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  1. #1
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    1991 Trek 2300 Conversion - 23 Speed Possible?

    Hi! I have a 1991 Trek 2300 I was given new in 1991 in trade for advertising. I LOVE this bike, except for the Ultegra shifters and the dated 7 speeds. It is pretty minty b/c I have always stored it inside. It still has the original tape, but I do need to replace it. My daughter knocked it over at the beach so sand got in my chain. I cleaned it but need to get it really clean. My husband lost my pedals... blah blah blah But the paint is almost immaculate.

    A new bike is out of the question right now. I saw someone convert a vintage Bianchi to 23 sp with modern Shimano components. I know the 129mm may be problematic, but what would I need to do to convert my bike to 23 sp? I have rebuilt sewing machines and I understand how a bike works so I feel this is something I can do. A friend of ours was an iron man and built his own bikes. He is willing to help me if I get stuck.

    My bike currently has vintage Ultegra with one indexed and one shifter by feel on the down.

    Will a conversion like this ruin the value of the bike? I was thinking this conversion could hold me over while I save for a new carbon bike.

  2. #2
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    If the rear spacing really is 129mm, then you will have no issue going to pretty much any modern drivetrain.

    Modern road bikes have 130mm rear spacing and 1mm won't make one iota of a difference.

    What kind of money are you looking to spend? Are you looking to go to a 2x9 or 2x10 setup with a compact crankset and a whole new rear wheel? Or are you trying to do this on the cheap like with used parts and doing work on your own or with the help of a co-op?

    I don't think the value of your bike will suffer much if you modernize it properly. I have a 1985 Trek 520 with a complete drivetrain off of a late model 9speed triple and I feel that it adds to the value for me because I hate downtube shifters but love modern STI shifters.

    Your speed choices are 2x7 (14), 2x8 (16), 2x9 (18), 2x10 (20), or triple versions 3x7 (21), 3x8 (24), 3x9 (27) or 3x10 (30). Not sure where you got the 23 speed from.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  3. #3
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    What are you trying to accomplish?

    If just switching to brifters I'd consider buying cheap 10s Campy brifters, a new 8s chain, a suitable front derailleur, an 8s Shimano cassette, and run a Shimergo "7 of 8" setup. Should cost less than $200.

    Your hubs are 126mm 7s, so unless you replace the rear wheel (or maybe just replace the freehub body and re-dish -- most around here seem to think it's OK to wedge a new 130mm hub in a 126mm frame), you're limited to 7 of 8, 8 of 9, etc. Once you get a new wheel, you're edging close to buying a new bike from bikesdirect etc .
    Last edited by peterw_diy; 02-26-14 at 10:42 PM.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    What are you trying to accomplish?

    If just switching to brifters I'd consider buying cheap 10s Campy brifters, a new 8s chain, a suitable front derailleur, an 8s Shimano cassette, and run a Shimergo "7 of 8" setup. Should cost less than $200.
    Good idea! Heck, I bet her factory front derailleur would work fine with the Campy set.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5ofus View Post
    . . . but what would I need to do to convert my bike to 23 sp? . . .
    The ability to factor prime numbers would be a good start.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Is that a carbon frame bike?
    I've converted a 70's 2X5 speed to a 3X9, so a lot of things are "doable" if you have the money.

    129mm spacing is a bit odd, although not really. Some bikes from that era were spaced 128mm, so you could use either 126 or 130mm OLD hubs.
    I've installed a 132/3mm spaced 9 speed wheel in my 86 Rockhopper. The steel frame spreads without undue effort.

  7. #7
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterw_diy View Post
    What are you trying to accomplish?
    This is the important question.

    Too often I see people "upgrading" in the search for more speeds, when they had plenty before. Shimano 6400 600-Ultegra tri-color (sorry, that's a long name) was a fantastic groupset.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  8. #8
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    The 2300 is a vintage carbon bike with the original tiger tape. Pretty LOUD!

    Yes, I thought 23 was funny too - it's a CL typo. Probably meant 24 - a very nice conversion. I would like to do at least 7x3. 8x2 doesn't inspire me. There are alot of steep hill climbs around here and I want to be able to ride with my friends that have high end carbon bikes.

    FastJake, I've been considering what to do to most enjoy my beloved Trek in the upcoming years and eventually pass it on to one of my kids. They love this bike and this upgrade is something I definitely want to do. Contractors will always say it doesn't make sense to do a 2 foot addition to your home -likewise I don't want to just upgrade from 7 to 8 gears. Only one side of this group is indexed which always bothered me. It's akward going up a hill fenagling a "by feel" shifter on a downshift.

    Bobtech, how do I find a coop to learn how to do this conversion? I am with you on STI! So glad I asked about this and you told me the 129mm spacing will be fine. I am excited! I have an general idea how to do the conversion but am ready to get more details.

    I figure I need brifters, cassette, crank set+. Not sure if I will need new handlebars, derailleurs or more. How much did your 9x3 conversion cost? What brand did you use?

    Also my bike is only 47cm so I am doubtful of how collectible it is in this size so I may do other upgrades to lighten the load as budget allows. One things for sure, no bike will go to waste around here. Everyone is always jumping on each others bikes and skateboards (my daughter has a couple of really tricked out upgraded ones).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
    The ability to factor prime numbers would be a good start.
    had me scratching my head too.
    Last edited by hueyhoolihan; 02-27-14 at 12:27 AM.

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    You can get a complete Shimano 105 group from Ribble for $413, either double or triple. This is 10 speed. You will need a new rear wheel to accommodate anything above your seven speed cassette. On the other hand, if you just want to move your shifters from the downtube, you can get some bar end pods from Rivendell.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5ofus View Post

    Bobtech, how do I find a coop to learn how to do this conversion?
    A start would be to enter your "location" in your profile. Then when you post, others in your area might have ideas for coops or good shops in your area.

    <<-------- for example
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  12. #12
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Think Again...

    5ofus,
    I'm not clear on where you're getting your ideas about this "upgrade"...

    The bike is an unusual material, with composite main tubing but aluminum stays. My approach would be to maintain the 2 x 7 speed character of the bike, but to alter the gear range to something better suited to your riding style.

    Possibly swapping the 53T chainring for a 50. Swapping shifters/brake levers for a new set of Shimano A070 Tourney combined shifters. Wider range cassette, changing from 13-21T to 13-28T, and replacing the chain, too. You'll need to add a cable stop on the downtube.

    That way, you'll have lower climbing gears and a more reasonable cruising range. Your parts costs will still be ~$250 (Shifters - 110, cable stop - 10, cabling - 25, chainring - 45, cassette - 30, chain - 10, plain cork tape (please) - 8).

    The cheaper option would be to keep your shifters and brake levers, and only replace the 7-speed HG freewheel and chain. You could keep that under $85 with new cabling thoughout, and tape, of course.

    Don't make this more complicated than it needs to be.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    129mm spacing is a bit odd, although not really. Some bikes from that era were spaced 128mm, so you could use either 126 or 130mm OLD hubs.
    It's probably 128 mm. I had a '92 Trek 1420 bonded Al frame and it was spaced 128 since that frame was sold with both 7-speed and 8-speed components and either 126 or 130 mm hubs. Mine came as a 7-speed and a 126 mm 105 hub set and I later upgraded it to an 8-speed 130 mm Ultegra hub wheel and both hubs fit easily.

  14. #14
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    If you want to use a 130 mm OLD hub in 128 mm rear dropouts, it helps for the locknuts to be rounded off (beveled?) on the side that contacts the dropouts. That way the lock nuts progressively spread the drop outs automatically as you insert the hub into them, and you don't have to futz with spreading them yourself. It is almost as good as having the wider dropout spacing to begin with. I don't know where you can get lock nuts like that, but I have seen them on hubs in the past.
    Robert

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
    If you want to use a 130 mm OLD hub in 128 mm rear dropouts, it helps for the locknuts to be rounded off (beveled?) on the side that contacts the dropouts.
    I believe Shimano offered the first 8-speed Dura Ace hubs with those beveled locknuts since nearly everything was spaced 126 mm at the time. Installing a 130 mm hub in 126 mm dropouts can be a bit of a struggle but the 128 mm dropouts I've dealt with were no effort at all.

    More recently, Surly spaces a couple of their frames (the Cross Check for one) at 132.5 mm to accept 130 mm road hubs or 135 mm MTB hubs and the wider hubs are easy to fit.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    5ofus,
    I'm not clear on where you're getting your ideas about this "upgrade"...

    The bike is an unusual material, with composite main tubing but aluminum stays. My approach would be to maintain the 2 x 7 speed character of the bike, but to alter the gear range to something better suited to your riding style.

    Possibly swapping the 53T chainring for a 50. Swapping shifters/brake levers for a new set of Shimano A070 Tourney combined shifters. Wider range cassette, changing from 13-21T to 13-28T, and replacing the chain, too. You'll need to add a cable stop on the downtube.

    That way, you'll have lower climbing gears and a more reasonable cruising range. Your parts costs will still be ~$250 (Shifters - 110, cable stop - 10, cabling - 25, chainring - 45, cassette - 30, chain - 10, plain cork tape (please) - 8).

    The cheaper option would be to keep your shifters and brake levers, and only replace the 7-speed HG freewheel and chain. You could keep that under $85 with new cabling thoughout, and tape, of course.

    Don't make this more complicated than it needs to be.
    Ding!Ding!Ding! We have a winner. All of this is excellent advice. Before I did anything with the wheels, I would make absolutely sure that you are positive about the spacing. Spreading the stays on an aluminum lugged, bonded carbon frame that is 20+ years old seems like a bad idea to me. Keep the wheel OLD the same and work with whatever amount of gears that the spacing will allow.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
    Ding!Ding!Ding! We have a winner. All of this is excellent advice. Before I did anything with the wheels, I would make absolutely sure that you are positive about the spacing. Spreading the stays on an aluminum lugged, bonded carbon frame that is 20+ years old seems like a bad idea to me. Keep the wheel OLD the same and work with whatever amount of gears that the spacing will allow.
    A mm or two won't hurt anything even on an old lugged bonded frame. I mean i wouldn't go from 126 to 135 but going from 129 to 130 isn't going to be an issue.
    "When dealing with stuff like this consider that this is a bicycle, not a spaceship." -- FBinNY

  18. #18
    Senior Member surreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    5ofus,
    I'm not clear on where you're getting your ideas about this "upgrade"...
    Possibly swapping the 53T chainring for a 50. Swapping shifters/brake levers for a new set of Shimano A070 Tourney combined shifters. Wider range cassette, changing from 13-21T to 13-28T, and replacing the chain, too. You'll need to add a cable stop on the downtube.....

    That way, you'll have lower climbing gears and a more reasonable cruising range. Your parts costs will still be ~$250 (Shifters - 110, cable stop - 10, cabling - 25, chainring - 45, cassette - 30, chain - 10, plain cotton tape (please) - 8).
    ......Don't make this more complicated than it needs to be.
    Winner! (Just had to change the tape fro cork to cotton/) And that's only b/c you seem to really want some "brifters"; otherwise, I'd just go with a bigger cassette and some maintenance. PS- A triple on that bike will not help you keep up with friends on modern bikes. It'll just make climbing easier for you--not faster.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by surreal View Post
    Winner! (Just had to change the tape fro cork to cotton/) And that's only b/c you seem to really want some "brifters"; otherwise, I'd just go with a bigger cassette and some maintenance. PS- A triple on that bike will not help you keep up with friends on modern bikes. It'll just make climbing easier for you--not faster.
    Ahhhh! This is sounds like the best option. My friend who is an ironman and builds his own bikes recently cleaned my bike. I do need to take the chain off and clean bc my daughter got some sand in it.

    That is probably my two biggest priorities - bigger cassette and brifters. Thanks for the tip on tape. I have a couple of spec sheets but tget don't list the hub mm. Need to confirm.

    Ideally, I would like to go to 8sp vs 7sp with a larger cassette - this is a really small casette and 2 of the gears are pretty much the same size so its more like 6 sp. Did the original 8sp come with a larger hub?

    My bike says 21T-24T. 32 H. My 7sp cassette is 21T.

    I am in Dana Point CA. Alot of steep long hills. Bought a short sale to get into a good neighborhood which is why I can't buy a new bike (:

  20. #20
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    Based on the original post, I'm fairly confident that the rear spacing is unknown. I personally wouldn't spread a frame like that much to gain 1 or 2 gears.

    Edit: 7 speed cassette wheels have a freehub which is narrower than a wheel with an 8/9/10 speed compatible wheel. To change the gearing to 8/9/10 speed, you'll need a new wheel with a freehub that will accept 8/9/10 speed cassettes. This wheel will be spaced 130mm for a road hub. Your frame is designed to accept a certain wheel spacing. If the dropouts on the frame are spaced 128-130mm, then putting a wheel spaced for 130mm is fine. If the frame and original wheel are spaced 126mm, then you'll have to spread the rear dropouts to get the wider wheel in there. Based on the construction of your frame, I personally wouldn't cram a 130mm wheel into 126mm dropouts. Others will say it's ok, I just don't think it's worth the risk to gain a couple of gears, JMHO.
    Last edited by likebike23; 02-27-14 at 03:25 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member clydeosaur's Avatar
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    Going 8 on this should be fine. I did this to a 91 trek 400 for my wife. I simply bought & moved over brifters, wheels, rear der. and brakes from a person who was upgrading from Sora to 105. The only thing I bought were new cables, chain (seamed like common sense) and the adapters/stops for the down tube bosses. The frame is either 128 0r 129. No hassle putting the rear wheel on of getting it off. Stock crank and front der. work fine with the brifters.

  22. #22
    Constant tinkerer FastJake's Avatar
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    You seem to be set on getting brifters, which is fine. You also want lower gears for climbing which is a very common request here. If you're going to do those two things, you're basically replacing the entire drivetrain so you might as well go with however many speeds you want. IMO the best approach to that situation would be brifters, 8/9/10 speeds in the back, and a triple crankset up front for climbing. But once you add up the cost of all these parts (brifters, crank, rear wheel, FD, chain, cassette) you could probably get a modern, used carbon bike or for sure a nice aluminum one.

    So my suggestion would be to replace the crankset with a triple, probably have to replace the front derailer, and leave everything else alone. This will give you all the low gears you need and is by far the cheapest option. Then save the rest for a fancy modern bike.

    Also, when using a double crank the front is technically "indexed" no matter what because there are only two basic positions to be in. Unless you need to trim, which you'd want to do with an indexed system anyway. The only difference is the shifter doesn't "click."

    Quote Originally Posted by likebike23 View Post
    Based on the original post, I'm fairly confident that the rear spacing is unknown. I personally wouldn't spread a frame like that much to gain 1 or 2 gears.

    Edit: 7 speed cassette wheels have a freehub which is narrower than a wheel with an 8/9/10 speed compatible wheel. To change the gearing to 8/9/10 speed, you'll need a new wheel with a freehub that will accept 8/9/10 speed cassettes. This wheel will be spaced 130mm for a road hub. Your frame is designed to accept a certain wheel spacing. If the dropouts on the frame are spaced 128-130mm, then putting a wheel spaced for 130mm is fine. If the frame and original wheel are spaced 126mm, then you'll have to spread the rear dropouts to get the wider wheel in there. Based on the construction of your frame, I personally wouldn't cram a 130mm wheel into 126mm dropouts. Others will say it's ok, I just don't think it's worth the risk to gain a couple of gears, JMHO.
    Agreed. Next thing to do is confirm the dropout spacing. If it's 126mm I'd leave it at that with 7-speeds but if it's 128-130 then go ahead and put in an 8/9/10 speed hub with whatever cassette you want.
    Why "derailer" is the correct way to spell the gear-change mechanism: sheldonbrown.com/derailer.html

  23. #23
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    i have a 92, i think, trek 2300 i bought at a thrift store. it had shimano 600 sti shifters that didn't work, no dérailleurs, brakes or wheels on it.
    i bought this wheelset, http://www.ebay.com/itm/AEROMAX-700c...item1c3cf8d9b3. they bolted on without any problems. i didn't have to force or bend anything to get them to fit.
    i painted the bike with plans on riding it. then i got a great deal on a specialized roubaix so now it sits.

  24. #24
    bike whisperer Kimmo's Avatar
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    Will everybody please stop saying a new wheel is necessary for a 8/9/10s cassette?

    You should be able to find a local co-op via the links in my sig. There, you can score a 8/9/10 cassette body (for like, 50c), and that's all your wheel needs aside from a re-dish, which the co-op guys should be able to sort for you.

    Ensure your dropout spacing really is close to 130mm first though.

    @peterw_diy nailed it - 10s Campy Ergos are the go, this gives you the most options. The left shifter will work with doubles or triples, and will work sweet with your derailers at 8s. If you later want to go 10s, a Campy rear derailer and a 10s Shimano cassette and chain is all you'll need. If you want a triple, a triple crankset and pretty much any old triple front derailer will do it, along with a long-cage rear. (If you plan to go 2x10 on the way to 3x10, get a rear derailer with a long cage).

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
    Will everybody please stop saying a new wheel is necessary for a 8/9/10s cassette?
    This is true, but not always so simple. If the stock wheel is 126mm OLD, it will need a new axle as well. Provided the new/used axle has the same threads, you can reuse the cones/seals and just add spacers. Not everyone has access to a co-op, not every shop is interested in this kind of project, and many mechanics I've encountered don't think outside the box on projects like this.

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