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On the old Rene Herse lightweight bikes: they were weighed for competition, so the numbers are real, but as was pointed out the steel was extremely thin. I don't know why that would affect longevity much -- steel hardly fatigues. But they were small frames.
I personally don't care a bit about "vintage" look. I want the bike to work. If that means vintage, then vintage, but I simply don't get the retro-craze. Certainly Alex Singer wasn't retro, nor was Rene Herse, in their time: to the contrary, they were considered progressives.
The wheels are what makes the most difference on the weight of a bike, so I'm interested how the 650B's turned out.
I need to answer two questions, one of which is exactly about your comments about being retro.
1. Art Deco style or a Modern design?
2. 650x42B or 700x32C
The reason for retromania is because modern bikes mostly lack the beauty and elegance of the old ones. All the frames and parts are bulky, welds are chunky, there's a logo craze on every detail, polished parts and silver became a taboo. When you want to get away from black details, the modern options are scarce too.
Anyway, my view is since I already have a 700c road bike, the 650B makes more sense since it will be more comfortable on the rough roads, railroad tracks, and dirt I encounter on my 75 km commute into work (which I try to do once per week; usually taking the train). According to Bicycle Quarterly the 650B wheels still ride well with good tires.
I have 2 sets of equipment to select from:
1) Retro - Mafac brake levers with half hoods from 50s along with C-Record derailleurs and C-Record aero shifters, 165mm Velo-Orange cranks (Stronglight knock-off), Radios headlamp, taillight, and bottle dynamo..
2) Modern - Silver SRAM Force shifters and derailleurs, Hudz gold brown hoods, 165mm Tune Fastfoot cranks, Magicshine overkill headlamp and taillight.
I feel like using the deco style parts on this custom randonneur bike, and the modern parts on a future Bob Jackson sort of winter road bike.
Issue with Force is there's a lot of swing of the paddle inward, which could get interference from handlebar bag. I'm leaning toward downtube for that reason. I've raced on downtube shifters and it's a bit slower, not as good when you're surprised especially on dirt where you want hands on the bars, but for most purposes I'd lean towards the DT shifters. But I'd want at least 9 speeds on the cassette. I'm not a fan school of minimal cogs, nor of friction shifting. Friction is fine when you have plenty of time, but indexing really is nice for unanticipated shifts.
Don Becker's bike uses modified Dura-Ace downtube shifters. He also used Dia Compe brake levers.
Tune crank along with TA chainrings end up at some 506 grams with 48/34 setup (alloy bolts).
VO has 5 large and 4 small steel bolts, I'm pretty sure they would be on par with alu bolts.
VO crank comes with 46/30, which is perfect, a very wide range with small overlap in gears.
VO has a Q factor of 140, but 650B requires huge BB axle width.
Oh, forgot to mention that Sixpack BB's weight is lighter than what VO will use (square taper). I have a Jan Ulrich custom made 122. Axle from Tune which is pretty lightweight considerring the width of the axle.
To be honest, I never thought of the wide swing DoubleTap shifters need. It means I get a wide handlebar with a decent bag, or a narrow bar with super narrow bag. Yikes! I also have spared Campagnolo 10s barend shifters to be used as DTs, they could be used with SRAM derailleurs with not so bad shifting performance. Not perfect though. Have a set of SRAM R500 brake levers for that 3rd setup.
I kind of like the aero DT shifters with hidden cable guides.
What do you have in mind for a 650B bike?
They sell a Pelican frame @ $1170 (frame/fork) which is well less than the Terraferma I got a quote on ($2700). The Terraferma got an especially good review in Bicycle Quarterly, and I was impressed that the builder seems focused on function over form.
I've read about Terraferma too, very promising indeed.
Have you considered Map Cycles? They do batches too and I was mad about their unpainted 650B Randonneur until it was painted
The Box Dog Pelican is 6-9-6 mm butted True Temper, but a lower grade, not heat treated (from what I understood).
I'm not sure about MAP.
My build list has changed a lot from the first post, and the expected weight is still around 10.5-11 kg with some guesswork.
If I end up picking a color that doesn't make use of red Hetres, I might opt for Pari-Motos too. It's a lot of weight saving.
I have the same rear cable exit, the same 7800GS rear derailleur for 9-1=8spd and chain-rest ring in my options list. Also Edelux light with SONdeluxe SL hub too. Hidden shifter cables add a few grams too.
I'm still going back and forth between Mafac half-hood brake levers and modern SRAM S500 levers. Can't decide...
Are those VO cantis? Are they as good as Paul's cantis and weight the same? I like these better as they look better with twin plates and are cheaper.
My frame will be 60x56 cm and with the seattube light, carbon brush, and stem switch, I'm anticipating some 3000 grams of frameset weight (std tubing).
My frame will be about the same size, so I'd appreciate if you could let me know how much the frame, fork, electrics etc. weight. I'd be very happy to get a figure around 10 kg including the pump.
The brakes are TRPs. The only thing I regret on this bike is choosing cantilever brakes over centerpulls, which are a lot more powerful and much easier to adjust.
Who is building your bike? Chris Bishop? You might look to him to make some suggestions regarding weight savings. A very light randonneur is a joy to ride!
Phil Ti-Mg bottom bracket
TA 50.4 bcd cranks (which are actually extremely light)
Might try a Jubilee front derailleur--if you're going to use TA cranks your front has to have a flat outer cage plate, so you're restricted to older derailleurs
I used I-Link housing for my nonaero brake levers. The reason I went nonaero is not for looks, but because the cable stop is built into the stem (more weight savings)
Grand Bois rims. They are the lightest available 650B rims (but not very light). Even better if you could find some Stans 650B rims and deanodize
Downtube levers are obviously a lot lighter than brifters. Since presumably you won't be racing this bike there's no reason for brifters.
And of course get the lightest model of whatever pedal brand you prefer. I like Eggbeaters Ti 11 or Candy 11's.
If you are going with standard tubing, it is highly unlikely that you're going to get significant shimmy, so you could weight weenie the headset too.
I have a few questions concerning the crankset and front gearing.
I purchased VO Grand Cru cranks which are Stronglight/TA rip-offs but aren't as elegant nor durable due to their material choice and finishing. The reason I picked these were their compatibility with modern 9-10spd systems and price. Are TA cranks compatible with JIS square tapers and 9 speed chains? Or you need French tapers and 8 speed drivetrain? I have my hands on a custom BB made by Jan Ullrich, the director of Tune, and it weights 160 grams at 122mm, and 176 gr with Ti crank bolts. I wouldn't want to throw it away.
Huret front derailleurs are hard to find as their clamps are all broken. I think the already weak clamp designed for 25.0mm tubing doesn't like 25.4mm tubing, so the chances of failure is greater. I like the design and weight though. I'd definitely switch if TA cranks work with my custom BB and I get the chance to find a set.
I've read about the stopping power of centerpulls, also they seem to be better with the feel too. Any ideas how much a set of Mafac Racer/2000/GT weight? I've been looking for a data for weeks, no chance yet.
I have Steinbach Ti platform pedals because I suck with clipless pedals. I have the bottom of the line eggbeaters (MXR) and getting out is a problem for me. May be 11 Ti has better clearances and it works better. I might switch to that later on.
Chris Bishop is going to build the bike, we have just started sketches. The SRAM levers I'm planning to use look exactly the same with brifters, but are singlespeed brakes. My half hood Mafac brakes weight 222 gr including 37 gr clamps, and SRAM is 50 grams heavier at 272 gr. I have B-T-P's carbon clamps to lower SRAM's weight, but I'm not sure if they would be safe on the long run. BTPs are 9 grams per pair. I had a hard time on my last mountain descent of about 1300m altitude on Dia-Compe levers. I can still opt for Mafac levers if Randonneur handlebars are good enough to make you not want to use hoods. SRAM choice is all about comfort and hood braking in the city.
I've missed a set of old stock Stan's 650B rims on eBay, they were BiN and were gone before I read the saved search e-mail. I'm not sure about the durability of those rims because they are not designed for rim brakes, I think GB is fine. I have NOS tubular rims sitting at home like Mavic Argent 10s and Fiamme Ergals, everything else seemis to be heavy anyway
The TA cranks and rings are perfectly compatible with modern 10 speed. I have a 10-speed Shimano Dura Ace cassette on my bike and have had no problems. In terms of bottom brackets, they just take a standard JIS taper. The Phil Wood Ti-Mg JIS bottom brackets for a double weigh 146 g (for 116 mm, which is for older Cyclotourist models) and 154 g (for 123 mm, which fits newer models).
I’ve never broken a clamp on a Huret derailleur, and there are plenty on E-Bay. Suntour Superbe front derailleurs also work well and are pretty. It is possible that with the newest model of TA crank (available at Rene Herse Bicycles in the US), you might be able to use a modern derailleur with a profiled outer cage.
Not sure how much the Mafac centerpulls weigh. I use Mafac Competitions. Mounted on studs they are quite light, though. Competitive with modern very high end brakes; in fact, they may weigh a little less than Shimanos.
If you’re going to use the bike for its intended purpose (long distance riding), it’s my opinion that there’s no substitute for clipless. Platform pedals can get quite unpleasant after a few hundred miles, although of course all the old greats rode quill pedals, but there’s no point in suffering! In general, you’re going to want to go with a mountain bike/cyclocross pedal; I really like Eggbeaters and they are extremely light.
Finally, some advice on working with a builder. It’s best to discuss the general intent of the bike with the builder, need for racks etc, give the builder a list of the components you want to use (including tires and lighting), have a quick discussion to ensure that you agree they are the best components for the purpose, and then set them free to do what they want. Don’t design lugs for them or try to select tubing or give them exact parameters for geometry. They are professionals, and even though we all know a lot about bikes, their expertise far exceeds ours.
I think I'll opt for TA Cranks too. The weight won't change, but they are the real deal. If JIS taper works, I can still use my 122mm BB.
Huret Jubilee front derailleur clamps are usually broken if too much torque is applied on the clamp bolt, snap! I have a front Suntour Cyclone M-II and C-Record front derailleur that could do the job, but they also have rear mechs, so I don't want to split them. Superbe Pro is very sweet and light, I'll take your advice.
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