Klein Budget for a Klein bicycle / gravel's biggest chopper

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  • This is my first project that I've posted here so I may be going about this like a bit of a chopper. As the title may suggest, I've managed to get hold of a Klein MTB frame on the cheap which I want to build up as a gravel bike (because I'm a poor student (boo hoo) with no money to spend on a purpose built gravel bike).

    My hope is to build a 700c gravel bike using the Klein mtb frame (I've checked the clearance, there should be enough to fit a 700c + 38c, maybe 40c tyre) and to investigate and shed light on if shit-ass, cheap mtb conversions are indeed as much fun as real gravel bikes.

    There are a few things I still need to source which you're all more than welcome to provide/point me towards. These include: disc brake fork and cheap STI/bar end shifter. my budget for these parts is max £100.

    I'll be back soon with an update. Please roast my post and help me at the same time.


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  • Has the rear disc tab been added?

    Aren't most Kleins rim brake only? Also I'm assuming the 'V' in the name refers to V-brakes.

  • Ahh yes I completely forgot to mention about this. The disc tab came already mounted to the rear left hand drop out, which is why I’m going with a matching disk fork. And yes you’re right, there are bosses for v brakes/cantilever brakes on the rear stay.

  • Is it one of those third party bolt on adaptors or did the frame come with the option of a bolt on disc tab?

    Looks interesting though. Always wanted a Klein.

  • High hopes for this! What speed/pull ratio bar ends do you need? You can get Dura Ace 9-speed or SRAM 10-speed for <£30. Depends if you have the right derailleurs/cassettes already I guess.

    Is it 1 1/8" steerer?

  • I have a surly troll fork you might want. disc brake and rim brake mounts, triple bottle aka anything cage mounts on both sides. yours for £75 collected london.

  • The bottom bracket is pretty high on a 26" mtb anyway, and 700c wheels with the widest tires would just raise it more. So I'd stick with smaller wheels. I had a similar project with a 90's Bianchi, it was rather high with the 26" wheels. Much fun though, with wide tires and long front-center. Handling was weird but forgiving at the same time, kind of slow feeling but easy to ride when the paths got rougher.

    Though if you already have the 700c wheels, try them.

  • Go for it @Ziggy. Pics of the rear disc tab?

  • I can't quite remember off the top of my head, I'll double check when I head into work later, but it seemed like a fairly legit mount, none of this kind of bull shit.


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  • Me too! I'm hoping to go with ghetto one by 10 speed and see how I go. I'm undecided as of yet what derailleur to use as I have a few options. One option is a Shimano Deore which is long cage, which I think is ideal although I'm not sure how it would team up with a bar end shifter. And then my other option is to use a 105 5800 derailleur and bodge it with a 9/10 speed derailleur. What would you recommend?

    And yes, it's a 1 1/8" steerer!

  • I'm glad you mentioned this because I hadn't really considered it. Ultimately in the future I would like to aim for something like a 650b set up to try to minimise this and to hop on the band wagon. For now all I have access to is a set of 700c wheels, but I'll be sure to maybe run 38's max instead of worrying about 40's.

  • I'm going to see how much I can find a shifter for and get back to you on this. They would be perfect for this build I think, I just want to see if my budget can accommodate them first!

  • I would go with Deore and wide range personally! It'll work perfectly with 8/9/10-speed (non-SRAM) road bar ends. That's a stock setup on a lot of tourers because it's smooth and reliable. The 105 5800 only works on 11-speed unless you do friction so that would bump the cost of the shifter up by a big chunk as all the TT guys are trying to outbid you.

    There'll be loads of STIs on eBay, I would guess that you could get some used Shimano 9/10-speed shifters for <£30ish, maybe on here. Or go for these. Used 10-speed bar ends don't seem very common but you can buy some (new) MicroShift ones on eBay for £40.

    I reckon with a bit of patience you could get some shifters for £25 and then buy that fork off @platypus

    Edit: looks like this guy has right hand 105 10-speed shifters for £15 - https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/3230­17/#comment14314648 just need a left hand lever single speed lever which you could easily find for £5... depends how concerned you are about them matching I suppose!

  • Left 5600 aren't all that common. Most broke (serious issues with this iteration) so will have been binned* or replaced under warranty (possibly with 5700).

    I think I have 3 RH and only 1 LH.

    *1x was fairly unheard of back then.

  • I used to own this! Did you get it off Tom?(Are you Tom?)

  • Has the rear disc tab been added?

    Aren't most Kleins rim brake only? Also I'm assuming the 'V' in the name refers to V-brakes.

    This isn't really a "true" Klein frame, it's from 2004 and is more of a posh branded TREK, the rear disc tabs are meant to be there.

  • I have a Zee 10spd rear derailleur you can have for £10.
    I have some 10spd cassettes for similarly cheap.
    Let me know about the fork.

  • Upon request of @russmeyer I've included a photograph below of the disc tab, which as @B0N0Rr rightly points out is an intentional feature of the frame.

    @B0N0R I believe this is your frame! I bought it from Tom, it has been left downstairs at the cafe for months unused!


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  • Progress Check for today:

    So far I have sourced 170mm cranks and a 39t chainring from the parts bin, nothing special but will do the job.

    I've found a set of disc '13 wheels' (Halfords) in the parts bin which I've removed decals from, serviced the hubs and trued.

    I found a DA 7700 bar end shifter on ebay for just less than £20 which was posted today so should arrive soon. I've done some reading and supposedly you can 'switch off' the indexing on these so they become friction shift? I'll be investigating this further once it arrives.

    As a consequence of finding a delectably cheap shifter, I'm going to take @platypus ' fork pending photos and if they're black? Also, are they the suspension corrected version (29'er) or the non suspension corrected (26") version of the fork?

    10 speed 11-30t shimano hyperglide cassette has been fitted as well as a Shimano Deore derailleur thanks to the recommendation of @frankenbike (thank you also for your amazing help finding me a shifter, that was ultimately what lead me to the one I ended up buying!).

    Currently deciding on tyres as I have a few different sets currently on offer so I'll update you all on that when I know for certain.

    Parts I'm currently looking for/ordering are:

    • 172.5 (casing width) square taper bottom bracket

    • Nice-ish set of single speed brake levers (please help if you can!)

    Edit: Also forgot to mention, for extra Choppéur points I'm using a Selle Italia USPS saddle found unsurprisingly, in the parts bin.

  • .


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  • This is going together nice and quick. Me likely

  • It is for now, may begin to slow down as I start uni next week :(

  • 172.5 square taper bottom bracket

    Sounds a bit wide ;)

  • @russmeyer Can you see why now?


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  • Got these on my gravel bike, and certainly can't knock them at that price... https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/BLTEKRL340­/tektro-rl340-road-aero-brake-levers

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Klein Budget for a Klein bicycle / gravel's biggest chopper

Posted by Avatar for Ziggy. @Ziggy.

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