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Old 09-04-11, 07:12 PM   #1
Deltarebel
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Conversion question

Bear with with me on this please. I own a 2003 Giant XTC1 Se that I have pretty much turned into a hybrid. End bars turned up so I can stretch my back. Michelin WildR 1.1 slicks for tires. Been thinking about buying a road bike so I can return my MB back to a MB and get the benefits on the road of a RB. Rode a Giant Defy 2 at bike store yesterday. Pretty much entry level RB. And if I bought a road bike today, that is about all I can afford. What I would rather do is save my pennies and by next summer have enough to step up a notch and get something other than a entry level bike.
Now for the questions. In the meantime, would it be feasable to replace my cassette on my MB with something set up for a road bike? My MB has 22/34/46 crankset.ShimanoXTR. My cassette is Shimano 11-34 teeth. And if I chose to change cassette, any reccomendations?
I know I still will not have a road bike. But, that Defy I rode accelerated and climbed very good. MUCH better than what I am riding now.
Any and all opinions and ideas will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-04-11, 08:05 PM   #2
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I hybridized my Giant Yukon with an Alivio 26/36/48 crankset with 175mm cranks and an 11-32 9-speed cassette with new shifters to match. I've got Bontrager H2 eco 1.5 x 26 tires on Alex 36-spoke rims. I find it to be a very decent fitness/touring bike and a heavy, but adequate bike for non-competitive group rides. I too am looking to add a road bike to the garage.

From what I see your current setup isn't bad for a MTB turned hybrid. Maybe a swap to a 48 or 50-tooth chainring if one is available, but that isn't going to make a huge difference. The sad truth is that a MTB hybrid isn't going to perform like a mid-level road bike. I considered using the Mavic brake conversion kit to put 700c wheels on, but the difference in performance wouldn't be that huge and I decided I was better off putting the money away for a true road bike and just enjoying my hybrid for what it is.
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Old 09-04-11, 08:09 PM   #3
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Go ahead and change the cassette if it gives you more usable gears. It won't make the bike ride any differently though.
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Old 09-04-11, 08:45 PM   #4
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K. Thanks guys. Think I will save my pennies for a good road bike and return my MB for what it was made for. In the meantime, I will just have to do with what I have.
Should mention I am 54 and trail riding ain't as applealing as it used to be. Love to ride though!
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Old 09-04-11, 09:38 PM   #5
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A couple of thoughts:

1. If you find that upturned bar ends is what you need for comfort, what sort of fit are you expecting from a road bike?

2. A 9 speed road cassette (like 11-27 or 11-25) will give you a narrow range of easy/mid gears that are closely spaced too allow fast spinning without big jumps between gears

3. Although a mountain bike will never be a road bike, with the right gears and properly inflated road tires it can be much more, at the expense of 10% weight and 0.5% speed penalties.

My experience with MTBs set up to work as hybrids or RBs is that they are close enough to peak performance so that an 'upgrade' to a road bike will actually make not too big a difference. I have seen many people ride MTBs with skinny hard tires on group road rides and have no trouble keeping up. On the same rides with the same groups I have seen many people on lightweight carbon bikes fall off the back. It's not the bike - it's the motor that matters.
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Old 09-04-11, 09:51 PM   #6
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I agree with the thoughts on your bike as it sits, save your pennies.

On that thought though, I would scour CL for a road bike to fit your needs. I bought my current road machine for $25, add in the $40 in parts I spent and I have a seriously good road bike. As long as you aren't looking for the latest and greatest, you can find some sweet bikes. Even if you want something newer, you can find people who bought more bike than they can handle and sell them for much less than they bought it, often at almost half what they spent. Keep looking, there are great deals if you look.
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Old 09-04-11, 09:58 PM   #7
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Or for about the same MSRP of the Giant and you can wrench a bit you can get something like this.

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...d_sprint_x.htm
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Old 09-04-11, 10:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
1. If you find that upturned bar ends is what you need for comfort, what sort of fit are you expecting from a road bike?
+1
Think hard about this. Are you sure you really want a drop-bar road bike?

Quote:
It's not the bike - it's the motor that matters.
+1000

Something that nobody seems to have mentioned: I believe your fork is a Rock Shox SID Team, so it's got a lockout. Make sure it's locked out -- that's going to make a huge performance difference. Ideally, you'd grab a rigid fork with disc mounts, like this one for fifty bucks.

You did the right thing in going with the 1.1" slicks -- make sure they're pumped up to their absolute maximum PSI.

A cassette with closer spacing on the high range of the gears will be an extremely easy and inexpensive swap-in that will give you some more smoothness in the gear range you care about, but your highest gear in the back is already an 11, so I suspect you'll get a bigger performance boost out of bigger chainrings. I suspect I'd be topping out in the 46/11 combination a lot with your setup -- are you finding you're always topping out and wish you had several higher gears? It can get expensive to go down this path because if you go too big you'll find your FD is the wrong shape, so if you're not topping out, don't mess with this part yet.

Quote:
3. Although a mountain bike will never be a road bike, with the right gears and properly inflated road tires it can be much more, at the expense of 10% weight and 0.5% speed penalties.
Your bike is not crap, or some downhill behemoth -- it's a recently-made aluminum XC bike with XT and XTR components. This is a nice bike, and there's no reason a carefully set-up mountain bike can't be fast on the road. I am certain that your bike, set up properly, will keep you quite a bit faster than a poorly-selected CraigsList road bike with a hi-ten frame, straight-rimmed steel wheels, 60psi tires, and a poor fit. Heck, it might even keep you faster than a reasonably well-selected non-CraigsList road bike!

That being said, it's a nice enough mountain machine that I agree you should eventually purchase another bike and return this one to trail duty!

Last edited by pocky; 09-04-11 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 09-05-11, 05:22 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by pocky View Post
....your highest gear in the back is already an 11, so I suspect you'll get a bigger performance boost out of bigger chainrings. I suspect I'd be topping out in the 46/11 combination a lot with your setup --
I wouldn't be too sure about that. I run a 42 big on my commuter, and on a 16 mile commute in suburban/city riding I'm off power for maybe one minute or so. I can still hit 40 + KPH /25 + MPH, and I'm no spinning guru. The OP should be able to hit 30 MPH w/o spinning out and needing a bigger ring.
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Old 09-05-11, 08:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocky View Post
+1
Think hard about this. Are you sure you really want a drop-bar road bike?


+1000

Something that nobody seems to have mentioned: I believe your fork is a Rock Shox SID Team, so it's got a lockout. Make sure it's locked out -- that's going to make a huge performance difference. Ideally, you'd grab a rigid fork with disc mounts, like this one for fifty bucks.

You did the right thing in going with the 1.1" slicks -- make sure they're pumped up to their absolute maximum PSI.

A cassette with closer spacing on the high range of the gears will be an extremely easy and inexpensive swap-in that will give you some more smoothness in the gear range you care about, but your highest gear in the back is already an 11, so I suspect you'll get a bigger performance boost out of bigger chainrings. I suspect I'd be topping out in the 46/11 combination a lot with your setup -- are you finding you're always topping out and wish you had several higher gears? It can get expensive to go down this path because if you go too big you'll find your FD is the wrong shape, so if you're not topping out, don't mess with this part yet.



Your bike is not crap, or some downhill behemoth -- it's a recently-made aluminum XC bike with XT and XTR components. This is a nice bike, and there's no reason a carefully set-up mountain bike can't be fast on the road. I am certain that your bike, set up properly, will keep you quite a bit faster than a poorly-selected CraigsList road bike with a hi-ten frame, straight-rimmed steel wheels, 60psi tires, and a poor fit. Heck, it might even keep you faster than a reasonably well-selected non-CraigsList road bike!

That being said, it's a nice enough mountain machine that I agree you should eventually purchase another bike and return this one to trail duty!
Thanks to all for taking the time to reply. Let me see if I can keep this reply straight.
The turned up end bars are set up so I can somewhat straighten up when I want to. Simular to placeing hands on top of a drop bar. I mostly ride on the flat bar.
Was not aware I could lock the Rok Shok. Will do so.
I have had this bike up to 27mph. Once with a STRONG tailwind. The other coming off short hill and sprinting. I have not tryed to top out bike since I put the slicks on. Should be able to gain couple more MPH.
Now to the "motor". Sounds like I need to get stronger. I can petal with the 46-11 combo, but not for long.
Think I will continue to work on getting to be a stronger rider. Then once I get to where I am "topping" out with current setup, might make a change with crankset/cassette.
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Old 09-05-11, 09:25 AM   #11
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.. I have not tryed to top out bike since I put the slicks on. Should be able to gain couple more MPH.
Maybe, maybe not. Thinner tires are a bit more aero, and make it easier getting the bike up to speed. While certainly nice in their way, you need a fairly long ride before the benefits becomes visible. Odds are any improvement you'll see is more realistically atttributed to that you've done some more riding since your last all-out effort.

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.. Now to the "motor". Sounds like I need to get stronger. I can petal with the 46-11 combo, but not for long.
Think I will continue to work on getting to be a stronger rider.
What I've found is that paying attention to pedalling technique can really help.
I used to be a fairly crude masher, a hard push down with the forward leg - end of story. But due to knee issues I had to retrain, which was quite challenging. First, obviously, I kept mashing - just did it faster at a lower gear, which made me a slower rider. But eventually I got the hang of lifting the rear foot out of the way properly, maybe even pulling a little, and it was like finding another gear.

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...Then once I get to where I am "topping" out with current setup, might make a change with crankset/cassette.
I've been considering going for a bigger crank, and a cassette with a bigger "small" - keeping the current ratio more or less. More teeth engaged results in less wear.
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Old 09-05-11, 10:05 AM   #12
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Just been doing a little shopping. And changing cassettes is not as expensive as I thought. Shimano Ultegra 9 11-21 or 11-23 for 64.00. Shimano Dura Ace 9 11-21 or 11-23 for 124.00. Both at Nashbar.(best prices I found)
My current cassette; 11-13-15-17-20-23-26-30-34. On the 46 crank I am for the biggest part useing 13-15-17-20 on my cassette.
Both Shimano cassettes I am looking at; 11-12-13-14-15-16-17-19-21. or
11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-23.
Anything wrong wiith the lower priced Shimano?
Any problem installing either on my Giant XTC1 SE?
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Old 09-05-11, 10:12 AM   #13
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steel the same, plating finish may differ..
if same 'speed' number and still Shimano it would be OK.
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Old 09-06-11, 12:22 AM   #14
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Doesn't need to be genuine Shimano. Anything that uses the same 9-speed spacings and splines as Shimano will work fine. SRAM (11-21 and 11-23 both available at Nashbar for $42), IRD, SunRace, store brand, even a cassette cobbled together with sprockets from several different cassettes of different brands -- and even Campagnolo 9-speed spacing is "close enough". The cheaper it is, the more likely you'll be to replace it more often, which will make the biggest difference in performance and longevity.

IMHO, Dura Ace is complete overkill for this application.

And if your big ring / big sprocket combination gets much smaller (as it certainly will if you're moving from a 34 to 21 or 23 for your biggest sprocket), you probably want to shorten your chain.

Last edited by pocky; 09-06-11 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 09-06-11, 04:27 AM   #15
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Doesn't need to be genuine Shimano. Anything that uses the same 9-speed spacings and splines as Shimano will work fine. SRAM (11-21 and 11-23 both available at Nashbar for $42), IRD, SunRace, store brand, even a cassette cobbled together with sprockets from several different cassettes of different brands -- and even Campagnolo 9-speed spacing is "close enough". The cheaper it is, the more likely you'll be to replace it more often, which will make the biggest difference in performance and longevity.

IMHO, Dura Ace is complete overkill for this application.

And if your big ring / big sprocket combination gets much smaller (as it certainly will if you're moving from a 34 to 21 or 23 for your biggest sprocket), you probably want to shorten your chain.
Thanks. Probably will get the lower priced Shimano. Appreciate the tip about the chain. Had not thought about that.
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