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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 10-14-18, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS
Eight speeds are usually easy like that..
Eight speed RDs are pretty versatile, but the only road FD that I've gotten to work with both road and MTB indexed shifters was a 105 8-speed era triple (FD-1057). The actuator arm was the same length as all of the Shimano MTB FDs from that era, but 9 speed and later road FDs had a shorter one. Do you find this to be true with other 8-speeds FDs? (Tiagra, Sora, 2200/2300, Claris?) I'm not familiar enough with each of them to make a recommendation, but if the cable travel on all 8 speed FDs is the same as that first gen 8 speed 105 FD, then it should also interchange with that Claris front brifter and Nexave FD. I have the full 105 triple eight STI group in a box that I'm waiting to drop on the right frameset, but I also have a spare 105 FD hitched to an RSX triple Rapid Fire trigger shifter on my flatbar bike and it hits all three chainwheels with no mods or odd cable routing.
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Old 10-14-18, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Taxi Rob
This thread has been going for at least 6 years.... pretty sure WE invented the "gravel bike". Pics of my latest drop bar conversion coming soon, a 1994 Skykomish from Costco.
Thats what I think too!
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Old 10-15-18, 08:34 AM
  #6228  
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Originally Posted by Taxi Rob
Eight speed RDs are pretty versatile, but the only road FD that I've gotten to work with both road and MTB indexed shifters was a 105 8-speed era triple (FD-1057). The actuator arm was the same length as all of the Shimano MTB FDs from that era, but 9 speed and later road FDs had a shorter one. Do you find this to be true with other 8-speeds FDs? (Tiagra, Sora, 2200/2300, Claris?) I'm not familiar enough with each of them to make a recommendation, but if the cable travel on all 8 speed FDs is the same as that first gen 8 speed 105 FD, then it should also interchange with that Claris front brifter and Nexave FD. I have the full 105 triple eight STI group in a box that I'm waiting to drop on the right frameset, but I also have a spare 105 FD hitched to an RSX triple Rapid Fire trigger shifter on my flatbar bike and it hits all three chainwheels with no mods or odd cable routing.
Thanks for the info! I think most Shimano rear 8-speed stuff works with most shifters, but my sample size is small. If my rear Deore 8-speed derailleur works with road brifters, I'll be sure to post the results here with a report (even though my bike is technically a 700c hybrid going to drop bars instead of an MTB).

It sounds like I may need to get a new bottom-pull road front derailleur and use one of those cable pulleys from Problem Solvers. Also the travel agents for the U-brakes. The cost of this is going up... Still cheaper than buying new wheels or a new groupset.

Perhaps bar-end shifters and longer-pull Tektro brake levers is more cost-effective.
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Old 10-15-18, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by HarborBandS
Perhaps bar-end shifters and longer-pull Tektro brake levers is more cost-effective.
Tektro AL930 or AL926 mini Vs work well enough with short pull levers, IF they clear your tires... otherwise, I'd say barends and V levers will save a lot of trouble. I don't think you'll find CX interrupter levers that work with long pull brakes, that's the only downside.
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Old 10-18-18, 10:08 AM
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Getting there! Still need a proper seat and correct diameter seatpost.

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Old 10-18-18, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
"How narrow a 26" wheel is possible? Wouldn't mind trying a 1.25" or 1.5" street tire. I have some 1.75" Forte tires on a set of wider rims but their pretty heavy."



I've routinely used 26 - 1.25 tires on stock MTB wheels, including a couple of Trek 950s. Actually its my standard choice unless I happen to have a used set of 1.5 tires laying around. 1.25" ~ 32mm.
Agreed, I use 1.5 Schwalbe city jets on the blue one and 1.3 continentals on the green one, love these conversions
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Old 10-18-18, 01:08 PM
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Wow -- these builds are all really amazing. I really like the diversity of frames and gearing options.

I made the conversion on my old GT Timberline and went with Tourney STI brifters, and I have it dialed in pretty well at this point. The front derailleur was a bit of a headache, but I eventually got that one working well without any pulley/cam additions. I've also added on Shimano SPD MTB pedals since the photo was taken. I rebuilt the wheels ages ago with Mavic rims and sealed bearing hubs (a Bullseye on the back), so those have worked very well. Also swapped out the BB with a sealed bearing one.

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Old 10-20-18, 05:22 AM
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Got this Jamis Explorer off CL for 100 bucks years ago, set it up like this originally. Later had it powder coated green, city bars, ratcheting stem shifters because my knees kept hitting the bar ends, folding rear basket for beer. It got stolen, but overall an underrated frame IMO, looked but never came across another one like it. Tons of eyelets, nice place to start for a 26" touring setup.
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Old 10-21-18, 06:44 PM
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are you commited to 26"?

Originally Posted by wrk101
"How narrow a 26" wheel is possible? Wouldn't mind trying a 1.25" or 1.5" street tire. I have some 1.75" Forte tires on a set of wider rims but their pretty heavy."



I've routinely used 26 - 1.25 tires on stock MTB wheels, including a couple of Trek 950s. Actually its my standard choice unless I happen to have a used set of 1.5 tires laying around. 1.25" ~ 32mm.
I have a 94 Skykomish Granite Pointe with Tektro CX cantis, and they have enough height adjustment to accomodate 650b wheels (same with my Avids.) I've bought a couple $99 ZAC19 wheelsets off ebay and haven't had any problems with them, and if you're feeling fancy you can get Velocity A23s and have tubeless options in addition to larger wheel diameters that won't leave your BB shell dragging every curb and pothole. It probably won't work on every old school rim-brake MTB (especially if you have a chainstay u-brake,) but if you REALLY want narrower tires...

Last edited by Taxi Rob; 10-21-18 at 06:47 PM. Reason: reasons
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Old 10-23-18, 10:05 PM
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Just put the fenders on in anticipation of fall weather here in CO
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Old 10-24-18, 05:38 AM
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^ HOT
@ papaStrudel I gotta ask, "What is that stem?"
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Old 10-24-18, 06:34 AM
  #6237  
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+10 Hottest GT ever!
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Old 10-24-18, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by papaStrudel

Just put the fenders on in anticipation of fall weather here in CO
Is that a VO Cigne stem? Did you use their special tall adapter too?
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Old 10-24-18, 09:26 AM
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that GT looks like a real workhorse. NICE!
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Old 10-24-18, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by emro
that GT looks like a real workhorse. NICE!
Thanks! I'm constantly amazed at how flawlessly the deore lx shifts for an almost 25 yr old bike!

Originally Posted by himespau
Is that a VO Cigne stem? Did you use their special tall adapter too?
It is the Cigne stem! I was unaware they had a tall adapter. What is that?

Originally Posted by OTS
^ HOT
@ papaStrudel I gotta ask, "What is that stem?"
It's the VO Cigne stem, 50mm reach!
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Old 10-24-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by papaStrudel
It is the Cigne stem! I was unaware they had a tall adapter. What is that?​​​​​​
Since the Cigne stem requires a larger clamping area than a normal stem, when they first came out, they said that you couldn't use a normal threadless stem adapter to use them (those don't have a tall enough clamping area) - at least it looks like you've got a threaded fork on that bike, right? So velo orange made (a year or two after they came out with the Cigne stem) a special threaded to threadless stem adapter that has a much larger clampling area (also needed for their cool-looking tall stack stems. I didn't know how necessary that tall adapter was (at 3x the price of their regular, I had hoped to get away without it when I was considering a Cigne).
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Old 10-24-18, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau
Since the Cigne stem requires a larger clamping area than a normal stem, when they first came out, they said that you couldn't use a normal threadless stem adapter to use them (those don't have a tall enough clamping area) - at least it looks like you've got a threaded fork on that bike, right? So velo orange made (a year or two after they came out with the Cigne stem) a special threaded to threadless stem adapter that has a much larger clampling area (also needed for their cool-looking tall stack stems. I didn't know how necessary that tall adapter was (at 3x the price of their regular, I had hoped to get away without it when I was considering a Cigne).
Hmm I hadn't heard of that but it makes sense. This fork is threadless however, and has held up pretty well. Not sure I would take it on anything too gnarly but it feels solid.
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Old 10-25-18, 08:02 AM
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[QUOTE=emro;20632436]
Originally Posted by papaStrudel
Thanks! I'm constantly amazed at how flawlessly the deore lx shifts for an almost 25 yr old bike!
I know! i have a bike with that exact deore lx. And one with the XT from the same era. I really don't buy into the new models shifting better. I mean, it shifts perfectly every time. i don't feel a signifcant difference to my newer models. Thats what i love so much about (old) bike tech. It's simple but works like a charm.
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Old 10-27-18, 06:59 AM
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Can anyone help me with sizing? Want to build up a new bike for my girlfriend. Would love to make an dropbar conversion.
Do you guys think an 18" frame with c-c top tube 55cm will be too big for my 170cm small gf? I'm afraid so...
thanks in advance.
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Old 10-27-18, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by emro
Can anyone help me with sizing? Want to build up a new bike for my girlfriend. Would love to make an dropbar conversion.
Do you guys think an 18" frame with c-c top tube 55cm will be too big for my 170cm small gf? I'm afraid so...
thanks in advance.
Fit is subjective, but to me an 18 inch frame sounds about right for 5'6". At 5'10" my sweet spot is 23 inches, which tend to have about a 22 inch top tube.
I think top tube length is more a concern than seat tube.
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Old 10-27-18, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Pemetic2006
Fit is subjective, but to me an 18 inch frame sounds about right for 5'6". At 5'10" my sweet spot is 23 inches, which tend to have about a 22 inch top tube.
I think top tube length is more a concern than seat tube.
Yeah, the top tube had me worried too. hm. Maybe someone has first hand experience. But thanks!

EDIT: i could get a cheap frameset. But since it isn't build up,even with flatbar, we can't go try it out.
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Old 10-27-18, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by emro
Yeah, the top tube had me worried too. hm. Maybe someone has first hand experience. But thanks!

EDIT: i could get a cheap frameset. But since it isn't build up,even with flatbar, we can't go try it out.
I just realized we're talking about MTB's and not road bikes......sorry about that.
My MTB size is 19.5 or 20 inch, which also seem to have about a 22 inch or 22.5 inch top tube. Still, an 18 inch MTB seems "about" right for 5'6".
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Old 10-27-18, 05:55 PM
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Lots of variation in top tube, the early 1980s MTBs tended to have the shortest TT (still longer than road bikes). By 1990, the top tubes really got long. So sometimes an 18 inch MTB could be OK, other times she might need something smaller. My 5-4 wife rides a 15 inch MTB (early 1990s).

Generally for me, a drop bar conversion lets me go longer. With a flat bar MTB, I was riding a 18 inch. With my drop bar, I am riding a 20 inch frame (road bikes I am about 22 inch).

All my measurements are center to top.
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Old 10-28-18, 04:12 AM
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Thanks a lot guys. WIll take it into consideration Getting the size right on and old MTB conversion is kinda tricky...
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Old 10-28-18, 05:29 AM
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And since i have the required posts now... Here my Scott Evolution Pro. Tink it's from 1992 or something. Was my Dads first MTB, and he rode it hard. Was used as a city bike and now deserved some love. Had to get it powder coated since the old paint was coming of and it got a bit rusty here and there. Still using the original drive train (XT rear mech,dx front mech, xt cranks,)plus xt ( it think) brakes. Hope you like it.
BTW: I'm running 26x2,4 Conti X-Kings and they fit great. Gonna try a RaceKing 2,2 for a little more speed in the back though.



Last edited by emro; 10-28-18 at 06:14 AM.
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