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  1. #1
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    Vintage frame ideas

    I am thinking of getting a vintage chromoly steel touring frame to build a cyclocross/all around bike that I can use on road, offroad and for touring. Does anyone have any suggestions of which frames would be good and would accommodate wider tires (and I think I would need to go with smaller tires??), would have the braze ons, cantilever brakes (or could go with discs?). What size tires should I go with? Thanks for your input.

  2. #2
    Me vs. The Rain SSenorPedro's Avatar
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    A lot of older (mid 80's) Japanese bikes had relaxed geometry and large tire clearance. Any older bike designed for 27" tires will also have great tire clearance if 700c's are used.

    If you find a nice enough bike, it would be worth having canti bosses brazed on to it. I just got finished having my frame builder put canti bosses on, new cable routing, and dimple my chainstays for more tire clearance. Followed by a British racing green powdercoat.

    All said, I snuck out for under $150 and gave my frame a whole new life.

    Worth looking into,

    -Pete

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    Thanks for the input. That is very helpful information. And it seems like the price was really good. Do you think that either a 105 or 600 gruppo is good for all around type bike?

  4. #4
    Me vs. The Rain SSenorPedro's Avatar
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    Yep, those are both good quality groups that should keep working for a long time.

    I'll post some pics of my bike once I get her all assembled.

    -Pete

  5. #5
    Senior Member stric's Avatar
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    Someone mentioned1980s Japanese frames. I think that one of those nice Bridgestone CX / touring frames would be an excellent shoice. If you can find one in the right size, you'll be very, very happy.
    anima sana in corpore sano

  6. #6
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I race CX on an 85' Nashbar Tange 2 touring frame made in Japan and use it for touring outside of cross season. I would definitely agree w/ SSeniorPedro on this one.

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    Thanks stric and jfmckenna. Is your Nashbar a Japanese made bike? And which model exactly is the Bridgestone cross/touring bike? Do you me the xo bikes they made?

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    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Yes the Nashbar is Made in Japan. All the parts are either Sun Tour or Shimano. The saddle is Italian but thats about it

  9. #9
    how does it corner? shiftlessbast-'s Avatar
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    I think this is a great way to go. I recently had an old Miyata touring frame built up as an all conditions 'cross bike--Kenda Kross Supreme knobbies, Redline BMX pedals, fenders, almost-randonneur drop bars. I like the geometry and handling, and have tried it out in a variety of conditions: snow, road, muddy off-road. Plenty of clearance for any tires. My mechanic/friend who did the work spoke highly of the 80s/90s Miyatas. I got mine powdercoated too--a clearcoat, so you can see all the brass around the lugs.
    Huts And Wheels...

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    Senior Member oldskoolboarder's Avatar
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    Lugged frame would be cool. One of the racers this weekend had her pink Rivendell. I think it's on their website.

    I'm a guy, but I think that's a COOL frame.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    A few other suggestions if you can locate them: I have a 1984 Specialized touring bike, lugged chromemoly steel, cantilever brakes Nitto stem & 700cc wheels. Very pretty bike.
    My rain bike is a Centurion ProTour of the same vintage, Tange Champion #2 lugged steel frame that was chrome plated, French style seat stays that wraparound the seat tube and it also has cantilever brakes. Mine has a 27" wheelset but there is so little clearance that I believe it originally had 700cc.
    In the NorthWest, I see quite a few Motobecane Grand Tour bikes & they are so cheap I couldn't resist buying one. Nice Vitus lugged steel frames but they had centerpull brakes & you would have to deal with French threads, an odd size seat post & bar/stem combinations that are hard to find. All have a great ride. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  12. #12
    Hills, more hills please! SadieKate's Avatar
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    This is a great idea, but I want to add a lesson we learned with cantis. My hubby has an older Trek touring frame that he loves for long rides. Newer cantis (like the Avids) have different length arms, angles or something. They don't fit. His solution was to ask Santa (me) for a new frame. Don't you just love the reasoning that gets you a new bike? Upshot is, do your research if you have to buy parts. Then regarding that research, Avid didn't have this info on your website so you may have to call each company or ask your fellow cyclists on this site.

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    Find an old hybrid frame- I have a late 80s steel Bianchi Advantage with drop bars and cross gearing as my pit bike. Kinda heavy, but fine for a few laps. I rebrazed the cable guides to the top of the top tube with a MAPP gas torch from Home Depot. If you find an old steel road frame you can also use the old centerpull brakes- plenty of clearance for 35c tires and stop on a dime.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jeremyb's Avatar
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    im doing something similiar. I had a Nishiki Sport road bike that i was using as a fixed gear and has 4130 tubing. But im now going to build a SS cross bike out of it. A new fork, cantis up front. The bike was a thrift sop bike for $40 and came with 27inch wheels. I put my 700c wheel and tire in the rear and theres so much clearance i was floored. I mean, this bike has more tire clearance than my Specialized CX specific bike. It was awesome.

    The deal for $150 to have it powdered and cantis brazed on is a super deal. the powdercoaters in my area are quoting me around $220 to $375 to have the frame and fork only done. which is a lot.

    its going to be sweet when im done

    jeremyb

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    Old Miyata's are great frames if you can get them. They were all hand brazed in the 80's. rode one for 10+ years. The touring frames have plenty of room for large tires

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    Lagomorph Demonicus stumpjumper's Avatar
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    wow... weird to find this thread. I thought I was the only one doing a cheapie cx bike. Mines an old Univega Activa. 4130, canti's, nitto drop bars, tektro levers, and a nice set of second-hand wheels (woebler/105) I picked up on the cheap. All in all I have about $100 tied up in this thing. Looking for an inexpensive shifter for the rear if anyone has suggestions...
    Lord Bowler: Uh oh. You hit the sheriff
    Brisco County Jr.: Yeah, but I did not hit the deputy.

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    It was mentioned above that an old frame that had 27" wheels will have great clearance with 700's. If the frame has cantilever brakes (braze ons) will the brakes still work? Can the pads just be slid up or down and work with 700's? Will the wheels be wider too, or just the tires? Forgive me if these are dumb questions but I am just learning about all this with your patience and help.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    I have an old cx bike that has Mafac cantilever brakes & all I have to do to change from 700c to 27" or back is loosen the clamp bolt on the brake shoe & reset the angle so the rubber shoe hits the right part of the rim. I haven't tried it on any of my other bikes but assume all the cantilevers would work this way.
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  19. #19
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    Hola!

    yes, totally awesome to find this thread- I too am making a poor boy's cyclo-cross. figure if i break something, then i'm serious enough to justify buying better,,, but mostly it's a good way to try something out. But it looks like such fun. I didn't sleep the last two nights, engrossed in looking at web pics and articles.

    Reflecting some of the above, here is my take:

    a decent 27" frame is key. A lot of these frames had good clearance as it was, so if you have to stay with 27" wheels, you'll be alright. None the less, 700c offers a huge amount of tires and is a good place to go. One can get decent rims in 27", but the tire selection seems to be slim pickings.

    Cantilevers always look so kewl, but aren't necessary. I'm going with recycled centerpuls (dia-compe/weinman). These with Kool Stop pads are very good and very under-rated. As for cantilevers matching the different rim sizes, I think it would depend on the design of the actual break. The tektros on my tourer/commuter, for example, take the v-brake pads and has a long vertical slot they mount in. I just checked out an old pair of shimano cantis that take the non-threaded posts and they had enough adjustment to work.

    Now, if you go to 700c rims and the centerpulls won't reach, there's still a solution. several. The cheapest might be to find some old bmx/freestyle sidecalipers. Better, though would be to find long reach centerpulls. good ol' Rivendell got a bunch of new ones must made. They're like 45.00, I think for the pair. Not free, but hey- good stuff, and they'll make the project work.

    Another similar thought I shortly entertained was putting 650B wheels on a 700c frame. I thought of this because the really nice old steel frames at the Bike Cooperative actually all took 700c, and narrow tires, leaving no clearance for mud. There's not a good selection of tires in this size, though. And the fatter tires still wouldn't have side clearance on these frames. : (

    Other parts of my plan include moustache bars which I love. I am only going to use the rear derailleaur because that's enough gears. 7-speed 14-28 freewheel from Harris.

    One concern of mine is a durable set of wheels, particularly the hubs. The hubs I got aren't sealed, and wouldn't give them much time, particularly in the wet.

    A good opportunity to go 700c. I see some good wheel deals out there. My thoughts are to invest in good parts and build a set. Sheldon Brown has old 105 7 speed cassette hubs at 50 bucks front and back. this narrower size would fit in frame a little easier, I *think* it would space the flanges wider than the newer 8/9 speeds. Also, 7-speed cassette gear clusters are only about 30.00 from Harris. this is 20 cheaper than 8 speeds and 70.00 cheaper than nine speeds. Who needs 12 and 13 tooth gears? Further, I've been told that the wider cog spacing of 7 speeds make for easier shifting- I have an old Suntour friction barcon. These are 32 spoke hubs and a pair of mavics would cost 60.00. It seems like a good wheelset that would last and if a rim was bent, replacing it would be totally worth it. Also affordable enough to have a second wheelset,,

    Oh, I think a sealed headset would be in order, down the road. A sealed cassette one from Harris, again, is like 20.00. Affordable enough,,

    the rest of the parts for this cycle come from stuff i've kept- that left over stuff from the year before yesteryear. my friend and i used to dumpster behind the local bike shop- the neon-clad workers there thought so low of us,,, : )

    oh, it looks like the basis of this bike is a 1979 raleigh gran prix that's big enough for me. i got if for fifteen dollars at a garage sale, the guy bought it new and never rode it. it's kind of a shame i'm going to paint it black, as the paint's nice, but I can't stand the color,, maybe when i get it together this winter i can post pictures. i'm pretty excited to show up a an event with it, black frame with green bar tape on moustache bars and a single friction shifter! I was thinking about selling something so i could also buy a sprung Brooks...

  20. #20
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    What a coincidence, I just built up a custom-cross-conversion myself. I love making bikes do things they weren't originally designed for and I just turned a Trekk 400 road bike into a single speed cross bike.

    Trek 400 road (sport touring perhaps?) frame.
    Nitto Moustache bars
    Riser stem.
    Dia Compe centerpull brakes
    Suntour Supurbe non-aero levers
    Sugino AT cranks with just a 42t chainring
    a crappy 7sp cassette rear wheel with just a 19t cog and a bunch of spacers
    an even crappier front wheel
    Crappy crappy f'd up moutain pedals w/ plastic clips
    $8 POS knobby 700x35 tires

    The frame was free and the rest of the parts were extremely cheap/free (exceptin' of course the $60 hbars).

    I had never put too much thought into getting a cyclocross bike. I already have a roadbike, a tourinb bike, single speed commuter, fixie, BMX cruiser... I DON'T need another bike! But, I got this frame for free and it was just sitting around.

    Last weekend I went to the HealthNet CycloCross US Nationals and watched some friends compete in the SingleSpeed race. It looked fun and painful, but still, I didn't think that I needed to be a part of it.

    A couple of days after the race I was reading a bit in Oregon Cycling about cyclocross and how, despite the numerous other people in the pack, cyclocross is a very solo sport. You only think about the other racers in as much as you try not to run over them or get run over by them. Other than that, you're just trying to finish the course without crashing too much. Take away the other racers and you still have a fun sport, take away the RACE and you still have a fun sport. I never got into ATB but I think I can get into off-road-road-biking AKA non-competetive cyclocross.

    For the last four nights I've been hitting the town on my SS CycloCross monster and having a blast. With its low gear (the only one), knobby tires, and ruffian attitude it reminds me of when I was a kid riding my BMX bike in the early 80's. I jump it, I race around rutted muddy baseball fields, dead school gardens, through construction sites, etc.

    It doesn't have cantis but I seem to be able to stop fine with the 20+ year old centerpulls.

    I saw the post earlier from someone with a Centurion ProTour. Is it a ProTour15 or the original ProTour? If its the original ProTour, it doesn't have cantilever mounts, they're actually U brake mounts. French touring bikes had these posts as well, brazed ABOVE the rim (rather than Canti posts which are brazed below the rim). The french bikes had special Mafac Racers with the just the two brake arms (no back plate/bolt). The ProTours had just simple (yet pretty and effective) DiaCompes. This brake option (I don't know what to call it besides roadbike UBrakes) is light (just two slight brake arms), sleek (just two slight brake arms), powerful (I think they're more powerful than standard centerpuls because of the two sturdy posts brazed onthe frame, less flex than being attached to the bridgeplate/6mm brake bolt), and easy to adjust (as easy as a centerpull, MUCH easier than a cantilever). I had one of the original ProTours a couple years ago and LOVED it. I believe they designed the bike to take either 27" or 700c wheels. When I got it, it had 27"s in it and the brake pads were adjusted towards the top of the slot, I put 700c's in and adjusted the pads down to the bottom of the slot and it was great. Lots of clearance for fenders and beefy tires. Sadly, I was hit head on by a crappy driver, the fork buckled and I flew over the car. I was alright but the bike was too far gone. I'm still looking for a replacement, someday, someday....

  21. #21
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stric
    I think that one of those nice Bridgestone CX / touring frames would be an excellent shoice.
    Did my first CX race today. What a gas!

    My bike's a '93 Bridgestone RB-T, that's normally a commuter. I'd describe it as a low-end touring bike, kind of stretched out, low BB, bar-end shifters, and heavy. But it's got a triple and cantilever brakes, so I put on a pair of Conti Twisters and was good to go. I'd replaced the drop bars with mustache bars years ago... they worked well, otherwise pretty much stock.

  22. #22
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Nate: My rain bike is a Pro Tour 15 (but now its an 18 thanks to a freewheel change). It has canti posts & the Tange Champion #2 butted tubes. Whole frame is chrome plated under the paint. Don
    visit my homebuilding blog: www.monoplanar.blogspot.com

  23. #23
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    Nate Groadie,

    awesome to hear about your moustached recycled bike. little jealous of your trek. Keeping my eye out for an old lugged road frame, in 27". but i can always swap the parts to it, right? : )

    ciao,
    gardener

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    Depending on where you live, it shouldn't be too hard to find an old-lugged-frame-for-27"-wheels out there. At the shop I work at (in Portland) we usually have, at least, 5 different old-lugged-frame-for-27"-wheels for sale at any given time. They're usually priced $30-$70 and quite often come with BB's, HS's, and forks for that price.

    Check the Bike Co-Ops/Non Profit/used shops
    Check your local craigslist.org, if you have one.
    Check the Goodwills/thriftstores
    Check Police auctions
    Garage sales, classified ads, cork boards at coffee shops, etc..

    If you still can't find anything THEN resort to eBay, but not before.

    -nate.

  25. #25
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    Actually it is a lugged frame. I meant a *nicer* lugged frame like the treks, made with 531. I think this Raleigh is made with high tensile or 501, which may just be well enough. I'll find out : )

    After reading how you did your cycle, I'm going to go lower budget than I was. i'll keep the five speed and use some other things rather than buying new. If I'm serious, I'd put the money into a building a 700 size 7speed casette wheelset.

    speaking of bike coops, here in chicago we have Working Bikes, where I picked up some good stuff for this project. I was thinking of volunteering there, as I really love rebuilding old bikes as much as I love riding them.

    Ebay is horrible. Craigs list is good, though.

    ciao,
    gardener

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