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  1. #1
    Senior Member robert schlatte's Avatar
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    touring on older frame

    I have a 1980 Schwinn Voyageur 11.8 which has been well maintained over the years. I have recently upgraded the drivetrain with a Tiagra nine speed hub which I built on a Sun CR 18 rim with double butted spokes. I would like to take a week long self supported trip which would require me to ride 70 to 80 miles per day. I would keep my load as light as possible. In your opinion would this bike be suitable although maybe not ideal? Are there issues with a 32 year old steel frame? A year ago I had a small crack in the seat stay where it connects to the down tube re-brazed. I am concerned that I might develop similar frame issues on the road? I appreciate any input you all may have.

  2. #2
    Bicyclerider4life
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    Personally I don't see why it would not be a good choice, as long as you can put on the rack(s) you need or can hook up a trailer. As for "suitable" vs "ideal" what is "ideal' to one person may be "suitable" or even "the worst possible choice" to someone else. For instance, my "ideal" is a 1989 KHS mountain bike with a lugged steel frame, with braze-on's and eyelets for 3 water bottles, racks, and fenders, that I've upgraded to a 7 speed in back using a SunLite 14/34 freewheel on what is probably the original wheel. (shifters and rear derailleur upgraded to Sram). I know there are many who think anything that does not have 700 wheels is a poor choice. If the bike fits you and you are happy with it, why not use it?
    "Whenever I see an adult riding a bicycle, I know there is hope for mankind." (H. G. Wells)

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    ... in the seat stay where it connects to the down tube ..
    just have a hard time visualizing where they join..

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    rs, Certainly good enough. Have fun.

    Brad

  5. #5
    Senior Member robert schlatte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    just have a hard time visualizing where they join..
    Sorry, I meant where the seat stays connect to the "seat tube."

  6. #6
    Senior Member robert schlatte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicyclridr4life View Post
    Personally I don't see why it would not be a good choice, as long as you can put on the rack(s) you need or can hook up a trailer. As for "suitable" vs "ideal" what is "ideal' to one person may be "suitable" or even "the worst possible choice" to someone else. For instance, my "ideal" is a 1989 KHS mountain bike with a lugged steel frame, with braze-on's and eyelets for 3 water bottles, racks, and fenders, that I've upgraded to a 7 speed in back using a SunLite 14/34 freewheel on what is probably the original wheel. (shifters and rear derailleur upgraded to Sram). I know there are many who think anything that does not have 700 wheels is a poor choice. If the bike fits you and you are happy with it, why not use it?
    I agree with you about personal preferences. What I am concerned with the durability of the old 1980 steel frame for loaded touring.

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    If it's comfortable to ride daily for weeks of days, as I suspect,
    since it's an old favorite.
    go for the trip, and have fun..
    What I am concerned with the durability of the old 1980 steel frame for loaded touring.
    the tip of the seat stay re brazed to the lug joining top and seat tube,
    should be fine,
    of course if they added brass to both sides, all the better..

    But, I'd have to inspect it in person to really answer that,
    I liked my mid 80's steel Specialized Expedition bike..
    took me from Amsterdam to Warsaw
    via UK and Norway and Denmark, and back..


    you are talking about a week..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 02-03-12 at 01:53 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robert schlatte View Post
    I agree with you about personal preferences. What I am concerned with the durability of the old 1980 steel frame for loaded touring.
    I would share the same concern if the seat stay failure occurred after decades of regular riding and not loaded touring. "what else is lurking" would be in the back of my head. Best way to settle that concern is load the bike up and ride it hard before the tour. Who knows, maybe the tube failure was the only weakness waiting to go, I don't see anyway to predict future failures but if there is another one lurking you're more likely to bring it out by simulating a loaded tour than waiting for the tour.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    I liked my mid 80's steel Specialized Expedition bike..
    I had one for a stretch and sold it to a friend for $350

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tende's Avatar
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    im planning a cross country ride for this summer on a '78 Trek.

  11. #11
    Senior Member robert schlatte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tende View Post
    im planning a cross country ride for this summer on a '78 Trek.
    Good luck with your cross country tour. I like the style of the old lugged steel frames and I have several. I find that you can buy them inexpensively and fix them up. I wonder if these older bikes can withstand extensive loaded touring or if a person is really better off just purchasing a new bike. I am not a metalurgist but I always wonder if the age of the steel and the brazed joints might be an issue in loaded touring.

  12. #12
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    There's not all that much more stress placed on a bike by loaded touring than by any other kind of riding. If it hasn't broken (at least more than once) in the last 32 years then it's very unlikely to break in the next few weeks while touring.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
    I would share the same concern if the seat stay failure occurred after decades of regular riding and not loaded touring. "what else is lurking" would be in the back of my head. Best way to settle that concern is load the bike up and ride it hard before the tour. Who knows, maybe the tube failure was the only weakness waiting to go, I don't see anyway to predict future failures but if there is another one lurking you're more likely to bring it out by simulating a loaded tour than waiting for the tour.
    I agree with this.

    I've done loaded touring and centuries and shopping on a Shogun 400 converted to fixed gear. It rides and handles nicely loaded or unloaded. Subject to an adequate job done in fixing the seat stay, you should be fine. But a thorough frame inspection is worthwhile. You might also take a critical look at your brakes, and their efficiency at stopping you with a touring load on board. It may be that you'll have to upgrade to long-reach modern calipers if there is any doubt about the OEM ones.

    Having said all that, I have a Fuji Touring that I bought new and have put more than 55,000km into. It fell in a gust and broke the right rear dropout. I brazed it back together and it's done another 1500km or so since, but I don't have the confidence in it to do a 6000km European tour we are planning for this year. I could spend the dollars are have the dropout replaced, but the cost and hassle would be somewhat considerable. So I am looking to buy a new Thorn Club Touring frame and building up what I want.

    In brief, if you have doubts, look to buy another bike. If you are confident with what you have, after that detailed inspection, go for it.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  14. #14
    Senior Member robert schlatte's Avatar
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    Thanks for all responses. I have more confidence that my older bike(s) can take more stress. Someday when I am able to tour more, I will consider buying a new touring frame.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    I just sold a 1972 Puegeot PX 10 that had been raced hard and had also been used for several loaded multi-week tours. In the 70's they actually had fender eyelets on most of the dropouts that were put on competition bikes. It made installing a rack relatively easy. Switched the sew-up wheels for a set of clinchers and it turned into a 20 pound touring bike. It was still in great condition, and I got more than I had originally paid for it in 1973. It had been ridden regularly until about 10 years ago.

    Good steel frames are amazingly durable. Like most of the folks said-- If you are comfortable with it go with it.

    However, I can't say much for the 52/45 crankset, and the 14-24 freewheel combination
    circa 1976
    Last edited by Doug64; 02-05-12 at 10:11 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert schlatte View Post
    Good luck with your cross country tour. I like the style of the old lugged steel frames and I have several. I find that you can buy them inexpensively and fix them up. I wonder if these older bikes can withstand extensive loaded touring or if a person is really better off just purchasing a new bike. I am not a metalurgist but I always wonder if the age of the steel and the brazed joints might be an issue in loaded touring.
    As long as the frame was not mistreated to begin with I would expect a properly built steel frame to out last anything else on the road. Steel has a much different fatigue cycle than aluminum. Steel will also typically give you some warning before a failure, you just have to look or listen for it. I am not a metallurgist...but my brother is, and he only rides steel framed bikes. If the stay popped loose, which is what it sounds like, they had a weak braze point. If it was properly repaired no reason not to keep on riding it.

    FWIW I have had brand new bikes fail on test rides (mass produced framesets) and even had on custom race bike frame fail mid tube just above the shifter bosses, due to the builder putting too much heat on the thin tubes.

    I have a 1970's Motobecane frameset hanging in my shop that was used for touring and training rides, it went transcontinental back in 1977. I would not hesitate to build that bike up and tour with it today.

    Aaron
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