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Building up Barney - 1995 Diamondback Ascent EX, resurrection and beater content

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Building up Barney - 1995 Diamondback Ascent EX, resurrection and beater content

Old 05-11-17, 12:24 PM
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rustystrings61 
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Building up Barney - 1995 Diamondback Ascent EX, resurrection and beater content

In the course of looking for old road bikes, I occasionally stumble upon deals on old mountain bikes that are too good to pass up - like this '95 Trek 950 with top tube damage where everything else had been spared, bought for $10 at the scrap yard -
[IMG][/IMG]

- which I promptly parted out. Or this '99 Specialized Hardrock -

[IMG][/IMG]

- for which I paid the princely sum of $10 at a yard sale, and an additional $2 for the big-box Quasar BSO the seller wanted gone. The Hardrock looked like I could repair it, except for an incredible hit the rear Weinmann 519 rim had taken that crumpled up the bead channel beyond hope. I will confess I tried to massage it into shape, but no go. Fortunately, the LBS manager is a bud, and he gave me permission to poke around the dead/recycle/scrap pile. So I did, and lo, there was an out-of-true wheel with a Weinmann 519 on a dead hub. I did a quick and dirty transfer, taping the new rim to the old one and moving one spoke at a time. I still need to fine tune it, but it's okay and it works. I also bought a used left Grip Shift to replace the broken one, and cleaned it up enough to think, "Okay, now I can start thinking about listing it on eBay."
Then my rising 5-grade son decided he wanted to run cross-country next year, and it was suggested that I accompany him on a bike on the assorted loose surface tracks, rail-trails, and hiking trails as he trains this summer. I thought about it for a moment and decided I needed a mountain bike or a hybrid that would actually fit me.

I went to see my friend the LBS manager and I looked over a couple of used bikes, but no dice. On my way out I swung through the dark corner by the back door, where doomed bikes go to die, and saw a filthy frame with some parts dangling from it. It was a Diamondback Ascent EX, fully rigid, and it was very purple under the mud and dust and old grease. I passed on by.

But I thought about it later on, and I googled it. Nice, mid-line bike, decent reputation, double-butted True Temper AVR tubing, decent parts mix ... so I called my friend the next day and asked him to measure it and it's my size. I offered him $20 and he said "come get it," so I did.

[IMG][/IMG]

I did some more research and found it's a 1995, and that the Ascent EX shared the same frame as the standard Ascent, but came stock with an 8-speed setup, a nicer crank and rear derailleur. Even though the decal and the crank marked it as an EX, the color looks more like the Pearl Purple of the standard than the magenta it was listed as being. I resisted the urge to sing the Barney theme song and took everything off and started scrubbing. The 2008-09 Bob Jones University registration sticker on the head tube had to come off, but I left the shop sticker from Sunshine Cycles in Greenville because I've known that shop's manager since the 80s - and you could just about walk across the road from BJU to into Sunshine's funky Quonset hut. I got it clean enough to work with and tackled the headset, stem and bars first. Here it is, 2017, and this was the first time I had ever actually worked on a threadless headset - but it wasn't so bad, particularly when I could cannibalize parts from the Hardrock, including shifters, V-brakes, levers, grips, stem top cap and bolt and wheels. When I knocked off after the first repair session, I had this -

[IMG][/IMG]

So when I resumed work the next evening, I discovered the bottom bracket was really, really crunchy. I tried the quick and dirty lube method, wherein one dribbles Tri-Flow along the spindle and operates it to infiltrate lubricant through the allegedly sealed bearings, and while it improved things, it was clear that unit is not long for this world. I glanced over at my workbench and saw the parts box and remembered I had purchased a used Shimano UN-72 a few weeks back. Out of curiosity, I picked it up and got out my trusty Harbor Freight digital calipers - 68mm shell, 111mm spindle. I checked the one in the Diamondback - 68mm shell, 111mm spindle. I laughed for a long time.

[IMG][/IMG]

This goes in maybe tomorrow, maybe tonight - I had to borrow the proper tool to do the job! So back to work, cleaning and scrubbing parts and re-installing them. I had enough new brake and gear housing to properly re-cable the bike, if you're willing to accept that a cleaned and lubed recycled cable is proper. I lacked a long enough rear brake wire and was pondering my next move when my eyes fell on the $2 BSO. Did you know they actually put a stainless rear brake cable on that thing? Now it and its noodle are on the Diamondback and working beautifully.

I pulled the 8-speed Grip Shift setup that had been dangling from the frame and set it aside, choosing to use the Hardrock's 7-speed setup to match the rear wheel I have. It was amazingly easy to dial in. Some previous owner had replaced the original Deore LX with an Alivio that I think is newer, but it works smoothly enough that I don't care. The last, lone reflector panel came off the left Wellgo pedal and they got a quick oiling and were fitted. I puttered with the brakes and got them working well. I fitted cages and tweaked and tuned until it was late and bed time, but I had this to show for my efforts -

[IMG][/IMG]

So now to locate a 26.6 seatpost, a 28.6 clamp, and I can mount the Vetta SL saddle I already have set aside. Still to come - final truing and fine tuning of the rear wheel; cleaning and repacking the hubs; replacing the BB; cleaning and repacking the pedals - but I am happy so far, and looking forward to having a beater MTB that will probably ride very nicely and be ideal for encouraging my budding runner.

Last edited by rustystrings61; 05-11-17 at 02:19 PM.
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Old 05-15-17, 07:27 AM
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Completed!
[IMG][/IMG]
Well .... sort of. The difference between the relative heights of the saddle and handlebar has convinced me that some sort of riser extension tube is in this bike's near future. I'll probably swap the first stem I was using back into the mix, too, as I would like the bars to be both higher and a bit further forward than they will be with this stem and a riser unit.
[IMG][/IMG]
Along the way, I may get the opportunity to cut down on the current logo stew effect I have going on here. The bike has enough problems without the severe identity crisis occurring above the headtube.
[IMG][/IMG]
Here is the full drivetrain, complete with the nifty Sugino dustcaps in place. The stock Shimano LP-25 BB was one of the ones with the "adjustable" non-drive side threads molded into the cartridge shell itself and a reverse-threaded ring on the drive side. It had rusted pretty well into place and after much application of PB blaster I was still having difficulty getting it out. The BB removal tool I had borrowed kept wanting to slip out when under pressure. I wound up securing it in engagement with the splines by threading the end of a quill stem expander bolt through the tool and into the crank fixing bolt on the BB spindle, then using the bottom of the stem expander wedge to lock it securely in place. Even using the long Park chainwhip's wrench end to turn it required the use of a big ol' hammer to start things moving. The buttery-smooth UN-72 pictured above made a dramatic improvement.

Still to come - truing the rims, repacking hubs and pedals, and resolving the handlebar height issues.

Last edited by rustystrings61; 05-16-17 at 06:07 AM.
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Old 05-15-17, 07:40 AM
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For the price of 2 Taco Bell Steak Tacos

I like cheap MTBs too. The 930 below was bought in 2015 for $5 from ebay, including the free taco real wheel. I've since replaced the rear wheel, refurbed the bike, and it is a nice beater. Being left outdoors, it too though has turned white in places like @vonfilm's.



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Old 05-15-17, 10:33 AM
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Too bad the frame is too small for you after all that work. 😀
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Old 05-15-17, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by LiquorLad View Post
Too bad the frame is too small for you after all that work. 😀
Yeah, it's weird - the online size calculators say this is the size I should ride, about an 18-in with a 23-in top tube, which is what this is. The last mtb I had was a 1990-ish Trek 950 in 20-in with a 23-in top tube but a quill stem and I could get the bars up high enough without resorting to a riser adapter. There are reasons I have avoided threadless systems, and this is one of them.
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Old 06-05-17, 06:38 AM
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Update! I made a few minor changes that make major differences, and so far this bike is working very nicely for its intended purpose - accompanying a budding runner when he trains on gravel rail-trails and oval running tracks.

[IMG][/IMG]

The used Delta stem extender was purchased for a whopping $7.18 on the 'bay. It has made a night-and-day difference in how the bike feels, and more importantly in how my arms and back feel when I ride. The other major change was swapping out the stock Wellgos for a set of Crank Brother Eggbeaters I bought a dozen years ago when I was riding single-speed conversions in the woods. Going from flat pedals without toeclips and sandals to clipless pedals with dedicated cycling shoes is a major jump.

The torn-and-glued-back-down Vetta TT and the dusty saddlebag came from the same dead Trek that provided the handlebars; they work and I can put the Vetta SL on something else now. And I swapped out the inner tubes for presta valve units so I can use the CO2 inflator in case of a flat.

I had forgotten how much fun a beater mtb can be!
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Old 06-05-17, 07:02 AM
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looks way too small for you if you need a riser extension and are showing that much seat post
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Old 06-05-17, 07:36 AM
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Great to follow this build and touching to know you'll be using it to cheer on your son as he run miles and miles. How XCountry running can go that distance, I'll never know, most I've ran is a 5k and I'm fine with that.

Even if the frame is too small, you got a deal on it and you made it work, so kudos to you. Fitting on MTBs can be tricky.
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Old 06-05-17, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by romperrr View Post
Fitting on MTBs can be tricky.
Sticky quote of the thread.
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