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touring on an old steel racing bike

Old 09-04-14, 11:06 AM
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touring on an old steel racing bike

When I decided to go on tour for the last week of August, I thought I'd get my early 80's Trek 720 back on the road for the occasion. But it didn't work out; couldn't get the front brake, front tire, and front rack to all work together. All minor problems that should be easy to fix but I didn't have the time. It was easier to turn to another bike that was already ready to ride.

The bike in question was a Holdsworth 531 Special, from about 1976; definitely a racing bike with lightweight tubing, tight geometry, short stays, no eyelets for fenders or racks etc. But some previous owner had modified it, so it now does have rack eyelets as well as mounts for two water bottles and some other stuff. I'm running it with 650b tires. My old Jim Blackburn racks fit nicely, didn't interfere with the brake and fenders. More surprising, there were no heel strike issues with the rear panniers, perhaps because I prefer 165 mm cranks (but there's plenty more clearance than 5 mm, so I don't think that's it).

Anyway, fully loaded, the bike weighed 80 lbs and over eight days, 555 miles and 30,000 feet of climbing, it handled fine. The only shortcoming worth mentioning was toe-fender conflict that made slow turns perilous.

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Old 09-04-14, 11:31 AM
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rhm, Always handy to have a hot spare at the ready! Fortunate that you were running 650B and someone had added the eyelets. I guess the 720 is now going to be modified to work?

Congrats on tour.

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Old 09-04-14, 12:02 PM
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Speaking of spares, I did have one of my Panaracer Col-de-la-vie tires fail on my last day. Fortunately I was not riding at the time, and even more fortunately I had a spare tire with me!

My 720 is one of the early ones, before they put cantilever brakes on them. So yeah, it is tempting to have the bosses added. I haven't decided. I didn't expect the Holdsworth to do the job so handily!
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Old 09-04-14, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
Speaking of spares, I did have one of my Panaracer Col-de-la-vie tires fail on my last day. Fortunately I was not riding at the time, and even more fortunately I had a spare tire with me!

My 720 is one of the early ones, before they put cantilever brakes on them. So yeah, it is tempting to have the bosses added. I haven't decided. I didn't expect the Holdsworth to do the job so handily!
I would rather modify the item(s) to be attached, the 720 is mighty fine as is. I'd read that 531 was too whippy to be used under touring conditions, perhaps that's something that's been exaggerated over the years so consequently I was a little surprised the Holdsworth did so well also.

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Old 09-04-14, 01:53 PM
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once you put 650b wheels on it it stopped being a racing bike, really ..
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Old 09-04-14, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
Speaking of spares, I did have one of my Panaracer Col-de-la-vie tires fail on my last day. Fortunately I was not riding at the time, and even more fortunately I had a spare tire with me!

My 720 is one of the early ones, before they put cantilever brakes on them. So yeah, it is tempting to have the bosses added. I haven't decided. I didn't expect the Holdsworth to do the job so handily!
I bought the 1983 720 with the bosses. I could have bought the one without which I believe was the 82. You're better off running center pulls than getting bosses. Newer cantis by and large aren't going to work right because the bosses are not far enough apart.

I keep thinking I need to get my 720 up and running as well; it was (and is) a heck of a nice touring bike.
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Old 09-04-14, 02:08 PM
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Curious. There is an active thread on the C&Vforum about a Col de la Vie failure.
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Old 09-04-14, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by ironwood
Curious. There is an active thread on the C&Vforum about a Col de la Vie failure.
I noticed that too. Same OP griping to whoever will listen!
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Old 09-04-14, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bradtx
I would rather modify the item(s) to be attached, the 720 is mighty fine as is. I'd read that 531 was too whippy to be used under touring conditions, perhaps that's something that's been exaggerated over the years so consequently I was a little surprised the Holdsworth did so well also.

Brad
when selecting a bike to tour-ize (add racks and wider tires) for a 10 day tour last year, i chose my '85 Trek Elance with 022 Ishiwata tubing over my '79 Trek 710 531 bike, due to excess noodliness of the 710. it's okay unloaded though and quite a bit lighter.
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Old 09-04-14, 03:10 PM
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There's nothing noodly about a well built touring bike with Reynolds 531. A lot depends on how the bike is built and, of course, the dimensions of the wall thickness. Yo
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Old 09-04-14, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by icepick_trotsky
I noticed that too. Same OP griping to whoever will listen!

Well yeah, guilty as charged. But to be fair, the threads are about different subjects.
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Old 09-05-14, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm

Well yeah, guilty as charged. But to be fair, the threads are about different subjects.
Just ribbing you. The Holdsworth looks great. It seems like Rivendell has been taking some inspiration here in terms of paint and decals.
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Old 09-07-14, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig
There's nothing noodly about a well built touring bike with Reynolds 531. A lot depends on how the bike is built and, of course, the dimensions of the wall thickness. Yo
You my be right, but I did a lot of touring on an Peugeot PX10 built with 531 tubing, and it was a pretty flexible frame. I think it sometimes depends more on frame size than tubing type. Smaller frames tend to flex less than the larger frames. My bike was a 61 cm frame.

Most competition bikes of that era had eyelets for fenders, but a rack would fit fine.
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Old 09-07-14, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
You my be right, but I did a lot of touring on an Peugeot PX10 built with 531 tubing, and it was a pretty flexible frame. I think it sometimes depends more on frame size than tubing type. Smaller frames tend to flex less than the larger frames. My bike was a 61 cm frame.

Most competition bikes of that era had eyelets for fenders, but a rack would fit fine.
Those are really cool bikes but the frame geometry was not optimal for touring. Also the manufacturer of a racing bike would tend to avoid the heavier gauge of reynolds tubing for obvious reasons while the manufacturer of a touring bike would understandably be less concerned about frame weight but would care about how a bike handled under a load.

Granted the OP is talking about touring on a racing bike (like your PX 10) but some of the posts deal with reynolds tubing in general and its ride characteristics.
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Old 09-07-14, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug64
You my be right, but I did a lot of touring on an Peugeot PX10 built with 531 tubing, and it was a pretty flexible frame. I think it sometimes depends more on frame size than tubing type. Smaller frames tend to flex less than the larger frames. My bike was a 61 cm frame.

Most competition bikes of that era had eyelets for fenders, but a rack would fit fine.
One of my favourite bikes ever was an '84 Raleigh Royal tourer. It too was 61cm and I didn't find it too flexible under moderately heavy loads. To be fair, although the frame and forks were 531, the chain and seat stays were some anonymous heavier-duty tubing, so that may have made some difference. Perhaps the most comfortable bike I ever had, it was like riding on an angel's shoulders.
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