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Building a light steel bike, please share your thoughts

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Building a light steel bike, please share your thoughts

Old 12-17-08, 09:46 AM
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Flash
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Building a light steel bike, please share your thoughts

I have a 1985 Panasonic Team frame, Tange Champion No. 2, which rides very nicely. I built it up as a single speed but the long term plan has always been to build it up as my regular road bike.

I plan to use mostly Ultegra 6600 components. I have acquired an ultegra 12-27 cassette, the 6600 long cage rear derailleur and an R700 compact crank. I know wheel choice will be huge when it comes to weight savings. I was considering using the original Araya rims and lacing them to Ultegra 6600 hubs, though I suspect this choice will add quite a bit of weight.

I am considering the Deda Murex quill stem (black) and the Deda 215 bars pictured:





I'd like this bike to be as light as possible (surprise), estimated range between 19 and 21 pounds.

May I ask those who have travelled this road to post pictures of their light steel bikes with commentary re: which parts they chose and why?

Thanks! Here’s a pic of the Panasonic in single speed mode:

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Old 12-17-08, 10:06 AM
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I'm putting together a Merckx steel bike as we speak. I used the exact stem and handlebars, both in black. The handlebars are extremely light but I'm a bit concerned about how durable they are because they are very thin.

The stem is not that light. I simply bought it to match the handlebars and did not want to find vintage handlebars and stem and I'm foregoing downtubes and outfitting the bike with a Rival groupo.

A vintage steel bike is not going to be light. My main ride is 14.8 lbs and just the steel frame, fork, and two wheels weigh more than this

IMO it's not worth it to try and save weight on a vintage steel. I mean, what's the point? It's not like you will be using it to race. Just ride it
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Old 12-17-08, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by kimconyc View Post

IMO it's not worth it to try and save weight on a vintage steel. I mean, what's the point? It's not like you will be using it to race. Just ride it
I tend to agree with you on this point. My bike will be built regardless of the final weight. Just curious if anyone out there has some weight saving secrets. I really like the look of the Murex stem and much prefer this option to a quill stem adapter mated to a modern-day stem: too many connections. I can't tell from the website pix: does the murex stem allow for handlebar removal via removable stem faceplate? cheers
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Old 12-17-08, 10:15 AM
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I used to ride that same EXACT bike, but only for a few months, when it was stolen (same year, 1985, mine was blue though so you are in the clear)...that was the fall of 1985.

It's a pretty good frame. You will have to stretch your rear triangle from 126 to 130 mm, but that is not a big problem since it is steel.

I agree you will probably not be able to go much below 21 pounds unless you put some real weight weenie components and wheels on it.

You may get additional info and/or insight from the C&V crowd.

Don't forget to post a pic when the project is done...good luck!

Doug
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Old 12-17-08, 10:38 AM
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I just rebuilt my 853 tubing LeMOnd. Downtube shifters saved a lot of weight. The downside is that you may not like aero levers. They are smaller than brifters. Outboard BB cups are a little lighter than traditional BB. But not sure what type of crank you like. Got a PBK Carbon seatpost. $16 bucks.

edit: I just realized you have aero levers already!

Last edited by triplebutted; 12-17-08 at 10:42 AM. Reason: more stuff
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Old 12-17-08, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by triplebutted View Post
I just rebuilt my 853 tubing LeMOnd. Downtube shifters saved a lot of weight. The downside is that you may not like aero levers. They are smaller than brifters. Outboard BB cups are a little lighter than traditional BB. But not sure what type of crank you like. Got a PBK Carbon seatpost. $16 bucks.

edit: I just realized you have aero levers already!
thanks, will be going with STI, ultegra 6600. will check seatposts.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:16 AM
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Jamis has always seemed like a good reference for steel bike weights since they publish actual numbers. Whether these weights are accurate is open to interpretation I suppose, but perhaps they are close. Carbon fork helps!

2009 Jamis Eclipse -- Ultegra (reynolds 853): 17.2 lbs

2009 Jamis Quest -- 105, ultegra (Reynolds 631): 18.8 lbs

2009 Jamis Satellite -- tiagra, sora!! (Reynolds 520) is listed at 21.5 lbs
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Old 12-17-08, 11:19 AM
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I wouldn't spend very much money trying to make it light. Just gather high quality parts and build it to ride smoothly and be reliable. The 58cm schwinn in my signature weighs about 21lbs totally stock with shimano 600 so if you can't break that then you're doing something wrong.

My team fuji will weigh less when it's back together with the new parts.

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Old 12-17-08, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post

My team fuji will weigh less when it's back together with the new parts.
That Fuji is gorgeous. I think we have the same seatpost!
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Old 12-17-08, 11:56 AM
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Just to put those numbers in perspective, I think they might be weighing some fairly small frames, without pedals. My 2008 Jamis Quest weighed 21.6 lbs (61cm frame, Shimano A-520 SPD pedals, bottle cages)

Originally Posted by Flash View Post
Jamis has always seemed like a good reference for steel bike weights since they publish actual numbers. Whether these weights are accurate is open to interpretation I suppose, but perhaps they are close. Carbon fork helps!

2009 Jamis Eclipse -- Ultegra (reynolds 853): 17.2 lbs

2009 Jamis Quest -- 105, ultegra (Reynolds 631): 18.8 lbs

2009 Jamis Satellite -- tiagra, sora!! (Reynolds 520) is listed at 21.5 lbs
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Old 12-17-08, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by sfwhiteman View Post
Just to put those numbers in perspective, I think they might be weighing some fairly small frames, without pedals. My 2008 Jamis Quest weighed 21.6 lbs (61cm frame, Shimano A-520 SPD pedals, bottle cages)
No worries, my Panasonic is a 53cm!

and...how to you like those A-520 pedals? I'm big on walkable shoe/cleat combos and I love the simplicity of the plain vanilla spd cleat on MTB shoe. The A-520s look quite light. cheers
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Old 12-17-08, 01:14 PM
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I've had a good experience with the pedals. They've got a decent sized platform, which helps prevent hot spots (at least I haven't had trouble). I agree that the simplicity of SPD is nice--I paired the pedals with some Shimano touring shoes which are fairly stiff (the RT51 I think) and it's made for a great long distance/charity ride/rain/all purpose bike.

For racing and training, I would say no. For everything else, they work great and you don't have to walk around like a duck in cleats
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Old 12-17-08, 01:22 PM
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I'd replace the fork with a lighter carbon one, but that may take away from the 'purity' factor. I'd choose lightness personally.

I was on track to build up a Fondriest Status steel beauty to come in just under 18lbs, but wound up going another route instead.
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Old 12-17-08, 03:12 PM
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I took a pound off my IF when I went from a steel fork/3t quill stem and allow bars to a Alpha-Q carbon threadless fork w/FSA OS-115 stem and K-Force carbon bars. I also put on a K-force Isis crank and Isis Ti bottom bracket.

I got that IF down to a hair under 17 lbs.
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Old 12-17-08, 03:36 PM
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^ CF fork, CF steerer, threadless headset will make the biggest weight difference of anything you can do, and it will improve the ride quality as well.

Depending on which fork, headset,and stem, the weight savings could be as much as 2 lbs over your current setup.

The question becomes whether its worth the money for that frame.
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Old 12-17-08, 03:43 PM
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Don't forget the wheels, going to a 1400 gram set will shave another pound.
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Old 12-17-08, 04:15 PM
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My steel frame & fork isn't currently dressed, but when built up at its lightest, it was a hair below 18 #. 58 cm, Columbus steel. Going from memory: Campy Chorus w/ DA 7800 crankset, CK headset, Thomson post, Arione saddle, Time monolink carbon stem, Bontrager Race XXX Lite carbon bars, Speeddream wheels (1,356 g), Salsa skewers, Schwalbe Ultremo tires, Michelin A1 Aircomp tubes, Time RXS Carbon pedals, Arundel cages.
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