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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-17-13, 11:41 PM   #1
GaryinLA
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mb3 bars conversion

1988ish bridg. mb3, stock with scwhalbe 2.1" big ben tires 26". wrist pain from mb type stock bars. considering conver. to drop or moustache. read on here its been tried but not good results. dont know if they didnt achieve good stem fit or its the frame geometry or frame weight they didnt like. is it worth my effort to try for myself? cant ride bike as is, mb bars give me wrist pain. dont need this bike but i like it because it can take these fat tire. have old touring bikes, max tire is 32mm. this frame is no mb1, straight tube chromalloy.

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Old 06-18-13, 08:56 AM   #2
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Moustache bars have a long reach, not good on MTBs because the top tube is longer than a road bike, size for size. Use an upside down "3 speed" bar instead. Examples: Nitto North Road, Soma Oxford, Wald #8095, Velo Orange Postino. They are way more comfortable than an MTB bar or even a drop bar.
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Old 06-18-13, 09:04 AM   #3
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I set up my '89 MB5 with drops using a technomic stem. Definately one of my favorite bikes ever. I also have problems holding flat bars, so I knew I had to switch to a bar that let me keep my hands parallel to the road.

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Old 06-18-13, 09:15 AM   #4
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The key to a successful conversion is definitely finding the right stem. If the bike fits you with flat bars, you probably want a short stem. A tall stem is also a common preference.

Here's my '89 RockHopper, which I would say was definitely a success.



I used a threadless stem adapter and a 70mm stem.

The other factor is cost. Unless you have parts already on hand, it's tough to get this done for a reasonable cost. Mustache bars might help in that regard, because you usually can keep the same shifters. With drop bars, you'll likely find yourself in the market for a cheap pair of bar end shifters.
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Old 06-18-13, 09:45 AM   #5
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Theres Trekking bars too , mustache is sides and front, Figure 8 trekking bars, is that and more..

+ you get to keep all your levers and cables intact, if you fit them onto the open rear end..

of the trekking bars.

& the conversion, as a result, costs a Lot less.
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Old 06-18-13, 01:45 PM   #6
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thanks for info. cost aside, wondering whats likely to give most comfortable result- moustache, drop or trekking bars. so far only exp is with drop bars on road bikes, and mb bars that hurt my wrists on long ie 40 plus mile rides. also wondering if mb3 frame is worth playing with because its a relatively stout frame, straight tube chromo, but the rockhopper above is prob. similar. the one benefit of an mb conv. over my trek 520 for example is ability for fat tires. but between the extra weight of frame and fat tires im probably 6 pounds over a trek 520 with 28mm tires. not sure how that would feel on daily 30 mile roundtrip commute or 50 mile sunday ride. ill probably proceed with conv. but not sure what ill use the bike for esp. with the fat tires. the diff with the diff type of bars is trekking and most moustache are 25.4 (I see now i can get 26 moustache but only nitto for close to $80) and drops are mostly 26 (I'd prefer that) so i have to decide which tall stem to get. i dont want to shim a 25.4 bar.

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Old 06-18-13, 02:34 PM   #7
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I ended up buying a used Long Haul Trucker frame and moving the good parts from the build above (pedals, wheels, tires, shifters, chain and cassette) over to that. The RockHopper conversion was great as a transitional bike until I stumbled across the LHT on craigslist. Now I'm in the process of turning it back into a mountain bike.

The big advantage of a conversion like this is that it's cheaper to buy a few parts and see how you like this type of bike than it would be to buy a better frame and the parts to go with it, and if you shop wisely you can re-purpose all of the good bits later if you do decide to upgrade. I spent around $600 on the RockHopper, mostly on the wheels and tires. It probably wasn't a $600 bike, but now I've got about $850 in my LHT and it would be hard to get a better bike for the purpose in that price range. Meanwhile, I still had most of the parts to re-build the RockHopper as a $100 MTB (though being a tinkerer that's not quite what I've done).

Or, you might end up loving it and just keeping it the way it ends up. Either way, it's fun to monkey around with things like this.

If you've already got a 520, I'd say trekking bars are a good next step to explore.

Alternatively, you could try bar ends. Like you, I have wrist pain when I use a flat bar for too long. I've been able to get pretty good comfort with Profile Design Boxer bar ends. The main downside is that you have to move your hands out of the comfortable position to get at the brakes and shifters. That's really not as much of a problem as it sounds like it would be.
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Old 06-18-13, 03:25 PM   #8
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Another option- bar ends. Something like these (knock-offs abound) and possibly cut your flat bar down a bit to mimic the width of a road bar.

Something else to consider are the grips. If you are using stock, BMX type, check out Ergons (helps with numb hands, anyway).
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Old 06-18-13, 05:22 PM   #9
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I owned several drop bar commuter Bridgestone MBs over the years. I started with an MB-1 first generation in red for a few years, then decided it was too flashy and later bought an MB5 and an MB6 and did the conversion. Sold most of the stable more than 20 years ago, and hung on only to the MB-6 which is pictured. The geometry I've ridden on these bikes has changed over the years due to things like growing beer-gut, preference for a less aerodynamic position and more comfort.

The main things I worked with were reach and saddle angle. The drop bars add a few extra inches in reach, so I needed to compensate by shortening the stem. The MBs had a fairly long top tube that stretched out riders and for me, I found that the next size up frame was already kind of long, and so I opted to raise the seat and hunch over more. But when converting to drops, I wanted to raise the front some amount. Earlier, I was okay with just raising an inch and riding the hoods. But today, I've swapped yet for even less reach and a higher rising-comfort stem and so my handlebars are level with my seat.

I'm a fairly big clyde so I also opted for the widest dirt drops I could find, 44 or 46 cm and plus they are flared. This gives me more room and if I swap tires and go off-road, I still have a wide grip that helps turn the bike and not feel like I'm doing some time-trial on some aero-bars. And it gives me room for lots of hand positions and room if I feel the need for CX levers to assist in braking, which I've played around with. But for normal commuting, I don't use them. I've had both cantis and V-brakes and they both work. The cantis are a must if you plan to use brifters. I used the bike for so many on/off road rides and swapped wheels that I got tired of the derailleur adjustment so I used a 7spd 12-23 cluster for commuting, and an 8spd 12-28 cluster for off road. The difference in speed basically simplified my decision and instead of brifters, I went back to friction bar-cons and just worried about limit screws. For the must part, it solved a lot of maintenance and adjustment issues that indexing would otherwise have caused.
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Old 06-18-13, 06:20 PM   #10
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Andy I'm curious if you find the LHT an improvement in ride, using the same 26" wheels. The LHT is straight tube chromalloy, from what Ive heard it isnt a sporty ride. I am fortunate I have a 1984 Trek 520 and a 1987 Schwinn Voyageur both have double butted chromalloy frames and I think they ride pretty well. I also have a 1998 (I think) Jamis Aurora which is straight tube chromalloy (in this year of production) and a 1995 ish Trek Multitrek 720 , also straight tube chromalloy and i find i like the ride of the double butted frames better. They ride differently/better. The one thing the MB3 can do that my touring bikes can do is take fat tires. So that is the main reason I am messing aroudn with it, also to see what the diff is between 26" wheel ride and my other bikes listed that all have 700c or 27". Right now my bikes with the straight tubes are my least favorite rides.
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Old 06-18-13, 06:47 PM   #11
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I like the ride of the LHT better, but mostly because it fits me a lot better. The LHT has pretty different geometry, so it's kind of hard to compare.

The RockHopper was definitely more forgiving. There were times when riding over rough surfaces I could actually see the fork flexing. That was a bit disconcerting, but I generally concluded that it meant I wasn't taking the hit. FWIW, I think Specialized claimed that the RockHopper frame I have was triple butted, which I understand to mean double-butted but with extra marketing thrown in (and maybe different thickness at one end than the other).

People talk about the LHT not riding well when it isn't loaded, but any bike with me on it is pretty loaded already.
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