Repurposing Old Bikes

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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)

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Schwalbe Fat Frank, 2.35″ tires really smooth out the ride and are surprisingly fast for such a big tire.
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I love these Sunrace thumb shifters and have them on two bikes now.
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Original Shimano Exage brakes and derailluers, not the greatest but certainly adequate.
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MKS Sylvan touring pedals with Velo Orange leather toe bumpers and leather Christophe straps (from the used parts bin).
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Nice riser stem (also from the used parts bin) and a brass bell, indispensable around town and on campus.
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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.

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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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