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Good old frames for commuter

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Good old frames for commuter

Old 08-16-19, 01:55 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
Throwing in my vote for vintage steel mountain bikes... they're very versatile and quite inexpensive. Also, they'll take actual wide tires.

I agree 100%. It's what I did, too.

Get a high quality, steel frame (no suspension). The cantilever brakes will do everything you need.

Add a comfortable Brooks saddle (B67?) to go with the upright bars. This is the best position for negotiating traffic.

Ditch the knobbies and get some wide Schwalbe Kojak tires (smooth tread).
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Old 08-16-19, 02:16 PM
  #52  
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Some examples that I have put together myself here:







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Old 08-16-19, 04:21 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
some more possibilites

univega touring cantilevers lots of room $160 https://seattle.craigslist.org/skc/b...957864338.html






centurion $200 could be 700c already has eyelets looks clean https://seattle.craigslist.org/see/b...935348758.html





miyata fully set up $200 https://seattle.craigslist.org/kit/b...956869308.html

The 58cms are a bit small. Will look into that Miyata (it's kinda far. To get to Bainbridge you need to take a ferry or drive a long way.)
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Old 08-16-19, 04:29 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by 3alarmer View Post






They look great! How about a brief summary of each one? Were these 27" to 700c conversions?
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Old 08-16-19, 04:55 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by iamacat View Post
The 58cms are a bit small. Will look into that Miyata (it's kinda far. To get to Bainbridge you need to take a ferry or drive a long way.)
got confused 60 to 63 is what you are looking for

ok 63 cm centurion elite touring $229 https://seattle.craigslist.org/est/b...948750658.html

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Old 08-16-19, 05:38 PM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by iamacat View Post
They look great! How about a brief summary of each one? Were these 27" to 700c conversions?
... a couple were, but if there were issues like cantilever brakes (like on the Bianchi Randonneur) I just went with new 27" rims as preferable because a lot simpler. The biggest problems with older 27" wheel rims is that they are heavier than today's box section rims, and a lot of the earlier ones have an inadequate bead hook, or none at all. Otherwise, 27" wheels work fine for commuting (someone already said this in the thread).

All of them are relatively decent frames with either butted tubing or straight gauge 531. They are either '70's frames (with their more open geometry and longer wheelbase), or in the case of stuff like the Cannondale, touring models as designed.

As someone else has already said, unless you have a ready source for parts to swap out and do a lot of work yourself, it will probably be cheaper in the long run to buy something already purposed to your needs.

But that Centurion pictured for sale would be an easy conversion if the wheel/rims are solid and have a decent bead hook. And it's a solid package.
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Old 08-16-19, 06:40 PM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by squirtdad View Post
got confused 60 to 63 is what you are looking for

ok 63 cm centurion elite touring $229 https://seattle.craigslist.org/est/b...948750658.html

Sweet. If I was a foot taller...
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Old 08-16-19, 08:13 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by non-fixie View Post
Interesting to see all these suggestions for sporty machines. Where I live the most important quality of a commuter bike is that you can just hop on in your suit and tie and pedal to work. Upright bikes with fenders and closed chain cases have a distinct advantage in that respect.
I was about to say something similar to this effect. The ideal city bicycle where you don't have to think about the bicycle is one with a full chaincase, an IGH, and all-weather braking; not to mention a dynamo hub if one doesn't mind the weight.

The only thing that one can improve around the English roadster gestalt (or Dutch/Danish/Chinese roadsters or "city bicycle" - take your pick) is to build one around a lightweight steel frame. IIRC, there have been a few oddball offerings out there - not necessarily easily accessible in the US - that do combine the chaincase and IGH with lightweight frames, but not many.

I've often thought that it'd be nice if those one-size-fits-all fabric-covered chaincases could be purchased with an SKS-style mount that fits right behind the bottom bracket fixed cup/sealed BB drive side flange. It'd be the perfect way to chaincase up an IGH conversion on an old 531 frame.

Alas, every canvas-type chaincase repop I've seen has crappy chainstay clamps that will invariably slip, bend, and twist until the adapted chaincase becomes a bigger pain than it's worth. It makes more sense to use a modern-looking - but highly functional - SKS Chainboard partial chainguard and let it be at that.

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Old 08-19-19, 11:44 AM
  #59  
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Almost anything built or sold by Rivendell. You might find a complete bike for less than you can buy and build an old mountain bike. My 1989 Bridgestone MB-3 checked all your boxes including eyelets for racks/fenders and it has handling that was quicker and closer to a road bike than most of its competitors of the same vintage. Plowing through deep sand/gravel I preferred my pal's Stumpjumper because its relaxed geos helped it go straight where my Bridgestone's front wheel wanted to hunt and weave. But, on pavement the MB-3 felt a lot more nimble and not twitchy at all. When I got a FS mtn. bike I replaced the stock flat bars on the MB-3 with some "Priest" bars from Riv. They are similar to their later "Albatross" bars. They worked well enough for me with the stock stem but I could have raised the bars a lot with a Nitto Dirt Drop stem or other high rise designs sold by Rivendell. I think you can find a lot of examples of this kind of bike set-up on the Riv site archives.
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Old 08-19-19, 11:55 AM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by iamacat View Post
What are some good classic frames for commuting? Specifically interested in being able to fit larger tires (~30mm, hopefully more) with fenders because that's just what I need to do here in rain+pothole country (Seattle). There are lots of 70s and 80s frames for sale but not sure what to look for that would be a good fit for commuting needs.

The Trek 520 with cantilever brakes seem great. Just hard to find in my size. Any more like this?

Thanks!
26" wheels don't seem to roll as well to me, so I'm on a 27" steel frame English commuter...
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Old 08-19-19, 12:20 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by BurleyCat View Post
26" wheels don't seem to roll as well to me, so I'm on a 27" steel frame English commuter...
Interesting. I can reach the same speed with my '92 26" Stumpjumper as with my '16 700c hybrid, and the Stumpy has fatter tires and a more upright position. Fortunately we're all different, but we all enjoy our rides.
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Old 08-19-19, 12:50 PM
  #62  
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Commuter frame search...

Originally Posted by iamacat View Post
What are some good classic frames for commuting? Specifically interested in being able to fit larger tires (~30mm, hopefully more) with fenders because that's just what I need to do here in rain+pothole country (Seattle). There are lots of 70s and 80s frames for sale but not sure what to look for that would be a good fit for commuting needs.

The Trek 520 with cantilever brakes seem great. Just hard to find in my size. Any more like this?

Thanks!
Yah, check out a steel comfort bike, like Trek, Specialized, etc. with 35, 38 mm wide tires and cantilever brake.. good! I bought a Iron Horse comfort bike back in 2003 for $199 from a bike shop here and it's been nice and low maintenance. Added fenders, good to go! 7 speeds rear and triple rings front. 21" frame fits me and I'm 6'3" and long arms. Miles of smiles!
If you find one with suspension fork, better! Or you can add one to upgrade. ROCK ON..!
Boston, MA.
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Old 08-19-19, 12:56 PM
  #63  
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Picked up this 93 Rock hopper in the Seattle area (Kent) for $65 back in June, it had a balky right trigger shifter which I replaced with friction, got a pair of nice Schwable City tires for $40 shipped from the UK, 26x1.95. Threw on a rack I had in the parts bin and bingo. I think this would make a great commuter and it has eyelets for fenders. YMMV

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Old 08-19-19, 01:09 PM
  #64  
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I don't ride with a speedo, so can't speak to relative speed. So 'seems' is as subjective as 'feels' when talking about rolling, but is a quality that definitely contributes to enjoyment. I wonder how a modern 700c hybrid compares to a vintage (upgraded) English 27"commuter? I can run 1 3/8" tires, with full coverage fenders, upright riding position and chainguard. Not all commutes are alike, but I appreciate an upright riding position for comfort, convenience and safety: any advantage to drops, or low, flat bars is offset by the need to keep an eye on traffic while staying clean and dry.
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Old 08-19-19, 02:00 PM
  #65  
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This is why I am excited to use my 1950 Raleigh Superbe for my 10km commute along paved cycle paths this fall. It has the 3 speed IGH with dynohub but also an external 3 speed derailer, so that'll make it a more versatile rider for fair season riding in the Ottawa valley hills. My Peugeot AO8 makes for a great commuter. I'm going to ride it in rainy weather (KoolStop pads) this fall, and build it a new alloy wheelset in October. I'll be able to use my studded winter tires once I build it 700c wheels - I just gotta set the frame and build my Sturmey four-speed hub into the new wheel. Folks really like the '70s Peugeots for commuting, and I am no different. I think it'll be much improved in terms of ride once I replace the steel wheels. It will be my winter or rough-weather, all around rider.

Yes it is French and can be difficult, but I have a cotter press for my British bike, so it helps already with the Peugeot and its cottered crank. Everything else is small potatoes by comparison. As this thread and others like it prove, there is no shortage of interesting old bicycles for general use. Steel is real
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Old 08-19-19, 02:51 PM
  #66  
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GED117, That sounds like an exceptional bicycle. Similar models are uncommon here in the USA. My 1950's Rudge Sports is all English construction, while my mid to late 60's Raleigh Sprite is a combination of English and French components. When Wheelsmith was still located in Palo Alto, CA, the Hjertberg brothers often commuted on stealthy, lightweight multi-speed, performance/commuter bikes from England and France. With the full fenders and chainguards, bicycle thieves didn't look twice.

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Old 08-19-19, 03:44 PM
  #67  
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Haven't been following along too much on this thread, but has it been decided that the best old frame for a commuter bike is one that you can put two wheels, a drive train, brakes, cockpit and saddle on and when you pedal it, the thing goes forward, when you turn the handlebars it goes where you point it, and the brakes work?

In other words, the best old frame for a commuter bike is just about any old frame?
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Old 08-20-19, 09:50 AM
  #68  
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I like my Bridgestone CB-1. Its got a lower bottom bracket than a mountain bike and with the tires swapped for Tioga Power Blocks, I've surprised some of the skinny tire matching spandex folks.
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