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  1. #1
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    Converting a Kuwahara Aries into a hybrid/commuter type bicycle

    Pretty much exactly what the title says. I've had one of These for a few years that I was waylaid from for a bit. I've already put a rack and some Avenir Metro panniers on the back and now it's time to finish the job, but I thought it best to ask some people more experienced than me about the process. As much as I trust the local shop I think it's a good idea to always know what should be done just in case.

    Now I think the next step is swapping those out but I'm not sure if anything else needs to be done after and just looking at tires I can tell that's probably going to cost me a good inch or two overall diameter, which I'm pretty sure that's going to have some mechanical effects. On top of that MTB tires are apparently close to indestructible, something I'll be giving up switching to "normal" tires judging by how often I see other people talk about getting flats, and I'd like to at least get a good durable set of pavement tires since Orlando is the Land Of Potholes and Debris.

  2. #2
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Ok,so I think what you're asking is;do you have the right rack,and what tires to use?

    For the rack,we need pics of your bike. For tires,MTB'rs usually get longer life out of their tires than street riders because they're not wearing them down on concrete and asphalt. For the street you'll want 'slicks'(motorcycle-style tread,not offroad knobs) with some kind of puncture protection. Just about every manufacturer makes street tires for MTB's,it's just a matter of what you want to spend. What's your budget?

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  3. #3
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    Ok,so I think what you're asking is;do you have the right rack,and what tires to use?
    And if there are any other mechanical alterations that I should be making.

    My bike is exactly the same as the one I linked to, same STI hardware, pedals, brakes, gears, even the grips are the same. The only difference is I've got knobby MTb tires and the sunlite rear rack I linked to, which needed a little convincing to mount one of the "arms" but otherwise fit just fine.

    As far as a budget goes... I'm not sure, I've seen tires from a few dollars to almost a hundred each but I've got what the price/performance curve is and which are considered respectable vs being an overpriced product making magic claims. If its for tires that won't need to be replaced constantly whenever I hit some debris or a pothole I might pay more but just from what i've seen I think I'd feel comfortable guessing around $30 per tire range would be reasonable. Especially if it'll make the difference in ease of travel and safer turning that other local bicyclists have said make the change worth it.
    Last edited by Shadowex3; 01-22-13 at 01:45 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    IF the rear wheel has a cassette instead of free wheel, you have some different gearing options if needed.
    Is that a 7 speed? maybe a 13-26 or 13-23 would work?

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    If you are happy with the bike in general and the rack in particular, then street tires would seem to be what you are looking for. I would strongly recommend Conti Sport Contact 26x1.6 or Vittoria Randonneur Pro 26x1.5. They are fast street tires with sufficient cross section to provide a nice, safe ride in nasty potholed streets. After that, the sky is the limit. I picked up a 1986 vintage Schwinn High Sierra as a bare frame and totally rebuilt and updated it with new wheels (135mm cassette rear hub), derailleurs, brakes, cranks, etc. to make it a nice 9 spd. If you are happy with the basic hardware you may not feel any of that is necessary. Or if it is necessary you can take your time and prioritize replacement of individual components, but right off the bat, street tires will make a major difference.

  6. #6
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    2nd the Randonneurs. Kenda Kwests are decent if you're on a budget,Schwalbe Marathon Supremes are awsome if you want to spend.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    IF the rear wheel has a cassette instead of free wheel, you have some different gearing options if needed.
    Is that a 7 speed? maybe a 13-26 or 13-23 would work?
    Quote Originally Posted by ClemY View Post
    If you are happy with the bike in general and the rack in particular, then street tires would seem to be what you are looking for. I would strongly recommend Conti Sport Contact 26x1.6 or Vittoria Randonneur Pro 26x1.5. They are fast street tires with sufficient cross section to provide a nice, safe ride in nasty potholed streets. After that, the sky is the limit. I picked up a 1986 vintage Schwinn High Sierra as a bare frame and totally rebuilt and updated it with new wheels (135mm cassette rear hub), derailleurs, brakes, cranks, etc. to make it a nice 9 spd. If you are happy with the basic hardware you may not feel any of that is necessary. Or if it is necessary you can take your time and prioritize replacement of individual components, but right off the bat, street tires will make a major difference.
    7 in the rear, 3 in the front if that's what you mean, Bill. I'm not sure whether it's cassette or traditional freewheel though, it's a Formula hub but this bike's from the late 80's to early 90's, this model's from right about 1987-1989 or so iirc so it's really right on the cusp there.

    I think the bike itself fits me for the most part, or rather it will once I ditch the office-chair padded seat that I think is messing with my leg's range of motion and shoving me forwards, and I've got a fair bit of affection for it's utter indestructibility and the work I've already put into it by hand gives it that feeling of having earned the bicycle. Plus there's enough of my blood in or on that thing to make it a relative at this point. As for the rack it just seemed to be the most solid design amazon had at the time, I'm not terribly attached to it but as long as it's structurally sound I don't see any reason to throw money at something not too worth replacing.

    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    2nd the Randonneurs. Kenda Kwests are decent if you're on a budget,Schwalbe Marathon Supremes are awsome if you want to spend.
    Between those two tires how much of a difference in performance/durability is there between the Randonneur Pro and Marathon Supremes? I can get the Randonneur pro's for ~40 shipped, and the Supremes for $60 shipped (each). I'm assuming either will still be an easier, faster ride than stock MTB tires. I'm not clocking thousands of miles so if they can both put up with the occasional abusive surface from constant construction then either one will effectively last me a long time.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowex3 View Post
    7 in the rear, 3 in the front if that's what you mean, Bill. I'm not sure whether it's cassette or traditional freewheel though, it's a Formula hub but this bike's from the late 80's to early 90's, this model's from right about 1987-1989 or so iirc so it's really right on the cusp there.......
    ?
    http://sheldonbrown.com/free-k7.html
    ?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    First place I went, but the rear hub is a thick straight cylinder with symmetrical conical expansions on both sides.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowex3 View Post
    First place I went, but the rear hub is a thick straight cylinder with symmetrical conical expansions on both sides.
    I give up-

  11. #11
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowex3 View Post
    First place I went, but the rear hub is a thick straight cylinder with symmetrical conical expansions on both sides.

    take the rear wheel off, clean up the sprocket end as much as practical, and take a good SHARP well focused and reasonably well lit photograph, and post it here, and we'll guess for you.

    sheldon's photo of a cassette:



    and freewheel:




    now looking at it like that, if you backspin the cogs when the wheel is stationary, does the spline move with the cassette or stay fixed? if it moves, its a cassette. if it stays fixed with the wheel, its a freewheel

    there's NOTHING on that page of Sheldon's about a bulge.
    Last edited by pierce; 01-23-13 at 08:41 PM.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    I'll have to do that tomorrow when I can sit down and spend a while taking it apart outside.

    Not all Freehubs have this bulge, but whenever you see it, you can be sure that it is, in fact, a cassette Freehub.
    Either way though I had a thought: Everything from the brakes to the derailers is all part of Shimano's DeoreLX STI line from right about 1987-89. Did they make that in both cassette and freewheel or just the one?

  13. #13
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowex3 View Post
    I'll have to do that tomorrow when I can sit down and spend a while taking it apart outside.
    taking off a quick release rear wheel should take about 20 seconds.


    Either way though I had a thought: Everything from the brakes to the derailers is all part of Shimano's DeoreLX STI line from right about 1987-89. Did they make that in both cassette and freewheel or just the one?
    only thing that matters is the rear hub. and I'm not familiar with Formula hubs.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    ...Either way though I had a thought: Everything from the brakes to the derailers is all part of Shimano's DeoreLX STI line from right about 1987-89. Did they make that in both cassette and freewheel or just the one?
    IF the largest cog is a 30T, chances are it's a Uniglide hub. It's an early version of a cassette hub. The smallest cog screws on to hold the rest in place. Cogs are not readily available for REASONABLE prices.
    Most will accept a newer Hyperglide Free Hub body, but for the cost of a body, you can buy a new hub. Only advantage to the new body is you don't have to relace the wheel.

  15. #15
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowex3 View Post
    Between those two tires how much of a difference in performance/durability is there between the Randonneur Pro and Marathon Supremes? I can get the Randonneur pro's for ~40 shipped, and the Supremes for $60 shipped (each). I'm assuming either will still be an easier, faster ride than stock MTB tires. I'm not clocking thousands of miles so if they can both put up with the occasional abusive surface from constant construction then either one will effectively last me a long time.
    The Randos will probably last longer,the Supremes will be lighter and stickier.

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  16. #16
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I dunno if they come in 26" but the rando hyper's I put on my 700c hybrid are really sweet riding and light, yet seem really durable.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    I dunno if they come in 26" but the rando hyper's I put on my 700c hybrid are really sweet riding and light, yet seem really durable.
    Rando Hypers are only available in 700c. The Rando Pro is available in 26x1.5" which I think is a pretty good size if you ride rough roads or are heavy like me.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    taking off a quick release rear wheel should take about 20 seconds.
    only thing that matters is the rear hub. and I'm not familiar with Formula hubs.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Kapaun View Post
    IF the largest cog is a 30T, chances are it's a Uniglide hub. It's an early version of a cassette hub. The smallest cog screws on to hold the rest in place. Cogs are not readily available for REASONABLE prices.
    Most will accept a newer Hyperglide Free Hub body, but for the cost of a body, you can buy a new hub. Only advantage to the new body is you don't have to relace the wheel.
    Mine didn't have a quick release but removing it was a lot less painful than I thought it would be, although needing to use a little force to get it back in made me nervous. It's a good thing I tried actually, one of the nuts was already pretty much unscrewed. After pulling the wheel off I spun the sprockets backwards and while they all moved the brassier colored piece in the center stayed stationary. If I understand correctly that means freewheel:




    Now when you say body vs hub do you mean basically converting a freewheel hub by attaching a cassette to it somehow, as opposed to replacing the entire hub and needing a new wheel to go with it?


    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    The Randos will probably last longer,the Supremes will be lighter and stickier.
    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    I dunno if they come in 26" but the rando hyper's I put on my 700c hybrid are really sweet riding and light, yet seem really durable.
    I think I might go for the Rando Pros then, aside from being less than half the price shipped I think knowing I'll have a good long lasting set will be more important than some improvement in handling. The only question now is how to make sense of their naming scheme. They've got Rando Pro City, Rando Pro RFX City, and Rando Cross Pro City.

  19. #19
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    yeah, that looks like a freewheel to me. you're stuck with freewheels unless you get a new hub, which means a new wheel or respoking your existing rim. considering the time and effort to spoke a wheel, I'd as soon use a new rim and new spokes+nipples to go with the new hub. or find a suitable used wheel. or buy a preassembled wheel. or stick with freewheels

    the guys talking about converting were talking about going from a Uniglide freehub to a Hyperglide freehub, thats somethign entirely different. UG was a transitional hub in between freewheel and today's hyperglide cassette + freehub design. Many UG hubs, you can swap the UG freehub part for a HG freehub, but the parts to do this are pretty scarse now.


    here's the data on the regular rando and the rando pro...
    http://www.vittoria.com/product/trekking/

    not seeing any Vittoria tires by those other names. Hmm, looks like the 2013 lineup has shifted things around too, as I'm not finding the Randonneur Hyper I bought just a couple months ago in 32-622, but the Randonneur Pro looks like the same tire (120TPI, foldable, reflective sidewall). There's probably plenty of last years product still in the distribution pipeline, good way to get great prices.

    I'd avoid Cyclocross tires for your purposes... if they are in fact intended for Cyclocross racing, they likely will have a very soft rubber compound, which will wear quickly on pavement.

  20. #20
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    ahh. the tire I have called Randonneur Hyper is now called a Voyager Hyper. but that only comes in 700c sizes, the regular Voyager, sold as a basic touring tire, does come in 26x1.75" (47-590). The Voyagers have flat protection, the Randonneurs have double flat protection.

    the regular randonneur and regular voyager are 30tpi, while the hyper/pro versions are 120tpi, which makes them a lighter, more supple tire.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    Well I think (looking at them) that there's still a fair bit of life left in those sprockets so I'll save up and when it's time to replace them just do the entire wheel while I'm at it, I'll probably need to replace the whole drive train by then anyway.

    These are the three different Randonneurs that I've found, at the cheapest price so far:
    Vittoria Randonneur Pro City
    Vittoria Randonneur Pro RFX City
    Vittoria Randonneur Cross Pro City

  22. #22
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    The difference between the first two is the first one is plain blackwall,while the second has reflective sidewalls. I'd spend the extra couple bucks on reflective,but just check with Nashbar first to make sure they've got the reflectives in stock. The third has tread for off-road use;unless you're going to be doing alot of trail riding,or riding in snow,I'd go with one of the first two.

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  23. #23
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    btw, potholes do mostly RIM damage, although they can cause 'pinch flats' by pinching the inner tube against the rim. tires usually outlast several flats, you just patch the tube, remount them, pump them up again, and continue on your way.

    the best protection against dinging rims and pinch flats is bigger tires, and running at optimal pressures (which vary with the tire size and total weight of rider+bike).

    potholes are best avoided, along with broken glass.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Shadowex3's Avatar
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    The closest thing to a trail I deal with here is grass. Underneath that we're all fine sand and crushed shell down here so pretty much everything behaves like a slick anyway. Can't believe the RFX/Vanilla difference was just the reflective stripe, I feel a little ridiculous for missing that considering I covered my bike in strips of retroreflective tape.

    potholes are best avoided, along with broken glass.
    Avoiding potholes in Florida is harder than avoiding tourists, a lot of times if you hit one it's because it's either a minefield or when you're the one that it opens up for.

  25. #25
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    then you definitely want to stay on the fat end of the tire sizes that fit your bike, and keep the pressure up near the max for that tire. strong rims with high spoke counts. maybe even a full suspension 29er with 2.5" slicks. but now we're talking a several $1000 bike :-/

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