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Recommendation - steel vintage frame with sport geometry that can take 32mm tires

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Recommendation - steel vintage frame with sport geometry that can take 32mm tires

Old 08-15-22, 10:20 AM
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williamskg6
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Recommendation - steel vintage frame with sport geometry that can take 32mm tires

Hi guys,

I'm writing to ask for some recommendations. I am interested in a sport geometry steel frame that can accept tires of around 32mm width. I'm not interested in a 650B conversion. I just don't have a great understanding of which vintage frames can fit tires of this width. I'm wanting to make a gravel capable, rough paved road capable bike to complement my 1987 Specialized Sirrus (which almost can't use 25mm tires). I have considered a 650B conversion for the Sirrus, but getting rim brake 650B wheels worth owning is not exactly an easy task. They exist ... occasionally. Hence my preference to not do a 650B conversion.

If you have a suggestion, please post it. Thanks!

-Kent W.
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Old 08-15-22, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by williamskg6 View Post
If you have a suggestion, please post it. Thanks!
If you want to ride gravel roads, and not just hardpack limestone paths, perhaps a tire wider than 32 will help make for a more enjoyable experience.
Many touring bikes from the 80s had geometry that was 72deg HTA and 73deg STA and would qualify as being part of the overall 'sport geometry'. They will fit 35 or even 38mm tires too.
Another option are early 90s hybrid frames. Trek Multitrak, for example. These were super popular and can fit 40mm tires.


The trouble with asking for specific frame recommendations is that you are then searching for a specific 30-40 year old frame in a specific size while potentially missing out on options that would work just because they arent the model you happen to look for.
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Old 08-15-22, 10:37 AM
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You're going to get a ton of recommendations, but 32mm tires aren't terribly wide. Bottom line, if you stay away from pure racing frames built in the 80's on up you'll probably be fine. Heck, most racing frames built in the 70's and earlier will probably work. I do a lot of work on early 70's Raleighs, pretty much their entire lineup from their Professional on down easily fits 32's.

My mid-70's Motobecane Le Champion is an example of would could be called an entry level racing bike and easily fits 32's.



I climbed the Arizona gravel road in the background to where I took this picture. I think it would even fit 35's, which I personally think is a sweet spot for mixed-surface riding.

Rather than get a fire hose of people's personal favorites, tell us where you live, frame size, and price range and we'll be happy to go on Craigslist, eBay, and even our Classic and Vintage sales section and find you a bike that fits your needs.

What you've found out is that later vintage frames (such as your Sirrus) started to have shorter "legs", with nary a gap between the tire and fork crown/bridges.
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Old 08-15-22, 10:42 AM
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"Sport Geometry"

hmmm. Great words with little hard numbers.

basically I would suggest a bike designed before the 80's
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Old 08-15-22, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by williamskg6 View Post
Hi guys,

I'm writing to ask for some recommendations. I am interested in a sport geometry steel frame that can accept tires of around 32mm width. I'm not interested in a 650B conversion. I just don't have a great understanding of which vintage frames can fit tires of this width. I'm wanting to make a gravel capable, rough paved road capable bike to complement my 1987 Specialized Sirrus (which almost can't use 25mm tires). I have considered a 650B conversion for the Sirrus, but getting rim brake 650B wheels worth owning is not exactly an easy task. They exist ... occasionally. Hence my preference to not do a 650B conversion.

If you have a suggestion, please post it. Thanks!

-Kent W.
650b are around if you look (currently sold out here but as an example) https://www.velomine.com/index.php?m...oducts_id=6367

edit: added I would suggest calling them I got a set of wheels made that were "sold out". it was a bit of a wait due to hubs being on a 12 week backlog......
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Old 08-15-22, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
"Sport Geometry"

hmmm. Great words with little hard numbers.

basically I would suggest a bike designed before the 80's
Indeed, there is a lot of grey area around the term. I think most people know what it means though, without needing to get pedantic.

I am looking for something not quite as aggressive as a full-on road bike, but still nimble enough that I won't find myself lamenting how poorly it handles. I don't want something with mountain bike geometry. Touring geometry might do the trick, as mentioned, but I'd prefer something a little more nimble than that.

Yeah, I know it's a bit of a nebulous request. I'm just interested in seeing what people recommend.
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Old 08-15-22, 11:31 AM
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I had a 1983 Trek 560 that took 32 mm tires without a problem

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Old 08-15-22, 11:40 AM
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https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...g-bicycle.html
Sounds like you need a sport-touring frame.
27 X 1 1/4" tires were commonly spec'd on non-racing models into the mid 1980's and are 32mm wide. 700c wheels will give you far more tire options.
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Old 08-15-22, 11:43 AM
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Tell us major metro area you have access to and we can point out craigs list available bikes that will work for you. I understand that you would like a bike that rides like you Sirrus but can handle 32s. A long wheelbase touring bike is not what you want as that Sirrus if it is like mine is really an Allez -- road racing bike. If you are willing to deal with the quirky threads of English and French bikes, Raleighs, Peugeots, and Motobecans are common and can fit 32s which. I think are pretty wide.
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Old 08-15-22, 12:08 PM
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Here's a great thread on sports touring bikes (yes, there's no clear definition...)
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Old 08-15-22, 12:16 PM
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Hey... I get ta post another picture of my late 80's Peu Dolomites. Here its right after a dusty torn up asphalt ride running 700-28c Continental Ride Tour Tires. It could easily run 32s.



Yep... I know the set up looks strange! Especially that seat and those Bars... Ha... The things ya gotta do to keep riding at age... Pitiful...
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Old 08-15-22, 12:28 PM
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I have a mid 80s Trek 630 set up exactly as described.
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Old 08-15-22, 01:37 PM
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Early 1970s Raleigh International checks all of those boxes.
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Old 08-15-22, 02:29 PM
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Midrange Univega road bikes from the early 80's are also worth a look, like the Sportour or Nuovo Sport. Well built, good geometry, easy to work on, generous tire clearance.
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Old 08-15-22, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by williamskg6 View Post
Indeed, there is a lot of grey area around the term. I think most people know what it means though, without needing to get pedantic.

I am looking for something not quite as aggressive as a full-on road bike, but still nimble enough that I won't find myself lamenting how poorly it handles. I don't want something with mountain bike geometry. Touring geometry might do the trick, as mentioned, but I'd prefer something a little more nimble than that.

Yeah, I know it's a bit of a nebulous request. I'm just interested in seeing what people recommend.
Put that to numbers.
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Old 08-15-22, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Tell us major metro area you have access to and we can point out craigs list available bikes that will work for you. I understand that you would like a bike that rides like you Sirrus but can handle 32s. A long wheelbase touring bike is not what you want as that Sirrus if it is like mine is really an Allez -- road racing bike. If you are willing to deal with the quirky threads of English and French bikes, Raleighs, Peugeots, and Motobecans are common and can fit 32s which. I think are pretty wide.
You're definitely getting my drift. I'd like something that handles similar to my Sirrus (Allez) but can have some bigger tires. Perhaps a little more laid back than the Sirrus, but not a long wheelbase cargo hauler.

There have been some pretty useful suggestions so far, and I do appreciate the suggestions.
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Old 08-15-22, 11:16 PM
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My old Colnago Super doesn't like super large tires.

However, many Motobecanes have sufficient clearance to mount tires and fenders. If you dropped the fenders, perhaps a little extra space for larger tires.

Some had 27" (which gives more space if you convert to 700c), and some with 700c.
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Old 08-15-22, 11:40 PM
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Early 70's Raleigh Pro, International, or Competition, Schwinn Paramount, etc.
The OP did not indicate what components he intends to use, however.
These 120mm dropouts will limit choices somewhat.
For instance, it would not make me happy to ride rough terrain without brake lever shifters.
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Old 08-16-22, 04:45 AM
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OK, personally I find it bothersome when thread responses suggest things an OP specifically says they're not interested in.... but I'm going to do it anyway. Reconsider a 650B conversion! The dearth of decent, ready-made rim brake 650B wheel sets could be seen as an opportunity to learn to build wheels- at least that's how I finally ended up looking at it, and I'm glad I did (building wheels is kinda fun, in a tedious sort of way..). I absolutely love my '72 PX-10 650b conversion with 42c tires (and still just enough room for fenders) and have no hesitation taking it on just about any kind of road. Double-track farm and forest roads, no problem, though I'd might think twice about technical single-track sort of stuff. It handles great and is just plain fun to ride on rough stuff and on nice(r) roads. I went whole-hog on the resto/mod-conversion, but if you DIY'd the wheels (& shopped around for good deals/sales on the parts) & got some Weinmann Vainqueur 750 brakes you could probably do it for $350 or so, not including the rest of the bike and the tires, that is.
Prior to the PX-10 conversion I was riding another bike with 700c wheels and 35c tires, which I also wouldn't hesitate to take on most any road, but the ride and experience is significantly better on the 650b/42c setup.
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Old 08-16-22, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
Midrange Univega road bikes from the early 80's are also worth a look, like the Sportour or Nuovo Sport. Well built, good geometry, easy to work on, generous tire clearance.
Funny, I was just going to suggest this since I picked up a rather sorry looking Sportour to cannibalize the components (fork has some severe looking rust) and I noticed there is a generous amount of clearance with 27x1-1/4 tires.

Unfortunate the F/F on my Uni is questionable. Ill donate it to the co-op and let them decide what to do with it. The pretty Arabesque bits will find a happy home.
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Old 08-16-22, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
OK, personally I find it bothersome when thread responses suggest things an OP specifically says they're not interested in.... but I'm going to do it anyway. Reconsider a 650B conversion! The dearth of decent, ready-made rim brake 650B wheel sets could be seen as an opportunity to learn to build wheels- at least that's how I finally ended up looking at it, and I'm glad I did (building wheels is kinda fun, in a tedious sort of way..).
I have considered learning to build wheels and do it myself, but when I start adding up all the tools needed, it doesn't take a long time before it doesn't really make a lot of sense financially. I think if I did that, it'd be because I want to learn (which I kind of do). As for brakes, my Sirrus' brake bridge is sooooo close to the wheel, I would probably be able to get away with some normal long reach calipers without issue. I may very well change my mind on the 650B conversion, since the vintage market where I live (Logan Utah) isn't particularly great.

If I can (barely) fit a 700x25 tire now, what would be your guess as to what size 650B tire I could fit in its place? The math suggests I could go as large as 45mm if the frame allowed the width, but I don't know if my math is right.
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Old 08-16-22, 11:50 AM
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70's Reynolds 531 bikes. Afore mentioned Motobecane LeChampion, Raleigh International, Trek 520 can be found. Ditto early 80's Japanese bikes, Nishiki, Miyata, Centurion would be less expensive, with Tange #1 or Tange #2. Just look for plenty of tire clearance, especially at the chain stays.
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Old 08-16-22, 12:28 PM
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The mid-1980s Centurion LeMans RS was considered a true sport-tourer at the time. Have no idea how large a tire it can take, though.
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Old 08-16-22, 12:41 PM
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70s bikes built for 27" wheels are the sweet spot. They were generally made for 27 by 1-1/4 max which usually translates to 700c by 35 if the chainstays aren't too tight. I'm riding a 76-77 motobecane grand record with 35s and fenders. All day comfort and Reynolds 531 is a winning combo!
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Old 08-16-22, 12:42 PM
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Look through this thread:

Show your classic sports touring bicycle - Bike Forums

Also, another vote from to convert a 27" wheeled bicycle to 700c. Check out this 1984 SR Semi Pro made with Champion 2 tubing and tange fork. A bit pricey at $300, but it has oodles of clearance already with 27" wheels. I wonder if it would even require a 700c conversion to fit 32mm tires. May require you the dimple the chainstays (look at this thread: Extremely casual DIY chainstay dimpling -- Hey, it works! - Bike Forums)

1984 SR Bicycle - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)
Catalog link: 1984 SR Catalog High Resolution.pdf (radiolabworks.com)

I was very tempted to purchase this myself...


edit: Some other possible options, but you'll have to do some of your own online research to double check that they will actually take 32mm tires:
1980's Specialized Sequoia 58cm Vintage Lugged Steel Frameset -... (craigslist.org)
Vintage Centurion Road Bike - bicycles - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)
Trek 420 57cm frame - bicycle parts - by owner - bike sale (craigslist.org)

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