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New to Me - 1985 Trek 620 - As Found In The Wild

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New to Me - 1985 Trek 620 - As Found In The Wild

Old 08-19-19, 06:26 AM
  #1  
jlaw
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New to Me - 1985 Trek 620 - As Found In The Wild

I saw this bike on CL from a drive-worthy location. The CL photos weren't great but I could see that it was a 620, the Jim Blackburn rack was attached, and that it was a 22.5" frame. So, after some back-and-forth texting/talking - no 'major' issues according to the seller - I agreed to meet/purchase at a truck stop that would only be about an hour's drive for both of us. I was willing to take a chance for this particular bike.

The seller was a nice, young guy who works for a tree service in the mountains of far northern New York State. His company had been hired to clean-up a rental cabin property that had been damaged several years ago by Hurricane Irene - the work included cleaning out the cabins. In one of the cabins he found this bike. His boss suggested that it just go to the dump with everything else!! But the seller - even without being a 'bike guy' and certainly too young too remember what Trek was in the '80's - saw that this bike looked like it wasn't your average old ten speed. He brought it home, did some Googling, found that his intuition was correct, and posted it on CL.

The frame has more scratches and scrapes than I had hoped, but no dents/gouges. Looks like all the original pieces/parts are present with the exception of the seat, a small plastic cover on the Duo Par RD, and not sure about the brake levers.

$250

Tried to take some decent pictures - the sparkly blue metallic paint is striking and unlike any paint I've ever seen on a bike.






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Old 08-19-19, 06:46 AM
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Sweet ride!!!
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Old 08-19-19, 06:47 AM
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Potentially a great and beautiful bike. Needs a complete dis-assembly with clean, lube and adjust of every bearing, including the pedals. New cables & sheaths where needed. After that, wax & polish every surface except the brake pads/braking surface of the rims. Ride it a lot and get a saddle you like to complete everything. Don
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Old 08-19-19, 10:26 AM
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Very nice looks like the rack is painted to match the frame, I was lucky in coming across both a 420 and 520 in the past year both with factory blackburn racks still attached I am going through the 420 right now. Have fun with your new bike.



As found
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Old 08-19-19, 10:42 AM
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^^^^ +1; the blue Jim Blackburn matches the catalog. It would also have had a blue water bottle cage.

Those Wein/Compe brake levers with the turkey extensions are a transplant.
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Old 08-19-19, 10:54 AM
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With a little clean up and some de-cluttering you'll have yourself a very special bike. Nice acquisition.
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Old 08-19-19, 11:36 AM
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Well played on taking the drive and chance! Nice save from the dump story too. Enjoy one of the best production touring bikes of the era.
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Old 08-19-19, 11:39 AM
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Awesome! Great find, that bike is gonna be fantastic! That metallic, 2-part, Dupont Imron paint is really something special! I can't wait to see the build on this!
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Old 08-19-19, 12:03 PM
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Jealous
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Old 08-19-19, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
^^^^ +1; the blue Jim Blackburn matches the catalog. It would also have had a blue water bottle cage.

Those Wein/Compe brake levers with the turkey extensions are a transplant.

Yep - I see that now - image from the Vintage Trek site (an awesome resource!)

The blue rack on mine is clearly a similar shade but a very different paint - not metallic - kind of flat.

I didn't see a brake lever spec. in the '85 brochure. Do you know which levers would have been used? I might actually keep this bike mostly original.


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Old 08-19-19, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jlaw View Post
I didn't see a brake lever spec. in the '85 brochure. Do you know which levers would have been used? I might actually keep this bike mostly original.


Brakesets were _usually_ the levers and calipers/cantis/whatever grouped together BITD. The spec just says Shimano cantis with hooded levers, so with no other brand reference, it most likely means Shimano levers to match the cantis. And def. no turkey levers, as the pic indicates. The levers on your bike appear to be from a bike-boom bike. Plus, it would most certainly not have had those ooky grab-on grips originally. Of course, the mods might have been done upon initial retail assembly at the bike shop.

As for the rack, I've never seen one of these in real life, but it might have been anodized blue, which would explain why it would look flat/chalky now.
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Old 08-19-19, 03:29 PM
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I picked up an '85 Trek 620 with a 19" frame a few months ago for my daughter. I know, pics or it didn't happen. It was equipped with the Shimano XT MC-70 cantilever brakes with Shimano levers (BL-Z306). I say was on the bike, as the brakes were swapped over to my '83 Trek 720! Yes, truly a "bass boat" type finish on these frames. Here's the 620 from the CL photo.

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Old 08-19-19, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by BocaJr View Post
I picked up an '85 Trek 620 with a 19" frame a few months ago for my daughter. I know, pics or it didn't happen. It was equipped with the Shimano XT MC-70 cantilever brakes with Shimano levers (BL-Z306). I say was on the bike, as the brakes were swapped over to my '83 Trek 720! Yes, truly a "bass boat" type finish on these frames. Here's the 620 from the CL photo.

Very nice! Your daughter is lucky. I like the pink tape.

I had a chance to look at the MC70 brakes. They are a step up from the Dia Compe 960s on the 1984 620 that I found last fall. I actually had no problem setting-up the 960's, but the MC70's appear to have a toe-in adjuster built-in and they have a normal coil spring - still only one hole for the spring in the post housing. The MC70's are an interesting transition design moving toward the more 'modern' and easily-adjusted canti designs that followed.

I was looking at available non-aero brake levers - thanks for the Shimano item # - I might go with the Dia Compe 204's. I've never used non-aero, but this bike deserves to be more traditional which is not something I normally worry about. I think I can live with most of the original components - but might change the bars to something wider since vintage narrow bars don't fit me well.

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Old 08-19-19, 07:48 PM
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Congratulations @jlaw- you scored a hell of a bike!

Originally Posted by jlaw View Post

The blue rack on mine is clearly a similar shade but a very different paint - not metallic - kind of flat.

I didn't see a brake lever spec. in the '85 brochure. Do you know which levers would have been used? I might actually keep this bike mostly original.

Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Brakesets were _usually_ the levers and calipers/cantis/whatever grouped together BITD. The spec just says Shimano cantis with hooded levers, so with no other brand reference, it most likely means Shimano levers to match the cantis. And def. no turkey levers, as the pic indicates. The levers on your bike appear to be from a bike-boom bike. Plus, it would most certainly not have had those ooky grab-on grips originally. Of course, the mods might have been done upon initial retail assembly at the bike shop.

As for the rack, I've never seen one of these in real life, but it might have been anodized blue, which would explain why it would look flat/chalky now.
Originally Posted by BocaJr View Post
It was equipped with the Shimano XT MC-70 cantilever brakes with Shimano levers (BL-Z306).
As @BocaJr pointed out the levers are the BL-Z306. They're really cool levers- they weigh exactly the same as the corresponding 600 brake levers. What's cooler is that they're slotted AND they're only branded "Shimano" so you can use them with any group- without mismatching.

Here's my 620- you should be able to blow it up and see the levers:

1985 Trek 620 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr



As far as the rack and bottle cage goes- they're either painted or powder coated. My bet is powder coated because they can take a fair amount of abuse. The clearly painted Specialized branded ones look entirely different and don't seem to have held up as well- and the anodized ones look... well... anodized.
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Old 08-20-19, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Congratulations @jlaw- you scored a hell of a bike!

As @BocaJr pointed out the levers are the BL-Z306. They're really cool levers- they weigh exactly the same as the corresponding 600 brake levers. What's cooler is that they're slotted AND they're only branded "Shimano" so you can use them with any group- without mismatching.

Here's my 620- you should be able to blow it up and see the levers:


1985 Trek 620 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr


.
Thanks.

Maybe I'll try to find the BL-Z306 levers - or at least some sort of decent non-aero lever.

Those Command shifters on your 620 are very cool - and I would imagine pretty convenient to use.

You are a vintage Trek guru and I have 3 questions for you.

1) I got a surprise when I turned the bike up 90* on the workstand and took a look at the BB. For a short moment I thought 'OMG the plastic cable guide is missing and THE CABLES HAVE CUT INTO THE BB SHELL!!' But then I realized that this scenario is very unlikely - so apparently the BB shell itself is grooved in order to guide the RD and FD cables in lieu of using a plastic guide. I have never seen this. Can you tell me, do these grooves need to be lubricated to keep the cables from sticking?

It looks like the previous owner of my 620 applied some sort of lube that may have also stripped some of the paint off the BB shell.

2) Is there anything to watch-out for re: the internal cable that passes through the DS chainstay to the RD? Do I use the existing cable to pull the new cable through?

3) Which mirror is that on your 620? Well-designed and functional mirrors are hard to find. I've tried many.


Bottom of the BB showing the grooved shell.
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Old 08-20-19, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jlaw View Post
Thanks.

Maybe I'll try to find the BL-Z306 levers - or at least some sort of decent non-aero lever.

Those Command shifters on your 620 are very cool - and I would imagine pretty convenient to use.

You are a vintage Trek guru and I have 3 questions for you.

1) I got a surprise when I turned the bike up 90* on the workstand and took a look at the BB. For a short moment I thought 'OMG the plastic cable guide is missing and THE CABLES HAVE CUT INTO THE BB SHELL!!' But then I realized that this scenario is very unlikely - so apparently the BB shell itself is grooved in order to guide the RD and FD cables in lieu of using a plastic guide. I have never seen this. Can you tell me, do these grooves need to be lubricated to keep the cables from sticking?

It looks like the previous owner of my 620 applied some sort of lube that may have also stripped some of the paint off the BB shell.

2) Is there anything to watch-out for re: the internal cable that passes through the DS chainstay to the RD? Do I use the existing cable to pull the new cable through?

3) Which mirror is that on your 620? Well-designed and functional mirrors are hard to find. I've tried many.


Bottom of the BB showing the grooved shell.
Well thank you! I don't know about "guru," but "dork" fits the bill...

I forgot to mention it the other post about the finish- These 620s just look "blue" in pictures. I've read of people referring to the 620 blue as "meh." Every once in a while, you'll see pix that show some of the sparkle in the blue. But in person, in the sun- that paint looks so luscious and deep- like you could poke your finger into it and expect your finger to go in.

1. Regarding the BB shell- I don't recall if I ever have used any sort of lube- If I have, I would have used graphite powder- and if I have- it's been years since I've done it. I just use stainless steel cables. No catching or problems shifting at all.

2. Regarding the 'thru the chainstay' routing- if you're using a used, or heavily coiled cable- you're in for an adventure. And a lot of swearing. If you use a new stainless cable with soldered ends- stand the bike up like you have it and it'll drop right through. Coincidentally- I was going to use the phrase "fish tape" when talking about guiding the cable through- and realized you have a fish tape on your wall behind the bike. How kooky is that?

3. Regarding the mirror... The original Mirrycle Mirror. I cannot stress enough how awesome the Mirrycle mirror is- it puts the mirror in the PERFECT place. When you glance down at it- your mirror is pointing exactly behind you- you don't need to reposition the bars, or have to think about where the mirror is pointing to reposition it... it's just *there*. It's also high enough up that you just need to glance down with your eyes- you don't need to move your head- or actually think about locating the mirror- as you would with a bar end mirror. Helmet or eyeglass mounted mirrors are pointed wherever your head is pointed and angled- you have to correct your head to correct your vision- and you have to concentrate to do that. The Mirrycle- is right there. The Mirrycle also doesn't wiggle around and stays in adjustment better than any other option-

I have one of the outrageously expensive Eyelink mirrors- and that thing wiggles around, and depending on how your hand is on the lever- it messes up where the mirror is pointed- and it needs to be readjusted all the time. I have one of the Blackburn mirrors- it wiggles around more than any other mirror making it difficult to see what you're seeing... The next best thing to the Mirrycle is an old Axiom mirror- it mounts much lower and off to the side than the Mirrycle- it wiggles- but not as much - and it needs to be tightened pretty often. I've heard the new ones have rivets- so once they loosen- they're loose forever.

1985 Trek 620 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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Old 08-21-19, 05:20 AM
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I see that the 'Original' Mirrcycle Mirror is still manufactured and available - about $15 - will give it a try.





Thanks to all for the encouragement and advice.

I probably won't get to this project until this winter - I like to spend an hour or so after dinner in the winter relaxing (mostly) with a good bike project. I already have a set of original, VGC 27" Matrix/Titan wheels ready to go - from my '84 620. I removed the Helicomatic and substituted a Maillard hub (1/4" bearings) with the same housing size - true and round with fresh Paselas and a 7 speed freewheel - not sold on the Mega Range though.

.Have a great day!


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Old 09-28-19, 08:50 AM
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I haven't done anything with this project bike yet, but I did buy some vintage upgrade brakes for it. I found a set of Shimano BR-M732's.

The original brakes on this Trek 620 are Shimano XT-MC70's according to the 1985 Trek brochure - as shown in the photo below. The MC70 brakes have a toe-in adjustment ring/lever mechanism and the pad/post can be slid up/down in a track - especially helpful if converting to 700c from 27" wheels. However, the MC70's have no mechanism for spring adjustment - one hole for the spring and the spring must be manually tweaked if nec.

The BR-M732's have toe-in, pad/post up/down, and a spring adjustment screw. The M732's will go on this 1985 Trek 620.

I am then going to use the MC70's that came with the 1985 to replace the Dia-Compe 960's that are on my 1984 Trek 620. The 1984 is getting a new set of 700c wheels and the Dia Compe brakes are very simple lacking any of the specific adjustment mechanisms found on the M732's and MC70's. Although I have to say that after some moderate fussing I was able to get the Dia Compe 960's to work well with acceptable toe-in and brake/rim contact.

Thank you to @The Golden Boy for previously explaining the characteristics of various vintage canti brake models and sparking my interest.

Looking forward to tackling the '85 620 tear-down and rebuild this winter!

1985 620


M732's
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Old 09-29-19, 03:51 PM
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One suggestion on the cable guide slots under the BB shell - I like to use a short segment of plastic/teflon cable liner that I've salvaged from some old brake or shifter cables, the pressure of the cable keeps the liner in place. That prevents the metal-to-metal contact and it might even make the action a little smoother (though I'm probably imagining that, the cable travel is so short on a typical shift.)

Congrats on your great score!
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Old 09-29-19, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris_in_Miami View Post
One suggestion on the cable guide slots under the BB shell - I like to use a short segment of plastic/teflon cable liner that I've salvaged from some old brake or shifter cables, the pressure of the cable keeps the liner in place. That prevents the metal-to-metal contact and it might even make the action a little smoother (though I'm probably imagining that, the cable travel is so short on a typical shift.)

Congrats on your great score!
Good idea - will give that a try.

Thanks.
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Old 09-29-19, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by jlaw View Post
I haven't done anything with this project bike yet, but I did buy some vintage upgrade brakes for it. I found a set of Shimano BR-M732's.

The original brakes on this Trek 620 are Shimano XT-MC70's according to the 1985 Trek brochure - as shown in the photo below. The MC70 brakes have a toe-in adjustment ring/lever mechanism and the pad/post can be slid up/down in a track - especially helpful if converting to 700c from 27" wheels. However, the MC70's have no mechanism for spring adjustment - one hole for the spring and the spring must be manually tweaked if nec.

The BR-M732's have toe-in, pad/post up/down, and a spring adjustment screw. The M732's will go on this 1985 Trek 620.

I am then going to use the MC70's that came with the 1985 to replace the Dia-Compe 960's that are on my 1984 Trek 620. The 1984 is getting a new set of 700c wheels and the Dia Compe brakes are very simple lacking any of the specific adjustment mechanisms found on the M732's and MC70's. Although I have to say that after some moderate fussing I was able to get the Dia Compe 960's to work well with acceptable toe-in and brake/rim contact.

Thank you to @The Golden Boy for previously explaining the characteristics of various vintage canti brake models and sparking my interest.

Looking forward to tackling the '85 620 tear-down and rebuild this winter!

1985 620


M732's
Congratulations! IMO- the M732s are the brakes to have- if you're going for that 'medium profile' big ol' triangle arm canti. I think they're the coolest.

I may have mentioned it in one of the other threads- but I'm planning on rebuilding my 620, using a set of M732s in the front, and M900 XTR cantis in the rear. I've never had a problem with any of the medium profile canti arms rubbing or getting caught against bags or anything- but the possibility is there. So I figure, why taunt fate- AND I get to use a sweet set of XTR cantis.



XT XTR1 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr



Now, what do you have planned for your straddle yoke?

Grail Straddle Cable Yokes!

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Old 10-01-19, 07:12 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post

Now, what do you have planned for your straddle yoke?

Grail Straddle Cable Yokes!

Wow, another bike component that I didn't know I wanted until you showed a picture of the 'grail yoke'!

I'm using the yokes that arrived with the brakes - yesterday - they look pretty good (below).

...been pondering some other aspects of this rebuild....

Rando Rack/Bag
I have an itch to put a rando rack and rando bag on the my '85 620. I'm not a 'tourist' or randonneur - my rides top out at about 50 miles - but I love the look. Velo Orange customer support told me that their canti-post rando rack won't work for the 60mm post spacing on my bike - too narrow. I know that others have mounted these types of racks on 620's. The VO rack looked like it would be an easier install than the Nitto M12 which would need to be screwed into the threaded fork crown holes and then attached to the cantis.

'Crazyguyonabike' found one of the mythical Jim Blackburn front racks and had it powder-coated to match the original rear rack on his 720 - interesting to see his burgundy 720 with the blue racks.

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=15640

Shimano N600 Crank Set
I'm going to take it easy on 'modernizing' my '85 620, which is my usual instinct and hard to resist. However, I'm not lovin' the Shimano N600 crank set-up of 50/45/28. I don't mind a triple, but prefer a mountain triple chain ring sequence to a road triple. I could change the middle and large ring - or simply buy a vintage mountain triple. ??

Huret Shifters
The Huret ratchet DT shifters have a very substantial clicking feel - almost to the point of the feeling of indexed shifters. I like this and might keep them. If not, then I will probably go 9 speed indexed bar-ends. Of course, this leads to the substitution of a rear cassette for the original freewheel and a new hub/wheel - probably 700c - which takes me back to the question of modernization of a classic bike.



Planning and consideration of the rebuild is at least half the fun!

Any more suggestions re: the direction of this rebuild?



M732 brake yoke
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Old 10-01-19, 08:44 AM
  #23  
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Regarding the front rack: there’s two basic styles of the Blackburn racks, what I refer to as “the wraparound “ and the traditional adjustable single stay rack. IMO- the wraparound rack holds bags much closer to the bars than the traditional style rack. IMO, the traditional is the better choice of the two.

Regarding the crank set: the Shimano N600 crankset is much MUCH nicer and more finely finished and is more gracefully designed than any of the Shimano MTB crank sets. IMO and all that. I polished up an M730 XT crank and have that on my Miyata 1000LT, my 720 has a Sugino AT, my 620 has the N600, my Voyageur SP has the Sugino LP that came on my 720, and both my early Treks have Stronglight 99s.

The polished XT crank looks nice, but the arms appear more thick and clubby than the others. My preference is for the AT- more or less because it’s not Shimano. I would not replace the N600. FWIW- I have a NOS Suntour XC Pro crank that I intended for my 620 project- but I’m still keeping with the N600 for my 620.

Regarding the shifters: I love those Huret ratcheting shifters- the clutch is so buttery smooth. However, I don’t like downtube shifters; I tried to get a set of the Huret shifters to work on Shimano bar end pods- but I think there would have been filing involved so I settled for indexing bar ends.
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Old 10-01-19, 08:53 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by jlaw View Post
Shimano N600 Crank Set
I'm going to take it easy on 'modernizing' my '85 620, which is my usual instinct and hard to resist. However, I'm not lovin' the Shimano N600 crank set-up of 50/45/28. I don't mind a triple, but prefer a mountain triple chain ring sequence to a road triple. I could change the middle and large ring - or simply buy a vintage mountain triple. ??
What chainring sizes do you like? You can often find some very nice MTB cranksets on eBay in very good condition. I found (and bought) a like new-in-box Sugino Impel mountain triple for 25 bucks. It was a 58/94mm size, and it had only the two outer rings. I found an NOS Sugino 22t ring for the 58mm position for 10 dollars and I have a complete like new 22/32/42 triple for 35 bucks. The anodizing on it is very nice and Sugino had a nice quality back then.

Every now and then, brand new or like new STX, LX, and XT crank sets show up at reasonable prices. These, too, are usually the 58/94mm size. You can also find nice 74/110mm sizes, which would be very supportive of a 28/38/48 series.
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Old 10-01-19, 09:44 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by hokiefyd View Post
What chainring sizes do you like?
I prefer to do most of my riding on a 38 to 42T ring - rolling terrain - and also have a 26 to 30T ring for steeps. You're right about ebay offerings - some good vintage MTB cranks available. The 42/32/?? MTB triples or similar would be my choice.
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