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Thread: Brand suggestions for Vintage steel frame

  1. #1
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    Default Brand suggestions for Vintage steel frame

    Hi folks,

    I am planning on buying a cheapish vintage road bike to use for training and potentially touring. I currently ride a steel frame LeMond Zurich and used to have a Lemond Nevada City and an old welded frame Trek. I have always wanted a decent lugged frame with a bit of chrome--here are my thoughts on some of the frames I have considered.

    late 70s Peugeot: Exactly the style I am looking for but I am not a fan of the cottered cranks and funny sized BB.
    Late 70s Raleigh: Probably my first choice stylewise although I would rather have a European frame vs a Euro branded frame built in Taiwan.
    70s-80s Bianchi: Another one that is high on the list but most of the bikes I have found are a little plain.
    7s0-80s Centurion: Not exactly what I am looking for as they are Japanese frames, but a solid contender.
    70s Steyr/Puch: Ideal stylewise but really heavy low end bikes are all I am finding so far.
    Nishiki and Fuji: Great bikes, meet all the pre-requisites, but just not my cup of tea.
    Trek: Also good bikes, but boring/plain.
    Dawes: Hard to find, especially in my size 60-64 cm
    70s-80s Motobecane: Would be perfect if I could find one.
    Schwinn: I know they used to make good bikes, I just can't get over their current Walmart connection.
    Various other italian brands: Mostly too expensive--looking to spend under 400 for a rideable bike.
    Older LeMond: This would be my first choice but they are rare and expensive.

    I am pretty handy with a spoke wrench so I am not worried about being able to maintain them, I would just like the parts to be relatively easy to come by and be compatible with a significant number of other bikes.
    Any suggestions/thoughts?
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  2. #2
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    How much work are you planning to do on the frame? One of the real challenges of some of those frames -- including what I'm going to say next -- is that some of them have French threads on key parts, such as bottom bracket.

    I have a early- to mid-70's Swedish Crescent, 64cm, full Reynolds DB including stays and forks that was my city commuter for a number of years. Paint kinda worn, but overall condition fine. One of my very favorite derailleurs ever -- the Suntour V-GT with Power Shifters. Maybe the best friction shifter system there ever was. Overall the bike's a mix-match of various early 70s and some mid 80s components. One of the downsides for me was that it doesn't have toe clip to front wheel clearance when the fork it turned -- a result of it being at heart a fairly aggressive racing frame. It was a bigger problem when I had mudguards mounted with cyclocross tires on the 27-in rims. It'd be less of a problem, obviously, with 700C. This has been on my list to find a new home for for a while but I didn't want to dump it on craigslist to someone who didn't know what it was. No chrome, unfortunately, although the lugs are nice (they look to be Nervex). Send me a pm if ya have any interest.

    It's essentially the same as this one, but a significantly higher line model with 531/Campy dropouts, *much better* cotterless cranks and the noted Suntours. It has upright bars now. I'm magnitudes lower in what I'd ask than that crazy eBay listing.

    Don

  3. #3
    Christophe Noel's Avatar
    Christophe Noel is offline Expedition Portal Team Adventure Bike Moderator
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    Keep in mind, many of these bikes will have short chain stays which will make panniers tricky. That's assuming you find a frame with eyelets for rack attachment in the first place.

    Maybe check out GVH bikes. www.gvhbikes.com

    They've always got good deals on unusual and cool frames.
    Bicycles rule.

  4. #4
    Around my area (and many others around the country), the hipster phenomenan is still going strong, which means decent vintage bikes worth restoring are either priced ridiculously high or gone within minutes of posting on CL. Personally, I gave up the search and bought a production frame. You do miss out on the "charm" or "character", but you've got a new frame with proper rack/fender mounts.

    Check out this Soma.

    http://www.somafab.com/archives/prod...anyan-frameset

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4xdog View Post
    How much work are you planning to do on the frame? One of the real challenges of some of those frames -- including what I'm going to say next -- is that some of them have French threads on key parts, such as bottom bracket.

    I have a early- to mid-70's Swedish Crescent, 64cm, full Reynolds DB including stays and forks that was my city commuter for a number of years. Paint kinda worn, but overall condition fine. One of my very favorite derailleurs ever -- the Suntour V-GT with Power Shifters. Maybe the best friction shifter system there ever was. Overall the bike's a mix-match of various early 70s and some mid 80s components. One of the downsides for me was that it doesn't have toe clip to front wheel clearance when the fork it turned -- a result of it being at heart a fairly aggressive racing frame. It was a bigger problem when I had mudguards mounted with cyclocross tires on the 27-in rims. It'd be less of a problem, obviously, with 700C. This has been on my list to find a new home for for a while but I didn't want to dump it on craigslist to someone who didn't know what it was. No chrome, unfortunately, although the lugs are nice (they look to be Nervex). Send me a pm if ya have any interest.

    It's essentially the same as this one, but a significantly higher line model with 531/Campy dropouts, *much better* cotterless cranks and the noted Suntours. It has upright bars now. I'm magnitudes lower in what I'd ask than that crazy eBay listing.

    Don
    I can't view the listing as ebay is blocked in afghanistan, but it sounds like a neat machine. I am not crazy about the french sizing on things, but it isn't a deal breaker. Shipping from MO to CA may be a bit much. I definitely wouldn't mind seeing a pic though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flounder View Post
    Keep in mind, many of these bikes will have short chain stays which will make panniers tricky. That's assuming you find a frame with eyelets for rack attachment in the first place.

    Maybe check out GVH bikes. www.gvhbikes.com

    They've always got good deals on unusual and cool frames.
    Good point about the wheelbase--I am hoping that I'll have enough room on the larger bikes. If not, panniers are not a huge consideration as I don't plan on doing long distance touring--I can probably get by with a less than stellar rack for a 3-4 day trip. If I change my mind I have a trailer that would work well. I didn't find anything in their frame section but I did find a couple of parts I have been meaning to pick up for the Lemond--thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by p nut View Post
    Around my area (and many others around the country), the hipster phenomenan is still going strong, which means decent vintage bikes worth restoring are either priced ridiculously high or gone within minutes of posting on CL. Personally, I gave up the search and bought a production frame. You do miss out on the "charm" or "character", but you've got a new frame with proper rack/fender mounts.

    Check out this Soma.

    http://www.somafab.com/archives/prod...anyan-frameset
    That is a beautiful frame--too expensive for me unfortunately.

    We definitely have that going on in San Diego as well. I have been keeping an eye on the hipster bikes as well as it isn't too difficult to reverse the process(plenty of people selling the stuff they stripped from their fixie), but they usually paint them in some weird colors and can't remember what brand/size the frame was anyway.

    I did find a decent looking Ross grand tour for cheap http://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/bik/3529990226.html
    It is a little plainer and lower quality than I was looking for and green isn't really my thing, but for that price I may see if the wife can snag it...

    Thanks for the help guys; any other suggestions, things to look for?
    Last edited by Klierslc; 01-08-2013 at 03:41 AM.
    1995 T100, Beater Edition
    1997 Land Cruiser, Family Crawler
    2001 Sequoia, Family Hauler
    2002 Camry, Commuter Chariot

    Never worry about biting off more than you can chew....your mouth is probably bigger than you think it is.

  6. #6
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    Have you looked at Rivendell frames, not vintafe but certainly have the vintage style, great for touring as well.
    Personally I have an early 80's Raleigh 531 frame, that was built as a lightweight tourer, super plush ride and panniers fit easily.

  7. #7
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    Too bad I just sold my Miyata 920 for a song ($200) Dura Ace and Campy
    Good bike just hard to do the roady thing in a rain forest.
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  8. #8
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    I decided to pass on the ross, but the wife is looking at this gem later today for $200... Hoping it works out.

    3K23Fe3M85Ne5F55M4d119999cdf65c9e1308.jpg
    Raleigh Competition (mid range bike for its day). A bit on the flashy side, but I think the chrome is tasteful. The seller doesn't know the size but based on the headtube I am guessing 62-63 cm.
    Last edited by Klierslc; 01-09-2013 at 07:23 AM. Reason: spelling
    1995 T100, Beater Edition
    1997 Land Cruiser, Family Crawler
    2001 Sequoia, Family Hauler
    2002 Camry, Commuter Chariot

    Never worry about biting off more than you can chew....your mouth is probably bigger than you think it is.

  9. #9
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    Saint Louis, Missouri, USA
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    The Competition was always a bike in the (Carlton-built) Raleigh line that was neither fish nor fowl. Sorta a racer, sorta a tourer, Reynolds 531 DB only on the main tubes (or something like that -- memory fades).

    This is a later one than the one a riding buddy had. Mid-80s I'd guess, just as Raleigh was going through some big reorganizations, but possibly still made in England. Others will know more (Flounder...?). I see what looks like a Reynolds decal on the fork blade -- a good sign. It looks like a great candidate for your project!

    Don
    Last edited by 4xdog; 01-09-2013 at 12:22 PM. Reason: speling

  10. #10
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    You looking for something big? Ive got a few frames that maybe of interest to you. I grab every 60cm and larger frame that comes through the shop, which isn't too often compared to the 56 and 58s that come through the door. I'll see exactly what I have hanging at the shop tomorrow and try to shoot you some pics.

    In the meantime...

    I have a 62ish peter mooney(look him up) out in my garage right now. It has rear rack braze-ons. It was hit from behind(on a roofrack i think) and needs new seatstays. I have 3 other frames to fix before that one, but if your handy with a torch it aint rocket science.

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