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Help me convert?

Old 10-02-17, 06:46 PM
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Help me convert?

I have access to a trek singletrack 970. Apparently it has only been ridden 3xs(my wifes grandfathers). But i have been searching for a gravel bike originaly was going to get a tommaso sentiero but low on funds. I have been on the hunt on all sites for something that may work. After hearing about the trek I was wondering if it could be converted to a gravel grinder. Thanks ahead of time!
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Old 10-02-17, 07:14 PM
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It probably can -- depends on how much money you want to throw at it
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Old 10-02-17, 10:25 PM
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Something like this? It worked well. I do prefer larger diameter wheels, but this bike did roll well enough with the 26".
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Old 10-03-17, 12:12 AM
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Start by finding out if the bike is even your size.
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Old 10-03-17, 12:19 AM
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I was looking at a quick 200$ but have no problem spending money to build up. Not sure where to begin. I will def check size before any money is spent but started this thread for that exact reason . Thanks for any and all info i appreciate the good and bad
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Old 10-03-17, 01:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Farsinchia
After hearing about the trek I was wondering if it could be converted to a gravel grinder.
When you say "converted to a gravel grinder", I'm assuming you mean a drop-bar conversion?

Yeah, sure. Lots of people on bikeforums have converted vintage MTBs to drop bars. See this thread.

My own gravel bike is an early Stumpjumper:



Vintage MTB drop bar conversions have some merits and some drawbacks as gravel bikes.
They have durable rigid framesets. Clearances tend to be huge, so you have a lot of choices for tires sizes; my bike shown above has 53mm tires are nearly 20mm of clearance between them and the full-length fenders. These bikes tended to come with 26er wheels, and although they've fallen out of existence on the high-end new bike market, tire availability is still extremely good. And being mountain bikes, their original drivetrains tend to come with the kinds of low gears that are nice for keeping the pedals turning smoothly on steep loose gravel hills.
Vintage MTB drop-bar conversions do tend to handle a bit funny because the geometry isn't really designed as road-bike-ish; on my own bike, the slack angles and high trail mean that the steering is kind of floppy out of the saddle at low speed, and handling stiffens more than I'd like at high speeds. These bikes also don't tend to be very light; ready-to-ride weights from the mid-20s to the low 30s are common. Disc brakes are basically out of the question, and if you're thinking you might want to run tubeless at some point, there aren't many rim-brake 26er tubeless rim options.

You'll want to make sure that the bike is your size. It's probably okay if it's slightly small, since these machines have long top tubes.
MTB cockpit components aren't designed for standard drop bars, so you'll probably be looking at new brake levers and shifters.
You also might need a new stem, since the contact points for drop bars are different than for straight bars.

$200 is likely doable provided the bike is somewhat close to fitting, and you don't commit to making the build very fancy, and you don't make very many decisions that you change later.

Last edited by HTupolev; 10-04-17 at 12:25 AM.
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Old 10-03-17, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
My own gravel bike is an early Stumpjumper:
As always- killer build. It is all too rare to see a drop bar conversion that looks pretty natural in its adjusted form. So many have wonky high stems or whatever to make the geometry fit. I guess congrats on being the height and reach you happen to be!

Anyways, i just noticed the Vbrake front and Canti rear on your bike. Why that decision? Also, are your brake levers pull specific since Vbrakes and Cantis need different pull ratios(i didnt see a pull adapter on your Vbrake).
Wasnt sure if that setup is really great for the terrain you ride(which is 10x hillier than around me) or if it was necessity from the conversion.
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Old 10-03-17, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Farsinchia
access to a trek singletrack 970
free bike? wutz to convert? just ride it for a while as-is. see if you really like gravel - dirt riding. it won't prevent you from buying a new bike
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Old 10-03-17, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Farsinchia
...After hearing about the trek I was wondering if it could be converted to a gravel grinder. Thanks ahead of time!
I went from this:



To this:



It is an excellent gravel bike, tho I've since replaced it with the AWOL
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Old 10-03-17, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Farsinchia
I have access to a trek singletrack 970. Apparently it has only been ridden 3xs(my wifes grandfathers). But i have been searching for a gravel bike originaly was going to get a tommaso sentiero but low on funds. I have been on the hunt on all sites for something that may work. After hearing about the trek I was wondering if it could be converted to a gravel grinder. Thanks ahead of time!
Its perfect. Those old school bikes had a versatile geometry. I road them on road and track. Now everything is so specialized - its hard for the bikes to do everything well, like a 970 would. I would love one.
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Old 10-03-17, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Anyways, i just noticed the Vbrake front and Canti rear on your bike. Why that decision? Also, are your brake levers pull specific since Vbrakes and Cantis need different pull ratios(i didnt see a pull adapter on your Vbrake).
Wasnt sure if that setup is really great for the terrain you ride(which is 10x hillier than around me) or if it was necessity from the conversion.
I've got linear-pull levers, so the v-brake is actually correct. The canti is pretty weak, a bit of an arm workout when dragging the brakes on descents.

It's a silly temporary kludge that has become less temporary than it should be. I was trying different things on the build, figuring out what made sense in terms of cable routing, straddle clearances and fender height... by the time I decided I was being stupid and should just stick the rear v-brake back on, I'd put it on a different bike.

Anyway, I've just decided to order a new v-brake, so hopefully that'll be resolved in the next few days.
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Old 10-03-17, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
I've got linear-pull levers, so the v-brake is actually correct. The canti is pretty weak, a bit of an arm workout when dragging the brakes on descents.

It's a silly temporary kludge that has become less temporary than it should be. I was trying different things on the build, figuring out what made sense in terms of cable routing, straddle clearances and fender height... by the time I decided I was being stupid and should just stick the rear v-brake back on, I'd put it on a different bike.

Anyway, I've just decided to order a new v-brake, so hopefully that'll be resolved in the next few days.
Ha, I know those type of build delays all too well- fiddling with something for too long only to come out of the tunnel vision and realize its 6 of one half dozen of the other in the end since if i dont actually finish the build ill never use the bike.
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Old 10-03-17, 11:12 PM
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Dropbar conversion is actually really easy. The hardest part is determining compatibility and making sure you've measured everything correctly. I'm finishing up my Trek 830, and it's a fun riding bike so far. I got a set of bartaped Midge bars with Tektro hoods/levers on eBay, and a Sunlite stem to fix the reach/stack issue. I also got an Altus derailleur for $15 to extend the low range, and some Suntour barcons. Original wheelset was pertty beat up and had ****ty tires, so for the price of truing and new rubber I also picked up NOS Alexrims wheelset with Specialized Fastrack Flak Jackets and a 14-34 Shimano Megarange freewheel. And a set of cables/housings. All in it's cost about $275 including the bike. Only question now is whether to keep the cantis or go V brakes, but so far the cantis have been fine. I might customize the gear range down to 11t w some old freewheels I have to make higher speeds attainable at lower rpms. I'll post some pics when I recharge my camera battery. But in spite of spending that money, I should be able to recoup about $40-50 selling some of the parts I replaced, plus the old wheelset probably doubles or triples the value of a $25 Giant beater I picked up last summer but couldn't find the right geometry for a good conversion.


HTupolev - did you strip and powdercoat that frame? It looks awesome.
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Old 10-03-17, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg
Something like this? It worked well. I do prefer larger diameter wheels, but this bike did roll well enough with the 26".


You need to save that to your computer and attach it or find another source for your example as that one is on Photobucket and affected by their limits on third party hosting. There is supposedly a fix for Chrome and Firefox users but otherwise the speedometer picture will show instead of the image.
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Old 10-04-17, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bcpriess
HTupolev - did you strip and powdercoat that frame?
No, the previous owner did. They didn't go through with their project, though. When I got it, it was a very beautiful straight-bar mountain bike in not-quite-rideable condition.
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Old 10-04-17, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bcpriess
Dropbar conversion is actually really easy.
the bigget problem I've run into is that the bar diameters are different, so parts don't move over to the drop. That and that you MUST have canti's with drop bar brake levers - or dig up one of the rare ones that are designed to work with V-brakes
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Old 10-04-17, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58
or dig up one of the rare ones that are designed to work with V-brakes
Tektro RL520 and Cane Creek Drop V levers are common and fairly inexpensive.

Things get trickier if you want shifters on the brake levers, but it's still doable. A pull adapter like a Problem Solvers Travel Agent can allow standard road levers to work correctly with v-brakes. Gevenalle's "brifters" can be purchased in long-pull options.

the bigget problem I've run into is that the bar diameters are different, so parts don't move over to the drop.
Thanks to the street fixie market, it's actually possible to buy a drop handlebar with a 22.2mm outer bar diameter, such as the Pure Fix Drop Bar. You could probably attach MTB brake levers and shifters to them... but, I'm not sure how optimal the ergonomics would be.
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Old 10-04-17, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58
the bigget problem I've run into is that the bar diameters are different, so parts don't move over to the drop. That and that you MUST have canti's with drop bar brake levers - or dig up one of the rare ones that are designed to work with V-brakes
Thats what was so great about the albatross/oxford bar setup. Shifters, brake levers, cables all still worked!

Helps that I wanted oxford bars tho.
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Old 10-05-17, 09:14 AM
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Trying again since Photobucket sucks.
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Old 10-08-17, 09:31 PM
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NICE, Thanks.
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Old 10-09-17, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev
When you say "converted to a gravel grinder", I'm assuming you mean a drop-bar conversion?

Yeah, sure. Lots of people on bikeforums have converted vintage MTBs to drop bars.

My own gravel bike is an early Stumpjumper:


Vintage MTB drop bar conversions have some merits and some drawbacks as gravel bikes.
They have durable rigid framesets. Clearances tend to be huge, so you have a lot of choices for tires sizes; my bike shown above has 53mm tires are nearly 20mm of clearance between them and the full-length fenders. These bikes tended to come with 26er wheels, and although they've fallen out of existence on the high-end new bike market, tire availability is still extremely good. And being mountain bikes, their original drivetrains tend to come with the kinds of low gears that are nice for keeping the pedals turning smoothly on steep loose gravel hills.
Vintage MTB drop-bar conversions do tend to handle a bit funny because the geometry isn't really designed as road-bike-ish; on my own bike, the slack angles and high trail mean that the steering is kind of floppy out of the saddle at low speed, and handling stiffens more than I'd like at high speeds. These bikes also don't tend to be very light; ready-to-ride weights from the mid-20s to the low 30s are common. Disc brakes are basically out of the question, and if you're thinking you might want to run tubeless at some point, there aren't many rim-brake 26er tubeless rim options.

You'll want to make sure that the bike is your size. It's probably okay if it's slightly small, since these machines have long top tubes.
MTB cockpit components aren't designed for standard drop bars, so you'll probably be looking at new brake levers and shifters.
You also might need a new stem, since the contact points for drop bars are different than for straight bars.

$200 is likely doable provided the bike is somewhat close to fitting, and you don't commit to making the build very fancy, and you don't make very many decisions that you change later.
Nice! I have an early 90s Miyata I was thinking of doing a dropbar conversion on and this sealed it. Solid-looking machine!
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