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Old 02-06-11, 06:39 AM   #1
DuraLex
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[Project] Olschool steel Racebike as the basis for a touringbike

Good day,

I'm an avid racer and mountainbiker and for this summer i want to venture in to the world of trekking. My budget is somewhat limited and for sentimental reasons I want to build a trekking bike by using an old school steel race frame as the basis. I’m sure to want a brooks saddle and lots of leather where possible. I'm technically competent but I have absolute no experience with old bikes. I hope you guys can help me with a few things to get me started.

And Just for reference sake, the trip will be roughly 5000km. From Holland to the Balkans and back. I’m pretty light (65km x 177cm) and in good condition. I want to pack light camping gear, clothing, gear, medkid and all the other typical stuff (I’ve done some resreach). So I’ll be looking at a rear reck for sure and some form of front rack. A Carradice would be great but I doubt that’ll be enough.

Naturally I’d want to strip the frame and rebuild it. Wheels will be very important and I wont spare expensive on that, I might buy new. Suggestions are welcome but this is something for phase 2 of my build. I want to maintain the classic components as much as possible but the bottom bracket and drive train will undoubtedly be replaced where needed, for better ratios and durability. This will depend on what I buy. Same goes for the brakes.

So, for now:

Phase 1 will be finding a very decent, strong and proven classic steel frame but I don’t know where to begin looking, or at what? What are the usual suspects here? Which frames do trekkers prefer when it comes to steel race frames? What do I have to keep a lookout for, where do I start looking ( dont mean which website or dealer, but more, what sort of frames should I be looking)?

Thank you, I hope you can support as this project continues.

Bikes like these serve me as inspiration:




Last edited by DuraLex; 02-06-11 at 07:50 AM.
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Old 02-06-11, 09:37 AM   #2
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Just make sure that your steel "race" frame has a reasonably long wheel base for a stable ride when loaded, long enough chain stays so you can use a larger tire if desired (23's often too small) and prevent heel strike, comfortable geometry and fit so that you can ride it for hours on end. One other thing that sometimes can be tough to determine without loading the frame up >======> make sure the frame overall (seat stays, chain stays, and bottom bracket) isn't so lightweight and flexible that it sways or shimmies when you jump out of the saddle to go up hills or want to accelerate. Good luck and post photos when you get it complete.
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Old 02-06-11, 10:13 AM   #3
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just FYI, the last pic you posted is a new LHT.

having gone this route before, it is tough to find a great older frame to do what you want. The principle reasons are inadequate tire clearance geometry etc.

look for an older touring frame, with a longer wheelbase and cantilever brake posts.
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Old 02-06-11, 10:24 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Just make sure that your steel "race" frame has a reasonably long wheel base for a stable ride when loaded, long enough chain stays so you can use a larger tire if desired (23's often too small) and prevent heel strike, comfortable geometry and fit so that you can ride it for hours on end. One other thing that sometimes can be tough to determine without loading the frame up >======> make sure the frame overall (seat stays, chain stays, and bottom bracket) isn't so lightweight and flexible that it sways or shimmies when you jump out of the saddle to go up hills or want to accelerate. Good luck and post photos when you get it complete.
Thanks, good points to keep in mind. I certian will want a long wheelbase and a comfy geometry.

@positron: Could you name a few older touring frames that i can search for?
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Old 02-06-11, 11:17 AM   #5
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Trek 520/620, Raleigh Touring, Fuji Touring, Miyata, Brookstone, etc. There was a recent thread, also. Search is your friend.
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Old 02-06-11, 11:20 AM   #6
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You don't want a race bike.

The touring bikes mentioned above are great, but can be hard to find.
A sport bike like the Schwinn Varsity can be used to tour.
In fact, I used to do that on my varsity back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
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Old 02-06-11, 11:26 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DuraLex View Post
Thanks, good points to keep in mind. I certian will want a long wheelbase and a comfy geometry.

@positron: Could you name a few older touring frames that i can search for?
I think your use of the term "race" bike is a non-starter for advice; a race geometry is exactly what someone doesn't want for a touring bike. Perhaps what you are looking for is a light-weight cr-mo road frame that is adaptable for a tourer or built tourer specific. The most obvious answer are frames like the Trek 520/620/720 or Miyata 610/1000 or Schwinn Voyaguer or many others. Since you included a pic of a Surly LHT, why don't you just look at one of those, or adapting a cyclecross frame? Some of these frame are more clunky than others, imho, so perhaps your choice comes down to a tour capable frame that can rock a lightweight wheelset and cruise at 20mph unloaded. My point is, I think you need to focus your investigation somewhat.
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Old 02-06-11, 12:14 PM   #8
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Just keep your load light, particularly on the rear,
as the 1" thin wall top tubes are more flexible .

Stiffening the main triangle is part of the difference,
in making a touring bike frame, for load bearing.

oversizing diameters, and adding tube wall thickness increase the strength..

Rigid, pre-suspension fork, hard tail Mountain bike framesets
make good tourers , 26" wheels are sturdy.

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Old 02-06-11, 05:48 PM   #9
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I think if you get tired of searching or lose hope, you always go for the cheaper touring frame from Nashbar. I know it's aluminium but you get that green metalic frame that I think would look nice with white or cream colored tires and brown grips/saddle. I've seen pictures of that color combination on the electrabike website. Having said that, I know the only tires I've seen in white or cream are some Schwalbe 700x35, Electrabike 700x400 and Continental TourRide 700x37. I think Vittoria had some special edition ones that were something like 700x29 but I can't remember exactly. Anyway, because the Nashbar website doesn't seem to work properly lately, I'll post the link to the frame:
Nashar touring fork $49.00
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...2_511246_-1___
Nashbar touring frame $99.00
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...0052_511239_-1___

If you search my older posts, you'll see a complete list of bike parts that does include a nice Origin8 classic looking seatpost.

As far as the Continental TourRide tires go, I know bikexperts in Germany has them in cream. You just have to ask because I don't think it's listed on the site. That same site has Busch&Muller dynamo lights and the Shimano Deore LX dynamo hub for sale. I intended on saving money on shipping by ordering those things at the same time there.

I know SKS Germany makes nice fenders but there are also some at Velo Orange. VO has classic looking stuff including rims.

I agree with you the green frame, brown/beige saddle/grips and white/cream colored tires is a nice look. I know Strida also makes locking dark brown grips for someone who wants flat (riser) bars.

Let us know where you're at in your project. If there's something you can't find, I might look for it because I like looking for bike parts.
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Old 02-06-11, 08:53 PM   #10
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1973 Peugeot PX10
I raced and toured on this bike back in the 70's. For some reason most competition bikes of that era had eyelets on both the front and rear dropouts. Putting a rack on it was easy. However, even with a pretty large selection of chainrings and freewheel clusters available to me, the best I could come up with for gearing was a 52/40 crankset and a 15-28 freewheel cluster. Not exactly what I'd consider optimum tour gears. That is the trouble with setting up an older "racing" or any other vintage bike, parts availability. Triple the challenge if it is a French bike! Good luck.


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Old 02-06-11, 08:53 PM   #11
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As with others, I don't think reworking an old racing frame is worth the trouble.

The optimal (but by no mean required) characteristics you want in a touring bike include the following. Solid and robust frame; shock absorption; clearance for tires and fenders; rack mounts; a relaxed geometry; a long wheelbase for stability, especially while loaded; strong wheels and rims; low gearing.

Racing frames tend to go for low weight, stiffness, narrow tire clearance, more responsive handling... i.e. almost the opposite of a touring bike. It's not really the best place to start.

As to used vs new, if you aren't mechanically inclined then you are unlikely to save money on a used bike. Chances are what you save on the initial purchase will go to tuning the bike and upgrading it to what you need. So you might as well get something new and affordable.

For a 3,300+ mile ride, you could be looking at 60 riding days. As such, I think you'll be best off with a bike that has at least some of these characteristics, that you can use for other things when you're not on tour.
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