|Confessions from||Fred the Cross-Poser|
Aug 7, 2001 10:40 AM
So many people seem to be interested in converting an old bike so I though I would stop lurking around this board and tell my story. Please excuse the long post.
First, I do not race. I am mainly a recreational road rider averaging 1,800 miles per year, typically at 20 mph average speed over New Hampshire hills. When I venture offroad, I typically follow old rail lines that have had the rails & ties removed but remain gravel, dirt, mud, and swamps. I found that my Rockhopper FS Comp had a geometry just different enough from my Bianchi Eros to make any trip over 20 miles painful. Hence the need for a cross-like bike.
The bike - a 1983 blue metallic Univega Supra Sport. The frame matched the Eros geometry (58 cm) and was in excellent condition. I removed a lot of stuff: 27 inch rims, Suntour AR shifters/drive/brakes, Sugino cranks, small narrow handlebars, and an unbelievable saddle (ouch!). As part of the rebuilding effort, I reconditioned parts from my first road bike a 1983 63 cm Shogun 600 (I am only 6ft the store must have had this 63 cm bike sitting around.). Anyway, replacements are as follows:
· Profile Hammer DB deep drop handle bars (Nashbar)
· Profile white/grey/black bar tape (Nashbar)
· Zoom zero rise stem (Nashbar)
· Shimano 600 6 speed 12-25 (Shogun)
· Shimano 600 170 mm cranks 42/52 rings (Shogun)
· Shimano 600 brakes with old style Tourney calipers (Shogun)
· Campy Super record seat post (Shogun)
· Terry Liberator saddle (Performance)
· Araya 700 c rims (Shogun)
· Specialized S-works Mt Baldy Cross tires 700x32 (Specialized)
· Cateye Astrale Cyclocomputer (Shogun)
So far (36 miles), I love the bike. Its ride is much more compliant that I would have thought from an old chrome-moly battle tank frame with straight seat stays. It rides well on and off the road the specialized tires are quiet on pavement and still keep their grip on the dirt. The tires get mired in sand much more quickly than the 2 inch fatties on the Rockhopper, but they sure roll much faster on anything else. I also appreciate the scroll work on the old Shimano 600 parts something you don't see on modern parts. "Fishing" for the right gear using the downtube shifters took a little getting used to, but you get the hang of it pretty quick.
On the downside, the 170 mm cranks, the 52/42 rings, and the 12-25 cogset make the bike way too steeply geared for offroad. Additionally, the old single pivot tourney brakes, though long enough to reach the 700 c rims, are very spongy.
If I continue to like the bike, I will probably spring for upgrading the drivetrain using ultegra/XT parts and find a replacement for those brakes. But for now, with a fraction of the cost of a new cyclocross bike, I can get out there and enjoy trails a lot more with a pretty decent bike. I can't wait to watch the faces of the mountain bikers as I bury them below the horizon.
Thanks for reading!