For the Love of Tange Steel Frames
I primarily ride my 1986 Rockhopper Comp (and I'll probably end up racing it this year at Sea Otter) that I've modernized a bit. Long story, short - I wanted a rigid 26" bike and realized I could pull off a very forgiving, beautifully handling/feeling bike out of a vintage frame. Rides like a dream in 4130 Chromoly.
However, I've had a 1988 KHS Montana Pro (picked up for $85 - SCORE!) built with Tange Triple Butted steel. It has been hanging in the garage in pretty much stock form, and I never ride it. So... I took the same approach I did with my Rockhopper and "modernized" it but going for a SS conversion instead.
I cannot believe how nice that Tange tubing felt... for those of us who ride rigid would really appreciated the ride quality of this tubing. Not only (to me, at least) is it aesthetically beautiful - the plushness is something to be experienced.
In contrast, my "race" bike is an On-One Inbred 29'er with a Salsa CroMo fork - pretty harsh in comparison even with the 29'er wheels. I know there are differences in geometry that can attribute to that, but the difference is very noticeable.
In terms of modern MTB manufacturers, I know SOMA makes their frames out of Tange Prestige - please share your experiences if you own one!
I'm not a frame material snob or vintage hipster by any means, but for those who are looking at building a rigid bike, don't pass on these inexpensive vintage treasures on the used market. I mean, I picked up my KHS for $85 - hard to beat for a rigid build platform.
My first "good" bike was a 1992 Paramount Series 70 with Tange Prestige tubing. It had a beautiful paint job and lugs, which I love on steel frames. I sold it to my brother and regretted it ever since because it's hard to find that particular frame now. About a year ago I found the frame on ebay, which was in great condition for it's age. I paid $100. I still haven't put it together because I need a few more parts but hope to be riding it by summer.
I totally agree. Tange Prestige is a great material. The only thing that compares is Reynolds 853.
Can't wait to see that built! Like I said, I "modernized" both bikes with updated parts (like wide handlebars), and my Specialized is much more of a modern build than my KHS. But yes, in a world of carbon fiber, but mostly aluminum, I feel like Tange and Reynolds is often overlooked. I guess most people are staying clear of 26" rigid bikes and leaning towards today's technology. And with the Chinese carbon stuff getting so available for so damn cheap, why would somebody go with boutique steel unless they're biased?
Originally Posted by Colonel Flagg
I just really enjoy steel. It's a shame that only boutique and custom frames are made of steel, and even more rare are Tange and Reynolds.
And again, before anybody goes crazy trying to find an old 26" Redline Monocog, take a look at the vintage market. I'm really loving the ride characteristics of these old, steel bikes.
I've actually owned a 92 and an 80ish Rockhopper. loved the ride of those bikes but hated the Canti's. Built the Soma Groove as a rigid and have commuted on that for over a year. love it.
Frankly, for a commuter the discs are excellent, but Linear pulls are great too. I will be going to Avid Single Digit 7's with Mavic Wheels on a NOS 95 rockhopper. pairing Halo twin rail 2.2's to those wheels and slowly upgrading the drivetrain to deore/XT will finally get me my dream ride. an unmolested, brand new steel rockhopper. with modern kit.
I'mma have a good fall. Methinks.
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