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Old 06-30-12, 12:42 AM   #1
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hyrbid or cross check

I have 2 mid 1990 steel framed hybrid bikes i have acquired and rode more when I was less fit. Now i ride steel framed bikes with drop bars.

One of the hybrids is a 1994 Trek Multitrak 720 and the other is a Univega via carisma. I dont think either one has original handlebars. The trek has upright ones and the Univega has flat mountain bike ones. The Trek has gripshift shifting and the Univega has trigger shift. Basically i dont like the handlebars or shifters on either bikes. I prefer drop bars and some form of friction shifters.

These arent my primary bikes, i ride steel framed road bikes mostly.

I have been planning on eventually getting Nitto Technomic headsets, drop bars, and bar end shifters for these 2 hybrids but havent done it yet due to expense and i have other bikes to ride (including a 1998 Jamis Aurora which is touring frame probably not much different than a LHT except 32mm is the max width tires.)

I do like the fat tires (38mm and 40mm) i have on these 2 bikes, for some rides i do on bad city streets and sidewalks (legal in Los Angeles to ride on sidewalks and some city streets are just too dangerous in my opinion.)

I am wondering if i would find it better in terms of weight of frame, or responsiveness of ride if i took the parts off these bikes and put them on a Surly Cross check new frame. Id have to get drop bars and stem for the crosscheck but and bar end shifters, but I dont like the parts re that I have on the hybrids anyway.

I dont know much about bike mechanics but i think most of the parts would work on a cross check frame. My thinking is the Trek frame is just too heavy but the Univega one, which is lighter, is probably not much worse than a Cross check. So i think moving parts to a cross check makes more sense with the Trek. On the other hand the stock parts on the trek arent so good so not sure they merit being moved to another bike... any thoughts?

My other idea is to just keep these bike as is for occasional use. They are ok for short city trips or bad weather bikes or maybe if i want to ride somewhere and not have one of my better bikes locked up outside for a long time, or also to have around if someone visits me and is a begnning rider and is more comfortable riding with me on a hybrid. They arent worth much to try to sell. The Univega though is a pretty good frame, i understand (although hideous in teal color if that is a factor i consider. Obviously a new Cross check frame is nicer to have.. I'd consider a LHT frame but i already have the Jamis Aurora and dont have any touring trips planned. The Univega's flat bar handlebars gives me wrist pain if i ride say 35 miles so i stopped doing long rides on that bike but it has Marathon Plus 38mm tires which are good and it has Exage XL parts which are better than the Trek's parts....

Another thought i had is maybe i should devote one of my bikes with racks (none of them have racks now, i use a messenger bag) so i could use it for shopping (but i have a car) or commuting (but the hybrids with the current handlbars are too uncomfortable for my commute, 14 miles each way, and slower and heavier than my road bikes..) I havent put racks on any of my bikes yet because i like to switch between bikes and it would get costly to get good racks on a few bikes, and also i do some recreational group rides and dont want to add weight to my road bikes when i am riding unloaded on group rides. So i wouldnt want to put racks on all of my bikes.

So i am just trying to figure out what to do with them and wondering if anyone has any thoughts from what I say. The Univega probably is worth converting to drop bar, because the frame is probably as good or better than the Cross check frame, i think and doesnt make financial sense to move parts over to a cross check frame.

Last edited by GaryinLA; 06-30-12 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 06-30-12, 04:47 PM   #2
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I hear ya on the drops-vs-flatbar thing. I'd personally build up the Univega -- maybe with pics or descriptions, we could sort out which parts are worth reusing.
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
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Old 06-30-12, 05:17 PM   #3
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HI i am not sure what you are asking but the Univega Via Carisma has stock parts other than the handlebars and stem. It has 700c wheels, currently with 38cm Marathon Plus tires. It has Shimano Exage XL deraillers and drivetrain parts (with exception that the FD was replaced with a new old Exage non-XL FD not too long ago by my mechanic. it has a new chain and cassette. It is 7 speed in back and a triple crank up front. Frame size is approx 54cm and the crank arm length is 175mm (I prefer 170mm but it isnt too bothersome to have 175mm but i prefer 170mm.) If i were to get a Cross check frame i would get 56cm not 54cm, i briefly test rode both in stock buildup mode at a LBS once.

If i am going to improve the Univega as opposed to move its parts over to a cross check frame, what i would do is put on 42mm drop bars, a 100mm Nitto Technomic stem, some sort of friction shifters (either bar end or top mount depending on how much money i wanted to spend), and road bike brake levers.

If i were going to move the parts over to a Cross Check frame, i would also want drop bars and probably a 100mm stem.

Both frames have rack mounts in back and front, I believe.

The Univega frame i think was their best one in their hybrid lineup in 1994 and is probably roughly the same weight as a Cross Check frame so I dont think it pays to change the frame, unless i just wanted a new frame (one reason is the teal color of the uNivega is hideous and it would be nice to have a new cross check frame but those arent compelling reasons for me, i dont think.)

The harder decision is what to do with the Trek bike because the frame is heavier than the Univega one (I think the entire frame is not chomalloy nor is it double butted.) It rides heavier than a cross check i think. The parts arent as good as the Univega's. It has some lower level Shimano parts. It has grip shifters SRAM, and low level indexed shimano shifting and drivetrain. Triple crank. The rear cassette may not be stock because it is 8 speed, and i am not sure it came with 8 in the back instead of 7, i dont know. I know the wheel in the back isnt stock, my mechanic swapped in an old Alex wheel and put my cassette on it i think, a few months ago after i had problems with spokes/trueing the orig rear wheel.) THe Trek has v type breaks , and the Univega has the center pull kind with horizontal cable i think. The Trek is more piglike in riding. i test rode a Cross check only briefly a few months ago and feel it is somewhere in the same ballpark as the Univega frame. I read somewhere online that when the frame was new some people thought it was decent for use as a touring frame (it has rack mounts front and back.) The Trek Multitrack 720 i read online has been used by at least some people as a touring frame too, but doesnt seem to be as well reviewed. It has geometry similar to a Trek 520 i read but is heavier. it has 170mm crank which i prefer over 175.

The Trek wasnt their top hybrid bike in about 1994, there was a 750 and I think 780 above it with lighter steel frames and better components.

Last edited by GaryinLA; 06-30-12 at 05:20 PM.
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