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  1. #1
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    Lugged steel retro(ish) touring frame?

    I'm looking for a lugged steel frame to build up as a touring bike. Something with a classical retro look would be preferred, but I'm pretty open.

    Budget is around 1000-1200, less is always good, more could be an option as I'm not in a hurry to build this up.

    Let's see some of your favorites!

  2. #2
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Why settle for an (ish), when for half that price you could own a 'real' classic/vintage steel tourer. With the leftover money, you could upgrade the components and dress it out with racks & panniers. I just sold an 85 Specialized Expedition for 600 that is going to provide it's new owner one b*d a** touring bike for years to come. I prefer the Japanese frames from the 80's. Miyata & Fuji are my favorites, but the list is long with obscure names that put their brand on the bike, but the frame was made by Miyata, Tange, Ishiwata, and others. The quality of the frame is what you should be after. And, bike makers are still trying to copy the geometry and braze-ons of these bikes. You want to go retro, then go all the way and find yourself a Miyata 1000 or one of his sisters.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    Why settle for an (ish)
    I'm a little bit over 6' 5", so finding used frames is not always feasible for me, that could be a veeery long wait.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
    I'm a little bit over 6' 5", so finding used frames is not always feasible for me, that could be a veeery long wait.
    Hmmmm..., your on the Xlarge size, that's for sure. But, I wouldn't discount a good used frame entirely. Rare, but they did make them. You said that you weren't in a hurry to build it up. Unless you are looking to have a frame custom made for you, you might look for a 63cm and put a longer stem and set-back seatpost on it. Touring bikes are different then road bikes. A road bike fit needs to be precise for efficiency. A touring bike is much more comfort oriented. That gives you a little more leeway to make the bike fit you. I don't personally know of any off the shelf touring bikes still made with the 'classic' geometry. There are some high-end niche companies such as Rivendell, but they are pricey. I still think you shouldn't give up on the old stuff.

  5. #5
    Long Live Long Rides
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    Quote Originally Posted by rothenfield1 View Post
    Why settle for an (ish), when for half that price you could own a 'real' classic/vintage steel tourer. With the leftover money, you could upgrade the components and dress it out with racks & panniers. I just sold an 85 Specialized Expedition for 600 that is going to provide it's new owner one b*d a** touring bike for years to come. I prefer the Japanese frames from the 80's. Miyata & Fuji are my favorites, but the list is long with obscure names that put their brand on the bike, but the frame was made by Miyata, Tange, Ishiwata, and others. The quality of the frame is what you should be after. And, bike makers are still trying to copy the geometry and braze-ons of these bikes. You want to go retro, then go all the way and find yourself a Miyata 1000 or one of his sisters.
    ++ for vintage. I had an '82 Expedition years ago. Best bike I've ever ridden. Trek also made some decent touring bikes back in the 80s. You may even consider posting in the 'wanted' section. Over the years I've known of several people who spent $$ on nice touring bikes only to see the bike sit in the garage or basement...untouched. Vintage frames sure have character.....

    Jerry H
    Jharte
    Touring...therapy for the soul.

  6. #6
    nun
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    Quote Originally Posted by jharte View Post
    ++ for vintage. I had an '82 Expedition years ago. Best bike I've ever ridden. Trek also made some decent touring bikes back in the 80s. You may even consider posting in the 'wanted' section. Over the years I've known of several people who spent $$ on nice touring bikes only to see the bike sit in the garage or basement...untouched. Vintage frames sure have character.....

    Jerry H
    Take a look at some of the frames at

    http://www.rivbike.com

  7. #7
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    How about some of the Velo Orange frames?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
    I'm looking for a lugged steel frame to build up as a touring bike. Something with a classical retro look would be preferred, but I'm pretty open.

    Budget is around 1000-1200, less is always good, more could be an option as I'm not in a hurry to build this up.

    Let's see some of your favorites!

    This question is right up my alley, being tall also. I assume by retro-ish you mean lugged frames? No sloping top tubes? Are you of average proportion, meaning not real long legged or long armed?

    Vintage sounds great, and with all due respect to rothenfeld1, vintage tall touring frames are very rare. The top tubes always to short anyways, so I have little nostalgia for them. Putting on a long stem/seat way back does not compensate for a short TT, though this is what tall riders used to do.... but you don't have to today. Once you ride a bike with a properly long TT, you'll never go back to a short TT and long stem. The bike rides a whole lot better. A 72 degree(or shallower) seat angle is absolutely needed.

    Before the dollar tanked, the 64 or 68cm. Rivendell Atlantis would have been a choice, but now it's way overpriced at $2000, it was $950 when it was introduced in 1999. The TT is still short-ish however. For $2000, you can get a custom frame for much less though.

    I'm always studying frames, and to my knowledge there are no stock lugged classic looking frames out there in your price range. Custom, yes there is. I know of two places. Bob Jackson frames and Franklin Frames in Ohio.
    http://worldclasscycles.com/JACKSON-HOME.htm
    http://home.windstream.net/franklinframe/frame.html

    I had Franklin Frames make me a light Touring frame in '99, the Bradley model. He can make it for heavy duty touring or anything you want. I think they're around $1100 now. Jack Franklin is the sole person making them, and he's been doing it for 30+ years. Great to talk with. I've also had him do frame repairs and painting. He doesn't have a fancy web site, or even advertise, so most people overlook him. His work is solid.

    Bob Jackson does custom frames too, but I'm not sure of their work.

    I know of lots of other custom frame builders, but no other lugged ones for this price.There's some TIG welded ones, but most everyone is going to a sloping TT, hardly vintage looking.

    I saw this one from Velo Orange http://www.velo-orange.com/vorafrcoso.html but I don't think it's tall enough , and the ST angle is 72.5.
    It's only 63cm C-T though , with a 61cm TT.

    Mercian of England are classic style. http://www.merciancycles.co.uk/frames.asp I've read people buying them from the USA for around $900. I think they're full custom. But , buying overseas can be a risk, and a PITA!!

    I know nothing about this guy.... but lugged frame/fork start around $900. http://www.sannercycles.com/pricing.htm

    I've heard rumors of Heron frames being made again. A used one, though rare, would fit your bill.

    Best of luck!
    Last edited by Garthr; 05-12-10 at 06:40 AM.

  9. #9
    Dumpster cyclist
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    The great thing about being tall is that you can find frames that no one else can ride. You'll probably get it cheap.I don't know what sizes they came in, but some great vintage tourers are:

    -Miyata 1000
    -Trek 720
    -Specialized Expedition

    I'm actually on the hunt for any one of those in a 58ish size.
    If you want a truly bombproof bike for someone your size, check out the Bombadil from Rivendell.

    Best of luck!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quality of Bob Jackson frames will at least be on a par with Mercian. I have a friend in Ohio who is thinking of going with Franklin, and he has a very discerning eye. Neither he nor I are yet impressed with the Velo Orange frames due to two things. One is the dog-leg shape of the fork blades. The other is that an LBS was disappointed with the weight of an off the shelf Randonneur he got to spend some time with. But perhaps that won't matter so much for a tourer. I'm not sure if V-O talks about weight, and tourers need some extra strength anyway.

    Sanner's site looks good! He's off on a long tour now, though.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Another thought is to talk to Lennard Zinn, Zinn Cycles. I don't know about price, but Zinn is very tall himself and should understand all the related issues.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Road Fan;10799787]Quality of Bob Jackson frames will at least be on a par with Mercian. I have a friend in Ohio who is thinking of going with Franklin, and he has a very discerning eye. Neither he nor I are yet impressed with the Velo Orange frames due to two things. One is the dog-leg shape of the fork blades. The other is that an LBS was disappointed with the weight of an off the shelf Randonneur he got to spend some time with. But perhaps that won't matter so much for a tourer. I'm not sure if V-O talks about weight, and tourers need some extra strength anyway.



    Yeah .... Jack Franklin is a really good, under the radar type of guy who's been building and repairing frames for a long time. I wouldn't hesitate to use his services again. He bailed me out of a jam when I bought a used Rivendell Bombadil that was all f'd up when I got it. The rear wheel couldn't be centered or go into the driveside dropout. I took it to a frame builder in Pittsburgh who thought it would be a simple job, but found out something odd about it. He couldn't fix it. I then took it to Jack, who has a digital alignment table, and the frame was 6mm off center in the front end, and one chainstay was brazed 1mm too short! (originally built by Waterford) With the chainstay like it was, the rear wheel would never have fit correctly. I had him re-braze the chainstay, align the frame and repaint it. All this at a reasonable price.

    BTW ... Zinn's start at $2000. Ouch.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback guys! I'll spend some time looking through all the websites today.

    There's actually a 63cm Miyata 1000 on ebay right now, although the price is way too much (1600 with a lot of parts that would need replacement). Perhaps I'll keep an eye out for on of these for a while before I decide on a new frame, that way I could spend extra money on a nice paintjob.

    I'm also loving the look of those Franklin's, the price is just right.

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    Im sure you know this, but from a practical side, a vintage loaded bike in your size will likely be noodly. If you want a great bike for loading up, there is a lot to be said for compact geometries and oversized tubing. Doesnt look as nice, I know...

    I own an 83 expedition, an 85 trek 620, an 82 custom kuwahara, and an 83 panasonic pt5000. They are all wonderful to ride, and a lovely collection. But for my heavily loaded touring I almost always take my roberts roughstuff, which is oversized columbus nivacrom with compact geometry. It is much stiffer and more stable with four panniers...

    Not trying to talk you out of anything, because i love older lugged touring frames. I'm just putting my 2c out there regarding utility.

  15. #15
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    I've got a Bob Jackson racing bike, ordered custom, direct from the factory. They're about as classic as you can get. Their website doesn't show it, but you can order a Hetchins-style frame with gingerbread lugs and curly stays, if you want (unless that's changed)—I visited their factory years ago, and they had a Hetchins-style tandem hanging on the wall, in green with gold pinstriping around the lug cutouts—one of the most outlandish bikes I've ever seen.

    The one knock I'll make against them is that they (still) use stove-baked enamel paint, which just doesn't seem as durable as modern epoxy-based paints. Apart from that, I got exactly the bike I wanted.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback guys! I'll spend some time looking through all the websites today.

    There's actually a 63cm Miyata 1000 on ebay right now, although the price is way too much (1600 with a lot of parts that would need replacement). Perhaps I'll keep an eye out for on of these for a while before I decide on a new frame, that way I could spend extra money on a nice paintjob.

    I'm also loving the look of those Franklin's, the price is just right.
    I'm going to have to warn you off from the Miyatas. I know I raved about them in my first post, but that was before I knew your size. I was actually amazed to find that my 60cm 89 Miyata 1000 had a 57cm TT. The 60cm 85 Expedition I used to have had a 60cm TT as I recall. In other words, as stated earlier, it's the reach from saddle to bars that is the most important factor in sizing. You might consider posting this question on the C&V Forum. They have a lot of old farts there who could probably rattle off several XXL vintage touring frames. They also have a Market sub-Forum that sells vintage stuff for fair prices.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
    I've got a Bob Jackson racing bike, ordered custom, direct from the factory. .
    Mind if I ask how much you payed? I've looked at their stuff before, but I can't make any sense of the website at all.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    I'm going to have to warn you off from the Miyatas. I know I raved about them in my first post, but that was before I knew your size.
    Yeah, I noticed the short TT. The 63cm has around a 58cm tt, so a 130-140 stem on that should fit me though. Thanks for the C&V tip. I'll head over there if I don't find something here. Maybe I should just get a LHT and leave the retro lugged for a nice custom roadie instead...

  19. #19
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
    Maybe I should just get a LHT and leave the retro lugged for a nice custom roadie instead...
    That might not be a bad idea. The LHT seems to be the hot touring bike these days. REI started selling them this year for 1100. But the largest frame is a 60cm. You might try calling an REI to ask if they could find an XL Novara Rondonee in their data base. Theres none available on-line. But that doesn't mean they don't have any in stores. They are phasing them out apparently, so they are on sale. I can't remember what the largest size is, but the largest and smallest sizes are usually the last to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
    The 63cm has around a 58cm tt, so a 130-140 stem on that should fit me though.
    BAD idea. IM(not-so-humble)O

  21. #21
    Senior Member rothenfield1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    BAD idea. IM(not-so-humble)O
    ++1

  22. #22
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by positron View Post
    BAD idea. IM(not-so-humble)O
    Can I ask why?

    My road bike has a 60cm TT with a 120mm stem. Would a long stem like that be too wobly for a touring set up?

  23. #23
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
    Mind if I ask how much you payed? I've looked at their stuff before, but I can't make any sense of the website at all.
    I honestly don't recall. It was some years ago, and between the USD/UKP conversion, the deposit upfront, etc, it's lost to the mists of time, but IIRC it was a pretty good deal. I'd just e-mail them with a description of what you want (lug style, tubing type, braze-ons, paint and chroming) and see what they say.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Waves77's Avatar
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    Thanks Adam. I will send them an email too.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
    Can I ask why?

    My road bike has a 60cm TT with a 120mm stem. Would a long stem like that be too wobly for a touring set up?
    its not that its too wobbly, its that the steering will be weird (from such a long lever) it will look horrible (who cares, but you want lugs, ergo aesthetics seem to matter) and it will be challenging finding suitable stems- not that it cannot be done, but most new quill stems of any decent quality (nitto) are 80-120 max. 140 will limit you to the weird late 80s, early 90's mtb riser stems that had their own zipcodes..

    above all, the frame wont fit you- why spend so much on a frame that isnt your size?

    Ive done this by the way, I rode a couple centuries on a 50cm bike by adding a loooooooong cockpit. I normally ride a 57cm . I was never comfortable, but the difference was that I found the frame in the trash, so I made it work for a while- I would not recommend spending your hard-earned on this setup. Keep looking

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