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frame "distortion"?

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frame "distortion"?

Old 12-19-15, 07:39 PM
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frame "distortion"?

so i picked up this trek. have no idea of the model. but its def older. guy wanted 200 talked him to 50. rough condition most of the parts were not original/missing parts. but im new to classic and vintage bikes and i do love me a trek. nothing but positive experiences with them. that being said here is my frame/building question. the frame seems to be distorted, now i have an extremly perceptive eyeball. i always notice things that 99 percent of people cannot detect. and as im looking over my new bike cleaning it and greasing it, i notice that it looks what i can describe as "frumpy" the rear seatstay seems off and the tt jsut doesnt look right. so i grab a square and try to square off the tubes and there is movement( by which i mean i place the square on the seat stay and it rocks minimaly then the tt and rocks minimally) now ive had experience with this on cheap older bikes and wasnt bothered because 10 bucks on an old free spirit is a good deal, ten bucks on a bike is always a good deal if it rides. the issue is on the cheapos it is very pronounced and you dont even need a square, i have a free spirit now with about 3-4 mm of rock when you place a square on it. now this trek is under a mm of rock but it is alarming because ive never experienced it on a good bike. my question is, is this just normal for a 35 plus old bike with reynolds tubing i.e. just normal flexing over the years it is steel of course. or should i just think about making this my new commuter/work bike and dump the other commuter that is just worn out. i would like to make this trek a nice bike and try to keep it for 10-20 years but not sure if i should waste my time with it. now also what do i need to do to help you guys out with this, im in the tampa area and do not know of any framebuilders around here, do i write it off or take it in to a frame builder and get a professional oppinion. also is ther a real way to measure any of this, and what would you guys consider out of normal or point of no return. i also purposely posted this here as i want frame builder input as appose to mechanic "replace it" input. thanks looking forward to the feedback.
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Old 12-19-15, 08:19 PM
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I'm sorry, there is no way from that ramble for anyone to understand what you have measured on this bike.
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Old 12-19-15, 08:36 PM
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Tubes aren't always perfectly straight from the manufacturer, if that's what you're wondering. As long as the complete frame is in alignment it's just a cosmetic issue.

BTW, you may want to replace that quick release with a proper enclosed-cam skewer, as those boutique open-cam skewers often can't clamp firmly enough to hold the wheel in place on those horizontal dropouts.

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Old 12-19-15, 08:59 PM
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Your eagle vision may have just detected variance within what is considered acceptable in the industry. Something like plus or minus 2mm, at least back in the day.
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Old 12-19-15, 10:17 PM
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You don't say where you're located, but if there's a local framebuilder with a surface plate it may be worthwhile to have the frame actually measured for alignment and coldset if it's too far out.

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Last edited by Scooper; 12-19-15 at 10:56 PM. Reason: changed image to VAR surface plate
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Old 12-20-15, 12:17 AM
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the seat stays on that bike are straight for about 7 inches at most, where would you even start? If you put a new tube on a surface plate, it will roll, they are all bowed. I imagine this is true for all materials, but it's definitely true for steel. Nowadays, I roll the tubes until I find the high spot, and make sure that's vertical on the frame. Doesn't really really matter and doesn't help the square test though
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Old 12-20-15, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Tubes aren't always perfectly straight from the manufacturer, if that's what you're wondering. As long as the complete frame is in alignment it's just a cosmetic issue.

BTW, you may want to replace that quick release with a proper enclosed-cam skewer, as those boutique open-cam skewers often can't clamp firmly enough to hold the wheel in place on those horizontal dropouts.

Originally Posted by Canaboo
Your eagle vision may have just detected variance within what is considered acceptable in the industry. Something like plus or minus 2mm, at least back in the day.
Originally Posted by Scooper
You don't say where you're located, but if there's a local framebuilder with a surface plate it may be worthwhile to have the frame actually measured for alignment and coldset if it's too far out.


im getting rid of everything on the bike minus the bars,stem,and bb. hope to keep it all period.i want to do a full paint and restore, but my way. this is how she came. and i know there are variance it just doesnt seem right, that being said you guys probably know more than myself so ill just take your word. im in tampa and am not aware of any frame builders in the area. if you know one id def like to take the frame to them and have it onced over. ad sorry about the rambling sometimes its hard getting your thoughts on to paper.
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Old 12-20-15, 11:22 AM
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There's Jonathan Greene in Oviedo, just northeast of Orlando.
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Old 12-20-15, 03:49 PM
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I wouldn't bother a framebuilder with this question. Do a careful string measurement, and call it from that. On a bike like this, I wouldn't worry unless it's more than 5mm off from side to side.
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Old 12-22-15, 10:04 PM
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Simple paragraph breaks would help.
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Old 12-23-15, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper
There's Jonathan Greene in Oviedo, just northeast of Orlando.
Originally Posted by unterhausen
I wouldn't bother a framebuilder with this question. Do a careful string measurement, and call it from that. On a bike like this, I wouldn't worry unless it's more than 5mm off from side to side.
ya i measured it with a speed square and its only about a mm. so im gona to take you guys advice and just leave it be. i guess its one of those situations where you know its there and noone else does.

no do you guys think its worth stripping and painting? besides that there is a small dent in the TT, its minor just a little bit deeper than a chip in the paint. nothing else wrong with it. it is 501 frame with ishiwata fork, suntour dropouts.and would you go original or custom.

paint is terrible already and someone stripped all the decals off it, plus the dent. so my thinking is to leave it as a commuter/beater, or paint it what color i want and find some used parts period or maybee modern 105s. what do you guys think?

p.s. im going to also work on my terrible grammar.
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Old 12-23-15, 11:57 PM
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Whether to endure the cost of painting is your decision. Will you get back your time, cost and efforts if you were to resale the bike? I doubt it. Andy
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Old 12-24-15, 08:28 PM
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I would just strip the frame to where it's clean, prime it and rattlecan it. If you are willing to spend the money and take the time, you can make it turn out quite well. I've redone a few frames, and if you are willing to bite the loss of overspray, and wet sand in between coats, you can end up with something that will come close to what a painter can do.

This is a pretty good tutorial on what it takes to make a rattlecan job look good. For his step 5 I would wait 15 minutes between each light coat. If you spray a new coat on before the last one has had a chance to flash/dry, you will end up with fingerprinting/orange peel. You can sand this out, but it takes time, and makes for a lot of wasted paint. Wet sand, wipe dry, then wipe with a damp alcohol soaked, lint free rag in between coats will really go a long way to ensuring a smooth result when things are all done. If you are looking to mask things off, low tack masking tape, a pencil, a SHARP exacto knife, and a lack of coffee will make things easier.

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Old 12-27-15, 11:41 AM
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As long as the head and seat tubes are on the same plane and the dropouts are centered to the plane of the seat and head tubes and no tubes are kinked Or cracked pretty much anything else is aesthetic.

Does the bike ride right? Can you ride it no-handed without wobbles or tracking issues?

You and your magic eye are overthinking this.
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Old 12-28-15, 12:52 PM
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The PA made Cannondales had some visual distortion . they Normalize the finished aluminum frames

after welding to relieve stresses remaining from all the various welds .

Done in a Jig the places that Matter are Kept alligned when its hot enough to let those stresses relax.

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-28-15 at 12:56 PM.
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