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Another 26" mtb - touring conversion

Old 05-09-21, 08:52 PM
  #1  
Happy Feet
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Another 26" mtb - touring conversion

Over the winter I've been working on this build on and off along with a number of other distractions.
Most of the base work was done when I turned the bike into a gravel grinder in this thread: 26" Frankenbike gravel build... just because I could.

Basically, a 1992 KHS Montana Comp that looked like this when I got it:



The frame is now gun blued and clear coated. The large chainring was ground down and made into a bash guard.

I had some parts, and picked up an Old Man Mountain front rack, Wald basket and Blackburn rear rack to complete the build.
It's not a "fast" tourer but it's bomb proof. I consider it my "tip of the hat" to the Rivendell motif.

2x7 with 42/22 and an 11-36 cassette. Suntour friction shifters from the 80's and Deore LX groupset. Simple and reliable. Schwalbe Marathon 26x1.75 and Brooks B67 with matching leather bar tape.

I have my eyes open for a set of four old school panniers to go with the vibe.








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Old 05-09-21, 09:46 PM
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I’m a big fan of trekking bars and old MTBs. They make great platforms to tinker with in endless ways.
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Old 05-10-21, 12:43 AM
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Beautiful conversion
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Old 05-10-21, 05:55 AM
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Hey there, I did the same thing to my Trek 990. Bars are great. Very comfy bike. I like in on gravel, just not for the long ride, prefer my Miyata with gravel tires.
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Old 05-10-21, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by balto charlie View Post
Hey there, I did the same thing to my Trek 990. Bars are great. Very comfy bike. I like in on gravel, just not for the long ride, prefer my Miyata with gravel tires.
I also don't see this as a "long ride" bike. Well, not a fast one anyways. I could see it doing a tour where one was taking their time and sightseeing etc... At the moment it's a somewhat redundant bike for me as I have both a road/gravel touring bike and an off road touring bike. But, I like to build them.

I might list it just to see if it sells, though I hate the process of selling stuff these days.
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Old 05-12-21, 05:16 PM
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I'm also a fan of Suntour friction shifters. So simple to use and easy to set up. It seems they're getting harder and harder to find. I always search the parts bins of the local bicycle co-ops hoping to get a couple of extra sets.
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Old 05-13-21, 02:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I also don't see this as a "long ride" bike. Well, not a fast one anyways. I could see it doing a tour where one was taking their time and sightseeing etc... At the moment it's a somewhat redundant bike for me as I have both a road/gravel touring bike and an off road touring bike. But, I like to build them.

I might list it just to see if it sells, though I hate the process of selling stuff these days.
Nine years ago a neighbor had a garage sale, was planning to sell the house and move. His kids had moved out of the house a decade earlier, they left their bikes in the back yard. He decided he was tired of picking up after them, the bikes stayed in the back yard. Fast forward a decade and the bikes were still in the yard and he wanted $5 USD for each. I bought the early 90s Bridgestone MB-6 and he cut down the 5 cm diameter tree that was growing up through the frame. Stripped the parts off, took two days to get the bottom bracket out. Did a thorough frame saver treatment on the frame innards. It needed about $50 in new stuff, mostly the plastic and rubber stuff (tires, rim strips, tubes, bar grips, saddle, chain, some cables, new bottom bracket) and it became my errand bike. I leave it outside on my patio where it is handy for a quick run to the grocery store or gym. I rarely ride it more than 5 miles in one trip, but it is my go to bike for most errands. Frame size is a bit small for me but for short distance errands, fit is less important. It is not my best bike, but it is frequently ridden and was the best bargain I ever bought.

You might decide you have a need for that bike after all.
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Old 05-13-21, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
...You might decide you have a need for that bike after all.
Maybe

I'm using it now to experiment with parts/ideas I might not otherwise personally add to a touring bike and see where it goes. I have a Dutch style frame lock and am looking for a two legged kickstand. I could really see it as a all purpose bike that didn't need to cross large distances. It's very comfortable to ride. While I was making it I day dreamed about doing a Danube river valley tour with it.
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Old 05-14-21, 12:58 PM
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Nice way to rebuild/repurpose an old rigid MTB. The only thing that looks odd to me is the front basket's lower support arms connected to the pannier racks, and how much weight you'll put in the basket. I'm thinking the basket will just be for stashing a few 'daily' items so it won't be carrying a lot of weight. I'm starting to use something similar on my front, a porteur-style rack that I can just lash a bag onto, rather than panniers (my old Novara front panniers are 'ka-put'); I'll see how it works out this fall. Personally I would have kept the larger chainring, but I'm a 'glutton for suffering', plus I prefer pedaling at a lower RPM.

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Old 05-14-21, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by skidder View Post
Nice way to rebuild/repurpose an old rigid MTB. The only thing that looks odd to me is the front basket's lower support arms connected to the pannier racks, and how much weight you'll put in the basket. I'm thinking the basket will just be for stashing a few 'daily' items so it won't be carrying a lot of weight. I'm starting to use something similar on my front, a porteur-style rack that I can just lash a bag onto, rather than panniers (my old Novara front panniers are 'ka-put'); I'll see how it works out this fall. Personally I would have kept the larger chainring, but I'm a 'glutton for suffering', plus I prefer pedaling at a lower RPM.
That basket thing gave me some grief at the time. It turned out I could not route the longer stays past the pannier racks.

Originally I built the bike as a gravel grinder so experimented with 1x. It worked and I added the small granny ring as a manual bailout (moving chain by hand). For touring I put the front derailer back on.
Basically it's 1x for normal use. I can shift down into granny but can't shift through the whole cassette because the chain wants to drop and the big ring cuts off the angle (the 42T is where a 32T was in the middle ring spot).

I'm still not entirely happy with the drivetrain. Ideally I want it 1x but also want the wide range needed for touring - without the cost of a rohloff.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 05-14-21 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 05-16-21, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
I also don't see this as a "long ride" bike. Well, not a fast one anyways. I could see it doing a tour where one was taking their time and sightseeing etc... At the moment it's a somewhat redundant bike for me as I have both a road/gravel touring bike and an off road touring bike. But, I like to build them.

I might list it just to see if it sells, though I hate the process of selling stuff these days.
Good luck with the sell, should go quick as it looks like a sweet ride.
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Old 05-16-21, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
...
I'm still not entirely happy with the drivetrain. Ideally I want it 1x but also want the wide range needed for touring - without the cost of a rohloff.
I find my Rohloff gives me a wide enough range for riding around home where the bike is never loaded down with more than a pannier of groceries and my gym bag. I find that the 526 percent range is ideal.

But touring, I would like a wider range, somewhere up in the 600 percent range would be great. I have heavier loads on the uphills, thus need lower gears when touring. But would like to retain the higher gears for shallow downhills too.

Some Rohloff owners are perfectly content with the 526 percent range for touring, but I would like one more gear for touring.
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Old 05-16-21, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
That basket thing gave me some grief at the time. It turned out I could not route the longer stays past the pannier racks.

Originally I built the bike as a gravel grinder so experimented with 1x. It worked and I added the small granny ring as a manual bailout (moving chain by hand). For touring I put the front derailer back on.
Basically it's 1x for normal use. I can shift down into granny but can't shift through the whole cassette because the chain wants to drop and the big ring cuts off the angle (the 42T is where a 32T was in the middle ring spot).

I'm still not entirely happy with the drivetrain. Ideally I want it 1x but also want the wide range needed for touring - without the cost of a rohloff.
Personaly I don't keep a FD on my bicycles either. There are very few times I've needed it in daily riding so leaving it on would just cause it to degade. I do put one on when going on a tour as it helps with the overall gearing. Using a 50/34 double right now, which works great for credit card touring. I might go for a triple if I ever get into longer touring in hilly areas.

Front arrangement: My new rack is an Origin 8 Rush Messenger. I didn't want to go with the traditional pannier racks as they block access to the wheel and brakes. The new rack has only has one strut that connected to the upper eyelet near the dropout, so wheel removal is easy. Its also easier to access the brakes. I've tried riding it with 20lbs load for 30 miles and didn't have much of a control problem with the higher center-of-gravity; not much, but still some. I think its going to work nicely for the lighter touring I like to do.
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Old 05-17-21, 06:47 AM
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There is pretty much nothing about it that I would choose for my own bike, but it is cool to see a nicely done project built to your personal tastes.

Good job.
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Old 05-17-21, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
There is pretty much nothing about it that I would choose for my own bike, but it is cool to see a nicely done project built to your personal tastes.

Good job.
Thanks.

I have to agree in the sense that I also feel I've moved on in bike selection towards a more endurance road/hybrid bike packing set up. If I had to have only one touring bike, this would not be it.

It was/is fun to build though and I had most of the parts already. I even have a chain tensioner (like a single jockey derailer) that would allow a SA hub (or Rohloff but I don't have that) to be mated to a double or triple chainring. I might try that if I run out of project ideas.
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