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Are classic lugged frames dinosaurs?(20 posts)

Are classic lugged frames dinosaurs?Randy
Apr 2, 2001 9:27 PM
I'm wanting to build up a new frame. I'm not so much concerned with weight, as I mostly ride for sport and tour. I am wanting to know the pros or cons of a lugged frame and how a classic design stacks up against the newest generation of ultra lightweight frames of today.

I'm talking purely steel. I don't even want to know about TI or ALUM.

Do todays frames really perform better, or is it all about weight and who has the latest greatest?
still ride lugged framesgeezer
Apr 2, 2001 10:23 PM
I still ride a few lugged-steel frames and enjoy them very much. Like you, I don't care that much about bike weight. 20-22 lbs is fine. I really like the looks of lugged frames, though I'm not so much of a traditionalist that I wouldn't get a TiG-welded frame. Whatever is right for the tubeset. I think the only thing that would make me hesitate getting another lugged frame is that the current steels used in tubesets seem to be designed more for the higher temperatures of welding or fillet-brazing. For instance, I just bought a new Reynolds 853 Pro Team frameset from a local custom builder. He preferred to fillet-braze it with brass because his normal lugged construction method used silver brazing which doesn't get 853 hot enough for 853 to do its air-hardening stuff. So, I had him fillet-braze it with brass.
Silver brazing 853????Skeptic
Apr 3, 2001 6:40 AM
Waterford silver brazes lugged 853 lugged frames. I guess they don't know what they are doing. 853 doesn't have to 'get hot enough' to do it's thing, as it's already more than strong enough. The proreties of 853 are such that is doesn't LOOSE strength when TIG welded,and that's it.Wonder where your builder gets his info???Sounds half baked, IMHO.
He gets his info from Reynoldsgeezer
Apr 3, 2001 9:34 AM
Reynolds says that 853 needs to be heated to a minimum temperature for its air hardening properties to take effect. They also say that the metal can soften if too low a temperature is used to join the tubes. That is why this builder, who I respect and trust (Barry Barron--Stow, Lincolnshire, England--30+ years experience--753 certified by Reynolds) prefers to build 853 framesets by brass fillet-brazing instead of silver-brazed lugs. He saves the silver-brazed lug work for tubesets other than 853. The man does excellent work with both fillet-brazing and brazed lugs and he knows what he is doing.

I'm not saying that Waterford, or any other builder who would silver-braze 853, doesn't know what they are doing. If Waterford and you are confident in it, then go for it. I'm just going by what this man, who's opinion and work I trust, prefers to do.
Apr 3, 2001 5:55 AM
A modern lugged frame isn't necessarily all that heavy. I have a 60 cm, lugged Richard Sachs. Stunning workmanship, a true classic. Steel frame, steel fork. Fully built, with a Record 10 speed group, it weighs a few ounces under 20 pounds. I also have a Litespeed Ultimate Ti bike, fully tricked out as a "weight weenie" special, that weighs 17 pounds. I much prefer to ride the RS in everything except a crit. or a mountain ride.
lugged ti and alu?LOL!
Apr 3, 2001 6:51 AM
lugged ti and alu?ScottV
Apr 3, 2001 7:03 AM
Actually there are lugged Al frames dumb ass. They use Al lugs and are glued not welded.

There's even lugged carbon fiber frames :O.
classic lugged = externalLOL!
Apr 3, 2001 7:09 AM
dumb ass
re: Are classic lugged frames dinosaurs?Aer Jer
Apr 3, 2001 9:53 AM
I have been in cycling 4 years and bought an old lugged Bianchi off of a friend who went the recumbent route due to health reasons. I've had bike lust for my own new bike and was so sure it would be Ti or carbon fiber. Guess what - I bought a Waterford 1200 (753)frame that is silver brazed with lugs not only on the frame but the fork is lugged as well. So much for all that new technolgy. Yes Waterford silver brazes 853 but I also read on the Henry James web site that there is indeed merits to this method of joining 853. Obviously there are merits to other methods of joining 853 but that doesn't have to rule out silver brazing. On another note, lugged frames are indeed nice but there is nothing prettier than a fillet brazed steel frame - except my wife.
Keep your back to the wind!
Don't care if they are, I WANT one ...Humma Hah
Apr 3, 2001 10:09 AM
... I want an elegant old frame with chromed, filagreed lugs and a top tube you could check a carpenter's level on. One might as well ask if a 66 Mustang or a 59 'Vette is a dinosaur.
Like this?MichaelC
Apr 3, 2001 8:48 PM
Take a look at

The man's not a framebuilder--he's an artist.
I LUST!Humma Hah
Apr 4, 2001 10:38 AM
Yeah, just like that!
Me too...MichaelC
Apr 4, 2001 11:14 AM
After I found that site I started thinking about what I don't really need so I could raise $3,200 for a frame. Like the car, funiture, electricity, food. You know, the non-essentials. I now use those photos of Moon Cycles to explain bike lust to bike-free friends.
That link led to this one ...Humma Hah
Apr 4, 2001 11:20 AM

That's the best classic bike classifieds I've ever seen. A couple of the bikes, including one in my home town, caught my interest. I've really GOTTA get in for a proper roadbike sizing (I think I need around a 54-56 cm).
Here's my fantasy bike ...Humma Hah
Apr 4, 2001 2:17 PM
Oh, great.MichaelC
Apr 4, 2001 2:52 PM
Looks like I'm not going to get much work done this afternoon. Nice site.

I think your devotion to the cruiser has earned you the Schwinn.
Mercian...Brian B.
Apr 3, 2001 6:18 PM
Check out Mercian cycles.... so, so pretty.

-Brian B.
Apr 3, 2001 8:26 PM
Funny you mention Mercian, I just updated my ancient King of Mercia tour frame today with new wheels, Rivendell lugged stem, cassette, etc. just in case I take it to the UK this summer on tour. It needs a paint job pretty badly, but if the Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic abates and I go to England, it's last stop with be at the Mercian shop in Derby for refurbishing in a great flamboyant paint job, pinstriping, and contrasting headtube and seattube panels. My only tig welds are on my titanium bikes.

You can buy a Mercian direct to your door and it is a a ridiculous steal of a deal. Glad you mentioned it.
Lugged frames are definitely getting scarcer ...bianchi boy
Apr 3, 2001 6:21 PM
But you can find them. The Tomassini Sintesi sold by Colorado Cyclist is one of the prettiest bikes I've seen and weighs less 20 lb. GVH Bikes also has a lot of classic, Italian steel lugged frames for sale, w/ photos posted on his website,

The only problem with steel is the rust. I've had rust problems with every steel frame I've owned, although I probably wasn't as meticulous washing the bikes after riding as I should have been -- particularly the way you work up a sweat riding down South.
Rivendell & Waterford still use lugsCory
Apr 4, 2001 8:22 AM
There are still several makers using lugs. I just bought an Atlantis (Rivendell's AllRounder knockoff) that's fully lugged, and I have a couple of other lugged bikes from years ago that I never got around to selling.
I doubt you'll feel any difference in performance, and also doubt that the few grams of weight difference matters either way to most riders--we attach too much importance to tiny variations in weight.
Besides the looks (which you may or may not like; I'm sort of indifferent), a big advantage of lugged construction is repairability. It's pretty easy to remove a damaged tube and braze in a new one. The lugs weren't a factor in my buying the frame--I just like the geometry and the way Riv does business.