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Trek 620(?) repaint and possible 650B conversion

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Trek 620(?) repaint and possible 650B conversion

Old 11-24-11, 06:26 PM
  #1  
jar351
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Trek 620(?) repaint and possible 650B conversion

I recently bought a cheap mystery Trek (probably an '83 620) with the intention of flipping it. Then I got the idea that the frame might make for a decent 650B conversion--I had recently read the thread on Treks and 650B and probably had that rolling around in the back of my mind. There's one problem though. When I bought the bike, I couldn't help but notice the rather ugly touch-ups. The color wasn't far off but someone had hastily taped off big rectangular sections and painted away, not even bothering to remove the cable housing which also got painted. The result was a rather bumpy surface which, for some reason, I assumed was a function of the paint and method of application rather than what was underneath. Don't ask me why I assumed that... you know what they same about assumptions. Anyhow, pretty soon afterward it dawned on me that the bubbling must have been the result of the rust that had occasioned the touchup in the first place. From there I started to worry about the integrity of the frame and it wasn't long before my curiosity got the best of me and I started sanding away to see how deep the rust went. The suspect areas are on the top of the top tube, the underside of the upper head lug, the spot where the DT shifters clamp on, and the underside of the bottom bracket. I'd been looking for an excuse to try out a local powder coater anyway...

So below are the pics. Most of corrosion on the top tube came out with a moderate amount of sanding, using 100 to 150 grit paper. I don't think I want to sand any further for fear of taking away too much metal. This weekend I'll move on to the bottom bracket (which is my biggest concern). My questions are:

1. Will powder coating stop further spread of the rust? I assume so, but again, assumptions...

2. Should I be worried about structural integrity? I only weigh 155 and I don't ride my bikes hard. The tube thicknesses of Reynolds 531c, as per the Trek catalog, are: TT: .8/.5/.8; DT: 1.0/.7/1.0; ST: .8/.5

3. Is there any reason to think that the heating step of the PC process will further weaken the frame?

4. If I go on to strip the rest of the paint, what's the safest method? Or should I just leave this step to the powdercoaters?

I know you're probably thinking I should never have bought this frame, but I did. And you're probably also thinking I should have left well enough alone instead of sanding away. But I guess I was just in the mood for a project and I like long shots and underdogs.




https://i856.photobucket.com/albums/a...t/IMG_1454.jpg

After a little exploratory sanding:



And after a little more sanding:
https://i856.photobucket.com/albums/a...t/IMG_1449.jpg
https://i856.photobucket.com/albums/a...t/IMG_1451.jpg
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Old 11-24-11, 06:49 PM
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27" wheeled bikes are said to make bad conversions. Why not repaint and throw some 27" wheels on there?

my 620 is in roughly the same shape. I just raced 'cross on it and nothing fell apart. I weigh 185. That's all surface rust. Take care of it however you like, and I bet the frame will stand up to years more use.
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Old 11-24-11, 06:54 PM
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I have seen bikes in worse condition ridden happily for years. I would take whatever steps you are comfortable with to refinish it.

As for 650b - Why? 700C is a much more natural conversion for a 27" bike, will still give more tire clearance and give many times more tire choices than 650b. What kind of brakes are on the bike.
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Old 11-24-11, 08:18 PM
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So far that's encouraging regarding the rust. I haven't dealt much with rust on frames before and maybe I'm overblowing the issue. As for the 650b plans, 1) I'm curious about the supposed ride qualities of 650b wheeled bikes, 2) I value comfort a lot and a plush ride would go a long way with me, 3) Since I plan to repaint the frame, I have a nice color scheme in mind that involves the red GB Hetre's. I'm curious, why would a bike intended for 27" wheels make for a bad conversion? Brake reach? Crank/pedal clearance?
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Old 11-24-11, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jar351 View Post
So far that's encouraging regarding the rust. I haven't dealt much with rust on frames before and maybe I'm overblowing the issue. As for the 650b plans, 1) I'm curious about the supposed ride qualities of 650b wheeled bikes, 2) I value comfort a lot and a plush ride would go a long way with me, 3) Since I plan to repaint the frame, I have a nice color scheme in mind that involves the red GB Hetre's. I'm curious, why would a bike intended for 27" wheels make for a bad conversion? Brake reach? Crank/pedal clearance?
You should definitely consider both reach and BB drop.
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Old 11-25-11, 07:47 AM
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I have a Univega Nuovo Sport which I converted to 650B. The bike originally had 27" wheels which did not come with the bike so I decided to build up a set of 650Bs to see if they were as good as some people say, and I am very satisfied with them. The comfort and shock absorbtion of 38mm Col de la Vie tires at 50psi is very nice; I can go over broken pavement and ride on dirt much more comfortably than with narrower tires.

I am building a Trek 630 up now, and the same centerpulls will reach the rim if your frame is like mine.

Most 600 seriesTreksfrom the eighties have a bottom bracket drop of 72mm. This means the bb is very low, . I don't think pedal strike would be a problem with 165mm cranks . I plan to use 170s and if I hit, I'll go to 167.5 or 165. My Univega and other bikes built by Miyata have a high bb and this is not an issue.

Not too long ago Bicycle Quarterly reviewed a 650B Terraferma which had a 72mm drop but was equipped with Hetres, which are a 42mm wide tire with a larger radius than a 38mm tire. The bb is therefore a little higher.

A fair number of similar Treks have been converted to 650B. There are a 650B,and an internet-BOB discussion group on Google which you might want to check out. There are also a number of 650B Treks on Flikr.

If you go ahead and do it find it doesn't work, keep your eyes open for a Miyata or Univega, buy it, and move the wheels and brakes to it.
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Old 11-25-11, 08:07 AM
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Should you elect to have the frame powder coated, the shop will probably sandblast the rusty areas to eliminate the rust. That will result in pits that will be visible through the powder coating itself, as the process does not build to fill, so to speak. I'm sure the shop will know to use a filler that is conductive,(such as Lab Metal, which is designed for that purpose) otherwise the powder will not bond to a non-conductive filler.
Good luck!
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Old 11-25-11, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Ronno6 View Post
Should you elect to have the frame powder coated, the shop will probably sandblast the rusty areas to eliminate the rust.
I'm pretty sure a powder coater will blast the entire frame regardless of whether or not it is covered in rust or has just received a world class wet paint job. It's part of the preparation process.
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Old 11-25-11, 03:42 PM
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I have converted a 1983 Trek 620 to 650b. Tektro R556 brakes will reach, as will dia-compe center-pulls. 42mm Fatty rumpkin tires fit, but they are a little tight at the chainstays. Hetres should have a couple mm more clearance. I used 165mm cranks, and didn't have trouble with pedal strike--this was a fixed gear. This bike has a lowish-trail tront end, and the fat 650b tires make a really nice ride. I think you should try it.
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Old 11-25-11, 06:27 PM
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Nice looking frame, I have one very similar. As everyone else said, don't sweat the rust, the powdercoater will blast the whole frame anyway to promote the powder's adhesion to the frame. I think powder is the way to go for it's durability and it can usually be done relatively cheaply. The temperatures in the oven will not affect the structural integrity of your bike at all, they're too low.

As for wheel size, there's no reason you can't go 650b, 700c or 27". The later is pretty dated and thus limited by tire availability options, I think 700c is a much better option in the "big wheel" category. Finding calipers to reach will be no problem and these early Trek's have nice clearance. I run 700x32mm pasela's and have plenty of room for fenders. The biggest 700c tire I've seen fitted is the Jack Brown 33.33.

The frame is a good 650b candidate as well. There's lots of long reach brake options that will work, Dia-Compe 750 centerpulls and the modern Tektro's as sold by Riv to name a few. I'm piecing together a 650b build for my 630 now. The front end geometry on these bikes, as mentioned earlier, is relatively low-trail and from what I hear, they handle front loads quite well. Most of the conversions I have seen are running the Col de la Vie's @38mm wide, and for the money they seem to be a really nice tire. I have also seen Hetre's fitted, but I think you have to dimple the insides of the chain stays. FWIW I'm planning to dimple my chain stays and run Fatty Rumpkins. Also, in regards to crank length, I've spoken with someone running 175mm crank arms on a conversion with the Col de la Vie's and he said he didn't have any issues with pedal strike. You really shouldn't be pedaling through corners anyway. I'm sure 170mm cranks would be fine too. I would use whatever length cranks you legs dictate.

Anyways, good luck, and please post any progress you make.
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Old 11-25-11, 11:59 PM
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If you want to get picky, the Treks have a longer wheelbase than a lot of bikes. That will exaccerbate the low BB issue. But I'm splitting hairs. You'll probably be fine.
Rusty Treks are just as fast as shiny Treks. I've had both kinds and I won't hesitate to pick up another one if it comes my way.
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Old 11-26-11, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by ironwood View Post
I have a Univega Nuovo Sport which I converted to 650B. The bike originally had 27" wheels which did not come with the bike so I decided to build up a set of 650Bs to see if they were as good as some people say, and I am very satisfied with them. The comfort and shock absorbtion of 38mm Col de la Vie tires at 50psi is very nice; I can go over broken pavement and ride on dirt much more comfortably than with narrower tires.

I am building a Trek 630 up now, and the same centerpulls will reach the rim if your frame is like mine.

Most 600 seriesTreksfrom the eighties have a bottom bracket drop of 72mm. This means the bb is very low, . I don't think pedal strike would be a problem with 165mm cranks . I plan to use 170s and if I hit, I'll go to 167.5 or 165. My Univega and other bikes built by Miyata have a high bb and this is not an issue.

Not too long ago Bicycle Quarterly reviewed a 650B Terraferma which had a 72mm drop but was equipped with Hetres, which are a 42mm wide tire with a larger radius than a 38mm tire. The bb is therefore a little higher.

A fair number of similar Treks have been converted to 650B. There are a 650B,and an internet-BOB discussion group on Google which you might want to check out. There are also a number of 650B Treks on Flikr.

If you go ahead and do it find it doesn't work, keep your eyes open for a Miyata or Univega, buy it, and move the wheels and brakes to it.
I think the risk of pedal strike is very low. I have a 1984 Trek 610 with 72 mm drop, which was originally 27 inch by 1 1/8 inch (and very tight at teh brake bridge and fork crown!). I've run it for years now with 700, anywhere from 20 mm tubulars to 32 mm Pasela TGs. With the 27's the diameter is about 692, compared with 690 for the 32's and 670 for the 20 mm tubulars. I run 172.5 mm cranks. Some pretty hot competitive bikes such as the DeRosas and Richard Sachs use an 8 cm drop built for 20 mm tubulars, for racing use. It's not highly likely you'll get a lot of pedal strike with 670 mm diameter tires. This would be with 170 mm cranks, the old racing standard.

Why is this important? The diameter of 650x42b is about 670, and just a few mm less for 650x38b. If the DeRosas and Sachs are safe enough for stage racing, you are probably safe enough on a Trek with 38s or bigger. I like cranks

BTW, my Trek 620 would barely have enough clearance between the chainstays for Hetres at 42 mm width. A little rim wibble and I'd get tire rub.

Trail: The Trek 620s have head angle of 73 degrees and 55 mm rake. With my 700x28 wheels, the trail is 46 mm. This becomes 44 mm for 650x42b tires, and would be a bit less for 650x38b. These numbers are not what I'd call low trail, but certainly at the low end of medium.

I should say I haven't tried any Hetres yet. Just going by the numbers, the chainstay clearance is pretty tight for a 42 mm tire. Gorillagirl says it mostly works, so maybe it would be ok for me. I'd be doing the 620, not my 610.
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Old 11-26-11, 08:19 AM
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I pedal struck a few times on my '84 620 in a ss cx race last week. And I was runnin 27" x 1&1/4 (35mm) knobbies with relatively high pressure for cx. I wouldn't want the bike much lower, even on the road.
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Old 11-27-11, 06:10 PM
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Thanks for all the info, guys and gals. I wish I had read the comments on sandblasting and powdercoating before I started stripping the paint myself--I've been cooped up all weekend so I was looking for a little project. Anyhow I'll go ahead and finish the job since I'm halfway done, but do you all think it'll need to be blasted anyway for the sake of powder adhesion?

About the wheel size conversion:
I have some 650b wheels and one rivendell silver long reach caliper (aka Tektro r559/6) which I fitted to both front and rear to check for reach. The rear BARELY reached. Unfortunately these aren't the rims I'll be using. I still have yet to build the wheels that'd like to use and I know from past experience that even different rims with the same bead seat diameter will require slightly different reach. So that's still a variable. But actually I'm more concerned about being able to fit the hetres since they're the basically the raison d'Ítre for this build and a key part of my planned color scheme. Someone mentioned "dimpling" the chainstays. How exactly is this done? Is it something I can do myself or something I can have the guys at my lbs do or something I'd have to go to a machinist or frame builder for?
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Old 11-27-11, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by jar351 View Post
Anyhow I'll go ahead and finish the job since I'm halfway done, but do you all think it'll need to be blasted anyway for the sake of powder adhesion?

Yes. Unfortunately, you've wasted your time and money.
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Old 11-27-11, 11:28 PM
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Actually, it didn't cost me anything and I rather enjoyed the work but it's learning experience for sure.
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Old 11-28-11, 12:19 AM
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Now how the heck do I get this head badge off in one piece?
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Old 11-28-11, 12:20 AM
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Or should I just have it powder coated along with the frame?
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Old 11-28-11, 12:47 AM
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You could tape it off, or you could just not worry about destroying it and buy a new one on ebay for like $10.
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Old 11-28-11, 02:21 AM
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I'd assume it's held on by some sort of adhesive. You could try maneuvering some dental floss behind it to break up the glue. A hair dryer might help to soften up the bond.
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Old 11-28-11, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
I pedal struck a few times on my '84 620 in a ss cx race last week. And I was runnin 27" x 1&1/4 (35mm) knobbies with relatively high pressure for cx. I wouldn't want the bike much lower, even on the road.
There IS an aggressiveness level to be factored in, combined with the technique of raising the inside pedal when in a tight corner. One can readily do this in road riding or JRA. But if pedaling through corners is inevitable in CX, maybe these frames are unsuitable for that, and you really need to look for a drop of 5.5 to 6.0 cm. I stand corrected.
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Old 11-28-11, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by jar351 View Post
Now how the heck do I get this head badge off in one piece?
As mentioned above, heat and dental floss will do the trick.


As far as dimpling the chainstays goes, it really depends on how handy you are. Certainly a local framebuilder could do it for you, but at the bottom of this post.. https://alexwetmore.org/?p=910
It shows how it's done. Making the actual form is where you'd have to get creative, unless you have a torch.
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Old 11-28-11, 08:32 AM
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you realize the seat tube decals gotta come off too, right?
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Old 11-28-11, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Standalone View Post
27" wheeled bikes are said to make bad conversions. Why not repaint and throw some 27" wheels on there?
They don't make bad conversions if you need to repaint anyway. Then you can braze on some canti studs for $75 while you're at it and not ever worry about uber-long reach brakes:

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Old 11-28-11, 02:32 PM
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That's probably the best option. unless you see yourself going back to 700c at some point.
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