1980s Trek Bike

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by smgn1996, May 29, 2013.

  1. smgn1996

    smgn1996 New Member

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    I am interested in buying my first road bike (and my first bike in general in over ten years).

    I found one on Craigslist, but I have no real knowledge or frame of reference, so I don't really know what I'm looking at or whether it's a good deal. Is there any chance someone can help me out? Is it a good price, and is this something I could probably use on a daily basis without any issues?

    The bike can be found here: http://pensacola.craigslist.org/bik/3798652938.html

    Thanks for the help!
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. I don't know about that particular TREK, but the 80s were the period when Trek first established their reputation for quality frames ...

    So, if you are taller than 6'0", then THAT particular Trek would be a good bike, as is ...

    And, the frame is certainly worthy of updating with more contemporary components in the future IF THE SPIRIT MOVES YOU in that direction.
     
  3. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Looks like a Trek 700, or 900 series. Lugged Reynolds/True Temper frame set. Nice but a bit on the "heavy side" by contemporary standards. As far as durability it is a tank.

    The Suntour components may be a bit hard to service if you want to keep it stock, since the company has long been out of business. That said, as configured it is friction shift, so you don't have to worry about Suntour/Sachs indexed freewheels/hubs, derailleurs, etc. You'll be the indexer. :)

    You can trace the serial number to figure out specifics about model and age. If tires need replacing you'll have some $$ to invest. If the hubs turn a little gritty - same for the bottom bracket, you'll be looking at $40-$60 for a bottom bracket servicing (if you can't do it yourself). Check for wheel true - $10-$20 if wheels need truing. Basically just check to make sure all components work smoothly without binding or dragging. $250 isn't a bad price if in tip top shape. If not deduct accordingly. I've seen people try to get $500++ for "vintage" bikes like this. (Not that they actually get it.) Kind of nice to have a piece of American history from Trek's early days as they successfully turned a dream into a bicycle company.

    Make sure it fits.
     
  4. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    It's a quality 30-year-old entry-level bike, but hardly "vintage." It cost less than the asking price when it was new, in 1980s dollars. I'd value it at $150, $175 tops, and only if everything on it works perfectly.
     
  5. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Go here: http://www.vintage-trek.com/index.htm. With the serial number you might be able to nail it down.

    In the 80's/early 90's I had Trek bikes and have followed sporadically over the years. To this day, I love my Suntour Superbe/XC Pro components. I thought your prospect bike might be an 82/83 Trek 730. The color combo for the 730 that year was " pewter with red (looks like maroon) panels"; however, the stock components were Suntour Superbe which was a couple of levels above the VX. Trek's MO was (is) to "version" the same frame in a series based on components - e.g. 710, 720, 730 etc.

    The other option was a 950 frame set (Columbus SL), which did come in gray. However, it would be unusual to build up a 950 frame with VX components. The frameset listed new for around $600 at the time. The 950 as a complete bike (957) was white with Campagnolo Super Record. That was a sweet bike. Example: http://www.vintage-trek.com/Trek_galleryLB.htm Checking eBay quickly, the last sale (2012) successfully ended at $799 with a $100 starting price.

    Overlooked the VX group initially, so oldbobcat's sub $200 price target is probably a better estimate. If the bike is a 500 or 600 series, the value is definitely under $200. Still, compared with some of the new junk that sells for $250, I'd be inclined to go with a pristine specimen from the 80's.

    Good luck hunting!
     
  6. smgn1996

    smgn1996 New Member

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    Thank you so much for all the information. As I learn some of these terms hopefully I'll be able to dissect everything you're mentioning. I really am a novice when it comes to this. All I know is that out of nowhere there's a fire in my belly to start riding a bike again, and I actually want to get in the habit of commuting to work every day with it. I'm 6'2 or 6'3 and have gained a bit of weight, but I still think I can handle it.

    What worries me is that I know so little that I don't know what's a steal and what's a scam. These were the other bikes I was looking at:

    http://pensacola.craigslist.org/bik/3785376529.html

    http://pensacola.craigslist.org/bik/3826880846.html

    http://pensacola.craigslist.org/bik/3828568498.html

    http://pensacola.craigslist.org/bik/3832950662.html


    What I most want is a good deal and a bike that is ready to ride (or very easy/cheap to fix) and practical for everyday use. I want to gradually learn more and would not mind a "project bike," but that's more secondary.

    Is the Trek my best bet, or are some of these other bikes better options?
     
  7. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    More is required to make an informed recommendation on a bike via internet. Height alone isn't enough. That said, I'd pass on the Quintana for the intended use you've shared. My guess is that the frame is too small for you (see first two sentences) and dialing in a tri setup is A LOT more challenging. Just not what you want for commuting and getting back into riding. The Giant is a nice bike, but medium is PROBABLY too small. Same for the Cannondale. The Schwinn - meh - the Trek would be better.

    I'm 6.1" with a 35 street seam. Long legs, long arms, and have not been really comfortable on less than a 58cm frame. Can ride 56 depending on geometry and set up, but not my cup of tea. My two primary rides are Scotts: 58cm (XL) and a 60cm (XXL) FWIW. One of the most critical dimensions is top tube length and discussing seat tube length or M / L/ XL / etc. gives you little to go on regarding top tube without looking up the actual frame geometry. Your flexibility will also play a key role in top tube, stem, reach measurements.

    So if this sounds complicated .... it is ... and it isn't. There are many ways to alter the dimensions of the "cockpit" (seat/bars/pedals) to fine tune once you have a frame that is in the ballpark. There's more high-level nuance as you spend more time riding - like where your center of mass is located for balance and handling characteristics, but not something to be concerned with now. I think Competitive Cyclist has a very good fit calculator on their web site. I'll hunt for a link later. I suggest you put your body measurements into that before you get too focused on the "bike candy" on eBay and Craigslist. Easy to get distracted by nice paint and esthetics, but if it doesn't fit you will spend $$ trying to make adjustments and possibly not be able to - especially if you go too large.

    Here's the calculator: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=FIT_CALCULATOR_INTRO Give that a try and then the peanut gallery (me) will be less likely to steer you wrong.
     
  8. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Nifty tool. Unfortunately puts me on a very small size. A 52cm top tube with a 85mm stem on the Eddy fit for my 5'9". The reality is I'm good on a 54.5cm top tube with a 90mm stem, a frame size which ironically one of the first generic size charts found via a yahoo search nailed based solely on height.

    The downside of a frame too big is not finding a stem short enough and having ones weight distributed poorly over the steering axis. The downside of a frame too small is the height of the top tube may be too shallow and have one too low on the bars for comfortable riding, even with spacers and after "flipping" the stem (something impossible to do with a threaded steerer more likely found on an old school used bike).

    The most important thing is to ultimately let the body dictate fit. Numbers are a good starting point but shouldn't be used dogmatically.
     
  9. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    There are ways of identifying a pro-level frame that don't involve finding Columbus and Reynolds transfers on the seat tube. This bike is no 950.
     
  10. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Agreed. Was commenting on first thoughts based on color/decals. I suspect 700 series with base level components, but it could be 500/600 level also. Reynolds and combination Reynolds/other tubing was used for sub-900 series in early days.

    $200-$250 for a 700 series wouldn't be a great deal, but if in pristine shape and the right fit without the need for a lot of tweaking, then I think it would be a solid value. At least I would consider it. Not in terms of being able to immediately recover investment if sold, but from getting a solid/reliable bike for a fixed $. Sometimes better to forego a few $ of value and get pedaling. Had a friend hunt an entire season looking for the perfect $300-$500 bike to get back into riding. All the while not having anything to ride. Wasn't worth it (to me).
     
  11. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Absolutely. But for getting started, the fit calculators usually give a good reference point to begin the process.
     
  12. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Very true, and their tool also calculates a few other ballpark measurements aside from frame size which can be very helpful for the uninitiated .
     
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