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  1. #1
    domestique squeakywheel's Avatar
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    converting road bike to comfort bike

    I'm thinking of converting a 1980's sport touring 10-speed road bike to a more upright slow speed weekend bike trail bike for my wife. I'm thinking to change the drop bars for North Road bars. Swap the seat for a wider one. I know there will be issues with brake levers, but I have some spare MTB levers I could use on the North Road bar.

    Anyone done this? Think it will work? Any similar ideas?

  2. #2
    Arrgghh me hearties! damian_'s Avatar
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    Not sure if stem widths / handlebar diameter might be a problem? Also, is the current quill long enough to get the handlebars as high as you want them?

    I have successfully used MTB levers with road calipers from a 80's 10-speed.

  3. #3
    domestique squeakywheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damian_
    Not sure if stem widths / handlebar diameter might be a problem? Also, is the current quill long enough to get the handlebars as high as you want them?

    I have successfully used MTB levers with road calipers from a 80's 10-speed.
    I'm pretty sure my spare MTB levers will work with the existing brakes. I have a spare 25.4 stem I can use if the existing one is 26.0. Not real sure, though, if the existing stem has enough rise. The Nitto North Road bars give a couple inches of rise. I guess I could use an MTB stem if I need more rise.

    I guess the main issue is handlebar rise relative to the seat and top tube length.

  4. #4
    Death fork? Naaaah!! top506's Avatar
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    I went the other way 'round, putting drops on a Miyata Triplecross.
    Top

  5. #5
    Member guncollector's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squeakywheel
    I'm thinking of converting a 1980's sport touring 10-speed road bike to a more upright slow speed weekend bike trail bike for my wife. I'm thinking to change the drop bars for North Road bars. Swap the seat for a wider one. I know there will be issues with brake levers, but I have some spare MTB levers I could use on the North Road bar.

    Anyone done this? Think it will work? Any similar ideas?
    Just did this with a Trek 420 sport/tourer from the late 80's. It required replacing the riser stem, new bars, and new brake levers and cables. Also, put on some city tires and a comfy seat. It's a great comfort bike now, but with plenty of spunk.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jp173's Avatar
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    Two things:

    1. Will trail tires fit in the fork? I tried to put some on a Specialized Sirrus and they wouldn't fit.

    2. Will the frame withstand off-road pounding?

  7. #7
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    Went the other way....

    I de-comfortized a 80s 12 speed back to it's original road self. Somehow the geometry of the bike just didn't go with "comfort".

    Have you looked at old hybrids?

  8. #8
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    My 80's racing frame sports a sprung saddle and northroad bars. the bars alone should get you high enough w/out a riser. You can shim the 26.0 stem with a beer can. Any 80's frame short of a track frame should have sufficient room for sizable tires. Any mtn/bmx/touring brake will pull a road-caliper. The frame will certainly handle the 'pounding' of light trail riding.

    go for it.

  9. #9
    Non Tribuo Anus Rodentum and off to the next adventure (RIP) Stacey's Avatar
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    Here's what I did with my mid 80' Raleigh Capri. Not really a 'trail' rider, but handles the packed, crushed shale they use on the rails to trails here in Bucks County PA quite well. Very comfortable as an UAV as well.


    27 x 1 1/8" wheels, Brooks Saddle, North Road type bars, Dia-Compe center pulls w/ MTB type levers and barcons. A very enjoyable steed



  10. #10
    Senior Member Dang's Avatar
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    I did it with a Nishiki sport. I just swaped out the drop bars with a old mtn bike that was thrashed. Left the clamp-on down shifters alone. I did pick up a pair of padded euro type grips and had to snip the cable housing a bit but it turned out neat. I love it and that so does my body!

  11. #11
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    I did it with a fixed gear Centurian Accordo roadbike. I just had 3 stem bar combos (northroads, bullhorns, drops) to swap in and out. Most bikes of that vintage have adequate tire clearance to put decent size tires. I used cross tires on mine and had plenty of room to spare. I took this offroad, on road, on ice..... Fine in all ways with all bars. Other have chimed in about size and brake aspects already.

    Go for it. It is a good way to get a 'new' feel from an old friend. There is no reason not be be comfortable. I would think about anothe seat (personal preference though).

    Note - if you want to convert it very inexpensively, you can find an old 3 speed or or single speed cruiser with handbrakes and 'swap out the bars'. (I found one at a neighbors garage sale and took the bars and brakes and stem. For $5 I had another option for my bike.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    One of the guys in my club went into a bike shop, and came out with a brand spanking new Trek 5200. Before it went out the door, it had a comfort bike type handle bar with MTB combination trigger shifters/brakes on the bar. Everything is indexed anyway, so it works fine. You can also swap out the stem for one of the adjustable ones like on the Specialized Sequoia. The first Sequoias had a quill type stem, which might work on your bike. If a suspension seatpost fits your seat tube, it can help soak up the bumps I had one adjusted fairly stiff, and it made a harsh aluminumb frame ride very sweet. Your local bike shop should be able to tell you which parts can be used together.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

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