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Welded Steel Frames

Old 11-28-17, 12:36 AM
  #1  
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Welded Steel Frames

Are there any welded steel road frames that you consider C&V?

I was mulling this over and I can't actually think of one.

Note: steel, and road. Cannondales, Merlins, and MTBs don't qualify.

EDIT: I'm asking about welded, not filet brazed.

Last edited by jyl; 11-29-17 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 11-28-17, 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Are there any welded steel road frames that you consider C&V?
I consider the Chicago-made Schwinn Varsity C&V.
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Old 11-28-17, 03:52 AM
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Lemond bikes by trek are all tig welded..might not be vintage but some might consider them classic. The billato built bikes used lugs.
Pegoretti has been doing tig welding for a long while, including big migs Pinarello.
A roommate had a custom built ritchey in 1989 that had fillet brazed joints..that bike was
stunning.
That's the extent of my limited knowledge.
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Old 11-28-17, 06:17 AM
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I guess it depends on your definition of C+V. I have a mid 90’s Gios Compact that I consider classic if not vintage. It is Deda steel which is fillet brazed or TIG welded; the very clean lines make me lean towards brazed.
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Old 11-28-17, 07:19 AM
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I'm assuming that you're referring to tig welding.

Early 90s Diamondbacks were tig.



Lots of smaller builders and mountain bike companies offered tig road models (Ibis)
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Old 11-28-17, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
I consider the Chicago-made Schwinn Varsity C&V.
Yep, Schwinn Varsity, and that's the only one AFAIK.

TIG welded steel frames didn't come in till around 1990, and there was definitely a teething period. This was the same time that production was being shifted to Taiwan. Heat treated tubing started (ie Prestige) to be widely used at this time also. So three things were changing at the same time: no more lugs, untrained workers, and brittle steel tubes. There were some warrantied bikes around then....
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Old 11-28-17, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
TIG welded steel frames didn't come in till around 1990, and there was definitely a teething period. This was the same time that production was being shifted to Taiwan. Heat treated tubing started (ie Prestige) to be widely used at this time also. So three things were changing at the same time: no more lugs, untrained workers, and brittle steel tubes. There were some warrantied bikes around then....
To add a bit of polite perspective and counter to this-

-its not like workers were literally untrained, many may just not have had as much experience compared to manufacturing in Japan, Italy, France, etc. With that said, Taiwan was hardly new to the scene in 1990. Giant made 2/3 of Schwinn’s frames in the mid-80s and many companies were having at least some of their lineup’s frames made in Taiwan. Add to this the fact that Taiwan manufacturers had been welding MTB and BMX frames for years by the time 1990 came around, there was quite a bit of experience with both road bikes and welding in Taiwan. Perhaps not the long knowledge line that existed in Japan or Europe at the time, but they also werent just welding tubes randomly together without a plan.

-as for brittle tubes- while the newer tube tech may have led to increased failure rates a bit, I would hesitate to declare brittle steel tubes to be a ‘thing’. I get that whats left over from the early 90s obviously wasn’t the brittle tubes, but I simply havent read of tig’d steel road bikes from the early 90s having been a safety issue. Declaring brittle steel tubes existed signifies, to me, something large enough for a recall. But maybe im just reading too much into it.




I have read endlessly about the horrible quality control of Raleigh’s Nottingham factory(s) and how Raleigh bikes in the 70s needed to basically be torn down and rebuilt at the shop because mounting points were so misaligned and frames werent square. Ive read about how Peugeot had multiple periods of poor fit-n-finish and frames were shipped misaligned. Ive also read about so many of the small Italian brands who shipped out bikes with paint barely attached to the misaligned frames. I mention this because these are 2(and more) historically long standing companies who had poor quality control well into their respective existences. Poor quality didn’t suddenly begin when Taiwan started building frames- it had been around for decades.

Really not trying to disrespectfully argue as many here have more historical knowledge in their pinky than I have in my whole body, just trying to provide some clarifying perspective.
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Old 11-28-17, 09:59 AM
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Oh no disrespect taken. Don't worry. I think I accidentally implied that there were defective frames left and right at this time. There were not. There was an uptick though. I'm not saying heat treated tubes are as safety issue in general. I ride HT tubing myself and prefer it.

My point was that there were multiple problems to be solved at once. They were trying to push the lightweight thing with really small butts, which didn't necessarily play well with the more brittle tubes and lack of any additional reinforcement from lugs. In the end, IIRC, butts of butted tubes got bigger, welders got practice and training, and it was all worked out. By 1990 or so lugged frame production had been essentially perfected. There were almost never problems. When production methods and locations shifted, there were occasional hiccups.

I'm not going by what I read BTW. This knowledge comes from many conversations with bike company production managers at the time, and hearing the stories and complaints. I was working in bike shops at the time, and dealing with it in person.

That whole period may well have had less problems than the bike boom era, when production at Raleigh, Peugeot, etc all got ramped waaaayyy up overnight. Don't know, wasn't around then.
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Old 11-28-17, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Yep, Schwinn Varsity, and that's the only one AFAIK.
...
... and Continental, right? (Presumably the same frame, but tubular fork.) Collegiate, Twin tandem, etc., as well.
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Old 11-28-17, 04:46 PM
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Old 11-28-17, 04:51 PM
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Fillet brazing qualify? builders like Jack Taylor were good at that..
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Old 11-28-17, 05:48 PM
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I know TIG welding is as good as well done fillet brazing or lugs. But there's something "unfinished" about it, even with what people describe as "beautiful welds," I just don't like the look on bicycle joins.

I love the look of fillet brazed bikes- a FB BB has a beautiful flowing quality; with a smooth, wet look finish there's a seamless transition between the BB, tubes and stays, and in chrome- it has a badass Terminator 2 look to it!!!
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Old 11-29-17, 12:04 AM
  #13  
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How did Cannondale make its welds so beautiful? That's what got me wondering about this. In the 1980s, when C'dale was welding aluminium bikes, was no-one thinking about welding steel bikes? Was all the innovation focused on other materials, was steel already musty and tradition-bound by then, at least until the MTB guys came along?
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Old 11-29-17, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
How did Cannondale make its welds so beautiful? That's what got me wondering about this. In the 1980s, when C'dale was welding aluminium bikes, was no-one thinking about welding steel bikes? Was all the innovation focused on other materials, was steel already musty and tradition-bound by then, at least until the MTB guys came along?
Cannondale used a handheld pneumatic belt sander to grind the welds smooth. There's a youtube somewhere.

Aluminum can't be brazed so it had to be TIG'ed. After welding the whole completed frame must be heat treated to bring it back to T6 temper. Big hassle. Steel was readily joinable with brazing so why bother. TIG requires a lot of skill, especially with thin tubes, and it's a non obvious way to join steel. I'm pretty sure the practice of TIG welding frames started with BMX bikes. It slowly worked it's way into MTB and then finally road bikes.
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Old 11-29-17, 09:41 AM
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Oversize steel came envogue in late 80's / early 90's ---- a lot of people look at 25 years as the c&v cutoff point which would be 1992, - i prefer to think of it as the end of the quill stem era, which would be 96 or 7.

The problem with arbitrarily using 25 years is that, 25 years from now, we would be discussing a carbon monocoque bike with disc brakes as c&v which is nutty


But that said, there were lots of tig welded steel machines back then -- almost anything OS
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Old 11-29-17, 01:11 PM
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Don’t forget the BSOs of the day: Columbia, Huffy, Murray, etc. They were welded.
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Old 11-29-17, 02:39 PM
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A lot of the Chicago Schwinns were Electro-Forged, I guess still considered welded but a little different compared to conventional welding.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/varsity.html

Earlier bikes were welded and brazed. My 1940 Schwinn DX balloon tire bike has joints that were welded, filed smooth and filled with lead. It also has some brass brazed joints on the stays.
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Old 11-29-17, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by kingsting View Post
A lot of the Chicago Schwinns were Electro-Forged, I guess still considered welded but a little different compared to conventional welding.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/varsity.html

Earlier bikes were welded and brazed. My 1940 Schwinn DX balloon tire bike has joints that were welded, filed smooth and filled with lead. It also has some brass brazed joints on the stays.
Thank you for that link! That was a fabulous link that I had never read before.

I remember when many of my boyhood friends got Varsities and Continentals at Christmas in the early or mid-1960s. It was like many fads, every kid wanted one of these exotic 5 and 10 speeds. Even in cold PA, winter biking with the new bike was a big thing and you learned quickly that caliper brakes were not effective in the wet and snow like a coaster brake cruiser or Stingray.

Varsity Blue and Continental Orange were big colors with matching shiny bar tape. These bikes were nearly indestructable and we road offroad a lot on these and actually jumped curbs and small offroad whoop-di-dos, but had never heard the word cyclocross until the bike boom of the early 1970's and that was some exotic European thing. I only once remember one breaking, but his dad got it repaired by a welder at a local gas station.

By the time I was in college in the early 1970s they were out of style as heavy, and the new French, Italian and British lugged frames were the rage. About a year later the Japanese boom began in earnest.

Thanks for the Wayback Machine trip.
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Old 11-29-17, 05:14 PM
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Stelbel is conspicuously missing from this thread. Started TIG welding high end race bikes in the early 70s (back when it was known as heliarc welding). I would classify that as both classic and vintage.

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Old 11-29-17, 05:41 PM
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I've seen some 80's Peugeot's that had welded frames.
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Old 11-29-17, 08:43 PM
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How about almost no weld joints? Presenting the hot orange 1973 AMF 'Scorcher'....



The name alone is worthy C&V lingo

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Old 11-29-17, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by richard4993 View Post
I've seen some 80's Peugeot's that had welded frames.
I have a circa 1989 Peugeot built of Reynolds 501 tubing. Lugless with very clean butts. I assumed it was welded but was told those bikes were internally lugged.

Ben
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Old 11-29-17, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
I guess it depends on your definition of C+V. I have a mid 90’s Gios Compact that I consider classic if not vintage. It is Deda steel which is fillet brazed or TIG welded; the very clean lines make me lean towards brazed.
That's a TIG weld. A little bit of sanding and paint dulls the bead pattern. But that is the size of a TIG bead and much too small for a fillet braze joint.

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Old 11-29-17, 09:15 PM
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Most likely you have an internally brazed frame. That was Peugeot's gimmick in the mid-late 80s.
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Old 11-29-17, 10:29 PM
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Slim Chance there's a worthy welded road frame considered C&V.
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