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Advice about where to find a basic steel frame for conversion

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Advice about where to find a basic steel frame for conversion

Old 09-06-21, 05:41 PM
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Advice about where to find a basic steel frame for conversion

I recently finished up a conversion for myself, a 1977 Raleigh super course. It is amazing and I think probably one of the nicest riding bikes I've ever had, and it's basically just straight gauge 531 in the main triangle, and then hi ten steel for the stays and fork.

My wife wants one too, and I'm having a hell of a time finding a frame to use for hers. She's a little shorter than mine so she would want a 53 or 54 cm frame, and it wouldn't have to be really nice steel although I'd prefer it were at least as nice as the super course. The trouble is, Craigslist seems to be turning up either absolute garbage frames, or decent frames but at insane prices. There doesn't seem to be a middle ground. On eBay the prices are even higher. So, where do you guys get your bikes? I don't really want to buy a complete because I have a lot of parts laying around that I can use, and I like the idea of repurposing an old 10 speed.

I did recently pick up a Fuji Monterey from the early '80s that I thought was going to work out perfectly, but the seat post was stuck and in the process of getting that out I made a very slight bulge in the seat tube (when I was hammering something down into it to try to pull back part of the aluminum seat post after I had cut a bunch of slots in it), and I'm not sure it's a safe enough thing to use after that. I'm inclined to say it's probably fine but it's for my wife, not me, so I am a little hesitant to make that call. It really is very slight but still. On top of that, the frame had some surface rust that was covered up with s***** rattle can paint, so I would probably be inclined to take it to a sandblaster and have it stripped and then I guess powder coated? That's the thing, this frame which would have been good is turning out to be so much work.
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Old 09-06-21, 06:03 PM
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eBay, just about all of my current 6. I look for buy it now deals with the best offer option. There are hundreds of frames and they usually are well photographed with an accurate description. Shipping and taxes add a bit though.
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Old 09-06-21, 06:27 PM
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If you have a bike co-op in your city they usually have old 10 speeds that are good candidates for conversion.
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Old 09-06-21, 11:25 PM
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I know you mentioned Craigslist, but that's my go-to place when looking for old bikes and parts. CL has "bikes" and "bike parts" sections...be sure to check both since people will post random stuff to both. Yeah, prices have gone up because people hear how everyone wants bikes now so they suddenly think their old bike is worth more than gold but there are some decent priced finds out there too.

Congratulations on the recently finished Super Course conversion...sounds like a fun bike to ride.
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Old 09-07-21, 01:57 AM
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Have you looked at facebook marketplace? Where I live I'm starting to see more bikes for sale on that than CL, that's the only reason I even have a FB account. There's also Offerup, I actually first saw that site a couple of weeks ago.

https://offerup.com/
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Old 09-07-21, 08:57 AM
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I've noticed in my area that Craigslist have definitely gone downhill with regard to quality bikes. The only decent ones seem to be either unpopular sized-frames or newer bikes and many are overpriced in my opinion.

Having said all of that, I'd be looking for a mixte frame for a conversion. And if Craigslist is not yielding results, check bike co-ops as suggested and also Goodwill and similar. Hopefully a good candidate will appear.
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Old 09-07-21, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by bykemike View Post
eBay, just about all of my current 6. I look for buy it now deals with the best offer option. There are hundreds of frames and they usually are well photographed with an accurate description. Shipping and taxes add a bit though.
I checked and as long as I'm not looking for anything too high end there are some really promising options for under 250 shipped. There was one Raleigh SC (the exact one I have) that someone had affixed disc brakes to for no discernable reason for a totally reasonable $1200 hahahahha

Originally Posted by acoustophile View Post
If you have a bike co-op in your city they usually have old 10 speeds that are good candidates for conversion.
Unfortunately no coops around here...

Originally Posted by rumstove View Post
I know you mentioned Craigslist, but that's my go-to place when looking for old bikes and parts. CL has "bikes" and "bike parts" sections...be sure to check both since people will post random stuff to both. Yeah, prices have gone up because people hear how everyone wants bikes now so they suddenly think their old bike is worth more than gold but there are some decent priced finds out there too.

Congratulations on the recently finished Super Course conversion...sounds like a fun bike to ride.
It really is so fun

Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
Have you looked at facebook marketplace? Where I live I'm starting to see more bikes for sale on that than CL, that's the only reason I even have a FB account. There's also Offerup, I actually first saw that site a couple of weeks ago.

https://offerup.com/
I'll check these both, thank you!

Originally Posted by TugaDude View Post
I've noticed in my area that Craigslist have definitely gone downhill with regard to quality bikes. The only decent ones seem to be either unpopular sized-frames or newer bikes and many are overpriced in my opinion.

Having said all of that, I'd be looking for a mixte frame for a conversion. And if Craigslist is not yielding results, check bike co-ops as suggested and also Goodwill and similar. Hopefully a good candidate will appear.
Definitely noticed the same trend on my local craigslist.
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Old 09-08-21, 10:28 AM
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Ebay, 20 years ago. Surly Steamroller, Bianchi Pista, Schwinn Madison bare frames….. got them back then, great deals, and there were plentiful.
But I have no idea what the market is like today…
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Old 09-08-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
Ebay, 20 years ago. Surly Steamroller, Bianchi Pista, Schwinn Madison bare frames….. got them back then, great deals, and there were plentiful.
But I have no idea what the market is like today…
Basically a bunch of $300 entry level bike-boom era bikes that haven't been serviced since 1994.
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Old 09-09-21, 07:15 AM
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I have had an impressive run of good luck with FB Marketplace lately, including a 1988 Centurion LeMans with Tange No. 2/Mangaloy 2001 forks & stays, an amazing Specialized Sirrus with full original 105 6-speed for $50, and a really nice full Reynolds 531 1974-76 Raleigh Gran Sport for $60. The rest of FB, meh - snippets of things from a few people I otherwise wouldn't see or hear from separated by a wasteland of political tweets larded up with our tech overlords' heavy-handed censorship. But sometimes you can score a hell of a deal.

Also - don't forget the Classic & Vintage section's for sale page, there are often deals to be found there!
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Old 09-09-21, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
I have had an impressive run of good luck with FB Marketplace lately, including a 1988 Centurion LeMans with Tange No. 2/Mangaloy 2001 forks & stays, an amazing Specialized Sirrus with full original 105 6-speed for $50, and a really nice full Reynolds 531 1974-76 Raleigh Gran Sport for $60. The rest of FB, meh - snippets of things from a few people I otherwise wouldn't see or hear from separated by a wasteland of political tweets larded up with our tech overlords' heavy-handed censorship. But sometimes you can score a hell of a deal.

Also - don't forget the Classic & Vintage section's for sale page, there are often deals to be found there!
Thank you for reminding me about the for sale page here. I'll put it in my list of stuff to check.
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Old 09-10-21, 11:12 AM
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You can try looking on mercari, sometimes they have decent bicycle stuff on there. I always just use craigslist and FB groups though.
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Old 09-12-21, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Philasteve View Post
You can try looking on mercari, sometimes they have decent bicycle stuff on there. I always just use craigslist and FB groups though.
Thanks! I'll check it out.
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Old 09-14-21, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61 View Post
I have had an impressive run of good luck with FB Marketplace lately, including a 1988 Centurion LeMans with Tange No. 2/Mangaloy 2001 forks & stays, an amazing Specialized Sirrus with full original 105 6-speed for $50, and a really nice full Reynolds 531 1974-76 Raleigh Gran Sport for $60. The rest of FB, meh - snippets of things from a few people I otherwise wouldn't see or hear from separated by a wasteland of political tweets larded up with our tech overlords' heavy-handed censorship. But sometimes you can score a hell of a deal.

Also - don't forget the Classic & Vintage section's for sale page, there are often deals to be found there!
Just wanted to thank you for suggesting Facebook marketplace. I picked up a yakota legend in pretty decent shape for 80 bucks tonight. It needs a new spoke in the front wheel, a new seat, possibly new bars and tape (seems to be some pretty bad rust /corrosion on them but I thought they were aluminum), and a full service, but otherwise good. I know everyone seems to find stuff like this for free or in dumpsters, but 80 bucks is a steal around here for a decent bike in serviceable condition...

Anyway thanks for the suggestions! I'm not going to convert it to fixed, but this thread was in this forum so sorry if it's off topic.
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Old 09-30-21, 06:34 PM
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I always go to my local bike co op. All the frames there are checked for cracks and significant damage and are cheap. You should look for a co op or any used bicycle shop in your area.
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Old 09-30-21, 11:14 PM
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I just got a couple cheap wheelsets from mine. Score!
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Old 10-21-21, 12:56 AM
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I agree with the co-op recommendations. The local co-op near me has a few conversions for sale that they put together with extra parts or someone donated. So it's less work and put together by someone that already knows how. I'm about to pick out an old frame soon and do the same thing.
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