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  1. #1
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    Project 1993 Diamond Back Topanga

    Hello,

    I just recovered my old Diamond Back Topanga from an old apartment. I left it behind when I moved out and had long written it off, but I called the old landlord to find it was still there, happy days! I bought this bike new back in 1993 or 1994, I don't remember the exact year. I put many hours on this bike but haven't really ridden it for about 10 years and it's been sitting, rusting, neglected.

    I'd like to bring this great, reliable bike back to life and maybe even put a front suspension fork on it, so I'm looking for advice so I can form a plan of attack.

    I just got it back tonight so I've only been able to take these pictures of it. It's covered in dirt and grime, but everything seems to work. Here's my plan so far

    New Chain
    Clean and re-oil rear cartridge & both derailers
    Clean & repack bearings on both wheels
    straighten wheels
    New tires & tubes
    Replace brake pads (rubber appears cracked & dried out)
    Clean & wipe down with WD40 to remove rust

    Some spots are a bit rusted, mostly nuts and bolts, but the frame is in great shape, and most of the hardware looks servicable.

    As for the fork, I started mountain biking back when Rock Shox just came to market. I always wanted to put front suspension on this bike but I could never afford it. Now that they've been out for a while prices have come down, so it's time.

    I haven't taken the steering assembly apart to measure, I'm hoping I can get some help to deduce what size will work with this frame. I measured the outside diameter of the frame where the steering tube goes through and it appears to be 1 1/4". I'm hoping that means that this frame will accept a 1 1/8" fork as I understand that's the most common size. I also think it might be threaded since it looks like the handlebar stem goes into the steering tube on the fork. Sorry if I'm getting the terminology wrong here.

    Any help or knowledge about this particular bike would be greatly appreciated as I've spent hours on google trying to come up with any specifications I can find on this bike but can't find much.

    On to the pictures! I'll try and post more tomorrow when I have daylight.



    The serial number on the frame is I3A18952


  2. #2
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    That is a good old friend and worthy of some loving attention. But Beware, it can also be a money pit. I kept a 1994 Nitro alive for 15 years. And the bike served me well. But compared to the changes in geometry and suspension, my bike was a brick. I loved my brick, and I got into great shape riding it. I upgraded last Fall and can't believe the difference. Take care of your old bike, but don't get in too deep.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the reply. It's good to hear that others still keep these older bikes going. I was figuring there have been be some pretty significant changes in bike design & materials since this bike was made, but I'm not quite ready to give up on it, especially since I'm just starting out again.

    I'm trying not to let it turn into a money pit, that's for sure. It's still a pretty heavy bike compared to my Scattante FR330.

    I'm going to try and keep all the derailers, shifters & brakes as they are since, even in their grimed up state, they all still work. The only upgrade I'd like is a front suspension fork.

    Mainly though I need to figure out what size steering tube this bike uses. The OD of the frame where the steering tube is is 1 1/4", so I'm hoping it uses a 1 1/8" steerer.

  4. #4
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Ebay should be able to hook you up with a good fork. Make sure on the sizes, 1 1/8 sounds probable. I did get into pretty good shape riding my brick and because I was so used to it, I was always comfortable no matter what situation I was riding. Good luck on a good ole bike.

    Now that I think of it, the derailers and shifters are still original. Might be the only parts that came with that frame. The crank arms are original that's it.

  5. #5
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    I took a quick look on eBay, I think I'll end up getting a used fork since it's probably more compatible with my bike than the newer forks. It looks like some of the old school Rock Shox were designed to use the same single pull post mounted brakes as I have, which is nice.

    All the shifters, brake levers and derailers are the Shimano Altus A20 line, as long as they all work I don't see any reason I'd need to replace them. I might look into changing out the handlebars & post with some lighter alloy though as the originals are steel and heavy.

  6. #6
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Those are the kind of upgrades that have a good chance of putting on a new build as well. Post pictures as you go or it doesn't count.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  7. #7
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    Topanga?


    Old bikes are fun to keep around to get started on, & to use as loaner bikes for your friends after you move on to something newer. Ditto on the pictures, build threads are the best
    Last edited by samburger; 10-14-11 at 11:28 AM.
    just a n00b with an ego

  8. #8
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    DUDE! What have we told you about derailing a thread. NICE derailment, though, gotta say, that is a nice dangling ear ring she has there.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  9. #9
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    Couldn't help it, always had a crush on her as a kid. And I edited my post to add something on topic
    just a n00b with an ego

  10. #10
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samburger View Post
    Couldn't help it, always had a crush on her as a kid. And I edited my post to add something on topic
    Well, OK then, you are free to post, on your way young man, keep that nose clean! Hey, Don't you have some studying to do?
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  11. #11
    Senior Member dsprehe89's Avatar
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    OP, just remember, that that fork looks to me like a threaded fork, so you will need to get a threaded fork to replace it with unless you are planning on replacing your stem, headset, and possibly even your handle bars. And I am not even 100% sure if you can convert a threaded setup to threadless, you might wanna consult some of the more experienced members on here to see if you can do that and if you can what all needs to be replaced (I've never dealt with threaded MTB forks).
    infinitesimal - The amount of actual performance improvement gained from most cycling expenditures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    AMish hardtail = An all-black bike with no rear-suspension that is intended to be ridden on farms. It also has the ability to bunnyhop over piles of horse poop. Most also have bashguards because showing up to church with a pant leg that got ripped up by your chain is frowned upon.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsprehe89 View Post
    OP, just remember, that that fork looks to me like a threaded fork, so you will need to get a threaded fork to replace it with unless you are planning on replacing your stem, headset, and possibly even your handle bars.
    Thanks for the tip. I'm thinking at this point I'll be looking for a vintage Rock Shox Judy something, those have the posts and guide for my center pull brakes. I'm going to take the handlebars & stem off today to get a final determination on 1" or 1 1/8" and threaded or unthreaded.

    I also hit up Performance today and snagged some degreaser, a long bristle brush and a new pair of tires & tubes. Today is cleaning day, so I'll get a good before & after pic of it.
    Last edited by Splitpea; 10-14-11 at 02:36 PM.

  13. #13
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    PICS,PICS, and more PICS puleeeze

  14. #14
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    Spent way too much time doing a first pass at cleaning it up. Here it is after a couple hours of degreaser scrubbing







    She cleans up pretty good. Next step is cable replacement. One of the cogs on the rear derailer is sticky so I think I'm going to take it apart and clean it out.

  15. #15
    Redheaded Stepchild samburger's Avatar
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    Damn, she cleans up good!
    just a n00b with an ego

  16. #16
    Senior Member dsprehe89's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samburger View Post
    Damn, she cleans up good!
    I was thinking the same thing, it looks pretty damn good.

    OP, you should just replace the cable, repack all the bearing, and ride her the way she is. Then later on when you are ready just get a new bike with a front suspension then. Heck, you could even just throw some slicks on this bike and turn it into a commuter later down the road, it would be a great grocery getter. But either way, I would leave the current fork on it and just ride it, and only replace what has to be replaced for it to be functional.

    EDIT: OP, also a hint at a way I use to clean my bike if it was super dirty (also not sure on how bad this is on them ). But I would pressure wash the whole thing to remove pretty much everything except for that last little layer of grease, then coat pretty much every moving part with WD-40 to remove all the left over film grease, then regrease and lube everything. Worked great for cleaning a bike up in a matter of an hour or so, and always got the bike super clean (specially if I used some type of degreaser/cleaner in the pressure washer mix, like superclean). Just an idea for next time so you don't spend hours just to remove a little grease.
    Last edited by dsprehe89; 10-15-11 at 08:14 AM.
    infinitesimal - The amount of actual performance improvement gained from most cycling expenditures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    AMish hardtail = An all-black bike with no rear-suspension that is intended to be ridden on farms. It also has the ability to bunnyhop over piles of horse poop. Most also have bashguards because showing up to church with a pant leg that got ripped up by your chain is frowned upon.

  17. #17
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    So I've gone ahead and replaced all the cables, cleaned out the cogs on the rear derailer, replaced the chain, sanded the rims, overhauled the brakes, installed new brake pads and new tires. Here's how she looks now, totally trail worthy:







    This one's a little blurry, sorry




    Quote Originally Posted by dsprehe89 View Post
    OP, you should just replace the cable, repack all the bearing, and ride her the way she is. Then later on when you are ready just get a new bike with a front suspension then. Heck, you could even just throw some slicks on this bike and turn it into a commuter later down the road, it would be a great grocery getter. But either way, I would leave the current fork on it and just ride it, and only replace what has to be replaced for it to be functional.
    Don't have a need for another road bike, I've already got a good 2010 Scattante. And the goal here is to recondition this one and put cheap front suspension on it, not get a whole new bike. I think I've found a reasonable solution for fairly cheap after doing way too much research....but I'll save that for my next update once it's installed.


    I'd really like to fix the stickers on the frame, either that or pull them off and go naked. That's my next research project. Well that and getting out to ride this bike!

  18. #18
    ed
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    +rep for matching vintage tire to vintage MTB!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    +rep for matching vintage tire to vintage MTB!
    Wish I could say it was on purpose. They were just the cheapest tires I could find at Performance. $20 each on sale, much more reasonable than the $60(!!!) Panasonics on the rack right next to them.

  20. #20
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Nice ride! I'd probably keep it rigid, but for suspension fork I'd keep my eyes peeled for a near virginal Rockshox Mag 20, 21 or 30. Find one with the gold finish and it would probably even match your decals pretty well.

    You'll need to measure the overall steerer length and threaded length of your current fork to find one that'll work in there. If the new steerer's too long, that's OK as long as the threads go down far enough to get your headset nuts cinched down. You'll just need to cut it or add spacers.

    If you find one that's long enough but not threaded down far enough you can always get them cut further, but that would cost some dough so you might only want to consider that as a last resort on forks that you find for $20 or so, so that your overall fork cost doesn't get out of hand.

    Or get a threadless 1" one if you want to replace fork, stem, headset all at the same time.

    An old Amp Research would be pretty rad on there too.
    Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 10-18-11 at 02:12 PM.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  21. #21
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    I'm kind of boned on the steerer part. It's a 1" threaded, 200mm long, so finding a used 1" is very difficult. I did look into going threadless, that'd give me a little more flexibility, but adds to my overall cost.

    $25 for threadless headset
    $25? to have headtube modified for threadless headset
    $25 extra if I need to get a steerer extender, which is very likely.

    So it'd add an extra $75 just for that, before I've even bought the fork and maybe even the rebuild kit. Ouch.

  22. #22
    Senior Member dsprehe89's Avatar
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    Damn, she cleaned up so nice. Will be a great bike for fast, smooth single tracks!
    infinitesimal - The amount of actual performance improvement gained from most cycling expenditures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zephyr11 View Post
    AMish hardtail = An all-black bike with no rear-suspension that is intended to be ridden on farms. It also has the ability to bunnyhop over piles of horse poop. Most also have bashguards because showing up to church with a pant leg that got ripped up by your chain is frowned upon.

  23. #23
    one less horse cryptid01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets View Post
    I'd probably keep it rigid
    +1. It's not like the ride will become that much better with an old Mag 21 anyway. To the OP, please remove the reflectors before you head to the trails so they don't end up as litter.

    POST MOAR PICS of the bimmer

  24. #24
    Official Website Waterboy born2bahick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cryptid01 View Post
    +1. It's not like the ride will become that much better with an old Mag 21 anyway. To the OP, please remove the reflectors before you head to the trails so they don't end up as litter.

    POST MOAR PICS of the bimmer
    Who has a copy of Brent in that little Beemer ??????

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by cryptid01 View Post
    To the OP, please remove the reflectors before you head to the trails so they don't end up as litter.
    I'm already ahead of you there. You can see I took them off in the 3rd batch of photos. I'm curious, why would they end up as litter? Are they prone to breaking off after you slam into a tree or other foliage?

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