Old 08-14-19, 06:40 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Los Angeles
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Bikes: 78 Masi Criterium, 68 PX10, 2016 Mercian King of Mercia, Rivendell Clem Smith Jr

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I like 80's MTBs too, but they are heavier and slower. If you know you'll be riding on gravel roads sometimes, it is somewhat more relaxing to have fat tires, since you don't have to worry about your line all the time. If you have decent bike handling, a classic tourer will do fine on occasional stretches of gravel. They are generally designed to fit a 27 x 1 1/4"(or 700x32) tire with fenders, which means that a 35 or 38mm tire will fit fine without fenders. A fatter tire OTOH would give you some more freedom to explore the off road.

A third option would be to split the difference, and do a vintage tourer with a 650b conversion. That way you get the benefits of light weight and fat tires. Obviously it's a bit more involved.

FWIW no longer easy to buy a cheap nice MTB in my area, at least in large size I need. After a futile long search, I ended up getting a Riv Clem Jr frame instead, which is kind of like a vintage MB-1, but not all rusted out, and with much cooler lugs and "29'er" tires.

Gratuitous pic of ultralight tent in light coast breeze. I had the panniers inside to prop it up and keep it from collapsing totally.

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