Friday, June 11, 2010

Test Riding a Vintage Mixte.

In an earlier post I mentioned that I'm looking for a project bike that I can refurbish, build up as a single speed, and basically use as a training ground for how to fix a bike. To that end, I test rode this vintage mixte.

I liked the bike, but I'm not convinced it's the right one for me. Really I'd like to find something that is cheaper and more stripped down since I will most likely be replacing most of the components. It's really the frame that I'm after. This one was going for $260.  The same day on Craigslist a mixte frame that was already re-powder coated was selling for $100 but I just missed it. I think that would have been perfect!

The bike's owner thought I was a bit unstable when I asked him to take a picture of me on the bike. I fibbed and told him it was so I could better gauge the fit of the bike.

After assuring the bike's owner that I could indeed test a ride a bike in platforms, I gave the bike a spin keeping in mind Velouria's tips for what to look for in a vintage mixte. The mixte had really skinny tires and was positively racy compared to my Bianchi Milano. I was a little apprehensive about trying to shift gears since I'm used to an idiot proof internal gear hub and don't have much experience with derailleurs and no experience at all with those downtube shifters. I did manage to shift into a higher gear once and it was kind of thrilling! My overall impression was how much faster this bike goes compared to mine with the same amount of effort. One feature on the bike that I really liked was that it had brake levers in two positions on the drop handle bars. That made me feel a lot more secure riding with such a different style handle bars.

I'm glad I got to try this bike but I will continue to look.

This post is an entry for the "Let's Go Ride a Bike" Summer Games. (Learning Experiences - Test ride a different type of bike than you normally ride.)


  1. That's a decent bike but $260 is really high. Of course that could be an average price for a similar bike on the west coast. Mixtes here in north Texas are usually priced from $125 to around $185 depending on the components and condition of the frame.

  2. Keep looking on craigslist. I kept missing out on bikes (by literally minutes sometimes) but eventually snapped up a Schwinn for just $25. And come see us at Bikerowave if you need tools or help getting it set up just right!

    Good luck!

  3. Beautiful bike, but I think I'd pass due to the shifters. I like having everything at my fingertips.

  4. Keep looking. My SAM cost $40. It was a complete
    bike, but I have replaced just about everything (I am 6 ft tall, so I bought my mixte for no other reason than it was the right size). Even with that, the whole thing has cost me $300 total (with Brooks, sealed BB and Vélo Orange fenders).

  5. Love the picture - totally worth it :)

    I agree with the others; hold out and you should be able to find a great mixte for much less, especially if you're mostly interested in the frame.

  6. I've just turned my vintage Motobecane mixte into a single speed fixed gear, and the single speed part was so-so easy; just make sure to ride it plenty first and choose a gearing you will be comfortable in both uphill and down.

    As for this specific bike? Nishiki mixtes are supposed t be very comfortable, but I agree that the price is too high. I'd get it if it were $100 less, at least.

    Good luck with your search!

  7. I've got 8 mixte's and paid between $71 & $224. Just don't impulse buy like I did on the $224.I've
    gotten 2 IDEALE saddle on Ebay for 2 of my French
    mixtes and it's cool trying to get more authentic
    with the builds. Have fun shopping!