FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions


(See below for more questions.)

Materials & Construction

Why Steel?

In the past twenty five years we've seen an explosion in the application of materials to bicycle frame and fork design. Yet Waterford continues to use materials which to many bike buyers seem archaic and tradition-bound. Why?

Which steel are we talking about?

The strength of steel can vary from 50,000 psi (pounds per square inch) to nearly 250,000 psi, depending on the alloy and manufacturing processes. Companies advertising the benefits of so-called "alternative materials)" usually compare the performance of their offerings to that of chromoly or even less sophisticated steels. Waterford's air-hardening steels are at the high range of the strengh range, which is why the R33 can weigh like a TI or aluminum frame and still ride like a Waterford.

Is this the same steel as on your old bike?Steel as a material continues to evolve. Suppliers such as Reynolds and True Temper continue to refine their formulas and manufacturing processes. Few people recognize the revolution which took place twenty years ago when Reynolds introduced their 753 tubesets. 753 offered designers a significant increase in strength - as long as both the Reynolds and framebuilders treated the material with the appropriate respect.

The recent introduction of the new air-hardened steels (Reynolds 853 and True Temper's OX Platinum) represents yet another step in the effort to offer an even higher level of performance.

Even Reynolds 531, originally introduced in the 1930's has had some changes to it over the decades. Moreover, Waterford's OS tubing dimensions get more performance out of the tubes than builders could get twenty years ago.

What are your priorities?

When we design framesets, we consider the following questions (in descending order of importance).

  • How well will the frame fit? Nothing affects riding performance more than proper fit.
  • How straight can we make it? A straight frame makes every geometry handle better.
  • How well does it steer? Is it responsive enough for the racer and stable enough for the tourer?
  • Is it stiff enough in the right places? A stiff bottom bracket insures better pedaling efficiency.
  • Is it comfortable? An uncomfortable bike makes any rider less efficient during long races or rides.

Only once we've satisfied all these considerations does the resulting weight of the frameset make a difference. Yet, to look at advertisements and magazine reviews, you'd think that weight was the only consideration. Worse yet, many riders may be led to believe that if a frame is light and made from an exotic material that it performs well all the basics.

Waterford's steels get high marks on every count! No material has a greater ability to fit such a wide range of riders for such a wide range of riding applications. The range of tubing and ability of Reynolds to meet our close tolerances means more predictable riding characteristics than with any other material. We've proved it through the satisfaction of thousands of riders through the years. If the steels we use today appeared after we lived in a world which offered bikes only in aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber - that would be a real revolution!

It's not just the material, it's the builder. Our materials are only one of many reasons which make Waterford framesets a joy to ride and a joy to own.

Question List

Choosing Your Waterford

Do you want a racing bike, recreational bike or both?
What kind of maintenance does my Waterford need?
How big a tire do you want to fit on your bike?
How do you go about choosing your Waterford?
What if my seatpost slips during rides?
How versatile do you want your bike?
What kind of handling do you want?
What do I need to do to prevent rust and corrosion?
Why do we measure our seat tubes 'center to top'?
What do you want to carry?
How big a load do you want to carry?
If I'm a 180 pound rider, why does it matter whether my load is 15 pounds or 25 pounds?

Geometry and Fit

How does Waterford perform factory fittings?
What is toe-clip overlap and why do we avoid it?
My Fit Kit recommends a 538mm top tube. Nobody offers stock geometries in these sizes. What's my best fit?
Can't you just build a bike based on Fit Kit® measurements?
Why are your seat angles so steep on small frame sizes?
Why is there toe clip overlap on track geometries?
Why does Waterford recommend 650C or 26" wheels on selected sizes?
Why does Waterford sometimes recommend 650C or 26" wheels?
What if I want to change from a steel fork to a carbon fork or vica versa?

Materials & Construction

Retrofitting S&S Couplers?
What makes Waterford's Tubesets so Special?
Why Steel?
How much do color choices affect durability?
Lugs vs. TIG - Which is best?

Paints and Finish

How do I apply touch-up paint?
Why don't we Chrome Plate all Waterfords?
How do color choices affect durability?
Why not internal cable routing?
Wouldn't clearcoat over bare metal work?
Why not clearcoat only?
What's wrong with a matte finish?
Why can't I just give you a paint code to select custom paint?
Choosing a Finish

Upgrading Your Waterford

What kind of composite fork can I install on my Waterford?

General Information

Where do I find my serial number?
What does my serial number mean?
What is the difference between Gunnar and Waterford
What is the difference between 14-, 22- and 33-Series models?

Assembly & Care

What common dimensions are there for Waterfords - threading, bolts etc.?
My head tube is somewhat out of round. What kind of problem is it?
Which clamp diameter should I use to for my front derailleur
Clamp-on or braze-on front derailleurs.
What kind of care do I have to give my Waterford to prevent rust from forming?
How do I prevent my composite (carbon fiber) seatpost from slipping?
How long a seatpost do I need?
How do I get a good fit when installing downtube shift adapters?
How do I apply touch-up paint?
How do I apply replacement decals?
How do I remove my chainstay protector?
Should I use my Waterford on my Windtrainer?
Why did we go from 27.4mm to 27.2mm seatposts?
Why don't we install dropout adjusters on bikes that have adjuster holes?
I have an older model 1400 or 2400 off-road frame. What kind of front deraileur do I need?
What if I want to install a 1" for on a 1 1/8" head tube frame?
Threading: What is it for eyelets, rack mounts and so on?

Repair & Restoration

Why can't I just have Waterford touch up my frame instead of completely repainting it?
Is it worth it to restore my old Paramount, Raleigh or other classic road bike?
Can Waterford spread my dropouts on my old bike?
What does it take to retrofit my bike with S&S Couplers?
Will Waterford put its decals on a Paramount restoration?
Can I change the geometry on my existing frame?
I have a dent in my top tube, should I be concerned?
I have a chrome Paramount with damage to the chrome. Can you re-chrome it for me?

Buying / Selling a Waterford

How can I sell my Waterford?


Can I order a 1 inch steerer disc brake fork?
How can I get a disc brake fork with the ride of my classic steel rim brake fork


Does Waterford provide Warranty Coverage?


What do I do for a stuck seatpost or bottom bracket?
What should I do to prevent high-speed wobble and shimmy on my bike?
What do I do about brake chatter or shudder?
How do I reduce brake squealing?
How do I prevent my rear wheel from pulling under heavy climbing or sprinting?
What if I experience chain suck on my Off-Road frame.

Log in and Using this Web Site

Does my Waterford Login connect me to the Forum?


What's the fork threading on the 1960's Paramounts
What do the markings mean found on the bottom bracket of Paramounts from the 50's to the 70's?