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Vintage Gravel Grinders

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Vintage Gravel Grinders

Old 05-20-19, 06:34 PM
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Vintage Gravel Grinders

I have been thinking about building a vintage gravel grinder from an old touring or old school mountain bike. If you've built one please share some pics. I need some inspiration!
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Old 05-20-19, 06:40 PM
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Refer to this thread.



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Old 05-20-19, 06:49 PM
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Okay.
(pics link to larger versions)




Third pic isn't on gravel, but it's a bike I routinely use on fire roads. Frankly I'm not a fan of a the term "gravel bike" since I think it can be fairly applied to any bike ridden on gravel, and in my opinion all it takes is a set of sufficiently wide tires to turn almost any road bike into one that's fun to ride on gravel.
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Old 05-20-19, 06:54 PM
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Umberto Dei 01 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 05-20-19, 06:55 PM
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Old touring bike #1 : 1990 Trek 520



Old touring bike #2 : 1984ish Univega Gran Turismo



I think I prefer the Univega, for a lot of little reasons. The 520 barely counts as a touring bike, as the '90 model shares the same geometry with the MultiTrack range of hybrids. It's real mountain-bikey.
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Old 05-20-19, 06:57 PM
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Looks awesome. What's the frame set? Are those 650b? Thanks for pointing me to the other thread.
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Old 05-20-19, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by iab

Umberto Dei 01 by iabisdb, on Flickr
That is divine. I'm planning on getting a set of fat tubulars for the Univega, I bet those are luxurious.
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Old 05-20-19, 07:01 PM
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A fine tire. 50 up front, 55 in the back. Great for the fire roads around the cabin.
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Old 05-20-19, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by 85allegro
Looks awesome. What's the frame set? Are those 650b? Thanks for pointing me to the other thread.
It's a 1984 Stumpjumper. The tires are 26ers, just like the bike had originally. Switching to 650b would have reduced my tire clearance, and made brake setup more challenging (the posts for mounting the brake arms are positioned with 26er wheels in mind).
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Old 05-20-19, 07:51 PM
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Bike, with gravel
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Old 05-20-19, 08:24 PM
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Old 05-21-19, 03:04 AM
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Mid 80s Diamond Back Ascent on the Central Otago Rail Trail.


c1915 single speed on the gravel road at Dansey Pass Hotel.
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Old 05-21-19, 07:33 AM
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First-gen hybird (Miyata Triplecross) converted to drops:




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Old 05-21-19, 07:41 AM
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I have been thinking about building a vintage gravel grinder from an old touring or old school mountain bike.
Me too and this is my blank canvas that I picked up last Saturday...


And this is the doner bike, supplying me with an eight speed Brifter transmission...
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Old 05-21-19, 08:12 AM
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Debating putting mud guards on this



or taking them off of this...

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Old 05-21-19, 08:59 AM
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LOTS of bikes will work for gravel--if you want to specifically look for an older mountain bike, Diamondbacks used to feel quicker and roadie-er than their 1980's contemporaries. Look for the Ridge Runner/Mean Streak models. Pre-suspension mountain bikes also sell for peanuts on Craigslist and the like, some crazy deals on those available.
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Old 05-21-19, 09:41 AM
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Early 90s hybrids are a great place to start. They have modern spacing, the 3x7 gearing is good for gravel climbs as is, and there is a ton of space for wider tires.
I think that in general, early hybrids are better due to the geometry when compared to MTBs. That is just in general though.

This was my first gravel bike- a Univega Via Activa that was too small for me, but I made it work for a couple years to make sure I understood what I liked and what I didnt like to ensure my proper gravel build would meet all my wants.
Ended up selling the frame and some components on this site, and donated the rest. All told- out about $100 for a couple years of riding and some learning.



My brother in law built his up from a Trek 750 frame. This is a pic from when it was being built.
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Old 05-21-19, 11:10 AM
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Early 70s Melton frame with various vintage and retro components.

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Old 05-21-19, 11:15 AM
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1993 Bridgestone XO 2

Maybe too recent to be "vintage" but this was one of best designs, I think, for a gravel bike before gravel bikes became a "thing." It has road geometry and 26 inch wheels as in the 90's fat tires were 26 inch not 700c and 650b was not widely available. This bike rocks 26 x 1.75 tires comfortably with lots of room for fenders.

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Old 05-21-19, 08:21 PM
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From https://road.cc/content/news/254443-...es-kickstarter
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Old 05-21-19, 08:39 PM
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Not ready yet, but getting a Miyata 618gt in shape. Wish it had a little more room on the front fork.
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Old 05-28-19, 06:11 PM
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I have a '73 Raleigh Record that rides amazingly. Of all the bikes I have this rides the best and is by far the lowest quality. I've even thought about bringing it to a frame builder to create the same geometry but with modern spacing and modern threads. This was my first experience with the Raleigh threads on lower quality older bikes.

I shoved 700c x 42mm tires in. I actually built the bike up around the tires. The local co-op had a pile of these tires donated. If I were to buy a different size I'd go down a size. I think part of the success with the tire clearance was the original 27" wheels. I also dimpled the seat stays to allow for a touch more clearance.
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Old 05-28-19, 07:11 PM
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My 94 Trek 520 was as someone else said pretty mountain bikey for a touring bike, it would have been a fantastic gravel grinder had I kept it... I sorta have sellers remorse now the more I think of it. I should have kept that bike and sold some other stuff. I guess I will have to find another early 90's 520 ... Oh boy..
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Old 05-28-19, 07:44 PM
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'84/85 Norco's. Upgraded lot's, kept original parts.
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Old 05-28-19, 10:40 PM
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I built this '73 Raleigh Super Course from a found bare frame after walking several previous Eroica hills on my '64 Legnano with classic old school Campy gearing. It has a Sugino AT triple, 32/40/50t, and 34t Megarange freewheel. Fun bike. As a tune-up for Eroica I joined a 44 mile club ride over Sulpher Mtn in the hills above Ojai, CA. There were about 14 miles of gravel fire road. Everybody else showed up with either mtn bikes, or hybrid gravel grinders. With a set of Pasela 28s, the old Super Course was first over the hill, ridden by a rider that is decidedly "over the hill". I guess you could say the Super Course is my gravel grinder now. I took it on last year's Eroica, and still walked three hills.



Ist ever bike build, after lurking on BF, it all works great!

My fat self on the left.

The burned hills of Ojai from the bars.


Who needs fat tires?
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