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  1. #1
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    Recommend some vintage MTB models

    I've wanted a 26" project bike for over a year now and I've narrowed down what I prefer. I'm looking for an 80's or 90's cro-moly MTB model that is plentiful enough that I can get one relatively inexpensively. I want it to be able to easily take modern components (drivetrain & brakes) and I prefer a sportier geometry over super relaxed geometry. The template I'm looking at is based on a 56cm Rivendell Atlantis. I want a close to level top tube and clearance for Schwalbe Big Apples. I'll probably put drop bars on it as well as I've been drooling over the drop-bar conversion thread for over a year. I also prefer the oversized tubing look to the thinner diameter tubes.

    The Bridgestone XO-1 is also a decent template but I'm a clyde and want a little stouter bike.

    If I find a good project bike and the concept works for me, I'll consider it for the custom frame I hope to have built in the next few years.

    What would be some good candidates? I'm familiar with the 90's Treks but beyond that, I don't know a whole lot.

    Thanks!


    My current dream bike:

    Atlantis (3).jpg
    Last edited by corwin1968; 09-16-13 at 03:12 PM.
    Currently riding a 2013 Handsome Devil custom build and an early 90's Specialized Rockhopper Single-Speed.

  2. #2
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I am partial to my Schwinn Project KOM, with its Tange Prestige II tubeset and tight/relaxed compromise geometry. You would have to put up with some evolutionary dead ends, such as an under-the-chainstay Ubrake and a front Rollercam brake. Only about 2000 were made during the two years of production, but the collectors have evidently not yet discovered them, despite the Team USA red-white-and-blue paint job and Ned Overend Team Issue history.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  3. #3
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    The Nishiki Colorado is a cool bike because it has wishbone rear stays. It's chromoly but a bit heavy.

  4. #4
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    since I have a Bontrager Privateer in-hand (selling for a friend, it's too small for me ) I have to say I've become a fan of Keith Bontrager's steel frames, even these mongrels made by Trek in his name (and by his design). If I can find a trader who wants "S" and will swap me "M" or "L" I intend to pay off my friend and become an owner...and I don't even ride Mtn. bikes hardly at all!

  5. #5
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    Great! This is what I'm looking for...some non-mainstream bikes that might pop up at a pawn shop or on Craigslist. Keep them coming!
    Currently riding a 2013 Handsome Devil custom build and an early 90's Specialized Rockhopper Single-Speed.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    I have two specialized stumpjumpers (a 1988 comp and a 1991 team). They are both excellent bikes. The 1991 is a bit more modern with a more aggressive racing geometry; the 1988 is more laid back and closer to the roots of the early MTBs. I'd recommend something along the lines of the 1989 stumpjumper with a bit longer wheelbase and slacker angles if you are looking for a bike to mod. It has more tire clearance and it is easier to mount a rack (because of the longer chainstays). In any case the top end stumpies are excellent bikes.

    Edit: you also might want to consider some of the "adventure" bikes like the Velo Orange camargue; it's not out yet but it can take some seriously fat tires and is very stout: http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2013...e-is-here.html

  7. #7
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    Where are you located? There is a nice lugged Kuwahara on my local CL that's not too expensive and looks to be in really good shape and complete. It's also my size, but another bike might earn me a lecture and a long grounding.

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclotoine's Avatar
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    don't get fixed on brand just look at your local CL for rigid MTBs in your size, that said they are all going to have the too long of a top tube necessitating a stubby stem and you will have the saddle in the sky to get a comfortable reach. Better option might be something like a surly LHT with 26" wheel option? That said people seem to love their conversions. The level top tube with aggressive geometry is a smaller window in time as sloping top tubes and tighter geo when hand in hand in the late 1980s and early 1990s transition period.
    1 Super Record bike, 1 Nuovo Record bike, 1 Pista, 1 Road, 1 Cyclocross/Allrounder, 1 MTB, 1 Touring, 1 Fixed gear

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikku View Post
    Where are you located? There is a nice lugged Kuwahara on my local CL that's not too expensive and looks to be in really good shape and complete. It's also my size, but another bike might earn me a lecture and a long grounding.
    Central Oklahoma
    Currently riding a 2013 Handsome Devil custom build and an early 90's Specialized Rockhopper Single-Speed.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    I have two specialized stumpjumpers (a 1988 comp and a 1991 team). They are both excellent bikes. The 1991 is a bit more modern with a more aggressive racing geometry; the 1988 is more laid back and closer to the roots of the early MTBs. I'd recommend something along the lines of the 1989 stumpjumper with a bit longer wheelbase and slacker angles if you are looking for a bike to mod. It has more tire clearance and it is easier to mount a rack (because of the longer chainstays). In any case the top end stumpies are excellent bikes.

    Edit: you also might want to consider some of the "adventure" bikes like the Velo Orange camargue; it's not out yet but it can take some seriously fat tires and is very stout: http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/2013...e-is-here.html
    I've followed VO off-and-on but that is a new one for me and VERY interesting. I would love a bi-plane fork but I'm guessing my size frame will end up being 700c. I'm riding a 55cm 700c bike now and could go slightly bigger so a 53cm is probably way to small.
    Currently riding a 2013 Handsome Devil custom build and an early 90's Specialized Rockhopper Single-Speed.

  11. #11
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Endless number of choices, any of the Japanese brands along with US brands like Trek and some of the Schwinns. I am a big fan of the Schwinn Cimarron, black chrome High Sierra and Sierra are both fine choices. I have a black chrome Univega, I've seen black chrome Nishiki recently too.

    Best way to get a deal is to NOT lock in to a particular brand or model.


    One nice thing about a drop bar conversion is that it is really easy to swap parts from frame to frame. So you can start with perhaps not a great choice, and when you find something better, swap away.
    Last edited by wrk101; 09-16-13 at 05:08 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by corwin1968 View Post
    Central Oklahoma
    Argh, close but no cigar. I'm in Houston.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    Endless number of choices, any of the Japanese brands along with US brands like Trek and some of the Schwinns. I am a big fan of the Schwinn Cimarron, black chrome High Sierra and Sierra are both fine choices. I have a black chrome Univega, I've seen black chrome Nishiki recently too.

    Best way to get a deal is to NOT lock in to a particular brand or model.
    Exactly, better to look for a specific time period and componentry (basically you want anything that says Deore). That's how I lucked into my '87 Mongoose ATB for pretty cheap.

  14. #14
    Get off my lawn! Velognome's Avatar
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    late 80's -early 90's Giant Iguana (rigid)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    I would think most any post 89 (U brakes) double butted frame should be a decent project bike.

  16. #16
    Not racing. stanman13's Avatar
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    I have circa 91 Giant Iguana that I bought new. Triple butted chrome moly, very nice bike. Mine came with full Suntour XCM and Dia-Compe cantileveres. Some of the Giants came with Shimano. Good performing bike, not too heavy and rides nice. Braze-ons for fenders and racks. Lately my son has been eyeballing it (he's 11 and it will probably fit him next year) so he will probably end up with it. It's been a very good bike and has held up well.

  17. #17
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    I have a 91 Fuji sundance. Its a decent frame and fork with Tange MTN double butted tubing. Fairly steep racing geometry. it comes stock with a Deore DX groupset with ritchey headset, stem and rims. Mines in the blizzard paint job... http://www.classicfuji.com/1991_13_Sundance_Page.htm

    Also you can find them in thrift stores for a song...

  18. #18
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    My poor man's Atlantis is based on a Bridgestone MB-2. The 26" wheels actually came from an Atlantis, with a 9 speed XT rear hub and Ultegra front. It currently has 1.75 Panaracer Paselas. The rear derailer is an Ultegra GS and the front is an XT. The crank is a Sugino XD, as Rivendell uses. It's sized more like a road bike than a MTB. The frame is a 20" and I normally ride a 55cm road bike. It's my only bike with indexed shifting and it's a lot of fun to ride.

    Bridgestones are hard to find cheap, but I found one. I only paid $50 for the bike. I ended up replacing most everything, mostly with used parts. I think the crank was the only thing I bought new, but the XD is bargain priced.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Chrome Molly's Avatar
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    Think older stumpy or high sierra (both good clyde bikes). Both of those are pretty horizontal top tube options. Most 80's MTB's are going to fit your bill though, as long as they are 130 rears and canti brakes.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mtbikerinpa's Avatar
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    Sedona ATX series has served me well, but they are a little tougher to come by. Butted cromo and good internal frame coating keeps the rust factors down. Fairly steep geometry but changeable to suspension with the 1-1/8 headset(What I did to both of mine). Any of the ATX era ones would be good, before they made them the modern aluminum(and piggish).
    Aviation Mechanic, Bike racer, Fitness Equipment Restorer

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  21. #21
    Senior Member due ruote's Avatar
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    Like others said, I'd just look for something with good tubing that's the right size, price and in decent shape.

    I have a Stumpjumper with a u-brake. It works fine and the clean lines of the stays are kind of cool, but it's a hassle to adjust the brake, and on balance I'd prefer cantis.

  22. #22
    Still learning oddjob2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikku View Post
    Argh, close but no cigar. I'm in Houston.
    How much closer can one get, Dallas?

    OP, you are a big dude, so a sturdy chromoly frame would be great, rigid of course. I wouldn't look at a front fork exchange if it was springy, because that is a minimum extra $50. Road slicks make any MTB more fun on the tarmac.

    Specialized, Trek, Gary Fisher, Miyata, GT and certain Schwinns would be my recommendation. Look at the MTB drop bar conversion thread for inspiration.

    I'm about to do the conversion to one of these:
    http://oklahomacity.craigslist.org/bik/4061393270.html

    Realestvin7 has a Stumpy 20", but he wants full value for it.

    Here's my HardRock in native condition:


    I tricked out the Miyata Terra Runner in July:

    Last edited by oddjob2; 09-16-13 at 08:07 PM.
    Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein
    2014 Additions: 1985 Trek 560, 1992 Trek Multitrack 700 (my 2nd), 1994 Trek Carbon 2200, Peugeot PX-10, 1981 Schwinn Voyager, 1989 Bridgestone RB-1

  23. #23
    Senior Member azgreg's Avatar
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  24. #24
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    one vote for Schwinn PARAMOUNT series bikes. I've seen some 90 and 70 series go really cheap and they are LIGHT prestige frames with great Geometry for a DB conversion. Shimano XT. they do lack eyelets and brazeons for racks. these are probably present in the lower series 50,40 and 30 but with a corresponding lower grade componentry.

    Royal

  25. #25
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcdmiele View Post
    one vote for Schwinn PARAMOUNT series bikes. I've seen some 90 and 70 series go really cheap and they are LIGHT prestige frames with great Geometry for a DB conversion. Shimano XT. they do lack eyelets and brazeons for racks. these are probably present in the lower series 50,40 and 30 but with a corresponding lower grade componentry.

    Royal
    While I highly recommend them as well, I would not recommend for a Clyde.

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