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2021 For Sale in Westmont IL

Museum bikes from 1966 to 1985 on display at Classic Cycle

Vintage bike fans are typically fond of Cinelli handlebars and handlebar stems. Hardcore followers of the brand will swear by vintage Cinelli Unicanitor saddles or talk up the M71 pedals , which were the first commercially viable pedals with ski-binding type engagement.
While Cinelli is a well-respected name for bicycle components, their bikes are a different story.
People LOVE vintage Cinelli bikes. No one ever has a bad thing to say about their old Cinelli. Cino Cinelli’s namesakes have achieved solid gold status among bike fans worldwide.
Cinelli bikes were produced in small quantities through the late 1970′s for a fairly exclusive clientele of elite-level racers.
Cino Cinelli himself was a successful racer in his day, winning the Milan-San Remo monument in 1943.
Upon completing his athletic career, Cino began building bikes. Drawing upon his own experience, Cinelli built racing frames that were stiffer and had quicker-handling geometry than most of his competitors in that post-WWII era. Cino created a fork crown that had sloping shoulders and internal lugs, allowing the fork blades to be shorter and stiffer. He designed a fastback-style seat collar for his frames, bringing the seat stays in behind the lug rather than along side it. Italian champion Fausto Coppi used these new features when he raced on a Cinelli in 1947.
This model is labeled as the “Speciale Corsa” which later came to be known as the “Supercorsa” or simply the “SC”. The Speciale Corsa has been Cinelli’s top model and maybe the world’s most iconic steel bicycle frame for 60 years. Since the introduction of the Speciale Corsa in the mid ‘60’s it has undergone only two significant changes: new graphics for the frame designed by Italo Lupi in 1979 and in 1984 the introduction of the Cinelli Spoiler bottom bracket, which Cinelli claims was the only microcast bicycle frame part ever to be granted a patent. Over the years there have been other modifications to the model, but they have been regarded as subtle updates of the steel tubing and building techniques. The original ride quality and aesthetic of Cinellis like this one have remained respectfully unchanged.
This is a Hugh Porter/Bantel team bike from 1975. Hugh Porter was the first British bike racer to win a professional world championship , and Hugh later became the voice of bike racing for cycling fans in the UK as a commentator for the BBC.
Bantel was the team sponsor, a company which was based in the United Kingdom. For the life of me I have no idea what they did and/or do now.
John Adkins is the bike rider who owned this bike. John was an enthusiast who rode and raced along with his wife Mary in Yakima and the tri-cities area. In 1979 John was senior district road race champion.
Mary Adkins was kind enough to give us some background surrounding the bike and her husband John:
“ In 1975 or 1976 John started racing with the Yakima Cycling Team. We started doing 10-mile time trials one night a week with other local members of the team. The guys trialed against each other. I went out with them and did my own time trial against myself and the clock. I wasn’t too speedy, but I loved it. The earliest races were mostly in Issaquah. That was when the traffic wasn’t a problem and the population was not that large. They would stage criteriums on the road that runs parallel on both sides of I-90. At that time they could go over I-90 at one overpass and under at another with no cars on the road.
John raced with the Yakima Cycling Team until late 1978 or early 1979. They raced in Yakima, Issaquah, Seattle, Portland, Olympia, Ellensburg, Tri-Cities and I am not sure where else. Most of them were criteriums but there were also a few road races.
In 1979, John started racing with Grab On – Davidson Cycles. On June 24, 1979 at the District Championship Road Races in Black Diamond, John won the Senior Race.
Sometime around 1980 or 1981 John and several teammates formed the original Chinook Racing team.”
About the bike: The Hugh Porter is a British bike, so of course it’s made out of Reynold’s 531 tubing and of course it has 27” wheels on it . John bought it from Granado’s Cyclery in Kennewick, Washington. Like most serious racing bikes purchased in the early ‘70’s, this one is equipped with Campagnolo Nuovo Record components, a Cinelli stem, bars and Unicanitor saddle. Some nice added touches include the red rubber covers for the downtube shifters and the red Bullseye derailleur pulleys.
Holdsworth bicycles began in the early 1930’s. W.F. “Sandy” Holdsworth started his empire at his bike shop in Kent but it expanded over the years into a multi-shop enterprise. Holdsworth bought the Claud Butler brand name in 1958. In the 1960′s & 70′s, the main Holdsworth stores and the frame factory were relocated to London. Like a lot of smaller British labels, Holdsworth merged with and/or became part of larger bicycle brand groups. TI-Raleigh left Holdsworth alone but the Holdsworth empire was eventually scooped up in the 1980’s by the Townsend group that owned Falcon.
Universal 68 brakes with tire savers scraping the tires
This bike is the “Professional” model from 1974 or ‘75. It’s a replica of the bikes raced by the Holdsworth-Campagnolo team during the early ‘70’s.
The color is perfect. The orange color with the blue panels are just like those raced by the team. The 3TTT handlebars and stem? Again, just right. It looks like the team bikes were outfitted with all of Campagnolo’s best components, Cinelli Unicanitor saddles and Super Champion rims.
There are a few deviations to the standard team gear on this Professional. If you’re going to have a racing team replica bike in the 1970’s it would be better to have really dirty white cotton handlebar tape than our vivid blue Benotto plastic tape on this bike, but we’ll let that one go.
There’s a Stronglight crank on this bike with a 40 tooth small ring that gave you a ten to fifteen percent lower gear range than what was available with Campag cranks. The stronglight also has some of the awesome Swiss-cheese style holes drilled in it that are just so 1970’s. The brakes are Universal 68’s instead of Campagnolo versions, a common substitution by riders wanting a little easier action at the levers . The saddle on our bike is a nice looking Brooks instead of the original Cinelli saddle, a substitution that has more to do with the grubby appearance of the old Unicanitor than any actual preference.
An Italian BMX frame, made out of Columbus cromoly tubing and built up with Campagnolo BMX parts. This was a cool bike in 1980 and the ensuing four decades have only made it better.
First off, before you get too nostalgic about this bike be honest with yourself and remember that nobody had one of these when they were a kid. Nobody knew a guy in the neighborhood who had one. You never raced a kid who had one. This was the expensive frame that hung from the ceiling at the bike shop, unsold.
These Cinelli framesets were light, strong and great looking, so it wasn’t a problem with the product. The problem was that Cinelli is Italian and late ‘70’s BMX spoke English. Italy just wasn’t on a kid’s BMX radar screen and most parents would balk at the extra cash needed to buy Italian. A kid who had been saving up his or her money to build a racing rig was going to buy a Redline or a Mongoose or a CW or a GT or a Hutch or a PK Ripper. If mom and dad were involved, they were going to buy a complete bike from Raleigh or Schwinn or Huffy!
Most of these Cinellis were ordered by bike shop owners who loved Italian road bike stuff. Probably sold Cinelli road bikes and lots of Campagnolo parts to their adult customers. But road bikes and BMX were very different.
In 1980, a high-end BMX bike was typically sold incomplete. A rider would select every individual part, making trips to the bike store after every birthday, with handfuls of Christmas money, with allowances and lawn-mowing cash to carefully curate the most spectacular racing bike the neighborhood had every seen.
These MX-1 frames were probably $40 more expensive than the Redline hanging on the next hook. A persuasive salesman could argue that the Cinelli was worth the extra cash, but $40 was another 10 weeks of allowances to save!
I suspect this MX-1 has a story similar to other Cinellis… This frame hung in a bike shop for years and was finally purchased. As parts were acquired it got slowly built up by a bike racing aficionado who no longer raced BMX but wanted a fun project bike to build.
The gold anodized Campy parts group probably took multiple years to assemble. There’s a Cinelli stem and a gold Zeus headset. Of course that’s a Cinelli Unicanitor saddle. This bike rolls on Araya tubular rims with 40 year old Panaracer BMX sew-ups. The Italian theme continues with a Regina freewheel and chain, but a DiaCompe MX rear brake puts a stop to the whole thing.
If you’ve seen one road, you’ve seen them all . Try this new mountain-biking thing instead!
Raleigh designed their early Mountain Tour bikes for a new breed of cyclist who liked to go off the road “on purpose”. These bikes were assembled around extra long frames that featured “extended” angles and “longer” fork rake which added up to extra stability for going downhill without compromising the quick handling that’s needed when “dodging startled chipmunks”.
Early mountain bike design, the hypothetical abuse that bike designers suspected the bikes would have to contend with and earnest ad copy were a fun mixture. I’m still not sure what an extended frame angle might be or how fork rake might get longer instead of just more pronounced.
Besides offering bikes with sealed-bearing ruggedness for riding down mountains, across fields and the occasional mud flat, Raleigh added some extra potency in other areas. The “bull moose” handlebars on this Elkhorn model bike must have been more than than a marketing guy could resist as the component highlights in the advertisement claim that the Deore XT cantilever brakes “can stop a moose”.
As a really early mass-produced mountain bike, this Raleigh is a hodgepodge of components. There’s a Takagi triple crankset with the popular half-step gearing option for long-distance touring. The wheels are borrowed from Raleigh’s beach cruiser offerings, it has derailleurs from the road line-up, and a smattering of BMX parts.
This Elkhorn model rides smoothly and predictably on dirt trails but the proportions are weird. The seatposts that were available for early mountain bikes were only about 200mm long at best, so Raleigh was expecting that the rider for this bike would be about 5’7” tall. In spite of that the “extended” 68 degree seat and head tube angles coupled with a long top tube made the reach to the handlebars appropriate for someone about 6’1”.
I think we’ll probably install a longer seatpost, air up the tires and head off road. Maybe see if we can startle some chipmunks in the process.
This vintage Ciocc Mockba 80 is a model made by the iconic Italian racing bike brand to celebrate Sergei Sukhoruchenkov’s road race win at the 1980 Olympics.
Giovanni Pelizzoli is  the craftsman behind Ciocc for most of their years as a popular Italian brand.  Giovanni’s nickname, loosely translated as “poker face” is where the Ciocc brand name came from.  Sometimes you’ll find a Ciocc bicycle credited to Luigi Conti, who may or may not have purchased the label and/or worked for Pelizzoli for a while in the 1980’s.  To add to the slight confusion, you sometimes saw bikes made by Pelizzoli that were sold by a Dutch company and labeled as ”Concorde”.
Ciocc is a nickname meaning “poker face”
Whoever was holding the torch, and whatever the decals said, Pelizzoli and Ciocc had some nice bikes.
This particular bike underwent a makeover in 1986.  Originally red, it’s now painted black and originally equipped with Campagnolo Super Record components, it has been updated to sport indexed shifting and the aero brake levers that came with the change to Shimano Dura-Ace parts.
The black paint has a fun story.  It is the same paint that the secret service used to finish a new limousine for Ronald Reagan.  While working at the navy yard in D.C., the owner of this Ciocc befriended some of the secret service guys who were working on Reagan’s newest ride.  He asked if they would mind spraying his bike frame if he brought it over, and they agreed.  Ronny surely would have approved.  A “Moscow” model bike, once painted red?  Definitely better in motorcade black.
The special new lightweight Sting-Ray bike for mother or daughter. A delight for shopping. New chrome plated basket carrier and removable floral trimmed shopping basket with handy carrying handles. Quick release clamp on carrier makes basket removal simple.
Sleek lightweight style electro-forged Schwinn frame that’s so easy to step through, contoured and comfortable solid color Sting-Ray saddle with chrome saddle struts.
“MAG” type sprocket and chrome trimmed chainguard. Chrome plated fenders, schwinn tubular rims, Slik rear tire, 20″ x 1 3/8″ front sports tire. Colors: Lemon, Campus green, violet, blue……$63.95
Stardust basket. Our flowers aren’t quite as fresh as they were in 1970.
First, let’s get the sexist marketing and ad copy out of the way: The “Shopper’s bike” for “mother or daughter”? Schwinn did a disservice to all of the little boys of the 1970’s. None of the “boys” bikes came with this awesome basket. Can you imagine how much easier a paper route would have been with this basket and rack on the front of your bike? I’ve ridden this Stardust to get lunch on Winslow Way, and it’s really the best thing ever. Also, “handy carrying handles” seems redundant in a few different ways.
From United Cycle in Everett, Washington
Second thing: The original violet color banana seat was in rough shape, so we got this purple reproduction off of Ebay. A nice saddle but the color doesn’t quite match. We feel pretty good about it being nearly right for only $30, however. The exact replacement saddle in new condition? It’s still available for a “buy it now” price of $275.
Third thing: The cute little girl in the picture here? Her name was Carol Guse . It looks like her parents bought the bike for her 9th birthday in the spring or summer of 1970 from United Cycle in Everett. Carol’s daughter Karrie donated the bike for everyone to enjoy here after her mom passed away.
1985 Guerciotti with early Dura-Ace parts
Retro versus modern, “old school” as opposed to being on the cutting edge, early versus later.
These descriptions make it necessary to assign a turning point in time where earlier iterations get the former designations and later versions get the latter. For a lot of road bike elements, the years 1985 through 1987 mark significant changes.
This Guerciotti road bike sits at a turning point in road bike history and has elements that are both old-school retro and elements that are cut from more modern cloth.
Downtube shifters! Well, at least they click.
A gentleman named Robert Johnson raced this bike at the Ironman Hawaii in 1986. His bike here has a Columbus steel-tubing frame, sew-up tires glued to tubular rims, “retro” toe-clipped pedals and brake cables that sprout exposed to the wind from the top of the brake levers. Modern elements include indexed shifters , a pretty modern airbrushed paint job courtesy of Ten Speed Drive Imports, and Japanese Dura-Ace components affixed to a top-end Italian bike, which was a pretty modern choice in 1985.
Steel-framed bikes constituted the overwhelming majority of racing equipment at the earliest triathlons, but by the end of the ‘80’s nearly every tri-bike had aluminum or composite frame material, aerodynamic handlebars, indexed shifting and ski-binding style clipless pedals.
Outfitting a new race bike in 1985 was a little bit simpler than making similar decisions just a year or two later. Which Italian builder do you want to make your bike? Paolo Guerciotti was a solid pick . Campagnolo Super Record equipment, tried and true, or Shimano’s innovative click-shifting Dura-Ace? Innovation it is. Airbrushed multiple colors for paint or traditional single colors? Beautiful choice.
The pictures suggest that this Frejus track bike is just a nice old racing bike for rolling around the local Velodrome. Nothing weird or unusual to see.
At first glance you’re just looking at a hand-built rig made in Torino Italy from Columbus steel tubing. The bike is outfitted with Campagnolo Nuovo Record track components, Mavic rims shod with silk casing tubular tires , a Frejus custom crankset , track pedals with steel toe-clips and Alfredo Binda leather toe straps, a 3T steel stem, custom-sized aluminum handlebars and a special saddle.
Because the proportions of this classic Italian pista are so perfect you may not realize that the sew-up tires and Mavic Super Champion tubular rims are only 24 inches in diameter. That’s right. This classic Frejus track bike was built for a 9 year old child.
From the Georgetown Cycling Club tire covers and the National Capitol Velo Club memorabilia packed with the bike we can assume that dad raced on the track in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas and that junior came along to the races as well. The kid must have been fast because this rig would have been difficult to source and probably pretty expensive to buy in the early 1970’s.
Some of you classic Frejus owners out there might be wondering how we managed to assign 1970 as the birth year for this bike. Frejus, like a lot of bike builders, have serial numbers that are virtually meaningless in determining the age of a bike. Well, our reasoning goes like this: When we got the bike it was still packed in a box. The frame tubing was wrapped in The Washington Post newspaper dated September 1979. Let’s assume that dad packed the bike away when said child left for college and dad was trying to free up some space in the garage. An 18 or 19 year old in 1979 would have been just big enough to get this bike as a birthday present or for their first trip to the velodrome in 1970.
A big thanks to David Brumsickle of Silverdale Cyclery for preserving our little Frejus for the past few decades.
An English Falcon. This one with light blue feathers.
Falcon is an old bicycle and motorcycle brand that had their peak in popularity among cycling enthusiasts in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Originally founded in 1880 as Coventry Eagle , this brand has manufactured fine bicycles and motorcycles for decades. Production of motorcycles continued until the start of the World War II in 1939.
After the war the motorcycle manufacturing ceased with the company concentrating solely on racing bicycles. In the 1930s the company had a range of sporting bikes under the “Falcon” label, and it was under this marque that the company relaunched itself, losing the Eagle monicker altogether.
Falcons are so much cooler birds than eagles anyway… An eagle’s primary weapon is his feet. A falcon uses his head . How about Falcon bicycles and maybe eyewear company… The Coventry Eagles is a better name for a football club.
Anyhow, the bike is awesome. Like most racing bikes from this era, our pale blue Falcon is built out of Reynolds 531 lightweight steel. There’s a fantastic headbadge with Olympic Rings , the Olympic torch, a Falcon, and some fluffy clouds. The equipment choices include a bunch of Campagnolo Nuovo Record parts, a Brooks saddle along with Cinelli bars & handlebar stem. As is typical for British bikes from the ‘60’s, this one isn’t all Campag parts, however. There’s a Stronglight crankset and the Falcon comes to a screeching halt thanks to Universal 68 brake calipers.
First of all, the actual model designation for this bike is the Raleigh Professional MK.IV Model DL180 . It’s a bit of a mouthful for a model name, so let’s just call it a Raleigh Pro.
Our friend Harry Downing bought this lovely machine at a bike shop in Iowa in the 1970’s. Thanks to the Dutch TI-Raleigh racing team, Raleigh bicycles had at the time a racing pedigree that could rival the storied Italian and French labels. A Raleigh Pro like this one might be placed front and center in a bike shop window and it could garner as much attention as those other makes. Since Raleigh manufactured a full line of bicycles for the family, there were lots of bike stores in the United States who carried the brand. Cycling enthusiasts like Harry didn’t have to go on a state-wide search for a Legnano or a Masi, they could simply visit the local bike shop as a lot of these dealers actually stocked the top-end racing models.
The Professional had all of the bells and whistles. The frame, made out of butted Reynolds 531 steel tubing, featured Campagnolo dropouts, spearpoint lugs with a Brampton-Victor “Fastback” seat lug and a bottom bracket shell with a weight-saving and decorative bit of material cut out of it. The fork was made with an elegant sloping crown and was similar to something you might find on a Cinelli… And there was chrome. Lots of shiny chrome.
Now, finding a good racing bike equipped Campagnolo Nuovo Record components was hard enough in middle America circa 1974. Just imagine how cool it would be to discover the extra lengths Raleigh went to while outfitting the pro. A Nuovo Record gruppo that included the seatpost, headset, and the svelte side pull brake calipers . Super Champion tubular rims and silk sew-up tires. A Maillard six-speed freewheel. A Regina Oro chain. A Silca frame pump. A 3TTT Record handlebar stem with an Italian flag decal on it. GB Maes handlebars with an outline of England engraved upon it!
You know, we aren’t even finished with all of the details. This bike came stock with the matching handlebar tape and brake cable housing. The Campagnolo pedals were outfitted with Christophe toe clips . The saddle, a Brooks Professional model, has the big brass rivets . The wheels feature high-flange Campy hubs. This bike has even been fitted with a matching blue water bottle cage.
A Schwinn Sting-Ray “Krate” bike from 1970. This one is always a crowd favorite.
It’s an iconic bike. So iconic that we use a silhouette of a similar bike on the back of our T-shirts and nobody has to wonder what it is. When you look at this bike you probably feel waves of nostalgia for your youth even if you never had one of these bikes as a kid. The Sting-Ray has that effect on people.
Now, a cursory glance and you may think that this bike is all about form over function. All style, no substance. That’s your glance backwards as an adult, not seeing it for the first time as a kid.
If you were transported to 1970 and had the chance to ask a 10-year-old about his new bike, it would be clear that Schwinn nailed the design here. It’s all about function.
First, the banana seat. The great thing about it is that there’s enough room on it for your best friend to “buck” a ride with you on the bike. Then there’s the handlebars and small front wheel, which besides lending the bike a chopper-like appearance makes riding wheelies really easy. The springer front fork and sprung sissy bar that supports the saddle means that you can bounce up and down on your bike or repeatedly ride over curbs just for fun. The stick shifter? It’s just like the one in your brother’s car and you can make cool revving sounds as you change gears. The ineffective 4-pound drum brake on the front wheel? It just makes rear tire skids all the more frequent and awesome.
Headlight worthy of the “Stranger Things” kids’ bikes
The fact that Schwinn designed this bike to resemble a muscle car of the era does not mean that they made a style decision at the cost of performance. The design made dad and older siblings jealous. That was enough.
A note about the rarity of these bikes and the somewhat racist name & color combination: The Cotton Picker was made for only two years and was built in only slightly larger quantities than the 1971 Grey Ghost. While apologists would like to think that the folks at Schwinn realized their gaffe of making an expensive white bike while conjuring up images of poor black farm workers and stopped production, but the real reason that these bikes are rare is right before your eyes.
Color. Ten year old kids rarely choose a white or grey color option when faced with bright yellow , green , vivid orange or red .
The color choice is all form over function.
It’s pretty fun to show off first attempts with our little museum . We have the first hydraulic brakes , The first derailleur systems, the first electronic shifting , the first production carbon fiber frame , the first aluminum racing bike , even Goodyear’s first tires .
This bike is another “first”. It’s the first production titanium bike. The Teledyne Titan.
Teledyne, a California company, made about 2000 of these bikes in the mid 1970’s. At a time when nearly every racing bike on the road was made out of steel, Teledyne was a company trying to shake things up. If the only choices available at the time were “Reynolds steel or Columbus steel” or “Blue racing bike or orange racing bike”, Teledyne offered an interesting and tantalizing third choice.
By picking the grey titanium option you got a strangely smooth and comfortable bike that averaged about 2 pounds lighter than those steel options.
“Strangely smooth” because the pure titanium tubing made these bikes really flexible. For some riders a Teledyne was unnerving. Rumors about frame cracks and collapse persist even today. The “I know a guy who had one” anecdote usually falls apart faster than a frame on a rutted road when the narrator is pressed for details, however.
So using the pure titanium tubes was probably not the best idea . The frame and fork flexed more than most bikes, and fatigue cracks were potential problems that may have shown up on heavily used Titans. But if you’re going to take a sport or industry in a new direction, you have to start somewhere.
New directions for the bike world included composite and aluminum tubing as well as better titanium bikes. Aluminum had been used here and there for decades, but a willingness to gamble on the new and unproven by Teledyne probably helped visionaries like Charlie Cunningham and Gary Klein take risks with aluminum bicycle design. Certainly Exxon’s Graftek carbon bike of the late ‘70’s would never have seen the light of day had Teledyne not made their effort first.
So, what do you think of it? It’s grey and smooth, so not super engaging although the indents where the shifters and cable guides were fitted are pretty neat. How about the parts? The drilled-out component fad of the 1970’s makes this thing look pretty fantastic. Campagnolo Nuovo Record stuff looks lovely on its own, and drilling dozens of holes into the brake calipers, levers and chainrings only adds to their appearance. The Cinelli Unicanitor plastic saddle furthers the high-tech style for this innovative mid ‘70’s bike.
Cinelli Unicanitor saddle. No padding, just holes.
We don’t know who originally owned this bike. Erich Weiter from Bikes for Kids in Tacoma donated it to our museum collection after finding it in the metal recycling at the dump .  What we do know is that we liked the original owners’ style. A super high-tech bike with the latest parts. A comfortable racing bike with good climbing gears and fat tires . There are super long 177.5mm cranks installed on it for a rider who was probably only 5’8” tall. The rider, like the bike itself, was ahead of his time.
During the 1970’s there was a bike boom in the United States. A lot of the fuel for the boom came from local Schwinn stores of course, so a big portion of new cyclists rode out and about on American-made Schwinn Varsity and Continental models. Raleigh had good representation on the roads with great options for Anglophiles, Bianchi offered beautiful racing models from Italy, and a steady stream of quality Japanese bikes made by Panasonic, Nishiki, Bridgestone and others rolled out the doors of American bike shops.
What about the French? Record numbers of bicycles from Gitane, Motobecane, and Peugeot toured, raced and commuted to work on American asphalt.
This is one of Peugeot’s most popular models, introduced in 1977, the UO-10.
Peugeot supported French Simplex, Huret, Maillard & Sedis parts
The UO-10 was a mid-range model for Peugeot, good for light touring, fine for trying a little bit of bike racing, not too expensive if it got stolen from a campus bike rack. The thick steel frame tubing made for a less expensive model than the light weight PX-10 racing bike which was made out of thin-walled Reynolds 531 steel, while the aluminum rims and upgraded crankset made for a better ride experience than the entry-level UO-8.
Like a lot of brands in the ‘70’s, Peugeot sourced parts locally . Local meant Sedis chains, Huret and Simplex component groups, Michelin tires, Wolber or Mavic rims, and miles of Vitus frame tubing.
Peugeot offered stylish designs and reasonably good value, but they had problems maintaining quality in the face of increasing demand. Paint and chrome was often done poorly, and rust was a common issue. Frame alignment and threaded fittings had to be fixed or worked around by bike shops. The French components that were selected for their bikes were often based on half-baked designs.
Nonetheless, people seem to have a soft spot in their hearts for old French bikes, and are willing to overlook certain quirks.
My early ‘80’s Gitane, for instance, came equipped with plastic shifters and a plastic rear derailleur. These parts worked so poorly that they were immediately replaced on the new bike and since I was a Gitane apologist, I never complained to anyone about having to do it.
For some of us, the chic looks of a Peugeot or Gitane outweighed any quirk. Allegiance to a famous racing team or a rider like Eddy Merckx or Bernard Hinault was more important than plastic shifters.
The following is lovingly plagiarized from a 1984 issue of Bicycling magazine.
“….Interested in trying out a new all-terrain bicycle? Nishiki has a marvelous candidate to consider for 1984: The Westwood.
Nishiki’s mid-price entry into the klunker wars has so much going for it that it’ll be hard to stop once you’ve begun ticking them off. The heart of the Westwood is its 4130 chrome-moly frame. Its design falls squarely into the center of the range that promotes the best combination of ride and handling, with the fewest compromises in on-road and off-road capabilities.
The Westwood’s 17 7/8-inch chainstays neatly split the difference between short stays for trialing and woods riding and long stays for loaded touring, hill climbing and dirt riding. Trials riders will also like the 11 3/4-inch bottom bracket height; there’s just enough air down there to clear most rocks and debris.
There’s more good stuff. Nishiki’s choice of components shows a keen knowledge of what works on all-terrain bikes. We particularly like the beartrap pedals, which grip your sneakers with a vengeance–great for bunny-hopping as our resident expert discovered. The 220mm adjustable seatpost will be welcomed by long-legged riders, while the 175-millimeter Sugino A.T. crankarms are a boon to everyone .
Westwood riders are also pampered by the sturdy bullmoose handlebars and thick handgrips, which have enough foam depth to keep your palms from bottoming hard, yet remain small enough in diameter to let you get a good grip. Suntour LeTech and Mountech derailleurs perform the shifting duties orchestrated by the thumb-shifters admirably. The shifting range from 28 to 97 gear inches provides options for hill-climbing as well as high-speed downhilling.
Fine, you say, but how does it ride? The Nishiki’s performance in the dirt was exceptional. Wickedly fast rock-strewn descents were a piece of cake; the bike was always stable and controllable. Much of the bike’s downhill refinement is attributed to its steering characteristics. It’s possible not only to place the front wheel precisely where you want it, without being steered by rocks and rubble, but it’s also possible to make unflustered instantaneous changes-no wheel flop, no feeling of steering windup, no toppling. The bike goes where you point it….”
Researching products before you bought them used to be so hard!
What does “steering windup” mean? I’m sure anyone who was “long legged” appreciated the adjustable 220mm-long seatpost, but what they really should have been looking for was a bike that came in more than just two sizes.
Bikes that are built specifically for time trials have been called “Funny Bikes” since the 1980’s. This is one of the first bikes to have earned that nickname.
This is a National Team bike built for the 100km Team Time Trial event at the Los Angeles Olympics.
As far as we know, there were nine “Funny Bikes” produced for the event, all hand built by Mike Melton. Mike didn’t work alone. Bureaucracy surrounds any project like this and at the very least Mike had U.S. Cycling technical director Ed Burke and aerodynamics guru Chester Kyle looking over his shoulder, with resources and money for the bikes coming from Raleigh.
Tom Doughty on the bike in Bicycling magazine
The goal for the bike project was a medal at the Olympics.
The bike project was a success! Ron Kiefel, Davis Phinney, Andy Weaver and Roy Knickman brought home bronze medals. While the riders did most of the work, there were a whole bunch of design elements on their machines that made going fast just a little bit easier.
The frames, built out of teardrop shaped steel tubing, were pretty aero. The gusset behind the head tube smoothed out the air flow, as did the wishbone seat stays. The bikes were designed to have small 24” front wheels so that the riders could draft an inch or two closer to their teammates in front.
The handlebar, stem and fork design on this bike didn’t make it onto the final four Olympic bikes. The idea with this cow horn style is that it eliminated handlebar and stem material that would be surplus to providing the racer’s hand supports. Something light and aerodynamic. This set-up looks like it achieved the goals, but the simpler final version did it as well as providing an internal route for the brake cables, eliminating more sources of aerodynamic drag.
Speaking of brakes, these are really backwards. The cables are routed backwards through the levers, and then if you check out the front caliper you’ll see that this once simple and elegant Campagnolo model has been installed front to back with spring holders added in lumpy blobs to the front of the brake. The brake mounted under the bottom bracket shell is a Shimano Dura-Ace AX model.
If you’re a cyclist these days it’s hard to miss that a lot of new bikes have only a single front chainring and no front derailleur. Our Funny Bike here is also running just a single front ring . Just like the modern trend, this design element was more about fitting gearing around other weird elements than a request by the rider for fewer gear options.
This bike was missing some parts when we got our hands on it, and the front wheel was the trickiest thing to reproduce. Besides being a 24” tubular version the hub had to be only 70mm wide . A look through an old Bicycling Magazine gave us a solution. In an old article, they report National Team mechanic Steve Bishop hacksawing front Campy hubs to make the 70mm width during the prototype stage and subsequently gluing the hub pieces back together.
We of course wanted to be period-correct so that’s what we did. By the way, a funny thing prevents this bike from ever being ridden quickly again… The small 24” tubular tire needed for the front wheel is super rare. While we managed to find a new tire that’s the right diameter, there was just no way to get an 18mm wide version. Our tire, when fully inflated, lacks any clearance around the edges and stops the wheel from spinning under the fork crown.
Wayne King Bicycles Monoshock, the “Thom Lund” model
This is a fantastic old school Monoshock BMX model from Wayne King Bicycles Unlimited.
Our friend Rick showed this one to us one day as he was passing through on his way back to Port Angeles. This 54 pound beast is pretty famous in the BMX world as the bike that Thom Lund raced. Why famous? Well, racing, winning, and getting your picture in an issue of BMX Action was enough to achieve a certain level of fame in the BMX world.
Rick has a pretty extensive collection of old school BMX bikes, and a lot of connections from his days racing in Southern California. Rick merely called this one the Thom Lund model, and while Rick was pretty cagey about it, I think Rick probably bought this one from Thom. That’s right. I’m saying it. I think this was Thom Lund’s bike.
In fact, check out this thread from and see what you think:
I think Thom replaced the saddle that he didn’t like , kept it around for a while, and eventually sold it to Rick.
Now, like a lot of old BMX bikes, this one may not have been “The Bike”. No, that one broke. This, more likely, is one of a couple of bikes that always got moved from apartment to house to garage as the years went by. Maybe this was a version of the bikes that Thom rode as a kid that he happened to pick up twenty years after the fact. Double clamp stem
Why should you care if this is Thom Lund’s actual bike? Well, as I said: if you managed to race, win races, and get your photo in a 1970’s issue of Dirt Bike, you could achieve a certain amount of fame.
If you happened to have insane jumping skills and do a lot of those jumps on a drilled out, 50 pound mono-shock you really stood out.
Thom Lund was one of BMX’s first legendary racers. He rode for the Infamous Rick`s Bike Shop team from 1973 to 1975 . Thom raced on the Dirt Masters team in 1976. Lund was no slouch when racing a sidehack, and our friend Rick was often a “monkey” in sidehack races. Back in the early days, before there were No. 1 titles, Thom Lund ruled the BMX scene. Lund was the original winner of the USGP at the Saddleback track. Finally, if the Dirt Bike magazine photo you end up being in happens to be this one:
Well, then you achieve some BMX immortality.
We’ll have to really nail Rick down about the story of this bike the next time he rolls through the shop.
Italian and French racing bikes have always had a fair amount of prestige. There’s no denying their cycling pedigree. Keep in mind though, when you think about the most famous racers and their bikes from the last century, they weren’t all Italian or French. The British have had some fantastic bicycle builders and great racers and racing stories to tell as well.
Raleigh, known for their city bikes as much as racing bikes, lead the pack simply by backing the TI-Raleigh racing team of the late ‘70’s. Craft labels like Claud Butler, Hetchins, Bates, BSA, Jack Taylor, Trevor Jarvis and the Flying Scots were all present and have all played a part in the British cycling epic.
Bob Jackson bicycles started rolling in 1935 when J. Robert. Jackson opened “J.R.J. Cycles”. There was a short gap in the company history as Bob served in the Royal Air Force during WWII, and then his brand really developed in the post war years with bikes labeled as “Merlins” and “JRJ Cycles”. These bikes were well crafted, as fine as anything an amateur cyclist could have ridden from the continent. Bob Jackson’s work came in a few different guises. If you ride an old Hetchins frame you may be enjoying some of Bob’s handiwork as he did some contract constuction for Hetchins as well as other British brands.
This is a custom Bob Jackson from around 1980. Like most enthusiast bikes from the time, this one is outfitted with Campagnolo Nuovo Record parts. British bikes always seem to have a custom touch or two that make them more practical bikes than others. Matching fenders or a custom rack or a light system. This bike has Campagnolo bar-end shifters instead of the standard downtube-mounted options, and it comes with a custom Silca pump.
That saddle looks like it needs to be tightened up a bit
Thin wood veneer is wrapped around the pump shaft and around the tall headtube of this bike, lending the bike sophistication not unlike that of a wooden dashboard in a luxury car.
Leandro Faggin was an Italian bike racer who died young in 1970. Leandro was notable for being a World Champion on a couple of occasions and for winning gold medals at the 1956 Olympic Games.
The Faggin racing bikes that honor Leandro’s name were fast too.
This is a model from the mid ‘80’s. The styling and component choices are typical for Italian bikes built between ‘75 and ‘85. There is a lot of Campagnolo going on with this bike from the Nuovo Record crankset and seatpost to the Super Record derailleur and the Victory brake calipers.
The frame is silver-brazed into cast lugs and is made from Italian Columbus tubing. In this case the Columbus pipes are the sweet riding SL cromoly tube set.
This is a no-nonsense road bike from the ‘80’s. The handlebars are Cinelli 65’s. The tires are sew-ups which are glued to aero rims for maximum speed. The saddle is a Brooks for maximum comfort. The handlebar tape is cotton cloth. The toe straps are leather. The 2-bolt Campy Nuovo Record seat post is minutely adjustable and maximally annoying to tighten unless you had the Campagnolo dogleg saddle tool on your workbench.
To have an obscure Italian racing bike in ‘80’s America meant you were part of a secret club. You were part of a club that knew the old world secrets to bike racing that somebody pedaling a Centurion would never know. You knew about riding echelons in crosswinds. You understood the difference between embroication and chamois cream. You belonged to the Francesco Moser fan club and you wore your cycling cap just right. Sometimes a bike brand isn’t just a bike brand.
Not everyone wanted a Schwinn back in 1971.
If the ubiquitous Schwinn Varsity was not for you, and whatever French or Italian brand that was on display in your local bike shop blew your budget, there were some other options.
In 1971, Raleigh was a major player in the independent bike shops across this country. If you wanted a good mid-level road bike that came with a little bit of European cache, this bike would have caught your eye. After a short test ride and an internal debate between “Coffee” and “Bronze Green”, you likely would have rolled out of the shop on this Raleigh Super Course.
The Simplex derailleur worked only if you asked nicely
Lighter and better handling than a Schwinn, easier to find than a Gitane, 2019 Air Jordan 1 Mid All Over Logos Sale For Cheap Raleigh ruled.
In hindsight, the Simplex “Prestige” parts seem to work terribly, with flimsy shifter action and a derailleur that wanted to change gears automatically whenever you stood up on the pedals. In reality, and considering the state of other available bicycle equipment, the parts were all pretty good options and at the very least they utilized some aluminum and plastic in their construction, avoiding the raw tonnage of Schwinn’s heavily chromed pieces.
The Super Course came with a genuine Brooks B-15 leather saddle, not a vinyl “Schwinn Approved” seat. The Williams crankset came with a 40/52 tooth chainring combination and the freewheel in the back had a 14 to 28 tooth spread, gearing that was pretty reasonable for most riders. The bike rolled around on light alloy rims , and came to a stop thanks to Weinman center-pull brakes.
The frameset? Raleigh split the difference between basic steel pipes and precisely brazed hand craftsmanship. The three big main tubes on the Super Course were made out of Reynolds 531 cromoly steel.
Those tubes were brass-brazed into the frame lugs , and then the back end of the bike was constructed out of simple high tensile-strength steel tubing.
While we’re at it, we should put a face and a little context into our discussion. This particular Raleigh Super Course in Bronze Green rolled out of Scott’s bike shop in Salem Oregon. At the time, Raleigh dealers in the United States were serviced by one of three traveling salesmen. Charlie Bergna likely sold Scott his inventory.
This is the yellow bike in Schwinn’s Krate series of Sting Ray kids bikes.
As you can see from the catalogue page, Schwinn took their Sting Ray “Muscle Bike” idea and went from stock to modified.  What is the next step after racing a stock muscle car?  Why, racing a dragster, of course.  Here is the dragster bike.
The Lemon Peeler had it all.  Five-speed stick shift, sparkly yellow banana seat with a suspension sissy bar, front drum brake, front springer fork, fat rear slick tire for burnin’ rubber, massive bars to help you pop impressive wheelies… Kids today are totally deprived.
We have a few duplicate bikes in the museum.
This is a 1971 Schwinn Paramount just like the chrome beauty that you may have seen elsewhere in this section.
A Paramount was one of the best options available to amateur bike racers in America in the early 1970′s, so there are quite a few of these still rolling around the country.
This particular Paramount, a P-13 variant for the road racer, belongs to Jeff. As you may have guessed upon spotting the Look pedals or the new Continental tires, this one still gets ridden around Bainbridge Island and north Kitsap County on sunny days. Probably days where Jeff is feeling particularly spry, as the Campagnolo Record crankset and Regina freewheel don’t offer much in the way of hill-friendly gear options.
In 1971 it was pretty awesome to have shifting options that went from about 55 gear inches on the low end to about 100 inches on the high end. For those of you not familiar with the concept of gear inches this meant slogging-through-wet-cement gears on the low end to washing-machine-spin-cycle cadence on the high end. Today you can expect a racing bike to have a spread of about 30 gear inches on the low end to 135 on the high end.
Just like Pete Brissing, Jeff is a slave to bicycle fashion and has declined water bottle cages lest they scratch the Schwinn decals on the downtube. Probably not much of an issue for Jeff, as he does most of his riding in the early morning hours, racing point to point between coffee shops.
If you know the name FMF, you know they have been making motorcycle stuff for a long time. This bike is a FMF Team Replica, a collaboration project between FMF and pioneering BMX company Race Inc. Like a lot of great BMX innovations, this bike came from the brain of Race Inc. Scot Breithaup. In 1976 Race Inc. released the RA-7 model which was the first mass-produced aluminum BMX bike. Race Inc. RA-7 frames ended up being sold as FMF Team replicas, Peugeot CXP-500s and Cycle Pro Spoilers and Foilers. FMF dabbled in the BMX world for only a single year, 1976.
The frame gussets were the magic elements to these bikes. Using lightweight aluminum to make a racing machine that was going to be jumped, crashed and abused was risky at the time . The bottom bracket, head tube and seat stay gussets added all the strength needed for these bikes to survive their hard life.
This FMF has all the cool parts available in 1976. There’s an aluminum FMF handlebar attached to a “double gooseneck” stem. Preston Petty Works GP grips. A Redline fork. There’s a fluted aluminum seat post, a Kashimax saddle, Takagi one-piece cranks and Union pedals. The pads have snaps, not Velcro, to attach them. The Bendix coaster brake hub controls the speed on this bike, and everything rolls on Araya 7B rims.
We need somebody out there to buy this old Jack Taylor, put it on the roof of their vintage Mini Cooper and drive to the start of the L’Eroica Britannia retro bike tour this June. Wait, no. Maybe that’s a bad idea. Nostalgia so exacting in detail may actually rip a hole in the fabric of time & space…
This is a Jack Taylor Clubman, which was really the most well-built and versatile road bike you could have ridden in the early ’70′s. Long before the bike world made distinctions between “Endurance” and “Racing” frame geometry, there were bikes like these that handled like a good racing rig but were comfortable enough to ride on rough roads for hours on end.
The equipment choices on display here are pretty straight forward for a high-end road bike of the era. The racing standard, Campagnolo Nuovo Record derailleurs and shifters are here. Instead of a matching Campag crankset we have a Specialties TA 3-arm crank. The most likely reason for this choice at the time would have been a greater range of chainring sizes to choose from. The handlebars and stem are made by Cinelli, That’s a Wrights saddle and a Regina 5-speed freewheel on the back wheel.
Now the brakes, whether they stop well or not were a great choice. Altenburger Synchron calipers. How modern and premium-sounding is that name? I’m pretty sure that I would have purchased an Altenburger Synchron turntable for my stereo system if they made such a thing.
While we’re on the topic of fab choices and interesting names, the Bluemels Club Special fenders are spectacular. The red color really makes the bike stand out, and the fact that the fenders are 45 years old and don’t have a scratch on them probably doubles the value of the bike .
Every bike in our museum has a story, some of the stories have more interesting players and settings than others… This is a Raleigh model 24 gents bike built by Raleigh in 1966. At first glance it is a pretty unassuming old city bike. The paint is in great condition, the British racing green is still shiny and the gold box striping looks great. This was a pretty deluxe version, and it has a lot of great bells and whistles . The bike features a Sturmey-Archer four-speed rear hub shifter and a fully enclosed chain guard. It came with color matched fenders, saddle bag, saddle and pump.
There are two generator hubs on this bike, both front and rear. The generators power the dual head lamps and the two tail lights. The green can that is attached to the seat tube houses four D-cell batteries which would have kept the lights running when the bike came to a stop. Everything still works, but it’s pretty amazing to see how much brighter modern lights are today.
There’s a steering lock on the fork, which is a fine secondary theft deterrent. By locking the steering straight ahead, you make the bike impossible to ride. In order to steal this Raleigh you would have to pick up the bike and run with it or throw it in a car .
So this bike was owned by a gentleman named Richard Alexander. Richard was a pretty avid rider, and he owned a couple of cool bikes . Richard wasn’t a famous racer, and he didn’t build this bike, but his ownership of the Raleigh adds quite a bit to the narrative.
Richard did interesting things with his bikes. We have a mid-’80′s newspaper article chronicling a 700 mile bike trip that Richard undertook on his racing bike to get to his 35th high school reunion.
The interesting thing Richard did with this Raleigh? Richard bought the bike to ride around the neighborhood near his office! Isn’t that great? All right, that doesn’t sound like much. How about now: Richard’s office was at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, and the year was 1966.
1966. Lyndon Johnson is in the White House, Leonid Brezhnev is running the Soviet Union, and the superpowers are fighting a Cold War. Richard works in the office of the naval Attaché and rides his bike around Moscow during his down time. Most likely with a KGB tail. Having all of your bike rides monitored by the secret police might have actually been a plus. We can imagine that theft wasn’t a big concern. Left unattended, Richard’s Raleigh may have been inspected once or twice to see if secret messages were being transported inside the tubes. The bike was in pretty good shape when we got it, so if the KGB took it apart at any time, they did a stealthy job and got all of the pieces back in the right place. By the way, if you click on our photo of the original invoice it’ll expand and you’ll be able to make out some neat details. Notable things include Raleigh’s Telex number , the fact that the air freight from London to the Moscow airport was only about $10 less than the cost of the entire bike, and that the “E” on the typewriter was wearing out. Old time problems! Cool.
This fabulous tandem once belonged to a friend of Jeff’s named Roy. Roy is now in his middle 80′s but when he and his wife were younger they were avid bicycle tourists. In 1970 Roy decided to have a tandem cycle built by the best bicycle craftsmen of the day, the Taylors in England. Roy and his wife went for the completely “Taylored” experience with their bike, traveling to Jack Taylor bicycles in Durham County to be fitted for their bike, and they made a cycling vacation of their stay. That was the start of a good 30 years of adventurous road tours. The tandem was retired and/or began a new adventure with us in the early 90′s.
Our friends Jeff and Bob Freeman usually do a vintage bike display at the Seattle Bicycle Expo. A few years back Bob had the idea to bring Ken Taylor from England to be a featured guest at the show. Ken, a youthful octogenarian and great storyteller, stole the show. During the Expo Jeff realized there might be a connection, that Roy had gone to the Taylor workshop in England to have the tandem custom outfitted and that he and his wife probably met with Ken. Jeff thought it would be fun to arrange for Ken to visit Roy and his wife and let Ken see the old bike he helped create. Apparently, it was like the intervening forty years hadn’t happened. The three old timers were like kids again, talking about bikes, touring, and the 1970′s.
The bike remains as ridden. only the handlebars have been re wrapped. The wheels are the now-fashionable 650b size and the fenders are in perfect condition, Forty-five year old Lefols . The bike still rides great even with overstuffed touring bags. That Campagnolo Gran Turismo equipment? Well, the jury is still out on that stuff.
Molteni team edition “Eddy Merckx” made by Colnago
There aren’t many bicycles out there that can be considered “famous”.
I think that the average cyclist could identify just three famous bicycles by sight: Pee Wee Herman’s bike from the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Greg LeMond’s time trial bike from the 1989 Tour de France, and a Molteni team bike from the 1970′s. The average Schwinn Sting-Ray is also pretty well known but most people will identify any kids’ bike that has a banana seat and curved tubes as a Sting-Ray, so they don’t count.
This is a beautifully restored Molteni team replica racing bike from the 1970′s.
The Molteni team was a fabulously successful squad that ran from 1956 until 1976. Named after and sponsored by an Italian sausage company, Molteni’s brown jerseys and orange bikes are iconic in the bike racing world.
The Molteni team raced Colnago Supers in the 1970′s just like this one. Yes, we know that the frame says “Eddy Merckx”. It’s still a Colnago. Eddy Merckx was the star on the Molteni team, and despite the fabulous success of riders like Rudi Altig and Gianni Motta the team was all about Eddy. Eddy’s name was on the downtube and his face was on the head badge. I’m sure it was a surreal existence to be on the Molteni team in the 1970′s, kind of like playing for the Chicago Bulls in the 1980′s. Like shooting hoops with Michael Jordan while wearing Air Jordan shoes.
Anyway, the bike is terrific. I think we have two other mid-’70′s Colnago Supers in the museum collection so another description may seem redundant. Let us just repeat that the ’74 Colnago Super is one of the most perfectly designed racing bikes ever built. Bikes like this one feel comfortable, fast, and handle perfectly really regardless of the rider’s skill or experience. The Campagnolo Record equipment was the best available at the time. The Fiamme yellow-label rims and Vittoria tubular tires ride beautifully.
This particular bike is fitted with an extra nod to ’70′s bicycle awesomeness. Those are tire savers bolted to the brake calipers. Tire savers scraped gently across the top of the tires in the hope that they would brush off debris before glass or bits of metal could bury into the tires and cause flats. Those of us who employed tire savers will report the placebo effect decades later. They worked great for those of us who never got flats. For those of us who changed a lot of tires, the little devices were worthless.
Stu Thompson and the Original Quadangle, the STR-1
In 1978, a young entrepreneur named Scot Breithaupt started promoting “Pedal-Cross” races in southern California.
That same year, Breithaupt launched Scot Enterprises to supply the bikes to those same southern California kids that wanted to race.  The Bicycle Moto Cross bike had arrived, and an entire sport was born.
BMX had some memorable bikes and riders throughout the years.  The aluminum PK Ripper raced by Perry Kramer was lighter than anything available, and had cool oval tubing.  CW Racing had “Pistol” Pete Loncarevich winning on their bikes and a lightning bolt welded into their frames.  Redline had understated and classy designs, and had stars like Dennis Dain and Greg Hill to race on them.
Nothing was quite as rad as the SE Racing Quadangle.  The bike originated in 1979 as the STR-1 for star BMX’er Stu Thompson.  Stu and his SE were on countless magazine covers and at the front of many races.
This particular bike is from 1983, featuring all of the best components from the day.  Profile cranks, Tuff Wheel mags, Kashimax saddle, and a Dia-Compe brake. It was actually made out of Reynolds 531 tubing, and the TIG welds look great.
You know, you look just like this bicycle I know. Are you related to an Italian bike named Colnago?
In the 1970s, a Dutch bike shop owner named Henk Kokke made frequent visits to Italy. On one of his trips he bought a couple of racing frames from Ernesto Colnago. There was one frame for Henk’s son Corné and one for racer Bart van Est. The exotic Colnagos drew quite a bit of attention in the Netherlands and it became apparent that the Italian frames would sell. Henk decided to start his own imported brand. He came up with an Italian-sounding moniker and contracted with Ernesto Colnago to build the bikes. As far as we know, Cornelo frames are still available today and they’re built the same way. The frames are still bought in Italy, painted in Belgium and assembled in St. Willebrord, The Netherlands.
This particular Cornelo is constructed much like the Colnago Supers of the era. The Colnago club emblems have been omitted, but the Columbus SL tubing, the build precision and the wonderful ride characteristics are all there.
This bike, being of such international flavor, is a great showcase for the Japanese Dura-Ace 7200 EX group. This Shimano component group is fairly similar to the popular Campagnolo Record of the time but with two notable design improvements. First, the rear derailleur has the slant parallelogram design first invented by Suntour in the 1960′s. This derailleur design keeps the distance between the top derailleur pulley and the freewheel cogs consistent no matter which gear you were in. Shifting with this design meant that the pull on the shift lever was easier. The other neat little design touch was the crank arm bolts that would double as their own crank arm extraction tool, a labor saving touch that mechanics loved.
Guerciotti is one of the great builders from Italy. Always a step or two out of the spotlight held by Colnago or Pinarello, Guerciotti’s bikes have all of the design elements of the more famous labels but perhaps without the famous riders to bring notoriety.
This version is made from Columbus SL tubing and has some great details all around. It is mostly equipped with Campy Nuovo Record components, with slightly more modern Mavic MA3 clincher rims in place of the original tubulars. The wheels are shod with Michelin Pro Race tires, and it even comes with a TA steel water bottle cage. Of course there is a Cinelli Unicanitor saddle and Cinelli bars & stem. The brakes are from Shimano, not Campagnolo. They are the very early Dura-Ace calipers and levers .
As was common in the ’70′s and ’80′s, Guerciotti was always on the lookout for places to cut out or drill out extra material on the bike.  So for this bike you’ll find a big star shape cut out of the bottom bracket shell and holes drilled into the brake levers.
In the 1970′s every bike nerd in America coveted the marquee Italian brands like Colnago, Masi and Cinelli. They saw the bikes in the windows of fancier bike shops and in pictures of famous racers in the imported cycling magazines. Italian craftsmanship had mystical qualities, they were beautiful and they just had to be faster somehow. Sometime in the middle of the decade while paging through those British and French cycling magazines we started to see adverts for a bike line known as Windsor, and the coveted Italian labels had competition for the American bike lover’s attention.
Windsors were imported on the east coast by a guy named Sid Star, and if we remember correctly his company was called Alpha Cycle. Sid was also the importer of the wonderful Lotus line of bicycles. Anyway, Windsors were dead ringers for Italian Cinelli or Colnago, but at about half the price as they were made in Mexico by the Acer-Mex company.
Windsors were affordable to wannabe track and road riders. Jeff remembers how much he wanted a Windsor when they were first available and even began gathering the parts for the day the frame came home from the bike shop…. But it didn’t happen.
Fast-forward to the late 1980′s when Jeff was working at Saks Feed and Cycle in Kingston. Jeff had just loaded a ton of hay onto a truck when a local landscaper came in and asked if Jeff was interested in buying a frameset he had bought in Southern California about 15 years previous. The frame had never been assembled and it was a Windsor, in Molteni Team orange. Needless to say, Jeff bought it. The parts that he had collected all of those years previous? They were perfect for the bike.
If you’d like to admire this old Windsor, it is currently on display in The Harbour Public House on Bainbridge Island.
Carbon fiber began working its way into sporting goods in the 1970′s.  Ski poles, tennis rackets, fishing rods, and even golf clubs were designed with carbon structural elements or a layer of carbon fiber wrapped around them.
Enter Graftek.  The sporting goods division of the Exxon corporation.  We’re not sure if this was a nervous attempt at diversification during the OPEC oil embargo or merely a natural extension of their fishing rod factory, but Exxon designed and built carbon fiber bicycles from 1976 to 1978.
Built in South Plainfield, New Jersey, these bikes went into production alongside fishing rods and golf clubs. The frame design evolved over the three model years, but what you have here are stainless steel cast lugs, carbon-fiber wrapped aluminum tubing, and a carbon wrapped steel fork .
Regina Extra freewheel “Recommended by Gimondi”
These bikes were a hit. Promoted by star American racer John Howard and the Exxon-Cool Gear racing team, Graftek bikes looked modern and high-tech to cyclists of the era. Besides the futuristic style, complete Graftek bikes ended up weighing one to two pounds less than contemporary steel Colnagos and similarly equipped Schwinn Paramounts. Early versions featured chrome-plated Campagnolo dropouts and steel forks .
That’s a spare tire holder under the saddle.
Speaking of steel, we rode a steel Colnago with the same components and then tried out the Graftek to see how different the bikes would feel. The steering seemed quite similar, but there was a marked difference in sensation coming up through the pedals. The Graftek felt lighter and the feedback from the road was noticably muted. It was almost like the graftek had under-inflated tires. Imagine jumping up and down on a parquet basketball court . By comparison, the Graftek would seem like you were jumping up and down on shag carpeting. In the late ’70′s, an era when different types of steel was really your only bike options, it would have been nice to be able to try out a Graftek. This bike was originally owned by an Ohio native named Richard Alexander. His bike was saved from the trash heap by Jeremy Hutsell of Capp’s bike shop in Topeka Kansas. Big thanks to Richard and Jeremy for preserving this fun bit of cycling history.
This amazing rickshaw started out as just another regular bicycle from the Avon cycle company.  The Avon factory was located in the Punjabi town of Ludhiana in northern India.  This particular Avon bicycle made it’s way south to New Dehli where a small factory converted it into the splendid rickshaw that you see here.
The passenger compartment was constructed using salvaged metal, scrap wood from shipping pallets or construction debris and about a million brass tacks.  Flat steel strips reinforce the frame, hold up the canopy and act as shock absorbing struts under the carriage.  The 28″ wheels are laced with 72 spokes to support all of the extra weight and the front fork has reinforcing struts similar to those found on balloon-tire bikes from the 1950′s.
The passenger seat bench houses a storage compartment with a trunk lid and a small hinged panel for easy access. The carriage is decorated with marvelous hand-painted Himilayan mountain scenery and inspirational creeds in both English and Sanskrit lettering. A beaded mat provides the linoleum-like flooring, and besides adding to the festive appearance of the rickshaw, the floor is as tough as nails and has aged well. The canopy is topped off with a thousand tassels and decorative fringe.
This rickshaw is heavy and hard to drive. Having piloted the contraption in a couple Bainbridge Island 4th of July parades, I can tell you that slowing down with the 50 year-old brakes is almost as hard as pedaling up a slight rise. The original owner must have been in fantastic shape, and hopefully the streets in New Dehli were flat. Lots of tassels
A fellow named Mel Barron found the rickshaw while conducting business in India in the late 1970′s.  The rickshaw filled a small corner of the cargo container that he had shipped back to the U.S. Mel subsequently sold the rickshaw to Jeff at a bicycle trade show in the 1980′s.  Here in the Pacific Northwest the rickshaw has been employed in numerous parades, photo shoots and even in an independent film titled “Phoebe’s Father”.
Bravo Ernesto! This bike is a 1974 Colnago Super, one of the finest road bikes available in the 1970′s.
We’ll admit that the frame isn’t as ornate as some . We’ll also admit that the limited tubing and component options found in racing bikes of the 1970′s made it pretty hard to quantify the differences between brands. Just trust us. This Colnago is awesome.
Certain builders were known for refined details.  Some brands like Bianchi boasted storied racing heritage that spanned decades.  Some racing bikes felt fast and looked even faster.  Ernesto Colnago brought all of these elements together with bikes like the Super.
Notable design details have to include the trademark Colnago club cut-out of the bottom bracket shell and the chromed semi-sloping fork crown. Other elements like fork rake, tubing wall thickness, frame and fork angles are hiding under the surface of the black paint. While difficult to point out , they are details that could be felt with just a test ride and they made all the difference.
Colnago racing heritage was fairly recent history in 1974, but there was a lot of it. With the most prolific race winner in history doing his thing aboard Colnagos, the bikes had a race pedigree that was growing by the week. Design elements that felt and looked fast? Colnago had them in spades .
This particular Super included the Campagnolo’s popular Nuovo Record component group, Cinelli handlebars and stem, and a cool mystery crankset with drilled-out chainrings.
Here’s one of Schwinn’s middle-weight bikes from 1967.
A Typhoon in Coppertone gold paint with some of the deluxe options. In the 1960′s, bicycle riders were looking for something a little faster and quite a bit lighter weight than the balloon-tire bikes of the 1950′s.  Schwinn responded with slimmed-down versions of their Panther, Hollywood, Starlet, and Typhoon cruisers.  Some of these bikes came equipped as 3-speeds, and some like our Typhoon here were built with a 2 speed hubs.  The yellow-banded hub would change between its two gears each time you kicked back on the pedals.
The focus of the 1967 ad campaign and catalog text was to persuade adults to get on a bike.  To that end, they suggested that cycling would mellow a fellow out… …Cycling is an especially favorable type of exercise. It has a very good effect on the brain, on the mental state, and on the psyche. It’s the best antidote-this kind of muscular exercise-for stress and mental fatigue. Instead of tranquilizers, I advise muscular action-even to the point of fatigue, so that you won’t need medicine to tranquilize you”.  Dr. Paul Dudley White, from the President’s Council of Physical Fitness, as quoted in the 1967 Schwinn catalog.
If avoiding tranquilizers wasn’t enough for you, Schwinn also suggested that cycling would save you from heart disease, and save you some cash… “We ought to replace the automobile with bicycles … it would be better for our coronaries, our disposition, and certainly our finances.” … Dr. Irvino H. Page, president, American Heart Association
50 years later, these are still good reasons to go out riding on your Typhoon.
Before you interupt your spouse to show off this web page, excitedly recalling the virtues of your first BMX bike, you should be warned: Your 50th birthday is coming up. Unless you give them other ideas you may end up with a restored kids’ bike from 1977 as a birthday gift.
This is a Roger DeCoster BMX bike, and while it may not be at the top of your wish list today, you really couldn’t have had a better birthday gift as ten-year-old in 1977.
Roger DeCoster bikes were produced from 1976 to 1983 and were sold as frame kits at most Schwinn bicycle shops across the country. Manufactured by BMX Products, Inc., they were very similar to the Mongoose Motomag. The bike kits came in long or short frame versions made of 4130 chromoly. There were different color versions in nickel, Red, Blue, and Yellow. Bikes like this one with the short frame were only available in the nickel finish. The only real difference between the Mongoose and the DeCoster frame is the oval cutout in the front head tube gusset.
Who was Roger DeCoster? Schwinn had to have a pretty good reason to name their bicycle motocross model after the guy. Roger was pretty famous in the late ’70′s. He was one of the best racers in motocross, winning five 500cc Motocross World Championships and many other national championships. His racing career was successful enough to warrant an induction into the Motorcycle Hall of fame in 1999.
Our restored bike has some pretty rad parts. Obvious highlights include the aluminum Motomag wheels, Union rat trap pedals, the “V” handlebar, the Carlisle motocross tires, the fluted aluminum seatpost and the Troxel quilted saddle. The bike would have originally come with a flat-bladed fork , but this has been replaced on our bike with a tubular steel Schwinn fork.
One kid who had a pretty good birthday was a young Curtis Stege. This was originally his bike, purchased from Garland Cycle in Spokane, Washington. If you ever doubted how much a shiny new bike means to a young kid, take a look at the photos that Curtis’ father Gerald shared with us. Curtis looked pretty stoked posing with his new ride…
So when Schwinn named this bike the “Grey Ghost” do you think they knew what they were doing?  Do you think they knew that years later people would claim to have seen one ?  Do you think Schwinn knew that people would scream in horror when they found out that their parents had given their beloved Grey Ghost to the Salvation Army?  Did they know how frightening the prices would become for these old collectible bikes?  I think it’s likely.
From 1968 to 1973 Schwinn took their style cues from Detroit .  At the time, GM was selling ”Muscle Cars” to adults, so Schwinn made Sting Ray “Muscle Bikes” for kids.  With the Krate series, Schwinn went a step further with the “Muscle Bike” idea and went from stock to modified.  What is the next step after racing a stock muscle car?  Why, racing a dragster, of course.  The Krate series is a bunch of dragster-inspired bikes.
The Grey Ghost joined the Pea Picker, the Apple Krate, the Lemon Peeler, the Orange Krate  and the Cotton Picker.  While the white Cotton Picker is fairly rare , the Ghost was part of the Schwinn Krate series for just one year, 1971.
This particular bike belongs to our friend Andy Caro.
From the looks of it, this was a project that took some time.  Andy put in a lot of hours getting his Ghost back together, and he has done a great job.  Andy, just like Schwinn, emulated the choices a bunch of car guys would have made while fixing his bike up.  In every aspect, this restoration was done just a bit better than the original.  The paint is richer, the chrome is thicker, and the parts are tuned with even greater precision.  The bike is waxed, polished and it sparkles even brighter than new.
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This thing seemed like a good idea to Hammacher-Schlemmer back in 1985.  The mail-order company known for esoteric and extravagant gadgets offered the SK Mower to lawn enthusiasts who were tired of breathing gas fumes as they mowed.
A pedal-powered lawn mower has been the dream of garage mechanics for a hundred years now.  Usually the idea would take the form of a reel-style push mower bolted to the front of a Schwinn Stingray.  The Sunkyong corporation decided to put some engineering into this idea and came up with the SK Mower.
The cycle mower is ideal for homeowners with a ten foot by twenty foot perfectly flat yard.  No, I take that back.  It isn’t ideal for anyone.  Wet Seattle grass stops this bike in its tracks.  The gear ratio is so small that it would take Lance Armstrong four hours to mow a putting green.
Check out the product review from a 1986 issue of Cyclist Magazine.
They found that the 3.8 inch gear ratio meant for a long day of mowing, as national team rider Thurlow Rogers spent the better part of a weekend trying to mow the Cyclist Magazine office lawn.
The Shepherd family’s 1976 Schwinn Sting-Ray
Do you remember hard rock music in the 1990′s?  The “Seattle Sound”?  Bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney or Nirvana?  Heavy, raw rock music with lots of guitar distortion and buzz.  Lead singers wearing old T-shirts and flannel, not Spandex?  Music videos that were just as likely to scare you as they were to get you to dance?
If you remember all of that, you probably remember that those musicians never took tour buses to their gigs, instead they rode their bikes.  That’s why the song lyrics were so depressing.  Everyone needed a nap.
You’re probably confused at this point.  What the hell is he talking about?  This looks like a 1976 Schwinn Sting-Ray.  I’m sorry.  What about the bike?
This bike was part of that early ’90′s Seattle music scene.  It was used in the Soundgarden music video for the song “My Wave” off of their Superunknown album.  Between shots of Soundgarden concert footage, they had great action sequences of a kid racing around the south Seattle warehouse district.  In the video, the kid did some pretty sweet skids and evaded a car that may or may not have been trying to run him over.
“Sting-Ray” would be a good name for a band
Turn up the volume and see the Sting-Ray in action here:
The bike originally belonged to video director Henry Shepherd.  Henry and Soundgarden bassist Ben are brothers.  The Shepherd family is from Bainbridge Island, and the bike saw lots of use on island roads.  Like most of the Schwinn Sting-Rays out there, this bike was likely the first bike ridden by all of the siblings.  Riders besides Henry probably included brother Ben, as well as brother Andy and their sister Emily.
The Sting-Ray now hangs on the wall here at Classic Cycle.  Pluck any one of the spokes and you’ll be amazed by the feedback and the long sustain that you hear.
This Flying Scot was built in Glasgow sometime in the 1960′s.  If you look closely you’ll see that it’s a great example of Scottish craftsmanship.  The frame is built from Reynolds 531 steel, and the tubes are joined with Nervex Pro “fancy” lugs.  There are oil ports built right into the frame for servicing the headset and the bottom bracket bearings.  The handlebar, an unknown brand, features ornate engraving that adds a classy finishing touch.
A fine all-around road bike, the Scot could be employed for touring, club rides or racing.
Besides the fancy lugs and the engraved handlebar, a few fun details include the badged Cinelli handlebar stem, the striped seat tube panel, a minimalist front rack , and the socks-and-hat treatment of the brake levers .
We’re not sure who originally owned this bike, but Jeff’s friend Graham White found it in 1975.  Graham purchased it from a north London second-hand shop for 20 pounds, intending to start a haggis delivery service with the bike’s great cargo racks.  Jeff subsequently stole the bike from Graham on one of his European trips.
First of all, you would be forgiven for assuming that T/A stood for “Totally Awesome”.
The T/A was actually named the “Totally Aerodynamic” for its teardrop-shaped frame tubing.  This bike was much loved for its light weight and cool styling.  With a frame weight of just over 4 pounds and constructed of aero tubing that was obviously invisible to the wind, you had to be crazy to think any bike was faster than the T/A.
Based in Redding, California, Skyway created many of the cool things that we liked about BMX in the 1980′s.
Skyway gave the bike world their nylon Tuff Wheels, an inexpensive mag wheel that came in a variety of great colors.  They created the Tuff pedal, a super light graphite design that spun on bushings instead of steel ball bearings.  Skyway helped us to accessorize even further with colorful brake pads that could compliment or contrast with our mag wheels.
A laid-back post let you grow with your bike
This particular Skyway has some fantastic old-school components.  The most important ones are the Tuff II mag wheels, the wheels that started a revolution.
The Haro number plate was a must-have, even if you didn’t race.  The plate was the canvas upon which the rider could paint a masterpiece with stickers.
Oakley 3 handlebar grips felt like clay that had been shaped to exactly match your hand .
The reinforced laid-back seat post on this bike was invaluable.  No kid wanted to get rid of their beloved bike just because they grew.  Straight seatposts could be swapped out for ones with an “S” bend, and these could be swapped for laid back posts as the years went by.
In the beginning, young Bicycle Motocross racers rode like maniacs aboard the everyday machines that took them back and forth from home to school.
In the early ’70′s, dedicated BMX bikes were a rarity.
The Schwinn Sting-Ray was the most popular kids bike around, and these little Schwinns were the natural choice for early BMX. Like the brown 1970 Sting-Ray that we have elsewhere in this museum section, this BMX bike started out as just another Schwinn but was heavily modified to handle the rigors of bicycle motocross action. Here’s how the design process probably went down : “For the green machine, the banana seat stays, but the chrome fenders are out.  Plastic mud guards look more “moto” and will hold up better.”
Hold the lever for starting gear, let it go for race speed
“We’re gonna need some heavy-duty wheels.  Let’s go look for some at the motorcycle shop.” “While we’re at it, how about mocking up a fake fuel tank?” “The ape-hanger bars have to go.  They’re too high.  We’ll go with 6″ risers and a brace.  Don’t forget the number plate.” “Drill some holes in the plate.  There’ll be less wind drag.” “I have an idea.  We’ll hook up a three-speed hub to a brake lever instead of a shifter.  If you hold the lever down at the start, you can get up to speed in a lower gear before letting the lever go and kicking into high gear”
Rick Gaytan, the owner of this rocket cycle, was part of the early southern California BMX scene.  He raced on a wide array of bikes in the 70′s, and was crazy enough to be the monkey on a sidehack.
Cino Cinelli, a former pro and winner of Milan – San Remo and the Giro di Lombardia, started his bike company in 1948. Well known for reliable handlebars and stems, the Cinelli Unicanitor saddle, and the first ski-binding type pedal, Cinelli also produced some fabulous racing bikes.
This beautiful track bike represents everything that made Cinelli great.  Made with flawless, smooth lugs and paint, light and springy Columbus tubing, it sported classic looks while utilizing the cutting edge in technology.  Actually, we chose a couple of older era components when building this bike just because some of the older stuff was so pretty.
Cinelli Track Bars and Stem from the late ’50′s
The mid 1970s were a design, quality and sales peak.  In 1974, Cinelli made waves when Ole Ritter set the hour record on his futuristic Cinelli track bike.  Cinelli saddles, pedals, handlebars, and stems were the choice of every top rider and bike builder.  The Super Corsa road bike and this track bike were considered the best available.  In 1978 Cinelli sales and production peaked, and Cino chose to go out on top, retiring and selling his company to his tubing supplier, Columbus.
When cyclists get nostalgic about old Italian racing bikes, they’re usually thinking about bikes like this one.
This is a 1985 Colnago International.  I know this because we sold this model new the first year that I worked in bike shops.  It features Columbus SL frame tubing, Ambrosio Durex tubular rims, ITM stem and handlebars, Universal brakes, a Concor saddle, and Ofmega’s Premier component group.
A prime example of an Italian bike made in the middle of the pantographed-signature-logo era.  This odd period of bicycle ornamentation follows the drilling-holes-in-everything era , and precedes the logos-logos-everywhere period .  Ernesto Colnago’s signature has been etched into the crankarms, chainrings, brakes, seatpost, hubs and handlebar stem on this bike.
Ofmega crankset with Ernesto’s signature
The ride quality aboard old Colnagos like this one is sublime.  The handling is terrific, and ride comfort is really good .  That said, the handlebar shape and overall position suggests that one would need a fairly young back and decent flexibility to find this bike as user-friendly as a modern machine…
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There are a bunch of elements that go into making a great bike. The creative spark that sets a company to build a new style of bike is one element. Smart design that takes an idea and engineers it so that the bike rides beautifully under the intended conditions is another component. The artistic flair that makes a bike easy on the eyes is also an important part. Production that is done well is the last part. Get the right materials and the right hands building the bike, and the finished product should be awesome.
Schwinn hit a number of these points when they made the Peloton, and unfortunately, what turned out to be a great bike just underscores that one of Schwinn’s best bikes came from overseas. This Peloton has great frame geometry and fantastic ride characteristics that had previously only been found on bikes in their Paramount division.
Built from Columbus SL frame tubing and expertly constructed in Japan, the Peloton’s frame flexed in just the right ways, it was stiff in areas where it was supposed to be stiff, and it was aligned straight and brazed right. The Italian Columbus tubing and Japanese production made a great quality frameset, and yet begged the question “Why couldn’t they have made this in America?”. The styling, which was a bit understated for 1985, diverged greatly from what was happening with mountain bikes and kids’ BMX freestyle bikes that year. The traditional design suggested that Schwinn was not keeping quite in step with their market. This particular bike is owned by our friend Mark Dankel. Mark outfitted his Peloton with Shimano’s new Dura-Ace 7400 component group instead of the stock Suntour Superbe Pro parts. The polished and precise 7400 components announced Shimano’s arrival to the top tier of road racing bicycle components.
In the early 1970′s a new sport came to life.  Bicycle Moto Cross became a thing when kids started racing each other around dirt tracks, emulating the off-road motorcycle racing they had seen locally or in the film On Any Sunday.
Old School BMX racing began before anyone was producing dedicated off-road machines. An extremely popular bike at the time, the Schwinn Stingray was the natural choice for early BMX. Some modifications were needed, of course. 2020 New Air Jordan 1 Centre Court “White on White” DJ2756-100 The fenders had to come off. Smooth street tires were replaced with knobby tires. Banana seats and their sissy bars had to go. Frame failures from crashes and jumps meant gussets had to be welded in place, otherwise a kid was going to be going through a bike every month.
This bike look familiar to you? If you were a kid in the ’70′s, it should.  I never had a Stingray myself, but my 1960 Rollfast got transformed into a similar machine after my friends and I got our first taste of BMX.
Our friend Jay Elhardt found this old school machine near the original “BUMS” track in Long Beach, California. It was originally a 1970 Stingray, and it had all of the modifications a young racer would have needed to race.
Skip Hess started his company, BMX Products inc., in 1974.  The first product for the Chatsworth, California startup was the Motomag aluminum wheel, but the complete Mongoose Motomag bicycle followed within the first year.   “Made in America” really meant something in this era.  The frame, wheels, and most of the parts on the Mongoose were made in house by BMX Products welders.  Apparently, staffing was no easy task.  Aerospace companies and rival bicycle brands competed for skilled welders in 1970′s California.  BMX Products dealt with hiring issues by instituting a welding school at the factory.
The investment paid off. Mongoose BMX bikes were famous for strength, reliability and smart design. Check out the gussets and box-shaped reinforcements at the frame junctions. These touches made for a tough bike that looked good and rode well.
BMX Product’s Mongoose bikes were some of the first dedicated BMX bikes available, and they even made a lot of their own competitor’s products in the 1970′s.  Remember Raleigh’s Rampar?  That was made by these guys.  The Roger DeCoster signature model sold by Schwinn?  These guys.  Blue Max BMX sold through Army and Air Force exchanges?  These guys.
I loved these bikes because they looked so angular and industrial compared to what had come before.  My ride at the time was a cantilever frame Rollfast from the 1960′s.  Like a Schwinn Sting-Ray, it was all curved tubing and somewhat organic looking.  The Mongoose looked like a futuristic robot to my young eyes.
I’m sure you remember the Schwinn Varsity.
While it will never go down as one of the greatest handling or most comfortable bikes ever made, people loved these bikes for a variety of reasons.
It may be the beloved old bike that you used for basic transportation during the oil crisis of the 1970′s.  You may remember it as the hand-me-down that you took to college without fear of it getting stolen in the 1980′s.  It may just be the starter bike that made you buy your first mountain bike.
Whatever role the Schwinn Varsity played for you, it is probably the most important bicycle ever made in America.  Manufactured in vast quantities using Schwinn’s electro-forging process, the Varsity was the bicycle world’s VW Beetle.  It was cheap, durable, and it got American adults riding.
This particular Varsity is sporting “Chestnut” paint and is outfitted with a host of “Schwinn Approved” components.  Schwinn primarily approved of thick steel construction and chrome plating the hell out of everything in 1975, the end result being a bike that tips our scale at a robust 42 pounds.
We joke about the heft and limited performance of these old Schwinns, but they were definitely built to last.  This forty year old bike looks the same as it did the day it was built, and things that normally give out over four decades are as fresh as ever.
A gentle note to Schwinn aficionados out there: Schwinn produced a lot of bikes. They were inexpensive, and they were everywhere. Just because a bike is old that doesn’t mean that it appreciated in value over the years. Old Schwinn Varsitys have little or no resale value today. Please don’t email or call us asking to appraise your old Schwinn.
This is an extremely rare early BMX bike.
One of only five or six bikes like it ever built, this Redline Monoshock is a fabulous example of how early BMX bike designers would emulate their motorized counterparts.  Besides the suspension frame you had rims, tires, spokes and handlebars which were most likely borrowed from Yamaha motocross bikes.
Like a lot of experiments in new styles of bikes, this one ended up being a dead end.  This racing bike wasn’t very fast.
A big spring with little rebound control
A big issue was all of the extra metal that added up to a heavy bike.  The suspension elements, thick tires and rims along with the frame reinforcements were all over the top.  To add to the efficiency problems, the suspension bounced.
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The few kids who raced these Redlines would try to lock out the suspension in order to be competitive.  With the springy suspension active, all of the rider’s energy would be stolen away as the bike tried to bounce him off.
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This awesome early Redline came from its Northridge, California birthplace by way of our friend Rick Gaytan.  Hurry in if you want to see this bike in person.  It looks like a lot of fun, and Rick will probably want it back soon.
This is the Schwinn P-13 from 1971.  The “P” stood for Paramount, Schwinn’s luxury group of American made bicycles.
In the ’60′s and early ’70′s it was a little tough to get your hands on a proper racing bike.  Most of the real bike shops in this country were located in big cities.  The internet wasn’t around, and mail order shopping took a lot of effort.  Schwinn dealers, however, could be found in lots of smaller cities and towns, and Schwinn’s Paramount division offered some real high performance bikes.  No need to try to import Italian or French racing frames and then scrounge for parts when you could simply pick a Paramount that suited your racing style and budget.
This chrome beauty belonged to our friend Pete Brissing. Pete knows great racing bikes, and this was one of his favorites.
The 13 is the designation for the racing model. No 27 inch wheels on this one, nope. It came with 700c tubular rims and sew-up tires.  The original gearing set up was all racing as well.  The little chainring up front wasn’t really little at 49 teeth.  The rear wheel had a freewheel that resembled a pine cone, with Pete employing a gear range of only 13 to 17 teeth.
The lack of a water bottle cage seems like some old-school bike racing thing. “Yeah, back in the ’70′s we didn’t drink water when we raced. Water was too heavy.” Actually, water bottle cages would typically have been bolted around the down tube in the normal spots. The owner of this bike just didn’t want to mess up the lovely Paramount decals than run along the tube. For the sake of style he carried a bottle in his jersey pocket.
If this Miyata were a car, it would be a 1984 Honda Accord.  If this web site was a car museum, you would probably walk right past the Accord in order to get a look at the Ferrari 308 that was used in the “Magnum, P.I.” television show.  We know.  We’d do it too.
The thing is, as you walk past that average  vehicle, you’ll remember how you used to get across town in it .  You’ll recount how your college roommate had one, and how funny it was when he painted racing stripes on it or how awesome that road trip was with him.  Cars like these trigger more than just enve or art apreciatiation, they’ll give you flashbacks.
In 1984 I had a friend named Ward who managed the bike shop where I started, and he was going to buy one of these Miyatas.  Ward was going to do a little racing, maybe some day tours on the bike.  In the end our Gitane sales rep came up with a “great deal” that interupted his plans to buy the Miyata, and Ward ended up riding around on a pink Gitane R.S. instead.  We gave him endless grief about the color of his bike.
This 912 came from Miyata’s “Semi-Pro” collection of models.  It featured double-butted cromoly tubing, Shimano 600 components , a Selle Italia Turbo saddle and Araya rims.  Nothing fancy, no Japanese racing heritage to fall back on, no mythical stories about Fausto Coppi and his Miyata.  The bike may have been a bit boring, but everything worked well.  Miyata, I guess, left the storytelling and art appreciation up to us.
Who says you can’t buy style?  If you had one of these in 1970, you were one of the most stylish and coolest kids in the neighborhood.
Style and engineering  abound.  Chrome fenders, five-speed “Stik Shift”, metal flake orange banana seat with racing stripes and a suspension sissy bar, front drum brake, front springer fork, fat rear slick tire, chopper bars and matching grips.
If Steve McQueen ever rode a bicycle, it would have been one of these.
The Stik Shift gave you five speeds … all of them fast.
A good look at the Schwinn springer suspension fork
The Schwinn catalogue showed us how ride in style
As you can see from the condition of this bike, the original owner liked to cruise or drag race, prefering to let the daredevils do all of the dangerous jumps and wheelies.
This Schwinn originally came from a bike shop in Seattle and has stayed in the area ever since, and yet there is no rust or moss growing on it…
A great bike from 1971 with the not-so-lyrical-sounding name. Most people simply called these bikes their “10 Speeds”. Available in 5 colors with smooth welds and lots of shiny chrome, these were popular bikes. A yellow Sports Tourer graced the August issue of Playboy Magazine . Sorry, we don’t have any excerpts from Playboy, but here is Schwinn’s take on the Sports Tourer: “Here’s craftsmanship and a matchless ride featuring a quality collection of internationally known bicycle components brought together by Schwinn in a unique design that challenges them all.
Equipped with three piece aluminum alloy crank set, 10-speed wide range Campagnolo Gran Tourisimo rear derailleur, new wide range 5-gear cluster with special one-inch pitch, 17-tooth large sprocket- a gear range of 28 low to 104 high. Normandy Deluxe large flange quick release hubs, chrome plated spokes, Weinmann aluminum rims, Schwinn tuff nylon cord tires, Randonneur drop style handlebars, chrome trimmed front fork. A perfect choice for the discriminating rider who prefers the very best.”
Not certain that we would call the Sports Tourer the very best, but it did have some nice touches. The crankset was designed with a rail between the chainrings that helped the chain move up and down with each shift. The stem-mounted shifters worked well and held the Campy Gran Tourisimo’s gear changes, and the Brooks saddle was a nice upgrade.
Star bicycles were originally manufactured by the Smith Machine Company in Smithville, New Jersey. The American Star was designed with the smaller wheel in the front to avoid the tendency found in other high wheelers to pitch forward. The Star pedals ratchet up and down around a flywheel, a design that also incorporates two different gear options.
While a Star rider was less likely to pitch over the front wheel when encountering a road obstacle, care had to be taken not to fall over backward.
There are actually two different gear ratios
In 1885, while the League of American Wheelmen was lobbying congress for road surface improvements, an American Star bicycle was ridden down the U.S. Capitol steps.  It was great publicity stunt at the time, and a powerful demonstration of the Star’s stable design.
Believe it or not, this is not an original, but a replica made by our friend Gerard Bentryn in the early 1970′s. Gerard, living in New Jersey, borrowed an original Star from the Smithville museum. He then proceeded to replicate every last piece of the bicycle using centuries-old blacksmithing techniques. Gerard’s build project was the subject of a PBS television special.
Relatively unchanged for 65 years, the Convert-O-Tricycle is one sweet ride .
Made top to bottom out of cast aluminum, these tricycles are built to last.  The rear deck can be removed quite easily and replaced with just one of the rear wheels, creating a tough little bike.  Pedaling and balancing in bicycle mode is a bit tricky given that the pedals are directly attached to the front wheel .
Industrial engineer Tony Anthony developed his invention in the late 1940′s while working for the family refridgeration business.
Since the Convert-O-Trikes have remained the same for so long, it’s nearly impossible to judge the exact vintage by outward appearances.  Based on the previous owner’s recollection, we happen to know that this particular trike is from the 1960′s.
I challenge anyone out there to come up with a more fantastic bike.
A customer brought this into Kingston Classic Cycle in the mid-‘90’s.  He had bought this rolling monument to awesomeness while working in Japan, and reluctantly traded it to Jeff for a pile of gold or maybe a million dollars or something.  Jeff totally lucked out.  The Sensor has it all.
Up front we have dual flip-up headlights.  Yep, they’re retractable.  A toggle switch on the handlebar controls them.  There’s also a rear view mirror the size of a television screen, an integrated lock on the fork and a front rack.
The headlights retract by flipping a handlebar mounted switch
The gear indicator lights up when rolling
The gear system is Shimano Positron indexed shifting.  This is Shimano’s predecessor to their S.I.S. system of the late eighties, but with a twist.  First, the freewheeling mechanism is in the crankset, so you can shift gears anytime the bike is moving, not only while you pedal.  Second, the Positron control lever is a cool stick shifter mounted on the top tube with a backlit gear indicator on it!
Mid-70s vintage Shimano hydraulic disc brakes
We’re not even done talking about features!  Other slick gear choices include a rear rack with fold-out extensions, integrated fenders and chainguard, a generator-powered brake light, a bell, a kickstand, and a rear hydraulic disc brake.
This marvelous bike was made by the Matsushita Electric and Industrial Corporation.  We know Matsushita more familiarly as Panasonic.  Panasonic has a long history with bicycles.  One of their earliest endeavours was a line of bicycle lamps, first marketed under the brand name National in 1927.
If you never see another stock bicycle as fabulous as this, don’t worry.  We can always build something custom for you.
Just like every other fad that was started in the 1970′s, this bike was a fun idea, but lacked a little staying power.
This awesome bike belongs to our friend Drew of Superior, Montana.  Painted a sweet and sparkly orange color and fitted with a striped banana seat, the bike is a visual treat.  Ape hanger handlebars and a tiny front wheel make it a wheelie-popping machine.
Drew’s father bought this Swing Bike from a traveling sales rep swinging through town sometime in the mid 1970s.
The Swing Bike was invented by Ralph Belden of Cascade Locks, Oregon in the 1960s.
Swing Bikes were advertised during the Donny and Marie Osmond variety show .  The popular program turned the Swing Bike into a minor sensation.
We haven’t seen one of these bikes in such good condition before.  Drew has kept his ride in top shape, and it looks like it  just rolled off the showroom floor.  A new Swing Bike like this one would have sold for $119.00 in 1976.
The swing bike’s articulated frame can turn amazingly tight circles, ride partway on a curb, part on the street, and do other amazing stunts.  According to Drew, it is not a good idea to go off a jump without first locking the swing mechanism, however .
The museum collection has a number of British racing trikes, but nothing gets as much use as this late ’60s Ken Rogers.  This is one of Jeff’s regular rides.
Far from being a boring cruiser for old folks or a slow cargo transport on a factory floor, this trike takes real skill to ride.  Jeff has mastered the tight wheelbase, lightning-fast steering, and unpredictable traction .
Why would it be hard to ride a tricycle?  Imagine riding a sailing catamaran on the road.  Like a catamaran, the trike won’t lean into a turn, but will lift a side up into the air.  Handling can be extremely quick with a wheelbase about 2 inches shorter than on the average racing bike.  Crowned roads demand that you lean toward the centerline while riding.  Simple turns can become tippy, exhilarating  stunts.
Oddly, at the same time you get that daredevil feeling while riding, you can also feel supremely stable.  Riding up a steep road can bring you to a standstill, yet you won’t tip over.  Ice or wet moss on the road pose little danger to the tricycle rider.
Ken Rogers built exceptionally well engineered and skillfully crafted bikes and trikes in Hounslow, England in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.
If you were racing your bicycle, or reading about bike racing in imported French magazines and Belgian newspapers, you knew about the T.I. Raleigh racing team.
Peter Post’s powerhouse team was a force to be respected.  A team that could win small stage races and classics , it was amazing that they still had energy left for the grand tours.
In 1978 the T.I. Raleigh squad at the Tour de France won ten stages, and had three different team members wear the yellow jersey.  Team riders Jan Raas, Hennie Kuiper, Gerrie Kneteman, Henk Lubberding, Paul Wellens, Johan van der Velde and Joop Zootemelk made frequent trips to the winner’s podium.
For the American bike racing fan, T.I. Raleigh would have had a special mystique.  The team was sponsored by a company whose name you could pronounce.  They employed tough guys with names you couldn’t pronounce.  There were no superstars, but a collection of working men who could win on any given day.
The replica T.I. Raleigh team bike would have made quite a statement on club rides in 1979.  It probably would have told your buddies that you were privy to all kinds of secret European training methods, and that you were dead serious about going fast.
Bullseye pulleys on the Record derailleur
The British frame was a blue-collar racing rig.  A French Gitane or Peugeot might be fine for some, and an Italian Colnago or Masi could work in a pinch, but you were serious.  You just needed a tool for going fast, and if it was good enough for Joop , it was good enough for you.
Throughout the early 1970′s this bike could be seen in motorpaced track events throughout Europe.
It’s odd-looking, we know.  This bike is called a “Steher” . Stehers are employed in extremely fast track events where racers draft behind motor bikes .  The small front wheel gets the rider tucked into the slipstream even tighter than on a normal bike.  The reversed fork and reinforcement struts are meant to make the bike very stable with the rider positioned so far forward on the bike.
This bike, while labeled for Robert DeFour’s bike shop in Zedelgem and sponsor Shimano, is actually a Swiss bike that came from the shop at the Oerlikon velodrome in Zurich.
We have a winner! The ugliest bike saddle in the world
American pro Tom Sneddon competed on this bike for the Swiss Willner team in 1974.  He partnered with motorpacers Erwin Brazerol and Ulli Luginbuhl.
Tom later became part of the American Shimano team .  In 1975, Tom raced as many days a week as you or I would go to work.  That year he competed in 75 different events, riding 32,000 miles in the process, and finishing in the money a third of the time.
Reinforcements all around the bottom bracket
A 1928 BAC pace motorcycle like used at the Zurich Velodrome
The bike racing calendar was quite full in northern Europe in the ’60′s and ’70′s, and Tom found himself competing on a regular basis with  the stars of the era like Freddy Maertens, Roger DeVlaminck, and even Eddy Merckx .
Track racing drew big crowds and spectators would bet on their favorite racers.  An American in the mix would have been quite a draw in the 1970′s.
Lotus bikes were made by people who obviously loved bicycles and wanted to provide high quality options for different types of riders.
The Legend Compe was a great beginner’s racing bike from Lotus, a classy option with no cheesy parts and timeless style.
This model showcases the lengths Lotus designers traveled to outfit their bikes with the best parts and materials.
On the Legend Compe we have Columbus SL frame tubing, made in Italy and shipped to Japan for construction. The frame is built with nice detail work all around like the Lotus emblem cast into the fork crown, and seat stay ends that wrap up and over the top tube.
For parts there is the Campagnolo Nuovo Record and Gran Sport mixture of components, again, great stuff from Italy, assembled in Japan and delivered to the North American rider.  Japanese SR handlebars and stem, and a custom Lotus saddle were made nearby.
French Super Champion Competition rims and Hutchinson tires laced to Campagnolo Gran Sport hubs prove that the Lotus guys were serious about sourcing the best stuff at reasonable prices.  Araya and Ukai made decent tubular rims at the time, but Japanese Panaracer sew-ups didn’t have the ride quality to match this Tempo-Super Champion combination.
The Lotus label inspired rider loyalty for obvious reasons, but unfortunately that loyalty wasn’t enough to counter the cold hard mathematics of rising production costs and currency exchange rates that made bikes like this Lotus disappear from the American market in the 1990′s.
Over 100 years ago, Dane Mikael Pedersen created his own niche in cycling history.
A gifted engineer and patent holder for farm equipment designs, Pedersen shifted his attention to designing bicycles in the early 1890s.  Pedersen’s innovative frame design was lighter and significantly more comfortable than contemporary bicycles while riding over the cobblestones and dirt roads of the time.
The saddle struts look like sail rigging.
Pedersen built his bikes around a hammock-style saddle design.  Since the saddle required anchor points both front and rear, the truss frame construction was a natural choice.  The unusual design is both lighter and more structurally sound than appearances would suggest.  A time tested contraption for sure, Mikael Pedersen was granted a patent on his bicycle design in 1894, which was even based upon a wooden version that he had built several years earlier.
The truss fork offered a bit of suspension
The production of the original Pedersens stopped in 1905, but the design continued to be produced by others manufacturers for decades.
This particular bike was built in 1978 by the Cheltenham bicycle company, located about 50 kilometers from the original Pedersen factory.
Let’s say you were an avid cyclist in the 1970′s.
In the summer of ’76, you decided to do some light touring down the coast.  Maybe you wanted to cruise from Seattle to Portland, or attempt a ride around Mount St. Helens .  Whatever your plan, as an avid cyclist this would have been your ideal bike.
We’ll start with the frame, which was built in Chicago of Reynolds 531 steel utilizing Nervex lugs.  It made for a very light and elegant bike as well as a smooth ride.  This Paramount isn’t a full touring bike, but it isn’t really a racer either, it’s somewhere in between.
Drilled the spoke holes incorrectly? Drill them again!
Not being a racer, you would have wanted some reasonable gears for the hills.  This bike has a Campagnolo Rally drivetrain with a triple crankset, really the only high performance low-gear option at the time.
For wheels we have light and sturdy clincher rims and tires which were more practical than touring with sew-up tires, and drilled out Campy high-flange hubs.  The hubs, apparently, were drilled wrong initially, so they just re-drilled in between the mistaken holes and presto! Ultralight hubs.  Slick.  Long-reach Weinmann brakes these speedy wheels to a stop.
All in all, this Paramount was kind of like a modern Lynskey Sportive or a Trek Domane “club racer”.  A great American-made road bike that handles long day tours quite well with very little pretense and just a hint of flash.
Your older sister had a pair of Famolare Sandals, right?
This Famolare is not an original Penny Farthing bicycle, and it’s not really a replica of the old bike design .
Instead, this bike is the embodiment of a Vermont-based shoe company’s logo, and a reward that was given to top Famolare shoe retailers.
Joe Famolare and his company have been making fashionable shoes since 1970.  Most famously known for chunky wedge-type sandals, flats, as well as mens and womens shoes designed with wavy soles.  If you know about Famolare, it may be because your older sister had a pair of Famolare “High There” wedges.
Kevin would be more comfortable in Famolare shoes.
The high-wheel bicycle has been in the Famolare logo since the beginning.  In the early ’80′s, the company had their icon made into a living and breathing bicycle as a fun sales incentive, and here ya go.  The Famolare Extaordinary.
The bike takes some agility to ride.  Since the pedals are connected to the front wheel, the steering and propulsion departments want to fight one another.  If you pedal hard, you have to pull on the handlebars even harder to turn.  Bumps in the road make it want to jackknife.  Oh, and there is only one speed.
Believe it or not, old Trek touring bikes like this one are still pretty hot.
A good touring bike needs to place your luggage out of the way of your body, the bike needs to be stable under load and in crosswinds, geared to crawl up steep hills, easy to stop on the way down big hills, easy to fix by a non-mechanic, and comfortable to ride for long hours.  The 728′s features hit all of these requirements 30 years ago, and with a few component changes, would still hit them today.
Great stopping power for a loaded up touring rig
While not setting the world on fire with their beautiful graphics , Trek’s manufacturing methods, frame tubing, and paint quality was really some of the best to be found in 1982.
While technology and perception of what makes a great racing bike has changed in the past thirty years, the things that make for a great touring bike have largely remained the same.
Bill Sampson was a bike builder in Northern California in the late 1960′s through 1980.
His engineering prowess and craftsmanship is evident in the few bikes that we have been fortunate enough to find.  Bill kind of dropped off of the radar in about 1980 and we haven’t heard much of him since.
Headtube almost longer than the fork blades
This seventy-two centimeter chrome beauty was built for a Bainbridge Island man.  The rider in question was over six foot eight inches in height.  To comfortably straddle the top tube of his bike, you would need an inseam of at least thirty-eight inches.
One of the more famous bicycles in the museum collection, Jaime used this Colnago Super to win the fifth stage of the 1974 Giro d’ Italia…  Oops, sorry.  Our mistake.  That was Piermattia Gavazzi who won that stage.  Jaime was still a toddler.  Pretty sure she could have won it though, if they allowed baby girls to race the Giro.
This Colnago actually was imported raw into the United States by a San Diego area bike shop, where it had internal brake cable routing added and a paint job done by Joe Bell.  Built during the drill-holes-in-stuff-and-pantograph-everything era, the components are drilled and etched for light weight and extra style. The bike rolled around the West Coast for years until a friend of ours traded it in on a new Colnago C59.
Internal brake cable routing, Ernesto’s signature
If this bike could talk, it would have an Italian accent.  Nisi Sludi tubular rims, Cinelli Giro d’ Italia handlebars and stem, Vittoria silk sew-up tires, a Silca pump, Regina cx freewheel and hollow-pin chain, and Campagnolo all around make this Italian expatriot a fine representative of its homeland.
Colnago’s custom engraved Nuovo Record brakes
Jaime working with the Nisi tubular rims for her bike
Ernesto Colnago’s bikes from the 1970′s were way ahead of everyone else in terms of quality and style, and the Campagnolo Nuovo Record component group had no peers.  Bikes like this one have become treasured classics, and serve as benchmarks for modern racing bike design.
Jerry Collier, owner of Riverside Cycle Sport in California, had this unusual custom bike built in 1967.  It features some of the rarest and most unusual equipment collected from the preceding decades, all built into a showcase of English craftsmanship, bicycle history, and eccentricity.
Starting from the bottom and working our way up, we first have the Osgear derailleur system from the ’30′s, with custom tabs fillet brazed into the chainstay, bottom bracket shell and downtube, eliminating the original clamps that would normally have been used to bolt the system to the frame.
First remove the wing-nut quick release…
The bike has Pallandini hubs, which incorporate one of the first “cassette” systems for the rear cluster of cogs.
The Gnutti crankset, another groundbreaker from an earlier era, uses a splined crank spindle, much like modern ISIS bottom brackets,  which was much more reliable than the cottered cranks of the day.
Check out the weird dropouts on the back of the bike, another holdover from the 1930′s when the vertical fins were used to help center a rear wheel with wingnuts holding things tight.
Up the curved Jack Taylor seat tube to the top half of the bike, look at the brakes.  Those odd looking things are GB Coureur 66′s, built with adjusters built into the levers, intricate cable hangers, and even reusable bolt-on wire crimps.
The saddle is a Nitor, and it uses a unique rail system that was ahead of it’s time in the 1950′s.  The Ambrosio engraved bars and adjustable stem were great choices, as unique and as busy as the rest of the bike.
Ken Taylor, one of the brothers at Jack Taylor Bicycles, visited the shop while in Seattle not too long ago, and autographed the top tube of this unusual and interesting time machine.
Track racing was at the nadir of its popularity in the early 1970s, and there weren’t a lot of fixed gear bikes available in this country.  While Schwinn did indeed produce a track bike in 1974, the Paramount P-14, this bike was a custom variant.
Wooden rims complement the burnt orange paint
The curved seat tube shortened the wheelbase, and shielded the rear wheel from the wind, making this bike faster for pursuit events.
Jeff restored this bike to showcase the Campagnolo Record Pista component group from the era.  The skip-link chain was still used in the 1970s by stronger or bigger track riders who felt that standard chains were weak.
The Cinelli pedals on this bike originally came out in 1970 , and are the earliest ski-binding type pedals in existance.
While the wooden rims on this bike generally hail from an earlier era, many track riders felt that they delivered a better ride on wooden velodromes and continued to ride wood for years after aluminum rims had taken over the track.
As this is one of the more popular bikes in the collection, and we get this question often, the answer is no.  This bike is not for sale.
If you were twelve years old in 1983, this was the bike that you wanted.
A classic old school BMX bike, it has a light 4130 cromoly steel frame constructed in the “loop tail” style.  Any weight saved by the frame tubing was put back by having the frame chromed, but the sparkly chrome really adds something, don’t you think?
Mag wheels were pretty common in the early BMX days for their toughness, but this rider chose light-weight spoked wheels with nylon ACS Z rims.  It has three-piece cranks, the original Kashimax saddle, and Hutch pedals .
This bike is on loan from Jason Elhardt of Roseville, Minnesota.  His original Hutch was a black version, and Jay used it to win many a moto in suburban St. Paul.  This bike is made up just like that long lost bike, and it even has his original Haro number plate with the old racing number 6535 still on it.  Rad!
Quality mixte frame bicycles can be hard to come by, so our friend Meg turned to custom bike builder Jeffrey Bock to make one for her.
Mixtes aren’t just for girls.  The word “mixte” is a derivative of the French word for “unisex”, and mixte style bicycles handle better than standard low-step-through frames, and are simply more convenient to mount and dismount than diamond-frame-style bicycles.
This bike originally came from Rick’s Bike Shop in Grinnell, Iowa in the summer of 1977.  Built to be comfortable for long tours, and used by Meg to run quick errands around town, this bike has seen it all.
French TA crankset, with a compact gear ratio
Hard to believe this bike is over 30 years old
Jeffery Bock, of Polk City Iowa, built his first frame while attending the University of Northern Iowa in 1975, and while this bike proves that his early work was amazing, thirty years have honed his abilities to the level of true artistry.
Over the decades, Bock has also taught countless students the fine art of bicycle construction through his frame building classes.
Japanese bicycles in the 1980s set a new standard
Jeff has two of these Kobe road bikes in the museum collection, and one is still in the original box, brand new.
These bikes aren’t museum worthy because of artistic construction.  They aren’t worth keeping because of some famous racing pedigree or athlete endorsement.  These bikes are historically significant simply because they represent the changes to the bicycle world brought about by Japanese manufacturers in the 1980′s.
Japanese components meant precision for the new cyclist
Japanese brands like Kobe, Fuji, Centurion, Kuwahara, Miyata, Panasonic, and Bridgestone came along with reasonably priced bikes with innovative features and grabbed a big slice of the bicycle market share.  For bike shops, Japanese brands meant consistent quality assembly, straight frames, and much less prep work than other imports of the day.  Japanese production capacity meant a lot to shops when the bike boom of the seventies turned into the mountain bike boom of the eighties and early nineties.
During this era, bike riders and bike shops sometimes found the old-world brands lacking.  There were Italian and French bikes with strange size fittings and threads.  Many European brands had good selection when it came to road racing bikes, but little choice for the average rider.
Ultimately the Japanese bike boom didn’t last.  By the mid 1990′s Japanese wages and currency exchange rates made their bicycles a tough sell in the U.S. market.  American brands Trek, Specialized, and Cannondale, along with Taiwan’s Giant, squeezed the Japanese labels off the sales floor while European brands that were caught off guard by the mountain bike boom began taking back floor space in U.S. bike shops.
This Eddy Merckx is a terrific example of European racing bikes in the early 1980s.
The specs are completely predictable for their time:  Columbus SL cromoly frame tubing, Campagnolo Super Record component group, Cinelli bars, stem, saddle and Ambrosio tubular wheels.  The close ratio freewheel told other riders that this bike belonged to a racer, not a tourist.
The Belgian marqee name announced that the owner had an appreciation for old world cycling heritage.
In its era, this bike was much lighter and better handling than American or Japanese alternatives.  It rode in a smooth and responsive manner that you could only get from a European brand.  Bikes like this came from builders who had spent decades racing on narrow, twisty, and often cobbled old world roads.
This particular bike, originally owned by Bill Jacoby, was for sale from the museum collection.  Our sale ad created a minor stir in the bike world when the writer BikeSnobNYC took us to task over it.  We had suggested that “anyone buying this bike for a “fixie conversion” would be shot”.  The Snob rightly pointed out that the buyer could turn this bike into a flat-handlebar-single-speed-recumbent-grocery-hauler if they so choose.  Absolutely.  Kind of like a classic Corvette converted to four wheel drive and being used to tow snowmobiles, but he was absolutely right.
Before there were S & S couplings or Ritchey Breakaway travel bikes, there was the Herse Demountable.
This demountable is made by Bill Stevenson, a talented and experienced bike builder from Olympia, Washington.  Over the years, Bill has designed and built frames for Gary Fisher, worked as a designer and quality control inspector for Ross Bicycles and Alpinestars USA.  Bill apprenticed with Albert Eisentraut in the early seventies and built his “Limited” series of bikes.
This bike is based on a Rene’ Herse design from the early 1970s.
While the travel bike was built in 1986, it was years in the making.  It languished in Bill’s shop raw for a number of years before he gave it to Jeff.  The painter Jeff chose to finish the bike claimed to have “Painters Block” and let the frameset sit on a shelf for over six years.  Coming up with just the right mix of parts was quite a task itself. The bike was finally finished in 2007 and is now in regular rotation in Jeff’s fleet.
Seat tube shifters and lots of quick releases
There is a great mix of engineering and artistry evident in this Stevenson.  Shifters on the seat tube avoid problems when the frame tubes are taken apart.  The bike has a Stevenson stem that is beautiful and functional.  Check out the smooth fillet brazed lugs on the bike, the head tube lug just melts into the top tube…
One of Schwinn’s more successful ideas was the creation of the “Muscle Bike” in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
While dad was driving around in his Mustang, or big brother was working on his GTO in the driveway, little brother could be doing wheelies on his Sting Ray.  Not to be out-done by the hood scoop and racing stripes on big brother’s car, Schwinn loaded these bikes with features.  Banana seats, stick shifters, slick racing tires, disc and drum brakes, suspension… these were the coolest bikes.
While the Sting Rays and Krate bikes were a great success, the Manta Ray was not.
Schwinn built Manta-Rays for only two years, in 1971 and 1972.  They weren’t very popular. These bikes were designed for bigger kids than the Sting Rays, with larger wheels, greater overall length, and a different saddle.
The problem was that kids who were tall enough to ride a Manta-Ray were probably old enough to want a 10 speed like the Schwinn Varsity instead.
Image was an issue for the Manta Ray. Older kids didn’t want to be seen riding around on a kids’ bike. And then there was the saddle… Check out the large-pan banana seat and you will see why everyone thought that the Manta Rays were bikes for fat kids.
Have an old bike that you’d like to get appraised?
We can help, but you should know a few things before we start.
First, there is no “Blue Book” value for bicycles. Bikes are simply worth what someone else is willing to pay for them. Bicycle values tend to be highest when the weather is warm, in places where it’s pleasant to ride, and wherever there are a lot of people who like bikes.
Take a photo from the “drive side” in front of a neutral background
Second, we have no idea what your bike is worth without seeing it. We’re just not that smart. Don’t call us and try to describe it over the phone. Serial numbers do not help. Instead, you can send us an email with some pictures attached or bring your bike in to the store.
You can to hire us to do an accurate appraisal for an insurance policy or a charitable donation, but we charge for this service and you will have to do some prep work:
You’ll want to take photos of the bike like you would if you were going to sell it. Clean the bike, remove any broken or rough-looking accessories and put some air in the tires. Take pictures straight on in front of a blank background, and take close-up photos of areas that may generate interest .
Badges or labels on the tubes help with identification
Close-ups of the parts tell a lot about your bike
By the way, you probably know more about your bike than we do. If you just bought a bike for $50, you have established the value of the bicycle . If you or a relative are the original owner you probably know when you bought it, so you have a good idea of the bicycle’s age. If you remember purchasing the bike you also know if it was a high-end racing model or a basic bike from Walmart.
Rarity rarely helps determine value. If you have a one-of-a-kind bicycle, it may mean that no one has ever heard of it and/or nobody is looking for one.
Popularity is no indicator either. Bikes that were sold in large numbers could fall into one of two camps. You could have a bike that will never sell because there are still thousands of them out there, 2020 New Air Jordan 1 Centre Court “White on White” DJ2756-100