Libertas 1971 touring frame Reynolds 531DB

Most Recent BUY IT NOW Items Listed on eBay
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture
eBay Auction Picture

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I received the Libertas (Belgium brand) frame I wanted to build-up into a touring bike. Fairly cheap for a Reynolds 531 butted frame and fork blades (steerer is Nervor), and Campy d-o's front and rear.
When cleaning the frame I discovered a crack in the drive side chainstay nozzle of the BB shell. I could not visually discern any frame misalignment, both stays looked okay with any deformation from the use of a kickstand.
The paint and livery appeared to be original with some added country touring decals from a previous owner.
Upon closer examination of the crack a small cavity was also revealed and it was obvious that the frame had been painted after the crack occurred due to paint being present in the crack/cavity.
I was irritated on many levels: 1) at myself for not requesting a detailed photo of all conjunctions (something normally done if images are not present or are of poor quality; frame price may have had an impact there); 2) at the seller who advertised "no cracks, dents", etc. and who said I had a good eye if I found a problem (I didn't even need my glasses! You be the judge!); 3) at the builder for allowing that frame out of the workshop!; 4) at that company for putting that bike out for sale.
Without removing the paint I assume that part of the crack is filled with paint and that a micro crack probably continues to the shell tube.
What is amazing is that the paint shows no cracking which would indicate to me that although the integrity of the frame was compromised it never flexed enough in that area to affect the paint (I looked quite closely with an eye loupe). This may be due to the frame size being small (ST approx. 52cm c-c) so not as much load being supported over the years.
I did learn a lot from this frame though; ultimately at no cost to me other than emotional (not much loss there either).
Frame was built very poorly with no regards to finish quality. The seat stay points are about as crude as you can get. No finish work appeared to be done on the frame pieces; paintwork quality was average at best (e.g. sloppy piping stripe around head lugs, etc.).
The frame is certainly lightweight for its time; but I think that these were marketed through the fact that they were built with 531 tubes and Campy d-o's because I can't find much redeeming value in the frame regarding its build quality.

Just that defect alone calls into question not just the integrity of the frame that you don't see; but also the integrity and level of pride that company had in their product at the time. I would assume that this frame was either their top or second from the top touring model (chainstays 43cm), and for this frame to leave the shop in that condition is unforgiveable. I can (and hope) that this frame was quickly knocked out by an apprentice during a time which production quantity trumped production quality. I'm not sure when the bike boom hit mainland Europe in the early seventies (frame date '71); but this frame may have been a result of the times. Still, I was surprised to see such a lack of quality workmanship from an established regional brand that was well regarded in previous years.

I will post a full set of photos for reference purposes before I pack it up again.

It would have made for some nice shop wall art, but I paid more than a broken wall hanger is worth.

1693997
 

Schwinny

I live for the CABE
I'd say that's a cleave more than a crack, it's spread. Perhaps to spread the opening to get the tube in for some reason. With a satisfactory braze between the two it looks like it held.
No telling how much weight or use it's seen though.
Next time you want a 531 frame for building you should let me know, we always have some hanging in the rafters
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
I'd say that's a cleave more than a crack, it's spread. Perhaps to spread the opening to get the tube in for some reason. With a satisfactory braze between the two it looks like it held.
No telling how much weight or use it's seen though.
Next time you want a 531 frame for building you should let me know, we always have some hanging in the rafters
I kind of agree with you, but at that point the frame should have been dismantled and rebuilt with properly fitting pieces. You should not modify a frame fitting like that under any conditions in my opinion, but certainly not a frame you are building from scratch. It definitely appears to have been from the factory, and a bike frame builder should never have let that frame leave the shop like that.
Here are the pictures of that frame. Lots of low quality work done; just a waste of good tubes and fittings.
Check out the horrible seat stay tip. Is it a cap or just the end of the tube crimped down into a point? I can see why there was a decal over it.
I did find the long crimp in the chain stays to be an interesting feature. The crimp is about 75% of the stay length.
This frame has been returned. The seller (who is good; never a problem before this) was amazed that he missed that defect and urgently requested I return it for refund.

1695325


1695326


1695327


1695328


1695329


1695330


1695331


1695333


1695335


1695336


1695337


1695338


1695339


1695345
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
@Schwinny thanks for letting me know on the 531 frames. This frame happened to be my size height and reach (ST 51.5-52.0 c-c, TT 53-54 c-c) and $. I generally only ride road race geometry, but starting to do more commmuting and I'm kicking the panniers on the compact frames. My Nishiki Gran Tourer (Tange frame) is 50cm and cramped (and disassembled!); my Trek 660 (Reynolds 531; cs?) 58cm tall so too big. Prefer early 80s or prior due to period parts on hand (50s-80s).
Let me know what you have. You can PM me or post here; I don't care.
 

Schwinny

I live for the CABE
We have a local swap meet next weekend that all the older stuff is going to. Everything is being pulled and dugout for that. I'll know more as that unfolds. In the open right now there is a 70s 25" Motobacane grand something and a 70s Dawes 24" Galaxy in 531. Those may be too large if 58cm is a bit big for you though.
 

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
We have a local swap meet next weekend that all the older stuff is going to. Everything is being pulled and dugout for that. I'll know more as that unfolds. In the open right now there is a 70s 25" Motobacane grand something and a 70s Dawes 24" Galaxy in 531. Those may be too large if 58cm is a bit big for you though.
Thanks for the info. Yeah, I pretty much stay around 20"-21" frames nowadays (I'm 5'7") even though I had ridden frames too tall for me when I was younger and had to settle for anything I could fit on. Rode a 57cm/22.5" Colnago Super for 30 yrs without any issues. My "new" Colnago (late 80s Super Piu) is a perfect fit 51cm high/53 cm long (just stripped frame for rebuild). It is the bike I tried panniers on without success; stay length 40cm (need 42.5cm or longer).
 
Last edited:

Jesper

Finally riding a big boys bike
This story keeps on going. The seller was a nice guy and I had purchased some unrelated parts along with Libertas frame. The seller did not want me to mess with it and apologized for overlooking the crack and refunded me as soon as he saw the photo. Stated that he would send out a shipping label to take care of shipping costs, but no label has arrived. I contacted him and informed him of the situation and asked if the label had been sent, but received no reply. It has now been close to 3 months since purchase and refund, and 3 weeks since I emailed him. My dilemma; send frame at my own cost or keep it. It is boxed up and in the way, but I can certainly put on a bare wall though I would still feel I should compensate the seller to some degree. It was not an expensive purchase, but I am at a blank as to how much I should compensate to keep it. Also, I have no idea what the shipping cost would be to return it. I only sell bikes/frames face to face in order to avoid shipping issues and packing them which I hate doing. I am going to send another email; ills do befall folks and I want to ensure that the seller has a chance to respond in kind since I have had previous dealings with him without any issue other than the present. I kind of worry about his well being so I hope I at least get a reply letting me know he is okay.
 

Eric Amlie

Wore out three sets of tires already!
Sounds to me that the seller is telling you that he doesn't want the frame back.
Just my 2 cents worth.
 

non-fixie

Finally riding a big boys bike
Always nice to see another Libertas! Thanks for posting it.

The use of Reynolds tubes and Campagnolo ends may well be an indication that is was intended for the American market. As may the use of French Reynolds decals, to give it a bit of 'ooh-la-la'. Libertas was a Flemish company and I suspect imperial tubing was used.

Your expectations were perhaps a little high, though, for this bike. With the possible exception of the BB shell 'non-conformity' (a casting error?) the finish is pretty much on par with what was made in the day by the mass producers like Libertas, Flandria and Superia.

Their customers just wanted the best bike their budget would allow. And if your budget was small, then this was it. The cost of labor was rising rapidly in the sixties, and a nicer finish would look nicer, but not make the bike any faster.

I own a 1970 Libertas, which I bought in Belgium a few years ago. Made with unknown tubing and ends. The level of finishing (or rather lack thereof) is the same as on the frame above.

I cleaned it up a bit and built it into a bike that I have ridden in events like the Retroronde van Vlaanderen and Eroica Britannia. It feels lighter than it actually is (26 lbs) and rides nicer than I expected it to. I rather like it. FWIW.

Here it is, pictured while touring in northern France, on my way to England:

0c8cc821-a190-40f0-96c7-0dfe739fa268.jpg
 
Top