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View Poll Results: What to do?

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  • Be sensible, use this frame, it will work fine for your purposes.

    2 9.52%
  • Stop being a cheapskate and buy a dedicated touring frame your size. You'll be happy you did it!

    15 71.43%
  • I'm getting sick of this question asked over and over and over...

    4 19.05%
Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Still on the fence...help!

    So, here are the facts:

    1. I am a novice cyclist hoping to try some multi-day tours this summer and then possibly longer tours in the future.
    2. I hope to build the bike as a multi-purpose bike for rail trail riding, kid hauling, rain riding, and touring - so I don't want a very expensive frame.
    3. I have nearly all the parts I need for a decent touring rig (racks, panniers, etc), save the frame.
    4. I found a 21" Trek 750 locally for $25, which has a seattube of 53.5 cm, and a slight rise in the top tube (maybe an inch).
    5. I have a 35" PBH and my ideal traditional frame size is about 58-60 cm.
    6. My ideal top tube length is about 58-60 cm.
    7. The top tube on the Trek 750 is 56 cm, but I have a 120mm adjustable stem to help lengthen it a bit.
    8. I've finished a couple bike projects recently, and I'm really sick of spending money.

    For those who have used smallish, non-dedicated frames for touring (such as hybrids or MTBs), but have since graduated to dedicated touring frames in your size: is it worth it for me to suck it up and spend some money on a larger frame? In the long run, will I be happier and more comfortable? Or can I make this frame work?

    I've been looking for a used touring frame for a while, but they are either too rich for my blood, or they have some "problem" (such as cantis for 27" rims, narrow stay spacing limiting tire width, etc.). I figure I'd rather spend $250-$300 on a Nashbar frameset (price includes missing parts and frame prep).

    I know this question is like beating a dead horse twice. I apologize for that. But I'm just one very indecisive SOB.

    Here's the frame in question:


  2. #2
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    The frame is too small for you. Why are you even asking if you should replace it? You'll never be comfortable on a frame which is too small, and it seems you already know this.

  3. #3
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    Rule one is fit, particularly on a touring bike where you spend all day in the saddle. If you get the wrong size, even if you make it work, you are going to probably end up paying more money down the road since when you ultimately switch frames, not everything will be recoverable, like the stem, tape, cables, and so forth. It's not a deal if it isn't what you need. You will also waste time you could spend learning something about what a really counts on a real touring bike that fits. You may develop preferences that come back to the fact you own the wrong frame.

  4. #4
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    The frame is too small for you. Why are you even asking if you should replace it? You'll never be comfortable on a frame which is too small, and it seems you already know this.
    Well, part of the reason is some of the rigs I see listed in the "Pictures" sticky here and elsewhere. Many of these have very tall seatposts and very high stems. Are these people simply making due, or would they be better off having a "properly" fitted frame?

    And, yes, my preference would be a fitted frame, but another $300 isn't chump change to me...

  5. #5
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peterpan1
    You will also waste time you could spend learning something about what a really counts on a real touring bike that fits. You may develop preferences that come back to the fact you own the wrong frame.
    Thanks for the reply. Could you elaborate on what I might learn on a fitted frame and what negative(?) preferences I might develop on a too-small frame?

    Really, the thing pushing me towards a fitted frame is most of what I've read from professionals and experienced tourists...but what I can't find are specific reasons.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    Well, part of the reason is some of the rigs I see listed in the "Pictures" sticky here and elsewhere. Many of these have very tall seatposts and very high stems. Are these people simply making due, or would they be better off having a "properly" fitted frame?

    And, yes, my preference would be a fitted frame, but another $300 isn't chump change to me...
    Either they are compact frames or frames that are too small and the owner is trying to make due.

    You don't need to spend $300 on a frame if you can't afford it. If you can find one too small for an affordable price you can find one that fits for an affordable price, you just must be patient.

  7. #7
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    I'd pay $25 for the frame, because it is pretty nice. You could trade it for something else, or even give it to a friend as a gift. Good bike karma is important.

    I don't see the frame as an option for you, however. It's just too small.

    The question I have for you is....if you bought the fame, or another frame that fit better, what would you use for parts to build it up? There's a super cool bike builders worksheet over a Lickbike.com you can use. Do you enough and the right parts? how much wear is on any used parts you have? Do you have a good strong wheelset?

    As a question of value and getting the most bang for your buck.....often shopping for a new bike is the best option. Fuji and Jamis sell pretty good steel framed all rounders for $800 or so list price. The street price of these bikes is often much less than that.... you might find a 60cm bike for $600 or so. Not that $600 isn't a lot of money, it is. But you're getting a darn nice bike for that, and the projecting the cost of the bike per mile, over say, 5 years, it's a very good deal.

    On the other hand, it's possible to scape up used parts, internet sale parts and an old frame and build a bike for less. I've done this myself and it's really a fun project. But I honestly can't say I saved any money in the long run. But once apon a time, when the wife was in collage and I never had new bike money in the bank, I built and rode bikes on a shoestring.

    Right now I'm thinking about getting a part time 2nd job so I can buy another bike....I'd quit in 6 weeks with a new bike!

  8. #8
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas
    If you can find one too small for an affordable price you can find one that fits for an affordable price, you just must be patient.
    Ha! This is the closest to a touring frame I've found in nearly a year of yard sale hunting and nearly daily craigslist watching. A few frames have come along in my size, but they are either very expensive (near the cost of a brand new frame) or they have problems, such as cantilever bosses for 27" rims or narrow chainstay clearance. I probably have missed a few frames on eBay, because my budget was originally much smaller. My patience has as led me to stretch that budget a bit.

  9. #9
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    Junkyard, it's quite obvious that you as mch as anyone is in a possition to do a bike that's the right size. If your anot-meas., are correct, a 56cm is most certainly too small for ideally comfortable riding. A stem and set-back seatpost could remedy it,JUST a stem would NOT, anyone can see that you would be forward of the pedal.. N/G. Plus your front will be too low. You're not border-line(as I am) ,you clearly need a 58 (more I'd say),depending on other aspects of the frame. Older and/or many Italian made bikes have relatively short top tubes,all under the guise of "traditional road race" geometry. LeMond is long,as are Brigestones and old Centurions. Besides you needn't go particully long, just not overly short,relatively speaking.

  10. #10
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    THe bike that's in the photo is SMALL, you must do better than that, that bike is dinky, I don't care WHAT the top-tube is!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    A few frames have come along in my size, but they are either very expensive (near the cost of a brand new frame) or they have problems, such as cantilever bosses for 27" rims or narrow chainstay clearance.
    That's not a "problem".

    Any purpose built touring frame will have enough clearance. Well, maybe not if you're running 45c tires or something ridiculous.

  12. #12
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacomee
    As a question of value and getting the most bang for your buck.....often shopping for a new bike is the best option. Fuji and Jamis sell pretty good steel framed all rounders for $800 or so list price. The street price of these bikes is often much less than that.... you might find a 60cm bike for $600 or so. Not that $600 isn't a lot of money, it is. But you're getting a darn nice bike for that, and the projecting the cost of the bike per mile, over say, 5 years, it's a very good deal.

    You're right of course. However, I have a decent wheelset that has seen only a bit of use (purchased for an earlier project). They are 36H CR18 rims laced to Alivio hubs with 14G stainless spokes...not the greatest, but I think they can take some punishment. I also have some new Deore LX front and rear dérailleurs, picked up cheap during one of Nashbar's sales. I have a 1" stem, bars, Suntour barcons, Shimano SLR brake levers, a barely used Deore LX crankset used on an earlier project, fenders that never made it onto another project, a rear rack salvaged from a garage sale find, an old seatpost, and a saddle from another project bike I'm stripping.

    Thinking I would use this frame, I also bought some panniers, a front lowrider rack, some Continental Travel Contact tires, and a bunch of other stuff. So all I really need now is a frame. If I buy a new frame, I'll need a threadless headset, stem, seatpost collar, etc, which will drive my price up more. If I can find a good used frame, especially with a threaded headset, I'm pretty much set.

    In all, I've spent about $400-$450 on the frameless build so far (including the price of the wheelset and some other parts which I bought new last year for a different bike).

    So, yes, unless I can find a deal on a frame, I probably would have been better off buying a complete bike. But even then, I would want to change the tires, add fenders, add racks, buy panniers, and change the chainrings to lower gearing (why are some of these "touring" bike equipped with such high gearing on the front?). I might also need a new stem to get the bars higher.

    You are also right about saving some money or getting a part time job to raise some. But I wanted to have this ready for early summer...and it's already here! So...my patience has reached it's limit. I must admit that I have been able to turn other garage sale finds into capital gains, but I've managed to blow most of that on a couple other bikes. I was set on finding an inexpensive, used touring frame that I wouldn't feel anxiety about riding in the rain or on trails. That was my rationale then...but it appears I've just wasted a whole lot of time and spent my money elsewhere!

    At any rate, I appreciate the responses and the opinions on frame sizing.

  13. #13
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BostonFixed
    That's not a "problem".

    Any purpose built touring frame will have enough clearance. Well, maybe not if you're running 45c tires or something ridiculous.
    Oddly enough, I was offered two Fuji America Touring frames, and both sellers informed me that 33mm was the max width tire with fenders for that frame.

  14. #14
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old and new
    THe bike that's in the photo is SMALL, you must do better than that, that bike is dinky, I don't care WHAT the top-tube is!
    Yes, it's small, but it's compact geometry (marketed as a hybrid, but very similar to a MTB). I plan mixed use for whatever I build up, including some light trail riding, and I know some prefer a slightly smaller frame for off road use. I know, this frame is more than slightly smaller for me.

  15. #15
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old and new
    Junkyard, it's quite obvious that you as mch as anyone is in a possition to do a bike that's the right size. If your anot-meas., are correct, a 56cm is most certainly too small for ideally comfortable riding. A stem and set-back seatpost could remedy it,JUST a stem would NOT, anyone can see that you would be forward of the pedal.. N/G. Plus your front will be too low. You're not border-line(as I am) ,you clearly need a 58 (more I'd say),depending on other aspects of the frame. Older and/or many Italian made bikes have relatively short top tubes,all under the guise of "traditional road race" geometry. LeMond is long,as are Brigestones and old Centurions. Besides you needn't go particully long, just not overly short,relatively speaking.
    Top tube sizing is driving me crazy, because as a relatively inexperienced cyclist, I have no idea what's right. All sizing calculators I've used indicate about 59 cm with a 110cm stem or so. Currently, I'm riding a 57 cm frame on my road bike with a 57 cm top tube, tall stem level with the saddle, 80 mm extension, setback seatpost with the saddle rails clamped on the middle, and I feel comfortable. On the hoods, my arms are only slightly bent.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    Ha! This is the closest to a touring frame I've found in nearly a year of yard sale hunting and nearly daily craigslist watching. A few frames have come along in my size, but they are either very expensive (near the cost of a brand new frame) or they have problems, such as cantilever bosses for 27" rims or narrow chainstay clearance. I probably have missed a few frames on eBay, because my budget was originally much smaller. My patience has as led me to stretch that budget a bit.
    It took me a year to find my cyclocross frame. Now I have a very nice hand built frame that was a custom job for someone, with a Campy Record HS that cost me about $50. It fits me like a glove.

    Keep looking, you'll find what you want if you are patient. If you can't or won't wait then pony up the cash and buy a new frame.

  17. #17
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    Guessing from your road bike, maybe a 60cm touring bike frame would be right?

    Right now, there's a lot of money to made in buying, stripping and selling old steel frames... the West Coast market for this bikes is super hot. Used is just not a good deal right now, but keep looking, of course.

    Surly is a good option at this point, but I understand about the money. Nashbar does sell a cheaper frame, but I've never seen it. I have seen the steel Nashbar MTB frames, and they are top end.

    The good news is that you're setting on a lot of quality parts to use once the right frame comes along.

  18. #18
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    If it's any consolation; I fancied buying a new Italian Road Bike,the Gios appealed to me,Excel of course had it. I obcessed over the top-tube being short so I dismissed it as a choice. Months later, enlisting the help of experts, fit calcs. etc., The "oh so short " top-tube on that Gios, is precisely within recomended size after-all. Of course touring is different. The point IS that top tube lengths have increased,it's a trend thing, arguably "initiated " by LeMond. It will drive you crazy,if yoy let it,I did, I know better now. I got a new bike,more used ones too. You don't need a fit-specialist " either,that's HS, you have a collection, a virtual laboratory. In my own "travels" I ended-up where I'd found myself over 20 years ago.

  19. #19
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback. I've found a like new Nashbar touring frame in 58cm for a decent price. I may have a buyer for the Trek 750 frameset which will greatly offset my the purchase of the Nashbar frame.

    I'm confident I will be happier with this frame than a vintage frame given the rear dropout spacing, wider clearance for tires and fenders, and the potentially less worry-free aluminum frame for foul-weather riding (surface rust, though harmless, gives me anxiety).

    I went with the 58 rather than 60 because of the unusually long top tube on the larger sized frames. At 59.5 cm, even the 58 cm frame is on the long side for me.

    Any suggestions on the shortest advisable stem length? I'm looking for the greatest rise I can find, but I don't want to go so short that I compromise steering stability.

    I'll post pics when I get it built up.

  20. #20
    Senior Member sykerocker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
    So, here are the facts:

    1. I am a novice cyclist hoping to try some multi-day tours this summer and then possibly longer tours in the future.
    2. I hope to build the bike as a multi-purpose bike for rail trail riding, kid hauling, rain riding, and touring - so I don't want a very expensive frame.
    3. I have nearly all the parts I need for a decent touring rig (racks, panniers, etc), save the frame.
    4. I found a 21" Trek 750 locally for $25, which has a seattube of 53.5 cm, and a slight rise in the top tube (maybe an inch).
    5. I have a 35" PBH and my ideal traditional frame size is about 58-60 cm.
    6. My ideal top tube length is about 58-60 cm.
    7. The top tube on the Trek 750 is 56 cm, but I have a 120mm adjustable stem to help lengthen it a bit.
    8. I've finished a couple bike projects recently, and I'm really sick of spending money.

    For those who have used smallish, non-dedicated frames for touring (such as hybrids or MTBs), but have since graduated to dedicated touring frames in your size: is it worth it for me to suck it up and spend some money on a larger frame? In the long run, will I be happier and more comfortable? Or can I make this frame work?

    I've been looking for a used touring frame for a while, but they are either too rich for my blood, or they have some "problem" (such as cantis for 27" rims, narrow stay spacing limiting tire width, etc.). I figure I'd rather spend $250-$300 on a Nashbar frameset (price includes missing parts and frame prep).

    I know this question is like beating a dead horse twice. I apologize for that. But I'm just one very indecisive SOB.

    Here's the frame in question:

    Take a look in the "post your touring bike" section - I just put my Bianchi Nyala in. It might give you a few ideas, and I'm totally in love with the bike. If anyone had told me years ago that I'd be happy with 26 x 2 tyres on a touring bike, I'd have considered them crazy.

    Live and learn.
    Syke

    "No wonder we keep testing positive in their bicycle races. Everyone looks like they're full of testosterone when they're surrounded by Frenchmen." ---Argus Hamilton

  21. #21
    Since 1938... JunkYardBike's Avatar
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    Thanks, that's a nice looking bike...both are.

    I remember seeing that on the C&V forum. I actually have a Bianchi Timberwolf frame in the right size, but it was one if their very low end models, made in China. Not nearly as nice as yours, and without the lugs. Not that it wouldn't be a solid frame...but it lacks braze-ons.

    However, I've cemented the deal for the Nashbar frame...and I've found a buyer for the Trek 750. It will end up balancing out, minus shipping on my end. And then I'll need a headset installed and some other frame accessories. But I think for under $200 I can have a pretty nice touring frame, and I can use all of my existing parts without much modification (I hope).

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