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Carbolite 103, what is wrong with this type of frame?

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Carbolite 103, what is wrong with this type of frame?

Old 06-14-19, 04:38 PM
  #26  
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So where do we sit on the scale with Carbolite 103? If a 531 frame in medium size is about 2,000g +/-, where would the Carbolite 103 sit?
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Old 06-14-19, 07:10 PM
  #27  
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SH27-

Carbolite 103 frames can be very good indeed. I wrote about this on a Peugeot PB 12 I restored and can be found here: https://peugeotcoursepb12.wordpress.com/tag/carbolite/
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Old 06-14-19, 10:07 PM
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I had a lugless Carbolite103 framed bike in size 58. 1984 PH10LE if memory serves.
Can't speak to frame weights. I think the lugless frames were made with metric tubing and a 'new' joining process.
It was a good allround ride, but pushed to limits under a 200# rider.

I put some tubular wheels on it for some rides and compared to the much heavier 27" wheels, it was a pleasure to ride - quick and well mannered.
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Old 06-15-19, 01:14 AM
  #29  
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Carbolite tubing was first introduced on Peugeot's lower-level racing-style bikes having brazed lugs.

It was a significantly lighter tubing than their previous high-tensile tubing as used on their U08 through U010 frames, and as such they no longer spot-welded the cable stops onto the now-thinner tubing but brazed on new barrel-shaped cable stops instead.
Later on they used Carbolite tubing for making their unique lugless frames, which were lighter yet by virtue of their losing the lugs.

My first-year 1979 Carbolite U09 carries the Super Sport moniker of that one year, and sort of lives up to it. It is a great-riding bike imo, with far more-sporting geometry than any previous U0-series bikes. I think of it as "a Super Course with 1-degree steeper angles", again it is an altogether different animal than any that came before it.

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Old 06-15-19, 05:14 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Carbolite tubing was first introduced on Peugeot's lower-level racing-style bikes having brazed lugs.

It was a significantly lighter tubing than their previous high-tensile tubing as used on their U08 through U010 frames, and as such they no longer spot-welded the cable stops onto the now-thinner tubing but brazed on new barrel-shaped cable stops instead.
Later on they used Carbolite tubing for making their unique lugless frames, which were lighter yet by virtue of their losing the lugs.

My first-year 1979 Carbolite U09 carries the Super Sport moniker of that one year, and sort of lives up to it. It is a great-riding bike imo, with far more-sporting geometry than any previous U0-series bikes. I think of it as "a Super Course with 1-degree steeper angles", again it is an altogether different animal than any that came before it.

I didn't know that the carbolite tubing used on the UO 9 and later bikes was different than the hi tensile steel used on the UO 8s and 9s. I really liked the UO 9s and 10s and wish I could find one in my size.

I did think--and perhaps incorrectly--that the frame geometry was pretty much the same on the UO 8, 9, and 10s. I'm fairly certain that they all had pretty similar long wheelbases (42 inches if my memory serves me correctly) and I thought they all had relatively slack angles. Once set up, these bikes all make fine C&V touring bikes.
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Old 06-15-19, 06:26 AM
  #31  
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Last weekend I finished 600km brevet with my Carbolite 103 -tubed PH8M bike, no bad feeligs towards the frame. 22.5h ride time and 34.5 hours from start to finish, so it was not even close being the slowest bike in the bunch. Sure, it's bit more heavy than the bikes made out of fancier tubes, but ride quality is good, if not great. Gravel or rainy sections were not scary because there's lots of room to run 35mm tires with full fenders, too.

For 39 year old low-end frame, I could not ask for more.
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Old 06-15-19, 07:09 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
I had a lugless Carbolite103 framed bike in size 58. 1984 PH10LE if memory serves.
Can't speak to frame weights. I think the lugless frames were made with metric tubing and a 'new' joining process.
It was a good allround ride, but pushed to limits under a 200# rider.

I put some tubular wheels on it for some rides and compared to the much heavier 27" wheels, it was a pleasure to ride - quick and well mannered.
I also have one of these PH10LE bikes.According to the brochure they are HLE type tubing, not sure if it is the same as Carbolite.I picked it up original and complete for $80 in my size (25"). I have not messed with it yet . From what I have learned , the tubing is very light and internally brazed. That is why it is lugless. I look forward to building this bike(my first Peugeot). I plan to get rid of the worn out HelioMatic hub and set it up with a conventional FW.I will also run a set of Gentleman 700c rims instead of the 27" that came with it. Mine is black and I believe a 1984. Joe

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Old 06-15-19, 07:12 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by gesta View Post
Last weekend I finished 600km brevet with my Carbolite 103 -tubed PH8M bike, no bad feeligs towards the frame. 22.5h ride time and 34.5 hours from start to finish, so it was not even close being the slowest bike in the bunch. Sure, it's bit more heavy than the bikes made out of fancier tubes, but ride quality is good, if not great. Gravel or rainy sections were not scary because there's lots of room to run 35mm tires with full fenders, too.

For 39 year old low-end frame, I could not ask for more.
One of the best things about these older Pugs is that they have plenty of room for fat tires and fenders. I did a tour through Finland: best bread I've ever had and some of the biggest mosquitoes you'll see outside of Minnesota.

Nice ride,
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Old 06-15-19, 08:18 AM
  #34  
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I'm sure I have ridden some of these on test rides back in my bike mechanic days. Nothing particularly remarkable, but they were low-end bikes and the component selection probably created a cognitive bias on my part.

my understanding is these were internally lugged, not really lugless. I always figured that they were not made by hand, and figured there must have been engineers involved. I would really like to know more about the process. They were very clean, I'm sure the brazing filler was internal and they were hearth brazed somehow. I would also like to see one cut apart.

My only reservation about them is that it would have been pretty easy for a production line person to ignore a bad braze. But I have never seen a broken one. And you can see that the mitering is perfect.
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Old 06-15-19, 08:22 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm sure I have ridden some of these on test rides back in my bike mechanic days. Nothing particularly remarkable, but they were low-end bikes and the component selection probably created a cognitive bias on my part.

my understanding is these were internally lugged, not really lugless. I always figured that they were not made by hand, and figured there must have been engineers involved. I would really like to know more about the process. They were very clean, I'm sure the brazing filler was internal and they were hearth brazed somehow. I would also like to see one cut apart.

My only reservation about them is that it would have been pretty easy for a production line person to ignore a bad braze. But I have never seen a broken one. And you can see that the mitering is perfect.
I worked in a shop that sold a lot of Peugeots back in the day. We cut up some crashed/damaged carbolite frames and then used that to show to customers the work on the frames. The work was very clean.
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Old 06-15-19, 09:21 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Kabuki12 View Post
I also have one of these PH10LE bikes.According to the brochure they are HLE type tubing, not sure if it is the same as Carbolite.I picked it up original and complete for $80 in my size (25"). I have not messed with it yet . From what I have learned , the tubing is very light and internally brazed. That is why it is lugless. I look forward to building this bike(my first Peugeot). I plan to get rid of the worn out HelioMatic hub and set it up with a conventional FW.I will also run a set of Gentleman 700c rims instead of the 27" that came with it. Mine is black and I believe a 1984. Joe
Perhaps mine is a year or two earlier - HLE followed Carbolite103 in the model years. Not sure how long HLE lasted before a conversion to other tubing, maybe 2yrs?. There must have been a debate about Metric vs English tubing at this point.

Here's an old pic. Maybe I can find a better one to show tube joins. All original (less tires/tubes), even silver ribbon tape.
Ridden only a few times, minor fall in driveway caused original owner to 'hang it in the rafters'. About 20 years later, it came to me free.
PH10LE - frame was smallest comfortable fit for me @ 58cm.



here's a clearer pic of lugless tube joins.

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Old 06-15-19, 10:05 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I'm sure I have ridden some of these on test rides back in my bike mechanic days. Nothing particularly remarkable, but they were low-end bikes and the component selection probably created a cognitive bias on my part.

my understanding is these were internally lugged, not really lugless. I always figured that they were not made by hand, and figured there must have been engineers involved. I would really like to know more about the process. They were very clean, I'm sure the brazing filler was internal and they were hearth brazed somehow. I would also like to see one cut apart.

My only reservation about them is that it would have been pretty easy for a production line person to ignore a bad braze. But I have never seen a broken one. And you can see that the mitering is perfect.
I think Peugeot called it "inexternal brazing". I have a PH501 and a Nice (also 501) made with this process. It must have been developed as a means of keeping quality while reducing cost using an automated brazing process. The finished product has extremely clean joints. https://www.bikeboompeugeot.com/Broc...0Page%2010.jpg
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Old 06-15-19, 10:09 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I didn't know that the carbolite tubing used on the UO 9 and later bikes was different than the hi tensile steel used on the UO 8s and 9s. I really liked the UO 9s and 10s and wish I could find one in my size.

I did think--and perhaps incorrectly--that the frame geometry was pretty much the same on the UO 8, 9, and 10s. I'm fairly certain that they all had pretty similar long wheelbases (42 inches if my memory serves me correctly) and I thought they all had relatively slack angles. Once set up, these bikes all make fine C&V touring bikes.
The tubing difference might have been more of a processing change than chemical, which allowed dimensional (thickness) changes, but peugeot as a very large manufacturer was developing their own price-point frames from scratch vs. relying on the traditional branded tubing and lug suppliers.

I know more about these bike's geometry, which was the same over the years until 1979. That year, the frame angles changed completely, a steeper seattube angle, shorter chainstays and a more-relaxed headtube angle took the place of their traditional geometry on their price-point UO-series bikes. Suddenly these bikes lent themselves more toward spirited riding.

HLE again was some sort of high-tensile steel, translated I believe to "high elastic limit".

The lugless frame construction extended well up into Peugeot's extensive mid-priced lineup, with some of these frames sporting Reynolds tubing at least up to the level of enhanced "Chromoly-M" or 501.
Surprisingly, these "tre-tubi" lugless framesets could be about as light as an earlier, lugged PX10 frame based on the weight of these two complete bikes that I have weighed!



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Old 06-15-19, 10:23 AM
  #39  
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I always loved the pearl color on these, they even had it on the lower end models.
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Old 06-15-19, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood View Post
Perhaps mine is a year or two earlier - HLE followed Carbolite103 in the model years. Not sure how long HLE lasted before a conversion to other tubing, maybe 2yrs?. There must have been a debate about Metric vs English tubing at this point.

Here's an old pic. Maybe I can find a better one to show tube joins. All original (less tires/tubes), even silver ribbon tape.
Ridden only a few times, minor fall in driveway caused original owner to 'hang it in the rafters'. About 20 years later, it came to me free.
PH10LE - frame was smallest comfortable fit for me @ 58cm.



here's a clearer pic of lugless tube joins.

Well that looks familiar. This is the 1984 I got from my brother free last fall. It's now my yard sale bike. Comfortable, stable ride. Far from fast, but also far from slow. A few adjustments are needed but, overall, I really liked the shakedown ride into town this past week.

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Old 06-15-19, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by scozim View Post
Well that looks familiar. This is the 1984 I got from my brother free last fall. It's now my yard sale bike. Comfortable, stable ride. Far from fast, but also far from slow. A few adjustments are needed but, overall, I really liked the shakedown ride into town this past week.


Can you confirm the metric tubing? I put that info in a post and not sure now.
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Old 06-15-19, 03:06 PM
  #42  
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Some handsome machines in this thread.

So, is it safe to claim that Peugeot was the undisputed king of the low end? I like the look of these Carbolite and HLE framed bikes, but I've never ridden one. I do have a '71 UO8, and prefer it to a Raleigh GP, Hi-ten Schwinn Le Tour, Fuji Special Road Racer, and every other bike I've had in the same basic class. The low end Pug seems to get an awful lot of praise here. Mine rides much better than I expected it to when I got it. If it ever fails, I'll snatch up another Peugeot to replace it.
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Old 06-15-19, 08:50 PM
  #43  
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I had a Peugeot with 103 for a while, sold it a few months ago because it was too small. It was heavy, too heavy in my opinion. Around 27lbs fully built with mostly original components.

But, other than being too small the ride was fine. If you’re not climbing a bunch of hills, the weight really doesn’t matter that much. Mine certainly wasn’t as lively feeling as my Reynolds 531 bikes, but not dead feeling either.
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Old 06-15-19, 10:31 PM
  #44  
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I too, don't understand the antipathy towards the Carbolite 103 frame, or for that matter, the Helicomatic drive system. My only velo is an '84 PH10LE that I bought new. It has both, Carbolite 103 frame AND the Helicomatic drive system. Every thing looks and functions as well as it did on day one. It handles well and rides smoothly and accelerates with ease. Maybe some who poo-poo the Carbolite frame and/or the Helicomatic system have no personal, first-hand experience with either and just like to regurgitate what they've heard. I wouldn't trade my DT friction shifting for Di2. I wouldn't trade my PH10 for ANY new bike, either. It ain't broke--don't need to be ''fixed".
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Old 06-16-19, 12:23 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Jon T View Post
I too, don't understand the antipathy towards the Carbolite 103 frame, or for that matter, the Helicomatic drive system. My only velo is an '84 PH10LE that I bought new. It has both, Carbolite 103 frame AND the Helicomatic drive system. Every thing looks and functions as well as it did on day one. It handles well and rides smoothly and accelerates with ease. Maybe some who poo-poo the Carbolite frame and/or the Helicomatic system have no personal, first-hand experience with either and just like to regurgitate what they've heard. I wouldn't trade my DT friction shifting for Di2. I wouldn't trade my PH10 for ANY new bike, either. It ain't broke--don't need to be ''fixed".
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I tried, I really tried to retain as many original parts on my PH501, but the periodic "freewheeling" of the drivetrain in the wrong direction following a shift turned out to be too much.
Even after trying both the original Sedisport chain and a couple of modern chains, the chain "skating" problem remained annoying and even dangerous while riding in a tight group on climbs when someone was behind me. I had one very experienced rider nearly fall off of her bike when I hit "neutral" and the bike slowed suddenly, luckily she veered to the side and thus didn't have to un-clip suddenly.
I changed it to a standard freewheel hub early last year with no looking back!
I remember also rebuilding my Trek 720's rear wheel back around 1990 when I decided that a Shimano 7s freehub would just be 100% better, not to mention that on one ride the lockring bearing cone on the Helicomatic freewheel loosened while I was 25 miles from home up in the Santa Monica Mountains. I found a thick nail and a rock to re-secure it, but it helped convince me to let go of the Helicomatic.
The Helicomatic freewheel hub and the Panaracer TT Radial tires were both incredibly poor component choices for a top-of-line touring bike in an era when much better parts were available. But some combination of lower cost and/or marketing value apparently swayed Trek's decision-making for the worse.

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Old 06-16-19, 08:27 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
So, is it safe to claim that Peugeot was the undisputed king of the low end?
That's not safe to say at all. The European brands were more expensive than better Japanese bikes at this time in history. That's why they pretty much disappeared from the U.S. The low end Japanese bikes were still using lugs, I'm guessing these Peugeots were a hard sell when there was so much pro-lug propaganda out there in the literature that people were looking at before they bought. Peugeot still had name recognition from the early '70s bike boom. They were one of the manufacturers that really stepped up production and profited from the demand, and that stuck with them for over a decade. I would say that by the early '80s, that had started to fade.
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Old 06-16-19, 08:37 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
That's not safe to say at all. The European brands were more expensive than better Japanese bikes at this time in history. That's why they pretty much disappeared from the U.S. The low end Japanese bikes were still using lugs, I'm guessing these Peugeots were a hard sell when there was so much pro-lug propaganda out there in the literature that people were looking at before they bought. Peugeot still had name recognition from the early '70s bike boom. They were one of the manufacturers that really stepped up production and profited from the demand, and that stuck with them for over a decade. I would say that by the early '80s, that had started to fade.
Good point.
I was really referring more to ride qualities/preferences among current bike geeks, not so much market dominance in the time they were made. No doubt the products coming from Japan were excellent quality, good riders, and good sellers.
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Old 06-16-19, 10:17 AM
  #48  
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Nice old thread! I have a question about experience with Carbolite. Scooper said waybackwhen, that this alloy or its most likely industry equivalents that the strength (both UTS and YS) should be less than 4130 or 531, yet the flexibility (ride quality) is pretty good. The tube walls should be a little thin, and therefore if so the durability of the frames should be kind of short.

UO-8 and similar frames have a rep as easily bent, if not prone to breakage. Does Carbolite have a reputation for fragility?
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Old 06-16-19, 10:38 AM
  #49  
79pmooney
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Visually the construction process was just too close to a cheap cheap utility frame. Different process but it did not appear that way. Frame tubing was not very special, in comparison to Peugeot's history the bikes just did not visually measure up.
That history includes decades and many thousands of UO-8s, probably Peugeot's all-time biggest selling bike. Beneficiary of the early '70s bike boom. I know there are those who revere UO-8s but they are nothing special. That tubing is heavy and not strong. Yes, classic lugs, but lugs that are nothing special to look at, just a cheap, fast way to join tubes. My first 10 speed was a '67 UO-8. Became a single speed 4 years later, fix gear in '76 and died a car-door death in '82. Did many winters and many crashes. I got quite used to the concept that after each crash (many of these crashes just sliding out on snow and ice; events that wouldn't trouble a stronger frame), the frame had a new "alignment" and rode differently. Wasn't worth the trouble to actually align it. Next time I looked at it funny, it wold take a new alignment.

I suspect those lowly Carbolite frames were considerably stronger than the UP-8s of Peugeot's history. I had a Reynolds 501 Peugeot of the same era - nicer tubing but I believe the same internal lugs. That, despite the ordinary looks, was a good frame and a good ride. I"m guessing the Carbolite frames are a stiffer and heavier version of that good ride and probably far and away better than the "classic" UO-8 ride.

Edit: OK I answered a 5 yo post. My bad. I'll stick to what I said.

Ben

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Old 06-16-19, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
That history includes decades and many thousands of UO-8s, probably Peugeot's all-time biggest selling bike. Beneficiary of the early '70s bike boom. I know there are those who revere UO-8s but they are nothing special. That tubing is heavy and not strong. Yes, classic lugs, but lugs that are nothing special to look at, just a cheap, fast way to join tubes. My first 10 speed was a '67 UO-8. Became a single speed 4 years later, fix gear in '76 and died a car-door death in '82. Did many winters and many crashes. I got quite used to the concept that after each crash (many of these crashes just sliding out on snow and ice; events that wouldn't trouble a stronger frame), the frame had a new "alignment" and rode differently. Wasn't worth the trouble to actually align it. Next time I looked at it funny, it wold take a new alignment.

I suspect those lowly Carbolite frames were considerably stronger than the UP-8s of Peugeot's history. I had a Reynolds 501 Peugeot of the same era - nicer tubing but I believe the same internal lugs. That, despite the ordinary looks, was a good frame and a good ride. I"m guessing the Carbolite frames are a stiffer and heavier version of that good ride and probably far and away better than the "classic" UO-8 ride.

Edit: OK I answered a 5 yo post. My bad. I'll stick to what I said.

Ben
Those early-70's UO-series bikes definitely had the reputation of being soft at least in the forks.

Now we have to consider that most of the riders of these new-fangled, skinny-tire ten-speeds had previously owned heavier, durable, mostly American bikes with wider wheels and tires, but the Raleigh tens-speeds of that era showed themselves to be more durable than the Pugs under these same riders.

It is to Raleigh's credit that I am a serious rider all these years later, since I remember friends from my early-teen years who stopped riding after their flashier, fancy-pants U08 (relative to my Raleigh, at least as I remember it) failed to survive a curb-crossing.

My Raleigh Record survived years of hard use up to and beyond the day I entered my first road race, and then survived some further use by my father after I had (with his help) moved up to a larger Super Course MkII that I later toured on, sold, and bought a much-revised 1979 Super Course that sadly was stolen from an NC State bike rack during my first year of ownership.

Peugeot's vast experience with their proprietary tubings and manufacturing methods likely resulted in each successive version of their entry-level bikes being better than the prior one, both in terms of performance and durability. I haven't damaged any of these bikes myself so this is pure speculation on my part, but they were accumulating experience with the American market end users, and no doubt put that knowledge to good use.

I've seen an early-eighties Nishiki Riviera survive a solid impact into an open car door with only minimal effect on fork alignment while the front wheel was fully taco'd, so at least by this time some of the Japanese bike frames/forks were being made to very high strength standards.

Last edited by dddd; 06-16-19 at 12:17 PM.
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