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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Looking for a good winter project. Perusing the local Craigslist I came across a Trek 420, pewter with red decals, for not too much money. On a lark, I sent the guy an e-mail and asked if he'd be interested in a trade for some bike parts I had on hand. He agreed and we did a swap.

After a little digging on the Vintage Trek site, I determined that the pewter/red combo means it is most likely a 1984 Trek 420. Japanese made with a double-butted Tange Mangalloy frame and Tange high-tensile forks and stays.

The bike was a bit of a hodgepodge of different parts the guy had put on it. He was running it as an 8-speed with a flat bar. What I was really interested in, though, was the frame set. Fortunately, with the exception of some scratches, the frame and fork look to be in good shape, especially for being 36 years old. No cracks, no dents. Oddly, most of the scratches seem to be on the top tube, maybe from being hauled around a lot? I'm not sure.

I have future plans for the bike that will hopefully include a full strip to bare metal and either a new paint job or a powder coat. Then I'd like to build the bike up with new parts as a resto-mod. That will be Iteration 2, but that's a ways down the road...

In the meantime, though, Iteration 1 is to get the bike on the road which means making it into a truly hideous Frankenbike built from mismatched, yet decent parts from my parts bin. I'll post a few pics when I get it closer to completion but it really is awful... :)
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
For anyone following along who is considering doing a resto-mod of an older steel bike, I'll chronicle a few things along the way you'll want to keep in mind.

1.) Brakes. If the calipers are in good shape, you can replace cables, housing and brake pads and call it a day. If you want to use more modern rims and brakes, though, you'll need longer reach brake calipers (47mm-57mm). Tektro's R539 (R559 for really long reach) or Shimano's R451 should give you the length you need. Velo Orange makes some as well but they are pretty pricey. But don't order a set of front/rear calipers. Instead, save yourself some work and order two front calipers instead. Why?

You will see that the bolt that goes through the fork on older front brakes is pretty long. It slides all the way through the fork and a nut attaches from the back. There is no recessed nut that meets it in the middle of the fork as it does on more modern brakes. So, you can either a.) look for a modern front caliper that has an extra long bolt, or, b.) you can do what I do and drill out the back side of the fork to accommodate a modern recessed nut. A 5/16 inch drill bit and some patience will get the job done.

So, there's one front brake caliper installed. For the back the same issue arises. The bolt on the rear brake caliper on older bikes is longer than it is on modern calipers. It is meant to slide all the way through the brake bridge. You could drill the back side of the brake bridge as you did on the fork, but getting a drill on the back side of the bridge is a challenge and drilling all the way through from the front isn't easy either and makes a hole all the way through the bridge that's bigger than what you want. The simple solution? Another front brake caliper comes standard with a longer bolt (similar in length to the bolt on an old-school rear caliper) that will allow it to slide through the bridge completely. You'll just need a washer and a nut to tighten it up on the other side.

So... modern calipers... longer reach 47-57... two front brakes... drill out the back side of the fork for the recessed nut... use a front brake on the back to avoid having to drill anything at all back there. Just attach it with a washer and a nut.

Now you'll be able to take advantage of the geometry of older steel frames and run 700c rims with some nice wide tires if you like.
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
*cough* *cough* *sputter* *sputter*... the monster... it's alive!!!



Mmmm... lugs o' steel...





Now, before you pile on...

1.) Yeah. The bars will be level with the saddle. If that means a high rise stem, deal with it. Same with the platform pedals.
2.) Those wheels... I know. They were the wheels the previous owner had on the bike. The are Bontrager Select. And if the low spoke count wasn't bad enough, the rims themselves have what looks like some spots of corrosion around some of the spoke holes. The clock is ticking on how long it takes for my Clydesdale ass to destroy them. So... I'll be riding the driveway and the rollers until I can afford a set of 36 spoke wheels.
3.) The rest of the parts are from the parts bin, hence the mismatched style, color, brand, etc.
4.) The only new parts I've purchased thus far are the brakes (Shimano R451s fit like a glove) and a new KMC 10sp chain. It was set up as a 1X8 when I got it.
5.) Yep. It's a 1X because those are the shifters I have on hand. But I may keep it a 1X. I like the simplicity and don't really need the extra gears where I ride.

Right now, it's a "proof of concept" to get it to the point where it will stop and go. I'll put it on the rollers as a trainer bike for a while and make sure the 36+ year old frame/forks hold up okay. Meanwhile, I'll start planning and saving for how I might want to build it up. At some point I'm thinking a cream or light tan color for the frame and forks with as much black in the components as I can find... Think stout beer with a head on it...
 

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I used to have a 560 series, made out of 531 Reynolds, which is probably what you have.

Don't knock those wheels - they're nothing fancy, weigh a lot, but I have a pair that came on my LeMond Poprad. About 3k gravel miles and currently 2k MUT miles on them. They've needed truing up a few times, but I still ride them. I'm probably overdue to check the hubs, thought :)
 

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What the Hell is going on
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Mavic 851

The nice thing about old steel bikes is that you can Frankenstein them up a bit.
Hey, where else am I gonna put my Mavic 851 rear derailleur! Downtube shifters rule!.

The bad thing about doing a RestoMod is the money pit of having such a hobby. I have a red 1986 Specialized Allez SE that was in rough shape and asked Joe Bell how much it would cost to do a repaint and he said something along the lines of "more than what you will get if you sell it." Someday I'll get it repainted with a "Marcus Summers" decal on the top tube, just for fun.
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #7
The nice thing about old steel bikes is that you can Frankenstein them up a bit.
Hey, where else am I gonna put my Mavic 851 rear derailleur! Downtube shifters rule!.

The bad thing about doing a RestoMod is the money pit of having such a hobby. I have a red 1986 Specialized Allez SE that was in rough shape and asked Joe Bell how much it would cost to do a repaint and he said something along the lines of "more than what you will get if you sell it." Someday I'll get it repainted with a "Marcus Summers" decal on the top tube, just for fun.
Good point about the money. The powder coat alone will run me $200 around here. But when I build up or rehab a bike I go into it knowing that I won't get that money back out if/when I sell it. It's more about seeing the finished product, enjoying it for a while then passing it on to someone else if I want to start something new.
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Okay... after a few forays into Components and Wrenching for suggestions about painting and shims... we’re back now.

So, Iteration 2 involved taking the bike down to the frame and fork, filling a small dent I discovered in the top tube with some Bondo,




then primer, paint and clear coat. Obviously I went with purple rather than the tan I had originally envisioned.

Now, we build up with some parts bin components and some new stuff.




New Origin8 1-inch sealed bearing threaded headset.
New Stem adapter for 1 1/8 stem.
Reinstalled the Shimano brakes.

Next up is a post, saddle, bars and bottom bracket.

I’m thinking road/gravel 1X eventually.


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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Better.



Kalloy EVO post - hard to find a 26.8mm post that fit the bill, was in stock and at a reasonable price.

GXP Bottom bracket - going SRAM 1X on this since I already have the levers for it.

PNW Coast gravel bars (52cm) - this was a budget buster, but I like the width, the short/shallow reach, and the flare.

Apex levers - from the parts bin
Brooks B17 - also from the parts bin, thankfully.

And that’s the way it’s going to sit now for a while. The budget is shot. :) But, at least it is buttoned up until I scrape together money for wheels and a drivetrain.

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Those handlebars ... dag. In purple and black they look sinister.

Suggest you name your bike The Condor.
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
A wheel set via BicycleWheelWarehouse. Their Pure rims 32/36 with Shimano 105s. I mounted some lightly used 32c Kenda tires. Tons of clearance. 40’s might even fit. She’s a roller...




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Frog Whisperer
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So why didn't I see this when you posted it?

i have an '84 Trek 400, a buddy gave it to me years ago. Recently I turned it into a gravel grinder, I put 700C on it, some 28 mm knobby tires, the brake calipers were fine, but I replaced the pads with new kool stop (pink and black) and they work GREAT! Put old Campy 9 speed on it and fenders and I have a great gravel grinder! Dragged my grandaughter around for many miles on the rail to trail trails and had a great time. I like the frame a LOT that mangalloy is nice stuff. and the paint is DuPont Imron and is essentially bullet proof!
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #13
Small world. It’s been a fun project. Slowly saving up for parts as I go. The wheels were the big ticket item. Now, I’m down to a cassette, chain, cables and tape and it will be ready to ride.

I’ve learned a lot along the way, mostly about painting...


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Small world. It’s been a fun project. Slowly saving up for parts as I go. The wheels were the big ticket item. Now, I’m down to a cassette, chain, cables and tape and it will be ready to ride.

I’ve learned a lot along the way, mostly about painting...


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When I saw your post about a 420 bike, I thought you were going in a different direction:

 

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Frog Whisperer
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Small world. It’s been a fun project. Slowly saving up for parts as I go. The wheels were the big ticket item. Now, I’m down to a cassette, chain, cables and tape and it will be ready to ride.

I’ve learned a lot along the way, mostly about painting...


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Not sure about the 420, but the 400 is an incredibly comfortable frame for me, a lot of trail, it really soaks up the road chatter. I would certainly not call it "nimble" but I have my Waterford for that. I pulled all the parts off my red carbon Trek and am giving the frame to my son in law. Did the 420 have 27 inch wheels? Mine did but I put 700c on in and the original brake calipers reached just fine, and had room for fenders.
 

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Frog Whisperer
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I have the left chain stay wrapped with bar tape (leftover fizik micr fiber) to protect it when I drag the Burley
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #17
Not sure about the 420, but the 400 is an incredibly comfortable frame for me, a lot of trail, it really soaks up the road chatter. I would certainly not call it "nimble" but I have my Waterford for that. I pulled all the parts off my red carbon Trek and am giving the frame to my son in law. Did the 420 have 27 inch wheels? Mine did but I put 700c on in and the original brake calipers reached just fine, and had room for fenders.
Nice. I like that red! I wish the paint job on mine had been in that good a shape (lots of small nicks and scratches). The wheels on it when I bought it were updated 700c wheels. I swapped in Shimano calipers. Yeah, fenders would fit with no problem with the 32s on it now if I go that route.


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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #18
When I saw your post about a 420 bike, I thought you were going in a different direction:

I do giggle a little inside every time I type it...


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Frog Whisperer
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I am jealous of the bosses on the seat stays for a rack, mine does not have them so to put a rear rack on it, I would have to use the seat post binder bolt. Although if I am dragging the Burley I don't need a rack. Riding with wife, daughter, son in law and granddaughter, I was the pack mule. They still couldn't keep up. I want to build a roof rack for my granddaughters bike but hopefully she won't really need it. She is the queen of the tricycle!
 

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What the what???
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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I got the fenders roughed in and everything cabled.

478071


Now I’m waiting on the last piece of the puzzle (the chain) and I can get everything adjusted and take it out for a ride. In the meantime I’m waiting on VeloOrange to get their black quill stem back in stock. They make one that fits a 1in steerer, but has a 31.8 clamp with a removable face plate for modern bars. Once I snag one of those I’ll swap it in for the setup I’ve got now.

478094
 
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