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  1. #1
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    Need help getting Road Ready: 87 Peugeot

    Hola, first time poster here! Hoping you all can help me with some advice... I have not been into biking for about 15 years, back when I was a teenager. Planning on riding RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) this year. Long story short, I had no bike and recently received this bike for free. It is a 1987 Peugeot Cannonball Express, according to the info I was able to find online. Seems like it was a great bike in it's day, however it's an ATB (all terrain bike?) This bike is in impeccable condition, but I need advice on making some changes, adding drop handle bars, tires etc... to make it more road friendly for 50mile a day treks! Any advice for a newb on this bike or tips to get it more comfortable for long distance would be great! IDK if matters but the tires are 26x1.625 and looks like it has a Shimano Deore XT light action SIS shifter system.

    Thanks!

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    Last edited by djbarry81; 03-02-13 at 10:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nice old bike! Congrats!

    If it were mine, first thing I'd do is lose the big knobby tires and throw on some road slicks- the narrowest that will fit on those rims. (Or find a cheap set of road wheels)

    Next step: Lose the flat bars (Not comfortable for long rides, as you can't change hand positions and they don't allow you to get into an aero position in the wind).

    If you can find some old STI brifters......to put on your new drop bars*, great...if not, maybe bar-end shifters, like a touring bike)

    I think those are the most important things which will effect your comfort, speed and performance. More could be done...but the biggest bang for the buck is in those things.

    [*= with the appropriate stem, of course- not the current one]

  3. #3
    Senior Member buffalowings's Avatar
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    I think it might be more cost effective to buy a new bike altogether (if there isn't any sentimental value or the look just really appeals to you) New tires $40-60, drop bars $40-60, STI levers are really expensive when bought separately from a bike. I don't know if they make drop bars that can fit another quill stem, or you might need to buy a threadless converter.

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    I'd say that that's an old road bike that someone converted......OP could probably scrounge up some old used parts to convert it back on the cheap.

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    Senior Member Bahnzo's Avatar
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    I'll give you my advice, based on me being in the same order as you...only last year.

    After riding bikes all my younger life, I finally got back into it last year with a free MTN bike that I received. First, I'd forget about RAGBRAI. You haven't ridden in years and that bike and RAGBRAI (from what I've read) aren't gonna happen. BUT: use that bike to get back into riding. If you are riding mostly on roads, then get a pair of city/road tires to help with the ride and enjoy yourself. Check out some shorts (trust me, I tried to tough it out, but bike shorts rule) and etc. Proper clothing makes a big difference in cycling.

    If you like it (and I'm sure you will) then a true road bike is in order. Consider what you can afford and go from there. In my first year (starting in June) I clocked 1.5K miles and plan to double this year. RAGBRAI is a commendable challenge, just don't worry about it right away. Get yourself acclimated and make sure it's something you like, then upgrade as much as you can and don't look back.

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    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DayGloDago View Post
    I'd say that that's an old road bike that someone converted......OP could probably scrounge up some old used parts to convert it back on the cheap.
    Nope it was an MTB its entire life. Note the under the chainstay mounted u brake
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


    http://keith-crossreference.blogspot.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bahnzo View Post
    I'll give you my advice, based on me being in the same order as you...only last year.

    After riding bikes all my younger life, I finally got back into it last year with a free MTN bike that I received. First, I'd forget about RAGBRAI. You haven't ridden in years and that bike and RAGBRAI (from what I've read) aren't gonna happen. BUT: use that bike to get back into riding. If you are riding mostly on roads, then get a pair of city/road tires to help with the ride and enjoy yourself. Check out some shorts (trust me, I tried to tough it out, but bike shorts rule) and etc. Proper clothing makes a big difference in cycling.

    If you like it (and I'm sure you will) then a true road bike is in order. Consider what you can afford and go from there. In my first year (starting in June) I clocked 1.5K miles and plan to double this year. RAGBRAI is a commendable challenge, just don't worry about it right away. Get yourself acclimated and make sure it's something you like, then upgrade as much as you can and don't look back.
    Depends how old OP is- when I was about 19, after already having not been on a bike in years, I rented a c. 50 lb. steel 3-speed monstrosity, and rode the approximate course of the NYC Marathon. You can do anything when you're young. OTOH, if he's 50.....he'd do well to heed your advice.

    Good catch on it being a MTB all it's life... I noticed after posting, that DT shifter bosses were also missing- which kinda made me think that also. (Would've actually been handy for OP if it had those bosses!)

  8. #8
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    This was definitely a MTB all its life and a nice one at that. How's the fit? Drops will make the bike bigger. If it is a little small It will make a great conversion. There is a thread on here somewhere with a lot of cool MTBs converted to drops.

    As far as what you need to ride across Iowa... maybe some slick tires and a flat bar with some bar ends or you could go with a trekking bar. You can find them for $25 all your controls will move right over, lots of hand positions.
    I do not claim to be a doctor, scientist, genie, bike magician, good looking, or qualified in any way. The contents of my post are opinions and should be taken as such.

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    And by the way, as for RAGBRAI, go for it. What have you got to loose? You must be about thirty couple, you will heal.
    I do not claim to be a doctor, scientist, genie, bike magician, good looking, or qualified in any way. The contents of my post are opinions and should be taken as such.

  10. #10
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I wouldn't with drop bars and sti levers, that will cost big!

    I myself would go with a lower stem then add bar ends. Bar ends put your hands in a postions similar to those of the hoods on a drop bar. With the lower stem, you won't be losing too much in aerodynamics vs drop bars. Not to mention most drop bar riding is done on the hoods. Not to mention you can slap on some cheap aerobars if you think you're losing too much of the aero position. I've known some riders with aerobars on MTBs. I wouldn't myself but it's got to help one way or another.

    Go with the slick narrow tires, you'll be fine.

    I've got my MTB set with lower bars than you. I tested myself on a flat pavement ride and averaged 18 mph for 20 miles with KNOBBIES. The bike you have would be just fine if you get into form and add the few advantages mentioned. Plus you have a rigid fork which is even better than shocks as far as efficiency riding on pavement.

    First I'd lower the bar profile like so!

    Notice the bar ends, they are excellent for climbing as well.

    Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 02-21-13 at 09:46 PM.

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    Cannonball Express was usually Japanese-made from from Tange butted cromo steel. It's a very nice bike.
    Don't try to convert to drops, it isn't worth the effort and you have some really nice old-school XT components.
    Check for wear, esp in the transmission.
    First try the bike for its riding position. The front looks a bit high. You can switch the bars to butterfly/trekking style, get some alt handholds and reuse your current bar controls.
    Switch to some slick tyres, about 1.25-1.5" seems to be the choice for longer, endurance rides.

  12. #12
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    That's a very nice older mountain bike. I would consider it a near-ideal commuter. While undoubtably a fit person could finish RAGBRAI on it, do consider that a purpose built road bike will probably be nicer for the ride.

    That said, at least change to good, relatively narrow slick tires, and see what you can do about lowering your position. You may be able to get a lot by just switching to a somewhat flatter stem and getting flat bars with bar ends. Trekking style bars would also be a good call. http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product..._200276_200388 is reasonably priced.

    Drop bars are a more significant investment with new brake levers and shifters, and brifters are pricy. Unless you intensely fall in love with this bike I don't think drops make a lot of sense. Some people do seek out these kinds of mountain bikes for drop bar touring bike conversions, however.

    Whatever bar set up you choose, you really have to be pretty sure the bike fits you well for the kind of ride you're considering.

    The bike is old, and you really should check on its mechanical condition before a major ride. Consider replacing cables and housing, checking wheel trueness, clean and lubricate your chain, and check for chain and cassette wear.

    If you haven't ridden at all pretty much get as much riding in as you reasonably can, and be sure to put in some 50ish mile days before hand.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    It's not about the bike. There's no substitute for miles ridden. Get started doing that as soon as you can.

    The first thing to work on is your position on the bike. Get the seat height right. Resist the impulse to buy a real wide padded seat. Once you get the seat positioned you can think about the handlebar position. I like bar ends because they allow you to rotate your wrists 90 degrees and are a huge comfort benefit. Bar ends probably won't work with the handlebars that you have.

    Tires come next. If it was my bike I'd go for 1.5" wide slicks with about 80 psi of air. That will give you much better ride comfort with little, if any, sacrifice in speed. Slicks work perfectly fine on wet roads or gravely roads and roll much more easily than knobbies.

    On a bike that old I'd want a full overhaul because the grease in all of the bearings has probably dried up. Take it to a shop because those brakes are a PITA to get adjusted properly. It really might be more cost beneficial to get a different bike.

    Don't worry too much about speed. RAGBRAI isn't a race, it's a week long party. Average daily distances are usually more like 60-70 miles but you have all day to do it and there's brownie stops every 15 miles or so. There WILL be riders who go your speed and riding in a group greatly cuts down any headwind effect.

  14. #14
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milice View Post
    Nope it was an MTB its entire life. Note the under the chainstay mounted u brake
    The fork crown tends to give it away, too.
    Craig in Indy

  15. #15
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    I love the bar and stem as-is.

    If it'll take 700c wheels, that's worth putting your money into. You can put neighborhood of 32c tires on it and have a terrific multipurpose hybrid bike. It'll do roads, though not at racing pace over long hauls. It'll do trails, though obviously not bombing down rocky descents. It'd be a super town and city bike.

    The advice on touring sounds correct to me. Hand position on those bars may be fatiguing over that very long haul, and a big tour may not make you feel good about cycling at this stage. I'd say attack the city on that bike, with new tires and possibly wheels, while keeping an eye out for your drop bar touring machine.
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  16. #16
    Slob GrouchoWretch's Avatar
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    Those trekking bars might work too.
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  17. #17
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrouchoWretch View Post
    Those trekking bars might work too.
    My wife's hybrid. She didn't like the straight bar so we added these Scott bars. She also added beach crusier type foam to the bars, works well. No need for gloves if we're just tooling around. But yet plenty of hand positions. She's done 40-60 miles with this set up no problem.


  18. #18
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Beanz got it right. You don't need a screaming road bike for RAGBRAI. If you're going to use the Peugeot, install bar ends to give you more hand positions, slap on some road tires, and ride it. Make sure you have enough time 'in the saddle' before July. If that's not enough of a change, then I'd recommend getting a low-end road bike from a shop. Changing a bike from flat bars to drops is a huge hassle and can get expensive if you don't have a ready supply of used parts.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Milice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrouchoWretch View Post

    If it'll take 700c wheels, that's worth putting your money into.
    And right after he puts the 700c wheels on it he can spend the money looking for a set of brakes that will work with it or a brake bridge that will work.
    If it looks like the $3000 bikes but costs less than a decent helmet, it probably isn't a wise investment.


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  20. #20
    Slob GrouchoWretch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Milice View Post
    And right after he puts the 700c wheels on it he can spend the money looking for a set of brakes that will work with it or a brake bridge that will work.
    I've seen it done, no idea what's involved. I guess he should just swap tires.
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