A Retro Road bike with that can keep up with the modern bikes - advice please ?

taken4aride

Dirt Disciple
As a place to start when looking for a bike - I assume the Frame quality is number one consideration because that is the foundation of the bike - so when on the lookout, do I simply search for Reynolds 531 framed bikes? It could be any make of bike, but it's the 531 that counts, or is it not as simple as that?

If there are any other very good foundational frames that are "as good" - please enlighten me.

For now though I have set my sights on the 531 because I am not aware of any other frames with my limited knowledge so I am playing safe.

Feel free to list some more though (this gives me more scope).
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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531 is commonest, but Columbus SL/SLX/SPX and Vitus GTI are also superb tubesets.
Reynolds 708, 753 are even better than 531. Modern equivalents are 520 & 525 for 531, with 725 even better.
653 is a bit of a mixed bag - a thin-walled set like 753 but not as stiff, probably a bit flexy in large frames, although I love my 653 MTB frame.

If it's a welded frame it CANNOT be 531 or 753. There are a fair few cheap welded frames around with 531 stickers, typically on eBay.
 

Old Ned

Old School Grand Master
If it's a welded frame it CANNOT be 531 or 753. There are a fair few cheap welded frames around with 531 stickers, typically on eBay.
Fillet brazed 531 frames are not uncommon. I know, because I've got one:) However, actual welded ones are a different animal and should not be confused. The production technique is entirely different at far lower temperatures - and is very skilled.
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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Agreed on fillet brazing, especially if it's an unusual frame (tandem, very small etc) as lugs aren't available in the right dimensions. What I meant were clearly TIG frames (probably with a Tange tubesetbut maybe a gaspipe horror) but sporting 531 stickers. At that stage alarm bells go off...
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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No. Hi-tensile steel is for basic bikes. Heavy and dead. Commonly known as gaspipe.
The price is optimistic, although it's probably only been ridden 100 miles in its whole 30 year life.
 

taken4aride

Dirt Disciple
No. Hi-tensile steel is for basic bikes. Heavy and dead. Commonly known as gaspipe.
The price is optimistic, although it's probably only been ridden 100 miles in its whole 30 year life.

Thanks - I also have a possible hand-me-down bike in the family - it's a Dawes Horizon - Dawes it may be but it only has a Reynolds 500 Cr-Mo Tube sticker on it (and at the bottom footer it reads T1 Reynolds 531 Limited England).

I guess the 500 sticker isn't as good as the 531 despite being a Dawes?

I have pictures if you think the bike is worthwhile.
 

hamster

Retro Wizard
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500 and 501 are heavier tubesets and Cro-Mo. Now, for some uses that's a good thing - very large frames, tandems and tourers. A frame is a load more than the tubeset - but it's a shorthand starting point. Geometry is probably more important.
Tubeset details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynolds_Technology
I wouldn't want a lightweight tubeset on a tourer for example - it would be too squirmy when loaded up. Likewise tourers have to tolerate rough treatment.
The Dawes Horizon was a good bike - a cheaper version of the famed Galaxy tourer. They varied the tubeset over the years - sometimes it was a Galaxy just with cheaper components. If it's a larger size it might actually ride better loaded than the Galaxy, although perhaps feel a little deader when unladen.
 
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