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Pinnacle of bicycle frameset design - opinion(ated?) thread

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Pinnacle of bicycle frameset design - opinion(ated?) thread

Old 10-01-22, 02:20 PM
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Wildwood
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Pinnacle of bicycle frameset design - opinion(ated?) thread

This is strictly an opinion thread.
No right or wrong.
Maybe something laughable.

There should be several categories.
Pick your especiality, as photos are always nice. Touring. Time Trial.


[components aren’t meant to be a major consideration (altho that might be a point of discussion re frameset refinements)]

My category would be:
All day race bikes (aka: stage race design)

And my arguable opinion is mid-80s.


I will have to come back with some reasons.
The road calls - I pulled these out to choose how to roll on a beautiful Saturday.
Guess I got caught up a bit, before deciding = newest build has least "Wildwood miles".

Last edited by Wildwood; 10-01-22 at 02:32 PM.
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Old 10-01-22, 02:31 PM
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Definitely the late ‘80s early ‘90s. All the great innovations in steel with MS, TSX, and the great Nivachrome tubes like MAX, EL, EL OS, which was the basis for MiniMAX, Genuis, and so on.

MAX
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Old 10-01-22, 02:42 PM
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1987-1992. Since most of my bikes are in that range...still lugged, but brazeons galore, Cannondale classic designs and still maintaining the classic steel look.

But the answer is probably the era of carbon fiber...




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Old 10-01-22, 02:53 PM
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The double aughts with 953, Spirit and XCR tubing.

Cinelli XCR

Cinelli XCR with Super Record 001 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 10-01-22, 04:37 PM
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Wildwood It surprises me that two of the bikes in your photo (and really special ones) are not in your signature's inventory list. Are you keeping any others sub rosa?

I have to say that, in my mind, the all-day bike reached its apogee (in terms of geometry, efficient use of materials, and esthetic perfection of a Platonic sort) in the mid-80s, at the same time, paradoxically, that the bike boom was ending, great manufacturers were failing left and right, and there was a lot of turmoil in the bike industry that was not good for cycling. I see all the evolution since then as being largely irrelevant, unnecessary -- a lot of expensive frippery.

That said, having grown older along with my fascination with bicycles, I find that the peculiar examples that I have the most fondness for are earlier -- bikes from the 50s, say -- ones that are not as perfected as engineering examples or classic, but have more peculiar charms in an esthetic way, somewhat more Dionysian than Apollonian. More like baseball or cricket, and less like football.

Maybe I've misinterpreted your question, was it what category of frameset is the pinnacle, or what time period? If I have, then so have the other respondents so far.

Last edited by Charles Wahl; 10-01-22 at 04:44 PM.
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Old 10-01-22, 05:16 PM
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I thought “frameset design” was pretty much nailed down by the turn of the 20th century.
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Old 10-01-22, 05:21 PM
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Once the Unicrowns showed up I lost any interest on the then, latest frameset designs.....
And they still look fugly as he'll to me these days!
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Old 10-01-22, 05:22 PM
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Claud Butler's bi-laminated frames. 1947.

https://www.classiclightweights.co.u...inated-frames/

Last edited by 1989Pre; 10-01-22 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 10-01-22, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Wahl View Post
Wildwood It surprises me that two of the bikes in your photo (and really special ones) are not in your signature's inventory list. Are you keeping any others sub rosa?

I have to say that, in my mind, the all-day bike reached its apogee (in terms of geometry, efficient use of materials, and esthetic perfection of a Platonic sort) in the mid-80s, at the same time, paradoxically, that the bike boom was ending, great manufacturers were failing left and right, and there was a lot of turmoil in the bike industry that was not good for cycling. I see all the evolution since then as being largely irrelevant, unnecessary -- a lot of expensive frippery.

That said, having grown older along with my fascination with bicycles, I find that the peculiar examples that I have the most fondness for are earlier -- bikes from the 50s, say -- ones that are not as perfected as engineering examples or classic, but have more peculiar charms in an esthetic way, somewhat more Dionysian than Apollonian. More like baseball or cricket, and less like football.

Maybe I've misinterpreted your question, was it what category of frameset is the pinnacle, or what time period? If I have, then so have the other respondents so far.
You sound like the Fed Chairman.
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Old 10-01-22, 05:26 PM
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I'm always happy to show this one.


This one too.


Interesting tubes

Latest glued and screwed. Although I don't think these are screwed.



Coming soon.



Actually. None of them are pinnacles, but I do like them. Mostly because they're mine.
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Old 10-01-22, 05:32 PM
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Charles Wahl
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
You sound like the Fed Chairman.
Whatevs.
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Old 10-01-22, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I thought “frameset design” was pretty much nailed down by the turn of the 20th century.
I would reply that perhaps it would be more granular to examine deeper than the 2 wheeled, diamond frame, chain driven with brakes design.

I would offer that the positioning of a rider on the race bike has changed little since the mid80s. Yes, a sloping tube today is most common but the touch points are similar with 80's top tube bikes (or that's my opinionated!). The industry got more specialized in late '80s + '90s - time trial (aero shaped tubing), triathlon designs nonUCI, Now further sliced into Endurance, Climbing, Aero as well as Race.

Last edited by Wildwood; 10-01-22 at 07:04 PM.
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Old 10-01-22, 06:00 PM
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Here are my reasons for selecting mid-80s as a pinnacle for race bikes.

Maybe the nature of road racing has not changed much (and the UCI regs regarding design have killed innovation) but the geometries of road race bikes today are not much off the 80’s. Racing bikes sold to the public in the 70’s had more slack angles (in my experience). The best racers used custom frames.

You can still fit 26/27/28mm tires on most.
Vertical dropouts.
Fork crowns could be flat or sloped.
More complete set of braze-ons.
Aluminum bikes from Cannondale and Trek became available.
There was still a lot of commonality and ‘industry standards’. (Good for cyclists)
Carbon Fibre and titanium were coming out of infancy.
Lots of manufacturers offering a wide range of frame sizes. A few even in 1cm increments. And many designs 'tuned framesets' and tubes across the size range for the anticipated rider needs.
I would also suggest, without any factual counting, that more models of a brand with varying tubesets were produced to appeal to the high-end road sub-specialities that were beginning to emerge (triathlon &TT).


Reasons for other eras:
1 1/8 head tubes are stiffer. ‘00s
Carbon fiber allows huge flexibility in design and layups for very special tuning characteristics. '00+'10s
NorthAmerican Handmade Bicycle Show Era = entire '10s, but I went to San Jose events - '06+'07, Portland '08.

Last edited by Wildwood; 10-01-22 at 07:25 PM.
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Old 10-01-22, 06:13 PM
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Well this one may not be the pinnacle but it is the one I'd call the most advanced of the eighty-some steel bikes that have passed through my hands. The headtube is pointed, the top tube is flattened and oval shaped, the seat stays are fairly bladed, the downtube is teardrop shaped and the front fork legs are crimped in a triangular shape. It feels very fast every time I take it out. In fact when I run it up into the high 20 mph range I can back off my pedaling effort and it continues at speed seemingly on it's own.









Then there's the two non-traditional (not double diamond) bikes I have. The Trek Y-Foil and the Softride. The Softride is weird looking yet so stinkin' good when I take it out. Hard to describe what it's all about. I just seem to carry the highest average speed on it over the miles without trying as hard as I do on other bikes. You bounce a bit at first and then once you naturally smooth out your cadence it's almost like floating on air. I grew up on a horse farm raising Tennesse Walking Horses and to me the Softride is akin to the Walking Horse, just plain smmmoooootttthhhhh!!!!.




The Y-Foli really moves well too without the initial bouncing feel of the Softride. It's shape is more prone to catching sidewinds for sure yet seems to cut well through headwinds even ones quartering off the front of the bike. It's just the solid side gusts that get it sometimes.

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Old 10-01-22, 06:15 PM
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Touring on pavement category

‘Touring on pavement’ bike evolution ended in 1959.


chain stays long enough for panniers.
A front end responsive enough to be fun.
room for 35mm tires.
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Old 10-01-22, 06:38 PM
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Charles Wahl
Yeah I should update that.
The Frejus is the eternal unsuccessful (and lowest priority) project.
The Follis is a frameset now. smallish and meh

The 87 Bianchi, 79 Carlton, and 59 Rickert are not listed.


wow - someone observant enough to catch my sub rosa.
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Old 10-01-22, 06:40 PM
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I just picked up a Pro Miyata (~'85?) from a forumite this summer. Set up with a Chorus triple, Cyclone derailleurs and brakes, GEL330s and Delta compatible pedals, that bike is all there. Perfect fit, handling, shifting (yes, I still do DT and with the SunTour "auto-adjust" shifters - forgot their name), it is one hell of a ride! Stiff. Plenty light though not by modern standards. All it needs is better tires. (Conti Giros on there now - they work but are just so-so. Bike is tire size limited, 24c max. Quality rubber you can run rim-saving hard is a real blessing. Very good Veloflex 23c tires are on their way. With that, bike will be a treat.

Tubing is Miyata Cr-Mo butted. That tells me nothing. It is strong. Blades and seatstays are ovalized to semi-areo and still feel rock solid for side forces.

I could argue the bike should handle bigger than 24c. Also it should have WB bosses on the ST. A head tube pump peg. But all the rest? It's all there. Ride, geometry. Those parts I just happened to have dropped right on like they were home. (I do have my seat near slammed on a SunTour 26.8 MTB post. I'll splurge and get one of those lugged steel Nittos and center those ti seat rails before I break them. But that steep seat tube isn't a Miyata mistake. I love the steep tube, short chainstay., tight rear end and it's handling, all the time and especially on hairy downhills. This bike's totally confidence inspiring anywhere.)
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Old 10-01-22, 07:17 PM
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I'm another one for late 80s to early 90s. They feel like home to me.
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Old 10-01-22, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Here are my reasons for selecting mid-80s as a pinnacle for race bikes.

Maybe the nature of road racing has not changed much (and the UCI regs regarding design have killed innovation) but the geometries of road race bikes today are not much off the 80’s. Racing bikes sold to the public in the 70’s had more slack angles (in my experience). The best racers used custom frames.
I'd point out the changes in frame design up until the 80s were mostly due to changes in road conditions. "Steep" angles of 80s road bikes were no steeper than track bikes from the 50s & 60s. Also, the most popular topic (or a close second) iin this forum s restomods using modern components. Double aught frames are built for that, not 80s bikes. You can easily get under UCI weight limit with modern steel, if you are a weight weenie. Not so easy with an 80s frame. And if you buy into stiffer is better, oversized XCR and 953 are the way to go.
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Old 10-01-22, 07:26 PM
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This thread needs a framebuilder input. Or two.
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Old 10-01-22, 07:57 PM
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...if you say rydabent three times, then turn around twice, he will appear in your thread, and explain to you why all opinions thus far are in error.
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Old 10-01-22, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Once the Unicrowns showed up I lost any interest on the then, latest frameset designs.....
And they still look fugly as he'll to me these days!
Unicrown was the beginning of the end. The Great Satan though, was threadless headset. And then 1 1/8” threadless headset came along and there was nothing but abominations and gnashing of teeth after that.
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Old 10-01-22, 08:38 PM
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^^Hell yeah!
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Old 10-01-22, 09:38 PM
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You're all wrong: THIS is a Pinnacle :

Literally; an '89 Klein Pinnacle.
yeah, it's an MTB, and it's aluminum , but it's a really nicely detailed frame, with absolutely eyeball -scorching paint work.
The only steel -framed bike I own also doesn't really fit in this "Greatest Steel Road Bikes of the 80's" because it's a SoftRide

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Old 10-01-22, 09:43 PM
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Merckx MX Leader

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