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Old 07-11-10, 05:18 PM   #1
rustmyrtle
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building a bike--want recommendations on components

So here's the situation. I just bought a trek 950 frame, and I want to build it into my ideal commuter bike, to use in the rain/snow, when I am hauling groceries, when we do longer bike rides on dirt trails or gravel. previously I have had an older bianchi hybrid, which is fine, but I want the athleticism of 26" wheels rather than teh 700 (particularly since my frame size is 15 - 16") and I wanted steel rather than aluminium. So, I now have my frame.

Question #1: wheels. I want to build my wheels. I want a light, narrower rim that isn't super expensive and is sturdy and a smooth hub. Suggestions?

Question #2: drivetrain. My current hybrid has a triple crankset, and I have never used the smallest chainring. It also has a 9-speed drive train, and I've never used the lower gears. I'd like to run a double crankset and 8-speed cassette--is this possible on a mountain bike? Suggestions on what I should use,a dn what shifters to pair with it?

Thanks!

Kristin
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Old 07-11-10, 06:05 PM   #2
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#1. Can't help as I'm not familiar with what's out there for MTB wheels but I do know you can put pretty narrow (26x1.25) slicks on almost any common MTB rim.

#2. Don't go back to an 8-speed as they are increasingly hard to find. Stick with 9-speed and get a narrow range cassette, say 12x23 or 12x25 or similar. Pair it with a double road crank, typically 53/39, and you should have a very usable range for moderate terrain. You will need a road front derailleur but any road or MTB rear derailleur will work. Shimano makes "flat bar" shifters that works with road components or you can fit drop bars and use road STI brifters.
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Old 07-11-10, 07:01 PM   #3
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kristin, Look around at some of the wheelsets available, often you can find a set for less than the seperate parts for a build. Just retension them.

I like 8-speeds also, but a close ratio 9-speed is nice for that tweener gear you may not find with the 8-speed.

Brad
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Old 07-11-10, 07:02 PM   #4
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You could think about a 1 x 9 setup too. I agree to skip 8 speed. Harder to find, and no benefit over 9 speed.
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Old 07-11-10, 07:17 PM   #5
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For ease of maintenance in the future. I'd build it with mountain components and just replace the cassette with a time trial cassette. Building with flat bar road components limits your options.
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Old 07-11-10, 08:11 PM   #6
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Thanks.

I'm a bit skittish of the 9-speeds because of the number of miles I ride and the cost of replacing a 9 speed drivetrain versus an 8 speed. I need this bike to haul LOTS of groceries. I'll try riding in my large chainring using the full range of the 9-speed cassette and see how it does. That's an interesting idea.
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Old 07-11-10, 08:23 PM   #7
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I have picked up quite a few nice MTB wheels used cheap. I would look for some wheels with Deore LX or DX hubs. I have two Trek 950s myself. I have put 1.25 inch slicks on both of them. One is a 1994, the other is a 1992. I use two sets of wheels for mine, one with slicks, the other with trail tires.

I am running 7 speed right now. I don't see any reason to go with nine speed, even though I have the parts. There's lots of seven speed stuff out there.

Here's mine with slicks:


And on a recent trail tour:


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Old 07-11-10, 11:23 PM   #8
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couple of thoughts..
how many teeth are on that hybrid crank? your granny gear might be bolted on separately from your double so you might be able to take it off and be done with it?? Or if the 1x9 sounds good, you can get short stack bolts and use one of the rings making your crank a singlespeed crank.
Have you thought about the type of bars you are going to ride? Northroads, drops, straight bar? Not sure if you like drops, but the midge on ones seem to be popular for this sort of build which would allow you to use STIs or road levers/barcons. Or, you can also incorporate the paul thumbies in there...

..it almost sounds like a cx/commuter is sort of what you are after. I have two surly cross checks that I use for grocery runs, commuting, trails. One is a city bike with upright bars with the stock 2x9 setup. The other is my wanna be 1x9 cross bike with drops.
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Old 07-11-10, 11:29 PM   #9
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Not much to add other than the idea that there's no lack of narrow'ish rims or wheels with narrow'ish rims that will work fine for what you want.

Since this is for an all weather bike that will only be used on the road or smooth trails or paths you may want to look at a rigid fork that is disc brake compatible. A disc front at least would go a long way to making it a better sloppy weather bike. And if the frame needs painting anyway a brazed on IS mount and seat to chain stay brace tube would be a superb upgrade for this fine old workhorse.

You and wrk101 are really making me miss my old Trek 970. That frame was amazing. I swear it would almost pedal itself up hills it was so good. Sadly we never know what we have until we part with it. Whenever I get to waxing nostalgic I look around at the usual online spots for a 970 frame or bike.
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Old 07-12-10, 07:52 AM   #10
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I truly believe narrow tires are old think. The wider 1.5' that I use on my bent are 100 pound tires and have very little drag. Secondly using the bike to commute and run errands means you need a reliable bike. A large tire with a small leak could get you home without having to repair on the road. I have found small leaks before I ride that i got ot repair at home.

As far as componets go I would recomend Sram. My road and mountain bikes had Shimano shifters and derailers. My bent has Sram, and they shift flawlessly.
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Old 07-12-10, 06:54 PM   #11
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Have you hauled stuff on your current set up? If you're carrying a lot of stuff you might appreciate having lower gears that you typically wouldn't use. I have a triple crank and never use the granny when I'm commuting / riding for fun, but it definitely came in handy hauling my camping gear.
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Old 07-12-10, 07:07 PM   #12
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Well... on an MTB 1.5's ARE narrow.

I've never been to Washington DC but from the description of the gear usage I gather it's about as flat as pee on a plate. But if you DO manage to find a hill or two you'll wish you had some bigger rear cogs. And the little granny gear isn't enough weight to worry about since you're going to end up with it loaded down with a rear rack, saddlebags and likely fenders. So in the end just go with a MTB crank setup and rear setup. Or if you can use the bigger chain rings then either a road set or one of the in between cyclocross cranksets that use the 48 big ring.

I also have to agree that finding 8 speed shifters is getting harder to do. There's still lots of 8 speed cassetes around as replacements but not the shifters. But if you scrounge around and are patient your desire for an 8 speed rear will come to light and from there I don't see it as a big deal to keep finding replacement cassettes.
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Old 08-21-10, 04:44 PM   #13
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26" wheels.

I built my wheels not long ago using WTB XC 32 hole rims, DT swiss champion 2.0 black and Shimano Deore hubs.

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