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  1. #1
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Directly above the center of the earth
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    Varies by day
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    Does double-butted tubing really matter?

    Obviously, for those who race, steel is not the frame material of choice. Carbon fiber seems to be the choice of the racer. Fine. I'm not interested in racing. For fitness riding, I'm thinking of buying a steel-framed road bike from the 1970s. I can get a NEW one for a fraction (like half) the price of any new road bike on the market. The '70s bike will have:
    1. obsolete center-pull brakes
    2. 12-speed max drive train
    3. 27-inch wheels
    4. less than fancy seat, seat post, stem, and handlebars
    5. non-double-butted frame tubes

    I see some potential advantages to the older bike too. These include:
    1. More relaxed frame geometry (72-degree head & seat tube angles rather than 74)
    2. Longer chainstays (reduces the frame's rigidity, but makes for a smoother ride?)
    3. Friction shifters, which means I can use ANY brand of derailleurs
    4. Longer wheelbase (along with other factors makes for more stable "hands-free" riding)
    5. Greater durability if crashed

    Since I can readily remedy most of the shortcomings from my parts box (I already have a set of modern brakes, a pair of good 8-speed Dura-Ace wheels, spare seats, spare seat-posts, and numerous spare derailleurs), my question is: If I don't care about the weight difference, is there any reason to worry about lacking the double-butted frame tubes? The steel frame (which probably has a 126mm rear hub clearance) will easily cold-set to accept the 130mm "modern" rear hub. Also, how much more brake reach will I need in order to substitute my 700c wheels for the original 27" ones?

    I've discussed this before, but am still ambivalent. I'm wondering if I should buy the new 1970s bike for $165 or wait and buy a new road bike for twice that (or significantly more). For what I want to do with the bike, I'm not sure that there's any need to spend more. Your thoughts? Thanks!
    Nishiki road bike, Raleigh road bike, Electra Cruiser Lux 7d, Electra Townie 3i, Electra Townie 1, Whatever I find today!

  2. #2
    Composed Mainly of Beer
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    South Austin, Texas
    My Bikes
    Surly CrossCheck, Centurion CompTA, Schwinn Mirada
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    Double butted tubing matters if you want a slightly lighter frame than straight gauge, assuming the db tubing is the same type steel as the straight gauge. DB tubing is usually found on the better bikes.
    For fitness riding, I don't think it really matters. A heavier bike is a better workout.

    I would encourage you to reuse an older bike rather than buy a new one, but I'm a vintage guy whether it be stereos or bikes. I love silver faced, woodgrained receivers and speakers and lugged steel bikes.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    "Carbon fiber seems to be the choice of the racer."

    If you weigh over 150lb put your money into parts not the frame
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

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