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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 08-05-15, 12:27 PM
  #4226  
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Originally Posted by wrk101
That was part of my objective. Take a nice but neglected mtb, dig around in my parts bin a little bit, and bring it back in a more useful form. For my next one, I am planning to start with the orange Diamondback Ascent I picked up two weeks ago, add the better components from the Apex I picked up at the same time, and have some fun with it.


Ha, funny coincidence- I just started on the exact same project. Building up an Ascent using components from an Apex.

The donor is an '86 Apex in that well known green. Its been all over the world, even has a DOJ sticker from the early 90s because the owner took it with him to Panama. The frame is way too small for me and its in really rough cosmetic shape, too far gone for me to refurbish and sell, so I am stealing the components and will donate the cleaned frame/fork and repacked headset and bottom bracket.

I think the Ascent is from '95. Its a blue Ascent EX and im basing the year on a decal on the top tube.



I just happened to click on a few random pages within this thread to get some inspiration on how I want to set the bike up(it most likely wont be drop bar though) and came upon your post. Any chance you have pics of the conversion and/or final product?
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Old 08-05-15, 01:28 PM
  #4227  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Ha, funny coincidence- I just started on the exact same project. Building up an Ascent using components from an Apex.

The donor is an '86 Apex in that well known green. Its been all over the world, even has a DOJ sticker from the early 90s because the owner took it with him to Panama. The frame is way too small for me and its in really rough cosmetic shape, too far gone for me to refurbish and sell, so I am stealing the components and will donate the cleaned frame/fork and repacked headset and bottom bracket.

I think the Ascent is from '95. Its a blue Ascent EX and im basing the year on a decal on the top tube.



I just happened to click on a few random pages within this thread to get some inspiration on how I want to set the bike up(it most likely wont be drop bar though) and came upon your post. Any chance you have pics of the conversion and/or final product?
Like a lot of projects, it morphed over the years. Ended up picking up a second Schwinn Cimarron and did it instead. Then I picked up a 1990 Schwinn Sierra for the el cheapo contest, and put North Roads on it.

With three conversions in the stable, I'm more than set. I've actually cut the keeper fleet this year, letting go four of them. I need to do some more pruning, and also keep moving the other stuff too.
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Old 08-12-15, 11:49 AM
  #4228  
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Done. My brother in law is very pleased with his Litespeed:






The welds on that frame are gorgeous. Burly Rhyno Lite wheels, & Fox F80RLT fork (freshly rebuilt with Enduro seals). He wanted disc brakes, so we installed a Chasertech rear frame adapter. Using the TRP HyRd cable actuated hydraulic brakes and Tektro 520 levers. Brooks C17 saddle. This bike eats up fire road and leaves everyone in the dust.
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Old 08-12-15, 02:02 PM
  #4229  
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Gorgeous examples!
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Old 08-12-15, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by tk1971
Done. My brother in law is very pleased with his Litespeed:






The welds on that frame are gorgeous. Burly Rhyno Lite wheels, & Fox F80RLT fork (freshly rebuilt with Enduro seals). He wanted disc brakes, so we installed a Chasertech rear frame adapter. Using the TRP HyRd cable actuated hydraulic brakes and Tektro 520 levers. Brooks C17 saddle. This bike eats up fire road and leaves everyone in the dust.
Aaron's Litespeed is cool, but this one pushes it hard.

Very hard.

Awesome build.
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Old 08-13-15, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tk1971
Done. My brother in law is very pleased with his Litespeed:






The welds on that frame are gorgeous. Burly Rhyno Lite wheels, & Fox F80RLT fork (freshly rebuilt with Enduro seals). He wanted disc brakes, so we installed a Chasertech rear frame adapter. Using the TRP HyRd cable actuated hydraulic brakes and Tektro 520 levers. Brooks C17 saddle. This bike eats up fire road and leaves everyone in the dust.
Beautiful bike! But I don't see how your brother-in-law gets any real speed up with that one tiny chainring! (On the flat, anyway).
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Old 08-13-15, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by superstring
Beautiful bike! But I don't see how your brother-in-law gets any real speed up with that one tiny chainring! (On the flat, anyway).

He's a goat and as a consequence, loves to climb.
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Old 08-14-15, 09:43 AM
  #4233  
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Originally Posted by tk1971

That is verrrry nice.
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Old 08-14-15, 09:49 AM
  #4234  
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Originally Posted by inkandsilver
That is verrrry nice.
Yeah, it is.
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Old 08-14-15, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by tk1971
Done. My brother in law is very pleased with his Litespeed:

The welds on that frame are gorgeous. Burly Rhyno Lite wheels, & Fox F80RLT fork (freshly rebuilt with Enduro seals). He wanted disc brakes, so we installed a Chasertech rear frame adapter. Using the TRP HyRd cable actuated hydraulic brakes and Tektro 520 levers. Brooks C17 saddle. This bike eats up fire road and leaves everyone in the dust.
Gorgeous, and nice work. How's the friction working with the 9-speed cassette so far? And how's the disc brake frame adapter working? Interested in both of those options at some point.
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Old 08-14-15, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by ksryder
Gorgeous, and nice work. How's the friction working with the 9-speed cassette so far? And how's the disc brake frame adapter working? Interested in both of those options at some point.
My bro loves friction now. My last 2-3 bikes have been all friction builds and there's no problem hitting up to 10-speeds. Having a 1x configuration helps, and friction further simplifies the drive train (can dump all gears all at once). Our style of riding includes epic climbs then going down safely, so we don't feel any limitations with this setup (mostly at either 34t or 12t with a couple of in-between gears near the extremes). Only thing is if we need gears in the middle, the friction level position may be in an inconvenient spot. In order to totally fix this, I need to find some Kelly Take Offs or make something that moves the shifter off the bars about an inch. I just bought a 1" diameter aluminum bar stock, so I may start tinkering soon.

As for the Chasertech disc adapter, it depends on the frame. On my Raleigh, in order to line up the drop out with the slot on the adapter, the angle of the attachment point to the v-brake boss became too high, and I had to machine a piece of aluminum underneath the adapter which sits on the top of the frame dropout:



The adapter works much better with the Litespeed, as can be seen in this picture:



Also with both installs (as seen in the pictures), I utilized stainless steel strapping for the 3rd attachment point to the seat stay (the instructions wanted me to drill through my drop out for this 3rd attachment point).

Of course I didn't HAVE to line up the drop out with the slot on the adapter. But then I would have to remove my skewer if I needed to remove my rear wheel.

So far so good. The main attachment point is the skewer. The v-brake boss attachment point keeps it from rotating when braking, and the 3rd one keeps it on the frame and properly aligned when the rear wheel is removed (IMO).

I may go further with my brother in law's bike and put on a rapid rise derailleur. That way, if there was a catastrophic failure of the shifter and/or cable, he would still be able to climb. On his first bike (on one of his first rides), he crashed and broke his shifter. Then he was forced to go back up in a harder gear. He ended up walking most of it back to the parking lot. That sucked and he still remembers it.
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Old 08-14-15, 04:26 PM
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Big article in Bicycling Mag this month about 1x drive trains, especially for road bikes. I find it interesting that the bike industry is finally catching on to this setup. I really like it for my dirt drop rig, and it's only 1x8. One of the bikes mentioned had a crazy 1x11 that had a 10-42 cassette - I didn't know a 10t sprocket existed!
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Old 08-20-15, 07:35 PM
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I'm rebuilding my old mountain bike, and I'm gonna do a drop-bar conversion on it. I've got the frame back from the powdercoater, and things are progressing nicely.

However, I'm debating on which tires to put back on it. I've been commuting on it for a while, and I've had 1.75" Schwalbe Marathons on it to that end. They're comfy and roll well, with only one goathead puncture in a year, which is pretty good for my route. They're still in fine shape, so there's no compelling reason to replace them for in-town use. I should be back to commuting in a few weeks.

I'm thinking about putting MTB tires back on the bike, though, since my weight loss is going very well and I might well be able to handle dirt again some time soon. I have two or three options on-hand to try. I know I can commute on MTB tires, so that's not so much of a concern.

Thoughts and opinions?
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Old 08-20-15, 08:27 PM
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Getting closer to finishing the re building of my 1990 Schwinn High Plains drop bar tourer. Just needs a new chain and handle bar wrap.

What's new is some Shimano 300 LX DRs and crankset. Bars are SR, rando style with a SR stem as well. New tires are WTB 1.5 slicks. I switched out the old style Shimano staddle harness for a triangle hanger, much better.

Can't wait to put the red Cannondale handle bar bag on it and take it for a nice ride.



Excuse the bad photo, better ones to come.
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Old 08-20-15, 09:35 PM
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Cool thread. I'm about to do a similar build myself. I recently picked up a '91 Trek 750 frame - these were lugged, double butted cro-moly. and used 700c wheels. I'm slowly getting the parts together and hope to have it done within a couple months. It's going to my road bike, since I dont have one. I'm planning on using drop bars on it, and will probably set it up as a 1x7 drivetrain-wise. I also have a '91 Trek 950 mtb I really like, so I'm pretty sure I'm gonna dig the drop bar conversion on the 750.
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Old 08-21-15, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
Big article in Bicycling Mag this month about 1x drive trains, especially for road bikes. I find it interesting that the bike industry is finally catching on to this setup. I really like it for my dirt drop rig, and it's only 1x8. One of the bikes mentioned had a crazy 1x11 that had a 10-42 cassette - I didn't know a 10t sprocket existed!
Yeah it's been the hot thing with MTB and cross/gravel for a while. AFAIK SRAM makes the 10-42 cassette, it takes a special hub and costs a fortune. I'd like to go 1x on my gravel bike but I worry that a 42t ring will be too low for descents and too big for climbs.
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Old 08-21-15, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89
Cool thread. I'm about to do a similar build myself. I recently picked up a '91 Trek 750 frame - these were lugged, double butted cro-moly. and used 700c wheels. I'm slowly getting the parts together and hope to have it done within a couple months. It's going to my road bike, since I dont have one. I'm planning on using drop bars on it, and will probably set it up as a 1x7 drivetrain-wise. I also have a '91 Trek 950 mtb I really like, so I'm pretty sure I'm gonna dig the drop bar conversion on the 750.
I love my '94 Trek 750 but it's a touch too small for me and I've never been able to get the fit just right. It was fun for a while as a mustache bar conversion but I recently took it back to (mostly) stock configuration with a couple minor improvements.

Not sure what to do with it - it's got enough road rash that I doubt I'd sell it for much; I don't want to put any money into it because I have other projects; and it's too small to ride. For now I'm keeping it around just in case someone smaller than me needs to borrow it, and to haul a bike trailer.
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Old 08-21-15, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by ksryder
I love my '94 Trek 750 but it's a touch too small for me and I've never been able to get the fit just right. It was fun for a while as a mustache bar conversion but I recently took it back to (mostly) stock configuration with a couple minor improvements.

Not sure what to do with it - it's got enough road rash that I doubt I'd sell it for much; I don't want to put any money into it because I have other projects; and it's too small to ride. For now I'm keeping it around just in case someone smaller than me needs to borrow it, and to haul a bike trailer.
Yep it's hard to get around a bike that's too small for you, simply not a lot you can do about it. I've had to pass on some beautiful rides because I knew they wouldnt fit, no matter how much I spun the idea around in my head, lol.

And yeah those old higher-end Trek cro moly bikes were killer, imo. I love my 950 but I want a road bike too, and was originally gonna look for a used one. Unfortunately I havent been able to find anything at the quality level I would want in the price range I would like (lol), so I figured I'd just build my own using a high quality Trek mtb or hybrid frame as the base.

I've noticed a lot of people on these forums say you cant get a good road bike this way - wrong geometry, yadda yadda yadda, but I think it's gonna work quite well. The frame geometry between the Trek road bikes of this era and their mtb/hybrids is pretty close, so I think it will possible to turn the 750 frame into a pretty cool ride. To keep costs down I buy all my parts used - paid $30 for that frame, and I often buy parts donor bikes on CL, so I'm expecting the road bike to cost no more than $100-120 in the end - about what I have into my 950.
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Old 08-21-15, 03:12 PM
  #4244  
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Originally Posted by tk1971
Done. My brother in law is very pleased with his Litespeed:






The welds on that frame are gorgeous. Burly Rhyno Lite wheels, & Fox F80RLT fork (freshly rebuilt with Enduro seals). He wanted disc brakes, so we installed a Chasertech rear frame adapter. Using the TRP HyRd cable actuated hydraulic brakes and Tektro 520 levers. Brooks C17 saddle. This bike eats up fire road and leaves everyone in the dust.
Really like what you did with the Litespeed!

I've already given this Dutch Russian Ti MTB the treatment.



And may have to do the same to this Litespeed.

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Old 08-21-15, 06:09 PM
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Originally Posted by arex
...I'm debating on which tires to put back on it. I've been commuting on it for a while, and I've had 1.75" Schwalbe Marathons on it to that end. They're comfy and roll well, with only one goathead puncture in a year, which is pretty good for my route. They're still in fine shape, so there's no compelling reason to replace them for in-town use. I should be back to commuting in a few weeks.
I agree with you, there's no compelling reason to change them.
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Old 08-22-15, 09:18 AM
  #4246  
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
I agree with you, there's no compelling reason to change them.
I see what you're saying and, for the foreseeable future, I'll be only commuting...but I have some friends squealing with unmanly glee at the thought of me being able to go mountain biking with them. I could just swap the tires later, except that these rims are, for some reason, an enormous PITA to get tires off of, and I have the Marathons off them at the moment.

Hmm.
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Old 08-22-15, 10:02 AM
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Go to a bike co-op or lbs and pick up a used set of wheels and a cassette. Keep a road-geared cassette on the Schwalbe quipped set and a MTN-oriented cassette on the MTB set. Maybe $50 all told?
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Old 08-22-15, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
Go to a bike co-op or lbs and pick up a used set of wheels and a cassette. Keep a road-geared cassette on the Schwalbe quipped set and a MTN-oriented cassette on the MTB set. Maybe $50 all told?
Good idea, this didn't even occur to me...I have some old wheels I'd forgotten about.
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Old 08-22-15, 02:48 PM
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I keep multiple wheel sets for my bikes, all bought used and cheaply. Saves a lot of tire changing hassle.
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Old 08-22-15, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by exmechanic89
I keep multiple wheel sets for my bikes, all bought used and cheaply. Saves a lot of tire changing hassle.
Yup, I do that with my enduro motorcycles too, both modern and vintage. A little bit more expensive though
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