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Old 04-27-11, 12:12 PM   #1
Andy_K 
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I dropped my Rockhopper

I just finished (kind of) the drop bar conversion for my 1989 Specialized Rockhopper, and I thought I'd share a picture.



The current specs:

Salsa Moto-Ace Bell Lap bars
Profile Design Aris stem with Velo Orange stem adapter
Tiagra 4500 STI shifters, derailleurs and hubs
Avid Arch Rival 40 V-brakes with Travel Agents and Kool Stop salmon pads
Mountain LX M452 crank with 48-36-26 Biopace rings and UN53 bottom bracket
Ultegra 6500 12-27 9-speed cassette
Mavic XM317 rims
Michelin Country Rock 26x1.75 tires
SKS P50 fenders
Specialized saddle, seatpost and headset

Only the crankset, saddle, seatpost and headset are left from the original components. The stubby little stem is too short for me, but the only other stem I had lying around was a 110mm Ritchey Pro which was too long. I'll probably swap out the tires soon for either Schwalbe Kojaks or Panaracer Pasela TGs.

I went with V-brakes and Travel Agents because the fork on this bike is pretty flexy so I expected that cantilevers would have been a nightmare. The Arch Rivals have relatively short arms (~95mm), so I might switch them out for something newer when I have the cash, both to get a little more power and to give myself more fender clearance.

As an aside, I'm convinced that Biopace chainrings were designed specifically to make it harder to set up indexed triple shifting. I got it working pretty well, but it definitely pushes the limits of the derailleur handling both the high parts of the big ring and the low parts of the small ring.

Also, I fully expect that this is going to trigger a flood of other people posting pictures of their own drop-bar mountain bikes on this thread. Feel free to do so with my blessing.
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Old 04-27-11, 12:37 PM   #2
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Why put a set of drops and brifters on a bike frame not even worth the price of the tires?

Just me, I'd like to know why you still keep a older frame and upgrade everything else around it.

Look at me talking, 40 year old bike with a new set of brakes and levers costing more then the price I paid for the entire bike.

But it is a nice bike.
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Old 04-27-11, 12:49 PM   #3
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Umm, cuz it's cheaper than a LHT frame.

Steel MTB love doesn't make sense to everyone. Those steel Rockhoppers were pretty sweet!

I'm hoping to do the same to one of my 90s MTBs.
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Old 04-27-11, 12:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BotByte View Post
Why put a set of drops and brifters on a bike frame not even worth the price of the tires?

Just me, I'd like to know why you still keep a older frame and upgrade everything else around it.

Look at me talking, 40 year old bike with a new set of brakes and levers costing more then the price I paid for the entire bike.

But it is a nice bike.
You pretty much answered your own question. If you enjoy riding a bike and can make it even more enjoyable, then you do it.

Also, a lot of upgrades are not made all at once, but over time. Some parts you buy new while others you can scavenge from other bikes or parts bins.
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Old 04-27-11, 01:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BotByte View Post
Why put a set of drops and brifters on a bike frame not even worth the price of the tires?
Let's make a distinction here between "not worth X" and "doesn't cost X." This is actually a pretty nice frame. It may be a bit heavy (around 4.5 pounds), but that's still lighter than an LHT.

Soo....

Quote:
Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
Umm, cuz it's cheaper than a LHT frame. .... Those steel Rockhoppers were pretty sweet!
Exactly!


Also, everything but the wheels, stem adapter and the Travel Agents were sitting around in my garage, waiting to be used for something. And, you know, re-use is in these days. Now I just need to find a frame to put all the old Rockhopper parts on.

Last edited by Andy_K; 04-27-11 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 04-27-11, 01:52 PM   #6
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Feh. Ignore the haters. That setup looks super sweet.
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Old 04-27-11, 02:02 PM   #7
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I sold my old Rockhopper and replaced it with a 700c MTB that I did the same thing to.
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Old 04-27-11, 02:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by BotByte View Post
Why put a set of drops and brifters on a bike frame not even worth the price of the tires?
I just dropped my Shogun Ground Breaker hybrid (sorry, no pic). My frame is quite possibly worth less than his. A few reasons, no particular order:

1. The cost of the upgrades can be spread over time.
2. There's nothing *wrong* with the frame. Yeah, it's 20 years old, scratched up, and rusty, but it's not *broken*. I commute with this, I don't want something flashy. The top tube might be a bit long (as is often the case with drop bar conversions), but I'll ride it for a while and see.
3. I can change a bit at a time. If I just go buy a road bike and I'm unhappy, it may not be obvious which changes were bad and which good.

Also, although it can be more expensive to build than buy, if what you want is not available at the lower price points than it's cheaper to build. For example, I wanted STI but didn't care what name was on them, as long as they were good quality. Microshift seemed the answer, but there was some concern here about the 8-speed equipped bikes which seemed to be all I could find as complete builds (bikesdirect for example). Performance had 9 and 10 speed Microshift. I was a bit concerned that the 9 speed was more like the 8 than the 10 speed (which had lots of good reviews), but I finally bit the bullet. I didn't care if it was 9 or 10 speed, and 9 speed parts were cheaper.

I probably have less respect for a frame than I should, though. Geometry aside, it just doesn't seem that big of a deal compared to some other equipment.
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Old 04-27-11, 02:37 PM   #9
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I like it. Just needs a new paint job.
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Old 04-27-11, 02:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I just finished (kind of) the drop bar conversion for my 1989 Specialized Rockhopper, and I thought I'd share a picture.



The current specs:

Salsa Moto-Ace Bell Lap bars
Profile Design Aris stem with Velo Orange stem adapter
Tiagra 4500 STI shifters, derailleurs and hubs
Avid Arch Rival 40 V-brakes with Travel Agents and Kool Stop salmon pads
Mountain LX M452 crank with 48-36-26 Biopace rings and UN53 bottom bracket
Ultegra 6500 12-27 9-speed cassette
Mavic XM317 rims
Michelin Country Rock 26x1.75 tires
SKS P50 fenders
Specialized saddle, seatpost and headset

Only the crankset, saddle, seatpost and headset are left from the original components. The stubby little stem is too short for me, but the only other stem I had lying around was a 110mm Ritchey Pro which was too long. I'll probably swap out the tires soon for either Schwalbe Kojaks or Panaracer Pasela TGs.

I went with V-brakes and Travel Agents because the fork on this bike is pretty flexy so I expected that cantilevers would have been a nightmare. The Arch Rivals have relatively short arms (~95mm), so I might switch them out for something newer when I have the cash, both to get a little more power and to give myself more fender clearance.

As an aside, I'm convinced that Biopace chainrings were designed specifically to make it harder to set up indexed triple shifting. I got it working pretty well, but it definitely pushes the limits of the derailleur handling both the high parts of the big ring and the low parts of the small ring.

Also, I fully expect that this is going to trigger a flood of other people posting pictures of their own drop-bar mountain bikes on this thread. Feel free to do so with my blessing.
86 the Biopace and put on round rings which will help indexing and a smooth spin.
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Old 04-27-11, 02:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I just finished (kind of) the drop bar conversion for my 1989 Specialized Rockhopper, and I thought I'd share a picture.



The current specs:

Salsa Moto-Ace Bell Lap bars
Profile Design Aris stem with Velo Orange stem adapter
Tiagra 4500 STI shifters, derailleurs and hubs
Avid Arch Rival 40 V-brakes with Travel Agents and Kool Stop salmon pads
Mountain LX M452 crank with 48-36-26 Biopace rings and UN53 bottom bracket
Ultegra 6500 12-27 9-speed cassette
Mavic XM317 rims
Michelin Country Rock 26x1.75 tires
SKS P50 fenders
Specialized saddle, seatpost and headset

Only the crankset, saddle, seatpost and headset are left from the original components. The stubby little stem is too short for me, but the only other stem I had lying around was a 110mm Ritchey Pro which was too long. I'll probably swap out the tires soon for either Schwalbe Kojaks or Panaracer Pasela TGs.

I went with V-brakes and Travel Agents because the fork on this bike is pretty flexy so I expected that cantilevers would have been a nightmare. The Arch Rivals have relatively short arms (~95mm), so I might switch them out for something newer when I have the cash, both to get a little more power and to give myself more fender clearance.

As an aside, I'm convinced that Biopace chainrings were designed specifically to make it harder to set up indexed triple shifting. I got it working pretty well, but it definitely pushes the limits of the derailleur handling both the high parts of the big ring and the low parts of the small ring.

Also, I fully expect that this is going to trigger a flood of other people posting pictures of their own drop-bar mountain bikes on this thread. Feel free to do so with my blessing.

I say get rid of the BIOpace for round rings.
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Old 04-27-11, 03:00 PM   #12
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Plus this type of conversion is challenging and fun at the same time. I had a spare set of STIs laying around which kept the costs down quite a bit though I did eventually switch them out with some NOS campy shifters.
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Old 04-27-11, 03:12 PM   #13
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Nice! I have a mid-90's Rockhopper that is too small and I need to sell. I also saw a fully rigid Hardrock today at a pawn shop for $100. Looked nice. Damn near like new. If I needed one, I'd have bought it. (If it fit. Didn't actually size it)
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Old 04-27-11, 03:36 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffpoulin View Post
I like it. Just needs a new paint job.
The picture doesn't even show the slight pink tinge the white paint has acquired over the years and it makes the blue look better too. And then there's the issue of the gaudy graphics. So, yeah.

I got a '94 Rockhopper for my daughter which was red with green lettering. She hated that, said it looked like it was decorated for Christmas. I did get that powder coated. It turned out pretty sweet, except hers still has mostly old components.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirrus Rider View Post
86 the Biopace and put on round rings which will help indexing and a smooth spin.
I'm leaning that way, but I wanted to give the Biopace a fair test first. I'm still undecided. It feels pretty smooth, but I don't know how much of the smoothness is the bike and how much is the Biopace.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
Plus this type of conversion is challenging and fun at the same time.
This is definitely true. In fact, I bought this bike a year ago mainly to tinker with it. First, I upgraded it newish 9-speed MTB components that I had in the parts bin, which was when I built the wheels (26" with 130mm rear spacing ). Then I moved the nice MTB components onto a '99 Muni Mula that I got last month, so I decided to go with drop bars for this.
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Old 04-27-11, 03:55 PM   #15
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I love drop bar mountain bikes. You have a very nice set up on that bike. Good job.
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Old 04-27-11, 04:47 PM   #16
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Looks like a very fun rig! I'm building up something pretty similar right now, though with v-brakes levers and a bar-end (1x8) instead of the brifters.
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Old 04-27-11, 05:16 PM   #17
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I just 'dropped' my drop bar setup on my SS 29er yesterday and installed a flat bar.
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Old 04-27-11, 05:40 PM   #18
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Great job that bike will be a lot of fun and you can do some touring on it also.
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Old 04-27-11, 06:07 PM   #19
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Nice Rockhopper I have the exact same bike/color upgraded with north roads touring bars. The frame is built like a Sherman Tank and can take all the pothole abuse i give it, even loaded down with panniers, surfboard, +wetsuit.
I got it for $80 it was hardly used.....doubt i could have as much fun if i spent the $80 on anything else.
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