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Looking for a classic steel frame bike

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Looking for a classic steel frame bike

Old 02-06-20, 06:26 PM
  #1  
Gino71
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Looking for a classic steel frame bike

I'm asking for advice and ideas. I want to build a bike, or rebuild to be more accurate, for riding around town and in the gravel or light dirt. I'm not looking for a bike with suspension as I prefer the old rigid steel bikes. I'm probably looking for something that can accommodate 700c wheels or 650b. Something along the lines of a touring / gravel bike but without all the carbon fiber.

In my area I have seen a late 60's AMF Hercules for sale for $60. A Royal Scot Touring no apparent year given on the bike for $100. A 60's Robin Hood 3 speed for $125. And lastly an early 90's Specialized Crossroads for $120. They all look to be in good condition for their age, nothing seriously abused or rusted and all supposedly functional.

Looking at the Robin Hood, I just noticed the wheels are 26". So it may take a 650b. The Specialized and the Royal Scot can take 700c. I'm not sure on the Hercules.

If I've done my research right the 3 British bikes were all made by Raleigh, correct? I'm leaning towards the British bikes more than the Specialized. I just want something different and solid all the way around that will last me for a long time, not that I abuse my bikes or neglect them. I'm in the process of thinning my bikes as they don't have the same appeal as the older bikes do.

Any advice as to which bike you may recommend in regards to frame or components quality? I may eventually upgrade and modernize some of the components to meet my criteria for what I want. Or is there another old school steel frame that may also be an option?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-06-20, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Gino71 View Post
I'm asking for advice and ideas. I want to build a bike, or rebuild to be more accurate, for riding around town and in the gravel or light dirt. I'm not looking for a bike with suspension as I prefer the old rigid steel bikes. I'm probably looking for something that can accommodate 700c wheels or 650b. Something along the lines of a touring / gravel bike but without all the carbon fiber.

And lastly an early 90's Specialized Crossroads for $120.

Looking at the Robin Hood, I just noticed the wheels are 26". So it may take a 650b. The Specialized and the Royal Scot can take 700c. I'm not sure on the Hercules.

Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Hello and welcome to the forums. A around town bike and light gravel grinding the Crossroads is the best choice, depending on condition. It should be at least a partial Chromoly frame and alloy 700c wheels so it can easily accommodate a nice wide 700x38 tire. Any pics or a link?
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Old 02-06-20, 06:51 PM
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Be aware when you are talking about English 3 speeds you need to know you may be diving into "quirks and idiosyncrasies" that may limit you options or require workarounds.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/english-3.html
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Old 02-06-20, 06:57 PM
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90's cross/hybrid bikes sound like a good way to go then. 700c and usually good frames. Trek Multitrack, Specialized Crossroads, Mongoose Crossway, and others.
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Old 02-06-20, 06:58 PM
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Thanks so much for the link and the reply! Looks like I'll have to possibly rethink some things and research evenmore.
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Old 02-06-20, 07:03 PM
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Yes... the Crossroads is an incredibly versatile bike. It would gobble gravel with the right tires. Just make sure it's your size! Trek Multitrack would be just as good.
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Old 02-06-20, 07:06 PM
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What size frame are you looking for, and is the $120 the area of money you want to spend? I no longer have it, but I had a Crossroads for a few years. It was a nice riding bike that was ok on roads, MUPs and easy trails. I gave it to a friend of mine that was in need of bicycle quite a few years ago. He still has it, though he does not ride much.
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Old 02-06-20, 07:09 PM
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I keep trying to post links and photos but it says I can't post until I have 10 posts or more. Blah. I'm between a small and medium size. The Crossroads is my size. I also believe the Robin Hood is my size. Once I get to the "correct" amount of posts I'll post pics and links.

Price isn't really a big deal honestly, I just want something to tinker with. If I did set a limit the most I would spend on the bike or frame would be about $300. Later this year I plan on investing in a handbuilt bike.

Last edited by Gino71; 02-06-20 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 02-06-20, 07:44 PM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Gino71 View Post
Thanks so much for the link and the reply! Looks like I'll have to possibly rethink some things and research evenmore.
Always a whole lot to think about when you're getting into it!

When I got back into riding- I had an "old" bike that I just hadn't ridden much at all for 20 years. I thought it was cool, and found that people also thought it was cool. The more I started reading and looking at pictures and really figuring out WHY I thought my bike was cool- I started piecing together what kind of bikes I liked. (short story long: I had an old "All Terrain Bike" {which I considered a "mountain bike"} so I thought "I like old mountain bikes," but I didn't realize ATBs shared a lot of characteristics and components with touring bikes- and it just so happened I went through a bunch of mountain bikes and was not really happy until I figured out that "touring bikes" were what I liked)

My advice- keep looking at pix- find out makes and model names, find out what those are and mean (why is a Stumpjumper considered "above" a Rockhopper), learn some about things like English/French/Swiss standards. ASK QUESTIONS! The coolest thing about this group is the willingness to help people.
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Old 02-06-20, 08:58 PM
  #10  
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I was in the market for an old Stumpjumper. A guy about an hour from me had an old 80's StumpJumper with the biplane fork which I loved! Unfortunately he sold it before I could meet up with him. I love the look of the Biplane forks, no idea why.

I just saw on my local Craigslist a mid-2000's Jamis Coda Sport popped up for sale for $100. All steel no suspension. I may check that out and try to contact the owner tomorrow.
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Old 02-06-20, 09:30 PM
  #11  
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The thing about old steel bikes is those with lightweight tubing can be quite light (~21 lbs built up), whereas those with heavier tubing (like English 3-speeds) can be quite heavy (~32 lbs). You can find the former that will be light, sturdy, responsive, and fit wider tires for gravel riding. Something upper-mid range like a mid-70's Raleigh Competition that was built for 27" wheels, can be built with 700c wheels and fit maybe 35mm tires. Or an early 80s bike built for 700c rims might be built with 650B rims by just using long-reach brakes, and fit tires almost as wide.

Where are you located? If folks here are nearby, they could assist with the search.
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Old 02-06-20, 09:35 PM
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Gino. What's your locale? Maybe connect with C&V misfits, err, people of character to help.
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Old 02-06-20, 09:38 PM
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Apparently I've been measuring wrong ... the Specialized Crossroads and the Jamis are too large.

I'm located in Plant City Florida, in between Tampa and Orlando.
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Old 02-06-20, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Gino71 View Post
Apparently I've been measuring wrong ... the Specialized Crossroads and the Jamis are too large.

I'm located in Plant City Florida, in between Tampa and Orlando.
What size you ride? (Or what's your cycling inseam and height?)
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Old 02-07-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Gino71 View Post
Looking at the Robin Hood, I just noticed the wheels are 26". So it may take a 650b. The Specialized and the Royal Scot can take 700c. I'm not sure on the Hercules.
Most British 3-speeds came with 650A wheels (590mm ERD); 650B is 584mm ERD, so pretty close, as long as the brakes can reach the rims.
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Old 02-07-20, 11:07 AM
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I built MY "TEN SPEEDS" just for people new to the interest in vintage bicycles. Perhaps the OP will find something helpful there. I do hope it is helpful...
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Old 02-07-20, 02:32 PM
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some ideas... bit difficult as size is a guess


nice bike #160 23" or ~58 cm ...maybe to big https://lakeland.craigslist.org/bik/...059100933.html

57 cm bridge stone xo https://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/bik...051009619.html

fuji 21" https://tampa.craigslist.org/pnl/bik...070705727.html
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Old 02-07-20, 06:15 PM
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Thanks for the replies, I appreciate them.

Ch0m0ly ... I think my size would be about 54cm to 52cm. I measured my inseam and it's 26.5 ( if I did it correctly ).

Randyjawa, that's a beautiful bike. I like the old Raleighs a lot. I had thought about maybe an old steel Raleigh frame.

Squirtdad , thanks for the links. I've looked at those before, trust me I've scoured Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp and LetGo. I think the only one that would be near my size is the first link you posted in my town, the Bridgestone.

I'm almost starting to get burned out looking at bikes. I'll take my time and research while I keep looking.
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Old 02-07-20, 06:40 PM
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If you would be willing to drive a bit this one has lingered for a while. I think it’s perfect size for you.
Prelude
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Old 02-07-20, 07:22 PM
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You stated you want road and path-gravel rides so maybe go back look for that Crossroads. Build another wheelset and ride anywhere. A really flexible platform from which to start a build.
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Old 02-07-20, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I built MY "TEN SPEEDS" just for people new to the interest in vintage bicycles. Perhaps the OP will find something helpful there. I do hope it is helpful...
That's YOUR site? I love that site! I've admired your builds. Thank you for all the information you've posted!
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Old 02-07-20, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by randyjawa View Post
I built MY "TEN SPEEDS" just for people new to the interest in vintage bicycles. Perhaps the OP will find something helpful there. I do hope it is helpful...
I love that site. Thanks for putting so much work and passion into it. The write-ups are really thoughtful and interesting.

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Old 02-07-20, 09:25 PM
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The made in USA , trek , 930, 950, 970. Rack mounts , etc. Awesome frames. , and deore components. If they rust free.
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Old 02-13-20, 02:57 PM
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I found another Specialized Crossroads Cruz about 40 minutes from me but I haven't had the time to go look at it due to work. I'll keep an eye out for something hopefully closer to me. I appreciate all the replies and the links people have responded with. I may also look into an inexpensive Fixie to tinker with until I find my "ideal" frameset for a build.
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Old 02-13-20, 04:11 PM
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+15 on the Specialized Cross roads assuming it fits, a free bike that doesn't fit is no bargain
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