1990 Jamis citizen 700c hybrid to gravel conversion.
My name is Brian Robichaud and this is my ultra-budget 1990 Jamis Citizen Garbage to Gravel Bike conversion.
I am primarily a mountain biker. I have always wanted a gravel bike but did not want to pay the price for something i wasnt sure id like.
I took it for a few rides and the first thing i added was this headtube adapter to convert a threaded headtube to function like a threadless. This was actually my first learning curve with this bike. I was at work, and figured “oh its probably 1”(25.4mm) because that was standard back then.” Fast forward two days and that assumption was wrong. When i want to install it it was too big so I actually took it apart and measured it and it was 22.2mm (.874”). Fast forward two days and it fit ($10). i ordered a pair of upanbike amazon bars ($16) and used a stem from another bike i had pulled from the same dump (more on this later).
This first upgrade did not really change how the bike rode by that much. What it did give me was adaptability to change the cockpit how i see fit down the line, for now it is a free set of flat bars i had.
It came with a 6x3 frewheel drivetrain, which i knew was outdated technology. A week later i was at the aforementioned dump and i saw another 700c bike that looked a little newer. I took it home, took the rims off and the rear had an HG cassette. I quickly took the rims off the citizen and put on these new rims to make sure theyd fit. This bike also had a set of 43c tires that are good and will be my tires until i order a set of panaracers for it.
The ability for a cassette made this project easier to take further. My next step was a new seat, seat post because i didnt like how the old post attached, and grips to match.
I had a trek 6500 dump find that donated the full drivetrain to the citizen. The trek was a 3x9 shimano deore but I removed the front chainrings for a 34t narrow wide that to make a stitched together 1x9.
This is where my next big problem and learning curve came. I took it for its first ride and in 8th and 9th gear the chain was skipping. As a temporary fix I had a box 2 groupset i put on it (and loved) but decided that was not in the spirit of the build, so i had to figure out a new solution.
I ordered a new cassette to use with this 1x9. And accidentally ordered an 8 speed cassette(11-34). Using my free bikes i was able to cobble together an 8 speed setup using the 9 speed derailleur.
I got the back rack for free, and it came with a bag, but it is not in good shape, so i am trying to get it cleaned up before the final round.
The bike rides amazing but i would appreciate more of a climbing gear for sustained hills. A drivetrain with a bigger cassette will be an upgrade eventually.
My key takeaways with this build:
Dont trust “standard”, always measure.
Dont be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.
Always do a full condition check on anything you harvest off another bike or pull off another shelf.
Patience is a virtue with budget building. Do your research, dont be afraid to experiment.