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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 08-08-19, 01:47 PM
  #6501  
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Originally Posted by rando_couche
I'm setting up my 30yo xc bike for gravel and am finding there aren't many 26" "gravel" tires out there.
Gah! I have some! Bike's at home and I don't remember the name! They're 2.1 gravel racing tires, I remember that. I'll check when I get home.

ETA: Kenda Small Block 8. Really nice, quite grippy.

Last edited by Korina; 08-08-19 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 08-08-19, 01:55 PM
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30 years ago this was a cutting-edge xc bike (Tange Prestige road tubing, lugs, etc. Very light). Last weekend I built it up with stuff from the parts bin and the coop, thinking to use it as an allroad/gravel bike. I'd forgotten what a great bike it is. Time to replace the 200 gm road bars with something more substantial but other than that it's just right.
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Old 08-11-19, 11:55 PM
  #6503  
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Originally Posted by jskita
It WAS sort of black chrome. Sadly, I set it up with swept bars for an exchange student and he's now it's new owner. I always wanted a 26 incher like that but doubt I'd build another.
Well, if you ever do, and want another black chrome one, I can recommend the 1986 Schwinn Sierra. I built one up for my lady, as her tourer. It turned out real nice. It looks like I never took photos of the finished build, so it looks like I can avoid getting flamed for posting it here, as it's not drop bar!
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Old 08-12-19, 03:00 PM
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is that a lime green Davidson?

Hi all,

Is the lime green bike a Davidson? I can't make out what it is.

I have a street steed built up from a 88 Fisher Montare (under stay U brake), XT derailleurs , Bontrager BC-X rims (26"), LX hubs, DX thumbies, Diacomp SS4 levers, Selle Italia Lycra recovered, Specialized slicks. I had intended to do a drop bar conversion, but couldn't resolve issues with new Tecktro levers, a new road bar, and some Shimano barcons.

All the bikes presented here are an inspiration.
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Old 08-15-19, 11:27 PM
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Looking to do one of these conversions myself. I've got this a hybrid Specialized bike lying around and a 2x10 sram apex groupset not currently in use and was wondering if the conversion would work well with the frame I have. Thanks for any insight!

Edit: Need a few more posts to actually post pictures, but here's the link if it's allowed: imgur.com/gallery/YS4EwGk
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Old 08-16-19, 07:27 AM
  #6506  
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Originally Posted by Zestiquant
Looking to do one of these conversions myself. I've got this a hybrid Specialized bike lying around and a 2x10 sram apex groupset not currently in use and was wondering if the conversion would work well with the frame I have. Thanks for any insight!

Edit: Need a few more posts to actually post pictures, but here's the link if it's allowed: imgur.com/gallery/YS4EwGk
I don't see why not. Just as long as you get the fitment to your liking, it should be a good one.
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Old 08-16-19, 09:08 AM
  #6507  
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Originally Posted by Zestiquant
Looking to do one of these conversions myself. I've got this a hybrid Specialized bike lying around and a 2x10 sram apex groupset not currently in use and was wondering if the conversion would work well with the frame I have. Thanks for any insight!

Edit: Need a few more posts to actually post pictures, but here's the link if it's allowed: imgur.com/gallery/YS4EwGk
You are at step 1: find a good donor. You have completed that step! Thats the step that costs the most money.

Now measure the rear drop out spacing and compare to the wheel you plan to use. Front derailleur clamp diameters also vary a lot, can be shimmed if they are too large. Basically look at the donor parts and see how they attach, and see if those attachments match you're hybrid.

Dump the suspension seat post if you have one on that hybrid and buy a $15 replacement on eBay or Amazon (get the right OD of course).
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Old 08-16-19, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by t_e_r_r_y
finally got the last piece of the puzzle for my univega in the mail this morning (that 94bcd chainring took forever to show up). i have some fine adjustment to do, and now that the bike is "done", i need to start saving for racks and lights and bags and things, but i'm excited to take it on it's first long ride!


@t_e_r_r_y Sweet set up! Tell me about that stem set up you have. Is the Cigne stem mounted over a quill adapter? I'd have to get the adapters for the stem to fit my 25.4 mm Midge bars. Just curious why you chose the Cigne vs. something like a Nitto dirt drop? I definitely like the easy bar removal allowed by the Cigne but I'm curious as to how the height and bar reach distance varies between the two.
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Old 08-16-19, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
@t_e_r_r_yIs the Cigne stem mounted over a quill adapter?.
That's a threadless steerer on that Surly fork.
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Old 08-16-19, 04:21 PM
  #6510  
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Originally Posted by badger_biker
@t_e_r_r_y Sweet set up! Tell me about that stem set up you have. Is the Cigne stem mounted over a quill adapter? I'd have to get the adapters for the stem to fit my 25.4 mm Midge bars. Just curious why you chose the Cigne vs. something like a Nitto dirt drop? I definitely like the easy bar removal allowed by the Cigne but I'm curious as to how the height and bar reach distance varies between the two.
thanks! my alphina is 1 1/8 threadless, so i was going to have to go with something like this. i've always loved the look of an ld stem, and originally i wanted the crust version, but they were out of stock and a lot more expensive than the vo stem, so i just went with that. i'm happy with it! i had to wait until i had my cranks, seat post, and seat before i could cut my steerer tube down on the new surly fork to set the bar height, but once i cut the tube down it was all simple and straightforward.

i'm not sure how the bar reach and height varies between this stem and others, it's the only one i've had, but vo has all of the dimensions on their site. they have a longer reach version too, but this bike frame has a pretty good top tube length so i went with the shorter stem.
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Old 08-17-19, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
You are at step 1: find a good donor. You have completed that step! Thats the step that costs the most money.

Now measure the rear drop out spacing and compare to the wheel you plan to use. Front derailleur clamp diameters also vary a lot, can be shimmed if they are too large. Basically look at the donor parts and see how they attach, and see if those attachments match you're hybrid.

Dump the suspension seat post if you have one on that hybrid and buy a $15 replacement on eBay or Amazon (get the right OD of course).
The parts I'm planning on attaching include a braze-on front derailleur, which I'll probably need to find an adapter for. Anyway, thanks for the advice! Hopefully when I get started I can contribute a little to this thread
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Old 08-18-19, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rando_couche
30 years ago this was a cutting-edge xc bike (Tange Prestige road tubing, lugs, etc. Very light). Last weekend I built it up with stuff from the parts bin and the coop, thinking to use it as an allroad/gravel bike. I'd forgotten what a great bike it is. Time to replace the 200 gm road bars with something more substantial but other than that it's just right.
As a tall guy myself, the proportions and fit on this look great. More (and slightly bigger) pictures?
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Old 08-19-19, 01:21 AM
  #6513  
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In light of some recent rides having considerable sustained gradients...



...I decided that I'd like a gear lower than 24-28 for the particularly steep spots. So I replaced the cassette on my '84 Stumpy.

Previous:

11-13-15-18-21-24-28

New:

11-13-15-18-21-24-28-32

Chainrings stayed the same, 48-38-24. On gravel, it works great as a classic wide-range triple; on the road, it transforms into a 1.5-step-plus-granny arrangement. The extra cog gives me some bonus low-end without messing anything up. And by giving the middle ring a lower low-end, I shouldn't need to shift into the 24T as often; this is nice, because the 38->24 shift is pretty dramatic.



The new cassette raised the wrap to 45 teeth, and the Alivio M360 derailleur on the bike was looking pretty strained. So I replaced it with a similar-looking but longer-cage Alivio T4000.



I was worried about chain length, but a new 116T chain turned out to be exactly the right length out of the box. Super convenient!

The 8-speed cassette is wider than the 7-speed cassette was, so I had to remove the cassette spacer that had been on the freehub. The big cog is thus farther inboard than before. Unfortunately, this made the chain rub both the tire and fender when in the small-big combo.

So I moved the chainline outboard. And, since I had way more NDS clearance than I needed, I made the q-factor smaller at the same time.

The old bottom bracket had a 118mm spindle. The new one has a 115mm spindle...



...And a huge 4mm DS spacer.



I haven't dialed in the FD adjustment. The chain is intermittently dropping upon shifts to the small ring, and I'm having a hard time preventing it with shifting technique. But the shifting is otherwise very crisp. Since the lower run of the chain isn't getting stuck, I might try the lazy option and see if a simple chain keeper makes the problem disappear.

I'm also trying out a cockpit change. I switched to a very slightly longer stem to prevent my knees from hitting the bar tops when riding out of the saddle, and I also switched to a Nitto B115 handlebar; it has the same width in the drops as the previous bar, but the hooks have a bit of flare. Here's the bike in its old iteration:



And here is the new:



I'm contemplating moving the hoods up the bars a bit, but otherwise things seem pretty good.

Importantly, the bike's subtly-visible but explosively-present road attitude seems to be preserved. I've been mostly off the bike in the last month and a half due to achilles injury, so I'm not at my best, but I had a bit left in the tank yesterday when we reached pavement near the end of the ride. Someone went to the front and set a gentle 18mph cruise, but the RTP ELs roared against the mercy. I moved to the front, checked that everyone was on, and began to lift the pace. The speedometer responded to power. 19, 20, 21... keeping forearms level in the hoods wasn't as natural as with the old setup, but the hooks felt great. 22, 23, 24... the road was non-technical and the view was clear, I got into the phantoms. The new location of the tops perfectly balanced the forces, I was on the rivet at zero effort. 25... soon, only one person remained on my wheel. Excellent.

Last edited by HTupolev; 08-19-19 at 01:30 AM.
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Old 08-19-19, 10:13 AM
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Good stuff, @HTupolev. I'm trying to learn about chainlines now and I appreciate the pictures and descriptions.

Unrelated, I took just one photo during a 15-mile ride yesterday and thought it looked good enough to post here.

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Old 08-19-19, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
Importantly, the bike's subtly-visible but explosively-present road attitude seems to be preserved. I've been mostly off the bike in the last month and a half due to achilles injury, so I'm not at my best, but I had a bit left in the tank yesterday when we reached pavement near the end of the ride. Someone went to the front and set a gentle 18mph cruise, but the RTP ELs roared against the mercy. I moved to the front, checked that everyone was on, and began to lift the pace. The speedometer responded to power. 19, 20, 21... keeping forearms level in the hoods wasn't as natural as with the old setup, but the hooks felt great. 22, 23, 24... the road was non-technical and the view was clear, I got into the phantoms. The new location of the tops perfectly balanced the forces, I was on the rivet at zero effort. 25... soon, only one person remained on my wheel. Excellent.
i love it! i wish i had people to ride with. i'm running a 1x10 with a 36t on the front, in my highest gear(11/36) i'm doing low 20s on the tarmac, but i've been thinking about bumping it up to a 38t to get a little more out of it out on the road. riding solo all the time, tho, there's not much pushing me to go any faster.
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Old 08-20-19, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Zestiquant
Looking to do one of these conversions myself. I've got this a hybrid Specialized bike lying around and a 2x10 sram apex groupset not currently in use and was wondering if the conversion would work well with the frame I have. Thanks for any insight!


Edit: Need a few more posts to actually post pictures, but here's the link if it's allowed: imgur.com/gallery/YS4EwGk

Should you want/need wide gearing you'll need a mountain cassette which will also require moving to a mountain rear derailleur. Fortunately SRAM 10 speed road/mountain have the same cable pull so a 10spd mtn RD will work with the road brifters.


One gotcha with many 10spd RD's is they do not have a barrel adjuster for cable tension so you'll need to put one in-line.


Other gotcha's in building a frankenbike which mixes road and mountain parts.

- MTB's have a 5mm wider bottom bracket (68mm vs 73mm). This causes a bunch of issues...

- Road cranksets which have pre-assembled BB axles (aka typical 10 speed stuff) won't fit.

- Road FD's designed for a 2x setup may not have enough reach to push the chain onto the large chainring. A larger FD clamp plus a shim can be used to offset the road FD farther right to fix this problem.

- Cable pull of FD's is not well documented. So indexed shifting with a road shifter and MTB FD may be problematic.

- MTB cranksets have much smaller chainrings rings. This may cause shifting problems for a road FD which is designed for a 50 to 53 tooth chainring. My frankenbikes have large-ish cranksets for this purpose and I use large cassettes to get low gears.


If looking at vintage bikes, you'll do much better if you find steel as they can be cold-set (aka bent) to fix misalignment of the frame and also to accommodate the 135mm rear wheel needed for a 10spd cassette. For example I have a '89 Stumpjumper Comp which had 126mm rear wheel spacing. I pushed out each side 4.5 mm (ish) so it would fit the 135mm rear wheel with cassette. Aluminum doesn't like to be bent (it promotes failure). Titanium is really really hard to bend as it wants to spring back, but most Ti frames will have 135mm spacing. Carbon cannot be bent to a new shape and like Ti, most if not all carbon frames will have 135mm spacing.


Hope this helps,

Greg
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Old 08-23-19, 02:35 AM
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Hi everybody.
I just finished to look at the 261 pages, where I grabbed some fantastic ideas.
Thanks to everybody posting such nice pictures of your hard work .

As I recently purchased a "new" daily bike for my son, I have now at disposal his old Scott arapahoe that he has used during the last 3 years (purchased 20 at that time).
(the new bike is visible in this thread
Need advice: Shimano 500EX brake caliper.

I wanted at first to sell it again for the same price, but after thinking about it I could not resigned to do so, and I finally have decided to keep it and make a travel bike for my wife from it.
It will be an interesting and fun project , also to learn my son how to build a bike from A-Z .

We already tested the geometry and have a agreement on the new color
It means that almost 50% of the job is already done

I come back again with the result, probably only in some months !




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Old 08-25-19, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 10eroftheyear


The Fisher I'm working on....new stem should be here today at some point
That Salsa(?) bike on the left is cool
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Old 08-31-19, 06:00 AM
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Not technically an MTB drop bar conversion, but I just finished building up a drop bar commuter from a late 90's flat bar hybrid. I got the bike essentially as a frame with wheels. It's a Bianchi Boardwalk chromoly frame. Here are the before and after pics:



Details:
Brifters, crank and front DR are from a 3x8 Sora group, but I switched the chainrings from 30/42/52 to 26/39/50
Rear DR is 90's Shimano STX MTB with nice long cage
Cassette is 11-34 8 spd. Combined with the triple chainrings, the gear ratio range is wide enough to cover just about any type of riding.
Brakes are Tektro CR720 cantilevers
Tires are 700x38. I think I still have clearance for fenders if I want to add them, though 35 mm tires would give me more room to work worth and be fine for just about any riding I do.

Issues:
I used a 113 mm BB spindle that I had used with the Sora crank on a road bike, and the chainline isn't optimized. When I'm in the middle chainring and shift to the last few small cogs, the chain rubs the inside of the big chainring. 118 mm is probably ideal, so I might change that in the future. For now, I just shift up to the big chainring sooner.
The seat tube is at the top end of the size range I would ride on a regular road bike. Factoring in the horizontal top tube, the higher BB, and the big tires, the standover is a bit higher than I'd like, but still manageable.
The top tube is much longer than typical on a road bike of comparable size (58 cm c-c for a 52 cm c-c seat tube), so the reach is a bit long too. I corrected that a bit with compact drop bars, and I still have room to shorten the stem if I want to bring it back more. I also put interrupter brake levers on so I can ride the tops more. But I have a long torso for my height, so starting long reach isn't bad. So far, I haven't found it uncomfortable as is.

All in all, I'm really happy with how it turned out. Very stable ride, but feels faster and more enjoyable than my current MTB with street tires (26x1.75) commuter.

Last edited by AeroGut; 08-31-19 at 06:06 AM. Reason: added details
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Old 08-31-19, 06:03 PM
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Excited to see the results!
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Old 09-09-19, 05:31 AM
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I already posted somewhere that I have decided to rebuild an old scott arapahoe as a travel bike with drop bar for my wife.
I put you some pictures to have an idea of the work in progress.
So far, I had the frame wet sanded + primary coat (anti rost) + 1 coat of paint.

I have decided to use paint can frame "spray bike", because I have never done that before
It is not as easy to use as in the "commercial" videos, but I must say that everyone can do it.
At the exception of two zone with imperfections which should be corrected, I am pretty satisfied of the result at the moment for an "amateur" job

That said, it remains some work ahead

I will now wet sand again the frame to eliminate some imperfections , and put a second layer of paint. Then a finishing transparent coat.

The original bike


Ready to paint (10 hours wet sanding)




The result so far after one coat of primar + 1 coat of paint ("Spray bike" - Clay hill)


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Old 09-13-19, 01:57 AM
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some more update.
The frame is now painted with 3 coats (2 cans), and the name stickers have been applied (the light is direct from above, and this is why the stickers seems to be not very well applied on the second picture)
I will apply the clear coat this week end.

I will say that for a first attempt am doing such thing, I am until now very satisfied with the result.
There is some minor mistakes, nothing is perfect in this world, but all in one the frame is looking very nice and fullfill my expectations.
Not a professional result, but the best I could imagine before starting.

I just hope I will not ruin the result with the clear coat.

Just in case, because it is not very well documented on the web, a critical point with "spray bike" paint is the polishing of the frame .
After painting, it is very important (in my opinion ) to wait at least half an hour, and then slightly but carefully polish the frame with a soft piece of cloth.
It took me probably about 30 minutes of work with plenty of care, but after that the frame looks a lot better and already pretty shiny.
In my opinion, the render difference is huge with or without this polishing operation.


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Old 09-13-19, 03:18 AM
  #6523  
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This is my drop 'bar project, a Ridgeback (bought last year - seller's photo) - Tange Prestige frame, Deore LX groupset. Bicycle not covered many miles but suffered a little in storage.

I paid 25 English Pounds for it.

Not quite sure how I'll proceed, suggestions welcome.

John
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Old 09-13-19, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by hobbs1951
This is my drop 'bar project, a Ridgeback (bought last year - seller's photo) - Tange Prestige frame, Deore LX groupset. Bicycle not covered many miles but suffered a little in storage.

I paid 25 English Pounds for it.

Not quite sure how I'll proceed, suggestions welcome.

John
Great score!
Here is what I did with my pink Prestige frame.
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Old 09-14-19, 03:01 AM
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