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  1. #1
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    opinions on what to do

    so i currently have a gt 1997 ricochet with slicks on it i bought at a police auction for 175, i was wondering should i keep investing money to make it more road worthy? i'm a poor college student so i can't afford a road bike. I ride mostly road and use it as a commuter on my mountain bike but i do hit a lot of potholes and curb hop a lot.
    Another thing i can do is that i recently joined a bike club on campus, and they offer plenty of bike frames that just need some tlc with many bike parts thats cheap and bike tools to use. should i just buy a bike there and try to fix it up? i've seen a specialized crossroads that seems pretty old and has cantilever brakes and maybe i could convert it for commuting.

  2. #2
    Zan
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    if you're riding around campus and locking it up in public, i wouldn't put any money into a bike. people will steal it.

    by road-worthy, do you mean fast on the roads, or being able to roll down the road without falling apart? make sure your bike is safe enough to ride on, at the very least. if you want to go faster, try getting a road wheelset - they're lighter and allow a thin tire.
    -- Zan

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  3. #3
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    i'm sure i can keep my bike pretty safe, i have a u-lock and lock it in populated places where students walk by a lot when i have class. at night i keep it locked up in my dorms bike room. people can steal it, but they mostly go for the ones unlocked, cable locks, or cheap u-locks from walmart, so i think its pretty safe. besides there are a lot more expensive bikes, bike thieves will go for before mines that are WAYYY easier to steal.

    by road worthy i mean fast on roads and more efficient. my mountain bike is pretty light and fast i think. i may be able to convert it to road pretty easily and that may be another option. how much faster is a road bike than mountain bike? also is a road bike more maneuverable than my mountain bike?

  4. #4
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    If you want to learn how to fix and adjust bikes, the Specialized Crossroads would be good for that, and also end up as an excellent general purpose bike. If the brake pads have posts on them, they are hell to adjust. In which case, replace the cantilevers with ones that take V brake type pads which have spherical washers to provide angular adjustment.

  5. #5
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    i'm mostly wondering is it worth it to keep trying to upgrade my mountain bike to be more road worthy, or should i get a road bike. which is more cost efficient?

    the mountain bike has slicks and i don't spin out on my gearing that easily. (it's 7th gear is 42/11 teeth and i don't use it that often unless its for long straight roads and even then i don't spin out on it.) should i keep upgrading my mountain bike or just try to fix a bike at the bike club? i'm okay with bike mechanics and if i need help theres always people there to ask for help.

  6. #6
    Primate Metzinger's Avatar
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    Low, low end road bikes are generally going to be faster on the road than the very best mountain bikes with the narrowest tires. Road bikes allow you to get into a more aero position, have larger diameter more efficient wheels, and generally higher gearing. Your 42-11 will spin out once you start riding more.
    It all depends on the riding you have access to. If you're riding on potholed roads exclusively, a slick tire MTB sounds fine. If you want to head out across the countryside, sooner or later, you'll want a road bike.
    One other thing: look at the slicks you are running. If they're fat and heavy, narrow, light MTB slicks and narrower tubes can be a fantastic upgrade and drop pounds off the bike. My Panaracer Pasela kevlars are as light as a good road bike tire. Just be careful with the curb hopping or youŽll pinch flat.

  7. #7
    Zan
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    i would say it's easier to balance on a mountain bike than on a road bike, because of the position you can get over the bike (but that may be because of more time spent on a mountain bike than on a road bike).

    if speed is your goal, though, a road bike will be faster. if you're going for the real cheap, weight savings will not be huge, but efficiency will.

    you asked "how much faster is a road bike than mountain bike?"

    i'm sure you could get into the math and whatnot to solve that problem, but really, it all depends. i used to ride around on an old heavy FS mountain bike and could average about 25km/h on the road. On the road bike i could average 28km/h. NOW, with my NEW, lighter mountain bike, i can average about 18km/h on the road, and about 30km/h on that same road bike.

    the road bike i ride weighs a lot (~30lbs - my mountain bike and road bike feel the same when lifted, and the mountain bike is 30lbs), and has a vintage frame + components. a newer, higher quality road bike, i imagine, would be even faster.

    long story short: expect ~5km/h increase in speed.
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

  8. #8
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    what about the road tires? one reason i chose a mountain bike is because i don't always avoid potholes or cracks on the roads, i usually just ride through them, and i sometimes jump off the curbs on my bike or ride through grassy sometimes rocky shortcuts. My mountain bike wheel holds up fine but would a road wheel be okay? most people on road bikes i see usually try to avoid the potholes or slow down a lot if they can't avoid it, but i rather just ride through them..

    also i would like a light bike, it just would make things more convenient. my mountain bike seems pretty light, maybe 25 pounds? my friends vintage schwinn le tour felt heavier than mine. are all vintage road bikes pretty heavy? it seems that the bike club i go to mostly has vintage bikes and are steel. is there anything to look for in old vintage bikes, like signs that it was a high quality bike?

  9. #9
    Zan
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    road wheels ARE more fragile than mountain bike wheels. as i explained earlier, my bike is old and cheap (and therefore i don't treat it like gold). i do ride off curbs, slowly, or i can ride through a hard packed trail. i wouldn't ride it through a rock garden, though. how big are the pot holes you're referring to? if these are over an inch deep, dodge them. if they're a inch or more, i would highly recommend riding over them slowly or avoiding altogether.

    one reason people avoid doing these abusive things is not only to preserve the bike, but because it hurts too - the road bike has no suspension, has harder tires (more PSI), and the position of the rider is not as comfortable. hitting things is hard on the wrists, shoulders, knees, rear.

    remember, though, that weight isn't everything. although my road bike is about the same weight as my mountain bike, the road bike is MUCH faster.
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

  10. #10
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    the pot holes and bumps are sometimes bigger than an inch. so if i can slowly cross objects it shouldn't be much damage to the wheels? i have seen some people roll across potholes and curb hop slowly on vintage road bikes. what if i get the old vintage road bikes. i heard they can accommodate bigger wheels or tires, and are built like tanks. should i do that? that way it would be able to stand up to the potholes, objects, and other stuff.

  11. #11
    Zan
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    if you're a heavier person, i still would not recommend doing anything abusive to the bike. if you're lighter, you can get away with more. the worse you treat the bike, the worst it will treat you.

    a vintage bike has less chance of being stolen, and will probably be cheaper.

    you do what you think is best.
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

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