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  1. #1
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    newbie mtb vs road bike question

    I am relatively new to cycling - and am beginning to think about commuting to work a couple of days a week. The ride is aprox 30 miles each way. I do have the luxury of arriving a little late - and have a shower/locker room available to me. Because I want to ride my road tandem as well - I donít think that I will commute 5 days a week - given the distance (and my lack of stamina)

    My question is about which bike to use. I have a 7-8 year old Schwinn Paramount mtb - 21sp with grip shift - front suspension. I have an old rack lying around - and there is a set of mtb "road" tires on it already. The front shifter is cracked- I would need to replace it - but the parts seem cheap enough at nashbar. Should I use this bike - or search for a used road bike on CL and the classifieds? I found a used Trek 520 - but it was too high. There is a $25 Fuji Grand Tourer 12sp online that I have a call in to. Does it make sense to spend money on getting a 15 year old road bike running or less money on the mtb? There are hills on the commute - so the gearing on the MTB would be nice - but I am sure you could get the same gearing from a road tourer.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. #2
    It's true, man.
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    My opinion as a hardcore mountain biker: For a 60-mile round trip, a road frame is the only way to go. If you have friends that ride and decent karma, you can build one up pretty inexpensively to start with, by copping old parts from your buddies.

    If by "30 miles each way", you meant 30 miles round trip, I'll still steer you toward a road bike, but not quite as emphatically. I've done my commute on a 29er MTB, but the more aero ositioning of my road frame is very preferable on cold and windy days, and the roadie's gearing is much more appropriate.
    Last edited by truman; 02-06-06 at 10:52 AM.

  3. #3
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Agreed, you need a road bike so you don't give up. Consider a loan. A decent bike is a lot cheaper than a used junker.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  4. #4
    DNPAIMFB pinkrobe's Avatar
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    Get a decent road bike - 60 miles round trip is a long way on a mtn bike. Get something fairly recent with a reasonable set of components on it. I see used Ultegra bikes go for $600 fairly often, and that should be more than adequate.
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  5. #5
    hooptie driver
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinkrobe
    If the Schwinn is already running, use that until you get a feel for the commute. A road bike might be faster, but why buy if you don't have to. I would wait until you have done a couple of test rides on the mtn bike.
    This is what I am doing. I commute 18 miles one way. I am currently using my "comfort bike". I am not sure if I am just going to upgrade my bike. Or just buy a new bike yet. Been doing it for two weeks now. Still undecided.

    I would do like pinkrobe said, give it a shot once or twice and see how it goes.
    What does Lance Armstrong and Me have in common?
    We are both the same type of cancer survivors and we are still rocking and rolling.
    Live more, complain less

  6. #6
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    everyone:

    Thanks for the advice. These were some of the thoughts I had as well.

  7. #7
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    If your MTB can be fixed up at a reasonable cost do it and drive part way then pedal the rest. Doing a 15 mile each way can take a little conditioning to do the whole thing, all of the time. Try it out gradually. If good then go for better bike, better cloths, racks, panniers, lights . . . I started with an old cannondale frame and parts from two old bikes and the help of a bike shop manager. Now I use a purpose-built touring bike, 50-watt lights, . . . And am looking for a job where I could commute 40-60 miles round-trip.
    This space open

  8. #8
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    You do not want to do 60 miles round trip on a mountain bike. Go for a road bike.

    It seems like some of the commenters are steering you to bikes that may be out of your price range. The ride may be acceptable on something much less expensive. I commute on a 15-year-old Lotus Odyssey road bike. It cost around $300 when I bought it, in 1990. I suppose it is comparable to an entry-level road bike today. Even without any elaborate upgrades, it still rides faster than my mountain bike. I have a thirty-mile round trip commute, and this road bike is a viable machine for everyday commuting.

  9. #9
    Senior Member balto charlie's Avatar
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    road for sho' 60Rt is a sh!tload of miles if you're just starting off. Here's a link to my local craiglist but find your city and check out local bikes
    http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/
    Thrift stores are loaded with really low priced bikes. Stay away from pawn shops as many of those bikes are ripped off. Ya know, the karma thing. 27" wheeled bikes are the cheapest and best bang for the buck. Some limitations with tire selection. Make sure the wheels are not steel(use magnet), look at cable for rust(if rusted need to be replaced), frame should have minimal rust.

  10. #10
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    I would try the MTB on a weekend, when getting tired and sore wouldn't be a problem. If the bike is a good fit and you are relatively young and resilient, it might work.

    I go on long weekend rides. A sixty mile excursion on my hybrid - fat tires and MTB geometry - was pretty horrible. At the end of the day, if it wasn't numb, it ached. I bought a good, PROPERLY FIT road bike the next week. I've done several sixty mile rides on my roadie. It's tiring, but not painful. The difference becomes more dramatic as distance increases.

    Don't worry about gears, weight, or other features. For that kind of distance, getting a good fit is paramount.

  11. #11
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    thanks again to everyone for the advice. I think I am going to try the mountain bike as is this weekend (unless it snows - i am not that hardy!) and work on fit issues. The length of this ride limits the amoutn of times a week I could/would want to ride it anyway - I should probably wait until I have some sucess before I spend too much on another set of wheels.

    Thanks again everyone

  12. #12
    Senior Member spinerguy's Avatar
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    Yup, that's a bunch of miles, but before you invest in upgrades better look into a road bike.

    I just replaced myself a hybrid commuter with a 03' Cannondale full Tiagra (components are the best value for the buck) for $410 on eBay, fair price & both of us walked away happy.
    Bike already has about 100 miles on the odometer (butter smooth!). The nicest thing is that by July bike will have paid for itself, from there on, itís a FREE ride.

    So what initially seems a financial burden turns out to be a great investment.

    Pic:

    Last edited by spinerguy; 02-08-06 at 11:14 AM.

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