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Building a Roadster

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Building a Roadster

Old 11-10-12, 02:21 AM
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Building a Roadster

i've been bouncing this idea in my head since my 60's schwinn speedster got stolen a few months back. i really liked the way the speedster looked, the internal hub gearing, chain guard, fenders, rear rack, straight top tube, and upright sitting position. i've been using a friend's really old diamondback since then but i'd really like to build a roadster with quality parts over the winter while i have a bit more time. i've mostly been looking at threads here and at bikes on cl and wanted to see if you guys even thought this would be a worthy endeavour.

my biggest question is what kind of frame to use: i think the best would be to get a used lugged steel frame off of cl with matching forks and build off of there. i'm thinking a 70's - 80's peugeot, nishiki, motobecane, trek, bianchi, fuji, cinelli, gitane, univega, raleigh, or khs. i've seen these bikes on cl going between $200 and $300 and i'd like to think they are in the right price range and have what i am looking for: lugged steel, horizontal dropouts, and braze ons for fenders/racks/panniers*. i lean towards the nishikis, univegas, and khs because they seem to go for less yet have the same features/structures.

once the frame is obtained, i plan to use new parts like north road style bars, fenders, seat stems, and chain guards from velo-orange. brooks saddle, of course. shimano or sturmey archer seven speed planetary gear hub. some type of dyno hub for lights and maybe even disc brakes. not really sure what kind of rims or wheels to get but i'd like something for daily road riding where streets may not be completely nice. have yet to think about cranks, chains, or mechanical parts (need to read up more on this)...

the schwinn is the first bike i've ever owned as an adult and i really enjoyed it. it only cost $70 but i'd like a really fancy toy now. budget is about $800 and some of the really fancy stuff like the dyno hub and disc brakes are mostly fantasies but in the future it'd be nice to have a base frame to add those features on. if any of this sounds stupid or wrong or misdirected please comment as my bicycle knowledge consists of only looking at pictures here and cl ads. i should probably actually read thread content here but i end up just scrolling to the pics and drooling

a couple of quick questions:
how much will this bike weigh?
is there a frame i should avoid? a frame i should keep an eye out for? am i even looking for the right type of frame (road)?
what kind of frame will most likely have easily available corresponding parts?
should i get new gear from somewhere else? what options do i have?

*is a frame with single braze-ons above the dropouts enough for a rack and fender?
*do i need the braze-ons on the frame for a rack or do all racks come with an adapter?

any comments or advice is greatly appreciated as i'd probably just start putting things together if i hadn't found this board. also, if there is a thread here with this same intent please post a link! thanks for any help!

Last edited by Need More Gear; 11-10-12 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 11-10-12, 06:04 AM
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Why not get the Speedster's inspiration, the Raleigh? A Raleigh Sports/Superbe, or for that matter a Raleigh Sprite would work well with what you have in mind, they already have the things you have in mind to buy from Velo Orange. Mind that Raleighs have funky threading standards, but aside from that things should work well. You could use these two as a starting point and "agressively" upgrade them with lighter aluminium parts. Note that Raleigh Sprites, although sometimes equipped with derailers, can be easily converted to Internal Gears.


This bike had the seatpost and rims swapped out for aluminium versions, the hub upgraded to five speeds, and LED lights added.

If you want something like a Speedster coupled with a high-end frame, I still recommend buying a Sports/Superbe or a Sprite, and transferring the parts over to the nice frame, since they tend to come with Sturmey Archer gears, as well as brooks, and in the case of the Superbe, dynamo hub.
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Old 11-10-12, 10:11 AM
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As for weight, the above-pictured bike (now with a Velo Orange croissant bag and slightly heavier Michelin World Tour tires) is 37 pounds and change. I once built up a smaller 58cm Trek 730 Multi Track (full double-butted crmo frame) with similar accoutrements and I seem to recall it weighing solidly in the mid-30s.
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Old 11-10-12, 01:11 PM
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Sweet!
Originally Posted by jrecoi View Post
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Old 11-10-12, 01:26 PM
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i'd love to have a classic raleigh roadster but i have a few things keeping me from going down that route:

1. weight. is a roadster inherently heavy or would it be possible to build one up and keep it in the mid 20 pound range? is the bulk of the weight in the frame of the bike??

2. if i did go down the raleigh route i'd like to keep it as original as possible. i'll inevitably end up getting a raleigh and keep/make it as original as possible but right now i'd like to have one bike which i could use daily and have modern technology/gear for it where i can be selective for what gets used.

3. i never see raleighs on cl.

4. you bring up funky thread standards and this is something that i think i'd like to avoid. from what i understand the thread standards which are used on the raleighs will limit what type of cranks/forks/head stems one can use on the bike. am i correct or does this affect something else? are there other bikes that have funky thread standards which i should probably avoid? i've been told peugeot's have the same nature.
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Old 11-10-12, 01:58 PM
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If you want to avoid funky threading and oddball stuff, just go with a Japanese Frame.

A bike like you describe building is not gonna be a lightweight. Mid-20's will be tough with the accessories you're considering. That's OK though...

You can source a lot of what you want from Velo-Orange but IMHO a bike built with nothing but Velo-Orange parts looks silly and lacks originality....but that's just what this idiot thinks, i'm sure there's plenty of folks out there who are perfectly happy to get a big box of shiny parts all new in their packaging and slap them all over an 80's Universal Japanese Bike and call it the "Ultimate Sports Tourer" or whatever. It aint me, but who the hell am I.
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Old 11-10-12, 02:04 PM
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I remember someone getting a Raleigh Sports down to 30 pounds by pretty much replacing pretty much everything that is not the frame and fork with Aluminium bits. Starting with a double butted something frame, you can probably pare it down further. Did the Speedster seem heavy to you, they are in the same weight range as the Raleigh Sports.

The reason I recommended the Raleigh route is that functionally, everything is there, so there isn't an inbetween time where you are riding a half completed bike that isn't fully equipped. Starting off with a heavy, but complete bike, you can properly evaluate what parts of the bike to change or what to keep the same. If you want to keep things original, you can ride the Raleigh as is, while building up "rider" wheels that can be used day to day, and ultimately transfer the rider wheels o the project frame when there is enough parts done to complete the project bike.

I would look in CL more towards the garage sales, and the older LBS occasionally have Raleighs hidden away in the corners.

The only really funky threading standards are the BB cups and the headset. Velo Orange has a threadless BB that deals with the BB shortly, the threaded Raleigh upper race are essentially bulletproof, and the pressed in parts are ISO dimensioned, so if the fork is ruined, you can replace it with any 1 inch fork that fits, and use an ISO threaded headset. Stems are the standard 22.2mm kind, seatpost is the common 25.4mm. Frame tubing is standard diameters, no issue there.

Front hubs tend to have 5/16" axles, with corresponding dropouts, a little bit of filing of the axle will be enough to stuff a 9mm front hub in. Rear dropouts are dimensioned as well for 5/16", which match Sturmery Archer axle flats, other axles may require filing.

French bikes are special in the dimensions that they use, they combine funky theads as well as funky tubing dimensions. Basically no parts dimensioned for Raleigh/British/Japanese/Taiwanese/Chinese bikes will fit on a french bike without modification.

Last edited by jrecoi; 11-10-12 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 11-10-12, 02:05 PM
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I am a roadster guy.

Here is my Schwinn Continental roadster. It was a terrific experience to tear down the bike and rebuild it in my vision. This bike actually garners the most attention -- possibly because the chrome is in outstanding condition and there's so much of it -- or because everyone had a Schwinn of one sort or anther. I liken it to a 'Cadillac Eldorado'... heavy metal.



My Raleigh Sport -- which I keep at the office -- seems like an utter light-weight in comparison. In the case of the Raleigh, the weight and construction make for a really terrific ride... it's hard to pin-point what it is about that's so wonderful, but it's just very sweet. This is my "MGB."





I have also a 77 Nishiki International set up as a roadster and it has become more of my daily driver... it was cheap, light and it handles everything I throw it's way. We do a kind of trail riding every week, I've got this set up with wider tires, and it's very, very capable. A bit nervous in character compared to either of my other roadsters. The RX7 of the bunch?


Last edited by akcapbikeforums; 11-10-12 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 11-10-12, 02:05 PM
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I've done that sort of build with early 70s Raleigh Super Course frames. They're reasonably lightweight (Reynolds 531 main tubes), have vertical dropouts with no derailleur hanger, have geometry that's adaptable to lots of uses, and you can hang alu components on it rather than the steel that a Sports would have.

Here's one that's still in the fleet: a '75 Super Course MkII with 5-speed Sturmey Archer hub and bar-end shifter:


And some that have moved on:

A '73 Super Course with AW rear hub and bar-end shifter:


Early 70s Super Course set up as a single speed:


A '71 Super Course set up as a Porteur with 5-speed rear cluster and wooden fenders:


A repainted '71 Super Course with a 4-speed rear hub:


Another '71 Super Course with AW rear hub and massive Stronglight chain guard ring:


A '75 Super Course MkII set up as a single speed with studded tires for winter duty:
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Old 11-10-12, 02:11 PM
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This immediately comes to mind



https://sheldonbrown.com/org/raleigh-...ion/index.html
Attached Images
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Old 11-11-12, 01:13 PM
  #11  
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thanks for all the drooling material!!

Originally Posted by jrecoi View Post
I remember someone getting a Raleigh Sports down to 30 pounds by pretty much replacing pretty much everything that is not the frame and fork with Aluminium bits. Starting with a double butted something frame, you can probably pare it down further. Did the Speedster seem heavy to you, they are in the same weight range as the Raleigh Sports.

The reason I recommended the Raleigh route is that functionally, everything is there, so there isn't an inbetween time where you are riding a half completed bike that isn't fully equipped. Starting off with a heavy, but complete bike, you can properly evaluate what parts of the bike to change or what to keep the same. If you want to keep things original, you can ride the Raleigh as is, while building up "rider" wheels that can be used day to day, and ultimately transfer the rider wheels o the project frame when there is enough parts done to complete the project bike.

I would look in CL more towards the garage sales, and the older LBS occasionally have Raleighs hidden away in the corners.

The only really funky threading standards are the BB cups and the headset. Velo Orange has a threadless BB that deals with the BB shortly, the threaded Raleigh upper race are essentially bulletproof, and the pressed in parts are ISO dimensioned, so if the fork is ruined, you can replace it with any 1 inch fork that fits, and use an ISO threaded headset. Stems are the standard 22.2mm kind, seatpost is the common 25.4mm. Frame tubing is standard diameters, no issue there.

Front hubs tend to have 5/16" axles, with corresponding dropouts, a little bit of filing of the axle will be enough to stuff a 9mm front hub in. Rear dropouts are dimensioned as well for 5/16", which match Sturmery Archer axle flats, other axles may require filing.

French bikes are special in the dimensions that they use, they combine funky theads as well as funky tubing dimensions. Basically no parts dimensioned for Raleigh/British/Japanese/Taiwanese/Chinese bikes will fit on a french bike without modification.
awesome reply, thanks!

the speedster did seem heavy to me but i don't have much experience with bikes. from what i understand now is that if a nishiki, centurion, or bianchi is built up with similar dimensions and it will weigh about as much as a proper raleigh then there is really no point in moving in that direction if weight is a concern. considering weight of bike, cargo limit, and sturdiness what is most common and best for an everyday road bike in terms of material and dimensions? i'd like to think that the best is what the raleigh road bikes came out with but if it's possible to build up a road bike with a frame of different material and have it perform just as well then i would rather head down that route.

you mentioned a project bike and this is what i'd really just like to do. a project. something i can tear down and build up from scratch with everything i've picked personally after much contemplation (i.e. the next month, hah). that's why i'm wondering if a nishiki or khs or whatever used road bike from the 80's could serve my purpose.

thanks a ton for posting some common dimensions, do you happen to know what diameter tubing is normal for the road bikes?

you guys are starting to make me think that just grabbing a raleigh off of ebay, upgrading the parts, saving the originals in case i buy a different frame, shift all the upgraded parts from the raleigh to the new frame and reinstall all the original parts on the raleigh would be the route you guys would like me to take. i am starting to lean in that direction too. i was looking at prices of raleigh sports and sprites on ebay last night and they are usually going between $300 and $400 with shipping and that is totally in my price range. also, the nishikis and centurions were going for about that same price on cl as well...

ALSO, i found this last night:
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac...379984629.html

totally in price range and exactly what you guys were mentioning. incredible that it appears on cl the same day i make this thread while i've been thinking about making it for a while and i am serious, i never see them on cl. i emailed the dude last night asking for a height but he hasn't emailed back. if he would have and it was between 53 and 56 i would have gone out and bought it. it wouldn't have mattered if it was 2 AM. no reply yet, though... is that a good price for it?

Originally Posted by akcapbikeforums View Post
I have also a 77 Nishiki International set up as a roadster and it has become more of my daily driver... it was cheap, light and it handles everything I throw it's way. We do a kind of trail riding every week, I've got this set up with wider tires, and it's very, very capable. A bit nervous in character compared to either of my other roadsters. The RX7 of the bunch?
Why it is more nervous in character? Does the frame have smaller diameter tubes making it less rigid? Or is it a different material?

Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
They're reasonably lightweight?? (Reynolds 531 main tubes)
What are Reynolds tubes? Is Reynolds a manufacturer that makes most tubes for bicycle companies? Or is it a standard?



once again, thanks for all the replies and pics! i do enjoy the way the raleighs look and i'd love to have something that classy. if this build doesn't end up in that direction, some day it definitely will!
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Old 11-11-12, 01:56 PM
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Where are you located and what size frame do you need?

Roadsters with IGH hubs, Dynos and Brooks saddles are generally well north of 30 pounds. It's part of the charm.

If you build a bike with lightweight tubes and shave weight with all alloy bits, plastic mudguards etc , it becomes something different...city bike, commuter, sports tourer, club bike, whatever. Nothing wrong with that too.
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Old 11-11-12, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Need More Gear View Post
What are Reynolds tubes? Is Reynolds a manufacturer that makes most tubes for bicycle companies? Or is it a standard?
Here's a starting point:

https://www.classicrendezvous.com/Bri...ds_gallery.htm
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Old 11-11-12, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Need More Gear View Post
Why it is more nervous in character? Does the frame have smaller diameter tubes making it less rigid? Or is it a different material?
I rode the Nishiki 16 miles today and the Raleigh 8 miles. I guess "nervous" doesn't sound great... how about "spritely." It's eager, quick and nimble... and in comparison seems "lighter on its feet." The Raleigh and Schwinn seem more "planted."

I think you're getting a lot of great feedback... I'm sure you'll digest all this and find your way!
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Old 11-12-12, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Where are you located and what size frame do you need?

Roadsters with IGH hubs, Dynos and Brooks saddles are generally well north of 30 pounds. It's part of the charm.

If you build a bike with lightweight tubes and shave weight with all alloy bits, plastic mudguards etc , it becomes something different...city bike, commuter, sports tourer, club bike, whatever. Nothing wrong with that too.
i'm in la mirada by whittier and fullerton, east/south of la. i think a 54/55 cm frame is ideal but i think anywhere between 53 and 56 should work for me.

i wasn't aware of the distinctions between a roadster and all those other bikes but i would definitely like something lighter than something heavier, right now. i totally agree that there is a charm and classiness to a proper roadster along with a link to a different age where hardy steel was established as the choice for a bicycle, hence the weight. and that's probably where my uncertainty and hesitation begins. uncertainty in terms of not knowing what to do in order to build a bicycle which is lightweight yet has the same functionality and perhaps somewhat of an aesthetic semblance with a roadster.

i'm tired of going back and forth in my head, though, therefore ---> all these questions have been asked. and i'll have time to work on this project in a month or so, that's why i'm trying to establish what is necessary now.


Originally Posted by akcapbikeforums View Post
I rode the Nishiki 16 miles today and the Raleigh 8 miles. I guess "nervous" doesn't sound great... how about "spritely." It's eager, quick and nimble... and in comparison seems "lighter on its feet." The Raleigh and Schwinn seem more "planted."

I think you're getting a lot of great feedback... I'm sure you'll digest all this and find your way!
thanks for clarifying. what do you think makes it more "spritely"? is there a difference in tubing thickness/material? or is it mostly lighter gear, tires, and wheels? i definitely am getting a lot of great feedback and don't worry i'll post pics of the before and after once i do start the build as well as along the way since i know you guys love pics.

now that i know that it's probably not a roadster that i'm going to try to build, should i change the thread title??


Last edited by Need More Gear; 11-12-12 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 11-12-12, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Need More Gear View Post
thanks for clarifying. what do you think makes it more "spritely"? is there a difference in tubing thickness/material? or is it mostly lighter gear, tires, and wheels? i definitely am getting a lot of great feedback and don't worry i'll post pics of the before and after once i do start the build as well as along the way since i know you guys love pics.

now that i know that it's probably not a roadster that i'm going to try to build, should i change the thread title??
The weight.

You can't change a thread title after the fact... but I wouldn't give it too much thought. The nuances of difference between Roadster, City Bike, Townie, etc. are highly ephemeral. You won't be trespassing on any sacred distinction no matter what you choose.
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Old 11-12-12, 06:26 PM
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This could be in my head, but I think some of the smoothness of the ride comes from the extra weight.
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Old 11-12-12, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
This could be in my head, but I think some of the smoothness of the ride comes from the extra weight.
Nope that is a given. I have an aluminum city bike (Redline R530) it is similar in size to my Raleigh DL-1 but no comparison in riding comfort. The DL is my magic carpet ride. . Once you get it up to speed it just rolls on, the Redline is more prone to fussiness (for lack of a better word).

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Old 11-15-12, 03:29 PM
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i got a super course











i'll post better pics when i have my camera, those are the ones off the craigslist ad
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Old 11-15-12, 06:01 PM
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That looks so clean. It's a good candidate for an urban lightweight roadster thingy, you know the one you want to build. Almost too good. Keep all the original parts. Look forward to closeups.
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Old 11-15-12, 07:53 PM
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Change out the bars for some North Roads and appropriate brake levers add fenders and call it done!


Nice, very nice!
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Old 11-17-12, 03:41 PM
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/9017828...th/8193449985/


most of the drivetrain is simplex, the hubs are normandy, the brakelevers and brakes are weinmann. the frame says carlton on it. i'm thinking 73/74?

Originally Posted by clubman View Post
That looks so clean. It's a good candidate for an urban lightweight roadster thingy, you know the one you want to build. Almost too good.
i know. i feel i am about to do a cardinal sin taking it apart and putting new gear on it but nlerner convinced me to use a raleigh as the base frame. i'm thinking about using electrolytic rust removal on some of the parts (there's barely any rust), since i've done it before and all it does is leave a few pits where the rust was at. store them. maybe put them back on later? then sell the whole bike with everything detailed, hopefully get more than what i paid for it. i think i could sell the parts themselves and get back more? i'll cross that bridge when i get there.


Originally Posted by Velognome View Post
Change out the bars for some North Roads and appropriate brake levers add fenders and call it done!
well.... i need an internal gear hub.
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Old 11-17-12, 03:58 PM
  #23  
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i'm thinking black leather grips, with black rapid fire shifter, and black inverse brake levers on north road bars. silver cables, chrome fenders, and cream tires. i'm going to add a chain guard as well but not sure if i want to leave it chrome or try to match the colour of the paint on the bike. i think if it's painted it will look weird with the paint of the bike being original and the paint of the chainguard being new. eh, it'll bother me when new but once used it'll look better than chrome.
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Old 11-17-12, 09:15 PM
  #24  
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Don't paint it. It's only original once.
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Old 11-17-12, 11:07 PM
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when i mentioned painting i was referring to the chainguard.

leaning towards something like this
https://www.bicycledesigner.com/bike-...rd-chrome.html

or maybe something minimal
https://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...33&category=54
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