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Too big and strong for the frame. Suggestions?

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Too big and strong for the frame. Suggestions?

Old 06-25-20, 02:13 PM
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Mr. Spadoni 
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Too big and strong for the frame. Suggestions?

No, Iím not. Itís Mr. Spadoni the Youngest, who is 6í 3Ē and tips the scales at something north of 200. He calls me today, after he had ridden to work. His question today was about the frequency of seat tube / bb separations. Seems he had just suffered his second one in a little over a year.
While he has ridden vintage bikes in the past, these failures have come on a lower end fixed gear bike that he has written for the last two years. The switch to fixed came after he realized that he did not have the temperament to fiddle with shifters and cleaning chains. With the fixed, if he had air in the tires, he would get to work on time.
The bike came from a local shop, and they have stood behind everything that he has broken, in addition to the frames. But clearly he needs to upgrade before the shop has had enough and clamps him into a work stand or something else to maintain their profits.
so hereís the question: do I try to find another frame and we build up something solid? Or does he just buy something new? Likely it would still be fixed, as he likes the feel of the ride. In either case, it will be parked on the street so it canít be too high end, and he does need fenders. I am kind of inclined to the first option but need help in keeping things simple because I an not the one that will do most repairs.
any suggestions.
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Old 06-25-20, 02:25 PM
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I would look for and buy a Schwinn Varsity or Continental from the 70s

Virtually unbreakable !!!!!!!!

These are 10 speeds but he can keep it in one gear.

5th gear is a great all around gear.

Good Luck !!!
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Old 06-25-20, 02:31 PM
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This has Cannondale written all over it. Tall guy, big guy.

Iíd find any Cannondale frame he takes a liking to, the ST Tourers that I like came in big size jumps. I use a 23, Iíd suggest a 25 for your son, if he likes the SR Sports frames, theyíre more varied, I think (but not sure) they were sized in 2cm increments.

They have vertical drop outs, which is good, because no wheel slip, and is bad, because chain tension. You can find eccentric hubs, and more expensive, eccentric bottom brackets. That will get your the chain tensioning adjustability you need.

I have a couple Cannonballs, love how they donít flex. After they were welded the whole frame was heat treated as a piece, a true monocoque frame build. The strongest frames were made between Ď85 and about Ď91/92, way overbuilt.
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Old 06-25-20, 02:37 PM
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Schwinn Varsity? I'm not entirely kidding. There's always some big manimal dude in every cycling scene. I remember one of those dudes BITD who used to show up to the racer training rides, on a Schwinn Varsity. This was a big muscular guy, and I guess the few extra pounds of iron didn't make much difference. He actually kept up pretty well in a paceline on the flats and rollers. Of course once the real hills started he got dropped instantly. Still we all thought it was pretty impressive. Anyhow, them Varsities is tough, which I think is how the guy rationalized it.

There were other big dudes, ie track sprinter types, that just rode normal race bikes. Maybe they had SP instead of SL. Some had custom bikes, which is the optimum, but probably overkill for a commute bike. Another solution is a more modern OS steel frame. I'm not a small person myself, though I'm south of 200, and to me OS is the greatest thing since slice bread. I'm currently riding 725 OS Mercian mostly. Looks traditional with lugs and brazing, but it sure feels a lot more solid to ride. How important is keeping it C&V? For less money, some kind of modern TIG'ed gravel bike or something might serve the same purpose, and a number of these are nominally sort of retro styled.

A lot of what breaks bikes is poor technique. Maybe Mr. Spadoni the younger can learn to spin more? I guess there isn't really much to be done with a fixie though.

I see that I was beaten to the punch with the Varsity recommendation, so make that a +1. Continentals too.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 06-25-20 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 06-25-20, 02:37 PM
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You make it sound like he's a grownup who knows what he wants. Just go a little less low end this time
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Old 06-25-20, 02:42 PM
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I think a 90s hybrid with horizontal dropouts (I'm just guessing there are some out there...maybe not?) or an old MTB/ATB bike with horizontal dropouts would work fine. Just make sure to avoid the mountain bikes with u-brakes on the chainstay, usually models from 1986-1988. If he's that strong and heavy he might be better off with the smaller and stronger 26" wheels.
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Old 06-25-20, 03:11 PM
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My thought is that heís just got low end bikes. I canít imagine any vintage steel bike in decent condition having a single issue with someone just over 200 pounds. Find any frame that fits him and throw a nice fixed gear wheelset on there.
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Old 06-25-20, 03:18 PM
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Low end fixed gear = low end high tensile steel frame. Your options are to convert an old vintage higher end road bike or beefy frame (old Schwinn as mentioned above) or get him something like a Surly Steamroller or Soma Rush frame and build it up. When you say parked on the street do you mean he stores it outside overnight or just when he's at work?
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Old 06-25-20, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Piff View Post
I think a 90s hybrid with horizontal dropouts (I'm just guessing there are some out there...maybe not?) or an old MTB/ATB bike with horizontal dropouts would work fine. Just make sure to avoid the mountain bikes with u-brakes on the chainstay, usually models from 1986-1988. If he's that strong and heavy he might be better off with the smaller and stronger 26" wheels.
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Why avoid the u-brake? They are a little more work, but if they come across a deal I don't think it should be a deal breaker. He might even be only running a front brake.
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Old 06-25-20, 03:25 PM
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Any pics?
Iím that height and 215, though I donít ride FG. Never had a problem.
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Old 06-25-20, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
This has Cannondale written all over it. Tall guy, big guy.

Iíd find any Cannondale frame he takes a liking to, the ST Tourers that I like came in big size jumps. I use a 23, Iíd suggest a 25 for your son, if he likes the SR Sports frames, theyíre more varied, I think (but not sure) they were sized in 2cm increments.

They have vertical drop outs, which is good, because no wheel slip, and is bad, because chain tension. You can find eccentric hubs, and more expensive, eccentric bottom brackets. That will get your the chain tensioning adjustability you need.

I have a couple Cannonballs, love how they donít flex. After they were welded the whole frame was heat treated as a piece, a true monocoque frame build. The strongest frames were made between Ď85 and about Ď91/92, way overbuilt.
The 80's Cannondales were monster stiff. Even though they have vertical dropouts, you can install a chain tensioner and not have an issue running single speed.

I did have a chuckle about learning proper technique as to not break a frame peddling. I have never heard that before.

John
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Old 06-25-20, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
Why avoid the u-brake? They are a little more work, but if they come across a deal I don't think it should be a deal breaker. He might even be only running a front brake.
As I understand it people like to play around with rings/cogs for fixed gears. There's no upside to buying a frame with brake bosses down there; you run the risk of finding just the right ring/cog combo and then realizing the chain hits the u-brake boss. There's so many other old mountain bikes out there that won't have this issue, so when considering a fixed conversion it's best to simply avoid them if you can.

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Old 06-25-20, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by tricky View Post
Low end fixed gear = low end high tensile steel frame. Your options are to convert an old vintage higher end road bike or beefy frame (old Schwinn as mentioned above) or get him something like a Surly Steamroller or Soma Rush frame and build it up. When you say parked on the street do you mean he stores it outside overnight or just when he's at work?
parked outside is when he goes to the store. At work, he can bring it inside.
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Old 06-25-20, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Spadoni View Post
parked outside is when he goes to the store. At work, he can bring it inside.
Ah, ok. Good locking technique (around a frame tube), locking skewers/track nuts or a separate cable lock for the wheels and a quality u-lock and he should be fine.

Cheap option: move his fixed gear parts over to a vintage frame or keep breaking the same cheap fixie and having the shop replace it.

More expensive option: Soma or Surly frame but take off or tape over the decals

All that said, frames can still break, especially under big strong folks, but he would get more life out of a quality frame.
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Old 06-25-20, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemike73 View Post
I would look for and buy a Schwinn Varsity or Continental from the 70s

Virtually unbreakable !!!!!!!!
Not true. I had a Kool Lemon Continental in 25" many decades ago and sold it to a friend's kid brother. Guy was a stick, but the seat tube broke clean through just above the bottom bracket shell.
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Old 06-25-20, 06:24 PM
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Um, the chain on a fixed gear doesn't need cleaning? Who knew?

And why can't he ride a single-speed?
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Old 06-25-20, 06:35 PM
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U-brakes are ok in general, but could be inconvenient using single speed or fixed gear if you want to change the ring/cog tooth total, since the rear axle shifting will move the rim w.r.t. brake pads, potentially beyond the range of adjustment and inconvenient to have to shift the pads anyway.

Otto
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Old 06-25-20, 07:02 PM
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Subjecting an old low-end bike to the rigors of fixed gear pedaling and "braking" via a big, tall, strong guy is certainly a recipe for destruction. My vote is also go higher up the food chain. Or make it a single speed with a free wheel and employ brake calipers. That should make the stresses of the frame drop considerably as it will be ridden in a much more traditional manner.

The old Cannondale SR or ST frames sound good to me. They're welded, super beefy, and have fragile paint which is a great theft deterrent as he can find one that's a bit rough and not have to worry about it. Or he can get a welded steel frame with thick tubing as weight doesn't matter here.

Could he try and be kinder/gentler/smoother in his riding?
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Old 06-25-20, 07:34 PM
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Mid 90's Giant Iguana. Put smooth tires on it. Beefiest fork ever and very sturdy. Also has all the attached fittings necessary for fenders, racks, etc.

Cannondales? The early aluminum tin cans?
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Old 06-25-20, 07:53 PM
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My choices

All steel
GT mountain bike frames
Trek Lugged Mountain Bike and Hybrid frames
Mid 90's Nishiki mountain bike frames.
Early 90's steel hybrid frames from just about everyone
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Old 06-25-20, 08:13 PM
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Old Cannondale, all day, every day. Or a Surly Long Haul Trucker if you want to spend five times as much and have a much heavier bike

If I'm gonna need a chain tensioner though, I may as well have a rear derailleur, same price as a tensioner (Maybe less). You can build to up as a five speed and let him decide whether or not he actually wants to shift it. He doesn't have to.
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Old 06-25-20, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Um, the chain on a fixed gear doesn't need cleaning? Who knew?

And why can't he ride a single-speed?
For the record, a fixed does need to be lubricated. But if it is not, it will still function and will not make noises nearly as fast as a derailleur chain. When the inevitable wear occurs, the entire drive train can be replaced at a relatively low cost.
Why a fixed and not a single? Got me there. That’s his choice

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Old 06-25-20, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
Any pics?
Iím that height and 215, though I donít ride FG. Never had a problem.
pics? I think damage to other peopleís bikes may be covered by HIPPA regs, at least if the other rider is over 18.
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Old 06-25-20, 08:55 PM
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Oh I forgot!

Redline Monocog. That's what he needs.
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Old 06-25-20, 09:57 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback.
Thinking right now
Single speed with freewheel for less frame stress.
Cannondale could be an option as even a complete bike is cheaper here in PDX than the Surly frame. But as aluminum, rear spacing is Not adjustable.
Varsity is bombproof but man Varsities are going for way more than I would expect, even during a bike boom.
lets see what Young Spadoni says to all of this......
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