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Vintage Gravel Grinders

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Vintage Gravel Grinders

Old 08-24-20, 02:15 PM
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Vintage Gravel Grinders

As if there’s really such a thing. But let’s play along. Anyone care to post a pic of there bikes? Honestly, I think a Schwann Varsity with knobby tires is probably the ultimate vintage version.
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Old 08-24-20, 02:20 PM
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My favorite one from the past - Ian Hibell's bike - 1975 - Timetrialling Forum



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Old 08-24-20, 02:22 PM
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The ultimate vintage version would be one of the wide-tired pass-hunting machines from the high-end French framebuilders of the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s. The constructeurs were some of the few framebuilders making bicycles that take wide tires (650b) and wide gear ranges that were also very lightweight and sporty, meant for racing through the French Alps. They are probably the closest analogues to the modern gravel bike.


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Old 08-24-20, 02:27 PM
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And then there's this one of mine - '73 Raleigh Competition Mk. II running 42/44T chainrings against a Surly Dingle 17/19T fixed cogset on 35 mm Continental Cyclocross tires -

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Old 08-24-20, 02:52 PM
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Everybody rode on gravel until the '60s or '70s.

This is Anquetil and Bahamontes, TDF 1963.
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Old 08-24-20, 02:53 PM
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All bikes are gravel bikes...



...well at least most tourish.
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Old 08-24-20, 03:04 PM
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'91 Crossroads


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Old 08-24-20, 03:06 PM
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These are my designated gravel bikes

Dirty Bike by L Travers, on Flickr

Katy Machens 23 mi 2 res by L Travers, on Flickr
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Old 08-24-20, 03:10 PM
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Old 08-24-20, 04:10 PM
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Valetti-Bartali, 1939

SI3 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 08-24-20, 04:13 PM
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Passo Rolle - 1938

1939_Giro032 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 08-24-20, 04:16 PM
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Umberto Dei 01 by iabisdb, on Flickr
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Old 08-24-20, 04:26 PM
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This one is almost entirely original, early-90's Performance Parabola "Road Hybrid". Bought a pair of them from Goodwill for $80 about 15 years ago.
It uses huge dual-pivot calipers with cable-release QR arrangement to accommodate huge tires. Tange Infinity DB CrMo tubing and unicrown fork w/1" steerer.

I used it for lots of mtb trail riding and a half-dozen CX races over the years.


Also bought, rode and raced this one from around the same time:



My current all-round road/gravel bike is this 1977 Pro-Tour, which gets by using Pasela tires maesuring only 26mm wide:


Then versus now, six months of abuse on said 1" Paselas:

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Old 08-24-20, 04:50 PM
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Motobecane Le Champion



Some sort of Diamondback hybrid (I think.)



Carré Lejeune

Brent
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Old 08-24-20, 05:00 PM
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I keep this early eighties Bianchi Touring in Jamaica and, generally, put about 3000km on the bike each winter. Did not do that this years, though, as I had to leave the island six weeks ahead of schedule. Anyway, what a great, solid, dependable and ugly old bike. I love it..!


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Old 08-24-20, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sluggo View Post
Everybody rode on gravel until the '60s or '70s.

This is Anquetil and Bahamontes, TDF 1963.
Great pic and good point as well. Older road racing bikes can handle rough stuff. Most of the racing bikes I’ve seen from the 70s and earlier can handle 32c or 35c tires. A few can handle 38c tires.

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Old 08-24-20, 05:15 PM
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Bridgestone, Bianchi, and GT

Before gravel bikes became a thing, they reminded me a lot of the the early days of MTBs. Old bikes were repurposed to handle gravel and it was a way of avoiding cars.

Vintage MTBs obviously make good gravel grinders. There are also some bikes that pushed the design envelope: the Bridgestone XO series (many of these had road geometry with 26 inch wheels), the Bianchi project bikes that were early forerunners of the 29ers, and the GT Tachyon bikes.

Here is a good piece on the Bianchi Project and GT tachyon bikes

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

I have a 1992 Bridgestone XO 2. The bike is a great gravel and all around bike with plush 26 inch tires and road geometry:


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Old 08-24-20, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
This one is almost entirely original, early-90's Performance Parabola "Road Hybrid". Bought a pair of them from Goodwill for $80 about 15 years ago.
It uses huge dual-pivot calipers with cable-release QR arrangement to accommodate huge tires. Tange Infinity DB CrMo tubing and unicrown fork w/1" steerer.

I used it for lots of mtb trail riding and a half-dozen CX races over the years.
I've got one too. I just wish I had some gravel nearby to ride it on.


1992 Performance Parabola

The aforementioned brakes with 28 mm tires. I mounted fenders over 32mm tires with room to spare.
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Old 08-24-20, 06:51 PM
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For the budget-minded, a lot of these '80s tourers make great gravel bikes!



But I'll give a plug for Jack Taylor's work as well. He was making purpose-built mountain bikes for his customers while Gary Fisher was still messing about with old Schwinns! And I still take this old '59 Taylor tandem on gravel.
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Old 08-24-20, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by iab View Post
Umberto Dei 01 by iabisdb, on Flickr
I am not a proponent of single ring, but this looks well planned.
The shift paddle on the LH side just an artifact?
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Old 08-24-20, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I am not a proponent of single ring, but this looks well planned.
The shift paddle on the LH side just an artifact?
Yup. Don't need it. No major climbs. Nothing really steep. I didn't want the clutter up front.
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Old 08-24-20, 08:20 PM
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Old 08-24-20, 08:53 PM
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Univega is for shorter rides 700x38, Rockhopper is for longer self supported rides, usually has a rack on the back, 26x2.0


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Old 08-25-20, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by cs1 View Post
As if there’s really such a thing. But let’s play along. Anyone care to post a pic of there bikes? Honestly, I think a Schwann Varsity with knobby tires is probably the ultimate vintage version.
A schwinn varsity with knobby tires would be cool.

But what about a Schwinn Excelsior Klunker?

Schwinn Excelsior Klunker

That would make a cool vintage gravel bike.
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Old 08-25-20, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by droppedandlost View Post
Univega is for shorter rides 700x38, Rockhopper is for longer self supported rides, usually has a rack on the back, 26x2.0


I like both of these set ups a lot. I'm in the process of doing a dropped bar conversion with a 1992 Specialized Stumpjumper. A drop bar MTB is likely the most capable of all the various vintage gravel bikes you could set up especially since you can run 2 inch tires and fenders.

How the heck did you get 38c tires mounted on the univega? Just asking because not a lot of road bikes can handle a 38c which is one reason why 650b has become popular.

I started a thread on this a while back:
700 x 38c tires on a vintage bike?
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