Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Vintage MTB commuting mods

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Vintage MTB commuting mods

Old 07-03-12, 07:45 PM
  #1  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,157

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 70 Posts
Vintage MTB commuting mods

So I know a bunch of you are using vintage mountain bikes as commuters. I'm talking about mtbs that haven't been polluted by a suspension fork. The cool thing is that they are kinda cheap for nice old bikes and they can be modded in all kinds of ways. So I'm curious what people have been doing to their vintage MTB commuters.

I'll start. I picked up a 1988 stumpjumper comp from craigslist for cheap (complete Deore XT with a u brake in the rear) not too long ago. I haven't done too much to it yet (other than overhaul the bike, change the cables, and mount new tires with a reflective stripe) but I'm planning on doing some mods pretty soon. I'm running two blinkies in the rear (a planet bike superflash and a catetye reflex) and cateye HL-EL600 up front but I'm thinking of adding a dynamo of some type. This is my commuting bike with minimal mods:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_0750.jpg (68.7 KB, 139 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_0751.jpg (65.4 KB, 111 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_0752.jpg (60.7 KB, 112 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_0753.jpg (61.3 KB, 104 views)
bikemig is online now  
Old 07-03-12, 07:51 PM
  #2  
mtbikerinpa
Shimano Certified
 
mtbikerinpa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: PA
Posts: 1,840

Bikes: 92 Giant Sedona ATX Custom

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Good to see a vintage well represented. I have a Giant Sedona ATX in stock form for city use and another one done to the 9s for modern with 27spd, hydro disc, Sid fork etc. Which one is better for all-around, probly the mod one, lots and lots of race years on it but the stocker has its own allure. When I ride it I almost get nostalgic back to my early teen years when I got the mod one as a bones chassis.
mtbikerinpa is offline  
Old 07-03-12, 08:47 PM
  #3  
MK313
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 782
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Nice ride! I have a Rockhopper that was my first commuter. I gave it to my sister-in-law a few years ago, and then took it back last summer (she hand't used it in years) and have it rideable again. I don't normally use it as my commuter, but it makes a great backup. I agree, those are some great bikes for commuting.
MK313 is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 05:16 AM
  #4  
TurbineBlade
Kid A
 
TurbineBlade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 1,778
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I sometimes ride a GF wahoo 1997 with slicks and moustache handlebars. Otherwise, it's stock with everything else. Old mountain bikes make excellent commuters IMO -- you just usually need a good rear pannier rack, and a set of panniers that you can adjust "rearward" (like ortlieb, arkel) to avoid heel strike.
TurbineBlade is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 09:32 AM
  #5  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21,258

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 92 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2472 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 104 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
So I know a bunch of you are using vintage mountain bikes as commuters. I'm talking about mtbs that haven't been polluted by a suspension fork. The cool thing is that they are kinda cheap for nice old bikes and they can be modded in all kinds of ways. So I'm curious what people have been doing to their vintage MTB commuters.
There is no "pollution"* worse than taking a off-road machine and making it unworthy of off-road. Kind of like making a low rider out of a jeep! All of my mountain bikes are ready and willing for off-road use.

*Shocks aren't "polluting" mountain bikes. A shock...even a cheap one...are more about enhancing control than about comfort
__________________
Stuart Black
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 10:07 AM
  #6  
Lord Chaos
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 239
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I bought a used 1986 Ritchey Ascent in 1987, intending to ride it in the mountains. It was too big, though, so I ended up buying a smaller, new, Ascent because I liked the way it handled. I turned the '86 into a commuter with half-step gearing and 1.5" tires. The combination worked well and I put thousands of miles on the bike in commuting and errand running and the occasional longer ride. I still have it, and it's still a really good bike, although its role has been taken over (since retirement) by a Rivendell Bombadil, which handles basically like the Ascent but even better.

The old Ritchey could use some help. I've thought about getting it repainted, but the main thing it needs is new drivetrain bits. If I do this, the bike will keep its roller-cam brake, bullmoose bars and mountain-worthy tires. The problem with repainting is that I can't get decals like the ones on it, which are the old-style blue-and-yellow.
Lord Chaos is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 11:11 AM
  #7  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,157

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
There is no "pollution"* worse than taking a off-road machine and making it unworthy of off-road. Kind of like making a low rider out of a jeep! All of my mountain bikes are ready and willing for off-road use.

*Shocks aren't "polluting" mountain bikes. A shock...even a cheap one...are more about enhancing control than about comfort
Vintage MTBs weren't built for shocks which is one of the reasons they make great commuters. Just saying.

I have three no shock vintage MTBs (one for each member of my family); they're ridiculously cheap and they make great all around bikes.

Last edited by bikemig; 07-04-12 at 11:22 AM.
bikemig is online now  
Old 07-04-12, 11:13 AM
  #8  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,157

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by TurbineBlade View Post
I sometimes ride a GF wahoo 1997 with slicks and moustache handlebars. Otherwise, it's stock with everything else. Old mountain bikes make excellent commuters IMO -- you just usually need a good rear pannier rack, and a set of panniers that you can adjust "rearward" (like ortlieb, arkel) to avoid heel strike.
Great point about racks and panniers and the problem with heel strike; agreed that vintage MTBs (sans shocks of course, ) make great commuters.

Last edited by bikemig; 07-04-12 at 11:19 AM.
bikemig is online now  
Old 07-04-12, 11:41 AM
  #9  
ThermionicScott 
hungry
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 18,424

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2029 Post(s)
Liked 99 Times in 82 Posts
If you like this thread, you may also be interested in this one: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ar-Conversions
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 01:38 PM
  #10  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21,258

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 92 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2472 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 104 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Vintage MTBs weren't built for shocks which is one of the reasons they make great commuters. Just saying.

I have three no shock vintage MTBs (one for each member of my family); they're ridiculously cheap and they make great all around bikes.
...And yet we still managed to install shocks on them. The first Rockshox was introduced in 1989 while the first Manitou was introduced in 1990. Your 1988 Stumpy could have had a shock installed on it. Many did.
__________________
Stuart Black
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 01:58 PM
  #11  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,157

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
...And yet we still managed to install shocks on them. The first Rockshox was introduced in 1989 while the first Manitou was introduced in 1990. Your 1988 Stumpy could have had a shock installed on it. Many did.
Yep but it's a bad mod for a commuter, imo.
bikemig is online now  
Old 07-04-12, 02:23 PM
  #12  
nashcommguy
nashcommguy
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: nashville, tn
Posts: 2,499

Bikes: Commuters: Fuji Delray road, Fuji Discovery mtb...Touring: Softride Traveler...Road: C-dale SR300

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Beautiful ride. The only fly in the ointment I can see is that you may want to straighten the angle of the PBSF to make it perpendicular to the ground. Might just be the camera angle. If so, nevermind.

Planet Bike mtb fenders can be had for 34.00 from www.bikeisland.com w/no shipping. They're 60mm, so able to cover any size tires up to 2.0 I'd think.

Purchased a 3x7 Univega ht/hf w/1.75 street tires from Goodwill for 10.00 a few months ago and am going to mod it into a winter beater. Bike has less than 50 miles on it, I'll bet. The only thing I don't like is the indexed front shifter. Going to swap it out for a 'ratcheting' twist-grip, thumb-finger friction like yours or even a stem mount lever. My wife's got an old Crossroads w/a ratcheted twist grip and having the option to vary the trim is great.
nashcommguy is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 02:30 PM
  #13  
cyccommute 
Mad bike riding scientist
 
cyccommute's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 21,258

Bikes: Some silver ones, a red one, an orange one and a few titanium ones

Mentioned: 92 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2472 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 104 Times in 71 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Yep but it's a bad mod for a commuter, imo.
IMO, I've never found it to be a detriment. In snow and ice, a shock can be an asset for the same reason that it's an asset when riding off-road. The fork will all the wheel to climb up and out of ruts rather than be trapped in them. And, if you can find a place that you can actually ride off-road for you commute (all or part), a shock and an off-road ready mountain bike can inject a little fun into the normal tedium of bicycle commuting. Getting from point A to point B may be the main goal but why not enjoy the journey?
__________________
Stuart Black
Pokin' around the Poconos A cold ride around Lake Erie
Dinosaurs in Colorado A mountain bike guide to the Purgatory Canyon dinosaur trackway
Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.
cyccommute is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 03:17 PM
  #14  
Bent Bill
Senior Member
 
Bent Bill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sun City West AZ.
Posts: 313

Bikes: Trek Domane 5.2 Giant Frankenbike Trek Utopia Canondale 3.0 Sun Easy Racer Tadpole Schwinn Tandem Cheap Unicycle

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Old new MTB commuter Giant Yukon bought new in about 1993
rebuilt to this config in June this year
best money I have spent so far on a bike
I call it a old mans fat tire road bike
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMGP0393.jpg (99.0 KB, 75 views)
File Type: jpg
IMGP0394.jpg (88.9 KB, 64 views)
Bent Bill is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 10:20 PM
  #15  
MyBikeGotStolen
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Jacksonville Florida
Posts: 765

Bikes: Raleigh Glacier MTB/Commuter. Cannondale CAAD5, Windsor Timeline fixed gear

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Here is my budget conversion:
I spent $25 on levers
$3 on a cable hanger
$15 on new cables
$5 on bar tape and
$12 for stem shifters

When I got the bike, the original shifters were trashed, and the derailures (sp?) were crapped. The stem shifters made that an easy and cheap fix since I was still able to use the derailures




Last edited by MyBikeGotStolen; 07-04-12 at 10:20 PM. Reason: Typo
MyBikeGotStolen is offline  
Old 07-04-12, 11:47 PM
  #16  
CB HI
Cycle Year Round
 
CB HI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 13,542
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1246 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Yep but it's a bad mod for a commuter, imo.
I have commuted on roads with so many potholes that the road destroyed wheels faster than single track. At the worst point of the road disrepair, a full suspension was a reasonable option, unless of course you really like rebuilding wheels.
__________________
Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.
CB HI is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 12:37 AM
  #17  
Ira B
Senior Member
 
Ira B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Coupeville, WA
Posts: 886

Bikes: 84 Raleigh Technium- 89 Shogun Mt. Bike-96 Miyata 914

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My winter commuter is an 80's Shogun set up with bar extensions, street tires and fenders and I love that beast. I rolled right over chunks of debris on the roadside that would have probably trashed a wheel and earned me a face plant on my road bike.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
S1.jpg (102.1 KB, 60 views)
Ira B is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 05:35 AM
  #18  
Artkansas 
Pedaled too far.
 
Artkansas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: La Petite Roche
Posts: 12,851
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
1988 Specialized Hard Rock, with fenders, lights, a rack, shopping panniers, trailer hitch and street slicks, that's how I roll.
__________________
"He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.
Artkansas is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 08:30 AM
  #19  
zacster
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Brooklyn NY
Posts: 6,064
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
1994 Trek 8000 w/ slicks, otherwise stock. This has Deore DX components on it w/ canti brakes. I have a rack & mountable messenger bag, f&r lights, and a bell on it.
zacster is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 08:42 AM
  #20  
hubcap
One Man Fast Brick
 
hubcap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 1,121

Bikes: Specialized Langster, Bianchi San Jose, early 90s GT Karakoram, Yuba Mundo, Mercier Nano (mini velo), Nashbar Steel Commuter, KHS Tandemania Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The 2.35" Big Apples on my early 90s GT Karakoram are my suspension.

Front and rear racks, lights all around. It's a bombproof commuter.
hubcap is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 09:48 AM
  #21  
Yo Spiff
Carpe Velo
 
Yo Spiff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 2,514

Bikes: 2000 Bianchi Veloce, '88 Trek 900, '88 Schwinn Prologue, '92 Schwinn Crosscut, '03 Diamondback Tandem, '94 Yokota Grizzly Peak

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I don't commute to work on it, but my '88 Trek 900 makes a great grocery getter and camera carrier. Not much modded but I'm considering putting drop bars and bar end shifters on it. Maybe some slightly narrower tires once these cheap Forte's wear out, but not too narrow. I still want it to easily handle gravel trails.

Old Red by Yo Spiff, on Flickr
Yo Spiff is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 09:58 AM
  #22  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,157

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
I have commuted on roads with so many potholes that the road destroyed wheels faster than single track. At the worst point of the road disrepair, a full suspension was a reasonable option, unless of course you really like rebuilding wheels.
Sure but that's like riding offroad. I grew up in a city with some of the worst roads in the country (New Orleans). The ground was constantly sinking (the city is built on mud) and the pavement expanding because of the heat. Never felt like I wanted or needed a shock for commuting. I happen to like shocks for going offroad but I'm skeptical that they add anything but weight for most commuting applications. There will always be exceptions.
bikemig is online now  
Old 07-05-12, 09:58 AM
  #23  
no motor?
Senior Member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 6,076

Bikes: Specialized Hardrock

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 957 Post(s)
Liked 60 Times in 45 Posts
A 2000 or so Specialized Hardrock Classic with 26x1.5 slicks, rear rack and lights for me. Well I also upgraded the shifters, rear derailers, saddle, and made it an 8 speed, but it still does all I ask it to.
no motor? is offline  
Old 07-05-12, 10:00 AM
  #24  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,157

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by MyBikeGotStolen View Post
Here is my budget conversion:
I spent $25 on levers
$3 on a cable hanger
$15 on new cables
$5 on bar tape and
$12 for stem shifters

When I got the bike, the original shifters were trashed, and the derailures (sp?) were crapped. The stem shifters made that an easy and cheap fix since I was still able to use the derailures
There is something so cool about building up a great bike and not having to put much money into it.
bikemig is online now  
Old 07-05-12, 10:01 AM
  #25  
bikemig 
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
bikemig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Middle Earth (aka IA)
Posts: 15,157

Bikes: A bunch of old bikes and a few new ones

Mentioned: 107 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3627 Post(s)
Liked 78 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by Yo Spiff View Post
I don't commute to work on it, but my '88 Trek 900 makes a great grocery getter and camera carrier. Not much modded but I'm considering putting drop bars and bar end shifters on it. Maybe some slightly narrower tires once these cheap Forte's wear out, but not too narrow. I still want it to easily handle gravel trails.

Old Red by Yo Spiff, on Flickr
That bike looks immaculate; very cool.
bikemig is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.