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  1. #1
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    Adding bottle cage holes

    I have an older Schwinn Traveler and would like to drill and tap holes for bottle cages. Would that compromise the frame? It is a steel frame. Also would this decrease the value of the bike?

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    It would not meaningfully compromise the integrity for the frame. As to resale value, these aren't exactly classics which must be kept as close to original as possible.

    However the tubing walls are too thin to tap. There are ways to "drill" a hole so as to flow the wall to form a sort of burr with enough depth to tap, but this requires specialized tooling you're not likely to own. Best bet is to find a riv-nut for either a 10-32 or M5 thread and drill the frame to the required diameter, then fit the nut.

    BTW- this is another example where measuring twice and checking your work before drilling would serve you well. Done poorly, you end up with holes not correctly spaced, or a bottle cage that sits off center or at an angle.
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  3. #3
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Everything Francis said plus the need to remove the BB and remove the chips from inside the frame as they will settle in the BB shell in time. And it always is a good idea to R&R the BB. Andy.

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    Old trick from my magic hat. Cut a rag into a square that you can ball up to a jam fit in the seat tube. fold one corner and tie a strong string to it securely. About 3' out tie a nut to the string. Soak the rag in oil ball it up and push down the seat tube below the work area with a stick, tossing the string and nut in after it. Do your work above the rag, and when finished, flip the frame over so the nut falls out, and pull the rag out by the string, wiping up any chips and leaving an oil film on the tube.


    Of course this won't help on the down tube. OTOH, if you have a cartridge BB, the chips don't matter anyway.
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  5. #5
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
    Everything Francis said plus the need to remove the BB and remove the chips from inside the frame as they will settle in the BB shell in time.
    Or just pull out the seat post and position the frame upside-down while drilling the holes.

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    Senior Member asmac's Avatar
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    Here's a video specifically demonstrating rivnut use on a bicycle: rivnut install bicycle - YouTube

    Unless you already have the rivnut tool and required skills, would it not be better to put the money toward a new bike?

    I have a similar need and might try using pop rivets though they may not be strong enough.

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    And just in case you want a temporary solution that doesn't require drilling, there are several mounts that will go on your frame or other locations on the bike.

    Adding Water Bottle Cages to Bicycles without Braze

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    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asmac View Post
    Here's a video specifically demonstrating rivnut use on a bicycle: rivnut install bicycle - YouTube

    Unless you already have the rivnut tool and required skills, would it not be better to put the money toward a new bike?

    I have a similar need and might try using pop rivets though they may not be strong enough.
    You don't need a rivnut tool. If using M5, you can use a QR skewer or long m5 screw, washer & nut to make your own tool. If using a different thread, use a long screw of that thread.

    How would pop rivets work for a bottle cage ?

    Or buy bottle cages that have band clamps that go around the tubes. Not as clean looking, but they work.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  9. #9
    Senior Member asmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
    You don't need a rivnut tool. If using M5, you can use a QR skewer or long m5 screw, washer & nut to make your own tool. If using a different thread, use a long screw of that thread.
    Thanks! My mechanical lack of aptitude doesn't let me visualize this but I'm sure it would all become clear if I saw it.

    Don't know if pop rivets would be durable enough -- perhaps not. My experience with bands is that they were not adequate and soon broke. Mine were plastic, made for bicycles. Perhaps you mean standard stainless pipe bands which are beyond not clean looking and approach truly ugly!

  10. #10
    Andrew R Stewart Andrew R Stewart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Old trick from my magic hat. Cut a rag into a square that you can ball up to a jam fit in the seat tube. fold one corner and tie a strong string to it securely. About 3' out tie a nut to the string. Soak the rag in oil ball it up and push down the seat tube below the work area with a stick, tossing the string and nut in after it. Do your work above the rag, and when finished, flip the frame over so the nut falls out, and pull the rag out by the string, wiping up any chips and leaving an oil film on the tube.


    Of course this won't help on the down tube. OTOH, if you have a cartridge BB, the chips don't matter anyway.
    I have such a rag in my Campy tool box. Andy.

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    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asmac View Post
    Here's a video specifically demonstrating rivnut use on a bicycle: rivnut install bicycle - YouTube

    Unless you already have the rivnut tool and required skills, would it not be better to put the money toward a new bike?

    I have a similar need and might try using pop rivets though they may not be strong enough.
    Toronto, huh? I'm just out in Oakville and well equipped to install rivnuts. I can fix you up.
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  12. #12
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IARide4Fun View Post
    I have an older Schwinn Traveler and would like to drill and tap holes for bottle cages. Would that compromise the frame? It is a steel frame. Also would this decrease the value of the bike?
    Is this an electroforged Chicago Schwinn? If so, the frame tubes might be thick enough to drill and tap to m5x.8. I did this on my Schwinn Twinn tandem, even though I am equipped and able to install rivnuts. The tubing was thick enough for 3 full threads, enough to secure a bottle cage.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    Is this an electroforged Chicago Schwinn? If so, the frame tubes might be thick enough to drill and tap to m5x.8. I did this on my Schwinn Twinn tandem, even though I am equipped and able to install rivnuts. The tubing was thick enough for 3 full threads, enough to secure a bottle cage.
    If I were snooty, I might point out that a seat tube with a wall thick enough to tap 3 full threads might best the best argument against bothering. (but I'm not)
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  14. #14
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    I got a stash of really good hose clamps when I was working at a place that made washing machines. I'm currently using them to hold two normal bottle cages on frames with only one set of bosses. Too lazy/cheap/whatever to put rivet nuts in. Frankly, they hold the cages more securely than a pair of M5x.8 screws ever could. But they look ghetto and sometimes the bottle will catch on the hose clamp when you're putting it back in.
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    OP; I would throw some votes in for the Riv-Nuts. I have used them a lot to add mounts onto car frames to hold fuel pumps and the like. Always seemed to work well.

    Another option I have used on bike frames when I didn't want to torch up the paint; After removing the BB, drill the two holes for each cage in the needed location. Feed a length of button thread or fabric fishing line down each of the holes until the thread drops out of the BB. Tie the thread tightly to an M5 bolt, about 2 threads from the end, and pull it slowly back up and through the hole. Get a grip on the bolt with a pair of needle nose pliers, remove the thread, and put on a small diameter washer followed by a M5 nut. Hold the bolt with the pliers and spin down the nut, tightening it with an open-end wrench. I have most times dabbed a bit of epoxy under the washer to seal it up and a bit above to lock in the nut. When both are finished, add the bottle cage followed by another set of washers and a pair of nuts (cap nuts if available), but no epoxy there. I have bikes with this method that have lasted 25+ years without incident. It is hard to tell they are not regular braze-ons.

    Hope that helps
    /K

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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    Old trick from my magic hat. Cut a rag into a square that you can ball up to a jam fit in the seat tube. fold one corner and tie a strong string to it securely. About 3' out tie a nut to the string. Soak the rag in oil ball it up and push down the seat tube below the work area with a stick, tossing the string and nut in after it. Do your work above the rag, and when finished, flip the frame over so the nut falls out, and pull the rag out by the string, wiping up any chips and leaving an oil film on the tube. Of course this won't help on the down tube. OTOH, if you have a cartridge BB, the chips don't matter anyway.
    FB; ++ on the rag on a string trick. I have used it on all sorts of work needing post cleanups. It will work for DT also if the frame is typically lugged construction. Just put the rag up the DT opening in the BB a fingers depth and follow with a push from a pipe of hose (car fuel line, garden hose, etc). Fillet brazed frames probably not as they typically only have a small hole at the intersections...

    /K

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    Thanks for all the advice guys. I think that as ugly and redneck as they look, I will leave the ones that I have on. I am capable of the riv nuts. I always called them something different, though. My frame is not a a Chicago frame, it a Japan one. I am still window shopping for a new bike.

  18. #18
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    If I were snooty, I might point out that a seat tube with a wall thick enough to tap 3 full threads might best the best argument against bothering. (but I'm not)
    I have a vague memory of Sheldon writing about securing a bottle cage to a steel frame with sheet metal screws. If I remember right, he thought it was an OK solution, but I don't think I'd want to try it.
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  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    there are band mounted bottle cage options.. you really dont have to drill any holes to have a bottle cage .


    with a cage style with ears on it , Stainless steel radiator hose clamps work fine over those wings and around the frame tube.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 07-21-14 at 09:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Burkhart View Post
    I have a vague memory of Sheldon writing about securing a bottle cage to a steel frame with sheet metal screws. If I remember right, he thought it was an OK solution, but I don't think I'd want to try it.
    It would probably work for a while, but some bad roads with a full bottle would eventually tear it out. OTOH, that hole is smaller than what the rivenut calls for, so you still have the option.
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  21. #21
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    Why not just get a bottle hole that mounts on the seat rails?

    I haven't looked for one recently, but Profile at least used to offer them. I have a new one in my spare parts box that will support two bottles.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    there are band mounted bottle cage options.. you really dont have to drill any holes to have a bottle cage .


    with a cage style with ears on it , Stainless steel radiator hose clamps work fine over those wings and around the frame tube.
    This would be best. I have an old Peugeot that I put a banded cage on it and its been fine for MANY years. I didnt think of the hose clamp idea back in the 90's, but I would do that if I needed a cage on a frame with no braze-ons.

    -SP

  23. #23
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speedy25 View Post
    This would be best. I have an old Peugeot that I put a banded cage on it and its been fine for MANY years. I didnt think of the hose clamp idea back in the 90's, but I would do that if I needed a cage on a frame with no braze-ons.
    I had a Hi-E bottle and cage back in the 70s that was held by a single hose clamp:


  24. #24
    Bike rider alexaschwanden's Avatar
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    Or zip tie the bottle cage to the frame.
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