Words and photos by Michael Schulhof (@schoolyardprojects)
Hello folks, my name is Michael, and I have a slight 26-inch addiction. Based in Cologne, Germany, I run Schoolyardprojects over on Instagram. It all started with BMX riding for me, but when my right knee decided to blow up, I had to turn towards road bikes to build the legs back up.
As time passed, I found more joy in riding fire roads than sticking to a back wheel for hours on end. So, the need for a suitable bike arose, and that’s how I got my hands on my first 26″ MTB. From there, it came almost naturally to add bags, get a decent sleep system, and go on weekend trips with friends.
The bike is a Univega Alpina Pro size 18″ from 1993. It has a full CroMo frameset, 1 1/8″ fork, three bottle mounts, and lowered chainstays. The perfect base for an adventure bike. The green, grey, and red colorway gave me the idea to turn this into a Boba Fett bike. So, with the help of my Cricut machine, I created a bootlegged decal set to finish off this build. It’s in no way a bike that will win races, but that’s not the intent. This one is for weekend overnighters with friends. It’s budget-friendly, sturdy, and has reliable parts that will do the job. In Germany, we say Stabil!
- Frame/Fork Univega Alpina Pro
- Rims Alesia
- Hubs Shimano Deore
- Tires Schwalbe Billy Bonkers 26 x 2.2”
- Handlebars Ergotec Ladytown
- Headset Looseball 1 1/8”
- Crankset Shimano LX
- Pedals Eclat Contra
- Cassette SRAM 7-Speed
- Derailleur Shimano XT
- Brakes Shimano LX
- Shifter(s) Shimano DX
- Saddle Selle Italia Gel Flow Max
- Seatpost Kalloy
- Stem Kalloy
- Front bags Ortlieb / Alpkit dry sacks
- Frame bags Custom Bikepack
- Rear bags Blackburn with Alpkit wedge dry sack
- Accessory bags Riverside and DIY bag
- Other accessories Generic hose clamp cages and front basket from IKEA
The Univega is bike project number 40. Like Ron Burgundy said, “That escalated quickly.” If you want to check out more of my builds, please have a look over at Instagram, linked below. I promise there is some wild stuff! The bike was 320€, and the full set of bags was 240€. That’s 560€ in total, so, for the cost of a DuraAce 9200 crank, you get a complete adventure-ready bike… 26 ain’t dead!
You can keep up with Michael on Instagram @schoolyardprojects.
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