|The very first VO bike was built up with, mostly, vintage components.|
When I started VO, some 8 years ago, I was into building up my bikes with mostly vintage parts. Back then I spent an inordinate amount of time on Ebay looking for old bike parts. I wanted Simplex retrofriction shifters, Huret derailleurs, Maxi-Car hubs, French city bars, CLB inverse brake levers, and a hundred other wonderful and obscure bits and pieces. Today I use only modern components and accessories. Again, they are more practical and more reliable.
There are so many more cool and functional parts being made today than 8 years ago, many of them based on classic designs. And, if you'll allow me to pat VO on it's collective back, many are made by us. You can buy brand new 50.4bcd cranks, high flange touring hubs, all sorts of city and rando bars, great polished rims, lovely seat posts, functional and shiny racks of every sort. A number of companies make this wonderful stuff again, not just VO.
In most cases, these new parts work better than their classic inspirations. Our 50.4bcd chain rings are stiffer and shift better than the old ones I used to buy on Ebay. Modern Dia Compe center pull brakes are stiffer and stop better than classic Mafacs. Grand Cru long reach brakes outperform any vintage equivalent. Stainless steel racks don't rust like the old European chrome versions. And while the classic Maxi-Car hubs are still among the longest lasting, they won't work with modern cassettes. Even the better production frames being built today are superior to those of 30-years ago.
Like wooden boats, vintage bike components have a certain cachet and there are those who love them for that, and for the history. I also realize that some folks are naturally collectors and for them it's a great hobby. As for myself, I've always wanted to study and learn about stuff, but not to keep or collect what I wasn't using. Yet I still have a lovely set of retro friction shifters, a long cage SLJ derailleur, CLB levers, and a few other bits in a box behind my desk, just can't bring myself to sell them. And I still own a wooden pulling boat.
Do you still look for and use vintage parts? And what other classic parts should be made again?