/ Looking at buying a 30 year old bike...

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seanjc - on 27 Aug 2014
So I was looking for a cheap ride for reasonably short commutes and running about etc when I came across a 1980s peugeot road bike for sale. I quite like the idea but am slightly concerned that the thing might fall to pieces half way home. Now I'm not the most clued up on bikes in general let alone older ones... any advice on what I should be looking for and checking before I buy? And how difficult is it to replace the most likely failing parts? Thanks in advance, Sean
balmybaldwin - on 27 Aug 2014
In reply to seanjc:

The key will be erosion and rust on the frame. Remove the seatpost and check inside for rust.

Look at the welds are they sound?

Look at the rims - are they straight? scored? press on them hard with you thumbs as you would to test a tyre pressure. can you feel any discernible movement? (if so the rims are worn too thin)

Look at the current owner has he had it since new? is he a bike nut (and therefore likely to have looked after it?) is he heavy? (more likely to have caused long term damage)

Find your self a good old school local bike shop (the type that sell second hand bikes) they will be able to source parts if required.

Bearings - headset, hubs should run smooth but without play. Bearings are easy to find for bikes that old from machine supplies places.

Look on retrobike.com (or might be .co.uk) there's a good forum of enthusiasts that will help if you are really stuck.

P.s.I have a good 1992 Cannondale MTB that I intend to keep running for years to come as a commuter. I think it must have done 20,000 miles at least and the early miles were properly hard in the old rigid mtb days
Simon2005 on 27 Aug 2014
In reply to seanjc:

No reason why it should fall apart unless it's a rust bucket. I've a Dawes of similar vintage and still ride it regularly. I've never had a problem getting any replacement parts. Beware if the bike looks neglected because it probably is not worth the effort/cost to get in good shape. Obvious sort of things to check; does it feel okay to ride, are there any strange noises, do the gears work, are the wheels true, is it stolen?
altirando - on 27 Aug 2014
In reply to Simon2005:

I still have two road bikes I used for touring and racing several decades ago. It is not the handbuilt lugged frames that stop me riding them now, but rather the brakes. I would not trust the cables. And I would be a bit concerned about long braking downhill for the wheels - spokes don't last for ever.
veteye on 28 Aug 2014
In reply to seanjc:

I still have 2 versions of the same Raleigh drop handle bar hybrid bikes from about 25 years ago and recently got new tyres on one that is at my home.(The other is at my mother's house 100 miles away).
I seem to remember that Peugeots from that time often had Huret gear mechanisms which may be a weak point.Yet if you liked the bike,then it may be useful to get newer gear mechanisms which are more versatile and would possibly make riding more fluid.You could always replace one part at at time as it seemed to become necessary.
gethin_allen on 28 Aug 2014
In reply to seanjc:

I used to have a mid 80 vintage Peugeot road bike, the thing that eventually lead to it's demise was a mailard helicomatic rear hub and cassette. The cassette wore out and it was impossible to replace, and I couldn't simply buy a new wheel as the hub spacing is narrower than modern wheels and it's impossible to find old 5 speed wheels in good condition.

Eventually, the chain skipped on day as I pulled away from some lights, I collapsed onto the bars and the front wheel and stabbed myself with the chainring and almost got run over by the bus behind me.
The end result being, 2 badly buckled wheels, bent forks, bent bars, and some nice oil tattooing on my ankle. The bike went in the skip.
Timmd on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to seanjc:
You can buy modern dual pivot long reach brakes for older frames, and if the rear end is 126mm you could get a frame builder (or even bike shop I guess) to re space it to 130mm for modern wheels.

So long as the stem isn't corroded into the fork steerer tube, and the seat post isn't, there's still new parts to be found on line which fit 1980's frame.

Some bike magazines and websites like campyonly suggest replacing alloy stems and bars on vintage bikes, which I guess 1980's is by now (erk my childhood is distant enough to be vintage), as possibly they'll theoretically eventually break given enough years of hooning on the handlebars going up hills (depending on how well they're designed in the first place and how heavy people who've used them have been), but that's up to you, it's not a given that either of them will - or won't I guess.

Replaceable parts should be easy enough, though it might be worth checking it's not got French threadings, I'm not sure how much it will follow that it has just because it's a French brand, I gather french bottom brackets and headsets are a little bit more scare, could be worth a google before you commit, to double check just in case your headset and bottom bracket don't have a lot of life left in them.
Post edited at 23:08
Timmd on 31 Aug 2014
In reply to seanjc:
You could possibly look up the frame number to find out the threading.

Edit: A quick google shows you can get French headsets from Velo Orange, and French bottom brackets, so I wouldn't worry about that.
Post edited at 23:23
MarkAstley on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to seanjc:

My younger brother has been riding a Reynolds steel framed Condor for a good 10 years after he was given it. No known history before then. He refurbished everything. However, in the last 2 years he discovered a small crack in the drive side chainstay about an inch back from the BB which he repaired and then in May this year his alloy steerer sheared without warning as he rode up Carlton Bank in Yorkshire, it'd been polished up a few days before and there was no visible defect then. Spoilt his weekend a bit, lovely looking bike though.
There's a risk with anything 2nd hand.
M0nkey - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to seanjc:

I'd be happy with it as long as it looked ok visually. Bikes are mechanically pretty simple. If it looks ok it almost always is. I found an ancient mountain bike in a skip years ago and after a bit of wd40 and a new wheel it did me for a good few years before someone nicked it (I never locked it on the basis it was so awful I couldn't believe anyone would steal it).

I replaced it with an ancient Royal Enfield i picked up at auction for £9. It must be 50+ years old, and a lot of those outdoors. The rims are totally rusted and there is widespread pitting of all chrome components. I gave it a bit of wd40, a couple of new tubes and a bit of a clean and it's been going great guns ever since. It is pretty slow compared to modern bikes but what do I care.

Your Peugeot sounds a bit too posh for my liking if anything!
Enty - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to seanjc:

Can you post a pic?
It could be a 20 quid heap of junk or a very much sought after Tour de France replica.

Timmd on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to MarkAstley:
> and then in May this year his alloy steerer sheared without warning as he rode up Carlton Bank in Yorkshire, it'd been polished up a few days before and there was no visible defect then.

Aha, seems like sensible advice to replace alloy stems and handlebars on second hand older bikes just in case.

Hope he didn't fall off.
Post edited at 09:44
wbo - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to seanjc:

Well my main bike till a few months ago was a 20 year old steel with mostly original parts and that took a full suite of abuse so don't fret too much about critical failure. Most bikes of that age that were going to snap have already
The main issue I had was getting parts for it - 1 inch headsets and so on give you a limited choice now. If you think you can get parts and like it go right ahead and enjoy.
Timmd on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to wbo:

There is limited choice, but things like 1 inch headsets are still being manufactured. I guess it's more difficult to get things to match and things.
wbo - on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to seanjc:

Try getting decent nick forks with a 1 inch steerer... it's far from impossible but it's bother if you're not keen on poking around ebay and such. It's still a nice bike, but some effort is required sometimes
Timmd on 02 Sep 2014
In reply to wbo:

Ah I see what you mean, yes it is more a hunt.

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