Innovation That Matters

Technology trends for the world of tomorrow

Mountain Bike Makeover — Finale

If you have an old Specialised Rockhopper from the late 90s that you’d like to convert to a gravel bike or adventure tourer, this is the post for you! This is a project that is perfectly possible (even I succeeded!) and I hope to give you a couple of tips and to save you some time choosing parts.

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Mountain Bike Makeover — Oval Shaped

I’ve fitted an 36T oval chainring from Absolute Black, giving a bit more speed on the flat. I’ve done a couple of short test ride and don’t feel the oval too much yet, but it must be better, right? Bike is handling great, fixed a squeaky front brake and feels very nice out of the saddle climbing.

Continue reading “Mountain Bike Makeover — Oval Shaped”

Mountain Bike Makeover — Final Push

It feels like the past couple of weeks have been two steps forwards, one step back, but progress has been made!

Continue reading “Mountain Bike Makeover — Final Push”

Mountain Bike Makeover – Cables

This weekend I finally got around to running the brake and gear shift cables and getting the gears indexed. I’m sure they will need further tweaking once the top-tube gets cut and I can ride, but they should be pretty close.

It was quite fiddly and time consuming, but mostly because it was the first time I’ve done it from scratch with no existing cables to replace. Good news is that the Gevenalle shifter covers the whole range of the cassette and the shifting seems pretty smooth. Time will tell!

Mountain Bike Makeover — Seat Post and Saddle

I had to resort to eBay to find a 30 mm seat post and found a very nice secondhand Thompson Elite in black, to pair with the classic Brooks B17 saddle in black leather. No issues fitting either, and I’ve kept the original seat clamp for now.

Mountain Bike Makeover — Bars and Shifters

I’m really happy with the PNW Components Coast Handlebar and the long-pull Gevenalle GX Shifters. The bars are nice and wide for stability, offer lots of hand positions, and the shifters are easy to reach. The flare on the bars gives the bike a more aggressive “gravel” look, while the drop is fairly shallow which I hope will make for comfortable all day riding.

Mountain Bike Makeover — Headset and Fork

I was nervous fitting the Cane Creek 40 Headset EC34/28.6 I EC34/30 headset, worried that I’d damage it as I forced into the old frame. In the end, thanks to a headset setting tool, it all went off pretty smoothly and it seems to be well seated and the bearing cups popped in without an issue.

Seating the crown race on the fork was another matter, and despite having purchased a cheap crown race setting tool (a glorified metal pipe) I spent a nervous 10 minutes pounding it into place on the Surly Cross Check fork with a hammer. I finally got it seated and it seems to have survived the pounding. It just feels very wrong to be pounding precision made bike parts with a big hammer!

I’ve not cut the fork to size, fitted the star nut and tightened everything down yet as I’m still debating geometry and how high I’d like the bars. I’m waiting on the seat post to be delivered and then will compare the geometry of the whole setup with my existing bike.

Mountain Bike Makeover — Pedals

No problems installing the smart looking Shimano T8000 XT MTB SPD Trekking Pedals. They have MTB mounts on one side and are grippy flats on the other. Very practical for trekking, or quick trips to the shops or pub. I think they look great and feel well made.

Flat side of the pedal

Mountain Bike Makeover — Crankset

Armed with the correct bottom bracket tool and a 3/8″ ratchet I fitted the Shimano DEORE SLX XT BB-MT800 bottom bracket along with the SHIMANO DEORE XT HOLLOWTECH II MTB Crankset 1×11-speed the FC-M8000-1 crank and the Shimano Deore XT M8000 Chainring. The Deore CN-HG601 chain meshed nicely with the Shimano CS-M5100 Deore 11-speed cassette and 11-speed Shimano Deore M5100 rear derailleur (Shadow SGS).

I’ve not fitted the shifter cable yet, so I can’t test how well it shifts or if there’s enough clearance or chain across the cassette. We shall see!

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