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Old 04-30-07, 02:56 PM   #1
wickedchicken
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Good books, resources for converting a MTB to 'cross?

Hi all,

I'm new to the forum & I've spent hours reading through posts. Fantastic stuff. I had a basic question about resources you'd recommend to someone new to building and converting bikes. I plan to convert my '98 Rockhopper into a budget 'cross/commuter bike, for round-the town riding, charity rides, and rec riding.

My question--There's tons of great info here and online, but what books would you recommend to a newbie bike mechanic? I'm used to wrenching on my motorcycle & car, but beyond the basics, bike-building & maintenance is an enigma to me. For starters, I signed up for a 3-part maintenance course at my local REI. But I'm someone who really likes to read a lot and build up my foundation. So fire away with your fav books, resources, essential tool recs, etc!

Second question, kind of a cost-benefit analysis--how conservative or all-out should I go on this conversion? I'm tempted to do the minimum (basically a full tune, reinstall rigid fork, and put on slicks) and save my $$ for a the best purpose-built 'cross bike I can find for under $1000. But if there's value in doing a half-decent conversion w/ the rockhopper, I'd be willing to upgrade components, add drop bars, get better wheels, etc.

FYI, The bike's in OK shape & kind of has a funny history. I bought it as a commuter so it's sized like a road bike; I have the original rigid forks as well as shocks for it. Later, it was stolen from outside my apartment by some %*@!. Amazingly, I spotted it on campus 6 months later and recovered it (!) thoroughly flogged and hurting, and minus my saddle and ATAC pedals. Now it needs a new BB, head bearing, chain, perhaps more, and a very thorough tune. Glad to have it back though!!! The prodigal bike.
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Old 04-30-07, 05:01 PM   #2
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The Zinn books are very good (Zinn and the art of mountain bike maintenance, Zinn and hte art of road bike maintenance). The mountain bike book combined with this forum and the forums.mtbr.com forums and Sheldon Brown's site and the Park Tools site should cover just about everything you can think of.

Edit: 2nd question. you can quickly spend a lot of money upgrading a bike. I'd suggest putting together a list of what you'ld like to upgrade and then watch the sales (especially the clearances) on the online stores and gradually do it as you find good deals. If your main goal is to get a fast road bike, you're probably better off getting a new or used road bike than trying to convert a mtn bike to a road bike. As to a cross bike, if your suspension fork works reasonably well, I'd leave it on. Also, you may not necessarily want slicks. There are a lot of in-between tires for mtn bikes that give you better performance on pavement but still let you have some fun on the trails.

Last edited by wrongdave; 04-30-07 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 04-30-07, 05:37 PM   #3
wickedchicken
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Thanks WD--this looks like an awesome start!

And I hear you about getting carried away. I'll probably start by addressing the stuff that's wrong, ride it w/ road-biased tires, and then decide. I do plan to ditch the shock though, both to lighten it up and because I really liked the feedback it gave w/ the rigid fork.

Any other suggestions, either for good reads or the project?
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Old 04-30-07, 09:36 PM   #4
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Any other suggestions, either for good reads or the project?

Yes -- http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

If you're planning on using drop bars, read up on the compatibility issues between different types of brakes and/or shifters.
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Old 05-01-07, 12:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegian
If you're planning on using drop bars, read up on the compatibility issues between different types of brakes and/or shifters.
A "QBP Traval Agent" from Performancebike.com could solve a common problem.

Good luck.
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Old 05-01-07, 02:37 AM   #6
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I've almost completed doing something similar, except the bike in question was a '85 Rockhopper.

Hardest thing to deal with so far has been finding a useable front canti brake cable stop - since I changed out the stem and bars. There are NO 26mm stems with canti brake cable stops! And I had a really hard time finding 25.4 drops that I liked.

Anyways - it's all sorted now, except for some slight BB spacing issues with my chainline / derrailleur. Test rides have been fairly positive.

The bike has been built up with new wheels, 26" x 1.4 road semi-slicks (dont remember brand), shimano canti brakes, koolstop pads, nitto technomic stem, salsa flared ergo drops, and ultegra 2 x 8.

Fun ride so far. Not as light or quick as a real cross bike - but a lot cheaper.
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Old 05-01-07, 02:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioel
I've almost completed doing something similar, except the bike in question was a '85 Rockhopper.

Hardest thing to deal with so far has been finding a useable front canti brake cable stop - since I changed out the stem and bars. There are NO 26mm stems with canti brake cable stops! And I had a really hard time finding 25.4 drops that I liked.

Anyways - it's all sorted now, except for some slight BB spacing issues with my chainline / derrailleur. Test rides have been fairly positive.

The bike has been built up with new wheels, 26" x 1.4 road semi-slicks (dont remember brand), shimano canti brakes, koolstop pads, nitto technomic stem, salsa flared ergo drops, and ultegra 2 x 8.

Fun ride so far. Not as light or quick as a real cross bike - but a lot cheaper.
I have 1990 Rockhopper Comp. Those chainstays aren't really made for a 53 tooth chainring. You have to really space the crank out. Problem is the chainline is off. Did you try to take off the granny ring and use the middle and large chainrings. Basically, you would be using a compact with 48/36 gearing. You might be able to swap BB's from the old 122 to a 117 and preserve the chainline. Good luck

Tim
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Old 05-08-07, 06:39 PM   #8
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Thanks gang--this is super helpful! I picked up a copy of Zinn's book. At this point, I'm going to do a major tune on the rockhopper and switch to semi-slicks. After that I'll upgrade as I find parts on the cheap, but not rush.
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Old 05-08-07, 07:27 PM   #9
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I converted a Trek 700 hybrid to a cross bike. You can find a lot of posts throughout my blog about the process: http://www.bicyclebikes.com



Here is one of the sites I found about the process:
http://www.ifp.uiuc.edu/~smallik/cyc...enueDrops.html

This thread on this board was pretty good:
Can I convert my Hybrid to a CX?

There are various other threads on this board as well if you look for them.
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Old 05-08-07, 10:26 PM   #10
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i knew those hybrids were good for something! do i spy with my little eye biopace c-rings?
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Old 05-09-07, 04:16 AM   #11
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Yep, those are biopace rings. I built the bike to use in an off-road duathlon. So after I hvae ridden the bike 10 miles, I will still have to run another 2 miles. I have read that biopace rings may help make the transition from riding to running easier.

You are not the first person to ask about those. Are biopace rings so unsual?

About the only things original from the Trek 700 are the frame (excluding the forks), the deraileurs, and the seatpost. I think just about everything else was swapped out. Oh yeah, the rear axle came from the Trek 700 as well. The wheel itself came from a Specialized Crossroads which had a 6-speed freewheel and a shorter axle, so I used the longer axle and spacers from the Trek.

Last edited by rjacob; 05-09-07 at 04:24 AM.
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