It doesn’t take a lot of frills to be the star of the street. Many hipsters and hobby cyclists have sworn by vintage racing bikes for a few years now. Here are the most important tips for beginners and cool gadgets that will turn the nostalgia bike into a superstar.

Basically, racing bikes are like whiskey. The older, the bigger. With one small difference: the fine bourbon or single malt runs down your throat and at some point even the finest bottle is empty. Cycling fans with a bit of nostalgia will enjoy a lifetime of joy in a steel racer from the cult forges of the 1970s and 80s – Colnago, Pinarello or Bianchi – to name just three. Yes, the vintage bikes on two wheels weigh a few kilos more than the outrageously expensive carbon fiber model, the triathlon machine with the drinking system integrated into the frame, or the city bike with the fancy 14-speed hub gear. Comfort is now different. Nevertheless, the bikes, some of which are several decades old, are booming – and no longer only in big cities like Hamburg, Berlin or Munich. And the replicas, the so-called vintage racing bikes, are also usually impressive.

Unlike tour legends Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault, who struggled through the Alps on their two-wheelers, young and old alike pedal the dashing oldies to work, to university or just for fun Nature. The vintage-style racing bikes are not quite comparable to the steel steeds of the 1970s – and yet they are always an eye-catcher.

Vintage racing bike: basement, flea market or dealer

It takes a good portion of luck to find such a piece of jewelry on the internet or even at the flea market. This is one of the reasons why some bike manufacturers have specialized in vintage racing bikes in recent years. The Berlin two-wheeler manufacturer Chrisson has several of these in its range. The retro bikes weigh a sporty eleven kilograms. That’s still a few kilos lighter than the classics from back then brought to the streets. Instead of the classic (and rather uncomfortable) frame gears used by Merckx and Co., the brake levers are used to shift gears. With their urban bikes like the Vintage Road N7, the Berlin inventors have also dispensed with the classic racing handlebars. Speed ​​junkies who like to pull hard on the lower links will also find models with the racing variant.

Dusty pieces of jewellery: You should pay attention to this

Lucky people who come across a long-forgotten racing bike from grandpa’s time in the basement or who want to snag a bargain online should at least be careful before the first test ride. The steel frames of that time are robust and durable, because the tubes were soldered with sockets and the jewels are usually at least partially chrome-plated – but time has not left them completely untouched. It becomes particularly dangerous when the frames are warped or dented. Wheels that have been in the basement for 20 years or more can also rust from the inside. Here it helps to lift the wheel once, turn it around and prick up your ears. If it trickles inside, that could indicate rust. Otherwise, it is sufficient to go over the pipes once by hand to identify any dents or dangerous cracks.

The saddle should be replaced on complete bikes. The experienced saddle builders at Selle Italia, among others, have walked the tightrope between comfort and retro look. The result was a new edition of the legendary “Turbo”. The classic from 1980 comes in nostalgic brown and is intended to evoke the times of Miguel Indurain and Laurent Fignon.

Whether it’s a new purchase or a net find – even a vintage racing bike has to be roadworthy. This also includes StVZO-certified lighting. True to style, of course, like this chrome-plated front light “Made in Germany” from Busch

Pimp it up: Flippige Gadgets und Styling-Tipps

In the fight against bad weather, even with vintage racing bikes, the mudguard is the only thing that helps. But instead of complex assembly with small nuts and screws, plug-in solutions are sufficient. These are now available in all shapes, colors and daring designs. They fit under all common saddle models and are attached in no time at all. Otherwise they take up no space in the backpack. In addition to funky comic motifs in black and white and candy colors, rie:sel Design from Dresden also has designs for retro bikers who prefer understatement.

Now it makes little sense to jump on a vintage racing bike in a winter coat or summer dress. In the worst case, this is not only dangerous, but also a pity for the clothes. Mainly because there are also outfits to go with the classy oldie racers, which will definitely take cyclists nostalgic back to the golden age of cycling. Simple, preferably with stripes in soft pink, celeste green or the rainbow colors of the world champions and the nostalgic lettering of legendary brands and teams such as Bianchi Campagnolo, Molteni, Peugeot or others on the chest. Choice of short-sleeved, long-sleeved jersey or jacket. The Frankfurt road bike rock’n’rollers from the “guilty 76 racing team” have designed their own collection. The Windblock jacket in black and gray vintage style is windproof, water-repellent and can be easily folded up and stowed in the jersey pocket when the weather is nice.

In the big racing bike test 2021 you will find a selection of current racing machines.

This article contains so-called affiliate links. There is more information here.