I'm hoping to compile a list of 80s and 90s mountain bike frames that would make ideal touring conversions.
Lots of soon-to-be tourers are looking for cheap mountain bike frames to turn into touring bikes. From everything I have learned, mountain bikes seem to be a great alternative to a ~$1000 + touring specific bike. While lots of people have asked this question on different forums, I haven't been able to find a consolidated list of good candidate frames.
For those of us scouring craigslist and ebay for a good find, it would be very helpful to have a list to go to so we would know what to look for.
Some of the specs that seem to be important include:
- 26 " wheels (for those touring outside of the first world) - preferably 36 spoke wheels and double walled
- long chainstays (17.25" or longer) - necessary for those with big feet and rear panniers. Some say you can get away with shorter chainstays with smaller rear panniers and some other fancy tricks)
- long top tubes (not necessary, depends on your body and bike gemometry)
- Cantilever or v-brakes (preferably not U-brakes, hard to replace in third world - excludes '88 and '89 specialized ; many in this thread have said their U-brakes work just fine -make your own choice)
- Front and back braze ons (the more the merrier)
- steel (or thick aluminum)
- rigid front and back
- Nice components are obviously a plus (well known names: specialized, kona, Trek, Marin, etc.)
Please list mountain bike with models and years that you believe make a good touring candidates either from personal experience or from what you know about the specs. It's difficult to find chainstay lengths for lots of these older models.
I'll update the list on this first post as people add them.
List of mountain bike frames that are ideal for touring purposes
80s and early 90s Bridgestone MB-1, MB-2, MB-3, MB-4, or MB-5, CB-0 (chainstays begin to shorten up a bit in late 80s)
1999 Specialized Hardrock Comp
1995, 1998 Specialized Hardrock Sport
Early 90s and 80s Trek 850s, 900s, 970s, 980s, 990s (88s and 89s will have chainstay ubrakes)
80's-early 90s Specialized Stumpjumpers
80's-early 90s Specialized Rockhoppers
Pre 1993 GT Timberline, Tequesta, and Avalanche
1985 Peugeot Canyon Express - 18.5 " Chainstays
80s KHS montana
1986 Schwinn Cimarron
1985 Schwinn High Sierra
1992 Raleigh Technium mtb
Ross 1000 (early 90s)
1992 Klien Pinnacle
1983-1993 Jamis Dakota (I ended up with an '83 - nearly identical geometry to a modern Surly LHT w/18 inch chainstays)
Cheap non-MTB option:
Nashbar touring frame - can be bought for around $100 and makes a highly functional tourer on the cheap.