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1985 Trek 620 Cirrus build up.

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1985 Trek 620 Cirrus build up.

Old 07-13-21, 07:48 PM
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Jasongrace313
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1985 Trek 620 Cirrus build up.

Hello,

I picked up this Trek a few days ago and it came with a hodge podge of impressive parts but all miss matched.

My goal is to make it the most comfortable (and reliable) touring bike I can build.

It came with Phil Wood Gen 2s laced to a 27 wheel, but the tires are too old to be trusted and are splitting at the gum wall.

So to take it for a ride and start feeling out what needs to be done I put some Surly Knards on a 700c wheel set I had laying around.
It was extremely impressive cockpit aside, the bars and stem will need attention second only to the brakes.

The Canti brakes will reach fine but Im not a rocket surgeon and am having some trouble getting them to an efficient level. Anywhoo.

The hoods feel too far forward and the drops feel too low, Im thinking Ill start with the stem then maybe a wider set of bars with some flare.



If you guys have any ideas or suggestions on building this up Im all ears. Thanks
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Old 07-14-21, 12:51 AM
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Great to see some serious rubber put on these impressively capable (and capacious) frames!

Two quick things before everybody jumps all over you: Drive side (right side, aka side with the gears showing) photos, and flip that front QR (quick release) skewer so that the lever is on the non-drive side (left side, the side we see in the photo).

As far as reach goes, I agree, it looks like the cockpit setup is stretched out for sure. The DB/Diamondback stem looks to be 130mm or some absurd amount. That can be replaced with something much shorter. Secondly, those handlebars, in that orientation, have incredibly long reach (measured from the centerline of the bar where it clamps the stem, forward to the centerline of the furthest forward point in the bar's curve--where the brake levers mount, essentially). As for the brake lever position, where do you ride or where do you want to ride? In the drops, being able to grip the brake levers that way? Or "on the hoods" on the top of the bars? It seems like the latter choice is preferable given your commentary in the first post. To that end, sliding/rotating the brake levers up and back on those handlebars will help tremendously with the reach scenario, should you desire to have your hands there primarily. As they are, the brake levers are what I call "beyond the curve" [of the bars], which means as you grab the hoods, your wrists are forced upward and outward due to the bars. This effectively lengthens your reach. Long stem, long bar reach, and sub-optimal brake lever reach due to poor brake lever positioning--quite the trifecta! This can be easily remedied, and I'd start with moving the brake levers up/back on the handlebars (after removing the bar tape to allow them room) as a quick and free modification to help get you (closer) to where you want to be.

If you see the brake lever position/angle on my former Allez SE (same brake levers, in essence), you can see what I'm getting at. Just moving your brake levers will shave 1" to 1.25" of reach off your current setup. It will allow you to comfortably ride on the hoods (higher than before) and get you a lot closer to the height and reach ideal you're looking for.


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Old 07-14-21, 07:38 AM
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Hi Jasongrace313

The 620 Cirrus is actually an unofficial 1986 model- It wasn't in the catalog, but just leftover 1985 Trek 620s, painted with a 1986 color and graphic scheme. I think it looks really cool. The 1985 Trek 620 was a "one-off" in terms of design- it was the only year with that geometry and component build and color and everything- and 600 series bikes were discontinued for 1986. I guess the bottom had gone out of the Touring Bike market- having shifted to ATB/MTBs. They built a LOT of 620s and they had a lot left over- so they created the "620 Cirrus" to use up the frames and parts. I don't recall seeing anything particularly odd component wise- the ones I've seen pix of were all either JUST like 85 620s or had swapped parts, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were parts that were anachronistic or just different from the 85 620.

As far as your "fit" issue- the 1985 Trek touring bikes had long top tubes- on top of that, you've got a pretty long stem on there. Check out the geometry on the Vintage Trek site and compare it with any of the sport and racing models for that year- or any of the previous years' tourers: https://www.vintage-trek.com/images/t...rekTouring.pdf

As far as your "brake" issue... It looks like you've got newer brakes on there. Old touring bikes didn't really have a standard width between the canti posts- generally speaking they're set much narrower on older bikes. The brakes themselves were designed to that narrower spacing and some had more adjustment to accommodate the differences. You'll notice you have 2 different styles of cantis on there- that's probably not an accident or a style choice. Newer brakes are designed with a wider distance between posts that's become much more standardized over the years, and generally the front posts will be narrower than the rear- hence the need for different brakes in the front- even with 27s.

The brakes I've personally used- Suntour XC Pro. The brakes I've seen used Shimano XT MC-70, Shimano XT M732. Brakes that are nearly identical to to M732 are the Deore MT60 and MT62. Brakes that did not work for me (surprisingly) XTR M900. Brakes I would strongly suggest- Shimano XT M732 or MT62.

The 85 620 is a great bike- it's got the outrageously long chainstays and it's a relatively light frame. Double butted 531 main frame and CrMo fork and stays. The long stays are great for heel clearance for panniers and have the side effect of mellowing out the road- it's a touring bike. However, that can translate into "flexy" and "sluggish" for those used to tighter and stiffer racing frames. I have both an 85 620 and 85 720- I think my 620 feels lighter, it rides lighter and it's more flexy than my 720. Conversely- the ride of the 620 feels more supple to me.
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Old 07-14-21, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
Great to see some serious rubber put on these impressively capable (and capacious) frames!

Two quick things before everybody jumps all over you: Drive side (right side, aka side with the gears showing) photos, and flip that front QR (quick release) skewer so that the lever is on the non-drive side (left side, the side we see in the photo).

As far as reach goes, I agree, it looks like the cockpit setup is stretched out for sure. The DB/Diamondback stem looks to be 130mm or some absurd amount. That can be replaced with something much shorter. Secondly, those handlebars, in that orientation, have incredibly long reach (measured from the centerline of the bar where it clamps the stem, forward to the centerline of the furthest forward point in the bar's curve--where the brake levers mount, essentially). As for the brake lever position, where do you ride or where do you want to ride? In the drops, being able to grip the brake levers that way? Or "on the hoods" on the top of the bars? It seems like the latter choice is preferable given your commentary in the first post. To that end, sliding/rotating the brake levers up and back on those handlebars will help tremendously with the reach scenario, should you desire to have your hands there primarily. As they are, the brake levers are what I call "beyond the curve" [of the bars], which means as you grab the hoods, your wrists are forced upward and outward due to the bars. This effectively lengthens your reach. Long stem, long bar reach, and sub-optimal brake lever reach due to poor brake lever positioning--quite the trifecta! This can be easily remedied, and I'd start with moving the brake levers up/back on the handlebars (after removing the bar tape to allow them room) as a quick and free modification to help get you (closer) to where you want to be.

If you see the brake lever position/angle on my former Allez SE (same brake levers, in essence), you can see what I'm getting at. Just moving your brake levers will shave 1" to 1.25" of reach off your current setup. It will allow you to comfortably ride on the hoods (higher than before) and get you a lot closer to the height and reach ideal you're looking for.

Thank you for chiming in, I was hoping to hear your input. I have the original stem, or what I believe to be. I am going to remove and clean the bars and replace the stem, fit the brakes and replace the tape and I will circle back with photos. I am thinking I will keep these tires on until I can have a wheelset made and get the tires I want. I don't need knobby's and have a few others but I'll probably never have a need for these again so I'll wear some rubber off while I have the chance. I believe your assessment is spot on concerning the brake placement and stem.
Thanks again.

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Old 07-14-21, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Hi Jasongrace313

The 620 Cirrus is actually an unofficial 1986 model- It wasn't in the catalog, but just leftover 1985 Trek 620s, painted with a 1986 color and graphic scheme. I think it looks really cool. The 1985 Trek 620 was a "one-off" in terms of design- it was the only year with that geometry and component build and color and everything- and 600 series bikes were discontinued for 1986. I guess the bottom had gone out of the Touring Bike market- having shifted to ATB/MTBs. They built a LOT of 620s and they had a lot left over- so they created the "620 Cirrus" to use up the frames and parts. I don't recall seeing anything particularly odd component wise- the ones I've seen pix of were all either JUST like 85 620s or had swapped parts, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were parts that were anachronistic or just different from the 85 620.

As far as your "fit" issue- the 1985 Trek touring bikes had long top tubes- on top of that, you've got a pretty long stem on there. Check out the geometry on the Vintage Trek site and compare it with any of the sport and racing models for that year- or any of the previous years' tourers: https://www.vintage-trek.com/images/t...rekTouring.pdf

As far as your "brake" issue... It looks like you've got newer brakes on there. Old touring bikes didn't really have a standard width between the canti posts- generally speaking they're set much narrower on older bikes. The brakes themselves were designed to that narrower spacing and some had more adjustment to accommodate the differences. You'll notice you have 2 different styles of cantis on there- that's probably not an accident or a style choice. Newer brakes are designed with a wider distance between posts that's become much more standardized over the years, and generally the front posts will be narrower than the rear- hence the need for different brakes in the front- even with 27s.

The brakes I've personally used- Suntour XC Pro. The brakes I've seen used Shimano XT MC-70, Shimano XT M732. Brakes that are nearly identical to to M732 are the Deore MT60 and MT62. Brakes that did not work for me (surprisingly) XTR M900. Brakes I would strongly suggest- Shimano XT M732 or MT62.

The 85 620 is a great bike- it's got the outrageously long chainstays and it's a relatively light frame. Double butted 531 main frame and CrMo fork and stays. The long stays are great for heel clearance for panniers and have the side effect of mellowing out the road- it's a touring bike. However, that can translate into "flexy" and "sluggish" for those used to tighter and stiffer racing frames. I have both an 85 620 and 85 720- I think my 620 feels lighter, it rides lighter and it's more flexy than my 720. Conversely- the ride of the 620 feels more supple to me.
Golden, I've been drooling over your photo's this morning. Those bikes are unreal! I love it so far and hope to get it just right. The previous owner worked at a bike shop as a mechanic and I keep finding new interesting bits that I didn't notice previously. The front Canti is a campy and the rear is a scott edmond or something like that.
Are those 700's on your 620? Thank you for the insight on the brakes you've had success with I am going to try to make these work for the moment then I'll grab a new set as the project unfolds. I do appreciate your help, very much, thank you.
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Old 07-14-21, 05:06 PM
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Now that I have the bars off.. I am thinking I'd like something wider. Maybe a Nitto Noodle.. Yep, ordered. 48's, for real estate purposes.

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Old 07-14-21, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasongrace313 View Post
Thank you for chiming in, I was hoping to hear your input. I have the original stem, or what I believe to be. I am going to remove and clean the bars and replace the stem, fit the brakes and replace the tape and I will circle back with photos. I am thinking I will keep these tires on until I can have a wheelset made and get the tires I want. I don't need knobby's and have a few others but I'll probably never have a need for these again so I'll wear some rubber off while I have the chance. I believe your assessment is spot on concerning the brake placement and stem.
Thanks again.
You're welcome! Looks like those changes should really help the reach situation, even if you're going to super wide 48cm Noodles.
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Old 07-14-21, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Hi Jasongrace313

The 620 Cirrus is actually an unofficial 1986 model- It wasn't in the catalog, but just leftover 1985 Trek 620s, painted with a 1986 color and graphic scheme. I think it looks really cool. The 1985 Trek 620 was a "one-off" in terms of design- it was the only year with that geometry and component build and color and everything- and 600 series bikes were discontinued for 1986. I guess the bottom had gone out of the Touring Bike market- having shifted to ATB/MTBs. They built a LOT of 620s and they had a lot left over- so they created the "620 Cirrus" to use up the frames and parts. I don't recall seeing anything particularly odd component wise- the ones I've seen pix of were all either JUST like 85 620s or had swapped parts, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were parts that were anachronistic or just different from the 85 620.

As far as your "fit" issue- the 1985 Trek touring bikes had long top tubes- on top of that, you've got a pretty long stem on there. Check out the geometry on the Vintage Trek site and compare it with any of the sport and racing models for that year- or any of the previous years' tourers: https://www.vintage-trek.com/images/t...rekTouring.pdf

As far as your "brake" issue... It looks like you've got newer brakes on there. Old touring bikes didn't really have a standard width between the canti posts- generally speaking they're set much narrower on older bikes. The brakes themselves were designed to that narrower spacing and some had more adjustment to accommodate the differences. You'll notice you have 2 different styles of cantis on there- that's probably not an accident or a style choice. Newer brakes are designed with a wider distance between posts that's become much more standardized over the years, and generally the front posts will be narrower than the rear- hence the need for different brakes in the front- even with 27s.

The brakes I've personally used- Suntour XC Pro. The brakes I've seen used Shimano XT MC-70, Shimano XT M732. Brakes that are nearly identical to to M732 are the Deore MT60 and MT62. Brakes that did not work for me (surprisingly) XTR M900. Brakes I would strongly suggest- Shimano XT M732 or MT62.

The 85 620 is a great bike- it's got the outrageously long chainstays and it's a relatively light frame. Double butted 531 main frame and CrMo fork and stays. The long stays are great for heel clearance for panniers and have the side effect of mellowing out the road- it's a touring bike. However, that can translate into "flexy" and "sluggish" for those used to tighter and stiffer racing frames. I have both an 85 620 and 85 720- I think my 620 feels lighter, it rides lighter and it's more flexy than my 720. Conversely- the ride of the 620 feels more supple to me.
I don't know what the specific frame geometry is for bikes smaller than mine (logically I care about what I need to fit, unless I'm looking up a smaller bike to sell), but at the 63.5 / 64 / 65cm level, a 59cm top tube (given a 73 angle or 'normalized' to a 73 angle) is pretty standard across a number of brands. Early Treks, up until about 1982 it seems, had longer ones (60.0cm). So if my experience up at the top of the size spectrum is anything, it would seem that smaller frames were within norms of the time. My '85 620 has a 58.5cm TT that meets a 73.5 seat tube angle. Since, at this size range, 1 of angle = 1cm of horizontal change, then a 73.5 seat tube angle frame with a 58.5cm TT = a 73 seat tube angle frame with a 59.0cm TT. My '74 Paramount (63.5cm) had a 59.7cm TT (73/73 angles) and my '83 Expedition had a 59.5cm TT with a 73.3 seat tube angle (long for the size, IMO). Of note: Trek kept the same main traingle geometry, at least in the 25.5" size (I assume elsewhere), from 1985 to 1987 or 1988. Pretty interesting!

The 47cm chain stays do mellow out the road as one is more centrally positioned relative to the wheelbase. Certainly for me at 6'5", this made a HUGE difference, immediately, over my Paramount with its 43.5cm stays. AT 3533g for the frame, fork, and headset, it's right on the money weight-wise with other high end tourers (Paramount, Expedition all within 30g of that). A 720 should duck that weight by 200g or so if my friend's '85 720 is anything to go by (24" size, but I did some CAD work and calculations for a 25.5" size).

Interestingly, for such a long bike, it has the spirit of a race bike. Sure, lighter tires and tubes, plus the resulting smaller (let's say, 25mm) tire diameter, pair really well with a tight, short chain stay frame. I've done plenty of out of the saddle shenanigans to assess a frame and build, and the 620 gives up very little reaction and quickness when really getting after it. And that was with 33mm tires. A thinner-walled 720 would, I imagine, be more willowy. My '79 510 weighs 350g less than my 620, and it's darn near the same size (44.5cm chain stays, but longer TT). That thing labors out of the saddle. As always, rims, spoke tension, tires, tire size, and tire pressure can swing the feel of a bike. With supple 42s at 40-45 PSI, my 620 feels amazing over all roads, especially crappy ones, all while rolling just as fast as I would with smaller tires.

Production numbers for 1985 620s: 3,350 units (of which just 250 were made in the 25.5" size) (550 in the 21" size)
Production numbers for 1985 720s: 1,855 units (just 75 or so for the 25.5" size) (405 or so in the 21" size)

Trek by this time was well over 50-60k units a year. I'm tabulating 520 production numbers over 1984/1985, and that should give us a good idea of just how plentiful the 620s were in comparison to the 520. I'll edit this post when that happens. 700 level bikes' numbers always shrink considerably from their 600 level brethren. 560 / 660 (and 670) / 760 (and 770) numbers correlate similarly.

EDIT: Wow, 1984 and 1985 numbers for the 520 are remarkably close to the 620 numbers. Granted, the 520 in 1985 was firmly in the Sport Touring category, with no long chain stay aspirations (only 42.5cm, so plenty sporty). 1985 520 numbers were just 2,690 (though it had 500 and 510 siblings as well with identical or near identical geometry). 250 25.5" examples, making them as rare as my 620.

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Old 07-14-21, 11:37 PM
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Could be you have 1/2 step plus Granny gearing. Fully explore that set up before you go changing things. It is way cool. The gears on my 85 620 are what I miss the most from selling it.
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Old 07-15-21, 02:27 AM
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Really loving the look of that bike already. Trek makes some great frames. Cant wait to see the final set up.
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Old 07-15-21, 10:56 AM
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Great score with great potential for touring.
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Old 07-15-21, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
You're welcome! Looks like those changes should really help the reach situation, even if you're going to super wide 48cm Noodles.
Yes, it feels much better with a shorter stem and the brakes in a more upright position. Thanks
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Old 07-15-21, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
Could be you have 1/2 step plus Granny gearing. Fully explore that set up before you go changing things. It is way cool. The gears on my 85 620 are what I miss the most from selling it.
Yeah, it feels under-geared. I might not say that when its fully loaded, so I guess we'll see.
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Old 07-15-21, 02:44 PM
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Here’s the new stem setup. I’m guessing the new bars will require more cables, which I’m sure could use replacement anyway. All roads seem to lead to Rivendell, bars, racks, cables, pedals, fenders. Oof, these prices are high as a giraffes tail.
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Old 07-15-21, 03:01 PM
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I’m looking for racks, of course it would be nice to have Jim Blackburn originals but I’m not going to drop $300 to do it. I found some within driving range and am trying to figure out if they’ll work, it seems this vintage schwinn front rack might work but will need some modifications to allow the brake cable to stay put.


I wonder if I could modify the brake cable hanger to work with this…

This is with it just set on a bike the seller has handy, I was trying to get the measurements to get an idea of fitting.
Hmm. If I go with new racks it’s gonna be big dough. I’d like to try to find some used first.
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Old 07-15-21, 03:25 PM
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Here it is on a bike.
The clearance looks fine the only obvious issue is the brake cable hanger.
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Old 07-15-21, 04:53 PM
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That rack isn't really of the caliber of the bike you want to put it onto.

I've had a steel rack with the sprung 'mousetrap' before. The welds were rusted to the point of failure. It, in turn, rattled like crazy in a way that I couldn't repair. I happily replaced it with the first rack I found cheaply.
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Old 07-15-21, 06:17 PM
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That's definitely half-step plus granny gearing.
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Old 07-15-21, 06:20 PM
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RiddleOfSteel
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I'd go for a more conventional lowrider rack. They mount in normal, supplied locations, like on my former 1990 Cannondale ST400. It also won't weigh a million pounds. Unless you're going for a rack with a platform like a conventional rear rack. I'd check Velo Orange for stuff, not just Riv. Or a used parts bike store/co-op/non-profit, of which I am sure there are many in the Detroit area. No one cares about used racks, and they're often priced very cheaply. And since you're not going for a Concours build / bike, it doesn't make any sense to pay Concours prices when plenty of other very serviceable options exist.

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Old 07-15-21, 06:46 PM
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Yeah, I passed.
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Old 07-15-21, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
That's definitely half-step plus granny gearing.
Yep, 48,46,28. The wheels have a cheap cassette with a shim "mega-range" I found some hoops I'm going to have the Phil Woods laced to and get a decent set of gears made up.
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Old 07-15-21, 06:50 PM
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Blackburn low-riders would be a perfect match for those mid-fork mounting holes. If I recall, back then, Jim Blackburn collaborated with Trek to ensure their rack mount spacing matched his racks.
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Old 07-15-21, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by RiddleOfSteel View Post
I'd go for a more conventional lowrider rack. They mount in normal, supplied locations, like on my former 1990 Cannondale ST400. It also won't weigh a million pounds. Unless you're going for a rack with a platform like a conventional rear rack. I'd check Velo Orange for stuff, not just Riv. Or a used parts bike store/co-op/non-profit, of which I am sure there are many in the Detroit area. No one cares about used racks, and they're often priced very cheaply. And since you're not going for a Concours build / bike, it doesn't make any sense to pay Concours prices when plenty of other very serviceable options exist.

I agree, and am hoping to find something serviceable not show quality. I like the looks of that, are those 27's?
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Old 07-15-21, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasongrace313 View Post
I agree, and am hoping to find something serviceable not show quality. I like the looks of that, are those 27's?
Cannodale originally spec'd the STs, starting back in 1983, with 27" wheels (ST being the touring models as opposed to the SR racing models), and by the late '80s/1990, they had gone to 700C wheels. Outside of an original bike photo (upon, say, a purchase), you will never see anything other than 700C wheels from my past and present fleet (ok, my '74 Paramount I built with 27s originally, years back, then went 700 and never looked back). Knowing how good so many frames are with quality 700C wheels, as opposed to the plodding 27"ers they came with, is eye-opening.
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Old 07-16-21, 12:43 PM
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My favorite tires so far have been the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes, I have them in 35mm (700) on another bike, I will rarely be using this bike in mud or grass, say 95/5% tarmac to off-road (when the tarmac ends or is washed out). With that being said, I didn’t love the rigidity of the Schwalbe marathon tires or the Gatorskins. I’m leaning toward the Schwalbe Marathon Supremes even though I can’t get them in anything but black (I’d prefer a gum wall) something in the 35-40 range.

What your favorite tires?
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