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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-29-06, 11:17 PM   #1
Jasonv8z
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Any road frames that can fit a 32mm tire?

Most road frames I see (at least the aluminum ones) do not have enough clearance for the 32mm tires I want to ride. My low end 70's Fuji has plenty of tire clearance, I think due to the kickstand mount. Its too big for me though, and I'd like a frame that weighs less. I don't want a heavy touring or cyclocross frame. I'm thinking an older aluminum road frame (inexpensive, lightweight) would be the best solution. I don't care about the ride qualities of aluminum vs. steel. Big tires absorb hits better than flexy frames. Anyone know of an inexpensive, lightweight frame that will fit a 32mm rear tire? Do steel frames generally have better tire clearance?
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Old 07-30-06, 12:15 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasonv8z
Most road frames I see (at least the aluminum ones) do not have enough clearance for the 32mm tires I want to ride. My low end 70's Fuji has plenty of tire clearance, I think due to the kickstand mount. Its too big for me though, and I'd like a frame that weighs less. I don't want a heavy touring or cyclocross frame. I'm thinking an older aluminum road frame (inexpensive, lightweight) would be the best solution. I don't care about the ride qualities of aluminum vs. steel. Big tires absorb hits better than flexy frames. Anyone know of an inexpensive, lightweight frame that will fit a 32mm rear tire? Do steel frames generally have better tire clearance?
I doubt that new steel cyclocross or touring frame is going to weight significantly more than an old aluminum frame. Frames make up only a small fraction of a bike's weight, it is the rest of the stuff that matters (components, tires, rims, and of course the rider). In addition, bigger tires are going to slow you down way more than an extra half pound or so on the frame due to greater rolling resistance, and greater mass (slower acceleration). Older aluminum also won't have the lifespan of steel.

Here's some relevant links:
http://www.smartcycles.com/bike_weight.htm
http://www.torelli.com/tech/material.shtml
http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/bikes_riv9.html

Just for fun, I looked at Nashbar's frame weights (small sizes):
Aluminum touring frame: 4 lb
Aluminum MTB fram: 4.66 lb
Aluminum Cyclocross frame: 3.63 lb
Aluminum Road frame: 3.81 lb
Steel MTB frame: 6.2 lb

The Nashbar cross frame is only $179, and fits a 38mm.
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Old 07-30-06, 03:12 AM   #3
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I didn't realize touring and cyclocross frames were that light. Still, they're out of my price range. I'm looking for the best beater frame for about $60 that can take 32mm tires. I'm hoping someone can offer examples such as, "My trek 420 has plenty of tire clearance, as do most steel frames."

I used to run 23mm tires, but I found my commute was quicker and less dangerous with 32mm tires. If you run power numbers in an online calculator, you'll find that wider tires actually have lower rolling resistance. Its their wind resistance that makes them slower at high speeds. I'm doing my commute in a city with rough pavement. I don't travel fast for long periods of time, but I need to accelerate and stop repeatedly (hence the emphasis on weight), not worry about the poor roads, and not have enough value to attract the thieves.

I don't have a problem with buying an older aluminum frame provided they can fit wider tires. I see them as a better value because many people have a fixation for steel, and most older steel frames have horizontal dropouts which fetch a premium. Aluminum is poor under fatigue, but I hardly ever hear of frames failing. I also ride a 52 and weigh 145, so I don't think most riders my size will stress the frame enough.
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Old 07-30-06, 05:08 AM   #4
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have you concidered using 28 and underinflating them a little bit. Until I build up my commuter I use 23's and keep them semi-soft and there is a very noticable difference in comfort.
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Old 07-30-06, 07:05 AM   #5
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For a $60 budget, try Salvation Army or Goodwill thrift stores. You might find an older tourer or hardtail MTB that would fit your requirements. I very much doubt you will find a cyclocross racing bike this way as these are more recent, more costly, more sport-specific and more likely to change hands by direct sale.
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Old 07-30-06, 07:45 AM   #6
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Cost, time, quality - pick two.

Since you have a fixed, low budget, you'll either have to spend a lot of time scouring garage sales, classified ads and Craigslist to get the perfect bike, or else you'll have to settle for something that is close, but is not quite ideal. Can you increase your budget by saving somewhere else, perhaps by moving components over from your Fuji, or by keeping the old components attached to the frame you buy, and replacing them gradually as they wear out? Can you get another $60 by selling your Fuji?

My beater commuter bike is an early 80's Bianchi road bike, steel frame. 27x 1 1/4 tires. 1.25 inches = 32 mm. I believe that was a fairly common tire size in the 70's and early 80's. I agree with you about 23 mm tires for commuting though - my new road bike got 2 pinch flats in my last 4 rides, but I'm not sure whether I'll be able to even fit 28mm tires on it.
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Old 07-30-06, 08:11 AM   #7
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You need a frame designed for long drop caliper brakes to accept 32mm rubber. Hardly any Al road frames have this. Most of the bikes would be mid-range steel sports bikes or if you are really lucky, a specially made steel brevet/audax/light touring bike.
For new frames check out Gunnar, Soma and Surley, possibly Jamis and Fuji.
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Old 07-30-06, 09:07 AM   #8
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Hmmm, could be wrong, but I think that Giant OCRs -- both alu. and composite -- come stock with long-reach brakes, and have clearance certainly for 28s, and I think 32s (esp. some, e.g. Panaracer Pasela, that are slightly undersized relative to claimed size). I recall reading a review of OCR 1 (I'm referring to current North American spec.) over on RBR in which the reviewer described using 32s for commuting. Might be worthwhile checking?
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Old 07-30-06, 09:33 AM   #9
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I've got an older fuji steelframe road bike. It's the Del Ray model w/val-lite tubing. It will easily accept 32s as I'm running 28s on it now w/plenty of room. All things being equal I've noticed the val-lite types are sustantially lighter than the regular frames and you can find them @ garage sales and thrift stores...just gotta be vigilant and determined. I've upgraded mine to index shifting/7 speed w/dual pivot brakes and a sealed bottom bracket. Sun cr18 700 rims instead of the 27". Excellent commuter/beater and my #1 bike. Only problem has been chain jump off the chainwheel which was addressed by removing a few links. Not sure of the vintage of the bike though I think it's from the late 80s. See them all the time on ebay at very reasonable prices, but the shipping is always a sticking point. Good luck in your search I'll post back if I run across anything.
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Old 07-30-06, 09:34 AM   #10
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Nashbar has a cheap aluminum touring framset - not $60 cheap, but pretty inexpensive for a new frame.
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Old 07-30-06, 01:12 PM   #11
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The Surly Pacer can handle 28mm tires with fenders and 32mm tires without fenders. It's weight is a touch high, but Surly has a cult following and their frames are highly prized by their owners.

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Old 07-30-06, 01:28 PM   #12
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I've got a Fuji Valite and run Paselas now. Its been a good combo. I've got all the components I need including long reach calipers, so I just need a frame. Anything with vertical dropouts seems to be a bargain these days, and i'd just like to find one that can take a wide tire. I've seen a number of nice aluminum frames for ~$60 on Ebay. If I find a real bargain that won't take tires, maybe i'll just run a suspension seatpost and be happy. I didn't realize larger tires were common on 80's frames. I'll keep my eye out for those and an OCR frame.
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Old 07-30-06, 01:43 PM   #13
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If Rivendell is too pricey try Kogswell or Surly...can't go wrong either way
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Old 07-30-06, 03:27 PM   #14
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Find a 20-25 year old Mtn bike in good shape and put some Ritchey Tom Slicks on it. That's prob gonna be the cheap way out.
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Old 07-31-06, 12:23 PM   #15
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32mm? 27 x 1 1/4 is also listed as 32mm wide, so anything designed for these would work.
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Old 07-31-06, 12:39 PM   #16
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I have run tyres as big as 700 x 38 on my Raleigh Lenton, with room to spare.
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