Which decade produced the best steel frames?



eladbell

New Member
Nov 10, 2004
5
0
0
Hello,
I have been looking around for an older classic steel road/touring frame for a long time. I am hoping to convert it into a single speed commuter or a racer depending on the components. I have heard from some very knowledgable members here that the old steel frames are really the thing to look out for. My question is ; did any decade produce better frames than another ie; how do the 70,s compare to the 80,s or 90s. Were the any frames that stand out above the others that I should keep a lookout for?
What differences would I feel between riding a classic steel frame to an off the peg from any major manufacter today, in terms of feel, speed, handling?

p,s, I used to have a lovely Koga Miyata (which cost me 200$) with tange infinity frame and campy record parts probably mid 80s, it was heavy but very stable and smooth,

yours sincerely, E.B
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
134
48
eladbell said:
Hello,
I have been looking around for an older classic steel road/touring frame for a long time. I am hoping to convert it into a single speed commuter or a racer depending on the components. I have heard from some very knowledgable members here that the old steel frames are really the thing to look out for. My question is ; did any decade produce better frames than another ie; how do the 70,s compare to the 80,s or 90s. Were the any frames that stand out above the others that I should keep a lookout for?
What differences would I feel between riding a classic steel frame to an off the peg from any major manufacter today, in terms of feel, speed, handling?

p,s, I used to have a lovely Koga Miyata (which cost me 200$) with tange infinity frame and campy record parts probably mid 80s, it was heavy but very stable and smooth,

yours sincerely, E.B
The best steel frames came out in the mid 1980's. This is when aluminum frames started to become more mainstream rather than exotic. Steel frame manufacturing trtied to equal the aluminum frames so the degree of innovation and pushing the envelope of steel frames occurred at that time. Most steel frames produced after 1986 or so will have benefitted from this period. Modern steel frames are only marginally heavier than aluminum frames these days, but still offer a great ride in comparision.
 

oldbobcat

Well-Known Member
Aug 31, 2003
3,233
194
48
70
eladbell said:
What differences would I feel between riding a classic steel frame to an off the peg from any major manufacter today, in terms of feel, speed, handling?
It really depends on the builder. Some hit their peaks around the first bike boom, some maintained their standards, and some didn't hit their stride until the mid 1980s. For a commuter or single-speed I wouldn't be too concerned about this. Here's a summary of the general trends, though.

- Early 70s, relaxed road designs with fender eyelets on dropouts
- Mid 70s, eyelets disappearing, lots of specialized criterium and time trial frames coming from UK and US builders. 6-speed freewheels with 126mm axle spacing becoming popular.
- Late 70s, early 80s, return to classic road designs with updates--rear stays and top tubes getting shorter, shortened Campy rear dropouts, angles getting steeper, and braze-ons coming into vogue.
- Early 80s, lighter tube sets like Columbus SLX, Reynolds 753, silver soldering, rear stays getting shorter still with elimination of chainstay bridge, and total elimination of all bolt-ons, including brake and shift cable guides, bottle bosses, front derailleur clamps, and pump pegs. 7-speed freewheels on 126mm axles.
- Late 80s, lighter tube sets and vertical rear dropouts. 8-speed cassette hubs on 130mm axles becoming available.

Of course, manufacturers were selective about the trends they followed. I would concentrate on just finding a frame that fits.
 

Similar threads

M
Replies
17
Views
658
S
C
Replies
26
Views
2K
Cycling Equipment
Andrews Powder Coating, Inc.
A