Bicycle frame dating

By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and our Terms of Service. This is a canonical question that will hopefully encompass all of the questions we get asking us to determine what year a bicycle was manufactured how old is my bike, how old is my frame, etc. Each "answer" should address a different way to determine the manufacturing year of a bicycle. To some extent, these will also help you narrow down the model as well as it will tell you what distinguishing features to look at. Literature e.

Determining the Age of a Raleigh

For the most part, studying a bicycle frame set's characteristics, can help in determining a bicycle's vintage. However, using those characteristics can be horribly misleading. In other words, this article will act as a guide, rather than a map, revealing land marks, rather than sign posts. You might not find the correct house, but you will at least end up in the right neighbourhood. Let's assume, for the moment, that cutting edge Velo technology is reserved for top of the line, or close to it, models.

And, let's also assume that, sooner or later, the top end technology will trickle down to lesser steeds. Assuming that to be true, one must understand that the trickle down system, spans both years and, often times, decades. With decades in mind, consider vintage road bicycles from the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties. Though the bikes all look much the same, as they blend through the years, there are distinct frame characteristic differences that suggest age.

Remember, the clues offered by the frame set, with respect to its vintage, are only clues and not perfect indicators of exactly how old any bicycle might be. What frame and fork set characteristics fall under the microscope? Tube set? Lug type? Drop-out type? Serial number? Frame material? Drop-out spacing front and back? Color combinations?

Art work? Fork crown style? Fasten technology? There are many things to consider, when seeking to understand the detail, inherent in every vintage road bicycle frame and fork set. As the interest in vintage road bicycles grows, serial number data bases grow too. In other words, though not all bicycles are represented with an on line serial number data base, some are.

Raleigh, is the first that comes to mind but others are available. Execute an online search for Raleigh serial numbers and see what happens! Or Nishiki, or Holdsworth, or what ever. What one seeks might already be offered. Do not get too excited about serial numbers. Some serial number information can be misleading. Peugeots from France, for example, cannot demonstrate what is and what is not, this year or that. Similar situations will continue to prevail, for some time, as the open community adds information to the vintage bicycle interest, such as this article is attempting to do right now.

None the less, if you do stumble across a data base of serial numbers and corresponding information, then chances are you will know when the bike was built, in what month and, perhaps even where made. For example, some Raleighs were built in the Carlton factory in Worksop England. That would be an important clue to have on hand, assuming one knows a bit about the Carlton factory, and its interaction with Raleigh. Virtually every vintage road bicycle frame set is made out of pipe or tubing, be the material of choice either steel or aluminum.

In all fairness, some might argue that early carbon fibre frame sets might qualify as vintage. Regardless, the older a bicycle is, the more likely it will be made from some form of steel, be it straight gauge steel, high tensile steel or some alloy offering great strength and light weight. So, most bicycles, from the beginning of time, right through to the early eighties, will be made of some form of steel pipe or tubing.

For example searching for some information on Reynolds tubing, one of the two grails of vintage road bicycle tube sets, produces a very useful vintage determination page - Classic Rendezvous offers a Reynolds decal page. You can do the same for Columbus, Ishiwata, or what ever. In most instances, some information will present itself, if you search diligently.

In so doing, of course, the decal would often be scuffed up, sometimes to the point of being gone all together. Or, how about the period tubing decal in another language? That's right, not everyone speaks Canadian - eh. The point is, observe what you can, if you can, then do a search and compare. You just might get pretty close to the target. Of course, if you search for information on other tubing types, it is quite possible that no results will present themselves, hence a dead end.

But fear not Frame set details, things that cannot be changed without great difficulty, will help to narrow down vintage, much of the time. For simplicity's sake, understand that the rules offered are general, apply to most situations but can prove to be misleading. So, do not think the following examples are cast in stone. Braze-ons are frame features that assist in attaching various components front derailleur, shifters, transmission cable guides, water bottle mounts to the bicycle frame set.

Older machines, generally, will have fewer braze-ons. Braze-on style, and even location, tended to change over the years. For example, derailleur cable guides, first clamp-ons and then braze-ons, were located on top of the bottom bracket. Later bikes saw, and continued to see, them attached underneath but an inherent problem prevailed with either design - wear.

The cable, rubbing on the braze-on would result in wear, and wear eventually right through the braze-on. The final cable guide location was underneath, in braze-on like form, but protected with nylon lining. Shifters were traditionally clamp-on units. Old School technology, at its best. However, technology changed, and so did the securing of the shift levers. Down tube braze-ons began appearing in the very late seventies and took over in the eighties.

These features would work with down tube shifters, stem shifters and even the modern Brifter system. Rear brake cable guides changed in style and location in much the same fashion. Each style or location change focusing on improved performance, or durability or both. With the coming of the eighties, the most common location and style of rear brake cable guide was on the top of the top tube and full casing style.

And so it goes with many frame set features. Clues that help to ball park a frame set's age. Sometimes pretty close and sometimes not. Though not GPS perfect, they will help one get a feel for probable era of manufacture. Following is a list, if you will, of common frame set features that can all be considered when attempting to define vintage of a bicycle. Peugeot PX General lack of braze-on. Head badge likely. Solid colors. Mostly France, Italy, and England bicycles present. Some domestic bicycles offered.

Key Indicator: General lack of braze-ons but beginning to become more common. More domestic offerings and some Asian bicycles present. Braze-ons more plentiful. Different styles and locations. Brighter Colors, fancy paint, alloy frames more common, both lugged and welded. More Asian than European present. Increase in domestic builders. Usually lugged steel , Reynolds and Columbus being the most common. Straight gauge most common, but some butted examples surfacing.

Primarily lugged steel, with some new chrome moly additions. Tubing structure begins to lean towards butting and double butting. More examples of aluminum alloy surfacing. Steel, lugged or un-lugged. Aluminum, lugged but mostly welded , become more prevalent. Carbon fibre makes a debut, soon to become the material of choice, for the best of the best. Almost none. Some attempts, offering very different and uncommon solutions to replacing clamp-ons.

Few in the early seventies but beginning to become more prevalent by the middle of the decade. Many braze-ons by the end of the seventies and locations become more standard. More tubing types.

This is the easiest way to date a 3-speed bicycle, if it has its original rear Some of the mid's straight gauge frames had serial numbers. What bike serial numbers are - and where to find them. Another serial number beneath the bottom bracket, aligned parallel to the frame. Schwinn Serial.

For the most part, studying a bicycle frame set's characteristics, can help in determining a bicycle's vintage. However, using those characteristics can be horribly misleading. In other words, this article will act as a guide, rather than a map, revealing land marks, rather than sign posts.

The answer, in short, is that I do not have time to tell you either. With an estimated 15, bicycle manufacturers, the odds are stacked against me recognizing yours; in any case, I do not claim to be an expert, just an assiduous recorder of information.

Note that the serial number information below is fragmentary and incomplete, and many bikes have proven to be much newer than the serial numbers would suggest. It appears that Raleigh recycled many of the older serial numbers in later years, so there are lots of bikes from the 60s and 70s that have serial numbers that would suggest much greater age.

Vintage Schwinn serial number lookup

Classic Lightweights UK Restoration. In these cases examination of the frame number — where it is, what it is, and how it is, may be of some assistance at least in allowing other specialists to hazard a guess at the true origin of the frame or machine. These publications have been invaluable in adding accuracy to the information — but even including their data there are still well over makes of possible lightweights to be confused over! The author would be grateful to know of any inaccuracies and to receive further information to make the tables more comprehensive. For example, some BSA frames have BSA and a 3 or 4 figure number cast into the base of the BB, this is just the casting number or perhaps a model number — it is not the frame number. Nervex, the lug maker, also had their name on their BB lugs with a long design serial number.

Bike Serial numbers

All bikes 1 all have unique serial numbers. Most bicycles have their serial number engraved beneath their bottom bracket, but sometimes serial numbers are found in other places. Here are some examples of where and what to look for:. Some Schwinn bicycles have the unique identifying number their serial number on the head tube. This is on the front of the bike. A serial number located on a rear dropout. Some BMX bikes and a few Schwinn bicycles place the serial on the rear dropout. On older Schwinns there are numbers stamped on both the drive side and non-drive side rear dropouts; the one on the non-drive side dropout is the serial number. Some bikes have multiple serial numbers. Hopefully you can find the serial number on the bicycle you're looking at - email contact bikeindex.

Even original owners have a hard time remembering the year that they purchased the bicycle. That said, it is possible to date a bike within a couple of years with some confidence based on frame features and components.

Dating your Raleigh Do you need more information about your Raleigh? Are you seeking an appraisal?

Bike Serial numbers

To 21st-century eyes the bicycle seems unremarkable. Beloved of socialists and suffragettes, bicycles became associated with emancipation and progress. Female cyclists abandoned impractical Victorian clothing for trousers or bloomers. That was overdoing it. But bikes had an immediate social impact in one area: Cyclists could now travel beyond their own communities, greatly increasing the number of potential marriage partners. They allowed the young to escape the oversight of chaperones. Even punctures provided romantic opportunities. Women were expected to rely on male gallantry for repairs: As bikes got cheaper, the craze came to an end, to the relief of scandalised Victorians who worried that cycling made women infertile, caused disease and loosened their morals.

Determining the Age of a Raleigh






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