Chris: November 2008 Archives

The Specialized HardRock Road/Cyclocross Bike Conversion

This bike started out as a youth mountain bike - 21 speed, solid fork, 24" wheels.  I should have taken a picture because I can't seem to find any photos of this particular model anywhere in the 'net.  It looks like late '80s-early '90s vintage and the frame is chromoly.   It's not the lightest frame known to mankind, but it's a cool design with lots of lugs and nice long horizontal dropouts to make any number of configurations do-able.   My son wanted a road bike to ride with the family on some of our longer bike outings.   So, the idea was conceived from there.  He had been pedaling like mad on a nice similarly-sized Specialized Hotrock for a year or so.  We had looked at some of the nice youth sized road bike offerings, the Trek KD1000, Felt 24 & some others online.  Ultimately, this is a bike that will be outgrown in a couple of years so we wanted something that wasn't terribly expensive.  This dusty Hardrock came along and fit the bill.   Other than possibly finding some ISO 520 road bike rims, the 'build' is complete.  We were lucky the donor bike had a good headset & bottom bracket.  We changed the stem to an old Salsa stem & added 36cm Salsa drop bars, some Tektro brake levers, top interruper - or whatever you call them - levers, and some Shimano bar end shifters (currently using friction - old school!).  I changed the chainring set from the original 1-piece steel rings to a 'real' 3 piece 34-42-52 alloy Sugino crankset.  We may change the rear gearing as well, even if we do not end up changing wheels.  After our first outing together left us riding home pretty much in the dark, I added a nice Cree LED mini-flashlight headlight & LED blinky tail light for low light riding. hardrock_cx_side.jpgOn a side-note, I learned there are something like four different variations of what are commonly referred to as "24 inch" wheels.  It seems the better rim sizes and tire selection (and better is quite relative here because basically there is not much other than BMX) is based on the ISO 520 rim size...which is slightly larger than the common youth mountain bike ISO 540 rim size.  Sheldon Brown shed light on this confusing issue on his web site, but to be honest I still get confused!  So, I have a great set of 1" high pressure 24" road tires, but no rims to match yet. 

Still, the bike seems to be a hit & though we were looking for some more "high speed" tires for the bike, the tires & wheels on it not are not bad since they are relatively bullet-proof.


The Redneck Fix

No, not talking about meth...this is an example of yet another fine fixed gear bike build.   This started out as the benign 24" wheel youth Raleigh Scout 18 speed mountain bike.  Bought for $25, we used it for a few years like that.  Then, the bike became a parts donor for other bikes around the house after its main rider outgrew it.  The front derailleur shifter, seat, tire, left brake lever, and a few cable guides were used on other bikes around the house....and then the frame sat looking rather forlorn.  Since my son had been itching to have a fixed gear bike so he could do all those cool fixed gear tricks, a brainstorm struck.  In probably a mere half hour, I had a 24" wheel from a JC Penney road bike welded securly to a fixed gear state, slapped an old Mongoose seat on & installed the stem & (chopped) handlebar leftover from the Cyclocross Hardrock project on it & here you have it!   In true Appalachian redneck glory, the redneck fixed gear (sorry, can't bring myself to say "fixie").  It works.  Hey, it still offers 12 gear ratio selections (the smallest cog was basically sacrificed in favor of a wide weld) & its rider is having great fun around the yard.  It doesn't have all the trappings (bright colors, pads, hip geometry, cards in the spokes) of the real urban machines, but it does offer cool mis-matched wheels, chopped rise bars and some cool vintage cages. 
redneck_fg_bike.JPG  redneck_fg_cogs.JPG redneck_fg_driveline.JPG

Brake Caliper Reach

Seems like a when changing wheels on older bikes originally designed for 27" wheels, to the more common (today) 700c road wheels, people run into problems with the fitting of brake calipers.  The 700c wheels would intersect the brake shoes 4mm lower than the 27" wheels.  I has a similar issue due to inserting a rear carrier rack on my 1982 Peugeot.  This bike originally had 700c wheels (which would not be common for the year model, but nonetheless was the case), but when I have a bar for the rack mount inserted between the brake caliper and the mounting bridge, the effect is to raise the pads about 4mm on the rim.  Tektro makes a few "long reach" brake calipers that would be great for the job, but I'm considering simply lengthening the adjusting slot on these old Shimano 105 calipers.  Here is a photo of the caliper mounted on the bridge with the rack.