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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 09-09-14, 01:25 PM
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This thread made me convert my craigslist trek 970 into a drop bar all-rounder. All parts except the stem came from the bike collective. Total cost right now is about $130including new tires and tubes. I just cabled up the brakes today and had to quit.

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Old 09-09-14, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by LesterOfPuppets
For me it was this Schwinn Varsity that Bob Crispin fit with fat tires and a rear disc brake in 1974

That is definitely one of a kind and a disc brake in 1974. Wow!
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Old 09-09-14, 09:34 PM
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Here is my Nishiki Cascade. It is kind of a prototype for an off road touring bike I want. The frame is a bit small so I will migrate things over to a Panasonic Pro ATB at some point when I get that frame powder coated. This one rides very light for a mountain bike on the road.



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Old 09-09-14, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Here is my Nishiki Cascade. It is kind of a prototype for an off road touring bike I want. The frame is a bit small so I will migrate things over to a Panasonic Pro ATB at some point when I get that frame powder coated. This one rides very light for a mountain bike on the road.



Very nice! Where did you get the Midge bars, Badger?
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Old 09-10-14, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Uncle Randy
Very nice! Where did you get the Midge bars, Badger?
Thanks Uncle Randy. I got the Midge bars through Planet X USA Web Store. They were very good to deal with and worked with me to get the color and size I wanted. I love them with the STI levers - such a great angle for the levers and easier to shift than on standard drop bars.
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Old 09-11-14, 05:33 AM
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Here's my second drop bar conversion. It started life as a '95 Schwinn S[nine 5].4. I added the Origin8 Gary 2 Bar and a Shimano Deore group with Dura Ace bar cons and Tektro cantilevers. I ended up really liking the bike in bare aluminum so I left it that way on assembly. The fork is a Chromoly fork from an early Trek Mountain bike that was also left bare. I soaked it the boiler condensate return tank at work for a week to get the rich black oxide layer.



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Old 09-11-14, 05:36 AM
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Nice Nishiki Badger! I've got a Motobecane with drop bars and STI's. Its a great setup. I've been looking at a Nishiki on eBay to build out with an old Shimano 600 Tri-Color group. You may have pushed me over the edge! But then again I've got 5 bikes right now so I'm gonna have to sneak it past my wife.

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Old 09-11-14, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Thanks Uncle Randy. I got the Midge bars through Planet X USA Web Store. They were very good to deal with and worked with me to get the color and size I wanted. I love them with the STI levers - such a great angle for the levers and easier to shift than on standard drop bars.
Nice looking rig, and I like the STI setup. I'd like to put brifters on my mustache bar at some point just because people tell me I can't/shouldn't.
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Old 09-11-14, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder
Nice looking rig, and I like the STI setup. I'd like to put brifters on my mustache bar at some point just because people tell me I can't/shouldn't.
I run Campy Ergo on mustache bars, and it works great. Better than on a drop bar, just as badger-biker says...
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Old 09-11-14, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by eastbay71
Nice Nishiki Badger! I've got a Motobecane with drop bars and STI's. Its a great setup. I've been looking at a Nishiki on eBay to build out with an old Shimano 600 Tri-Color group. You may have pushed me over the edge! But then again I've got 5 bikes right now so I'm gonna have to sneak it past my wife.

Thanks eastbay. That is interesting how you got the color on the fork of the Schwinn. Is the Motobecane frame done in the same way? Very nice bikes.
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Old 09-11-14, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Thanks Uncle Randy. I got the Midge bars through Planet X USA Web Store. They were very good to deal with and worked with me to get the color and size I wanted. I love them with the STI levers - such a great angle for the levers and easier to shift than on standard drop bars.
Originally Posted by interceptorjg
I run Campy Ergo on mustache bars, and it works great. Better than on a drop bar, just as badger-biker says...
I'd love to see a video of the STI/Ergos in action on the non traditional drop bar (dirt/mustache). Having a hard time visualizing the shifting action at a different angle..
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Old 09-12-14, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by jdefran
I'd love to see a video of the STI/Ergos in action on the non traditional drop bar (dirt/mustache). Having a hard time visualizing the shifting action at a different angle..
Here ya go:

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Old 09-12-14, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by interceptorjg
I run Campy Ergo on mustache bars, and it works great. Better than on a drop bar, just as badger-biker says...
A++ video thanks for that
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Old 09-12-14, 05:59 PM
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I got some bar tape and finished up my trek 970 this afternoon:



Most of it is stock. I switched the terrible old suspension fork to a mystery rigid one. Bars and brake levers came from the bike collective. The stem came from nashbar and the sun tour barons came from ebay.

What's the right way to adjust the brakes to work best with the road levers? I have the yoke fairly low right now and it feels good with the cross lever but weak with the regular levers. Should the yoke come further from the tire?
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Old 09-12-14, 07:21 PM
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Old rule of thumb I use is to have the straddle cable form ~ a 90 degree angle.

Now that I read Sheldon's article, I am pretty close, as pretty much all of my canti brakes are mid to late 1980s.

Important point Sheldon makes, its not how they "feel", its how firmly they squeeze on the rim.

Read Sheldon's articles on mechanical advantage, he has a couple of them

The Geometry of Cantilever Brakes


Quote from Sheldon:

"Conventional cantilevers fall into three types, defined by their cantilever angle:
  • Wide-profile cantilevers have a cantilever angle much greater than 90 degrees. The best example of this type is the old Mafac cantilevers, in which the anchor arm actually sloped downward from the boss in some installations. This design is now pretty much obsolete. Wide-profile cantilevers have rather low mechanical advantage, and work well only with levers with a high mechanical advantage.
  • Medium-profile cantilevers have a cantilever angle of around 90 degrees. Most late-1980's cantilevers belong to this family. Medium-profile cantilevers are very forgiving and give excellent all-around performance with a wide range of set-ups.
  • Low-profile cantilevers have a cantilever angle of less than 90 degrees. The principal advantage of narrow profile cantilevers is that they don't stick out so far from the frame or fork, very desirable, because protruding cantilever arms can cause a multitude of problems, particularly in the rear, where a rider's feet may hit them. Narrow-profile cantilevers are also capable of excellent performance, but only if properly set up. A carelessly set-up low-profile cantilever may have very low braking power, even though it feels great on the work stand."

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Old 09-12-14, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by interceptorjg
Here ya go:

Great video. Thanks!
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Old 09-12-14, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
Old rule of thumb I use is to have the straddle cable form ~ a 90 degree angle.

Now that I read Sheldon's article, I am pretty close, as pretty much all of my canti brakes are mid to late 1980s.

Important point Sheldon makes, its not how they "feel", its how firmly they squeeze on the rim.

Read Sheldon's articles on mechanical advantage, he has a couple of them

The Geometry of Cantilever Brakes


Quote from Sheldon:

"Conventional cantilevers fall into three types, defined by their cantilever angle:
  • Wide-profile cantilevers have a cantilever angle much greater than 90 degrees. The best example of this type is the old Mafac cantilevers, in which the anchor arm actually sloped downward from the boss in some installations. This design is now pretty much obsolete. Wide-profile cantilevers have rather low mechanical advantage, and work well only with levers with a high mechanical advantage.
  • Medium-profile cantilevers have a cantilever angle of around 90 degrees. Most late-1980's cantilevers belong to this family. Medium-profile cantilevers are very forgiving and give excellent all-around performance with a wide range of set-ups.
  • Low-profile cantilevers have a cantilever angle of less than 90 degrees. The principal advantage of narrow profile cantilevers is that they don't stick out so far from the frame or fork, very desirable, because protruding cantilever arms can cause a multitude of problems, particularly in the rear, where a rider's feet may hit them. Narrow-profile cantilevers are also capable of excellent performance, but only if properly set up. A carelessly set-up low-profile cantilever may have very low braking power, even though it feels great on the work stand."
Also from Sheldon's website:
Use a reflector bracket, fender or other device to prevent the transverse cable from catching on the tire. This may still be advisable with a link wire. Check for yourself whether it could contact the tire when the cable is disconnected from the lever.
Is it safe to leave the reflectors off if you're using slick tires?
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Old 09-12-14, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Uncle Randy
Great video. Thanks!
My pleasure, although I am constantly amazed by how weird my speaking voice is...
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Old 09-13-14, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Thanks eastbay. That is interesting how you got the color on the fork of the Schwinn. Is the Motobecane frame done in the same way? Very nice bikes.
Yeah chemistry is cool! You need to make sure the temperature is above 250F and the pH is over 9.0. If not you'll end up with a rusty mess.

The Motobecane was stripped with paint stripper and repainted with Valspar Espresso Brown in a rattle can. The finish has held up remarkably well, Still no chips after 9 months or so.
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Old 09-13-14, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Uncle Randy
Also from Sheldon's website:
Use a reflector bracket, fender or other device to prevent the transverse cable from catching on the tire. This may still be advisable with a link wire. Check for yourself whether it could contact the tire when the cable is disconnected from the lever.
Is it safe to leave the reflectors off if you're using slick tires?
That is an interesting point. I don't see any reflector brackets on bikes on this thread. Its probably a really good idea on the front. Cheap insurance!
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Old 09-13-14, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by interceptorjg
Here ya go:

Thank you, very informative!
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Old 09-13-14, 12:16 PM
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Finally posted up some pictures, on my ride thread, from my ride up Webster Pass, last weekend.

HERE
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Old 09-13-14, 07:15 PM
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wrk101, that's just what I needed to get things tuned in well. It seems counterintuitive but I needed to reduce the mechanical advantage at the brakes a little bit because I raised it at the lever end going from mtb levers to aero road levers.

This bike feels sweet now! Why isn't this style more popular? It's a great middle ground that's fast enough and tough enough for anything.
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Old 09-14-14, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 24fps

Why isn't this style more popular? It's a great middle ground that's fast enough and tough enough for anything.
Most people just don't think it through. They would rather have a 40 pound drop bar bike with steel rims, stamped steel brake calipers, etc., than a 28 pound drop bar conversion.

We see it all the time in the What is it worth sub forum. Someone will have the idea they need a drop bar ROAD bike, and are on a limited budget, so they end up looking at some old dept store POS or whatever with steel rims, steel bars, heavy as heck, crappy brakes, etc. Invariably I suggest looking at a rigid frame mtb instead: much better components, better wheels, much better brakes, same price. Rarely is the advice considered.
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Old 09-14-14, 08:54 AM
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That has to be it. With mine, I got to the finish line at $130 invested total. That includes some new parts, like the tires and tubes, bar tape, and cable housing that I could have reused if I was really pinching pennies. That's pretty good value for money to be able to start with a frame and components that made up a thousand dollar bike when it was new.
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