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Old 11-27-08, 01:10 PM   #1
pacificaslim
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Vintage cyclocross (or suitable) frames?

I'm interested in building up a cyclocross bike with a vintage steel frame. I'd prefer a lugged frame if possible. I saw a ZEUS on ebay recently but was outbid. In retrospect I should have bid higher.

I'm pretty sure Gazelle made some, and I've seen the Alans (though I really rather have steel than aluminum), but I'm unaware of other frames with cantilever bosses, ability to run at least 700x32 tires and geometry vaguely acceptable for cyclocross type riding (obviously i'm not looking to build a championship level race bike, but do plan on riding the bike).

What frames should I be keeping an eye out for? Thanks for any tips!
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Old 11-27-08, 08:33 PM   #2
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A coworker of mine has a Pinnarelo cross bike (late 80's ish steel, but not lugged). I have also see a Guercottis cross bike as well. The easiest thing to look out for is a vintage touring bike. They usually came equipped with canti brakes and many had 27" wheels so you can fit big fat 700c cross tires with room to spare. I have an 83' Nishiki Seral built up as my cross/commuter bike and had knobby 700cX35 tires with room. The one thing is sometimes the conversion from 27" to 700c can be a pain where the brakes are concerned. A lot of the vintage bikes with canti posts had the post mounted too high to easily convert to 700c (pad needs to move 4mm lower from 27"->700c).
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Old 11-29-08, 08:57 PM   #3
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Well I have to disagree on the recommendation to look for an old touring frame. The similarity ends with the canti bosses. Touring geometry will be long stays and low bottom bracket while a 'cross bike needs high bottom bracket and snappy handling. Actually there are lots of Japanese lugged "sport-touring" frames from late '70s to mid '80s that have good geometry and tire clearance for cyclocross tires.
Here's what I did with an '82 Fuji Del Rey...(sorry for the phone photos, someday I'll get a decent camera)

Yeah the fork is worth more than the rest of the bike put together.



Rear brake is a Dura Ace from before Dura Ace was a group. Plenty of mud clearance.
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Old 11-29-08, 09:49 PM   #4
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Sweet! That one looks really cool.

I went to the big bike swap meet at the SF Cow Palace today but didn't see any older cross bikes at all (closest was a schwinn criss cross or whatever those were called). But... I did find a great deal on a brand new modern cross bike that I couldn't resist. Got a new leftover '07 bianchi axis for $650 out the door (i.e. no tax). It's not exactly what I'd want if I wanted a racing only bike, but the triple chainrings and big cassette will come in handy on the big hills around my house and I can make changes/updates for next winter if I use this one as a racing bike.

I'll still be looking for a vintage frame though because I like working on bikes...
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Old 11-29-08, 11:43 PM   #5
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pics?
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Old 11-30-08, 01:40 PM   #6
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While it's not vintage the Bianchi Cross Project USA is a lugged steel frame. It's built with Zero Uno tubing and has a semi-sloping fork. They started making them around 1996 IIRC.
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Old 11-30-08, 03:27 PM   #7
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Would a Schwinn Crosspoint be suitable?

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Old 11-30-08, 04:58 PM   #8
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A lot of the lower end Schwinn "cross" series bikes from BITD were kinda porky but this one is built with True Temper DB tubes, so that's good. Looks like nice short chainstays. With the right parts pick this would probably work pretty well as CX'er.
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Old 11-30-08, 06:37 PM   #9
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pics?
Of the new bike? Here's a quick cell phone pic. I couldn't resist getting new pedals and shoes as well. Just doing my part for the economy, you know. The frame color is "glossy primer". I'll be changing the bar tape to black asap. It rides great! But it's totally modern looking, so I'll still be on the lookout for a vintage frame to build up into a 1x9 or something.

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Old 11-30-08, 07:41 PM   #10
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I've been wanting to do the same type thing with an old frame. Would a Trek 420 (1990ish) be a suitable candidate?


Last edited by j. hughes; 11-30-08 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:34 PM   #11
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As far as the Trek 420 goes, you can always add an aftermarket fork (you can still get 1" threadless CX fork, right?) but I doubt you would have enough tire clearance on the frame for a decent sized tire.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:58 PM   #12
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You know, it might. I'll try to put one of my 32mm tired wheels into my old trek 600 and see. If it fits in there, it'd probably fit a 420 as well. I didn't even consider making a cross bike out of the 600 because the frame is a bit too big for me.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:25 AM   #13
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I thought that cantilever brakes were a prerequisite for cross bikes. If I'm wrong, it's only because I know very little about cross bikes.

I brought up the Crosspoint because my sister has a couple of them sitting in her garage. I'm sure they haven't been ridden since I test rode them five years ago. I've hinted that I'd be willing to take them off of her hands, but no luck so far. They ride nice, but I'd change the grip shifters. The LX components work fine, but they're not much to look at. Shimano keeps the price down by painting instead of polishing.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclodan View Post
Rear brake is a Dura Ace from before Dura Ace was a group. Plenty of mud clearance.
Did that brake caliper come with a cable anchor like that or did you add it? I ask because most (including other examples of this brake i've seen) center-pull calipers require a fixed-length double ended straddle cable. I just fabricated an "adapter" for one of my projects that allows me to adjust straddle length similar to what is shown in your picture. I thought if you did something similar we could compare notes, or if you found something available off the shelf you could steer me in that direction.
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Old 12-01-08, 03:25 PM   #15
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Would a Schwinn Crosspoint be suitable?

A Crosspoint is a hybrid, not a cyclocross bike. Still, no reason it couldn't be built up into a cyclocross bike, although the geometry may be different.

Now this is a cyclocross bike.
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Old 12-01-08, 10:00 PM   #16
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Dirtdrop, while canti's are almost universally used for CX I don't think the UCI requires it. I saw a custom build once with an extremely rare short armed WTB rollercam brake. A lot of people do use V brakes too. One could spec a custom frame with bosses for those Paul's retro "Racer" (Mafac) style brakes I suppose. The main thing is clearance for a 35mm knobbie and some mud.

Quote:
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Did that brake caliper come with a cable anchor like that or did you add it? I ask because most (including other examples of this brake i've seen) center-pull calipers require a fixed-length double ended straddle cable. I just fabricated an "adapter" for one of my projects that allows me to adjust straddle length similar to what is shown in your picture. I thought if you did something similar we could compare notes, or if you found something available off the shelf you could steer me in that direction.
Yeah that brake originally had the fixed length cable. I slotted the Avid Tri-dangle so I could slide it over the straddle wire. Once I assembled everything I realized I really needed the adjustability at the brake arm so I just used an anchor bolt from a side-pull brake and all was good.
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