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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 05-15-15, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mrv
ride the bike / add fenders / ride in bad weather / add racks / ride further / then ride some more
Add fenders and ride in bad weather--spoken like a true Michigander! Your post must have brought us the rain this morning . Now I do have to put fenders on...
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Old 05-15-15, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mrv
howdy
i've done a similar set up on my specialized TourHopper.
Oooh, I like that color. So many crazy bike colors in the early 90s. The '92 Paramount PDG 90 is probably my favorite; so much fuschia (and an awesome lugged Prestige frame). I keep an eye out for those PDG Series bikes; they're the descendants of my KOM (which was sold as a Paramountain the year before).

Nice build! What handlebars did you use?

Originally Posted by mrv
The above pic shows 2in city tires (SERFAS Drifters) - a bit noisy and bumpy on pavement, but fine on dirt.
I've switched to some 1.75in CONTI Tour Plus tires for an upcoming summer tour.
I like really wide, lightweight tires. The Schwalbe Super Motos are super fast on pavement, dirt, gravel, etc. But they wash out on loose, windy singletrack (landed on my face! thankfully, dirt is forgiving). They're hard to find in the states but can be bought cheap from Zee Germans (when they're in stock).

Originally Posted by mrv
so what do you think - would the Specialized 4130 steel vs. Schwinn's Prestige make a big difference in feel? My TourHopper feels like a tank. Which is what I'm using it for, but your description makes me think I'm missing something.
Could be I've got a virus I'm fighting, so I just feel sluggish.....
Yes, you could probably feel the difference. Prestige is 4130 steel, but it's heat-treated for strength and aggressively butted for lightness. The Rockhopper's tubing will be thicker-walled, and may have less aggressive butting. The Stumpjumper would have a lighter, more lively frame (the steel ones were full Prestige).

Plus, geometry makes a big difference. I can't tell you what angles are best, but I've got the KOM's fit pretty dialed-in for aggressive riding.

Heat treated steel is drawn thinner, so it's as strong but with more "spring". I'm lucky that I have three bikes with frames of lugged construction and heat-treated steel. Well, I know a good deal on CL when I find it, for sure.

My KOM is a tank (it's more than 35# as pictured), but a tank that can handle. Like an Abrams, those things are 70 tons and can really scoot.

Originally Posted by mrv
Also - no paint on your bike? Looks like you've got unpainted steel. I like it.
It's bare steel with a clear coat painted on. No primer, so we'll see how long it lasts before I see some surface rust underneath. I'll let it tarnish for a little bit and probably get it powder coated eventually.

I had the paint blasted off because the frame was very scratched up and had a couple small rust spots, and because I got a friend to braze on some rack eyelets. The KOM was a race frame so it had zero eyelets.
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Old 05-15-15, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa
Oooh, I like that color. So many crazy bike colors in the early 90s. The '92 Paramount PDG 90 is probably my favorite; so much fuschia (and an awesome lugged Prestige frame). I keep an eye out for those PDG Series bikes; they're the descendants of my KOM (which was sold as a Paramountain the year before).

Nice build! What handlebars did you use?
the bars are ORIGIN8 Gary Bars (ranod-style) - I'll have to get a better pic of them and added to the Specialized File.

** ALERT: This image is not a drop bar conversion: 'nother '92 Schwinn PDG (but a roadie) - and not that cool colour you posted! (was the chain stay bent on the MTB?)

The SERFA tires are pretty weighty. There on a different bike at the moment, as I switched to some CONTI Touring plus tires I intend to use for a 5 day ride in a couple of months.

You could do a matte transparent powder. That'd give you a bare steel kind of look.
Nice chat - cheers!
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Old 05-15-15, 03:31 PM
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Hey guys, I found this thread awhile ago and caught the dirt drop bug. Ever since, I've been doing my homework...

I'm trying to find more information on this Marin:

Marin "Eldridge Grade" Mountain Bike


I think it's either a 1990 or 1991, but I'm not sure. Also, the shop that's selling it was very vague about the components on it, so I might have to make the 1.5 hour trek up to SF to check it out in person... Hopefully it pans out.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!
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Old 05-15-15, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Anceps
Hey guys, I found this thread awhile ago and caught the dirt drop bug. Ever since, I've been doing my homework...

I'm trying to find more information on this Marin:

Marin "Eldridge Grade" Mountain Bike


I think it's either a 1990 or 1991, but I'm not sure. Also, the shop that's selling it was very vague about the components on it, so I might have to make the 1.5 hour trek up to SF to check it out in person... Hopefully it pans out.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

I think the components are Deore LX front and rear derailleurs, LX crank, DX shifter pods, Wolber AT 18 rims. I reserve the right to be wrong though!

Hard to tell with just that one craigslist picture, but it reminds me of this one that they say is a 1990 https://sydneymountainbikerescue.wor...ade-euro-spec/

There was a later model Eldridge Grade (1993?) for sale for cheap in the Minneapolis area. I posted it on the "Are you looking for one of these" thread and a forum member bought it for a relative. They're cool bikes.

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Old 05-16-15, 08:21 AM
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From my original craigslist find in post #3884, I have finally finished the drop-bar conversion on my 1989 Miyata Ridge Runner Team and went for my first ride this morning in the rain. It took a while for it to come together, but it was a fun project. Thanks to everyone who posted on this thread for all of the ideas.




After much deliberation I ended up going with a black Nitto MT-3 stem and Gary II bars with tektro levers and suntour barcons. Choosing the stem/bar combination was much trickier than I thought it would be to get diameters, colors, height and reach to all line up just right. The orange bar wrap is intended to accentuate the late-eighties “Malibu Ken” style of the paint-job that, unlike @Tim_Iowa, I will keep forever .


The Selle Turbo is not my most comfortable saddle, but it was original equipment back in 1989 so I'll keep it for a while at least. For those of you paying extra close attention, those are bio-pace chainrings and the pedals are the original M-757 spuds that I bought new in 1990. I also just couldn't resist putting on the chrome valve caps from the very bottom of my 80's BMX parts bin. The wheels are new XT780/Mavic XM719 that I borrowed from another bike.
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Old 05-16-15, 12:28 PM
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Love to see your RR @kingston. Looking good! Curious to hear how your 1989 rides. A couple of years ago I built up a beautiful 1988 Terra Runner with drop bars. - I loved everything about that bike except the ride. It felt strangely unstable at speed. My 1990 Ridge Runner is a totally different beast. It feels wonderfully "planted" at high speeds,just like a nice road bike. Perhaps not so surprising knowing that Greg Herbold won the 1990 downhill championship on one.. :-)
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Old 05-17-15, 03:49 PM
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I took the Miyata out again today, so I have ridden a little over 100 miles this weekend and have started to develop some opinions:


The fit is just about perfect. Time well spent figuring out where I wanted the bars relative to the saddle before deciding on a stem. Thanks @wrk101 for the advice on that subject.


The ride is extremely stable, but I wouldn’t say it rides like a road bike. @merida I expect it’s a lot more like your 1990 RRT than your terra runner.


I don’t like the gearing. (26,36,46x13,15,17,20,23,26,30). My highest gear is too low, I have a bunch of low gears that I don’t use at all, and the spacing on the cassette is too wide for the type of riding I’m doing. Perhaps the gearing would be better in hillier terrain, but I live in Chicago. We don’t have any hills. I need bigger chainrings and/or a close-ratio cassette.

Tires are going to be a trouble spot for me. My ride today took me on about 10 miles of pavement, 30 miles of crushed stone path and 30 miles of mud. I was riding Kenda Kross Plus which is a cheap tire with a smooth tread and little knobbies on the sides. They are a so-so compromise. They are better than knobbies on the pavement and better than smooth tires in the mud but pretty poor at both.
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Old 05-17-15, 04:35 PM
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@kingston Interesting to notice the frame changes from '88 to '90. The '88 has a level top tube, and your '89 get the new frame with the sloping top tube but seem to still be using the fork from the previous model. My '90 has a much straighter fork.
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Old 05-17-15, 09:18 PM
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Here is my Panasonic Pro ATB I just got up and running after getting it powder coated. Just a fantastically comfortable ride and I think I'll find a lot of saddle time on it.





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Old 05-17-15, 10:13 PM
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So my Nitto Column showed up in the mail yesterday. I got the bike mocked up this morning, unsure of handlebar choice though. The rack is not bolted up, just sitting there at the moment.

went from this



to this

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Old 05-17-15, 10:16 PM
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I'm not good at recognizing the different dirt drop bars yet, @badger_biker. What did you put on yours, and how do you like it with the STI's? Looks great BTW.

The C-dale already looks awesomer, @Roger M.

Last edited by mountaindave; 05-17-15 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 05-17-15, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
I'm not good at recognizing the different dirt drop bars yet, @badger_biker. What did you put on yours, and how do you like it with the STI's? Looks great BTW.
Thanks and they are On One Midge bars. I like the big hood surface area of the STI and they have been shifting flawlessly. The angle of the levers with these bars makes it much easier to shift ergonomically. The RD is reverse pull so the shifter paddles work in reverse which took me a little while to get used to.
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Old 05-17-15, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Man, I love that frame and great call on color. That color was my 2nd choice for p' coating. Got my '97 Trek 820 in a deep deep sky blue known as "Playboy Blue".

I'll post a few photos when I'm all done putting it together (w/ drop bars of course ).
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Old 05-17-15, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave

The C-dale already looks awesomer, @Roger M.
thanks Dave. I think Cannondale frames are kinda shoddy looking, as far as workmanship goes. However, this is about 60cm frame and I haven't found any steel mtb in that size(except for a Ritchey that not in my budget). I do think it will be a good dirt road and trail bike.
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Old 05-18-15, 03:18 PM
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I need some help from you guys. I have been reading here for years but have never posted. I am attempting to build a drop bar early 90's MTB. I have zero interest in bar end shifters. I really wanted to use STI shifters. I was going to buy a Shimano 105 Group Set for the bike. This would include everything I need and I like to keep it simple. I have zero technical skills when it comes to bikes. I just ride them. What problems if any will I run into with this Road Bike Group Set on an early 90's MTB? Any help would be appreciated.
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Old 05-18-15, 03:55 PM
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1. Make sure FD has the right clamp size and is a road model (RD can be MTB).

2. Make sure bike fits. Later MTBs are more susceptible to long top tube.

3, Setting up STI on FD can be a royal PITA, rear is usually a breeze.

4. What crankset?

5. Myself I prefer friction on the front. I wish someone would make a friction STI front with a normal STI rear.

6. Not going to be cheap (doesn't mean don't do it, but be prepared to spend some $$ on this project).

7. I am a sucker for lugged steel frames, which on mtbs, usually means 1980s, with a handful of early 1990s.

8. Start hunting for a Cimarron! It would make a fine conversion. And the fillet brazed/lugged steel frame is very unusual/cool.

Posts 4016 and 4017 are two great examples of STI conversions. Maybe I'll have to do that next.

Last edited by wrk101; 05-18-15 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 05-18-15, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
1. Make sure FD has the right clamp size and is a road model (RD can be MTB).

2. Make sure bike fits. Later MTBs are more susceptible to long top tube.

3, Setting up STI on FD can be a royal PITA, rear is usually a breeze.

4. What crankset?

5. Myself I prefer friction on the front. I wish someone would make a friction STI front with a normal STI rear.

6. Not going to be cheap (doesn't mean don't do it, but be prepared to spend some $$ on this project).

7. I am a sucker for lugged steel frames, which on mtbs, usually means 1980s, with a handful of early 1990s.

8. Start hunting for a Cimarron! It would make a fine conversion. And the fillet brazed/lugged steel frame is very unusual/cool.

Posts 4016 and 4017 are two great examples of STI conversions. Maybe I'll have to do that next.
Thrifty Bill, you are the best... one for starting this thread (my favorite in C&V for sure) and two for all the great support, advise, and praise! You are truly the Sheldon Brown (R.I.P.) of the drop bar conversion world, thanks Bill for everything!!!

-D-

p.s. Going off #8 above, have you seen the cost of having a fillet brazed/lugged frame made? Holy cow... minimum 2 grand for a frame and fork... that could buy a lot of Cimarrons!
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Old 05-18-15, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mijome07
Man, I love that frame and great call on color. That color was my 2nd choice for p' coating. Got my '97 Trek 820 in a deep deep sky blue known as "Playboy Blue".

I'll post a few photos when I'm all done putting it together (w/ drop bars of course ).
I'll be anxious to see the pictures of your Trek. I was debating between a kind of a mint green or bluish color and this. I decided since this one will see some gravel and dirt I'd go with the color that will blend with the dirt! I haven't seen one in the flesh but I think Surly had a similar color on their LHT called truckacino or something like that.
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Old 05-18-15, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
5. Myself I prefer friction on the front. I wish someone would make a friction STI front with a normal STI rear
Seriously! I'm going 1x8 this weekend because of how much I hate my 3 speed STI. Starting with 36x11-28. If it's not low enough I'll go 11-34.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
Seriously! I'm going 1x8 this weekend because of how much I hate my 3 speed STI. Starting with 36x11-28. If it's not low enough I'll go 11-34.
I've heard good things about Gevenalle (formerly retroshift) and their 10 & 11-speed drop bar shifters; I haven't used one yet but I'd like to try them out on my gravel bike in the next year or so. Shadow derailleur compatible; friction option even with 10 speed -- plus sounds like they'd be great for a 1x setup.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:59 AM
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This is the thread that keeps on giving. Last 2 examples are really cool.

Roger M and badger_biker, what tires are you using?
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Old 05-19-15, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by due ruote
This is the thread that keeps on giving. Last 2 examples are really cool.

Roger M and badger_biker, what tires are you using?
Well this thread is what inspired me to go for it.....Thanks for starting it Thrifty Bill! Some very cool bikes in here indeed and so multi functional.
This one seems to ride as fast as my road touring bikes and it has a 18 - 108 gear inch range that I don't think I could get on a road bike. I used to have a hard time understanding why people toured on 26 inch wheel bikes but getting away from standard mountain bike bars seems to make a big difference.

Thanks due ruote - I'm using Continental Travel Contacts in the 2" width. They are quiet on the road and roll as nice as some Armadillo 1.5 tires I had on the same wheels on a different bike. I've been running them at the 45 psi suggested on the label and haven't experimented with them off road yet. I'm not sure how low in psi I dare go on a 2" tire.
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Old 05-19-15, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Thanks due ruote - I'm using Continental Travel Contacts in the 2" width. They are quiet on the road and roll as nice as some Armadillo 1.5 tires I had on the same wheels on a different bike. I've been running them at the 45 psi suggested on the label and haven't experimented with them off road yet. I'm not sure how low in psi I dare go on a 2" tire.
As you lower the tire pressure, you gain comfort from the increased suspension effect of the tire, and you spread the tire's footprint out which can help with traction on loose surfaces.

The risks of extremely low pressure are pinch flats and the tire becoming squirmy and unresponsive (potentially unsafe).

Some tires are "supple" and feel fine at lower pressures. Some tires are stiffer and prefer higher pressures.

With 2" tires, you can safely go down to 25 psi. If you're heavier, then higher pressures are required for safety.

Try lowering your pressure little by little until you find that happy zone for the surfaces you ride.

Even with drop bars, your weight is more biased toward the rear. Keep the rear tire at a slightly higher pressure to account for this.

Good advice in this article.
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Old 05-19-15, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
Seriously! I'm going 1x8 this weekend because of how much I hate my 3 speed STI. Starting with 36x11-28. If it's not low enough I'll go 11-34.
My most ridden bike is 3x9 with a bar end friction shifter for the front and STI shifter for the rear. No changes in this setup for over 6 years; it works fantastically well for me.
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