Hacking my vintage touring bike

Longtime readers* of the blog know I own a “west coast” bike called the Goblin, purchased ostensibly so I could avoid paying outrageous flying fees to various airlines, and take up space in my brother’s NE Portland garage.

Behold, the Green Goblin!
Behold, the Green Goblin!

The Goblin is a bit of a project… to call it vintage may not be totally accurate, but it’s pretty old. It got a good makeover from the shop I bought it from (used) and I also bought a new rear wheel in Brookings, Oregon since said bike shop missed the fact every spoke was chewed up. These wheels are 26 inches, which is pretty standard for a mountain bike, an old touring bike like the Goblin, but not modern road or touring bikes.

Dilemma: I would like to get a dynohub wheel on the Goblin to keep my electronic gear in the juice for this summer’s ride.

Dilemma 2: I am very, very cheap.

Wait… maybe that’s an overstatement. I’m frugal when it comes to the Goblin. While I’d love to  drop $300 on a new wheel with a dynohub, that’s more than it would cost to fly my good bike back and forth. The whole point of the Goblin was to save money, but have a good bike out west I can tour on.

Solution: I have a wheel with a dynohub… but it’s a 700c wheel… on my bike out here. 700c wheels are slightly bigger than 26″ wheels:

700c (left), 26″(right)

The problem with just slapping a 700c on a 26″ frame is the brakes don’t match up. Like at all. And I like front brakes. I really do. They’re super handy descending some of the crazy ass hills between Portland and San Francisco, so for my cheaper side to win, I need to fix the brake problem.

Et voila: the brake converter:

brake adapter

A similar looking little bracket is the ticket. It bolts to the frame and allows one to attach the standard brakes higher, hitting the rim on a 700c wheel. At $41 with shipping, this isn’t cheap, but way cheaper than a new wheel. PS, these were apparently easy to find a few years ago. Mavic made them and so did Xtracycle. Now, the only place in the known universe that seems to carry them is (maybe) a shop in Arizona I found. I’m sure they’re around, but given the ease I can generally procure things online, I was a bit surprised at how oddly… gone… these were.

I’ll bring my 700c dynohub wheel and the front fender with me. Since it’s just a wheel, the airline won’t get me for the bike fee as long as I can get it into a bag properly. I’ll also bring the front fender since a 26″ fender won’t fit a 700c wheel. Swap the wheels, refit the brakes… boom.

Weird part: the bike will ride off kilter – a 26″ wheel on the back and a 700c on the front. I’ll try this out a bit before I leave to make sure it’s not ridiculous, but I don’t expect it to be a problem. I’m sure it’s “geometrically problematic” or something else that would bother an ounce-phobic roadie, but I’m hauling 40 lbs of gear… methinks that’s more strain than this can cause. Also, better to be higher in the front for all sorts of obvious reasons.

Plus… brakes!

*I’ll have you know this blog goes all the way back to 2012.