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1985-95

Old 04-03-24, 11:22 AM
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1985-95

I was born in 1985 and I am thinking about getting a road bike or Maybe even a MTB frame to build into a gravel(i keep saying this word..i don t think it means what i think it means)bike, from that year or even through 1995.
what are some things i should be looking for? I am mechanically adept and I can also paint well. I am not looking for some all original unridden warehouse find that belongs in a museum or anything as the bike will be ridden alot. Just looking for that retro steel look and smaller wheels from my childhood to offset the modern style MTB i currently ride. Any brands or models or years to stay away from? Anything that comes to mind that is extra easy to find parts for? Any help at all really as i am totaly green to bikes in general, let alone ones that came out when i was 5.

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Old 04-03-24, 11:38 AM
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In my opinion, bikes of that era would be very easy for you to work on. No modern complexities. No parts that are hard to track down. Knock yourself out. If you want snob appeal, look for a brand name. If you want good looks, get one with good paint. If you want an easy project, get one that has everything and just needs a tune up. I would worry about the condition of the wheels primarily. If you can't true the original wheels, you might go down a rabbit hole of getting a replacement wheel that requires a cassette, then you will have to buy a cassette, and a new chain, new shifters, etc.
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Old 04-03-24, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
In my opinion, bikes of that era would be very easy for you to work on. No modern complexities. No parts that are hard to track down. Knock yourself out. If you want snob appeal, look for a brand name. If you want good looks, get one with good paint. If you want an easy project, get one that has everything and just needs a tune up. I would worry about the condition of the wheels primarily. If you can't true the original wheels, you might go down a rabbit hole of getting a replacement wheel that requires a cassette, then you will have to buy a cassette, and a new chain, new shifters, etc.
that was one of my worries, One small part causing a nightmare situation. Should I avoid ebay and the like and try to find one i can interact with? Snobbery is not my thing...actually quite the opposite, i like to have the overlooked stuff that no one thought was cool because it didnt have a certain sticker on it and unless i find the exact color i absolutley must have i will likely be refinishing the bike so i am open to trashed paint. I guess any bike that has lived 40 years is probably a good enough specimen for me to get my feet wet on?
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Old 04-03-24, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
In my opinion, bikes of that era would be very easy for you to work on. No modern complexities. No parts that are hard to track down.
The only potential issue is that some touring bikes had narrow cantilever posts that don't fit modern cantilevers besides the most basic (but still functional) Shimano CT91 brakes.
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Old 04-03-24, 12:05 PM
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No, there are concerns with any bike. The frame could be bent. The bearings could be shot. The seat tube could be frozen in place. You will quite possibly need to get your hands on a couple of tools that are a bit outdated - A freewheel tool, a cone wrench, a bottom bracket tool, etc. Nothing expensive or crazy there. I agree not to worry about frame brand because at this point you are making a frankenbike. I would stick with a steel frame - much more agreeable to bending and cold setting if you need to spread the frame to fit a different rear wheel. Bike wheels have gotten bigger over those 40 years for speed, also wider to fit more gears and also disk brakes.
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Old 04-03-24, 12:20 PM
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There is plethora of high quality bikes from that era that are available at low cost, especially steel. I hesitate to mention any particular brand or model due to knowing nothing about you or the riding you will be doing . Do some research on different types of steel, and other materials, and the geometry of the bikes.
Also, IMO, it somewhat depends on how you want the bike to be built, like more modern or classic components. How much time, effort and dollars you are willing to put into it?
I have a couple of bikes from the 90’s, early 2000’s, that I stripped to bare metal, then rebuilt with more modern components. I found it a very satisfying learning experience that resulted in a couple fine rides. I did not paint, had them powder coated.
I also did a late 80’s Ochsner road bike that I rebuilt with the original components that were still on the bike, including the 105 down tube 6 speed
indexed shifting, but wound up using it in friction mode with a 9 speed cassette. The novelty of using that again wore off, And I did not ride it much. I switched to 9 speed brifters and liked riding it much more. And, btw, the Ochsners were really nice riding bikes that have a bit of a following.
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Old 04-03-24, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1
There is plethora of high quality bikes from that era that are available at low cost, especially steel. I hesitate to mention any particular brand or model due to knowing nothing about you or the riding you will be doing . Do some research on different types of steel, and other materials, and the geometry of the bikes.
Also, IMO, it somewhat depends on how you want the bike to be built, like more modern or classic components. How much time, effort and dollars you are willing to put into it?
I have a couple of bikes from the 90’s, early 2000’s, that I stripped to bare metal, then rebuilt with more modern components. I found it a very satisfying learning experience that resulted in a couple fine rides. I did not paint, had them powder coated.
I also did a late 80’s Ochsner road bike that I rebuilt with the original components that were still on the bike, including the 105 down tube 6 speed
indexed shifting, but wound up using it in friction mode with a 9 speed cassette. The novelty of using that again wore off, And I did not ride it much. I switched to 9 speed brifters and liked riding it much more. And, btw, the Ochsners were really nice riding bikes that have a bit of a following.
i definitly want parts from the era on the bike, even if it is not the stuff that came on the bike originally, i dont want modern parts on an old bike as of now. Time and effort are of no real concern as i like to tinker and have another bike to ride. The dollars thing is what I would like to keep down. Maybe ill start hitting some garage sales in the area and see what I come across. I tried FB marketplace but didnt find anything that seemed like what I am going for in my size (58cm i think?)
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Old 04-03-24, 02:16 PM
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How about one of the early eighties MTB examples from the bike makers of the time. Great rides and easy to work on with parts still around.

mine is an 84 Schwinn High Sierra which really does its job and a hoot to ride!


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Old 04-03-24, 02:30 PM
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Stumpjumper or RockHopper. Well made, bazillions around, no proprietary parts/odd sizes (that I can think of).
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Old 04-03-24, 03:11 PM
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First, I'd decide how wide of tires you want. Many road bikes from that era can't fit larger than 28mm unless you convert to 650b. Many touring bikes from that era will max out around 35mm or 38mm. Hybrids from this era will typically max out somewhere between 38mm and 47mm. Mountain bikes from this era will max out somewhere between 2.1" and 2.5", or 53 to 63mm.
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Old 04-03-24, 03:23 PM
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So many come to mind:
* Stumpy/Hopper (see above)
* Schwinn Sierra / High Sierra / Impact Pro
* Trek 8/9 series higher end (850/950 and above)
* Univega Alpina
* Diamond Back Apex/Axis
* Ross Mt.Whatever in chrome

"Things to look for" - shoot for mid-level to high-end of whatever brand, you'll be happier with the components especially. And focus on what fits you best, of what's available in your area. Condition doesn't have to be great, since these are generally tough cookies. Just avoid anything that's been "rode hard and put away wet". From there, the other differences become less important.
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Old 04-03-24, 04:21 PM
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At the higher end are going to be your Fat Chance / fillet brazed Ritcheys, as well as custom made and low-numbered esoteric brands. Then the Trek 9xx, Schwinn Paramountains High Sierras and Cimarrons, Bridgestone MB-1s, Specialized Stumpjumpers (all the steels ones), Diamondback Apex Giant ATX (760, etc), and plenty of others I can’t think of off the top of my head.

People ‘round these parts love the Ross mtbs, and I wouldn’t discount a higher end GT or Miyata mtb.

Or you could just go for the ultimate and get a Huffy White Heat.


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Old 04-03-24, 04:38 PM
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Don't discount the Giant ATX line.
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Old 04-03-24, 05:22 PM
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Sounds like my Bridgestone MB-3 commuter from last winter (I've since given it away to a colleague):

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Old 04-03-24, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by madpogue
So many come to mind:
* Stumpy/Hopper (see above)
* Schwinn Sierra / High Sierra / Impact Pro
* Trek 8/9 series higher end (850/950 and above)
* Univega Alpina
* Diamond Back Apex/Axis
* Ross Mt.Whatever in chrome

"Things to look for" - shoot for mid-level to high-end of whatever brand, you'll be happier with the components especially. And focus on what fits you best, of what's available in your area. Condition doesn't have to be great, since these are generally tough cookies. Just avoid anything that's been "rode hard and put away wet". From there, the other differences become less important.
All good choices. I watched an impressive conversion of a Gary Fischer recently, below are some vids to get you even more motivated.

https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...sion+to+gravel
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Old 04-03-24, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilFo
Don't discount the Giant ATX line.
I knew I got something wrong! Not Diamondback, I meant Giant. Yes, the ATX bikes are solid!
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Old 04-03-24, 10:09 PM
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I guess, to me, you'd want to have an idea of what you want to do.

Old MTB/ATBs are cool- but they're heavy... but they can take wider tires- Wider tires hold more air volume and are more comfortable.

Old "racing" bikes are light- but they only take skinny tires.

Old touring and sport bikes can usually take somewhat wider tires, but are a touch heavier.


You don't need to do eBay- you can do Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. The thing is- you can find a bike that was a top of the line bike in its day for a fraction of its cost. You see the valuation forum- and those prices are all over the board. You can run into some truly spectacular bikes for $1-$300.

IMO- do a bunch of reading- see what looks cool to you, see what you sorta intend on doing with the bike (where you're riding- what you're doing while riding, what you're carrying... etc) and see what people are doing what you want, and what they're riding.

IMO- 1985 is a great year- a lot of great bikes and a lot of parts and the beginning of some modern concepts started coming out around that time.
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Old 04-03-24, 11:29 PM
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Haunt the for sale subforum and a few of the threads in which of few of us afflicted are giving away frame sets for the cost of shipping. You'll probably get a much better project bike from a member here for less than you'd pay on ebay or CL or wherever else online. I'm not volunteering that anyone else give away more bikes, but I'd rather see one of mine go to someone to use instead of being resold by a local flipper. Just my personal feelings about the projects I skin my knuckles on. Anyway, seriously. Give it enough time and you'll find something fantastic.

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Old 04-03-24, 11:32 PM
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Agree with starting with tire size and to go from there. What's your preference?
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Old 04-03-24, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy

Old MTB/ATBs are cool- but they're heavy... but they can take wider tires- Wider tires hold more air volume and are more comfortable.
Usually yes...but there are exceptions.

I think that mtbs went through a 'lightness' craze in the 90s, and some good stuff came out of that time. When I weighed my '96 Trek 990 (bare frame), it came in at just a hair over 2000g. That is Columbus SL territory, and in fact I think a skosh lighter than my Guerciotti Sante SL frame.

The Konas in 853 were also very light...even lighter than the 990. Someone picking up an old MTB could get away with 'lighter-than-road' weight if they were thoughtful. I remember from back in the day, that a sub-19lb hardtail was a thing, as well as a sub-23lb fs. Those were the golden standard targets, although we are talking aluminum here. But still, a steel frame of exceedingly high quality could come close.

Its fun to think about.
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Old 04-04-24, 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by madpogue
So many come to mind:
* Stumpy/Hopper (see above)
* Schwinn Sierra / High Sierra / Impact Pro
.
Don’t forget the Schwinn “Paramount” PDG Series 30/50/70 bikes. All the same attributes of the other bikes and interesting from a historical perspective: they were the last gasp of the “old” Schwinn company as it collapsed under the weight of its mismanagement.
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Old 04-04-24, 07:02 AM
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Yeah, even a good number of the steel MTBs from the late 80s-mid 90s are still considered pretty lightweight. The only thing that makes my Breezer heavier than as- stock are the Magura hydraulics and the Sun Rhino Lites, otherwise, it's really light. It's the lightest bike I own and I didn't even try to be a weight weenie.
The pre-1997 steel Stumpjumpers are all Tange Prestige and really light (the red painted frames are fast, but the S-Works team maroon frame is the fastest.)
Also look for Novaras (REI house brand), more uncommon Parkpre, early VooDoos, Konas, and Miyatas. The Miyata cross frames are 700c but can take some really big tires.
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Old 04-04-24, 08:02 AM
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Here's my search list for lightweight MTBs, likely not comprehensive

(“Barracuda A2E”,“Barracuda A2M”,“Barracuda Cuda Comp”,“Cannondale M900”,“Cannondale M500”,“Cannondale Killer V500”,“Gary Fisher Mt. Tam”,“Gary Fisher Procaliber”,“Jamis Dakar”,“Jamis Dakota”,“Jamis Dragon”,“Jamis Exile”,“Kona A'a”,“Kona Explosif”,“Kona Kilauea”,“Kona Ku”,“Klein Adroit”,“Marin Bear Valley SE”,“Marin Eldridge Grade”,“Marin Indian Fire Trail”,“Marin Pine Mountain”,“Marin Rocky Ridge”,“Marin Team”,“Marin Team Ti”,“Mongoose BOC Comp”,“Mongoose IBOC Pro”,“Mongoose IBOC Pro SX”,“Mongoose IBOC Team SX”,“Mongoose IBOC ZeroG”,“Mongoose Rockadile”,“Novara Ponderosa”,“Novara Team SL”,“Voodoo Bizango”)

I have a '98 Kona Explosif made from Reynolds 853 tubing, which is quite light. It was my 2022 Cino bike:

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Old 04-04-24, 09:44 AM
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My mountain bike (1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10) is an absolute delight. Heavy-ish at 27 lbs., but not a boat anchor. No-suspension steel-framed mountain bikes of that era are extremely versatile, reliable, and easy to work on. Although mine was a designed for a 6-speed freewheel, I did not have to spread the frame for my current 8-speed cassette rear wheel.
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Old 04-04-24, 10:15 AM
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Search Bridgestone in your local Craigslist and see what you come up with. Make sure you come back here so we can approve it, lol.
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