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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 04-21-18, 01:38 PM
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1984 Rocky Mountain Sherpa

Originally came with Deore staghead/deerhead but I used them on my Miyata 1000. Only original parts are frame, fork, headset. seatpost and seatpost qr.
Lugged, made in Japan, Tange MTB double butted tubing, was called Super Scooter in 1983 (and had lugged fork with traditional crown) and became Sherpa in 1984, unicrown fork (AFAIK). Hefty but speedy.

Not your traditional drop bars but definitely have drop in them!
9 speed cassette and chain with friction shifting - match made in heaven (as I am sure lots of you already know).

front rm sherpa.JPG
side.JPG
back.JPG
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Old 04-21-18, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by IdahOger
I recently updated my dad's old Rock Hopper with newer components (the original BioPace was too worn) and a Jones Loop Bar.
But I became a bit nostalgic of the Rock Combo I use to have and decided to add Salsa Cowchippers and a Gevenalle "Retroshifter".
At this point it's more modern, but the bones (and point job) are still very much retro, and every bit as fun as I remember.
How do you like the Gevenalle Retroshifters? I have been interested in trying them since I first ran across an article about them about 4 years ago
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Old 04-22-18, 09:12 AM
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Re: Gevenalle shifters

Originally Posted by ryansu
How do you like the Gevenalle Retroshifters? I have been interested in trying them since I first ran across an article about them about 4 years ago
They are great! So much better than bar end shifters.
Since I spend most of the time on the hoods shifting is quick and easy. Even in the drops I can make some shifts without moving my hand.
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Old 04-22-18, 10:25 AM
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Thanks @IdahOger
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Old 04-22-18, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by IdahOger
They are great! So much better than bar end shifters.
Since I spend most of the time on the hoods shifting is quick and easy. Even in the drops I can make some shifts without moving my hand.
Too bad they cost more than most of my complete bikes...
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Old 04-22-18, 04:05 PM
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Re: Gevenalle shifters

Originally Posted by vp1337
Too bad they cost more than most of my complete bikes...
They’re definitely a splurge, but also a birthday gift from my wife.
Everything else was salvaged from my parts bin, or bought second hand or from my local bike Co-op, or cheap knock-off branded parts from Amazon.
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Old 04-23-18, 09:56 AM
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New RD bling and a few other changes to my 92 Stumpjumper Comp.

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Old 04-23-18, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by due ruote
New RD bling and a few other changes to my 92 Stumpjumper Comp.
Ooooh, fancy! You know you're stylin' when your pulleys match your paint. On a sweet XTR mech, no less. Really dig the tape color, too. Awesome.
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Old 04-23-18, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by simmonsgc
Ooooh, fancy! You know you're stylin' when your pulleys match your paint. On a sweet XTR mech, no less. Really dig the tape color, too. Awesome.
Those were knocking around my parts box for years. Sold as red but I realized they matched my most definitely pink bike and couldn’t resist.
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Old 05-02-18, 03:09 PM
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My 1990 Emmelle Panther, the bike I use the most out of all of them...
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Old 05-05-18, 12:32 PM
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This is a c.1986 Diamond Back Apex that I saw in a Craiglist ad from St. Paul, Minnesota. I immediately fell in love with this bike and, since my brother lives in St. Paul, managed to get it shipped here to Nebraska. I'm not positive about the year, but the red is the original color and it has a Tange MTB frame and fork.

I wanted to make this my middle-class version of a Rivendell do-anything bike, so I swapped out the brakes for V-brakes, put on some Nitto Choco bars and changed to thumb shifters. I also got new wheels that I eventually put Serfas Drifter tires on and installed a Brooks saddle.

The first picture is as I re-assembled it out of the box, already converted to a touring bike.




It's a fun bike that I really enjoy. I'm starting another conversion that is going to be a mountain bike converted to a drop bar gravel bike. I posted about it here https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vintage/1142954-building-mountain-bike-drop-bar-conversion.html

Last edited by Nokton; 05-06-18 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Fix typo in year of bike.
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Old 05-07-18, 09:07 AM
  #6037  
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Over the winter, a Shogun Prairie Breaker 2 (1985-ish) came up on the local CL at a nice price in my size, with a bi-plane fork and lugged plain-gauge Tange frame. I believe @Lascauxcaveman also has one of these.



Soon after, a pair of Compass Rat Trap Pass tires and VO fenders appeared on CL. One thing led to another (and I spent too much time trying different configurations) and here we are:




I documented some of the build (Flickr album here), and hit a few hiccups (mostly self-inflicted) along the way that I won't bore you with. The frameset, seatpost, crankset, BB and brake calipers remain from the original bike. Final weight is a svelte 32 lbs by my scale.

I swapped pedals to SPDs and took it for its inaugural commute ride this morning. I would describe the steering as "stubborn" as the front wheel needs some encouragement to change direction. However, on a short section of the ride over rutted dirt, the stability and smoothness were welcome.

This will likely serve as a bad-weather commuter for now.
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Old 05-07-18, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CO_Hoya
...I believe @Lascauxcaveman also has one of these.

... Final weight is a svelte 32 lbs by my scale.

... I would describe the steering as "stubborn" as the front wheel needs some encouragement to change direction...

One man's 'stubborn' is another man's 'stable.' I blame the slack geometry, and boy is it slack.

That weight sounds about right.

Here's mine again, I think the pics I posted earlier on this thread went bye-bye after PeeBucket launched it's bold new plan for maximizing its profits. I've since changed the RD and wheel set. I hadn't thought of using a Technomic stem for a more classic look. I've got one sitting in a drawer somewhere, maybe that'll be the next change. The turkey levers stay, though. I've found having that extra position for braking is a must for bashing your way down long single track descents.

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Old 05-07-18, 01:24 PM
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I think we've moved well passed "stable" with this one. I've been wondering how much is from the geometry and how much from the wide tires. I was planning on installing a front rack but I'm concerned that carrying additional weight on the front wheel will only exasperate the situation.

I weighed the frame/fork/headset, but somehow lost the spreadsheet with the info. I recall it coming in around 9.75 lbs. I have a 1985 Raleigh Crested Butte frameset (DB-cromoly) in need of paint that I was originally going to build on, but it's only a 1/2-lb lighter. Considering how much weight I shed in the tear-down and rebuild, I wonder what the original weight of the bike (as shown in the upper pic) actually was. Gotta be close to 40 lbs.

Yours has better paint, that's for sure.

Commute this morning and a lunch-time errand reveal a severe brake-squeal. The rims are ceramic-coated, and therefore I've got ceramic Koolstop pads. Not sure how much is from that, and how much is poor brake-shoe setup (I kinda rushed it when I swapped out the wheels yesterday).

Edited to add: Just noticed that yours is a PB1 vs my PB2. Same model year, I think. I'd be curious to hear the differences (components, frame?). I can dig up the original parts list tonight. One thing I liked is that the lugs were actually a bit thinned - surprising for a mid-level MTB.

Originally Posted by Lascauxcaveman
One man's 'stubborn' is another man's 'stable.' I blame the slack geometry, and boy is it slack.

That weight sounds about right.

Here's mine again, I think the pics I posted earlier on this thread went bye-bye after PeeBucket launched it's bold new plan for maximizing its profits. I've since changed the RD and wheel set. I hadn't thought of using a Technomic stem for a more classic look. I've got one sitting in a drawer somewhere, maybe that'll be the next change. The turkey levers stay, though. I've found having that extra position for braking is a must for bashing your way down long single track descents.

Last edited by CO_Hoya; 05-07-18 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 05-07-18, 04:44 PM
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1995 Stumpjumper M2 conversion. See thread here





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Old 05-10-18, 08:31 AM
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On the topic of weight, in my experience, mid grade or higher MTBs from the 1980s weighed in at around 30 to 32 pounds. There was often no difference in weight between a mid level and top of the line in MTBs. So if you are after relatively light weight, but don't want to pay too much, pick something in the middle. There really is no reason to go to the lower level bikes, as the mid level stuff is very plentiful and relatively cheap.

I've taken my Cimarron from the 31 pounds it started at to about 25.5 pounds, with original wheels and components. The savings came from: lighter saddle, lighter pedals, lighter tires, and lighter tubes. While I lightened it up, and backed up a bit to have my preference on saddle and pedals. If you can score some modern parts, you can do a little bit better. My Cimarron now has a mid 2000s Shimano XT wheelset and crankset. Good savings there!

I find the weight of a conversion can rival the weight of one of the better vintage touring bikes, ~ 27 pounds without racks. The drop bar conversions will not compete against the better vintage racing bikes, but then, I won't either! Go crazy on heavy tires, and the weight can scream right back up!

Tires and tubes can make a really low cost weight reduction. Since many use their bike for road/packed path service, there is no need for heavy knobby tires.

My advice regardless is to start with something good. In many markets, the difference between a low end vintage MTB and one of the higher end can be $50 or even less. Picked up a very nice 1983 Univega Ultima recently, didn't realize they had a model above the Pro, but they diid! Quite nice bike, paint was so so, but for my purposes, definitely good enough. Bought from a flipper, so it wasn't a garage sale steal, but it was quite affordable.

Easiest way to "recognize" a good vintage mtb? The components. Unless you know every brand, every model, every year, you won't spot them that way. But if the bike has original deer head components, or XT, or Superbe Tech like my Univega, its something good for sure. Suntour had some early cartridge bearing hubs (like Phil Woods), excellent, and under appreciated! My Ultima came with Sunshine cartridge bearing hubs, I really bought the bike just to get the wheels!
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Old 05-10-18, 10:19 AM
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What a great find that you buy some nice wheels and end up realizing you got a great frame to go with them as an added bonus.
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Old 05-18-18, 07:46 AM
  #6043  
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Got the Cimarron down to 24.46 pounds. Picked up a set of 2008 XT wheels and a matching XT crankset at the co-op. I think I could get it under 24 pounds with lighter tires. Weight weenie pedals, titanium rail saddle.

Wrong computer, I'll post some pictures later.
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Old 05-18-18, 08:17 AM
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That's impressive. I'd be happy if I could get from 32 to 28 lbs.
  • The wheels are XT/Specialized hubs with RhynoLite rims so not light, but not steel rims for sure. Compass tires are very light for their size.
  • Figure the stainless fenders add ~2 lbs.
  • Aluminum rear rack adds less than a lb.
  • I could drop at least half a pound with a lighter seat post and seat.

I should compare the weight to my normal commuter, a similarly equipped touring bike (plastic fenders) from the same era. That would be a good sanity check on a realistic target.

Originally Posted by wrk101
Got the Cimarron down to 24.46 pounds. Picked up a set of 2008 XT wheels and a matching XT crankset at the co-op. I think I could get it under 24 pounds with lighter tires. Weight weenie pedals, titanium rail saddle.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by TenGrainBread
1995 Stumpjumper M2 conversion. See thread here

That is one of the coolest bikes in this thread!

Normally I don't go for a sloping top tube, but the combination of swoopy Cigne stem, front disk/canti rear, and black components really work so well!

I love the bar tape too!
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Old 05-18-18, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by abshipp
That is one of the coolest bikes in this thread!

Normally I don't go for a sloping top tube, but the combination of swoopy Cigne stem, front disk/canti rear, and black components really work so well!

I love the bar tape too!
Thanks. It's Supercaz tape.
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Old 05-20-18, 05:22 PM
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Recently picked this up and decided to mock it up today. 1991 or 92 Fuji Sundance. Tange MTB double-butted frame with an almost all Deore DX group. It was missing the original stem, handlebars, Deore thumbshifters and brake levers. A real bummer all that was missing (the stem was painted like the frame) but I didn't feel as bad converting to Origin8 Gary dirt drops and Suntour Commands (bearings removed for full friction). Yes, the rear derailleur cable is way too long and I didn't put the rear brakes on but this was mostly just a mock-up since we're getting ready to move (back) to Missouri and I'll need a project. It came with WTB Slickasaurus 38mm tires and I picked up the Schwalbe at a swap meet for $5 and decided to throw it on.

I took it for a two mile ride on the roughest pavement I could find and my first impressions are that the front tire is of course a little wiggly on pavement but the rougher it got the better it felt. The bike feels lively in a good way. Looking forward to testing it on some Missouri gravel and dirt roads



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Old 05-26-18, 05:46 PM
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Took the "Teal-a-monster"on a dirt road mini tour through Prescott National Forest.

I added a matching rear rack for the occasion. I also sewed up some stripey mud flaps from scraps, and a half frame bag that fits my tent poles and a 100oz camelbak bladder, which was definitely required. It's bone dry out there this year.



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Old 05-26-18, 09:27 PM
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Weight weenie, from this point, you can add back pedals and saddle of your choice, racks, etc., and be very competitive with most touring bikes weight wise if not less than them:


1988 Cimarron Weight Weenie by wrk101, on Flickr


1988 Cimarron Weight Weenie by wrk101, on Flickr


1988 Cimarron Weight Weenie by wrk101, on Flickr

Last edited by wrk101; 05-26-18 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 05-28-18, 11:04 AM
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Again, very impressive Bill.

Do you know what the frameset weight is for the Cimmaron? I'm happy with the rest of my build (XT drivetrain, RhynoLite wheelset), so I wonder how much penalty there is for using a 9.75lb frameset.

Originally Posted by wrk101
Weight weenie, from this point, you can add back pedals and saddle of your choice, racks, etc., and be very competitive with most touring bikes weight wise if not less than them:


1988 Cimarron Weight Weenie by wrk101, on Flickr
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