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  1. #1
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    Should I convert my old MTB into a road bike?

    Hi there,
    I bought my new mountain bike (Specialized FSR XC comp) a couple months ago. Before that, I was riding my Univega MTB (bought in the 80's). I want to break up my trail riding by doing some riding on the street. I could:
    1. Just ride the new bike -- get rid of the old bike.
    2. Swap smooth tires onto the new bike for long street rides -- get rid of the old bike.
    3. Buy a used road bike -- get rid of the old bike.

    4. This is what I've been leaning towards. Replace cables, gears, chain, bearings, and tires on the old bike (due to about 25 years of almost no maintenance). Probably end up spending $150 to $200 on parts. A big positive here is nostagia (ie. bought the bike when I was in college, rode it everywhere, rode with friends and family, etc.). Be kind of a fun project.

    So, any opinions? Am I wasting my money? The bike isn't anything special... 1983 Univega Rover-Sport.
    I just wanted some comments before I made a decision.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  2. #2
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    That would seemingly turn it into a bike which was more comfortable and efficient on the road. I don't think it actually becomes a "road bike" however unless you select option 3. I don't think option 4 is a waste of money especially if you are just trying to break up your off road work.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  3. #3
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    5. Turn it into a Touring bike. The lightweight frame, steep gears, heavy duty wheelset, and long chainstays translate into a great touring bike. My Schwinn High Sierra...

    http://buggytexas.com/highsierra.html

  4. #4
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    As it virtually has no resale value I would simply turn that thing into a singlespeed errand bike and have some fun with it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollowas View Post
    4. This is what I've been leaning towards. Replace cables, gears, chain, bearings, and tires on the old bike (due to about 25 years of almost no maintenance). Probably end up spending $150 to $200 on parts. A big positive here is nostagia (ie. bought the bike when I was in college, rode it everywhere, rode with friends and family, etc.). Be kind of a fun project.

    So, any opinions? Am I wasting my money?
    That's what I would do. Think it through and make it into the kind of bike that you want. It's only a waste of money if you don't have fun doing it.

  6. #6
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    4. Definitely 4. Those old rigid MTBs are bombproof and are perfect for restoring for all sorts of purposes: Touring, commuting, errands, pulling kids' trailers, turning into Xtra-cycles, racing CX on a budget. You name it.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  7. #7
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    Having recently taken up road riding after 15 years on mTB's- Keep the current bikes and get a road bike. Road bikes work better on the road than any MTB. No matter how much you adapt them.

    I still say keep the bikes you have as it takes along time to get Offroading out of the system So keep the specialised. And Keep the Univega to remind you never to get one again. Wreck it by using it as a beater bike- loaning it out to friends- or just give it away.
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  8. #8
    Climbing and Biking octopuswithafez's Avatar
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    I am actually in the process of modifying a '92 Stumpjumper (old college bike) and just ordered a set of drops and am poring over getting bar-end shifters. One thing I am also looking at is putting 700 wheels on it, replacing the original 26" ones I have now. I see Mavic makes a brake adapter for that purpose. I am pretty inspired with this conversion http://www.briandesousa.com/bicycling/tech/convert.htm . I have another bike (Soma DoubleCross) which I use for my "road" work, but I wanted to give some new life to the old hardtail as a burly commuter.

  9. #9
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    I've had two bikes like that in the last couple of years--still good to ride, but not worth enough to bother selling them. I turned the old Trek roadie into a budget singlespeed (took off everything but the middle chainring and spun on a BMX freewheel with a spacer, total investment $12.95). The Bridgestone mountain bike got fenders, road tires (roadISH, they're 1.5s) and a rack, and I use that in bad weather, for grocery runs etc. I zip-tied a wire basket to the rear rack, and it works great.
    This isn't my bike, but here's what it looks like: http://www.rivbike.com/products/list...product=20-102

  10. #10
    Senior Member Leigh_caines's Avatar
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    Fix the old bike
    I bought a new MTB and got rid of the old one that had searved me for 20years
    I hate the new one and wished I'd fixed the old one that fitted me so well

    And buy or fix up a road bike

  11. #11
    jcm
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    I bought a 1988 Trek 830 new back in the day. It was too tall for trails because I wanted a road/greenbelt a bike that would be sturdy and had an upright posture at the time. There were no hybrids or comfort bikes back then. It had more attachment points than my Trek 520, or any roadie, and most important to me - OvalTech chainrings (same as BioPace). I put skinny slicks on it, North Road bars, racks, a Brooks saddle, and went everywhere on that bike, til I snapped a drop-out.

    I was so impressed by it's comfort and reliablity that I bought a '92 Trek 930, a much better frame. I swapped over all the stuff from the 830, which was all good solid Deore, plus the OvalTech. I would definitely rebuild your old friend. Those things are so much better than current "wisdom" would tell.

  12. #12
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollowas View Post
    A big positive here is nostagia (ie. bought the bike when I was in college, rode it everywhere, rode with friends and family, etc.). Be kind of a fun project.
    Steve
    Steve, I still have my first MTB. It's a 1990 Specialized Rockhopper Comp. Got the bike new from Eddy's Bike shop in Stow, OH. That's when they were in the old store, actually an old house. They stored inventory in the back in old trailers.

    I've bought & sold a lot of bikes since then. Never had any desire to sell the old MTB though. Good luck on your project and post some pics when it's done.


    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for all the replies. I'm going with option 4 -- fix up the old bike for on-road riding.

  14. #14
    Senior Member neilfein's Avatar
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    I fixed up my 20 year-old MTB for road riding (smooth tires, basically) andit rides fine, but I miss my knobbies and roding through mud puddles. I figure I'll throw the knobbies back on for winter, and probably get a road or touring bike in the spring.
    Tour Journals, Blog, ride pix

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  15. #15
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    I actually love riding in the dirt better than on the street, so I really love my new Specialized bike. But, I just want to ride on the street sometimes (who knows, maybe I'll join some groups rides occasionally). The knobbies on my Specialized make a lot of noise, and I know they sap a lot of energy on the street.

    Figured it would be fun to fix up my old bike -- then I thought, why not adapt it for the street? I'm not going to ride it off-road rather then my Specialized. So that's what I'm doing.

    Thanks again for all the comments.

  16. #16
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    OK, here's an update (I'm the original poster of this thread).

    I took my old bike out for a last ride around the block. After riding my Specialized, I just don't like the riding position of the old bike... especially if I'm going to use it for a road bike. Soooo.....

    I've been thinking about a second set of wheels for the Specialized to mount some road tires on. Be very easy to swap back and forth. Does anybody use a second set of wheels for different tires? I priced out the wheels ($140), rotors ($90), and cassette ($40) from the Specialized LBS where I bought the bike. Now I'm not sure if I want to buy the second set of wheels, or try to buy a used road bike for less than $300.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hollowas View Post
    I've been thinking about a second set of wheels for the Specialized to mount some road tires on. Be very easy to swap back and forth. Does anybody use a second set of wheels for different tires? I priced out the wheels ($140), rotors ($90), and cassette ($40) from the Specialized LBS where I bought the bike. Now I'm not sure if I want to buy the second set of wheels, or try to buy a used road bike for less than $300.
    Make sure the hubs match. Otherwise your cassette may not be in exactly the same place when you swap wheels and your shifting won't index.

  18. #18
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Couple of points of view...mine

    Keep the old bike, buy decent street tires and dress it up as a foul weather commuter/grocery getter, my 1989/90 Giant Iguana has been reincarnated as an expedition bike, for bad weather/fire break touring, other upgrades include fenders, Jandd Racks, and trekking style handlebars.

    Then get a road bike if you want to do longer road rides.

    Yes you can do the two sets of wheels thing. I did it with my Iguana when it was my only bike for a while. I had one set of knobbies and one set of slicks. I made sure my wheels were identical and had the same freewheel to keep things pretty simple.

    Aaron
    Last edited by wahoonc; 10-14-07 at 07:01 AM.
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  19. #19
    RFC
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    I recently modded a 1989 Fisher Procaliber into a road/touring bike by chopping the bar and adding bar ends and mounted Avocet Cross tires. It rides like a dream tracks beautifully downhill. It will go through anything and is now my suburban assault vehicle. I even added an aerobar for when I want to stretch out.

  20. #20
    Charlotte, NC Commuter
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    I use my full suspension mtb on the road like a road bike. Don't have to worry about potholes or curbs. Get a much better workout than with a road bike because it is twice as heavy.

    Ride safe,

  21. #21
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by McDave View Post
    That's a really nice touring rig. I wanted to do that with my old Specialized Rockhopper Comp. Problem is that there aren't any eylets. Guess I'll have to find a new frame.


    Tim
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
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    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  22. #22
    Old biker
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    It may not cost as much to perform needed maintenance as you think. I've gone thru several old bikes that had been left out in the rain for 20 or more years. The bearings are all covered with grease. The only bearings I've found to need new balls are in the headsets. Wheel and BB bearings usually onlyneed a good cleaning and regreasing. Chains and cables are usually rusted and need replacing and grips are usually shot. I drool 30 wt. motor oil into the bearings of old freewheels and they are OK. The old MTB bars are usually way too wide for road use. Easy to shorten an inch or two on each end with a pipe cutter. I buy recabling sets from Wal Mart for around $10 and bar ends from my LBS for around $18. I wouldn't replace the wheels. I would get some smoother tread, slightly smaller cross section tires and new rim strips to put on the original rims. There are some really nice tires on the market for just what you want to do. While you're at it a new saddle is a nice touch.

  23. #23
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    Univega Rover Sport to Touring Bike

    Steve,

    This is an old thread , but I've got the same Univega Rover Sport and I'm in the process of converting it to a touring bike. It has very similar specs and dimensions to the Surly long haul trucker which is the current darling of the $800-1200 range of touring bikes. There's just enough clearance for 700c tires and wheels and the bikes got all the braze-ons and eyelets to make this into a solid touring bike with racks, etc. for long distances and a solid all-around town street bike. With the 700c wheels it will be faster, lighter and more stable.

    Quote Originally Posted by hollowas View Post
    Hi there,
    I bought my new mountain bike (Specialized FSR XC comp) a couple months ago. Before that, I was riding my Univega MTB (bought in the 80's). I want to break up my trail riding by doing some riding on the street. I could:
    1. Just ride the new bike -- get rid of the old bike.
    2. Swap smooth tires onto the new bike for long street rides -- get rid of the old bike.
    3. Buy a used road bike -- get rid of the old bike.

    4. This is what I've been leaning towards. Replace cables, gears, chain, bearings, and tires on the old bike (due to about 25 years of almost no maintenance). Probably end up spending $150 to $200 on parts. A big positive here is nostagia (ie. bought the bike when I was in college, rode it everywhere, rode with friends and family, etc.). Be kind of a fun project.

    So, any opinions? Am I wasting my money? The bike isn't anything special... 1983 Univega Rover-Sport.
    I just wanted some comments before I made a decision.

    Thanks,
    Steve

  24. #24
    NadaKid wayne pattee's Avatar
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    I find good cheap road bikes at garage sales once and a while. I tune them up and then my wife talks me into selling them when the garage gets too crowded.
    Keep your eyes on the look out for a used road bike with alum. 700c wheels and keep the MTB for when you want to get muddy.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Having recently taken up road riding after 15 years on mTB's- Keep the current bikes and get a road bike. Road bikes work better on the road than any MTB. No matter how much you adapt them...........
    But a converted MTB can be a better street bike than a skinny-tired road bike. In my 'hood, surviving in the street involves riding up & down curbs. Potholes, speed bumps, drainage grates will eat most pure road bikes. If the old Univega is stolen, the loss is easier to bear.

    Reviving the Univega isn't that cost-prohibitive. Low-end components will serve. A set of smooth tires will make a huge difference. Just depends on how you intend to use it.

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