This weekend work began in earnest on converting my 1999 Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike (MTB) to a much more capable (and faster) touring/adventure bike. I’m far from a pro bike mechanic so I’ve spent the past few weeks learning about the differences between MTB and road gears, long-pull vs short-pull brakes, read all manner of conflicting advice, and studied the myriad “standards” that exist for everything from seat posts to bottom brackets. I almost sound knowledgable!

Long story, short, everything will be replaced on the bike, except for the frame.

The bike has a lot of sentimental value for me, so this is far from a simple utilitarian makeover. In 2000 my wife (then girlfriend) surprised me at work (Theory Center) with the bike for my birthday, and it has travelled with us ever since: first to Boulder, then Paris, then Brittany and now England. Over the years it has received a fair amount of abuse but has never let me down.

First step was to invest in some bike tools, and Park Tool have a very good reputation. I purchased the home mechanic bike stand (my back thanks my already), a set of tools, as well as digital callipers. The callipers are required for this sort of project, drastically increasing the chances of ordering parts that will actually fit this ageing frame!

Measuring the headset and learning about the SHIS standard

This weekend I completed stripping the bike down and cleaned the frame with Muckoff and white spirit, ready for the touch-up paint. I want to cover the worst scratches while retaining the “patina” and history of the bike. My wife is an amateur artist so I’m hoping her eye for colour and steady hand will do the trick!

I’ve lots of exciting components on order, but I shall reveal those when they arrive, and if I can get them to fit!