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Looking for a Rando Conversion Candidate: Fuji Espree?

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Looking for a Rando Conversion Candidate: Fuji Espree?

Old 10-20-21, 01:01 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by reluctantsuburb View Post
I sold the SR to a fellow BF member--it didn't have the tire clearance I was looking for. A set of 700x32s were making contact with the rear brake area.
Oh dang that's too bad.
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Old 10-20-21, 06:21 PM
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If you can get the serial numbers from the seller, you should be able to figure out what model Trek it is.

Vintage Trek Bicycle Frame Serial Numbers, bike
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Old 10-21-21, 11:13 AM
  #78  
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Im thinking youd be good with 60cm with a taller saddle or 62 closer to a French fit. Neither will be off in such a way that the bike wont be good for
you for a long time until you really decide you need the size up or down. That trek is taller than a 62. Probably a 64.
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Old 10-30-21, 06:47 PM
  #79  
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Well all, I think we're coming to the end of this question-asking. The TL;DR here is I have two frame candidates before me: a 57cm 1980 Univega Speciallissima and a 60cm 1984 Trek 510. Seeking your input, pics below.

As a quick refresher for anyone who will get a notification, I commute by bike and want to add something to my quiver that differs from my upright 80s MTB: hopefully a vintage steel sport tourer frame I can set up like a rando, where I can carry a light front load. I'd also love to work up to longer rides on the weekends. At the start of this search, I'd never ridden a bike with drop bars (or friction shifting, or downtube shifting, or 27" wheels...you get the idea). It's been fun to learn.

I landed on the Speciallissima I posted above and have really enjoyed the ride but several members pointed out that the stem is awkwardly tall. At first I thought, well, I don't mind a tall stem--that seems to be how they show the Roadini's over at Rivendell. But then I started to understand the frame is probably a touch too small for me.

A friend here locally (and a member here on BF) nabbed a 1984 Trek 510 for me in case I want to swap parts from the Speciallissima over. It is one inch taller/longer in every direction with a very slightly lower trail. The frame also feels notably lighter when I pick the bike up, though I know they're built up differently so not an apples to apples comparison. Likewise, since they're built up so differently, I can't exactly compare the rides. The Trek is on offer to me--no obligation to take it but if I find it's to my liking I'll trade the Speciallissima frame for it and swap components.

From where I stand, the pros for the Speciallissima are tire clearance, a ride that feels fast, and nicer quality paint. The pros for the Trek are a slightly better frame fit and what feels like a lighter frame.

Does anyone here have any thoughts on what I should be asking or if one stands out as a better candidate for my stated purpose? Is one inch of frame/fit going to make that big of a difference? (I ask as a total novice!) Whichever I choose, next steps will include purchasing a new wheelset and front rack.


Side by side. I know, not built up the same, but it's what I've got!

Trek 510. Pic doesn't show it but the paint has some serious wear. If I decide to go all in on this frame it will likely get powder coated

The Speciallissima. I've really grown to enjoy this bike but it's probably just because it was my first to ride in this style. Candidate for world's tallest stem.

Last edited by reluctantsuburb; 10-31-21 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 10-30-21, 10:57 PM
  #80  
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Definitely the Trek!
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Old 10-31-21, 06:30 AM
  #81  
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I looked around a bit and found this flicker album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146957...57684669714571

There's photographic evidence of 700x32mm tires under fenders in there, and lots more showing that the 510 is a versatile frame.
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Old 10-31-21, 06:57 AM
  #82  
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If that is your saddle height pictured, then the Specialisma. You will lower the bars over time. (Keep in mind, n+1 is unavoidable.)
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Old 11-01-21, 01:58 PM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Definitely the Trek!
Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
If that is your saddle height pictured, then the Specialisma. You will lower the bars over time. (Keep in mind, n+1 is unavoidable.)
Haha, my greatest fear...though the n+1 point is well made. I just don't know enough to what I'm looking for and fear this will be one of those "bikes that got away"
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Old 11-01-21, 02:02 PM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
I looked around a bit and found this flicker album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/146957...57684669714571

There's photographic evidence of 700x32mm tires under fenders in there, and lots more showing that the 510 is a versatile frame.
I may be missing it, but I'm only seeing one photo of the trek there, and not with fenders. Help me out?
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Old 11-01-21, 02:23 PM
  #85  
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Looks like he took the pictures down. I hope I didn't break his internet posting a link....
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Old 11-01-21, 02:27 PM
  #86  
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If there's a cheap way to build up the Trek, I'd say keep and ride them both for awhile; chances are, the right choice will become evident pretty quickly.
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Old 11-01-21, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by bark_eater View Post
Looks like he took the pictures down. I hope I didn't break his internet posting a link....
Gotcha--just wanted to make sure I wasn't looking for the wrong bike! Appreciate that info as 700x32 with fenders would be nice
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Old 11-01-21, 02:34 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Korina View Post
If there's a cheap way to build up the Trek, I'd say keep and ride them both for awhile; chances are, the right choice will become evident pretty quickly.
That seems very sensible...I've been (over) relying on a friend to help me build these up and haven't wanted to put him out but maybe the Trek would be a good place to give it a shot
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Old 11-05-21, 08:45 PM
  #89  
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Does anyone have any experience with the Bianchi Eros Mirage steel frame model from the 90's? It looks like a beautiful bike. I wonder if it has sufficient clearance for randonneur style tires. The bike I am looking sat has Campagnolo Moskva 80 rims with Vittoria 700x22 tires.
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Old 11-05-21, 11:03 PM
  #90  
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The Yellow Bike Project down in Austin seems to be open by appointment only, but might be worth a call. I'm betting if they have any ginormous 80's or 90's steel road bikes/frames in stock, they're not moving very fast. Bike co-op volunteers are typically bike nerds, and super helpful. It looks like the bike co-op in Denton has gone radio silent since December 2019, unfortunately. AFAIK, DFW proper has no bike co-op, which is super sad.

Speaking as a rando bike owner who does rando, I say fit fit fit, then tire clearance, then lugs and bottle mounts. Somewhere in the mix is a bike that feels lively, though I have a hard time putting a finger on what that really means. Generally you'll know within 20 feet if the bike is alive; just ask yourself: am I smiling? I've ridden the roads around Dallas, particularly west of DFW, and you can't go too wide for some of that chip-seal. Jeepers, I'd call that stuff rock-seal. 650bx45 at 40psi all day long.

One thing that's changed since those days is drop bars on sport bikes are way shallower. For recreational riders, that's a boon. The drops are nice for long stretches into a headwind, for a change of position, or for a fast downhill twistie (oops, you live in Dallas , but getting super aero just ain't a thing if you don't have a masseuse at the end of the day.

I've noticed some things in prior pics that could be improved; others may disagree. Saddle should start out dead level, with minor tweaks from there for fit. Seems like the saddle was pointing skyward in some pics. On the bars, the transition from ramps to hoods should be as flat as possible. You're hands typically live in that region, and older equipment tended to have a sharp transition from bars to hoods. This is one major improvement with modern bars and levers IMO. When I did my vintage bike fit test a while back, I bought a quill-to-threadless adapter, which allowed me to use modern stems and bars.

Good luck.
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Old 11-06-21, 01:49 AM
  #91  
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Reading through your thread, I would advise you to get a bike fit. I know that means spending money but you def need it and will save you alot of hassle finding the correct frame size and position on the bike.
Pay once, cry once.

Even if it's just a basic one at your local bike shop, which would be cheaper or free if you were 'looking' to buy a bike from them. After finding the one you like, write some numbers down (brand, frame size, stem length, saddle height, crank length, saddle to bars drop and distance etc) the online marketplaces will be wide open afterwards. Professional bike fitters would be more comprehensive and more recommended.

Also those old brake levers are brutal for riding on the hoods, modern brifters are the way to go for performance, practicality and comfort. No need to torture yourself.

As far as 650b wheels, this is just my personal opinion and I'm only 5'11, but, tall riders look goofy riding small wheel bikes, (unless it's a folder, then again everyone looks goofy on a folder) 650b look like clown wheels for tall folk. These are wheels for shorties that need the extra tyre volume in a compact package because of frame limitations, in your case 700c are fine.
Some bike brands like Soma offer exclusively small wheels for smaller frames sizes, like 26" or 27,5" for XS, S, even M (54-56cm).
Not to mention that doing a conversion would most likely have you run shorter cranks to avoid pedal strike, at your height I can't imagine you riding 160mm cranks efficiently. If you sort out the vintage low trail frame you are looking for, shoot for 700c and generous tyre clearance.

In the long run it may be cost effective to simply buy one off the shelf. Disc brakes will keep the wheel price down if you want to experiment in the future and there are gravel frames which can take mtb wheels in both sizes 650b (or 27.5") and 700c (or 29") wheels, which will make it easier for you to find the sweet spot, mtb wheels can be had cheaper and are plenty, as opposed to rim brake 650b which are a dying breed.

Alternatively search for other Trek builds on this forum, there are quite a few where folks managed to fit fatter tyres on their 700c wheels, even 42's if I'm not mistaken.
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Old 11-06-21, 08:10 AM
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My wife has a smaller Trek 510 that looks exactly like that one. It is currently wearing Pasela 32's and fenders. You should be good there.
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Old 11-06-21, 08:15 AM
  #93  
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Get the trek

Im a bit of a noob myself, but at your height and based on the photos, that univega is too small. The trek looks like a far better size for you. Also, having built up 4-5 bikes in the past year, Id suggest working alongside your friend on the parts swap and then begin dipping your toes into doing that work yourself. There are a ton of resources here and online and youll learn quickly. Lastly, also check out the vintage Mtb/ drop bar conversion thread, that old Mtb youve got is a sweet candidate for that
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Old 11-06-21, 11:42 AM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by Schlafen View Post
Reading through your thread, I would advise you to get a bike fit. I know that means spending money but you def need it and will save you alot of hassle finding the correct frame size and position on the bike.
Pay once, cry once.

Even if it's just a basic one at your local bike shop, which would be cheaper or free if you were 'looking' to buy a bike from them. After finding the one you like, write some numbers down (brand, frame size, stem length, saddle height, crank length, saddle to bars drop and distance etc) the online marketplaces will be wide open afterwards. Professional bike fitters would be more comprehensive and more recommended.
Getting a professional fit isn't a bad idea. For the cost of roughly yet another bike that may or may not suit you, you'd get a bunch of hands-on help in determining where everything needs to go, and what frame size would be most conducive to that fit.

@reluctantsuburb, my thinking on the Univega vs Trek goes like this, and I'll try not to belabor the point afterward: in my randonneuring, I've settled on having the tops of the handlebars just under the level of the saddle. That gives a nice upright position with my hands on the tops for leisurely speeds, access to the levers for light braking at the hoods/ramps, and a good position for more power/full braking in the drops, with the option to bend my arms a good amount for better aerodynamics when there's a headwind or whatever. If you got the Univega to that stage, there'd still be a lot of stem and seatpost sticking out of the frame, which is a C&V-approved look , but I think the Trek would support it a bit better. There's a good article about "French fit" versus "Eddy fit" or "Competitive fit" that's worth reading if you can find it.
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Last edited by ThermionicScott; 11-06-21 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 11-06-21, 01:33 PM
  #95  
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If you don't want to spend the money for a bike fit, second best is to read Peter White's classic article on bike fit (https://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.php). Before reading it many years ago, I thought of bike fit sort of like black magic, but he explains it in a way that I was able to get my head around.
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Old 11-06-21, 01:55 PM
  #96  
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Hey all, thanks for the many helpful replies. I'm not sure why but somewhere along the way they stopped going to my inbox!

Regarding a professional fit, I have been scared away from the idea because the store in my neck of the woods has a reputation for being kinda pushy on sales and very aero/carbon focused. Maybe I need to revisit that.

Pointing out the issues with 650b's is fair. I think I was intrigued by them early in the process just to go as wide as possible, but my thinking of late is if I can commit to a frame, I'm going to buy a set of 700c wheels, likely with a dynamo hub, that I can take to any future bike I upgrade to. I appreciate the notes on fit for 700x32 tires! I'm hoping 32 will be sufficient :/

I'm not very interested in buying new. Maybe it's the cheapskate in me or that I like breathing new, functional life into something old, but I think I want to stick to vintage. My guess is as I get a few years into the hobby I may have more preferences built up to justify buying something off the shelf.

I do wish we had a local co-op. That's a real bummer to me. But I do really hope to do the part swap to the new frame with my buddy Paul as suggested

All of this has me leaning to the Trek. we've had pretty trashy weather here this week so I haven't done any wrenching on it but I think everyone's advice on fit being the foremost priority makes a lot of sense. Even without having done a professional fitting I do think I feel decently confident about this bike's fit given my PBH.
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Old 11-06-21, 06:40 PM
  #97  
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Kind of on the minutia side, but It might be worthwhile holding onto the crank from the Trek. a 110 bcd crank will give you a lot more options as far as changing rings. The Apex crank on the Specialisma is artful, but has an 86 BCD and the rings are an order of magnitude rarer than 110 bcd.
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Old 11-07-21, 01:35 AM
  #98  
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Here’s a visual comparison of different wheel+tire sizes (actual width) on the same tall frame, in this case my 63.5cm ctt Marinoni. I switched from 175mm (shown in the 700x28 and first 650x38 shot) to 170mm cranks after installing the 650B wheels, but pedal strike was not the issue - that “risk” is overblown unless you race criteriums and must pedal through corners. My 7-decade old knees like the change! FWIW, I go back and forth between 700x32 and 650x38. Lately using the latter more since the bike feels more relaxing, certainly much nicer on rough pavement, but absolutely no slower with the fatter tires at 50-ish psi. Not sure yet about the black 42’s in the last photo, but they’re sooo smooth yet very secure at 40/45 psi! Maybe if I actually enjoyed riding on lots of gravel, more than the occasional hard-packed dirt road. BTW, all tires are Grand Bois or Compass/Rene Herse EL, so they’re all light, supple and faster than I am.

700C with 28mm tires


700C with 32mm tires - maximum that will fit, and BTW those are short reach brakes!


650B with 38mm tires


Fenders with the 650x38’s, which affect the visual balance significantly. No room for fenders with the 700’s. If long rando-type rides are likely, fenders will be a welcome improvement.


650B with 41mm (42 spec’d) blackwall tires. I was recently got these for an incredible price, and no chance yet to take better photos. Not sure about the all black tires.

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Old 11-07-21, 02:02 AM
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Looking closely at the Trek photos, I noticed the “nutted” brake calipers. Nutted dual pivot calipers, a significant improvement IMHO over single pivots, are available from Tektro in several sizes, and they’re fine brakes, although I always switch to Kool Stop salmon pads.
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Old 11-07-21, 05:42 AM
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This side of the peanut gallery wants to see the center pulls on the Trek. He's got all the bits and the internet told me that if you go with Tektro's you should up grade your levers, swap brake pads and install compression less housing. That's what I'm doing to a bike right now, and I'm hoping it will be the best thing since sliced bread, but I think I ended up spending north of $150 for the new "system".
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