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Vintage Lugged Frame to Allroad/Gravel Grinder

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Vintage Lugged Frame to Allroad/Gravel Grinder

Old 05-13-18, 07:08 PM
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FordTrax
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Vintage Lugged Frame to Allroad/Gravel Grinder

I have a "few bikes" - my wife says I have a "few to many". I have a light tourer, two road bikes and a touring/adventure bike - all are modern steel frames with 10-11 speed shifting.

But I really like those vintage lugged frames and some chrome. My road bikes are really very nice and I am happy with them. My light tourer is okay but I dont' really use it much. My touring/adventure bike is a moderately priced bike that works fine and and use it fairly often - I did not want an high line one since I sometime ride it places to visit or have lunch and leave it outside locked to a rack. I did not want the "nicest" bike on the rack figuring the less than honest person would pass my bike by for a "better" choice on the rack.

Anyway, I think what I want try is build a gravel/adventure type of bike out of an old classic lugged frame. Updating the shifters to Brifters and I think changing from 27" to 700c wheelset. I think a wheel set change would allow me to run slightly wider tires - perhaps 35mm or even a bit more. I would really like to find a "special" frame something kind of "sexy" for this - I don't know - restomod project. Does this sound reasonable?

Any suggestions of what to look for? Or makes/models to look out for?
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Old 05-13-18, 07:31 PM
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I think it sounds very reasonable. There are so many choices for that. If you don't want to run fenders, then frames that fit 35mm should be relatively easy to find. I have two vintage treks (82 61x and an 84 500). Both fit 35's. I have a 79 Raleigh Super Course that also fits 35's with some additional chainstay crimping. Do you have a particular brand you like? A particular kind of tubing? If so, I would start there.

BTW-My two Treks are currently running 650b X 38 and my 61x could handle 42's if I was willing to crimp the chainstays. I might do that once these 38's wear out.
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Old 05-13-18, 08:17 PM
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@gugie has done that to several vintage bikes.

With a little brazing, adding rack mounts, and cantilever bosses.

It is also common to change to 650b FAT tires which can often fit in the old frames (once the brakes are fixed up).
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Old 05-13-18, 08:26 PM
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I haven't yet taken nor posted pics of mine; it's an '82 Raleigh Int'l MkII that I'm running Campy 10s bar-ends/drivetrain and 35s, but I'm going to do a little chain stay crimping to run wider tires. I like it, lots.

35s will fit through the centerpulls, tightly. Anything wider will probably require deflation. One negative of not having cantis.


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Old 05-13-18, 08:50 PM
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I am in the process of turning my lugged 520 into more of a gravel bike. Although, all I really did was modernize it with brifters (Microshift), Salsa Cowbell handlebar and the stem.
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Old 05-13-18, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ex Pres View Post
I haven't yet taken nor posted pics of mine; it's an '82 Raleigh Int'l MkII that I'm running Campy 10s bar-ends/drivetrain and 35s, but I'm going to do a little chain stay crimping to run wider tires. I like it, lots.

35s will fit through the centerpulls, tightly. Anything wider will probably require deflation. One negative of not having cantis.

Will cantilever brakes made for 27" rims adjust enough to work with 700c rims? Would it also be possible to put more modern cantilever brakes like Pauls on the retro frame with 700c rims?
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Old 05-13-18, 09:36 PM
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I really have no imagination for this sort of stuff.

"Gravel Grinder" conjures up an old ATB to me. 26" wheels- gives you a WORLD of tire choices. Something like an old Stumpjumper (one of the lugged ones with the biplane fork would be awesome), a Schwinn Cimarron or High Sierra would be dominant as well. Those old ATBs have 18" long chainstays, they're relatively common, and they can get dressed up really, really nicely. That long wheelbase rides so smooth, and old-school ATB parts are so cool- that perfect balance between graceful and badass. IMO- cantilever brakes are the dominant- and aren't a compromise with reach.

If you're looking for something with recognizable cachet- you might want to try one of the top of the line Grand Touring bikes from the mid 80s- the Trek 620, 720, Specialized Expedition, Schwinn Voyageur SP, Miyata 610, 1000 or 1000 LT, Centurion Pro Tour... Those bikes- again long chainstays- 45-47cm, with premium tube sets- give that 1972 Cadillac Eldorado ride, cantilevers, and beautiful classic lines really make for a really special bike.
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Old 05-13-18, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by FordTrax View Post
Will cantilever brakes made for 27" rims adjust enough to work with 700c rims? Would it also be possible to put more modern cantilever brakes like Pauls on the retro frame with 700c rims?
All I can really say here is, it depends. Some cantis have enough adjustment range and some bikes have proper post placement, others won't.
I like my centerpulls, and am not going to modify my frame.
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Old 05-14-18, 01:16 AM
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I would use a "sport touring" frame and medium reach double pivot brakes instead of cantis since that may cause a compatibility problem. Sport touring frames should give you some decent clearance for medium width tires and have sportier geometry than a touring frame.
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Old 05-14-18, 05:27 AM
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I am keeping a hardcopy list of these makes/models and will do a bit of research on them - please continue to suggest some specific makes/models I should look into. Thanks
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Old 05-14-18, 05:40 AM
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Late 80’s through early 90’s era hybrid bikes are the crib notes for modern gravel designs. A 1990 Trek 750 will make just about any new frame blush, just a wee bit. They came stock with 35’s and lugs too.
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Old 05-14-18, 09:52 AM
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My latest gravel/all road bike that I built up last winter is an '85 Miyata Two Ten. As you are contemplating, I switched the 27" wheels for 700c - I can run at least a 37 tire. Kept the original derailleurs and crankset and converted the downtube shifters to Claris. Also swapped the bars and stem and put on an 8 speed cassette. The bike has canti brakes and there was no problems getting them to align with the 700c rims.

The Two Ten is the identical triple butted steel frame as the Six Ten and One Thousand models but with fewer brazeons, particularly water botttle bosses. I picked up some silver bos clamps in order to mount the second bottle.

Very happy with the bike.
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Old 05-14-18, 12:32 PM
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I'm about to embark on this exact kind of conversion if you can even call it that. My 1971 Raleigh Super Course seems perfect for the role. It has had 27" wheels on it for all of its life. I think I have everything collected, so now I just have to do the work. This includes a front wheel with a dynamo hub. It has long reach center pull brakes, and I expect to be able to fit both fenders and fat 700c tires on it.
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Old 05-14-18, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
If you're looking for something with recognizable cachet- you might want to try one of the top of the line Grand Touring bikes from the mid 80s- the Trek 620, 720, Specialized Expedition, Schwinn Voyageur SP, Miyata 610, 1000 or 1000 LT, Centurion Pro Tour... Those bikes- again long chainstays- 45-47cm, with premium tube sets- give that 1972 Cadillac Eldorado ride, cantilevers, and beautiful classic lines really make for a really special bike.
I'll second that whole list. Good suggestions. In addition, look for a Univega Specialissima. They are the same frame as a Miyata 1000 and made in the same factory, but are often available for much less $ due to lower perceived cachet.

Also, a lot of 70s road racing bikes can take 32c tires at least, as has been mentioned. My PX10 can. At one time I was going to set it up as a gravel grinder, but then I got a Rivendell Clem. The Peugeot even with no mods rides pretty well on fire trails. The geometry of early racing bikes is often more touring-like than later road bikes. This is because the pro races used go over some gravel roads.

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Old 05-14-18, 01:16 PM
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1974 Colnago Super with 35mm Kendas
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Old 05-14-18, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
I really have no imagination for this sort of stuff.

"Gravel Grinder" conjures up an old ATB to me. 26" wheels- gives you a WORLD of tire choices. Something like an old Stumpjumper (one of the lugged ones with the biplane fork would be awesome), a Schwinn Cimarron or High Sierra would be dominant as well. Those old ATBs have 18" long chainstays, they're relatively common, and they can get dressed up really, really nicely. That long wheelbase rides so smooth, and old-school ATB parts are so cool- that perfect balance between graceful and badass. IMO- cantilever brakes are the dominant- and aren't a compromise with reach.

If you're looking for something with recognizable cachet- you might want to try one of the top of the line Grand Touring bikes from the mid 80s- the Trek 620, 720, Specialized Expedition, Schwinn Voyageur SP, Miyata 610, 1000 or 1000 LT, Centurion Pro Tour... Those bikes- again long chainstays- 45-47cm, with premium tube sets- give that 1972 Cadillac Eldorado ride, cantilevers, and beautiful classic lines really make for a really special bike.
I'm just now building a relevant 620. Could easily do 38mm tires on these 700c wheels.
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Old 05-14-18, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
I'll second that whole list. Good suggestions. In addition, look for a Univega Specialissima. They are the same frame as a Miyata 1000 and made in the same factory, but are often available for much less $ due to lower perceived cache
Also look for a Univega Gran Turismo. Aside from the fact that they're not a Miyata, they have less brazeons and are not ideal for the modern approach to long tours. Perfect for gravel rides! With the stock canti brakes (required, or nearly so, as the mounts are spaced narrower than for modern brakes) I swapped in 700c rims and 35s with clearance for mud. I just posted these pics at the CX/Gravel subforum but will cross-post here. I'm experimenting with stem length, and I might swap to a single-speed drivetrain. I hope to get started with some CX this fall on this guy.




I also have one of those '90 Trek 520 frames that are basically 750s that I'm hoping will fit some Rock and Roads. Anyone have any experience with that?
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Old 05-14-18, 04:38 PM
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If you haven't yet seen it, RJ the Bike Guy did a conversion on a Ross Signature recently. He's also got a series of videos on an older Trek hybrid, but this is more what you're after I think.

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Old 05-14-18, 05:43 PM
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This is my 83 Centurion Pro-Tour that I just finished setting up here in the USA. I have 37mm schwalb tires on 700c Velocity Dyads. Great bikes.
This is my 81 Centurion Pro Tour that I have in Cambodia. This one also has Dyad rims with Continental Tour tires, 42mm up front and 37mm in back

DSC02402 by Bwilli88, on Flickr
Sorry if I confused you @The Golden Boy I have 2 Pro tours

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Old 05-14-18, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GravelGuy View Post

1974 Colnago Super with 35mm Kendas
Nice bike.
What brakes are you using?
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Old 05-14-18, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bwilli88 View Post
This is my 83 Centurion Pro-Tour that I just finished setting up. I have 37mm schwalb tires on 700c Velocity Dyads. Great bikes.
Wow! That's changed a lot!

It looks fantastic!!!
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Old 05-14-18, 11:12 PM
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It was mentioned once so far, so ill reiterate- early 90s Trek hybrid.
there were lugged models for a few years, some were made with quality DB true temper tubing, and at least one model had the geometry of a 520.

anyways, they are lugged, 700c, fit 40mm tires, and dont look kludged together when drop bars are added.
The early 80s sport touring bike conversion is great, but tire size is usually still pretty limited. I like 40mm for the gravel that i ride. Comfortable and stable.

my brother in law did a conversion on a trek 750 multitrack. Awesome frameset to work with.
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Old 05-14-18, 11:18 PM
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as others have said, mountain bike with rigid forks make terrific gravel grinders. Alternatively, I'd keep my eye out for a 70s era road bike preferably one that came stock with centerpulls and 27 inch wheels. They have lots of clearance.
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Old 05-15-18, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
as others have said, mountain bike with rigid forks make terrific gravel grinders. Alternatively, I'd keep my eye out for a 70s era road bike preferably one that came stock with centerpulls and 27 inch wheels. They have lots of clearance.
This.

If you're looking for a road bike that can go on gravel, 70's era road bike that can take wider tires is an easy way to go.

If you're looking for a bike to ride mostly on gravel, a mountain bike with drop bars will fill the ticket.
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Old 05-15-18, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by gugie View Post
This.

If you're looking for a road bike that can go on gravel, 70's era road bike that can take wider tires is an easy way to go.

If you're looking for a bike to ride mostly on gravel, a mountain bike with drop bars will fill the ticket.
The rigid MTBs and the 70s era road bikes that came with center pulls are your cheapest options for a high quality gravel "mutt." You can pick up something good with a bit of hunting and luck for $100, maybe a little less, easily more as well but generally not for a crazy price. Personally I'd probably avoid a C&V touring bike or, for that matter a C&V cyclo cross bike, for a gravel bike. They likely won't take fatter than a 35c tire. This may be enough for your purposes but I'd like the option of running a fatter tire and both are likely to be expensive.

70s era road bikes with center pulls and 27 inch wheels can be found for relatively small money. I picked up a Sekine SHS 271 (tange frame set, chrome socks, half chrome fork, forged drop outs) for under a $100. I'm running 27 x 1 and 1/4 tires but it can easily take a 38c in 700c. I'm running it as a cheapo lock up bike and I'm resisting the temptation--so far--to tear it down and build it up as a gravel mutt, .

Some hybrids like the 90s era Trek 750s can work if you can track one down.

If you want or need to spend more money, the 650b conversion route is one way to go. There are a number of bike models that can work but this is more expensive since you will need, at a minimum, wheels (and tires) and different brakes with a longer reach. Plus not every vintage bike is a good 650b conversion candidate since you want to be able to run at least a 38c tire. @gugie is the 650b maestro. This site also has good information, https://www.bikeforums.net/newreply.php?do=newreply&p=20340853

Another way to go--but this will take some hunting and luck--is to find a C&V "gravel" specific bike. Bianchi sold and marketed a bike, the Bianchi project bikes, that was one of the earliest mtb 29ers. Here's some info on the "early" 29ers,

https://www.bikehugger.com/posts/the...at-wasnt-700d/

The other way to go--it likely won't be cheap and also somewhat difficult to find--is to track down some of the Bridgestone XO series. As it true with a number of Grant Peterson designs, these are smart bikes. Back in the day, there were no big volume 700c tires since mountain bikes were all 26 inch. Not all the XO series but many of them are essentially road bikes designed around 26 inch wheels. It was a solid idea. You got road handling and nice cushy tires. Most of them can handle a 26 x 1.9 tire; I'm running 1.75 on my 1993 Bridgestone XO 2 with plenty of room for fenders. Personally my vote would go for one of these probably because I own one and it's the finest all around machine I have ridden:



1993 Bridgestone XO 2, 3 x 8 gearing, 26 x 1.75 tires

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