Marin Bobcat Retro Refresh

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  • Hi All,

    Wanted to build a bike to use as a daily that I didn't care too much about. Recently bought a Bootzipper but realised it's just too expensive a bike to use as a daily in winter, put a baby seat on, leave outside the pub etc. So listed the Bootzipper up for sale and I have decided to build a 26inch retro. This will be my 3rd retro in as many years. Did a purple Lava Dome then a Pink Terrago.

    I got this 1995 Marin Bobcat last week. Its a large, had some ok parts on it but I will only really use the frame and fork.

    Stripped it down but realised the BB is stuck which I am in the process of removing now. I was going to keep the paint as it was when I saw it in the pictures in the for sale ad. Got there and it wasn't as good as I thought. The seatstays had large areas of exposed metal work so I have decided to paint it. By the time I have torched the BB out the paint will be shot around that area as well. Spoke to my local powder coaters and I am deciding on whether to have it acid dipped to bare (£20) then paint it a funky colour (spraybike) or just get them to powder coat it in one of their common colours they use (£50). This would be black, silver, yellow, red etc.


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  • Before this goes to paint I have to remove the BB first of all. After this I will be taking the guides for the rear brake cable off the top tube (kids ride shotgun will foul these). I will be running a straight through cable but I'm not going to have new tabs mounted. If anyone can recommend some neat cable management solutions for under the top tube that would be great. I like the stainless wrap around versions but I'm open to anything.

    I will only really use the pedals and the tyres from this original build moving forwards. The types are continental double fighters which I like the look of but come summer I will get some slicks such as hookworms or DTH.

    While I was out buying the Marin I also collected another bike that was local to it. The aim of this is to try and sell as many bits off the bikes I buy to offset the cost of the parts I am buying. The second bike I bought was a Kona blast. I wanted this for the XT hubs on Mavic rims and the Avid V-brakes it had. I haven't cleaned them yet but these are the wheels I will be using and I have installed the tyres. Also popped in some superstar skewers I had spare.


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  • I had to think what parts I needed/wanted for the build. I had the frame and forks, wheels were sorted and I also had options with regards to brakes as I had the Avids but I also had the newer set of black Deores. Gearing should be fine as I have some XT 10 speed with clutch that I look off my Hello Dave when I went to Sram 11. I have the shifter chain and an 11-42 cassette which should suit the build well as I want to go single ring.

    I was looking at cranks. I have a set of XT hollowtech which I didn't want to use as they look way too modern. I have some Deore 4 bolt square tapers but again they weren't doing it for me. I wanted an old 5 arm. Something like an STX. The bike came with a nice set of Altus cranks but the rings are pressed onto the spider rendering than useless for what I want.

    Anyway I went to a cycle jumble at Penkridge yesterday and literally the first stand I went to the chap pretty much had everything I wanted. I put a few bits to one side and came back at the end and collected it all.

    The first score was a 5 arm Deore chainset in very good condition. I could have got a set of Middleburns with spider and rings or a set of L&M DH for not much more but I actually prefer these. What's nice about these is that the 94BCD has a 36 tooth middle ring instead of the 32 for example on the Middleburns. I will run this 36 to check the gearing but I may go up to a 38T. What 5 bolt 38tooth narrow wide rings are out there. I love the Stridsland ones but there comes a limit on price where I can't keep throwing lots of money at it as it will become too expensive. If I can't find an alternative I will go for one of those. The turquoise looks ace well.

    Next find was a GT stem. I liked that this still looks like a quill but will work with the ahead adaptor I put on. Its nice and simple with the inboard clamp to the steerer so it looks really clean.

    After this was a set of new style silver Deore brakes. Levers and calipers in the bag. Good condition. Gives me a bit more choice on which set I want to use.

    Got a pair of Avid speed dial levers so if I use single digit calipers I have a nice matching pair of levers. These were £5 for the pair so a good buy in my opinion.

    Finally was a set of Renthal dirt jump bars. Always been a rental fan boy. Always run their stuff on moto and as soon as the MTB stuff came out I went straight onto that. Anyway this chap had a set of these bars. I totally forgot about them. I wanted high rise bars and was set on a set of BLB Big Smoke 25.4 clamp in chrome. I looked at these Renthals and funnily enough specs were near the same. 720mm width. 3" rise. These are a bit heavier with a thicker wall and they have a 22mm clamp so I will need to run a shim for my new stem.


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  • Next items to consider are what colour I want it. What front rack to use, I'm thinking the cheap ebay one that mounts onto the front brake bosses. I also need a set of guards. Will probably get Bluemels in 60mm but open to other suggestions.

  • Hot pink gets my vote

  • I was feeling pink or a blue/green like the fork.

    I have had a few bright pink bikes but what's one more hey.

  • What 5 bolt 38tooth narrow wide rings are out there

    Not NW, but...

    https://www.bikepunx.com/5-x-94-bcd-stai­nless-chainring-2mm-thick-2288-p.asp

    Got these dudes to make up some 94bcd 5 bolt chainrings recently, haven't got round to fitting mine on an old pair of FSA Powerpros yet but it looks excellent and will fit those cranks perfectly. Should be similar for other 94bcd 5 bolt arms?

  • Good shout dude. They do look good. Nice deep teeth as well which will suit the single ring better.

  • Yeah, they were designed for a single ring with deep teeth

  • Rusty BB came out with a bit of a fight. That satisfying creak as it lets go never gets old.

    Also ground down the brake cable guides on the top tube. Ready for acid stripping and potential powder coating tomorrow.


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  • If anyone has got suggestions to cable guides that I can run under the top tube that would be great. Really don't want to have to use cable ties.

  • Got the frame back today. They did a good job for the money.

    Did a quick mock up.


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  • Looking good! Looking forward to seeing it built up.

  • Cheers. Yeah I can't wait now. Still waiting on stuff like headset and chainring. Then I need to trail a few BB's to get that chainline right.

  • Not sure what to suggest about cable guides if you don't want to use cable ties. Probably should have had some guides brazed on, too late for that now though...ha.

  • Thought about braze on but didn't want the extra expense tbh. The costs would be getting out of hand at that point.

    I have two options one is stick on that actually look quite neat. The other which I am favouring are the stainless clips that wrap around the frame.

  • Graphics have arrived. Went with Mint. Got then from dnfive. Very good price and super quick turnaround.


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  • Stem turned into an ahead convertor. These Marin's came with a 1 1/8 threaded fork as standard. Cut the extension off. Sanded it down then turned on the lathe to get it down so no weld remained.


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  • Graphics on


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  • Great colors! Really like where this is going:)

  • Thanks! The mint was never my original intention but my Mrs put some mint coloured wool next to it and it really suited. I stripes on the top tube were a random addition in the graphics pack. I don't know if they were intended to underline the Marin logo, although I can't say I have seen that before. They suit the top tube well.

    Waiting on a headset now which should be ready for me to grab tomorrow. Got a bag of UN52 BB's so hope one will be the right width and hopefully getting some DMR Moto Rt for it.

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Marin Bobcat Retro Refresh

Posted by Avatar for Tom13 @Tom13

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