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Thread: Intro + tubing questions for road race build

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    Red face Intro + tubing questions for road race build

    Hello, Velocipede Salon!
    My name is Robert Burns; I work at a shop in Boston, MA & I'm super excited to finally be posting here!
    I've read many posts on the VS forums over the past few years & am really eager share some of my geekiness with y'all.

    I'm starting my first frame & fork build next month. That first build will be a track bike, specifically to race fixed gear criteriums, and to also test out some ideas that I'll hopefully be able to translate to my next build; a road racing bike which will also be geared towards crits, but something I can also use for road races as well.
    Worth noting is that a friend of mine who has done a few builds & has a space will be guiding me through the physical process, so I won't be in The Fray by myself, unguided! We'll be fillet-brazing the frames. I've spoken with them about the following to great length & just want to see what other folks think.

    Being that I'm a pretty tall person (about 6' 3"), I want to use larger diameter tubes. Specifically, I wanted to use a 46.4mm HT so I could use a 42mm Zona DT, however that probably wouldn't look so great when paired with a 1 1/8" steerer, lugged MAX fork, which is also a part of the plan that I truly want to stick with. I've seen incredible work from Eric at Winter Bicycles who seems to have pretty good results putting tapered steerers on MAX forks, allowing them to use 46.4mm HTs, but I'm not sure what the build process of something like that would be? And how it would feel to ride/race with? I'm very curious about that as a possibility.
    My understanding of tubing diameter selection for builds is: HT larger than DT & TT, ST larger than TT, etc. Is that understanding true? Can I use an HT that is the same dia. as the DT? Could I use a TT that's larger than the ST? (i.e., 38mm HT, 38mm DT, 35mm TT, 33.5mm ST (at the ext. butt)

    With all of that said, my plan for tubing for the first build is:

    HT - 38mm Spirit
    DT - 35mm Zona
    TT - 31.8mm Zona
    ST- 32.7 Zona (for 31.6 SP)
    SS - 17mm Life
    CS - 24mm Life w/ 80mm taper
    T47 BB
    Columbus Lugged MAX 28.6mm steerer, straight blade fork w/ 4.69 deg. crown from Hillbrick.com

    I do feel I'd benefit from larger tubes than what I'm planning on using, especially since I'm currently riding a Cinelli Vigorelli Road, which has super OS tubes & I love the feel of it.

    I hope this isn't too involved for my first post here!
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read this & share thoughts; any and all are very much appreciated!
    Looking forward to hearing from y'all!
    Also, Happy New Year. :)
    - Robert.
     

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    Default Re: Intro + tubing questions for road race build

    Oh! Just realized I should maybe post this in The Path as well?
    Would that be okay to do?

    Robert Burns
     

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    Default Re: Intro + tubing questions for road race build

    Hi, Robert-

    Just a few tidbits to help you out:

    - The tube diameters relationships you describe are normal, but not strictly necessary depending on the build. That said, starting with a bike as close to "normal" as possible is the best way to help insure success on an early build.
    - The forks of mine you describe are anything but first fork material. The "benefits" of a tapered steel steerer on a single road bike are minimal. I highly recommend a standard 28.6mm steerer. You'll have much more likelihood of it working out, and you'll have a great riding fork.

    Once you get that first build under your belt and get some riding time in, you'll better be able to estimate how tube changes will influence what you want to do.

    My biggest piece of advice is that if you are not currently a competent brazer, spend plenty of time working up practice joints before you get on the bike tubes.

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    Default Re: Intro + tubing questions for road race build

    Depending on your learning style, I'd bet you'd be much better off buying 2-3 sets of those nova $100 tubeset kit specials. You'll learn much more quickly building one or two and learning from the results.
    Glenn Thompson
    "More Frame, less Seatpost"

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    Default Re: Intro + tubing questions for road race build

    - The tube diameters relationships you describe are normal, but not strictly necessary depending on the build. That said, starting with a bike as close to "normal" as possible is the best way to help insure success on an early build.
    - The forks of mine you describe are anything but first fork material. The "benefits" of a tapered steel steerer on a single road bike are minimal. I highly recommend a standard 28.6mm steerer. You'll have much more likelihood of it working out, and you'll have a great riding fork.
    Ah, thanks so much for the advice! I hear you and understand what you mean; keeping it simple will be best for my experience & growth as a builder, and also for the end result of this first build, and help inform my second.

    My biggest piece of advice is that if you are not currently a competent brazer, spend plenty of time working up practice joints before you get on the bike tubes.
    Yes! I definitely am not a competent brazer, not in the slightest, haha. Thankfully, my friend has quite a bit of scrap from their own building that I can use to practice making joints & such.
    Appreciate your words!

    Robert Burns
     

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    Default Re: Intro + tubing questions for road race build

    Depending on your learning style, I'd bet you'd be much better off buying 2-3 sets of those nova $100 tubeset kit specials. You'll learn much more quickly building one or two and learning from the results.
    Honestly, I think I'd benefit from that as well! I would really like to just get into it & do a few practice frames, but because I'm living on the bike shop wage, I might have to be a bit more frugal with how I learn.
    With that said, you've given me the idea to reach out to my friend & ask if there's enough tubing laying around to possibly put a bike together & get some experience before starting my first personal build.
    Appreciate the idea. :-)

    Robert Burns
     

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    Default Re: Intro + tubing questions for road race build

    Building a few practice frames (after building a boat load of practice joints, fillets and filed joints) might actually be less expensive then building one meh frame with components from premium tubes. Building practice pieces is cheap insurance that the "final" project will not only hold together, but be nice enough you actually want to hang parts on it and be proud to ride it around. I understand the "bike shop budget", but don't get trapped into the false economy. If you only plan on one frame build, it's cheaper to buy one, and if you plan on building more, then front loading practice and experience is invaluable.

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