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  1. #1
    Senior Member custermustache's Avatar
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    best frame to look for to build a road bike.

    I am wanting to build a really pretty road bike - I have seen a bent Fuji on here with beautiful chrome lugs, and I'd like to find somehting like that.

    I do most of my riding on a folder, but I do have a vintage Varsity that I ride a few days a week, and if I'm going to push an old heavy bike around, I want it to be a head turner.

    What brand of frame should I look for? Lighter is better, but I do want it to be good looking and compatable with fairly easy to find components.

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    First, what kind of riding do you want to do?

    This is the most important question. If you want a good bike for getting around town and maybe commuting etc... I'd look for a 1970s frame with lots of tire clearance and slack angles. Look for double butted chromoly, reynolds 531 or 501 etc... columbus bikes are harder to find in the sort of slack geometry ideal for a town bike. Make sure you have a set of fender eyelets too. That said you'll want to have a list of criteria for the bike and watch craigslist (if you get impatient ebay). Search by your size and not brand, look at all the bikes and check to make sure they meet your criteria.

    I have never sought out a bike brand. All the bikes I ride are what they are and I bought them because they fit their intended use well.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  3. #3
    South Carolina Ed
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    Check out
    http://www.smartcycles.com/frame_closeouts_list.htm

    Alotta nice frames, some of which look reasonable priced.

  4. #4
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    One that fits.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    pretty bike? One of those old peugeots with the art deco gold and black lugging. cheap, styley

  6. #6
    cs1
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    Senior Member cs1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclotoine View Post
    First, what kind of riding do you want to do?

    This is the most important question. If you want a good bike for getting around town and maybe commuting etc... I'd look for a 1970s frame with lots of tire clearance and slack angles. Look for double butted chromoly, reynolds 531 or 501 etc... columbus bikes are harder to find in the sort of slack geometry ideal for a town bike. Make sure you have a set of fender eyelets too. That said you'll want to have a list of criteria for the bike and watch craigslist (if you get impatient ebay). Search by your size and not brand, look at all the bikes and check to make sure they meet your criteria.

    I have never sought out a bike brand. All the bikes I ride are what they are and I bought them because they fit their intended use well.
    I'm with you on slack frame angles. I always find myself too cramped on current frames.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  7. #7
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    What kind of components do you want to put on it? Are you looking for a new or used frame?

    I would look for a bike that fits you well before any other concerns. Also, don't necessarily look for a bike with a slack geometry, bikes with a tighter geometry frames tend to be more fun to ride. It's personal preference I guess, but I would suggest trying both out.

  8. #8
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    You're getting good advice.

    Adding to what cyclotoine said, I'd suggest keeping an eye out for frames built with double-butted 4130 chromoly or better tubing from the seventies, eighties, and early nineties. Unless you're picky about the components, look for complete bikes with mid-to-high end components. Complete bikes are almost always cheaper than buying a frameset and then buying the components separately.

    Unless you're looking specifically for a short wheelbase/steep angled frame for competitive riding, or a long wheelbase/long chainstay/relaxed angled frame for touring, look for something in between (~73° HTA and STA with ~430mm chainstays) that will give you lively steering, yet be stable enough to be comfortable on longer rides.

    As far as brands are concerned, I wouldn't worry too much about that as long as the construction quality is there, there aren't any dents, dings, bent forks, stuck seatposts/stems, etc., and it fits you well.

    You can pick up some really nice bikes on eBay or CL for $200 - $300, which is a small fraction (ten cents on the dollar) of what you'd pay for a new bike of equivalent quality.

    It's hard to go wrong with mid-to-high end American, British, Italian, or Japanese bikes from the seventies, eighties and nineties if they've been reasonably maintained.

    My $.02. Good luck.
    - Stan

  9. #9
    Senior Member custermustache's Avatar
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    I see some great advice, and I am still learning.

    I am 6' tall - what size frame shouldI be looking at. I have been checking on CL and Ebay, so I may just wait until the bike with good components shows up, rather than building a bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member custermustache's Avatar
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    What are "slack angles"?

  11. #11
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by custermustache View Post
    I see some great advice, and I am still learning.

    I am 6' tall - what size frame should I be looking at. I have been checking on CL and Ebay, so I may just wait until the bike with good components shows up, rather than building a bike.
    It has more to do with leg length and torso length and arm length than overall height. I'm 5'9", Michael Phelps is 6'4", and our legs are pretty close to being the same length. His arms are monumentally longer than mine. We might look for bikes with similar seat post lengths, but he'd want something with a much longer top tube and stem length.

    58 centimeters is likely a good average starting point for someone 6', but I'd suggest consulting some online fit information, and trying out a few different bicycles to get a feel for what would work for you.


    Slack angles - if you look at a bicycle from the side, the tubes the run up and down, do so at some angle of less than 75 degrees. 74 degrees is rather up and down, and generally results in more responsive steering. A lower angle (70-72 degrees), will be less up and down (which makes a slack-er geometry). This generally results in a bicycle that is generally more stable, and less tiring to ride over extended periods of time.
    The search for inner peace continues...

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