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Shuffleman
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678 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need a 2nd bike and want to get a steel frame to build. I have looked at new Somas but I am having trouble pulling the trigger. I was wondering if it is possible to take the frame in the link below and modernize it.

HUNTER ROAD BUKE 23" 58cm classic

My goal would be to put Campy Athena (11 speed) on the bike. I would also like to have the bike powder coated, which I can get done for $125.
I already have a carbon race bike so I am looking at this for two reasons. First, it could be a fun project. Secondly, I want something different than what I already have. I travel a lot, via car, for work and would take this bike with me to ride when out of town.
Thoughts on if this bike is worth it? (I would try to pay around $75)
Can it be modernized? I am not into the vintage thing, I just want a steel bike and I want to keep the cost down to a degree. ($1000 or less. I have some parts already)
Thoughts? Input? Positives? Negatives?
 

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Forever a Student
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4,963 Posts

This guy has all the info you need.

Yes, you can do it, you'll either need some tools or some bike shop help.
 

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Super Moderator
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40,837 Posts
I need a 2nd bike and want to get a steel frame to build. I have looked at new Somas but I am having trouble pulling the trigger. I was wondering if it is possible to take the frame in the link below and modernize it.

HUNTER ROAD BUKE 23" 58cm classic

My goal would be to put Campy Athena (11 speed) on the bike. I would also like to have the bike powder coated, which I can get done for $125.
I already have a carbon race bike so I am looking at this for two reasons. First, it could be a fun project. Secondly, I want something different than what I already have. I travel a lot, via car, for work and would take this bike with me to ride when out of town.
Thoughts on if this bike is worth it? (I would try to pay around $75)
Can it be modernized? I am not into the vintage thing, I just want a steel bike and I want to keep the cost down to a degree. ($1000 or less. I have some parts already)
Thoughts? Input? Positives? Negatives?
That bike is not a good candidate for modernizing, IMO.

Tange #5 was Tange's lowest-end steel tubing. The "combo" brake levers are another tell that the bike isn't really a "fine" machine, entry-level at best. It has 27" wheels, not 700C, so you're limited in tire, wheel, and likely brake choices, and gearing it up modern would be expensive, too, if even possible.

It might be a great candidate for rehab, however; often, perfectly serviceable if ordinary bikes often have maybe ten miles of road time, followed by decades of sitting in a garage, and so have plenty of miles left to give. If you're a handy mechanic, a little cleaning, some fresh grease and rubber can make the bike ride decently enough, if you're willing to ride downtube shifters, possibly unindexed ones (hard to tell from the photo, but what appears to be a five-speed cluster suggests non-indexing).
 

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Cranky Old Bastard
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2,337 Posts
Can it be modernized?
You can do it, and many older bikes are worth the trouble/expense, but it may be tougher than you realize.

Does it have 27" wheels? If so the selection of tires is severely limited. Most change to a 700c wheelset and that requires long-reach brakes. You'll want to upgrade the brakes anyway.
What is the rear hub spacing? It is likely less than 130mm so will need to be opened up for the newer hub.

The handlebars may be 25.4 or 26.0mm while they're mostly 31.8mm now. The quill stem is old tech and not as simple to change (to tune fit) as the threadless systems. You could upgrade to 1" threadless with a new fork, headset and stem.

The bottom bracket should be 68mm English threaded but you'll have to check to be sure.
The seatpost may be an odd size with few upgrade options.

It depends on how far you want to go but if you want the equivalent of a modern bike you'll have to change everything but the frame and at that point it's cheaper/easier to just buy a new one.

Edit: I got lucky and found an '80s Univega at a thrift store (for $10) that had been sitting in a garage for years and was like new. I replaced the tires/tubes, brake pads, cables and chain and put a lot of miles on it just as it came from the factory. It was a decent bike, fun to ride and I didn't change a thing.
 

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Shuffleman
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678 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After reading your suggestions, and doing some more research, I have decided to pass on this bike. I may even take a pass completely on an older bike. At this point, I am probably going to go with a new Kona Honky Tonk frame and fork. This will save me from having to paint it. At $459 it is a pretty good buy although it has Reynolds 520. I am not sure if this will make much of a difference though. It is more than I wanted to spend on the frame but it does come with a fork, which is positive. The other options was the Soma Smoothie, which should run me about $425 but I would have to buy a fork on top of that. It seems like the Kona is a better value but I am not sure if it is a better frame.
I have the tools to do a new bike rebuild so I am pretty excited. Since I am paying more for the frame, I may go with Campy Veloce instead of Athena and cut the wheels down to the Campy Khamsins. Those down grades will be perfectly fine and offset the more expensive frame. I am pretty sure that I have enough spare parts in the garage to cover the rest of the build.
Thoughts between the Kona Honky Tonk and Soma Smoothie?
 

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Doesn't like subtitles
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3,808 Posts
Good call passing on that one. I don't know the Japanese steel well but the quality bikes can be found in Reynolds 531c , 753, 853 and oodles of variations on Columbus steel, some better than others. You'll need a 130 mm rear spaced frame ( first produced around 1990) for 8 speed or more modern wheels but an older 126 mm frame can be cold set to 130 mm.

If you're spending $500, with a little patience you can get a top end frame from the 80's or 90's. Here's my Gion Italia in Dedalo steel (forerunner to Dedacciai) built with 10 speed Chorus. I bought the frame/fork from an internet friend for $230.
 

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Exactly this. ^

If you're gonna bother going through the time and cash-outlay of modernizing an older bike (which can definitely be fun/worth it), make sure it's got good 'bones', i.e. high-quality tubing, like Tange #1 or Prestige, or Reynolds 531 or 853, or the better grades of Columbus tubing.

That it should also fit you well/have excellent geometry goes without saying.
 

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Shuffleman
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678 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good call passing on that one. I don't know the Japanese steel well but the quality bikes can be found in Reynolds 531c , 753, 853 and oodles of variations on Columbus steel, some better than others. You'll need a 130 mm rear spaced frame ( first produced around 1990) for 8 speed or more modern wheels but an older 126 mm frame can be cold set to 130 mm.

If you're spending $500, with a little patience you can get a top end frame from the 80's or 90's. Here's my Gion Italia in Dedalo steel (forerunner to Dedacciai) built with 10 speed Chorus. I bought the frame/fork from an internet friend for $230.
That is pretty sweet looking bike. It is pretty frustrating finding a frame for me as I need a 60cm or 61cm. I have never had much luck finding a used bike in my size. I am contemplating buying a new Kona Honky Tonk frame and fork for $445 and building it out. My preference is to find a nice used steel frame though and then powder coat it in the colors that I want. I will keep the bike frame free of any decals.
 

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Shuffleman
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678 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's one I've followed on Ebay - too big for me though. Atala is an Italian maker, kind of mid range as far as quality, but this looks to be a good example of their best work, sticker suggests Columbus SL tubing which is good quality. 126 mm rear spacing.

62cm Atala Frame Fork Campagnolo Dropouts Columbus Tubing Cinelli BB Shell | eBay
Thanks for sending me this. I had not seen that one on ebay yet. I am only 6'02" so that frame may be a little on the large size for me.
 
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