Introduction: Preparing My Old Bike for Competition

About: I live in the south of Chile, I love thinking of new ideas and maitain things working in my home.

Some time ago my friends invited me to participate in a competition on mountain bikes, but it was not my intention to buy a new one despite the insistence and laughter of my friends regarding my old university bike that weighed around 48,5lb (22kg).

So that's how I decided to install some accessories and finally it turned out quite well and I was able to complete the competition, even drawing the applause of some to see a competitor with this antique piece on the road.

Some of the most important challenges on this occasion was to find the proper accessories that fit the frame of my bike and in this "Instructable" I would like to share with you because I did not find much information for a project of this type on the internet.

My bike was a standard mountain bike (3x6 gears) and I transformed it into a 1x11 gear, which reduces complexity, maintenance and weight as well. I will explain specifically how was my case (I used Shimano). Nonetheless,I will explain all measurements I had to take into consideration, then you can choose other brands and models.

When I finished my project, beside the new good look and improved performance, my "new" old bike ended up wheighing 35,3lb (16kg).



  • Hex Key Allen Wrench Set
  • Wrench set
  • Bicycle Chain Master Link Pliers (In my case, this)
  • Bottom Bracket & Rotor Lockring Tool (This - in my case again)
  • Cassette Locking Tool (I bought this)
  • Lock Spanner
  • Torque wrench (I've bought a Pro Bike tool, it is great to stay my bikes on shape).

Spare parts:

  1. Head set
    • Bike handle grips
    • Bike handlebar
    • MTB stem
    • MTB stem riser adapter
  2. Brakes
    • Brake handles
    • V-Brake set
    • Brake cable housing kit
  3. Wheels
    • Rims
    • Tires
    • Shimano Deore XT - Front Hub (HB-M8000)
    • Shimano Deore XT - Rear Hub (HR-M8000)
  4. Drivetrain
    • Deore XT bb-mt800 pedalier
    • Shimano Deore XT - Hollowtech II MTB Crankset - 1x11-speed (FC-M8000-1)
    • Shimano SLX - Bottom Bracket - Threaded - Hollowtech II - 68 mm shell width (BB-MT8000)
    • Shimano Deore XT - Chainring - Dynamic chain engagement+ - 11-speed (SM-CRM81)
    • Shimano SLX 11-Speed Cassette (CS-M7000)
    • Shimano Ultegra/XT CN-HG701 11-Speed Chain W/ Quick Link (CN-HG701-11)
    • Shimano Deore XT - Rear Derailleur - Long Cage - Shimano Shadow RD+ - 11-speed (RD-M8000-SGS)
    • Derailleur Hanger (There are lots of them, and you have to the specific one that fits your frame)
    • Shimano Deore XT - Rapidfire Plus - Right Shift Lever - Clamp Band - 11-speed (SL-M8000-R)
  5. Saddle
    • Brand new saddle

Step 1: Head Set

It all started with the change of the handlebars, after that came the brake handle and the steering bar. All this you can find in bicycle stores on the internet or amazon.

Handlegrips: You can choose the one that best suits you, replacing them is simply removing the old one and installing a new one. The ones I installed had bolts to hold them better.

Handlebars: To replace them, you need to know that you will have to get 3 things to achieve it, these are: the handlebar, the stem and the stem riser adapter.

You will also have to take some measurements:

(a) The width of the handlebar you want to install

(b) the thickness of the handlebar

(c) the length of the stem (I kept the same length as before)

(d) the width of the stem riser adapter

In the case of (a) and (c) it is depending on how comfortable you are, but measurements (b) and (d) must be taken into consideration because they are specific to each bicycle. In my case, handlebars with the measurement (b) of my bike there were not many options because it was a bit thin. In the case of the stem riser adapter, my bike was 1 inch, which is 25.4mm.

Step 2: Brakes

The brakes ... at first I thought I could install some disc brakes on my bikes, but I soon realized that if I wanted to keep the original frame and fork, I would have to keep my V-brakes, but that didn't stop me from doing an improvement.

The only important thing to consider here is buying good quality ones, in my case I installed some Shimano brakes, a standard brake lever and changed all the cables and the difference was noticeable.

Why couldn't I install disc brakes? because the frame of my bicycle requires special sockets where they are installed.

In the case of the brake lever, I liked the metallic ones much more, they are more resistant and rigid than plastic and they have a more modern look.

The change of the brake lines made a major difference in their performance and an important tip is to add a few drops of oil to the cables, inside the housings.

Step 3: Wheels

When you replace the wheels you have to consider several parts and the measurements here are also very important.

First, the rims have a diameter that you must respect. Mine were 26 inches and first I had the intention of putting 27 or 29 - like my friends' bikes - but after researching I was convinced that it was not technically possible. Therefore, I focused on installing ones that work well and that support wider tires, to be able to ride more complex terrain.


- Rim diameter - Numbers of spokes - What should you take into account?

Hubs: considering that I bought the Deore XT set from Shimano, I installed a new set for the front and rear wheel on my bike, which included the Front Hub and the rear Freehub, both with quick release since the ones that my bike initially brought were nuts .

You should consider two things here:

1.- The number of spokes of the hubs, because you will need wheels that use the same amount.

2.- Both hubs are for disc brakes, but it doesn't matter if you have V-Brakes.

Rims: You should buy some considering the type of brake (V-Brake, Disk, other.), The diameter of the wheel, the number of spokes, the width of the tires and the type of valve you are going to use.

In my case, I bought a "WTB Dual Duty i23 32-Hole Rim, Black, 26-Inch". The information available indicated to me that these have an ERTRO standard: 23C, they are used for V-Brakes, they have 32 holes for the spokes and it allowed the use of "Presta" type valves, although I wanted to use the "Schrader" type so I had to enlarge the gap with my drill.

You can find some references about the ERTRO standard here:

About the valves, basically there are 3 the most common ("Presta", "Schrader" and "Woods2. It will depend on your preference, in my case the cars and fuel stations have" Schrader ", that's why I prefer them.

Tires: I bought a 26-inch diameter one that was compatible with the 23C standard, the images show how the compatibility works and how it changed.

Hubs, spokes (and Rims): their installation is not so simple, in this case I preferred to take them to a local workshop to connect everything. Installing the spokes is the most complex of all the work, doing it incorrectly can cause your wheel to not turn well.

Step 4: Drivetrain

This change is one of the most important, I reduced from 28 to 11 speeds, but also cables, handles, weight and my bike is much simpler now with modern technology and a fashionable look.

First you must take some measurements and have some considerations that I list below:

  1. The width of the bottom bracket that you are going to buy, this depends on your bike and you must measure it as shown in the image. In my case, the hole had thread and was 68mm, so I bought and installed a bottom bracket of those characteristics ( .html).
  2. Since I wanted to build a 1x11 speed kit, I bought the entire Shimano Deore XT compatible set. It is important to mention that the chain is for 11 speeds, not just any chain will work, neither the cassette nor the rest, it must be specific according to the number of speeds.

Now to install:

  1. Remove the rear wheel (you should have it removed if you took it to a local workshop to install the freehub).
  2. Install the new Cassette Sprocket on the rear wheel according to the instructions in the manufacturer's manual. It is very simple, but you will need the tools (Cassette locking tool) that I listed at the beginning of this tutorial.
  3. Remove the two gearshift handles and both derailers.
  4. Remove the chain from the bicycle.
  5. Remove the pedals and the old crankset.
  6. Now you need to remove the old bottom bracket, for this you will need the Lock Spanner.
  7. Install the new bottom bracket according to the manufacturer's instructions, you will need the Bottom Bracket & Rotor Lockring Tool for this.
  8. Install the chainring in the new crankset, make sure to use the right pressure so as not to damage the screws (that happened to me). Here a torque wrench is essential.
  9. Install the new crankset in the bottom bracket.
  10. Install the rear derailer according to the manufacturer's instructions. This is not very complex, but you will need to adjust your bike later for the changes to work correctly.
  11. Mount the rear wheel.
  12. Install the chain, taking into consideration that there is a direction in which it works (you must pay attention to the instructions that come with it). To join it, you will need the "Chain Master Link Pliers" and the quick link, the latter in my case was included.
  13. Install the shift lever and adjust according to the manufacturer's instructions. This process can take a little time and is also one of the complex parts of this project.

Step 5: The Final Touch, a Good Saddle!

Finally, I thought about giving it a sporty touch by including a "dropper seatpost", but couldn't find one that would fit my frame measurements, so I thought it would be a nice finishing touch to add a good saddle.

I went to a store and they took some measurements, with this they offered me a seat that adjusted to my ... body. It was only necessary to change the saddle because the seatpost adjusted.

Now my seat is lighter, a little stiffer and it looks really cool.

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