No announcement yet.

Old Univega dual suspension donor bike - first e-bike build!

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Old Univega dual suspension donor bike - first e-bike build!

    Just thought I'd share my excitement and ask a couple really general questions.

    I picked up this 90' era Univega Dual Action yesterday and I'm excited to make it my canvas for a BBSHD build. Might be the first Univega I've seen on build list!

    I guess to start with, for the e-bike build, is there anything I should be aware of that could be unique to this bike or a DS ebike? Battery placement seems to be the most common issue, but this old school design leaves plenty of room.

    As for this bike... The front shocks are complete garbage. Seized. Rear shock is original and has no adjustment other than air preload, but seems to be ok. It held 100psi overnight. Planning on parting out my IBEX Alpine 550 (front shock, front wheel, front disk brakes). The RD is Shimano STX-RC and seems to be able to handle an 8 speed. Plan to swap out the 11-28 7-speed for an 11-32 or 11-34 8-speed. I'll need to pick up an 8 speed shifter. The rear is obviously caliper brakes. I'm trying to figure out how to retrofit a disk brake caliber on it... but that might be another thread. If I did that, I could use the rear wheel/ brake setup off my IBEX too. Might need to suck it up with the 7 speed and caliper brakes until I figure that out though.

    Anyway, thanks in advance for any advice thrown my way. I'll be throwing down for the BBSHD this week. Right now, still trying to decide what chainring and display I want. Leaning toward the stealthy 500c.

    8 speed & disk brake wheel on univega dual action.  Disk brake retrofit!?!?!?!

    That front shock I would guess is 50-60mm travel. Some of the older XC forks can be set up for 60-65mm, but just about everything newer except some comfort bike, or hybrid forks will be 85-100mm or more and will mess up the handling. You might look through my Gary Fisher Solstice thread. I tried a lot of different driveline stuff. But it wasn't for offroad so some of it may not apply.


      I did notice that the front shock is very short compared to my other mountain bike with an old, not so great, Rock Shox Pilot C. Couldn't tell you what the travel is on that. I realize that swapping it over to the Univega will change the geometry, but I did not expect it to be a problem since a slackened head tube angle might be more beneficial for a high speed e_bike. Am I wrong there?


        It depends on what you find acceptable. Response will be much slower. Not what I want for an urban traffic bike. Long distance cruising it doesn't really matter. bikerecyclery has some parts kits for these old shocks. Or maybe an old SID could be found.
        My experience with my 2003 60mm Rockshox Serra is in my thread of my Gary Fisher Solstice build.Those old forks can be made to work very well if you can get the parts.
        Universal cycles has an upgraded metal preload adjuster for those.
        Last edited by Retrorockit; 04-07-2019, 06:22 AM.


          This is definitely not an urban traffic bike. Now, I commute about 3 miles on a bike lane with a few traffic lights. When I move it's 3 miles of back country road each way. I'd consider trying to rebuild the shocks on the bike, but I won't accept the front v-brakes on the electric bike, so it's not worth the time, cost, or energy.

          I've been riding the Univega to school for the last week and it's been a very interesting experience. The suspension in the rear soaks up all the potholes and road irregularities that usually torture my rear end and back. The original (seized) front shocks are still up front and I didn't mind that lack of front suspension.

          To get a feel for how the geometry will change, I'm going to throw on my Rock Shox Pilot C and see how it feels. I'll let you know!

          In the mean time, I'm still trying to figure out what to do about the rear brake situation... I have a full machine shop available to me right now and it would be a lot of fun to do a disk brake retrofit. Found a guy whole will powder coat it for $90 too.... decisions.... decisions....


            A lot of forks back then had 2 travel settings. An 80-85mm could go to either 60mm, or 100mm but not both. An older 28mm SID will usually pull down to 63mm. But weight weenies still pay big bucks for those.
            My Trek and Gary Fisher both needed rear brake adapters to run discs. That's an adapter to take the adapter for the BB7 brakes.
            Some short travel forks that take discs brakes are the Judy XC, GPS Europa, and the Serra. But newer Judy XC can have longer travel. Judy TT is not much of a fork IMO. RST made a bunch of comfort bike forks for Trek also. The Europa and Serra have fender mounts.
            Leverage on disc brake levers is not always the same as older V brakes. You might plan on some new levers too.