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What lugged steel frames allow wide tires?

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What lugged steel frames allow wide tires?

Old 03-30-23, 06:42 PM
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cyclehealth
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What lugged steel frames allow wide tires?

I would like to obtain a lugged steel frameset that would allow the following:

Minimum width tires of 32mm.

3 x 9 drivetrain. I would be willing to cold set the frame for the 9 speed hub to fit.

Would like a touring frame geometry as opposed to racing.

I would even consider a frame from the era of 27 inch rims if it had a 3x drivetrain. As I think I would not be able to find a nine speed x 27 inch wheel. So it would have to be a touring frameset that originally came with a wide ratio gearset. And I would be limited on tire widths. Max I can find is 1.25 inch which I could live with. I actually have this set up with my Miyata 215 St. The problem with it is the frame is 21 inch. I need 22 inch or 56cm.


I have gotten oldish, 65, a life of manual labor has taken its toll, have lost considerable strength over the last decade, and it is hilly around here. So I set up my bikes with a 3 x 9 mountain drivetrain that gets me down to 15 gear inches but also goes up to about 90 on the other end. I still like to go fast down the hills.


I just love the lugged steel framesets, looking at a quality frameset does the same for me as looking at any quality artwork. A deep appreciation. As someone who has worked most of their life as a carpenter using their hands working with tools I cannot help but admire the craftmanship that has gone into the building of a quality frame.


I look forward to your replies.

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Old 03-30-23, 07:01 PM
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Pretty much any touring bike will take 32c tires. Spreading a 126 OLD frame to 130 OLD is not a big deal. That said you can get the gear range you like on a bike with 3 x 7 gearing so you don't need to spread the frame if you'd rather not.

Also a lot bikes that were not primarily designed for loaded touring will also take a 32c tire.

Show your classic sports touring bicycle

Everyone will vote for their favorite bike. I like old Treks and they made a lot of bikes that can take a 32c tire. I'd focus on the Treks from the 70s and 80s. Their "sports" touring models can take a 32c tire, as can their touring bikes.

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Old 03-30-23, 09:42 PM
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Also many 27" wheel bikes can be ridden just fine with 700c wheels and slightly lower brake pads. (So longer reach calipers might be needed. I don't have the reach of the Mafac Racers off the top of my head but they will allow 700c on many 27" bikes and give very good braking.)

So between being able to "stretch" most steel frames to 130 BCD 9-speed standard and the use of 700c wheels (with will also typically allow you a size larger tire width and far better rim and tire choices) and the crankset not being frame dependent at all (well, chainstay hit can be an issue but there are plenty of tricks for shifting cranksets out a bit), the choices in 1980s steel frames is huge.

I've done all this (except stretch to 130 - I have lots of 7-speed wheels I like) many times. With my Mooney; frame built as a 5-speed 27"/700c "hybrid", a Schwinn LeTour, A Univega Competizione (well that was a 700c bike to start with), a Raleigh Competition and triple now on a Pro Miyata (also 700c) The LeTour and Competition were exactly what you want. I could have done the same thing with my 73 Trek 4something or the Miyata 610 I used to have, And there are lots of similar choices out there..
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Old 03-30-23, 10:46 PM
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It isn't hard to put 700c wheels with a proper 8/9/10s freehub into a frame "designed" for 27" wheels. You could open up your search to the variety of fine '80s tourers, which also have the advantage of having cantilever brake braze-ons, allowing you to use cantilever or V-brakes, which require less effort of you to stop the bike than the old side-pulls and center-pulls. Many will say that they have a hard time using cantilever brakes on a frame that originally came with 27" wheels when they switch to 700c wheels, but I have done this to more than ten frames and never had any trouble. I use the Shimano cantilevers, all of which come with some sort of adjustment up and down for the pads.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of '80s tourers, all of which should be able to take 700x32 tires WITH fenders. Many can take 700x38 tires with fenders!

Bridgestone RB-T
Bridgestone T-500
Bridgestone T-700
Centurion Pro Tour
Fuji Touring Series IV
Fuji Touring Series V
Fuji Saratoga
Kuwahara Caravan
Lotus Odyssey
Miyata 610
Miyata 1000
Nishiki Continental
Nishiki Cresta GT
Nishiki Riviera GT
Nishiki Seral
Novara Randonee
Panasonic PT-3500
Panasonic PT-5000
Panasonic Pro Touring
Panasonic Touring Deluxe
Raleigh Alyeska
Raleigh Kodiak (
careful this one is also the name for a mountain bike)
Raleigh Portage
Raleigh Super Tourer
Raleigh Touring 18
Schwinn Paramount P15-9 Tourer
Schwinn Passage
Schwinn Voyageur/Voyageur SP
Shogun 2000
Specialized Expedition
Takara Overland
Trek 520
Trek 720
Univega Gran Turismo
Univega Specialissima
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Old 03-30-23, 11:40 PM
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scarlson has put together a good list. All on it should do what you want.

Also, you might check out some 1960s racing frames. Wait, hear me out.

A lot of racing frames from the early and mid-1960s were designed to survive long distances on pretty crappy roads. This led to geometry that would today be considered at least sports touring and quite respectable for full-on touring - comparatively slack angles, long wheelbases, long chainstays, and room for wider tires. I have two mid-1960s Cinellis that fit that description. I am running 32mm tires on them (Continental 5000s, no less, which run big) with no problem. 35s might or might not work. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, this started changing and racing frames became shorter with steeper frame angles as the roads got better. But a 1960s era "racing" frame could be just what you are looking for. I know I love mine.
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Old 03-31-23, 04:55 AM
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Early 90's Trek Multitrack 750 or 790 lets you go up to 42-622 or so.
Not necessarily a high end frame but certainly adequate.
Lugs and double butted chromoly frames.
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Old 03-31-23, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclehealth View Post
I would like to obtain a lugged steel frameset that would allow the following:

Minimum width tires of 32mm.

3 x 9 drivetrain. I would be willing to cold set the frame for the 9 speed hub to fit.

Would like a touring frame geometry as opposed to racing.

I would even consider a frame from the era of 27 inch rims if it had a 3x drivetrain. As I think I would not be able to find a nine speed x 27 inch wheel. So it would have to be a touring frameset that originally came with a wide ratio gearset. And I would be limited on tire widths. Max I can find is 1.25 inch which I could live with. I actually have this set up with my Miyata 215 St. The problem with it is the frame is 21 inch. I need 22 inch or 56mm.


I have gotten oldish, 65, a life of manual labor has taken its toll, have lost considerable strength over the last decade, and it is hilly around here. So I set up my bikes with a 3 x 9 mountain drivetrain that gets me down to 15 gear inches but also goes up to about 90 on the other end. I still like to go fast down the hills.


I just love the lugged steel framesets, looking at a quality frameset does the same for me as looking at any quality artwork. A deep appreciation. As someone who has worked most of their life as a carpenter using their hands working with tools I cannot help but admire the craftmanship that has gone into the building of a quality frame.


I look forward to your replies.
If you start a new thread saying you are looking to buy a bike that has a quality frame and parts and can take 32c tires and you say where you live, the posters will do the work for you in finding local bikes that might work. You will also need to say what size bike you are looking for. You'll be happily surprised by how many people here are willing help someone else spend their money on an old bike,
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Old 03-31-23, 06:12 AM
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60s-early 70s Peugeot PX-10. Tight spot is radial clearance at the fork crown, but 700 x 35c tires will just fit, 32c with fenders. Convert to 650b and 42's and fenders fit easily. Great riding frame (IMO), and if it's go the Nervex Pro lugs, quite a looker. But don't look too too close- the brazing and filing can be a little sloppy (they were cranking them out by the 1000s in the bike boom...).
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Old 03-31-23, 07:12 AM
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I just found an old Franche-Comte that has 27s
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Old 03-31-23, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by scarlson View Post
It isn't hard to put 700c wheels with a proper 8/9/10s freehub into a frame "designed" for 27" wheels. You could open up your search to the variety of fine '80s tourers, which also have the advantage of having cantilever brake braze-ons, allowing you to use cantilever or V-brakes, which require less effort of you to stop the bike than the old side-pulls and center-pulls. Many will say that they have a hard time using cantilever brakes on a frame that originally came with 27" wheels when they switch to 700c wheels, but I have done this to more than ten frames and never had any trouble. I use the Shimano cantilevers, all of which come with some sort of adjustment up and down for the pads.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of '80s tourers, all of which should be able to take 700x32 tires WITH fenders. Many can take 700x38 tires with fenders!

Bridgestone RB-T
Bridgestone T-500
Bridgestone T-700
Centurion Pro Tour
Fuji Touring Series IV
Fuji Touring Series V
Fuji Saratoga
Kuwahara Caravan
Lotus Odyssey
Miyata 610
Miyata 1000
Nishiki Continental
Nishiki Cresta GT
Nishiki Riviera GT
Nishiki Seral
Novara Randonee
Panasonic PT-3500
Panasonic PT-5000
Panasonic Pro Touring
Panasonic Touring Deluxe
Raleigh Alyeska
Raleigh Kodiak (
careful this one is also the name for a mountain bike)
Raleigh Portage
Raleigh Super Tourer
Raleigh Touring 18
Schwinn Paramount P15-9 Tourer
Schwinn Passage
Schwinn Voyageur/Voyageur SP
Shogun 2000
Specialized Expedition
Takara Overland
Trek 520
Trek 720
Univega Gran Turismo
Univega Specialissima

Add to that - ones I know from firsthand. These are not Touring frames, but the geometries are relatively relaxed.

1968-1970 Raleigh Professional MK I
1968 - 1976 Raleigh Competition
Raleigh International
Raleigh Grand Sports
Raleigh Supercourse up through 1976. All the Raleighs above came in 21-1/2 and 22-1/2 frame sizes. They measured CtT If you don't mind a bit heavier frame without 531 tubing, the Grand Prix would also make the list.

Fuji The Finest
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Old 03-31-23, 07:58 AM
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Most frames spec'd for 27" wheels can be converted to 700c with mid reach brakes and clear good sized tires. Here's an old Specialized that I converted to 700c and wraps these 33.33mm tires with ease using nice mid reach brakes.

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Old 03-31-23, 08:42 AM
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I would suggest looking at the Mondia. I have a 1972 Special that can handle wide tires. I have had 1.39" wide(inflated) x 27" on it before. I now run 700x 25 but it will handle much wider.
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Old 03-31-23, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer View Post
Also, you might check out some 1960s racing frames. Wait, hear me out.
Mid-60s Umberto Dei. This has 700s, but would easily fits 27s with 32s.

Umberto Dei 01 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 03-31-23, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
60s-early 70s Peugeot PX-10. Tight spot is radial clearance at the fork crown, but 700 x 35c tires will just fit, 32c with fenders. Convert to 650b and 42's and fenders fit easily. Great riding frame (IMO), and if it's go the Nervex Pro lugs, quite a looker. But don't look too too close- the brazing and filing can be a little sloppy (they were cranking them out by the 1000s in the bike boom...).
I can vouch for this! My 1975 Peugeot PR10, which is the poor man's PX10, will fit 37mm Paselas with a safe margin.
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Old 03-31-23, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Mid-60s Umberto Dei. This has 700s, but would easily fits 27s with 32s.

Umberto Dei 01 by iabisdb, on Flickr
Wow, that's neat- especially the crank/chainring!
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Old 03-31-23, 12:18 PM
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Some late 1980s-mid '90s rigid fork hybrids/mountain bikes might be suitable for converting to drop bar touring/relaxed geometry bikes. I had planned to do that with my early 1990s Univega Via Carisma, but the frame was always a bit oversized for me to work with a drop bar and reasonable stem length. I'm 5'11" and the frame is nominally 57cm or 58cm, but with an elongated 60cm top tube. It's comfortable with albatross swept bars on a 110mm road bike stem, but the reach would be way too long for me with drop bars and even a 75mm stem. A shorter stem might make handling sketchy.

On the plus side the Via Carisma and comparable Univega frames of that era have a traditional diamond frame build and familiar ride fee. The cromo fork is nicely flexible, pliable, supple, whatever we want to call it. With 700x32 through 40 tires it's been very comfy for long rides on our groomed gravel/chat trails, chipseal pavement and busted up asphalt and concrete that hasn't yet been converted to chipseal. And I like the early '90s Univega Bi-Axial Power Oval frames, mostly for the aesthetics -- dunno if the tapered semi-oval tubing really offers any other advantages, but it looks cool.

So I'm looking around for a comparable 1980s-90s mountain bike-lite with rigid frame to convert to drop bar use. I'm kicking myself for hesitating to buy a very nice Kona Lava Dome Race-Lite back around 2020 or 2021. Saw it in a pawn shop and they were asking way too much as a starter price, but the tag showed the price would decrease gradually on a calendar schedule. They weren't willing to budge at the time so I checked back in a month or so, and it was gone. Someone else recognized it was a great bike and may have negotiated a better deal.
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Old 03-31-23, 12:29 PM
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I've been on a similar quest over the past few years - lugged steel bikes with lower gearing, more comfortable frame design, and wider tires - but still light and fast. Largely through trial and error, this has led me to French racing and randonneuring bikes from the 1950s. I've found that these often have the combination of light gauge tubing, tire clearance, long wheelbase and low-to-medium trail that make for a comfortable and fast bike. The drawbacks are that they can be a challenge to acquire, and you have to deal with the metric threading and narrow rear dropout spacing.

Another option to consider might be 650B. They ride great, can typically take tires at least 38mm wide, and the lower gearing is slightly easier to obtain due to the smaller wheel diameter.

The problem I've found with 1970s and later bikes is that the trend toward hard skinny tires was so pervasive, that even many touring frames can't take tires wider than about 28mm. A few years ago I was quite happy on 28mm tires, but now I don't like anything narrower than 35.
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Old 03-31-23, 04:11 PM
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Everyone, thank you taking the time to share your knowledge. It is much appreciated. Now to find one of those frames...
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Old 03-31-23, 07:12 PM
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80s mtb frame= take your pick, trek, specialized, univega, raleigh, peugeot, mongoose etc etc. by ~86 they had double butted chromo frames.. slack angles, and plenty of clearance. 26" wheels sure, but if you are considering 650b.. i'd challenge with a set of deore 26 from the day at 1/10 the price- decent tires and you are rolling pretty.
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Old 03-31-23, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by AngryScientist View Post
Most frames spec'd for 27" wheels can be converted to 700c with mid reach brakes and clear good sized tires. Here's an old Specialized that I converted to 700c and wraps these 33.33mm tires with ease using nice mid reach brakes.

Nick, why didn't you want to take that one to Montana for Cino? Or have you sold it in the meantime?
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Old 04-02-23, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by mhespenheide View Post
Nick, why didn't you want to take that one to Montana for Cino? Or have you sold it in the meantime?
I wound up building it with a pretty mixed bag of old and new components, and it just lacks character being an all black bike with no real distinguishing features. Probably ridiculous, but crazy things happen in my mind
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Old 04-02-23, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by cyclehealth View Post
Everyone, thank you taking the time to share your knowledge. It is much appreciated. Now to find one of those frames...
Just set your max budget, and quickly scroll through facebook marketplace/craigslist/offerup every other day. Click on every single bike that looks like it could be a winner (or at least has a horizontal top tube) and then do some research on the model to see if it's what you want. If you need some pointers on how to find stuff on google just ask, lots of people here at quite adept (including myself). Ignore bikes that are old and crusty, they're not worth your time when you're looking for 'the one'. Find, buy, and ride ones that are in good condition. After a few bikes you'll figure out how to pick a bike that fits your body and your riding style. Basically, don't expect to hit a slam dunk on the first bike you purchase in terms of fit/condition/quality. Rare that anyone does. Took my years to figure out what frame size fits me! But I was stubborn and rode a too-large bike for ages and never got a professional bike fitting.
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Old 04-02-23, 05:21 PM
  #23  
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What lugged steel frames allow wide tires?
The bike that sprang to mind was a late-ish 80s Stumpjumper. Those will take Big Apples...here's one now (image borrowed off 'net):

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Old 04-03-23, 05:54 PM
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Some early hybrids were lugged, eg. Schwinn Crosscut, Trek Multitrack 750. They will take pretty wide 700c tires; around 38mm I believe.
I didn't read the whole thread so sorry if I'm repeating.
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Old 04-03-23, 07:51 PM
  #25  
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Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 3,365

Bikes: 1984 Araya MB 261, 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 1993 Hard Rock Ultra, 1994 Trek Multitrack 750, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930

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MUSA Treks may not be lugged, but they are quality frames.

And do let us know what city you're in and size you want so we can find bikes for you; we love this stuff.
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