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My 1st project bike. Bike Forums, I request the pleasure of your assistance.

Old 06-05-14, 11:02 PM
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My 1st project bike. Bike Forums, I request the pleasure of your assistance.

I got my dad to send me my Aunt's old bike that has been hanging in my grandparent's garage for the last 20+ years. It's a Raleigh Sportif. I don't know what year she got it but I'm guessing late 80's early 90's. It just arrived in the mail the other day - took a long time to get from NY to TX. Apparently it's a women's bike, but it doesn't look like it, so I don't care.

I know it's not a quality classic/vintage or whatever, it's a low-end bike from a while ago. Don't care. It's just something I want to use as a first time build - and it'll probably become my commuter.

Anyway, I've never built up a bike before, know not much about doing it, but want to give it a try and you guys are going to help me. Aren't you excited? Good. That's the spirit! There's a lot of reading below, so strap in.

A little background on the bike's condition...
-The rims, and tires are trash - in fact I already trashed them. The tires were obviously falling apart after such a long time (see pics) and the rims and hubs were all rusty.
-The brake and gear cables were all rusted. I took them all off.
-The handlebars were covered with foam that had hardened and was easily flaking off. So that went - along with the brake levers as well.
-I took the gear shifter off the stem, and tossed that as well, it was pretty rusty and I'm not planning on using it anyway.
-I kept the brakes themselves just in case - pads can be replaced, but they are kinda stiff to squeeze. I also kept the quill headset just in case but it's not in too great shape.
-The frame looks to be in really good condition as far as I can tell. There are a few rusty spots on the headtube and the front fork that I took pictures of for your consideration - but there rest looks really great.

I'll outline my plans, and some questions I have below the pics:







Here are the rusty spots - are they fatal?





My plan is to put bullhorns on it. Is the quill stem I took off it useable? And should I decide to get a new quill how do I know what size the headtube is - or is there a universal standard? Can a modern stem be used instead of a quill?

My hope is to run a single gear up front, and a <10 speed cassette in the back. I'd like to fit the bars with a downtube-style shifter to be used with my thumb/fingers. Basically, exactly the same as this:

I'm going to need help figuring out how to make that happen I think. The size of the cassette will no doubt depend on the shifters I find (indexed).
In addition, will I need to find a specialized rear derailleur since I know a lot of older bikes positioned them differently than modern bikes?

After doing a little looking around online last night I saw something about Raleigh's bottom brackets being abnormal and a pain in the ass to replace - or even get out. Can anyone shed some light on this? I need to replace both crank arms, and the gears, and the BB and the bearings all probably need to go, so what's the best way to go about this?

I found this image:


saying the bike takes 27" tires. How does this compare with typical 700c road tires/wheels? I grabbed the front tire off my wife's Specialized Tricross and put it in the dropouts for the front tire and it seemed to fit normally. What's the deal?
I was hoping to run 700c x 25 on it - can I still do that? I'm not going to build the wheels myself. I'd prefer to buy already built wheels with decent hubs. (complete wheelsets are good too)

Also going to need front and rear brakes. Since I think that depends on the size of the tires you have, I thought I'd put those first. I've already decided to get the cane creek tt levers as seen in the photo I posted above with the shift lever. But I'm going to need guidance on what kind of cables and housings to get - also how to string them...(youtube?)

It also needs a new seatpost - how do I know what size/diameter/etc or are they all standard?

In addition to answering any of the questions and issues I've stated above, keep in mind I have no idea where to get a lot of these pieces so I'd appreciate it if anyone wanted to link me to parts I could consider buying. I'm not looking to make this high end, I'm thinking pretty much entry level, or 1 step above entry level components. I'm a big Amazon shopper (prime), but don't mind going elsewhere if the price is right. I'm also planning on hitting up the LBS for some pieces and help, but want to do it mostly on my own.

I think that's most of it.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for your future help.
Let's do this.
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Old 06-06-14, 12:22 AM
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First off, congratulations! Fixing up a bike can be a very rewarding experience.

However, let me first say that is will be a labor of love, and you probably will not be able to get the kind of money that you put into it back out of it. And for this reason you should really look at whether or not the frame is the ideal size for you. There are some rough generalizations between body size and bicycle frame size, look this up and if it is widely varied from your own dimensions, you may want to rethink a large-scale tear-down/parts upgrade.

Building it up yourself means that you can put exactly what you want on it, however on an older bicycle such as this, there is can be a limited selection for certain parts. Yet I love older bikes! My advice is not to try to make it something that it's not (crazy fancy 30 speed with super-light everything). Do the work well, get a decent set of wheels, make sure the bearings are smooth and you'll love it.

I'm not one to discourage people from working on bikes though, just don't want you to be frustrated and lose faith once it's over.
Building it yourself means that you can make it just like you want, AND you know how to fix it if it breaks.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rust: 0000 steel wool (pronounces FOUR OH) will work wonders on chrome pieces such as the headset, shining it up and removing the rust. For the more knarly parts, I would use a brass brush (such as the crank arms if you keep them.
I would worry NOT about the surface rust on the frame, unless the aesthetics are of concern.

27 vs 700c: The rim diameter of 700c rims is slightly smaller than 27s, meaning you may need longer reach brakes., or your current ones may work if the brake pads can be moved down sufficiently. Measure what you need once you get some 700s on there, the "reach" is measured from the center of the brake-bolt to the brake surface. 700x25 tire will fit just fine, even with fenders. Heck, a 38 or 42 without fenders would probably work.

Sizing of parts: You're going to want to buy a cheap digital caliper (measuring tool). This will be useful for the stem (figuring out the clamp size), and figuring out the seatpost size. Then just cross-reference online for the closest size used.

Stem: It is most likely a 22.2mm quill stem, you will probably just want to buy another one of these if you want to replace it, just match the clamp size w/ the bars that you want. You could get a conversion to a threadless stem but then you're just adding complexity to get a wanky solution. Spend the same amount and get a sweet vintage 3ttt or something that will look way better.

Rear cassette: Personally I wouldn't go above a 7 speed. You need to check the rear spacing on it (between the dropouts). Probably 135mm. You can re-space the rear end of the frame to accommodate a hub with larger spacing (check out Sheldon Brown, when in doubt check out Sheldon Brown).

Derailleur: Because your frame doesn't have a derailleur hanger, you need to have one that clamps onto the frame. You can most likely just cannibalize the one that you already have. Basically keep the piece that is clamped by the axle, and the nut on the back of it that the allen bolt of the derailleur goes into. Then use this on whichever one you want.

Bottom Bracket It shouldn't be any more a pain in the ass than other bikes of it's age. It's new enough that it should just be a standard English-thread bottom bracket (97% sure).


And that looks like that covers it. Try to keep local was much as you can, will save you headache (you can try the parts on the bike and know if it will ACTUALLY work) and keep the shops there when you need then. Don't stress about getting the "perfect" parts, you can always change it later. And have fun!

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Old 06-06-14, 05:05 AM
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How tall are you? That's a pretty small frame size.
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Old 06-06-14, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
How tall are you? That's a pretty small frame size.
I'm 5'5". I used to ride this bike when I would spend days during the summer at my grandparent's house. That was a long time ago, but, I haven't exactly grown much... That's why I asked for this particular bike because I knew I could fit it.
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Old 06-06-14, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
I'm 5'5". I used to ride this bike when I would spend days during the summer at my grandparent's house. That was a long time ago, but, I haven't exactly grown much... That's why I asked for this particular bike because I knew I could fit it.
Great! That's the first test.

I love doing projects like this but it isn't likely to cost out economically vs. buying a new bike. On the other hand, you get to ride a bike that you have an emotional attachment to and you get to fit it out to match whatever you have in your mind.

mastershake916's post sounds to me like he's done this before.

Once you pull out the seatpost (good luck) it'll have a number stamped on the bottom. That's the replacement size you need.
The right side bearing cup is referred to as "fixed". That's an appropriate name for it.

My advice is to find a balance between giving up too soon and continuing to struggle with a problem past your threshold of frustration. Keep posting back and we'll try to work through those issues with you one-at-a-time.
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Old 06-06-14, 07:25 AM
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The specks of rust on the frame are minimal and of no concern. I call it patina . . . The cosmetics look pretty good. I would strip all the components off the frame and give the frame a good cleaning, being careful of the paint and decals. It will look just fine.

As for components, are you planning to keep the same or similar components, or are you planning to change most of it out? If the latter, I'd trawl eBay for complete used groupsets, they show up often. Even if you don't end up using something, e.g. the brakes or the headset, it is less expensive than buying each piece individually. Also watch Craigslist for donor bikes. You can spread the frame if needed to accomodate a wider rear hub. Something like 7 or 8 speed would be nice.

There seem to be a few bike coops in Houston. Worth a visit to root through their parts bins and ask about classes. New budget wheels look odd on vintage frames in my opinion, the blocky modern hubs and squared off QR levers just clash with the bike. Used wheels are spendy to buy on eBay due to shipping costs. A used wheelset from a coop might be the answer, or for more fun, build up a wheelset using the existing hubs but new alloy rims.
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Old 06-06-14, 09:19 AM
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I recently built up a similar bike, an '84 Raleigh Marathon. It's my girlfriend's dad's bike, but had been garaged for the past several years. I built it up with 8 speed bar-ends and new touring wheels.

I had to spread the frame to fit the 135 mm Deore hub in there; it was 126 mm or so to begin with. I'd recommend checking the alignment when you're done spreading.

I had to use Tektro 539 brakes, the original Weinmann 510's just could be adjusted far enough to reach the 700c wheels (27" originally). It fits 700 x 35 with fenders, although the rear brake bridge is kinda low.

You can keep that stem, but you can get a newer one that's lighter for quite cheap. I kept the original stem and bars; he liked them.

The Marathon has a derailer hanger, but it was unthreaded. It has a thin threaded nut inside the hanger that I had to turn with a cone wrench. The XT derailer mounted up just fine.

These bikes are solid and have a good ride. They're just heavy. I concur that you'll find your best bang for your buck by rummaging at local bike co-ops. They should have an alignment tool, and maybe a frame spreading tool.
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Old 06-06-14, 09:23 AM
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Actually, that bike is quite a bit older than you think it is. Steel cottered cranks and steel 27" wheels date that bike to the 1970's. Rear spacing will be 120mm with a 5 speed freewheel. To put a 10 speed cassette wheel in there the frame will have to be respaced to 130mm. Be very careful before you start buying parts for the project. Don't buy anything until you have taken the bottom bracket out and are sure that the frame has standard English threading. Same thing with the headset. The frame is old enough that it could have used Raleigh's proprietary threading. Look to see if there is any indication where the bike was built other than the Raleigh cycle company of America on the headbadge. If the bike was built in England there is a good possibility that threading isn't standard
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Old 06-06-14, 10:49 AM
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Stick with 120 millimeters and 5 speed. Keeps it simpler. 1 x 5 will be fine for bombing around. Keep costs to a minimum. Pick up a used wheelset. Reuse the freewheel...
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Old 06-06-14, 11:20 AM
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If bottom bracket threading is non-standard, one solution is
Grand Cru Threadless Bottom Bracket
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Old 06-06-14, 11:24 AM
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By the way, you can remove the current drop bar, cut them in the middle of the drop (below where the brake lever clamp is now), and re-install them inverted, for "free bullhorns".
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Old 06-06-14, 12:55 PM
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Fixie ,or a single speed , and you need new wheels and a crank/BB.

the cottered BB can go .

It also needs a new seatpost - how do I know what size/diameter/etc or are they all standard?
NO , but when they made that bike the company bought a lot of them for that make/model/year
so if just that narrow situation they are all the same .

you apparently really dont read this forum and look at archived pages.

I'm going to need help figuring out how to make that happen I think.
Help paid at the same rate as your job pays you? or you like to take a similar pay cut?

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Old 06-06-14, 01:44 PM
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A cheap $10 digital caliper from Harbor Freight is handy for determining the sizes of things. It's not hugely accurate, but for stuff like figuring out the diameter of a seatpost, it's perfect.
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Old 06-06-14, 06:52 PM
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Raleigh of America will be English threaded. The problem will be getting the cottered crank off and you'll need a new BB if you want to upgrade the crank to cotterless.

Park Tools, Sheldon Brown, and My ten speeds.


MY "TEN SPEEDS - Home Page

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Old 06-06-14, 08:24 PM
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the sci guy, First, this isn't a dollar and sense project. This will be a personal and educational rebuild that several posters can help you with as you progress.

A similar build for me was my '81 RRA.

Brad

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Old 06-06-14, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
The specks of rust on the frame are minimal and of no concern. I call it patina . . . The cosmetics look pretty good. I would strip all the components off the frame and give the frame a good cleaning, being careful of the paint and decals. It will look just fine.

As for components, are you planning to keep the same or similar components, or are you planning to change most of it out? If the latter, I'd trawl eBay for complete used groupsets, they show up often.
Good to know about the rust. Thanks.
I'd like to get new components. Budget ones, but new ones that haven't been rusting for the past 20 years.

Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa View Post
I had to spread the frame to fit the 135 mm Deore hub in there; it was 126 mm or so to begin with. I'd recommend checking the alignment when you're done spreading.

I had to use Tektro 539 brakes, the original Weinmann 510's just could be adjusted far enough to reach the 700c wheels (27" originally). It fits 700 x 35 with fenders, although the rear brake bridge is kinda low.

You can keep that stem, but you can get a newer one that's lighter for quite cheap. I kept the original stem and bars; he liked them.

The Marathon has a derailer hanger, but it was unthreaded. It has a thin threaded nut inside the hanger that I had to turn with a cone wrench. The XT derailer mounted up just fine.

These bikes are solid and have a good ride. They're just heavy. I concur that you'll find your best bang for your buck by rummaging at local bike co-ops. They should have an alignment tool, and maybe a frame spreading tool.
Thanks. Yeah I'm not sure I want to go down the path of spreading the frame on my first go 'round here. I'll stick to a cassette that is smaller. Thanks for the suggestion on the brakes.

Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Actually, that bike is quite a bit older than you think it is. Steel cottered cranks and steel 27" wheels date that bike to the 1970's. Rear spacing will be 120mm with a 5 speed freewheel. To put a 10 speed cassette wheel in there the frame will have to be respaced to 130mm. Be very careful before you start buying parts for the project. Don't buy anything until you have taken the bottom bracket out and are sure that the frame has standard English threading. Same thing with the headset. The frame is old enough that it could have used Raleigh's proprietary threading. Look to see if there is any indication where the bike was built other than the Raleigh cycle company of America on the headbadge. If the bike was built in England there is a good possibility that threading isn't standard
Huh. I'll have to ask my aunt when she got it - but I'm pretty sure she'll say something along the lines of "oh god I don't remember!" lol
I'm taking it to our favorite LBS tomorrow to have them take a look at it and see if they can help me get the BB out, and what I can replace it with. Also I need them to take the chain off.

Originally Posted by jyl View Post
By the way, you can remove the current drop bar, cut them in the middle of the drop (below where the brake lever clamp is now), and re-install them inverted, for "free bullhorns".
Too late. already in the dumpster.

Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
the sci guy, First, this isn't a dollar and sense project. This will be a personal and educational rebuild that several posters can help you with as you progress.
This is exactly what this is. I want to learn how to put bike pieces together. This has nothing to do with taking a vintage bike and making it magically delicious or anything. I'm going to use budget components, and learn the right and wrong way to do things. It's going to be a bike built by practice and trial and error. Probably lots of errors. I'm hopeful when it's done it will look pretty snazzy either way, and be a great bike to ride.

And you guys are a great tool to help
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Old 06-06-14, 09:10 PM
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If you want a wheel with a cassette hub you are going to have to spread the frame. If you could find a 7 speed cassette hub, you would still have to open the frame to 126mm, so you might as well go all the way to 130mm to give yourself the option of 7,8,9, or 10 speeds. If you don't spread the dropouts you will be stuck using a freewheel hub
You are going to need to be able to do more of the work yourself if you want to keep your budget reasonable. Having the bike shop remove the chain and doing things like removing the bottom bracket are going to quickly add up. You need a chain tool both to remove the old chain and to install a new one. This is a tool that will pay for itself. As for removing the cranks and bottom bracket, that is another job you should learn to do. Cottered cranks can be removed by you, there are videos and instructions available. It isn't as if you want to save it.

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Old 06-06-14, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
If you want a wheel with a cassette hub you are going to have to spread the frame. If you could find a 7 speed cassette hub, you would still have to open the frame to 126mm, so you might as well go all the way to 130mm to give yourself the option of 7,8,9, or 10 speeds. If you don't spread the dropouts you will be stuck using a freewheel hub
So are modern wheels and hubs wider? It already has a 5 speed cassette on it originally.
Are my options basically single speed or spread the frame? Because that doesn't make sense to me.
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Old 06-06-14, 09:45 PM
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Your bike does not have a cassette, it has a 5 speed freewheel. Cassette hubs are a minimum of 126mm wide and that is for a 7 speed cassette hub. If you are going to spread the frame you might as well go to 130mm giving you a wide selection of road cassette wheels. Your options are a 5 or 6 speed freewheel or to spread the frame

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Old 06-06-14, 10:02 PM
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i'd remove everything from the frame and if the paint wasn't too bad, buy some used stuff that fits and make it into a downtube friction shifted, seven speed freewheeled bike. should be fun and educational if you are not expecting too much.
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Old 06-06-14, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Your bike does not have a cassette, it has a 5 speed freewheel. Cassette hubs are a minimum of 126mm wide and that is for a 7 speed cassette hub. If you are going to spread the frame you might as well go to 130mm giving you a wide selection of road cassette wheels. Your options are a 5 or 6 speed freewheel or to spread the frame
guess i just don't know my terminology and what pieces are what. i guess i'm looking to put an X-speed freewheel on then - that will keep me from having to spread the frame, yes?

see, i'm learning already!
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Old 06-06-14, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
downtube friction shifted
no thanks. i greatly dislike friction and downtube.
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Old 06-06-14, 11:01 PM
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First thing - go retrieve EVERYTHING you put in the dumpster. Dumping stuff without knowledge is pretty stupid.

The FD & RD are easy to get working unless bent if they are Suntour like the spec tidbit you posted, which appears to be from Sheldon's page. But your bike is much older than the tidbit description.

Next thing read ALL of Sheldon's website; BEFORE you do anything else with the bike.
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Old 06-07-14, 05:12 AM
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The 120mm spacing on an old bike like yours is very limiting. You might get a 6 speed freewheel to fit, but that is as far as you can go without modifying the frame. You shouldn't be throwing out components that you will be replacing with similar stuff. If you want indexed shifting, you are going to be stuck using la low quality 6 speed shifter. You shouldn't throw away any of your old components until you are sure you won't be using them.
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Old 06-07-14, 07:13 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
So are modern wheels and hubs wider? It already has a 5 speed cassette on it originally.
Are my options basically single speed or spread the frame? Because that doesn't make sense to me.
Frame dropout and hub width will vary by number of speeds. Also, in general, anything less than 7 speed will be freewheel and anything greater than 7 will be freehub/cassette. (Refer to this page on Sheldon's site for the difference.) 7-speed can be either.

Single speed: 120 mm
5-speed*: 120 mm
6-7 speed: 126 mm
(7?)-8-9-10-11 speed: 130 mm

* There was also an "ultra 6" spec that ran six speeds in 5-speed spacing. Ultra 6 parts haven't been made for decades, though.

...and if you want to throw mountain bike parts into the equation, add 135 mm to the mix.

If you don't want to spread the frame, your options are a new single speed wheel or a used 5-speed wheel. I haven't personally seen any new multi-speed 120 mm wheels for sale recently. Or you could run a 126 mm wheel and spread the stays a little by hand whenever you insert the wheel. It's only 3 mm of give on each side. I've done it and it wasn't too bad.

Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
i greatly dislike friction and downtube.
You can mount your shifter anywhere you like, but friction is going to be far cheaper and easier.

Friction shifting is plenty easy to ride, too. My first friction shifting experience is an old Peugeot I recently built up as a 12-speed (2x6). It's a piece of cake to shift.

Originally Posted by jyl View Post
By the way, you can remove the current drop bar, cut them in the middle of the drop (below where the brake lever clamp is now), and re-install them inverted, for "free bullhorns".
Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
Too late. already in the dumpster.
Jyl's suggestion is fantastic. If it's not too late to retrieve the stuff you threw away, do it! By using the old drop bars as bullhorns, you don't need to buy new bars and you know the bars will match the clamp size on the stem. If you buy a new bar, you'll need to make sure you buy one whose center diameter matches your stem's clamp size. Otherwise, you'll need to buy a new stem, too.
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