The Chainlink

I'm looking to find a vintage road bike. This will be my first road bike ever. I usually ride BMX bikes but those aren't ideal for commuting to school and what not. I've been checking craigslist frequently but I haven't really found anything I would consider buying. Are there any bike shops in Chicago that have a good selection of vintage road bikes. I would love to go and check them out if anyone knows of any. It would really help me out. 

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As for tires, it depends on what size you have.  If your bike is a 4th generation Excelle it has modern 700c rims.  There are tons of choices for you in those.  But if your bike is a little older than that you still have a lot of choices with the 27" tires.  Harris Cyclery usually has a good write-up on the better/more-popular choices with explanations about them.  Any local bike shop (LBS) will be able to set you up on tires.  Be prepared for sticker shock when it comes to some tires.  They can get really expensive -but that is something you'll see with any bike as tires can tend to get pricey.  I wouldn't worry too much about the "tread" though.  Even new tires don't have much tread as you don't really need it on bike tires.  


The thing you need to worry about in tires is the sidewalls.  Old tires tend to have rotting and deteriorating rubber in the sidewalls and the fibers embedded into the them.  This can really be seen when you take them off of the rim and see the bead falling apart.  Even if they look OK at first, the high pressure of road tires and the rigors of riding on them will make them deteriorate quickly once you start riding on them again after a long period of the bike being in storage.  This bike is probably at least 15 years old or older and the tires may have been original depending on how much the previous owner(s) rode it.  Such tires may tear, rip, and blow out on the sides letting the tube through the tire material and then you'll be stuck on the side of the road (or worse.)  Keep an eye on the sidewalls of the tires for tell-tale signs of deterioration, cracking, and splitting -or fibers sticking out through the rubber of the tire.   It's time to change them.


The inner tubes usually will be fine as long as the stems still hold air and don't leak.  The rubber of the tubes is protected being inside the tire from the harmful effects of UV light and ozone gas created by electric motors which will attack and destroy rubber.  Bikes stored in basements near a dryer or furnace sometimes will see this.  Since ozone is heavier than air it tends to stay at the bottom couple of inches of floor level and you can often see tires of an old bike blackened and damaged at the portion that sat on the floor in a basement near an ozone-producing appliance.    If you run your fingernails along the blackened part it almost seems singed at that portion of the tire.  This is ozone damage.  Older electric motors or motors with bad or failing brushes produce more ozone.  Ozone is produced by electric arcing of the motor and is why a model train has "that smell" -that's ozone.  Ozone is also produced by the sun's rays in the upper atmosphere but that stuff is way up there and doesn't effect us on the ground. 

Dang I should probably get some help with cleaning it then. I don't wanna mess anything up on it. And I don't have a strong knowledge on like half the stuff you posted about cleaning it. 

Sportif in Jeff Park has some 80's NOS Nishiki's, A bridgestone, Paramounts, and raleighs (2 super records, large sizes).  Not too many sizes, but 8+ MINT nos bikes.   If you can deal with the a$$hole that works there, charges $25 to fix flats, and is so rude it's comical, by all means check them out.

That guy's been an incredible asshole for at least 35 years. I can't believe he still has a Trek dealership. Lucky for me I have a Paramount & a Raleigh Pro. I wouldn't walk into that shop even if he was giving those bikes away. 

Andy Pielet said:

Sportif in Jeff Park has some 80's NOS Nishiki's, A bridgestone, Paramounts, and raleighs (2 super records, large sizes).  Not too many sizes, but 8+ MINT nos bikes.   If you can deal with the a$$hole that works there, charges $25 to fix flats, and is so rude it's comical, by all means check them out.

I thought that being an A-hole or at least a Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personality was de rigeur for a bike shop owner/manager.  Then again I grew up in the shadow of Yellow Jersey up in Madison.  You haven't seen anything until you go there a few times.  It's like playing Russian Roulette. 

I have heard the horror stories, but have never experienced any unpleasantness, but then my trips into that store have been infrequent.

is yellow jersey bad?  I had the owner build a wheel for me and he was pretty cool to deal with.  granted this was just over email

Andrew can be really awesome and bend over backwards for you and go way beyond the call of duty at times.  He's noted for that.  Then there are days when he can bite your head off for merely sticking it in the front door.  It's a crap shoot.  People tend to either love the shop or hate it because of this.  It depends if you go in there on a bad day or not.

Have you perused the web site at all?   It sort of shows you the degree of off-balance crazy that can go on there at times.   The colors...

There are a few Chicago shops that have a similar reputation -but it is nothing like Jellow Yersey. 

CJ said:

is yellow jersey bad?  I had the owner build a wheel for me and he was pretty cool to deal with.  granted this was just over email

That reminds me of one of the many reasons I love my favorite LBS. Clare and Owen (and their staff) at Blue City are always super nice and cool even when the place has a line out the door. 


James BlackHeron said:

I thought that being an A-hole or at least a Dr. Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personality was de rigeur for a bike shop owner/manager.  Then again I grew up in the shadow of Yellow Jersey up in Madison.  You haven't seen anything until you go there a few times.  It's like playing Russian Roulette. 

I've been to Yellow Jersey & I know the little troll asswipe of whom you speak. Won't go there again either or shop online even though they have vintage parts that I might need. Fuck them too.

I see you caught him on a bad day...

Michael B said:

I've been to Yellow Jersey & I know the little troll asswipe of whom you speak. Won't go there again either or shop online even though they have vintage parts that I might need. Fuck them too.

I want to get rid of the quick release wheel on my bike. Do bike shops do this for you?

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