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Univega Alpina S6.7 drop bar dirt tourer build

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Univega Alpina S6.7 drop bar dirt tourer build

Old 04-24-19, 11:41 AM
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t_e_r_r_y
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Univega Alpina S6.7 drop bar dirt tourer build

for some time now, i've been searching locally for an old steel road or mountain bike to put fat tires and wide drop bars on so that this summer i can go get lost in the woods for a few days. i live in a rural town on the oregon coast, and our craiglist and facebook marketplace scenes are pretty terrible when it comes to old bikes. i poke my head into the thrift stores pretty regularly too, and at best sometimes i'll find a rust overpriced bso that i want nothing to do with.

with summer coming in hot, i was getting a bit desperate. one night, after having a few too many, i was poking around on ebay and saw this old univega mountain bike frame with the max mudroom chain stays in the same color fade as the kid down the street from me had in the 90s that i was always so jealous of. it was covered in terrible stickers and looked like it might have a little rust in the bottom bracket shell, but i had to have it. and now i do!


univega alpina s6.7


univega alpina s6.7

the bb rust is just minimal surface rust and will clean up no problem, the threads are great.

i was and am excited to get started on this build, however right out of the box i discovered that the auction stating that the frame was "dent free" wasn't quite the case. there's a pretty good dinger in the downtube, and a couple super minor ones in the toptube. i was pretty bummed, but i reached out to the guy i got it from and he refunded most of the cost of the frame back to me, so i'm happy with that. i'm still not sure i would have picked this up had i known about the downtube dent though.

for the sake of not hosting a bunch of pictures of a few dents on bikeforums, here's a link to a gallery of pictures of the dents i sent to the guy i got the frame from - https://imgur.com/a/pQNr9fI
they are pretty hard to make out with all the stickers over them, but they are definitely there. i'll take better pictures once i've removed the stickers.

i have a few parts for it already, but next up is to find a rigid fork in the 410-420 atc range, hopefully with a bunch of mounting points. kinda looking at surly here, but i'm pretty open right now. while i'd love to be riding this bike this summer, i don't have much in the way of a budget, and i have another weirdo bike that i can ride if this one doesn't get done in time, but i'm sure going to try!

i love build threads, who doesn't love build threads?
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Old 04-24-19, 11:52 AM
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Cool. I'm excited for your build. As long as the frame is straight I wouldn't worry about the dents. A frame with some nice paint chips and minor dents make you not care as much about using it to the max. The frame looks sweet and those dropped chainstays are very cool.

Looks like original spec for the fork/headset was 1 1/8 threadless, correct? Seller gave you some headset cups you'll have to knock out.

Regarding forks, Surly is probably a good idea, as they have a variety of 26" forks. You could put a Troll fork or a Long Haul Trucker fork on there. Soma also has a couple 26" forks but they don't look to have any mounts besides fender mounts.

I have an old mtb with a Crust Bikes Clydesdale fork that I would highly recommend. Meant for 26" wheeled bikes. A bit beefier than a standard fork but if you are planning on truly doing off-road touring then it will provide way more cargo capacity than a standard fork. I can attest that the bike handles entirely normally with it on there.
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Old 04-24-19, 01:11 PM
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Looks like it should be a fun build! I just completed something similar myself with a Univega Alpina Pro. Mine came with the original fork, but that only had fender mounts and I also wanted as many mounting points as possible. The original fork had an axle to crown of around 410mm, so I wanted to match that as closely as possible. I hunted around for a while and ended up going with a Surly troll fork as it fit all my requirements (420mm atc to nearly match the original geo, v-brake/canti posts, excessive amount of mounting points). So far I've been quite satisfied with it and I'd definitely recommend it as a viable option.
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Old 04-24-19, 01:51 PM
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yeah, i'm liking the troll fork a lot, especially since it's both canti/v and disc capable. i'm toying with the idea of going 27.5 at some point with this bike, i'm handy with a brazing torch and could move the canti posts on the frame, oooor maybe replace the dropouts all together and maybe go with a disc out back.. but that's getting way ahead of myself. for now, i'll be doing 26" with as big of a tire as i can fit in the frame. it may stay that way forever, i can't say right now haha.

crust has a couple fork options i've been eyeballing, i love their bi-plain fork crowns! the clydesdale fork is great (i've seen your build with that fork, tengrainbread! it's awesome!), but i want to keep the wheels and tires the same size front and rear. plus there's some single track around here that's pretty rooty that i'm looking to shred, a bigger wheel size will be better for that.

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Old 04-24-19, 04:13 PM
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Cool you started a build thread! That looks similar to my '95 Alpina 505.
I second the Surly forks. I have one on my drop bar Winter beater bike and love it.
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Old 04-24-19, 10:57 PM
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yeah!

i got most of the stickers off. there's a couple left that's going to take more than a heat gun and peeling on them, so i'll come at those later. here's a better view of the worst dent, plus some weird wood glue looking stuff that's on there. hopefully i can remove that crud without damaging the paint further.





i stuck a rear wheel from another bike sporting a 1.95 tire with really aggressive side lugs on it to check out clearances. the chainstays are at their tightest at 68mm, i'm having a hard time figuring out different tire widths and seeing how big of a tire i can fit in there, but i'm pretty sure a 2.5 will fit, maybe bigger?


chain stays


seat stays


profile

maybe i'm way off on that. anyone know where i can find a rough estimate of actual tire width of different sized tires? i know a lot goes into that, rim width, lug sizes, different tire companies having different standards, etc, but anything would be helpful i think.

the brakes i have kicking around for it are these old avid arch rivals with kool stop pads i took off a bike that passed through my hands a while back


for the headset i would have liked to pick up a used king or something that's gonna last forever, but i have this caged bearing grease guard set that will do for now. the fact that it's sealed up with o-rings and serviceable without removing it seems kinda gimmicky, but hopefully it'll help keep things going smooth and trouble free for a long time.


i also have this deore crankset that i replaced with an old square taper on the same bike that the archies came from, but i'm not sure if i'll be running it or not just yet.


i plan on running 1x10, but maybe with 2 sprockets on the crank - a small guy kept around as a bailout gear - but i'm not far enough along to be making those calls just yet.

and that's about all i've got for the moment. i'm going to start shopping around for a fork here soon, i'll have to wait until i see this upcoming paycheck to see if a new surly's in the works, but hopefully i can make some forward progress in some way!
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Old 04-25-19, 06:18 AM
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IMO it looks like a 2.5" might not clear the seatstays, or will at least be too close for comfort. Won't know unless you try, I guess.

In my experience if you're going to have a second cog on there you should have an FD. The idea of having a bailout chainring up front without the need for a shifter and FD sounds appealing up until the point where you actually need to use it. Stopping, getting off the bike, derailling the chain with your hand, are not anything you would want to do on tour. If it we're me I'd just get a suitably large Sunrace 10 speed cassette (11-42) and a narrow-wide single chainring, either 36t or 38t. With MTB tires you really won't need any gear combo above a 36-11.

I just installed a slightly older Suntour XC Pro headset with the Grease Guard licensing from WTB and it works really well. The fact that the design stopped being popular is more due to the ascension of cartridge bearing headsets than any flaw in the Grease Guard design. It will last just as long as a King headset if cleaned and serviced periodically. Do you have the bearing cover for the top? Don't see it in your picture.

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Old 04-25-19, 08:37 AM
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Off to a great start! I agree, 2.5" might be too tight. Also there aren't too many 26er tires to choose from that are good for dirt touring without getting too knobby, except for the Surly ExtraTerrestrial. The have a 26" x 46c option that might be rad. Depending on how loaded you're doing your touring you might be wary of tire rub.

Can't beat a Surly fork for the cargo mounts. Otherwise I'd suggest a Kona Project 2, sometimes you can find them for cheap, but they have no mounts.

What's your plan on shifting mechanisms? I've found that rear shifting is the easy part when it comes to mixing and matching road 10 speed/mtb 9 speed stuff. The front derailleur can get tricky - lots of variables between derailleur throw, shifter indexing, chainring spacing, and clamp diameter. I think your plan of a "secret" granny gear will work if you take an UltraRomance casual approach to touring and won't mind the extra effort of manual shifting for the sake of minimalist running gear. Or - run the derailleur with a friction shifter. Friction is the ultimate answer.
If you're going to be on the road for a significant part of your touring, I'd recommend a 11-36 cassette and a 42/24 or something chainring combo with friction for the front mech. If it's all dirt, definitely an 11-42 1x setup. In fact, if you want to try it out, I've got a lightly used 11-42 cassette and WolfTooth RoadLink we can chat about.

Keep us posted!
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Old 04-25-19, 11:08 AM
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Cool! Will be watching as this progresses.
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Old 04-25-19, 11:25 AM
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thanks for the words, you guys! the whole headset is there, i think. i've never used one of these, but it appears to be all there? ugh, i hope so. glad to hear they work well, assuming i have the whole thing!

tires are going to be the end of me, i'm pretty sure. i think i want something either with very small knobs, or semi slick, but as high volume as i can fit in that frame. i know the title says "dirt tourer", but i don't think i'd need anything super agressive for around here - high volume and low pressure would probably suit me best. maybe if whatever tire/size i land on is questionable, i'll just order one to start with and if it doesn't fit the frame i'll run it up front and get the next size down for the rear. tire options are a big reason i keep thinking about 27.5, but that's more than i can chew at the moment.

bar end friction shifter(s) will be handling the shifting. it's what i've got on my 700c "most roads" bike that's set up as a 10 speed - 11 x 42 with a 39 on the front - and it's great. it's also got a xt rd m8000 medium cage clutched rear derailleur and the whole setup works really well. i did have to modify the shifter to get more throw, but that wasn't a big deal. i might just copy that setup, i like it so much.

i'm not sure if i'll need a higher gear than what i've got on the 700c bike, but considering i'm on 26 with this bike, maybe a 42 or so would be more appropriate for the front? it's not often i use the 11 on the 700c, and when i do it's not for a very long time. i don't really see myself needing much more than a 1:1 ratio for the riding around here, but i like the idea of having a 2nd option on the front - just in case. if i'm ever in the position where i need that smaller gear, i honestly wouldn't mind stepping off the bike to shift it down while contemplating my life choices that led me to the bottom of a hill requiring the small gear in the first place.

at least gearing's pretty easy to play with.

i got paid today, so i'm going to get my bills out of the way and see what's left. then maybe i get to go fork shopping!
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Old 04-25-19, 01:01 PM
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question, should i convert this caged ball bearing headset to loose ball? i feel like it'll be better for longevity to do so, but i'm not sure if it's really necessary.
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Old 04-25-19, 02:02 PM
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It's not necessary. Some people say if the cage is broken you can replace with loose balls and add one or two balls to take up the slack from the missing cage. I would just leave it as is.
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Old 04-25-19, 02:13 PM
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roger that, that's what i'll do. i know rj the bike guy on youtube likes to replace caged bearings with loose balls, but these cages are in good shape, so i'll leave it be.
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Old 04-26-19, 06:55 PM
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so it looks like i can swing a troll fork, however i can't find one anywhere! my lbs isn't able to get surly stuff (i'm in a pretty small town) and finding surly stuff online seems to be super hard.

anyone know where i can grab one online?

i'm also starting to eyeball origin8 forks. they are inexpensive and check nearly all the boxes (disc and rim brake mounts, butted 4130 chromoly) only no accessory mounts. that could be a deal breaker, but i could also just deal with P clamps and such for now and eventually drill and braze my own mounts maybe. they are nearly half the cost of a troll fork, so i'm thinking hard about it.

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Old 05-24-19, 01:59 PM
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surly troll forks have finally made it back in stock around the internet and i have one on the way, so that means i can move forward with this build soon!

i was wondering though, is the c&v forum the correct place for this build thread? i mean, sure it's a vintage univega mountain bike, but i'm not really paying any special attention to using period correct parts or anything like that. i'd rather use older parts where i can, but - for example - the crankset i happen to have laying around is a more modern hollowtech style, and may end up on this bike.

i guess what i'm saying is this thing's not going to be totally c&v and i hope i didn't start this thread in the wrong section, hah.
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Old 06-12-19, 11:40 PM
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not sure if anyone's following along here or not, but i figured i should update.

got the troll fork for the alpina, kinda mocked the frame/fork/wheels up to see where i'm at. ignore the stem, it's just there to keep the headset in place for the moment.



this frame should have no problem fitting as big of tires as i could ever want to fit on these 1" rims



i was thinking about parting out my stumpjumper fsr to get this univega together, but i'm not sure that's a good idea. the plan was to sell the fsr, but shipping a complete bike is a pain. i could strip it down to the frame and fork and sell those on their own and use what i can for the univega, but i'd feel bad parting out such a nice old stumpjumper.


not sure what i'm going to do just yet.
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Old 06-13-19, 03:05 PM
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Glad to hear you were able to find a Surly Troll fork. Looks great with the bike! I stuck with the original components for my drivetrain, but will likely end up going 1x10 or 11 at some point in the future. Seems like a good way to go if you have the funds or the parts already on hand.

I'm running 2.1" tires on mine at the moment, but as you said, there's plenty of room to go larger. I reckon I could probably squeeze a set of 2.5" tires in mine. What size do you plan on running?

Not the best photo, but here's my current setup for comparison:


Photo Feb 24, 3 01 41 PM by Dillon Driscoll, on Flickr
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Old 06-13-19, 04:18 PM
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it's awesome to see another one of these! i'd love more pictures at some point if you're able and willing.

right now i'm leaning towards the rene herse rat trap pass tires and they're 2.3", but at $70 a pop i'm still kinda shopping around. this bike will see probably 70/30 pavement/off road, so i want something that can handle both ok, but i also want as high volume as i can go.
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Old 06-20-19, 03:14 PM
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picked up a brooks for the univega last week, plus a set of origin8 gary bars. i didn't realize velo orange had the same bars in silver under their own brand for like $5 more or else i would have gone with those. ooooh well.

today i picked up the stem, brake levers, and some bar tape.



still need to figure out what i want to do for the crank, and i need to pick up a seat post and a seatpost binder bolt for the frame. i'm not really sure what the frame used originally, but i'm sure i can figure something out.

it's coming together, slowly but surely
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Old 06-21-19, 12:01 PM
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Looks like it's all coming together nicely. Excited to see some pictures once it's complete. Been a busy week for me, but I'll try and grab a couple photos of my build this weekend. Would be curious to hear what you think of the handlebars after you've ridden on them a couple times. I've been considering throwing some drops on mine, but haven't quite pulled the trigger yet.

From what I recall, mine came with one of those old school quick-release seat post binder bolts. It should still be kicking around in my parts bin somewhere. I'd gladly pass it along if you'd like. What size seatpost does yours take?
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Old 06-21-19, 02:34 PM
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my calipers have been out in the garage for the last couple weeks and i keep forgetting to grab them when i'm in there. i think it's 27.2, but i'll for sure figure out what post size and how long of a binder bolt i need this weekend, they are a few of the last bits holding me up. it looks like we have the same frame, is yours 27.2?

thanks for the offer on the binder bolt! if you don't have a use for it, i'd gladly take you up. i'm also planning paying the bf membership fee to post in the for sale/wanted section. i'd rather pick the remaining parts up used on here than buy everything else i need new.
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Old 06-21-19, 06:27 PM
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I have a Univega Alpina Uno LX (same frame, I think) and I really like it. I have it set up with fenders, racks and panniers and I mainly use it for commuting. My only complaint is with the chain stays. I wish they were a little bit longer as I occasionally hit my heels on the panniers even though they are as far back as they can go.
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Old 06-21-19, 07:29 PM
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I love my Alpina Uno in chrome. It's my daily rider/commuting bike. I've made some changes since this pic, and still more are coming up soon.

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Old 06-22-19, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
I have a Univega Alpina Uno LX (same frame, I think) and I really like it. I have it set up with fenders, racks and panniers and I mainly use it for commuting. My only complaint is with the chain stays. I wish they were a little bit longer as I occasionally hit my heels on the panniers even though they are as far back as they can go.
i plan to do a frame bag and a front rack, maybe one of those seat mounted bags if that doesn't end up being enough, but i'll keep your rear pannier issue in mind if i end up going that route! how long are your cranks?

Originally Posted by johnnyace View Post
I love my Alpina Uno in chrome. It's my daily rider/commuting bike. I've made some changes since this pic, and still more are coming up soon.
i love those chrome unos so much! awesome bike
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Old 06-22-19, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by t_e_r_r_y View Post
i plan to do a frame bag and a front rack, maybe one of those seat mounted bags if that doesn't end up being enough, but i'll keep your rear pannier issue in mind if i end up going that route! how long are your cranks?



i love those chrome unos so much! awesome bike

I think the cranks are 175. I am probably over exaggerating the heel strikes as it only happens when I use my bigger panniers. My previous commuter was a touring bike with really long chain stays so I may just be spoiled. I am out of town right now but I will check the crank arm length when I get back in town.

I agree, that chrome looks nice. Mine is a dark chrome which I think was just a chrome frame with a tinted clear coat.
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