Has anyone built a Gravel bike using a retro frame

Woz

Old School Grand Master
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A lot of course will depend on your ambition level and budget. Personally think your requirement for discs and two wheel size compatibility will drive up complexity. If you keep it simple with a proper 26" wheel frame, cantis, mechanical brifters, up to a 10 speed cassette, two chainrings, you can be up and running with something relatively lightweight and nimble.

When you go beyond that with discs, you are getting into more modern hydros or mechanical disk brakes, 11 speed and it would beckon the question would it not be best to find a modern small wheel gravel bike straight away with a new GRX gruppo?

Another potential retro brand to look out for would be Sunn. They did a large range of full rigids in XS even into 2000s.

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Mickeyspinn

rBotM Winner
Retro frame built to be/look like a modern 700c "gravel" bike!?
Rides lovely on road...a bit sketchy on gravel...a lot of effort and a fair bit of cash
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Old dog 26" wheel retro MTB nailed together with a bit of road stuff goes like stink on road and off-road super comfy to boot!.doubt it's cost more than 50 Bob...
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And yeah downtube shifters....cos it's all I had for 9 speed!
Bang for buck ol'dog wins 👍
 

rwm1962

Orange 🍊 Fan
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I've been using a Pinnacle Arkose X 650b gravel bike for commuting for last couple of months as my route is mostly offroad Done over 700 miles on it & find I rarely use the drops & even swapping the flared bars for regular drop bars not finding it as comfortable as flats. Finding my 2002 P7 with Jones Loop H bars & Surly Troll forks more comfortable & still nimble. Plus with it's higher BB can peddle around more bends without peddle strike. I may well end up flogging the Arkose.

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dirttorpedo

Senior Retro Guru
On-Ones tend to run big I think. That Inbred looks massive, according to this blog even in 2003 it had long and low geometry? https://muddymoles.org.uk/bikes/on-one-inbred-2003-geometry The 16" (smallest size?) definitely looks too big. For reference I ride pretty much the smallest road and CX frames I can find, and 650c for my race/TT bikes. I had an On-One Pompetamine for a while in the smallest size and sold it, as it was just too big ultimately.

Good point about the steel frame, maybe something like this old Specialized would be good for a start https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/275295360284
Yes, I think that could work. Weird seatpost size for a steel bike. I might look for something with a more standard seat post dimension.
 

maryka

Retro Newbie
So looking at a few Marins relatively close to me on Ebay, I'm wondering a bit about size. They all appear to be 15.5" so 17" in other framesets (? apparently Marin measured c-to-c?) and for that size the toptubes are around 22" so ~550mm which is a fair bit longer than my road and CX bikes. Am I better off with the smallest size (14") given my height (5'2" and short armed and legged?) The advice seems to be to size down for a MTB-to-gravel conversion so am I just asking to hate it if I go with the 15.5?

Ones I'm looking at:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/403673025212 Palisades Trail 1996
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284823866792 Bear Valley also 1996
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/185426255352 Palisades Trail frameset only 1993
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/394085029731 and this Kona Muni Mula 2002 which ironically meets my requirement of disc and post mounts but also 16" with the same 22" toptube.

Thoughts before I get impatient and just buy something because it's only 50 quid?
 

RACERX_26

Retro Newbie
So looking at a few Marins relatively close to me on Ebay, I'm wondering a bit about size. They all appear to be 15.5" so 17" in other framesets (? apparently Marin measured c-to-c?) and for that size the toptubes are around 22" so ~550mm which is a fair bit longer than my road and CX bikes. Am I better off with the smallest size (14") given my height (5'2" and short armed and legged?) The advice seems to be to size down for a MTB-to-gravel conversion so am I just asking to hate it if I go with the 15.5?

Ones I'm looking at:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/403673025212 Palisades Trail 1996
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284823866792 Bear Valley also 1996
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/185426255352 Palisades Trail frameset only 1993
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/394085029731 and this Kona Muni Mula 2002 which ironically meets my requirement of disc and post mounts but also 16" with the same 22" toptube.

Thoughts before I get impatient and just buy something because it's only 50 quid?
I'd go with the Bear Mountain
 

Woz

Old School Grand Master
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So looking at a few Marins relatively close to me on Ebay, I'm wondering a bit about size. They all appear to be 15.5" so 17" in other framesets (? apparently Marin measured c-to-c?) and for that size the toptubes are around 22" so ~550mm which is a fair bit longer than my road and CX bikes. Am I better off with the smallest size (14") given my height (5'2" and short armed and legged?) The advice seems to be to size down for a MTB-to-gravel conversion so am I just asking to hate it if I go with the 15.5?

Ones I'm looking at:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/403673025212 Palisades Trail 1996
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/284823866792 Bear Valley also 1996
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/185426255352 Palisades Trail frameset only 1993
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/394085029731 and this Kona Muni Mula 2002 which ironically meets my requirement of disc and post mounts but also 16" with the same 22" toptube.

Thoughts before I get impatient and just buy something because it's only 50 quid?

Rule number one is never buy a frame the wrong size.

Rule number two is never buy a frame the wrong size.

...... I could go on. Why don't you put a Wanted Ad in the appropriate section?

To be honest, while they are cheap, none of them would be a brilliant ride. If you have the budget, just be a patient for some quality to turn up. Somebody somewhere has a nice steel or Ti frameset doing nothing and willing to sell if the price is right.

I'd stay clear of anything AL regardless of brand; they are practically worthless. Same for anything with older suspension forks.
 
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