MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

QUALITY - INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS BETTER?

OLD vs NEW

WHO MADE IT - ???

CAMPAGNOLO

SHIMANO

SUNTOUR

SIMPLEX

OTHER MANUFACTURERS

SEAT POSTS

PEDALS

SADDLES

RIMS & TIRES

HUBS, SPOKES , SKEWERS

HANDLEBARS & STEMS

BRAKE CALLIPERS

BRAKE LEVERS

DERAILLEURS

 

COMPONENT QUALITY CHARACTERISTICS

WHAT IS BETTER?

Three things come into play when evaluating vintage bicycle components.  Function - does it work well?  Durability - will it last?  Maintenance - is it easy to install and tune?  Those are the three primary quality defining characteristics associated with every component on a bicycle.  The fourth consideration, and of equal importance in a slightly different manner, is aesthetics - is it pleasing to the eye?  If you find a component that works well, lasts a long time, is easy to tune and looks good to boot, then you have found a quality bicycle component.

Keep in mind that part of the component quality characteristics depends on you.  If you don't know how to shift, no derailleur on Earth will work well for you.  If you fail to maintain a component, it will not last long.  If you don't know how to adjust a derailleur, it will not seem easy to set-up.  And as for the aesthetics thing, that is entirely up to you.  "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and your opinion in this area is all that counts.

The “what is better” discussion will focus on two things.  First, "what is better", from the collector's point of view.  And second, "what is better" from the rider's. What is better from the rider's view point is based on how the component worked - for me.  How long the component lasted or stayed tune - for me.  And how easy it was for me to install and set-up.  Please don't think that I purport myself to be an expert in any of these three areas.  I am sharing my opinion based on what I have learned with each component to be discussed.  If I haven't tried it, I will not comment on it.  If I have tried it, I will offer my opinion pertaining to collectable and usable characteristics.  Finally, little will be said about entry level components since I have rarely used anything that would be considered to be entry level.

When I started collecting and riding, vintage road bicycles, I had to have the best stuff and the lightest frame set.  With that in mind, I rarely bothered to try out the entry level offerings and that included complete bicycles themselves.  Believe it or not, I have left gorgeous old bicycles, like this Peugeot Super Sport, right where I found them - at the Dump!  And why?  Simply because those bikes did not have fancy frame sets and fancier components.  What a mistake that has proved to be.  A vintage road bicycle does not have to be the best or most exotic to offer a very rewarding ride while increasing in value with the passing of time.

The following is not intended to teach anyone about which manufacturer's components are the best, or worst, or prettiest, or most expensive.  More often than not, best, worst, and prettiest are subjective considerations.  That said, collectability is an issue that can be discussed, as long as you keep in mind that collectability and quality are not necessarily the same thing.

I will share my evaluations about components that I have actually used.  By used, I mean worked on and ridden with for several hundred miles or more.  In my opinion, it is difficult, if not impossible to evaluate a vintage component, grouppo, or a bicycle for that matter, without spending considerable time riding, adjusting fit, riding, tuning, riding, riding and riding.  It takes time to get to know a bicycle and the only way to do it is to ride, tune and adjust.

Component comparisons and evaluations, focus not only on materials and craftsmanship, that were invested to make the part.  Design is also of huge importance, and designs have changed considerably, over the years.  Sure a wheel still looks like a wheel, but the differences between Old School wheels and new is as subtle as the difference between night and day.

NEXT - WHAT'S BEST - OLD SCHOOL vs. NEW

 

 

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