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Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

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Old 01-22-12, 05:54 PM   #1
Heatherbikes
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can a diamond frame be turned into a step through 'lady' frame without too much @x!!?

I am short and have trouble finding decent bikes(better quality tubing etc) that I can stand over. A small builder has a sale on some of their production frames which I had lusted over for some years, but even the small is a bit big for me. Would it be possible to redo the top tube so it becomes a step through frame? It would likely involve destroying the paint etc right? I thought I would ask here first before asking them in case it is a totally lame idea.
It's a slightly silly question, but I am guessing it might still be cheaper than asking the builder to build an entirely new bike.
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Old 01-22-12, 06:58 PM   #2
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paint jobs aren't cheap. The modification itself isn't horrendously difficult, but I would expect it to be several hundred $ plus a paint job
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Old 01-22-12, 06:59 PM   #3
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I don't think it's a silly question. How is the frame constructed? Is it steel-lugged, fillet brazed, TIG welded? I would ask the builder about it. If the bike won't work for you as-is, there's no shame in trying to make it work.
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Old 01-23-12, 01:18 AM   #4
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Thanks, several hunded $ doesn't sound good. It's a steel double butted lugged. Not totally lugged though... Not sure if it's fillet brazed or tig welded.
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Old 01-23-12, 08:54 AM   #5
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If it's a small builder, can they design and build one for you? That's likely to be expensive though. How about a vintage mixte? It'll take a while and a lot of time on Craigslist, EBay, etc. but will probably be more economical than the custom route. Overall, rebuilding a frame that is already been built and painted is the most expensive way to go, even if you start with a sale price.
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Old 01-23-12, 09:27 AM   #6
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I'm unsure of your location, but Bob Jackson Cycles based in Leeds, UK have doing this sort of work for countless years and one of the best in my opinion.
http://www.bobjacksoncycles.co.uk/repairs_pl.php
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Old 01-23-12, 01:19 PM   #7
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Bob Jackson sounds interesting, are there any online examples that you know of?

Bilenky is the go-to place for extreme modifications in the Eastern U.S. If the OP really wants to follow through with this then they would be the place to start.
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Old 01-23-12, 05:03 PM   #8
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http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=175629
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/in...4212415AAq4n9d
http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/in.../t-153227.html

Thats the best I can do for ya atm. There's probably hundreds more sites and stuff about them, but I cant be arsed looking for them lol
To the best of my knowledge and from what I hear from the older guys in our touring bike club, they're one of the best frame builders in the UK.
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Old 01-23-12, 05:39 PM   #9
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I'm very familiar with Bob Jackson. That was one of the few custom brands that U.S. cyclists had access to back when I started riding in the '70s. I thought you meant you had seen conversions.

I once built two mixtes for the guy who ran Trek when I worked there. We didn't have any mixte lugs, so I modified regular lugs to work with 1/2" 4130 straight gauge.
I thought they were pretty nice, I wish I had pictures. Basically, I see a retrofit being the same thing. Cut out the top tube, flatten any residual features of the top tube on the seat tube and head tube, and then make it into a step through.
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Old 01-24-12, 09:05 AM   #10
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"I see a retrofit being the same thing. Cut out the top tube, flatten any residual features of the top tube on the seat tube and head tube, and then make it into a step through."

"Suicidal" is a word that springs to mind
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Old 01-24-12, 09:19 AM   #11
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""Suicidal" is a word that springs to mind
Why? Nothing wrong with what UH proposed, just a matter of common sense and a little forethought to pull it off.

Last edited by Live Wire; 01-24-12 at 02:08 PM.
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Old 01-24-12, 01:03 PM   #12
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"Suicidal" is a word that springs to mind
quote function is your friend. Curious if you have built a frame or have any other expertise that would lead you to have such a strong opinion? I see the only downside as being economic, I could make it safe, no problems.
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Old 01-24-12, 02:12 PM   #13
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If the bike isnt really small enough for you to start with, it may be too long.
A very small bike needs to be short at the top tube. To reduce toe-clip interference, it needs small wheels and short cranks. If you are using short cranks, you can set the bottom bracket lower (retaining cornering clearance) so your whole riding position is closer to the ground and mount/dismount is easier. Whilst you are at it, the chainstays dont need to be as long.
If you use a bike designed in this manner, you don't need the very steep seat-tube angles and slack headtube angles of bodged frames.
For stock bike, the goto people are probably Terry Precision.
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Old 01-24-12, 03:11 PM   #14
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Basically, I see a retrofit being the same thing. Cut out the top tube, flatten any residual features of the top tube on the seat tube and head tube, and then make it into a step through.
Or a mixte, then you don't need to come up with a mid span seat tube lug, and you get a mid stay bridge for a best possible rear brake location.
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Old 01-24-12, 03:34 PM   #15
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quote function is your friend. Curious if you have built a frame or have any other expertise that would lead you to have such a strong opinion? I see the only downside as being economic, I could make it safe, no problems.
I presume that unterhausen intended to add a new angled/lowered TT (or twin mixte tubes) to the frame, Bill probably though he was suggesting to ride it without any replacement TT in place.
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Old 01-24-12, 04:38 PM   #16
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I presume that unterhausen intended to add a new angled/lowered TT (or twin mixte tubes) to the frame, Bill probably though he was suggesting to ride it without any replacement TT in place.
Ok, in retrospect I see how you could interpret it that way. I would obviously not propose to simply remove the top tube, that would be suicidal. I had mentioned 1/2" mixte stays previously, that would be easiest.
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Old 01-25-12, 12:26 AM   #17
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larger round top tube Mixte where there is some extra stays, seat tube to the rear axle are a decent design.
thin paired thin tubes doing the same job in light tube like 531, are noodly ,
you can torque the frame with the handlebars . while trying to steer and climb , pulling up..
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Old 01-25-12, 05:10 PM   #18
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I presume that unterhausen intended to add a new angled/lowered TT (or twin mixte tubes) to the frame, Bill probably though he was suggesting to ride it without any replacement TT in place.
Yep, thats what I was thinking. I knew a guy that actually did that. I ve no idea if he's still living or not.
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Old 01-29-12, 08:55 PM   #19
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Thanks, I live near Vancouver Canada and there are not that many small builders that I know of. I know of some custom builders that charge $$$$$. I contacted the builders I was interested in with my request and have not gotten a response, and I even asked about having a new bike built with the yummy columbus tubing they now use. Alas, I thought a big of frame hacking it would be an affordable alternative to a Mercian or something.
I have been looking for higher end vintage mixtes/step throughs for a loooooong time.
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Old 01-29-12, 10:57 PM   #20
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Unfortunately, high-end mixtes have never been that common, so finding a nice one used is going to be difficult.
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Old 01-30-12, 08:39 AM   #21
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Yes I doubt it will be economically sound to modify an existing frame. A tigged frame would require the less work but paint is always pricey. Here is an example on how it can be done.

I agree with MichaelW, going custom might be the best option for you. Try to get in contact with Marinoni in QC., their custom bikes are very affordable (too much so I'd say!) with a quick turn-around. They might do lugged too.
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