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Do you remember your first "real" bike?(18 posts)

Do you remember your first "real" bike?scary slow
Jun 12, 2003 11:27 AM
I was on the way last night to the lbs to drop off my fixed gear conversion frame. This was the first "real bike" that I ever owned. I bought it in 1991 for the whopping sum of $350.00. I remember handing the money over to the clerk and thinking to myself that I must be crazy. Well if I was crazy then, then I am definately certifiably crazy now. The fixed gear conversion is about the third iteration of that particular frame. It has seen everything from down tube shifters and brooks saddle all the way up to present date STI and aero wheels. For some reason I cannot bear to let it go despite that fact that many bikes have come and gone since I purchased that bike. The reason that it had to go to the shop was that I cross threaded the bb in...I was almost beside myself when I realized what I had done. I was quite relieved when the mechanic took a look at it and said "no problem".

All of this also got me thinking about how much things have changed since I first started riding over 10 years ago. Back then clips and straps were still the norm, STI was still some unseen promised technology, most wheels still had 32 spokes, 28 if you dropped some coin, and aluminum was for beer cans not bikes with the exception of a few like C-dale and Vitus. Carbon fiber was just making its way on the scene with the Specialized Epic and the Trek 2300(not sure about the model #). Titanium was widely rumored to be scarce therefore to expensive to build a bike with, turns out it is just harder to work with than other materials...or so I 've been told. At any rate, I am of the opinion that bikes have changed more in the past 10 years than they had in the 50 or so years prior to the past decade.

So my question to the rest of you is...do you remember your first real bike?
Sure do!Mel Erickson
Jun 12, 2003 12:09 PM
I think I was about 12. It was a Raleigh 3spd. I think it was called a Grand Prix. Red, and it had funny brakes actuated by hand levers! It cost the princely sum of $75, quite a load in 1965. Everybody else was riding Schwinn Sting Rays with banana seats. One kid had one with the stick shift and I think 5 (count 'em 5) gears! I was a little different then and haven't changed my ways (riding a Softride).

Now, if you're talking my adult life, it was a French made Stella. I don't even remember where I got it or how much I paid. It was around 1972. Still got the frame hanging on the wall in the garage.
STELLAAA??!!! HEY STEEEEELLLLAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!(nm)Alexx
Jun 12, 2003 1:07 PM
Is a Schwinn Varsity a "real" bike?laffeaux
Jun 12, 2003 12:19 PM
If so, that was my first. My parents bought it for me for x-mas some time in the late 70s. I rode it through my second year of college.

I'm not sure how it was possible to make a road bike that was as heavy as a Varsity, but Schwinn did it. In the end it was probably a good bike for me as I rode it on trails as much as I did on road. In high school I remember jumping off of ramps with it. Living in the south, MTBs had not made their way into the one bike shop in my home town. I had no idea that there was an alternative to riding a road bike on rooty trails. In 5 plus years of beating on that bike I never replaced anything except tubes and pedals (which seemed to fall apart every 6 months or so).
first was...ClydeTri
Jun 12, 2003 1:10 PM
first was an offbrand of a schwinn stingray type bike, banana seat, big handlebars. Second was a Schwinn Racer, that green metallic color schwinn used alot, it was a single speed, coaster brakes..went all over town on that....then I didnt get a bike until 1978, it was a Raleigh Grand Prix, 10 speed. Still have it, used it until 1993 when they buying madness started..now have it, a Litespeed Tachyon, four Trek Yfoils (one of each color), a 1999 schwinn supersport, a 1993 Trek 1100, a 2002 Performance Forte, a univega tandem, two schwinn s-carbon f/s mtbikes and three other hardtails...yes, I am certifiable.
ahh, the banana seat . . .Drone 5200
Jun 12, 2003 2:48 PM
My very first bike just had to have the banana seat. I still remember asking santa for it (and I remember that I knew by then but was just playing along). I don't remember the brand, but the that seat started it all.
re: Do you remember your first "real" bike?mapei boy
Jun 12, 2003 2:47 PM
As Laffeaux says, it depends on what you call real. My first derailleured bike was a Royce Union my dad got for me when I was about thirteen. I wanted a Schwinn Varsity like my best friend, but my dad was too cheap. I think he got this one for free. The wheels fastened to the frame with giant wing-nuts...wing nuts that I could never quite crank tight enough. The Huret derailleur (five speed, of course) would clank down to the smallest cog whenever I went over a bump, or sometimes just of its own accord. I remember getting out my dad's pliers and replacing the front chain rings with "Alpine Gears." Suddenly, I could ride up my hilly street to the local school playground. I remember plowing straight into a bench. I went flying. The front wheel flew off.

About eight or nine years later, I come home from college to find the same friend working in a bicycle store, and riding a Gitane Tour de France. One ride on the thing and I had to get one, too. I sold my 12 string guitar to get up the scratch...$250. Bar-end shifters. Lugged 531 db frame. Brooks saddle. I put a lot of miles on it. One day I had a head-on collision with another bicycle - a girl riding on the wrong side of the bike path, talking with a friend. My friend and I removed the now pretzeled fork and tried to bend it back into alignment. The bicycle never quite rode straight again. The headset developed an annoying squeak.
By my definition of "Real"...Humma Hah
Jun 12, 2003 3:07 PM
... it was that teensey little cruiser I got at age 5. Dunno the brand, not a Schwinn. Maroon and cream. Didn't have it long ... I believe it was stolen.

I very vividly remember the Schwinn Mk IV Jaguar, a nice red one with a 2-speed kickback Bendix. There was nothing about that bike that was not real. All authentic steel, chrome, etc. It was a sweet ride.

When it was stolen, I bought my present cruiser. Equally real. Has the performance records to prove it.

I've had a Varsity, had one or two other loaner roadbikes, a couple of loaner track bikes. I own a 3x7 MTB that's fairly real.

First serious roadbike that's mine? The '74 Paramount fixie I just got put together a couple of months ago.
used Peugeot PX10 (1976?) then 1980 Bianchi Rekord nmDougSloan
Jun 12, 2003 3:12 PM
Nishiski Olympicoutofthesaddle
Jun 12, 2003 3:23 PM
Second-hand Nishiki Olympic 12, Phil Wood hubs, mismash of Superb Pro drive train, campy brakes with Cycle Binding pedals.
You bet. A mid-70's Gitane. baby blue.KG 361
Jun 12, 2003 3:49 PM
Loved that bike! I think I paid $175 for it (my own $$, saved from my paper route). Unfortunately, I grew and had to get rid of it. Suntour 10 speed friction shifters, 36 spoke steel rims, lugged frame with beautiful brazing at the lugs....sigh.....
Gitane Junior Racer.djg
Jun 12, 2003 5:49 PM
Copper colored. A mind-boggling 10 speeds. Simplex deraillers that seemed to shift gears in less than an instant. A rock hard plastic seat that didn't bother me a bit. 1973 was a good year man.
re: Do you remember your first "real" bike?tmotz
Jun 12, 2003 7:48 PM
First real bike was a West Point 20 inch modeled after the Schwinn Stringray.This was 1975 and rode it for 5 years.Loved that bike.
First real road bike was a Sears 10 speed ,small kids size.This was late 70's and it could move.Later on it was stolen.
re: Do you remember your first "real" bike?MR_GRUMPY
Jun 12, 2003 8:01 PM
I started off my bike life with a used, garage-sale Fuji, sport touring model. I think that I must have ridden it for 4 years before I got my first "real" bike. I shopped all around until I got a 1985 C-dale R-400 model with the cheapest component group possible. It cost me all of about $400. When money was available, I proceeded to upgrade just about all the components. I rode that piece of s...., I mean that wonderfull bike for 10 years until I got my next first "really real" bike. In 1995 I picked up a Bianchi TSX frame, and built it up with Campy Chorus. Since then, I picked up a "real" mountain bike, and two more "real" road bikes. I've still got all of them hanging around, to remind me that you can be happy with just about anything, as long as you are out there with the wind in your teeth.
Like others I would have to go with the ...Brooks
Jun 13, 2003 8:56 AM
Schwinn Varsity, blue, with suicide brakes and stem shifters. Got it when I was in 4th grade or so, rode to school for years. We lived on a hill and I could never get up the final pitch of the driveway. Downhill was a scream though. In 10th grade, I got a new bike for Xmas/birthday, a Peugeot UO8. This was a "real" bike compared to the Varsity. I could fly up the hills (and there was a long, steep one from the high school) and make it up the driveway. Toe clips: WOW! I could efficiently pedal through the whole stroke, even in the Keds that I wore. I even packed that bike for touring and went across the continent in '78. Alas, it was stolen in a year later....
re: Do you remember your first "real" bike?Matt Britter
Jun 13, 2003 1:03 PM
First real bike was in the BMX realm. Mongoose, bear claw pedal (actually had spikes on them) statium rims (26" but skinny like CX tires). I work all summer on my grand fathers farm for that bike $350. Then spent the fall and winter racing at local track... the good ol' days.
-mb
re: Shlt yeahjrm
Jun 14, 2003 4:31 PM
A specialized A1 Sport with rsx 100 and 105 components. i rode that thing into the ground jumping it and riding singletrack. What a blast....
Vintage 1986 and I'm Still Riding It!!!!!!!!!!!!!!jbigos
Jun 15, 2003 6:31 PM
You know that Vitus you mentioned? That was my first real bike and I'm still riding it. At the time, it was the only production bike I could buy that was only 46 cm (without going to the small front wheeled Terry.) I was determined to get the best bike I could find and even went to the interbike bike show when it was in Atlantic City back in 1985. I took out a loan for it, it cost $950.00 back then.
Last year I had it upgraded with Ultegra components (a 9 speed cassette with 8 cogs)new wheels, seat, computer. My mechanic felt that the frame was certainly worthy of the upgrade, and obviously I agreed. We still have quite a few miles left to ride together.