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CharleyGnarlyP290

Strength or Weight... how Did You Build?

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Was perusing the site this morning and read something that sparked this thought: I wonder how others built their bikes back when.

 

My serious riding/ racing days ran from '78 to ''87 or so. By serious, I mean this is the time period in which I started to think about what I was doing with my bike and why. First, for cool factor, then in '80, for racing.

 

I guess there are three categories that this could fall under:

 

1. Build for weight. Obtaining parts that would reduce the weight of the bike as much as possible, thereby making a bike lighter and "faster." And I guess bragging rights.

 

2. Build for strength. Building up a bike that could withstand greater punishment that the featherweights couldn't. Heavier duty parts that could take very poor riding style or big jumping.

 

3. A balance of 1. and 2. Making the bike as strong as possible, yet keeping the weight down.

 

I am sure that most people would fall under the number 3 category. It stands to reason, right? With a close second being number 1, what with all of the weight-weenies and younger kids.

 

I, however, fell into the number 2 category. I had a Quadangle which definitely doesn't fall into the lightweight frame category. Profile cranks. Front and back brakes. When i bought parts, and read reviews, I aimed for strength first. If it was somewhat light, it was a bonus, but not really that big of a factor in my decision. After strength was size. Bigger stuff for a bigger rider, which meant more weight. You know, bigger bars, stuff like that. There were many times at the track when people would comment on my "tank" and wonder why I would ride such a heavy bike. Fortunately, I was able to do OK on it, and in reality the difference in weight didn't amount to much. And since my bike doubled as my thrash around, pummel-it-into-oblivion-riding-down-mountains and jumping-as-high-and-as-far-as-I-could vehicle, and the nearest bike shop was 50 miles away, I went for strength and durability.

 

Because of this I rarely broke parts. As, a matter of fact, off-hand, without really thinking too hard, the last part I can remember breaking was an ACS rear hub that blew up during a race when I over-jumped a step-up at my local track. Other than that my ride was pretty bullet proof. All this considering I was 6' 1" and 180 lubs my last year of high school in '82.

 

So, how did alla'yall build and plan your bikes?

 

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I thought about weight when I was a kid... but I didn't act on it really.

 

As I got older, I traded out my uni seat for a kashi aero.  I was kind of smitten with pro-class rims, the idea of the gram saving holes appealed to me, but I never had those rims as a kid.  I just kept my ukai and arayas.  My real weight saving wheel fantasy however was to run 1-3/8 wheels like Bubba.  Never acted on it though.  I had real nice stuff as a kid, I'm grateful for it, but I didn't have the will or means to trade out perfectly good araya rims just to get pro-class, or to switch to 1-3/8... I was growing and as cool as I thought 1-3/8 were, it seemed like a bad investment for a growing kid who was arguably borderline already for those wheels at my size.

 

I had alloy 3 piece cranks and traded up to flight cranks... that was a weight and strength increase.  I seriously doubt I would have bent the alloy arms.  I probably did not weigh more than 145 lbs by the time I quit racing - probably less.  I was not a destructive rider... my stuff tended to last and I never experienced any catastrophic equipment failures that I can think of.  Blew out a freewheel at most.

 

So... I guess my point is that while my interests were inclined toward weight saving... I kind of tended to stick with what I had, which was very good anyway and made sense for a growing youth.

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Back in the day, weight was the buzzword...the dads of the hood all were into cars, bikes or what have you and there seemed to be a consensus that weight was pure evil and to be shed at all costs. That of course was passed on to us, so we tried to make like what we thought pros would be doing and going light.

 

Now I do try to balance with strength, out of necessity if you plan to ride, but I distinctly remember picking each others bikes up when in a group to figure who had the "best" bike...

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but I distinctly remember picking each others bikes up when in a group to figure who had the "best" bike...

 

 

haha... totally

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"Like" to Jake's reply.

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but I distinctly remember picking each others bikes up when in a group to figure who had the "best" bike...

 

 

haha... totally

 

 

That is great! I remember people doing that as well. Was kind of funny when they picked mine up... "Cripes, dude, what a tank!"

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Mid 30's youngster chiming in: In the early/mid 90's, riding style changed for me and strength became the priority. Nowadays my preferred bike is a late 70's/early 80's 26" Cruiser and those bikes ranged from heavy mild steel tankers to thin wall 4130. Some I feel can handle abuse...others are totally prone to issues based on design/materials and are best used for gentle cruising. 

 

All my riders get Tange MX2 headsets, Tange sealed BB's, Takagi chromoly 1 piece cranks, and thick thorn resistant tubes. That stuff isn't the lightest...but it's proven to flat out work.

 

I like to build em with the strongest stuff that was offered from that era and typically I find that my old school 26" Cruiser ends up being lighter than the 20" bmx I rode as a teenager in the 90's. Not my aim...just a bonus...

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Probably neither, I was enamored by the latest and coolest parts.  So if I broke something I had (and even if I didn't break it) it meant a trip to Greenwood Schwinn to buy something.  As a youth, that was the coolest place on the planet to me.  I was a dork, my bike was always a dual purpose rig.  Race/cruising or freestyle just meant bolting on, or, taking off a part or two.  Weight, strength, never meant much to me honestly.  Though I always marveled at how light my friends Rippers were.  They always were at the top of discussions over the lightest bikes in my 'hood.

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Depends on the era and my size, weight etc.

 

Mid 70s I had to have (did not need) 120 ga 36 spoke steel wheels on my Stingray 30lb +

 

Late 70s which changed to 7b rims, with road bike hubs, aluminum cranks on my aluminum framed 19lb rig, which was my lightest ready to race bike as a teen.

 

by 1979 I am getting bigger and stronger, ditch the aluminum frame, cranks and bars too much flex and/or worried about breaking. (Bikes were in the 23lbs +/-)

 

80s cruiser racing able to have strength and lightweight thanks to light and strong chome moly frames, cranks etc. most bikes were in the 25lb range ready to race.

 

Now it is only a matter of what you want to ride and spend. I Ride a carbon frame, carbon lefty cross country rig that is strong and light (26 lbs+/-) ready to go. If I were to spend more, go to tubeless, etc, I could get a strong bike that would get close to 21lbs ready to go.

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Combination of weight and cost for me. Strength wasn't an issue as I was a lightweight and was not hard on my bikes. I ran Tourney cranks on my Mongoose for over a year and never bent them when everyone around me seemed to do that.

 

My Mongoose and then first Hutch were dual purpose with racing on Sundays and riding the streets and jumps every other day. That was until I cracked my Hutch and then had a PK Ripper as my street/jumps bike and the Hutch was pretty much reserved for racing. Never broke the PK Ripper.

 

Both ran alloy wheels, one piece cranks, regular seat/seat post combos, cro-mo bars etc. I've always had the attitude that it was easier for me to lose weight (and cheaper) than to buy lightweight parts!

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Right out of the gate I wanted strength. We had pretty flimsy Western Flyers, and we just bent the crap out them.

My first heavy duty bike was a Rampar R10 with long steel cranks, and heavy duty wheels. It was awesome.

Once I got into racing strength was still important but to lose some weight was becoming important.

Like trading my wasted three piece alloy crank set for a one piece that just bullet proof.

Yet light alloy wheels were still hot.

As it went on, drive train part strength became really important. No Ultramax cranks, or cheap chains.

But if at all possible rotating weight was reduced. Never went 20 1 3/8, but the last year it was possible to run a 1.75 up front and not crash out.

.02

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mmm I had both so... 
My first Mongoose broke everything including the frame. I still have it complete with a rough welding job by my dad in 81. I replaced everything more than twice. It was a race bike on the weekends and street thrasher for school duty. It was a tank but pretty strong. 

Eventually I managed to get the Supergoose built strong enough for the Skateparks and got a lightweight PK Ripper for racing on Friday nights and Sunday mornings. I couldn't help myself however and a set of Campy graphites made their way onto the PK. Slightly heavier but they looked so much cooler and I was a crap racer anyway..ha ! 

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