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500 grams is diff between steel versatile MTB and racebike. Worth it?

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500 grams is diff between steel versatile MTB and racebike. Worth it?

Old 10-23-17, 09:48 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Bicycles weren't on my radar in the 80's (or 90's) so I don't really understood the MTB boom of the mid-80's, which was apparently an American phenomenon. A new outdoor sport, counter-culture, I don't know but those 80's MTB's weren't very good by modern standards. I find it kind of odd when people suggest scouring Craig's List for an 80's MTB, or for a generic 90's MTB.
I am not sure if this is quite what you are asking, but if the purpose is for a touring/commuter bike (or other non-trail use), I can think of 2 advantages of a mid 90s (or older) MTB over a newer mtb frame:

1- they come fully rigid

2- the geo of the older MTBs is more "road-like" than newer ones. Steeper head angles, and shorter top tubes. The latter is particularly important of you plan to do a drop-bar conversion. Or if you like to run narrow bars with a longer stem.

My commuter is based on a mid-90s mtb frame.

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Old 10-23-17, 09:53 AM
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Parts for bikes of that era are also extremely cheap and easy to find.
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Old 10-23-17, 09:59 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I am not sure if this is quite what you are asking, but if the purpose is for a touring/commuter bike (or other non-trail use), I can think of 2 advantages of a mid 90s (or older) MTB over a newer mtb frame:

1- they come fully rigid

2- the geo of the older MTBs is more "road-like" than newer ones. Steeper head angles, and shorter top tubes. The latter is particularly important of you plan to do a drop-bar conversion. Or if you like to run narrow bars with a longer stem.
But given that modern road bike frames, CX frames and touring frames are also fully rigid - more rigid - and that 80's mtb frames came in a variety of geometries (some downright weird), it still begs the question "why". I understand the attraction of taking something on hand and making it suitable for your purpose, and I do that quite a bit personally, but when a brand new modern frame is so much better than the old one - like with your two points - it seems odd when people recommend that for utility bikes new cyclists. You can get one cheap and it works, usually, so that's fine but there seems to be no actual advantage for it.
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Old 10-23-17, 10:06 AM
  #29  
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Other than getting something used for $100, that would cost $1000-1500 brand new. It's really tough to explain unless you can see the appeal of having something unique you built up yourself to your specs, plus saving a thousand or so dollars.
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Old 10-23-17, 11:02 AM
  #30  
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The Trek and the Fisher in post #25 are great examples of that. Yeah, they're custom builds, but really just racks/bars/fenders. To get a bike like that new 'off-the-rack' you're looking at something like a Surly LHT, for 2-3x the cost, and the biggest difference is a couple of extra speeds.

I'm not sure how a modern CX frame makes a better utility bike for a new rider.


BTW, rigid, when applied to Mountain Bikes, refers to bikes that do not have suspension, not how stiff the frame is. Pretty much any 'MTB' over $100 has a suspension fork on it these days. Not that that's such a good thing.
Before forks got lighter/cheaper, you had some full-rigid thoroughbreds like the Bridgestone MB-0 (Zip) and Ritchey P-21; proper XC racing bikes.

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Old 10-23-17, 11:42 AM
  #31  
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I can see the appeal of building something up myself, to my own specs, but it doesn't explain the preference for 80's mountain bikes. I built my road bike from the frame up, I've been riding it for years. But I see only advantages, including cost, with doing it with a new frame, and modern components.

Different strokes, and of course there's the whole C&V thing, but it's not a matter of not understanding the allure of building your bike the way you want it. I just have never seen an objective, reasonable advantage given for those bikes, other than they can be found used and often for $100 or less.

"I'm not sure how a modern CX frame makes a better utility bike for a new rider."

Much lighter frames, better handling, more compatible with modern components, and 622 rims are generally the better choice for roads. Since that's whats on virtually all new road bikes since that period. Plus a new rider shouldn't have to deal with finding the ring tool for some strange 80's freewheel for example, or paying the bike shop more than the superior modern freehub costs to replace it. Or having to maintain those bottom brackets instead of a cartridge type.
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Old 10-23-17, 12:02 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
But given that modern road bike frames, CX frames and touring frames are also fully rigid - more rigid - and that 80's mtb frames came in a variety of geometries (some downright weird), it still begs the question "why". I understand the attraction of taking something on hand and making it suitable for your purpose, and I do that quite a bit personally, but when a brand new modern frame is so much better than the old one - like with your two points - it seems odd when people recommend that for utility bikes new cyclists. You can get one cheap and it works, usually, so that's fine but there seems to be no actual advantage for it.
Well, that is the point: they are cheap and many of them DO work well for commuter bikes or bikes that will carry a load. Yes, there are some great new options for this as well, but you are not going to find a new quality touring/commuter that is a heavily built as an old rigid mtb for $150 for a complete bike or $60 for a frame-set.

I don't know what you mean by "more rigid".

Also, I am not sure I understood your question about why MTBs became popular starting in the 80s and 90s. They became popular because people became interested in mountain biking.

.....when a brand new modern frame is so much better than the old one - like with your two points -
Not sure what you mean here. My two points were about why older mtbs make better utility bikes than new mtbs.
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Old 10-23-17, 12:07 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
I can see the appeal of building something up myself, to my own specs, but it doesn't explain the preference for 80's mountain bikes.
I think most interest in older bikes from a utility perspective (as opposed to shear vintage appeal) are bikes from the 90's more so than the 80s.
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Old 10-23-17, 12:18 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I don't know what you mean by "more rigid".
It's a "thing" with road bike frames. More rigid frame - stiffer, yet with "vertical compliance" - has better power transfer or at least that's the prevailing opinion. You are thinking of mechanical suspension vs "rigid", but there are levels beyond that.

Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Also, I am not sure I understood your question about why MTBs became popular starting in the 80s and 90s. They became popular because people became interested in mountain biking.
The odd thing is that bikes used in the sport of mountain biking were only a small portion of the MTB's sold in that era.

Not sure what you mean here. My two points were about why older mtbs make better utility bikes than new mtbs.
What I meant was that your two points are applied as well to show why inexpensive new road frames make even better utility bikes that older mtb frames.
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Old 10-23-17, 12:23 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I think most interest in older bikes from a utility perspective (as opposed to shear vintage appeal) are bikes from the 90's more so than the 80s.
Yeh, I should hope so! The 90's MTB aren't as heavy and weird as the 80's entry level stuff, but still only makes sense if what you find works "as is" or with little renovation, and still won't be as decent as an entry-level road bike or hybrid.
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Old 10-23-17, 12:47 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Yeh, I should hope so! The 90's MTB aren't as heavy and weird as the 80's entry level stuff, but still only makes sense if what you find works "as is" or with little renovation, and still won't be as decent as an entry-level road bike or hybrid.
I have to respectfully disagree on the last part of that statement. For the purpose that many use these resuscitated 90s mtbs for, a new bike that is comparable where is counts will be several times the cost.

There have been a lot of advances in bike tech (especially for mtb) over the past 25 years, but for most people's needs for a utility/commuter bike, they are mostly irrelevant. Believe me, I am the farthest thing from a retro-grouch on most things bike-related. I appreciate everything that has changed in mtbs over the past 25 years, and embrace new trends on road bikes, like discs and wide tires. However, there is really nothing about my mid 90s mtb-based commuter that I find lacking. Seriously, nothing. And when something does break, replacements are really cheap.

And these are very easy to find parts for. They use parts that are still very common... (headset types, BBs, dropout spacing).

If we were talking performance-oriented bikes, I would agree with your point. But that is not what I see these generally being sought for. They are usually sought as utility/commuter bikes. and in light of that the cost is extremely relevant.
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Old 10-23-17, 01:25 PM
  #37  
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Oh well, that's more high-quality, double-butted, steel MTB frames, at bargain prices for the rest of us. Maybe they'll stay dirt cheap for a couple more years, I'm hoping.
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Old 10-23-17, 05:23 PM
  #38  
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I rode BMX and then rigid mountain bikes when I was younger. A few years ago, I rented a soft tail mtb at a resort that had some pretty good trails - I was underwhelmed. I found climbing more difficult, and downhill and through some very technical terrain I found I was rewarded for making mistakes - it was too easy, wasn't the fun of just making it through the rocks - all I had to do was let the suspension ride me through, barely had to be careful where I landed.

I like old cheap road bikes (racebikes?) - they have lots of room for tire, geometry is fine, not too heavy, but a bit overbuilt. Have to find them where the road bikes aren't desirable though. I bought mine 12 years ago for $40, but would pay about 8 times that where I live now.
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Old 10-23-17, 06:02 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Bicycles weren't on my radar in the 80's (or 90's) so I don't really understood the MTB boom of the mid-80's, which was apparently an American phenomenon. A new outdoor sport, counter-culture, I don't know but those 80's MTB's weren't very good by modern standards. I find it kind of odd when people suggest scouring Craig's List for an 80's MTB, or for a generic 90's MTB.
They were (are) good utility bikes - rugged, fat tires, wide gear range, and the flat bar made them easier for beginners. I bet most of those old mountain bikes were mainly ridden on pavement.
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Old 10-23-17, 06:30 PM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Re-purposing older rigid MTBs into quality tourers and commuters is one of my specialties. Here are a couple of my recent builds:
Beautiful! builds. Kudos. Do you have a blog or imgur with more pics or even youtube vids? Cool stuff!
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Old 10-23-17, 06:45 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Re-purposing older rigid MTBs into quality tourers and commuters is one of my specialties. Here are a couple of my recent builds:
Those are beautiful.
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Old 10-23-17, 06:56 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I have to respectfully disagree on the last part of that statement. For the purpose that many use these resuscitated 90s mtbs for, a new bike that is comparable where is counts will be several times the cost.

There have been a lot of advances in bike tech (especially for mtb) over the past 25 years, but for most people's needs for a utility/commuter bike, they are mostly irrelevant. Believe me, I am the farthest thing from a retro-grouch on most things bike-related. I appreciate everything that has changed in mtbs over the past 25 years, and embrace new trends on road bikes, like discs and wide tires. However, there is really nothing about my mid 90s mtb-based commuter that I find lacking. Seriously, nothing. And when something does break, replacements are really cheap.

And these are very easy to find parts for. They use parts that are still very common... (headset types, BBs, dropout spacing).

If we were talking performance-oriented bikes, I would agree with your point. But that is not what I see these generally being sought for. They are usually sought as utility/commuter bikes. and in light of that the cost is extremely relevant.
I have to agree with all this! The frame in my pic I bought as a complete bike for 60 euros, condition of paint is bad but the frame likely has another 1 to 6 decades left in it after I repaint, no rust, dings, warps or problems of any sort.

Indeed I literally find good parts for MTBs on the street on wrecks all the time her in Berlin. Entry level but perfectly decent, well modulating, easy to adjust Shimano V-brakes (https://chainreactioncycles.scene7.co...id=500&hei=505) which will kick the crap out of almost any typical roadbike caliper/sidepull type brake. I would say this is one of the very few innovations made for MTBs that is a worthwhile upgrade, V-brakes over Canti's though some canti's were ace, V is better overall. Even if I were to buy the V-brakes brand new I get a full set (2 pairs) for about 30 euros here, I would struggle to find even 1 half-way decent brake for a race bike new for 35 euros, much less a set. The same "almost twice the cost" maths applies to cranksets when comparing MTB to road bike stuff if we compare sets of similar weights and qualities.

I too have been mostly commuting biking (with some touring as well as big load or even people or "freight" hauling thrown in) and have had a ridiculous amount and variety of bikes in these last 35 years of cycling. This from being a total bike nerd, bike flipper, Dutch man and pro mechanic,.. and there isn't a single one I would take over a good Chromo double butted MTB frame late 80s or 90s. Not my Specialized Sirrus, not my 2500e + brompton, not the dozens of Dutch utility, cargo and city bikes I have owned nor the many 28 inch hybrids and touring rigs. Simply because -with a the folders being an exception- the mtb can do everything! those bikes can do, often just as good, many times better and at rare times merely close to as good.

I also see 0 reason to switch from 3x 8 speeds to 3x 9 or 10,.. all that would do in practice for me is lead to incompatibility issues and a 'drivetrain' that wears twice as fast and costs almost 3x the cash to replace,.. for what? A few extra step or gears I will never truly need? I mean I happily ride a ghetto singlespeeded MTB around Berlin. Then I havethe 3x8 Stevens MTB and that has plenty gears for longer tours or more hilly terrain.

I think, and would respectfully posit that bikes described by myself and others as well as in the linked pictures are not only "as decent as an entry-level road bike or hybrid" but in fact far outstrip any entry-level type bike, including road or hybrid bikes on the market right now,.. for all the reasons I and others have stated in this thread. And they can generally be had for half or even one fourth of the cost..
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Old 10-23-17, 06:57 PM
  #43  
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Are those original paint jobs? They look brand new.

Steel hybrids from that era are a good value too, I got this 1995 730 for $100. Much less work to convert than an MTB, lots of fun to ride.
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Old 10-23-17, 07:13 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by v1nce View Post
Beautiful! builds. Kudos. Do you have a blog or imgur with more pics or even youtube vids? Cool stuff!
Sincere thanks! Your compliments make me blush. My wife is insisting that I take these (builds) a step further.
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Old 10-23-17, 07:22 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by NoControl View Post
Sincere thanks! Your compliments make me blush. My wife is insisting that I take these (builds) a step further.
Listen to your wife! Seriously, I have worked long enough in the field to know quality work and parts selection when I see it. You certainly could do this as a sideline if you (of your wife hehe) wanted this. If you can impress people with all the stuff we have been talking about in this thread,.. that you can build custom do-it-all and likely buy-it-for-life bikes, you may well be able to get people to buy them. I have been doing the same for years, one word of advice: keep your prices high, by that I mean do not end up working for less than $20 an hour, because even that is very little if you factor in all your expertise, tool cost and what an even slightly decent new bike costs...
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Old 10-23-17, 07:24 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Colnago Mixte View Post
Are those original paint jobs? They look brand new.

Steel hybrids from that era are a good value too, I got this 1995 730 for $100. Much less work to convert than an MTB, lots of fun to ride.
I am jealous of all the two tone paintjobs displayed in this thread. I still lust after a Hard rock ultra with the two tone paint job but I have only ever seen one in Berlin. More common across the pond.
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Old 10-23-17, 10:49 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Colnago Mixte View Post
Are those original paint jobs? They look brand new.

Steel hybrids from that era are a good value too, I got this 1995 730 for $100. Much less work to convert than an MTB, lots of fun to ride.
There is a nice lugged 750 hybrid on my local craigslist, but it's not my size
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Old 10-23-17, 11:58 PM
  #48  
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Not to worry about 500 grams. Your weight can vary from day to day a lot more than that.
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Old 10-24-17, 05:47 AM
  #49  
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A new rider is constantly transitioning. A new rider is so "yesterday".
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Old 10-24-17, 08:02 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by v1nce View Post
(https://chainreactioncycles.scene7.co...id=500&hei=505) which will kick the crap out of almost any typical roadbike caliper/sidepull type brake. I would say this is one of the very few innovations made for MTBs that is a worthwhile upgrade, V-brakes over Canti's though some canti's were ace, V is better overall. Even if I were to buy the V-brakes brand new I get a full set (2 pairs) for about 30 euros here, I would struggle to find even 1 half-way decent brake for a race bike new for 35 euros, much less a set. The same "almost twice the cost" maths applies to cranksets when comparing MTB to road bike stuff if we compare sets of similar weights and qualities.
$20 Sora calipers have good stopping power, and nothing stops you from using MTB drive train components on a inexpensive modern road bike frame, if that's what you really wanted. But inexpensive compact double cranksets, for example are in the same range, or cheaper, than triples.
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