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Old 04-24-14, 08:57 PM   #1
Steve Sawyer 
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Bike building - frame selection

If this should be posted in the Mechanics forum let me know, but this seems to be about "bike building" and there isn't a subforum for that...

Anyway, I took a wheel-building class last fall and have this spiffy set of brand-new 700c wheels, but now I need a frame to start building N+1. I was originally looking for a used frame, but I finally got the Lightning Stealth recumbent sold last weekend so the bike cookie jar has enough in it that I can consider buying a new frame that fits, rather than trying to find something used that might just be "close".

These are the goals I have for this bike:
  • A road bike slightly more robust than my Specialized, suitable for touring/commuting - Steel/Alloy
  • I'd like something having a more "classic" or vintage geometry with a horizontal top tube
  • I'm flexible on the componentry, so a frame that supports stem- or downtube-mounted shifters is ok, but brifters are cool too

Beyond that, I'm just looking for something that fits, and I figure I can use the geometry (seat tube and top tube lengths) on my Specialized as a guide.

I've poked around a bit on some sites offering frames and frame sets, but it seems there are subtleties in selecting a frame that I'm completely unfamiliar with, so any advice, or reference to any resources for doing a little self-education would be most appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 04-24-14, 09:42 PM   #2
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If you're liking the classic lines in a new frame, you can't beat the chrome lugged Tange Prestige tubed Soma Stanyan for $700.

Stanyan Frame Set | SOMA Fabrications

Adrenaline Bikes, Chumba Mountain Bikes, Mountain Bike Accessories, Mountain Bike Parts, Bicycle Accessories

I know you built 700c wheels but here's a Soma Stanyan build with 650s for inspiration. (It'll take 700s too)

650Built Soma Speedster

Next thing closest in price that I've found in a lugged frame is a Bianchi Tipo Corsa......about a grand. Now they have both fixie (single speed) frames and derailleur mount frames so watch what you order if you like that 'un.

http://www.bikeattack.com/bianchi-ti...ed-frame-2014/

Mercian in England is priced relatively well for lugged frames and you can order it like just you want it.....color, braze-ons tubing, etc.

http://www.merciancycles.co.uk/frames/25/audax-special

Now if you want a slightly lighter (see my sig) and cheaper welded steel Chrome Moly frame there's lots out there:

Soma, Surly, Velo Orange etc.

The Surly Pacers look nice. Brifters and a carbon fork go well on that one like these guys did.

http://www.salvagetti.com/2011/11/04/surly-pacer-racer/
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Last edited by Zinger; 04-24-14 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 04-24-14, 11:07 PM   #3
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Thanks, Zinger - those are definitely some pretty bikes, but I was thinking of something just a bit more utilitarian - meaning less expensive. Lugged frames are pretty, but for my purposes welded is just fine, and I'm hoping to not have to spend more than maybe $3-400 for the frame, but maybe I'm being unrealistic.
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Old 04-25-14, 12:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Sawyer View Post
Thanks, Zinger - those are definitely some pretty bikes, but I was thinking of something just a bit more utilitarian - meaning less expensive. Lugged frames are pretty, but for my purposes welded is just fine, and I'm hoping to not have to spend more than maybe $3-400 for the frame, but maybe I'm being unrealistic.
You're looking to spend about $550 or so for most of the welded frames that I know of anymore. And the ones I know of (mentioned at the bottom of my 1st post) are just plain straight guage 4130 Chrome Moly steel. Not that there's anything at all wrong with that.....Especially for a touring frame.

What you might want to consider then, is a used bike that fits you perfectly. If you're like me and that's what you can afford, I'd spend some time over in the Classic & Vintage forum finding out what brands are bargains on the market (Usually the '80s Japanese brands or some of the Treks or Schwinns).

For sizing keep in mind that the old level top tube bikes are either measured from the centerline of the bottom bracket to either the centerline of the top tube, or to the top of the top tube, both along the seatpost......and it pays to find out which if you want your fit to be perfect. If you're looking directly at the bike you should have about 4 fingers between your crotch and the top tube standing straddled over the bike.

There are some great used bargains out there. Just yesterday a guy over in the P&R forum picked up a nice '83 Univega Viva Sport for about $100......One man's junk is another man's treasure.

PS

Don't know what your hubs are but most of the '80s freewheel hub bikes are 126mm between dropouts and the newer cassette setups are usually 130mm. You can cold-set steel bikes and have them spread to 130. You can't do that with aluminum.

Last edited by Zinger; 04-25-14 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 04-25-14, 04:47 AM   #5
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There is always this Tipo Corsa Frameset | Bianchi USA if you are looking for classic.
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Old 04-25-14, 04:51 AM   #6
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I'm going through the same thought/research process. Also pretty much decided on steel. I recently had a fitting with my AL/CF Masi at a very good LBS and that's where I'd start. No sense building a bike and discovering that you've spent a lot of money for something that isn't quite right.
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Old 04-25-14, 06:33 AM   #7
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I've been looking at these three from Velo Orange.

VO Pass Hunter frameset - Frames
VO Campeur Frameset - Frames
Polyvalent MK3 Frame and Fork - Frames
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Old 04-25-14, 10:49 AM   #8
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bruce19 - yeah, that's where I'm at. I had a full fitting for my Secteur back in February, and so far (only 100 miles so far this season) it's almost perfect (still getting a little hand numbness).

NOS88 - now those are a little more than I was hoping to spend, but within reach. I hate to blow the budget on the frame - I do need some other components before I can ride it!!

Zinger - sorry - I should have checked those brands. As I mentioned, I was thinking used, but time limitations being what they are, it could take me a LONG time to get out to look at and find the right frame. I have some automated searches checking on craigslist, but haven't gotten any good hits (something even close to my size) as yet (I'm a shortie, looking for a 51/52cm frame)
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Old 04-25-14, 11:26 AM   #9
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Keep an eye out for a used Trek 520.
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Old 04-25-14, 12:45 PM   #10
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Are you ready to finally have someone make a bike Custom frameset for you , or is the usual imports as suggested above good enough?
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Old 04-25-14, 01:09 PM   #11
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Are you ready to finally have someone make a bike Custom frameset for you , or is the usual imports as suggested above good enough?
I'm sure a custom frame would be sweet, but if I end up spending more on this build than I spent on my Specialized last year, the LOML will probably kill me!

My 22-year-old son is still living at home, is a professional TIG welder and was really pumped to build me a frame. But I keep trying to explain to him that there is a lot more to building a frame than just knowing how to weld the tubes together...
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Old 04-25-14, 02:40 PM   #12
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Here is an old thread from over in C&V on the Pass Hunter. Quite a few guys building on that one.

The VO Pass Hunter
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Old 04-25-14, 09:45 PM   #13
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I found this Kona chromoly steel frame hiding behind a box in a local bike shop. They parted ways with it for $350 without a fork. In retrospect I probably paid a little more than I should have without the OEM fţork, but no regrets. Its a really nice riding bike, and the road disc brakes are simply amazing. I recently found a Rocky Mountain cyclocross frame on CL for $250 and was oh so close to buying it. Common sense prevailed, I don't really NEED a 4th bike, although some might argue. The point is, if you're patient, you can find a used frame in near new condition for a reasonable price. What you do with the frame, the sky is the limit in terms of components.

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Old 04-26-14, 12:02 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Sawyer View Post
These are the goals I have for this bike:
  • A road bike slightly more robust than my Specialized, suitable for touring/commuting - Steel/Alloy
  • I'd like something having a more "classic" or vintage geometry with a horizontal top tube
  • I'm flexible on the componentry, so a frame that supports stem- or downtube-mounted shifters is ok, but brifters are cool too
IF I'm reading this correctly, it appears that you're flexible on material--either steel or aluminum. How about an aluminum frame with classic geometry, horizontal top tube, and uses integrated levers?

A year ago I needed to replace the frame on my three-seasons commuter. I needed it right away, and I needed it cheap because this was an unplanned purchase and I hadn't saved anything towards it. My only requirements were:
  • aluminum road frame,
  • carbon fork,
  • able to fit 28mm tires,
  • rack and fender eyelets.
I bought this:and moved over all my existing components. (The bike is also available fully built-up, with a lot of customization available in the build kit.)

I bought it strictly as a placeholder frame until I could afford something “better” and then planned to dispose of it. Turns out, it's a keeper. I like it so much, I scrapped those plans. Instead, last autumn I bought it a new wheelset, and moved over a set of dynamo lights. Then, last weekend I finally retired the 8-speed drivetrain I'd moved over and upgraded it to 10-speed.

Along with a Cane Creek integrated headset, brake and dérailleur cables (I splurged on the fancy $70 ($35 x 2) Dura-Ace ones with the blue housing), trans-Atlantic air freight, exchange, and my bank's international service fees, it tipped the scales at $392.20.

The frame arrived faced and chased, with all the little parts and screws. Even the seatpost clamp was included. The headset was also installed, although curiously, the crown race had not been driven on and set. It uses a braze-on FD, BTW, and the downtube cable stops are welded on, so there's no ability to convert to downtube shifters.

On a friend's frame table, the front triangle was within 0.001” of square, although head tube to BB were dead nuts. (Meaning it's the seat tube that tilts one one-thousandth of an inch to starboard.) Head tube to rear dropouts was 0.016” long on the drive side, which we fixed with a couple of passes of a rat-tail file through the DS dropout.

The English threaded BB is the stiffest of any bike I own (even while using an old Octalink BB!). The front end is also the stiffest I own. Yet the ride is better than the Trek frame it replaced, and is on par with my other bikes, including my Litespeed.

With parallel 73s in the 58 cm size, handling is slightly on the low-trail side as befitting an audax/brevet/rando bike. A different fork would give it more neutral handling, although I've come to like the Deda. It's no lightweight, but it's both stout and pleasant-riding.

The bike's advertised as fitting only 23s. In real life, it does much better. Right out of the box, using a Shimano BR-650 long-reach caliper, the fork fits 28mm Conti 4-Seasons on A23 hoops under SKS P-35 fenders with room to spare.

In the back (using a standard-reach caliper of unknown provenance), without modification it fits 25mm Conti 4-Seasons on A23 rims with SKS P-35 fenders. Using Reacharound Fender Brackets at the rear, it fits 28mm Conti 4-Seasons on A23s under the P-35 with room to spare.

What made this frame a keeper is the ride. I've owned cheap aluminum and I expected this frame to ride like cheap aluminum. I also own good aluminum and legendary Ti. This one falls right along with those two in ride quality. It's on par with my $1700 Trek Portland, but not quite so nice as my Litespeed Classic (also parallel 73s with level top tube).

The Ribble manages to take the bite out of bumps admirably. It transmits enough road feel that I know what's going on under the tires, but it filters out the buzz and harshness of chipseal. Its only fault is that with over 40 pounds or so in the panniers on the back, the tail wags the dog. Given the low-trail aspect of the Deda fork means that, in true audax/brevet/rando fashion, it prefers its loads on the front, I give that one a pass. Overall, I'm very pleased with it.

Last edited by tsl; 04-26-14 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 04-26-14, 12:47 AM   #15
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This bike will do all, single speed, touring, disc brakes, you name it. I don't know the price of frame-set though. Comes in black or purple. Browse Surly, have all kind of bikes that might fit your wants.
Straggler | Bikes | Surly Bikes

Here is link to buy just the frame-sets of Surly. Browse their site, many brands to look at.

http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...?category=4342

I shopped for months last year and finally found a used Kona Rove on Ebay, frameset for 350. I use it for my touring and commuter all weather bike. It has a sloping top tube so will not fit your look though.

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Old 04-26-14, 03:35 AM   #16
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Buy a cool vintage frame used? (local craigslist has tons on vintage bikes in my area)

1973 Raleigh Carlton Super Course Frameset 58cm Reynolds 531 | eBay


Reynolds 531 520 Lemond Nevada City Road Bike Triathlon 55 Steel by Trek | eBay

57cm Raleigh International 853 Steel Frameset | eBay

Vintage Fuji Touring Series IV Bike Frame Fork BB Headset Kickstand 57 Cm | eBay

Used Treks and Lemond frames can be bought cheap

Lemond Etape 54cm Road Frame w Chris King Headset and Bottom Braket | eBay
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Old 04-28-14, 04:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Sawyer View Post

Zinger - sorry - I should have checked those brands. As I mentioned, I was thinking used, but time limitations being what they are, it could take me a LONG time to get out to look at and find the right frame. I have some automated searches checking on craigslist, but haven't gotten any good hits (something even close to my size) as yet (I'm a shortie, looking for a 51/52cm frame)
I came across this add for a Surly Pacer for $450 ($35 shipping). That's about $100 cheaper than most retail prices......gettin' pretty close to your limit. And it's a level top tube 4130 Chrome Moly frame for standard sidepull or centerpull brakes. It comes in your 52cm size. 130mm rear hub.

Lickbike.com | Surly Pacer road frameset

That would probably be my choice for a new low bucks welded steel frame but I've never actually experienced one......They come in British Racing Green and Sparkle Blue.

That's more of a sports frame (It has eyelets for some racks) but you could probably use it for some touring. The straight gauge 4130 should be strong enough with some centerpull brakes. Surly makes dedicated touring frames too.

Last edited by Zinger; 04-28-14 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 04-28-14, 05:10 AM   #18
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Steve, the Ribble framesets that TSL mentioned, are a bargain, as are those offered by Nashbar, both from their respective websites. Also, if you haven't looked on eBay in either current generation or their Vintage Cycling for framesets. EBay has pretty much every material to choose from as well as a nice selection of steel Vintage from next to nothing to classic Italian, English and French frames.

Like TSL mentioned though, if you don't mind aluminum, (I ride it every day) the house labels for the big websites/dealers are a good value. Both Ribble and Nashbar have sales on a rolling basis for their in-house brand frames in aluminum and CF in some cases.With all the different frames mentioned here you could be busy just shopping for a while, don't lose valuable riding time banging your head against the wall, save the serious looking for late, sleepless nights or rainy days. Best of luck on choosing your build.

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Old 04-28-14, 08:47 AM   #19
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I came across this add for a Surly Pacer for $450 ($35 shipping). That's about $100 cheaper than most retail prices......gettin' pretty close to your limit. And it's a level top tube 4130 Chrome Moly frame for standard sidepull or centerpull brakes. It comes in your 52cm size. 130mm rear hub.
Yeah - that has possibilities. To be honest, I have no plans to do any extensive touring - a "sports touring" is probably what I'm in the market for, as I'll probably ride it without any significant load 90% of the time, and have the option of doing some short local out-and-back tours. If I start to do more touring, then I'll be looking at another N+1 to accommodate that, but for now I'm just looking to bring some variety to my riding - slightly larger tires (28-32), a bit more rugged, a vintage profile - and while the frame I seek must be suitable for derailleurs, I'm toying with the idea of initially putting a single cog on my rear wheel and running single-speed for a time, or maybe even building an extra rear wheel with a flip-flop hub, though I'm not sure that I'm that ambitious!
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Old 04-28-14, 11:00 AM   #20
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in the 'Avatar' You seem to be posing with a bike of some sort , is the size and setup of that satisfactory, ?


if not what would you change. ?

in the above post it sounds like a bike with a horizontal dropout is needed to be running the single speed setup.

Im sure with the hundreds of kinds of bikes coming out of Taiwan something will work ..



just not a professional shopper for others .. .. google away .

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Old 04-28-14, 12:26 PM   #21
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in the 'Avatar' You seem to be posing with a bike of some sort , is the size and setup of that satisfactory, ?
It is, and I figure I'll use the dimensions of that one to give me a good idea as to what would be a comfortable frame for this build. As to single-speed or fixed-gear, horizontal dropouts aren't an absolute requirement. There are other options for chain tensioning.

I'm really just looking for an excuse to build a bike, and as I mentioned above, there's no sense trying to duplicate what I already have, so I'm looking to build something that has a different look and feel, and given the kind of riding I like to do (I don't race, but like to ride long distances - there might be a century in my near future), I thought it would be fun to build something a little beefier than my roadie with slightly bigger tires, maybe some fenders. I also thought that going fixie or single-speed would allow me to avoid some of the expense of the componentry, still get it on the road, and have a chance to play with those configurations.

This thread has given me a ton of information and has been very helpful. Many of the frames/options suggested have led me down a few rabbit-holes that have allowed me to learn more about frame selection, considering I've never built up a bike before...
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Old 04-28-14, 12:35 PM   #22
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You can duplicate the cockpit fit on an entirely different looking bike , after all it's the same You riding it .

I have a road bike and this too WB Bicycle Gallery: Robert Clark's Koga Miyata WTR

a rather Robust Touring bike .. my long distances take more time these days ..
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Old 04-28-14, 09:35 PM   #23
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I'd be getting my frame from Traitor Cycles:

https://www.traitorcycles.com/2013/Bikes_Ruben.cfm?Token={ts_2014-04-28_22:33:46**-12f1c39a0ba94aed-B365B7C7-E722-2B0D-1C0075AB13DFE878
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Old 04-29-14, 04:50 AM   #24
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A member of my cycling club is selling this bike Sidero (13) - Frame Types - Guru Bicycles and he's dropping it at my place this morning. The frame lists at $2200 and it's built with SRAM Rival and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels. He claims it weighs between 17-19 lbs. If the geometry is right for me it could be mine by nightfall.
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Old 04-29-14, 05:49 PM   #25
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Done deal. Got my "new" steel bike.
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