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Motobecane Grand Record

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Motobecane Grand Record

Old 08-14-21, 04:49 PM
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sincos
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Motobecane Grand Record

Hi all,
Recently picked up a MB Grand Record frame. It was advertised as a 1982, from the catalogs I'm guessing 1980, but AIUI the catalogs have sometimes a tenuous relationship with reality. Headset, BB, and shift levers were included and are Shimano 600 EX, which is consistent with 1980. Bearings will need some service, so the first big question is: what kind of BB am I looking at here? Swiss thread? I know that in a few years around this time they were switching from French to Swiss (and then to English?) I cannot read the S/N on the BB, I may have to strip the rust and repaint to see it. Also it is missing a badge on the HT -- is that the Motobecane M?











The newer GRs are simpler than the ones from the 70s. I'm ok with the simpler lugs (though those Nervex Pros are cool) but I miss the fender eyelets and the Black and red paintjobs. The "Ivory" here is a bit ... plain vanilla. But at least it still has a chain hanger!
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Old 08-14-21, 05:05 PM
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Can we have a close up pic of the drive side bb shell and spindle? Not sure what's going on there.

​​​​​​If that frameset is 172 throughout, it's going to be really sweet ride. I really like that fork crown. That paint color should be pretty easy to touch up, too.
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Old 08-14-21, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Can we have a close up pic of the drive side bb shell and spindle? Not sure what's going on there.
​​​​​​If that frameset is 172 throughout, it's going to be really sweet ride. I really like that fork crown. That paint color should be pretty easy to touch up, too.
Hoping that's the case here. My first real bike was a Super Mirage (I think) made out of 2040 that might still be the sweetest handling bike I've ridden. This one's supposed to be full 172, but only the main triangle is DB (I think).

Anyway, here's the BB DS spindle:



And here's the NDS


which answers my question, since Shimano have so graciously indicated which way to tighten. How very Japanese! Anyway, brilliant suggestion on taking photos or I might not have noticed!

But closer scrutiny brings up more questions:



Like: what does this sticker mean? My French is rusty, so I'm getting "Wire base forks", which makes no sense to me. Anybody know?




And finally (for now anyway), there's a rust problem here under the paint it seems. What's the best way to deal with this?
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Old 08-15-21, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by sincos View Post

And finally (for now anyway), there's a rust problem here under the paint it seems. What's the best way to deal with this?
I'd go with an oxalic acid bath, especially as it is a white bike. Not only will is get rid of the rust, but it will bleach out any rust-staining and probably a fair bit of micro-grime hiding in the paint surface. Do the forks as well to make sure they match.

Make a bag out of a folded piece of vapour barrier, arrange it on a bit of a slope (plywood sheet on bricks, your neighbour's lawn, whatever), put the frame in, pour in a gallon of that wood bleach that really is 10% oxalic acid - check the labels - and enough extra water to make sure all the frame is submerged, tape or clip the top of the bag shut and come back tomorrow; pull it out and rinse it off with the hose.

If you're Scottish I won't need to tell you to pour the liquid into a waiting pail, it'll do more than one frame.
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Old 08-15-21, 10:40 AM
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sincos -

The Vitus decal on the fork lists the chainstays, seatstays and forks as being built from Vitus 172. Its a complete 172 frameset.
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Old 08-16-21, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by oneclick View Post
I'd go with an oxalic acid bath, especially as it is a white bike. Not only will is get rid of the rust, but it will bleach out any rust-staining and probably a fair bit of micro-grime hiding in the paint surface. Do the forks as well to make sure they match.
Thanks! I take it this is the oxalic acid solution, though I suppose you can make it up from crystals.

Having one now reminds me that I've never understood these Shimano BBs. Why recess the cups like that? Everybody else tries to minimize the bending load on the spindle. I suppose it wasn't really a problem ... at least until they decided we needed oversized spindles and external cups, anyway.

@bertinjim, thanks for the translation. That makes a lot more sense than "wire based forks"!
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Old 08-16-21, 11:59 PM
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1979 - 1981 Motobecane Grand Record

sincos Your frame could be any year from a 1979 to a 1981. Motobecane didn't use Shimano very often but Grand Record bikes during those 3 years came with 600 EX components.

Here's the Grand Record spec sheet from the 1979 Motobecane Catalog. The 1980 & 1981 catalogs lists a Shimano 600 EX headset instead of Motobecane.

The colors listed for 1979 are: New Blue and Gun Metal Gray but Oyster Shell (Pearlescent White) was used on Grand Records from 1978 to 1981.



1978 catalog cover page - before they switched to Shimano 600 ex components.



Your Shimano sealed bearing cartridge BB is stamped BC 1.37 68 which has standard British threads. That design was used successfully for decades on millions of bikes around the globe. You can still get quality Shimano replacement cartridges for ~$20 USD on line. Most Japanese double cranks should fit without a problem.

The headset is most likely British thread too which should take a 22.2mm inch size stem but check it out first. Is it wrong? Or just French!

Double Butted is an abused BS term used by marketoids. Only the Top Tubes and Down Tubes are Double Butted. With the exception of Asian frames made with some types of Japanese tubing, Seat Tubes are Single Butted. Steerer Tubes are usually Single Butted. So are some fork blades. All the rest of the tubes are Straight Gauge - no taper in the wall thickness.


Vitus 172 had the same strength and wall thickness as the Reynolds 531 tubing that was used on most Continental European production bikes: 1.0mm on the butted ends, 0.7mm in the thinner sections.

Your Grand Record should take a 26.2mm or 26.4mm seat post. The spec sheet says 25.2mm but that's a typo.

The rear dropouts are 126mm wide to fit a 6 speed hub.

Numbers stamped into Motobecanes and most other French production frames mean NOTHING!!!

We're talking about bikes that were made up to 50+ years ago (~40 years ago in your case). The companies that made them have been out of business for 20-45 years - there is no longer any traceability for most of those bikes.

The Shimano 600 EX top lock and adjustable headset nuts take special wrenches that are rare. You can use something like Channel Lock pliers with GREAT CARE to avoid munging the nuts (wrap them in cloth???)

Lastly, the original head tube badge looked like this:



Hope this helps a little.

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Old 08-17-21, 09:38 AM
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I don't want to be the grim reaper and I hope I'm wrong, but those lines in the paint at the head lug could be from a front end collision. I would run a straight edge along the bottom of the top tube and down tube just to make sure,
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Old 08-17-21, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
<...>

Hope this helps a little.

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The depth of expertise on this forum never ceases to amaze me, thanks I learned a lot here. Too bad it's not a keeper ...
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Old 08-17-21, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by gearbasher View Post
I don't want to be the grim reaper and I hope I'm wrong, but those lines in the paint at the head lug could be from a front end collision. I would run a straight edge along the bottom of the top tube and down tube just to make sure,
Good catch! I didn't see that at all ... but I did feel it while inspecting the headset. It's actually quite noticeable on the DT but even in the top tube it's a bit out of round. Requesting a return
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Old 08-17-21, 10:40 PM
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Good Catch On The Front Ender Damage

Originally Posted by gearbasher View Post
I don't want to be the grim reaper and I hope I'm wrong, but those lines in the paint at the head lug could be from a front end collision. I would run a straight edge along the bottom of the top tube and down tube just to make sure,
Originally Posted by sincos View Post
Good catch! I didn't see that at all ... but I did feel it while inspecting the headset. It's actually quite noticeable on the DT but even in the top tube it's a bit out of round. Requesting a return
SEND IT BACK!

No matter how well a crashed bike is realigned, they never seem to handle correctly!

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Old 08-17-21, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by gearbasher View Post
I don't want to be the grim reaper... and I hope I'm wrong,
I hope he's wrong, too. It might just be frost damage. I've got a '78 Moto Gr. Rec. and it's got those tell tale signs and an ever so slightly bulged headtube to boot. I checked the relative angles of the seat and head tube with an iPhone to gauge any damage. The angles were OK and frame was still straight. It cleaned up real nice, and it's still a sweet ride.

verktyg covered it all the details for you. The tubing stickers don't leave much doubt, but you could check the seat and chainstays to see if they're stamped V.172. The '78 catalog only spec'd the main tubes of the Gr. Rec. as Vitus 172 that year, but the seat and chainstays on mine were all stamped V.172. So it's full Vitus 172, just not all double-butted.

It looks like it'll clean up good and maybe a bit easier with the English standards. Enjoy your project.



Lightly bulged head tube

Cleaned up OK.

V.172 stamped chain stay.
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Old 08-20-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by agnewton View Post
I hope he's wrong, too. It might just be frost damage. I've got a '78 Moto Gr. Rec. and it's got those tell tale signs and an ever so slightly bulged headtube to boot. I checked the relative angles of the seat and head tube with an iPhone to gauge any damage. The angles were OK and frame was still straight. It cleaned up real nice, and it's still a sweet ride.
You don't even need a straightedge to see that the DT is bent vertically It's going back.

Yours looks beautiful. Earlier model though, as it still has fender eyelets (a good thing, in my book)
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Old 08-20-21, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by sincos View Post
You don't even need a straightedge to see that the DT is bent vertically It's going back.

Yours looks beautiful. Earlier model though, as it still has fender eyelets (a good thing, in my book)
Thank you. If the seller has a return policy, then by all means send it back to them. I found mine in the rain on eBay- the seller took the photos of the bike in the rain. The bike was complete, it was semi-local, and the French-threaded exotica almost justified the entire price.

Happy hunting for your next project.
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Old 08-20-21, 04:01 PM
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Heat Tube Heat Bulge

Originally Posted by agnewton View Post
I hope he's wrong, too. It might just be frost damage. I've got a '78 Moto Gr. Rec. and it's got those tell tale signs and an ever so slightly bulged headtube to boot. I checked the relative angles of the seat and head tube with an iPhone to gauge any damage. The angles were OK and frame was still straight. It cleaned up real nice, and it's still a sweet ride.

verktyg covered it all the details for you. The tubing stickers don't leave much doubt, but you could check the seat and chainstays to see if they're stamped V.172. The '78 catalog only spec'd the main tubes of the Gr. Rec. as Vitus 172 that year, but the seat and chainstays on mine were all stamped V.172. So it's full Vitus 172, just not all double-butted.


Lightly bulged head tube
"It might just be frost damage." Huh???

The bulge in your head tube is caused from slight overheating during brazing. The tubing expands but the brazing material in the top or bottom has solidified so there is no place for the tube to go but to bulge out. Happens a lot in seat lugs but not as noticeable.

It's not really a problem because Vitus 172 was a low alloy steel and not as susceptible to overheating as Reynolds 531, Columbus and other 4130 ally tubes.

Those cracks in the paint are not always fatal because steel can flex a certain amount before taking a permanent set (deformation). The paint is hard a will crack.

But... all said, I'd send it back, you never know what damage has been done to the forks. At the minimum the forks and frame should be realigned.

I check the alignment on every bike or frame that I acquire. I can do minor adjustments in my shop at home. If it needs more, I take it to a frame builder friend's shop and either pay him to let me use his layout table or, especially with tweaked forks, have him do it. Usually about $40.00.

A properly aligned frame handles soooo much better!

BTW, Vitus 172 tubing had about 90% of the strength of Reynolds 531, Columbus and other Chrome Molybdenum tubing but cost about 1/3 the price of Reynolds and 1/4 the price of Columbus!

I built a number of frames with Vitus 172. It had the same wall thickness as the Reynolds 531 used on many "production" frames back then: 1.0mm x 0.7mm thick main tubes.

agnewton as I illustrated above, only the top and down tubes were made of "double butted" tubing. The exception being some Asian made bikes had double butted seat tubes.

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Old 08-20-21, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
"It might just be frost damage." Huh???
Sorry, I forgot to add the emoji for improbable wishful thinking.

Thank you for the details about the head tube bulge. I have read that the quality of workmanship can leave some tell tale signs on the frame, but don't have a large enough sample size to recognize them all. At least I can dismiss the slight head tube bulge as a result of a crash.

My Moto Gr. Rec. has some other evidence of a possible impact. It has the paint cracks on the head and down tube similar to the O.P. frame and the original brake caliper arms had stress cracks. My iPhone angles for the head and seat tube suggested the alignment was pretty good, but to be sure I did have a frame maker check it out (though for a few dollars more, ~$80).

I don't know how much the O.P. paid for the frame, but if he can get a full refund, then by all means. Or if he can get a refund for the cost of the frame alignment...

verktyg Yes, I gathered that only the top and down tubes were double-butted from your description. I was just surprised to find that all of the tubes in my '78 frame were stamped V.172 as the 78 Moto catalog notes that 3 Tubes were Vitus 172 (not completely accurate per your comment) while the next model up, "Le Champion", specs Double butted Reynolds for 9 tubes- although I'm not sure which is the ninth tube (seat and chainstays= 4; seat, top, down, and head tube= 4; RR brake bridge (?)). Thank you for your reply.


Not the best picture, but there's a bit of a "burp" in the downtube opposite the paint cracking.


Stress crack in the Weinmann 605 brake caliper arm


78 Moto Catalog Specs.

Now, if I could just figure out how to post smaller images...



Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
The bulge in your head tube is caused from slight overheating during brazing. The tubing expands but the brazing material in the top or bottom has solidified so there is no place for the tube to go but to bulge out. Happens a lot in seat lugs but not as noticeable.

It's not really a problem because Vitus 172 was a low alloy steel and not as susceptible to overheating as Reynolds 531, Columbus and other 4130 ally tubes.

Those cracks in the paint are not always fatal because steel can flex a certain amount before taking a permanent set (deformation). The paint is hard a will crack.

But... all said, I'd send it back, you never know what damage has been done to the forks. At the minimum the forks and frame should be realigned.

I check the alignment on every bike or frame that I acquire. I can do minor adjustments in my shop at home. If it needs more, I take it to a frame builder friend's shop and either pay him to let me use his layout table or, especially with tweaked forks, have him do it. Usually about $40.00.

A properly aligned frame handles soooo much better!

BTW, Vitus 172 tubing had about 90% of the strength of Reynolds 531, Columbus and other Chrome Molybdenum tubing but cost about 1/3 the price of Reynolds and 1/4 the price of Columbus!

I built a number of frames with Vitus 172. It had the same wall thickness as the Reynolds 531 used on many "production" frames back then: 1.0mm x 0.7mm thick main tubes.

agnewton as I illustrated above, only the top and down tubes were made of "double butted" tubing. The exception being some Asian made bikes had double butted seat tubes.

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Old 08-20-21, 11:26 PM
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Vitus 172

Originally Posted by agnewton View Post
Thank you for the details about the head tube bulge. I have read that the quality of workmanship can leave some tell tale signs on the frame, but don't have a large enough sample size to recognize them all. At least I can dismiss the slight head tube bulge as a result of a crash.

My Moto Gr. Rec. has some other evidence of a possible impact. It has the paint cracks on the head and down tube similar to the O.P. frame and the original brake caliper arms had stress cracks. My iPhone angles for the head and seat tube suggested the alignment was pretty good, but to be sure I did have a frame maker check it out (though for a few dollars more, ~$80).

I don't know how much the O.P. paid for the frame, but if he can get a full refund, then by all means. Or if he can get a refund for the cost of the frame alignment...

verktyg Yes, I gathered that only the top and down tubes were double-butted from your description. I was just surprised to find that all of the tubes in my '78 frame were stamped V.172 as the 78 Moto catalog notes that 3 Tubes were Vitus 172 (not completely accurate per your comment) while the next model up, "Le Champion", specs Double butted Reynolds for 9 tubes- although I'm not sure which is the ninth tube (seat and chainstays= 4; seat, top, down, and head tube= 4; RR brake bridge (?)). Thank you for your reply.


Not the best picture, but there's a bit of a "burp" in the downtube opposite the paint cracking.


Stress crack in the Weinmann 605 brake caliper arm.
Crack in the brake caliper arm is weird! It's probably a material flaw in the aluminum. It happens!

Here's a bulge in the head tube of a 1970 Gitane that I had.



The cracks in the paint and the ripple on the underside on the down tube indicate a front ender!

Double Butted was a term that marketoids who knew little or nothing about bikes ran away with back in the early 70's (at the beginning of the Bike Boom). It continued to the end of the steel bike era.

I suspect that it resulted when several authors who wrote bike books back then got carried away describing the multitude of different Reynolds 531 tubing offered and their various stickers:straight gauge 3 main tubes, butted 3 main tubes, full Reynolds 531 frames with straight or butted main tubes and so on.

Novice bike buyers (and bike sellers) got lured into the magic of a Reynolds sticker with no understanding of what it meant. Then throw in French stickers...

In the mid to late 70's Schwinn and to some degree Raleigh changed their Reynolds stickers to say 531 FORK BLADES, STAYS, BUTTED FRAME TUBES - truth in advertising!



Many bike and frame builders, even some of the top names used CHEAP seamed tubing for their head tubes instead of Reynolds or Columbus. The easy way to tell is to look inside for a seam when the fork is out. Also many used cheap steerers as well. I've seen top quality frames with a piece of straight gauge pipe that had a sleeve brazed into the bottom for a steerer.

As you pointed out:

Main Tubes = 3
Head Tube = 1
Fork Blades = 2
Steerer = 1
Chain Stays = 2
Seat Stays = 2
That equals 11!

9 Tubes = truth in advertising - misleading but honest!

In 1974 Motobecane changed the geometry on their performance bikes from a laid back touriste style to the more Italian road racing designs. Head tube angles and fork rakes where the determining factors although they were controlled by frame size. Many of their performance models in the mid range sizes had 74° head tube angles with 45-50mm fork rakes which made for sporty handling but comfortable controlability.

One last thing, Ateliers de la Rive, makers of Rubis, Durifort, Vitus 172 and Super Vitus 971, 980 and 983 changed the types of steels they used in those tubes a number of times, especially during the late 70's early 80's.

The last 2 numbers indicated the year the tubing was introduced: V 172 = 1972, SV 971 = 1971 and so on. The type of tubing was always stamped into the tubes like you pictured.

Super Vitus 980



There is nothing wrong with quality seamed tubing especially in bicycles. Most of the bikes in the world are made with seamed tubes. Durifort and Vitus 172 were originally seamed tubes.The 3 main tubes were drawn and rolled which eliminated the seams.

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Old 08-21-21, 08:53 AM
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I bought a new Grand Jubile with Vitus 172 in 1980. After about 5k miles, I front-ended it into the back of a parked car. I was doing no more than 3-4 MPH. It was enough to slightly bend the top and down tubes and put the stress lines in the paint. Being young and carefree, I kept riding it. After an additional 6-7K miles, the down tube developed a crack on the bottom side, right at the head lug. I didn't notice or feel anything until the crack was about 1/3 the way around the tube. Oh, to be young and dumb again.
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Old 08-21-21, 03:34 PM
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Here was the problem:





You don't need a ruler to see that the downtube is bent and that the bottom of the downtube has buckled. You can also see annular compression fracturing of the paint between the buckle and the lug on the bottom of the DT, and tension fracturing deep enough to cause rust at the top at the lug point. (The seller did not know about it and is willing to take it back).

The weird thing is that I didn't even see this at first (I felt the deformation in the downtube). Now of course I can't unsee it. As gearbasher said, I should have checked out the cracking at the lug points. I don't mind a few bumps and bruises (it is a 40 yr old frame) but this is too much. Too bad because it would have been a nice frame.
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Old 08-21-21, 08:27 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by sincos View Post
Here was the problem:





You don't need a ruler to see that the downtube is bent and that the bottom of the downtube has buckled. You can also see annular compression fracturing of the paint between the buckle and the lug on the bottom of the DT, and tension fracturing deep enough to cause rust at the top at the lug point. (The seller did not know about it and is willing to take it back).

The weird thing is that I didn't even see this at first (I felt the deformation in the downtube). Now of course I can't unsee it. As gearbasher said, I should have checked out the cracking at the lug points. I don't mind a few bumps and bruises (it is a 40 yr old frame) but this is too much. Too bad because it would have been a nice frame.
Yes, that is severe. Thanks for sharing that photo. Sorry about your project. I couldn't see it in the original photos, but the stressed paint nearly circles the downtube in the most recent photos. Thank you gearbasher for describing the full failure mode. I now know what to monitor to see if a crack begin to propagate around the tube. It also might explain why, when picking it up from the frame builder who checked it out, when I asked him how it was, he said, "You're gonna ride it?" I said, "Yes," and he replied, "It's fine." I do tend to baby the bike (no riding off pavement) and the remainder of the OEM French parts will make a valuable contribution to the parts bin and any future builds. Thanks all.

Last edited by agnewton; 08-21-21 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 08-21-21, 10:15 PM
  #21  
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Things To Watch Out For In A Used Frame Or Bike

One of the first things that I do with any bike or frame that I acquire is feel under the top and down tubes at the the head tube. Next is I check the alignment.

A missing or mismatched fork is a RED FLAG!

What happened to the original fork???

For me I assume the worst, that the bike was in a front ender and the fork and possibly the frame got bent.

Vitus 172 is made of a low alloy steel that gets it's strength from heat treating. It's about 95% as strong as Reynolds 531, Columbus and the other brands like Tange and Ishiwata that are made out of alloy steels. It's less sensitive to overheating but also it's less fatigue resistant.

"You're gonna ride it?" should have been a give away for further questions.

Bikes are generally over engineered and if you are a lighter rider and stick to smooth surfaces you shouldn't encounter any problems.

Sqeaks or creaks are something to watch out for. If you hear or feel anything odd, check it out.

I picked up this used Alpine frame dirt cheap from a local frame builder. It had been in a front ender and he'd realigned it and straightened the fork. Aside from finding out that it was an extreme crit frame after I built it up, I was never happy with the way it rode or handled. Squirrely was an understatement.

If you look under the the circle on the top tube you can seen the bend. Also the down tube was bent. I sold it cheaper to someone who was looking for that exact kind of crit frame. We're both happy!



Happy trails....

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Old 12-05-21, 07:14 PM
  #22  
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Looks like this frame is back on the market:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/27493639724...oAAOSwhMhhBH8K

From the description, "Frame has some scratches, missing paint, and some gunk in the cable routers near the BB, but is in great vintage condition with no dents or dings."

Shame on this seller!
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