Hopefully I'll pick up some advice here. Or we'll all have a good laugh at my expense. Either way, let's have some fun.
I have a Schwinn Sidewinder that I got for free. I believe it's an early '00s model. The drivetrain is very rusted, the derailleurs are suspect, and the shifters are stripped. On top of that, the suspension fork is dead and the front tire is flat. However, the frame seems quite healthy. No signs of rust or fatigue.
I'm not going to call this thing a cyclocross project, because it's obviously a mountain bike, and it's a pretty heavy steel frame. But I think by adding 'cross bike elements to it, I could make it into something stupidly fun. Here are my tentative plans:
Drivetrain: Convert it to a single 42t crank and 11-34t cassette with Shimano Deore derailler.
Wheels: Convert from 26" to 700x35 or 700x38. It looks like I have plenty of room (see pic). I took a 27 x 1.25 wheel off my Panasonic, and it fit. Does that roughly translate to 700x35?
Brakes: Replace with newer cantilevers. Maybe Tektro Alloy Mini V-brakes (I've read they're friendly to drop bar levers)
Handlebars: convert to drop bar. My head tube is 1" diameter...which I believe is better for finding a stem that works well with drop bars? But I'll need to do more research on this, as I'd like to have them up a little higher than typical.
I'm still unsure what to do about shifters. I'm considering Tiagra combos, but since I'll only need a rear shifter, it seems like a waste to throw that kind of money into one component of the build.
Any comments, warnings, or encouragement is welcome. I took apart a few things on the Schwinn this morning, and nothing seems very intimidating to wrench on. I know things come apart more easily than they go together, but I still think I could have some fun with this.
Thanks in advance. Here are some pics for reference:
Rear wheel/tire clearance:
More rear wheel/tire clearance: