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advice on good touring frame

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advice on good touring frame

Old 03-07-16, 04:49 PM
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advice on good touring frame

I am looking to build a nice touring bike and wonder if one of these is clearly better than the other:

1985 Bridgestone T 700 Frameset | eBay
Nishiki Cresta Frame and Fork Headset Bracket Brakes 58 Cm | eBay

the Nishiki has double-butted Cro-moly tubing while the Bridgestone has triple-butted tubing; both are made in Japan.
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Old 03-07-16, 04:52 PM
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I'd have picked the Nishiki on price alone, and it looks like it's a little beefier. However, it's sold.
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Old 03-08-16, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by arex View Post
I'd have picked the Nishiki on price alone, and it looks like it's a little beefier. However, it's sold.
Concur. Cresta is a classic among touring bikes.
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Old 03-08-16, 12:13 PM
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I'd guess they're about a wash.

The T700 was Bridgestone's top of the line touring bike, I'm not sure exactly where the Cresta was between the Continental, International and the Cresta, they all look really nice.

I'm not sure what the differences between the models back then all entailed. Some bikes have the same frame with the 'top of the line' bike just getting prime components. Other models have differences in the frame quality, (different metallurgy, braze ons) and components. I guess if you're buying a frame and building up, you'd want to make sure that any premium you're paying for a premium bike name was actually getting you something, rather than an upgrade package in components that are already stripped off.

The Bridgestone also had the whole "Grant Petersen/Rivendell" thing going on with it- so it's already going to command more money.

The "triple butted tubing" thing seems to have been more of a mid 80s marketing thing than actually a real strength/weight innovation. Fuji made some quad butted tubing.

If'n I were to look for things that make a good touring bike...

Front and rear eyelets on the dropouts/fork ends. I'm not sold on double braze ons being "better."

Bottle braze ons- two is good, three is better.

Cantilever brakes- prior to 1983 or so, most touring bikes had sidepull brakes- and then cantilevers became more common.

I would imagine a mid fork eyelet would be nice for adding lowrider racks in the front.

There's a point to where you don't want your touring bike to be ultra light weight. You want it to be strong enough to haul a load and resist flex and twists and shimmys and everything, but you still want it light enough to manage. I've been really happy with my 531C and 531CS framed Trek touring bikes.

Good luck in your search!
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Old 03-08-16, 01:29 PM
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I missed out on 1985 T700 late in 2015. That was stupid on my part for sure.
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Old 03-08-16, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I'd guess they're about a wash.

The T700 was Bridgestone's top of the line touring bike, I'm not sure exactly where the Cresta was between the Continental, International and the Cresta, they all look really nice.
Yeah, I'd say about a wash too. They're both good high end bikes and you could hardly go wrong either way. The Nishiki is apparently sold so it's kind of moot.

The "triple butted tubing" thing seems to have been more of a mid 80s marketing thing than actually a real strength/weight innovation. Fuji made some quad butted tubing.

If'n I were to look for things that make a good touring bike...

Front and rear eyelets on the dropouts/fork ends. I'm not sold on double braze ons being "better."

Bottle braze ons- two is good, three is better.

Cantilever brakes- prior to 1983 or so, most touring bikes had sidepull brakes- and then cantilevers became more common.

I would imagine a mid fork eyelet would be nice for adding lowrider racks in the front.
RE: Triple butted - Yeah it was just marketing. If double butted is good, triple butted is better, right? I guess it might save 4 or 5 grams over a mere double butted frame...

That's right. Cantilever brakes were pretty rare before 83. It's shocking to today's disk brake using trekking enthusiast, but touring bikes with sidepulls were commonplace. Even so, I recall centerpulls were a bit more common for high end tourers.

You can always use P clips to mount lowriders. As you might imagine, all of them were installed this way originally, until the idea had caught on.
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Old 03-08-16, 02:18 PM
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There are many quality 80s japanese touring frames, that cresta looked like the better deal as t700 is a bit high for just frame in fair shape. Having said that picked up a stock 85 t700 (entire bike) and must say it is a very high quality bike as specced and very impresssed by build--it was well worth the 450 spent fwiw, you can probably find something similar for that price if you are patient. The TB frame is noticeably lighter than other tourers from that age, at least to my casual hefting. Triple water bottles brazing is preferred, eyelets are a must but singles should mount fine with tubus rack for fenders or go for double eyelets as well, long wheelbase of course, many can be converted to bar end shifters, etc, front fork bosses are nice, cantilever brakes are peferred. the t700 had 40h rears and 36 fronts, 40h rear are desirable if you can find them even if in 27in, at least for me.

Biggest thing is cost to build up frame, you can probably find a better deal on a whole bike and part off what you do not need unless you already have parts. I looked for some time for a quality tourer in good shape and can tell you missed out on some 500+- deals (93 trek 520, mid 80s centurion pro tour) because I was being too cheap, but as noted above in the end that is about what I paid and is fmv for ebay sourced golden age tourers in original condition--whole bikes. Frames will be cheaper obviously.

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Old 03-08-16, 04:52 PM
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I'm not familiar with either bike or frame but it seems both are well regarded by others. Would think the touring forum could lead the way but since we're talking C&V, maybe I could suggest a few things beyond the obvious of having a proper size fit.
Disregard the weight of the frame and components... for now. Consider the length of chainstays and you WANT rack braze-ons. Clamp brackets are band-aids. Configure the proper wheels to application and then swap components to your liking (if needed).

The light in weight frame thing is useless - not important for loaded touring.

You can easily make up for it in light weight touring kit / gear, camp supplies, learn to go minimal, etc.. Factor your overall loaded weight goal and trade off with the kit to meet that number. Also, carefully consider at what some add-ons weigh, especially racks and the over-rated beastly heavy new rubberized panniers. (Some of the older ones are beautiful and light. Mostly pack everything in baggies or small trash can bags for waterproof anyways.)

Go for the fine ride and you absolutely don't want any squirrely handling under load. Have had some white knuckle descents in the mountains, tour camping with my old Fuji S12S LTD. Here I am years later and finally have built up an '87 Trek 520 Cirrus / R-531. Got out again today with it for some test miles. Don't know why I waited this long. Final overall build weight with racks, cages, fenders, panniers (early Cannondale), lighting will teeter at 34 pounds. My loaded weight (gear + bike >> not including water, camp stove fuel <<) is 50-55 lbs. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 03-09-16, 06:23 PM
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Re: Fuji 'Quad-butted' tubing... It should be mentioned that this stuff usually wasn't Cro-Mo but Valite; that is, a vanadium-molybdenum alloy; tool-steel. It's heavier than Cro-mo but bombproof, stiffer, more resistant to corrosion.
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Old 03-09-16, 06:30 PM
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I had been waiting for quintuple butted tubing to come out, but around that time someone had the bright idea of TIG welding frames instead of brazing them using lugs, which seems to have distracted people from the multi butt arms race.
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