A 1984 Trek 830 that I made into my 'riding around' bike:


Introduction: This was a summer 2011 project bike that started as a frame swap to my already made-into-a-commuter 1986 Fuji Sundance. The initial plan was to swap the parts onto this halfway decent (and 22" frame so a better size than the 21" Fuji) 1984 Trek 830 frame that I bought for $50. The story I got is that the guy's wife bought it new in the UK back then.

Study design: The magic in this frame is the geometry and build (see here or link below for catalog scan). On my 22" frame, the critical specs are:
72.5° seat tube @54cm, 71° head tube, 58cm top tube (horizontal of course), 48.5cm chainstays, 4.5cm fork offset, 5cm bb drop, and total wheelbase of 109.8cm!

Materials and methods: As I started into the frame swap, I wound up changing more and more stuff (beyond the frame) with new and used to make it just a little better...

Since the Trek frame was pretty scratched up from who knows what sort of neglectful banging around a garage for years, I decided to patch the scratched areas with blue and purple paint to achieve a sort of spotted hippy bike effect rather than repainting the frame all proper & fancy. I had some hardware store-brand rust-oleum paint mixed to a muddy but nice purple, and bought a can of blue, and hand-brush painted several layers alternating the colors with sandings between, and then 'rattle-can' clear-coated the result. Later I did the lug outlines in the forest green to put the whole effect over the edge.

It started to get out of hand when the summer became too hot to bike (I was living on the Palouse, in Idaho, for a couple of years then and it gets >90°f there forever). So bike work took the place of bike riding. (When it wasn't too hot to go outside entirely!)

Disassembling the Fuji, I found the original cup & cone bottom bracket in the Fuji was shot, so I ordered a new BB. It's hard to guess spindle length, so my original guess turned out to be too long, so I had to order a shorter one (keeping the original mis-order in stock for later use, of course).

Then I saw some Tange Levin headsets relatively cheaply... My favorite all-round headset since the early 1980s! And the fenders were on sale, along with the brake shoes... And, while I used the same MKS Sylvan Touring pedals that I'd put on the Fuji, I added the half-clips and pedal flips to the fender order (and the [original, since changed] bottle cage too)... And some extra $$ from recent extended fieldwork helped me justify the new seat -- and of course I needed a seatpost since the Trek's was missing and the diameter was different from the Fuji's anyway. Then I saw an old-style BMX specialist selling the translucent cable housing of the sort I so liked back in the 80s, (so I added some red for this bike onto a 50 foot order of clear sliver for other bikes way into the future [as well as some green and some blue for just in case on future bike work]).

And the hubs on the wheelset on the Fuji needed work and the wheels were out of true, so I decided to use these decent (but black) Maillard 'sealed mechanism' hubs that came with the frame, but they needed new axles as the existing ones were bent ... so I re-greased and gave new bearings at the same time I replaced the axles. And of course I needed tires & tubes. Then I saw the 'NOS' brake lever hoods cheaply, so had to get those (and a couple spares), as they are long-extinct. Oh, and I didn't care for the original Fuji's Nitto bars, since they didn't have any decent hand positions for torquing and I like "butterfly", or "trekking" bars, so ordered those and a stem to fit -- and Grab-On Grips of course. And thankfully the frame didn't have a $#@!! 'braze-on' brake cable hanger, so I was able to use one of the several sets of QR hangers I'd bought!

And try to find a silver rack anymore that's not Chinese... This Madison (made in Taiwan) I actually had to bloody order all the way from England! And of course a bell. Trekking bars are great, but there aren't many mirror options when you can't mount bar-end, so I tried this Kraut mirror. And the li'l orange reflector on the rear fender and the li'l blue on the front - those are from the 1960s. Then as I was almost finished the cable fastener on the Mountech derailleur stripped so I swapped both mechs for these decent ARX's that I'd bought used not long ago (putting the Mountech back into the parts bin for future repair).

Then after riding it for a couple weeks I got this pretty decent and slightly scratched Sugino AT crankset. And the slightly short but old and silver Zefal pump.

So what's 'original'? Not much! The brake cantis and the wheelset are original to the Trek 830. (Not the axles or bearings, though!) The brake and shift levers are original to the Fuji. (The freewheel and chain, pedals, and chainwheels and bolts are adds to the Fuji from a couple years back.)

So in the end, it really wasn't so much a parts swap as a new bike (and a large pile of extra parts)!

Results: It rides pretty good - really good, in fact, and I like the colorful paint and all-silver parts. It looks better than the pictures, I think. Truth is, it's my favo(u)rite pet bike! Unfortunately it's in Michigan and I'm in Alaska, so I don't get to ride it too often. Perhaps part of the appeal is that whenever I ride it (around Ishpeming & Negaunee, in the Upper Peninsula) I am on vacation riding from saloon to junkshop to diner to campout, and thus already on a higher plane, but that can't explain entirely why I just like this bike so much! [2017: now together again in same state with all bikes!]

Conclusion: Yes, they knew how to make them back then, unlike the monstrosities of aesthetic din nowadays. One drawback is that, like most gigantic bicycle marketers these days trek continues to use the same model names decades later for quite different bikes, thus making searching for the good ones very difficult [e.g., Trek 830, Stumpjumper]!

At this point (January 2016!) I'm thinking of having a new frame built to nearly the same design, but in ~58cm size. Also keeping my eyes open for another 83 or 84 830 or 850 in the 24.5" size.

Further research/1: Yes, I am definitely planning for a 58cm frame size of this to be built -- which is [April 2017:] almost finished, built on the Kibo frame.

Further research/2: Yes, I am definitely planning for a 58cm frame size of this to be built, probably fall 2016, probably Steve Goff in Lancashire, England of course. Very similar geometry to the 830 but a slightly longer fork offset, chainstays maybe 46-48 instead of the 48.5 (because hard to get longer). Probably Reynolds 853 & 525, full lugged or maybe bronze-welded, Pacenti 'Ritchey' crown, etc. I've got a whole pile of CAD plans, lists, etc. from my study & design of this frame (first one I've done; I just specified a few ideas for the Woodrup & Kibo)! Setup I think will be like this 830 but a bit fancier though still mostly 1980s Suntour, friction shifting and Nitto Dirt Drop stem, butterfly bars, Phil Wood 135 freewheel hubs with 5-speed Suntour Winner Pro, etc. At this point (Feb 2016) I'm 95% certain I'll go with Suntour Rollercam brakes, too since I dig them so much ... I even have Suntour braze-on bosses set aside for this... [April 2017: still on order - waiting for my spot in the queue/Steve's schedule.]

In April 2017, now moved back to the UP and thus able to ride this often, I've changed a few minor things. (see newly added photos)
1) I swapped the 84 rear ARX mech for an 82, since the cage of the 84'd gotten bent and while trying to swap cages I discovered that a critical bushing had changed depth between 82 & 84, so had to change the whole mech;
2) added a NOS/slightly used dork disk (previously attempted to use on my 2005 LHT build but the derailleur cage hit it and I didn't have any spacers so left off), so that wouldn't have to repeat step 1);
3) changed the wimpy 'velo orange' bottle cage for the more macho 10 year old Italian-made Ciussi; and
4) covered the Grab-On grips with 2 rolls of red and 2 rolls of blue Velox tape in a opposing/dizzying scheme (was going to replace the wine corks with Velox plugs, but remembered why I have cork when I tried: the bar diameter's smaller than the Velox's washer).
Also very minor: replaced the cable housing on the chainstay to NOS Suntour stainless wound (the translucent stuff I'd liked so turns out to fade fast and be otherwise not very sturdy; dang, I bought ~75' of a few colors!); did a bit of polishing & greasing.

Specifications:
Frame: 1984 Trek 830, 22.5" (as I measure it). Hand-built (according to the catalog), seamed double-butted Reynolds 501 main tubes, Tange 2001 fork, stays, Nikko short-point lugs & BB shell, Tange crown, Shimano forged vertical dropouts with double eyelets.
Headset: Tange Levin CDS cro-mo (recent mfg.)
Crankset: Sugino AT (1982 mfg.), 28, 38, 48 Sugino chainrings
Pedals: MKS Sylvan Touring, with MKS pedal flips and Velo Orange half-clips (recent mfg.)
Bottom bracket: Tange LN-7922 sealed cartridge, 127.5 (recent mfg.)
Derailleurs: Suntour ARX front & rear (front 1984; rear 1982 mfg.), red bullseye sealed pulleys (? mfg.)
Shift levers: Suntour XC LD-3600 'power-ratchet' [the very best model] (~1985 mfg.)
Freewheel: Suntour Winner Pro 6 13-35 (1980s 'nos'), with NOS (almost) Suntour dork disk.
Chain: Sedisport (1980s 'nos')
Wheels: Weinmann 431 26x1.75 rims, Maillard ? 'sealed mechanism' (labyrinth seals) hubs (original wheels to UK-spec 830?); ca. 1984 mfg w/ new Wheels Mfg. bearings & axles
Tires: Continental Travel Contact 26x1.75, Panaracer tubes, Panaracer Schrader to presta rim adjusters (recent mfg.)
[spring 2012 I took the bike out of the garage and was horrified to see both the Continental tires all cracked to hell - after 6 months of light use! Replacing with Vittoria Randonneur Cross 26x1.75 (still looking good spring 2017). Will never use Continentals, at least the non-Deutsch ones (the bad ones were made in India!) after this ridiculous experience!]
Brakes: Dia Compe 981 cantilever (~1984 mfg.), with Velo Orange adjustable pads (recent mfg.)
Brake levers: Dia Compe 280 (~1985 mfg.), with Dia-Compe rubber hoods (recent mfg-maybe; more likely old!), translucent red cable housings (? mfg), Shimano QR hangers f&r (ca. 1980s mfg)
Seat: Brooks B67 brown (recent mfg.)
Seatpost: Suntour XC Pro, 26.8mm (early 1990s)
Seatpost binder: Suntour QR (1980s)
Handlebars: Kalloy AL-069 trekker, 570mm (recent mfg.)
Stem: Kalloy Al-222, 100mm reach (recent mfg.)
Grips: Grab-on maxi, covered in spring 2017 in 4 rolls of Velox cotton bar tape (2 blue, 2 red) (recent mfg.)
Rack: Madison 'Trail' (recent mfg.)
Bell: Crane 'Suzu' brass (recent mfg.)
Pump: Zefal HP, silver, with ALE pump clip (ca. 1980s mfg.)
Mirror: German, as sold by Ortlieb in the US (recent mfg.) [too flimsy to use on anything but good pavement, also feels easy to break, plus the convexity is too great - too wide a view (including sky, road, legs, and far-off fields and forests) so that things you need to see are small until too close - but what other options are there when you can't mount to brake levers or bar ends?]
Fenders: Velo-Orange 650b x 58mm fluted aluminum (recent mfg.)
Water bottle cage: Velo-Orange stainless tubular (recent mfg.) [too flimsy, bends easy, bottle threatened to jump out and onto wheels on slightest bump]. Replaced spring 2017 with Ciussi 'elite' aluminum (NOS one I bought ~2005, when they were still made in Italia).

A few links of reference for the 1984 Trek 830:
1984 Trek catalog pages of reference.
Another Trek 830 reference, with photos of /mostly/ original stuff. More on same bike.
And a li'l more.
And more.
And here's a post about Reynolds 501 tubing, and
a Reynolds 501 discussion on CTC.

 photos! 

More bike & trike stuff on my velo pages.

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edition: 2017.04.17 | ©robert liebermann
url: http://rjl.us/velo/trek830-1.htm
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