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1990's Mountain Bike Thread (aka the gravel bike thread)

May 25, 2022, 6:58 p.m.
Posts: 1242
Joined: May 11, 2018

Personally, I don't think gravel bikes belong in the lycra forum as they are at the heart of it, a 90's MTB (complete with a mix of drop and flat bars).

I just picked this frame/fork/seatpost/handlebar/stem for $500USD. I also threw in two $100 carbon rims but can only build up one of them as the front hub is on back order. Aside from new carbon rims and front hub, all the other parts are moved over from old bikes. I have only taken it out for a 20min test spin so far but it is really comfortable. I also got blue titanium bolts for all the mounting holes (this bike has 24 of them!) for $10 from aliexpress. It was my first time with fully integrated cable routing - that was fun. The result is pretty slick looking IMO.

May 26, 2022, 4:58 a.m.
Posts: 22
Joined: Nov. 20, 2020

Here's my Otso Warakin Stainless. It's proven to me that you can get pretty stupid with skinny tires and drop bars. And that a 51t cassette is still great to have on the road.

May 26, 2022, 6:07 a.m.
Posts: 1310
Joined: Sept. 10, 2012

My "gravel bike" can trace its roots back to mountain bikes pretty easily. No Rapha or leg shaving required.

May 26, 2022, 8:41 a.m.
Posts: 15504
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

Before he could break it trying to emulate Wade Simmons I liberated the steel framed Kona Hahana i gave my 14 yr old kid for his birthday and turned it into a touring/ gravel bike, the tig welded steel rides nice

swapped in a steel fork, besides whatever was on it before that I've also run it with 1&1/4 slicks (even toured them in france) the biggest change is running a 1.9 block pattern tire which is great on gravel

but its still got 26"wheels which are gona be slower than a real gravel bike


 Last edited by: XXX_er on May 26, 2022, 9:11 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 26, 2022, 8:49 a.m.
Posts: 38
Joined: May 11, 2022

I've taken 2000's Gary Fisher and put on a rigid fork, gravelking 2.1's, 1x9 drivetrain (38 tooth chainring), soma dream bars, bb7's and it's my gravel ride of sorts.  Fun bike.

May 26, 2022, 9:34 a.m.
Posts: 14683
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Posted by: RAHrider

Personally, I don't think gravel bikes belong in the lycra forum as they are at the heart of it, a 90's MTB (complete with a mix of drop and flat bars).

I just picked this frame/fork/seatpost/handlebar/stem for $500USD. I also threw in two $100 carbon rims but can only build up one of them as the front hub is on back order. Aside from new carbon rims and front hub, all the other parts are moved over from old bikes. I have only taken it out for a 20min test spin so far but it is really comfortable. I also got blue titanium bolts for all the mounting holes (this bike has 24 of them!) for $10 from aliexpress. It was my first time with fully integrated cable routing - that was fun. The result is pretty slick looking IMO.

LOL - it's totally 1990s MTB (with some better shifting and brake tech). That's why I've been loving it for the last few years.

What is that frame and where did you source all that for 500$? Direct to consumer chinese brand or is it used? that's not a knock by the way - that seems like really good value and I'm curious as I'm thinking of getting a new gravel ride.

I'm currently on a CX bike and would like just a bit more room for rear tire width (mine is pretty tight at 38c, space for 45 would be sweet).


 Last edited by: Couch_Surfer on May 26, 2022, 9:36 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 26, 2022, 12:53 p.m.
Posts: 99
Joined: May 11, 2017

Anyone here actually converted a pre 2000 mtb to a gravel / commuter with 700c wheels? I know some bikes with bigger clearance fit road wheels but not sure how the angles / reach etc end up.....

May 26, 2022, 1:26 p.m.
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb. 17, 2022

Posted by: Couch_Surfer

Posted by: RAHrider

Personally, I don't think gravel bikes belong in the lycra forum as they are at the heart of it, a 90's MTB (complete with a mix of drop and flat bars).

I just picked this frame/fork/seatpost/handlebar/stem for $500USD. I also threw in two $100 carbon rims but can only build up one of them as the front hub is on back order. Aside from new carbon rims and front hub, all the other parts are moved over from old bikes. I have only taken it out for a 20min test spin so far but it is really comfortable. I also got blue titanium bolts for all the mounting holes (this bike has 24 of them!) for $10 from aliexpress. It was my first time with fully integrated cable routing - that was fun. The result is pretty slick looking IMO.

LOL - it's totally 1990s MTB (with some better shifting and brake tech). That's why I've been loving it for the last few years.

What is that frame and where did you source all that for 500$? Direct to consumer chinese brand or is it used? that's not a knock by the way - that seems like really good value and I'm curious as I'm thinking of getting a new gravel ride.

I'm currently on a CX bike and would like just a bit more room for rear tire width (mine is pretty tight at 38c, space for 45 would be sweet).

Another bike to look into that might fit the bill is a Sonder Camino. I got a frame and carbon fork for $395, and the result of the build is what I lovingly refer to as the “Anti-KOM machine”. With 50mm tires it’s my road, dirt, gravel, and cyclocross machine all in one, as well as a glorious commuter.

May 26, 2022, 4:04 p.m.
Posts: 9221
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

Here's my Pre Production Norco Search ST...fun bike!

Norco Search ST

May 26, 2022, 5:48 p.m.
Posts: 1242
Joined: May 11, 2018

Posted by: Couch_Surfer

Posted by: RAHrider

Personally, I don't think gravel bikes belong in the lycra forum as they are at the heart of it, a 90's MTB (complete with a mix of drop and flat bars).

I just picked this frame/fork/seatpost/handlebar/stem for $500USD. I also threw in two $100 carbon rims but can only build up one of them as the front hub is on back order. Aside from new carbon rims and front hub, all the other parts are moved over from old bikes. I have only taken it out for a 20min test spin so far but it is really comfortable. I also got blue titanium bolts for all the mounting holes (this bike has 24 of them!) for $10 from aliexpress. It was my first time with fully integrated cable routing - that was fun. The result is pretty slick looking IMO.

LOL - it's totally 1990s MTB (with some better shifting and brake tech). That's why I've been loving it for the last few years.

What is that frame and where did you source all that for 500$? Direct to consumer chinese brand or is it used? that's not a knock by the way - that seems like really good value and I'm curious as I'm thinking of getting a new gravel ride.

I'm currently on a CX bike and would like just a bit more room for rear tire width (mine is pretty tight at 38c, space for 45 would be sweet).

It is a "lightcarbon" frame - model LCG071-D. I'll give it about 6-12 months of abuse before I recommend it to anyone. It is almost unrealistically light. They use a mandrel technique so the carbon looks really good inside and out. The bottom bracket is actually really stiff but the bars and front end are pretty flexy. Like "is it supposed to flex this much?" Flexy. When riding it, I don't notice the flex and when out on trails this afternoon, found the bike better handing than my old converted karate monkey. The bike built up really well and I cannot find any issues with it, so my only real concern is longevity. As for utility, the frame fits up to 52c tires and has lots of room in the main triangle for bottles and bags as well as rack and fender mounts.

As for converting 26" 1990's mtb, I have put 700c wheels on them before but I doubt you could fit much more than  30c tires. 27.5 wheels would work really well on 26" mtb frame imo.

May 26, 2022, 6:49 p.m.
Posts: 14683
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

I look forward to your long-term review. I follow Peak Torque on YouTube and he has seriously positive things to say about DTC Chinese carbon wheels (specific brands). Makes sense, it’s the same factories just knocking out the brands as a middleman.

Also, for 500usd, it’s a reasonable experiment.


 Last edited by: Couch_Surfer on May 26, 2022, 6:51 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
May 31, 2022, 3:11 p.m.
Posts: 2250
Joined: April 25, 2003

Early DeKerf as a gravel bike (or as we called 'em at the time, Cyclocross bikes) for bashing it out in the Ontario CX series. Cute project but mountain bike bars would have been better.

Flat- bar Cross-Check does gravel duty now; with it's hard sketchy tires, unreliable braking (Paul cantis) and high seat it has massive 90's MTB vibes even though it's from the early 2010's. In the interest of conformity/group ride compatibility it's getting it's drop bars back, pics to follow.

https://live.staticflickr.com/1316/5114356001_1cf7933755_k.jpg


 Last edited by: tashi on May 31, 2022, 3:11 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
June 1, 2022, 8:13 a.m.
Posts: 914
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

XL titanium gravel bike

Old school numbers but the rest is weird. 71/73 and it's perfect. 445mm rear end and 620mm top tube. Titanium. I keep experimenting with bar roll, stem height and stem length which is why the bar is in that weird angle, though it's been that way for a while. I initially rode it singlespeed (rocker dropouts) which was great in the city and explains the Hylex SS brakes. But once I started venturing deeper into the shore there was a lot I couldn't climb and I dislike pushing my bike. So I added SRAM X1 11-36 out back and the trigger is mounted to the bar via a little doodad from Paul's. I love this bike.


 Last edited by: craw on June 1, 2022, 8:14 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
June 18, 2022, 5:34 p.m.
Posts: 1242
Joined: May 11, 2018

That bike looks sweet craw. The drop from saddle to bars is insane. Who makes the frame?

The steel norco is really nice as well. 

This new Chinese factory direct frame is weird. Super flexible around the headtube/top tube while being relatively stiff around the bottom bracket. At first I found all the flex concerning. If you torque on the bars the whole front end twists a fair bit. Once I get on trails though, it really hugs the ground around corners. My theory is that when you turn the bike, the flex works like a bit of suspension keeping the front wheel in contact rather than bouncing on bumps. It's got me thinking about the positive attributes of a flexy frame that I might have overlooked in the age of super stiff carbon bikes with oodles of suspension.

June 23, 2022, 8:03 a.m.
Posts: 914
Joined: Jan. 31, 2005

Posted by: RAHrider

That bike looks sweet craw. The drop from saddle to bars is insane. Who makes the frame?

The steel norco is really nice as well.

This new Chinese factory direct frame is weird. Super flexible around the headtube/top tube while being relatively stiff around the bottom bracket. At first I found all the flex concerning. If you torque on the bars the whole front end twists a fair bit. Once I get on trails though, it really hugs the ground around corners. My theory is that when you turn the bike, the flex works like a bit of suspension keeping the front wheel in contact rather than bouncing on bumps. It's got me thinking about the positive attributes of a flexy frame that I might have overlooked in the age of super stiff carbon bikes with oodles of suspension.

Mine was made by https://waltlytitanium.com/. I think I'll make a fresh one soon with a further 1cm of reach and bigger top and down tubes and lose the rocker dropouts (sorry Andrew). I'll return this one to SS/city duty.

I've got pretty long arms so that saddle-bar height difference isn't as extreme as it looks.

I think on these bikes a little controlled flex is nice.


 Last edited by: craw on June 23, 2022, 8:05 a.m., edited 2 times in total.

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