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Old 10-22-02, 01:43 PM   #1
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Road vs. MTB Componentry?

I want to build-up a new commuter bike, but I am not sure if I want MTB or Road components. The commute is 25 miles roundtrip daily, with occassional rain. What I would like to know is which type of components are going to be most durable and carefree for the daily grind and over the long run. Right now I am in a toss-up between Ultegra or XT (or DA vs. XTR if the wife allows for the extra$$$). Thanks for your insights.--gaijin
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Old 10-22-02, 02:06 PM   #2
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If you want bulletproof than XT is the way to go. Ultegra is fine too. Both have sealed bearings and are durable. Depends on the type of gearing you need- are you carrying alot of stuff? Got hills to tackle? Is it downhill both ways?
The biggest gear on XT is 44-11 I think. On Ultegra it is 53-11 or 12.
Both will last and no fuss, especially in southern california
XTR is really a jump in price for weight savings- something that probably isn't an issue for you.
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Old 10-22-02, 03:02 PM   #3
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what kind of frame are you going to buy, if your buying a Road frame its better that you use DA, if an MTB then go for XTR, this way when you don't want to ride your bike anymore, then you can get a better price resale......
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Old 10-22-02, 06:16 PM   #4
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I think what you want on it defines how you build it up.


- Will your bike have drop bars or straight bars? With drop bars, you'll have road shifters and brakes (either bar ends or STI), whereas with straight bars, you'll have a different set of shifters and brakes. Unless you want downtube shifters...

- Will your frame have an axle length of 130 (road) or 135 mm (MTB)?. If you have choice, the 135 mm axle will give you stronger wheels... but will also send you towards a rear MTB wheel (LX or XT, for example).
Fortunately, cassettes don't mind between road and mountain.

- Have you decided what gear ratios you want? Deciding between close range and wide range, and between low gears vs high gears would orient you towards a road or MTB cassette, and a road or MTB crankset.

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Old 10-22-02, 06:53 PM   #5
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dura ace or xtr for a commuter bike!? wow!
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Old 10-22-02, 07:08 PM   #6
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I agree with all that is said, XTR and ultegra are both strong, but remember Ultegra is built to be road on the road and taking care of. XTR would be like a nice Jeep and Ultegra is a Lexus, both are nice, both are expensive. If ever wanna go off road get the Jeep. If you want to be classy and built for the road even in 5-10 years get the Lexus.

Hope that helps
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Old 10-22-02, 11:19 PM   #7
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I will respecfully disagree with that statement, arsbars.
Ultegra is really durable through dirt, mud and general trail abuse. Even though this is really intended for a commuter, Ultegra is good off-road.
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Old 10-22-02, 11:25 PM   #8
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Originally posted by deliriou5
dura ace or xtr for a commuter bike!? wow!
Yeah seriously If I were putting together a bike just for commuting I wouldn't go near those top end components. But I guess in my case (no real garage) the only issue of durability is replacing everything every week after some ****** jacks my bike :irritated
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Old 10-22-02, 11:34 PM   #9
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Originally posted by RacerX
Ultegra is really durable through dirt, mud and general trail abuse. Even though this is really intended for a commuter, Ultegra is good off-road.
I think road components can hold up fine in moderate offroad use. I personally would pick the component line based on things like derailleur capacity. Paris-Roubaix is quite a bit tougher than a rainy morning on 1st. Ave (unless of course you're riding around on some of the roads in Michigan... then it's on par |8^) and they use road groups on those bikes I believe. I think one area where offroad components really shine is in shifting under load. I sometimes think that my MTB with XTR shifts smoother than my RB with Dura-Ace... especially under load. Typically speaking, I shift more overall and more frequently when offroad than onroad. Just looking at the differences between my XTR front der. and my Dura-Ace front der. shows a higher level of sophistication with the XTR meant to enhance smoother and faster shifting across a larger range of gears and under heavier load as is typical in offroad riding.
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Old 10-23-02, 06:04 AM   #10
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Michel had the right ideas.

Drop bar = road components

Straight bar = mtb components

That's the way they work. You just can't put STI levers on a staight bar; nor can you put mtb levers on a drop bar. It's not mix and match. OK you can physically mount them, but you can't operate them. Plus the brake levers are designed to work with specific types of brakes - mtb levers with v-brakes or cantilevers, road levers with caliper brakes. There are some cantis designed to work with road levers for cyclocross, such as Avid Shorties. Frame also dictates type of brakes - road frames have caliper mounts, mtb frames have posts for v-brake/canti.

Now you can use a 9sp mtb rear der such as LX, XT, XTR with Ultegra or DA if you want to be able to use cogs up to 34T on the back

Is your ride mostly decent roads? Do you want to ride with drop bars? Set up a sturdy road bike with road components.

So your choice of components is based on the frame and bar type you decide on. As I said you can mix some things road levers with mtb rear der, but NOT road levers with mtb FRONT der.

It is hard to list every possible combination that is compatible or incompatible. If you have specific ideas, ask. Feel free to PM or email me. I promise not to tell you any idea is stupid.

A very good choice for commuting is a cyclocross frame. Basically a sturdy road type frame but with posts for mounting v-brakes or cantis. Designed to be used with drop bar and road components. You can put on the Avid Shorties or other similar brakes designed for use with road levers, a cyclocross crankset which has a smaller bolt circle so you can use smaller chainrings. Use an XT rear der and Ultegra or DA front der depending on which levers you choose. You will have a sturdy commuter that will ride almost like a road bike, but able to stand up to some off road use. Check out the Surly CrossCheck, a very reasonably priced cyclocross frame.

Oh, an important consideration. If you don't have a nice secure, protected place to store your bike at work I wouldn't build up a nice bike. If you have to chain the bike to a rack outside get a good old 10-speed at a garage sale. Clean and grease the bb/hub/headset bearings, clean and lube moving parts on levers, brakes, ders, replace the cables and housing, probably some new tires and tubes, and you will have a good riding, servicable commuter for under 100 bucks. If you are an average size you should be able to find a decent-fitting bike.
Hope this helps.
If it ain't broke, mess with it anyway!

Last edited by RainmanP; 10-23-02 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 10-24-02, 01:36 PM   #11
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I think looking at how touring bikes are built up would be a good place to start. Most use MTB rear deraileurs and road front deraileurs. Brakes are an important consideration in this sort of build up. If you want to use STI then you will need to use Canti brakes, if you want bar end shifting then you can use V-brakes as STI levers don't provide enough leverage for V-brakes and the little pulley gizmos don't seem to work well.

Mine is set up w/ 105 front deraileur, 105 rings and cogs, and XT rear deraileur and XT hubs on the wheels. I like the ease of adjusting on the V-brakes, but would consider going to cantilever brakes to get STI shifting.

There are a lot of different set-ups and I'd suggest checking out how others have solved certain problems before deciding how you are going to proceed.

Good luck and happy wrenching.

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Old 10-25-02, 07:23 AM   #12
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Actually this is VERY BIG in Europe. So big, in fact, that bike companies are producing fairly high end road frames with a mix of road and MTB components. VINER is one such company with a bike called SUPER ROAD. One model is 105/XT equipped.
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Old 10-29-02, 03:10 AM   #13
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depends on how close you cut your arrival time , if your like me i leave home 5mins after my fastest time would get me to work on time, in that case you,l need a road bike but it does,nt have to be expensive! a good 2hnd bike & a bit of work cleaning , regreasing ,hubs, b/b,h/set ect. should give you a decent road / commuter that you can upgrade to your needs, witch you wont realy know till you,v been riding your route to work.after you have been commuting a while you might find that the distance is,nt far enough & you will look for a longer route home, witch could change specs. req. eg. lower gearing, its easy & inexpensive to change a freewheel gear cluster. any way good luck
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