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How rare are chrome lugs?

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How rare are chrome lugs?

Old 04-24-22, 07:43 AM
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How rare are chrome lugs?

I really like the look of chrome lugs on a vintage bike and was thinking I've seen very few with them for sale. I'm looking for a road bike from the 70s. Were there many bikes made with them? Are they all really difficult to find? I see them on Paramounts, but I generally only see those priced very high. I'm curious what I should be looking for to find one that hopefully isn't super expensive.
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Old 04-24-22, 07:53 AM
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Chroming is a process done after the frame is built, but before the paint is applied. It's not terribly common. The only time I've seen "lugs only" in person was on a Windsor mixte. It's rare to do lugs only because of the additional masking & labor costs in the paint process

Having plain lugs & chrome socks (chain/seat stays) is common on low to medium low end bike boom era bikes. Nothing special there. It's as simple as dipping half of the frame in a vat of solution. It's an attempt to church-up an otherwise cheap frame.

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Old 04-24-22, 08:07 AM
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Somewhere there is a thread here that shows some beautiful chrome lugs on some very nice bikes. But don't think that chrome alone is an indicator of quality as my Carabela shows that is not the case. I gave 10 bucks for this mid to late '70s Carabela and it is nothing special.

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Old 04-24-22, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
I really like the look of chrome lugs on a vintage bike and was thinking I've seen very few with them for sale. I'm looking for a road bike from the 70s. Were there many bikes made with them? Are they all really difficult to find? I see them on Paramounts, but I generally only see those priced very high. I'm curious what I should be looking for to find one that hopefully isn't super expensive.
You could probably find one of the part- or completely-chromed lower-end Torpados for not much money. It'd probably also need component replacing or upgrading, the Gian Robert /Campagnolo Valentino mechs they came with were horrible, cottered crank, as often as not steel rims.



Some other Italian lower-tier similarly chromed frames were made, Cararro, Bottechia, but the Torpados were/are the most common.
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Old 04-24-22, 08:32 AM
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Acer-Mex used chrome lugs a good bit.
Windsor is their top line product.
Here is the Carabela SemiPro with chrome headlugs. Low cost, far from a racer, passed thru my hands quickly.

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Old 04-24-22, 08:36 AM
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I'd like my Carabela a lot more if its lugs were that pretty or even if it was in half as good of condition.
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Old 04-24-22, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Acer-Mex used chrome lugs a good bit.
Windsor is their top line product.
Here is the Carabela SemiPro with chrome headlugs. Low cost, far from a racer, passed thru my hands quickly.

Oh that is pretty.
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Old 04-24-22, 09:13 AM
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Rode like a turd
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Old 04-24-22, 09:17 AM
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I have a few, World imported by Schwinn is the cleanest. Rides much better than I thought it would. Weighs approximately 25.5 pounds, this one of the few bikes that came with Diacomp brakes matched with Shimano running gear.


I also have a Lygie from 1974, I haven't made the time to get this back on the road yet.
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Old 04-24-22, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Rode like a turd
I was going to say having chrome is not sign of quality, more fashion. I think originally the top models got the chrome to set them apart, as time moved forward the lesser models mimicked the top of the line. Much like how Team Raleigh had replicas, everybody wanted the look.

People wanted the look (or fashion statement) so much that company "Look" sprung forth.
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Old 04-24-22, 10:04 AM
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I have a couple.


74 Raleigh International


1979 Centurion Pro Tour. I also have a Centurion Semi Pro with sportier geometry that has chromed lugs, as well as a Windsor mixte, both with chromed lugs.

These were both production bikes, not hard to find if you search. I really like the look.
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Old 04-24-22, 10:24 AM
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What frame size do you need? I have a 58 cm 1978 Windsor Super Carrera frame, which will be available in late May (when I get to Minnesota). It was modeled on the Cinelli Super Corsa with racing geometry and fastback seat-stays. Tange Champion #2 butted tubing and Suntour dropouts. Chromed long-point lugs, fork crown, and dropouts. Good chrome, the frame was recently repainted orange.
Some other frames with chromed lugs include the Raleigh International, Atala Record, and Windsor Profesional. Many of the better mass-produced Italian frames from the 60's-70's had chromed lugs.
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Old 04-24-22, 10:30 AM
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The Raleigh Internationals are nice bikes, and might be available for not a ton of money. Like Gugie, I've got a copper International, and it really is a lovely bike!

For no reason in particular, here's a close-up shot of the lower head lug and fork crown. I imagine that masking around the fancy Nervex lugs does add a bit to the cost of production. It doesn't look they spent too much effort with the lug lining, though.




If your appetite for chrome isn't satisfied by chromed Nervex Pro lugs, then perhaps a Hetchins Magnum Opus with optional chrome is more suitable?? It's a bit much for my tastes, but to each their own!



Steve in Peoria
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Old 04-24-22, 11:13 AM
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My 1982 Lotus Supreme has chromed head lugs, fork crown, and chainstay. It was at or near the top of Lotus's line - Dura Ace, tubular tires, SR Royal Super Light stem. The lugs have cutouts, too, and came with the cutouts painted to match the frame. I also have another '82 Lotus, a Classique, which was farther down in Lotus's range. It has the bottom of the fork legs chromed, and that's it.

The paint on the Supreme was chipped all over when I got it*, which made it possible to figure how much of the frame and fork was actually chromed. They did the entire fork, but painted everything but the crown and the faces of the dropouts. The entire head tube, and the first 1/3 of the top tube and down tube are chromed, like they dipped it head tube first. For the chainstay, they seem to have dipped that at an angle, so the chrome goes a long way up the drive side seat stay but not the NDS.

*Hence its nickname, "Mrs. Peel".
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Old 04-24-22, 12:16 PM
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Old 04-24-22, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
I really like the look of chrome lugs on a vintage bike and was thinking I've seen very few with them for sale. I'm looking for a road bike from the 70s. Were there many bikes made with them? Are they all really difficult to find? I see them on Paramounts, but I generally only see those priced very high. I'm curious what I should be looking for to find one that hopefully isn't super expensive.
Well imo, chrome was an indicator of high end in many cases like the Paramount's and Cinelli SC's, they could both be had in full chrome if you wanted. Many low end bikes also came with some because it was cheap to do back in the day and was probably worth it to sell them.

Many of the iconic bikes that came with it were defined by it, you can see it from a long way off and know exactly what it is when you do.

A Raleigh International is your best bet bang for the buck, a copper, green or black one for contrast, it really pops on these and they can be had for decent $$$.

One example of value is Bianchi's top of the line, they were stingy with it but the ones that have it often command crazy prices and they don't have very much.

This is about as good as it got on them high end, very nice but somewhat minimal to me.





And a low end, stamped DO's and all with a very cool chrome fork crown.

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Old 04-24-22, 01:22 PM
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Another vote for the Centurion Semi Pro.

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Old 04-24-22, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kroozer View Post
What frame size do you need? I have a 58 cm 1978 Windsor Super Carrera frame, which will be available in late May (when I get to Minnesota). It was modeled on the Cinelli Super Corsa with racing geometry and fastback seat-stays. Tange Champion #2 butted tubing and Suntour dropouts. Chromed long-point lugs, fork crown, and dropouts. Good chrome, the frame was recently repainted orange.
Some other frames with chromed lugs include the Raleigh International, Atala Record, and Windsor Profesional. Many of the better mass-produced Italian frames from the 60's-70's had chromed lugs.
Smaller. 21" for my old Schwinns.
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Old 04-24-22, 01:33 PM
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Sounds like there are more options than I thought. Thank you for giving me some more hope of finding one.
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Old 04-24-22, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
Smaller. 21" for my old Schwinns.
I vote Paramount, they showcased and were defined by them.

Step up if you must, you will not regret it.
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Old 04-24-22, 01:56 PM
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I just did a very unscientific survey, and it looks like about one out of every six bikes has chrome lugs. That's just counting the bikes in my garage, mind you. With a broader sample the proportion might be different.

I'm a very big fan of chrome lugs. They aren't easy to find, but when I do find them the chances that I'll try to buy the bike goes way up. Chrome fork crowns to go with them are also a bonus.

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Old 04-24-22, 03:21 PM
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Chrome lugs (head tube and fork crown) and dropouts.



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Old 04-24-22, 03:40 PM
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I've always wished the lugs on my Raleigh were chrome instead of the head tube. On the few places where the paint is chipped on it though, the chrome seems to be as good on the main tubes as it is the stays and fork. I'll never strip it though to find out.



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Old 04-24-22, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I just did a very unscientific survey, and it looks like about one out of every six bikes has chrome lugs. That's just counting the bikes in my garage, mind you. With a broader sample the proportion might be different.

I'm a very big fan of chrome lugs. They aren't easy to find, but when I do find them the chances that I'll try to buy the bike goes way up. Chrome fork crowns to go with them are also a bonus.

Exactly this, game changer.
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Old 04-24-22, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by BikingViking793 View Post
Sounds like there are more options than I thought. Thank you for giving me some more hope of finding one.
It will all be about the spend, if you temper that correctly and or be patient you should be able to find a nice one.
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