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The Staiger Sprinter Conversion
Gravelbikes are totally trendy at the moment. Unfortunately, the hip gravel bikes are not exactly cheap. Sure, those who buy a 'Gravel' as their first bike will not be shocked by the cost prices. For all those who just want to try out the adventure 'gravel' for a while, there is my bike project #gravel4less: Freedom on gravel for little money ;-)
A gravel bike - what is it again? A road bike with cross tyres? A mountain bike with road handlebars? Neither. Gravel is really a completely new thing and the result of different trends and needs. Not every mountain biker has the great flow trails nearby or the opportunity to go somewhere every weekend to get the most out of the full suspension bike. But until the next dirt road - that is usually relatively easy to reach. Riding on dirt roads, however, is not really fun on a mountain bike. Many road cyclists complain about ever more ruthless drivers and of course the ever denser traffic. Do you want to ride your carbon road bike over dirt roads on ultra slick tires? It's not a good idea. And of course we also have the e-bikes which are developing quite disruptively. If you want to be trendy, don't do what everybody else does. So grow a full beard and ride with a bike that nobody can classify things that don't fit. Luckily, it's not like that. Rather in such a way that every trend causes a counter-trend and in the case of comfortable e-bikes this means simply pedalling again. But please really sporty and in beautiful surroundings; without noise and dirt. Et voilà - what you need is a gravel bike and at least a subscription to a bike magazine that deals exclusively with the topic of gravel.
For the time being I won't do the newspaper subscription, but I'd like to get real driving fun out of the of gravelled forest paths. So I need a gravel bike! The market starts with the Decathlon Triban 100 for as much as 259.95 Euros. For this you get an 11.4 kilo heavy aluminium racer (without pedals) with 7-speed Shimano gears, 700x32 hybrid tires and rim brakes with Tektro 340 levers. If you turn up your nose directly now, you don't really understand what recreational graveling is all about. It's about the pure experience and sport. Full stop. Have a look at the test reports - for people like me who maybe want to fly over gravel for something like 2 weeks a year a very hot offer.
Those who make greater demands in terms of technology must take more money in their hands. The entry-level prices of well-known brand manufacturers are usually around 850 Euros. Whether these bikes are really much better in practice than the Decathlon I can not judge; however, from the paper they already offer clearly higher-quality components. For example, the Haibike Seet Alltrack 1.0 offers mechanical disc brakes, Shimano Tiagra components and 20 gears. And it also looks pretty awesome and fast.
I have chosen a third variant and the result is the SteffsWorld #gravel4less Custom Bike. From the price it beats the cheap Decathlon by lengths, the seating position is sporty and comfortable and the look is definitely unique. My claim: Do it so original that Ken from Kaplan Motorcycles still likes it and so freaky that it could come out of Blitz Motorcycles' garage. Think that worked out pretty well.
Basis for the conversion is a 28" men's bike in frame height 58 cm of the brand Staiger/Gerlingen near Stuttgart from the late 70s, which was practically not really in use. The bike has thus well and gladly 40 years on the hump - and, what is pretty amazing, is equipped with the old Shimano FH400 with 6 gears and index shift lever. Yes, this is the gear unit with the solid steel wire (PPS). Such a bike you get for twenty Euros. If you want a more modern shifter, which is really no fault because of spare parts/upgrade, you have to calculate with forty to seventy Euros - depending on condition and components.
In the first step, the bike, which was sold as a 'touring bike', was stripped: mudguards, chain guard, luggage rack, lights and touring handlebars - everything has to go. The friendly guy around the corner had a matching handlebar in the basement. Thank you. In addition there are two Kenda K161 cross tires in 700x35C with corresponding tubes (€ 30), seat post (€ 13), Tektro brake lever RL340 (€ 17), set brake cables from Shimano (€ 10). The saddle and the handlebar tape cost about 25 Euros (I still had in the basement), I got the used 324 click pedals from Shimano for ten Euros. All in all 125 Euros and thus less than half of Decathlon's price hit.
As soon as the continuous rain has distorted it goes then intensively on gravel into the autumn. First test rides on the road have been really fun and above all a desire for more. I am enthusiastic about the Weinmann alloy wheels. Run like new and accelerate easily. I will tell you how the 'Staiger' is doing on the gravel trails in Schönbuch. In the meantime I wish you all a nice and injury-free rest season. Keep Riding Folks ;-)
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