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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 05-19-15, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa
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.
Good info Tim - Thanks!
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Old 05-19-15, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dphilips
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.
My current gravel grinder is a half-step 2x7 with barcons (love them!) which gives me the ranges I need to easily be at home on pavement or gravel.
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Old 05-19-15, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
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
You never can be the first one, and I am certainly not. Chris in Miami was my inspiration, I loved his build on a chrome Ross. My love of Cimarrons started with a $15 garage sale find. The unique design plus nice component choices make them a winner. Unfortunately, they are pretty scarce around here.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:26 PM
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She is my inspiration:


YOU are my enablers!
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Old 05-19-15, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by 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.
Roger M I really like your Cannondale! What year is it and I can't tell but does it have mid fork eyelets? I would love to have found one of those for my project. With that cantilevered rear drop out what is the chain stay length? It looks like it would be such an excellent loaded touring bike with lots of heel clearance.
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Old 05-19-15, 08:42 PM
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I got my package from Velocals today and put a little window dressing on it. I'm happy I chose the silver lettering.



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Old 05-20-15, 06:10 AM
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Beautiful, badger. Now you need to update your signature.
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Old 05-20-15, 02:33 PM
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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?
Due, Those are Specialized Armadillo Hemisphere(26 x 1.95). They were on this bike when I got it, still in good shape. They're a decent tire for most conditions, and seem to work pretty well on the dirt and gravel.

Originally Posted by badger_biker
Roger M I really like your Cannondale! What year is it and I can't tell but does it have mid fork eyelets? I would love to have found one of those for my project. With that cantilevered rear drop out what is the chain stay length? It looks like it would be such an excellent loaded touring bike with lots of heel clearance.
Thanks Badger. I can't say it's going to be anywhere near as nice as that Panasonic though. Nice work.

It's a 93 model, and it does not have lowrider braze-ons(unfortunately). From center of BB to center of axle, it's 430mm. The clearance is good, but my size 15 feet catch the panniers on occasion(pretty much on any bike though). I plan on a few bike camping trips with my kids this summer, so we'll see how it works out..

BTW, how do you like those bars?
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Old 05-20-15, 03:06 PM
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B_b and RM, thank you both for the tire info.
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Old 05-20-15, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
I got my package from Velocals today and put a little window dressing on it. I'm happy I chose the silver lettering.



wow man - that is exactly what I wanted to do with this RockHopper - but the black bits just kept accumulating.... next I'll be switching the cranks and seat post to black... it's like an infection.
the nishiki dirt roadster got me my no-black-bits fix though..

good looking bike, @badger_biker !
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Old 05-21-15, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by mrv
wow man - that is exactly what I wanted to do with this RockHopper - but the black bits just kept accumulating.... next I'll be switching the cranks and seat post to black... it's like an infection.
the nishiki dirt roadster got me my no-black-bits fix though..

good looking bike, @badger_biker !
Thanks mrv. Your Rockhopper is very nice. How many speeds are you running in the rear and are you happy with the bar ends on the Midge (I assume) bars? I prefer bar end shifters for more positive gear changes under a load and may eventually swap to them if I find the brifters stumble on tour.
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Old 05-21-15, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Roger M
BTW, how do you like those bars?
I took it for a 20 mile ride last night and I have nothing but good things to say about the bars. I originally had them on a smaller Nishiki Cascade frame I was using as a prototype proof of concept bike and they were OK but were set lower than the seat with a shorter stem height wise. On the Panasonic I have the bars about an inch above the saddle height with a little less stem reach and it makes a HUGE difference. It is much more comfortable on the hoods and the drop position is the real sweet spot at the height they work out to be. I'm getting used to the extra width of the bars but it is nice to have the extra space when climbing out of the saddle.
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Old 05-21-15, 11:13 AM
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I'm ordering parts today, or tomorrow at the latest, for my drop bar conversion. I've been putting this off long enough!

Would anyone care to offer an opinion about preferred brake levers to use with Midge bars? I'll be using bar-end shifters. I'm a tall guy who wears size XL gloves. I hope to find a decent compromise position to allow me to ride on the hoods some of the time, so hoods that will be comfortable at the Midge bar angle is a consideration. I was looking at the Tektro RL340 until I saw a review on Amazon with pictures of the hoods all torn and cracked from what the reviewer says was one year (but 6000 km, too - I don't ride that much, nor do I park the bike outdoors in the sun for long periods). I'm not ruling them out from just one bad review, but it did make me think: Do I want to do this once, and do it right, or do I want to be unhappy some time down the road that what I bought didn't last.

Since the only road bike brakes I have any experience with (since the late '80s, anyway) are the Shimano RSX brifters on my road bike, I guess I should probably just choose some levers and not over-analyze this, but if anyone would like to comment before I do, I'd appreciate it.
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Old 05-21-15, 11:19 AM
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@Squeeze - I happen to have run those exact levers on my Midge bars and I have had no issues with them. I also run them on my Cross Check, since 2011 and they look like brand new. I live in Oregon, so I suppose if you live in a hot, sunny place & leave your bike out they may crack. Not sure though. Anyway, I highly recommend them. Yes, you can use gloved hands to brake well and the hoods are comfy.
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Old 05-21-15, 11:44 AM
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I'm also running the rl340s on nitto rando bars. I think there are quite a few individuals using those levers for mtb conversions.
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Old 05-21-15, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 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.
Is a long, tall guy like you going to be able to live with that shorter stem you put on it? Looks like it gets you down pretty low, too. Anyway, if you make it out my way again this summer, I could show you and the kids some of my favorite logging roads, or that nice trail around Lake Crescent. Plenty of good gravel to grind out my way
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Old 05-21-15, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman
Is a long, tall guy like you going to be able to live with that shorter stem you put on it? Looks like it gets you down pretty low, too. Anyway, if you make it out my way again this summer, I could show you and the kids some of my favorite logging roads, or that nice trail around Lake Crescent. Plenty of good gravel to grind out my way
Tim, the top tube is almost 24.5 inches(62cm). The old stem was 150mm, and I haven't enjoyed riding with it for the last three years. 1 1/4" stems aren't too common. The new stem is only 80mm, which brings it pretty close to my road bikes. We'll see how it works out. I have an uglier giraffe type threadless stem that would raise the bars another couple inches..

We haven't made any plans, but I think we will be out your way at some point this summer. Thanks for the offer. I'll be in touch when it happens.
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Old 05-21-15, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Velocivixen
@Squeeze - I happen to have run those exact levers on my Midge bars and I have had no issues with them. I also run them on my Cross Check, since 2011 and they look like brand new. I live in Oregon, so I suppose if you live in a hot, sunny place & leave your bike out they may crack. Not sure though. Anyway, I highly recommend them. Yes, you can use gloved hands to brake well and the hoods are comfy.
Nice to know they work well on the Midge. I have them on standard road bars and like the big surface area and the quick release pins are very handy. If I ever switch from brifters to bar ends I'll probably use the RL340 levers.
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Old 05-22-15, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
Thanks mrv. Your Rockhopper is very nice. How many speeds are you running in the rear and are you happy with the bar ends on the Midge (I assume) bars? I prefer bar end shifters for more positive gear changes under a load and may eventually swap to them if I find the brifters stumble on tour.
My RockHopper has Origin8 Gary Bars (basically a randonneur bar). I don't think they flare out as much as midge bars. Not sure.
I'm running 8-spd Shimano stuff. Deore LX rear-mech (as the Brits say). I don't think Shimano calls the bar end shifters any particular name (Deore, Ultegra, Sora, Rivendell Approved, whatever...). I've got the 8-spd bar ends on two bikes. Like 'em lots.

(Question: why do people call them "bar-cons"? I think I know lots about '80s-90s bike stuff, and I've got NO idea what the 'cons' means, or the origin of it. I need a good explanation or I'm going to keep calling them bar-end shifters.... May have to ask that Q in the touring section.)

Cheers!
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Old 05-22-15, 06:25 AM
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Isn't Barcon the original name, with 'con' for controller? At least that's what's been in my head for a long time. If I'm wrong someone will correct me I trust.
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Old 05-22-15, 08:56 AM
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Suntour put it on their schematic. That's good enough for me.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3522/3...51f0de0008.jpg
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Old 05-22-15, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote
Isn't Barcon the original name, with 'con' for controller? At least that's what's been in my head for a long time. If I'm wrong someone will correct me I trust.
Don't know about the "original name" but I thought it was from bar end controller as well.

Good call with the schematic
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Old 05-23-15, 11:05 AM
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Thanks all for the advice about the Tektro RL340 brake levers. I just ordered a pair, and some bar-end shifters, too.

It'll be Ramen noodles for me this week.

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Old 05-23-15, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
I got my package from Velocals today and put a little window dressing on it. I'm happy I chose the silver lettering.


I really like what you've done with your Panasonic mtb....
badger_biker. Very nice work.

Is there more of your project story linked elsewhere?
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Old 05-23-15, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by simmonsgc
Suntour put it on their schematic. That's good enough for me.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3522/3...51f0de0008.jpg
Excellent!
SO - if I'm talking SunTour, I say "bar-con" shifters per the official schematic.
AND - if I'm talking SHIMANO, I say "bar end" shifters, per the official schematic. (and when talking to the Rivendell folks.....)
This should totally up my snob-i-tude when I see other people getting it wrong. YES!
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