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  1. #1
    Junior Member lux-tenebris's Avatar
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    Building a bike, need some tips

    Hey there,
    I just got a nice old columbus slx road frame (from mid-80s, no fork) that I want to build and I had some questions... I've never built a bike before and I realize I have to make many choices, like:
    --a carbon or a steel fork?, and
    --wheel size - my frame is a 63cm (I'm 6'5") and I kind of think larger bikes look better with 27" wheels.. is it possible to get nice light and sturdy 27" wheels, and do the new carbon forks accommodate wheels other than 700c? Or would I be better off with 700c? Any recommendations?
    --components: I have an older bike with all parts on it (dia-compe, sakae, etc) and I could just transfer everything on the new frame, but.. is this stuff going to neutralize the lightness of the columbus frame (that would kind of be a shame I think) and should I simply buy newer components? Are they necessarily lighter? How compatible are the newer components with older frames? Again, any suggestions, recommendations?
    I just want a functional, reliable bike that I can use for multiple purposes -- zippy city riding, longer (several-hour) bike path joy rides, etc.
    Grateful in advance for the knowledge you'll here share... - lux

  2. #2
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    I think you should inquire about this in the C & V forum, and will get some good answers, so I will move and link back to general cycling.
    Brian | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix 5 | 2003 Trek 7300 | 2011 Raleigh Record Ace - Steel is real
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  3. #3
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Most framebuilders limited the use of SLX tubing to smaller (58cm and smaller) frames, and used SP or a combination of SL and SP for bigger frames as SLX frames larger than 58cm tended to be noodly (this was before oversized tube sets). Frankly, I would wonder about the competence of a framebuilder who used SLX for a 63cm frame unless it was custom built for someone weighing less than about 160 pounds.

    The diameter of 27" wheels is only 8 millimeters larger than 700c and the selection of 700c rims, tires, and pre-built wheels is much greater. Also, most carbon fiber forks are dimensioned for 700c.

    Newer components are lighter than older ones, and the only compatibility issue you're likely to encounter is the rear dropout spacing. A mid-eighties frame will most likely have 126mm OLD spacing and modern rear hubs typically require 130mm spacing. You can just live with the 4mm difference or cold-set the rear triangle for 130mm spacing.
    - Stan

  4. #4
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    I have a 62cm Titan that's made with SLX that rides like a dream. I only weigh 160 lbs though, so that may help it.

    I'm going to assume that since yours is made with SLX, it's a pretty racy frame. Odds are you won't even be able to fit 27" wheels on that- not with tires anyway! As for new components, they should mostly work just fine. The only issue is the spacing on the rear wheel, which can be changed, search around for "cold setting". Also presumably the head tube is sized for a 1" steerer, so take that into consideration when shopping for forks, as most produced now are 1 1/8".

  5. #5
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scooper View Post
    Most framebuilders limited the use of SLX tubing to smaller (58cm and smaller) frames, and used SP or a combination of SL and SP for bigger frames as SLX frames larger than 58cm tended to be noodly (this was before oversized tube sets). Frankly, I would wonder about the competence of a framebuilder who used SLX for a 63cm frame unless it was custom built for someone weighing less than about 160 pounds.

    The diameter of 27" wheels is only 8 millimeters larger than 700c and the selection of 700c rims, tires, and pre-built wheels is much greater. Also, most carbon fiber forks are dimensioned for 700c.

    Newer components are lighter than older ones, and the only compatibility issue you're likely to encounter is the rear dropout spacing. A mid-eighties frame will most likely have 126mm OLD spacing and modern rear hubs typically require 130mm spacing. You can just live with the 4mm difference or cold-set the rear triangle for 130mm spacing.

    Carbon forks really might not have the clearance for a 27 inch wheel, and the tire selection is more and more limited. I think 700c is the only choice of wheel. There are a lot of good low-cost ones out there. Vintage high-grade wheels of this frame's day are widely available at low $$, and can be very light. If you find a set of 32 or 36 spoke 3-cross wheels that are decently true and have good spoke tension, there should be a lot of life left in them.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    With this project, kinda be careful where you ask for advice. Most bike shops are going to look at you as a fish who can be caught, and will talk about the heaviness of steel, obsolescence of components, (claimed) superiority of modern parts, and the lower overall cost of buying a new bike versus equipping a vintage frame with a new-bought modern gruppo. You'll also get a lot about throwing good money after bad.

    Most here would probably think the lower cost of a modern bike of similar end weight is the only generally true issue in this list.

    I think this is part of why a lot of us don't use bike shops unless absolutely necessary. A shop that's trying to tell me I'm wasting my time and refuses to give good support unless I buy their bike is a waste of my time.

  7. #7
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post

    I think this is part of why a lot of us don't use bike shops unless absolutely necessary. A shop that's trying to tell me I'm wasting my time and refuses to give good support unless I buy their bike is a waste of my time.
    +1 Local shop tried to convince me that rebuilding a ten year old bike was a total waste of money, because bike technology had improved so much. Last time I visited that shop.

    Yah right, my 1984 Lotus, $16 find, plus about $30 in parts has made a sweet bike IMHO.

  8. #8
    Crazy ole cat lady
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    Building a bike

    Since this thread is on building up a bicycle from parts and as I have a few issues myself so"

    The frame is a 1989 aluminum Paramount. One of those made in Mississippi. At a parts swap/sale last month I got a really good deal on several parts.

    The crankset is a Bontrager triple with carbon fiber arms. The rear hub is Shimano (600?) on which I've put a Shimano 10 speed cluster. I also got a couple of Shimano 105 brake calipers.

    I am planning on using a SRAM chain because Shimano 10 speed chains 1) require the special pin when breaking and reinstalling the chain and 2) Shimano chains have been trashed on other areas of the Cycle Forum. Oh, and 3) SRAM chains have an openable link, or so I understand which sounds like an easier prospect when emergency repairs are needed.

    Will this combo even work? Also, suggestions for derailleurs? I do have a set of DuraAce bar end shifters (10 speed) I want to use. I am thinking of 105 series derailleurs.

    Also, does Shimano even make brake levers that do not have the STI feature? All I see in online catalogs are the ones with the integrated shift levers. If not, will another brand work with the 105 brakes?

    FYI One time I was seriously into bikes and have rebuilt bikes from the frame up. New bearings, new crankset, etc. - but that was some time ago and the technology is very different now. Even the language has changed. Ten speed used to mean a 2 x 5 drive train. The new technology (and terminology) is an undiscovered country to me.

    Thanks in advance!

  9. #9
    Junior Member lux-tenebris's Avatar
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    Thank you all for good advice.
    I guess it'd be better to go for the 700c wheels, since after some research I was unable to locate a carbon fork that can fit a 27" wheel. (Or am I looking at wrong places..?)
    My steerer tube is 22 cm long (and diameter is 1") -- how long of a fork do you think I need? For example, would this one be okay:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=170299665008
    Also, I was told by the previous owner that the frame requires an Italian ITA 70mm bottom bracket -- any recommendations there? Anything I should know there? Would something like this be fine (or necessary?):
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Shimano-Dura-Ace...3%3A1|294%3A50
    And would I HAVE TO use a 10-speed setup if I got this bb? (I suppose I wouldn't have to use Dura Ace.)
    Many Thanks!

  10. #10
    juneeaa memba!
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMabel View Post
    Since this thread is on building up a bicycle from parts and as I have a few issues myself so"

    The frame is a 1989 aluminum Paramount. One of those made in Mississippi. At a parts swap/sale last month I got a really good deal on several parts.

    The crankset is a Bontrager triple with carbon fiber arms. The rear hub is Shimano (600?) on which I've put a Shimano 10 speed cluster. I also got a couple of Shimano 105 brake calipers.

    I am planning on using a SRAM chain because Shimano 10 speed chains 1) require the special pin when breaking and reinstalling the chain and 2) Shimano chains have been trashed on other areas of the Cycle Forum. Oh, and 3) SRAM chains have an openable link, or so I understand which sounds like an easier prospect when emergency repairs are needed.

    Will this combo even work? Also, suggestions for derailleurs? I do have a set of DuraAce bar end shifters (10 speed) I want to use. I am thinking of 105 series derailleurs.

    Also, does Shimano even make brake levers that do not have the STI feature? All I see in online catalogs are the ones with the integrated shift levers. If not, will another brand work with the 105 brakes?

    FYI One time I was seriously into bikes and have rebuilt bikes from the frame up. New bearings, new crankset, etc. - but that was some time ago and the technology is very different now. Even the language has changed. Ten speed used to mean a 2 x 5 drive train. The new technology (and terminology) is an undiscovered country to me.

    Thanks in advance!

    Probably better to start a new thread, but so as not to get lost - the chain will work fine. Maybe a little noisy, but fine. If you're gonna shift over 10 speeds you need 10 speed derailleurs. 105 will be okay. There are a wealth of levers that work with those brakes. I think that the Cyclocross guys are liking Tektros, because of the fit, function and price. Easy to replace if you trash 'em. But there is a wide array of other levers that will work fine with your brakes. Even some vintage ones, you'll just have to experiment.

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