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Two frame modification questions......

Framebuilders Thinking about a custom frame? Lugged vs Fillet Brazed. Different Frame materials? Newvex or Pacenti Lugs? why get a custom Road, Mountain, or Track Frame? Got a question about framebuilding? Lets discuss framebuilding at it's finest.

Two frame modification questions......

Old 09-01-09, 10:54 AM
  #1  
thook
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Two frame modification questions......

To all you frame builders out there.....


1) I've mentioned the idea of taking a Gran Turismo and modifying the top tube to suit my wife. The frame size is just right for her, but she doesn't like a horizontal TT. Makes her uncomfortable in the event of an accident. So, in another forum I mentioned the idea of having my friend (not a pro frame builder, but a pro welder/artist/blacksmith/machinist) chop the TT at the lugs as flush as possible with the ST and HT, flipping the TT over and filing (or whatever else) to remiter the tube so as to fit, and TIG it in place. This will result in a drop of about 6" down the ST. Don't care much that it won't look or actually be lugged at the two joints anymore, but it's Cro-mo and I just don't see the problem. My friend has been chopping bikes and making VERY SAFE and sturdy high risers (among other things) for years. BUT, aside from any personal opinions, some of the members seems to think this is dangerous. What's the deal? People are chopping and adding dropouts, replacing tubes, and whatnot all the time. Granted.......this job is not brazing, but a TIG weld can be stronger than a brazed lug set up. Comments?

2) I have an old Raleigh Rampar in my possession. The thing is a freakin' tank (high carbon tubing), and the frame geometry is sluggish and not a good fit. The HT could stand to be taller and have a steeper angle, and the ST could stand to be taller. Otherwise, everything else is decent. (I do realize this would make the TT a bit longer, but that's okay). Anyway, since I have read that the brazing at the lugs can be removed (don't know the technical term) and the frame disassembled to replace a damaged tube, I was wondering if I couldn't just have it all torn down and save the lugs for another frame build with........say....Reynolds or whatever. I ask because, like I said, overall the bike sucks, but the lugs are nice. Not the best, but nice. I've also thought by doing this I could carve the lugs a bit.....make them real pretty and all. Ultimately, it would be up to my friend as to whether he'd want to do it or not, but I was wondering if anyone around here has ever done something like this?
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Old 09-01-09, 01:22 PM
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My 2c:

1) If the tubing is butted, then you'll be trying to TIG weld to the thinnest part of the tube. It won't be nearly as strong as welding to the top of the tube, and will be likely to separate right at the weld. This is aside from any metallurgical issues, like the fact that some chromoly's are heat-treated and don't respond well to TIG welding. Better to fillet-braze it to spread the load- even then you're attaching to the thinnest part of the seat tube so it's not a particularly good joint. Best not to do it at all IMO- Gran Turismo's are fine old touring bikes and you'll likely compromise the strength of the frame and certainly compromise the beauty. Maybe sell the frame and buy a frame that's already compact geometry? But I editorialize...

2) Sounds like a lot of trouble, when you can get a really nice set of new lugs for not a lot of money. It will take several hours of hard work and a lot of gas to get a clean set of lugs for building. I suppose if you have the time and the acetylene, go for it.

Last edited by cycle_maven; 09-01-09 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 09-01-09, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
My 2c:

1) If the tubing is butted, then you'll be trying to TIG weld to the thinnest part of the tube. It won't be nearly as strong as welding to the top of the tube, and will be likely to separate right at the weld. This is aside from any metallurgical issues, like the fact that some chromoly's are heat-treated and don't respond well to TIG welding. Better to fillet-braze it to spread the load- even then you're attaching to the thinnest part of the seat tube so it's not a particularly good joint. Best not to do it at all IMO- Gran Turismo's are fine old touring bikes and you'll likely compromise the strength of the frame and certainly compromise the beauty. Maybe sell the frame and buy a frame that's already compact geometry? But I editorialize...

2) Sounds like a lot of trouble, when you can get a really nice set of new lugs for not a lot of money. It will take several hours of hard work and a lot of gas to get a clean set of lugs for building. I suppose if you have the time and the acetylene, go for it.

1) Well, now there's some good points.....finally; sound arguments against.

Okay......I hadn't thought of the butted tube issue. I'm 99.9% sure it's double butted, but that could be worked around with some reinforcement. However, I'm not sure if it's heat treated. I don't recall it saying as much on the "Cro-mo" tag. I will have to find that out. In the event it's simply not doable, I'm not absolutely, dead set on doing it. I just couldn't see any factual reasons it shouldn't be done. I'm sure you know how it goes. Example; on the Toyota forums I'm on, you have a number of fellows that say,"Oh, you can't do that" when in reality they just heard something and have no real justifications.

As for beauty, I know it could be made attractive enough. In other words, my wife's not as particular as I am and wouldn't know the difference. It's just not a big deal to her. I'll have to see about another frame, I suppose. It kinda does sound like I might be getting into some less than ideal....or even practical.....circumstance.

2) Yeah.......I didn't really know what all would be involved with the idea of swiping the lugs. I'm not a welder and I hadn't even asked my friend about it, yet. He'd probably say the same thing since he's not one for brazing, anyway. He told me before brazing itself was tedious and time consuming when I'd asked him to braze some canti bosses for me. He said he'd rather TIG them and, plus, they'd be stronger.

Oh, and saving money was the whole idea behind this. I've only got so much to go around and have already priced lugs. If it were feasible to swipe the lugs, it could save me what I consider to be a good chunk of change. But, it would be my friend doing it and I wouldn't want to put him through any real trouble like that. Much less use all of his gas....

Thanks for the replies. Best to go downstream, eh.
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Old 09-01-09, 09:22 PM
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thook,

Assuming the lugged construction was likely bronze or silver, you won't be able to reassemble with TIG 'welding' unless you meticulously remove ALL of the existing filler. That said, fillet brazing is likely your only choice.
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Old 09-02-09, 03:28 AM
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Bronze.

What's this???? I've read about fillet brazing, but I really don't much about it. Would fillet brazing sort of bypass the issue of the ST being butted at the middle? Say, if the ST was reinforced in the area to be joined and fillet brazing was used, could I go ahead with the idea safely? I've seen some pics of a fillet brazed frame. That would look nicer than a weld, for sure.
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Old 09-02-09, 11:39 AM
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Here's a plan- takes a bunch of time, but not much money, and it could get you what you want, mostly.

You could take apart the second frame, saving the tubes and lugs (keep the dropouts, too, if they're forged). Carefully cut the top tube lugs of the GT and try to remove the top tube as completely as possible, even if it requires a little torch persuasion. Keep the headset reinforcement part of the head lug and the seat clamp of the seat lug in place.

Then use a section of the tubing from the second frame to make a reinforcing patch for the GT's seat tube where you want the top tube moved. Braze it to the seat tube. Re-miter the top tube so it drops perfectly into place with no gaps at the headtube and the seat tube patch.

Take the remaining tubing from the second bike, miter a test joint. Fillet braze it. Break it apart with a sledgehammer. Repeat until the break happens on the tube rather than the joint, and you'll be ready to fillet-braze a loved-one's bike. It takes practice, but fillet brazing can be a strong reliable joint.
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Old 09-02-09, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
1)

Okay......I hadn't thought of the butted tube issue. I'm 99.9% sure it's double butted, but that could be worked around with some reinforcement.
How were you planning on doing the "reinforcement". You cannot add a sleeve to the inside because it would interfere with the seat post.

Honestly, all of the things you propose can be done. But I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. You say you've priced lugs...have you also priced tubing? Tubing can cost even more than lugs. If money is a primary concern, then your best bet is to pick up one of the many older lugged frames on ebay for cheap. It is much cheaper to pick up an older frame than building a new one.
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Old 09-02-09, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
Here's a plan- takes a bunch of time, but not much money, and it could get you what you want, mostly.

You could take apart the second frame, saving the tubes and lugs (keep the dropouts, too, if they're forged). Carefully cut the top tube lugs of the GT and try to remove the top tube as completely as possible, even if it requires a little torch persuasion. Keep the headset reinforcement part of the head lug and the seat clamp of the seat lug in place.

Then use a section of the tubing from the second frame to make a reinforcing patch for the GT's seat tube where you want the top tube moved. Braze it to the seat tube. Re-miter the top tube so it drops perfectly into place with no gaps at the headtube and the seat tube patch.

Take the remaining tubing from the second bike, miter a test joint. Fillet braze it. Break it apart with a sledgehammer. Repeat until the break happens on the tube rather than the joint, and you'll be ready to fillet-braze a loved-one's bike. It takes practice, but fillet brazing can be a strong reliable joint.
Interesting. Some of you guys say "no" it can't be done, and some say "yes". Haha...isn't that how it always is?

Anyway.....

The first paragraph is actually what I had in mind. Thanks for some confirmation..... I took measurements of the TT and roughly gauged the angles of the mitering on either end with a carpenter's angle finder. The TT, if cut where I've described (and you have described) would actually be a little too long when dropped down the ST where I propose, but I figure that would be to my advantage. 1) It would give me room to adjust the tube end angles, and 2) It would give me room for the proposed HT patch and ST reinforcement. ( I hadn't exactly determined what material I would use yet, but sections of tubing from the other frame is not a bad idea. Provided the ID of the donor tubing would match the OD of the 'Vega's ST. Then, I suppose that could possibly be worked around. Both frames are brazed, btw.) And, so the ends of the TT, if flipped over with the cable runners upside down, would already be at a close enough angle that the joints wouldn't require too much adjustment with a half round file to meet up flush.

Another point is that using the patching/reinforcement idea, coupled with the bit of lugs still on the TT, would act as lugs as it were. Granted, they wouldn't be "solid" lugs with no seams, but brazing (if I understand correctly) would be quite close enough to being the same thing. Besides, stamped lugs are seamed and were/are used successfully for bicycle builds.

As for learning to fillet braze, I simply don't have any equipment to that. I'd love to and, in fact, hope to someday, but for now it will be on my friend and what he's up for. He's got everything a builder could want/need. I'll just cross my fingers that he'll reconsider his stance on brazing.

Bear in mind, this GT modification project/idea I hadn't even planned getting done right away. I have atleast until Christmas. If it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. But, I'm gonna try.

Originally Posted by Butterthebean View Post
How were you planning on doing the "reinforcement". You cannot add a sleeve to the inside because it would interfere with the seat post.

Honestly, all of the things you propose can be done. But I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. You say you've priced lugs...have you also priced tubing? Tubing can cost even more than lugs. If money is a primary concern, then your best bet is to pick up one of the many older lugged frames on ebay for cheap. It is much cheaper to pick up an older frame than building a new one.
A sleeve could be added without interefering with the seat post, but getting it past the butted end would another thing I do believe. No....an internal sleeve was not what I was thinking, anyway. More like a section of metal (as described already) welded (now thinking brazed, of course) and it would act as a lug distributing the stress.

It being worth the trouble is relative. For example, I have friends that have spent more than their Toyota 4x4's are worth to make it into the vehicle they want having all of the functions for the desired applications. Would it be worth it to me? Probably not since I'm not living their lives. But, the year or so of saving for their mod's was to them. Now they're having a blast breaking them on the rocks....

I have priced everything I would need to build a bicycle....believe me. A jig I can make myself. I can do all the math needed to design a frame. And, with practice, I'm certain I can actually put it together. The only things I lack are enough money, tools, and some technical know how. The latter two can be worked around since I have friends, but the first I just have to wait on. I wasn't even planning on it for atleast another year after enough researching, fund gathering, and whatever the Universe plops in my lap. I'm just asking the questions now because the idea excites me now. Oh, I would also like to build a bamboo bike, and that may even come first. Both would be tons of fun to do, and the fun had is what makes anything worth it.


Thanks for all the input so far, guys.

Later
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Old 09-02-09, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
if the ST was reinforced in the area to be joined and fillet brazing was used, could I go ahead with the idea safely?
Yes, but I'd restrict the rider weight to somewhere around 175 pounds or so. And there's no need to butcher another bike just for a TT. Instead, order a 36" stick of 1"x .028" wall or .035" wall, 4130N from Wicks or Airpartsinc. figure about 4 bucks a foot +sh.
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Old 09-02-09, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
Interesting. Some of you guys say "no" it can't be done, and some say "yes". Haha...isn't that how it always is?
Of course it can be done, some people probably say it can't be done because it's way too much trouble.
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Old 09-03-09, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by PaPa View Post
Yes, but I'd restrict the rider weight to somewhere around 175 pounds or so. And there's no need to butcher another bike just for a TT. Instead, order a 36" stick of 1"x .028" wall or .035" wall, 4130N from Wicks or Airpartsinc. figure about 4 bucks a foot +sh.
Well, that's easy. My wife doesn't weigh nearly that much....

I'm not butchering the other bike for the TT. Just a patch of metal........which I may not even need to do, really. My friend may have something more appropriate laying around. I'm reusing the top tube on the 'Vega. Just flipping it over and modifying the angles on the ends. And, the other frame.......the potential donor........is just an old Rampar. I don't feel any reall attachments towards it, and I figured the bike would otherwise wind up in a heap somewhere rusting away. So, if I can use it for something, I would. The lugs would be cool, but we'll see on that.........given what was stated earlier in previous posting.

Say......I was doing some reading last night on brazing vs. welding Chro-Mo tubing and noticed in my google search that all the results turned up as 4130/Chro-Mo. Can you answer me this? Is all Chro-Mo tubing 4130 and vice-versa? I ask because I don't know what the distinctions are except that, eg, Reynolds 531 (like on my Trek) is Mangy-Moly and certainly has different properties and tolerances than Chro-Mo. Eg, 531 has to be silver brazed where Chro-mo can be silver or bronze. Interestingly, I was reading about TIG welding 4130 (which appears to be designated as aircraft tubing) and folks use it a lot on things like race cars for internal roll cages. From the little I was able to read, it appears 4130 can be TIG welded, but different settings on the welder are used to keep temp's down and reduced the metal to heat exposure. Some were even questioning whether or not 4130 actually needed heat treating before welding. So, needless to say, I'm puzzled and curious as to this conundrum of mixed info. Maybe they're referring to a different type of 4130/Chro-mo than what is used for bicycle tubing?


Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Of course it can be done, some people probably say it can't be done because it's way too much trouble.
I understand that viewpoint, but it's more trouble to me to suffer the bumps on my head from my wife for spending much more money on bicycles than I already have. I mean, she was cool about what I've spent so far over the past few months because it's what I've really wanted, but I'd be pushing it with buying another bike frame. And, I admit, I can get a little too carried away. So, I'm doing what I can to keep things really, really minimum and still produce a really cool cycle for her. Besides, it'll be a fun frame building precursor for my future plans.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:18 AM
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I answered some of my own questions, eh........

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=406300

So, I guess it's a definite. I patch to encompass the circumference of the ST in the area to be joined by the TT. And, brazing is the way to go.......definitely.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:30 AM
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More answers........

http://www.weldingtipsandtricks.com/welding-4130.html

So, it's not even the type of steel that would be the issue. Just the wall thickness and stress point for a proposed weld.

Hmmm.....pondering a new longer tube for TT to be joined closer to the BB.

Oh....she's gonna kill me.
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Old 09-06-09, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
To all you frame builders out there.....


1) I've mentioned the idea of taking a Gran Turismo and modifying the top tube to suit my wife. The frame size is just right for her
So far so good.

Originally Posted by thook View Post
but she doesn't like a horizontal TT. Makes her uncomfortable in the event of an accident
What makes her uncomfortable? I've been riding horizontal TT bikes since 1976. I've had plenty of crashes and never had any kind of problems other than road rash.
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Old 09-06-09, 04:07 AM
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Well, she used to have an old Peugeot 10spd with a horizontal TT, drop bars, and all that. (This is before we met). We live in the country and she was coming homeward down the hill (gravel/dirt.....very uneven at that), the dogs she had at the time came to close to the bike, she couldn't stop in time, and as a result took a spill. Let's just say the top tube was not in a pleasant position in that moment. So, she's a little jaded, eh. Also, it just makes it easier for her to mount the bike. Not the real issue, but a noteable one.

As far as I'm concerned, she's not the most physically coordinated of gals and I would rather her get real used to handling a bike in whatever manner is comfortable for her so she can learn some coordination and have fun on the bike. She hasn't really been on one in years...... I think since that wreck.

BTW, I found her some chromed dove bars. A good friend of mine brought me two junkers to pilfer for parts. One just happened to be an old, red, steel, Free Spirit, cruiser type, 24" female frame, complete bike. The wheels are shot and the frame is really too small (a young girl size), but the bars are wonderful. She loves them. Not really a drop bar fan, anyway. Oh, and the original rubber grips are still in great shape. Nice! So, I just need a 1" riser quill for the bars and to rob the thumber shifters and brake levers off the Huffy mtn bike...... the other bike my friend brought.

Oh, oh, oh!! And, the red bike came with a spring suspended, wide, female Schwinn saddle.....which is also going on the 'Vega. This bike is going to be so great for her......dayom. It's already looking so righteous. (Making redwood fenders to throw on there, too)
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Old 09-07-09, 07:25 AM
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sounds like an interesting idea. i'm no framebuilder by any means so my suggestion to you would be to make a post on a couple of other forums where there are some world class frame builders who post there regularly. http://www.serotta.com/forum/ and here http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum/index.php
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Old 09-09-09, 12:56 PM
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Thanks for the links. I'll surely check those out. <<<<thumbs up>>>>
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Old 09-09-09, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
, but it's more trouble to me to suffer the bumps on my head from my wife for spending much more money on bicycles than I already have..
Far be it from me to question what will cause you to suffer bumps from your wife. But are you in an area where you might be able to find a mixte frame/bike? Perhaps the discussion could go: dear I could modify the bike to fit you, but it will take a lot of time in my shop.you know time away from you. Maybe a better plan would be to look for a bike called a mixte, and then once we find one we can sell the current bike.
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Old 09-09-09, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
Far be it from me to question what will cause you to suffer bumps from your wife. But are you in an area where you might be able to find a mixte frame/bike? Perhaps the discussion could go: dear I could modify the bike to fit you, but it will take a lot of time in my shop.you know time away from you. Maybe a better plan would be to look for a bike called a mixte, and then once we find one we can sell the current bike.
Lol....well, the head bumps was a bit of an exaggeration. We don't fight, but it would cause for some tension.....which I never relish.

Funny you should mention this, though. You know sometimes how get "a feeling" that says "wrong way"? Well, from feeling the situation out, and aside from what can be done or what my friend is up for doing (he's still away in Canada for work, so I haven't been able to talk to him more about it), there are certain aspects of the project just aren't working out smoothly. And, if isn't working out smoothly, it's a clue to me to look in a different direction.

So, I'm going to try and find a frame for a decent price, I guess. Didn't really want to, but I can sell/trade some parts I have to fund it. I'd love to get her a mixte, but so far I've only found some for the price of gold....hehe. Okay........there's one I found here on BF, but the post is two months old and may be gone already. Even then, may still be out of my price range. Shipping, ya know?

There's a local bike recycle shop that rarely has anything that would suit my preferences, but I'll keep checking and checking for a silver lining. Tomorrow or Friday I plan on going by there and atleast put a word in. Might be able to just do the trade thing.
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