Advice welcomed; turning my '97 Trek 6500 into an around-town bike - questions.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Advice welcomed; turning my '97 Trek 6500 into an around-town bike - questions.

    After staring at my '97 Trek frame for a couple of years, I've decided to turn it into a bike for my wife and I to share around town - short trips to work, farmer's market, studio, etc; all within a 5 mile radius of our home.

    I'd like to keep it fairly light and visually simple, so I ordered an ebay aluminum fork to replace the old elastomer (I think) fork, and an Automatix 2-speed coaster brake rear hub and a non-disc front hub to use with a pair of Mavic 321 disc rims I have but have never used. It'll be coaster brake only, no cables, etc.

    Here's what I'm working with:



    I would love advice as to the best bang for the buck lightish crankset to use on this thing - I'm leaning toward the older Stylo Oct 1:1, but I'm not up to date on the slightly out of date stuff nowadays; there may be something much better that I'm unaware of?

    Same goes for pedals (flats of course), bars, street tires, etc.

    I'll probably put a rack on the front (thinking the Origin8 courier rack here) for convenience.

    Since I'm removing all of the cables and whatnot, I'd love to drill out the rivets and remove the rear brake posts and cable guides from the frame (I'll post photos of these) - is there any reason why this would be detrimental to the frame integrity?





    Thanks in advance for collective wisdom!
    - keith

  2. #2
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    And no that I think about it, I bet I goofed the A2C on the fork - looks too long for some reason...


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  3. #3
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    Ok, I definitely screwed up on that fork! The old INDY C has an a2c of 407mm as best I can measure, so I should have a corrected a2c in the 386mm range, right? (I'm at 435 with the eBay fork)


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  4. #4
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    oh, this gets better and better - just figured out my '97 6500 came with a Quadra 5; so 48mm of travel. Looks like I need something in the 395mm a2c range. (I think, at the moment)
    - keith

  5. #5
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    Anyone want to check my math on that before I source a 395mm fork? Alternatively, does anyone have a '97 era Trek MTB with a rigid fork that can measure theirs for me?

    Aside from that, my Automatix arrived yesterday, it is 130mm whereas my frame is 135mm - I'm going to look at making spacers if I have the axle-width I need, otherwise, I'll try pinching the stays in a smidge (they move easily by hand)

    I've also been trying to read up on commuting tires in the evenings, I'm pretty sure I want something with ample volume for cushioning on the 21mm ID rims I'm going to use - suggestions?
    - keith

  6. #6
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    26 inch tires? Something slick, checked out kenda k rads, sort of a checkerboard. 2.1 or 2.3. Geax street runners @ 1.6 inches wide or so.

  7. #7
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    Oh sorry, yes - 26"


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  8. #8
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    Advice welcomed; turning my '97 Trek 6500 into an around-town bike - questions.-002.jpg

    Here is my wife's "townie" KHS solo one softtail.

    My recommendation would be just build the bike with what you already have and enjoy it. Sure, the A2C is off, but for a fun commuter, you'd be hard pressed to tell adverse handling on it.

    Build it! Enjoy it.

    Her's is 26lbs and there isn't anything "light" on the bike.

  9. #9
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    I hear ya. On the other hand, I bought this bike brand spankin new from the LBS in college (better use of my student loans than room and board) and I'd like to keep the geometry I'm used to on this one. I think it's s great frame, but the fork and brakes always sucked.




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  10. #10
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    Well that Automatix hub is unexpectedly heavy- makes the fork seem featherweight!


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    26 inch tires? Something slick, checked out kenda k rads, sort of a checkerboard. 2.1 or 2.3. Geax street runners @ 1.6 inches wide or so.
    oh yeah, that k rad looked like the way to go; until I saw the Geax street runner - both look like great options - pros/cons of either?
    - keith

  12. #12
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    ^^^^ K rad great for dirt forays, smooth rolling on pavement. Street runner, works fine, a little skinny for my liking.

  13. #13
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    hate to say it, but as interesting as both of those options are, it's probably going to boil down to which size looks the best when the bike is assembled. :shame:
    - keith

  14. #14
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    OK, so I found a fork with a 393mm a2c, but it has a 45mm offset vs. the 37mm offset of the Quadra 5; I'm thinking that's close enough?

    I measured my fork at 407, but have seen 410 cited elsewhere on the internet (negligible) - at 20% sag, the a2c should be roughly 400mm, at 30% it would be 395mm, I think - so 393 will probably work.

    (someone check my math)
    - keith

  15. #15
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    I just looked at my own damn pictures and realized my bike is a 6000. Not a 6500.
    Lol, I need professional help.


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  16. #16
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    I'll chime in and give another nod to the K-rad. I've had those on my 88 klein commuter, a carver 96'er, and a few other projects and they rule.

    And, like I said early, I wouldn't worry to much about the A2C measurements OR the offset. I've done plenty of "mtn bike" to commuter conversions back at the non-profit bike shop and never once worried about any of those measurements. 99% of the time the bikes rode better with with a slightly slacker/different offset/trail fork that was put on there. Build the bike with the parts that look the best to you and stop over analyzing.

    (I am very guilty of over analyzing myself, I can admit that)

  17. #17
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    analysis paralysis?

    you should check out my first-ever bike thread, lol!


    I'm an over-thinker - but I'm having fun.
    - keith

  18. #18
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    I built a commuter/urban assault bike last year with a similar setup from an unused GT Avalanche frame and SRAM automatix hub with coaster brake only. A couple things I learned: the hub is 130 mm so you will need some 2 mm axle spacers on each side and it will fit nicely. You will need to bend the coaster brake arm such that it lines up with the frame. The arm has to sit directly underneath the chain stay or the coaster brake strap will fail. Not something you want to happen if you're coaster brake only! Although this setup was serviceable, I could not get the right chain tension, especially after some wear and chain stretch. I ended up replacing the frame with one that had horizontal dropouts with a Surly chain tensioner. Longer forks tend to have more offset and shouldn't alter your trail too much, so I wouldn't worry about which fork.

  19. #19
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    Advice welcomed; turning my '97 Trek 6500 into an around-town bike - questions.

    Quote Originally Posted by breakcode View Post
    I built a commuter/urban assault bike last year with a similar setup from an unused GT Avalanche frame and SRAM automatix hub with coaster brake only. A couple things I learned: the hub is 130 mm so you will need some 2 mm axle spacers on each side and it will fit nicely.
    Thanks! I've ordered a 3mm and 2mm for just that reason. What front sprocket size did you use? Photos?




    Quote Originally Posted by breakcode View Post
    You will need to bend the coaster brake arm such that it lines up with the frame. The arm has to sit directly underneath the chain stay or the coaster brake strap will fail.
    Yikes! I was looking at welding a tab or bung to the frame, possibly...

    .
    Quote Originally Posted by breakcode View Post
    Longer forks tend to have more offset and shouldn't alter your trail too much, so I wouldn't worry about which fork.
    What did you end up with, fork-wise?


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  20. #20
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    Put some drop bars on it and be the coolest guy on the interwebz.
    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rides Bikes View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	1142865

    Here is my wife's "townie" KHS solo one softtail.

    My recommendation would be just build the bike with what you already have and enjoy it. Sure, the A2C is off, but for a fun commuter, you'd be hard pressed to tell adverse handling on it.

    Build it! Enjoy it.

    Her's is 26lbs and there isn't anything "light" on the bike.
    That is sooooo cool looking.
    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by eimkeith View Post
    Thanks! I've ordered a 3mm and 2mm for just that reason. What front sprocket size did you use? Photos?
    I'm running 650b x 2.3 specialized nimbus tires on there which are very wide and probably pretty close to a 29" setup in diameter. To my eye the 2.3's on 35 mm width rims are almost as wide/tall as the WTB 2.8 mid-fat tires I played around with before. With that I'm using 19t cog in the back with 34t in the front. I may have some pictures taken while I was swapping in the new frame. Just remember you can't use one of those pulley chain tensioners with a coaster brake so the lack of horizontal dropouts become a real issue. I still made it work with the original frame but the chain had a lot of slack in it, not enough to put in a half-link and I had concerns how easily the chain fell off. Not good when you don't have another brake.


    Quote Originally Posted by eimkeith View Post
    I was looking at welding a tab or bung to the frame, possibly...
    That would be the ideal way of mounting the coaster brake arm. I would still bend the coaster brake arm so that it sits flush with the tab. You want the arm to torque up/down when stopping and not at an angle where shear forces can fatigue your joint.


    Quote Originally Posted by eimkeith View Post
    What did you end up with, fork-wise
    Right now I've got a Rockshox XC30 on there because that's what I had lying around. It's probably a good 60mm longer than the frame's matching rigid fork but steers well. I've got a Chinese carbon fork on the way though.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by breakcode View Post
    Just remember you can't use one of those pulley chain tensioners with a coaster brake so the lack of horizontal dropouts become a real issue. I still made it work with the original frame but the chain had a lot of slack in it, not enough to put in a half-link and I had concerns how easily the chain fell off. Not good when you don't have another brake.
    Hmm - this hadn't occurred to me. The pulley setup does what, kill your back-pedal?
    - keith

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by eimkeith View Post
    Hmm - this hadn't occurred to me. The pulley setup does what, kill your back-pedal?
    The back-pedal will kill the pulley. When the bottom of the chain tenses up when you activate the coaster brake, it will torque on the pulley and break. Not a problem without the coaster brake.

  25. #25
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    Ok, so I just tried to use the Magic Gear calculator to see if there was a sprocket/cog combo that would work for me. I'm not sure I'm using it correctly, but I came up with 16/36?

    The Automatix hub has cog options from 16-24T...


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  26. #26
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    Looking at that again, perhaps I would be better off with 39x19? That's closer to the 2:1 I'm used to riding on my SS MTB?


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  27. #27
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    Advice welcomed; turning my '97 Trek 6500 into an around-town bike - questions.-c-dale-townie.jpg

    I just finished my Cannondale F5 today. It was a mountain bike when it came out, all hunkered-over posture, and was not comfy to ride to work. So I put some cruiser bars on it, Forte (Perfomance) pedals that were on sale and a Forte seat I found on CL for $10.

    The tires are Michelin City tires, they have a reflective stripe on the sidewalls.
    tRump is SCUM.

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  28. #28
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    New fork arrived:





    This one is 393mm a2c. (and looks sort of hideous)


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  29. #29
    jl
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    39x19 is too small for around town commuting. I do don't think you'll like it. I had a 40x18 and switched to a 40x16. I don't know what your chainstay length is but I would look for something slightly larger.
    We don't need more to be thankful for; we just need to be more thankful.

  30. #30
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    I'm at 43cm on the nose (thank you Trek)

    Let me check the magic gear calculator again and see what my options are.

    Wait - you're saying 39x19 is too small for the 2 Speed hub, right?


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  31. #31
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    I was thinking single speed. I forgot your doing the two-speed coaster. I don't know the ratios on the hub, but it'll probably work. Ride On!
    We don't need more to be thankful for; we just need to be more thankful.

  32. #32
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    It doesn't look like 39x19 is in the 43cm range. It's more like 43.7cm.
    You might want to double check your number. Don't take my word on it either.

    Another take on gearing
    63xc.com--How To | Magic Gear
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Advice welcomed; turning my '97 Trek 6500 into an around-town bike - questions.-magicgear.jpg  

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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jl View Post
    It doesn't look like 39x19 is in the 43cm range. It's more like 43.7cm.
    You might want to double check your number. Don't take my word on it either.

    Another take on gearing
    63xc.com--How To | Magic Gear
    I was assuming I'd need to use a half-link - can you run it with that option?


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  34. #34
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    Don't worry about a longer fork. It'll just slack out the front end, get your weight back, and make it easier to wheelie.

    Every 20mm is roughly the same as 1 difference in head tube angle.

  35. #35
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    Played around with my Automatix hub fitment yesterday; looks like I can offset it 2.5mm (10mm spacer on non-drive side, 5mm on drive side to make the 120mm hub fit the 135mm frame) and flip the dished sprocket over to get a decent chain line:



    This also puts the coaster brake arm on the inside of the chain stay - I'm looking at putting a threaded boss there so I can bolt it directly to the frame as shown, unless that is a bad idea for some reason?


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  36. #36
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    If you drill/tap the frame where the coaster arm would attach, you probably won't have many threads engaged and you could damage it. Stick with a traditional hose clamp style (padded) that would attach to the coaster just underneath the stay for best results. Also easier to remove wheel for the inevitable flat tire.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rides Bikes View Post
    If you drill/tap the frame where the coaster arm would attach, you probably won't have many threads engaged and you could damage it. Stick with a traditional hose clamp style (padded) that would attach to the coaster just underneath the stay for best results. Also easier to remove wheel for the inevitable flat tire.
    Can't drill and tap the chainstay; it would have to be a threaded boss - probably bonded in, I'd think.. possibly welded.


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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Rides Bikes View Post
    If you drill/tap the frame where the coaster arm would attach, you probably won't have many threads engaged and you could damage it. Stick with a traditional hose clamp style (padded) that would attach to the coaster just underneath the stay for best results. Also easier to remove wheel for the inevitable flat tire.
    IIRC you need the ability to move the wheel slightly as the chain stretches? I don't see an alignment problem using an adel clamp.

    but I'm not there.
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  39. #39
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    x3 on k-rads.... have the 26x2.3 on my GT.... I like them.... seem to roll nice
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