Bike Forums

Bike Forums (https://www.bikeforums.net/forum.php)
-   Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) (https://www.bikeforums.net/forumdisplay.php?f=23)
-   -   Budget cross/gravel bike build from old road bike (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=1165873)

bluehills3149 02-06-19 04:25 PM

Budget cross/gravel bike build from old road bike
 
I built up this bike as a gravel/cross bike using mostly parts I had lying around but I think it came out OK. I first tried to do this using an old Fuji road bike that had 700 wheels but the brake clearance precluded any tires greater than 28mm wide (and even then it would rub on occasion). I was out walking one day I spied an abandoned Nishiki Sport that had 27" wheels (or at least it did before it was dumped sans wheels, bars, gears and most of its original paint...) so I hauled it home.
This frame makes a good candidate as 27" wheels are slightly larger than 700 so I can mount larger tires on it and not worry about frame clearance. There are a ton of old 27" bikes out there and some had halfway decent frames with forged dropouts, crmo tubing (double butted even) and these are the ones to get.
As the paint was shot and starting to rust, I slapped a coat of rust-oleum paint on it, just sanding enough to score the under paint but it'll no way win any awards. Cranks were from an old mtb bike with 22/32/42 gearing but I chopped off the 22 inner cog so it is now 32/42 and does not need a long spindle (which I didn't have anyway). Gears are what I had from an old road bike - 9spd Campy shifters, Tiagra rear derailleur, 12-26 cassette, (this is a Shimergo conversion which I won't detail here but the lever is modified to give correct cable pull). Brake calipers are mid-reach Tektro 539 I had on hand but cost only $28 on Ebay if you need to buy them. Normal short reach brakes would not reach the rims. Tires were the only expense and are 700x32 and they have plenty of clearance.
It rides well with brakes and gearing being good but if I was buying parts I would put on a cassette with more gears 12-32 perhaps and 10 spd would not go astray. It's also a tad small but that's another issue.
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...53e37a12d4.jpg

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...ac31cf7586.jpg
https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...0094c6e01a.jpg

Lemond1985 02-06-19 04:55 PM

Nice! Looks almost brand new. That shade of Rustoleum looks great. Is that a brush job?

I used to think there were tons of old 27" bikes out there, until I actually started looking for them. Then I realized how scarce good 27" frames are becoming these days, Old Varsities and Continentals are 75% of what I see.

You gonna get some decals? Might break the bank, but I think they'd look awesome.

caloso 02-06-19 05:10 PM

That's awesome.

obrentharris 02-06-19 05:40 PM

Nicely done!
Brent

bonsai171 02-07-19 08:12 AM


Originally Posted by bluehills3149 (Post 20782469)
I built up this bike as a gravel/cross bike using mostly parts I had lying around but I think it came out OK. I first tried to do this using an old Fuji road bike that had 700 wheels but the brake clearance precluded any tires greater than 28mm wide (and even then it would rub on occasion). I was out walking one day I spied an abandoned Nishiki Sport that had 27" wheels (or at least it did before it was dumped sans wheels, bars, gears and most of its original paint...) so I hauled it home.
This frame makes a good candidate as 27" wheels are slightly larger than 700 so I can mount larger tires on it and not worry about frame clearance. There are a ton of old 27" bikes out there and some had halfway decent frames with forged dropouts, crmo tubing (double butted even) and these are the ones to get.
As the paint was shot and starting to rust, I slapped a coat of rust-oleum paint on it, just sanding enough to score the under paint but it'll no way win any awards. Cranks were from an old mtb bike with 22/32/42 gearing but I chopped off the 22 inner cog so it is now 32/42 and does not need a long spindle (which I didn't have anyway). Gears are what I had from an old road bike - 9spd Campy shifters, Tiagra rear derailleur, 12-26 cassette, (this is a Shimergo conversion which I won't detail here but the lever is modified to give correct cable pull). Brake calipers are mid-reach Tektro 539 I had on hand but cost only $28 on Ebay if you need to buy them. Normal short reach brakes would not reach the rims. Tires were the only expense and are 700x32 and they have plenty of clearance.
It rides well with brakes and gearing being good but if I was buying parts I would put on a cassette with more gears 12-32 perhaps and 10 spd would not go astray. It's also a tad small but that's another issue.
https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...53e37a12d4.jpg

https://cimg0.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...ac31cf7586.jpg
https://cimg9.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...0094c6e01a.jpg

Like that color. What is it called? Is the paint durable?

Dave

superdex 02-07-19 11:57 AM

that is a piece of cycling perfection. Well done

Caliper 02-07-19 03:25 PM

Looks great! Plus you've got fender eyelets there.
Another key feature of the 27" wheels is that they were usually 1.25" width tires, or ~32mm in addition to the larger rim. Honestly, most were almost gravel bikes to begin with...

50voltphantom 02-07-19 03:48 PM

Take notes. This is how it's done.

bluehills3149 02-07-19 05:46 PM

The paint is just Rustoleum - not sure of the color and I chose it as it most closely matched the factory paint so chips are less likely to be seen. I assume it will not be that durable and will soon acquire what is termed "patina of age". And yes - I noticed the eyelets too - will come in handy if I ever want to put on a rack for touring. The more I look at it, these 27" wheel bikes are ideal for this type of conversion with their more relaxed geometry, large tire clearance, rack mounts and what's more is they are unloved and usually cheap.
https://cimg1.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...68cb78fa99.jpg

tFUnK 02-07-19 06:02 PM

Thread title should be : "Stole a frame, built a gravel bike"
Jk, great build. The ocd in me wishes it had a matching groupset and a threadless carbon fork, but I'm sure that thing rides as great as it looks.

bonsai171 02-07-19 09:01 PM

This is a cool thread.. Except that it makes me want to build my Schwinn Letour frame back up as a Singlespeed gravel bike. Used to have 35c tires on it too. So much for going down to 3 bikes :-p

Dave

Koyote 02-08-19 07:11 AM

Great idea!

My old riding buddy is in an area with fairly smooth dirt roads...So he built up an old road bike with 28mm tires and such, and uses it as his gravel bike. Smarter than buying a new bike, if you don't need to.

BrocLuno 02-08-19 01:06 PM

Nice :)

superdex 02-08-19 03:24 PM

we'll be taking notes on how that fork holds up over use on rougher terrain. That's the only thing that might be worth mentioning?

BluesDawg 02-08-19 07:03 PM

Nice job. I did a similar conversion ten years ago of a 1980 Fuji S12-S going from 27" wheels to 700c with 35mm tires. To my surprise, the original brakes worked with the smaller wheels. I also did a rattle can paint job with Rust-O-Leum, which is still holding up pretty well. At first I built it as a fixed single speed...

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3091/...fc32634f_o.jpg
SS 2 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

then added gears (Campy Racing Triple with 7 speed freewheel) for more of an all arounder style which I rode on dirt roads a good bit...

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4895/...4f558e82_o.jpg
IMG_6263 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

Nowadays I have it set up as a town bike with upright bars and a basket...

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4874/...1333583b_o.jpg
bars1 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

bonsai171 02-09-19 07:17 AM


Originally Posted by BluesDawg (Post 20785869)
Nice job. I did a similar conversion ten years ago of a 1980 Fuji S12-S going from 27" wheels to 700c with 35mm tires. To my surprise, the original brakes worked with the smaller wheels. I also did a rattle can paint job with Rust-O-Leum, which is still holding up pretty well. At first I built it as a fixed single speed...

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3091/...fc32634f_o.jpg
SS 2 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

then added gears (Campy Racing Triple with 7 speed freewheel) for more of an all arounder style which I rode on dirt roads a good bit...

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4895/...4f558e82_o.jpg
IMG_6263 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

Nowadays I have it set up as a town bike with upright bars and a basket...

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4874/...1333583b_o.jpg
bars1 by Benny Watson, on Flickr

Looks like you have a water bottle cage with velcro. I have one on a track bike, but it rotates, which is annoying. Does yours stay in place?

Dave

Lemond1985 02-09-19 07:32 AM

That's a really nice subtle shade of brown, great finish too, seems to have some shine. Looks perfect in the pics. Is that spray-on or brush-on Rusto? Love the thumb shif-ters, I wish Shimano would start making those again, as it is they're practically worth their weight in gold.

I have lots more fun with projects like this than buying something brand new. My problem is, I never know when I'm "done", so at some point, the bike eventually winds up in pieces again. :(

It really takes some extreme discipline to restrain myself from making more changes, or putting the parts onto another frame I think will be "more better". But hey, it's my stuff, and I paid for it, so why not?

bikemig 02-09-19 09:00 AM

Nice job. Older road bikes that came with 27 inch wheels make great gravel mutts but so do a lot of "racing" bikes from the 70s. I'm thinking of doing a gravel bike conversion on a mid 70s Peugeot PR 10. It came stock with 700c wheels but it will take 38c clinchers. Those old racing bikes have eyelets and many of them were designed around pretty bad roads so the clearance is good.

bikemig 02-09-19 09:19 AM


Originally Posted by Lemond1985 (Post 20782525)
Nice! Looks almost brand new. That shade of Rustoleum looks great. Is that a brush job?

I used to think there were tons of old 27" bikes out there, until I actually started looking for them. Then I realized how scarce good 27" frames are becoming these days, Old Varsities and Continentals are 75% of what I see.

You gonna get some decals? Might break the bank, but I think they'd look awesome.

Those old 27 inch wheel bikes are out there I think but you need to be patient, at least that's my experience. Bikes from the 70s tend to have a lot of clearance and generally can be found at pretty attractive prices. The one downside to those bikes is that they tend to be 120 mm wheels so they may need to be spread.

Lemond1985 02-09-19 10:10 AM


Originally Posted by bikemig (Post 20786398)
Nice job. Older road bikes that came with 27 inch wheels make great gravel mutts but so do a lot of "racing" bikes from the 70s. I'm thinking of doing a gravel bike conversion on a mid 70s Peugeot PR 10. It came stock with 700c wheels but it will take 38c clinchers. Those old racing bikes have eyelets and many of them were designed around pretty bad roads so the clearance is good.

1970's and early 80's Peugeots and Raleighs are pretty sure bets for good tire clearance, quality construction, and light weight if you got one of the high end models. I have one of each I use for gravel-type riding, they're perfect for that.

But by the mid-80's, 27 inch rims were gone, and frames built for 700c wheels no longer had much clearance at all. You were supposed to buy one of those newfangled mountain bike thingies if you wanted to run tires wider than 25mm.

BluesDawg 02-09-19 10:57 AM


Originally Posted by Lemond1985 (Post 20786303)
That's a really nice subtle shade of brown, great finish too, seems to have some shine. Looks perfect in the pics. Is that spray-on or brush-on Rusto? Love the thumb shif-ters, I wish Shimano would start making those again, as it is they're practically worth their weight in gold.

I have lots more fun with projects like this than buying something brand new. My problem is, I never know when I'm "done", so at some point, the bike eventually winds up in pieces again. :(

It really takes some extreme discipline to restrain myself from making more changes, or putting the parts onto another frame I think will be "more better". But hey, it's my stuff, and I paid for it, so why not?

Thanks. "Rattle can", so yes, spray on. I took a lot of time prepping, sanding, primer, sanding, first coat, sanding, second coat, sanding, clear coat. It took about a week altogether, most of the time in drying between coats. It has held up pretty well for 10 years, but lately the shine has dulled and a few scratches are showing up. But I'll just live with the beausage. Maybe a spot of clear nail polish here and there to prevent rust.

I have the same "problem" with making changes and upgrades to these old project bikes. But that's really the fun of them. I'd have probably sold this one long ago if I hadn't moved the Campy drivetrain and custom made wheels (Torelli rims and Phil Wood hubs) over from a Bridgestone RB-1 that I was upgrading again. :)

Projects like this was how I learned to set up my new bikes, which are almost always builds from frames. Those projects are even more fun, but WAY more expensive!

re: thumb shifters, although Shimano doesn't make them anymore, Microshift makes very good ones with models compatible with their 9, 10 and 11 speed systems, both road and MTB.

bikemig 02-09-19 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by Lemond1985 (Post 20786504)
1970's and early 80's Peugeots and Raleighs are pretty sure bets for good tire clearance, quality construction, and light weight if you got one of the high end models. I have one of each I use for gravel-type riding, they're perfect for that.

But by the mid-80's, 27 inch rims were gone, and frames built for 700c wheels no longer had much clearance at all. You were supposed to buy one of those newfangled mountain bike thingies if you wanted to run tires wider than 25mm.

Yeah, mountain bikes definitely began to take over if you wanted a bike for bad roads by the mid to late 80s and racing bikes had ever tighter clearances. That's starting to change.

Old Fujis also have massive clearance. I have a 1972 Fuji Finest and that bike has crazy clearance as well. I think there are a lot of bikes from the 70s that will make fine gravel machines if you are willing to deal with 120 mm rear triangles, lack of water bottle braze ons (no big deal if using a hydration bag), etc. French bikes have their own oddities as well which you either end up loving or hating but they are, I think, retro cool in their own way.

bluehills3149 02-09-19 12:10 PM

Nice to see other builds.
Took it out for a bit of mud bashing yesterday and a couple of things I observed. First in really thick mud it will clog the brakes and you have to stop and clear it so it's definitely a gravel bike rather than cross but it's too old and heavy to race anyway. The second is my lowest (easiest) gear (32 fr and 26 rear) is not low enough for steep hills and a 30+ on the rear cassette would not go astray. If doing again I might also put on bigger tires (38mm?) as there is clearance for them. But as a bike for dirt/gravel trails it is ideal this is a great way to re-purpose those 2000 era race bikes with Al frames and 8, 9 or 10spd STI shifting that are languishing in every second basement.
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/bikefor...ebb0f1a415.jpg

Barrettscv 02-09-19 01:18 PM

Older steel Cyclocross bikes are hard to find, but can be excellent bikes for rails-to-trails and crushed gravel trails;


http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...ps424e59f1.jpg

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...ps5e9a7ba4.jpg

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...pse1d95ae4.jpg

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...ps05331eed.jpg

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...psdd4310dc.jpg

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...ps493f5950.jpg

Barrettscv 02-09-19 01:37 PM

French road bikes from the 70's are good gravel bikes. Back in that period many road bikes were capable on gravel. This 1977 Motobecane came with 1 1/4 x 27 tires, using 700c wheels a 700x35 can fit under the standard centerpull brakes. I eventually updated this Grand Record to 700x35 tires, a period correct 48 & 34 TA crankset and a 13-34 six speed freewheel.

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...psm709ruyn.jpg


http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...psiiiccfn9.jpg

Another French bike, this 1971 Peugeot PX10 will fit 700x33 tires. It has a 46, 42 & 30 crankset and a 13-30 freewheel.

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...psaxhiv9zc.jpg

http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/l...psdu9chmos.jpg


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 02:58 AM.


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