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Is buying a brand new old frame worth it?

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Is buying a brand new old frame worth it?

Old 03-02-20, 11:25 AM
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Is buying a brand new old frame worth it?

I've been mountain biking and trail running for years and picked up an old Cervelo Dual 4 years ago to give road biking a try. I love the bike, but due to some crashes early on, it has been sitting on the trainer for the last few years (don't feel too comfortable with the integrity of it to keep it on the road). I use zwift 4 days a week with it but I have been looking at building something newer so I can have something for Tris. First off, I don't have the money upfront to buy a decent bike, and don't have an immediate timeframe that I need the bike for. I just know in a year or so I'll be ready to slow down the MTB and give some Tris a shot.

I found a felt s22 frame brand new for 80 bucks, from what I can tell it's from 2007, it at least looks that way from bikepedia. My question is, is it worth it being so cheap to get it and slowly build out the bike as I can buy parts . Or am I wasting money because frames have come that far in recent years? Also I am not sure if I will run into compatibility issues with new components? I've rebuilt my mountain bikes but have never tackled a road bike.

Any insight would be appreciated!


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Old 03-02-20, 02:17 PM
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Road bike, mountain bike is the same skill set. If you can build one, you can build another.

Just pay attention to the various standards when you build. Headset/bottom brackets, brakes (disk/rim), & drop out width being the predominant things to look out for.

All my disc bikes have 132.5 or 135mm drop out spacing. Some of the inexpensive frames & or aftermarket forks have both brake mounts & canti-studs so you can go with either if you choose. Disc brakes come in flat mount & post mount varieties. Either variety comes in hydraulic &/or mechanical. (Except for one TRP Hy/Rd model which is both)So there is that to look out for.

Shifting is at 11 speeds now. 12 if you are super fancy. 9 & 10 speed is cheap by comparison. But shifters still go up front & derailleurs still bolt to derailleur hangers. Sticking within a group set is still the most fool-proof method, but not always necessary. So nothing new there.

Bottom brackets are sticky. For the most part you are limited by whatever the frame is designed around. The new SRAM Dub standard is pretty interesting though. You buy the crank arm/spindle you want. Then buy the spider you want. Install the spider to the spindle. Follow that up with whatever bottom bracket that fits your frame. Pressfit, BB386, BSA, whatever, it doesn't matter. The spindle is small enough in diameter & long enough to fit in all bicycles. A spacer at the outboard bearing & a preload collar on the non-drive side does the rest.

I always start with used frames & a box of parts. So "worth it" is pretty subjective. But a new build is always rewarding from a hobby & satisfaction perspective...So I say: "Go for it."
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Old 03-02-20, 03:46 PM
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Appreciate it base2.

Even if I run into a lot of setbacks, which with any project, is inevitable - I would much rather know how everything functions and understanding the fine tuning.

For the price of the frame it seems to be worth it. Plus even if frames have changed that much in 10 years. It's not like I'll ever be arriving for podiums.

Appreciate the insight.
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Old 03-16-20, 08:49 PM
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That is a bright idea that you have, I am going to apply this as well. Thanks!
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Old 03-19-20, 09:34 AM
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Mike...just adding to base2's advice about dropout width and gearing. You'll also have to consider the dishing of the rear wheel you go with...or the width of the hub/cassette combination anyway. The dropout width might not be wide enough to accommodate the greater number of gears.

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Old 03-21-20, 07:51 PM
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tech has evolved so much in the last 5 years, let alone 13 years. Getting a frame for $80 sounds nice, though. And depending on how serious you are about triathlon that bike might bring all you need. The real costs come, however, with all the components you will still need. And at $1,200-$1500 for a 2020 entry-level bike, you save yourself a lot of time, headaches and possibly also money.
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Old 03-21-20, 08:05 PM
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Appreciate the reply. It will definitely save me headaches and money for a new bike. The only problem is with a new baby I won't have the upfront cash to outright buy a new bike. I grabbed the frame anyways for the price and will just slowly but parts as I find them. Knowing that, my main concern was if tech had evolved so much that it would be impossible or near impossible to find new parts that would still fit.

So far it hasn't been too bad to find everything - I haven't purchased any components yet, bet found them online. If anything it will be a fun project. I enjoy building, home brewing setups, furniture, mountain bikes, etc., almost as much as the actual doing of said thing!

Appreciate the insight!
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Old 03-21-20, 08:06 PM
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Sorry I missed your reply. I will definitely keep that in mind!
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Old 03-21-20, 09:42 PM
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If it comes with a fork and seatpost then totally worth it, if not see if you can find both at a reasonable price to begin with, Felt still used 1" steerer and an aero post. I think there is some over complicating in the thread, building a bike isn't really a big deal. Rear hubs for road are 130mm, for 11sp DT went 131mm, not a width worth worrying about, it'll be quick release front and rear and although bikes are moving into thru-axle road hubs are still being made in top quality to the older standards. Dura Ace, Ultegra and 105 hubs are still available in 130mm, so getting a wheelset or building one will be easy. Your biggest question is what do you want to build it with? Drop bars and aero add-ons or a real tri setup; the nice thing about building a frame is you can pick the handlebars and parts that matter. From there you're really looking at 10vs11sp and sram vs shimano, it doesn't take much shopping around to find bargains on all this stuff. I just bought a frame to swap parts over and the seatpost and bb weren't compatible, little browsing resulted in a control tech carbon post for 20.00 from Amazon warehouse deals and a sram bb from elsewhere for 15.00. You can pick any GXP, Shimano hollowtech 2, or bb86 crank and just make sure you buy the right 68mm english threaded bb to go with it and you get to pick the crank length that really suits you; head over to slowtwitch and read up on the rabbit hole that is appropriate crank length for tri bikes. I agree here that shorter is better to keep your knees out of your chest.
But with this frame, make sure of fork and seatpost first, it was a 2k dollar Dura ace equipped bike when new that was fast, you can build it just as well for less or better for the same with some shopping and knowing what you want.
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Old 03-26-20, 11:26 AM
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My guess: For what you could round up all the parts for, you could just buy some similar bike in usable condition and save a lot of hassle.
If you just enjoy tinkering and driving 40 miles to save $10 on a part and that kind of thing, go for it. If you figure in your time at a reasonable rate, you'll be getting an expensive old bike by the time you're done, though.
And if you start driving/flying all over and staying in motels to do the tris, then the bicycle may be the small end of the cost, too.
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Old 03-26-20, 12:06 PM
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By coincidence, I bought one of those NOS Felt S22 frames, too.

It's a beautiful frame. Getting the parts for it hasn't been easy, though.

First, the teardrop-shaped seatpost seems to be available only from Felt; cost, $200. If you want to try your luck at finding one used, in another brand, etc. (I tried but didn't find anything that fit), FYI, I just measured the seatpost at 42.62 mm by 19.70 mm.

Second, the head tube is built for a 1" integrated headset and for a fork with a 1" steerer tube. They're both hard to find now, since 1 1/8" has been the standard for many years. I bought the integrated headset from Felt, since it was the same price as or cheaper than the 1" integrated headsets I found elsewhere and I knew it would fit right.

Again, I spent a lot of time searching but didn't find a suitable fork with a 1" carbon steerer (very rare now) and instead bought one with an aluminum steerer from BikeIsland.com ($110). Good luck finding a star nut for a 1" aluminum (i.e.., thick-walled) steerer tube.

I strongly recommend having bringing the fork and frame to a good bike shop and paying them to take care of the fork and headset installation (i.e., to install the crown race, cut the steerer to the right length, install the star nut, and put it all together). You should check look at some videos for instructions on how to figure out the correct steerer tube length for your setup.

The frame also needs a braze-on front derailleur and a mounting plate for it. Since I bought the headset and seatpost from Felt, the guys there I was e-mailing with to sort out my problems finding parts were kind enough to throw in the mounting plate. (I bought an SRAM front derailleur because that what came on the bike back when it was new.)

The rest of the parts shouldn't present any problems. The bottom bracket is threaded, and the parts to fit it are easy to find.

Finally, don't be put off by the fact that almost every part you need is going to cost you as much as or more than the frame did. You'll end up with a great bike for not much money, and you'll come out of the build process knowing more than you did going in.

Last edited by Trakhak; 03-26-20 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 03-29-20, 09:30 AM
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So, I bought a (very) old profile base and aero bar for $20 - came with 1056 shifters and brake levers, which I is what I wanted at the time, so zero cost. These are the ones that have a bracket to mount downtube shifters behind the loop of the aerobar.

I bought a 2001 specialized allez frame for $130 - came with fork, which was key as it's likewise 1" threadless. I bought a shim to use a 1 1/8 stem, 1" stems were a real pain to try and find.

I kept my Kinlin wheels when I sold my road bike last year, and had found a Powertap SL+ wheel for $200 (it works). Everything else came out of parts bin (I tinker a lot), so I'm really into this tri/tt bike thing running 8sp rear and with power for about $350 if I include the Powertap wheel and a cheapie front, more if I include the cost of the good wheels, but I had them sitting around. It can be done, but you have to find things. I do often see TT/Tri cockpits with shifters and brake levers on sale for 100-500 in various levels of newness and quality (much newer and better than what I bought)
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