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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 04-04-08, 02:32 PM   #1
pikers
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A noob with some questions...

Here are the specs of my bike: http://bikepedia.com/QuickBike/BikeS...7099&Type=bike

Any idea what the thinnest tire is that will SAFELY fit on my rim (I currently have 26x2.10 tire on there)? Is there a formula or general rule I should follow?

Also, regarding the fork...

I know that I need to look for the following:
-1 1/8" threadless
-it needs to clear a 26" tire
-it needs to have the mounts for my breaks

Is there anything else I should look out for? Does it have to be a straight fork (I noticed that some of the road bikes have a curve to them)? Do forks have different widths?

I TOLD you I was a noob.
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Old 04-04-08, 03:08 PM   #2
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Pikers-

Still following your story.

http://sheldonbrown.com/tire-sizing.html

You'll get a good dose of useful tire width lore there.

A fascinating detail on that page that I'd missed before:

"Unfortunately [...] in the interest of weight saving, most current mountain bikes have excessively narrow rims. Such narrow rims work very poorly with wide tires, unless the tires are overinflated...but that defeats the purpose of wide tires, and puts undue stress on the rim sidewalls."

Thus, you may well be able to get by with fairly skinny street tires, but you'll have to measure your rims to find out how skinny.

On the web page, scroll down to the table with the red and green entries to find out what will work for you. Take the tires off and measure the inner width of the rim and look up the acceptable tire width range. You'll need to do some metric-to-standard conversions to determine the acceptable range in inches. This is also an excellent excuse to treat yourself to a nice caliper...Wiha tools sells an excellent vernier caliper, and I still use it now and then to measure stuff just for fun. But a ruler will do.

Also, I feel you'll likely get very good answers to your questions (and probably more quickly) if you just search long enough on sheldonbrown.com. No need for multiple threads.
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Old 04-04-08, 03:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for info. This forum is setup differently than the other forums I belong to, so I'm not really sure where I should be posting my questions (e.g. bike mechanics or commuter ) . I apologize if the multiple threads caused any problems.
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Old 04-04-08, 03:38 PM   #4
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No problems to me. Actually, I only now noticed that you'd posted this in different forums. I monitor several of them.

From what I've read so far this mechanics' forum has some formidable (but friendly) mechanics in it...you'd do well to ask any unusual mechanical issues here.
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Old 04-04-08, 04:03 PM   #5
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10-4

I'll stick to the commuter forum with my noob questions. I'll come back here if my bike blows up or I manage to break something.
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Old 04-04-08, 05:27 PM   #6
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I have an early '90's Trek MTB that came with 2.25" knobby tires. When I "roadified" it, I fitted 1.25" (about 32mm) slicks and they have performed well and given no problems with staying on the rims.
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Old 04-04-08, 08:58 PM   #7
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Well that makes me feel better. I was only looking to go down to 1.5", so I should be golden. Anyone head/seen reviews on Nashbar's Urban Tire?
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Old 04-06-08, 08:37 AM   #8
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I've really enjoyed Bontrager Road Warriors. I think I've got 1.5". 1.25" would probably work for me too.
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Old 04-06-08, 09:12 AM   #9
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If you're putting on a new fork you'll need to know about headsets. Does it need a new fork? Do you want to replace a suspension fork with a rigid one (geometry issues there)?
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Old 04-06-08, 09:15 AM   #10
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Regarding street tires, you'll get better (less) rolling resistance from higher pressure tires. I have several "citified" rigid-fork hard-tails running 1.25" 90+psi tires. They can almost run with the roadies.
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Old 04-07-08, 07:22 AM   #11
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Oh great, more things to think about...

Can I use my current headset?

What do you mean by geometry issues? Do you mean the rigid fork having different dimensions than my shock fork?

I would really like to replace my current fork as i feel like I'm getting nowhere on the road with the shock fork; it really sucks the momentum out of my ride; it's pretty heavy too.

I went down to Wheel Works (a local place for those of you not around Boston) and they seemed pretty helpful/knowledgeable about my bike and their products. Should I just give them the bike and be like here's what I want, go ahead and install it? I was going to try to do this myself, but I really have 0 experience with this kind of stuff. I like that I can fix my car, but I can't change a fork/tires on a bike :-)
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Old 04-07-08, 11:20 AM   #12
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A rigid fork would be a nice upgrade if you're going to stick to the street or more casual trail riding. It would also give you the opportunity for shifting over to a disc brake on the front later on if you buy one that has both mounts.

The geometry issues come from using a fork that's a lot more or less long than your present one. Altering the front height changes the geometry of the steering and can make it feel funny. So measure your current fork from the axle to the top of the crown where the lower steering bearing is and shop for a fork that's within 15 to 20 mm of that dimension. If you get one that's this close you'll be fine.
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Old 04-07-08, 01:00 PM   #13
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Yeah, I think I'm done with the "hardcore" off-road stuff, so a rigid fork is what I'm looking for.

I didn't know about the the whole fork length issue though...thanks for the info.

As far as disk brakes go...what are the benefits? I'm assuming they stop better thank what I have, but are there any benefits (e.g. they work better when wet, they last longer, they are more reliable, etc.)?

I used nashbar.com's live chat feature and they recommended the following equipment:
Tires: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=14689
Tube: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=4876
Fork: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=13284 (this has mounts for disk and V-mount brakes)
Bike Lock: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=9234

If you've read the above posts, you know that I have never installed a new fork myself, so I was told I need a new "star nut". I know this goes in the tube of the fork, but I'm not entirely sure what it's purpose is and it looks tricky to install. Would I be better off using the below product? Does it serve the same purpose?
Fork Plug (instead of star nut): http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?sku=12932

Any feedback on the above products would be appreciated as nashbar.com's site does not have a review feature.
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Old 04-07-08, 07:34 PM   #14
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Rather than swap your tires, your fork etc. Why not just get a road bike?
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Old 04-07-08, 07:45 PM   #15
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Because I can upgrade a pretty nice bike for $150 instead of buying a nice road bike for several hundred.
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Old 04-07-08, 08:08 PM   #16
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Discs are really nice. They stop faster and with less effort for the most part and are more consistent in their modulation than rim brakes. Most of them don't even know when they are wet and work the same way regardless of wet or dry. On top of that you are not wearing out a rim every few thousand miles.

Cons are that they are heavier overall and cost more to buy. And in your case would add the cost of a new front wheel onto your upgrade along with everything else.

Watch out though. Not all disc brakes are created equal. They hydraulic ones are all pretty darn good and I'd use just about any of them sight unseen for your road and casual trail duties. But the results from mechanical ones varies all over the range. STick to ones you've read about having excellent rep's. Like the Avid BB7's or others with good reviews. Keep in mind that discs do take more skill and knowledge to set up than rim brakes. Not a lot and most of it is just different, not harder.

The tires look fine. Tubes? Meh... as long as they are the right size range. Tubes are tubes. The fork looks fine and gives you options for later. Similarly I can't comment on the lock but I'm sure it's fine too. And it comes with a cable to run through the wheels. That's nice.

Looks to be pretty nice as a one stop shopping option for all you need. Yes, you'll need the new star nut. Putting them in straight is a bit of a trick. Your local shop should do it for a few bucks using the tool they have. That expanding plug looks pretty nice too. And no star nut install needed. And it's movable from fork to fork. OK, get that instead. It looks great.
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Old 04-08-08, 09:06 AM   #17
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Thanks for the feedback BCRider! I'll look into disk brakes, but that may be a purchase for next year.
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Old 04-08-08, 09:31 AM   #18
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Any advice with helmets/safety equipment? Again, I'm not doing anything crazy, just riding to the subway and after work for fun. I don't THINK I need anything special ...just something to keep my head in once piece. Nashbar.com has a bunch of helmets under $40. Any suggestions or feedback on any of these helmets? I'm not really worried about style or color...just nothing too flashy.
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Old 04-08-08, 11:55 AM   #19
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The helmet should fit with as little padding as possible. DIfferent brands tend to use different shapes as models. Some are a longer oval and others are more round. FInd a brand that fits pretty good with as much contact round the rim of your dome as possible. Then add the comfort stickies to get it perfect.

This means, of course, that I don't recomend mail order helmets unless you know that brand, model and sizes from local fittings.
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Old 04-08-08, 01:00 PM   #20
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Yeah, I was afraid of that. Eh, I don't mind shelling out a few extra $ to get something that fits well. I actually just noticed that nashbar.com is having a sale on all of their branded equipment...my shopping cart price just dropped by $30. Booyah!
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Old 04-11-08, 08:02 AM   #21
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I finally pulled the trigger and bought my stuff from Nashbar.com (they were having an AWESOME sale). I'm pretty confident that I can install everything myself...I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again for all of your feedback!
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