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Can I make a bike out of these parts?

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Can I make a bike out of these parts?

Old 10-22-13, 03:20 PM
  #1  
goldfinch
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Can I make a bike out of these parts?

I have an early 90's steel mountain bike frame that is missing the rear wheel and rear derailleur. (Don't know the brand, there are no markings on the frame but the spouse thinks it was a Bianchi something or other). It has no handlebar and no shifters. It has its headset and stem, seatpost, centerpull cantilever brakes but no levers, it also has an older Deore front derailleur and Deore crank, with 48, 38, 28 chain rings.

I have around the house a 26 inch wheelset with an eight speed cassette on it. This was an extra wheelset for a bike of mine that I ended up rarely using. I have Sram grip shifters that were never used indexed for a triple on the front and seven speed on the rear. I have several sets of handlebars for mountain bikes that would work on this bike. I also have plenty of saddles. I have an old SIS seven speed derailleur off of a late 80s mountain bike that was crashed and sits in the barn. That bike also has brake levers that could be used with the cantilever brakes. It has seven speed click shifters as well but they are crappy.

My questions:

1. Seven speed option:

It seems easy to make a seven speed bike out of this. Judging from Sheldon's site, I would need a spacer and a seven speed cassette. Correct?

If I went the seven speed route I should be able to use the old seven speed SIS rear derailleur from the crashed bike and keep the Deore front derailleur and triple crank on the bike. Would they all work with the modern indexed Sram grip shifters? If not, I could use the click shifters off the 80s crashed bike, yes? My husband favors grip shifters so if they would work that is what I would want to use.

I would need brake levers but I could take the levers off of the old 80s crashed bike.

2. Upgrade option.

Could I upgrade this bike to an eight or nine speed? The spouse likes the frame so maybe it would be worth the expense. The wheels would work. I have a nearly new eight speed cassette. Can I just buy a rear derailleur that shifts eight or nine speeds and buy Shimano eight or nine speed click shifters or grip shifters? What do I have to watch for in derailleur choices? Would the Deore front crank and derailleur still work with an eight or nine speed system? I believe the bike was originally a seven speed. Would the front chain rings be ok with a narrower nine speed chain?

The idea is to make a commuter bike for my husband to use in the winter. And, I kind of want a project or two as the weather stinks and I finished fixing up the three 20 dollar bikes I found this summer and have passed them along.
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Old 10-22-13, 04:27 PM
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There really is no difference between "7-spd" or higher speed Shimano rear derailleurs (except the marking on the body) until you get into the newest stuff, AFAIK. Same with cranks and front derailleurs. I used an old pre-indexing FD on a Dura-Ace 9-spd brifter setup with absolutely no problem. The only items that DO change (for 9-spd and higher) is the chain width and indexing rear shift lever.

Are you aware that higher speed counts don't change the range of the gearing, but the spacing between gears gets smaller, and chain wear gets faster above 8 speeds?
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Old 10-22-13, 04:27 PM
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I'd measure the spacing on the rear drop outs to see if it's 126 or 135 (or somewhere in between) mm.
It should be quite doable. My 86 Rockhopper is now a 9 speed, using 132-3mm spacing, because that's what I was able to stuff in there without undue effort.

BTW- for a short time, I was using an old cottered double crank from an early 70's road bike until my 165mm triple arrived.

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Old 10-22-13, 04:58 PM
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My son has a early-90s mtb (Gary Fisher Advance, $5 dollars off CL, thankyouverymuch!) with an 8-sp cassette and 7-sp shifter. I have no way of knowing whether it was original equipment, but the front and rear rims/hubs appear to match, and when I received it the bike was very spiderwebby, so I got the impression it had never been used much at all.

Anyways, I don't think there are any special spacers, the RD is lined up outboard (leaving out the slowest gear), and it seems to work fine. I tried to set it up to leave out the small cog, but I had trouble pushing the limit screw that far, and it didn't shift well, so I put it back to leaving out the large cog.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Dfrost View Post

Are you aware that higher speed counts don't change the range of the gearing, but the spacing between gears gets smaller, and chain wear gets faster above 8 speeds?
Yeah, good point. I was thinking of the eight or nine speed mostly because the wheel I have would work. Maybe it makes sense just to put a spacer and a seven speed cassette on it. After all, I have the shifters.

Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
I'd measure the spacing on the rear drop outs to see if it's 126 or 135 (or somewhere in between) mm.
It should be quite doable. My 86 Rockhopper is now a 9 speed, using 132-3mm spacing, because that's what I was able to stuff in there without undue effort.

BTW- for a short time, I was using an old cottered double crank from an early 70's road bike until my 165mm triple arrived.
Oops! I forgot that the spacing might not be the standard 135 in the rear. The 80s crashed bike was 135 so I assumed that the 90s bike was too. It is steel so I assume that if it isn't too narrow it could be made to fit. I'll measure it and see.

Last edited by goldfinch; 10-23-13 at 08:25 AM.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:40 AM
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You could probably just try "stuffing" the wheel in and see how it goes.
On my old Rockhopper, I built the rear wheel, so I was able to "custom space" it. The bike is actually 126mm, but I can stick 132mm in it before it starts getting noticeably tight.

Personally, I like 9 speed because it offers many more gearing options vs 8.
You can either go wider range with closer steps than a cassette fewer cogs, or the same range with much closer steps.
I tend to do the latter even though I don't do hills. It allows me to keep my cadence in a narrower range, which is VERY helpful for my emphysema.

IF you check daily on Amazon etc., you can sometimes find some very good prices on 9 speed shifters.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:55 AM
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Any recommendations on a rear derailleur if I wanted to upgrade the old SIS one?

If I went nine (though I am leaning towards eight partly because I have a nearly new cassette and several spare chains) would the front chainrings work? They aren't too wide?
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Old 10-23-13, 09:01 AM
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Chain rings shouldn't be a problem.
For a RDER, you probably anything above Tourney should work OK.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
My son has a early-90s mtb (Gary Fisher Advance, $5 dollars off CL, thankyouverymuch!) with an 8-sp cassette and 7-sp shifter. I have no way of knowing whether it was original equipment, but the front and rear rims/hubs appear to match, and when I received it the bike was very spiderwebby, so I got the impression it had never been used much at all.

Anyways, I don't think there are any special spacers, the RD is lined up outboard (leaving out the slowest gear), and it seems to work fine. I tried to set it up to leave out the small cog, but I had trouble pushing the limit screw that far, and it didn't shift well, so I put it back to leaving out the large cog.
This is an interesting solution if I keep it a seven speed. But given the gearing on the front it would be good to not lose the low on the rear.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:25 AM
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A big question is whether the 7-speed SRAM grip shifters have the same cable pull as 7-speed Shimano. If so, then a good option is to get a 7-speed cassette and a 4.5 mm spacer, and be done with it.

And yes, I've hear of folks that use a 7-speed shifter with 8-speed cogs. It will overshift a little at the ends, but the spacing (4.8mm/cog for 8 speed and 5.0mm/cog for 7 speed) is close enough to try. I'd just try it- what could it hurt? You can get a high limit screw at the hardware store if that's a problem.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cycle_maven View Post
A big question is whether the 7-speed SRAM grip shifters have the same cable pull as 7-speed Shimano. If so, then a good option is to get a 7-speed cassette and a 4.5 mm spacer, and be done with it.

And yes, I've hear of folks that use a 7-speed shifter with 8-speed cogs. It will overshift a little at the ends, but the spacing (4.8mm/cog for 8 speed and 5.0mm/cog for 7 speed) is close enough to try. I'd just try it- what could it hurt? You can get a high limit screw at the hardware store if that's a problem.
The SRAM shifter is compatible with Shimano. It is a dirt cheap MRX series with the cable pull compatible with Shimano, which I bought for my cousin's bike. She changed her mind and decided on click shifters.
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Old 10-23-13, 11:04 AM
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Only the SRAM shifters made for use with Shimano derailers are compatible with Shimano.
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Old 10-23-13, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
Only the SRAM shifters made for use with Shimano derailers are compatible with Shimano.
The MRX ones are compatible.
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Old 10-24-13, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
The MRX ones are compatible.
They are and they work well, even though they're the bottom of the line.
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Old 10-27-13, 10:21 AM
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I am putting this together. I have a problem I can't figure out. I would take a picture but I only have a cell phone camera at this house and it won't focus up close. Anyway, the front derailleur on this bike is an early 90's Shimano DeoreLX, model FD-550. Pictures of this derailleur are here: http://velobase.com/ViewComponent.as...113&AbsPos=204

I cannot for the life of me figure out how to route cable for the front derailleur. The cable stops looks like it comes from the top. There are no cable guides below the bottom bracket and there are three slots on the top of the top tube to run cable and a little ring about three inches down on the seat tube. So, does it pull from the top? I look at the derailleur on the bike and that doesn't make sense to me. But, all the bikes I have fussed with to date pull from the bottom. How would I figure out how to attach the cable? I searched for Shimano technical documents for this derailleur but couldn't find any. Maybe my Google foo isn't working.

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Old 10-27-13, 05:56 PM
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I have a very similar Deore derailleur on my Terry and it pulls from the bottom. This is all a mystery to me.
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Old 10-27-13, 07:25 PM
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Deore derailleurs were available as bottom, bottom/top (dual pull) or top pull. I recently bought a dual pull Deore LX for a hybrid project that could be set up either way. The hybrid frame I'm using requires a top pull but I wanted the option of bottom pull in case I went to a different frame that used bottom pull. It's not as clean looking as the dedicated versions but I didn't care on this build.

Found these, not sure if this will help.........

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Old 10-27-13, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
I am putting this together. I have a problem I can't figure out. I would take a picture but I only have a cell phone camera at this house and it won't focus up close. Anyway, the front derailleur on this bike is an early 90's Shimano DeoreLX, model FD-550. Pictures of this derailleur are here: http://velobase.com/ViewComponent.as...113&AbsPos=204

assuming derailer in photo really matches yours , its bottom pull

http://www.amazon.com/Origin8-Clamp-...d_sim_sbs_sg_1
note clamp diameter is available in several options

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...et+cable+guide
might need to drill/tap a hole under bottom bracket
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Old 10-27-13, 08:55 PM
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Well, that is weird. I wonder how this was cabled before. Given the cable routing maybe it is better to just get a different derailleur?

Last edited by goldfinch; 10-27-13 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 10-27-13, 09:01 PM
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wait , a ' little ring' on the seattube? not a normal cable stop ? is there also a mystery bolt/bolthole near the bottom of seattube or down between chainstays ?
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Old 10-27-13, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
wait , a ' little ring' on the seattube? not a normal cable stop ? is there also a mystery bolt/bolthole near the bottom of seattube or down between chainstays ?

Yes.

Is this some weird kind of routing?

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Old 10-27-13, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
Yes.

Is this some weird kind of routing?
yes

some early 90s mtbs wanted toptube cable routing to avoid mud, but available derailers were bottom pull .

their ugly solution , convert bottom-pull into top-push
extra long housing loop from top tube to an adapter that puts a cable housing stop on the derailer's cable clamp
cable then routes through and is secured to the 'mystery bolt' down below
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Old 10-28-13, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
yes

some early 90s mtbs wanted toptube cable routing to avoid mud, but available derailers were bottom pull .

their ugly solution , convert bottom-pull into top-push
extra long housing loop from top tube to an adapter that puts a cable housing stop on the derailer's cable clamp
cable then routes through and is secured to the 'mystery bolt' down below
This looks like what you are describing..............



............ or at least similar. There were also other types of derailleur "adapters" to convert bottom pull to top pull but I'm not familiar with those. Not that I'm familiar with this type either.... but I have seen it before. If it were me I'd get the dual pull derailleur and try to hook it up as a direct top pull. If that didn't work then you have the option of going back to the original system or converting to actual bottom pull. I think the direct top pull would work, you may have to use a clamp-on cable stop on the seat tube if your frame doesn't have one brazed on and it sounds like it doesn't.
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Old 10-28-13, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
This looks like what you are describing..............
nope, i was describing a different cable routing
however pully systems were another solution used at the time. and are better known (as they worked better and thus the design survived longer)

sorry, my only frame that uses 'top push' i've upgraded to modern top pull derailer -no photos of inverse cable routing

ok found an example online , hard to see, note derailer and housing with cable continuing below it
http://cinco.site50.net/passing/pics/trek9301.jpg
found here http://cinco.site50.net/passing/index.html

better example
http://store.bicycleczar.com/16-TREK...p/03130047.htm
2nd to last photo

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Old 10-28-13, 06:05 AM
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Yes, it is like the trek in xeno's second to last photo. No pulley, just a bolt. So, the cable attaches to the bolt between the chain stays and not to the deraiileur? I just loosen the bolt and wrap the cable around it and tighten?

Now it seems simple to route if that is the case. The issue will be performance. Xeno and Murray, thanks so much for finding these pictures.

Last edited by goldfinch; 10-28-13 at 06:14 AM.
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