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Building vintage gravel-type bike

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Building vintage gravel-type bike

Old 04-09-20, 07:25 AM
  #26  
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Vintage touring bikes are just the ticket for a gravel rig. They were largely meant to fit fenders over 32s, which means 700x38 fits many just a treat. Hereís my Koga Miyata Randonneur Extra in gravel guise.

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Old 04-09-20, 07:56 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by fliplap View Post
Vintage touring bikes are just the ticket for a gravel rig. They were largely meant to fit fenders over 32s, which means 700x38 fits many just a treat. Hereís my Koga Miyata Randonneur Extra in gravel guise.

OK this is one awesome bike. Also an even more awesome view. Reminds me of Gunnison/Crested Butte area - where is this?
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Old 04-09-20, 08:22 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Daven27 View Post
I'm not sure if this would be helpful because most of the websites with local offers are unfortunately only in Polish.

Our craigslist example is www.olx.pl, www.gratka.pl
Ebay-like auction service: www.allegro.pl
I live in Gdynia which is in Pomorskie voivodeship (similiar to USA states).
Well it's still possible to just use search engine with some brand names and maybe something interesting will pop-up. If you need help PM me, thanks.

This is what I found so far:
1. Raleigh Pursuit 25" frame, not sure if it's CRO-MO, propably regular steel (Raleigh 18-23 Steel Tubing that's what seller wrote). Very cheap around 70 pounds including shipping.

2. Some Bianchi unfinished project. Unfortunately frame seems to be 22".


3. Gazelle Reynolds 531 24" size


4. Same as above but 23"



5. Koga Miyata Roadrunner 23"


6. Some Raleigh Reynolds 501 22,5"


7. Univega Alpina 5.7 size 21" but I believe it's MTB frame?


8. American Eagle Concorde 21"


9. Trek 830 complete bike for around 100$ which could be a good base for future modifications and it's located in my city. 21" frame


+ Lots of interesting frames from this seller, unfortunately all in Polish, I can help with translation.

https://www.olx.pl/oferty/q-rama/?se...e%3Ato%5D=1000

That's all I could find for now, as you can see it's hard to find interesting 25" frame, will keep searching.



Yes I'm going to look into ebay.de soon!
For a basic gravel grinder the Trek would likely work basiically as shown. I have found that for a bigger rider late 80's early 90's nice larger hard frame MTB's make great gravel grinders and you won't have to deal with the hassles and cost of building or converting a bike which can easily run several handred dollars and might not work out well. Whatever you get I would suggest you start with a complete working bike rather than a frame set which will cost about half or less than the cost of building similar bike from the frame up based on experiance.
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Old 04-09-20, 08:44 AM
  #29  
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For you, I like that larger Gazelle. I don't know how much room there is behind the bottom bracket for tires wider than 25 but in the front there is plenty. https://www.classicsteelbikes.com/pr...ial-size-60ct/
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Old 04-09-20, 01:11 PM
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Really nice bike's being presented here!

What are the worthy MTB brands to look for besides Trek? I think I'm leaning more to MTB frame due to 21"+ frames being more accessible than touring 25". Also I like the point mentioned by zukahn1 that maybe MTB frame will suit more a gravel type bike and be more robust. Still I find MTB frames to be less aesethicaly pleasant than touring bikes - mainly boring paintwork (examples below).

By the way I have managed to find interesting 25" bike take a look. It's current price is around 200 dollars but the auction has 7 days left.


Nice Panasonic on Tange tubes, seller claims center-center frame is 57cm with a set of brand new continental tires. Not sure if it would be possible to fit bigger wheels there.


25' Giant Speeder, seller claims it has a little rust marks so the frame would need some work and maybe repainting.


Peugeot Mont Blanc 25'

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Old 04-09-20, 01:37 PM
  #31  
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[QUOTE=Daven27;21409514]Really nice bike's being presented here!

Nice Panasonic on Tange tubes, seller claims center-center frame is 57cm with a set of brand new continental tires. Not sure if it would be possible to fit bigger wheels there.


/QUOTE]

With a vintage mountain bike you will very likely be limited to 26 inch wheels. It is not a problem but just don't expect to replace MTB wheels with bigger wheels.
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Old 04-09-20, 01:42 PM
  #32  
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Here's a size reference. I'm 6'3", frame is 22" c-t, 1992 Specialized Rockhopper, 26" wheels

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Old 04-09-20, 01:45 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by droppedandlost View Post
Here's a size reference. I'm 6'3", frame is 22" c-t, 1992 Specialized Rockhopper, 26" wheels

Based on your photo it seems that Panasonic is smaller than 22". I have doubts it's even 21"
Great bike by the way, really like the color.

Found similiar rockhopper for 90 bucks. Shame it's not 22" but 21" frame. Thinking seriously about it.

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Old 04-09-20, 03:05 PM
  #34  
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I have been stunned and delighted with my Ď83 Trek 720 on the dirt in Michigan. It has 27 1/4 tires ~ 32mm with fenders. These roads are pretty tame, but Iím floored by how well this tourer has taken to roughing it.



In Germany I would look for a Koga Miyata touring or cross bike. The Triple Cross was a nice steel frame.

But a nice older touring bike is the bees knees for this kind of riding. When I have a minute Iíll post a pretty extensive model list of touring bikes. Actually...

Trek 520 620 720
Cannondale ST from 1988 or later (dimpled chain stays)
Miyata 610/615 and 1000 (and some of the 210ís are nice)
Fuji America
Schwinn Voyager
Nishiki Cresta, Cresta GT, Riviera GT, Seral
Raleigh Alyeska, Wyoming
Panasonic Gran Tourismo
Lotus eclair, odyssey
Motobecane Grand Jubilee

I know Iím missing both brands and models, but thatís what I got off the top of my head for touring specifically.

a lot of these companies put out really nice mid level frames speced with 27Ē wheels, and doing a 700c conversion will often get you into 32mm tire territory as has already been mentioned.
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Old 04-09-20, 03:57 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Daven27 View Post
Based on your photo it seems that Panasonic is smaller than 22". I have doubts it's even 21"
Great bike by the way, really like the color.

Found similiar rockhopper for 90 bucks. Shame it's not 22" but 21" frame. Thinking seriously about it.
The Panasonic looks like a 20". The Rockhopper looks like it would fit.

This Apex has a sticker on top that says 21" performance, 22.5" conventional (first time I have seen this). It measures 21" c to c.


And my 22" Fuji


I'm 6'2" for reference.

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Old 04-09-20, 04:06 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by Daven27 View Post
Based on your photo it seems that Panasonic is smaller than 22". I have doubts it's even 21"
Great bike by the way, really like the color.

Found similiar rockhopper for 90 bucks. Shame it's not 22" but 21" frame. Thinking seriously about it.
That would work. Nice tall stem on there. Nitto makes randonneur bars for 25.4 clamps.
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Old 04-09-20, 04:12 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by katsup View Post
This Apex has a sticker on top that says 21" performance, 22.5" conventional (first time I have seen this). It measures 21" c to c.

I remember those, and this one looks showroom new. Nice find.
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Old 04-09-20, 04:14 PM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Better powerwash that front wheel...
Are you mocking my stall speed indicators?

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Old 04-09-20, 04:23 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll View Post
I remember those, and this one looks showroom new. Nice find.
Thanks, picked it up a few weeks ago as a quarantine project, bonus for it being my size. The frame is nice, but the seatpost and stem have sun damage, the light surface rust that you get when a bike is left outside for awhile. The damage to the stem annoys me since I see it when riding, but plan to leave it for the time being.
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Old 04-09-20, 04:49 PM
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Thank you, could any of you guys look with more experienced eye at detailed photos of this Rockhopper? I'm starting to be hooked for it. Here's the link: https://allegro.pl/oferta/meski-spec...ski-9135886347

Would it be possible to renovate the decals? On the other side they seem to be kind of damaged.

I really like that retro color scheme on it.

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Old 04-09-20, 05:09 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Daven27 View Post
Thank you, could any of you guys look with more experienced eye at detailed photos of this Rockhopper? I'm starting to be hooked for it. Here's the link: https://allegro.pl/oferta/meski-spec...ski-9135886347

Would it be possible to renovate the decals? On the other side they seem to be kind of damaged.

I really like that retro color scheme on it.
The decals look good. They have a splash to them.
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Old 04-09-20, 05:11 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Daven27 View Post
Thank you, could any of you guys look with more experienced eye at detailed photos of this Rockhopper? I'm starting to be hooked for it. Here's the link: https://allegro.pl/oferta/meski-spec...ski-9135886347

Would it be possible to renovate the decals? On the other side they seem to be kind of damaged.

I really like that retro color scheme on it.
Are the important Deore LX components are there, Don't think the seatpost is original and the saddle does not look comfortable. Shifters may be gunk'ed up which is common for their age. Nothing stands out as bad.

Leave the decals as is. It's common when bikes are stored and the sun light hits one side. Not worth the cost unless it's a rare / valuable bike.
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Old 04-09-20, 07:13 PM
  #43  
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If your good with a brush the decals can be touched up with a a $2 bottle of pink nail polish. I really like the ride of the late 80's Rockhoppers and Hardrrocks in the larger sizes they have about a 1-2 inch longer top line than typical for MTB and 2 inch longer wheelbase along with 175 cranks rather than 170's which will give one a bit more wiggle room setup wise for a larger rider. As for frame size I have one similar to the one above and it measures 22.5 which is what specialized listed there large models as in the late 80's.. I'm 6 ft with long arms and tend to like larger frames and there is easily enough room on mine with better long seat post and maybe different stem for a 6'3 rider.

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Old 04-09-20, 11:44 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by jbchybridrider View Post
Old mtbs are great if you don't mind smaller wheels, ride them myself. But something else to look out for are early 700c hybrids.
I'm planning to start on this 1990 Giant Innova. I think I'm going modern groupset but that could change. It'll take a 700c 45c knobby, has not to light full cro-mo frame but strong and comfortable ovalised down tube. Should look like a current bike when finished.
Also planing on drop bars. This old hybrid has a shorter top tube to make it comfortable. Old mtb's don't.

Here is mine:

It weighs 3 or 4 tons, but it is incredibly responsive, fits 38s with fenders and is surprisingly lively for its weight. The build surprised me quite a lot, since I wasnt sure how the drop bars would turn out, but it's a keeper for now. Gravel bike with a very nice "road bike" feel. Good luck with your build and post pics when its finished!
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Old 04-10-20, 12:06 AM
  #45  
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I've sorta done that with a '93 Univega Via Carisma, originally set up as a MTB-lite, flat bars and thumb shifters, more a precursor to what was later called a hybrid.

I tried a few setups to include casual gravel trail rides, solo and with friends, nothing competitive, usually averaging 12 mph.

I settled on Nitto Albatross swept bars with Shimano 8-speed bar-end shifters. At first I tried 'em flipped upside down, path racer style, in summer 2018, but my injured shoulder wasn't quite ready for that. Since then I've ridden it with the bars in upright position, but at or slightly below saddle height. Those are remarkably versatile bars, pretty comparable to touring style drop bars. But the brakes aren't readily accessible in the most aero forward position.

Original 50/40/30 Shimano Exage triple chainring, same Exage front and rear derailleurs (basically same as the Deore LX RD, insignificant minor cosmetic differences). But I swapped from 7-speed 13-28 cassette to 8-speed 11-32 cassette.

I may go back to the flipped position, which is comparable to mustache handlebars, but with the brakes in a more ergonomically friendly position.

There's plenty of clearance for tires. I've gone from the original 700x32 tires to Continental Speed Rides, nominally 700x42 but measure closer to 700x38. Really sweet all around tires, including dry or, at most, damp grass and off-road.

Not light, around 30 lbs. But good enough for my limited gravel riding skills. Comfy. I use iSSi Thump platform pedals. I use clipless only on my road bikes.


A few changes since this photo in late 2018. I switched to a lower road bike horizontal stem, iSSi Thump platform pedals, and wider 700x42 Conti Speed Ride tires. Everything else is the same.


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Old 04-10-20, 04:47 AM
  #46  
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Hey guys,

Finally I have decided to buy that Specialized Rockhopper. Final price was 105$ including shipping. I guess it's a nice price for a vintage in a decent condition. I guess it will come next week so I will update you with photos.
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Old 04-10-20, 10:14 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
...If you like to go faster, a vintage touring bike or early bike boom road racing bike will make a fine gravel bike. Either way. Typically they have 72™ parallel frames with a fairly long wheelbase. Specific examples may vary...

...Nothing wrong with vintage equipment, BTW. Some things are better now, some not as good. Put some new rubber, brake pads and clipless pedals on a vintage bike, and it becomes a pretty practical machine.
I strongly agree with the above.

I prefer more of a sport-touring bike than full touring, firstly because of the shorter chainstays. Shorter chainstays allow for much greater climbing traction.
I don't go for very wide tires, I've been bombing everything on 25c of late. Thinner tires mark an upward adjustment to the "challenge" factor, for better or for worse.

One nice thing about lower-level Japanese road bikes seems to be that their geometry is better for off-roading. An exception might apply to certain later models having less tire clearance and possibly steeper angles, but generally these bikes have what is needed for good offroad handling, shallower headtube angle especially.

I am currently riding a 1977 Centurion Pro-Tour that works great off road, thanks to it's reasonable 24lb weight and relatively short 44cm chainstays. It's excellent as a road bike, and also excellent for steep, challenging off-road riding.
Running 27x1" Pasela tires on this one for now, sidewalls have held up to a lot of rock contact so a tougher tire would be much more ideal in the interest of reliability.

While I do a lot of challenging off-roading on this bike, I am not heavy and I don't push for higher speeds on rough surfaces. I'm not trying to break it!

I also recommend Miyata Touring or road bikes for off-roading as they have passed my tests over many years of rough riding, what could well be call mountain biking.

Since you are a bigger rider, the stronger 26" wheels and frame of that Rockhopper should be more than adequate for your off-roading plans, with more assurance that the bike will finish every ride without failure.
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Old 04-10-20, 01:53 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by AJI125 View Post
OK this is one awesome bike. Also an even more awesome view. Reminds me of Gunnison/Crested Butte area - where is this?
Near Flagstaff, Arizona
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Old 04-11-20, 06:26 AM
  #49  
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I know a couple of bikes Iíve given to friends are just sitting gathering dust and never get ridden. I donít want to ask for them back but maybe planting a seed here and there could see one of them return for a project like one of yours. Nice bikes here
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Old 04-13-20, 12:19 PM
  #50  
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Biking suitable for gravel...

Originally Posted by Daven27 View Post
Hi there,

I am planning to build a gravel-type bike using some retro frame. Bike will be used mostly for home-work-home commuting and of course road/offroad trips.

I'm not very experienced with this so I would like to ask you a few questions.
1. Would you suggest me looking for a frames from race bikes or maybe use some MTB frame? I've been looking for some retro race bikes frames like from Gazelle, Raleigh, Miyata, Bianchi etc. and from MTB bikes mainly Trek series 7x,8x and Longus. I came to idea of converting MTB after seeing a Trek 830 converted into gravel bike.
2. Would a 21 inch frame be suitable for 191 cm (6'3") height or should I look for something bigger?
3. If I will buy some vintage frame will modern equipment suit it or it's not guaranteed?
4. I'm mainly looking for steel frames especially made from cro-mo or Reynolds 531 is it a good choice? I don't mind bike be a little bit heavier for more comfort of riding.

If you have any more tips for me then they would be gladly appreciated, thanks!
.................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... ...................................................For my 2 cents worth, Buy a Coker with 36 inch wheels...you are tall enough to handle it...if 3 speeds are enough for your needs...this is THE bike for you! (It's a go-anywhere machine)

Julius in Ohio, at 6"4" I ride a vintage Raleigh with 28 inch wheels...(they are gettinghard to come by)
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