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Tell me about lightweight steel road/tour bike performance models

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Tell me about lightweight steel road/tour bike performance models

Old 09-24-18, 07:19 PM
  #101  
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Originally Posted by GregU View Post
I think if you eliminate the steel requirement, you can really get a nice C&V lightweight frame. Assuming you are under 5'10" and 175lbs, look at an old lugged, bonded aluminum frame bike. They are nice and light, made of aluminum tubes that were the same size (diameter) as steel tubes, so they will be noticeably lighter than steel frames from the period. The knock on them was that they were "whippy" or "flexy", but that is a really an issue for bigger frames (> 56cm) or heavy riders. Otherwise, it is a nice, comfy ride.

I'm actually both over 5'10" and 180lbs and did Erocia California, which is a long (85 miles) gravel ride with a couple of hard climbs on my Vitus. It's a really great ride.

The downside is that you'll have a problem getting more than a 7speed rear freewheel, as I don't think you will find one wide rear spacing > 126mm, and I don't know if you can get them widened to 130mm. Some people will just put the wider rear hub on the bike since the tubes will flex. I'm not sure I would, though.

You can look for frames Vitus (Vitus 979) and Alan, which includes Guerciotti. Attached are two pictures of my Vitus 979 with 7speed Dura Ace, the first is how I got the bike and the second is configured for Eroica California.
Interesting, I was not familiar with this class of bikes and was under the impression that aluminum bikes would have a too modern look to please me, but that looks great!
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Old 09-24-18, 07:27 PM
  #102  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
OP - Another one to consider. Take a look at Medici. They were basically (California) Masi copies, but they were made just as well - most of the time, and tended to have the same moderate all purpose road geometry. They often sell for cheap these days.
Thanks I have seen one lurking on Craigslist for a while, but wasn't able to find much info on them.
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Old 09-24-18, 09:19 PM
  #103  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
You managed to say what I was what I was trying to convey in one short sentence.


GB - yeah for sure Trek organized their bikes into sport touring, touring, and racing. Starting in 1983 I think. Other companies did similar things in the sales literature, but Trek was an exception in that they made lower priced mid range 'racing' bikes, and higher end sport touring bikes. For everyone else, it was more or less a euphemism for mid-range bike. I suppose it could be regional too. I only know how it was in northern California. It's possible in the midwest closer to the Trek factory, their way of thinking might have been dominant.


At any rate, I do agree that some crazy steep racing bike with no room for tires bigger than 23c is not the best choice for the OP. I disagree that a racing bike is a bad choice period. I haven't raced since I was a teenager, but I've ridden racing bikes my whole life, and never felt that I was suffering any great discomfort because of it. That said, I ride a touring bike for my everyday ride now, which makes me a hypocrite.
Perhaps it's just because I wasn't riding anything but kids' bikes in the 70s- but I look at the two 1970s bikes I have has having fewer amenities that an 80s would have as standard. To that end, in my mind- the OP is looking for a somewhat more "modern" bike- a bike that can take a dual strutted rack that's not P clamped to the stays, a bike with brazed on cable guides, a bike that'll be good getting stretched to 130 and easily take a 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 speed rear end, a bike that'll be able to grow with her without getting big brazing work done to it.

Perhaps it's because I really only know "vintage" bikes mostly by the Trek catalogs, but I don't necessarily view Trek of the 1970s as an industry leader. Looking at the Schwinn catalogs- their "Recreation" category is a whole lot like the "sport" category for Trek- kinda toury/but yet kinda racy. Again, the first Trek catalogs from 1976/77 show their racing bikes to have 41.5 cm chainstays- that's from 1976/77. I believe Trek got that 'short chainstay/higher rake' thing from somewhere. I fully believe that by the early 80s that the market had really settled on what a "racing" bike was, and that the concept of the "touring" bike was evolving into the grand touring bike and eventually the expedition touring bike of today. The "sport" bikes are neither fish nor fowl- but kind of neatly split the difference- there were nice ones and some not so nice ones and a very few really nice ones.

It seems to me, if you're going to have a big kids' racing bike and then a less expensive then a "cheaper" one, you first drop the component level, then you drop the tubing level- but the idea is that you can have a bike "just like" the big kids- to me, it doesn't make sense to come up with a separate geometry unless it's called for. I realize the terms "racing" and "touring" are wildly widely used by a large portion of the non-cycling-enthusiast population.
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Old 09-24-18, 11:25 PM
  #104  
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Have you considered one of these, Schwinn Paramount 1968-78 P10-9 or P15-9 American made, fancy chrome lugs and socks, fender and rack eyelets, multiple colors and sizes.

Black one is only a little slower than my race bike, rides like a Cadillac. Haven’t got to test ride the ladies yet. If they were wearing the good tires and rims they would have no problem keeping up with traffic.


100_3970 by galon783, on Flickr


73 P15-9 by galon783, on Flickr
https://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-197...UAAOSwBkRaTIBK

This one is pricey you should get pristine paint and little ware at this price point, $700 or $800 would be more reasonable in this condition.
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Old 09-25-18, 01:50 PM
  #105  
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Originally Posted by MegMC View Post
Interesting, I was not familiar with this class of bikes and was under the impression that aluminum bikes would have a too modern look to please me, but that looks great!
Well, if you like the looks of mine, you'll probably love some of the colors the Vitus came in, or the Guerciotti for that matter.

Red Guerciotti

Purple Vitus
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Old 09-25-18, 01:53 PM
  #106  
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Originally Posted by MegMC View Post
Thanks I have seen one lurking on Craigslist for a while, but wasn't able to find much info on them.
Medici wasn't a Masi copycat. Masi opened a production facility in the US (SoCal) and two of the primary builders left Masi US to start Medici.

It's actually a long, epic tale.

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Old 10-06-18, 10:02 AM
  #107  
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After lurking around Craigslist, eBay and the marketplace here and not finding quite what I thought I wanted, I began warming to the idea of going full modern steel bike - something that would represent a truly large jump in performance and clearly delineated additional functionality for this, only my second bike.

I had kind of set my sights on Soma's Smoothie or ES frames - fairly performance-oriented but with eyelets for racks and clearance for 28-32c tires.

But while looking I ran across this Jamis Quest frameset and headset for sale on the forum for $130, and though the sloping top tube is a bit of a compromise looks-wise it did offer a lot of possibilities with Reynolds 631 tubing, full carbon fork, women's specific geometry (shorter top tube yay!) and stable relaxed geometry.


So I bought it and am now slowly assembling parts for it. Yes it is true that building a bike is more expensive than buying a complete one but it satisfies certain itches for me, and hopefully the gradualness of the process will forestall the inevitable N+1 a little longer!

Planning to powder coat the frame. I've already collected a take-off full Ultegra 6800 group with compact crankset and Bontrager WSD VR-S drop bars for a little less than $500 from my LBS where I'm consigning my old Jamis.

So for now I am sad to leave the C&V forums and continue my build on another forum, but I will no doubt be back to take advantage of all the amazingly helpful information and tips you all have offered for the next bike! And I'm keeping all of my Craigslist alerts on!
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Old 10-06-18, 10:52 AM
  #108  
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Originally Posted by MegMC View Post
After lurking around Craigslist, eBay and the marketplace here and not finding quite what I thought I wanted, I began warming to the idea of going full modern steel bike - something that would represent a truly large jump in performance and clearly delineated additional functionality for this, only my second bike.

I had kind of set my sights on Soma's Smoothie or ES frames - fairly performance-oriented but with eyelets for racks and clearance for 28-32c tires.

But while looking I ran across this Jamis Quest frameset and headset for sale on the forum for $130, and though the sloping top tube is a bit of a compromise looks-wise it did offer a lot of possibilities with Reynolds 631 tubing, full carbon fork, women's specific geometry (shorter top tube yay!) and stable relaxed geometry.

So I bought it and am now slowly assembling parts for it. Yes it is true that building a bike is more expensive than buying a complete one but it satisfies certain itches for me, and hopefully the gradualness of the process will forestall the inevitable N+1 a little longer!

Planning to powder coat the frame. I've already collected a take-off full Ultegra 6800 group with compact crankset and Bontrager WSD VR-S drop bars for a little less than $500 from my LBS where I'm consigning my old Jamis.

So for now I am sad to leave the C&V forums and continue my build on another forum, but I will no doubt be back to take advantage of all the amazingly helpful information and tips you all have offered for the next bike! And I'm keeping all of my Craigslist alerts on!
Congratulations on finding your Quest. I just got back from a 3 day trip in Kentucky with mine and I wouldn't have wanted any other bike. My legs were sore from climbing all the hills. but the rest of me was happy for the comfortable ride and stable handling on the high speed descents.
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Old 10-06-18, 11:08 AM
  #109  
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Originally Posted by MegMC View Post
Extremely open-ended and subjective inquiry:

Recently finished a commuter bike build of a Univega mixte, which was my first foray into C&V and bike-building in general. Starting from zero knowledge I eventually learned brands and models to search for, steel frame types, shifter types etc for the world of 70s/80s Japanese and French mid-end road bikes and was eventually able to find a good deal on a well-spec'd bike to suit my transportation purposes.

In the spirit of N+1 I am gearing up for my next C&V aspiration and would like some suggestions for brands/models to start learning about for a lightweight steel road bike that I could build with more of a performance orientation.

Since I have taken up bike commuting (and obsessing) my husband has renewed his bike obsession and we've been enjoying riding together for fitness and recreation. He has a c. 2008 carbon Lemond Buenos Aires, so when I say fitness - I am getting quite a workout on my commuter mixte and he is not breaking a sweat

I am also finding that though I built my commuter with a slight aptitude for speed (not super sweeping handlebars, minimal accessories) it is not the most comfortable on longer rides and higher speeds. I find myself shifting around and curling my tailbone in all kinds of weird ways to get a comfortable but powerful position and the bike being older than me, it starts to rattle like crazy at speeds above about 20 mph.

So I am thinking at some point I would probably like to have a bike that can better keep up with my husband on these faster and longer rides. Not *totally* keep up, but *better* keep up - I'm not going carbon. Aside from the cost issue, a lot of the fun of bikes for me right now is the romance and aesthetics of vintage, the acquiring of obscure knowledge, the hunt and the satisfaction of building and customizing myself.

But at this point, I really don't know much about what I would even want to start looking into. I am by now fairly familiar with mid-level offerings of Centurion, Univega, Nishiki, Motobecane and the difference between Cromoly and Hi-ten or stem shifters vs downtube shifters.

I would like suggestions for brands/models/families of bikes that I might start learning about to achieve a lightweight, high-quality steel frame that I could build/customize for the purpose of fitness and longer day-rides on urban bike path pavement, potentially with light touring (as in bringing a camera and lunch on a day trip).

From my extremely limited knowledge I'm thinking perhaps something like a vintage Trek or an Italian steel?

No firm budget currently as I just want to learn about the options out there and maybe I will aspire to a reach level, maybe be happy with something more humble. But I'd say nothing above around 1500/1700 (including upgrades) moving on down to well, well below that. I have really no idea what can be achieved with a low budget and what's realistic for my needs.

Thanks for the help!
There are so many bikes you could choose from as all the posts to your question attest to. That said, you might want to think about the following:

(1) Do you want to deal with a French? There are lots of great French bikes but they are different and parts can be harder to find. The easiest bikes to deal with are bikes from American and Japanese manufacturers. There is a lot to be said in favor of vintage Treks. They are easy to work on, well made, and have terrific paint jobs.

(2) Do you want a racing bike or something a little more forgiving (i.e., which can take a little fatter tire)? Here is a thread on this topic, Show your classic sports touring bicycle

Personally my vote would go for a vintage Trek or Cannondale sports touring but a high end Japanese bike would also be a superb choice for a first vintage road bike.
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Old 10-06-18, 11:29 AM
  #110  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
There are so many bikes you could choose from as all the posts to your question attest to. That said, you might want to think about the following:

(1) Do you want to deal with a French? There are lots of great French bikes but they are different and parts can be harder to find. The easiest bikes to deal with are bikes from American and Japanese manufacturers. There is a lot to be said in favor of vintage Treks. They are easy to work on, well made, and have terrific paint jobs.

(2) Do you want a racing bike or something a little more forgiving (i.e., which can take a little fatter tire)? Here is a thread on this topic, Show your classic sports touring bicycle

Personally my vote would go for a vintage Trek or Cannondale sports touring but a high end Japanese bike would also be a superb choice for a first vintage road bike.
This discribes all of my bikes.
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Old 10-06-18, 12:58 PM
  #111  
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Originally Posted by Pompiere View Post
Congratulations on finding your Quest. I just got back from a 3 day trip in Kentucky with mine and I wouldn't have wanted any other bike. My legs were sore from climbing all the hills. but the rest of me was happy for the comfortable ride and stable handling on the high speed descents.
Cool I have seen nothing but positive impressions on this bike so hopefully I will feel the same!
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Old 10-06-18, 08:56 PM
  #112  
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@MegMC, lots of folks here in C&V ride new bikes. You're our kind of people, and we won't let you leave us.
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Old 10-07-18, 01:47 PM
  #113  
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Originally Posted by MegMC View Post
After lurking around Craigslist, eBay and the marketplace here and not finding quite what I thought I wanted, I began warming to the idea of going full modern steel bike - something that would represent a truly large jump in performance and clearly delineated additional functionality for this, only my second bike.

I had kind of set my sights on Soma's Smoothie or ES frames - fairly performance-oriented but with eyelets for racks and clearance for 28-32c tires.

But while looking I ran across this Jamis Quest frameset and headset for sale on the forum for $130, and though the sloping top tube is a bit of a compromise looks-wise it did offer a lot of possibilities with Reynolds 631 tubing, full carbon fork, women's specific geometry (shorter top tube yay!) and stable relaxed geometry.


So I bought it and am now slowly assembling parts for it. Yes it is true that building a bike is more expensive than buying a complete one but it satisfies certain itches for me, and hopefully the gradualness of the process will forestall the inevitable N+1 a little longer!

Planning to powder coat the frame. I've already collected a take-off full Ultegra 6800 group with compact crankset and Bontrager WSD VR-S drop bars for a little less than $500 from my LBS where I'm consigning my old Jamis.

So for now I am sad to leave the C&V forums and continue my build on another forum, but I will no doubt be back to take advantage of all the amazingly helpful information and tips you all have offered for the next bike! And I'm keeping all of my Craigslist alerts on!
That appears to be an excellent choice. No need to leave this forum. It's steel and therefore classic. Many of us ride modern steel.

FYI - if you didn't know already - carbon fiber can't be powder coated. Wet paint only. Epoxy wheel paint works pretty well if you just need to make it black or something. Powder coat the rest.
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Old 10-07-18, 02:07 PM
  #114  
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@noglider @Salamandrine thanks! Glad I won't be exiled from C&V.

Yes, I will wet paint the fork and hope it doesn't look like a bad home rattle can job. I've seen there's a bike-designed spray paint on the market - Spray.Bike I might try, or glad to have any other recommendations. Just going for black on the fork so no crazy color matching.
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Old 10-07-18, 09:32 PM
  #115  
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Originally Posted by MegMC View Post
After lurking around Craigslist, eBay and the marketplace here and not finding quite what I thought I wanted, I began warming to the idea of going full modern steel bike - something that would represent a truly large jump in performance and clearly delineated additional functionality for this, only my second bike.

I had kind of set my sights on Soma's Smoothie or ES frames - fairly performance-oriented but with eyelets for racks and clearance for 28-32c tires.

But while looking I ran across this Jamis Quest frameset and headset for sale on the forum for $130, and though the sloping top tube is a bit of a compromise looks-wise it did offer a lot of possibilities with Reynolds 631 tubing, full carbon fork, women's specific geometry (shorter top tube yay!) and stable relaxed geometry.
Great choice! And even better that you are building it up yourself. Every bike is a compromise, but you did a great job finding one that meets your wants and desires :-)

Good luck!
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Old 10-08-18, 08:32 AM
  #116  
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Originally Posted by MegMC View Post
@noglider @Salamandrine thanks! Glad I won't be exiled from C&V.

Yes, I will wet paint the fork and hope it doesn't look like a bad home rattle can job. I've seen there's a bike-designed spray paint on the market - Spray.Bike I might try, or glad to have any other recommendations. Just going for black on the fork so no crazy color matching.
glad the frame is working out for you.

I've used the spraybike paint twice now. How good it looks totally depends on the prep and how closely you follow the directions.

if you use it, get the clearcoat too as that will give it a gloss.

this my fork from a bike I did last year. Flat black with green sparkle over the black. You can see there is more texture than wet paint.


and this is from last week. It's the frame that is going to get all the parts I pulled off the Jamis frame. The kid I am helping chose the colors and fade and did the painting(I did the prep).

It's some pretty cool stuff. My frame from last year looks grest still too, so its durable...at least so far for a bike thats used time to time.
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Old 10-08-18, 09:58 AM
  #117  
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@mstateglfr awesome! I think I might have seen an earlier post from you of the black w green sparkle bike when I was researching SprayBike. Several months ago I had considered simply rebuilding and spraying my old Aluminum Jamis Ventura Comp because it had carbon stays and couldn't be powder coated (I'm not enthused by Jamis design and branding or much branding for that matter) but decided it didn't have the right geometry for what I was looking for and felt limited by its 23c tire clearance.

So thats when I started this whole search for a sport touring bike that led me to the Quest. Plan is to powdercoat the frame kind of a bronzish gunmetal (I was considering a black clear coat on steel but I read that's not protective enough for non-stainless) and paint the fork black so I will definitely try out the SprayBike.
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