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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Touring build---- using alum MTB - advice requested

Okay, after much debate and an even more drastic cut in funds I've decided to sell the '84 Trek Sport Tourer and build up the Alum Trek rigid MTB as touring/all-around bike (when not using single speed).
Rationale-
Most of my touring has been and most likely will continue to be offroad. If I do a road tour I can always throw some gears back on the SS which is a sport tourer too.
I've been yearning to ride in the woods, not on the MUT (but not enough to have a dedicated MTB, oh the horror).

The bike. I picked this bike up for free at a yard sale and only needed to get a front wheel to get it running. My nephew was riding it but he outgrew it and gave it back. (We picked up a SS MTB for him).

I've been reading the advice on the forums and based on what I've read these are the thoughts I have on build-up. ADVISE ME PLEASE

  • Dirt drops/mustache bars (I have pretty verticle stem which seems to be good for dirt drops I have bell lap bars in shed)
  • thumbies or rapid fire shifters (???)
  • Cantis- I have v-brakes but can't see how the levers would work on drops
  • fenders- seems to be plenty of clearance
  • racks and BOB I have
)
 

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What kind of components does it have on it?

I would put drop bars on it and some cheap brifters if possible. Bar ends are a cheap option and I know someone that has some for cheap if the number of gears are right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Will brifters work with V- brakes?
I thought about bar-ends but I've never used them, will they work with the flare of the dirt drop style bars?
Components are low end shimano, I have another bike the the shed I might scrape some parts off, that's where I was going to get the cantis.
 

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zeytin said:
Will brifters work with V- brakes?
I thought about bar-ends but I've never used them, will they work with the flare of the dirt drop style bars?
Components are low end shimano, I have another bike the the shed I might scrape some parts off, that's where I was going to get the cantis.
Not without travel agents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
FrontRanger said:
Not without travel agents.
From what I've read the travel agents leave much to be desired.
 

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That is what I have heard as well. The Tektro levers are very nice (same as cane creek supposedly). I have the diacomp 287v and I am incredibly happy with the stopping power.
 

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What'd I do?
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zeytin said:
Will brifters work with V- brakes?
No, not really. Just the travel agents, which as you said leave something to be desired. But they work.

zeytin said:
I thought about bar-ends but I've never used them, will they work with the flare of the dirt drop style bars?
Yes. I think dirt drops would work better for you than the Bell Lap bars, since they have shorter drops, and it's easier to reach bar end shifters. If you end up using STI shifters, than go with the one you find most comfortable. For optimizing performance in the dirt, use dirt drops (WTB, On-One, Origin-8).

Another option is trekking bars, which are essentially, two flat bars, one is just higher and farther away than the other.

zeytin said:
Components are low end shimano, I have another bike the the shed I might scrape some parts off, that's where I was going to get the cantis.
Wherever you find parts, choose them for durability and toughness. Bar end shifters will be more reliable than STI levers, for example. Thumbshifters are less likely to jam/break than trigger and grip shifters (though I've seen it happen)

Oh, and have fun.
 

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I've played with the idea of converting my own old Trek to a touring bike. When you ad up all the parts you need to make it comfortable AND reliable and recondition it, you may very well end up spending enough to get an inexpensive road bike. A very big factor is the shifting. You will probably want bar end shifters since STi levers will be quite expensive, even at a Shimano 105 level. It's something to consider. Put together a list of everything you would like to see on it and add it up, it may be worth it, or maybe not. In my case, it wasn't worth it.

Another possibility, and I may be crazy is converting to single speed. As a single speed, you only need to get the bar and levers (and maybe a new quill stem for better geometry), a chain tensioner and a cog w/spacers spacers or a freewheel and you're set. At that point you could have youself a decent single speed cyclocross bike.
 

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How many speeds is your bike? 7, 8 or 9
 

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zeytin said:
build up the Alum Trek rigid MTB as touring/all-around bike
I really thought the Trek 820 was steel, not aluminum. The current 820 model is high-ten steel according to Trek's website, but I don't know about older models. Have you checked it with a magnet?

Did you replace the rear wheel as well as the front? If it has the stock rear it's probably a pretty cheap freewheel (non-cassette) hub with a bend-prone axle. That was a weak spot on my Trek 3700, which has about the same componentry as an 820 but with an aluminum frame instead of steel.
 

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Dia compe

Dia compe makes a set of brake levers for drop bars specifically designed to work with v's as I recall. I think they're the 737s or something like that. There are some sweet dirt drop style bars available, WTB is producing the dirt drops again. Shifters might be problematic but bar end shifters in an 8 spd version would work (cog spacing is the same for 6-8) you would just have to set your stop screws on the derailler to not go past the limits.
 

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I've built the bike you are describing.

Here's the highlights/lowlights.

Thumbshifters on midge bars- lead to a fairly cramped cockpit- the steep ramp on the midge bars meant that when you've got your hands on the brake hoods, you're pretty much JAMMED into the hoods. However, after I got used to it, it wasn't too bad.

Even with the cramped handlebars, I'd go with thumbshifters again in a heartbeat. Thumbshifters in friction mode are INCREDIBLY forgiving- it doesn't matter if you haven't lubed the cables in months and there's currently a shell of ice one inch thick on your rear derailleur, they will shift. And, when you are in rough, bumpy, uncomfortable situations, they are easier to use than bar ends.

Fenders and v-brakes= problems with fitting. I ended up having to cut out bits of the side to make it work. Not a problem with cantis.

Good luck- the world needs more practical bikes that don't cost over 3 grand...
 

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zeytin said:
From what I've read the travel agents leave much to be desired.
I have mini-Vs on my cross bike (Tektro and Campy both make them). They work great w/o a travel agent, but you need a barrel adjuster to get them on and off (or you can deflate the tire).

The Veloce ones I have make me very happy, stop-wise.
 

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whateveronfire said:
I have mini-Vs on my cross bike (Tektro and Campy both make them). They work great w/o a travel agent, but you need a barrel adjuster to get them on and off (or you can deflate the tire).
But if you're doing a new build, I think it would be a lot easier to just get v-brake compatible drop bar levers from DiaCompe, Cane Creek, or Tektro. The only reason not to is if you *really* want to stick with brifters.

I recently switched from brifters to brake-only levers and bar-ends. I was nervous about the switch but I quickly found that I don't miss the brifters at all. I would think that if you're getting dirt-drops the bar-end shifters would be a close reach, thus making it easier to acclimate yourself to the new shifting technique.
 

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plus, if you're touring in the woods, brifters are gonna last about one endo on the rocks.
 
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