My Commuter build/conversion thread. '89 Fisher Paragon- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    My Commuter build/conversion thread. '89 Fisher Paragon

    I have information all over the place about this project, and figured I would collect it here for progress photos and info as I go. Below are some pics that appear in a couple other threads that show the bike, my old '89 Fisher Paragon. Steel frame with "OVS" oversized tubing and Evolution inch and a quarter head. More on challenges presented by that later. The frame is a really nice steel ride with beautiful welds and braze ons.




    Original fork that is going back on to replace that old Rock Shox.




    Done so far, put on WTB Speed V saddle. Comfy, but firm enough to pedal hard. Put on English 3 Speed type bar with about 6 inch sweep back from connection to stem and about 2.5 inch rise. Put on Ritchy Tom Slicks. Put on Dutch Opa DingDong bell purchased during a trip to Holland, the nirvana of bike commuters.
    Bought a Thermos brand one hand operable insulated bottle for morning commute coffee. I will be going about 12 miles each way, and enjoy a little hot coffee, with soy milk and honey with a little cinnamon for my trip

    In progress,

    -installing Axiom Journey rear rack, which will carry panniers and when commuting, an Ortlieb Office Bag I found used to carry my laptop and daily necessaries. Also install more complete tool bag under rear of saddle.

    -Putting old fork back on(see above pics), and trying to find shorter, taller stem to bring the bars back a little more. I like this bar that is on it now, but if I can't find a stem that will work, due to the now obsolete inch and a quarter stem size, I will just get another bar that comes back a bit further. I have a thread on that project and my considerations in this sub-forum. https://forums.mtbr.com/commuting/he...er-906365.html

    -Future Plans - purchase used Ortlieb Back Roller panniers. I want water proof, and these seem like the ones i want.

    - Put on lights, front and rear. More to be seen than to see with.

    -Figure out a front rack that will work well with that fork. i wanted to use the SOMA front rack, but it requires a hole in the crown of the fork. My fork does not have that, although it does have the braze-ons below. I may have to buck up to something like an Old Man Mountain type. Or drill my fork. Hmm. The front rack will be used not every day, but more for some touring trips we are planning. Though I would like one with a platform so I can use the platform if I want to for a basket or box to throw stuff in for around town.

    -consider fenders. Don't really need them much as I live in the high alpine desert and it rains very little. But still thinking about some.

    -consider putting original XT Cantilever brakes back on. No real good functional reason for this other than style, as the V-brakes that are on there are of good quality and provide good stopping power. Low on the priority list if I do it at all.

    More to follow. Any thoughts or comments are welcome.

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    From the help me choose a handlebar thread linked above:
    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    Do you have a bike co-op nearby? That's where I get all my weird, old bars, for $5 each.

    Personally, I know I'm not a fan of the bars that point straight back. Judging from the photos I'd probably prefer the Nitto to the Promenade, although the nitto has a ton of rise (possibly too much).
    Cross thread quote here. In answer to your question, there is one in Boise, The Boise Bicycle Project. A Nonprofit Bicycle Cooperative I was able to stop in and check it out after my daughter's soccer games in Boise this last Saturday. Only got about 30 min though. Not nearly enough time to fully check it out. Did check out their old bars which are inexpensive. None provided more of what I wanted as compared to what I have. No stems that were better either. All those old inch and a quarter stems are really long and usually pretty flat. My local bike shop guy measured my stem and is trying to find a shim that will work to allow me to use any commercially available inch and an eighth.

    The Project is very cool though as you can check out all sorts of different builds they have done, and are selling pretty cheap, their favorite parts (racks, bars, etc.) for converting old mountain bikes or other old bikes, and rummage the bins for old parts that might help you out. I want to go back when there is more time and check it out some more for more ideas.

    The big thing I came away with this last time is that my particular fork does not have a hole in the crown for the easiest and cheapest front racks to work. Will have to stew on that one. I may consider having a hole drilled as I don't think that will matter for commuting use. But I don't know if I am completely comfortable with that or not. They did have a fork that would fit my bike that does have a hole, but it is white and I would have to paint it. I would prefer to use my own fork if I can.

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    My update is as follows. I talked to my frame building friend, and he is going to pop a hole in the crown of my fork for me which he assures will not be a problem, so I can install a front rack.

    Meanwhile, I installed my new Axiom Journey rear rack, and my new to me but used Ortlieb Office Bag for my laptop and work stuff. Plenty of heel room and fits great!

    Also, you can see my new one handed thermos that fits my bottle cage, for holding morning commute coffee. Very important!



    Here is the Axiom Journey without the bag on it.


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    The bike looks great so far. When you ditch the springy fork it will be nearly perfect and a lot like my daily ride. I love the coffee cup, btw. If my commute was a little longer I would have to consider one of those. Also, stick with the v-brakes, so much easier for a commuter bike rather than fiddling with cantis JMHO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    The bike looks great so far. When you ditch the springy fork it will be nearly perfect and a lot like my daily ride. I love the coffee cup, btw. If my commute was a little longer I would have to consider one of those. Also, stick with the v-brakes, so much easier for a commuter bike rather than fiddling with cantis JMHO.
    Thanks! Yeah, I look forward to ditching the old Rock Shox. It has basically no travel left in it anyway. The old fork will be great for commuting. And will like the "look" of the front rack even when I am not using it. I was inspired by all the Dutch commuter bikes when we were in Holland a couple years ago, and though the wheel size will be different, this bike will be a very good roller, and very practical so quite Dutch from that point of view.

    And the coffee thing will just make things nicer. And no reason to bring the cantilevers back. These V brakes work fine. Though I need new shoes on the front.

    The next thing I need to find is a good set of used Ortlieb Back Rollers, or even just a single to go with this commuter bag. I will want the extra room for work clothes, etc. and if I am getting panniers, want to get the good ones, for touring purposes as well.
    Last edited by sunvalleylaw; 06-08-2014 at 08:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    The bike looks great so far. When you ditch the springy fork it will be nearly perfect and a lot like my daily ride.
    Just thought I would ask what would you do in addition to my plans? Just curious for your ideas based on your experience with your daily ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    Just thought I would ask what would you do in addition to my plans? Just curious for your ideas based on your experience with your daily ride.
    Don't get me wrong, my bike's not perfect but I keep tweaking things to make it better for me. About the only things I would do to your bike would be to add fenders, clipless pedals, and Ergon grips (although yours look close), but that is all personal preference. I would also ditch the front derailleur and go 1x something but again that's just me. You might have a lot more hills to deal with than I do.
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    Nice build....fyi...you might be able to fit some 700c's into that frame.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    Don't get me wrong, my bike's not perfect but I keep tweaking things to make it better for me. About the only things I would do to your bike would be to add fenders, clipless pedals, and Ergon grips (although yours look close), but that is all personal preference. I would also ditch the front derailleur and go 1x something but again that's just me. You might have a lot more hills to deal with than I do.
    Thanks for the reply. No, I don't take you wrong. Just curious. I am thinking about clip less pedals, but they would need to be platform style as I will use this bike as a townie cruiser for my around Hailey stuff. Hailey is a small little town with everything within a mile or two, so cruising in street clothes for errands is nice. Those grips are Ergo knockoffs and work fine for me. As far as front derailleur, I use the larger two rings commuting here, but am also considering some touring on dirt roads (Idaho hot springs) and the San Juans in WA, so I think I will leave the extra gearing for now. Fenders would be cool if it rained much here during commuting season, but it doesn't really. I may change my mind on that though. I have a set in mind that they sell at the Boise Bike Project if I do.

    Thanks for the input! Post a pic or link to a pic of your bike in this thread if you have time. I am curious!

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    Really the only picture I have handy right now. That's a '99 Rockhopper frame that I "debranded" and uglied up a bit with OD paint. I'm now running an Origin8 Space bar on it with barends installed inboard of the levers at the curves to give me extra hand positions. Kinda like a poor man's Jones H-bar. Now that it's spring I've swapped out the fat tires for some 1.75" Continental Contact touring tires. I'm also in the process of doing a hack on the front fender to give me some extra coverage. I was also running flat pedals at the time the picture was taken because of the snow coverage and cold temps (I wear cheap snow boots). Same saddle as you btw.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My Commuter build/conversion thread.  '89 Fisher Paragon-iphone-022.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by nemhed View Post
    Really the only picture I have handy right now. That's a '99 Rockhopper frame that I "debranded" and uglied up a bit with OD paint. I'm now running an Origin8 Space bar on it with barends installed inboard of the levers at the curves to give me extra hand positions. Kinda like a poor man's Jones H-bar. Now that it's spring I've swapped out the fat tires for some 1.75" Continental Contact touring tires. I'm also in the process of doing a hack on the front fender to give me some extra coverage. I was also running flat pedals at the time the picture was taken because of the snow coverage and cold temps (I wear cheap snow boots). Same saddle as you btw.
    Cool! Because of the length of the top tube on that old Fisher Paragon, I prefer the swept back bar options, and in fact, confirmed again today, that I want a hand position available even a little further back. Hopefully a shorter stem will get me there.

    Also, BTW, that bridge looks eerily similar to the foot bridge over the Big Wood River at Fox Creek/Lake Creek near Ketchum. Bike riding in the summer and they call the area Fox Creek. Nordic skiing in the winter, and they call it Lake Creek. No idea why they change names. But the bridge there was built by students in 1981 and looks almost identical to that one your bike is on.

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    Well sweet! Had a buddy of mine pick up these Ortliebs at half of full retail and over 50 off what you can get them new. Never used Ortlieb classic rear panniers

    He says they look new in person and look good here, in bright, ugly, dutch orange. Stoked!

    My Commuter build/conversion thread.  '89 Fisher Paragon-00f0f_d0mbdvbpxxg_600x450.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon View Post
    Nice build....fyi...you might be able to fit some 700c's into that frame.
    Hmm, interesting. I checked it out with my front road bike wheel and the frame will accept 700c, but what about the brakes? Would I have to do a disc brake conversion and get some disc type cross wheels? Not sure how I would do that without major welding. Or use road bike brakes or calis? The V-brakes don't put the pads on the rims obviously set up as is. I don't want to necessarily have to completely change this frame too much to do it. but it is interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    Hmm, interesting. I checked it out with my front road bike wheel and the frame will accept 700c, but what about the brakes? Would I have to do a disc brake conversion and get some disc type cross wheels? Not sure how I would do that without major welding. Or use road bike brakes or calis? The V-brakes don't put the pads on the rims obviously set up as is. I don't want to necessarily have to completely change this frame too much to do it. but it is interesting.

    i did road brakes....but i like this idea....simple too. Patapsco MTB Rides, Road Rides & Bikes: 26" to 700c Conversion

    xtracycle also makes an adapter......

    I am building a single speed with this method. using a 26 bike a retrofitting for 700c. I have the wheels and working on brakes. WHAT I LACK IS TIME!!
    Last edited by digitalayon; 04-19-2014 at 06:03 PM. Reason: addition

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon View Post
    i did road brakes....but i like this idea....simple too. Patapsco MTB Rides, Road Rides & Bikes: 26" to 700c Conversion

    xtracycle also makes an adapter......

    I am building a single speed with this method. using a 26 bike a retrofitting for 700c. I have the wheels and working on brakes. WHAT I LACK IS TIME!!

    Cool. that looks like a good idea. Road brakes sound good too, and I am drilling a hole in my fork crown for a front rack that would then work. The question is the rear brake. There is a bridge that could maybe be drilled, but I will need to measure and see if that would work with standard road brakes. Could be simpler to do that Patapsco idea. I saw your post on the other thread too, and someone else posted a Mavic adapter, or I can check the extracyle one. But that simple Patapsco idea looks really simple and I won't have to have big horseshoe adapters on there.

    Not sure if I will go there. The bike is pretty ok with just the slicks pumped up hard. But perhaps in a little bit of time after getting the fork switched. I think I will wait on the front rack, which I don't need yet until I decide.

    And yeah, time would help. And for me, wrenching skills. I have minor skills at best. And if I were near that Boise Bike Project place with the rent-a-shop and all the cool parts where I could find wheels and stuff, that would help.

    I am thinking I would go for cycle-cross type wheels as they would accept good commuter tires, and then I could run the bike in the citizen division of the local Oktober Cross-toberfest. Just for fun. I am a mountain bike guy. I can't take cross too, too seriously.

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    Then I would consider Schwalbe Sammy Slicks or Hurricanes. Or just have a road set and a cross set of tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunvalleylaw View Post
    Cool. that looks like a good idea. Road brakes sound good too, and I am drilling a hole in my fork crown for a front rack that would then work. The question is the rear brake. There is a bridge that could maybe be drilled, but I will need to measure and see if that would work with standard road brakes. Could be simpler to do that Patapsco idea. I saw your post on the other thread too, and someone else posted a Mavic adapter, or I can check the extracyle one. But that simple Patapsco idea looks really simple and I won't have to have big horseshoe adapters on there.

    Not sure if I will go there. The bike is pretty ok with just the slicks pumped up hard. But perhaps in a little bit of time after getting the fork switched. I think I will wait on the front rack, which I don't need yet until I decide.

    And yeah, time would help. And for me, wrenching skills. I have minor skills at best. And if I were near that Boise Bike Project place with the rent-a-shop and all the cool parts where I could find wheels and stuff, that would help.

    I am thinking I would go for cycle-cross type wheels as they would accept good commuter tires, and then I could run the bike in the citizen division of the local Oktober Cross-toberfest. Just for fun. I am a mountain bike guy. I can't take cross too, too seriously.
    then you want 700c if you want cyclocross.....just saying....i too have thought about cyclocross....dang it....now you have me wanting to convert another 26er to 700c. What state are you in?
    Last edited by digitalayon; 04-19-2014 at 09:30 PM. Reason: addition

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    My Commuter build/conversion thread. '89 Fisher Paragon

    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon View Post
    then you want 700c if you want cyclocross.....just saying....i too have thought about cyclocross....dang it....now you have me wanting to convert another 26er to 700c. What state are you in?
    I am in the Sun Valley, Idaho area. Actually live in Hailey. I am thinking I may go 700c but will take my time getting there. As you say, it all takes time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon View Post
    then you want 700c if you want cyclocross.....just saying....i too have thought about cyclocross....dang it....now you have me wanting to convert another 26er to 700c. What state are you in?
    Ok, now I am really interested. I have a really old '88 Trek 1200 that is getting put out to pasture. It has a trek made front wheel, and an old Campy Elite (Ambrosia 19) wheel that replaced the old one when it's hub broke. I am guessing that probably that hub would work with my '89 XT gearing. I wonder if those rims would accept a cyclocross/commuter size tire. I want to have that larger tire size on this bike. What wheels have you used in your projects? I would love to scavenge old parts that would work, rather than buy new stuff, if possible.

    Also, what about toe and front wheel overlap? Has that ever been a problem for you on these builds?

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    i am south of you in northern Utah....I have used mostly road or cross style wheels. I have not had any overlap. Occasionally will find some wheels that are not 135 in the rear. But hub swap will fix that.
    Last edited by digitalayon; 04-20-2014 at 09:41 AM. Reason: more

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon View Post
    i am south of you in northern Utah....I have used mostly road or cross style wheels. I have not had any overlap. Occasionally will find some wheels that are not 135 in the rear. But hub swap will fix that.

    Like Ogden-ish? snowville-ish? I hope to bike down by Ogden sometime and/or SLC area sometime.

    Ideally, I will find some used cross wheels locally or at the Boise co-op. Should work. I am thinking I will stay with my v-brakes and use adapters like this:

    Bombshell Vps Brake Adapter - Bicycles Parts Manufacturer and Wholesale Supplier from Bombshell Inc, Usa

    Seems easiest, plus I can reverse it if I want to for MTB touring, which we may do on some Idaho backroads on a hot pool tour that exists.

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    I am in Provo.......sweet those look nice.....have not seen those adapters before. MTB touring? That's way too hardcore for me!!...Give me a tow rope anytime up a hill!
    Last edited by digitalayon; 04-20-2014 at 12:55 PM. Reason: not done

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon View Post
    I am in Provo.......sweet those look nice.....have not seen those adapters before. MTB touring? That's way too hardcore for me!!...Give me a tow rope anytime up a hill!
    This is the route I am planning on doing with my family. Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route | Adventure Cycling Association Not too, too hardcore. Mostly dirt road. But this bike did come with braze-ons for racks so was intended for real backcountry touring. That would be truly hard core. But then, it was Gary Fisher still in his relative youth.

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    I had a Fisher that was brazed from him and Charlie Kelly. Old school brazed Mt Tam if memory serves. Stolen at a mall in Bakersfield in the early 1990's. Then I had a GF Tassajara....then that was stolen...then bought another Tassajara. Parted it out. Then bought a GF Utopia turned it into a 29er mountain bike after 3 years then another Utopia. So....I have had my share of Fishers. Then the man got told by Trek he either take a new role or go away. They consolidated everything to cut costs. I have yet to buy another GF or Trek product for that matter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digitalayon View Post
    I had a Fisher that was brazed from him and Charlie Kelly. Old school brazed Mt Tam if memory serves. Stolen at a mall in Bakersfield in the early 1990's. Then I had a GF Tassajara....then that was stolen...then bought another Tassajara. Parted it out. Then bought a GF Utopia turned it into a 29er mountain bike after 3 years then another Utopia. So....I have had my share of Fishers. Then the man got told by Trek he either take a new role or go away. They consolidated everything to cut costs. I have yet to buy another GF or Trek product for that matter.
    Yeah, not only that, but they cut back on the traditional lifetime Fisher warranty to a crappy 5 year trek one. I own that Trek road bike I mention above that was built in Wisconsin in the 80's but will not likely buy another Trek or Fisher product. but I love this old frame.

    Now, as to more futzing in figuring out this 700c thing. Check these pics:


    Here is the bike with my front trek/matrix road wheel installed, and the replacement Campy road wheel I have shoved in there but not fitted due to hub differences just to see.



    I road the bike around with the front 700c on just to check it out. I liked it! No toe overlap, and when I put the original fork back on, I will gain around a half inch or so additional due to the rake of the steel fork. Also, I will gain some space when I dump the clips in favor of platform clipless.

    But, I am not so mechanically inclined, and am not sure how this hub swap thing works out. I seem to remember that this replacement Campy rear was necessary due to the spacing in that old 88 road frame. Can I just take any old wheel that would work for cyclocross and swap out the gearing and spindle, or is there more to it? Seems like there must be more. dumb question I know, but I said I have limited wrenching skills. I hope to use the current XT gearing for now anyway. I don't want to dump too much money in this thing. Here are the two wheels side by side.



    but the feel of the 700c front alone made me think this will be a really fun build when it is done.


    EDIT: after research looks like the thing to do would be to rebuild some wheels with the right size hubs from parts. Or so it seems. Any other ways around this?
    Last edited by sunvalleylaw; 04-20-2014 at 10:19 PM. Reason: further info

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    deleted duplicate
    Last edited by sunvalleylaw; 04-22-2014 at 08:05 PM. Reason: double post delete

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    While I ponder this a little more, I am going to run the bike a couple times as a 69'er without a front brake. Just to get the feel. I don't use absolutely need that front brake on my commute anyway. I may reconsider doing the full conversion at this time. For a lot of my uses, just running slicks, and cyclocross tyres as I see schwalbe has if I want to race me some cross, will probably work just fine. But who knows, I may commute as a 69'er for a while too.

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    Cross posting to my own thread. I already posted this in another thread, but am posting here in my thread too to keep track of the whole project in one place.

    Couple of things today. First, I finally got my original fork back on, replacing a heavy, old, Rock Shox. A friend of mine let me work on it in his bike shop, and helped me a bit along the way. The frame looks way better with that curvy old fork back on, IMHO.



    Second, it was free new and old stuff day! A frame builder friend of mine just gave me brand new Planet Bike Fenders, an old set of Blackburn lights, and a new Ortlieb handlebar bag. I won't need the handle bar bag commuting, but it will come in handy touring.



    Not a bad day!

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    UPDATE:



    as told in the What did you do to your commuter today thread, I Replaced my nice old Suntour toeclip pedals with some new Shimano platform SPDs for better commuting; put the cleats on my new commuter shoes; installed new Timbuk2 saddle tool bag with a couple new little tools in it, put my old Zefal frame pump on there; checked out the new planet bike fenders to see when and if I want to install them, and checked out the new old bar I grabbed from the bike co-op in boise. That bar should do the job I want by bringing my hands just a little further back when I am sitting up, and increase the rise just a little more. If I don't like it, I will go back to the bar you see on there. I need an adapter to show up (already ordered) before I can use it as it is the smaller diameter style.

    Soon, fenders, front rack, (need a hole popped in my fork for those), and that bar. Also need lighting on the list. We are doing a dirt road hot springs tour soon, so I will put MTB tires back on for a couple days as well, so will likely with on the fenders until after that trip. Gathering more tools as well to take with us when we go touring this summer.

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    ^^Looks great!

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    Been commuting on this bike a LOT! Still playing around with the bars. I have a wider, more sweep bar I may try. But in the meantime, I have the 700C conversion nearly all done!




    From the looks of this last pic I may need to check the adjustment of the pads yet. The Xtracycle adapter seems to work great! I may use another rear wheel that I got from AlexCuse, but I found this old freewheel one with correct spacing that slipped right in to try out. Both of these tires will be replaced, but they serve to try it out. No toe rub or anything like that, and feels good and fast! I have a Mavic adapter for the front, but still need some bolts for it, then I will get the front brake working too.
    Last edited by sunvalleylaw; 06-08-2014 at 08:46 PM.

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    My Commuter build/conversion thread. '89 Fisher Paragon

    The evolution is so fun! This is turning out really well. I am excited for my cyclo-muter bike, or maybe better, my commute-cross bike.

    Today, I installed the Mavic front brake adapter, finishing off the 26" to 700C conversion, installed the matching cycle-cross wheel to the front that was on there, installed a cross tire for now on that rear wheel to match the one on the front, and installed a new, wider bar with more sweep, bringing my hands slightly further out and back an inch and an half. We will see if that last one sticks or if it is a little too cruiser-y. I like the fore-aft position, and like a wide bar, but wonder about the rearward sweep for cornering. I will ride it a week or so and see. If I don't like it, I will see if I can find a wider version of the bar I had on there, and use a shorter stem with a bit more rise to accomplish the fore-aft position and height I want.

    Also, I had an awesome afternoon at the Boise Bike Project, a bike co-op in Boise, wrenching. I am no bike mechanic, but I got the project a long ways on my own, then enlisted the help of some the staff there. At $10/hr for shop time, with expert assistance, it was a steal of a deal for what I accomplished.

    Here is the Boise Bike Project. That is my bike on their free stand out front, where I did the v-brake adapter work waiting for my turn at the shop stand. You can see the old, Mavic made, road wheel in the rear, along with the newer cross wheel in the bag, and some other stuff I had there for parts.



    Here is the bike on the stand, with work underway. In addition to what I mentioned above, I refreshed the drive train with a new SRAM cassette on the new wheel and chain. Still using the old chain rings as they seem fine. Also did cables and housing, due to the wider bar, which vastly improved shifting.



    And here is the finished (for now) project, ready for a midnight test run. (yes, I did that. Worked awesome, light included. will need some final derailleur adjustment as it settles in, but feels great). I have a second set of road wheels that I may set up for bike path commuting with touring tires rather than run these cross tires and wheels all the time, but time will tell. Also, will see how I settle in with this bar. But all in all, very satisfied with how it is turning out. And having some fun learning to wrench a little along the way.




    PS. A little bird tells me the fast bike may be landing here soon, meaning Sunday. Really excited for that too!
    Last edited by sunvalleylaw; 06-14-2014 at 10:53 AM.

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    My Commuter build/conversion thread. '89 Fisher Paragon




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