someone, because I get so many chromoly mountain bike frames that are lighter, and sell better.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Centurion LeMans posted by Rob on 5/27/2003 at 11:53:00 PM
I suppose if one were back in the dustbowl days and were really desperate, the bike could be fixed...but it is a tall frame...way too tall for me, it's not in pristine shape, I do need the parts, there would be a confidence issue, and I don't think I could, in good conscience, sell or give it to someone else as a rider. All in all, being stripped of its useful parts and laid to rest seems to be the kindest option...

AGE / VALUE:   VARSITY posted by: mike. on 5/26/2003 at 3:56:05 AM

1) IS THIS A JAN 60/61?



   RE:AGE / VALUE:   VARSITY posted by JONathan on 5/26/2003 at 5:24:37 AM
Sure it's worth restoring. I believe it is a '65. Those bikes were not high end, but few can match their robust nature. I have a couple that are '67 and '77. The '77 is a rider, while the other is for restoration to original specs., which were not very high end. The steel wheels and whimpy brakes (for a truck) detract from it's appeal as a rider, for me. With AL alloy wheels and Weinmann cp's (Vainquer) the bike is pretty nice. The fork weighs as much as most whole bikes! You could try Nick at Lloyd's for decals, although I'm not sure they have Schwinns. The "varsity" will be valuable as more are thrown out and fewer exist. Plus, they are a unique frame and they are actually useful bikes for riding if improvements are made to the components. Good luck...JONathan

   RE:  VARSITY posted by Eric Amlie on 5/26/2003 at 4:28:31 PM
I concur with Jonathan that this is a '65 model. It seems the month letter is missing from the serial number. I have a '65 Collegiate with the month letter missing from the s/n also. The Sprint components date it as they were used from '64 through the '67 models.

There is a seller on ebay (zagar-axe) who has been selling the downtube decals for these.

I suspect the generator/light set is aftermarket but I don't know this for sure.

   Missing tail light lens posted by Tom Findley on 5/27/2003 at 12:28:06 PM
You probably can't buy just the lens. Do a search in the ebay Bicycle section for

generator light

and buy a complete tail light. There are many sold separately from complete bikes.

   RE:Missing tail light lens posted by Dave on 5/27/2003 at 2:09:10 PM
I ride a coppertone '64 Varsity as a commuter bike,they stopped making them with downtube shifter in '65.Mine already had chrome fenders and fork,with alloy wheels it weighs about 28lbs,(the same as the mountain bike I was riding),but the drop bars are nice in the "Windy City".You could try www.koolbike.com,they do great decal work.Definetly a keeper.

   RE: downtube shifters posted by Eric Amlie on 5/27/2003 at 9:22:58 PM
The '66 models still had the downtube shifters. The shifters moved to the stem for the '67 models. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Schwinns with '66 serial numbers and stem shifters though. You run into this sort of thing a lot with the old Schwinns.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   VARSITY posted by mike. on 5/28/2003 at 7:38:44 AM
well, after a few hours of cleaning, this one turned out pretty darn nice! ALL the chrome polished out beutifully. it was only surface dirt and rust. repacked all the bearings, cleaned everything, all it needs now is new decals, and it would look near brand new. even the rims are original, schwinn tubular S-6. dialed in the generator, re-tightened the headlight wire, and the front still works! 2-bulbs, 3-settings, i was very surprised. dont know about the rear one yet. will try to locate a lens first. or maybe a whole tailight. it is a very small round housing, should the lens be a bulb or bullet type? anyway, i just wanted to share my glee with everyone! this is now my oldest bike, as my 67 fastback used to have that honor. i was mostly into bmx, till the fastback crossed my path. then i got this one for next to nuthin, just had to haul it home on one of my 20"ers. now i have three stingrays, two lightweights, and working on getting a mint 82 sidewinder. of course, this doesnt count my 30+ bmx bikes and frames, at least 9 of which are mongoose, and 4 are schwinn.
i love the bike hobby! wish it were a little cheaper though, lol. i'm sure we all do.


   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   VARSITY posted by JONathan on 5/29/2003 at 5:35:38 PM
Hey, Mike. Great fix up. You mentioned "Sidewinder". I got one about 10 years ago and rode it everywhere I wouldn't take a LW...or even my good mTB. Mine had a 5 sp. with a granny; s-2 rims and the forks had offset gussetted dropouts. I gave it to a nephew who was driving my brother nuts in bike repairs. This kid and his buddies would pound the desert trails on MTB's. He didn't mind the weight, in fact, he likes the workout. I asked him; if he gets tired of it, give it back. Well, my brother brought it back on a visit and my nephew had a fit, so I sent it back with the request that he take better care of it. It was left everywhere outside and the bearings were loose, brakes blown and he apparently wasn't interested in riding it since he got his DL and a 4x4. I guess I'll never see it, which is cool, as he certainly had more history with it. Maybe it is sentimental attachment. That bike was the Schwinn attempt at a MTB. It looks like a "varsity" frame with a MTB, reinforced forks. The rear welds are incredible. What were they thinking?
I'd hang onto that sidewinder. There is a pic. somewhere in the bike web that I found searching for "sidewinder". Does yours have those "longhorn" bars? I used to plop off curbs with nary a twitch with 2.25 tires...JONathan

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   27 inch tires posted by: Walter on 5/25/2003 at 9:28:34 PM
Stumbled upon this while trolling eBay whilst bored. Figured it might be of interest to some out here. I don't have any 27 inchers currently but I recal using IRC tires back "in the day" and they were alright.

Not my auction, yada yada.


   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   27 inch tires posted by dafydd on 5/26/2003 at 1:31:15 PM
Panaracer still makes 27 X 1 tires in their Pasela line, which I find to be a pretty nice tire for their price. Something you'd probably have to special order from your LBS.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Need Frame stickers for an older Raleigh posted by: Jim on 5/25/2003 at 1:29:42 PM
I have an older Raleigh Grand Prix that I want to paint, but I don't want to lose the decals. This one has them on the seat tube, down tube, and on both fork legs. Any ideas where I can get replacement ones? Thanks..Jim

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Need Frame stickers for an older Raleigh posted by Tim on 5/26/2003 at 2:12:49 AM
I am not an expert on this but maybe you know someone who is. Try taking a digital photo of the decals. Someone who is good in photoshop could probably work out the distortions and give you a nice rendition to download.I don't know what is available as far as blank decal sheets to print the image on but i am sure some research will turn up something. Good luck

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Need Frame stickers for an older Raleigh posted by Edward in Vancouver on 5/26/2003 at 2:32:59 AM
Try Nick T. at Lloyds cycles(England). He specializes in waterslide decals for a wide variety of bikes and motorcycles. Don't have his e-mail address handy, but you can find it on Sheldon Brown's website.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by: Bill on 5/25/2003 at 2:20:26 AM
I just purchased from my local salvation army a very very light bike. I don't know a thing about these bikes, but I feel this might have been a good buy at 20 bucks. The label says Gitane and a sticker reads reynolds 453. There is also another sticker that reads DEFI. The pedals have straps on them. This bike is in very good condition, except for the tire rubber. Does anyone have any information on this bike for me?

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by David on 5/25/2003 at 5:55:23 PM
Are you sure the sticker says "453?" Is there a model name on the bike? What brand name is on the cranks, brakes, and derailers (gear changers)?

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by JONathan on 5/26/2003 at 7:09:30 AM
453? There is Reynolds 853 and Reynolds 653, but 453 is a mystery. There is an AL stainless steel with 453 that is not Reynolds, as far as I know. The 853 is from the mid-nineties. It "air-hardens" and it actually gets stronger after it's brazed into the lugs, but temp is very tricky. It's a fantastic steel. I'd look at the decal again and verify. It is an exotic steel if the number is indicative of the alloy ratios. What components are there? Gitane can be very high quality. I wish I had one. They are non-existent from my experience, although a friend had one that I rode. A quick bike! About like my Roold. Any more like that one?...JONathan

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by Tom on 5/26/2003 at 12:00:49 PM
Reynolds 453 was a manganese-titanium alloy intended for sports and general purpose bicyles. Reynolds produced only the 3 main tubes in this alloy and they were single butted. Bottom of the line Reynolds, along with 501.

   RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by Bill on 5/26/2003 at 3:00:40 PM
The sticker on this bike does say Garanti Construit Avec Reynolds 453. It is an Gitane bike. On the bottom of bike I did find what may be a model name (modele Vitus Depose u9594). This is engraved into the piece of metal that keeps the shifter cable in place.
Rim guts front--Mailard
Rim guts rear--Helico matic mailard
Shifter Equip.--Sachs Huret Rival
Large gear with with pedal holders--Nervar
Levers to hold and release wheels--Spidal
Brakes--Modols Corsa
Brake Handles--Corsa
Speed pedals--Christophe
Kickstand--ESGE Pletscher
This may be more information than anyone needs. Is this bike a rare or good find? Bottom line is it worth selling or keeping?

   RE:RE:VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   Reynolds 453 Gitane posted by JONathan on 5/27/2003 at 7:12:52 AM
Keep, keep, keep. I'd keep the frame since that Reynolds 453 is a bit unusual. "Low end" is a relative term and it is not the single determinant for collectibility. I see that a lot of collectibles can be low end, of course a lot are not low end. To me, any bike that's got a name and that is over 25 years BP, is collectible. Do you really dig the bike? If so, I'd keep it. In my case, I figure there must be a reason (inexplicable) that I stumble onto bikes. Philosophy aside, it is uncanny sometimes. Good luck, whatever you decide...JONathan
BTW, I'd like to stumble on a Gitane.

MISC:   Homebrew posted by: Oscar on 5/24/2003 at 11:36:00 PM
Some time ago, we had a thread about homebrew chain lube. Someone, was it Keith?, used graphite motor oil and paint thinner. Was it two-thirds oil to one of thinner or the other way around?

   RE:MISC:   Homebrew posted by Eric Amlie on 5/25/2003 at 12:13:30 AM
I got a recipe from one of the discussion pages that I have been using. Seems to work pretty well and has the added benefit of cleaning the chain when you apply in then rag off the excess. It's one quart of Mobil 1 synthetic oil (or any synthetic of your choice) to 3 quarts of mineral spirits. Makes a convenient gallon of lube. I think I may have used only two quarts of mineral spirits though as three seemed pretty thin.

AGE / VALUE:   Bastide track value posted by: joel on 5/24/2003 at 10:13:33 AM
thank you all for your input reguarding my Bastide track bike. For now Im
going to leave well enough alone. I still ride it and the old geezers cant believe there are a few still around. Im 53 and a geezer too! I was thinking of starting a club. Let me know what you guys think of this title; The "ruthless toothless "track bicycling club. (no kids under 50) And our mottos are: "fear the fixed gear" and "fakes use breakes". I dont race any more but its still fun to sound tough! Thanks again and Ill keep you folks posted .Im waiting to hear from some more bike museums. Write if you want -iaidobudos@aol.com

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bastide track value posted by Kevin K on 5/24/2003 at 2:31:03 PM
Hi Joel. Just to comment about your " geezer " remark. Just remember age is a state of mind, until you loose it. Enjoy the treasure of the past. Kevin

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Bastide track value posted by Dave on 5/27/2003 at 1:59:02 PM
Or as the folk singer Phil Och's wrote "Growing old is mandatory , growing up is optional".

WANTED:   needed! posted by: Joseph on 5/24/2003 at 1:36:24 AM
Hello everyone!These are some items which I need and will buy from anyone who has them for sale!

1.Miller dynamo lighting set
2.Raleigh heron 26'heron kickstand
3.Lucas twin dome revolving bell
4.Pirelli centurato 26 x 1 3/8 tires
5.Continental 26 x 1 3/8 tires

WOuld appreciate if pics available Thank you!

   RE:WANTED:   needed! posted by Joseph on 5/24/2003 at 2:00:01 AM
Hello you can mail me or send pics using this email address
Highendnoend@yahoo.com Thank you!



AGE / VALUE:   !985 Eddy Merckx posted by: Marc on 5/23/2003 at 6:53:34 PM
I was wondering if anyone could give me
>an idea of the value of a bike I recently acquired. It is an Eddy Merckx 1985 painted yellow to
>match the team Lotto colors. It has Columbus tubing
>and a full Campy Super Record component groupo in
>excellent shape. The bike is in perfect rideable
>condition. It has benn stored for the last 15 yrs.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   !985 Eddy Merckx posted by Chuck Schmidt on 5/24/2003 at 5:14:55 PM
No, Eddy Merckx was manufacturing his own bikes by 1980. I sell a reprint of his first catalog: Eddy Merckx Catalog, 1980 -- 12 pages, Professional Road and Professional Track models shown. Eddy's first catalog upon the creation of his own
factory with the help of Ugo DeRosa. Many photos of the factory and a photo of Eddy with Ugo.


   RE:AGE / VALUE:   !985 Eddy Merckx posted by Warren on 5/23/2003 at 10:37:27 PM
I think the Merckx bikes were made by DeRosa at this point. Here is the goods from Sheldon's website...other people have reiterated the DeRosa connection as well.


During the glory years of [Eddy] Merckx's racing career, he rode frames bearing his name. They were actually built by a variety of framebuilders. Masi, Colnago, De Rosa are among those whose bikes were ridden by the greatest racer of all time.
In the 70's, Falcon of England actually produced a Molteni colored bike bearing the Merckx markings. These bikes had basic frames, low-end parts, and were not terribly exciting. They are worth perhaps $300 in guideline condition. After his racing career ended, Merckx went into frame manufacturing. He apparently sought the assistance of Ugo DeRosa. It is claimed that some of the early Merckx frames were actually produced by DeRosa. Examination bears this out. Drop outs, for instance, are finished almost identically to the DeRosa style on early Merckx frames. Early Merckx frames with N.R. parts in guideline condition are probably worth around $1000. Later Merckx frames became a bit less refined. There are even some that are downright sloppy. Less exciting examples should have values closer to $800 with N.R. parts. Merckx frames will always have value because, in addition to the legendary name, they tend to provide a wonderful ride. Merckx makes certain that the bikes bearing his name are designed brilliantly, and that makes quite a difference.


I might add that I think this these prices are out of date...I wouldn't take a penny under $1200 ...$1500 would be better. Prices are slowly rising on classic Italian bikes,

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   !985 Eddy Merckx posted by Keith on 5/27/2003 at 1:59:54 PM
I think in the 70s Falcon and perhaps others turned out some poor to mediocre Merckx bikes. But by the time Eddy was really involved, and after extensive consultation with De Rosa, his bikes were, I believe, consistently excellent. Here's a couple of pics -- http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Benelux/Merckx_main.htm
My understanding is that to this day he remains very involved in the design and manufacture of the bikes that bear his name. Titanium models are made by Litespeed, but again they have to meet Eddy's high standards. But it's sort of a shame to see most of the stuff in today's catelogs with his name -- the typical ultra-light welded aluminum bikes that the market seems to adore but are really built to race for one good season, and will never have the panache of lugged steel.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   !985 Eddy Merckx posted by Keith on 5/27/2003 at 4:40:45 PM
P.S. Merckx still makes one lugged steel model -- the Leader.

AGE / VALUE:   Sears 10-Speed Racer and Sears "Ted Williams" Bike posted by: Richard on 5/23/2003 at 2:41:09 PM
Can anyone provide information about my bikes? One is a woman's frame marked "Sears, Roebuck and Company Made in France" and, on the top downtube, "10 Speed Racer". The top lug on the headtube is stamped "67". Could this be the year of manufacture? The bike has tourist style handlebars. The other bike, also a Sears, is marked "Ted Williams" and is a man's frame also with tourist handlebars. Can anyone at least date these bikes? I anticipate keeping at least the woman's bike (it's a great ride!) but would like to know if either of these bikes have any collector value. Also, I would like to have an owner's manual for them. Can anyone suggest a source?


AGE / VALUE:   Royce Union 3-Speed Questions posted by: Richard on 5/23/2003 at 2:41:09 PM
I have not been able to find information about Royce Union bikes, especially the one I have. The serial number is 30342SN. The 1961 date on the Sturmey-Archer hub suggests this is the date of manufacture. The location of the rear fender eyelet on a horizontal behind the rear axel suggests Raleigh as the maker. Does anyone have any information about Royce Union?

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Royce Union 3-Speed Questions posted by Ken on 5/26/2003 at 12:51:03 AM
Right you are JONathan. There are all kinds of references to Royce Union in the archives, from England, Germany and Japan. I posted about R-U a while back also; I have a 16" folder, made in Japan, with cottered cranks and a coaster hub(!) I've got pictures if anybody wants one emailed - but anyway, there are new machines at our local Farm & Fleet (AKA tractor supply) with the Royce Union badge. I didn't check but they're probably Chinese because they're competing with Megamart.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Royce Union 3-Speed Questions posted by JONathan on 5/24/2003 at 4:02:53 AM
Royce Union is interesting to me. I read about how there was a bicycle built by Royce Union. The most information (check archives, here as it was discussed not very long back) points to Royce Union as a marketing name. The bikes that people have aare from all over the globe. Most were department store and gas station merchandise as far as I can tell...I personally don't know anyone who collects them. They must have been tons of them out there, but I don't see many at thrift stores or rummage sales. Where did they all go? The ones from Germany, Italy and England may be interesting to collect because they may be less common. How about the brakes? Rims?

AGE / VALUE:   Restore Bastide Track bike? posted by: Joel on 5/23/2003 at 10:04:51 AM
My 1935-1936 Bastide track bicycle has rust on the crank arms,pedals, headset . Would I devalue this bike if I replated these parts? I know if you restore a car the value goes up. Does the same hold for a bike? Can I paint the frame? Thanks folks! - Joel

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Restore Bastide Track bike? posted by Gralyn on 5/23/2003 at 12:01:18 PM
I think that if you keep the original components - and re-plate them - I wouldn't think it would de-value the bike. There must be a fine line between re-painting and re-plating. I know that once the original finish is gone - you can try to professionally re-paint - but it can never be the same as original paint. But for the plated compenentry...I wouldn't think so. You should ask an antiques expert before you do anything.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Restore Bastide Track bike? posted by Warren on 5/23/2003 at 12:21:26 PM
You definitely should not paint the frame...so why bother with the cranks. They would look out of place. Original condition is more important.

   RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Restore Bastide Track bike? posted by Brian L. on 5/23/2003 at 2:41:31 PM
Ditto what Warren said. Try any of the good chrome restoration products and let it go at that. With respect to cars, as well as most antiques, I believe un-restored, original condition is generally worth more than restored, provided that the original finish is intact and complete and merely enhanced by "patina".

   RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Restore Bastide Track bike? posted by Gralyn on 5/23/2003 at 3:42:59 PM
I still think you should ask an appraiser / antiques expert. But my logic tells me - that on a car, a motorcycle, a bike - that you should be able to re-plate without taking away the value.
Who would want an old classic car - with original paint (which looks decent) yet has rusty bumpers and chrome trim? I just don't feel it would be more valuable with the rusty bumpers - than with re-plated bumpers. Now, if the original paint happens to be an eye-sore - maybe it's not adding that much to the value.
I say - ask someone who actually deals in these things.

Do you have any pics of the Bastide? I would love to see it.

   RE:RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Restore Bastide Track bike? posted by JONathan on 5/23/2003 at 4:26:51 PM
Hi, Joel. I wish the dilemma was mine. You have a fantastic bike! Here is my 2 cents, and it's just my opinion. Speaking from experience (that means hard-way learned) in antique cars and in furniture, less is more. Even if it means forgetting about making it functionally improved. I keep in mind that there "isn't a better mouse trap" concept in restoration. Authentication is the most important aspect.
Anything I do has to conform to the ever present "responsibility" to maintain the original integrity...even down to the fasteners and, in the case of furniture, adherence to original methods! That's a big responsibility. As for the Bastide. I would gently (very) clean it of dust and grit, webs, etc. Find a way, which I can't say, that preserves it's present condition from any further deterioration. I'd even keep the original tires or if I could find exact vintage replacements (NOT repro stuff) maybe. Esthetics are subjective, but I prefer an antique to LOOK like an antique. Your "Bastide" is a unique part of bicycling history. I'd love to see it just the way it is. I wish the best of luck in whatever you do with it. What's amazing to me is how so many historical itmes just get dumped out. The ones that "hide" for few decades and are discovered by a interested party make it to museums or private collections....JONathan

   RE:RE:RE:RE:RE:AGE / VALUE:   Restore Bastide Track bike? posted by Ron on 5/24/2003 at 1:44:26 AM
I would have to agree. With most things, the value decreases with restoration, no matter how fine the craftmanship. I was watching "Antiques Road Show" once, and an old dresser would have been worth $100,000 if the owner had not stripped the "ugly maroon paint." With things that were in the public eye, it adds to the history to have the scratches and dents. I like to see old race cars with the dirt and oil and worn out tires from the last race. It means that this machine was really used by a human being, not just assembled and put on display. My favorite way to see historical machines is to see them in action. If they can be mechanically restored, then exercised, whether in a parade or on the track, more people will get to enjoy them than in a museum or collection.

AGE / VALUE:   Needs info. on American Flyer posted by: Rob on 5/23/2003 at 6:37:23 AM
Can anybody tell me about a roadbike by the name of American Flyer made in Japan. i got the bike from my uncle after he had pass away nobody in my family seem to know anything about it. I do remember that he had the bike since early 80's.

   RE:AGE / VALUE:   Needs info. on American Flyer posted by David on 5/23/2003 at 10:48:16 AM
Use the "more messages" button at the bottom. There was a discussion on this brand name a week ago or so.

MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by: JONathan on 5/22/2003 at 10:39:45 PM
I've got a Centurion forkset that has a SR stem that's really stuck. The wedge won't pull out from the bottom of the steerer, thus negating any chance of driving it out from the inside. I sawed the stem off in order to remove the bearings and the whole fork-steerer-stem combo. I blocked the fork crown in my bench vise and nubbed it down so it couldn'y turn while I applied a pipe wrench to the stub. Nothing happened. I can move the stem into the steerer by pounding with rubber hammer, hoping to free it a bit. I have about 3/4 inch sticking out of the top of the steerer. That's where it is. Not too far away is my garbage can, but before I try the horseshoe pitch, I was wondering if any smarter guys can come up with a solution for pulling that stem out. BTW, the wedge is loose and the clamp screw is removed. Thanks, gents...JONathan

   RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Tom on 5/22/2003 at 11:50:38 PM
I'm suprised that you can move it in, but not out.

In a past thread one of the other contributors suggested ammonia. I haven't tried it myself, but after I read his his post a little research indicated it is very good at dissolving aluminum oxide, so I'd try that first.

Next I'd try contracting the stem by cooling it down from the inside, with a blast from a CO2 cartridge.

My next resort would to be to cut a slot down the length of stem remant, from the inside, using a hacksaw blade. If you're careful you can do this without damaging the inside of the steerer. Once you've slotted the stem you may be able to twist it out or peel it away.

Last resort would be to ream it out.

The last two methods are very labour intensive, so you'll have to judge how much you want to save the fork. However, if I've judged your character correctly based on your past posts, overcoming the challenge will be your priority regardless of the fork's value.

   RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Rob on 5/23/2003 at 12:31:48 AM
I had a somewhat similar experience a couple years ago with a Raleigh SC and a GB stem, but I hadn't sawn off the stem. I could twist the stem with some effort, but I could not get it to move up. I finally start banging it under the stem extension with a wooden mallet(all I had, Iwasn't at home), tapping gently but firmly and ever so slowly the stem came out. Turned out the stem was partally corroded, and not very much either.

In your case, besides what Tom is saying, maybe you could run in a piece of suitably sized pipe from the bottom, using the wedge as a sort of platform, support the fork crown shoulders, and try some persuasion with a suitable rubber or equivalent hammer...

   RE:RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by JONathan on 5/23/2003 at 1:33:32 AM
Thanks, guys. The pounding on it from the bottom seems to jack that wedge into the steerer. I am afraid to look for a bigger hammer, lest the whole tube goes along with the stem. The hacksaw won't work because the hole in the stem is too small for my saw, but I could use the abrasive rod blade. That's a possible. The reeming is too much work. Drilling AL is a possible, but I'd mess up doing it with a hand-drill and my drillpress is a benchtop. I'm going to pack it on my MTB rack up to my brother. He's the metal guy. I'll let you know what gives. Thanks for all the advice....JONathan

   RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Gralyn on 5/23/2003 at 2:40:34 AM
I have never experience a stuck stem - but I have run into a stuck seat post. It wasn't aluminum alloy, but steel. I took the advice of soaking it with a penetrant for a few days - it worked - and I got it out.

   RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Oscar on 5/23/2003 at 5:43:34 AM
Try to drill a pair hole through the exposed end of the stem and insert a long, stout bolt through it. Then use an extension over the bolt for leverage. (Gotta steel mountainbike bar around?) Block the fork from moving by inserting the dropouts in a bike carrier or an exerciser.

Try some left to right motion until you hear a crackle, meaning the bond is broken. (You'll be in a sweat by then). Then you should be able to work the remains of the stem back up.

   RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Joe on 5/23/2003 at 8:15:43 AM
JONathan, I just had to deal with the same thing, I had an early Trek (with all 531), that had sat out in the weather and had rusted both the seat post and the stem, the first battle is to get the wedge down away from the stem itself, for this I use a long punch, (or bolt or 1/4" extenstion), and drive downward through the stem bolt hole against the top of the wedge. The wedge is smaller in diameter than the stem and should fall down in the steer tube. Next I use a penetrating oil called PB BLaster, it will loosen rust after a short soaking period. The last one I did I had to let it soak for an hour or so and with some tapping with a dead blow mallet it loosened and I was able to twist it free. If you left enough stem showing when you cut it off you may want to drill a cross hole so that you can put a bar through the stub of the stem for a better grip to twist it free. When it starts to move don't just start hammering on it, keep soaking it with lube until it comes out easily, trying to force it out may just get it stuck in another spot.
The bike I did was parked years ago with a bad headset and since the owner couldn't get the stem out, he just parked it. It was given to me as parts. It will be a fine ride again soon as is I am repainting it,(no choice, since there was enough rust starting from sitting), building a fresh set of all NOS wheels and have a low miles donor for the rest of the components.
Good luck!

   RE:RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Rob on 5/24/2003 at 5:30:57 AM
Hey JONathan...I've got one of those!...mid '70's Centurion LeMans...I bought a year or so ago for the parts...Very rusty...big blotches all over...and a slightly bent downtube which I noticed later...some of the parts seem OK...the same as you listed...it's also a tall bike...I've been gradually stripping off parts. I bought it from one of my second hand bike shop friends....$20CDN ($14 or so US)...He wanted that much because of the nice Eise (sp?) fenders, one of which I damaged by getting it caught in the spokes of another bike I was moving around, Oh well...

I hear they are not too bad...a good average bike. I think they were imported by WSI, and later morphed into 'Diamondback'. Maybe someone can confirm...

One thing though, mine has a triangular tubing sticker at the top of seat tube, white with red detail...but it's so faint I can't make it out...can you read the one on your bike?

   RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Rob on 5/24/2003 at 5:35:34 AM
JONathan...look above for my second post for some reason it jumped the queue...it's out of sync, timewise...I don't know why that sometimes happens...

   RE:RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Dave on 5/23/2003 at 2:03:39 PM
I had a simular issue with a Schwinn World 3-speed from the early '80's a friend gave me.I destroyed the fork trying to get the stem to go so I Dremeled thru the fork steerer.The bike was his deceased father's bike so it does have sentimental value,I'm having a LBS run by our former Bike Club president put a crome replacement fork and new headset on.You shouldv'e seen the rust thru on the fenders,but they saved the frame from quite a bit of rust.Good luck!

   RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by JONathan on 5/24/2003 at 1:22:24 AM
Thanks, gents. All the valuable tips are greatly appreciated for a more valiant attempt on a premier candidate for restoration. My brother noticed that the portion of tube that was inside the fork crown was significantly smaller in diameter than at the threaded end. He said to remove the wedge was necessary and then drive the stem stub out the way it came in. I used a brake cylinder hone with three grinder flanges to enlarge the tube near the crown. The grinding was taking it off, but it was hard stuff and the grinder flanges are expensive. It would wear down a whole set before enough steel was abraded away to allow that wedge to slide out.
The plan was working, I just didn't want to spend $30 for a set of grinder pads to replace the ones that would be spent. So, I decided to pipe-cutter the steerer just below the shoulder of the stem (not the tip of the slanted end). This went without any surprises and I have a fork set for a 21" bike instead of a 25" frame forkset. I just need to thread the end to refit the hardware. This whole issue was avoidable if Centurion had allowed for escape of the wedge from underneath the steerer. Of course, leaving a bike to weather in the elements for 15 years doesn't help matters. I got a gold mine outs this bike; nice Dia-Compe cp brakes; Tourney 165mm cranks and clean chainrings; a SunTour "V gt" rear and SunTour front derailers; good alloy drop bars; SunTour "Power Shifters"; clean brake levers and MKS pedals. The Italian touring seat is OK. I saw an ad for a bike helmut (used) for $15 and there was a whole bike for the same price. I don't get it. I learned a lot from the posts and from trying some out. Thanks again...JONathan
BTW, I got a Centurion "Le Mans" for $4, too. Are they a good fixer-upper?

   RE:RE:RE:RE:MISC:   Ready to pitch it posted by Dave on 5/27/2003 at 1:52:16 PM
Jonathan, I met a woman who in 1976 rode her Centurion from Chicago to San Deigo; they celebrated the centennial by letting people camp for .50 cents a night at all National & State Parks. She only had a double chainwheel , but these bike were highly regarded at the time and she did well.

VINTAGE LIGHTWEIGHTS:   for all you Clubman fans posted by: Brian L. on 5/22/2003 at 3:05:59 PM