What's a "light steel frame" ?

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woodbutcher

woodbutcher

Veteran
Location
S W France
You can always reference it against what the pros were winning on... credit: https://felixwong.com/2010/11/tour-de-france-bicycles-historical-bike-weights/
You can always reference it against what the pros were winning on... credit: https://felixwong.com/2010/11/tour-de-france-bicycles-historical-bike-weights/

View attachment 495134
Many thanks for this fascinating list and how surprising that the earliest frame 1976 Gitane is almost as light as the Bianchi !
 

Stompier

Active Member
I have a Vitus 992 already and it is light right enough , plus it rides like a dream !
I appreciate that saving weight on components is fundamental but surely you could wipe out any benefit by installing them on a frame which is a single kg. heavier than it has to be.
1kg is the weight of two full 500ml bottles. Let's get it into perspective.
 

swee'pea99

Legendary Member
1kg is the weight of two full 500ml bottles. Let's get it into perspective.
I think there's a tendency in cycling toward geekiness, which obsesses about weight because you can attach precise numbers to it. In truth, in my experience, the construction is at least as important.

Two of the nicest bikes I've ever ridden were my current '80s Claude Butler 531, which is light but not that light, and an old Carlton which didn't even badge its frame material, so it can't have been anything particularly fancy. Light steel-frames are wonderful, but I do think it's easy to get over-obsessed about the odd gram. Certainly anything in the sort of 531 class is about as light as makes much difference. IMHO.
 
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woodbutcher

woodbutcher

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Location
S W France
I think there's a tendency in cycling toward geekiness, which obsesses about weight because you can attach precise numbers to it. In truth, in my experience, the construction is at least as important.

Two of the nicest bikes I've ever ridden were my current '80s Claude Butler 531, which is light but not that light, and an old Carlton which didn't even badge its frame material, so it can't have been anything particularly fancy. Light steel-frames are wonderful, but I do think it's easy to get over-obsessed about the odd gram. Certainly anything in the sort of 531 class is about as light as makes much difference. IMHO.
Yes lm beginning to regret what l thought was an uncontentious question. All l wanted was an opinion or two regarding what could be considered a light steel frame from the '80s or '90s. So l guess l will have to decide for myself . To be fair l already own a very light steel frame bike , a Look 243 . I don't know what the frame/forks weigh on their own but the complete bike is not much over 9k. Problem is the price of a frame like that makes building a bike from scratch a bit expensive, even if you can find one. :sad:
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
I've been looking into this myself, being a vintage steel fan. It's an interesting subject, to me at least. From what I've been able to deduce, for a LARGE sized butted steel road frame & forks, say 23", the very lightest ones will tip the scales at about 5lbs (typically Reynolds 753), and the heavy end of the scale 531ST/501 DB will be close to 6lbs. That is just the frame & forks, not including the BB and headset.
Presumably, quality non-butted steel such as Reynolds 500 cro-moly and 531plain gauge will be a little over 6lbs, assuming the same lugs, dropouts, BB shell etc.
 

carpenter

Senior Member
Location
suffolk
I haven't weighed any of my bikes, but the one that I think may fit your criteria @woodbutcher would be my Raleigh Competition 12 (c1982), Carlton build 531 frame and forks. (not for sale though, I do like it:smile:).

It "feels" light and responsive. According to catalogue it came in at 23 1/2 lbs (~10.7 kg).
Modern wheels, Suntour Cyclone Derailleur, 7 speed only and modern Ti rail saddle should get it down nearer to 10kg.

https://i0.wp.com/raleigh-sb4059.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/raleigh-catalogue-1982-featuring-jr178t-jan-raas-track-frame-page-7-and-8.jpg?ssl=1

They do come up on eBay.
 
OP
woodbutcher

woodbutcher

Veteran
Location
S W France
I haven't weighed any of my bikes, but the one that I think may fit your criteria @woodbutcher would be my Raleigh Competition 12 (c1982), Carlton build 531 frame and forks. (not for sale though, I do like it:smile:).

It "feels" light and responsive. According to catalogue it came in at 23 1/2 lbs (~10.7 kg).
Modern wheels, Suntour Cyclone Derailleur, 7 speed only and modern Ti rail saddle should get it down nearer to 10kg.

https://i0.wp.com/raleigh-sb4059.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/raleigh-catalogue-1982-featuring-jr178t-jan-raas-track-frame-page-7-and-8.jpg?ssl=1

They do come up on eBay.
Ooh you tease !
I will keep searching after all thats half the fun. And further to my quest for truth and beauty , what about this !
s-l1600.jpg

It is my size and in my eyes it is drop dead gorgeous . Lets not mention money !!
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Very nice, but starting from a bare frame has got to be the most expensive way of doing a project. The reason there are loads of framesets on the market is that its more profitable to buy a bike then sell all the parts off it individually, or buy a complete one as a mechanical donor to swap the parts to another frame, maybe of a different size. The frames you find for sale are the leftovers!
 

davidphilips

Über Member
Location
Onabike
Ooh you tease !
I will keep searching after all thats half the fun. And further to my quest for truth and beauty , what about this !
View attachment 495211
It is my size and in my eyes it is drop dead gorgeous . Lets not mention money !!
Right woodbutcher you are having the blame for setting my sights on a steel beauty have my eyes on one on Ebay but now know what i am having for christmas,ttfn.
 
OP
woodbutcher

woodbutcher

Veteran
Location
S W France
Very nice, but starting from a bare frame has got to be the most expensive way of doing a project. The reason there are loads of framesets on the market is that its more profitable to buy a bike then sell all the parts off it individually, or buy a complete one as a mechanical donor to swap the parts to another frame, maybe of a different size. The frames you find for sale are the leftovers!
Leftover it may be but in my eyes it is the main course ^_^
 

netman

Senior Member
Can't say when, but as I work through the many (20 or so) project bikes and frames in my garage (mostly steel), I'll weigh frame sets and builds and post them back here for information! Everything from Hill Special, Holdsworth Record, Dawes Jaguar, Falcon, Viking, Raleigh, to Peugeot, Mondia, Ciocc and Bianchi... should be quite interesting!
 
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