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Old 08-22-11, 08:26 AM   #1
KeithKris
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Looking for some outside perspective on a frame.

Long time lurker, first time poster.

A week ago, I learned what happens when a developmentally disabled man on a bike towing a lawnmower on a trailer the wrong way down the road pulls out in front of you from behind a parked SUV. Something like this...

Amazingly, I am unhurt. The other rider was OK also and got off with just a bent front rim. Everything other than my frame seems fine. I'm doing a 400 mile supported tour in a week and a half, and while my LBS said they might be able to get me a new frame in time, they couldn't guarantee it. I bought a new bike for the tour. (This isn't relevant to my question, but I feel kind of guilty spending so much on myself and the compliments from other cyclists help offset the "You spent how much?!" I get from my non cyclist friends.)

Back to the question. Since my expenditures are already significant, I'm trying to find an inexpensive frame that will get my old bike back into service. I really enjoyed the ride quality of steel, but it's difficult to find steel frames nowadays unless you're looking at track bikes or single speed. Vintage frames are usually designed for a 1" headset, so they won't work with my existing fork, stem, etc...

This caught my eye, but it's way more than I want to spend.

I can get an aluminum frame at a much more reasonable cost, but the aluminum bikes I've ridden in the past have had more of a harsh feel to me.

I've also considered cheap Chinese carbon. I can get a frame shipped direct to me from the factory for around $320. This would probably be at the upper end of what I would want to spend, but I wonder if the perceived higher ride quality would be worth it. I've read many of the cheap carbon threads here, and the negative reviews seem to be people saying they wouldn't trust the quality of such a frame. I was able to find some reports of these frames failing, but I found plenty more reports of brand name carbon frames failing also.

You'll note that I had a rack attached to my old bike. I use this to commute to work and I have to carry a laptop and some other supplies with me. I'm not a fan of backpacks, so I would probably want to attach a rack to my new frame. None of the ones above have provisions for a rack, so I'd probably go with P-clamps on a steel or aluminum frame. If I were to go carbon, I have a friend who owns a machine shop, so I'd probably get him to machine me something that would allow me to attach the rack to the QR skewers and rear break boss.

What would you do in my situation? Are there other options I haven't found? Here's my summary of how I feel about the three choices I've outlined above:

Steel - What I had before. Hard to find a modern frame and when you do it's expensive

Aluminum - Inexpensive, durable, but harsher ride in my experience

Cheap carbon - Some concern about quality. Probably more comfortable than Al. Not completely appropriate for my intended use, but I think I could make it work. It looks cool also.
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Old 08-22-11, 08:54 AM   #2
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Funnily, while working on bikes with some friends at church this weekend, we started talking about frames. One of the guys is into touring and mentioned the nashbar touring frame.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...1_10000_202337

He has a friend that is a lifelong touring cyclist and says that he loves this frame.

Might be worth a look.
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Phobias are for irrational fears. Fear of junk ripping badgers is perfectly rational. Those things are nasty.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:01 AM   #3
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Have you considered a Surly Pacer or perhaps a Soma Smoothie?
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Old 08-22-11, 09:07 AM   #4
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1) that's a nice new ride

2) I like the Masi frame. I have an old steel masi and think it is a fine steel frame.

3) Non-cyclists think that anything over $200 is too much for a bike.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:09 AM   #5
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http://surlybikes.com/frames/pacer_frame/
I was just going to suggest the same frame. It is a little bit more expensive than the carbon option you mentioned but very well reviewed.

As far as justifying your cycling expenses, forget it. Other than budgeting with my spouse, I justify my cycling expenditures to no-one. Some spend many thousands on tobacco or drugs. My drug of choice is cycling - also cheaper than other drugs. Many spend thousands on other forms of recreation. A few grand on cycling is a huge bargain when measured against any one of dozens of alternative places your money can go.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:11 AM   #6
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Wow, that looks very promising (and the price isn't anything to complain about either.) The only part I'm not sure about is the rear brake. It looks like it's set up to accept V-brakes or Cantis, but I have calipers from the old bike that are perfectly fine. Can I mount them to this frame? I think I see where they would mount on the picture, but it's not very detailed. If I do so, will the stand offs on the seat stay just be hanging out there doing nothing? I suppose I could always pick of a cheap set of cantis also, but I'd love to reuse what I have. Thanks for the link! It's definitely along the lines of what I'm looking for.


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Originally Posted by jsharr View Post
Funnily, while working on bikes with some friends at church this weekend, we started talking about frames. One of the guys is into touring and mentioned the nashbar touring frame.

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...1_10000_202337

He has a friend that is a lifelong touring cyclist and says that he loves this frame.

Might be worth a look.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:14 AM   #7
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Have you considered a Surly Pacer or perhaps a Soma Smoothie?
+1 on the Surly. I bought a Cross Check frame and fork from Jenson for about $425 delivered. Not super cheap but strong, durable and well made.

Nashbar's house-brand frames are probably the least expensive way to get adequate quality at a rock-bottom price. Aluminum frames aren't inherently harsh these days and fitting slightly larger tires can give you a softer ride if you wish.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:44 AM   #8
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That new bike is beautiful.

I would also look at Nashbar frames. Either the touring or cyclocross frame should be good, though you'll probably want to check the rear frame spacing to make sure they work with your current rear wheel. The road frame gets great reviews, but it has carbon seat stays, so it may not easily fit a rack. I suppose Ebay might have something for you too. Or Craigslist.

I have no suggestions as far as brakes go, except to maybe get a new rear brake to fit whatever frame you choose. I believe they are fairly inexpensive.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:49 AM   #9
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Upon further inspection, Nashbar also makes this full aluminum frame. It doesn't appear to have provisions for a rack, but you can use P-clamps to get around that, as long as your panniers don't cause heel strike. The right pannier/rack combo should work though. And, it's only $75.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:52 AM   #10
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I'd still go with vintage steel- nothing like the ride, and they usually have enough braze-ons for racks, fenders, etc... Look for Japanese mid-'80's for compatibility with most of your existing componentry. I'm not sure the fork is worth saving anyway after a head-on collision (is it carbon fiber? then I'd definitely scrap it), so the only unusable components would be the stem, headset and seatpost. May need long-reach brakes if changing from 27" to 700c. But, you could probably ebay the unused bits for enough to pay for the whole replacement.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:54 AM   #11
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I'm not meaning to SPAM this thread, but I have a lightly used Pacer, 58cm that could fit if needed. send me a message if you want to discuss further.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:16 AM   #12
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Lawn maintenance gig, Towing a Lawnmower?, a 3 wheeler, and modifying the drive train
to haul weight by having a low gear range, and a trailer with brakes , is a worthy challenge.

or invest in an Xtracycle/Big Dummy rig to haul the equipment you need.
strimmers rakes , and all that stuff + the mower in the trailer..

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-23-11 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:41 AM   #13
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The trailer was hooked up just under his seatpost. It did not have brakes. He didn't do anything special with the drivetrain either. It was just a standard Trek hybrid. He regaled me with stories of all the other accidents he had been in, then told me I was and inconsiderate ******* when I suggested that he start riding on the correct side of the street. My insurance deductible is more than a new frame will cost. A friend who is a lawyer suggested I take him to small claims court. He feels I have a strong case, but I don't think I would ever be able to collect anything even if I won.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by KeithKris View Post
The trailer was hooked up just under his seatpost. It did not have brakes. He didn't do anything special with the drivetrain either. It was just a standard Trek hybrid. He regaled me with stories of all the other accidents he had been in, then told me I was and inconsiderate ******* when I suggested that he start riding on the correct side of the street. My insurance deductible is more than a new frame will cost. A friend who is a lawyer suggested I take him to small claims court. He feels I have a strong case, but I don't think I would ever be able to collect anything even if I won.
+1000000

I recently bought an old Trek 750 on CL for $100 - made in USA steel frame - if you looking to go really cheap . . . .
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Old 08-22-11, 01:15 PM   #15
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Vassago http://www.vassagocycles.com/
Voodoo http://www.voodoocycles.net/
Soma http://www.somafab.com/index.html
Salsa http://www.salsacycles.com/
Surly http://www.jensonusa.com/store/sub/535-Frames-Road.aspx
Kona

There are tons of great cheap steel frames out there - don't worry about spending a little on the front end for years of satisfaction down the road.

a bunch of cheap steel frames at bike island even
http://www.bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BK...Framesets-Road

did you check treefort bikes?
http://www.treefortbikes.com/home

Bikeman
http://www.bikeman.com/

lots of options
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Old 08-22-11, 01:29 PM   #16
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Thanks for those suggestions, but they're all up there in price. All of the Bike Island steel frames that I saw were not made for use with derailleurs. I'm already a few thousand dollars into this, my goal is to get my other bike back into working condition with as little wallet damage as possible. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough about that with my first post.


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Vassago http://www.vassagocycles.com/
Voodoo http://www.voodoocycles.net/
Soma http://www.somafab.com/index.html
Salsa http://www.salsacycles.com/
Surly http://www.jensonusa.com/store/sub/535-Frames-Road.aspx
Kona

There are tons of great cheap steel frames out there - don't worry about spending a little on the front end for years of satisfaction down the road.

a bunch of cheap steel frames at bike island even
http://www.bikeisland.com/cgi-bin/BK...Framesets-Road

did you check treefort bikes?
http://www.treefortbikes.com/home

Bikeman
http://www.bikeman.com/

lots of options
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Old 08-22-11, 01:35 PM   #17
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For what it's worth, I love my Nashbar MTB frame. At $80.00, you can't go too far wrong. And in my experience, any bike over $95.00 is considered expensive by non-riders.
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Old 08-22-11, 06:07 PM   #18
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I waited for over 60 days and was on eBay and Craigslist 5 times daily until one evening, around 2am in the morning, someone with a vintage Bridgestone 600 road bike listed his bike. 58cm. Ishiwata butted crmo. Lugged. $200 cash - firm. On 3 separate attempts earlier, I contacted sellers at higher prices for crappier-looking frames and they were either sold already or in such bad shape, I couldn't accept them. But I met up with the guy in the afternoon, and the frame was in much better shape than I had expected, and it was exactly the frame I was looking for to build a lighter commuter bike. So if you can wait and be patient and look for a deal and be willing to check things out thoroughly, you might find something used for really cheap and in steel.
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Old 08-22-11, 09:36 PM   #19
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Thanks for those suggestions, but they're all up there in price. All of the Bike Island steel frames that I saw were not made for use with derailleurs. I'm already a few thousand dollars into this, my goal is to get my other bike back into working condition with as little wallet damage as possible. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough about that with my first post.
My suggestion was $75, and you did mention aluminum as an option. If you want cheap, I'm just sayin...
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Old 08-23-11, 12:53 AM   #20
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That new bike is beautiful.

I would also look at Nashbar frames. Either the touring or cyclocross frame should be good, though you'll probably want to check the rear frame spacing to make sure they work with your current rear wheel. The road frame gets great reviews, but it has carbon seat stays, so it may not easily fit a rack. I suppose Ebay might have something for you too. Or Craigslist.

I have no suggestions as far as brakes go, except to maybe get a new rear brake to fit whatever frame you choose. I believe they are fairly inexpensive.
I read some rather odd comments regarding their cyclocross frames.
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Old 08-23-11, 05:14 AM   #21
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Well thanks for all the suggestions guys. I went ahead and ordered the Nashbar road frame. At $106 shipped the price was right.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:30 PM   #22
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Let us know how you like it. I'm thinking of getting one myself.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:33 PM   #23
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I read some rather odd comments regarding their cyclocross frames.
If you're referring to the 130 vs 135 spacing, I've read that too. I think they have it standardized now, but I'm not certain. Shouldn't affect the road frame though.
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Old 08-23-11, 01:52 PM   #24
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Wow, that looks very promising (and the price isn't anything to complain about either.) The only part I'm not sure about is the rear brake. It looks like it's set up to accept V-brakes or Cantis, but I have calipers from the old bike that are perfectly fine. Can I mount them to this frame? I think I see where they would mount on the picture, but it's not very detailed. If I do so, will the stand offs on the seat stay just be hanging out there doing nothing? I suppose I could always pick of a cheap set of cantis also, but I'd love to reuse what I have. Thanks for the link! It's definitely along the lines of what I'm looking for.

I love my nashbar touring frame or should I say LOVED, some ******bag stole it this weekend. I'm pretty sure that yes you can put calipers on that brake bridge but then you would have the canti studs sitting there. You are saving so much by buying this frame that you may as well just spend the extra $20 for the lowest level shimano vbrake and put on the back.

here is my bike, setup with nashbar carbon cx fork


FWIW, the touring frame is 132.5 so it can take either 130 or 135mm wheels. I like the idea of this because it's a bit different than what you have now and gives you some more versatility.

EDIT, just saw that you bought the nashbar road frame. I think you will enjoy it and wonder why people pay so much for "real" frames
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Old 08-23-11, 02:36 PM   #25
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towing a lawnmower on a trailer the wrong way down the road
just saying that in court will lose your small claim.
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