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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My question regards this Forum and what defines a "classic" bike and/or components. For instance, when it comes to cars they usually need to be at least 25 years old and have distinguishing features to be considered a classic. But here there are many threads/replies mentioning bikes from the mid to late 90's, or 10 years old. An argument can be made that there was a fairly well defined shift in the eighties away from lugged steel frames, friction shifting, 32 or 36 hole rims, and freewheels. Before that everything was mostly alike and after that everything has been about the same.

So, what's a "classic", and in fact is a retro-classic a carbon frame with a steel fork, e-Bay Campy Super Record group/Cinelli quill stem/toe clips and straps/freewheel hubs/Benotto tape, and a new Brooks saddle, etc? It seems anyone can cob any contemporary thing together and call it a classic - "Look, it only has 8-speed Ergo/STI levers so it must be a classic!?"
 

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What does classic mean? It means many things to many people! One of the nice things about this forum, to my way of thinking, is that it can mean whatever the poster wants it to mean. This forum is like a bunch of folks sitting around in someone's garage, talking about bicycles, but we don't have a "Big Brother" looking over our shoulder, telling us which posts are or are not acceptable. That's a refreshing change from some other groups.

- FBB
 

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Classic bikes to me are those that I wanted, but couldn't afford from1974-1981 (age 14-21). From my perspective anything much older is an antique and anything much newer is a new fangled gadget. I'd also consider a 1973 Schwinn Continental in pristine condition to be a classic because that's what really got me started. No bike is signficantly better for me than the old Schwinn Contintental. I wouldn't ride fewer miles or enjoy it any less if I still rode that 40 lb electroforged 10 speed.
 

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Ha ha, This was one of the original threads for this forum

I'd agree with David Hickey's comments. It's in the eye of the beholder.

Generally I look for the following:

Steel with lugs
quill stem
non-ergo bars
d/t levers
single pivot center pull brakes or Mafac/Universal center pulls
non-sloping top tube
tubulars (of course practically speaking, even I have almost completely given up the glue practice)

That being said, I'm old and if somebody showed me a Telekom MXL with Campy 8 ergo, I'd say that was okay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
fbagatelleblack - I understand the desire for informality and keeping "Big Brother" under wraps, but if it's simply "whatever..." then we're stuck with "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." And there's nothing pretty about that.
bobj - I love both my "old" and "new" bicycles, but the sad fact about most "new" bicycles today is they won't make it to "old". So rejoice!
Dave Hickey - I wondered because in the "Specialized Allez Epic" you said it wasn't quite a classic yet. I don't know what an OCLV Trek is, but as far as this Forum goes, Only 531 Treks & lugged steel Allez's, which were before Trek & Specialized seceded from the bicycling community, should be included.
tarwheel2, O.F.S. Wino, and Reynolds531 - On the right track
boneman - I checked the first few pages of the Forum's original Threads and couldn't find it. Can you point me in the right direction? Otherwise - On track...

Thanks for the replies!
 

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refund!? said:
fbagatelleblack - I understand the desire for informality and keeping "Big Brother" under wraps, but if it's simply "whatever..." then we're stuck with "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." And there's nothing pretty about that.
Au contraire, mon frere!!

There is lots and lots that's pretty about "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." And for everything you don't think is pretty, there is the "Delete" key.

Let chaos reign!

- FBB
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
fbagatelleblack said:
there is the "Delete" key.
Thanks for the tip. I attempted to use the "Delete" key, but it doesn't appear to be functional on this Forum. So back to basics. Somewhere between no quidelines and suffocating rules, it seems a specifically named Forum, like Retro-Classic, might be served by having a broad bounded relation to the name's definition. It, of course, wouldn't be intended exclusivize the Forum, but rather would provide a basis for light-hearted besmirchment of those who would attempt to "serve the wine before its time".

Maybe Dave Hickey could do a tongue-in-cheek "Retro-Classic" poll* regarding this issue. The winning etiquette would establish the Forum's appropriate attire (Which hopefully would include black wool shorts with leather chamois).

*An excellent topic for a sitting around the garage, beer in hand discussion.
 

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refund!? said:
Somewhere between no quidelines and suffocating rules, it seems a specifically named Forum, like Retro-Classic, might be served by having a broad bounded relation to the name's definition. It, of course, wouldn't be intended exclusivize the Forum, but rather would provide a basis for light-hearted besmirchment of those who would attempt to "serve the wine before its time"
This forum ain't broke. Let's not try to fix it.

- FBB
 

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If it didn't come from the builder with wooden rims, then it ain't a classic.
 

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Steel reigned until the 90s

O.F.S. Wino said:
it will mean different things to different folks. for me?

1988 or earlier
6, possibly 7 speeds, generally friction shifters (though I would consider the 1st gen D.A. 6 speed indexed downtubes "classic" and probably go as far as the 7 speed....nothing Synchro was classic (it has be good to qualify as classic in my book).
No way is anything 8 speed or more considered classic in my book.
The oldest brifters = not classic.
Look pedals circa 85 definite classics.
Original Mavic SSC componentry definite classics.
Quill pedals, binda xtra straps and christophe clips...now we're talkin(campy too!).
Same with benotto tape and ofmega stuff, etc,etc (if it's no longer made, it's easier to be considered classic...as long as it was decent).
Araya red label tubies. Classic.
Un-aero brake levers (with gum hoods)= very classic.
The original Turbo R's and Avocet folding clinchers= classic.
Original AC threaded hubs=classic (stuff that was not "hip" at the time but now is "hot" makes classic status easier)
Having said that, I'll give the original mavic hubs (86ish) classic status even though they were sealed bearing. Despite the fact that the rear axle bent too easily....

If its "replace the bearing cartridge" no way is it classic(original mavic hubs being an exception. silky smooth after nuuuuuuumerous miles).
If you can't work on it its not classic.
Most people these days probably wouldn't know what a cone wrench is if it hit them in the forehead.

....I know some of you true old schoolers are laughing YA'sO...(mafac dual pull action brakes, 70's and earlier raleighs, etc)
You've got us to the ballpark, but I'd go even furthur.

Classic cars used to be the finest representations of the materials and designs of the period in which they were built. One thinks of 1954 Ferraris, or pre-WWII Rolls Royces. Junk from the past might be cute or retro, but one wouldn't give it the status of "classic."

So I'd say classic would mean lugged steel, hand brazed by craftsmen for riders they often knew--well that might be pushing it. These bikes would be raced or ridden in brevets, and of course there were a few "touring" models. Lugged steel, for 50 years the material of choice for lightweight bikes, was pretty much perfected by the 80s. Some of the finest examples of steel come from that period, so they'd be "classic." By the late 50s Campy was dominant in professional racing, so anything with Campy would be classic. In the 70s and early 80s, before Shimano got up to speed with their Dura Ace line, Campy Record, Nuovo Record and Super Record were the equipment of choice for all serious racers and their fans. Nothing else could hold up over the miles and on the rougher roads back then. Campy was bullet proof. Nothing else could come close to it until the late 80s.

My ideal classic bike would be a late 70s Cinelli, Columbus SL tubing, investment cast lugs and fork crown, chromed at points of abrasion like dropouts, drive side chainstay. It would be all Campy equipped: 6 speed 13-21 freewheel, caged pedals with toeclips and straps, cotton or that thin plastic Benotto handlebar tape, cables that looped up from the brake levers one fellow rider referred to as "banana catchers." Tubular wheels until the 80s when clincher rims and rubber came close to the weight and quality of tubs, and 36 spokes for everyday riding, 32 for racing. And oh yeah, box section rims. They rode better than v-section rims then used only for TTs.

One might date the demise of classic bikes around the time click shifting came in. So any bike with downtube friction shifters would be "classic." I knew a couple of old guys who had bikes they raced on in the 30s, yes the 30s. They'd upgraded components and wheels, but the frames were the same lugged steel Reynolds 531 that could be bought new in the 80s. That's gotta be "classic," a technology that couldn't be bettered in 50 years, and to some, still can't to this day.

Below courtesy http://www.raydobbins.com/
 

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Fredrico said:
One might date the demise of classic bikes around the time click shifting came in. So any bike with downtube friction shifters would be "classic." I knew a couple of old guys who had bikes they raced on in the 30s, yes the 30s. They'd upgraded components and wheels, but the frames were the same lugged steel Reynolds 531 that could be bought new in the 80s. That's gotta be "classic," a technology that couldn't be bettered in 50 years, and to some, still can't to this day.
Reynolds 531 steel has been ridden to more TDF victories than any other frame material.
 
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