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Hints & Tips

Top Tips for Buying a Vintage Bicycle

Preloved is an excellent place to start your bike search. Whether it’s a nearly new, used, or vintage bicycle you’re looking for, we’ve got a huge selection to choose from. A vintage bike is a great buy for those searching for style and durability on a budget. These classic bikes were built to last, and are often sturdier and have better quality parts that modern day bikes. A simple search for ‘vintage bikes’ brings up plenty of results on Preloved, so we’ve brought you a short guide to purchasing a vintage bicycle to help you find the perfect set of wheels.

Vintage Bike


Check a Bike’s Age

Firstly, age is very important to consider when purchasing a vintage bike. The ‘golden era’ of vintage bikes is considered to begin in the late 1950s. Bikes which were made before this time may be in need of more than just a little TLC, and it may be likely that costly repairs incur. Although some modern day bikes are beautifully made and are designed to look like they’re from a past era, bikes which were made past the late 1970’s and early 80’s are perhaps unlikely to be considered as ‘vintage’, and this may be something you want to take into account when purchasing your new travelling companion.

Bike Frame

Steel frame vintage bike


Before starting your vintage bike search, you must remember that one of the most important elements of your bike is the frame. Steel frames are one of the most popular during this era, and many are built to an extremely high standard. However, If the frame has been re-sprayed or reconditioned, it can sometimes be difficult to discern whether it has been made by a quality manufacturer such as Columbus or Reynolds, or if it is a lesser quality type of steel. It is essential when viewing a bike to keep an eye out for wear and tear. Things such as cracks, dents and rust, (which can sometimes be covered up by paint) are essential to look out for. It is also good to check for any abnormal welding around the frame, as this could be a key indicator that the bike has been repaired due to a previous issues.

Columbus vintage bike


Bike Size and Fit

Most modern day bicycles have adjustable seats and handlebars, meaning that you can easily tailor the bike to your needs after you’ve bought it. A lot of vintage bicycles however, do not let their riders adjust the seats and handlebars; therefore making sure the size and fit of your bike is perfect is crucial to your search! The height of the saddle should allow the tips of the rider’s toes to touch the floor when stationary, and let their legs almost fully extend whilst pedaling. If this isn’t the case, the bike may be too big or too small, and make your riding experience uncomfortable.

Orange vintage bike


Riding Experience

It is advisable to take a bike for a test ride before purchasing it. This way you can ensure that the bike’s handling and turning suits your needs. Whilst test riding, turn the handlebars either sharp right or sharp left to ensure that toe overlap does not occur (this is when your toe touches the front wheel) – this can be very dangerous when cycling, especially in the city or on busy roads.  It’s a good idea to also check whether the bike provides a smooth, rattle-free, ride, and that you’re easily able to control the speed and handling. Good wheels and tyres should make your ride as fluid and gentle as possible.

Get searching!

Why not start your search now, and see what vintage and retro beauties Preloved has on offer?

All Images are sourced from Pinterest

Adele Gardner

Adele Gardner

Creative Writer

Adele is a creative writer for Preloved. She loves literature, travelling, baked goods and is always hunting for new music.