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Affordable lighter steel road bikes with 27 wheels

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Affordable lighter steel road bikes with 27 wheels

Old 06-09-21, 12:45 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
I’m curious what vintage drop bar road bike make/models out there can commonly be found very affordable, are lighter, steel, and still using 27” wheels? Any affordable gem brands/models out there from a performance perspective?
I have Motobecane Grand Sprint, 1979, which originally used 27" wheels. I use 700c because I wanted more choice when it comes to tyres and rims. Someone in the thread mentioned Grand Record and Team Champion (higher tier models than mine, respectively 2nd and 1st in the line-up). This would require some research regarding different production years, but 1979 Grand Record and Team Champion were using 700c wheels, Grand Sprint, 3rd in the line-up, was the highest model using 27". Personally, I can't recommend it enough, it's a very decent bicycle. Mine, with upgraded components and added mudguards weighs around 8kg (including saddle bag with tools) compared with 11 or 12kg of original configuration. And it's a great ride. However, if you go with Motobecane of similar vintage, you need to do some research on it. They might be using non-standard parts, such as 22mm stem (not a problem, any aluminium 22.2 can be easily adapted unless it's chrome plated), French-threaded headset with a very low stack height (these can still be found fairly easily, but might not be cheap, especially if you go for Shimano or Campagnolo) and French or Swiss threaded bottom bracket. The last part might be a bit more problematic, though I found a UK seller who has them in stock. I got also a spare, old style (non-cartridge) one from France.
Anyhow, highly recommended if you're looking for affordable (depending on your definition of affordable of course). I've built mine up from a frame and using parts I already had, but if I were to get all the parts separately, without repainting and decals it would cost me below 300. I've seen a Grand Record recently (so with 700c wheels) for 380. In a very decent condition and original components. Not sure why you want 27" wheels, but if you're adamant about that, Grand Sprint is a really nice road / training bicycle and Grand Jubilee would be a very decent touring one. Probably much better quality than today's mass produced bikes within similar price range.

Edit: there's also Le Champion, so the lineup was: Team Champion, Le Champion, Grand Record, Grand Sprint as for road bikes and then Grand Jubile for touring. These will have Columbus frames (Team Champion), Reynolds (Le Champion), Vitus 172 (French equivalent of Reynolds in Grand Record) and Vitus 888 (Grand Sprint and Grand Jubile). I went for the steel frame from 1979 with a decade newer Shimano 105 gruppo (just completed it with the dual pivot BR-1055 rim brakes and the crankset is FC-6400, because that's what I had), Cinelli A1 stem and Cinelli handlebar (again, that's what I had), Lyotard pedals, hence the reduced weight compared with original setup.

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Old 06-10-21, 06:35 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
There are lots of mid-range Japanese manufactured bicycles from the early 1980s that fit the bill, such as the Bianchi Sport SX, Centurion Elite, Centurion LeMans RS, Fuji Del Ray, Fuji Royale II, Maruishi RX-7, Miyata 710, Nishiki International, Raleigh Competition, Shogun 600, Takara Tribute, etc. These bicycles typically used a double butted CrMo or CMn main triangle with 27" rims to hit the sub-25 lb mark at a reasonable price. However, be aware that many migrated to 700C during the mid-1980s, so there are specific years to find the desired combination.
One of the big questions is, what rims? Most of the 27" bikes, except IME '60s and '70s Schwinns, used steel rims from Dunlop, Rigida, and a few other companies back then. Alloys were available from Ambrosio, Dunlop, Birmalux? Ukai, and Arai (or was it Araya?). I have a 1952 Rudge club-style drop-bar 3-speed with original chromed steel Dunlop Special Lightweight rims in 40/32 spoking (another vintage-modern compatibility issue!), which are surprisingly light. But I also have sought out a set of vintage alloy Modele 58 27x1 , one from Wolber and one from Super Champion. But finding 36 holes is not too hard, where 32s and 40s take some sharp-eyed Ebay-fu. For an upcoming Peugeot UO-8 hot-rodding, I have the pair of Ambrosio rims on a set of Campy Tipo or Nuovo Typo hubs.

Also be aware of hooked-rims versus smooth-bead rims. Generally "27x 1 inches" referred to compatibility with tires with wire beads and with the same marking. They are not designed for folding tires. A decent example of a modern tire that works on these smooth rims is the Specialized Road Sport. It's not great as a modern tire goes and is over 500 grams, but it fits the rim and bead perfectly. I haven't tried a Pasela for quite a while but I expect good things. Some people (mainly math folks like me!) say "27x 1 is the same as 27x 1.25," and mathematically of course that's true. But if you look at the various essays and articles about the crazy fariety in tire sizing conventions and designations, it looks like there is a significant difference in meaning. Also, note that the 1952 Dunlop, as well as later Ukai and other Asian alloy rims pointedly make the point, stamped into the rim itself.

In working with these older alloy rims, use washers on the spoke nipples and on the J-bends. Those points are known stress points and fatigue failures, especially if the spoke/hub matching is haphazard. If my old Nottingham-built Rudge wheels did not have j-bend washers (this whole point is discussed in Jobst Brandt's book on spoked wheels), I think that means that the Raleigh/Rudge designers knew from experience that what they had was a well-matched set of parts, and knew enough not to mess with a working combination. The washers are cheap insurance, helping to prevent spoke failure and maybe worse.
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Old 06-10-21, 07:30 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
One of the big questions is, what rims? Most of the 27" bikes, except IME '60s and '70s Schwinns, used steel rims from Dunlop, Rigida, and a few other companies back then....

Also be aware of hooked-rims versus smooth-bead rims. Generally "27x 1 inches" referred to compatibility with tires with wire beads and with the same marking. They are not designed for folding tires...
By the 1980s, aluminum rims were standard on the mid-range models to which I was referring. Also, while you have to look specifically at the model, there were 27" rims available that were compatible with Kevlar beaded folding tyres. Even for those that aren't, you can still install high pressure tyres, as long as they are use steel beads.
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Old 06-10-21, 07:51 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
By the 1980s, aluminum rims were standard on the mid-range models to which I was referring. Also, while you have to look specifically at the model, there were 27" rims available that were compatible with Kevlar beaded folding tyres. Even for those that aren't, you can still install high pressure tyres, as long as they are use steel beads.
All correct. One of my points, left implicit, is that one needs to be careful because of qualifications such as the one you gave.

As far as 1980s midrange, I'm not sure that was the OP's context, nor if to remain within that context is the most useful thing for the BF group.
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Old 06-10-21, 08:02 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by due ruote View Post
I dont understand seeking a bike with 27 wheels, when 700c has some distinct advantages, ie. more tire clearance, greater tire selection. Thats not to say I wouldnt buy or ride a bike with 27 wheels, but I am curious about why that would be a preference.
Originally Posted by repechage View Post
My hunch is an expectation that the 27" wheels will make the price more agreeable.
or a desire to swap to 700c and gain clearance for wider tires/fenders.
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Old 06-10-21, 08:05 AM
  #81  
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I'm not sure if this was already mentioned as I haven't combed through the 4 pages of discussion thus far, but I'll plug mid 80's Trek sport touring frames with 531 (main triangles at least) like the 613 (watch out for 'death forks') and Tenax Schwinns like the Prelude. Could be the Tempo that I'm thinking of. Don't quote me on the exact Schwinn model. Don't quote me on anything really, take what a say with a dollop of grease.
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Old 06-10-21, 10:29 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
...As far as 1980s midrange, I'm not sure that was the OP's context, nor if to remain within that context is the most useful thing for the BF group.
I suggested early 1980s mid-range bicycles to the OP, as this was the era and market segment with the greatest concentration of models that meets the OP's criteria of "affordable, are lighter, steel, and still using 27 wheels". Prior to the 1980s, lightweight bicycles used primarily tubular or 700C wired-on wheels. The early 1980s introduction of seamed, butted, steel tubesets brought lightweight frames down to affordable (mid-range) level, yet there were still a good number equipped with 27" aluminum wheelsets. By the late 1980s, 700C was taking over at mid-range and even penetrating into the upper, entry level market. Of course, you'll be able to find some models outside this era but the early 1980s had the greatest concentration of bicycles with butted, steel tubesets and 27", aluminum wheelsets.
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Old 06-10-21, 12:48 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
or a desire to swap to 700c and gain clearance for wider tires/fenders.
That requires a bit of keen observation. And most often avoidance of cantilever brakes.
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Old 06-10-21, 03:59 PM
  #84  
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one way to find lighter nicer 27 for reasonable prices is to look for brands/models that are maybe not as well known to the general public or had a smaller distribution. SR Semi-pro is an examplel, I just got this one for $170

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Old 06-10-21, 07:31 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I suggested early 1980s mid-range bicycles to the OP, as this was the era and market segment with the greatest concentration of models that meets the OP's criteria of "affordable, are lighter, steel, and still using 27 wheels". Prior to the 1980s, lightweight bicycles used primarily tubular or 700C wired-on wheels. The early 1980s introduction of seamed, butted, steel tubesets brought lightweight frames down to affordable (mid-range) level, yet there were still a good number equipped with 27" aluminum wheelsets. By the late 1980s, 700C was taking over at mid-range and even penetrating into the upper, entry level market. Of course, you'll be able to find some models outside this era but the early 1980s had the greatest concentration of bicycles with butted, steel tubesets and 27", aluminum wheelsets.
Thanks for the suggestion. I was wondering where the sweet spot would be. A light steel frame with 27" aluminum wheels sounds pretty great.
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Old 06-10-21, 09:11 PM
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Half of my too-many bikes have light frames and 27" wheels. Most are early 80s as T-Mar predicted.
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Old 06-11-21, 08:31 AM
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Here's my 84 Panasonic DX-2000 with 27 x 1 Panaracers Pasela. Pretty enjoyable riding bike.

Art
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Old 06-11-21, 01:54 PM
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This was an affordable 27 bike for me, I built it up from a bare frame purchase. Me World Voyageur, very sporting
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Old 06-11-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I suggested early 1980s mid-range bicycles to the OP, as this was the era and market segment with the greatest concentration of models that meets the OP's criteria of "affordable, are lighter, steel, and still using 27 wheels". Prior to the 1980s, lightweight bicycles used primarily tubular or 700C wired-on wheels. The early 1980s introduction of seamed, butted, steel tubesets brought lightweight frames down to affordable (mid-range) level, yet there were still a good number equipped with 27" aluminum wheelsets. By the late 1980s, 700C was taking over at mid-range and even penetrating into the upper, entry level market. Of course, you'll be able to find some models outside this era but the early 1980s had the greatest concentration of bicycles with butted, steel tubesets and 27", aluminum wheelsets.
How does a shogun 400 fit in? Tange 900 frame, alloy wheels, downtube shifters... couple for sale in the area, one pretty cheap. How would it compare to a Super Le Tour?

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Old 06-11-21, 04:19 PM
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Early 1980s Trek 412 should fit the bill

Ill second the Trek recommendation. I have one I converted to a upright single speed commuter (think Trek version of Raleigh Sports) and love it. I got mine as a frame so it uses 700c. These come up frequently on Craigslist for 100 to 150. The frame was put together real well IMO, head tube and BB were in good alignment, maybe faced at the factory? After some research, I believe these were not built by Trek at Waterloo, but were contracted out. Do any of the Trek experts know who built these frames? Seems to be a higher quality build than entry level bikes from the standard Japanese manufactures.
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Old 06-11-21, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by retroshifter View Post
Ill second the Trek recommendation. I have one I converted to a upright single speed commuter (think Trek version of Raleigh Sports) and love it. I got mine as a frame so it uses 700c. These come up frequently on Craigslist for 100 to 150. The frame was put together real well IMO, head tube and BB were in good alignment, maybe faced at the factory? After some research, I believe these were not built by Trek at Waterloo, but were contracted out. Do any of the Trek experts know who built these frames? Seems to be a higher quality build than entry level bikes from the standard Japanese manufactures.
Do you know the year and model of frame? Do you have the serial number? If you really wanna go down this rabbit hole, you might wanna start your own thread, so we don't hijack the OP's.
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Old 06-11-21, 04:33 PM
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Early eighties Trek

Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Do you know the year and model of frame? Do you have the serial number? If you really wanna go down this rabbit hole, you might wanna start your own thread, so we don't hijack the OP's.
thanks for the suggestion. Ill look it up when I get home. Definitely an 80 or 81 412 based on serial number. Just wanted to give OP heads up that the lower model Treks of that vintage were probably made by someone else, but still really nice.
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Old 06-12-21, 03:28 AM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by retroshifter View Post
thanks for the suggestion. I’ll look it up when I get home. Definitely an 80 or 81 412 based on serial number. Just wanted to give OP heads up that the lower model Treks of that vintage were probably made by someone else, but still really nice.
I wonder where you got the idea that Trek was outsourcing frame production in the very early 1980s. They were selling respectable numbers of frames in those days, but only compared to other boutique American frame builders. Their sales were laughably tiny comparted to all the conventional bike shop brands.

The shop where I worked was the first Trek dealer in Maryland and was selling the bikes in those years. The frames were definitely built by Trek at their factory in Wisconsin. (Note that the frames were built in the factory but not the bikes. In the early years, Trek sold their bikes as kits, with the frame and fork in one box and the rest of the components in a second box, so bike shops had to build from the frame up.)

I believe that the first Trek model not built in Wisconsin was the 300 (or 330; can't quite remember the model number), which was added to the lineup over 5 years later.
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Old 06-12-21, 07:12 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
How does a shogun 400 fit in? Tange 900 frame, alloy wheels, downtube shifters... couple for sale in the area, one pretty cheap. How would it compare to a Super Le Tour?
We'd need more specifics as models can change somewhat from year to year. However, the Shogun should fit your criteria. The 400 models that I've seen with Tange 900 were circa 1984-1985. Tange 900 was basically a seamed version of Tange #2, so it fairly light, though the the 400 was priced at a point where carbon-manganese or hi-tensile steel was used in the forks and/or stays, depending on the year. The rims were typically 27" aluminum, usually Araya 18. To keep the costs down, the components were typically, upper entry level. usually Shimano Z-series derailleurs and brakes, with either a Tourney or SR cranksets. Claimed weight was 24.5-25 lbs, depending on the exact year. MSRP was $250 US.

Super Le Tours of the same period are typically slightly better. For instance, claimed weight of the 1985 version was 24 lbs and MSRP was $300 US. The frame material and rims were comparable but the components, particularly the derailleurs, were better. Of course, the other big factors to consider are the relative cosmetic and mechanical conditions and price. However, on paper, both would appear to fit your criteria.

Again, these are generic statements based on assumed years from the limited info provided. We'd need to see the actual bicycles, to make more definitive statements.
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Old 06-12-21, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
We'd need more specifics as models can change somewhat from year to year. However, the Shogun should fit your criteria. The 400 models that I've seen with Tange 900 were circa 1984-1985. Tange 900 was basically a seamed version of Tange #2, so it fairly light, though the the 400 was priced at a point where carbon-manganese or hi-tensile steel was used in the forks and/or stays, depending on the year. The rims were typically 27" aluminum, usually Araya 18. To keep the costs down, the components were typically, upper entry level. usually Shimano Z-series derailleurs and brakes, with either a Tourney or SR cranksets. Claimed weight was 24.5-25 lbs, depending on the exact year. MSRP was $250 US.

Super Le Tours of the same period are typically slightly better. For instance, claimed weight of the 1985 version was 24 lbs and MSRP was $300 US. The frame material and rims were comparable but the components, particularly the derailleurs, were better. Of course, the other big factors to consider are the relative cosmetic and mechanical conditions and price. However, on paper, both would appear to fit your criteria.

Again, these are generic statements based on assumed years from the limited info provided. We'd need to see the actual bicycles, to make more definitive statements.
thanks. I was looking for generic type statements as it does matter by year, probably a lot for Super Le Tours.

here is one of the Shoguns. They both look to be very similar.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace...6370249040462/

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Old 06-12-21, 11:24 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
I wonder where you got the idea that Trek was outsourcing frame production in the very early 1980s. They were selling respectable numbers of frames in those days, but only compared to other boutique American frame builders. Their sales were laughably tiny comparted to all the conventional bike shop brands.

The shop where I worked was the first Trek dealer in Maryland and was selling the bikes in those years. The frames were definitely built by Trek at their factory in Wisconsin. (Note that the frames were built in the factory but not the bikes. In the early years, Trek sold their bikes as kits, with the frame and fork in one box and the rest of the components in a second box, so bike shops had to build from the frame up.)

I believe that the first Trek model not built in Wisconsin was the 300 (or 330; can't quite remember the model number), which was added to the lineup over 5 years later.
According to vintage-trek Vintage Trek Bicycle Frame Serial Numbers, bike , they were outsourcing in the '70s and again in starting in '83. So the '80-'81 412 in question falls in the gap where it was made here. And as said, they're all respectable quality bikes.
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Old 06-12-21, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
According to vintage-trek Vintage Trek Bicycle Frame Serial Numbers, bike , they were outsourcing in the '70s and again in starting in '83. So the '80-'81 412 in question falls in the gap where it was made here. And as said, they're all respectable quality bikes.
Thanks for the correction. As I said, all I know about Trek was what I learned from selling them starting in the late '70s. If they were outsourcing any frame production, they never mentioned a word of it to anyone in our bike shop that I can remember. I'm hoping that JohnDThompson might provide some insight, since he is a frame builder who worked for Trek back then.
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Old 06-12-21, 01:23 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
By the 1980s, aluminum rims were standard on the mid-range models to which I was referring. Also, while you have to look specifically at the model, there were 27" rims available that were compatible with Kevlar beaded folding tyres. Even for those that aren't, you can still install high pressure tyres, as long as they are use steel beads.
And please note, I did NOT say all Al 27" rims have or do not have hooks. I believe I rather carefully referred to 27 x 1 rims (the not-hooked subset of 27" wheels). That is ANOTHER point I was trying to make, that the distinction is important to remain aware of, even now 45 years after the fact.
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Old 06-13-21, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
...Also be aware of hooked-rims versus smooth-bead rims. Generally "27x 1 inches" referred to compatibility with tires with wire beads and with the same marking. They are not designed for folding tires...
Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
...And please note, I did NOT say all Al 27" rims have or do not have hooks. I believe I rather carefully referred to 27 x 1 rims (the not-hooked subset of 27" wheels).And please note, I did NOT say all Al 27" rims have or do not have hooks. I believe I rather carefully referred to 27 x 1 rims (the not-hooked subset of 27" wheels)....


When Michelin and MAVIC teamed up to introduced high performance wired-on wheelsets in 1976, 27 x 1-1/4" was the dominant tyres size in North America at the entry and mid-range levels. Consequently, in addition to introducing 700C version as an option to tubulars, MAVIC introduced their hooked-edge MODULE series of rims in 630mm BSD that were compatible with 27" x 1-1/4" tyres. In short order, most other rim manufacturers offered hooked-edge, wired-on rims. There were plenty of rims labelled or classified as 27 x 1-1/4", that were compatible with folding tyres.
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Old 06-13-21, 09:56 PM
  #100  
retroshifter
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Started a new thread on 1980/81 Trek outsourcing

Originally Posted by Trakhak View Post
Thanks for the correction. As I said, all I know about Trek was what I learned from selling them starting in the late '70s. If they were outsourcing any frame production, they never mentioned a word of it to anyone in our bike shop that I can remember. I'm hoping that JohnDThompson might provide some insight, since he is a frame builder who worked for Trek back then.
At the suggestion of another member, I started a new thread. See "1980/81 Trek 412 built by Trek or Contractor" to further explore this issue.
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