Panasonic Mountain Cat Project

Sometimes the best bikes for camping are the ones you’ve got or ones that are gifted to you. Although this bike is the latter, many people right now are clamoring to source a bike, partially brought on by the pandemic, a rekindled love for cycling, and scarcity of bikes. There may be a rad bike in your future and you don’t even know it yet.  It might just be the one if your basement, parents garage or a craigslist ad. An 80s MTB seems to make the perfect donor bike to get out, explore more, and connect with nature.

Converting an old mountain bike to something more utilitarian can be as simple as a bar swap, rooting through some parts bins, or maybe even a visit to your local co-op. The point I guess I’m trying to make I guess is it doesn’t matter how you build it, so long as you get outside and ride it because right now we could all use a little more fresh air.

The moment this Panasonic popped into the shop I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had some stuff that hadn’t see use in a bit, since converting my Spacehorse to more of a road bike, I was left with some Swift Panniers, a Pass and Stow rack, and some other bits. I had a set of polished  Paul Cantilevers that I’ve been holding onto for a while with no use, and some Suntour bar-end shifters from a lucky trip to a non-profit in Lancaster a few years back.  After a ride on David’s Bruce Gordon I knew I had to bend a set of Nitto Albatross bars (don’t try this at home) for the perfect fit. The stock tires were dry-rot so I managed to squeeze some 2.3″ Maxxis DTH Tires on the bike and I was set. Realistically I could have just mounted the old shifter/levers but since I already had some of this stuff I chose to use it.  If you take on a basement project you can make it as mild or wild as you’d like.

I’ve spent a good amount of time commuting on this bike in the spring, and recently took it on a small overnighter, sometimes your old MTB makes the perfect companion, especially now. If you’ve got any specific questions about the bike, drop them in the comments I’ll try and answer them for ya.