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Inspired by the Rivendell "Bombadil" bicycle, I revisited the vintage mountain bike-as-a-townie concept with this build, starting with a 1983 Univega Alpina Uno hardtail frame.  Made of stout cro-mo tubing and featuring a gorgeous "biplane" fork crown, it makes a handsome base to build up a fun "around town" bike that can also handle gravel paths, fire trails, and the rough roads of New York City.  It has a 47cm c-c seat tube and 56cm c-c top tube, making it a good choice for riders 5' 5" to 5' 10".  Read on for more detail and pictures…


It's sporting a pair of brand new 26" x 1.5" tires which are wide but with slick tread for urban roads.  I built a compact triple crankset from a set of Sugino GT arms and a mix of Surly and Ritchey chainrings.  The drivetrain is a modern Shimano Tiagra rear derailleur with a Z-series front derailleur.  I used brand-new SunRace thumb shifters and was impressed with their quality – the shift is smooth thanks to the ratcheting mechanism similar to vintage SunTour shifters.  They're a favorite of Rivendell / Bridgestone's Grant Peterson, so I knew they'd be a good choice.


I used some classic 90's cantilever brakes, brand new brake levers, handlebar, and cork grips.  I finished off the grips with some dark lacquer so that they would match the brand new leather saddle.   The saddle is made by Gyes, who makes leather saddles for a number of other companies including Dia-Compe.  With a wide seat and chrome springs, it feels like lounging on a comfy couch!  Brand new shiny chrome fenders by Wald complete the look, fresh and clean yet vintage in style.


2 Responses to “Univega Alpina Uno Rivendell-style townie cruiser”

  1. […] with classic hard-tail MTB’s has been documented here before, with articles on customized Univega Alpina Uno and Bridgestone MB-2‘s that I’ve built in the past.  But this one needed no work at […]

  2. Daniel Silverman says:

    Great build! I did something similar with my 22″ late 80s alpina uno. The long top tubes and slack angles on these bikes make a fantastic city bike with a swept back handlebar.

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