Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thoughts on 1980's Mountain Bike Fit and the Trek Antelope as a Winter Bike

I find it interesting how one bicycle can have multiple lives. The Trek Antelope's early life was as a versatile commuter/dirt road rider/sport bicycle. In the mid 90s it functioned beautifully as a world tourer, climbing steep inclines and holding it's own on rough, third world roads. Since 2000, this do-it-all machine morphed into a daily commuter again with an occasional multi-day tour thrown in for good measure. But, it some respects, I've moved on, mostly, to riding step through bicycles, so the Trek has lately served as a loan to relatives or our youngest son has ridden it to a mowing job when his bike has a flat.

What I find particularly interesting, is the suggested fit for bikes of this era. I went from riding a 20-21" touring bike to the recommended 19" mountain bike. I believe the rationale went like this: ride a smaller frame so you'd have clearance on rough trails, making it easier to dismount or put a foot on the ground.

In hindsight, and from the wisdom of age, a 20" mountain bike suits me better. The reach is perfect without the need for bar ends, which, on the Trek has become a necessity for optimal comfort.

So, what to do with the Trek Antelope?

Now that I've found a perfect-sized Peugeot step through for commuting - a size that's proven difficult to locate - it occurred to me (after Ryan suggested I use the Ross as a winter bike) that I should press the Trek into cold weather duty, small or not, and keep the Peugeot for the long haul and not subject it to salt-crusted roads.

The Plan - Transform the Trek into a lean, functional machine*
  • remove front rack
  • add wider gumwall tires
  • beef up the worn hand grips, perhaps with a funky wrap job
  • replace toe clip pedals with simple platform type

*Of course, the added benefit here is I don't have to get rid of a bicycle that has memories up the wazoo...


  1. I like your plan, and hope you'll post updates as the plan progresses. My Antelope that was gifted to me was tweaked a little and passed on to my brother and nephew. But I just purchased a 1993 Bridgestone MB-5 that I'll keep at my daughter's house in DC. It is my grandchildren bike!

  2. I'd suggest black wall tires as they are stronger and probably last longer in harsher conditions.

    1. +1 on the blackwall tires. Otherwise, I think you have a great plan.

    2. I have already bought gumwall tires, so gumwalls it is! I didn't know that blackwalls were more resistant to road salt, so thanks for your suggestions.

  3. Hope it works well for you Annie - interested to see what tires you end up with, and I might suggest giving the frame a good waxing before winter sets in.

  4. Hindsight and the wisdom that comes from age - I have found too that it's only recently that I've realized just what size of bike I need. My lovely Trek mixte which I always thought was the right size is in fact a bit on the small side, but I'd never have known this if I hadn't got my bigger Koga. Looking forward to seeing what you do with your Trek!


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