Vintage Style…or not


by Mark V on Jun 10, 2010 at 10:32 AM

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p>I stumbled upon this vintage Popular Mechanics magazine from 1973. Wooooooo, funny. Most of the bikes in the article would make me cringe if I saw them coming into the shop for service today. I have no nostalgia for cottered cranks and steel rims. The one really nice bike pictured, a Schwinn Paramount on the cover, had “suicide levers” on it, thereby broadcasting the owner’s newb-status. And the clothes! This is the early 70s, but if you watch the documentary Stars and Water Carriers, Felice Gimondi and Ole Ritter on the Bianchi team look so suave at the ‘73 Giro d’Italia…whether in team kit, casual, or a suit. I guess that would be the difference between Europe and America. Makes me wish I was there in Italy back then.

But these guys…not so suave. However, if the guy above had a moustache and some thick plastic rimmed glasses, he would look at home on any Friday night on Pike & Broadway on the hill. When you see him tomorrow night outside the ChaCha, make sure you buy him a drink:


p> Ranier beer fan .jpg

I dig the chick in red, though. She’s holding a Peugeot from presumedly a company catalog shot…is she French? Bikes PopMech_0005.jpg


p> I see the guy below and I think about the movie Caddy Shack for some reason. Bikes PopMech_0004.jpg

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Well timed with a link to [Tokyo Bikes](, which is marketing 650c, flat-bar city bikes.

So, what’s the difference between suicide levers and today’s inline cross levers? Functionally they do the same thing.

Well, besides the really low braking force, especially when coupled with the centerpull calipers, but I’d say that’s just a technology difference.

And what’s wrong with the Peugeot PX 10 pictured on the red page? That’s what I’m still riding. Well, the frame. Every component besides the BB and crank have been changed. Talk about a money sink.

More on “bicycle expert Eugene Sloane” from Time Magazine in 1970. Turns out, there was a trend of people giving up their cars for bikes.

ah, ergonomically inline levers and suicide levers are the same, performance-wise way different, even accounting for the centre-pulls of the time. 

What’s wrong with the Peugeot? Nothing, unless it has French threads and stems. I hate them with a passion. I wonder if today’s myriad of BB and headset standards will be cursed by the grease monkeys of the future.

Anyways, the Peugeot photo is better than others, in that today it looks less funny and more classic.

Oh yeah, French threading. It must have been so traumatic I was blocking that out.

Don’t forget the unthreaded Simplex rear derailleur hanger and the Stronglight cranks’ non-standard bolt circle diameter. But it did have a Brooks saddle and tubular wheels. And that’s not just a 1980’s phrase either.

Funny point though- that good old saying, “the nice thing about standards is there’s so many of them,” still applies. Stuff mostly settled down by the early 1990’s (except indexed shifting and bottom bracket lengths), but has exploded again.

The problem with the photo is there’s no way the model would fit the bike she’s holding. But let’s not open that can of worms again.