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Old 04-25-06, 08:03 AM   #1
coconut in IA
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Older Frame Question....

From reading a lot of the posts I have gathered that not all older steel frames are the same. This meaning that they would not support today's modern parts... or am I completely wrong? I was in the process of pricing out a sweet cross check touring bike for my girlfriend. Well we are not in the mood to drop 1300 or so. I was thinking to find a old steel frame and pimp it out with a paint job and so on. What should I look for in a old steel frame so that it will be a easy build? Hopefully I am going in the right direction with my question but if not please feel free to make fun of me . But I do have a sweet paint scheme ready for her... Pink brown and black Camo...Hope to hear back from everyone...

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Old 04-25-06, 09:12 AM   #2
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Modern touring bikes use a rear (OLD) of 135mm for MTB hubs.
1" headsets are not in favour anymore but are still widely available.
Some French bikes use odd bottom bracket threads.

Steel frames vary widely in their build quality and materials.
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Old 04-25-06, 09:19 AM   #3
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Ok that is nice and all but I need it spelled out to me a tad better I am borderline ******** on that part of a bike... Even old Sheldon was making me confused....


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Old 04-25-06, 10:20 AM   #4
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Modern touring bikes use the same 130 mm rear spacing as modern road bikes. You can space out older steel frames to this spacing in most cases. Or even to the MTB standard of 135 mm. You might get funny chain lines if you use the MTB setup though and might have to use long BB spindles and MTB cranks to straighten out the chain lines.

I don't know what you mean by older steel frames all being the same. They aren't. Though generally they have slacker angles and ride nicer than more modern bikes which have more abrupt geometry and steer quicker. That's not a real problem but it is a little nicer to be able to look less at the road and more at the scenary.

A high end older steel racing frame with longer chain stays makes a good touring bike and you can have them repainted and new components put on them and have a fine bike.

If you ride larger sizes, over 59 cm or so, you should probably use more modern bikes with "oversize" tubes, but it isn't really necessary if you are just aware that large sized standard tubes might have speed wobbles if you pack wrong or go too fast and hit potholes wrong.

My Schwinn Voyager used to get speed wobbles with a full load over 25 mph. It never got real bad and as you slowed below 22 mph it would go away so I didn't much worry about it. My 1990 Atala cyclocross frame that I use for touring doesn't have that problem at all though so perhaps the heavier or lighter tubes make a difference.

New bikes aren't an "improvement" over older bikes. They are just different.

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Old 04-25-06, 10:39 AM   #5
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Ah that helps a lot actually..... any advice on what I should look for when looking at good will or garage sales.... Besides to see if they have mounts for racks....???
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Old 04-25-06, 11:03 AM   #6
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If you dont know the brand, look for rear dropouts which are investment cast (moulded) rather than stamped. These are thicker, stronger and more expensive so were only used on more upmarket models. I have bought repainted no-name frames based on the dropout style.
Look for tyre and fender clearance for the tyres you need to run.
Make sure the bike is the correct size in standover and length. You can swap stems for fine tuning (+- 2cm)
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Old 04-25-06, 11:46 AM   #7
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If you dont know the brand, look for rear dropouts which are investment cast (moulded) rather than stamped. These are thicker, stronger and more expensive so were only used on more upmarket models. I have bought repainted no-name frames based on the dropout style.
Look for tyre and fender clearance for the tyres you need to run.
Make sure the bike is the correct size in standover and length. You can swap stems for fine tuning (+- 2cm)
Investment cast is a subset of cast. Some would say investment cast lugs are not preferable to ordinary "cast" lugs. Cast lugs are a fair general indication that the bike isn't a junker, but it isn't a sure-fire guarantee.

I think you'd get the best start by finding a bike that was meant to be a tourer to start with. I think your best deals will be found on models from the 1980's or 1990's. If you find a bike with eyelets for fenders, rack mounts, and a triple crankset, you can be pretty sure you've found a bike designed as a tourer (presuming here you can distinguish a road bike from a mountain bike). Trek, Miyata, and Cannondale were some of the "big" name manufacturers that made pretty decent touring bikes in this era. These should be amongst the easiest to find, and depending on the model, the most common and least expensive.

MikeW gives some good basic guidelines on sizing the bike.

One other note - getting a bicycle painted professionally can involve substantial expense. Even the most basic paint job will cost at least $150.00. I hope this doesn't throw a wrench in your plans.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:08 PM   #8
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Oh na the price of the paint job is free.... I have Friends that do custom work for fun for us local friends who bike. That's for the info.... Time to hit the local goodwill's and so on and see what I can find.... Funny thing there is a couple houses I need to cruise by because there are some bike hoarders who have 100's of them in their front yard around my town. Only other hard part is to find one in her size she is a little thing 5'2, so I am going to see if I can find a 50 or I might be pushing it with a 52.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclintom
Modern touring bikes use the same 130 mm rear spacing as modern road bikes. You can space out older steel frames to this spacing in most cases. Or even to the MTB standard of 135 mm.
It's a little more complicated than you are being lead to believe, Coconut in IA. Touring bikes from the 1970's to 90's may have rear wheel spacings of 120, 126 or, in rare cases (later models), 130mm. Current touring bikes have rear hub spacings of 130mm, 132.5mm or 135mm. A lot use the 132.5mm spacing so that you can use either regular road hubs or mountain bike hubs. All this means that you have a lot of choices to make.

If you were to get a mid-80's touring bike, you could (probably) just use a modern 130mm hub in it without doing anything to it really. The difference between a 126mm hub and a 130 is small enough that you can just spread the chainstays by hand and force the wheel into place. It makes changing a tire a little more of a hassle but it's not that bad. I've done this on a couple of bikes and it works just fine.

If you want to put in a modern mountain bike hub, you will probably have to have the frame cold set to get the proper spacing (although I'd try the forcing it method first ). Although, I've never done this, the procedure seems pretty straight forward. Go look at Sheldon Brown's site for details.

Touring bikes to look for are Treks (look at the Vintage Trek site for ideas), Miayatas (610 and 1000), Univega (VivaTours weren't too bad, Grand Tourisimo is better, Sporttour is bad, bad, bad!), Cannondale (T600 to T2000, stiff aluminum but great touring bikes), Motobecane (they had a touring model but I'm not sure what the name was), Fuji Touring (classic cheap touring bike, new ones are in the $900 range and are very impressive for the price), Schwinn Voyager, and there are others. You might what to cruise over to the classic bikes section of the Forums.

Take a tape measure with you when you go looking. If the bike has short chainstays (like the Univega Sporttour) stay away from it. They just don't ride that nice. Look for bikes that have chainstays in the 17.75" to 18" range (you could go as short as 17.5, maybe. I wouldn't ). The stays shorten a little as you get to smaller frames but the above range is good for a 21" to 23" frame. If you don't want to carry a tape, you can go by my 'finger rule': If you can put 4 fingers between the seattube and the tire at the top of the crank, you've got a 'classic' touring bike. If you can put 3 fingers in there, it's okay as a touring bike. Two fingers, keep looking. One finger or less - go racing

[edit: As for the rest of the parts, with the exception of some funky French or Italian bikes, most use the same stuff as modern bikes. I've swapped out parts on my old Miayata 610 (1984)so many times that I don't have anything original on it. It has STI shifters and is currently a 9 speed with XT derailers on the rear and 105 on the front and a 105 crank.]
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Old 04-25-06, 12:58 PM   #10
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You can do it fine. I am using a 1970 Raleigh Super Course for mine. I picked it up off The Ebay for a good price (it had fresh paint, nice handlebars and headset). Then you can imagine what you need. Cranks (the things the pedals screw to. Find your right size at Rivendell (rivbike.com) under the sizing section. Handlebars, nice and wide (at least 42 cm), stem to fit the handle bars, brake set (calipers and levers) shifters (what ever varity you like, i perfer down tube, but i guess i am old fashoned, barend is a good choice as they are friction as opposed to indexed, and you can keep two hands on the tiller allways, down side is alot of cable is run so not as percise shifting, so they say), and wheels. If you buy them on used there is a chance they will come with a cogset. that is the rear gears. You will want real low gears for touring. I think if you do a search for gear inches you will come up with discussions about what is a good ammount to have. Use sheldon brown's gear calculator (Google it) to see what crank tooth and cog tooth combinations give you what gear inches or speed. Oh, derailleurs as well. If you run a tripple (three chainrings) up front you need to make sure that the derailleru will take a tripple. Rear derailleur must be able to 'eat alot of chain' so that it can reach all of the teeth on your cog. I have a 34 tooth and still havent gotten one to fit, you need a real big one to take up that much. I think the suntour cyclone can take up to 32, somebody needs to back me up on this, but that is pretty low. Most bikes from that era have the old standard 120 mm rear dropouts, 100 up front. that is the classic 10 speed (5 in back 2 up front. You can squeeze a 6 speed (126?mm) without damaging the paint. any more and i would suggest cold setting the rear dropouts farther apart. Check sheldon brown's sight for directions. The only other thing (yeah right) is the bottom bracket. That is what the cranks attatch to and spin on. one of the most imporntant purchases. You will have to findout from others what size to get for your bike and chain ring setup (double or tripple). Well there you go. I am still finishing my bike, but it is rideable, and I am building up one for my dad, brother, and a beater around town fixed gear for myself, because once you complete your bike, you wont want to scratch it up or wear it out commuting, which you should do with a bike to train for your tour. I have told you too much allready, but feel free to send me a pm or ask more questions. It is really pretty easy, and your local should be able to help you put it together, or you can order tools from rivbike.com I'll see you on the road. Ty
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Old 04-26-06, 04:13 AM   #11
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This is a bike for a 5'2" woman. Good luck finding a traditional touring bike the correct size. I would think about getting a small MTB and fitting slicks and treking bars.
Use small cranks which will fit the rider and also eliminate heel /pannier interference.
Small riders need narrower bars than normal.
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Old 04-26-06, 06:35 AM   #12
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This is a bike for a 5'2" woman. Good luck finding a traditional touring bike the correct size. I would think about getting a small MTB and fitting slicks and treking bars.
Use small cranks which will fit the rider and also eliminate heel /pannier interference.
Small riders need narrower bars than normal.
Good points. Trek did make the 520 model in a 17" frame - which should be about the right size for someone 5'2". No idea of how common they are though. A MTB conversion would seem to lend itself to the task pretty well. You'd definitely want a rigid frame though (no suspension), fender eyelets and preferably fitting for a rear rack.
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Old 04-26-06, 06:52 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by coconut in IA
Ah that helps a lot actually..... any advice on what I should look for when looking at good will or garage sales.... Besides to see if they have mounts for racks....???
French bikes are the most likely to give you trouble with replacement parts. Most of these problems are solvable, but it will be more difficult than on frames from Japan or the US.
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Old 04-26-06, 10:34 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
Good points. Trek did make the 520 model in a 17" frame - which should be about the right size for someone 5'2". No idea of how common they are though. A MTB conversion would seem to lend itself to the task pretty well. You'd definitely want a rigid frame though (no suspension), fender eyelets and preferably fitting for a rear rack.
A 17" for a 5'2" woman might be too tall. My 5'5" daughter rides a 17" Fuji and it is just barely small enough. The Fuji is probably closer to an old touring bike than just about anything new (nonsloping top tube). Look for a Bridgestone XO for smaller people. A nice 15" frame makes a wonderful touring bike for my 5' tall wife (yes, I live in Munchkin Land )
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Old 04-26-06, 12:16 PM   #15
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Well the bike God's are smiling on my stupid ass.... I was rummaging thru a bile of bikes and found a perfect old Bianchi, Looks like a nice Volpe.... Not a bad find for uhhhhhhhhh FREEEEEEEEEEEEEE here are some pics of it on my car.....................Just needs to be stipped down sanded and re-painted but other than that just some scrapes no dents or dings....
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Old 04-26-06, 02:41 PM   #16
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Excellent find, but how does it fit your GF?
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Old 04-26-06, 03:45 PM   #17
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From eye balling it, it looks like it would fit like a glove... but I need to measure it tonight to be truly happy.... I was just amazed to find a nice little gem like that... sad part tho is it's going to be painted Pink Camouflage..... I told her She needs to put Bianchi Decals on it still and she agreed.... If it is going to work I will make sure and post pics of the process of fun fun fun...


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