26 MTB to gravel bike conversion

Dec 27, 2017
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So my wife has recently taken a liking to riding but she is only really interested in gravel and greenways and the like.

Neither of my two bikes are really ideal for this kind of riding.

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A low long and slack 150mm travel (1275mm wheelbase with a 64deg head angle) Ragley Big Wig (which currently has a Maxxis Minion up front) or a 20in Sunday Soundwave. I could just buy a gravel bike but where is the fun in that and I want something cheaper so that I am not super worried about locking it up in town.

I recently bought a Schwinn High Plains frame and fork off eBay that seems like it should fit pretty well for this. Made with True Temper tubing that I believe is made in the USA.

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It is a little scuffed up but the stock paint job has these neat little topographic map like lines running in it.

The plan. Convert to drop bar using some wide gravel bars (probably On One Midges) and one of those threadless converters and high rise stem to get the bars up fairly high so I can actually get into the drops without being super hunched over. Run it single speed using an AbsoluteBlack oval chain ring, 10spd chain and DMR STS chain tensioner I have laying around. Need to get my hands on a saddle, wheels, V-brakes and cranks. Once I see if the fit will work I will probably swap the stem to a Velo Orange Cigne stem.

The bike will see a mix of greenway, gravel and light singletrack.
 
Jul 16, 2019
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Lol the Ragley doesn't have enough travel for the gravel ways?

You may be right about the Schwinn being made in America. I've read that the factory was in Alabama. Check the dropouts and bottom bracket shell for a serial number (which will date the frame), and the headbadge for a 4-digit number (which will indicate the date of assembly. It's probably 90-92 ish.
Hand brazed, with drizzled silver paint, guaranteed to be unique!
http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1990/MTB_And_Road/High_Plains_Woodlands.html
 
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We live on gravel and I can ride over 100 miles on gravel from my front door. Depending on the route I choose I can have a lot of sand. October slush mixes with the gravel and makes mush. Riding on mush is like riding on flat tires. So I have different gravel bikes, depending on the route and conditions. All my gravel bikes are home built beaters. I have a single speed with drop bars, 700c wheels with 40 mm tires. I have a 1950s English cycle speedway single speed with 26x 1 3/8 tires and a rigid carbon 3+ multi speed for sand and mush. My wife is a gravel rider but she will only ride gravel so sand is out when I ride with her. Her bike is an old 26 inch hard tail Specialized Stump Jumper. I put on 1.75 urban tires, rear rack and pedal cages. She likes the suspension fork that locks out. V brakes and bars with very little rise. The front derailleur has been converted to twist shift. She loves it. I want to take an old 10 speed and make that into a multi speed gravel bike.
 
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I'd love to see a picture of the Stumpjumper! I'm thinking about that road for my old specialized
It's also got a long upright stem that has been added. And it's not a Stump Jumper its a Rock Hopper, sorry I couldn't remember. It's made from a free mostly complete bike and a lot of my spare parts like the stem, seat, tires, bottle cage, rack, pedals, pedal cages, tubes and 1.75 tires. It's got a new cassette, chain, twist shifter, chain slap guard on the drive side chain stay and front and rear derailleurs. I also put a battery holder on the down tube for her headlight.
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Grip twist shift for the front
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Urban all purpose puncture resistant tires. I may have put Stan's sealant in the tubes but I can't remember for sure.
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Cages for pedals, no toe straps. We have a lot of old gravel RR grades that are flat, straight and long and she likes them for this.
IMG_1671.JPG
 
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I hate to be a nuisance, but... can we have pics of the SS bike too? :)
No problem, it's on my computer. Here is the SS gravel bike. First generation Sugino Maxi crank, Mafac cantilever brakes on the front and 1920 Phillips clamp on center pull on the back, which I modified so that it fits in a slot cut in the frame. Slingshot stem and layback seat make this bike fit me perfectly as these old USA bikes had small frames. The rear seat mount bottle holders were a bust as the bottles came out a lot on rough gravel. I put the water bottles in my riding jersey now. The handlebar bag is for snacks and tire and chain repair. It's surprising light considering it's a heavy steel poor quality tubing frame. The yellow thing on the bars is to mount a phone or GPS. It's hard to see but the valve caps are 38 pistol shell casings and the handle bar plugs are shotgun shells. I went to an abandoned gravel pit where people were shooting and picked these up. I like free. The fork you see in the picture is from an old 26 inch mountain bike and I removed the cantilever mounts and welded them on to fit the 700c wheel. I have since replaced this fork with a chrome 700 c one.
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Here is another of my single speeds. I raced this in a 50 Km cross country race this summer. This race was on pavement, two track and single track.
IMG_1590.JPG
 
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There are so many cool details on this SS - the color of the seat and the pedals, the chainring, the rear dropouts, the slingshot stem, the bi-color tank... It all goes very nicely together.
 
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What is the best way to remove black anodizing from a set of cranks? I got a set of Shimano Deore cranks for cheap but some of the coating is rubbed off. I am just going to raw them. Does oven cleaner work or is that just with paint on aluminum?

Also what length of spindle should I choose? I am going to be using a Shimano ES300 BB (since they are Octalink cranks) and those come in 68x113, 118, 121 and 126.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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What is the best way to remove black anodizing from a set of cranks? I got a set of Shimano Deore cranks for cheap but some of the coating is rubbed off. I am just going to raw them. Does oven cleaner work or is that just with paint on aluminum?

Also what length of spindle should I choose? I am going to be using a Shimano ES300 BB (since they are Octalink cranks) and those come in 68x113, 118, 121 and 126.
I would guess you'd have to take some metal with it to get through the anno. So probably sandpaper.
 
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You may be right about the Schwinn being made in America. I've read that the factory was in Alabama. Check the dropouts and bottom bracket shell for a serial number (which will date the frame), and the headbadge for a 4-digit number (which will indicate the date of assembly. It's probably 90-92 ish.
Hand brazed, with drizzled silver paint, guaranteed to be unique!
http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1990/MTB_And_Road/High_Plains_Woodlands.html
So the serial number on the BB is F051722 and one the head badge is 1830. Where can I find the information to link this to year?
 
Jul 16, 2019
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I'd say that 1830 means it was made July 3, 1990.

"you can find a 4 digit serial number lightly stamped onto the headbadge.
The first three digits are the numerical day of the year,
and the last digit is the last digit of the year.

EXAMPLE:
3654 is 12/31/84 or 94 or? you determine decade."

From the bottom of this chart:
http://www.angelfire.com/rant/allday101/SchwinnCodes4.html
 
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What is the best way to remove black anodizing from a set of cranks? I got a set of Shimano Deore cranks for cheap but some of the coating is rubbed off. I am just going to raw them. Does oven cleaner work or is that just with paint on aluminum?
To remove the anodizing without etching the aluminum usually takes chromic/phosphoric acid and high temps. The only other solution I've seen that operates, slowly, at room temps is still some pretty concentrated nasty stuff. Your best bet at home is oven cleaner. Check it often as it will etch the aluminum...could take five minutes, could take an hour, depending on the oxide film thickness (it penetrates the aluminum as much as it build on top...so a .0004" build up also penetrates .0004" into the aluminum). Sand, cut, and polish it afterword...or just go over it with scotchbrite and call it good.
 
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