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  1. #1
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    Long distance on a MTB?

    Hi all

    So I have actually only been riding for about 3 months, bought my first bike in November. Since then I have logged about 400km on my MTB. I would say about 50/50 trail riding and riding on hill/flat paths.

    One of the first goals I made for myself was to try and ride to the beach from here, stay over (camp or hotel it), and ride back the next day. Its about 50km from my house, which to some may sound like nothing, but the farthest I have done is about 30km in a day, and that was quite a challenge to me.

    So my question is, does anyone have any tips for taking on the trip on a MTB?

    should I invest/borrow some semi-slicks?
    any tips on saving weight? I can buy food there btw


    PS I am planning this trip for late march/april depending on weather, to beat the heat/traffic.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    While I have never riddent a MTB on a long distance ride, my hybrid did have somewhat knobby tires when I first got it. I got rid of those pretty quick and went with a more road friendly tire. So given that, I would think that slicks would make the ride easier.
    Brian | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix 5 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2003 Trek 7300
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  3. #3
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    Put some slicks on and go for it! I did my first metric century on a mountain bike last fall and the only real problem was I was looking for more hand positions about mile 40. I have since picked up a used road bike, but I didn't see a big improvement over speed just easier on my wrists. You may want to add a rack so that you can carry extra or take of layers of clothes as neccessary. Have fun and try to talk someone else into going with you so they can suffer too.

  4. #4
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    I ride half that every day, and I'm a Clyde too.
    Get some cheap slicks and bar ends if you don't have them already.
    Are there places you an stop for water on the way there and back? If not then I'd definately get something to boost my hydration ability. (2 water bottles and cages or a camelback <--might be overkill).

    If your mountain bike already has a rack then that, coupled with a backpack or other type of bag will definately hold everyhting you need, including tent, sleeping bag, pillow, extra food/water, flat repair kit, etc.
    On the bright side of your *small* tour. It wouldn't cost much to get a cab or call someone for a ride if the unthinkable happens.
    If I were in your shoes I'd definately do it!

  5. #5
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I was training for a double entury on an MTB and ws hurting due to lack of hand positions. I clamped a set of drop bars to my flat bars and turned out a 135 mile ride the next weekend. Now we have bull horns and time trial arm rests you can add to an MTB. God yes, get slicks.
    This space open

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    haha well it looks like I will be shopping for slicks.

    As for water, my buddy has been trying to talk me into the camel pack but for the price I think I am just going to run 2 cages/bottles.

    I *hope* to throw everything in a back pack if I hotel it. Is it easier to ride with a rack instead?

    I am trying to talk the girlfriend into joining me, but have a feeling ill be going alone. Ill have a phone with me just in case something happens though of course. I am getting excited about it now! I wish the gym was open so I could go spin some miles Damn snow

  7. #7
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT_Rob
    haha well it looks like I will be shopping for slicks.

    As for water, my buddy has been trying to talk me into the camel pack but for the price I think I am just going to run 2 cages/bottles.

    I *hope* to throw everything in a back pack if I hotel it. Is it easier to ride with a rack instead?

    I am trying to talk the girlfriend into joining me, but have a feeling ill be going alone. Ill have a phone with me just in case something happens though of course. I am getting excited about it now! I wish the gym was open so I could go spin some miles Damn snow
    Front and rear rack and panniers, definitely, or a Bob trailer!

    You'll hate touring with a backpack, and I'd think about adding at least one more bottle holder as well!

    I'd also suggest converting to trekking bars if not drops! I've toured on a mountainbike and the flatbar, even with bar ends didn't give me enough hand positions and I wound up with alternating between pain and numbness in the hands and wrists. I wore a camelback in this tour and it killed my shoulders!

    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

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    I did a couple of metric centuries on my first MB when I couldn't afford a road bike. Tires make the biggest difference--50km isn't a killer ride, and you can certainly do it on a mountain bike, but I'd ditch the knobbies and get a set of road tires in about 1.25-1.4 inch. Anything narrower than that won't go appreciably faster, and the ride and handling deteriorate.

  9. #9
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    Yes ditch the knobbies and go for slicks.
    Beach cruiser tires work great.
    I just changed my tires and the rolling resistance change was awesome. I also added bar ends and it helps with hand position a bit but I'm going to look into Tom suggestion of trekking bars (whatever those are?)

  10. #10
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  11. #11
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    I did the Hotter than Hell 100 on my MTB....nobb's tires as well...they were Hutchisons so they roll pretty fast for a nobbies. The next year I rode Ragbri, I got talked in to not riding it and borrowed a road bike. I should have stuck with my MTB. It would have been a whole lot better in my opinion....

    Now I have a road bike and never ride the MTB anymore. Slicks are cool......a good addition as well. The best thing you can do for your bike is put miles on it. There are many things that will save it weight but none better and cheaper than you loosing some....and wait till you see the cost of saving 100g on some bike stuff....

    Post up a pic of your rig. I am sure someone will suggest a few things to change...

  12. #12
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    Last year I rode a Specialized Stumpjumper and I used to do 100 to 150Km a day riding 5 days out of 7.
    I put an Avatar 155 saddle on for better support and a set of ergo-grips which stopped my hands from going numb. For tires I rode on Conti travel contact.

  13. #13
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GT_Rob
    haha well it looks like I will be shopping for slicks.

    As for water, my buddy has been trying to talk me into the camel pack but for the price I think I am just going to run 2 cages/bottles.
    I have a Camelback Rogue that I use in the summer along with my bottles. One can never have enough liquid in the Florida summers. Anyway, it's 70 oz and has all sorts of little storage compartments. Mine only cost about $30 at the LBS. It's fairly light and easy to refill if I had to while I was still on the road. It will typically last me about 3 hours and then I have the bottles as well, so I figured I'm covered for upwards of 4.5 to 5 hrs in 90 degree heat.
    Brian | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix 5 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2003 Trek 7300
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  14. #14
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    Is there anything you can not find on Sheldon Browns site. That man should be a King somewhere. Shoot he already has a crown:
    Brian | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix 5 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2003 Trek 7300
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

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    awesome thanks alot for the tips guys!

    looks like it is going up to 10C next weekend which I am going to try and get a decent run in. Im also going to stop by the shop to get an idea on prices for some things. Just so happens the Toronto Bike show is coming up in a couple weeks.

    Ill keep this updated as it comes close and post pics of the hopefully successfull trip lol.

  16. #16
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    Slick tires for low rolling resistance
    Bar ends for more hand positions
    Cushy grips or gloves for comfort
    Make sure seat and stem are adjusted properly

    I commute 15mi (~24Km) daily, and ride 30mi (~48Km) on Saturday mornings. I've got a 17 year old Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail MTB with bar ends and slick tires. I'm doing a 45mi (~72Km) charity ride in May on this same bike. I've never had any issues with it, aside from wanting to get a little bit more aero going into some of the crummy headwinds I encounter.
    "I feel like my world was classier before I found cyclocross."
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  17. #17
    Senior Member yeamac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    Tom, in that shot your bike looks more like a motorcycle than a MTB.

    I'll 3rd, 4th, or 5th what everyone else is saying about slicks. And for longer distances, the less weight the better, as more weight will tire you out faster.

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    A 100km round trip overnighter is a good way to start touring.
    Fit some slicks and a rear luggage rack. You dont need to take much, I did my first overnighter with a tarp and some chord. You can probably pack everything in a rack-top bag or bungie it on top.Take some clean shorts/underwear for the return trip and at least one spare inner tube + repair kit.

  19. #19
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    worry about flats. consider Mr Tuffy tire liners. Also check the tires for glass every 5 mi and remove with a pocket knife.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
    Strida 3, I recommend it for rides < 10mi wo steep hills.
    2006 Rowbike 720 Sport, I recommend it as an exercise bike.
    1996 Birdy, Recommend.
    Wieleder CARiBIKE (folding), decent frame.

  20. #20
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeamac
    Tom, in that shot your bike looks more like a motorcycle than a MTB.

    I'll 3rd, 4th, or 5th what everyone else is saying about slicks. And for longer distances, the less weight the better, as more weight will tire you out faster.
    Yep, I've got around 42 pounds total gear on. I was testing gear loadout for a longer unsupported ride.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  21. #21
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    You can also get some wire tire scrapers to dislodge any glass frags, etc while you ride. They attach to the brake mounting bolts on the calopers of a road bike. I've been looking and they don't seem to be made any more (You'll occasionally see them on OLD high end touring bikes), but you can cut a little flap out of a plastic pop bottle and do the same thing, to remove bits of sharp gravel, etc while you are riding. Just cut a slotted hole in the top so you can adjust the height and that will reduce flatting significantly. Set it so it just skims the tire surface on F and R tires.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


    . “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”- Fredrick Nietzsche

    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  22. #22
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    I too agree on slicks/semis but I would add, do some research on them. You want something that will take a higher psi. Sheldon Brown has a great article on tire pressure and how to decide what you should look for. Basically, for the clydes, max pressure is very important.

    Get yourself some decent riding shorts and shoes. If you can, get two pairs of shorts! (One for there, one for home) You never wear underwear under cycling shorts. PERIOD. If you are too modest, keep a pair of light shorts handy and throw them on over your cycling shorts when you get off your bike.

    Sounds like a fun ride. My wife and kids met me after my first century and we stayed at a motel. I would not have wanted to crash on a beach after a long ride like that. Hot water and a shower made me feel human again.

    Good luck and if you have other questions...
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
    (He is kept comfortable by some pie, a half case of Bud, two cheese-dogs and a big screen Sony.)

  23. #23
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    I have done centuries, metric centuries and a lot of 50+ kilometer rides with a MTB - granted a hardtail that is pretty light - but still.

    Slicks are great - but I have done it with regular tires too.

  24. #24
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    Well I am glad to hear alot of other people out there doing distance on a mtb. I can't commit the cost of a 2nd bike yet as I have only been riding for a few months, so its nice to know the mtb will hold up.

    I think I am going to get the GF to meet me there (her drive) as the hotel is too nice to waste on myself (love winter rates!).

    Out weather here is so up and down. last week was -35 winds. this weekend is +10C. So as long as I can catch a decent heat wave in late march I am going to aim for that. Again to avoid traffic.

    Thats for the tips on the slicks. Im going to do bring my bike guru buddy with me to the toronto bike show to help me pick out some nice gear for this.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    I know I did it too but just to be clear on a vocabulary thing:

    slicks are smooth, like dragster tires.

    There are tires for MTB rims which are designed for road riding. They usually are called commuters or something like that. They have a little tread which is probabaly more like what you want. (The person selling you the tires would figure it out quickly but I personally always prefer to know the right words.)
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
    (He is kept comfortable by some pie, a half case of Bud, two cheese-dogs and a big screen Sony.)

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