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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

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Show Your Vintage MTB Drop Bar Conversions

Old 07-26-23, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101
Nope. Sold a Specialized Rock Combo earlier this year, believe it was a 1988. And it wasn't first.
Otto comes to mind. Or even CCProto.
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Old 07-28-23, 06:14 PM
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Somehow the pictures didnít upload. Letís try again:



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Old 07-28-23, 09:02 PM
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Low-budget fun

The previous owner of this 1992 Trek 820 abandoned it at the (now defunct) LBS when he got a quote for a drivetrain and brakes. The LBSís owner said to me, ďItís yours if you want it - otherwise Iíll scrap it.Ē

So it started like this -




The cranks were trashed, no brakes, bad bullhorns, rusted chain, etc.

I fished some bits out of the parts bins and puttered with it. Dissatisfied with the results I moved it to the back of the pile - until last weekend, when I started thinking about drop bars and a single speed. A quick trip to the magic gear calculator convinced me I could make it work.

I installed the bottom bracket that was part of the trove of Alivio parts generously bestowed upon me by [MENTION=127140]Mad[/MENTION]honk. [MENTION=20876]hazetguy[/MENTION] sold me a used stainless 36T chainring dirt cheap. I found BMX 16 and 18T cogs for $6.95 each, and used an online coupon for free shipping.

The rest of it, I had. SR cranks now kitted out with 34/36T rings, an old chain from my fixed-gear, Alivio cantilevers from a long ago parted out Bianchi Osprey, cheap pedals, ancient SR rando bars, RX-100 levers from a parts donor Bianchi Eros, recycled bar tape - even unused cables from the parts stash.

I figure the near 60-in gear will be great on vacation to our favorite beach towns. I could get some Michelin Country Rocks in 1.75 for gravel, and I can switch down to the 49-in gear for tougher country.

Foe a bike with less than $21 invested so far I am pretty pleased. Itís already delivered on the fun dept - building it made me grin the whole time.







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Old 07-28-23, 11:14 PM
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Trek 720 7speed gravel grinder!
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Old 07-29-23, 09:07 AM
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Very nice!
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Old 07-29-23, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rustystrings61
...So it started like this... I found BMX 16 and 18T cogs... SR cranks now kitted out with 34/36T rings...
I figure the near 60-in gear will be great on vacation to our favorite beach towns. I could get some Michelin Country Rocks in 1.75 for gravel, and I can switch down to the 49-in gear for tougher country.

For a bike with less than $21 invested so far I am pretty pleased. Itís already delivered on the fun dept - building it made me grin the whole time.

Very impressive! Did you just get lucky with those vertical dropouts? Because I don't see any chain tensioner on there, or a half-link.
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Old 07-29-23, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
Very impressive! Did you just get lucky with those vertical dropouts? Because I don't see any chain tensioner on there, or a half-link.
I searched out the FixMeUp magic gear site and plugged in the chainstay length and cog sizes. 36x16 is perfect, 34x18 is pretty good, without tensioners, etc.
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Old 07-30-23, 10:22 PM
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I call it Frankensteins mullet. My goal was to do two things: get it under 20 lbs and make it look like the space shuttle (almost all grey/silver with bits of random color). It was 20.4 lbs before I wrapped the bars and I know I can save quite when I get a different rear wheel on there. It rides amazing and absolutely flies at speed.
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Old 08-06-23, 06:44 PM
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These bikes are great to see.

What does it feel like to put a 700c up front on a 26" framed MTB with drop bars? I suppose the only way to really know is build one and ride it.

​​​​Yellow finishing tape on blue tape is a good look.
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Old 08-07-23, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Sorcerer
These bikes are great to see.

What does it feel like to put a 700c up front on a 26" framed MTB with drop bars? I suppose the only way to really know is build one and ride it.
Personally I think it feels great. Responsive, but not twitchy. I can control it with no hands easily. The only thing I would worry about is figuring out the trail with a new fork. My bike was designed to have front suspension and thus room for a tall fork, so switching it from 26" suspension to 700c non suspension didn't actually change my top tube angle much. Also my fork doesn't have much offset. If someone were to just take a standard rigid frame MTB and put a early hybrid steel 700c fork with lots of trail, that thing is going to be floppy. Luckily I work at a co-op so I was able to test a bunch of different crazy setups.
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Old 08-27-23, 12:01 AM
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This is my commuter bike. 1995'sDecathlon rockrider 500, 3 tubes cromoly.




3x7 stx, shimano bar end shifters, alivio brakes, exage levers, maxxis detonator, Velo Orange stem, Idťale saddle. Most of the parts are from my stock.
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Old 10-27-23, 11:27 AM
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Old 10-29-23, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by degan
Personally I think it feels great. Responsive, but not twitchy. I can control it with no hands easily. The only thing I would worry about is figuring out the trail with a new fork. My bike was designed to have front suspension and thus room for a tall fork, so switching it from 26" suspension to 700c non suspension didn't actually change my top tube angle much. Also my fork doesn't have much offset. If someone were to just take a standard rigid frame MTB and put a early hybrid steel 700c fork with lots of trail, that thing is going to be floppy. Luckily I work at a co-op so I was able to test a bunch of different crazy setups.
Great. I have only put a rigid 29'er fork on a 26'er that was made for front suspension, and put another 26" wheel on (disc brake) and it felt great too.

​​​​​​Like you said, it's going to depend on a few things to make it, 700c in the front , work right. That is the ticket for a gravel set-up I'd say.
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Old 12-26-23, 04:47 AM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
Somehow the pictures didn’t upload. Let’s try again:



Amazing bike, love it !

Steel frame, nice geometry . . . I have a few questions though :

- you're running slick tyres, you must lack some grip, don't you ?
- how do the mks flat pedals feel ?
- how did you mount the mirror ?

Last edited by AeroFred; 12-27-23 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 12-26-23, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Willem208
Here she is... 😁
Nice bike !

I love the GT geometry, I'd love to have one . . .
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Old 12-26-23, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by AeroFred
Amazing bike, love it !

Steel frame, nice geometry . . . I have a few questions though :

- you're running slick tyres, you must lack some grip, don't you ?
- how do the mks flat pedals feel ?
- how did you mount the mirror ?
Thanks!

Slicks: those are Renť Herse Rat Trap Passes (26x2.2). (Look for Panaracer Gravel Kings if you canít find RTPís.) I wouldnít rail corners on single track with them, but for grinding gravel, they have plenty of traction, especially at lower pressures. And they feel like youíre floating in a cloud! Loose gravel acts like ball bearings whether you have knobs or slicks anyway, so I am just mindful of conditions.

The mirror is an original style Mirrycle that specifically mounts to non-aero levers (Dia Compes work the best - Campy/Superbe style donít work). Apparently you can still get them from Mirrycle!

MKS Lambdas: I love these for commuting on pavement or county roads. But when it comes to serious double track, they lack the grip I am used to in MTN pedals. My feet will dance around on the pedal while Iím bouncing down the road. But I love their long length for mid-foot pedaling which is far more comfortable for me than traditional ball-over-spindle pedaling.

Last edited by mountaindave; 12-26-23 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 12-26-23, 04:46 PM
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I was going to wait until it was done but since it just survived a house fire, I thought I'd go ahead and post it. A fireman saved my Klein!

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Old 12-26-23, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by degan
I was going to wait until it was done but since it just survived a house fire, I thought I'd go ahead and post it. A fireman saved my Klein!

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Old 12-26-23, 07:01 PM
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It's not much. Just some Specialized riser bars in 46cm width and Gevenalle Retroshifters for cable brakes mated to TRP HY/RD calipers with a Deore 3x9 drivetrain.

First ride today. It rides better than my last attempt with a 1996 Trek 6500ZX. The 100mm travel on a bike designed around 60 was super floppy and with the 42cm bars hard to manage. This bike is easily the more manageable of the two. I may swap an internal spacer around to make it 80mm of suspension travel. Time will tell if that idea makes sense or not. Getting the bars and hands where they need to be was challenging enough. It has a fairly long front center and effective top tube as it is.

NOS RockShox Recon forks just hangin' out in my garage to replace the aged springer fork and a PNW dropper post from the "Just in case" pile and miscellaneous other parts from the spare parts bin like 32/28 hole PowerTap/Hope Pro4 disc hubs laced to Velocity Cliffhangers kept the total cost of acquisition to service as you see here at under $230. Not a bad deal.

Tubeless setup, hot waxing the chain, and bar tape is next on the list. I was thinking white bar tape; Thoughts?

Last edited by base2; 12-27-23 at 02:04 PM.
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Old 12-27-23, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by degan


I call it Frankensteins mullet. My goal was to do two things: get it under 20 lbs and make it look like the space shuttle (almost all grey/silver with bits of random color). It was 20.4 lbs before I wrapped the bars and I know I can save quite when I get a different rear wheel on there. It rides amazing and absolutely flies at speed.
Nice brakes, how do they perform ?
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Old 12-27-23, 09:00 AM
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Here some pictures of my conversion : '84 MBK Tracker converted to a drop bar tourer



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Old 12-27-23, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by base2
I was thinking white bar tape; Thoughts?
Black or tan, or black and tan, might also be options that would go well the with rest of your color scheme.
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Old 12-27-23, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by AeroFred
Here some pictures of my conversion : '84 MBK Tracker converted to a drop bar tourer



That is a sick setup with SON dynamo hub, Command shifters, TA Cyclotouriste cranks, and soda-bottle air horn! Well done!
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Old 12-27-23, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by mountaindave
That is a sick setup with SON dynamo hub, Command shifters, TA Cyclotouriste cranks, and soda-bottle air horn! Well done!
Thanks !

Actually, that's the DiaCompe Wing shifters, they're amazing !
They're friction only but they can go 11s !
In fact, that's what they call microratcheting. Combined with a Shimano cassette, it shifts really smooth . . .

As for the horn, it's a real life saver when you're on the road with traffic . . . If you don't have something real loud, they don't hear you . . .

The MBK was originally an MTB with a 28-40-48 triple, that I changed into 26-36-48 for touring since I need lower gears when loaded . . . I ran it with a 8s 11-32 cassette and it worked well. Still, I could go lower . . .
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Old 12-28-23, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AeroFred
Thanks !

Actually, that's the DiaCompe Wing shifters, they're amazing !
They're friction only but they can go 11s !
In fact, that's what they call microratcheting. Combined with a Shimano cassette, it shifts really smooth . . .

As for the horn, it's a real life saver when you're on the road with traffic . . . If you don't have something real loud, they don't hear you . . .

The MBK was originally an MTB with a 28-40-48 triple, that I changed into 26-36-48 for touring since I need lower gears when loaded . . . I ran it with a 8s 11-32 cassette and it worked well. Still, I could go lower . . .
The wing shifters are nice but expensive! On the other hand, Suntour Command shifters cost almost as much NOS.

I have been toying with the idea of just sticking a thumb shifter right under the brake lever. I actually think the geometry of the throw would work ok. It would be a low effort experiment since I already have a set modified for mounting on drops. maybe next time I rerwap my bars I'll give it a try...
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