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Old 02-27-09, 08:25 PM   #1
xanadu
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Please help with a frame selection for my first build.

As a happy, yet seeking variety, owner of CF and aluminum bikes, I am decided to build my first steel bike. I have a broad concept. Classic, elegant silver painted steel frame, modern group, nice, light road fenders and brown leather seat and handlebar tape. Gentleman's road bike. Something similar to Raleigh Clubmnan, but with classic geometry (no slope on TT):

http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/road/clubman/

So my question. What frames would you recommend? Looking for something with standard thread (preferably), high quality (but no more then $350-400) , light and quick. As mentioned above more English gentleman than Italian stallion .

That does not mean I would reject a nice Italian frame; more matter of character than nationality .

Thank you for all suggestions and tips for first time builder. Pictures of the similar builds would be great.
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Old 02-27-09, 08:33 PM   #2
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Instead of setting your sights on a specific frame, I think you'd be better off seeing what's available in your area. Check your local craigslist, and see if there's anything that catches your eye. Trying to find one very specific vintage frame is often a wild goose chase.
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Old 02-27-09, 08:53 PM   #3
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Instead of setting your sights on a specific frame, I think you'd be better off seeing what's available in your area. Check your local craigslist, and see if there's anything that catches your eye. Trying to find one very specific vintage frame is often a wild goose chase.
+1 Exactly. Might look for a vintage Japanese bike. Then whatever good one comes along in the right size, go for it. Could take a long time if you lock into a specific model, its better to be open on models and just target an era or a level.

Also Trek made some pretty nice steel bikes in the 1980s as well.

Last edited by wrk101; 02-27-09 at 09:16 PM. Reason: addl comment
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Old 02-27-09, 09:17 PM   #4
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Thats exactly what I do as well. Now if a person had a limitless amount of money to spend they could just go to ebay and pay full inflated price for a specific target frame. But I'd not be inclined to do that.
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Old 02-27-09, 09:26 PM   #5
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You can search the world for the perfect Raleigh Super Course (right!), and pass up a very sweet Univega or Atala because it wasn't hitting your radar. Know your size and the capabilities and features you want.
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Old 02-27-09, 09:27 PM   #6
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Thanks for the responses. I have given myself some time for the build, so no rush. I have been looking at CL and ebay and saw some interesting frames but I know very little about older bikes so I wanted to get some examples of good frames so I can have some starting point of reference.

Thanks and keep the ideas coming .
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Old 02-27-09, 09:29 PM   #7
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Look for British steel with chainstays at least 43cm and good tire clearances. Some marquees to keep an eye out for:

Bob Jackson
Claud Butler
Mercian
Woodrup
Holdsworth
Dawes

and more: http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Bri...es/British.htm

Raleigh International is a popular, abundant option. Schwinn Paramount P15 would be nice, but may not fit your budget. Trek made several 'sport touring' models that would fit your needs. And as wrk101 suggests, there are many, many Japanese built frames that would fit the bill, and would be easy on the wallet.

Many other options out there. Again, look for longish chainstays, good tire clearances, and be sure to inquire about threading. If you want a modern build, stay away from French and Swiss. Be aware that many older frames don't have drilling for recessed brake nuts, so you'll have to drill yourself or find a work around. Also, many of the older frames have fewer braze-ons for convenience. You may also find you have to respace the rear drops for a 130mm hub.

Here's my Japanese built Raleigh International Mk. II:

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Old 02-27-09, 09:33 PM   #8
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Here's a great website with lots of user-submitted examples of custom retro-classic builds:

http://www.cyclofiend.com/cc/
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Old 02-27-09, 09:35 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses. I have given myself some time for the build, so no rush. I have been looking at CL and ebay and saw some interesting frames but I know very little about older bikes so I wanted to get some examples of good frames so I can have some starting point of reference.

Thanks and keep the ideas coming .
The best way to know what you're looking at when you see a steel frame is to learn your tubing. There's way too many framebuilders to be able to recognize every one, but there's a fairly select group of companies that made quality tubing. As a general rule of thumb, any frame made of Reynolds, Columbus or Miyata tubing is a very decent bike. A bit of a step down but still good are Tange, Ishiwata, etc.

If you're interested in a frame, ask the seller what the tubeset is. There's almost always a label that will tell you (in most cases where there isn't, it's either a repaint or something made of crappy tubing, neither of which are admirable frame properties.).

I guess the most common high-quality tubesets would be Reynolds 531 and Columbus SL. Also, you can't go wrong with Miyata (they made their own tubing, and it's great. ^__^)
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Old 02-27-09, 09:45 PM   #10
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As a general rule of thumb, any frame made of Reynolds, Columbus or Miyata tubing is a very decent bike. A bit of a step down but still good are Tange, Ishiwata, etc.
Tange and Ishiwata have/had a range of tubing similar to Reynolds and Columbus, including some very high end tubesets. An advantage may be that they often do not sell for the inflated prices of Reynolds or Columbus.
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Old 02-27-09, 09:46 PM   #11
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Silver frame, you say? Road fenders? Honey Brooks and bar tape? And one of the best rides in terms of a beautiful blend of speed and comfort? And definitely no sloping TT. Got one here:

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Old 02-27-09, 09:54 PM   #12
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Heres a beauty on ebay. American steel.
http://cgi.ebay.com/Assenmasher-Fram...3A1%7C294%3A50
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Old 02-27-09, 09:57 PM   #13
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Tange and Ishiwata have/had a range of tubing similar to Reynolds and Columbus, including some very high end tubesets. An advantage may be that they often do not sell for the inflated prices of Reynolds or Columbus.
I didn't think Tange made anything higher-end than the Champion tubesets. Am I mistaken?
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Old 02-27-09, 10:01 PM   #14
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Yes

Tange Prestige: http://www.equusbicycle.com/bike/tan...d-tubing-I.jpg

Ishiwata 015/017/019/022: http://www.equusbicycle.com/bike/ish...og2/index.html
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Old 02-27-09, 10:06 PM   #15
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Excellent tubeset comparison guide for early 80's steel: http://www.desperadocycles.com/The_L...per_Tubing.htm
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Old 02-27-09, 11:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by JunkYardBike View Post
Look for British steel with chainstays at least 43cm and good tire clearances. Some marquees to keep an eye out for:

Bob Jackson
Claud Butler
Mercian
Woodrup
Holdsworth
Dawes

and more: http://www.classicrendezvous.com/Bri...es/British.htm

Raleigh International is a popular, abundant option. Schwinn Paramount P15 would be nice, but may not fit your budget. Trek made several 'sport touring' models that would fit your needs. And as wrk101 suggests, there are many, many Japanese built frames that would fit the bill, and would be easy on the wallet.

Many other options out there. Again, look for longish chainstays, good tire clearances, and be sure to inquire about threading. If you want a modern build, stay away from French and Swiss. Be aware that many older frames don't have drilling for recessed brake nuts, so you'll have to drill yourself or find a work around. Also, many of the older frames have fewer braze-ons for convenience. You may also find you have to respace the rear drops for a 130mm hub.

Here's my Japanese built Raleigh International Mk. II:

Could someone please explain thread compability? I did some research but am not 100% on it. Will any Japanese and British frame work with modern parts? Most Italian? And very few French?

Thanks


P.S. Great ride. Something similar to what I want, maybe bit younger frame for me. And good idea with Japanese frames.
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Old 02-27-09, 11:41 PM   #17
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Excellent tubeset comparison guide for early 80's steel: http://www.desperadocycles.com/The_L...per_Tubing.htm
According to that chart I am too heavy to ride a bike.
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Old 02-28-09, 12:49 AM   #18
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Oh, right, forgot about Prestige.

I don't buy the maximum rider weight on that chart, though.
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Old 02-28-09, 03:36 AM   #19
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Max rider weight is a lot more than they say on typical charts. You could probably multiply by 1.5 or even 2.0.

I'd include Tange Champion #1 and #2 in the list of excellent tubing worthy of a rebuild.
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Old 02-28-09, 07:11 AM   #20
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Oh, right, forgot about Prestige.

I don't buy the maximum rider weight on that chart, though.
Still a valuable chart if you want to compare relative weights of different tubesets, wall thicknesses, and get a general idea of hierarchy. The weight issue has been gone over ad nauseam on this forum: they are manufacturer recommendations that can usually be ignored by the general public. However, race hard and often as a 200 lb rider on the lightest tubing for a few seasons, and you may see structural fatigue sooner than a 125 lb racer.

And of course, the performance of any tubeset is highly variable, and subject to the quality of construction, geometry, purpose, etc. But since the issue of "quality tubing" was raised, this chart provides a decent beginner's guideline.
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Old 02-28-09, 07:28 AM   #21
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Could someone please explain thread compability? I did some research but am not 100% on it. Will any Japanese and British frame work with modern parts? Most Italian? And very few French?

Thanks


P.S. Great ride. Something similar to what I want, maybe bit younger frame for me. And good idea with Japanese frames.
Depends. You'll want to look for 68mm shells with BSA or English threading (same thing, different terminology) and standard 1" or 22.2 steerer. Unless you find something more modern with a threadless steerer.

There are still Italian thread bottom brackets available in various sizes (including new cartridge bottom brackets), so don't let that scare you away. French is more rare, but Phil Wood makes compatible cups - but they ain't cheap.

The problem you'll encounter with going "more modern" than a frame like mine (which is 1983 or so) is that there are fewer options available, as the 'sport touring' geometry faded away for a couple decades (1990 - present) in the mass market, though there was a niche market for it among independent framebuilders - examples that may be beyond your budget. As the Raleigh Clubman shows, it's making a bit of a comeback in the mass market. The least expensive examples of a retro frame with similar characteristics you seek is the Surly Crosscheck or Salsa Casseroll, or perhaps the Surly Pacer which is less cyclocross, more road.

EDIT: But to answer your question more directly, there are plenty of older frames that are compatible with modern components. However, as with any custom build, expect to encounter some hiccups that will require swapping a component or finding a work around.

Last edited by JunkYardBike; 02-28-09 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 02-28-09, 08:41 AM   #22
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For English Gentlefolk, try Raleigh International, if you can find one for $300-400. A Bob Jackson would be even more cherce. Higher-end Trek or Schwinn Paramount (the latter also overpriced) for American, or any number of boutique constructors, both English and American. If you want maximum parts availability and compatibility, stick to English/ISO threading = Japanese, English, American, Dutch mostly, with a few surprise (later) Motobecanes and Peugeots thrown in.
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Old 02-28-09, 09:02 AM   #23
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Some other tubing to look for is Oria, Gilco, Excell, and True Temper. Or the ever popular 4130 or double-butted chromium molybdenum(chromoly) as many frames had just generic stickers if they had them at all.

A quick check of the seatpost diameter should tell you if you've got decent tubing over hi-ten steel. 27.2mm is the standard.


Being in the Chicago area, you should have no trouble finding a suitable project frame or complete bike ready to roll.

But if you see ads like this one: http://huntsville.craigslist.org/bik/1050173083.html
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Old 02-28-09, 02:11 PM   #24
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I've encountered several lugged frame cromo Schwinns from the '80s lately at very reasonable prices. They are not the lightest in the world, but give a nice ride and are bullet proof frames. Le Tour's are fairly common and nice. Voyageur is less common and nicer. I currently have a Schwinn Traveler stripped down. The frame by itself weighs in at 5.3 pounds -- with fork it's 7 lbs even. That's with a 19" inch seat tube. Again, not super light but not bad -- and I paid $15 for the complete bike...
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