Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or used

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hujev
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Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or used

Postby hujev » 19 Jun 2015, 10:02pm

HI from new group subscriber in Alaska (but I've read here for ~10 years).

I am interested in buying a ca. 1978-1983 English (or UK) full-on touring frameset, or something newer if built in that same style, so figured I'd ask the English themselves (Scots too, and Welsh, etc.).

I am also considering a newly-built frame of similar style (esp. Bob Jackson), so also ask ideas on UK framebuilders of note making these sorts of frames. I have 1980s Mercian and Woodrup, but in 'sport touring' geometry (years ago I had a mid-60s Dawes that got crinkled in a crash!).

Looking for Reynolds (531 or similar), lugged, long wheelbase, slack angles, heavy duty, braze-ons, etc. The sort of things you'd see in Tim Hughes' excellent books (esp. "Wheels of choice - I'm a fan of his books and photography).

I like late 70s-early 80s bikes - friction shifting, Suntour stuff, brake cables from the tops of the levers, and a quill stem that I can adjust. To me the bikes of the late 70s & early 80s were the best, and the properly-proportioned beauty and functionality of bikes from that era were the peak. Of those, English touring bikes look the best of all!

I dislike modern bikes: click shifting, tigwelding, sloping top tubes and those nuttily long seatposts, and (ugh!) threadless headsets and clamp-on stems! [These ideas ranted on further at: http://rjl.us/velo ]

I need about a 23-24" frame. I am in the US but would buy from the UK if something came up. I don't need the frame until the autumn, when I hope to replace my shimmy-ing Surly LHT frame (built with mostly ca. 1980-84 made or designed stuff though -http://rjl.us/velo/2005LHT.htm).

Anybody have something for sale, know a good source, or have advice on UK builders to look into?

//

robert liebermann, fox alaska
http://rjl.us

Brucey
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby Brucey » 19 Jun 2015, 10:51pm

there are many nice machines that could meet your requirements, but presumably you have some ideas about what would work best for you; some features you may or may not have strong views on could include

- clearances for 700C , 27" or both? ( many touring frames from early in that period would have had 27" wheels originally)
- cantis or caliper brakes ( wheel size?)
- applicable tyre widths; many such frames look as if they will take a wide tyre but there can be very little clearance between the chainstays for anything over 1-1/4" (32mm) section.
- carrier braze-ons? (type?)
- bottle braze-ons?
- rear OLN width?
- tubeset?

Now the last of these could be a real issue; 531ST tubing was launched around the mid-80's but older frames than this would have been built with various different tube gauges (in, say, 531 tubing) depending on the builder and the application. Whichever tube gauges were used, the same '531 DB' sticker was put on the frame. In 23-24" size you can have a frame that looks like a full-on tourer but is actually built so light that it will be a bit noodly if you load it up front and rear. The same tubeset built to 22" gives a significantly stiffer frame.... Often the finished weight of the frame and the applicable seat pin size are the best clues!

There are dozens of builders who were active around this time. Someone here may turn up something that will work for you. Another route might be to look at Hilary Stone's website; if he knows what you are after he may be able to source something suitable.

In new UK-built frames there are about half a dozen builders who would build you what you want right now.

cheers
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hujev
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby hujev » 19 Jun 2015, 11:20pm

Thanks for the reply; to the questions just posed ("ideal" more likely on a new frame than a 35-year-old one of course):
700c would work better nowadays (or a 650b conversion, of which I know little at this point), but if the right frame came along 27 would be OK.
Cantilevers preferred (again flexible as above).
Tyre widths - I see the BJ WT states 32 as widest; 35 even better but I tour on roads, most paved, rather than off-road, or would on this bike in question. (I have a couple early 80sStumpjumpers if I ever decide to do 'roughstuff'. travel).
Braze-ons, ideally, would be 3 bottles, cantis, front lowrider on forks ideally (less likely on a 1983 of course), and double eyelets F&R (that pretty important since I use fenders).
Rear width - again, ideally 130 or 135, since I have wheels (from the LHT) in 135 with Phil Wood hubs (my favorite), plus an extra 130 hub that could be built up; 126 or 125 also OK (since Phils available in all widths -though xpen$ive!- and I have a .. good .. hoard of NOS Suntour 6 & 7 speed freewheels .. which I like...
Tubeset - well I mentioned 531 as the 'old standby', so that includes 631, etc. and newer stuff. Since I'm going after English (or Scottish, et al. - I missed out on a beautiful Wester Ross a few years ago) here, I might as well go with Reynolds. Truth is, I don't know too much more about the variants of 531, but could investigate possibilities as they arrive. For me, heavier & tougher (& thicker-walled tubes) is preferred. Did I also mention that I tend to tour with somewhat 'full' loads?

I did look at the H Stone website, but haven't contacted yet to see about other possibilities, though will do so!

Now how about that list of half a dozen current builders! I know of Mercian, Woodrup, & BJ, of course - a few more I looked at seem to be more into fancier, or 'newer' frame styles now. Would be great to get a lead on someone well-regarded that I'm not familiar with!

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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby Brucey » 19 Jun 2015, 11:38pm

more current framebuilders;

- Roberts (Croydon; now on 'sabbatical' but possibly retirement in fact)
- Ellis Briggs
- Argos (Bristol 'argoscycles.com')
- Dave Yates

cheers
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531colin
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby 531colin » 20 Jun 2015, 6:51am

Robert....if your trucker is shimmying, isn't a 22/23" frame built in traditional inch/inch and eighth tubing more likely to shimmy rather than less likely?

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georgew
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby georgew » 20 Jun 2015, 9:13am

531colin wrote:Robert....if your trucker is shimmying, isn't a 22/23" frame built in traditional inch/inch and eighth tubing more likely to shimmy rather than less likely?


I would have thought that there was a good chance it would do so. This is the second time I've heard someone complain of shimmy with a LHT and it puzzles me. After all this is a bike made specifically for touring, with slack angles, substantial tubing and is of a fair weight. It t should be more stable under load and most owners do speak of it being so. My Mercian Vincitori did shimmy and I had to make sure that the rear panniers were as forward as they could be and packed with the heavy objects in the bottom.

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foxyrider
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby foxyrider » 20 Jun 2015, 1:34pm

i have a 1987 MB Dronfield custom built 531ST touring frame in 24.5" doing nothing. Needs a bit of tlc as its been stored for a while. Takes canti or v brakes. Not used a great deal as its a tad big for me.
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

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hujev
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby hujev » 24 Jun 2015, 11:30pm

[quote="531colin"....if your trucker is shimmying[/quote]

Well, there is so much opinion/idea on shimmying, and causes (some dismiss the influence of frame materials) and remedies that it seems maybe it's related to some degree to the 'tuning' of the bike frame and luggage (as in a tuning fork!).

Maybe another LHT wouldn't shimmy (since not all report this problem), depending on that magic 'tuning' (the first LHT frame I got had deep undercuts on the tubing on some of the weld edges and returned for a replacement, so there is some variation in joint configuration to be sure). I have tried moving weights around, adjusting headset (which is doggoned near impossible on the road with the 'threadless' headset of the LHT), etc., etc. with no relief; it starts to shimmy at about 27mph while coasting downhill.

So maybe it's hoping for magic, but unless the 'shimmy gods' are frowning on me thinking there might be a different 'tune' with a different frame. The Bob Jackson WT does have 'oversize' top & down tubes also. Thinking if I buy that one I'd get it in Reynolds 725, so quite a few differences between the LHT and other possibilities.

Plus I think the LHT is sort of ugly alongside all the Suntour, Brooks, etc. I've got on it and I can't stand the 1 1/8 threadless headsets and the ridiculous stems you are forced to use with them - so that alone would be a vast improvement...

Brucey
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby Brucey » 24 Jun 2015, 11:38pm

hujev wrote: .... Plus I think the LHT is sort of ugly alongside all the Suntour, Brooks, etc. I've got on it and I can't stand the 1 1/8 threadless headsets and the ridiculous stems you are forced to use with them - so that alone would be a vast improvement...


I agree, I still find 1-1/8" threadless headsets somewhat lumpen and ugly on a road/touring bike. I much prefer to see a nice quill stem, like a Cinelli 1A or something.

On a practical note, if you are getting cheesed off with headset adjustment, one of these might sort you out;

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/problem-solvers-micro-adjust-11-8-inch-adjustable-spacer-allows-headset-adjustment-without-star-nut-prod18247/

cheers
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Tonyf33
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby Tonyf33 » 25 Jun 2015, 4:44am

One note of caution, Hilary Stone might know his stuff but thre's a good liklihood he won't get back to you for weeks if at all, he's slovenly when it comes to posting stuff even after payment, most of his stuff is overpriced.
There are many, many, many comments stating just that from people whom have traded or attempted to trade/buy from him dotted all over the internet
He even tried passing himself off as a private seller on here a few years back (as opposed to a trader), every post was an item for sale.

There is still a reasonable abundance of touring frames from the period you mention, the larger sizes generally don't command high prices due to the aforementioned long seatpost even on traditional horizontal top tubed frames so people are getting frames smaller than what many of us would consider 'correct' and then throw on a high rise stem.

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hujev
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby hujev » 26 Jun 2015, 12:47am

Aha, the above two of use - esp. that headset adjust-thing. Too bad nobody (that I know of) makes a basic quill stem to fit those monsters! Even worse than trying to adjust a threadless headset is the soviet-style engineering of clamped-on stems!

Now as for all these old early 80s frames in my size... still can't find them! Always a wee bit too small or too big (at least in my ~3 impatient weeks of looking!)

Also considering a Steve Goff build, but I need to figure out how to telephone the UK from a computer since he's not using email apparently and I think it'd be too expensive from my mobile phone...

And I still have some inkling that the Bob Jackson World Tour has suspiciously short chainstays (17.25” on a 23.5" frame, they say).

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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby Brucey » 26 Jun 2015, 8:37am

you can buy 1-1/8" steerer (1" OD) quill stems eg

http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/stems-1-1-8-quill-threaded-dept579/

and if you are feeling spendy a framebuilder can make a you one to your requirement. Together with the headset adjuster (or perhaps a threaded headset/steerer) you can have something that is more like a traditional arrangement if that is what you want. The snag is that to implement this, you must cut the steerer short, and that is a one-way street.

Re Hilary Stone;

- overpriced? If so, don't buy. Simple.
- delays? Well he is a one-man band, and (of necessity) he travels a fair amount. Unless you are daft enough to expect him to miraculously be in two places at once, there are going to be times when there are going to be delays.

If my six-month build is held up a week through this, I wouldn't mind. But if it goes on longer and there is no communication, then yeah, I would. If the alternative is dealing with some anonymous vendor on flea-bay, or something.... well...yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice....

cheers
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mig
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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby mig » 26 Jun 2015, 10:50am

hujev wrote:Aha, the above two of use - esp. that headset adjust-thing. Too bad nobody (that I know of) makes a basic quill stem to fit those monsters! Even worse than trying to adjust a threadless headset is the soviet-style engineering of clamped-on stems!

Now as for all these old early 80s frames in my size... still can't find them! Always a wee bit too small or too big (at least in my ~3 impatient weeks of looking!)

Also considering a Steve Goff build, but I need to figure out how to telephone the UK from a computer since he's not using email apparently and I think it'd be too expensive from my mobile phone...

And I still have some inkling that the Bob Jackson World Tour has suspiciously short chainstays (17.25” on a 23.5" frame, they say).


steve is a good builder with a sensible attitude to what to build for the customer. i'd recommend him amongst others.

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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby rmurphy195 » 26 Jun 2015, 8:40pm

I've recently bought one of these http://www.condorcycles.com/Condor-Bike ... e.tpl.html (The disc braked version) and it rides very nicely. Looks nice too.

The example shown used STI levers however I'm sure you could fit downtube or bar-end shifters if that is your preference.

Mine has braze-ons for front and rear rack, mudguards, and 3 water bottles. Plenty of clearance for the 700x28 tyres I have on it - in fact it looks like a couple of inches to spare!

The version I have (disc braked) has (to my eye!) a great traditional look but at the same time can use bang up-to-date brakes and transmission if you like.
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !

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Re: Advice: English touring frame 70s-80s style - new or use

Postby cycleruk » 27 Jun 2015, 4:49pm

If going for a Bob Jackson then make sure you specify what you want. My BJ "Audax" didn't have down-tube fixings for the "stops". Just in case you wanted to fit down-tube changers. The Audax has fixings on the head-tube for the adjusters.
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