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Completed the Stage 1 Upgrade of my MBK Touring Bike(1 post)

Completed the Stage 1 Upgrade of my MBK Touring BikeKeeponTrekkin
Apr 17, 2003 6:10 PM
Got the bike in France in '89; rode self guided tours in '89 & '90. A bit heavy but sturdy & comfortable. Drivetrain was 3 x 6; has anyone heard of Helicomatic (hub & cassette)? Harris Cycles told me to junk it; the Sachs-Huret had never shifted well and after getting used to 9 sp. Shimano, it seemed pretty unsatisfactory.

Stage 1 required buying new wheels with an S-hub (bought used on RBR, not as light as the Rolfs on my Trek but much lighter than the MBK originals). Fitting the new wheels required spreading the rear triangle from 126mm to 130mm to accommodate 9 sp hubs (See Sheldon Brown - it's easier than he says.) I had a 12-23 DA cassette but wanted wider gearing. Bought a few individual cogs from Harris and now I have a 12-28 or 12-34 cassette which is basically road spacing for the first 7 or 8 with 1 or 2 big cog(s) for the steep stuff. I needed a narrow chain so I got a SRAM (that link is so easy to use, I can't imagine putting up with the S system.) Since I'd be going so much faster with the new drivetrain, I replaced the brake pads with Kool Stops.

The Sachs/Huret derailleur didn't have the range to cover all 9 cogs so I mounted a Shimano XTR with the original friction shifter (fortunately, the shifter had the needed range). I gave the XTR a new cable and housing while I was at it.

That's Stage 1. The quality of shifting is much better and the new wheels, while not super light, make the bike feel much quicker. The cassette pattern isn't ideal yet but I decided to ride it a while before making any more changes. The first serious ride was a 35 mile club ride last Sunday. It was a beautiful morning spent climbing or fighting headwinds on scenic NJ back roads and the MBK felt like a new machine.

Stage 2 is still in contemplation and includes STI shifters and a front derailleur.

With improving weather, my attention will shift back to the Trek so the MBK will take a back seat for a while and I'll probably wait for Stage 2.

From this board, I learned most of what I needed to know and Harris Cycles filled in the blanks.

Thanks for reading.....