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  1. #1
    Member robcor2's Avatar
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    Parts List for a MTB to Roadbike conversion Please!

    My buddy has a 10 year old son who is an incredible rider.... We are wanting to put together a road bike with drops so that he can get use to the riding position. I should mention we are trying to do this as cheaply as possible, aroudn $250(can't afford one of the Fuji kids bike over 500 bucks). We went into the local bike shop co-op and the man behind the counter suggested converting an older MTB fram and showed us that it could allow 700c wheels. Well, it just so happens I had an old Specialized Rock Hopper collecting dust that is similar in most ways to the Trek Antelope that he showed us. Already good news that we saved some money on the frame and maybe some of the parts.

    The parts that we think we need are

    Stem
    Wheelset and tires
    Brakes (maybe use the older cantilevers if they are compatible with the STI's we hope to buy?)
    Front and rear derailleur
    New road cassette road geared
    drop bars
    Shifters

    We would like to use
    Frame
    BB
    Crank
    Double front ring....etc. if we can from the Rock hopper
    Any ideas on the parts list or comments on what to watch for would be helpful. Especially from anyone that has done a conversion on a Rock Hopper. I am willing to comb Craigslist and eBay to get the parts as cheaply as possible. Thanks for any and all help
    2009 Jamis Coda (drop bar conversion)
    2008 Mercier Aquila Al (105 group)

  2. #2
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    There are a lot of cheaper ways to accomplish this goal. For less than the price of the parts, you should be able to find a complete road bike in ready to ride condition.

    Switching a MTB from 26 inch wheels to 700c is a huge move. Are your cantilevers really going to adjust that far? Changing from a triple to a double is going to mean a new BB.

    If you want to go the MTB route, why not just get 26 inch slicks and use it that way? That would cut a lot of the expense. Drops are a good idea, but to manage the cost, you might want to consider either barcons or DT shifters. If it was me, I would go with DT shifters.

    As built, I have less than $75 into this Trek 950 MTB, including $25 into tires and tubes. Built this up from a cheap frame, plus a $5 donor bike.

    Last edited by wrk101; 12-17-09 at 08:10 PM.

  3. #3
    Member robcor2's Avatar
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    Finding a complete road bike is not possible. He is only 4'10" and any road bikes in his size are new Fuji's ($$$) or special made frames for the vertically challenged ($$$). This adds expense. His boy already has a mountain bike. Like I said he is a very good rider. Just want to build him a road bike for the drops that he can start riding 30 miles at a time with us. Would not mind replacing the Cantilevers if needed and as far as the 700c wheels go they will fit and the fork and frame are already drilled for pivot brakes. The reason that we are using an older MTB frame is due to their compact nature will allow him to not have to get off the seat when he stops.
    2009 Jamis Coda (drop bar conversion)
    2008 Mercier Aquila Al (105 group)

  4. #4
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    It might be cheaper to find a donor road bike and start swapping parts. That should give you virtually everything you need to put on your existing frame.

  5. #5
    Collector of Useless Info
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    Try searching the forums; I seem to recall a thread about doing MTB conversions, maybe in the touring forum.

    That being said, you can go minimal or all-out, but if *I* were doing this conversion I'd:

    1) Just get some narrow 26" slicks- if your son is 4'10", then the standover height is important- 700c wheels will raise that, as well as the bottom bracket height. The handling would change, and probably not for the better. He can go just as fast on 26" wheels as 700c- it's mostly the tire that's the difference. Plus, the MTB frame is probably 135 mm wide at the hub, and road wheels are typically 130 mm wide. You can spread a steel frame, but not an aluminum one. I think cantilever brakes are great; I wish a couple of my road bikes had them. This will save you a c-note or more, that you could spend on the brifters.

    2) Get some road drop handlebars in the appropriate width, and probably a new stem. If you have a threadless stem, then maybe just turning it over will be enough. But- I'd suggest doing a fitting of some sort to get the right length and height of stem. Road bikes have a different riding position and can be excruciating if the bike fit is bad. Colorado cyclist has a web-based fitting program that will get close. It may be the case that the bike just can't be adjusted to fit your son, in which case this is all moot. Competitive Cyclist has a bike fitting program that will get close: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za...LCULATOR_INTRO Take the results with a grain of salt, though- most people like a slightly shorter reach and higher handlebars. You may need a different seatpost, too, with more or less setback.

    3) If you're really wedded to the idea of drop bars and STI brifters, then you'll need a new front derailleur (MTB front ders have a different cable pull ratio). If it's already a cassette 8 or 9 speed, you could probably keep your old rear derailleur- it will work fine. Stick with 9-speed Tiagra or Sora; 10-speed is less forgiving. You'll need new cables. Maybe a new cassette, geared a little higher.

    4) I'd get rid of the suspension fork if there is one, and replace with a solid one.

    5) I'd definitely get shoes and clipless pedals.

    6) If the brakes are truly canti, then they're fine with road shifters. If they're V-brakes, you'll need to fit canti's (my preference- 20 bux for a couple of Acera canti's) or use "travel agents" to get the cable pull right.
    Last edited by cycle_maven; 12-16-09 at 02:21 PM.

  6. #6
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robcor2 View Post
    Finding a complete road bike is not possible. He is only 4'10" and any road bikes in his size are new Fuji's ($$$) or special made frames for the vertically challenged ($$$). This adds expense. His boy already has a mountain bike. Like I said he is a very good rider. Just want to build him a road bike for the drops that he can start riding 30 miles at a time with us. Would not mind replacing the Cantilevers if needed and as far as the 700c wheels go they will fit and the fork and frame are already drilled for pivot brakes. The reason that we are using an older MTB frame is due to their compact nature will allow him to not have to get off the seat when he stops.
    Sold this bike to someone that size about a month ago:



    Sold this one earlier this year, an even smaller frame, with brifters (26 inch wheels).



    Both sold for less than what a complete conversion will cost, and both of these bikes will retain/gain value in the years ahead.

  7. #7
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Have you looked on eBay? craigslist?
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  8. #8
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    The frame may be too long for him, but you may be able to fit the reach by using an adjustable stem. Saddle to ground height would be kept to minimum by keeping 26" wheels with 1.25" tires (outside dia about 24.5"). I would replace old style cantilevers with new ones that take the V brake pads with spherical washers, as they are much easier to adjust. If the freehub is 7sp, it will work with 8 sp brifters if you use Sheldon Browns alternate cable attachment at the rear der. You will also need to add bar tape, a bottle cage and a wedgie bag to your parts list.

  9. #9
    SE Wis dedhed's Avatar
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    I'm doing a similiar project for my 10 YO right now, as she expressed desire for a road bike. I did find an 80's Schwinn 24" wheel Caliente, but the guy wouldn't sell it. I also found a small frame Raleigh in a garage at a party, but they weren't ready to get rid of the college memories yet.

    I finally picked up an old 87 Schwinn Sprint with a very small frame for $5, then an '86 Raliegh Mixte with decent parts and few miles on it for $40. I'm swapping the good drivetrain from the Raleigh onto the Schwinn. This gave me 27" alloy wheels, decent cranks, brakes, tires etc. I added used 6 spd index stem shifters and some alloy bars and Aero levers from someones road/flat bar conversion. Between the bikes, parts I bought, replacing the headset, all the bearings, cables, tape, paint and decals I figure I'll be into a lugged steel road bike with average quality alloy parts for about $100.

    We'll probably replace the seat and add Kool Stops if she likes it. Then I'll be on the lookout for 700 or 650 wheels on donor bikes or clearance. Now, as I'm going to give it to her as a present so I'm not sure of the fit yet, but she can grow into it too. I picked up the index shifters as that is all she knows and stem mount because It'll be easier for her to reach. The only other thing that may be a concern is if her hands are physically big enough to reach the brakes comfortably or strong enough to work them from the hoods. From what i have seen this is also a problem with Brifters for women with small hands. I could have spread the steel frame and upgraded the drive train to Brifters etc, but can always do that later if she gets into it. If not I can probably sell it for what I have into it if not more.

    At this point it's about gymanstics not bikes, but she really really liked a 24' wheel Felt F24 at the bike shop. I told her if we were spending $700 on a bike it was going to fit me and I'd have to throw some more dollars at it to boot.
    '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400

  10. #10
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    A mountain bike will never become a road bike. However, it can become a great drop bar mountain bike that is very capable of riding on roads. It's a much easier conversion too. All you need is a pair of slick tires for your current wheels (1.25, or 1.5 if roads are rough), a pair of drop handlebars, a pair of new brake levers, and a pair of bar end shifters. Friction shifting will make this job much easier. The stem will probably have to be swapped out to get the riding position right.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The devil is in the details on this kind of project.

    Probably the biggest issue is brake alignment. You will almost surely not be able to get canty's aligned to match 700c wheels. Assuming the brake bridge and fork are drilled you might have better luck fitting road caliper brakes.

    Toe overlap is a problem I'll bet you haven't considered. On small frame bikes toe clearance is often in short supply. Installing larger diameter wheels will make this problem worse.

    Rear dropout clearance will be different for typical road wheels, but that issue is easily resolved.

    STI - all it takes is money. STI's are generally the most expensive component to buy. They are also the component that I'd have the least confidence buying used. To me, "STI" and "budget" build don't go together.

    If it was my bike, I'd probably fit a narrower set of slick tires and then contemplate what I wanted to do with the handlebar. There are a number of creative handlebar bends that will fit a mountain stem clamp and work with the shifters and brake levers that you have now.

  12. #12
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    Another starting point is to find a used hybrid with a small frame (Trek made them down to 13"). These almost all came OEM with 700c wheels so brake alignment isn't an issue and they are usually lighter than an MTB. Craigs List or want ads should find someting suitable for very little money.

  13. #13
    Member robcor2's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for the all the input so far.

    We have decided to use the wheels, Brakes, BB, Crank, Seat Post, Frame and Fork off of the Rock Hopper.

    The Mechanic down at the LBS has bought in to the project (because he rocks!) and will help us work out the bugs.

    Here are the parts we are going to order this weekend off ebay.
    We got lucky and there is a local set of Sora Brifters for sale and they are going to save use some money. That, with using the 26" wheels will save us money also on the brakes.
    Decided to completely go to a Road drive train. Using all Sora. Obviously not the top end choice, but seemed to be the best ba
    2009 Jamis Coda (drop bar conversion)
    2008 Mercier Aquila Al (105 group)

  14. #14
    Member robcor2's Avatar
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    oops.....Continued.......Bang for the buck. If he really ends up riding this a lot this summer, we will start looking for upgraded drive train parts. We are using the BUY IT NOW option for Ebay....it is nice to get the parts without having to go through the auction process.
    I have decided to paint the thing myself....WIll probably due a flat paint, with a clear coat...that will also save us some money too. I think that I can make it look good.
    New Shimano Sora 3300 Rear Derailleur Short cage Ebay $18.95
    New Shimano Sora 3300 Front Derailleur Double Ebay $17.95
    New Shimano hg50 8 speed cassette 12-26 Ebay $16.00
    New 26” Continental Gator Contact Tires Tires Direct $62.00
    26” Tubes $13.00
    Used Sora STI shifters Good Condition LBS Co-op $60.00
    New Profile Drop Bars Ebay $22.00
    Bar Tape LBS $10.00
    Shimano 8 Spd chain Ebay $21.00
    Seat out of our shed Free
    Used donated SPD's

    We haven’t chosen a stem yet. Waiting for the other parts to be on before sizing and purchasing…It looks like we should be able to get one off ebay for less than $20.00
    Total cost so far projected is $261.00

    We know there might be some incidental costs for cables so add another 20.00 for cables. and another $10.00 for brake pads.
    This is geting a little expensive, but it will end up being a pretty good bike with good components I think. And.....it is one heck of a lot cheaper than anything new out there in his size.

    What are we missing?
    2009 Jamis Coda (drop bar conversion)
    2008 Mercier Aquila Al (105 group)

  15. #15
    Member robcor2's Avatar
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    Thanks cycle_maven for the input for the wheels and tires...will the 8 Speed cassette that we are ordering fit onto the wheel?
    2009 Jamis Coda (drop bar conversion)
    2008 Mercier Aquila Al (105 group)

  16. #16
    Member robcor2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    There are a lot of cheaper ways to accomplish this goal. For less than the price of the parts, you should be able to find a complete road bike in ready to ride condition.

    Switching a MTB from 26 inch wheels to 700c is a huge move. Are your cantilevers really going to adjust that far? Changing from a triple to a double is going to mean a new BB.

    If you want to go the MTB route, why not just get 26 inch slicks and use it that way? That would cut a lot of the expense. Drops are a good idea, but to manage the cost, you might want to consider either barcons or DT shifters. If it was me, I would go with DT shifters.

    As built, I have less than $75 into this Trek 850 MTB, including $25 into tires and tubes. Built this up from a cheap frame, plus a $5 donor bike.

    Sweet bike and the price is right!
    2009 Jamis Coda (drop bar conversion)
    2008 Mercier Aquila Al (105 group)

  17. #17
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    For the dirt cheap conversion - don't forget about the drop bar bar ends.

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