Vintage Bicycles

Vintage Bicycles
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What are vintage bikes?

These aesthetically pleasing bikes are becoming more and more popular. When something is called antique, the item is normally over 100 years old. Vintage items are more recent, a bicycle is considered vintage when it is over 20 years old. The difference between an antique and a vintage bike is how the vintage bicycles are still perfect for daily use.

Every vintage bicycle is unique in its own way. The expertise that was used to build the bikes back in the day, is extraordinary. The bikes were even handmade. The vintage road bikes are great commuters for daily use or historic events like Eroica. The fine craftsmanship used to build the bicycle and the attention and detail that went into it, makes the bikes everlasting.

What is the price range of a vintage bicycle?

The prices of vintage bikes are remarkably diverse. There are bikes which are worth a few hundred euros, but there are also bikes worth a few thousand, sometimes even up to ten thousand.

The price of the bike depends on a few different factors. The condition of the bike is particularly important, a well-maintained bicycle is worth more than one with rust or dents in its frame. The brand also plays a role in the price of a bike, some brands like Bianchi and Colnago are more popular and deliver higher quality bikes than others. Other reasons for the higher value are:

  • Some of the vintage road bikes are handmade
  • There is only a finite number ever produced
  • Some have been ridden by cycling legends

The possible high value of the vintage bike makes it a great choice for investors. They do not depreciate over time but increase in value over time. This makes collectables a unique and reliable investment.

Famous vintage road bike brands

There are many amazing cycling brands. The retro bikes they produced are some of the finest handcrafted pieces. Here we highlight some of the greatest cycling brands:

Bianchi was founded in 1885 when Edoardo Bianchi started manufacturing bikes in his shop in Milan, Italy at just 21 years old. From here on, he kept growing. The very first prize for a Bianchi bike was achieved in 1899 at the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris by Giovanni Tomaselli.

In 1954 the Italian brand Colnago was founded by Ernesto Colnago. He was one of the pioneers and most innovative manufacturers in cycling history and first became known for its high-quality steel-framed bicycles. He worked with many great cyclists like ‘The Cannibal’ Eddy Merckx in the 70’s. The bicycles can be recognized by the black symbol which is very similar to the ‘clubs’ symbol used on playing cards.

Ugo De Rosa is the founder of the family brand and opened his first shop in 1953. He was an amateur racer which inspired him to study mechanics and engineering. De Rosa can be recognized by its famous heart logo. He started supplying great cycling teams like the Motta and Molteni teams.

Eddy Merckx is a former professional road and track bike racer. The Belgian is seen as the most successful rider of competitive cycling in history. His career consisted of many victories like world championships, monuments, grand tours and set time records. After his retirement, in 1980, he started the brand Eddy Merckx Cycles. His first workers were trained by Ugo De Rosa. In the 80s and 90s, his bikes were used by multiple top-level cycling teams.

A typical vintage road bike

Vintage bicycles can be found in many different versions. The vintage bicycle is distinguished by its steel frame. And when constructed by the right hands, steel bikes are responsive, light, and comfortable, the golden trio of current bicycles designs. These days, most bikes are made of lighter materials like aluminum, titanium, and carbon fibre. Here we will present you a typical road bike from around the 80s.

The retro road bikes from this period are most likely made using Vitus or Reynolds tubing and in later years Columbus, the choice of most of the frame builders back in the 1970s and 1980s. The bike could be equipped with Campagnolo or Shimano components. Over the years, the paintwork might be a bit chipped, but when manufactured well, the bike can still be in a good condition.

One example of one of those classic bicycles is this Gazelle Champion Mondial AA Special Road Bicycle 1984.

Gazelle Vintage Road Bicycle

The bike is from the Dutch manufacturer Gazelle, which has been one of the biggest bicycle companies in the world for many years. All the paintwork is still original and so are the decals. This frame was built with Reynolds 531 butted tubes and is equipped with Campagnolo Super Record parts.

Important things to keep in mind when buying a vintage bicycle

Vintage bicycles are becoming more and more popular due to their beautiful retro looks. But when buying a vintage road bike, you should be considerate of a few things:

  • Frame The frame is the bike's core and therefore must be made with high-quality materials; when it comes to steel frames, the best manufactures mainly used Columbus or Reynolds
  • Components High-quality components ensure a long-lasting and pleasant ride. The material of the components and brand are important for the duration of the bike. Campagnolo and in later years, Shimano, offered the finest bicycle components on offer.
  • Size When buying a bike, it is important to know your frame size. Most frame measurements are based on the seat tube. Calculate your frame size here.
  • Condition The frame must be free from cracks, dents, and rust. Paintwork and decals are always preferable with the manufactures original.

Every vintage road bike is unique and when properly maintained, it will provide many more years of cycling fun!