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DB 531 v. 631OS v. SLX Tubing for Speed & Comfort

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DB 531 v. 631OS v. SLX Tubing for Speed & Comfort

Old 05-08-20, 04:24 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
No disrespect, Merziac, but do you really need to provide a picture of your bicycle twice on the first page of a thread? I think most people here have seen it by now... It's lovely, but the picture is very large on the screen and like I said, you posted it just here twice already.
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When a person starts out with "no disrespect," it's generally followed by a lack of.

No disrespect.

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Old 05-08-20, 06:39 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
Thought Police
Minority Report
Big Brother
Gestapo

When a person starts out with "no disrespect," it's generally followed by a lack of.

No disrespect.
People make statements here all the time about things like how annoying quoting photos is, making them appear multiple times on the screen within a short space, etc... I did mean no disrespect, and Merziac certainly seemed to understand what I meant and we continued to have a jovial conversation. I don't see how asking someone politely to consider not sharing the same photo twice could be construed as being disrespectful or rude.

If you just feel like stirring the pot then I hope you find something more interesting to do with your Friday. Take care.

-Gregory
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Old 05-08-20, 07:50 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
I have a Raleigh Super Course with 531 straight gauge tubing and 35mm tires that eats all of this up nicely, but is quite ponderous. The current DB 531 rider is a 1972 Raleigh Professional wearing 700x25c Continental Gatorskins, and it does the job rather well without sacrificing much in the way of speed or power transfer.

-Gregory
Though my suggestion will not answer the original question as stated I think it may address your goals as I understand them:

Ditch the gators, pick up a nice, used set of tubular wheels off craigslist and mount a pair of Veloflex Vlaanderen tires.
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Old 05-08-20, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by L134 View Post
Though my suggestion will not answer the original question as stated I think it may address your goals as I understand them:

Ditch the gators, pick up a nice, used set of tubular wheels off craigslist and mount a pair of Veloflex Vlaanderen tires.
I've been researching my foray into tubulars in conjunction with this question. My only long-term concern is the cost of replacement tires and the annoyance of fixing flats... I live in an agricultural heartland where goat head thorns are extremely common on roadsides for much of the year, and when I'm not running tough tires it's a drag...

So far research indicates that the most puncture-proof tubulars don't ride much better than clinchers due to the extra mass put into the Kevlar belts. But still, I can only imagine an improvement going from gatorskin clinchers to gatorskin tubs... Is that probably true?

EDIT: According to a conversation I found on the Roadbikereview forum it is probably not true. If you're going to go tubular then you might as well get some nice, lightweight ones to make it worth the hassle... Right? I don't think I can afford the possibility of flats on expensive tires in the terrain I typically ride over, especially since I'm just moseying around the countryside and not necessarily training or doing group rides.

-Gregory

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Old 05-08-20, 09:38 AM
  #30  
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Goat head thorns are bad news. How have the Gatorskins held up to them? I wonder about a tubeless wheelset with appropriate tire--self-sealing capability. You may even get a decent ride out of the tires to boot. Anecdotally, tubeless tires were a godsend for one middle-of-nowhere camp that had goat head thorns everywhere. Gatorskins can be a little wooden in feel. How large a tire can you fit in your frame? Larger diameter will help the ride a lot, and it will open up supple tire options. I have a pair of Soma Supple Vittesse EX (tan/black) tires, with the EX signifying longer wearing (thicker) rubber. They have held up well in Seattle streets, not really picking up cuts or debris. "33mm" is 30mm in actuality. Tough to get "nice ride" and "tough as nails" in a tire as they seem more mutually exclusive than anything. Sure, tubulars are nice, but good clinchers are nearly there (or there) and a ton less hassle.
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Old 05-08-20, 09:48 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
I've been researching my foray into tubulars in conjunction with this question. My only long-term concern is the cost of replacement tires and the annoyance of fixing flats... I live in an agricultural heartland where goat head thorns are extremely common on roadsides for much of the year, and when I'm not running tough tires it's a drag...

So far research indicates that the most puncture-proof tubulars don't ride much better than clinchers due to the extra mass put into the Kevlar belts. But still, I can only imagine an improvement going from gatorskin clinchers to gatorskin tubs... Is that probably true?

EDIT: According to a conversation I found on the Roadbikereview forum it is probably not true. If you're going to go tubular then you might as well get some nice, lightweight ones to make it worth the hassle... Right? I don't think I can afford the possibility of flats on expensive tires in the terrain I typically ride over, especially since I'm just moseying around the countryside and not necessarily training or doing group rides.

-Gregory
I certainly understand your concerns which is sort of why I suggested starting with used wheels to keep costs down. I am new to tubulars as of 1.5 years ago. I had the same concerns though my encounters with goat heads are likely far less than yours. I picked up 2 old, practically unused, trainer wheelsets for less than $200. I started very slowly. What my experience (I'm going to say roughly 5,000 miles) so far tells me is that flats with good tires are no more frequent than with clinchers (and I used to ride gators), flats are easier/faster to deal with on the road, sealant works well if the tire will hold air long enough to ride even a short distance, and mileage on the Veloflex's may be about half (I think Veloflex rates the Vlaanderen at 6000km up front and 3000km rear which for me so far is right on) or even less than the gators but good tubulars, if bought on sale, are not that much more than good clinchers. I ride without sealant until I get my first puncture. After that, it seems the sealant works just as it would going tubeless (at the end of one ride I pulled a 1" brad out of one of my tires that I didn't even know I had picked up. A little air escaped, I spun the tire and aired it back up - all fixed). I think some add sealant from the get go and in goat head country that is probably what I would do. That said, I have pulled 3 goat heads from front tires without sealant and suffered no air loss. Go figure. So far, I'm thinking latex tubes maybe deform more than butyl and therefore are actually less prone to actual puncture? I haven't yet picked up a goat head on a rear tire. The significance to that is I saw/heard the 3 I got up front and was able to stop and pull them within just a few wheel rotations. I've had only one flat that required opening the tire and patching but it was on a well worn tire that probably was due for the trash anyway. I opened it up to learn how to do it and it wasn't nearly as bad as my fears. I only got about another 200 miles on the tire but I learned something in the process.

I eventually came to believe that high thread count is much more important in preventing flats than kevlar belts whether riding clinchers or tubulars and that "puncture-proof" on anything less than a Marathon is really more about more mileage than fewer flats.

Bill
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Old 05-08-20, 11:25 AM
  #32  
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Just my opinion, but...........I have frames in 531DB, Columbus SL, Tange 1, 2, Prestige, Magalloy 2001, Infinity, Ishiwata 22, Miyata TBS, Fuji Quad Butted and some others. Your choices of saddle, tires and handlebar tape are going to affect the feel of the ride more than the type of tubing the bike has. Some frames will feel/ride as good as the high enders, but weigh more. That's just the way it is.
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Old 05-08-20, 01:49 PM
  #33  
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This has been (mostly) a fascinating thread. Love the contributions from frame builder Doug Fattic , hoping that bulgie might weigh in, as well.

Far more important is the bike feel “magic” imbued by the frame designer/builder’s geometry decisions, and how they select tube sets to express their design intent. A frame from a builder with a known pedigree, using any of the quality tube sets mentioned, will be highly desirable, assuming that it meets your desires and riding style.

My preference is always for a versatile sports touring bike that responds to my in-saddle low power/higher cadence (and fits my odd proportions). RiddleOfSteel and I have done a few comparison rides of 15-25 miles switching between my Marinoni SLX-tubed sports tourer and some of his gems of that style. (We share similar bike fits on our big frames.) We’ve done these back-to-backs with his lovely the tuxedo black rescue ‘74 P-15 Paramount, and former ‘84 Trek 710 and 420. Very revealing, and my takeaway is that the premium bikes (Paramount, Marinoni) shine brighter than the production models. ROS is far more eloquent in his descriptions above, but he also has different preferences than mine.

FWIW, there are bikes I knew I’d love within the first few miles - ‘72 Italian-built Masi GC when I raced back then, and my Marinoni noted above. A ‘92 Chehalis-built Klein Performance was an amazingly capable bike in every respect for 38,000 miles, but for its skinny tire limitations (and that it was a size too small). The ‘79 Miyata 912 in my User CP, owned since new and modernized over the decades, has gained personality and affection by Its Gugificazione mods. OTOH, I never bonded with the Rivendell Rambouillet despite ten years of trying. I’ve since learned that it, too, was expressing its designer’s intents, but those didn't match up with my own.
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Old 05-08-20, 02:03 PM
  #34  
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According to this article, it's not so much the frame as the wheels, tires, seatpost, etc. that'll translate to "springiness":

https://www.cyclingabout.com/why-imp...han-aluminium/
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Old 05-08-20, 02:30 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
EDIT: According to a conversation I found on the Roadbikereview forum it is probably not true. If you're going to go tubular then you might as well get some nice, lightweight ones to make it worth the hassle... Right? I don't think I can afford the possibility of flats on expensive tires in the terrain I typically ride over, especially since I'm just moseying around the countryside and not necessarily training or doing group rides.

-Gregory
If you're really just moseying around, then your Raleigh Professional should be more than enough bike. You could try grabbing a high quality 650b wheelset and lightweight wide tires, I bet the professional would glide just as well as your Super Course and be less heavy to boot.
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Old 05-08-20, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Piff View Post
If you're really just moseying around, then your Raleigh Professional should be more than enough bike. You could try grabbing a high quality 650b wheelset and lightweight wide tires, I bet the professional would glide just as well as your Super Course and be less heavy to boot.
Well, I mosey around for 50-100 miles at a time some days and try to keep a 15+ mile per hour average. Just looking for some classic advantages I can use to make the rides more enjoyable! Great food for thought here so far. Thanks, folks!

-Gregory
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Old 05-08-20, 02:38 PM
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I'm at work just now but have read all of the above and will respond in turn to each of you when I get a chance later. Cheers!

​​​​
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Old 05-08-20, 04:00 PM
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Fit = Speed
Comfort = Speed
Work is moving an object through a distance. More weight is more work.

Get fitted right.
Make sure the fit is comfortable.
Eliminate inhibitors to the bike potential; re: tune it. Then make it lighter. Then get fitter yourself. Then work on how your power, your cadence, your limits, your will and your mood fit into where you ride.

in an era when there is a real weight difference on the power output end, from 3 to 10 lbs of bike, discussion (of speed) on a C&V forum is both odd and expected.

A lot of money is being made selling the possibility of speed on a bike. Not exactly part of the C&V dogma, but no reason to give up on being fast(er). They are just not the bikes best suited vs. newer stuff.

Doesn’t matter; the principles are the same.

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Old 05-08-20, 04:15 PM
  #39  
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Corroborating what others have said, the frame builder makes many decisions about the design and construction of a frame, and material and gauge of tubes are just two of them. So looking at frame materials doesn't really tell you how a frame will ride.

My beloved McLean is mysteriously heavy. The guy who sold it to me told me it was 531 DB, but there was no decal. It was sold originally at a bike show, so my imagination (I admit) suggests it might have been made with cheaper materials as a demo frame. But it rides fantastically, perhaps because of the quality of construction and the design. So what do I know? Not a whole lot.

If you have a frame you like and want to attribute the wonderful ride quality to one aspect or another, you're still guessing, at least to an extent.
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Old 05-08-20, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
... I have a Raleigh Super Course with 531 straight gauge tubing and 35mm tires that eats all of this up nicely, but is quite ponderous. The current DB 531 rider is a 1972 Raleigh Professional wearing 700x25c Continental Gatorskins, and it does the job rather well without sacrificing much in the way of speed or power transfer.
-Gregory
Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
... Going back to 25mm tires on the Raleigh Pro has been a revelation - I haven't ridden tires this narrow in years, and can feel an enjoyable difference.
-Gregory
I get that you want a new bike but nice tires will make your Raleigh feel like a new bike. Get some Continental GP4000s (They are on sale here and there from time to time often for less than Gatorskins.) 23mm GP4000s are smoother and faster than 25mm Gatorskins and will transform your ride. They are clinchers but are smoother and faster than many tubulars. I commute on 25mm Gatorskins and use them on my road bike for gnarly gravel 200k events because I don't want to flat. They are extremely uncomfortable compared to GP4000s.
Still, I'm excited about your new bike.
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Old 05-08-20, 05:19 PM
  #41  
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RobbieTunes Thanks! Yes, fit is a big part of the equation... I have been seeking more comfortable upright positioning on most of my bikes for the past few years, but now that I'm running regularly (10-15 miles per week) and feel good about maintaining speed during my bike rides, I am finding that I want to be a bit more stretched out. I did a 24 mile out and back on a 12 mile straight last weekend on the Raleigh Pro, and managed to stay in the drops the entire time. My saddle height is 94cm above the pedals, the top tube is 58.4cm long (23") and I've got a 110mm stem (so ~70cm reach from seat tube), with GB Maes drop bars positioned 5cm below saddle line. I think that's close to ideal for my "aggressive" setup, given how comfortable I was.

I am actually about to go out and try that route again right now! I'll get back to everyone else when I return. Cheers!

-Gregory
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Old 05-09-20, 10:11 AM
  #42  
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Okay, here goes...

Piff Not sure if I got back to you about the first article you posted about the mystery frame materials, but that was really good!

botty kayer Yes, wider tires are something I routinely go for, but with the current build idea I'm looking for more speed and less rolling resistance, so that may not be the route I'm heading in! Comfort is still critical, of course, but I was hoping to find some balance.

Doug Fattic Thank you kindly for your input, sir! Considering the tubing thicknesses and geometry really seems to get to the crux of the issue beyond frame material, though perhaps I did not realize how much at first. I did mention that I'm looking at frames with "similar geometry" but I'm sure even imperceptible nuances can make quite a difference! I have a lot of hobbies, and a few of them can involve many technical details... As an artistic person aesthetics are the most fascinating thing for me to admire, so I fear I won't be able to keep up with my homework if I were to delve into the exact tubing specifications for the frames that interest me, or what those details might entail. I suppose I'll just be smart and rely on the respectability of the original frame builders and the general riding characteristics I desire, and keep things simple!

merziac I'd like to apologize if I came off as snippy in my earlier post. I did not get any vibe that you thought so but apparently I bothered some other people... And again, having carefully read about the experience you had building up your Strawberry really made me consider the idea of a custom frame set anew. Most importantly, I realized that even within a budget, I need to consider my options very carefully to come out feeling like I've had something made worth the while!

RiddleOfSteel Thanks for the time I've taken to chime in. I really love your various builds and your inseam must be a couple of inches longer than mine - I can just straddle my 25.5" Raleigh Super Course frames with a 34.5" inseam. Hearing about your experiences on multiple frames made using the same tube sets is enlightening, and of course to be expected given the parameters already considered in this thread. Most of my experience riding vintage steel has been on 531, whether butted or not. Otherwise it's been Fuji VALite, mid-level Tange chromoly, three modern carbon fiber bikes, a composite aluminum frame with carbon stays and fork, and not much else... I think since I started road cycling 10 years ago at the ripe age of 21 or so, I've owned and ridden about twenty bikes. At least half of them were 531.

As far as the Gatorskins go, I'm admittedly only on my second pair on the second bike, because a lot of the regular riders I've had in between have had 27" rims that I bought fat Kenda tires for. However, I put a few thousand miles on my first pair of 32mm Gatorskins and only had two flats - both times they were literally nails sticking into my front sidewalls. I never had a goathead penetrate a Gatorskin, while they've caused virtually every flat I've had on other tires.

L134 Okay, so I think tubulars are in my future, but for now I believe that the suggestion made by Classtime is most viable for me. I should go in for some really nice clincher tires like the new Continental GP 4000 or 5000 series to see what I can get out of those before any deeper dives... If I don't even know what the nicest clinchers can feel like (which I don't) then how can I even appreciate the real qualities of tubulars in comparison? I only have 250-300 miles on the Gatorskins I'm currently using, and will ride them for the rest of summer (when I have minimal time anyway due to this being my busy season at work) and then make the switch to some of the nicest Continentals. The reviews I read about the 4000/5000 series have all been stellar. I'm in!

seypat & nlerner You guys seem to have the jist of it... The article posted about the vertical compliance was fascinating, and I'm convinced! I believe that for future frame consideration I'll take horizontal stiffness and geometry into consideration as primary factors for how much I can push it around. I have had at least two butted 531 frames that I can visibly see flex in while I'm stomping on the pedals, so if I'm after pure speed I probably need to consider mitigating such things! I'll stick to tires and other bouncy stuff to make my rides more comfortable. The old Brooks B17s I regularly ride on must play a major part in all of that, since they have a few mm of spring at the center.

noglider When I started this thread I had the idea in my head that I could find a frame to attribute wonderful qualities to, but I'm pleased to say that I may begin focusing on these other, more scientifically-inclined ideas about tires and such in order to reach my goals! Maybe at the end of it all I'll just choose a frame because the fit is right and I like the paint job... I can nitpick over everything else and alter the hell out of how it rides in any case!

I hope everyone has a lovely and safe weekend. Cheers!

-Gregory
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Old 05-09-20, 10:47 AM
  #43  
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Gregory, counterintuitively, wider tires have less rolling resistance than narrower tires. They feel slower because they're heavier, and then compound that with the fact that they're usually made with a heavier type of construction. But the new wide tires are a revelation. Consider lightweight wide tires! And if you don't go that way, be sure to get a supple tire with a new design.
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Old 05-09-20, 11:15 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Gregory, counterintuitively, wider tires have less rolling resistance than narrower tires. They feel slower because they're heavier, and then compound that with the fact that they're usually made with a heavier type of construction. But the new wide tires are a revelation. Consider lightweight wide tires! And if you don't go that way, be sure to get a supple tire with a new design.
True, True! I've just been thinking in the narrow mindset lately because the Conti 25c tires are clearly faster than the chunky Kendas I've been used to riding on in recent seasons.

I've read quite a bit to that extent via Jan Heine's blog and such, but am probably looking at frames that wouldn't handle much more than 28mm tires anyway. Bob Jackson won't mess with their fit much on off-the-peg frames, and Tommasinis were made in an era when anything wide on a racing frame would be laughable. If I stick with my older 531 stuff then I should definitely have options, though. Thanks!

-Gregory

(P.s. The reason I'm looking at new frames is because the Raleigh Pro is borrowed from my uncle, long-term if I wish, but it's several hundred dollars of parts swapping away from how I'd want it set up ideally. Investing money in a bike I can't sell or which may make my uncle squint and wonder why, may not be as wise as starting from scratch.)
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Old 05-09-20, 12:26 PM
  #45  
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If you want to go the other way and try something known to be really flexible, to see if "power transfer" is something that matters to you, you can pick up a cheap Vitus 979 frame on Ebay and outfit it with whatever components you have lying around.

I did this after Bicycle Quarterly challenged the dogma of "stiffness is best" with their concept of "planing". The Vitus 979 is the lightest, most flexible bike I've owned, and it is also the one that feels the most effortless and allows me to keep up the easiest with the other roadies. And it's a cheap way to investigate the extreme end of the spectrum in frame flex.
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Old 05-09-20, 12:35 PM
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My McLean can only accept 28mm tires. That ain't bad, as far as I'm concerned. I got some high end Continental tires that amaze me. They feel softer than other tires of the same width. Nowadays the latest version of these tires is the GP5000. People say they're much nicer than the GP4000S-II that I have which is hard to imagine. The ones I have are amazing.
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Old 05-09-20, 01:55 PM
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Kilroy1988

No worries, I knew the pics were a likely faux pas but was hoping they would help get my point across.

It really is about the budget and the builder, fortunately budget wasn't a limiting factor here, if it had been, the clearance issue would have killed it as I wasn't going to do this if the main things couldn't happen, fit and clearance, had to settle on paint.

As I said, Dave's expert power had my best intentions at the forefront from the jump. He was all about the upright, extended fit, he read my mind as I bumbled through what I thought I wanted and knew exactly what to do, explained it as I was thinking it and made it click.

A big part was my dumb luck telling him about the Bruce Gordon that was small by the numbers but rides very well for me seemingly for the odd geometry.

That was when Dave said to bring it and the Big Merz for the fit, the two extremes were vital for him to work his magic I think.

So this brings me to encourage you to not settle very much, get what you want as much as you can, wait and save so as to maximize the value, there will be things that don't work out the way you thought or disappoint in a small way.

A face to face build is the only way I would do this, especially for the $$$ involved and I feel the interaction is part of the value for what goes right and wrong so you can work through it and learn completely from it.
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Old 05-09-20, 02:20 PM
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Aye yae yae. You didn't say the Raleigh Pro was a borrowed bike! Definitely get yourself a new bike.
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Old 05-09-20, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Aye yae yae. You didn't say the Raleigh Pro was a borrowed bike! Definitely get yourself a new bike.
Ha, ha! Well, my uncle rides a new Eddy Merckx carbon frame with Record 11, and I pulled the Pro out of one of his storage containers and completely overhauled it using as many of his old components as possible. I can keep it indefinitely for all he cares but something about changing it up too much doesn't seem right...

-Gregory
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Old 05-09-20, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Kilroy1988 View Post
Ha, ha! Well, my uncle rides a new Eddy Merckx carbon frame with Record 11, and I pulled the Pro out of one of his storage containers and completely overhauled it using as many of his old components as possible. I can keep it indefinitely for all he cares but something about changing it up too much doesn't seem right...

-Gregory
That would be a great phone call. "Hey, remember that Raleigh you gave me? Well, there's this really cool thing called cold setting..."

This thread is dangerous, has me looking at Black Mountain Cycles frames and Vitus 979.
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