Gary Fisher klunker build: 23-04-2021, pg2: Retro MTB tires on!



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Hi Guys,

Our family future plans are really gaining momentum right now (big chance we are leaving the Netherlands this year) and a lot of my bike parts are for sale.
Though, I still want to build something now and then. Fixing and greasing hub gears, and bearings while listing to some music is still a great way to relax in these busy times.

Alright, my build thoughts:
I still have a 58cm, 1994, "Gary Fisher Marlin" retro mountainbike frame lying about. The frame is a bit rusty and dirty but still in a usable state. (pictures below).

Now I found some very strong 26" "cargo city bike" wheels with Nexus 3 gears, 13g stainless steel spokes and rollerbrakes for not much money. They look a bit rough, but no rust/oxidation problems whatsoever.
They are aluminum grey with grey sst spokes.

My thoughts:

First:
I almost have all parts lying around to build this frame with the wheelset. But:
The parts (seatpost, handlebars, stem) are black, and I was hoping to build a oldschool/retro klunker with polished or chrome parts.
Is it a lot of work to get this paint off? How will it look?
Other option: Sell these parts and buy new/used parts.

Second:
The Gary Fisher frame is quite rough, but in good technical condition.
I don't know how rare such a frame is, I know Gary Fisher was (among many others) one of the first mountainbikers/klunker riders.
So repainting it with a can seems a bit ungrateful or something...
I can clean it and put some clear coat on the bike...
The tabs on the top tube are removed with an angle grinder a while ago as wel...

Third: The plans:
Assemble a nice singletrack mountainbike!
Build this frame up with following part ideas:
  • Nexus 3 wheelset with rollerbrakes (clean the hubs, new bearings + grease).​
  • 26x2.25" or 26x2.3" mountainbike tires, or retro 2.125" tires.​
  • Riser bars or klunker bars. Chrome/aluminum grey colour.​
  • Chain tensioner to tension the chain. (Sturmey Archer).​
  • Sturmey Archer shifter compatible with the nexus 3 hub.​
  • Use a front fork suitable for the nexus rollerbrake (I happen to have a nice and tough fork for the job)​
Pictures: (all parts on the frame are already sold, so picture the frame only :grin: )





Thanks for ideas/comments or just having a look!
 

Captain Awesome

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They are pretty common. Repop decals used to be available if you wanted to paint and resto mod

Good bikes. I had one for years after college and donated it to the bike collective in Charlotte for someone else to enjoy
 
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I think the paint and decals look pretty good from here. Older Gary Fisher bikes seem to be increasing in value and collect-ability. Especially pre-trek bikes. Sure, the Marlin was lower end model but fans don't seem to care about that.

I own a Montare (purchased new in 1993), Mt Tam (wow, recent buy) and a rat rodded Minnosaurus. Owned quite a few other models. Capitola, Capitola, Marlin, Zebrano, Leinenkugel (beer from Wisconsin, USA), Cobio 29er (turns it was stolen and I got it back the owner), and more I can't remember off hand.
 

Captain Awesome

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I think the paint and decals look pretty good from here. Older Gary Fisher bikes seem to be increasing in value and collect-ability. Especially pre-trek bikes. Sure, the Marlin was lower end model but fans don't seem to care about that.

I own a Montare (purchased new in 1993), Mt Tam (wow, recent buy) and a rat rodded Minnosaurus. Owned quite a few other models. Capitola, Capitola, Marlin, Zebrano, Leinenkugel (beer from Wisconsin, USA), Cobio 29er (turns it was stolen and I got it back the owner), and more I can't remember off hand.
I've still got my Montare frame! Well loved to say the least. Built that bike with spare parts out the back door of the Whitewater Trek facility. Those were the days
 
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I think the paint and decals look pretty good from here. Older Gary Fisher bikes seem to be increasing in value and collect-ability. Especially pre-trek bikes. Sure, the Marlin was lower end model but fans don't seem to care about that.

I own a Montare (purchased new in 1993), Mt Tam (wow, recent buy) and a rat rodded Minnosaurus. Owned quite a few other models. Capitola, Capitola, Marlin, Zebrano, Leinenkugel (beer from Wisconsin, USA), Cobio 29er (turns it was stolen and I got it back the owner), and more I can't remember off hand.
Thanks! I am not familiar with the Montare, Capitola and Minnosaurus to be honest. I'll check them out! There are not many Gary Fishers in the Netherlands unfortunately.

I'm currently reading Gary Fisher's book, his old bikes are going up in value in my mind too! Gary gets it
Awesome! I will add that book to my list!
 
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Update

Not much styling, more tech related:

I found out that my Nexus 3 hub is 120mm in width and the shaft only 170mm.
The Gary fisher Marlin dropouts are 135mm.
So a friend of mine gave her Nexus 3 hub to me (she already threw it in the trash, because her bike was rusted to heck) and this hub seems to have 127mm width and 176mm shaft.

So I am overhauling her hub (I know that the small drive side bearing (7/32"8) is completely rusted) and using this in the laced shell from the mockup pictures.
I already ordered a 86,xx mm pushrod and the Nexus 3 shifter with clickbox and new bearings! Can't wait to grease her up! (the hub) :rofl:

NOTE: at this point I am assuming that the hub shell for various shaft widths are exactly the same. I can't find a reason not to. Why would Shimano change the complete hub shell? This would be quite expensive..... but the bicycle industry works in strange ways sometimes..... :grin: The risk here is overhauling a hub that does not directly fit back in the original wheel......

Pictures from the narrower hub in the wheel and my friends hub and disassembling it:



170mm shaft in the laced wheel.


Measuring the original protrusion of the shaft on the left (brake) side. Why do I do this? --> When putting it back together, I want it adjusted like from the factory.


Left (brake) side nut removal (I cleaned the hub).


After removal of both left (brake) side nuts I turn to the drive (right) side.


Sprocket clip and the sprocket removed. Then I pushed the dustcap of with a screwdriver.
After this the hubs guts can be removed very easily without tools (it was held on by the dustcap).


The guts.


I put the guts in motor oil and sealed the jar. When my overhaul parts arrive I will clean it again.

Thanks for watching!
 
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I believe there are 3 nexus hubs of different widths. If you do not like the roller brake you can remove the assembly on the left side of the hub and fit a plastic cover. These are available on ebay from a seller in Germany. Also i have used a SA thumb shifter with a nexus 3 and it worked beautifully, in fact better than if used with a SA 3 speed. I bought the shifter from a seller on amazon who advertised it would work with the nexus hub. I am not sure if the regular SA shifter would work with a nexus though.
0FEE491E-FF8C-4920-B256-AD70C467F365.jpeg
4C270389-A480-4D62-938E-D1AD77DFA911.jpeg
Ph
 
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BRE is at it again! I'm a huge Gary Fisher fan, and will try not to be too much of a 'fan boy' in this comment. :bigsmile:

I like the original paint, since all the logos look to be in good shape, it helps I.D. the bike. The value in old MTB's is mostly about what it means to the owner. And the quality of that frame, although not at the top of the heap for Fishers, is great steel and spot on geometry.

The main problem I see with using the 3 speed hub, is that they are typically found mounted in a frame with horizontal rear drop outs, either front or rear facing. This is to allow various chain ring sizes for the crank, and still have the ability to 'slide' the axle either for or aft to get proper chain tension. Your bike has vertical drop outs, non adjustable. So you will have to find the perfect chain ring size to get your chain tension right on. There are 'half links' available to add to a chain, or replace a full link with, that will make that job easier. Good luck!

And now for some Gary Fisher fandom.....I restored an identical Fisher CR7 frame in a build off here back to the way I had it when I was racing. I rode this model from '89 - '93 on the mtb race circuit, and was one of my all time favorite bikes over my 34 years of riding mt bikes.

37069501_2484807191545425_5584275474206425088_n.jpg
35223394_2422153237810821_633970802483527680_n.jpg
35063617_2420403931319085_8764020057572376576_n.jpg
36676465_2466797633346381_7805981912337481728_n.jpg


And finally, me with 'the man' just a couple of years ago when he toured our shop. I first met Gary in 1990 at the Chicago Area Bicycle Dealers Assoc. show. We have crossed paths a few times, on the trail and the showroom floor over the years. Love the guy, and what he has done for the mountain bike world and cycling in general.

59595993_406696033503946_984517353054142464_n.jpg
 

Captain Awesome

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BRE is at it again! I'm a huge Gary Fisher fan, and will try not to be too much of a 'fan boy' in this comment. :bigsmile:

I like the original paint, since all the logos look to be in good shape, it helps I.D. the bike. The value in old MTB's is mostly about what it means to the owner. And the quality of that frame, although not at the top of the heap for Fishers, is great steel and spot on geometry.

The main problem I see with using the 3 speed hub, is that they are typically found mounted in a frame with horizontal rear drop outs, either front or rear facing. This is to allow various chain ring sizes for the crank, and still have the ability to 'slide' the axle either for or aft to get proper chain tension. Your bike has vertical drop outs, non adjustable. So you will have to find the perfect chain ring size to get your chain tension right on. There are 'half links' available to add to a chain, or replace a full link with, that will make that job easier. Good luck!

And now for some Gary Fisher fandom.....I restored an identical Fisher CR7 frame in a build off here back to the way I had it when I was racing. I rode this model from '89 - '93 on the mtb race circuit, and was one of my all time favorite bikes over my 34 years of riding mt bikes.

View attachment 154357View attachment 154359View attachment 154360View attachment 154358

And finally, me with 'the man' just a couple of years ago when he toured our shop. I first met Gary in 1990 at the Chicago Area Bicycle Dealers Assoc. show. We have crossed paths a few times, on the trail and the showroom floor over the years. Love the guy, and what he has done for the mountain bike world and cycling in general.

View attachment 154356
Or a full half link chain :thumbsup:

Heavy, but sometimes worth the trade off
 
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I believe there are 3 nexus hubs of different widths. If you do not like the roller brake you can remove the assembly on the left side of the hub and fit a plastic cover. These are available on ebay from a seller in Germany. Also i have used a SA thumb shifter with a nexus 3 and it worked beautifully, in fact better than if used with a SA 3 speed. I bought the shifter from a seller on amazon who advertised it would work with the nexus hub. I am not sure if the regular SA shifter would work with a nexus though.View attachment 154347View attachment 154348 Ph
Thanks for the tip! I really want that SA shifter too, but I ordered a complete new Shimano shifter set, so maybe for later.

Awesome bike by the way!
 
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BRE is at it again! I'm a huge Gary Fisher fan, and will try not to be too much of a 'fan boy' in this comment. :bigsmile:

I like the original paint, since all the logos look to be in good shape, it helps I.D. the bike. The value in old MTB's is mostly about what it means to the owner. And the quality of that frame, although not at the top of the heap for Fishers, is great steel and spot on geometry.

The main problem I see with using the 3 speed hub, is that they are typically found mounted in a frame with horizontal rear drop outs, either front or rear facing. This is to allow various chain ring sizes for the crank, and still have the ability to 'slide' the axle either for or aft to get proper chain tension. Your bike has vertical drop outs, non adjustable. So you will have to find the perfect chain ring size to get your chain tension right on. There are 'half links' available to add to a chain, or replace a full link with, that will make that job easier. Good luck!

And now for some Gary Fisher fandom.....I restored an identical Fisher CR7 frame in a build off here back to the way I had it when I was racing. I rode this model from '89 - '93 on the mtb race circuit, and was one of my all time favorite bikes over my 34 years of riding mt bikes.

View attachment 154357View attachment 154359View attachment 154360View attachment 154358

And finally, me with 'the man' just a couple of years ago when he toured our shop. I first met Gary in 1990 at the Chicago Area Bicycle Dealers Assoc. show. We have crossed paths a few times, on the trail and the showroom floor over the years. Love the guy, and what he has done for the mountain bike world and cycling in general.

View attachment 154356
Wow! That is a sweet mountainbike, how did I miss that build? One of the early aluminum mountainbikes.
And the original clothing while mountainbiking, a lot of fellow mountainbikers recognized that piece of history I guess (or at least the Fisher name!).
Really nice that you meet the man. Is Gary Fisher still active in the bike community? I really would like to visit the Marin bicycle museum one day!
Thanks for sharing that Oddjob, I appreciate that!

Now I feel a bit guilty about a restomod... I'll keep as much as possible intact, promise ;)

My options regarding the paint: ( I need to clean and protect the cut off cable guides on the top tube)
  1. I can look for a great spray can that matches the frames paint..... that will be hard.
  2. I can paint a part black: A part of the top tube, the headtube and a small part of the downtube. This way you get that old American bicycle look. This all without touching the original stickers.
  3. Find a stickerset and powercoat the complete frame.
My thoughts are heading towards option number 2, because it keeps a lot of the original and still have a cool bike that will not rust.

And thanks guys for the ideas/advice on the chain tensioning. I think I will use a chain tensioner.


So eventually this bike will be sold to a proper owner, because I want to make room and pave the way for my own dream Klunker build, that will start after some leftover projects.
Whenever I have frames lying around, I can't just throw them in the trash, I really like to re-use them. Same with this Gary Fisher, the previous owner wanted to throw this away.

Next things on the Fisher bike:
Before I really start painting and making the bike look nice:
  • Nexus 3 hub rebuild today.
  • Check if my old Sugino Crankset will pass the chainline test.
  • Measure, check, make lists to order bike parts: 26x2.25 mountainbike tires, levers for the brakes, bottom bracket bearing and a stem that will fit the klunker bar (I already have the Klunker bar, it arrived yesterday and it is just so retro and cool! :eek: pics soon!)
  • Final adjusting, painting.
  • Time to hit the trails and test it out!

Thanks again everyone!
 
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BRE, as Gary was one of the first to take a classic 'ballooner' or cruiser bike and put gears on it and ride it up and down the mountains of Marin County, I think taking one of his mountain bikes and turning it back into a klunker would be very acceptable.

Using a black 'panel' on the frame would be cool. The other option would be to use clear nail polish over the exposed steel to keep it from rusting.

You will be able to fit some pretty wide tires in that steel tubing frame. I have fit 26 x 2.4 in a couple of restomod vintage mtbs that I have done for friends. Mo fatta, mo betta! :grin:
 
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Thanks guys!

Paintjob almost done, I'm gonna leave it for now.
Now most parts are in.
Done:
Hub refurbished, shifter cable length and adjustment, chainring and chainline placement and klunker bars mounted.
To be done:
Tires, brake cables, grips and final adjustments.
Pictures:




Sugino Crankset. I found out that 3 of 5 threads were bad. So I modified it a bit. Not the most beautiful setup, but its tough!


I forgot to order the chain tensioner...



The 22.2mm moped bars with BMX headset look good!
 

Captain Awesome

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Thanks guys!

Paintjob almost done, I'm gonna leave it for now.
Now most parts are in.
Done:
Hub refurbished, shifter cable length and adjustment, chainring and chainline placement and klunker bars mounted.
To be done:
Tires, brake cables, grips and final adjustments.
Pictures:




Sugino Crankset. I found out that 3 of 5 threads were bad. So I modified it a bit. Not the most beautiful setup, but its tough!


I forgot to order the chain tensioner...



The 22.2mm moped bars with BMX headset look good!
Those bars look sweet
 
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