Converting a 90's MTB into a retro drop bar bike

The Elder Son is nothing if not persistent in his quest. We now have a 90's vintage MTB.

Here's Mr. Ugly, aka the purple peril. currently a rolling museum of 1990's MTB technology with the singularly inappropriate name of 'Didgeridoo':

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We're hoping this will eventually become a rather more attractive retro-styled drop bar tourer, albeit with such modern intrusions as v-brakes. Okay, it probably wouldn't be allowed on the l'Eroica, but it would be a nice reliable bike we'd enjoy riding while being pretty much unnickable.

It'll also give us both a lot of experience with more involved type repairs and maintenance and with Drop handlebar bikes, and more importantly, a project we can do together, possibly the last chance before Elder Son leaves home.

The plan is that this will become a shared commuter/touring bike and maybe, just maybe, make it to Japan when we next visit relatives, so we can go on a localish tour.

Back soon, with lots of questions...
 
First question:

Elder Son is absolutely set on drop handlebars and bottom bar shifters.

Several people here have been very helpful in the search for bottom bar shifters and a fitting method for a 32mm tube, and a fitting method and we've been asking about for some time about different ways to fit them and which shifter to use, and we're working out the next step. We have a friendly welder at my place of work, but we've also come across these, which seem to be a bolt you can drill through the bottom tube and fit a gear lever on. Have I understood this correctly? And assuming we'll use Shimano SL 400's, is this even the correct shape?

Many thanks in advance for assistance.
 

TheDoctor

Resistance is futile!
Moderator
Location
Stevenage
Been there done that! Mini-V would be a goer though, as they work with road levers.
 
If you can get the bosses brazed on I don't see a problem other than the need to repaint.
I'm doing the same at the moment, but I'm going singlespeed. It might be a lot less hassle if he got stem mounted shifters.
Or 'Bar end' shifters, they'd go on a doddle.
Thanks for the tips. I wasn't aware of the difference between brazing and welding, although I'm sure the person doing the job does as they are a qualified metalworker (if you fling a stick in Stuttgart you're fairly certain of hitting a metalworker, we have loads)

Affordable Brifters bar end shifters have so far eluded us, so we're going for Shimano SL-400's as they will give us eight speeds and indexing.

You'll struggle getting drop bar brake levers for V-brakes at a reasonable price...
Strangely, we found V-brake compatible drop bar levers pretty quickly. I've found on previous occasions that an item almost impossible to find in one country is readily available in another, and this may be a case of it (on the other hand I'm stiocking up on modelmaking supplies from the UK as you can't get a lot of the things I need in Germany for love nor money)
 
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Vantage

Carbon fibre... LMAO!!!
Tektro and Dia-Compe (which I use) do drop bar V brake levers. I found the Dia-Compe's cable routing to be frankly crap so 'modified' them.
I personally wouldn't go drilling holes in the down tube but that's just me. SJS do this which might be simpler...and safer.
 
Tektro and Dia-Compe (which I use) do drop bar V brake levers. I found the Dia-Compe's cable routing to be frankly crap so 'modified' them.
I personally wouldn't go drilling holes in the down tube but that's just me. SJS do this which might be simpler...and safer.
I'm inclined to agree, except that the bottom bar is 32mm, and that 0.2mm is crucial. Looks likt it will be braze ons then. Does anyone know where we can get just the braze-on or will we need to get a set like that?
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Here's Mr. Ugly, aka the purple peril. currently a rolling museum of 1990's MTB technology

View attachment 434163

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What do you mean "rolling museum"? My most modern bikes have got bits like that on them, and I don't consider them museum pieces, just everyday bikes. :laugh:

I'd concede the downtube friction shifters on my drop-bar Dawes are a little old-school, but not anything with indexed gearing. that is all still current technology.
 
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