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Cobarchie

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Reply with quote  #1 
I love steel. I had an all steel, rigid Univega Rover more than 20 years ago that did everything I wanted it to on pavement or off of pavement. I absolutely loved riding that bike. It cost around $350 brand new back then, so it wasn't really an amazing bike by most people's standards, but I loved it. My sister let someone borrow it once and I never got it back.

I'm wanting something like that now, so I'm looking for rigid steel frames that will clear a 40mm tire. I'm not interested in tubeless, disc brakes, racing, svelte racing geometry, the pursuit of a "light" bike, top of the line anything, or high cost. I drive a truck and just want to take a bike with me that will handle pavement, jumping curbs, potholes, gravel parking lots, dirt, grass and "trails". I don't want aluminum at all. I had a 3000 dollar full Ultegra road bike with an aluminum frame and it beat the hell out of me. I swapped everything to a Gunnar Roadie frame and I LOVE that bike, so it's steel for me.

I looked around forever at old used bikes and frames that were steel until I settled on a Trek 750 Multitrack. It's a 97 model. It's got drop bars and brifters, and some 28mm road tires, but besides that it's all original. I was simply going to get a sub 200 dollar, modern wheelset, new tires and be done with it, but the parts aren't in the best shape, so I figured why not just do a swap out of everything, with good quality used parts and make it mine?

I figured at that point, for what I already have in it, I could get what I'd really like for less than $800 easy. I was about to start buying parts, and then noticed, even though I was unable to turn it up while looking for new bikes that would fit my budget, Nashbar sells an all steel cyclocross bike with a 105 groupset for $650.

It has a double crank, and I'd really like a triple. The multitrack has a triple already. The Nashbar bike also has cantilever brakes, and I'd want V brakes, and the wheelset might be something to upgrade as well, so the cost would go up to get what I'd really like. With the new bike, there would be very little work to do but with the old bike, swapping everything out would be part of the fun, and older, repurposed bikes are way cool. Also, the 750 has a little bit more of a comfortable hybrid geometry, where the cyclocross bike is a little bit closer to road.

I came across the concept of "gravel" when I was looking for a new bike in the style I want, and eventually came across this website. I figured people here might be able to help me zero in on one approach or the other.

Thanks in advance for any input.
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #2 
Are you planning to keep the drop bars on the 750, or would you want to switch to flat bars?

On the rear brake on the 750 - does the cable go through a little tube on the frame on its way to the rear brake? Or is there a cable stop and a second piece of housing?
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Cobarchie

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Reply with quote  #3 
I'd keep the drop bars and yes, there is a little tube that wraps around the frame. It's got cantilever brakes right now, but I'm planning on installing V brakes. I'm pretty sure I could get a bolt on cable stop to work with the V brakes.
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #4 
Yeah, bolt-on cable stop should be easy, or just zip-tie full housing to the top tube and skip the front stop.

You'll have to get something to get the V-brakes to work with drop bar levers, which means either adding Travel Agents, or swapping the existing shifters to a standalone V-brake compatible lever and bar-end shifters. Though maybe you've already figured that out.

What's wrong with the existing wheels?
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Cobarchie

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Reply with quote  #5 
Ah... I had overlooked the brake/shifter issue. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

The original wheels are only 15mm internal width, measured by a caliper. I don't think that's wide enough (to be safe) for 40mm tires. Plus, they're 20 years old and janky looking; with a solid and dull silver finish. I'd like a better looking wheel. Mavic A319 come in a 32 hole, black anodized finish. Even if they aren't the lightest, they're bound to be an improvement over stock wheels from 20 years ago, although the silent clutch hub on the rear is a cool touch I'd be giving up.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #6 
From what I read in your post and if you are patient I bought the 2016 Raleigh Tamland 1 for $799 + 49 tax this spring and think the sales start around Nov. - Dec. and is a sweet bike. It's a sweet riding bike. Ted Guitar the moderator here help Raleigh design it. This is disk brakes though which is the first for me and will flat out tell you I am somewhat scared of doing techy downhills yet but these brakes have eased some of those fears. Good luck in whatever you do. My 56 mm frame weighed 25.13 lbs from the factory. I have done 3 gravel rides/races on it so far and the bike is better than I am so far. 

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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Cobarchie

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Reply with quote  #7 
I rode a lot of mountain bike trails on a full suspension rig around the turn of the century and it only had V brakes. Not saying I would turn my nose up at disc brakes, but V brakes were good enough then, so I'm trying to keep the price down by avoiding them. I looked at the Tamland in the last week or so but it's too pricey.

Who would be offering the sale price that you're talking about? It's something to think about at that figure.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobarchie
I rode a lot of mountain bike trails on a full suspension rig around the turn of the century and it only had V brakes. Not saying I would turn my nose up at disc brakes, but V brakes were good enough then, so I'm trying to keep the price down by avoiding them. I looked at the Tamland in the last week or so but it's too pricey. Who would be offering the sale price that you're talking about? It's something to think about at that figure.


You set up a Corporate account with Raleigh. I don't know the current code to do that. I found the code over at Bike Forums. You might be able to call Raleigh USA and they might be able to set up that account. The price is higher right now on that Account but if you have some patience it will go down. They shipped mine direct from their warehouse in Ohio that my local Raleigh Dealer gets them from. He wanted to sell it to me @ $1300.

Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobarchie
Ah... I had overlooked the brake/shifter issue. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. The original wheels are only 15mm internal width, measured by a caliper. I don't think that's wide enough (to be safe) for 40mm tires. Plus, they're 20 years old and janky looking; with a solid and dull silver finish. I'd like a better looking wheel. Mavic A319 come in a 32 hole, black anodized finish. Even if they aren't the lightest, they're bound to be an improvement over stock wheels from 20 years ago, although the silent clutch hub on the rear is a cool touch I'd be giving up.


You can get away with that rim width for now. You might be able to find a new rim that has the same ERD as the current rims and swap them over.

What brakes are on the bike? With a set of Kool-Stop Salmon pads and some fine tuning you might be able to get better performance out of them.
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Cobarchie

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Reply with quote  #10 
Without being next to the bike, I'm sure whatever brakes came stock 20 years ago is what is on the bike now. The Trek technical manual from that model year says they are Alivio. That's probably a step or two up from rock bottom entry level... the 750 was supposed to be "top of the line" out of their hybrids... but the brake performance is nearly non-existent at the moment.

I can try new pads. The more I think about it the more swapping parts out is going to be a pain in the butt. Take a wheel set for example... I'm trying to find a 32 or 36 hole rim brake option that's actually black that cost less than $300 and it seems impossible. (The A319 is made as a black rim, but apparently no one makes a wheel set using them.) Finding any wheel set that isn't disc only seems next to impossible. It's getting really frustrating.

The wheels aren't in the greatest shape; they just look bad, and the rear wheel is bad out of true. I can true a wheel well enough myself, I just really wanted a new set of wheels.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobarchie
Without being next to the bike, I'm sure whatever brakes came stock 20 years ago is what is on the bike now. The Trek technical manual from that model year says they are Alivio. That's probably a step or two up from rock bottom entry level... the 750 was supposed to be "top of the line" out of their hybrids... but the brake performance is nearly non-existent at the moment. I can try new pads. The more I think about it the more swapping parts out is going to be a pain in the butt. Take a wheel set for example... I'm trying to find a 32 or 36 hole rim brake option that's actually black that cost less than $300 and it seems impossible. (The A319 is made as a black rim, but apparently no one makes a wheel set using them.) Finding any wheel set that isn't disc only seems next to impossible. It's getting really frustrating. The wheels aren't in the greatest shape; they just look bad, and the rear wheel is bad out of true. I can true a wheel well enough myself, I just really wanted a new set of wheels.[/QUOTE


That Tamland if your are patient is looking better all the time. I think the price goes down around Nov. 1st but not 100% sure.

Zman  
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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #12 
Here's some brand new wheels, black 36 hole CR-18s on Shimano 430 hubs for $137 shipped

The CR-18 is a dependable rim, I ran them as 29" mountain wheels 10-15 years ago. Nothing cutting edge but you get eyelets.

The hubs are basic Shimano stuff, seals aren't super great but they're easy to work on and get parts for. If you have the wrenches pull them open and pack them with some better grease and you'll get more than $140 worth of use out of them.

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Cobarchie

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Reply with quote  #13 
I found some 36 hole mavic A719 wheels with XT hubs and wheelsmith spokes that came with tubes and tires and a 9 speed cassette and bought them. They aren't black and they aren't brand new, but I got the whole package for $160 shipped. I figure those are pretty solid wheels with decent hubs for a good price.

Those Sun wheels look nice. If I'm not happy with the Mavics, I'll certainly keep those in mind.

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Cobarchie

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Reply with quote  #14 
Drwelby, that was a good suggestion on the kool stop pads. Big difference.
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #15 
Cool, glad to hear that worked out for you and saved you from having to do a complete brake swap.
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ronnierbryant

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Reply with quote  #16 
Talk to Mike Varley at Black Mountain Cycles - http://www.blackmtncycles.com

Ronnie
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