Repurposing Old Bikes


It’s no secret that I love bikes, and have been riding them since I was five years old. When I was young bikes were freedom. We could go practically anywhere on our bikes. If we wanted to go somewhere, we rode our bikes; it didn’t even occur to use to ask for a ride. Now, four decades later, it seems bikes still represent freedom. I never tire of the wind in my face, even if I’m just commuting the short 2.5 miles to work in the morning. I have been commuting by bike for 34 years now and have gone through quite a few bikes over the years.

Last year my brother proposed we have a contest, which he called the Clunker Cross, wherein, as cheaply as possible, we get old mountain bikes and restore them into adventure/all-purpose/any surface bikes. (see the Instagram feed at clunkercross). I had already done that with a couple old Specialized Stumpjumpers and was really happy with the results. (here).

Last year I found a Specialized Rockhopper Sport for $50 online. It was in excellent condition, having been stored in a garage for the past twenty years or so. I did this build as cheap as I could, using some existing parts I had on hand, and buying a few new things. I think it turned out pretty nice. It is geared more toward around town riding, but proved itself on a recent 3 day bike tour on mixed surfaces, (here)

Schwalbe Fat Frank, 2.35″ tires really smooth out the ride and are surprisingly fast for such a big tire.
I love these Sunrace thumb shifters and have them on two bikes now.
Original Shimano Exage brakes and derailluers, not the greatest but certainly adequate.
MKS Sylvan touring pedals with Velo Orange leather toe bumpers and leather Christophe straps (from the used parts bin).
Nice riser stem (also from the used parts bin) and a brass bell, indispensable around town and on campus.
I wrapped these Sunlite Elson Roadster bars (cheap, but heavy) with regular cork bar tape then sewed leather over the top, and made matching leather bumpers for the brake levers.


I’m a fan of the Planet Bike Eco rack, which is inexpensive but very sturdy with 10mm rails. Up front I have an inexpensive, but pretty large Electra rack.

The bottle cages are excellent Iris King Cages. The saddle is an Origin8 Classic which looks nice, like a Brooks, but is not that comfortable for me. I did have a Brooks B17 on it, that I swiped from my touring bike, but couldn’t justify keeping it on this bike. This bike went from collecting dust in a garage to a great, functional, comfortable bike.  I am currently using it for commuting and riding around town. I’m currently working on another similar project, so stay tuned.


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