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Vintage hybrid tourer suggestions ?

Old 03-24-21, 07:12 AM
  #1  
mark d
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Vintage hybrid tourer suggestions ?

will be doing the c&o canal this summer for the second time. Last year I did it with my 1987 Panasonic dx 5000 road bike. I enjoyed the trip a great deal, but my butt did not. I thought of converting this bike and asked some questions in the mechanics section, but the consensus seems to be bad idea.

So any suggestions for a vintage hybrid suitable For touring would be appreciated. Please factor in my poverty to any suggestions.

As always thanks
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Old 03-24-21, 07:52 AM
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Trek 930, 950, 970 with Shimano Deore
Paramount PDG series 40, 50, 60
They have rack mounts , stable, take wide tires, not to heavy,, and super durable, of course check fir dents or rust.I have found several in like new condition for $120, to $150.
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Old 03-24-21, 08:04 AM
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There are quite a few variables in your post. What do you feel would be an upgrade from your road bike to a hybrid? First, is your Panasonic a good size for you? IE... Do you have more seat post showing that the head tube size? There is this thing called B.B.S. (big bike syndrome) where cyclists are simply riding a bike that is too big. Secondly... (about the butt problem) What type of shorts are you using? Do you spend too much of your time seated in the saddle and not enough time off of the saddle? Would a different seat be a worth investment in?
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Old 03-24-21, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by rossiny View Post
Trek 930, 950, 970 with Shimano Deore
Paramount PDG series 40, 50, 60
They have rack mounts , stable, take wide tires, not to heavy,, and super durable, of course check fir dents or rust.I have found several in like new condition for $120, to $150.
Thks rossiny. I have already started looking into your suggestions. ...does the higher number signify a better model ? In other words is the trek 970 higher end then the 920 for example ?
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Old 03-24-21, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
There are quite a few variables in your post. What do you feel would be an upgrade from your road bike to a hybrid? First, is your Panasonic a good size for you? IE... Do you have more seat post showing that the head tube size? There is this thing called B.B.S. (big bike syndrome) where cyclists are simply riding a bike that is too big. Secondly... (about the butt problem) What type of shorts are you using? Do you spend too much of your time seated in the saddle and not enough time off of the saddle? Would a different seat be a worth investment in?

Thks headwind. I am 5 ft 7 inch. I never measured the bike but it is about 20 inch. I have a slight bend to my leg with pedal at bottom position. I had the stem adjusted a good bit lower then the seat ( mistake). One of my problems was I raced a long time ago and still had muscle memory from that and adj the bike accordingly. The much older version of me does not play nice with those configurations. Last year I stopped and bought a gell seat cover during the tour. This helped. I was wearing modern bike shorts with the gel padding.

Another issue I had was my hands going numb ( had gloves). I raised the stem and this helped
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Old 03-24-21, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by rossiny View Post
Trek 930,.
I had a 930 from 1992. The thing was bomb-proof. Rode it all over for close to 15 years. Beat the hell out of it. It complained only once or twice. If bike abuse had been a crime I would have been stripped of ownership rights forever and sent to jail.

With a slightly bent rim, a big dent in the top tube and the original rear tire with no more knobbies left on it, I put it out in the alley with the trash. Someone picked it in less than two hours. Figured that would happen. I like to think that it was ridden for many more miles.

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Old 03-24-21, 09:57 AM
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RE: hands going numb. Make sure that your seat is flat, a downward tilted seat increased hand pressure/ is a hand killer. I have found that putting rubber from cut up flip flop sandals under the handlebar tape is really nice padding. (it does compress to 1/4" from the original 1/2" thickness from tape pressure)
The mentioned TREK 930 to 970 are nicer as the numbers go up, but note these are 26" rigid steel mountain bikes from the early 90's, not really hybrids. If you are looking at hybrids, considering your height, I would recommend 17" Have you looked at craigslist, I have had really good luck when it comes to deals.
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Old 03-24-21, 10:49 AM
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sounds like the bike you got just doesn't fit right.
before you rush out to buy a new 'un, find out why.

measure the bike, what's the frame size. you raised
the stem? by how much. height vs. seat now?

post some photos of you on the bike so's forum
members can give better advices.
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Old 03-24-21, 12:43 PM
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Thks for all the replies guys. Cannot measure or take photos of anything now, I am on my ship until may.

Handlebar padding is probably a good idea. I had leather wrap with no padding

As to frame size I can stand over it comfortably but my package does touch

One other thing I did not make clear, the main reason I am thinking of getting a hybrid is tire size. I have 23mm now. I asked in the mech forum if I could get much wider. And the consensus seems to be no.......I had no problem with 23mm last year but it was super dry

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Old 03-24-21, 02:09 PM
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In addition to the Trek 930, 950, 970 suggestions, the same era (1990-95ish) Spec Rockhopper or Stumpjumper...or a couple dozen other, similar, rigid mtn bikes.

Trek 750 Multitrack hybrid(early 90s)...same frame geometry as the Trek 520 touring bike..it'll take 38mm tires easily(without fenders).
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Old 03-25-21, 08:12 AM
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Assuming that your bike has short reach side pull brakes, You should be able to fit 700 x 28 tires . (I don't know if that would be acceptable.) A bit about me... I worked at a Trek dealership for a few years and then opened my own bicycle store in San Diego and ended up being a Trek dealership for seven yrs. I know my Treks. The 520 does not have the same geometry as a Trek 750. The bottom bracket on the 750 is close to a foot high, as compared to the 520 which has a 10.5". The importance with this is that the O.P. is short at 5'-7", If he were to buy a 20" 750, the whole frame would be 1.5" taller. The O.P. already stated that with his 20" bike, he has no stand over clearance. This is the reason that I suggested a 17" frame. FYI most of the time geometry on hybrids have an inch to an inch and a half higher bottom brackets. In theory to have more pedal clearance for off road use.
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Old 03-25-21, 08:43 AM
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Hey headwind, thanks for the tutorial. Sounds like you know your stuff......hmmmm, according to my research my bike came with 700 wheels and 25mm tires. Don't know the rim width. You feel 28 mm tires would fit. Maybe I could get lucky and get a bit wider then that ? If I could also trade in the drop bars for straight bars I would be good to go. Hmmm....thoughts ?
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Old 03-25-21, 10:18 AM
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As an ex bike store owner and mechanic (professionally started in '89), You can do what is referred to as a flat bar conversion. I have done my share of them. At this point the main trick is to make sure that you do not use v-brake levers. because of the cable wire pull ratio, if you use the v levers, they will give you really poor stopping power. Since your bike is pre index shifting, you may have to use friction thumb shifters, otherwise you have to do a drive train upgrade...IE indexing rear derailleur, indexing chain 7 spd indexing freewheel and the crank set you have is likely 6 spd. which will need modifying or replacing. Another way to go would 6 speed (indexing) thumb shifters or grip shift. I do not know about current availability. If you go for flat bars, I do recommend flat bars with bar ends (the bar ends give you the same climbing position that your brake lever hoods give you) and Ergo grips. Most curved (riser) bars do not work so well with bar ends.
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Old 03-25-21, 01:16 PM
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In any given year there are dozens of good hybrid bikes that would be more than adequate to do the C&O. Early mountain bikes that used a solid fork instead of a suspension fork would also do a good job. Thus, there is a huge population of more than adequate bikes out there for the job.

Since you have already done the trail once, you already know that it is mostly flat with a short hill to climb at each lock and dam. Off the trail, you might need some low gears. But probably most bikes would be adequate for a budget shopper.

Assuming most of your weight is on a rear rack and you do not have a front rack on the bike, you would want a fairly stiff frame, so a soft steel frame might not be the best choice.

When I did GAP and C&O, it rained for much of the trip. There were three of us, I had 50mm wide tires, one had 47mm wide tires and one had 35mm tires. All three of us felt that we had adequate tires. In dry conditions you could of course go narrower.

The best bike is the bike that fits. Instead of looking for the specific model and year you want, look for the one the feels like it fits best.
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Old 03-25-21, 02:46 PM
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thks headwind. If I went flat bar I could just keep my shift levers on the downtube and keep my stock drive train right ?

Thks for the brake lever heads up. I did not know that
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Old 03-25-21, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by headwind15 View Post
...The 520 does not have the same geometry as a Trek 750. The bottom bracket on the 750 is close to a foot high, as compared to the 520 which has a 10.5". The importance with this is that the O.P. is short at 5'-7", If he were to buy a 20" 750, the whole frame would be 1.5" taller. The O.P. already stated that with his 20" bike, he has no stand over clearance. This is the reason that I suggested a 17" frame. FYI most of the time geometry on hybrids have an inch to an inch and a half higher bottom brackets. In theory to have more pedal clearance for off road use.
Ahh...ok...
I have 17 inch '90 750 in the basement. With 32mm tires the bottom bracket looks to be ~11.5". I assume the OP will buy a frame that fits and isn't locked into buying 20" frames only. My 750/520 reference was to the HT & ST angles, as well as the chainstay length(early 90s), wheelbase, and trail...the 750 and 520 have the same dimensions. Given the reputation of the 520, this suggests, at least to me, the 750 may be worth consideration as a touring bike. My GF(5'6" tall) rides a the 17" 750 converted for touring. With a 30# (4 pannier) load, she loves the bike and it seems to handle very well.
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Old 03-25-21, 02:53 PM
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thks tourist msn. Yes rain was my concern. I had 23mm tires last year and they were fine for bone dry conditions. I noticed at the western end there were large depressions in the trail that looked like dry lake beds.

So your buddy was happy with 35mm in the rain, Interesting
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Old 03-25-21, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mark d View Post
thks tourist msn. Yes rain was my concern. I had 23mm tires last year and they were fine for bone dry conditions. I noticed at the western end there were large depressions in the trail that looked like dry lake beds.

So your buddy was happy with 35mm in the rain, Interesting
Yes, he was happy with 35mm. And here is his bike:



And some of the C&O looked like this:



And this was my bike, I had 50mm wide tires:



You mentioned C&O but you did not mention the GAP. The GAP trail has more silt and less gravel in the trail surface, that could be softer. Are you also riding west of Cumberland on the GAP?
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Old 03-26-21, 08:24 AM
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Tourist msn, nice photos. I loved that green and peacefulness last year. Salve for the soul

Yep, those are the conditions I want to be ready for

I would love to do the gap also in fact my dream trip would be co and gap round trip, but time constraints. I live in another country but we will be visiting my mother in may and she lives close to Georgetown. I just leave from her house
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Old 03-29-21, 07:45 PM
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I searched for a hybrid for touring a number of years ago and there weren’t a lot with front fork rack mounts. I eventually found a Univega Via Carisma that had them and I liked it. Just another option to the Treks mentioned that might be less expensive if you can find one.
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Old 03-29-21, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by badger_biker View Post
I searched for a hybrid for touring a number of years ago and there weren’t a lot with front fork rack mounts. I eventually found a Univega Via Carisma that had them and I liked it. Just another option to the Treks mentioned that might be less expensive if you can find one.
many front racks come with hardware to mount without braze-ons.

or you could search fleabay for a suitable replacement fork with mounts. should be able to find something for $25 or less.
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Old 03-30-21, 06:26 AM
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thks guys, looking into the univega now. Not familiar with that bike

I have looked into all the bikes suggested thks to all
I really like the old trek 720 with the reynolds tubing but jeez, awful expensive. Saw a trek 950 for $225
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Old 03-30-21, 11:24 AM
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I bought a trek 7200 multi track in 2000 for $400, new. It had an excellent mid-fork rack mount. Used it for a ride from Mexican border to Canada. Very comfortable. I'm sure you can buy them cheap and they will work fine. As in everything, it's in the details, like what seat do you want? Do you want nice tires?
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Old 03-30-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mark d View Post
will be doing the c&o canal this summer for the second time. Last year I did it with my 1987 Panasonic dx 5000 road bike. I enjoyed the trip a great deal, but my butt did not. I thought of converting this bike and asked some questions in the mechanics section, but the consensus seems to be bad idea.

So any suggestions for a vintage hybrid suitable For touring would be appreciated. Please factor in my poverty to any suggestions.

As always thanks
Originally Posted by mark d View Post
Thks for all the replies guys. Cannot measure or take photos of anything now, I am on my ship until may.

Handlebar padding is probably a good idea. I had leather wrap with no padding

As to frame size I can stand over it comfortably but my package does touch

One other thing I did not make clear, the main reason I am thinking of getting a hybrid is tire size. I have 23mm now. I asked in the mech forum if I could get much wider. And the consensus seems to be no.......I had no problem with 23mm last year but it was super dry

You want bike suggestions for the used market but you are on a boat for the next month so most likely anything that is suggested will be sold by then.
If you just want general ideas- rigid 26" MTB or an early 90s hybrid. Once you are on land, find one in your size in your price range and buy it. There are a couple dozen different brands and a few dozen different models for any given year. No point in listing all those possibilities.
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Old 03-31-21, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You want bike suggestions for the used market but you are on a boat for the next month so most likely anything that is suggested will be sold by then.
If you just want general ideas- rigid 26" MTB or an early 90s hybrid. Once you are on land, find one in your size in your price range and buy it. There are a couple dozen different brands and a few dozen different models for any given year. No point in listing all those possibilities.
mstateglfr, thanks for the reply. Actually the other replies have been very helpful. I am using them to educate myself in the subject and the market
so that I will be able to hit the ground running when I get off my ship
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