The first project for my garage-without-limits would be a classic fully rigid mountain bike (like the ones we rode "back in the day"), only built entirely from stuff available off the shelf here in ought-thirteen. Why? Well, because. It's a thought exercise -- logic need not apply.
The core of the beast would be a 26"-wheeled Surly Long Haul Trucker frame/fork. Sure, Surly makes actual MTB frames for 26" wheels, but they're modern MTBs with suspension-adjusted geometry, super-low top tubes, and (shudder) disc tabs. To get the true old-school feel, you need a low bottom bracket, long chainstays, and cantilevers. The Trucker has all that. My first concession to ought-thirteen will be the threadless steerer, only because one of the things I hated back in the day was a threaded headset rattling itself loose, and having to finger-tighten that locknut in the field every five minutes because I wasn't packing a headset wrench.
So let's hang some parts on this bad boy:
- Bottom Bracket: Shimano square taper. Looks like the XT-level UN72 no longer exists, so I'll settle for UN54.
- Cranks: Sugino XD. Pretty classic-looking 110/74 triple. 24-36-46 rings.
- Derailleurs: This is tough, since 2013 derailleurs are so dang ugly. If silver Deore is still around, I'll take those -- nice workhorse parts. Otherwise, it looks like there's an LX "trekking" group in silver that could do the trick. Tie 'em together with a SRAM chain since it's the direct descendant of Sachs.
- Wheels: Sun CR-18 rims, silver, 36 spokes, laced to some flavor of silver Shimano cassette hubs. This is my second concession to modernity, since I was a serious axle-bender back in the day. Put a 9-speed 11-34 Shimano cassette on there, for reasons to be explained later.
- Rubber: Ohmygawd, Panaracer still makes the Smoke and Dart in 26 inch. That was easy. (Runner-up would be the Specialized Ground Control, though they seem to have modernized that one. Alas, Onza Porcupines are vaporware.)
- Pedals: Flat, obviously. Generic brand Dimension has a "Pro" model that looks like a faithful copy of the old SR Lowfat. Two-prong Zefal nylon toeclips (and toestraps, obviously) are still available, too.
- Brakes: Tektro wide-profile cantilevers, silver. Because real men had calf scars from rear brakes that stuck out, dangit.
- Seating: Silver post of some sort, matters not. The WTB SST isn't quite as classic as the rest of my build, but my tushie likes it. And it is a relatively old design. If you really need to avoid anachronism, Selle San Marco still makes the Rolls and Regal, and it looks like Selle Italia has a reissued Turbo.
- Controls: IRD thumbshifters, 9-speed indexed (which explains the 9-speed cassette). Not totally old-school, but my '87 MTB had click-shifters, so I'm allowing it. Shimano still makes a silver brake lever for cantis, so that's in. Flat bar, natch. Grips? ODI still makes the MTB version of their Mushrooms, or there's the tried-and-true Grab-on foam. I'm disqualifying Ourys because the fixie kids have taken them over.