Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This project has been on hold for years . . . I want to finish it.

In 1987 I purchased a "mountain bike" . . . steel frame w/125mm rear spacing. This frame also has mounts only for a rear "U-brake" - anyone remember those things? (if not, the u-brake attaches to the chain stays - no kidding).

Anyway, I have almost all the parts to rebuild this bike for a single speed road bike, but I would really like to put a conventional braking system on this bike - either parallel brakes (isn't that a v-brake?) or center pull brakes.

* * * Does anyone know what my options are for upgrading/changing the brakes on this bike?

Also, I already have a nice new 1" threaded headset, new BB, new chainring, chain, rear cog & some other stuff. I'm going to have my bike shop build a SS 125mm rear wheel.

* * * Could I possibly replace the mountain bike handlebar with a road bar? Would the stem need to be replaced if I did that?

I just want a "beater" bike - nothing fancy or exciting - just something to drag out and ride every once in a while - or perhaps something I could keep in my trunk and assemble quickly so I could get in an unplanned ride every once in a while. If I can't get a suitable brake replacement I might just use this bike as a wall ornament, or something.

To most people, this bike should've been tossed out many years ago. I can't seem to part with it - we've had many, many great times together. I hope ya'll understand.

Thanks,

Steel_SSer
:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,473 Posts
Do you have a picture of the frame? When you say the brake mounts on the chainstays, do you mean canti mounts? If so, any v-brake would work fine. The only problem with v-brakes is finding a road brake lever that will work. Not all road levers will work with v-brakes. Tetkro makes a set that is pretty cheap.

Your stem probably has a 25.4 clamp, so you'd need older bars if you want to use your mountain stem with raod bars. Most modern bars use 26.0 clamp.

I'd check out IRO/ Formula hubs for your wheels. They can be bought with 126mm rear spacing. They will fit fine with your 125mm frame.

Again, a picture would help to determine exactly what you'd need
 

·
Professional Lurker
Joined
·
242 Posts
Unfortunately, someone had the bright idea to use U-brakes on mountain bikes for several years around 1987-1988. The frame studs for U-brakes are larger diameter than that for V or cantilever brakes. If you wanted to switch brake type, you would have to get new studs brazed or welded on. From what I have seen, this could be as cheap as $25.

U-brakes are still in use on some BMX bikes, so you can easily find replacement brakes, also. Braking power is not that poor on U-brakes, and you can always put a pair of Kool-stop salmon or mountain pads on to increase braking performance.

Since the frame is steel, you have another option with rear drop-out spacing when running SS - you can always spread the frame.
 

·
Arrogant roadie.....
Joined
·
4,232 Posts
MTB frame sizing is quite different from road frame sizing. Unless this frame is quite large for you already, you'll probably find yourself very cramped on drop bars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. Here are two photos . . . (see attachments)

I'm not sure spreading the frame 5mm on each side would be a good thing. I've tried before just fitting a "regular" 135mm wheel in the back and it was somewhat of a struggle - didn't seem quite right.

If the ride is a bit cramped, that's okay - I'd just like to have a beater for short trips - something to keep with me in the car wherever I go.

I had no idea someone still makes u-brakes - this is very encouraging!
 

·
What the Hell is going on
Joined
·
5,015 Posts
What's the frame?

Is there an attachment for a quiver of spokes on the chainstay? That's too cool. I remember seeing those on custom built touring bikes. What is the make of the frame?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
Good project !

Nice frame ! I have put a Ritchey road bar (25,8 MM) in an old Nitto Mtb stem, that works just fine. U-brakes work OK, read what Sheldon Brown has to say and use Koolstop pads. My SS winter beater has the same rear spacing as yours, and I use an old 130mm 7 speed hub converted cheaply with 20 tooth rear dedicated SS cog. Good luck !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
Univega? thats my guess considering the spoke holders and drop outs. the MTBR Vintage/Retro/Classic forum does this kind of thing all the time. might want to ask them too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It's a Diamond Back Acent EX, all steel (of course) with a rigid fork - perhaps this was also labeled & sold as a Univega, I dunno?

In the late 90's I returned to mountain biking with a suspension fork, then I did the full suspension w/hydraulic discs, now I've returned to mostly single speeding on fully rigid steel frames - go figure.

I put the electrical tape on the frame to cover the holes - there are plenny of 'em. I'm not sure this is really a good idea - perhaps I am promoting the frame from rusting from the inside out?

Yeah, I love the chainstay protector made from spokes. There is also a chain hangar on the right seat stay.

For tires, I'm thinking of the Michelin Transports (sp?). They're supposed to be heavy but fairly bullet proof.

Originally, this bike came with some sort of oval chainrings - really, no kidding (ha). I might just toss on a mtb bar w/small rise - have several in the basement, along with the new road bars - tinker time.
 

·
"It's alive!"
Joined
·
1,454 Posts
Very different from Univegas of that time period, which had no "spoke quiver" and, if I remember correctly, had vertical drops. I had a great time with my 1987 Univega... beat the snot out of it in and around Steamboat Springs, CO, trying to keep up with all the racer-boys on their Moots. It was a cool bike.

Your drops are horizontal, but so darn short. It's likely you'll need a chain tensioner if you convert to a SS.

Keep the U-Brake! It looks like you just need a set of brake shoes. Contrary to popular belief, these brakes worked pretty well. For a while, Chris Chance REFUSED to put canti bosses on his seatstays - He only built for U-Brakes. It doesn't sound like you are going to go out and fill these with mud and debris (or did I miss that part?), which is where the U-brakes really had problems.

Good luck!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,473 Posts
Steel_SSer said:
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. Here are two photos . . . (see attachments)

I'm not sure spreading the frame 5mm on each side would be a good thing. I've tried before just fitting a "regular" 135mm wheel in the back and it was somewhat of a struggle - didn't seem quite right.

If the ride is a bit cramped, that's okay - I'd just like to have a beater for short trips - something to keep with me in the car wherever I go.

I had no idea someone still makes u-brakes - this is very encouraging!
I just got the new danscomp.com BMX catalog and they have plenty of U brakes for sale. Some look very nice. Prices range from $15 to $70
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
822 Posts
until recently, i was using an early 90's stumpjumper converted for SS commuter/road/townie duty.

Your frame is probably on the small side if it fit right for offroad use, but with a longish stem & perhaps a setback seatpost (they work fine for me, but not for all) it could work out ok.

just get some new pads for that u-brake, they didn't work well in muddy conditions, but for road duty they're just fine. As someone already posted, you could get canti studs brazed on, but that would require some painting afterwards, and isn't necessary, unless you're going for some muddy/wet cross action.
For lots of road riding, you'll probably get tired of the limited hand positions of a regular mtn bar. Sounds like you got some options, so play around with it!

as for tires, I like my mine a bit on the fatter side, since I still like to hop curbs, etc, so I am running some 26x2.0's... although for supreme cush & urban type of riding, I was using some schwalbe 2.35's (big apple/super moto's) for a while.
I was also using some on-one mary bars, which I really like for singlespeed use. I recently picked up their midge bars (similar to the WTB dirt-drops), but haven't had a chance to put that project together yet.

oh yeah, I think it was spinwheelz over at mtbr.com that had a nice thread about converting a trek mtn bike to 700c wheels, check it out... ok, found the link http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?postid=1268714
 

·
On your left!
Joined
·
1,299 Posts
Here is what I did...

Steel_SSer said:
This project has been on hold for years . . . I want to finish it.

Steel_SSer
:)
Not quite as retro as yours, but one of my favorite knock around bikes.

I found this old Giant, frame only and thought it would be a great project as it too had long drop outs.

With a box of old parts, I was able to put this together. I used a cassette type wheel, broke apart an old cassette, used the spacers (and a few others laying around) and one of the cogs.

Since I would be riding both on and off road, mainly MUT's and the like, I figured a 39X16 would give me the top end I wanted with enough low end to get me through the occasional single track.

The top tube is very long compared to the seat tube. I normally ride a 55.5 top tube. This bike has a 58 top tube. No worries, just use a shorter stem than you may usually use. The stem in the pic's was before I made a swap from the 120 to the 100.

Road bars, tektro road levers mated to the stock canti's and off I go.

Great project, lots of fun to go from road to single track, to stairs to...where ever you aim it.
 

·
"It's alive!"
Joined
·
1,454 Posts
racerx said:
I found this old Giant, frame only and thought it would be a great project as it too had long drop outs.
Dang, that's cool. Sorta the opposite of my current project, in a sense. I'm taking an old 68cm road frame and building it up with "3-speed" style bars. I haven't decided whether I'm going to go SS or use an internal-gear hub.

Course, I'm going to slap on fenders and a chain guard, but that's beside the point.

- Forbes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
822 Posts
here's a pic of the stumpy as a dinglespeed- 48/36 x 18 w/ a pauls Melvin tensioner (finger/heel shift method up front), mary bars & the fat schwalbe 2.35's... Not nearly as sexy as racerx's convert, but I'm working on something more similar to his... trying to decide whether to go 700c or 26".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Jamis Light Foot

Here's my story on converting an old steel frame Mountain Bike to a Road bike.
I bought this bike in 1983 as my first Mountain bike. It's a 1983 Jamis Light Foot 15 speed.
A couple years ago I converted it into a 5 speed when everyone else was going SS.
About 6 months after that I turned it into a SS mountain bike.
I raced it for a year.



Here it is as a SS after a training ride on Buffalo mountain.

Here are a few shots of the transformation to a SS road bike.



Respacing and realigning the rear drop outs from 126mm to 130mm.





Here it is after welding new canti mounts and a perfect powder coat.

I will post more as it gets done.
I believe I'll start a new thread for this bike. I have plenty to say about it.
Keep up with your project it's alot of fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
105 Posts


Nice posts, I love seeing old good bikes converted into new different ones. This one picture is great. Rear dropouts on the toolbox, head tube on the kitty litter bucket, and a pickaxe to spread 'em. Man that's funny, because it reminds me of my own basement, backyard and shadetree bike mechanic projects. LOL
Finished bike looks super!
 

·
Beetpull DeLite
Joined
·
12,749 Posts
There is one thing you may need to be careful of - check and make sure the new threaded stem will fit the steerer tube. Some older mt. bikes had thicker 1" threaded steerer tubes, so you have to buy nonstandard stems. I had to do this on my '84 Mongoose.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Thanks for the advice. I have decieded to convert it to threadless and have already found the propper headset. It's the original 1 inch BMX threadless headset size. 32.7mm inside diameter of the headtube.
Thanks again.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top