Andy Amos


Andy Amos




2009 Orbea to Drop Bar Gravel Rig


The Madrid entry 2009 Orbea boring mountain bike bashing is well advanced.

It has gone from a humble one-step-almost-in-the-trash buy to a stomping gravel eating "cycopath"! 
I Bought it for €50 with seized 26 inch wheels and the usual level of low end components for that era. There were no bearings in the headset, the bottom bracket didn't move and the saddle was peeling like a banana. The only thing going for it were disc brakes although they were knackered. I repaired the wheels and sold them for €55 so at least got my money back. Its original forks went off with another build and I soaked all the other parts in vinegar for several days to get rid of the rust. That left the frame which was stripped down totally, hand sawed off cable guides, paint removed then the insane idea to make 18 extra screw mounts for bottle holders which admittedly is an overkill, but heh, its my bike and I can drill it if I want to! The holes were filled using riv-nuts and the slots created were plugged by cable inserts, all purchased from ebay or aliexpress! It was spray painted on our not so roomy balcony using a single €5 Molotow Premium spray paint. Saying that the paint stripper and wire wool cost €20, primer was almost €12 and the matte clear coat was €10!
Another €300, about €200 more than I originally planned, has since been thrown at the project in the form of Aliexpress Ignite road levers, iXF cranks and hollowtech style bottom bracket, Decathlon gravel bars, headset, secondhand 29er forks and wheels, not to mention tape, paint, tires, cables and a ton of time and mess in our apartment! Saying that, the bike looks a world away from its original state.The applied matte paint and lacquer now give it that modern "I am an off roader" attitude which is further helped by it now having more studs than a 1980's punk, hahah! The larger forks produce a more relaxed 68 degree head angle (unfortunately the same for the seat tube but we won't dwell on that). 
I'm still toying with what size wheels to fit. The 29er forks already make the bottom bracket higher than normal with the 26 inch wheels. I do have a pair of 29er wheels which are going to have a look in although the tires are going to have to be thinner. Maybe taking out some of the rear struts would give more space but I am done with sawing bits off. Going Mullet is not something I aspire to and the 650B size is just beyond my budget.
The rear brake and gear cables are now integrated into the frame. It was a fiddle but the continuous cable housings mean any future cable replacements should be pretty easy. Growing up in Britain, I'm also an advocate for full length cables to keep the wet and grime at bay. It also helps for a smooth cable travel.
If chosen to enter the immortal top 5 I will intend to take the construction to the next level! Yes there is always one! Utilising its plethora of mounting points I will attempt to adapt and attach bikepacking adventure equipment on as no bike has been seen to do before. Man and machine will then head off into the Spanish sunset on a quest to hopefully survive in yonder wilderness and return in one piece! One thing is for sure, I won't go thirsty with so many water bottle cages!!