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83 Trek 400 Refurb, Mom X-Mas Surprise

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83 Trek 400 Refurb, Mom X-Mas Surprise

Old 12-02-09, 05:35 PM
  #1  
brendon_ak
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83 Trek 400 Refurb, Mom X-Mas Surprise

Hey,

I've got some parts and a bike at my disposal and I'd like to surprise my mom by refreshing her Trek for Christmas. She has an early Kestrel with full 105 group, but she hates it, never got used to it. The bone stock Trek 400 that I found for free, she loves.

I want to give the Trek a breath of fresh air, and make it a bit more current. Though it is bone stock and works just fine, I'd like to make it better, and more suited to her needs.

She rides casually with her husband on camping trips, and does the occasional triathalon. Ideally I'd like this bike to entice her to ride more, but that's down the road.

What I've already got
Stock 83 Trek 300, pretty awesome condition
full 105 group-7 speed
9 speed cassette from my MTB
XT rear d, 9 speed

Ideally I'd like to make it a universal bike, something she can really use in the triathalon (no aero bars), and something that can be used for the occasional cruise.

I'm not totally set on STI shifters, as they are pricey, tossing around the idea of bar-ends. Basically anything that ditches the DT shifters.

I'm thinking of building up a nice set of 28h wheels, depending on what cheap hubs I can score.

Any thoughts? As you can tell I'm not opposed to buy new (used) parts, but this is a cost-sensitive project.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 12-03-09, 01:55 PM
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Anyone?
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Old 12-03-09, 02:19 PM
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That 9 speed MTB cassette requires 135mm frame spacing, while the Trek originally has 126mm. You should not stretch the frame... As is, it can accept up to a 7 speed freewheel/cassette. Cannot use your MTB group with this frame

That 105 should fit there no problem and since you have the full group, should play nice with each other. Just that would be a big improvement over the friction Suntour/SR/Atom system it originally has. Simano makes a barend adapter that would accommodate the 105 downtube shifters. This is probably the more feasible and less expensive option if you have the full 105 group and want index shifting

Good luck!
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Old 12-03-09, 02:34 PM
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+1 Forget about the nine speed MTB stuff.

I would install the seven speed stuff you have, pick up some aero brake levers, and add barcons. Clean the bike up, use some polishing compound on the paint, touch up as needed, and you should have a new bike! As far as wheels, I would look for a decent donor bike, and make a swap.

The pic below is a 1986 Trek 400T Elance I recently refurbished. It is almost completely stock. The only change I made was installing aerolevers (you can find them at Niagara for $12). I think aerolevers make a bike much more rideable, and the cost is minimal. This bike has moved on to another home.


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Old 12-03-09, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
The only change I made was installing aerolevers (you can find them at Niagara for $12).
I take it those are the Pyramid brand. Are they any good? I've seen those priced really well, but always was worried about rideability
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Old 12-03-09, 03:16 PM
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The $12 ones Niagara sells are the Pyramid brand. I have used a couple of sets of them, no problem. They don't cost much more than just a set of lever hoods, so I consider them close to a no brainer.

The ones I have mounted on the Trek above are Shimano RX100s. I bought some take off handlebars, complete with stems and levers cheap, so I have been using them up.
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Old 12-03-09, 05:06 PM
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Thanks for the responses!

As for the MTB stuff my intention was to have a useable gear range so if she wants to cruise she can have the gears to do so. The 9spd mtb cassette has the same spacing as a 9spd road cassette. MTB hubs have 135 spacing, correct, but the cassettes themselves are exchangeable, or so I thought. I base this assumption on accounts that I have heard of people using MTB cassettes with STI's on touring bikes.

At any rate, since it's a steel frame I'm not hesitant on building it up 9/10speed. I do have an extra set of wheels that came off my Litespeed, sub 1400g wheels that would be nice, but they'll ride way harsher than a 32hole rim.

Aero brakes are a must, they look clean, and give more braking power. I've also got an extra set of FSA ergo bars I might put on there, might be too much though.

She still rides in clips and toe straps, I might build her a nice set of pedals too...
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Old 12-03-09, 05:51 PM
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I'm curious: what didn't she like about the Kestrel? Because this could be a case of "if it ain't broke..."

If she enjoys the Trek in its current configuration, maybe all that's necessary is a good tune-up--not a bad gift and definitely cost effective.
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Old 12-03-09, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by kbjack View Post
..... this could be a case of "if it ain't broke...If she enjoys the Trek in its current configuration, maybe all that's necessary is a good tune-up--not a bad gift and definitely cost effective.

+1 what kbjack says.

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Old 12-03-09, 09:57 PM
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What's wrong with STI's other than cost? I might be a bit biased having grown up with them, but I can't stand using DT shifters and bar ends aren't a ton better. For the record, I've used DT, bar end, and STI shifters extensively.

I recently rebuilt my dad's old Torpado. It was a pretty standard low range ten speed, so I shoved a 7s rear wheel in, a new derailleur, and an old 7s STI shifter. It is a bit of a cludge, but it works fine and my dad likes it.




Also, feel free to use your MTB 9s stuff, it'll work fine if you're willing to spread the frame to 130mm. See here for details about the cassette compatibility. Any "road" 9s hub will have a width of 130mm, as opposed to the 126 it is currently at.

Alternatively, you could hunt for a pair of used 7s STIs and just add those directly in addition to a tune up.

Edit: added more correct cassette info

Last edited by JakcBeNimble; 12-03-09 at 10:01 PM.
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Old 12-03-09, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JakcBeNimble View Post
What's wrong with STI's other than cost?
A couple of things:

one objective: compatibility with the existing derailleurs
one subjective: unless you are riding in the drops all day you still have to move your hand from the bar to shift, and if you have to do that, you might as well move it on the down tube, close to where you move it when you want to take a sip of liquid.
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Old 12-03-09, 10:13 PM
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I always thought that the 9 speed cassette would not fit on a 7 speed hub. so it won't work fine. the OP will need to get a new rear hub and spread the rear fork to 130mm and a 9 speed shifter.
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Old 12-03-09, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
I always thought that the 9 speed cassette would not fit on a 7 speed hub. so it won't work fine. the OP will need to get a new rear hub and spread the rear fork to 130mm and a 9 speed shifter.
There is no way that a 9 speed MTB cassette (135mm requirement) would fit on a road bike frame that was build to take 6 or7 speed hubs (126mm). That's almost a cm of spreading. Good luck.
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Old 12-04-09, 12:37 AM
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Sorry, when I said the 9speed cassette would work on the 7speed hub (providing it's hyperglide) I was using only 8 of the 9 MTB cogs. The indexing and spacing of the MTB cassette should be identical to the road (assuming all shimano). The mountain hub is indeed wider, but not the freehub body.

At least that's my understanding according to some experience and sheldon brown (rip).

Have I tried any of these concoctions? Nope. I do however have a set of lightweight 10 speed wheels and that'd really jazz up the old Trek. It wouldn't change the feel of it so much as make it more responsive. I could slap a 9 speed cassette on it, pick up some cheap 105 9spd shifters and be done with it.

We'll see, I've got some time to compile parts.

As for the 'if it ain't broke' notion, she really liked my dad's merlin, and she's got a Klein (mountain Klein) MTB. She loved the Merlin and Klein, but never felt comfy on the Kestrel. Can't explain it more if she won't tell me more. Could be the angles of the frame, who knows. At one point the narrow tubulars were ditched for wider clinchers, but still, no bueno.

The 400 as I understand it, is more of a sport frame, rather than a pure race frame. I assume this, and the fact that it's steel, would make it much more relaxing and forgiving to ride. I'm thinking I can make it a tad more fun (hoping rather), given my parts stash.

Thanks again for the help gents, I'll see if I can't get some more info out of her without spoiling it.
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Old 12-04-09, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by EjustE View Post
A couple of things:

one objective: compatibility with the existing derailleurs
If the original group was an old 105 group, then the derailleur should work with practically any Shimano drivetrain. They haven't changed they're RD's in forever. See here: http://sheldonbrown.com/speeds.html#derailers. Besides, he has a replacement already.



I've never heard of anyone doing the 8 of 9 on 7 trick that brendon_ak is talking about other than reading it on Sheldon Brown. How would you shift that? The only thing I can think of is to re-use the DT shifters, but in friction mode, or to use bar end shifters but also in friction mode. Another downside would be choosing which cog to remove. Unless you got lucky and there was a small tooth jump in the middle somewhere where it wouldn't be missed, you'd have to remove either the largest or smallest cog. Either way you lose some of the range that you intended to add.

My vote is to use that 10s wheel (you do mean a 130mm with a freehub right?) with the 9s cassette and the MTB derailleur, then all you have to buy is the shifters and a new chain. Add some 25-28mm wide tires to offset the harshness of your wheels, and you're set. Hopefully you can do this within your budget, those STI shifters can be expensive.

Whatever you decide, good luck. These are always my favorite kind of projects, if only because you have to be creative.

Edit: I just remembered I was shopping for a 9s STI set not too long ago and almost bought one from a BF member, bluenote157. You might try PMing him to see if he still has them, and at a price that works for you.

Last edited by JakcBeNimble; 12-04-09 at 02:51 AM.
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Old 12-04-09, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by EjustE View Post
There is no way that a 9 speed MTB cassette (135mm requirement) would fit on a road bike frame that was build to take 6 or7 speed hubs (126mm). That's almost a cm of spreading. Good luck.
9 speed mtb cassettes don't need a 135 mm hub. they need an 8/9/10 speed hub which come in 130 mm and 135 mm.
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Old 12-04-09, 07:52 AM
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My two cents — but with the some consideration, ‘cuz like many of us vintage people, I've gone some distance in trying to figure out what to do in this arena of cycling:

(A) LEVERS: The Shimano part # BR-400 is a set of aero brake levers. Sorry — no bling. But, they will fit onto any vintage set of drops you decide to use — AFAIK. They are VERY reasonably priced! They are very nicely made and include a return spring. They retain and route a cable about as good as anything I have encountered. The 'horns' are comfy and resilient. I’d put them on any build of mine. I am using them now, and they will go on my Vitus and Simplon-Campagnolo builds.

(B) CALLIPERS: The choice: an up-to-date version of 105 or Ultegra! This was a decision I made some months ago for my Trek 560 build. I held in my hands the Dura-Ace, the Ultegra and the 105. Dura-Ace? — forget it! Professional gear and extremely expensive. So which — the 105 or Ultegra? The weight-difference was palpable. So, I went for the Ultegra. And I paid a fair amount more. But .... WOW! I love these brakes! I mean ... I adore them! You can feather them ... you can feel totally in touch with the wheel. I believe I got every Yen worth that I paid for them!

(C) HUB: This is my prejudice! Do not spread the frame! The only time I did it was for a space of 2.0 mm, and I had a professional frame maker do it at his discretion! And at the same time he aligned the dropouts.

So ... what to do? (a) Overhaul the original hub with fresh Dura Ace bearings or the top grade equivalent. (b)Use some excellent grease. (c) Set the cone tension up perfectly.

If you find scoring on the cones ... ahhh ... Harris has some replacement axle/cone sets, but I don't know if you can find a fit. Here in Japan, AFAIK I can get parts for nearly every Shimano hub made back to when god was a corporal. If they can't do it in the USA, someone in the industry has to correct that situation. (In fact, if that is a problem, send me a PM! Someday I have to get new cones for my ancient 600's).

(D) REAR DRIVE: Harris supplies six-speed and seven speed Shimano freewheels. I use a 13-28 on my Trek 560. With 42-28 I can practically climb walls. And in 53-13 I can keep up with cagers in traffic on a slight downhill grade. In a head wind, I shift back and forth — mash a little and then spin a little — back and forth. After all, I do not have the luxury of 20 selections. But if you look at all the charts, just how many overlaps and close approximations exist anyway? Stay on six cogs. Your mother is very likey more of an athlete than this old fart — she’ll get along OK ... IMHO.

More — a Shimano vintage 105 RD will easily shift to 28T. I know cuz I've done it. (Recently I've changed to a long cage SunTour vintage XC, but I can't say that there is any difference). The Shimano FW XXX range is once again in full stock at Harris. You can go to 32T if you want (you may need a long cage RD though). And the beauty is they they are so inexpensive that yer mother can change out freewheels for her mission: if she is camping one weekend, she can change out for another set the next weekend if she is doing a triathlon. Here in Japan these freewheels cost about 850 Yen! About $12.00 your way! Now you'd expect them to sound like a steel mill ten minutes before shift-change. But no — I can barely hear the thing. Do they have bling? Hahahaha! They work VERY well! And guess what ... my Campagnolo BB and crank set is gonna drive the SAME freewheel part # on my new project. There are archived museum pieces, and there are bikes we ride!

I get much, much more out of the NOS vintage crank set with this long-ratio freewheel. The close-ratio sets must be for athletic racers, and after all, the machines I own are racers. But I'm an exercise/commuter; I’m up and down hills and fighting headwinds here, and I can’t use the big ring very often with the stock, close-ratio cluster. As I said, your mother can pick and choose from a number of clusters depending on what she is doing — and for the same price as a richer cassette.

If you decide to change to a compact crankset, a whole new discussion opens up. And, in consideration of what she is doing, I’d consider it. A close ratio free-wheel cluster in combo with a compact crankset might be an excellent thing. There are some really good discussions about this on Bike Forums. Vintage restorers often try to keep the big ringed retro sets — but it is your decision!

SHIFTERS: No argument in my mind here. To the point: good condition or NOS SunTour blah blah stem friction shifters!

I do not know your mother — of course. But perhaps she has sewed a seam, stirred a sauté, mixed formula for babies and has done her own makeup for years. She has skills and a feeling for things after years of experience. That is all friction changing takes — feeling and sensitivity. If you are struggling to break away from the petelon, you need the best modern changing device they make. But .... your mother and millions of us are doing something else!

A good transmission in friction mode is a no-brainer for a number of reasons. As an amateur triathlon athlete, she may not be compromised hugely in terms of performance — but maybe I’m wrong. I’ve never done such a thing! But my Vitus was used in iron man competitions through a Campy friction changed Sugino drive by the previous owner years ago — even as SIS was already an accepted fact of cycling life! And he was a LBS owner! Friction shifters may be the magic answer to the refreshment as opposed to a problem.

The simplicity of friction is that it works with everything! The complexity of trying to drive and change an early version cassette 126 mm hub transmission with a later version of SIS is not a sure bet. And if you try and do SunTour Accushift with early Shimano SIS, you are in for more experiments — possibly a bag of snakes. According to the reports, they may marry and turn out to be brilliant, or they may suck. See the late Sheldon Brown on the subject.

On my 560, I went to some trouble to set up SIS on a DT 600 shift set. Looked nice and gave no impression of being thrashed. Four months later — riding some ways mind you — the main shaft on the rear DT changer’s shifter disintegrated at the base. BTW this caused me and two mechanics to initially think that the cause was in the more ancient 105 RD. After a lifetime of handling metal parts on all sorts of machines, I felt that Shimano had compromised somewhere to cut weight. If I were you, I'd skip vintage SIS. It worked until it broke. But maybe it was a one-off. I ain't going back, anyway! Once stung .....

Go Friction! The FD is a no-brainer anyway. Plunk-plunk. The big ring change is pedestrian with a decent set. Advice — get one with the biggest tesnion adjusting ring — easier to find and reset tension on the road. If there is no on-the-fly adjuster, forget it. TOTL stem adjusters. You will find them.

eBay is up the tits in excellent versions of stem shifters. They are lighter than bar ends. They adapt easily through adapters to the braze-on DT mounts. And for my mind, keeping your arm inboard is a tad is less a task than reaching back to the drops. But many may disagree.

Well, that is how I would do it. But I think the main thing has not been mentioned yet:

RIDING POSITION! This is an area that cannot translated into an Xmas surprise — unfortunately. It means a very careful analysis of what your mother feels she needs to be comfortable on a machine, as well as some education on your part in regards to what effects different components make on the way weight, posture and the dynamic forces of the individual human frame are disposed on any specific machine geometry. Where is the leg, the knee, the foot at select points on the spin? What is her back and neck doing on the bike that she currently disfavours? Crank lengths. Stem heights. The relationship of seat tube to top tube in relation to her inseam and torso size. Unless you have these factors dialled in to some degree, you can build anything you think will please her, and still find that she is not in the groove on that machine. And being a lovely present, she may not want to reveal to you how it really feels for her to ride it.

Your mother is very likely younger than I — and almost certainly a better athlete. But I will suggest that the older we get, the more important and exacting these requirements become. Perhaps by contrast, in terms of pure efficiency, a middle-aged, professional keirin rider (and I’ve met some) are adjusted to radical rides as a matter of their profession. But that is a different kettle of fish. For the rest of us,, two to three hours of hard riding on a road machine calls for different demands and accommodations.

My bottom line is to get your mother to a store where they have an adjustable mock-up frame. Get her perfectly comfy. Take all sorts of measurements and find out how to adjust her ride on the Trek. Your LBS should consider it a complement, because any parts you need to adjust things will very likey be ordered through their business.

Is this too long winded? Am I being the Grinch!? — I’m sorry. I felt your care, respect and love, and I thought it deserved all that I had to say. There may seem so very much to consider. You may think that I've been too over-the-top. Perhaps you will think that it should not be this complicated. Well, I'll concede that maybe it isn't. And then maybe it is. For a 30 minute ride, all of this stuff is nearly redundant. But two-three hours of riding in all sorts of conditions, small things can become murderous. Sometimes I think that ALL sports bicycles should be custom-made to individuals around ergonomic principles. Well, it is not practical, and my wife might kill me in my sleep if I were to try and pay for it!

(That does not mean that I may not do it

Last edited by Lenton58; 12-04-09 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 12-04-09, 11:16 AM
  #18  
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Haha, well I'm simply floored with the responses! Thoughful, helpful, and caring, jesus guys, this is amazing!

I hadn't thought of the bike fit...I had talked to her about it a while ago, she seemed to be surprised (enlightened) at the idea that your body does change over time, thus requiring a different position than 20 years ago. I'll have to phone the shop and see what the deal is.

The MTB cassette on my 10s wheels with STI shifters sounds like the best option, but it will definitely be the most expensive. Perhaps I can coordinate with her husband about me covering the fit, and he can help on the new bike situation...options!

Of course I can just transfer the entire 105 group over, but the point is to make something that fits her better than some standard run of the mill 105 group, also at 59, turning standard gearing can get to be a little tiring, I'd imagine, especially for a leisurely ride.
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