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Reynolds 501 too heavy?

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Reynolds 501 too heavy?

Old 12-30-10, 01:18 PM
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Reynolds 501 too heavy?

I am looking for a touring bike, in steel I think (I like steel in my road bikes), and have come across one that is my size in Reynolds 501 tubing.
I've always thought 501 was a budget version of Reynolds and have sought out 531, 753 and up for my road bikes.
But maybe those old prejudices don't hold in the touring world.

would 501 be suitable for a fully loaded tourer? maybe it provides the extra strength that a loaded tourer needs?

or should I keep my eyes open for 531 or better.

otherwise, is there an ideal steel tubing that I should watch for?


Last edited by pstock; 12-31-10 at 08:39 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-30-10, 01:41 PM
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IMHO, the value or desirability of a steel frame is biased toward ‘race’ frames which promotes ‘lighter is better’. However, ‘lighter’ in most cases means thinner tubing walls and lower weight carrying capacity. For example: I think it was Sheldon’s site where I read that the recommended riding weight for a Tange 1 (the lighter more expensive tubing) was 175 lbs, were as the Tange 2 was 185 at less than a couple lbs. more weight. If I was looking to build a light-touring bike, I’d pick the heavier less-desirable Tange 2 in this example. I believe that Reynolds 531 and 501 are comparable to Tange 1&2 in that 531 was used on lighter race-oriented bikes and therefore was considered a more valuable tubeset. However, if you look at the late 70’s & early 80’s Treks, for example, the bikes intended as Sport-Touring and Touring bikes were often made of 501. I would consider 501 a heavier but stronger frame material and therefore more capable of handling a load. Just my opinion.

Last edited by rothenfield1; 12-30-10 at 02:56 PM.
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Old 12-30-10, 01:59 PM
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Get wall thickness data, that is a better way to compare steel tubes.
the yield strength is secondary,
I'm still riding a Columbus Aelle tubed frame I built in the mid 70's.

stripping all the parts off most steel frames in light weight classes are quite light.
slight increases in tube wall thicknesses are measured in grams per tube.
don't over think this ..

Touring load? Oversize the diameters ..
1.25" OD down tube , 9/8" for top and seat tube.
Butting not important with a load being carried ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-30-10 at 02:05 PM.
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Old 12-30-10, 05:10 PM
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No it isn't too heavy for touring. Maybe for riding the TdF.
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Old 12-30-10, 11:21 PM
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501 was a seamed chromoly tubing while 531 was a seamless manganese molybdenum tubing. 753 was heat treated 531 with thinner gauge. 501 came with butted main frame tubing and straight gauge forks and stays. 531 came straight or butted and more thickness to choose from. The weight different between the two was less than half a pound for frame and fork. So the answer is, no it is not too heavy for touring and it was probably not too heavy for racing either back in the days.

Last edited by abarth; 12-30-10 at 11:52 PM.
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