Vintage Bicycles

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Vintage bicycles are generally aesthetically pleasing, durable, unique, fun to ride and their value tend to appreciate over time. Because of these reasons, such bicycles have become increasingly popular in the recent past, especially among retro style bicycle enthusiasts and collectors. What’s more, vintage bicycles appeal to environmentally conscious consumers because they help to conserve natural resources and reduce carbon pollution. Here are tips for buying a vintage bicycle:

3 Tips For Buying A Vintage Bicycle

Vintage Bicycle Styles

Depending on the date of manufacture, vintage bicycles come in different styles. The most common styles include:

Balloon tire bicycles — Built from the mid-1930s to mid-1950s, the main features of balloon tire bicycles include thick 2.12- inch tires, elaborate lighting, such as train headlight and trust rods to support the fork. Additionally, these bicycles come with a brass head badge, “coke bottle” handlebars, spring saddle, fancy chain guard and a big rare rack. This bicycle was designed to resemble a motorcycle, meaning it has a “tank” located between the saddle and handlebars. However, this tank serves no practical purpose.

Middleweight bicycles — Manufactured from mid-1950s to mid-1960s, middleweight bicycles feature narrower tires (1.75 inches) and fender compared to the balloon tire bicycles, as well a different headlight system.

Muscle bicycle — Built from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s and popularised by the Schwinn company, muscle bicycles come with a banana seat, monkey handlebars and 20-inch wheels. What’s more, boys’ bicycles feature a pointy cantilever frame tapered on both ends. The original muscle bicycles featured a giant shifter, which was outlawed in the mid-1970s due to safety issues. Today, other bicycle brands, such as the lowrider bicycle, have copied the design of the muscle bicycle, meaning that not every bicycle that has the aforementioned features is a vintage muscle bicycle.

The Bicycle’s Age

This is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a vintage bicycle. In general, a vintage bicycle is a bicycle that is at least 30 years old. Some of the things that you can use to determine the age of a bicycle include the brake style, accessories such as fender and headlight, serial number, and bicycle style.

The Frame

The frame is arguably the most important of a bicycle. This means that when buying a vintage bicycle, you should pay particular attention to the frame. More specifically, you should check for dents, corrosion and cracks, especially around the welds. While at it, also check for misalignment. While most vintage bicycles feature a steel frame, not all steel is created equal. To be on the safe side, go for a bicycle made with high quality tubing such as Reynolds or External features such as welds, butting and seat-stay design can help you determine whether the frame is high-end or not. At this point, it is worth noting that an ill-fitting can not only compromise the comfort and performance of a bicycle, but also make the bicycle unsafe to operate.


Vintage bicycles have become increasing popular in the recent years. Some of the important factors to consider when buying a vintage bicycle include the bicycle’s age, frame and style.