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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been riding all my life, turning the big 5-0 next year. I kick myself everyday for ever selling my old 1992 or 93 bright orange Fisher Paragon. I loved that ride. I'd love to find another one but I know that's almost impossible. So, I'm looking for a classic ride to turn into a dropbar ride to take to my cabin where there are hundreds of miles of gravel roads.

Problem is, I'm not sure exactly what to look for. Obviously a steel frame but are there any that are known to be able to fit 700cc's? I'm not sure what else to ask specifically so any help in this area would great. I really want to do a classic some justice and bring it back to life.
 

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Bikes in jeans
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You might be able to fit 700 rims with road tires on a number of older frames, maybe most of them, the brakes are where you run into the problem. Off the top of my head I don't know any with rim brake options for 26 and 700, there probably are some though. There may be adapters that can work as well. You have a ton of options on frames if you are fine with 26 though, bontrager, voodoo, rock lobster, fisher, ritchey, early specialized, etc., a ton of Ti options as well if that's worth it to you, dean, moots, voodoo, marin, merlin, etc., probably about 20 more from the mid-90's. If you aren't in a hurry I would setup a search on ebay, 26in frames are literally the lowest cost they've ever been. I sold my bontrager racelite frame about 2 years ago and couldn't even get $200 for it.
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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Bianchi made a range of 700C MTB's in the early 90's.

I had a Project 3 which I sold several years ago, but they were basically, 29ers before 29ers were a thing.

Can't fit a modern tire in, but they'd fit 1.75's fine, so something like the Panaracer FireCross 45's would be a no brainer. Or, CX tires as far as the eye can see, what with all the gravel stuff now.

Here's a discussion of a Project 7, man, if I had that one, I'd have kept it, the build kit alone is drool worthy, and mine was forest green, not bad, but if it had been celeste, I'd still own it.

 

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There's a few rare not well known cross bikes out there, even from the bigger companies. There were some GT's I know. The more "boutique" brands also had some I think, pretty sure Ritchey, Vooodoo, Rock Lobster at least from that list mentioned. Fat Chance. But these will likely cost.
There's also no reason you couldn't put drop bars and skinny tires on a 26".
 

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I have an old Independent Fabrications Deluxe from the first gen that I have been toying with doing the same. I found a local builder that will add Disc mounts and reinforce the rear triangle for a good price. I would add a Surly disc rigid fork and probably run gravel tires on it. With the advent of the Surly Corner bar I can add a drop without updating to road bike components meaning I can keep the 9spd xtr stuff, run cable discs, and be fairly happy commuting and bike packing on it. I haven't pulled the trigger yet but I I want to do it eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. 700cc is a wish list. I was planning on a 26er frame b/c this will be left at my cabin and I can build it up fairly cheap. I'm in no hurry either. It sounds like pretty much just pick up an old steel 26er frame and have fun with it. I've seen how to increase the rear drops to fit 9sp if it comes to that. I've seen some possibilities so far the last week or so but I think I'm holding out until something really strikes me. Ideally, I'd love to find an old 90's steel Fisher for my own nostalgia sake.
 

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K2 Enemy is another neat vintage cx bike, as is the early/mid 2000s Spec cx bikes (my primary cx bike is an '07 sworks tri-cross, - still a great bike). I still have a couple of older 26ers, one is my shed/mud bike (Univega/Raleigh -same taiwan source, with disc mount), and it's good for a workout grab&go bike. The other is 'vintage' Raleigh Tomac titanium with all my old XT ii race parts from around '90.
We used to ride the old bikes fast, but tech has improved and the old bikes feel really weird when jumping back on from a modern bike. It's neat to have an old bike, but the newer stuff is pretty nice by comparison. If you're riding in wet at all, you will want disc brakes: riding any volume in wet conditions with rim brakes will just wear out rims. A 29er hardtail with normal size tires will soak up a lot of the road rattle, and make for a more pleasant experience than skinny or 26 tires can offer. I think Salsa has some 29er dropbar options, I think a friend has a couple of those, the 29er with 2.0 or larger tires and drop bars look pretty cool too.
 
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