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What should I do with this old bike?

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What should I do with this old bike?

Old 06-27-08, 12:22 PM
  #1  
Sonoma76
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What should I do with this old bike?

I only recently got back into riding in general, and I already have a daily commuter/go anywhere Swobo Dixon.

But it can't do everything, so I got to thinking and remembered that my beloved 1991 Specialized Rockhopper -my first official mountain bike from way back when I was 15 years old- was still hanging in the garage at my parent's house.

So I pulled it down, but now I'm not sure what to do with it. That's where you come in! Here's what I've thought of doing and problems I've found.

Possibilities
  • Rebuild it as a mountain bike with existing parts
  • Rebuild it as a mountain bike with brand new parts
  • Rebuild it as another, backup commuter
  • Rebuild it as a sort of touring bike
  • Rebuild it as a fixed gear or single gear
At this point, I'm highly leaning towards rebuilding it as a mountain bike with existing parts, but those parts aren't in great condition. For one thing, the front wheel hub cap is broken off, and I don't think it will roll very well. The brakes are missing tiny screws, and I never liked the grip shifter I had installed back when I was a kid. Is it going to be hard for a shop to find those parts?

Rebuilding it with new parts, though, kind of defeats the purpose of having my original bike. But if I were to go that route, I'd probably want to get the entire frame painted to make it look new.

I'm intrigued by the idea of putting drop bars on it, but would the geometry of the frame work if I wanted to make it into a more comfortable road, touring or long distance bike? I'd probably need new cranks, derailleurs, wheels and much more if I were to go that route.

I don't go mountain biking very often, so it's not necessary that I have a mountain bike.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestion? The frame is in great shape, very little rust accumulates here in the desert west.

Also, given my extreme lack of skill when it comes to all things mechanical, I'll probably have to find a shop to do this.


Last edited by Sonoma76; 06-27-08 at 12:38 PM. Reason: forgot to put the picture in
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Old 06-27-08, 12:25 PM
  #2  
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me, I'd rebuild with mostly existing parts, put slicks on it and use it as
all rounder, commuter bike. But then I'm just weird that way.

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Old 06-27-08, 12:30 PM
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I like Marty's suggestion.
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Old 06-27-08, 12:32 PM
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Me too!
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Old 06-27-08, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by lotek View Post
me, I'd rebuild with mostly existing parts, put slicks on it and use it as
all rounder, commuter bike.

marty
+1
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Old 06-27-08, 12:38 PM
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There are a lot of people who turn these old rigid frame mountain bikes into touring bikes. However, I would not put drop bars on it. There are several different options for touring bars. If you decide to go that way, there is a some good information on the touring sub-forum.
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Old 06-27-08, 12:45 PM
  #7  
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Yup with slicks it's a perfect beer bike.
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Old 06-27-08, 01:08 PM
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Rebuilding it as a commuter/city bike is a great use for this bike...But you've already got one. Not a bad idea though, to have a backup commuter, if you commute regularly, for those days when you experience the inevitable mechanical problem.

Rebuilding it as a touring bike is another great idea (Thorn recommends 26" wheels for it's touring bikes)...but the bike doesn't have braze-ons on the fork to accommodate a front rack. Doesn't make it insurmountable, but makes it more difficult to properly attach a front rack. The idea is you want a low-rider front rack to keep the load's center of gravity low. With some front racks, the center of gravity is too high. People who attempt to mount low-riders without braze-ons sometimes report problems with shifting loads. One option that I would consider if it were my bike would be to add braze-ons to the fork.

Fixed gear/Single Speed-- I don't get the craze. Seriously. When I made the switch from my childhood single speed to my adult 10 speed, it was a revelation. Why would I ever want to go back to a less capable, less efficient machine? Nevertheless, there's a single speed craze on. I just don't get it. But you could certainly convert it easily enough.

Mountain bike-- another good option for this bike. If you keep it original, it will someday be a "vintage mountain bike." If you upgrade to modern components (at least on the ones that need replacing), you won't be destroying the bike's value any today, and it may be more readily repaired, maybe even more enjoyable. In terms of mountain biking, the bike is obsolete, so I don't think you're going to get any significant performance advantage by replacing all the components. If it were me, I'd probably replace the damaged components with something of similar vintage (except the gripshifts. which you hate.)
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Old 06-27-08, 01:51 PM
  #9  
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You don't really want that old thing. Send it up to me and I'll take care of it
Seriously, though, that's a versatile platform; I would probably build a backup commuter/grocery hauler, or do a period restoration, but with thumb shifters of course.
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Old 06-27-08, 02:01 PM
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I agree with Marty as well.

I think people (myself included at times) worry too much about labels...

Build it up for the type of riding you are likely to do, which it sounds like would mean slick, or semi-slick tires... find a handlebar and shifters that appeal to you and go from there.

You will decide as you go whether it needs paint or not... and if so, what kind of paint.
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Old 06-27-08, 02:07 PM
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i'll join the wagon .
rebuilt it . use it and have fun
T
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Old 06-27-08, 06:34 PM
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+1 Marty's comments. I would probably also pick up the Nashbar trekking bars. Then ride it.
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Old 06-27-08, 06:37 PM
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.

Make it into a xtracycle lol easy to make, they commute well and they carrie alot, thats what I did with my old norco I found
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Old 07-02-08, 02:20 PM
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What's an "Xtracycle" **********??
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Old 07-02-08, 02:23 PM
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Xtracycle...

An excellent suggestion!
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Old 07-03-08, 05:42 AM
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Yes, Xtracycle it. Don't touch the paint, it looks great to me, and anyway it has sentimental value for you, doesn't it?

By the way, speaking of Xtracycle... has anyone put cantilever brakes on theirs? And if so, how did you route the cable? I know, you can always get a V-Brake for the rear, but in a case like this, where you already have the canti's, and they go with the frame so nicely, it'd be nice to keep them. I have a workaround on my Xtracycle that works, but it's too unsightly to mention.
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Old 07-03-08, 06:30 AM
  #17  
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IMHO you should:

Slick tyres
New rapid fire shifters (7 sp) then you may be able to use your existing wheel with a 7 sp freewheel
New Chain
Flat bars/risers


Would be pretty bombproof, and would be able to get some speed from it.
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i jam my thumbs up and back into the tubes. this way i can point my fingers straight out in front to split the wind and attain an even more aero profile, and the usual fixed gear - zen - connectedness feeling through the drivetrain is multiplied ten fold because my thumbs become one with the tubing.
A group for all Dawes Galaxy owners to give and recieve information about them
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Old 07-03-08, 07:06 AM
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Off-topic:

Speaking of the Xtracycle, I borrowed a friend's Surly Big Dummy to make a beer run. I put a 12-pack, four six packs, and two bags of ice in the saddle bags. Had I put the cooler on top, I could've easily doubled the load. Carried the beer rather well, the weight being low and on the back wheel. I had a crowd of people watching me load the bike at the gas station.

For the OP's bike, I also vote for Xtracycle conversion.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:23 AM
  #19  
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I vote for cargo bike as well, even if not an Xtracycle
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Old 07-03-08, 10:14 AM
  #20  
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Sweet old bike, another vote for get some slicks and rebuild with existing parts. If you don't like the gripshift you should be able to get some trigger shifters pretty cheaply though.

Sonoma76... hmm.. How's ArsTechnica these days? It's been a few years.
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Old 07-03-08, 11:41 AM
  #21  
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Here is my 97 Rockhopper, I have put a taller stem on it to add Origin8 "gary" bars on it. It is fun to ride, I currently use it to commute on, and to ride gravel roads. It seems to do most every thing well, but not great. It is pretty fast and stable at higher speeds - 36mph so far. It handles the gravel roads better than a road bike. It now has a rack on it and carries a homemade pannier set w out trouble. It does not climb off road as well as a straight bar Mt.bike, but it is a bit of a compromise. I like it but I would have preferred to do the same thing with an older bike like yours. Mine has the more compact geometry, so I had to look pretty hard to find a stem that would raise the bars enough. Your Rockhopper should be pretty easy to set up.
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Old 07-03-08, 11:59 AM
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my buddy jake just finished his old stumpjumper touring conversion -

we're doing a 5 day this summer where he will use it.

check it out!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/8062450...n/photostream/
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Old 07-03-08, 12:02 PM
  #23  
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This is my 1988 (or is it 87) Rockhopper:

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Old 07-03-08, 12:20 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
Rebuilding it as a commuter/city bike is a great use for this bike...But you've already got one. Not a bad idea though, to have a backup commuter, if you commute regularly, for those days when you experience the inevitable mechanical problem.

Rebuilding it as a touring bike is another great idea (Thorn recommends 26" wheels for it's touring bikes)...but the bike doesn't have braze-ons on the fork to accommodate a front rack. Doesn't make it insurmountable, but makes it more difficult to properly attach a front rack. The idea is you want a low-rider front rack to keep the load's center of gravity low. With some front racks, the center of gravity is too high. People who attempt to mount low-riders without braze-ons sometimes report problems with shifting loads. One option that I would consider if it were my bike would be to add braze-ons to the fork.

Fixed gear/Single Speed-- I don't get the craze. Seriously. When I made the switch from my childhood single speed to my adult 10 speed, it was a revelation. Why would I ever want to go back to a less capable, less efficient machine? Nevertheless, there's a single speed craze on. I just don't get it. But you could certainly convert it easily enough.

Mountain bike-- another good option for this bike. If you keep it original, it will someday be a "vintage mountain bike." If you upgrade to modern components (at least on the ones that need replacing), you won't be destroying the bike's value any today, and it may be more readily repaired, maybe even more enjoyable. In terms of mountain biking, the bike is obsolete, so I don't think you're going to get any significant performance advantage by replacing all the components. If it were me, I'd probably replace the damaged components with something of similar vintage (except the gripshifts. which you hate.)
Actually, he should have no problems mounting a front rack. My Monitor Pass is about that vintage and I front racked it. You don't have to have mid fork braze-ons for a low rider front rack .





I will say this though. To have both fenders and the the rack the bolts that mount the fender stay and the rack to the fork braze-on will have to be replace with longer ones or the spacers that come with the rack will have to be ground or hack sawed down to accommodate the fender stays.
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Old 07-03-08, 01:02 PM
  #25  
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Okay. Here is what I would do. I would do this in two phases depending on what funds allow.

First things first get the bike operational in it's basic form. Along these lines I'd ditch the knobbies for slicks, pick up a Brooks Flyer and a Salsa seat post (Just got one on my Sirrus Hybrid and it has incredible adjustment range!). I'd get an ON ONE Mary handlebar and replace the Shifters with either modern rapid fires or classic Deore XT thumb shifters from the 1990's. I'd clean up the drive train and fix whatever is wrong with the front wheel, as well as grease it and oil it.

The next step is I would add an Xtracycle kit to it. So the Swobo has the daily commuter duties and the Rockhopper is the backup and Very heavy load commuter. Also with the Xtracyle kit on it if I decided to convert it to a touring bike it would be a touring bike with more capacity than an off the rack tourer. One that on some trips you could dispense with front racks because all you need would fit on the Xtra which would increase it's maneuverability from not having so much inertia on the front wheel.
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