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Old 11-23-08, 07:51 PM   #1
BengeBoy 
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It's finished: restored '88 Stumpjumper now a fall/winter Urban Assault Vehicle

I never really looked at old MTB's until I saw discussions at CrazyGuyOnaBike and here about turning old rigid, steel MTB's into commuters or rugged touring bikes. I also saw how many 50+ers are enjoyed their old rigid MTB's as "simple bikes," grocery getters or commuters...and decided to pick one up off Craigslist to turn into a fall/winter commuter.

My goal: to build a "poor man's" Surly Long Haul Trucker. I ended up changing a lot of stuff, but all-in (including the powder-coating), I spent about 50% of the price of a Surly LHT complete. The only thing I kept was the frame (powdercoated), the wheels, the derailleurs, the crankset, bottom bracket, outer and middle chainrings, and the brake handles and shifters.

So, some of you may recall that I sought your advice on which old steel MTB to get. I ended up with an '88 Specialized Stumpjumper, $100 from Craigslist. This is the bike "before":



I then later started a thread here about getting the frame powder-coated, which led me to strip the frame:



Which after powder-coating became this:



And finally ended up as this....

New: seatpost, stem, handlebar tape, Nashbar trekking bars, chain, rear cassette, 24t inner chainring, Marathon 26*1.75 tires, Planet Bike fenders.

Borrowed: Brooks Pro saddle, Shimano two-sided pedals (spd/platform), old Blackburn rack.


Last edited by BengeBoy; 11-26-08 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 11-23-08, 07:57 PM   #2
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So I took it out for its first ride today - I rode over to West Seattle, a pretty ride that I typically don't do because you need to pass through the port/industrial area. Very rough streets, potholes, glass in the road, etc. - this bike is perfect for that.



Downtown Seattle in the background...



I rescued the Stumpjumper...someone needs to rescue this MGB...







A final shot - this color is "Metallic Copper." It's reddish in the shots above, more orange in the sunlight...


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Old 11-23-08, 08:06 PM   #3
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A final note - I did commute on this several times (with a load) before I got it powder coated. It's a great commuting bike...very stable and comfortable. After changing out the stem, the fit is very good.

If I were going to use it only as a commuter, I think I would get slightly narrower tires - these are 1.75, and are pretty heavy. However, in the summer I hope to get up on some fire roads in the Cascades, and these tires will be great for that. I've ridden this on some gravel paths in a park near my home and it's just fine (even without knobbies). Should I get into rougher stuff, I got two very nice pairs of knobbies from the original owner, which I can always put back on in the summer.

One interesting thing about this bike is that it has U-brakes. According to Sheldon Brown, U brakes were used on mountain bikes only for a year or two ('88 and '89). They were used because in the early days of mountain bikes apparently regular brakes mounted on the seat stays created too much stress on the seat stays. So the thought was that brakes could be mounted down on the chainstays where the tubes are thicker. Problem is for a mountain bike they got banged around and coated with mud. Now, U-brakes are apparently only seen on BMX bikes.

In any case, I got U-brakes on this bike and I think for a commuter they're just fine. It's been nice not having the brakes around the rack area. Also, all the cables run down low on the bike. It's a very clean approach and very clean looking.



Close up of u-brakes:

Last edited by BengeBoy; 11-24-08 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 11-23-08, 08:16 PM   #4
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What a beautiful transformation, BengeBoy. I love the color and how it changes with the light. It looks like you used bar-end shifters -- did you mount them on Paul's Thumbies, or ??
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Old 11-23-08, 08:29 PM   #5
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What a beautiful transformation, BengeBoy. I love the color and how it changes with the light. It looks like you used bar-end shifters -- did you mount them on Paul's Thumbies, or ??
No, those are the original Shimano thumb shifters.

One reason I used trekking bars (instead of regular drops) is so I could avoid the expense of buying new shift and brake levers. Some day this bike might end up with drop bars and bar-end shifters, but all-in that's another $100 (or more) to change everything that needs it. The switch to trekking bars cost only $17.95.
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Old 11-23-08, 08:48 PM   #6
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Nice job. I missed the thread on the powder coating, but if your results turned out this good looking, maybe it's something I should look into. How difficult was it?

Oh, I also wanted to make a comment about the u-brakes. I rode them on a Stumpjumper for one summer and thought that the feel was different. It might have been my imagination, but with them gripping wheel at the lower point with virtually no flex in the frame, I felt very confident with them.
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Old 11-23-08, 08:56 PM   #7
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I'd give this project an "A".

Looks good and seems a very good fit for its intended usage. I know that frame is quite good. Those U-brakes are interesting.
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Old 11-23-08, 09:06 PM   #8
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Props to you on many levels
Intrinsically, what a great restoration project; it's great to see a 'classic' revived in this way, and given a new lease on life.
As well, though, your project fits very well with one of my pet theories (waiting to be flamed), which is that mtb's (ancient and modern) work extremely well, more so than many like to admit, as all-round 'street'/fitness bikes for the vast majority of non-racing cyclists. I'm willing to bet that you find and continue to find that this bike is a 'favourite'. Just sayin'!
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Old 11-23-08, 09:08 PM   #9
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Props to you on many levels
Intrinsically, what a great restoration project; it's great to see a 'classic' revived in this way, and given a new lease on life.
As well, though, your project fits very well with one of my pet theories (waiting to be flamed), which is that mtb's (ancient and modern) work extremely well, more so than many like to admit, as all-round 'street'/fitness bikes for the vast majority of non-racing cyclists. I'm willing to bet that you find and continue to find that this bike is a 'favourite'. Just sayin'!
+1 and a beautiful bike. WOW!
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Old 11-23-08, 09:24 PM   #10
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I wish I had the talent/inclination/imagination/training to do these kinds of projects. My big project was putting platform pedals on my old Bianchi Eros. Nice job.
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Old 11-23-08, 09:33 PM   #11
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Nice job. I missed the thread on the powder coating, but if your results turned out this good looking, maybe it's something I should look into. How difficult was it?
Easy -- all it took was (a) a Google search to find a local powder coater and (b) a Visa card.

I did this at Seattle Powder Coat.

It was $200 to strip, powder coat and clear coat the frame. (I also applied FrameSaver myself after I got it back).

I have read here on BF of folks doing this as cheap as $100 to $125 -- don't know if that includes stripping and clear coat. My job would have been $50 less but I chose a custom color.
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Old 11-23-08, 09:37 PM   #12
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Bengeboy that is a beautiful ride. What is the color called? Did they do a two step powdercoat cause it looks like its got a metallic in it like my wifes mixte. I know you said something about it before but I have forgotten the color. I want to do a couple of bikes this winter and maybe the Volare if I can. Again nice job it looks great
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Old 11-23-08, 09:45 PM   #13
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Very nicely done, BB. This type of bike may be the most versatile of them all. Rigid steel MTBs are the physical incarnation of the phrase "Jack of all trades, master of none". There are better bikes for road riding, trail riding, singletrack, commuting, beach cruising, stuff hauling, you name it. But what other type of bike can readily handle all of those roles and many others you might dream up? And by getting creative with changing gearing, handlebars, stems, tires, wheels, forks, saddles, racks, fenders etc., you can fine tune these bikes in ways to completely change their personality, looks and capability.

When you have a good quality frame like your Stumpjumper, the results are that much sweeter. Search this subforum for "lugnut" or "kemo sabe" to see the various reincarnations of my Trek 970 (lugged True Temper OX Comp II tubing). About the only thing I haven't changed on that bike is to have it repainted (or powder coated). But after seeing how nice your bike turned out, I may finally get around to doing that fairly soon.

I actually have a handlebar swap underway now to go back to regular MTB riser bars from the dirt drop bars (Origin-8 Gary) that I have been using. I like the dirt drop bars, but this frame's top tube is a little to long and the head tube just a little too low for me to get them set up just right.

Enjoy your latest creation. I expect we'll be reading about various modifications to it in the future. What do you call it, BTW? That bikes looks like it has enough personality to rate a name.
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Old 11-23-08, 09:55 PM   #14
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That is a stunning transformation! The color is gorgeous. It looks just beautiful.

These hardtails are really fun to ride, aren't they?
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Old 11-23-08, 10:19 PM   #15
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Bengeboy that is a beautiful ride. What is the color called? Did they do a two step powdercoat cause it looks like its got a metallic in it like my wifes mixte. I know you said something about it before but I have forgotten the color. I want to do a couple of bikes this winter and maybe the Volare if I can. Again nice job it looks great
I think it was called "metallic copper." It was just one coat of powder + the clearcoat.

I was pretty surprised at all the different colors / finishes that they offered..I had always thought of powder coating as just plain flat colors. The green mixte you did for your wife was my first glimmer that it could be interesting than that.
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Old 11-23-08, 10:34 PM   #16
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Those U-brakes are interesting.
I realized while working on the bike I had seen something like U-brakes before....on cargo bikes last summer in Peru. A lot of the rugged bikes I saw there had brakes down around the chainstays that then either squeezed in on the rims or pulled forward against them.

Note that the brake pads were carved out of wood, probably cheaper than buying new ones to replace whatever came with the bike.




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Old 11-23-08, 10:51 PM   #17
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Wowzers, BB. That baby REALLY turned out nice. Congratulations.
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Old 11-23-08, 11:48 PM   #18
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Hello BengeBoy,

A really nice restoration.

Just goes to prove that one man's trash can be turned into treasure.

I had a Fisher Pro Caliber that I just sold this year (for $75) that had those U-brakes on the rear. Since I never rode it in the mud, I never had trouble with them. I thought their stopping power was fine for a rear brake.

My wife had an early 1990s Rockhopper (little brother to the Stumpjumper) and it was a great bike for the money. Sold that one a few years ago. No mountain bikes in the house now.
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Old 11-24-08, 12:39 PM   #19
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Wow. That's a sweet looking bike, great job. I'll expect you're going
to have many enjoyable miles on your restored, personalized bike.

As far as the "B" is concerned...it's probably doomed to being a donor car.
The sills are prone to rusting out and as they are the car's sole structural support
one needs to be a good welder/body person to bring MGB's back from the edge.
Judging from the poor fitting door this particular one likely suffers from sill rust.
The rubber bumper ones were pretty ladden down with smog control junk also, that
one looks like about a '74?

Happy Trails

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Old 11-24-08, 02:15 PM   #20
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One interesting thing about this bike is that it has U-brakes. According to Sheldon Brown, U brakes were used on mountain bikes only for a year or two ('88 and '89). They were used because in the early days of mountain bikes apparently regular brakes mounted on the seat stays created too much stress on the seat stays. So the thought was that brakes could be mounted down on the chainstays where the tubes are thicker. Problem is for a mountain bike they got banged around and coated with mud. Now, U-brakes are apparently only seen on BMW bikes.

In any case, I got U-brakes on this bike and I think for a commuter they're just fine. It's been nice not having the brakes around the rack area. Also, all the cables run down low on the bike. It's a very clean approach and very clean looking.



Close up of u-brakes:

There is absolutely no problem with "U" Brakes and are about the most effective brake you can put on a Bike. Well there are problems- They will not fit on conventional mountings so if they are fitted you are stuck with them. They are heavy aswell so not the ideal brake for a weight weenie. BUT the biggest problem with a "U" Brake is that they love Mud. Just show it some and it will collect- and collect and then collect some more. It gets inside the mechanism- collects around it and will stop the wheel quicker than putting the brake on.

I had a "U" on a 92 Pantera and 10 ft of mud and I was carrying the bike. Not the ideal brake for the UK.
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Old 11-24-08, 02:27 PM   #21
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Great bike for such a project and a really nice result. On road the U-brake is a strong wellfunctioning brake. I found some black Koolstop pads for mine that has worked very well.
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Old 11-24-08, 05:51 PM   #22
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1) I love the color you chose.
2) My mountain bike (see signature) has a SunTour RollerCam front brake, an under-the-chainstays Shimano U-Brake, salmon KoolStop pads, and those great motorcycle-style 4-finger Shimano brake handles, which I can grab either from the grips or the bar extensions. I am delighted with the bike's braking system.
3) I have considered adding mudguards, since it does sometimes rain around here during the winter months, but I need some which do not require rack/mudguard eyelets, which my Team Issue racing bike lacks. I did install a Blackburn MtnRack using vinyl-coated straps around the seat stays and taking advantage of the chain hanger as a slip stop.
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Old 11-26-08, 05:36 PM   #23
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I absolutely love what you have done there. That bike is a thing of beauty. Are you SURE that you want to use it in the rain and snow?
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Old 11-26-08, 06:17 PM   #24
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I absolutely love what you have done there. That bike is a thing of beauty. Are you SURE that you want to use it in the rain and snow?


So the process went like this: my "beater bike" was going to be the 83 Univega Gran Turismo in my signature line. I bought it last summer so I would be ready for fall rain....But, after tweaking that bike (new Honjo fenders, tires, cables, handlbars, gearing, etc.), I decided it was so nice I couldn't bear to ride it in really foul weather.

That led to the Stumpjumper. Great bike, but needed "freshening up." Now that's it's all fixed up, I'm thinking the same as you: "What happened to the beater bike...".

This could go on forever...
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Old 11-26-08, 06:31 PM   #25
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Nice job. I'm begining to see a lot of home build/modified bikes here in 50+. Could it be a trend? Pretty soon we'll be congregating at some drive in showing off the custom work..............
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