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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 03-30-11, 07:38 PM   #1
Max C.
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Older steel frame bikes as cross bikes?

Hi,

I just got a new road bike care of a friend and so my old Schwinn road bike is going to sit idle. I was thinking it might be fun to make some minimal modifications to it & convert it into a cross bike. I'm not talking about a race winning bike, just something different from my Mountain bike.

It's a lugged chrome molly frame with little collector's value so I'm not worried about it getting a little bit beat up from rocks and such, I just don't want to break it . I figure the steel frame should make it solid but wanted to make sure I wasn't making a terrible mistake.

I figured something like this would work for tires:

http://www.bicycletires.com/pkekrt/k...lo_tire/pp.htm

It's a 27x1 1/4" wheel equipped bike and I don't feel like changing rimsize or wheels for that matter.

The only thing I might want to do is get a 2 speed crank with a lower 1st gear for climbing or maybe one of those 6 speed Shimano mega range freewheels.

Any opinions?

Thanks,
Max
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Old 03-30-11, 11:04 PM   #2
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Definitely. Go for it.

Check out this thread for inspiration:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ike-conversion
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Old 03-30-11, 11:05 PM   #3
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One caveat: if it has steel rims, it might not stop in the mud.
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Old 03-31-11, 12:04 AM   #4
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Thanks Andy!

It does indeed have steel rims but here in Sunny SoCal we don't get too muddy where I want to ride it (hiking trails and rocky fire roads). I'll keep it in mind though. My mountain bike will be used for really muddy conditions & single tracks (unless I find that I crash less on the Cross bike lol).

Edit: Do I need to to have cantilever breaks or is that pretty much just a mud/racing requirement?
Edit2: Ah, I just have to make sure the tires will fit. Given my options and the 27" tires being pretty wide already, I'll probably be fine.

Last edited by Max C.; 03-31-11 at 12:31 AM.
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Old 03-31-11, 08:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Edit: Do I need to to have cantilever breaks or is that pretty much just a mud/racing requirement?
You need them to be in line with the great cyclocross tradition...that and for mud clearance.

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Edit2: Ah, I just have to make sure the tires will fit. Given my options and the 27" tires being pretty wide already, I'll probably be fine.
Yeah, probably not an issue. Those old frames were made for actual riding. Finding knobby 27" tires might be a little trickier, but I think there are a few.
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Old 03-31-11, 12:34 PM   #6
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Haha, well I'll probably stay away from mud anyways. I found four different tires and the most expensive was $25/tire, so not bad at all. I think I'll probably go for for the one I linked or this one.
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Old 03-31-11, 04:52 PM   #7
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You'll have a lot more clearance for tires, and more options, if you switch to 700c wheels. You can find freewheel wheelsets with something like fprmula hubs marketed to the ss crowd for 120 bucks. Just throwing that out there.
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Old 03-31-11, 06:26 PM   #8
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If you switch to 700c wheels the brakes won't work from what I read, or you'll need to replace them anyhow..more $$
I have those kenda tires in your first link, got em from niagaracycle.com for I think a couple bux cheaper than your link. They work good, I did ruin the rear one by using to much psi, it started coming apart from the inside. I could fold it open and see light through it for a 14 inch long line or so right through the middle and it felt like riding a snake. Bought another one, I don't overinflate it, and have not had a problem with it. I like the looks of that other one in your link though for $17, those look pretty nice too.
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Old 03-31-11, 08:35 PM   #9
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You could run 700c wheels and just run a long reach caliper. Probably no more then $40-50 for a set of long reach Tektro calipers and have more then enough room for some knobbies. Just another option. Then pick up a Megarange freewheel like a 14-34 6spd unit for cheap. I've got a Schwinn World Sport in my basement I was going to convert into a CX bike but then I had canti mounts brazed on for 700c wheels so I don't have to mess around with calipers. Too many projects and not enough funds to finish them all.
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Old 03-31-11, 10:45 PM   #10
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A lot of 27" frames are equipped with brakes that will reach 700c rims. And a lot aren't. I've been lucky with mine. Nothing is funner and stupider than a janky old road bike on a cross course. I'd make it a single speed though, so that when you lose you can blame the drivetrain
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Old 04-01-11, 02:58 PM   #11
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Thanks jbrow1, I'll take a look on their site. The megarange isn't a bad idea either just for general ride-ability.

My brakes are adjustable enough to reach 700c wheels but I'm not really interested in swapping wheelsets, nor do I plan on racing so you don't need to worry about cop outs Garagegirl . The frame has a good bit of room in the wheel well so I'll probably just stick to the 27s. I just live a few miles from some fire roads and I figure I should keep the bike from collecting dust.

Last edited by Max C.; 04-01-11 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 04-01-11, 06:43 PM   #12
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My brakes are adjustable enough to reach 700c wheels but I'm not really interested in swapping wheelsets, nor do I plan on racing so you don't need to worry about cop outs Garagegirl .
I see. I interpreted "not a race winning bike" to mean a bike to race on and lose with, which is what I like to do
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Old 04-02-11, 06:41 AM   #13
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If you switch to 700c wheels the brakes won't work from what I read, or you'll need to replace them anyhow..more $$
That's true. But the flip side is you'll have a ton of clearance with 700C wheels and long reach brakes. If you can scrounge up some center pull Weinmann or DiaCompe for cheap on ebay you won't have any clearance problems at all. Good luck
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