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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'd like to know from those who have brought old rides back to life on what to look for and what to look out for. I see all kinds of 70's and 80's bikes in AZ for sale and thinking this would be a great idea. What I'd like to do is find an old steel frame that can fit 32-ish mm gravel tires. Instead of looking for a new gravel bike, I'd like to bring an old ride back to life with new life, if you know what I mean.

I have a 2007 Vassago Jabberwocky that I converted into a monster cross with drops and such and it's fine but overall, the bike is pretty heavy and my buddy drops me on the flats. So I'm thinking an older steel frame turned gravel would be pretty cool.

Any specific brands to look for or avoid? Anything else I should know?
 

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One advantage to AZ if your in the valley is if your looking for a steel frame it's pretty dry here. Just like a junkyard there might be surface rust but can be clean on the inside. I did a full resto on an old specialized hardrock and love it. If you can find a deal on a bike you like pull the seat look for rust.
 

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Shoot for an early to mid nineties steel bike. Easy finds would be specialized stump jumper or maybe Kona cinder cone, or Kilauea. Stick to rigid forks and get the sizing right, you'll be set.

Same rules apply with all used bikes make sure you get the sizing right & check for cracks at all welds especially rear triangle. How tall are you, where in AZ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you are not set on a full-on perioed correct restoration, a resto-mod that included the addition of disc brake tabs would allow you to use 700x32 disc wheels in many 80's and 90's 26" MTB frames.
700's can fit in a 26er frame? I didn't realize that. That really opens up the possibilities. Good info.

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Shoot for an early to mid nineties steel bike. Easy finds would be specialized stump jumper or maybe Kona cinder cone, or Kilauea. Stick to rigid forks and get the sizing right, you'll be set.

Same rules apply with all used bikes make sure you get the sizing right & check for cracks at all welds especially rear triangle. How tall are you, where in AZ?
Pit of Hades...errrr, Phoenix I mean. East side to be specific. I'm 5'8" and normally ride a 54 or 55 roadie and a M to L MTB frame, depending on manufacturer. I do want fully rigid and prefer QT wheels as that's what I have laying around.

I'll add those frames to the list. Thanks!

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before
Bicycle frame Tire Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel Wheel


midway single speed. just to make sure it was all fun and good. it was
Tire Bicycle tire Bicycle wheel Bicycle frame Wheel


final
Bicycle tire Tire Wheel Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle wheel


I need brighter pic of the final
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That turned out fantastic. Are you able to fit 700's in there by chance?
 

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700's can fit in a 26er frame? I didn't realize that. That really opens up the possibilities. Good info.
Yes, but you cannot use rim brakes. I had a disc tab installed and used a fork that is disc compatable.

Here is my 1997 26" bike with the 26" wheels and 26x2.2 tires installed
Bicycle tire Wheel Bicycle frame Tire Bicycle wheel rim


and again with the 29'er wheels and 700x32 tires installed
Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Tire Bicycle wheel Wheel


and one showing chainstay clearance with the 700x32 tires
Tire Bicycle tire Automotive tire Bicycle wheel rim Rim


The diameter difference between the two is minimal.
 

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Learn from my mistakes...

If you are not set on a full-on perioed correct restoration, a resto-mod that included the addition of disc brake tabs would allow you to use 700x32 disc wheels in many 80's and 90's 26" MTB frames.
This I've never understood... Disc tabs and a repaint are about the cost of a nice, purpose-built All City or Surly frame around these parts. Torch, grinder and paint is more labor of love than economizing, IMO.

Paul v-brakes with a travel agent or Cane Creek V-levers can get the job done too, but either way - and having done this kind of thing many times - it's a waaaaaaay better idea money-wise to keep your eyes peeled for a nice cross bike. Frankenbikes have no value to anyone but their owners post-build and you'll have a bunch of weird parts cluttering your life when you pull it apart again next year and sell off the salvageable bits.
 

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That turned out fantastic. Are you able to fit 700's in there by chance?
they fit great. I have some 700c 32 on wheels laying around I can snap a shot when I get home.

This I've never understood... Disc tabs and a repaint are about the cost of a nice, purpose-built All City or Surly frame around these parts. Torch, grinder and paint is more labor of love than economizing, IMO.

Paul v-brakes with a travel agent or Cane Creek V-levers can get the job done too, but either way - and having done this kind of thing many times - it's a waaaaaaay better idea money-wise to keep your eyes peeled for a nice cross bike. Frankenbikes have no value to anyone but their owners post-build and you'll have a bunch of weird parts cluttering your life when you pull it apart again next year and sell off the salvageable bits.
As far as doing something like that its all in good fun. I have stuff laying around and wanted to give it a try. was my first complete tear down and rebuild. It was more about the learning of it all. I had the paints, parts, and tools so i did it.

I even made a new brake cable hanger

Bicycle tire Bicycle frame Wheel Bicycle wheel rim Bicycle wheel
 
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This I've never understood... Disc tabs and a repaint are about the cost of a nice, purpose-built All City or Surly frame around these parts. Torch, grinder and paint is more labor of love than economizing, IMO.

Paul v-brakes with a travel agent or Cane Creek V-levers can get the job done too, but either way - and having done this kind of thing many times - it's a waaaaaaay better idea money-wise to keep your eyes peeled for a nice cross bike. Frankenbikes have no value to anyone but their owners post-build and you'll have a bunch of weird parts cluttering your life when you pull it apart again next year and sell off the salvageable bits.
At the time this was my only mountain bike, so I rode it as a MTB most of the time and just wanted to be able to slide the gravel wheels in for the occasional gravel ride. The disc tab installation cost $100 and no paint was needed on the ti frame. The wheels were on sale for $100 and the used tires, rotors, and cassette didn't cost anything. All in I spent about $200 to set it up for gravel, though I did eventually spend another $70 on a used Surly Ogre fork for it to make it more of a dedicated gravel bike. It may not have been purpose built, but it is a really fun ride and has seen hundreds upon hundreds of gravel miles.
 

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At the time this was my only mountain bike, so I rode it as a MTB most of the time and just wanted to be able to slide the gravel wheels in for the occasional gravel ride. The disc tab installation cost $100 and no paint was needed on the ti frame. The wheels were on sale for $100 and the used tires, rotors, and cassette didn't cost anything. All in I spent about $200 to set it up for gravel, though I did eventually spend another $70 on a used Surly Ogre fork for it to make it more of a dedicated gravel bike. It may not have been purpose built, but it is a really fun ride and has seen hundreds upon hundreds of gravel miles.
Didn´t the BB become tall w/ the 700 wheels? It needs more drop.
I would look for a used cross check or maybe an Ibis Hakkalugi if i had $$. Black Mountain Cycles has great monster cross frames on the $500 range... rim brakes and disc brake frames. That´s my next bike. I am out of the expensive bike game.
 
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