There are many reasons why vintage bicycles are superior to the modern day mass- produced, low-priced bicycles that you can find at your local bike shop.
I won’t even bother to discuss bikes built for department stores – those are landfill bikes that are utterly worthless and designed to be thrown away. Don’t buy them, ever.
But why ride vintage when you can buy a reasonably priced bike and brand new? Well, here is my list of the most important reasons:
Build quality: by this I mean the quality of the frame and the components. Vintage steel bicycles were mostly hand-crafted by experienced artisans. Many builders also crafted or modified their own components. That’s far more life than you will see in today’s frames, where fork recall, aluminum fatigue, and carbon fiber failures are routine. Today’s production bikes are simply not built to last a lifetime, at all. If you want a bike to treasure and pass on to future generations, don’t buy a production bike – either order custom or, for far less money, buy a vintage bicycle.
Ease of repairs and component integration: pretty much all vintage components are repairable with simple parts that you can make yourself if you don’t have spares handy. They are also easily understood, and learning basic bike maintenance is much easier for owners of vintage bicycles.
Environmental Reasons – Sustainability: for me, environmental reasons for not buying a new bike trump almost all the other reasons. Department store bikes end up in landfills because their components are made to be thrown away, and so are the frames. Each new bike manufactured adds roughly 530 lbs of deadly greenhouse gases to our atmosphere. In 2015, 17.4 million NEW bicycles were manufactured and sold. So, doing the math, that translates into 9.2 BILLION POUNDS of greenhouse gases spewing out into the environment in one year alone, all due to the consumer demand for new bicycles. Don’t buy a new bike for bicycle rides through your city! Fix up the one you have or buy vintage bicycles.