Road Bike Retrofit Project- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Road Bike Retrofit Project

    not sure if this is the best place to post this, but here goes...

    i've got an 11 year old road bike, cannondale R800(similar to what's pictured here) that's served me well in NYC, Boston, and now Cali, but now i want to convert it to singlespeed, as well as putting riser bars and fatter tires on the thing...any suggestions?

    here's what i was thinking:

    riser bars, make it singlespeed, take the big ring off, find a bashguard for it??

    also i'm searching for a marzocchi or a rockshox fork for it, along with a new stem...any ideas?
    or maybe sell it and get a hardtail??
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  2. #2
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    How fat a tire can you fit in back?

    How do you want to use it... commuting, CX, singletrack?

  3. #3
    Just Give'r!
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    you sure you wanna turn that into a hybrid? i'd put some bullhorn bars on it, a cane creek lever upside down on the end of it for your front brake, use a flip-flop hub so you could go fixie when you want to and coast when thats more practical, keep the slick tires, maybe going a BIT wider but still slick. Either that or some smaller cross tires. Top it off with a top-tube bashguard to wrap your lock around, get a funky-lookin bell, and you are THE MAN. just a thought, though.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcrap
    How fat a tire can you fit in back?

    How do you want to use it... commuting, CX, singletrack?
    commuting mostly...can't imagine riding any of my FR rigs to work and feel okay about locking them up every day....i want to just beef the bike up. about the tire, not sure as they're measured in mm, but i think i've got a "23"mm, and plenty of room to spare. so maybe a 28-30 or bigger if it exists?

    i was even thinking of putting some freaky deaky bmx bars on it or lowrider handlebars...i have a set of brake levers that would work for the brakes, and the STI shifters i'd prob. dump and make it a singlespeeder...

    this thing must weigh under 20 lbs. stock...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmatcan
    you sure you wanna turn that into a hybrid? i'd put some bullhorn bars on it, a cane creek lever upside down on the end of it for your front brake, use a flip-flop hub so you could go fixie when you want to and coast when thats more practical, keep the slick tires, maybe going a BIT wider but still slick. Either that or some smaller cross tires. Top it off with a top-tube bashguard to wrap your lock around, get a funky-lookin bell, and you are THE MAN. just a thought, though.

    yeah i like the bullhorn idea. i don't wanna turn it into a track bike tho, i value my life too much

    what do you mean by a top tube bashguard? i'll post pics of the progress when i'm feeling less lazy...

    also i might be pushing it but stripping the paint would be nice too...

  6. #6
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    By bashguard i mean a roach pad, like the ones used on top-tubes of bmx bikes back in the day. couriers use them because you can wrap your lock on top of them so it doesnt slick around/scratch your bike. it just looks rad I.M.O. There is no need to use every single speed roadie as a track bike, i've never stepped foot on a velodrome. I would recommend checking this site: http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/ They have a HUGE gallery of users' single speed road bikes, and its an awesome source for getting some ideas for your own rig. I personally think your current paint job is super nice, but there are lotsa options for customizing it too. I would recommend getting it professionally powder-coated- its not as expensive as you'd think- but if you go the spray-can route, just make sure you have patience and do multiple coats with just enough paint to prevent dripping.

  7. #7
    Just Give'r!
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    Here's an interesting alternative, on a cannondale, that a guy used for covering up the lettering: http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2005...chaelRaith.htm can't beat the price- about $2 for a roll of electrical tape.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by misctwo
    commuting mostly...can't imagine riding any of my FR rigs to work and feel okay about locking them up every day....i want to just beef the bike up.
    Definitely convert it to singlespeed (or buy a flip-flop wheel) and get some fatter tires... the fattest that will fit between the chainstays/fork... make sure they clear the brake calipers too. Like "cmatcan" said, some fat slicks or CX tires. Cyclocross tires run up into the 40mm range, but I doubt you'll have room for something that fat.

    Flip and chop the current handlebars... or get some moustache bars... or get some nice narrow MTB bars (maybe with bar ends). BMX or Cruiser bars will probably be too much - if you are commuting on it, you won't want to be too laidback. Keep a fairly aggressive riding position IMO.

    Get some spray paint or primer and do a number on the frame - make it look like a beater. The tape idea is a good one too. I'd also recommend scratching off/putting tape over/painting over any brand names on the components too.

    Fenders, lights, and racks make commuting that much nicer.

    Have fun with the project... I'm jealous.

  9. #9
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    yes i've flipped and cut drop handlebars before, but that's long term not comfortable and might not look g00t. here are the parts i'm thinking to replace the stock parts with:

    handlebar-bullhorn bars...are the STI brake levers compatible with these? if not, i'm going with a brake lever set i've got in my swagpile and going with MTB riser bars.

    single chainring bolts-pretty stock..i'll take the big ring off

    bashguard-really just to keep the pants clean(unless i do a grind on the way to work)

    tires: as you'll see from the bike pics, there may be room for a 35c tire...opinions?

    also, looks like a big big headset, don't know if it might actually be a 1-1/4" instead of a 1"...can anyone confirm just by lookin at it?
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by misctwo
    i've flipped and cut drop handlebars before, but that's long term not comfortable...
    Flipped and chopped drop bars are too narrow??

    (otherwise they give pretty much the same position as bullhorns)

  11. #11
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    Get the mythos!!!

    I have the 26" version on my SASS and love it. Fast climbing up the roads to the trails, just enough tread to corner while descending. Fun stuff.
    ye' old trailblog: www.most-excellent-adventures.com THE BAY AREA... WHERE IF IT'S FUN, IT'S ILLEGAL

  12. #12
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    here's mine (used to be my dads bike when he was my age) sporting a huge (now stretched) bmx chain and some of those wonderful bell laps
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    Rudy Projects look ridiculous

    visit my blog, BEATS, BIKES & LIFE

  13. #13
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    I doubt those tires will fit but you can try. You don't need tread on the road. I've got an '85 R400 converted to SS with bullhorn bars in the basement right now. Not practical and may not even be possible to convert it to a fixie. Those vert dropouts give you no adjustment and you can't run a fixie with a singleator. You can file the axle for a few mm of adjustment but it may not be enough. You can't use STI levers with bullhorn bars but levers that fit in end of the bars are cheap and readily available.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by meloh1
    You can't use STI levers with bullhorn bars but levers that fit in end of the bars are cheap and readily available.
    You can too use STI. It's just a clamp, and you'll have brake cable popping up, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

    But, it is a waste to use a shift/brake lever combo on a SS. Sell them, and get old style brake levers from a garbage bike. Your LBS will probably have a pile of them. They aren't the prettiest, but they work fine.

  15. #15
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    I guess that was my point. It's a very inelegant solution and not really an option IMHO. If it was the only method you had to get a brake lever on bullhorns it would work but I wouldn't advise it. Therefore, my conclusion is, it doesn't work. Nor do I like regular (non STI) brake levers for essentially the same reasons. Tektro bar end levers cost $20 and work great.

  16. #16
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    Different strokes, et al. Another option is the cyclocross or BMX lever close to the stem. That way you don't have to worry about inside diameters of bars or cable routing problems.

  17. #17
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    tires

    dude, i don't think you'll be able to fit tires wider than a 30. i built myself up a fixie on an older lugged schwinn frame that has similar clearance, and i'm running THESE tires without any problems at all. i've actually taken the bike on some mild singletrack. they aren't too expensive either, maybe 20-25 bucks a piece. see them HERE as they were back in July. I'm still riding them, with plenty of life left. giddyup.

  18. #18
    Who turned out the lights
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    It's not the clearance at the brake caliper I'd be worried about - it's the clearance at the chainstay. You'll probably fit a 25 or 28c in there fine, but I don't even know if you'll fit a 30c in there.

    Don't fear the fixie my son. Singlespeeding on the road sucks. Life is much more fun when you're not allowed to coast by.

  19. #19
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    It's nearly impossible to tell from a picture on a computer...

    Get a ruler.

    Measure the distance between the chainstays (where the tire is), allow some clearance.
    Measure the distance between the brake pads when the caliper QR is undone (so you don't have to deflate the tire to get it between the brake pads when changing tires).

    JIC - buy the tires locally so you can easily return them if they're too wide.

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