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Old 05-07-12, 12:26 AM   #1
Aleasha
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Which bike is right for me?

My main objective is to ride for fitness and with my children for active family time. I also would like to run errands and pick up a few things once in a while. I ride on paved roads as well as dirt/gravel roads and some off road paths. I have 2 bikes. One is a single speed cruiser. I like the upright position of this bike as it is comfortable. My other bike is an 18 speed mountain bike. I am not particularly fond of the someone hunched position I feel like I am in when riding this bike. It has knobby tires which I have heard aren't good for the road but work for the off road places I go. I also like having the gears for climbing and descending hills but the single speed isn't bad for that either. I have a few questions:
1)Should I switch between the two or just pick one?
2)Should I get different tires for the mountain bike?
3)Is it advisable to modify the mountain bike so that the position I am in is more upright (like the cruiser) which I like or just give it time and adjust to this lower position?
4)Which of these two is the best for all around fitness?
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Old 05-07-12, 01:30 AM   #2
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The best bike for all around fitness is the one you're more likely to ride. Riding is better than not riding, that's the most important factor.

Knobby tires make you go a little slower on paved roads than you'd go if you had slick tires, but that is not a good reason to change tires if you use it off-road frequently.

Whether you should modify the mountain bike ... that's a bit harder to say. Normally mountain bikes have near-upright postures anyway. If you feel that you're hunched over on that bike, the most likely explanation is that the bike is too big for you. In that case, it might help to raise the handlebars or possibly to get a shorter stem. If the bike is the correct size for you, you can get used to it.
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Old 05-07-12, 01:38 AM   #3
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Neither one.

Either.

Both.

I'm not really trying to be a smart-ass, but those are all reasonable answers.

Without knowing more about you and your mountain bike we can't really say if it's a good option or what changes you should make to it.

Cruisers generally aren't considered great bikes for fitness, but a cruiser could meet most of your needs, and the best bike is the one you ride.

Cruisers are great for riding with young children. They're good for short errands. They deserve more respect than many cyclists give them. But they're (comparatively) slow and heavy, they're not (generally) conducive to high cadence aerobic cycling, and they tend to encourage using just your legs (where a more forward riding position would do more to work your core muscles and arms).
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Old 05-07-12, 02:38 AM   #4
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You already have two bikes, so the absolute worst answer is to buy another bike :-) While you like the cruiser, you should ride it whenever it is appropriate. You aren't likely to find it accommodating to off-road riding. So I don't think the answer to pick one and ride it is going to work. You *can* get thinner tires without knobbies for the mountain bike and it will be an improvement on the road. But why give up the cruiser if you like it? You could probably make the mountain bike a bit more comfortable if you get a shorter stem and get the stem angle so that the bar is more upright. But it's probably not going to feel like the cruiser. So ride them both! I think the correct answer is that you'll do more riding if you have a bike you enjoy riding. Riding the bike instead of the couch is going to provide the best fitness.
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Old 05-07-12, 03:25 AM   #5
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Welcome to Bike Forums, Aleasha!

So you like the upright position of the single speed cruiser. However, it sounds as though you'd like for your single speed to have multiple speeds, or additional gearing. That feature appears to be the only thing that you really like about your 18 speed MTB. Your main complaint against your MTB, is that it makes you feel like you're hunched over. That sounds strange, because most MTN bikes don't make you feel that way. Most MTN bikes place their riders in somewhat of an upright position. Therefore, you might want to go your friendly LBS to have an expert check that out for you.

Given this information, my suggestion would be to sell both the MTB and the single speed outright. Use the cash from these two sales to apply towards a decent hardtail MTB that fits.

Of course alternatively, you could just be patient and monitor your local Craigslist for a used chromoly steel MTB, or hybrid from the 80's or 90's era. You just sell your current MTB and use the proceeds from that sale towards your Craigslist purchase. Make sure that you take an expert along with you, should you decide to buy from your local Craigslist.

Also, make certain that you test ride a bike for at least twenty minutes before deciding to make a purchase. If you ever suspect that a bike might be a little too large, or a little too small, it most probably is....Therefore, don't buy it!

MTB = Mountain Bike

PS.

OTOH, if your MTB really doesn't fit, you could just sell your MTB and replace it with either the Giant Boulder HT, or the Sedona hybrid below:

The Giant Boulder ~ $360
www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/boulder.w/9016/48966/

The Giant Sedona ~ $360
www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/sedona.st/9025/48885/

If money is no object, I recommend the Surly Troll

The Surly Troll ~ $1400
http://surlybikes.com/bikes/troll

Last edited by SlimRider; 05-07-12 at 04:16 AM.
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Old 05-07-12, 04:04 AM   #6
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You already have two bikes, so the absolute worst answer is to buy another bike
There's still a question of fit with the mountain bike. Trading a bike that doesn't fit for one that does would be a pretty good thing. And N+1 is by no means "the absolute worst answer".
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While you like the cruiser, you should ride it whenever it is appropriate. You aren't likely to find it accommodating to off-road riding.
Early mountain bikes were built on cruiser frames, and the tires on the two bikes in question are likely interchangeable.


It may be worth looking at commuter or cross tires.
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Old 05-07-12, 07:25 AM   #7
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I had a mountain bike and a single speed cruiser and I put them together and made this clone. The cruiser’s tires, handle bars and seat went to the mountain bike with its wide range gearing and sturdy wheels. Made a dandy little family bike.



.
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Old 05-07-12, 10:56 AM   #8
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Very nice. And it may be just what the situation calls for.

If you prefer the cruiser frame you could add gears to it. If you can do the work yourself or you have someone who knows what they're doing who will work cheap, you could add a 3 speed hub for less than $50 if you don't mind taking a little time to find the parts used.
http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/bik/2956717133.html
http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/bik/2998304588.html
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Old 05-07-12, 11:26 AM   #9
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Test ride stuff at your friendly local bike shop.
If the parts and labor add up to convert, then a new bike is not much more..

LBS here sells Trek, the Navigator 2.0 is a triple crank 8 speed cassette with a comfortable
rider posture.

I expect other brands in your local may offer a similar type bike..

as fitness is from doing regular work on it ,
a hard to pedal bike will get you fit, faster,
but you become less likely to keep doing it..

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-07-12 at 11:35 AM.
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Old 05-07-12, 02:03 PM   #10
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The best bike for all around fitness is the one you're more likely to ride. Riding is better than not riding, that's the most important factor.

Knobby tires make you go a little slower on paved roads than you'd go if you had slick tires, but that is not a good reason to change tires if you use it off-road frequently.

Whether you should modify the mountain bike ... that's a bit harder to say. Normally mountain bikes have near-upright postures anyway. If you feel that you're hunched over on that bike, the most likely explanation is that the bike is too big for you. In that case, it might help to raise the handlebars or possibly to get a shorter stem. If the bike is the correct size for you, you can get used to it.
It is a 26" mountain bike and I'm 5'6". I tried lowering the seat and that put me in a more comfortable position from the waist up but not so much the waist down. I did a little looking and it seems a new stem for the handlebars would help and bar ends to help with a different position on my hands so there's not much pressure on my wrists. Maybe it's just gonna take a little getting used to. I've rode the cruiser for about a month now and only started on the mountain bike 3 days ago.
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Old 05-07-12, 02:06 PM   #11
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Welcome to Bike Forums, Aleasha!

So you like the upright position of the single speed cruiser. However, it sounds as though you'd like for your single speed to have multiple speeds, or additional gearing. That feature appears to be the only thing that you really like about your 18 speed MTB. Your main complaint against your MTB, is that it makes you feel like you're hunched over. That sounds strange, because most MTN bikes don't make you feel that way. Most MTN bikes place their riders in somewhat of an upright position. Therefore, you might want to go your friendly LBS to have an expert check that out for you.

Given this information, my suggestion would be to sell both the MTB and the single speed outright. Use the cash from these two sales to apply towards a decent hardtail MTB that fits.

Of course alternatively, you could just be patient and monitor your local Craigslist for a used chromoly steel MTB, or hybrid from the 80's or 90's era. You just sell your current MTB and use the proceeds from that sale towards your Craigslist purchase. Make sure that you take an expert along with you, should you decide to buy from your local Craigslist.

Also, make certain that you test ride a bike for at least twenty minutes before deciding to make a purchase. If you ever suspect that a bike might be a little too large, or a little too small, it most probably is....Therefore, don't buy it!

MTB = Mountain Bike

PS.

OTOH, if your MTB really doesn't fit, you could just sell your MTB and replace it with either the Giant Boulder HT, or the Sedona hybrid below:

The Giant Boulder ~ $360
www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/boulder.w/9016/48966/

The Giant Sedona ~ $360
www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/bikes/model/sedona.st/9025/48885/

If money is no object, I recommend the Surly Troll

The Surly Troll ~ $1400
http://surlybikes.com/bikes/troll

Thanks for replying! The bikes you posted look perfect. I can't really afford to do too much right now. But if I can get one or both of these bikes I have to get me through 1 year, next year I can probably have saved up enough to get a decent $500-$700 bike.
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Old 05-07-12, 02:10 PM   #12
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I had a mountain bike and a single speed cruiser and I put them together and made this clone. The cruiser’s tires, handle bars and seat went to the mountain bike with its wide range gearing and sturdy wheels. Made a dandy little family bike.



.
I have considered doing just this. My mom has an old cruiser bike that has perfect handlebars I could have to put on my mountain bike and make it more comfortable. This would give me a comfortable mountain bike for dirt roads and trails and still have my cruiser for around town. The only question I have is does having that style of handlebars affect steering off road? I was thinking of doing this until I read on another bike forum that you lose some control this way.
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Old 05-07-12, 02:23 PM   #13
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The only question I have is does having that style of handlebars affect steering off road? I was thinking of doing this until I read on another bike forum that you lose some control this way.
Yes, it does. The more difficult the terrain, the less appropriate those bars would be.

Incidentally, your MTB cannot be a 26". It will have 26" wheels, but that has nothing to do with the frame size, which is measured from the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube.

I'd recommend that you try to get used to the position on the MTB. I can understand your favouring a very upright position, but it gets less satisfactory the further you go. If there is someone who knows what they are doing and could look at your position on the bike and help you make some adjustments, that would help.
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Old 05-07-12, 03:35 PM   #14
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It is a 26" mountain bike and I'm 5'6". I tried lowering the seat and that put me in a more comfortable position from the waist up but not so much the waist down. I did a little looking and it seems a new stem for the handlebars would help and bar ends to help with a different position on my hands so there's not much pressure on my wrists. Maybe it's just gonna take a little getting used to. I've rode the cruiser for about a month now and only started on the mountain bike 3 days ago.
Yes, you set the seat height to make your legs comfortable (they should be slightly bent when the pedal is at the bottom, like here), and then you pick the handlebar height and the stem to get the back comfortable. As chasm54 says, 26" is the size of the wheels. You need to know the size of the frame, which is usually printed on the seat tube. With your height you probably need a 15" .. 16" frame.
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Old 05-07-12, 04:53 PM   #15
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You need to know the size of the frame, which is usually printed on the seat tube. With your height you probably need a 15" .. 16" frame.
The frame size is usually printed on the seat tube on bike shop bikes. Department store bikes, which greatly outnumber higher quality bikes in most areas, tend to come in one or two sizes with no size markings. Department stores sort bikes by wheel size and distinguish some with "Large" or "XL" in the name.

Bicycle sizing is more complicated than a single number. Sheldon Brown went over the issue.
Sheldon Brown provided a great deal of, mostly, easy to follow useful information. If you read his site just try not to be overwhelmed because it is a lot of information.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html

Guessing at someone's frame size based solely on their height is potentially a very bad idea. Especially if you aren't clear about the size only being relevant to one type of bike.

My wife is 5'4" and rides anywhere from a 15" to a 19" frame. I'm 6'1" and ride anywhere from a 17" to a 21".
Some frames work just fine for both me and my wife despite a 9" height difference (but the setup has to be different). My legs are less than two inches longer than hers. Life is strange and generalities can be very misleading.
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Old 05-07-12, 05:41 PM   #16
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I have considered doing just this. My mom has an old cruiser bike that has perfect handlebars I could have to put on my mountain bike and make it more comfortable. This would give me a comfortable mountain bike for dirt roads and trails and still have my cruiser for around town. The only question I have is does having that style of handlebars affect steering off road? I was thinking of doing this until I read on another bike forum that you lose some control this way.
Changing handlebars isn't that hard. If you're careful you can do it yourself. And if you don't like it you can change it back.

There are a few issues with how this affects handling. One that you should be aware of before you make changes (although I don't think it should stop you from trying something out) is that the more upright you are the more your weight rest on the back wheel. Unweighted steering can be an issue, and moving your weight to far back creates problems when climbing. You'll have these issues with almost any modification to make your mountain bike more upright. A different bike may not have as much of an issue; longer chainstays and a taller head tube allow a more upright position without moving as much weight over the rear.
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Old 05-07-12, 06:35 PM   #17
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My wife's favorite bike, despite the fact that she owns more expensive bikes and everything from a LWB recumbent to a tri-bike, is a DiamondBack Edgewood. It's a comfort hybrid: 24 speed wide range gearing, Acera level components, short travel elastomer fork, suspension seatpost, 622x38 Kenda Kourier tires, U-frame. She's had it for 3 or 4 years. We bought it new, markdown previous years model, for $160, and got a discount on a Giro helmet and Blackburn light set (we love you rei). Unfortunately DiamondBack's entry level bike spec have gone down the last few years and their prices haven't. I'm not sure what a close equivalent now would be. It is worth checking for markdown previous year models and asking if the shop can discount any equipment you may want to purchase with it. A good new bike doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars.


Edit: I guess I haven't been shopping for a new bike lately. The spec's of $300-$350 bikes from 3-4 years ago look a lot like the spec's of $500 bikes now. I guess a dollar just isn't what it used to be. Still, if and when you do buy new look for clearanced models. It can be a huge savings.

Last edited by NightShift; 05-07-12 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:31 PM   #18
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Yes, it does. The more difficult the terrain, the less appropriate those bars would be.

Incidentally, your MTB cannot be a 26". It will have 26" wheels, but that has nothing to do with the frame size, which is measured from the bottom bracket to the top of the seat tube.

I'd recommend that you try to get used to the position on the MTB. I can understand your favouring a very upright position, but it gets less satisfactory the further you go. If there is someone who knows what they are doing and could look at your position on the bike and help you make some adjustments, that would help.
Thanks for the advice. I think I'll salvage the cruiser handlebars from mom's junk bike just in case but give it a little more time on the mountain bike to try and get used to the position. If I can't, I'll switch out the handlebars. I won't be going on anything too rough. I do dirt trails, run across some roots and rocks but nothing too steep or vicious.
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Old 05-08-12, 10:33 PM   #19
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My wife's favorite bike, despite the fact that she owns more expensive bikes and everything from a LWB recumbent to a tri-bike, is a DiamondBack Edgewood. It's a comfort hybrid: 24 speed wide range gearing, Acera level components, short travel elastomer fork, suspension seatpost, 622x38 Kenda Kourier tires, U-frame. She's had it for 3 or 4 years. We bought it new, markdown previous years model, for $160, and got a discount on a Giro helmet and Blackburn light set (we love you rei). Unfortunately DiamondBack's entry level bike spec have gone down the last few years and their prices haven't. I'm not sure what a close equivalent now would be. It is worth checking for markdown previous year models and asking if the shop can discount any equipment you may want to purchase with it. A good new bike doesn't have to cost hundreds of dollars.


Edit: I guess I haven't been shopping for a new bike lately. The spec's of $300-$350 bikes from 3-4 years ago look a lot like the spec's of $500 bikes now. I guess a dollar just isn't what it used to be. Still, if and when you do buy new look for clearanced models. It can be a huge savings.
Thanks for the tips! When I do buy (probably tax time next year). I'll be sure to look around for clearance bikes. I live in a very small town. We only have 1 bike shop and along with everything else in this county, their price's are high. I'm not interested in ordering online but I can watch craigslist and maybe make a trip to the big city for one.
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Old 05-09-12, 05:26 AM   #20
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I have considered doing just this. My mom has an old cruiser bike that has perfect handlebars I could have to put on my mountain bike and make it more comfortable. This would give me a comfortable mountain bike for dirt roads and trails and still have my cruiser for around town. The only question I have is does having that style of handlebars affect steering off road? I was thinking of doing this until I read on another bike forum that you lose some control this way.


You also don’t have to go to a full blown cruiser handle bar to get some improvement over straight bars. There are some riser bars that are in between with 2 to 5 inches of rise and swept back about half what cruiser bars would be. The other two items in converting a mountain bike to a comfort bike are tires and saddle. With making yourself more upright the narrow saddle won’t work as good taking your upright weight. Something wider and sprung will work better. Tires are out there that will greatly improve the rolling resistance over the mountain bike tires. There are slicks that will give you a firm street bike ride and lots in between. All these changes are easily reversible and they involve simple bike repairs. No changes to brakes or shifting unless your cables come up short.

I was as much going for a look when I did the clone as anything else, and that is why I wanted the fat cruiser whitewalls. They actually work quite well on all kinds of surfaces. Most of us don’t ride mountain bikes as they were designed for with the straight bars. I wouldn’t take that clone off a cliff or try doing jumps with those cruiser bars. On the other hand I wouldn’t fear riding a dirt trail and hitting a few roots or pot holes with it also. You have a larger turning radius when set up like that and you will do much more riding in the saddle than standing set like that.

On that bike I don’t want to hit too many bumps because it spills my coffee.

Edit:

Here is another Mountain bike I converted to a nice all around utility bike. Bars are 3 inch rise if I remember correctly and I added bar ends for another hand position. Bar ends were designed for mountain bikes to give a far ahead hand position for climbing. But many have used them turned up some for an alternate hand position while seated. These I added grips to also. The tires on this bike are road slicks and give a great firm ride.

This bike is also a good example of using a frame that normally would have been too small for me as a mountain bike. But when going more upright the shorter top tube of the smaller frame brought the bars back to me and the long seat post and stem and bars height improvements allowed the bike to fit me. The low top tube makes it a good city bike.



.

Last edited by bud16415; 05-09-12 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 05-09-12, 10:24 PM   #21
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You also don’t have to go to a full blown cruiser handle bar to get some improvement over straight bars. There are some riser bars that are in between with 2 to 5 inches of rise and swept back about half what cruiser bars would be. The other two items in converting a mountain bike to a comfort bike are tires and saddle. With making yourself more upright the narrow saddle won’t work as good taking your upright weight. Something wider and sprung will work better. Tires are out there that will greatly improve the rolling resistance over the mountain bike tires. There are slicks that will give you a firm street bike ride and lots in between. All these changes are easily reversible and they involve simple bike repairs. No changes to brakes or shifting unless your cables come up short.

I was as much going for a look when I did the clone as anything else, and that is why I wanted the fat cruiser whitewalls. They actually work quite well on all kinds of surfaces. Most of us don’t ride mountain bikes as they were designed for with the straight bars. I wouldn’t take that clone off a cliff or try doing jumps with those cruiser bars. On the other hand I wouldn’t fear riding a dirt trail and hitting a few roots or pot holes with it also. You have a larger turning radius when set up like that and you will do much more riding in the saddle than standing set like that.

On that bike I don’t want to hit too many bumps because it spills my coffee.

Edit:

Here is another Mountain bike I converted to a nice all around utility bike. Bars are 3 inch rise if I remember correctly and I added bar ends for another hand position. Bar ends were designed for mountain bikes to give a far ahead hand position for climbing. But many have used them turned up some for an alternate hand position while seated. These I added grips to also. The tires on this bike are road slicks and give a great firm ride.

This bike is also a good example of using a frame that normally would have been too small for me as a mountain bike. But when going more upright the shorter top tube of the smaller frame brought the bars back to me and the long seat post and stem and bars height improvements allowed the bike to fit me. The low top tube makes it a good city bike.



.
Thanks for the input! I think I am going to try to get used to the mountain bike as it is but if in a few weeks, I still feel hunched over, I will switch the cruiser handlebars my Mom has. I looked at bar ends but I figure if I cant get used to the down position, might as well just use parts we already have.
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