Reid Cycles is famous for our quality, stylish and affordable range of men’s and ladies Vintage bikes. Made with the charm and aesthetics of a classic bicycle, but with new modern parts and accessories for reliable performance and safety. You can even now choose a classic-style Vintage bike with an electric motor and battery!
To help you understand the options in this category and choose the perfect Vintage bike for your riding, we’ve prepared this Vintage Bicycle Buying Guide to answer the most common questions.
Vintage Frame Style
It all begins with choosing the frame – consider the design and material.
Many Vintage bikes feature the traditional step-through style frame with a curved and downward sloping top tube. This is often marketed as a ‘Ladies’ style frame as it was traditionally to enable someone wearing a dress to easily get on and off the bike. With the relaxation of these cultural norms, these bikes are really for anyone who likes the style (or appreciates being able to easily step on and off the bike).
Whether you like the step-through or the unisex/horizontal top tube, Vintage bikes are not made for racing performance. These are bikes made for cruising with geometry optimised for a nice upright posture for comfort and visibility, and a low centre of gravity for sure and easy handling at a slower pace.
If you prefer a more upright position, consider the Ladies Vintage Deluxe. With a taller head tube, this bike is designed for a very upright riding position. Whereas if you prefer something for faster riding and more agile handling, then the Esprit offers a more aggressive posture (still very much on the comfort side of ‘aggressive’ though).
Vintage Frame Material
You should also consider frame material as this makes a difference in weight, performance and durability of a bike.
Steel is a strong, cost-effective and durable material. It also has excellent vibration damping qualities for making it a comfortable choice for city and river path riding (as used on the Vintage Ladies Classic, Petite, Esprit, Roller and the Roadster).
Not all steel frames are the same though. If you love the look of the thin-profile tubing on the Esprit then this has been achieved by using Hi-Ten steel (and higher-end components) to deliver a lightweight bike with the comfort and look of steel.
Generally speaking, steel is not as light as aluminium. So if speed or the ability to carry your bike are a priority then you should look at the Vintage Ladies Lite, the Esprit/Esprit Superlite and Roller range or the Deluxe.
What about gears?
Our Vintage bikes feature 7-speed Shimano gearing for reliable performance.
For riders who like something a little special though, we have fitted the Ladies Deluxe Vintage with an internal 3-speed Nexus hub gear. The benefits of the internal hub gear are mostly to do with being super low maintenance and you’re able to change gears even when not pedalling. Perfect for riders who like to change at the lights.
With brakes, it is always best to look for 'dual pivot caliper brakes' or 'v-brakes'. These modern styles are far more reliable, powerful and safe compared to lower quality single pivot caliper brakes found on inferior brands.
The 'Dual Pivot Caliper Brakes' which are featured on the Vintage Ladies Classic Plus, Vintage Ladies Petite and Vintage Ladies Lite look a little more traditional.
The 'V-brakes' which are featured on the Vintage Ladies Deluxe are also common on high quality retro style bikes.
Wheels & Tyres
When shopping for a new Vintage bike, look for double-wall rims which are much stronger than the old style single wall rims.
All our Vintage Ladies bikes (aside from the Deluxe) come with 32C (32mm wide) tyres. This makes them suitable for all hard surfaces like concrete, bitumen and hard packed dirt or gravel paths. The Ladies Vintage Deluxe comes with 35C (35mm wide) cream colour tyres that are a little slower but make for an extra smooth ride.
Vintage Bike Size Guide
One of the main questions we get is how to choose the right size Vintage bike. Just browse to the model of bike you’re interested in and look for the ‘size guide’ link above the size option.
Tip: The Vintage Ladies Petite is a smaller version of the Vintage Ladies Classic Plus. Made with a smaller 24" wheel and designed for shorter riders 147cm - 157cm.
Baskets & Pannier Bags
Wicker baskets are a great add on to any Vintage bike! Our front and rear baskets add classic vintage style and functionality to your bike so you can easily carry all your things without a backpack. All our baskets are woven wicker for lightweight style.
If you’re commuting to work and want something to keep your laptop dry in all weather, then you should probably invest in some rear pannier bags. All our vintage bikes (except the Esprit and Roller) come fitted with rear pannier racks that will fit most brands of pannier bag.