"As regards building something from scratching, I was hoping to go down the route described by this gentleman here: http://www.bicycletouring101.com/MountainBikeAsTouringBike.htm
Very odd statements this person makes. Not sure I would put any trust into anything he says. He complains about his Trek 520 skinny 700C wheels being skittish on gravel? My 700x35mm tires are not skittish on gravel. 35mm is 1.4" wide. I'va also used 38mm wide tires and they are not skittish. 38mm is 1.5" wide. And 700C tires come in 41 and 47mm widths. 41mm is 1.6" wide. 47mm wide is 1.85". Mountain bikes come with wide 1.9" tires. Trek 520 might not handle the 47mm wide tires but it will handle the 41mm wide easily enough. Touring bikes handle gravel just fine. He says he put Michelin Windgripper 26x1.5" tires on his bike. And said he could ride with confidence on gravel roads and dirt tracks. Why are 26x1.5" tires able to handle gravel and dirt but 700Cx38mm(1.5") tires cannot? Why didn't he just put 35 or 38 or 41mm wide tires on his Trek 520 and ride with confidence on gravel and dirt?
This person also says his 1" quill stem can be raised higher than a threadless stem. Completely opposite of the truth. Nashbar sells many threadless stems that angle out and up at 45 degrees. And adjustable threadless stems that can be angled almost straight up. You can easily get these threadless stems higher than even the Nitto Technomic quill stem. And Nashbar sells a spacer that clamps to the top of threadless fork steerers that puts the clamping section 3" higher. Then you can put the tall threadless stem onto this section. Its very easy to get threadless stems much, much higher than any quill stem. If that is your goal. Of course if you are raising your stem to such extremes, then most likely the bike does not fit you too well.
"I'd like to think it could be a cheaper way to get an on-road/off-road solid, capable touring price at a good price.
Can anyone see any major disadvantages / problems with using an old steel mountain bike, possible with new wheels and other bits and pieces if needed, as a tourer?"
Except for the cost? You talk about new wheels. Can you build them yourself? Or are you buying all of the parts retail at your local shop and paying the shop to build them? Figure $300 minimum for these wheels. $80 pair of rims, $40 for spokes, $100 pair of hubs, $100 labor. Sorry, $320 minimum. Or are you just going to buy a cheap set of wheels from a mail order place for $100 plus delivery? How are these wheels better than what you have?
Other bits and pieces? New cassette with gearing you like. $25. New chain. $15. New crankset with low gears. $50. New bottom bracket. $25. New tires because this is a used, old bike. $40. New grips. $10. New bar end things. $15. New saddle. $25-75. Bottle cages. $15. The bits and pieces add up quickly to the cost of a new bike. If you have more time than money, and have no hurry to get this bike project done in the next 3-4-5 years, then you can scour swap meets, eBay, want ads, etc. and find lots of stuff real cheap. But doesn't it make more sense to spend all of this time riding your bike than shopping? Or get a part time job for a couple months and earn the money to get the bike now and go ride. But again, if your hobby is just to buy bike parts and get a deal, then that is an OK way to spend your time. But its not biking.
I build up all of my bikes. None are factory bikes. Every bike I own started as a separate frame/fork and I bought all of the parts to put the bikes together. I did it to get the bike I want. Cost savings was never a reason to do it.
There is nothing wrong with using an old mountain bike frame as a touring frame. It would likely be a fun project. Just don't think you are saving money or time. It does have the advantage of 26" wheels that use tires available around the world. Even more than 700C tires.
This message was edited by RussellSeaton on 2-22-07 @ 7:47 AM