With the aid of a dremel tool I modified a road cable to fit securely in an MTB lever, and this bike is now back on the road. I also found a pair of grips in the parts box that I had forgotten about.
I decided to go with version 5 even though this bike is practically back to stock. The difference is the tires. With these 29er knobbies, the bike just has a totally different character from the 35mm “City Bike” tires that it was marketed with. You feel the vibration coming up through the frame. I could probably tweek the indexing a little better, but that is best done after a trail ride or two, and I’m not happy with the gearing. The front triple is 48-38-28…I think it should be much lower, more like 38-30-22 (if that’s even possible); but for a low budget conversion, this will have to do. The cassette does get down to 34, so no problem there.