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Vintage steel candidates for 'all-road'?

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Vintage steel candidates for 'all-road'?

Old 09-20-21, 06:43 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by nlerner View Post
I’m curious about the geometry of these hybrids. Most shown in this thread seem along the line of old-school mtbs with slack angles, relatively high BB, lots of wheel flop, rather than more road-bike oriented. True?
I think they ride very nicely. I can speak for my Trek 750 only because I have the specs close at hand. I have a 21" (53cm) frame and it has a head angle of 71.5 with a seat tube angle of 73.0, which is somewhat typical of road or touring bikes. Effective top tube is 57cm...so it does have a longer top tube than seat tube and it as a relatively high BB (281mm), which is likely where their common reputation of "having MTB geometry" comes from. With the head angle and fork offset (50mm), its trail is in the low-60s, which is pretty pleasant to ride. Chain stays are 430mm.

Having ridden many bikes, I'd say the 750 feels almost completely "neutral". It doesn't have very low trail, like my Peugeot mixte. It doesn't have high trail like some newer bikes I've owned. Its chain stays are a middle-of-the-road 430mm...so it doesn't feel super nimble nor sluggish. You can ride no hands very easily. You can get playful in the turns and it just follows. It just rides good.
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Old 09-20-21, 06:58 PM
  #77  
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least expensive is likely to be the early 90's Hybrids with the unicrown forks. the coolest (in my opinion) are those that have lugged frames, long chain stays for lots of tire clearance (touring bikes).

I am building this 1984 Schwinn Voyageur as an all arounder right now. True they can be harder to find/more expensive - so I agree with the advice to build something that works and then watch for what you want. I need to stop watching cause I have found several of these touring type frames, they keep following me home


Schwinn Voyageur 1984- clears 700x40

1985 LeTour Luxe. Wearing 27x 1 3/8 (35mm) for sale in the Classic Vintage Sales section

Trek 520, wearing 27x 1 1/4 (32MM)

1987 Schwinn Cimarron. Hard tale "mountain bike" Unicrown fork. Paid up for this one
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Old 09-21-21, 10:47 AM
  #78  
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Does anyone have a good source (book, youtube channel, online source) on the topic of converting an older touring, mtn, or hybrid bike for gravel? I would think with the popularity that gravel is now seeing there would be more people interested in this, instead of buying new!
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Old 09-21-21, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Does anyone have a good source (book, youtube channel, online source) on the topic of converting an older touring, mtn, or hybrid bike for gravel? I would think with the popularity that gravel is now seeing there would be more people interested in this, instead of buying new!
How much conversion really needs to happen besides maybe a tire change?
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Old 09-21-21, 11:30 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Does anyone have a good source (book, youtube channel, online source) on the topic of converting an older touring, mtn, or hybrid bike for gravel? I would think with the popularity that gravel is now seeing there would be more people interested in this, instead of buying new!

RJ the Bike Guy had a good video on his YouTube channel where he converted a vintage Ross steel road bike to gravel. I thought it was pretty interesting and a straightforward process.
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Old 09-21-21, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
How much conversion really needs to happen besides maybe a tire change?
If it's a classic road bike with a 42/52 & smallish cogs then gearing might need a change, but yeah, it seems tires are really the main thing.. But if one is going for 650B obviously more needs to happen.
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Old 09-21-21, 05:15 PM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
If it's a classic road bike with a 42/52 & smallish cogs then gearing might need a change, but yeah, it seems tires are really the main thing.. But if one is going for 650B obviously more needs to happen.
He said "older touring, mtn, or hybrid..."

They'd already be geared wide.
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Old 09-21-21, 05:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
How much conversion really needs to happen besides maybe a tire change?
I'm thinking about the drop bar conversions

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Old 09-21-21, 06:06 PM
  #84  
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@gthomson, there was a pretty extensive drop bar conversion thread here. Worth looking through.
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Old 09-21-21, 06:33 PM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by gthomson View Post
Does anyone have a good source (book, youtube channel, online source) on the topic of converting an older touring, mtn, or hybrid bike for gravel? I would think with the popularity that gravel is now seeing there would be more people interested in this, instead of buying new!
honestly, the interest has been around a while since the "monster cross" trend. i mean, "gravel" riding has been around a very long time, but the "modern" popularity started well over a decade ago. twenty years or so? anyway, bikeforums is as good a source as any. as is mtbr.com. check out guitar teds' website. i know there's others i've seen and read, but can't think of the names off hand. oh, that radavist is another. yes...you'll see modern stuff, but there's vintage, as well
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Old 09-21-21, 07:10 PM
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It's not much trouble to figure out what maximum ACTUAL tire width will fit in any frame/fork/calipers, but if the clearances are going to be small, then the integrity of the wheels is a serious consideration. Sometimes I take my chances with old wheels that I source used, albeit after making the same-side spoke tensions highly uniform (to the extent that the condition of the particular rims will allow).

I just installed 43mm (actual) width tires on my Pedersen, though after having added indent features to the chainstays two decades ago when I was briefly running 700x45's.
New Mavic Allroad wheels have my trust this time around, the very wide-section rims (measuring 22mm internally) don't allow any rub and seem unlikely to go out of true for any reason.

The 43mm tubeless Rene Herse tires, run at 27psi front and 34psi rear, transformed the bump-eating capability (versus the 33mm Mavic tires that shipped with the wheels for just $300, complete). Traction is way up as well!


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Old 09-21-21, 07:13 PM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post

man, that bike is so oddly cool!! what tires are you running on there? the gumwalls match perfectly
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Old 09-21-21, 07:31 PM
  #88  
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As posted earlier, 90 to 91 hybrids are a sweet spot, I think sales were real strong those 2 years.





Crossroads, Triplecross, both 91's
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Old 09-22-21, 06:56 AM
  #89  
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There's a lot of good analysis/advice in this thread. I have a few bikes that fit the bill, and I love all three of them.

I built up this Univega Gran Turismo over the winter with hopes of doing some old-school touring on it. Life happens, etc., so I haven't been out for a weekend tour or anything, but it is a lovely bike to ride in the dirt. Those old Dia Compe 981s, combined with Univega's sympathetic canti post placement (my mantra to anyone who will listen is "There's no such thing as a bad Univega), meant the 700c conversion was a plug-and-play affair. I have 700x32s on there, but tested a few other sizes, and found that, with those wheels, 700x35 was entirely just fine, while 700x38 was pushing it, but still fit in there ok (only talking about the rear. The front would fit the tire off a Honda Civic). I take this bike anywhere and everywhere. It's got a little too much going on to be a nimble singletrack kinda bike, but it is supremely comfortable.
Shutesbury by Eat More Plants1, on Flickr

This was an early 90s Shogun Metro AT hybrid; having the downtube cable stops made the drop bar switch pretty straightforward. I have since changed the saddle, added fenders, and gone from 25c to 28c, but this, too, is a great ride, if a bit on the heavier side (I think it weighs as much as the Univega with all its racks and bag and triple crank and everything). It's my rain/winter bike, but I ride it whenever I feel like it, and it's great. Everything everyone said about early steel hybrids is spot on. I am going with the theory out there that manufacturers just grabbed touring frames and quickly converted them into "hybrids" to keep up with the craze. The only drawback of the Shogun is it only has one set of water bottle bosses, which is weird.

Shogun Metro by Eat More Plants1, on Flickr

This Fuji single speed conversion came out so much better than I expected, and this, too, has 700c wheels in place of the old 27s. Like the Univega, it has a pair of 700x32 Ritchey Speedmax tires (I really like them, bought them because they were cheap, but they are really good on and off road). The only trick was getting a longer reach center pull brake for the rear--if you ever have this problem, a lot of old mixtes' rear brakes are usually longer reach than the front. this is a nice, light single speed I use for little short rides to clear my head.

Fuji special road racer single speed by Eat More Plants1, on Flickr

It can be a lot of work converting these old bikes when in essence it's about tire size (look at the Cyclocross/Gravelbiking forum--it has basically become a tire selection subgroup!), and to take a page out of some of the retrogrouch crowd's playbook, most bikes of any sort can be somewhat capable off road if you're willing to live a little dangerously! Underbiking is what the cool kids call it.
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Old 09-22-21, 08:39 AM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Those were aluminum, right? Nice looking!
Aluminum, yep. They get a bad rap for being 'harsh' riding, and when I first got the bike I did find it kind of harsh. Part of it was definitely me not having done much regular cycling in decades and absolutely terrible roads where I live, but the 38c Rene Herse tires transformed the ride. Not harsh at all now.
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Old 09-22-21, 08:44 AM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by PugRider View Post
There's a lot of good analysis/advice in this thread. I have a few bikes that fit the bill, and I love all three of them.
Fuji special road racer single speed by Eat More Plants1, on Flickr
Love the Fuji!
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Old 09-22-21, 10:32 AM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by PugRider View Post

I have 700x32s on there, but tested a few other sizes, and found that, with those wheels, 700x35 was entirely just fine, while 700x38 was pushing it, but still fit in there ok (only talking about the rear. The front would fit the tire off a Honda Civic). I take this bike anywhere and everywhere. It's got a little too much going on to be a nimble singletrack kinda bike, but it is supremely comfortable.
i have a couple of '83 turismos. i got surly knards to fit front and back. in the back you just have to slide the wheel all the way in the drop outs. just an fyi
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Old 09-22-21, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
man, that bike is so oddly cool!! what tires are you running on there? the gumwalls match perfectly

Thank you thook,
Those are tan-wall 700x42mm Hurricane Ridge tires with their standard tubeless casing. Measure an actual 43mm on the i22mm rims.
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Old 09-22-21, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Thank you thook,
Those are tan-wall 700x42mm Hurricane Ridge tires with their standard tubeless casing. Measure an actual 43mm on the i22mm rims.
OH!!!! that's why they look so nice ($$ rene herse $$)
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Old 09-22-21, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dddd View Post
Thank you thook,
Those are tan-wall 700x42mm Hurricane Ridge tires with their standard tubeless casing. Measure an actual 43mm on the i22mm rims.
Hmm, I wonder if Rene Herse tires generally run large- the 38c Barlow Pass tires I have on my C'dale measure 40mm (and just barely fit)....
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Old 09-22-21, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Hmm, I wonder if Rene Herse tires generally run large- the 38c Barlow Pass tires I have on my C'dale measure 40mm (and just barely fit)....
As always, it depends on the rim width you're using.
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Old 09-23-21, 12:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ehcoplex View Post
Hmm, I wonder if Rene Herse tires generally run large- the 38c Barlow Pass tires I have on my C'dale measure 40mm (and just barely fit)....
My Compass (before name change to RH) tires all measure close to spec width at typical pressures on 22mm wide rims: Chinook Pass EL (28mm) measure just over 29mm at 70-80psi, Stampede Pass EL (32mm) measure 32.5mm at 60-65psi, Loup Loup Pass EL (650Bx38) measure just over 38mm at 50/55 psi. Wife’s black wall Stampede Pass aren’t much different on her 25mm rims. I’ve been a happy user ever since they switched from Grand Bois (liked those, too, but the “30mm” Cypres was more like 33mm), which was something like 5-8 years ago. Yeah, they’re expensive, but life’s too short… and only a few bikes here.
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Old 09-23-21, 02:18 AM
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I have to say that my Univega Nuovo Sport with 27x1-1/4 Pasela's are actually great on dirt roads and light gravel. The larger diameter gives a very smooth and stable ride. I've always thought that the bike industry should resurrect the 27 inch wheel for the gravel bike fad and make even wider rims and tires for the same reason the MTB industry went from 26 to 29.
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Old 09-23-21, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
I have to say that my Univega Nuovo Sport with 27x1-1/4 Pasela's are actually great on dirt roads and light gravel. The larger diameter gives a very smooth and stable ride. I've always thought that the bike industry should resurrect the 27 inch wheel for the gravel bike fad and make even wider rims and tires for the same reason the MTB industry went from 26 to 29.
For some time I have not been entirely joking when I've said it's time for 27 x 1 1/4 to be revived with new marketing as the Dirty 630, the all-road tire size of choice for cyclists who crossed the Sahara and the Darien Gap - thinking of Ian Hibell there, but there are loads of old photos of British Rough Stuff riders. Launch it as an aggressive campaign - "Lugged steel is sturdy, comfortable and doesn't require a torque wrench to put on a water bottle cage!" "Centerpull brakes are strong, simple and give lots of tire clearance!" "Five cogs in the back and two chainrings up front is simple and reduces wheel dish, making your 36-spoke wheels even tougher in adverse conditions!"
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Old 09-24-21, 07:41 AM
  #100  
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Vintage steel + canti brakes = MTB drop bar conversion. Just pay attention to top tube length, many have crazy long TT which can make fit difficult. Typically, the earlier you go (think mid 1980s) the shorter the top tube.



Specialized Rock Combo. One of the early factory drop bar 26'rs. Rare and expensive, but cool.



My go to home made drop bar conversion, 1988 Schwinn Cimarron. Started as a deplorable garage sale bike. Slap wore out. Lots of touch up. Still my favorite! Latest iteration with a 1990 Deore XT transplant (from a donor bike). I have changed it some from this picture as I hated those S Curve calipers.

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