Has anyone built a Gravel bike using a retro frame

maryka

Retro Newbie
I've just bought one of these from SJSC. https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/brakes/tektro-power-hanger-brake-enhancer-for-cantilever-brakes/. Not fitted it yet but could it help address the space issue?
I did have a front headset-mounted hanger in the spares box and being a 1 1/8th threadless steerer (the joys of 1999!) I can stick that on there and the front actually has bags of room anyway, unless I go to an even bigger tire. It's the rear that has space issues hence the short hanger ordered.

^ There will be some trial and error, but that looks well thought out. For the front cable hanger, I would recommend a fork mounted one rather than a headset mounted one.

Just noticed that the frame is for a down pull FD meaning you can easily switch to the Claris FD 👍

MTB mechs are designed around 42T / 44T. When it get's to 46 / 48T it makes more sense to go for a Road mech. Again, no magic formula, just trial and error with the frame you have.

Curious why would fork-mounted be better, is it just for easier mounting without messing with the headset? And thanks for the FD tips, good to have options! Was probably going to leave the LX one on there unless I can't get it working nicely for a 2x chainset. I think 44t would be the biggest I'd go with this as I don't use the small cogs much in the 46t on my CX bike as it is.
 

Woz

Old School Grand Master
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I've got a headset mounted on my CX, and fork up hanger on the 26" monster cross.

- Easy to install. Can use a titanium bolt to save a bit on weight.
- No messing with headset pre-load, taking stem and bars off.
- The cable run from the bars under the tape is tidier, and doesn't get bunched up under the stem; this
is a great benefit when you are testing your set-up and looking to get the right bar height. It's much
less fiddly to cut off any excess outer cable after.
 

maryka

Retro Newbie
I've got a headset mounted on my CX, and fork up hanger on the 26" monster cross.

- Easy to install. Can use a titanium bolt to save a bit on weight.
- No messing with headset pre-load, taking stem and bars off.
- The cable run from the bars under the tape is tidier, and doesn't get bunched up under the stem; this
is a great benefit when you are testing your set-up and looking to get the right bar height. It's much
less fiddly to cut off any excess outer cable after.
Sold... I've put it on my SJS wishlist to get on my next order.
 

RetroDavy

Old School Hero
I did have a front headset-mounted hanger in the spares box and being a 1 1/8th threadless steerer (the joys of 1999!) I can stick that on there and the front actually has bags of room anyway, unless I go to an even bigger tire. It's the rear that has space issues hence the short hanger ordered.



Curious why would fork-mounted be better, is it just for easier mounting without messing with the headset? And thanks for the FD tips, good to have options! Was probably going to leave the LX one on there unless I can't get it working nicely for a 2x chainset. I think 44t would be the biggest I'd go with this as I don't use the small cogs much in the 46t on my CX bike as it is.
The brake booster can be used front or back, so SJSC's website says. (Though would need a rear brake bridge that's appropriately drilled for it). But you're sorted with the hanger anyway, so happy days. Look forward to seeing what you do 👍.
 

InFaasion

Dirt Disciple
I’m in! Found this bike in a local pawn shop and didn’t know at first what it was, but with a Syncros stem and XTR canties you can’t go wrong. Plus the Gulf livery someone gave it. Now converted intro a drop bar with Dura Ace brifters and XT V’s. Recently added a small front rack. Rides like an old Trek 8500 because that’s what this frame is.
 

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Frankenorange

Orange 🍊 Fan
I’m in! Found this bike in a local pawn shop and didn’t know at first what it was, but with a Syncros stem and XTR canties you can’t go wrong. Plus the Gulf livery someone gave it. Now converted intro a drop bar with Dura Ace brifters and XT V’s. Recently added a small front rack. Rides like an old Trek 8500 because that’s what this frame is.

Loving the look of this. Being able to shorten the axle to crown on the forks and reduce the size of the gap between the tyre and down tube makes an old 26" mtb conversion look really good.

Do you know what make the forks are?
 

Imlach

Kona Fan
Specialized Fan
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I’m in! Found this bike in a local pawn shop and didn’t know at first what it was, but with a Syncros stem and XTR canties you can’t go wrong. Plus the Gulf livery someone gave it. Now converted intro a drop bar with Dura Ace brifters and XT V’s. Recently added a small front rack. Rides like an old Trek 8500 because that’s what this frame is.
Mate thats a stunner. Nice and clean. Real monstercross. What size tyres? 2.3? Do you get much clearance?
 

pw_pw_la

Senior Retro Guru
Each to their own but my preference is:

1 & 2. Larger frame with shorter top tube than normal, and/or shorter and taller stem than normal, because the position of the brake lever hoods on the drop bar wants to be roughly where the brake levers would be on a flat bar or a bit higher (so you can use the drops easily as well), especially if you're using...

3. Bar cons plus standard road bike brake levers for cantilever or U brakes or Tektro RL520s (I think) with V brakes. With mountain bike running gear. I've never used brifters and they may be better, I just don't know. I like simple stuff in fraction mode. I understand brifters need to run with road front derailleur and can use MTB rear up to 9 speed or so. Something like that.

5. I think 26" MTBs with drop bars are great, so recommend giving it a go!

You'll have seen this one already but for anyone who hasn't... inspiration:

Very helpful, thanks!

And I sort of meant to post in the dirt drop thread in the first place! Seeing as that's really what I'll be building, whenever I find a suitable frame, anyway!
 

Woz

Old School Grand Master
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I’m in! Found this bike in a local pawn shop and didn’t know at first what it was, but with a Syncros stem and XTR canties you can’t go wrong. Plus the Gulf livery someone gave it. Now converted intro a drop bar with Dura Ace brifters and XT V’s. Recently added a small front rack. Rides like an old Trek 8500 because that’s what this frame is.

Mmmh. Pretty sure there is an old build with that bike somewhere. Looks familiar.
 
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