I have some vague, high level ideas of what I’m looking for – if we’re going old it makes sense for the build to be Eroica compliant, but that mostly means steel, pre-1987 (which sadly ruled out a VERY NICE early carbon Colnago frame my LBS have had sitting upstairs for the past year).
I want to avoid anything too popular or common and get something a bit more “exotic”, reasonably lightweight (as far as that’s possible for steel!!) and not too shabby (as want to avoid respray if possible) – anything with nice pantographs/lug work/bit of chrome goes higher on the list.
This will hopefully become more specific as the search progresses, but to do that I need to actually start looking.
I guess the dream for anyone embarking on a vintage build is to find some hidden gem that’s been tucked away at the back of someone’s shed as you browse market stalls. It does happen – and probably more so in France/Italy – but you either need to be in the right place at the right time, or know where to look. Funnily enough, those in the know tend not to share the source of their goodies!
All is not lost however, as those in the know will likely be posting said goodies for sale on a site somewhere and searching on the internet should be easier than driving around little villages in rural France looking for markets (here I should note that my wife disagrees with this statement 😀).
To get the search started there are the immediately obvious options
- Bike Shops – local (if you’re lucky) & online – many do cater for vintage
- Specialist online retailers (e.g. Steel Vintage Bikes, VeloVilles)
- Gumtree (or other regional ad sites)
- Forums – Look at advice / see what’s available / post requests in forums e.g.(BikeRadar, RetroBike, Cyclechat, LFGSS, CyclingUK).
This post on BikeRadar – “Where to find Vintage bikes” – has a good general discussion about options.
Finally, in searching – especially given that I want to avoid common/popular – there will likely be a multitude of brands that I will know little about.
I’ve found a couple of online databases – ClassicRendezvous & VeloBase – that should prove useful as they provide background information and photos of many brands by country/region.
So, enough talking – let the search begin!