Monday, January 9, 2017

The Versatility of Early Era Mountain Bikes

I'm loving this 1987 Schwinn High Sierra restoration project from Josh Capps over at The Simplicity of Vintage Bicycles. I would call this a very light resto-mod, turning an all-terrain machine into a neighborhood grocery carrier, but clearly maintaining the look and feel of the original bike. I mean, he kept the damn thumb-shifters for God's sake!

But look closely and you'll see some pretty neat updates. The Bullmoose handlebars are probably the most jarring change; they're pretty eye-catching and quite distinct. But don't overlook the Brooks Cambium C17 saddle, which is a relatively new non-leather addition to the Brooks product line. It looks right at home on the High Sierra - so much so that I almost missed it at first glance.

I must admit I've been considering a project much like this. I obviously have a fondness for old GT mountain bikes, but vintage Treks and Bridgestones do it for me as well. With a few modifications here and there, one of these machines would make a fantastic (and essentially bomb-proof) urban assault bike. Now I just need to find the perfect donor bike/frame...

1 comment:

  1. That Schwinn looks great.
    I've long been a big fan of making old CroMo mountain bikes into "grocery getters". I fell into a mid-90s Trek 820 (full rigid frame/fork) some years ago at a garage sale and spent less than what I would have at the bar for a few beers. Once I washed off the dust, the components looked nearly un-used. The only problem was nicks in the paint, likely from being moved "out of the way" in the garage, I'd guess.
    Anyhow, I put fat slick tires on it, a leather saddle, I changed the grip-shifts for stem shifters (I don't like grip shifters at all, and happened to have the stem shifters handy. It was supposed to be "temporary" and 5-ish years later, I'm just now getting around to changing them.) and a rack, and it transformed into the greatest bike-path cruiser ever. It would make an incredible commuter. Strong, comfortable, able to fit whatever tires you need on it, etc. I mostly use it for summer "beer cruises" with friends. A cooler full of beer on the rack gives a bit of the "tail wags the dog" effect, but it gets lighter as the evening wears on :)
    I really can't recommend this style of build enough. Everybody ought to have one in their stable.

    It's currently on the stand, it's being spruced up and I'm giving it a bit of the ol' Rivendell treatment.

    Here's a pic of it, pre-makeover: