Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Directly above the center of the earth
Bikes: Varies by day
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!