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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I'm looking into two vintage bikes and I'd love some input on which would be the better choice. Both are in working condition, and neither seems like anything is rusted/potentially wrong.

The 1950s Grand Prix is white and listed at $120
The 1980s Sovereign is red and listed at $180

I live in an area with lots of hills, so I'm looking for something lightweight that can handle a lot of commuting.

Thanks in advance for the advice!!!
- Bishop
 

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If you live in hills, you will want a compact crank (50x34-that's in front where your feet go) and a large cassette (12-34-that's on the rear wheel), minimum (the smaller the crank & the bigger the cassette, the better). Unless they have 3 gears on the crank! If they are vintage I would recommend you pass, as the past history for most bikers is to 'buck it up' and 'grind it out' mentality, which is not in current fashion (and can be rather painful to most riders).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you live in hills, you will want a compact crank (50x34-that's in front where your feet go) and a large cassette (12-34-that's on the rear wheel), minimum (the smaller the crank & the bigger the cassette, the better). If they are vintage I would recommend you pass, as the past history for most bikers is to 'buck it up' and 'grind it out' mentality, which is not in current fashion (and can be rather painful to most riders).
Can I upgrade the frame with these suggestions? Or do you think the frame will still be too heavy for what I need? Thank you so so much for your swift reply! :D
 

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Most modern components are not compatible with vintage bikes. If you trying to hold costs down, I would go with an entry level modern bike that has 3 gears @ the crank or a bike that is a 'mountain' bike as they are geared lower have bigger tires (ride better), then you will be able to replace/repair parts as required without using ebay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Most modern components are not compatible with vintage bikes. If you trying to hold costs down, I would go with an entry level modern bike that has 3 gears @ the crank or a bike that is a 'mountain' bike as they are geared lower have bigger tires (ride better), then you will be able to replace/repair parts as required without using ebay.
Makes sense. Thank you!!! (You're the only person to offer suggestions for the past few days. I really appreciate the interaction. LOL)
 

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Makes sense. Thank you!!! (You're the only person to offer suggestions for the past few days. I really appreciate the interaction. LOL)
Check out marketplace and Craig’s list. You’ll find affordable options that are modern. If you use it as a commuter you. want something reliable.


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Hello! I'm looking into two vintage bikes and I'd love some input on which would be the better choice. Both are in working condition, and neither seems like anything is rusted/potentially wrong.

The 1950s Grand Prix is white and listed at $120
The 1980s Sovereign is red and listed at $180

I live in an area with lots of hills, so I'm looking for something lightweight that can handle a lot of commuting.

Thanks in advance for the advice!!!
- Bishop
Save your money and buy an entry level used bike. Those bikes you're looking at are heavy, and more importantly probably not geared well to handle hills, especially for a novice rider. Get some idea of what size bike you're looking for. Go to a local bike shop and ask them for advice on what you need. Whether it fits you well is a lot more important than what color it is, although we all know here that red bikes are faster. That's why I prefer blue.
 

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I'd sooner get the Sovereign. It is of more recent vintage so any repair parts will more likely be readily available. The bike can definitely handle commuting and has fittings for fenders and a rack. Both are good things to have on a commuting bike.

As to "lightweight" and hills. We don't know how strong you are nor how hilly it is where you live. The gearing may be fine for you. The weight is pretty much irrelevant; you're using the bike for commuting, not racing.

The key thing to ensure is, does the bike fit you?
 

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Well, I googled sovereign and a raliegh showed up. Flat bars, the shifters are on the top tube, gearing doesn't look too bad. Probably can't put too big of tires on it, but if your hills aren't steep and they are short it may work for you. But go into a shop and tell them you want a commuter entry level, or as an alternative a mtn or touring bike and see what they got and you see it in person. I would get the biggest tires and lowest gearing you can. Take a hard look at how you change gears as you will be doing a lot of it, sometimes in distress (we have some serious riders here who claim they cant tell when a hill is coming unless it's on their Garmin/Smart Phone). And fit for sure!
 

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The 1950s bike prolly won't be able to accommodate the kind of gears you'll need for hills.
 

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The 1950 bike is past being "old" and well into "museum piece" territory. On a 50's vintage frame, you will find that all the threads will be Whitworth standard, which is completely incompatible with 'modern' English threading. This means that, for repairs, you will be stuck with either finding decent 70-year old components, or very expensive components made specifically for restorers. Modern equipment will_not_fit an antique frame like this.

As for the 80's Sovereign, well, it's a none-too-special bike from nearly 40 years ago, and for THAT kind of money, I'd expect it to be absolutely perfect. Once again, being a Raleigh, it might still have threading issues, depending on whether it was made in Nottingham, of if it was made in whatever Asian factory at the time. Placing modern components on this frame would be like putting lipstick on a pig.

So, is there a reason why you're only looking at really old bikes?
 

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A frame made in the 1950's will have been made with 120mm rear spacing.... In other words, made for a 5 speed freewheel. It will be difficult to find wheels and components to fit on that frame......Most do not even have derailleur hangers....A frame from the 80's is much easier to rehab. The frame will be spaced to either 126mm, or 130mm. In other words, modern components can be used on it.
 
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