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Thread: Old bike frame

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    Old bike frame

    Hey, just wondering if any of you guys (or girls) knew the answer to this one.

    I'm considering to start building a road bike piece by piece in the summer, and I am wondering if it would be possible for me to pick up an old steel 1980's+ road bike and recycle its frame but use 21st cent parts?

    If the answer is a no, what makes old frames different.

    Has anyone done a similar project?

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    Senior Member caotropheus's Avatar
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    You can do it, but try to get a frame with decals with words like "Reynolds", "Colombus", "Vitus" and "Tange".

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve001
    Hey, just wondering if any of you guys (or girls) knew the answer to this one.

    I'm considering to start building a road bike piece by piece in the summer, and I am wondering if it would be possible for me to pick up an old steel 1980's+ road bike and recycle its frame but use 21st cent parts?

    If the answer is a no, what makes old frames different.
    Not really. The most significant difference is the rear dropout spacing. A bike that old will have 126mm spacing, a modern drivetrain will require 130mm spacing. It's possible, however, to armstrong a steel frame's dropouts apart to force fit a modern rear wheel.

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    Not really. The most significant difference is the rear dropout spacing. A bike that old will have 126mm spacing, a modern drivetrain will require 130mm spacing. It's possible, however, to armstrong a steel frame's dropouts apart to force fit a modern rear wheel.
    so that just means the spacing is 4mm too small for the hub? Can it just be bent the 4mm?

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    Senior Member nodnerb's Avatar
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    You should spend more than 21 cents on your parts.

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    It's possible and amazingly good looking. Get some DB 531 or Columbus (can't say about Vitus or Tange as I have no experience with them, but I've heard good things) and then just start putting on components. I'd try to keep a quill stem on, but something with a removable faceplate/hinged front, such as this.

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    Yes, what you are considering is absolutely possible. I know this because I've done it!

    See here (All That's Old is New Again!) for details. Took it out on a club ride yesterday, and didn't lose anything to the carbon Treks all around me.

    Cheers,
    J.

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    It presents interesting options. The mid level Japanese frames from that era made pretty good bikes. I've been finding many left out for garbage pickup and rescuing them for refurbishing (Schwinn-Le-Tour, Panasonic, Nishiki to name 3 I've recently rebuilt). They are turning out excellent. I usually leave them with downtube (sometimes headtube) shifters. But if you want nine or ten speed brake-shifters, you'll want to find frames with the attached cable-stops on the down tubes, and the guides under the bottom bracket shell. That will make cable routing and adjustment easier. Those frames are definitely bendable to 130mm but you can squeeze 130mm hubs into a 126 drop with a small hassle.
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

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    My current road bike is a rebuilt 1983 Cilo, with rebuilt hubs, bottom bracket, and new stem, crank, and other bits. Columbus butted frame; a very comfortable ride. Most of the parts I have not replaced are vintage Shimano 600.
    Still looking for a set of brakes; Wienemanns are cheesy.

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    A good cheap option for shifting is bar-ends - they work pretty well. You can get cable guides that fit over the braze-ons for downtube shifters. I haven't had any trouble with the cable routing of my 1984 Schwinn Voyageur SP - there are braze-on guides on top the BB shell.

    It's probably ok to spread the rear dropouts 4mm if they've got a 126mm spacing but if it's a 120mm bike like mine was, you'll want to get them cold-set to 130mm. Any good bike shop will do that for you for not too much money. You probably will also want to replace the cup and cone bottom bracket with a cartridge one, which is another good thing to have the bike shop do if you haven't got the right tools.

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    Don't rule out downtube shifters. The current model Dura-Ace ten speed downtube shifters are v nice, and they work well with 105 or ultegra 10 speed stuff too, of course.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Not really. The most significant difference is the rear dropout spacing. A bike that old will have 126mm spacing, a modern drivetrain will require 130mm spacing. It's possible, however, to armstrong a steel frame's dropouts apart to force fit a modern rear wheel.
    This "armstronging" is called cold-setting. Many bike shops can do this, so check with the best ones in your area. You can do it yourself, but you should make sure everything is aligned when you're done. It'll result in a much better ride experience.

    Ken

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    Senior Member barba's Avatar
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    It can be done rather easily.

    Here is a link to a page about re-spacing a frame for a modern hub:
    http://sheldonbrown.com/frame-spacing.html

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    been ridin? shaq-d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve001
    Hey, just wondering if any of you guys (or girls) knew the answer to this one.

    I'm considering to start building a road bike piece by piece in the summer, and I am wondering if it would be possible for me to pick up an old steel 1980's+ road bike and recycle its frame but use 21st cent parts?

    If the answer is a no, what makes old frames different.

    Has anyone done a similar project?
    yeah. just do it, and fix whatever issues come up as they come. as for spreading the frame, sure, u can use a jig whatever, etc. i don't sweat over 4mm and just use my arms. have done this to two old steel bikes without issues. as for parts, i'd say go with downtube shifters...

    sd

    sd

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    Are there any pointers on frame selection.

    From what I have been reading on the forums apparently old shwinn (sp) frames are boat anchors because of their massive weight.

    What brands would be comparable to steel tubed frames (weight wise) of today if any?

    Also can a frame with downtown shifters to one that uses brake/shift levers?

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    What I learnt: It costs as much or more to refurbish an old bike frame with new parts than it is to buy a new complete cycle.
    This statement should be displayed in LARGE LETTERS in every bike enthusiast's workshop.

    You do this kind of project as a labor of love, not because it makes economic sense. The only way it pays is if you have a large collection of used or surplus parts already on hand.

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    Not necessarily on the old Schwinn's remark. Some of the 80's stuff (Circuit, Tempo, etc. can't remember which they were) and any Paramount are all quite high quality and will match any period frame. The electroforged stuff is pretty heavy though.

    As for what to get, look for quality lost-wax lugs, forged dropouts, silver brazing, double butted tubes, Vitus/Tange/531/753/Columbus tubing, and most importantly a good fit. The majority of weight savings recently is due to components, not frame, so find something that's decent in weight and has a good ride, then build around that.

    Also, learn how to do everything yourself, as you'll spend about as much as if you had a shop do it, but you'll own all the tools by the end!

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    Quote Originally Posted by miyata610
    Don't rule out downtube shifters. The current model Dura-Ace ten speed downtube shifters are v nice, and they work well with 105 or ultegra 10 speed stuff too, of course.
    I haven't updated my 1990 bicycle, 6 speed/double 42,52 and I can well keep head to head whith all those carbon wonders of the present day! I have DT friction shifters and 32 spoke wheels and I do feel very confortable with them. The 32 spoke wheel make wonders, they never were out of true since 1990!

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    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan
    This "armstronging" is called cold-setting.
    Also known as "bending".
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

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    been ridin? shaq-d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider
    This statement should be displayed in LARGE LETTERS in every bike enthusiast's workshop.

    You do this kind of project as a labor of love, not because it makes economic sense. The only way it pays is if you have a large collection of used or surplus parts already on hand.
    this simply was not true for me. i can build up a bike, not including frame, for $450, downtube shifters, and very nice wheels. a steel frame is anywhere from 150-400. that's 850 max, and at that price u're getting a top of the line bike if u ask me, as opposed to a crappy aluminum bike with bottom of the line parts.

    sd

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    been ridin? shaq-d's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve001
    Are there any pointers on frame selection.

    From what I have been reading on the forums apparently old shwinn (sp) frames are boat anchors because of their massive weight.

    What brands would be comparable to steel tubed frames (weight wise) of today if any?

    Also can a frame with downtown shifters to one that uses brake/shift levers?
    don't worry about weight. yes, a frame that has DT shifters can take the new brake-shift levers. nice steel frames are 531 (the old racing standard steel frame), SL (a little newer than 531, standard racing frame), and SLX (even lighter than SL). others are 735 and 835. i'd say, they're all good though, to be frank.

    sd

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    Quote Originally Posted by cascade168
    Also known as "bending".
    cold setting is doing it right..when u go to the bike shop and they SET it to the right width. if you just bend it, as i do, it'll take a long time for the steel to actually set; it will actually just bend back when u take the wheels out...

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    Quote Originally Posted by shaq-d
    I haven't updated my 1990 bicycle, 6 speed/double 42,52 and I can well keep head to head whith all those carbon wonders of the present day!
    All that proves is you are a better rider than those you ride with and your bike isn't enough of a handicap to change the finishing order. A Pro rider could beat you if he were on a Huffy but that doesn't make a Huffy a desirable bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by shaq-d
    cold setting is doing it right..when u go to the bike shop and they SET it to the right width. if you just bend it, as i do, it'll take a long time for the steel to actually set; it will actually just bend back when u take the wheels out...
    Uh, I think you need some lessons in metallurgy.

  24. #24
    Klaatu barada nikto cascade168's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaq-d
    cold setting is doing it right..when u go to the bike shop and they SET it to the right width. if you just bend it, as i do, it'll take a long time for the steel to actually set; it will actually just bend back when u take the wheels out...

    So, am I to believe that Superman is actually "cold setting" steel with his bare hands? After all, he's got to be "doing it right"

    If you don't believe me then maybe you'll believe Sheldon Brown (see definition for "cold setting" on this page):

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gloss_cn-z.html
    "Work is the curse of the drinking class."
    - Oscar Wilde

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    A decent bike can be built from an old frame cheaper than a new bike --if-- you have time to shop for the parts and if you recycle some parts.

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