Home > Uncategorized > Converting a 1980s road bicycle to a cyclocross bicycle

Converting a 1980s road bicycle to a cyclocross bicycle

There is nothing better and relaxing (within reason!) than working on something tangible and seeing the successful fulfillment of your plans. In that vein I used to do a lot of Motorcycle restoration but got out of that for a number of reasons. 1st off was the cost, every piece was expensive, unique and took a lot of time to source. Then there was the complexity of just getting the darn thing to start. And if you did manage to get it back together and working you then needed a safety, government registration and insurance (if you can get it, insurers are a bit leery on classic bikes) then gas to keep it going, as well as the occasional speeding ticket(!). I still have a few projects that I just abandoned after a few years of effort.

Then I rediscovered biking and loo and behold, you can work on those as well. But you don’t have any of the problems of Motorcycle restoring. Parts are fairly interchangeable (despite some folks who grumble), cheap(ish) and you can try out your bike as soon as you think its ready. Often you pull stuff off one bike and you have it laying around and thus you can use that on another bike (try that between a Ducati and a Honda!).

In the last two years I sold my track bike (Kawasaki EX500), my cruiser (Yamaha Virago) and just have the Ducati (800ss..not giving that one up!) but still had the tinkering bug. As it happened Cyclocross season was coming up and I did NOT want to stop competing. But I needed a Cyclocross bike. And I needed it cheap. My eyes fell upon the old rusted Fiori Napoli I had inherited from my brother. It had a lot of clearance for tires and while it would not be perfect for Cyclocross it would do and it would also make a great winter bike (I have grown attached to the Diamondback and didn’t want to make it suffer thru another winter) so it became my new project.

Here is what I started with. Drop tube shifting, 6 speed drive train, old brakes with little in terms of stopping power, rusty frame. Rolling up my sleeves I got busy.


4 weeks later I had this..a newish modern 10 speed steel “almost” cyclocross bike with already one race under its belt.


In this series I will go over the 4 main steps and what I did in each. These 4 steps were as follows.

1- Strip old parts off the bike and figure out what can be kept

2- Strip and repaint the frame

3- Get new parts where required

4- Put it all together

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. James
    January 25, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    I don’t recall seeing mention of tires,what size tire were you able to fit on it?

    • January 25, 2014 at 11:51 pm

      Sorry. For this frame I was able to fit 700×30 without any problem. Not sure if I could go a bit higher but 700×30 Schwalbe CX Pros in this case left an adequate amount of space. I noticed a bit of mud sticking during races but the brakes continued to work although they did lose some bite.

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