Buy second wheels for MTB for road tires, or buy a used road bike?
I'm trying to decide where to put my money. I've got a 3 month old Specialized MTB that I really like riding off-road. I'd like to so some on road riding and I'm deciding between:
1. Buy a second set of wheels for my bike... Be around $300 in parts (wheels, cassette, brake rotors, tires).
2. Try to find a decent used road bike for $300 or less.
Does anybody else out there have a second set of wheels for quick changing their tires?
Isn't the obvious answer #2?
The quick switch isn't always a quick switch when you factor in adjustment of the rear derailleur.
I'm made of earth!
This really isn't a hard one. I think you know the answer.
Depending on how much "off-roading" you do, a decent hybrid may also be a viable option. The Specialized Crosstrail Elite seems nice. Maybe the dealer would offer you some sort of trade in program.
No weenie bikes here!
Bite the bullet, buy the bike
This depends on how much of each type of riding you will be doing. Well, it depends on a lot of things, that only you will be able to balance out in your mind, eventually.
I had a Fuji hardtail some years back, and a Fisher MTB (fully suspended), that I considered your option #1 for. The problem is that unless you can get the exact same wheel/hub combo, and have the widths and spacing exactly alike between your two wheelsets, then there is inevitable adjustment to the derailleur that needs to be done every time you switch the rear wheel out. If you have time, and the inclination to do this, then maybe that's an option for YOU. It wasn't for me.
I would say that if you will be doing 30-40% of your riding on the road, and if those rides will be of any substantial distance, get the 2nd bike. All of the major bike manufacturers make decent entry-level road bikes. The Trek 1000 and the Specialized Sirrus come to mind.
Can you buy a beater bike off CL with "adequate" wheels and use those?
Used road bike for less than $300, I guess if you can find it, that is your best option. Make sure it is fit and is at least as fun to ride as your mtb is. If you are riding an old beater road bike that doesn't fit, then you have lost instead of gaining.
Unless your tires are currently just extremely aggressive, i would suggest just using what you have or taking the time to swap tires. Otherwise save up more money and get a better road bike.
I switched the knobbies on my Stumpjumper for Hutchinson Pythons for a nice improvement on pavement riding. $44 at pricepoint.com for the set. It won't get you road bike performance but it's a quick fix step in the right direction.