Home > bicycling, Mechanical > Old Road Bike to Cyclocross Series–Part 4- Putting it all back together

Old Road Bike to Cyclocross Series–Part 4- Putting it all back together

This is the fourth and final part of a four part series on how to convert an older 1980 Roads bike to a more modern commuter or even Cyclocross bike.

With the frame repainted and the rear triangle stretched, the parts are received and ready to go so time to put this bike back together.

There isn’t an official order you need to do things in but a few things naturally should be attached early. I started with the bottom bracket and crank.

This FSA MegaEXO bottom bracket slides right into the BB part of the frame without any hassles. First I threaded it on by hand.



Then used my Bottom Bracket tool to tighten. This is a steel bike so not as concerned in terms of torque.


With the Bottom Bracket now installed it was a simple case of putting the cranks on and tightening the non-drive side bolts.



The crank spun up nicely and perfect fit.

Next up I decided to mount the rear brake, this was pretty simple. This bike was “new” enough to have proper modern mounting holes and the brake slid right in. Front brake would have to wait for the fork.


Next up was the seat post and seat. I didn’t even take the seat off the post, and it went right back in. I cleaned up the clamp bolt and tightened it. Already the bike was starting to take shape!


Now I started with some of the tricky bits. Headset I needed to make sure I repeated the order of how I took stuff out and I also cleaned and repacked the bearings with grease.


Then reinserted the steam and man handled the handlebars into place.


The handlebars didn’t seem to want to go all that well and really had to enlarge the opening in the stem, but still scored the handlebars a bit more than I wanted to.  There still hasn’t really been any change in front fork hub width so naturally the tire just slipped right in here.

Next up time to see if my enlarging of the rear triangle worked. I took the wheels I was planning on using here and eased them between the stays. While my system may have looked scientific to figure out the width I did mostly eye ball it. But lo and behold it fit with just a tiny bit of suggestion!


With the rear wheel now attached I added the rear brake. Again as the fork was set up for allen bolts this just slotted right in.


Also added the pedals which were some I had on my Mountain bike in the past and would work great here on the Cyclo Cross bike.


And slapped on the bottle cage.


Up to this point most of the tasks flew by and I was making a lot of good progress. These next few items took quite a bit longer.

It was time to add the derailleurs. The front derailleur was brand new. Took it out of its box.


In order for it to be attached to the frame I needed to put the problem solver on. I knew I would have to adjust this so didn’t tighten it.


Then attached the front derailleur again loosely. There is this cool plastic “alignment” graphic that allowed me to adjust everything based on how teeth lined up with the graphic.


Once that was correct you tear the little piece of plastic off and presto, its aligned at least with the height needed.

The rear derailleur was new as well and took that out of its box.


Attachment was pretty simple, it just screwed right into the drop out of the frame. Can’t say it enough, 25 year old frame, new part, bang just fits. Standards are awesome.



It would be fully adjusted once I have the cables installed.

The shifters were also brand new and unpacked those. Lots of cables and bits


The shifters were a bit tricky to get onto the handlebars. I loosed the screw that keeps it tight a bit but it wouldn’t fit.


Had to back it waaaay off until it seemed like the ring would fall off, then it slipped over.


Moved it up and over to the desired location (again just eye balled this a bit, you may want to be a bit more precise). Mostly you want the top of the shifters to be in line with the line of the top of the bar.


Before I started all the cabling I also fitted the down tube bosses adapters.


Also installed the Cyclo Cross brake levers across the middle of the handle bar.


Cabling took a lot of time and I wanted to make sure I had both the right cable and sleeve lengths and that the routing didn’t impede the handle bars etc. I found the front brake the hardest and you have to make sure the cable doesn’t go thru too many tight loops. Getting the tension right was often a bit of a trial and error process. I do admit I had to take the tape off again, readjust how the cables fitted into the shifters and redo the tape. In the end it was all together tested fine.


Adjusted the derailleurs and brakes. Front derailleur and rear brake were simple, rear derailleur had to work with the screws a bit but not nearly as hard as I thought it might be. Front brake again was a bit of a issue but in the end it was working fine. Crimped the cables and that was it. Ready for use. I have ridden this bike and now raced it twice in Cyclocross races. A bit heavy but still very comfortable ride. Has all the drill holes for fenders so may look to take as this will replace the Diamondback over the winter in the office.


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Categories: bicycling, Mechanical
  1. September 22, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Hi. That’s an excellent job. I read all 4 in the series in one sitting. I will do the same thing to my now-single-speed Benotto. One question, though: why did you decide on those tektro levers instead of using the lever-shifters you bought? Is it about hand placement?

    • September 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks! Part of my decision to add the extra brake levels was in looking in general at cyclocross bikes. It is supposed to be a common need as you tear around the course but I found I didn’t use them in the 3 races I did and not everyone had them either. I do however find that on the road they add an extra layer of safety when you have your hands on top of the handlebars. So optional and a case of personal preference.

      • September 23, 2014 at 8:14 am

        Thanks for replying. That’s a really nice guide. I miss some details, but that’s really bike-specific and you gave a broader picture, thanks!

      • September 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm

        Thanks for the feedback and good luck!

  2. Arlhec
    October 20, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Hey mate how did you stretched the rear triangle?

    • March 12, 2015 at 9:07 am

      I used a long bolt and two nuts and added tension every hour or so to each side. Details in part 3. Worked like a charm and cost all of $2.

  3. erdem
    March 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    i also would like to ask about the rear triangle .

    What was the length and to which length did you extent ? 120 to 130mm ?

    and what was the gear on the free hub ? 6-7-8 ? why did you choose 10 ?

    many thanks for the replies ! -which will be very helpful for my upgrading of peugeot st bernard pe13 =)

    erdem /barcelona-spain

    • March 12, 2015 at 9:05 am

      Sorry for the delay. It has been snowy winter here in Canada so biking has been put on the back burned. I think it was 120 but certainly the end result was 130. I went 10 speed because that is the size of all my wheel sets and I move them around quite a bit. Good luck in the upgrade.

  4. steven
    March 16, 2015 at 5:17 am

    I’ve been looking into doing this but everyone tells me it cannot be done due to wheel clearance. What size wheels did you use, and how would you say this compares to a dedicated cx bike?

    • March 23, 2015 at 10:23 am

      So these were 700cc wheels with 32mm tires. In this case it was an old frame (1980s) and I had other bikes so was willing to try it out. I out in 32mm tires and there was lots of clearance so I found it worked great. Maybe depends on the frame a bit, but certainly lots of clearance with my frame.In terms of how well it worked in cx races I would say I had fun, the bike worked and the usual problem that the engine was less willing than the bike was still true. I since was gifted a redline cx frame which I like better but would have kept using this frame.

  1. July 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm

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