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Old 10-19-05, 07:14 AM   #1
StalkerZERO
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Is it possible to alter a mtb to go as fast as a road bike? I don't think just adding slicks does the job. Is there a wheel set that would fit into a mtb that would accept dedicated road tires? And what about the fork? I guess the answer there would be to add a rigid fork correct?
I want to create a "beater" for commuting to work.

Advice? :|
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Old 10-19-05, 07:24 AM   #2
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Given my experiecne, I would have to say no, you would not be able to reach and obtain the top speed on a mtn bike that you could on a road bike....but, can you commute as fast on a properly equiped mtn bike.
You can get a set of 26 in wheels designed to run a thinner, higher pressure tire, and a rigid fork would make it a more efficient bike on the road.
Gearing could be adjusted to help as well, increase the front chain ring from the norm mtn bike setup to something more like what is found on a triple ring road bike, and changing the freewheel to something more sutied for the road.
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Old 10-19-05, 07:26 AM   #3
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Important factors that affect road speed.

Weight - not the most important issue but it does matter to a degree.
Tires - Quite significant. Road bikes tend to be fitted with narrow slick/semi-slicks. With the typical 26" wheels it's hard to find a narrow tire to fit unless you get a road 26". If you do remember to reset the brakes, I'm guessing that you have vee brakes.
Position - Road bikes are designed to tuck you into a more aerodynamic position by stretching you forward, bending you over and narroing your profile.
Gearing - Road bikes tend towards higher ratios.

Sus forks will dump a lot out of your average speed, therefore you would get better performance out of rigids.

Incidentally, I switch between road and hardtail for commuting and city work and don't really go that much slower on the MTB. Consider your actual route, if you are doing a lot of light-to-light or other start/stop riding then you might not benefit a lot from roading your MTB.

However, if you resolve all of the above points then you'll have an odd but fast hybridish thing that might be just what you want.

On the otherhand it could cost a bit to do and end up being cheaper to overhaul a secondhand road bike.
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Old 10-19-05, 08:11 AM   #4
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I am currently using a mountain bike frame and fork with road wheels and my old shimano sora components. Brakes were a problem because of spacing issues. I can't use v-brakes or canti brakes because then don't line up with the road wheels but I am able to use an old set of single pivot caliper brakes. New dual pivot brakes don't reach down far enough, but they have long reach brakes available. The other issue was that the front chain rings hit against the chain stay. I put a couple spacers in the bottom bracket to move the entire crank arm out. I am also only using one chain ring and no front deraileur because the mountain frame requires the derailleur to pull from the top and the road derailleur I had was bottom pull.
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Old 10-19-05, 08:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbone
I am currently using a mountain bike frame and fork with road wheels and my old shimano sora components. Brakes were a problem because of spacing issues. I can't use v-brakes or canti brakes because then don't line up with the road wheels but I am able to use an old set of single pivot caliper brakes. New dual pivot brakes don't reach down far enough, but they have long reach brakes available. The other issue was that the front chain rings hit against the chain stay. I put a couple spacers in the bottom bracket to move the entire crank arm out. I am also only using one chain ring and no front deraileur because the mountain frame requires the derailleur to pull from the top and the road derailleur I had was bottom pull.
Geez. I didn't know it would be that complicated. I own the specialized hardrock sport. And I want to convert it for use on the road for commuting over the brooklyn bridge so I can spare the life of my very expensive roubaix.
I already have some armadillo nimbus slicks on it but its just not fast enough. It doesn't have to be as fast as a dedicated road bike but I wanted to try to do something more for it.
Would 650 road bike wheels fit the mtb? And there is no way I can adjust the vbrakes to accept it? What size wheels would work in this situation?
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Old 10-19-05, 08:38 AM   #6
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You can't compare a roadified MTB commuter to a competition racing bike. Racers who commute generally use a training/commuting rig with std 32spoke wheels and more robust tyres, saving the fancy carbon wheels and ultra-light tyres for race day.
MTB tyres start at 1" width (~25mm). A lot of commuters find a 1.5" tyre to be optimum because of the better ride. Most modern MTB rims can take these thin tyres.
A 700cx28mm training tyre is equiv to 26" x 1.25" and differences are marginal
There is no point going to 650c:you will have issues with the 135mm MTB hub spacing, brake block alignment, and after all that trouble, 650c tyres stop at 25mm, just where you need commuter tyres to start.
Ridgid steel forks come in a wide variety of weights. A lighter, flexier fork will be more comfortable. Make sure it has fender eyelets. Kona Project forks always get a good report.

Last edited by MichaelW; 10-19-05 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 10-19-05, 08:48 AM   #7
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I can't really tell you what would or would not work for you. I just took all the spare components I had and put them all together, saw what would and would not work and made changes from there to make them work. You may have to use a bit of ingenuity to get things to work out.
V-brakes may work on the 650 wheels if the pads reach the rims. But you wouldn't be able to use drop bar brake levers. Sheldon Brown's site has a lot of info on brakes, you should check that out.
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Old 10-19-05, 08:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
You can't compare a roadified MTB commuter to a competition racing bike. Racers who commute generally use a training/commuting rig with std 32spoke wheels and more robust tyres, saving the fancy carbon wheels and ultra-light tyres for race day.
He's not trying to make it as fast as a competition road bike, just faster than a regular mountain bike for commuting. I know that this "roadified MTB commuter" is a heck of a lot faster than any normal mountain bike commuter.
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Old 10-19-05, 09:01 AM   #9
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If you can get a set of 29" MTB wheels, or build a 700c road rim with a 135mm rear hub and just a regular 700c wheel up front, you could modify your V-brakes as described in this thread in the cyclocross forum:
Cantis with longer caliper arms for 700c on MRB frame?

The wheel/tire setup would help with your speed but you'll also want to go to bigger rings up front. Your current is probably 42 or 44 while most road bikes have a 50+. But your front derailleur will have a maximum number of teeth it can handle (likely no more than 48).
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Old 10-19-05, 09:01 AM   #10
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Depends how beat up the streets are in your 'hood. My MTB often compares favourably to my lightweight roadie on commuting times. We're talking a matter of less than a minute on a 12-mile ride.

Plus, on my roadie I just seem to get the red lights faster, and wait there anyways. MTBs are also more shortcut-friendly.

On the open road though, you'll be noticibly slower on the MTB, even with slicks.
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Old 10-19-05, 09:04 AM   #11
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Just curious though, do you want to convert it permanently or keep the ability to take it on trails? How old is the Hardrock?
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Old 10-19-05, 10:49 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by never
Just curious though, do you want to convert it permanently or keep the ability to take it on trails? How old is the Hardrock?
Its the 2005 specialized hardrock sport entry level model (black). Owned it since April. Rode it a few times. Then I tried out a road bike.....and got hooked to it. :|
Before long I bought a top of the line carbon roubaix. Then I actually used that thing to commute over the brooklyn bridge a couple times. After the second time I knew I had to stop. Long term use of that beauty for commuting would destroy it.
I realized that I needed a beater.
But would a converted hardrock sport fit the bill? Or should I trade it in for a used entry level road bike?
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Old 10-19-05, 11:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
But would a converted hardrock sport fit the bill? Or should I trade it in for a used entry level road bike?
If you're not planning on riding the MTB offroad much/at all, you could trade it in on a cyclocross bike. Then you'd have close to the speed of a road bike, extra durability for city commuting, and the ability to do some offroading if you get the urge.
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Old 10-19-05, 01:48 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by never
If you're not planning on riding the MTB offroad much/at all, you could trade it in on a cyclocross bike. Then you'd have close to the speed of a road bike, extra durability for city commuting, and the ability to do some offroading if you get the urge.
Trade-in? How would that work? Who would I trade it in to? The lbs I bought it from? I bought it from sheepshead cyclery in brooklyn....Allen is the owner. Does anybody know if he does that sort of stuff?
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Old 10-19-05, 02:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
Trade-in? How would that work? Who would I trade it in to? The lbs I bought it from? I bought it from sheepshead cyclery in brooklyn....Allen is the owner. Does anybody know if he does that sort of stuff?
I don't know, you're the one who mentioned trading the bike in your other post.



Quote:
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Or should I trade it in for a used entry level road bike?
But my LBS does take trades, I don't know what type of value you get though...probably more if the bike was purchased at the shop.
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Old 10-19-05, 02:45 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by never
I don't know, you're the one who mentioned trading the bike in your other post.





But my LBS does take trades, I don't know what type of value you get though...probably more if the bike was purchased at the shop.
Ya the way you said it I thought you meant a trade-in at a shop. I will call my shop and see what they say.
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Old 10-19-05, 05:18 PM   #17
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The rider is fast not the bike. Remember you can't buy speed. At least the kind you are talking about.
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Old 10-19-05, 05:38 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Feltup
The rider is fast not the bike. Remember you can't buy speed. At least the kind you are talking about.
I realize that.....but come on. I mean if you have two twin brothers one on a mtb bike with slicks and the other on a dedicated road bike who do you think would win a road race?
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Old 10-19-05, 05:40 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
Ya the way you said it I thought you meant a trade-in at a shop. I will call my shop and see what they say.
It seems that not only does my bike shop don't take in trade-ins or sell used bikes...but that no shop in new york does that either. I doubt that though.
Does anybody know of local shops in new york area that deals in used bikes?
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Old 10-19-05, 07:06 PM   #20
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It's all in the engine Back in the day, when I raced XC and rode 350 to 400mi a week, the only roadies that could keep up with me or pass me on the road were the top CAT 1/2 racers. The mtb I rode was the same configuration as when I was on the trail. Unfortunatly I am no longer in that kind of shape but I hope to be back there next season.

If you ride on the road a lot and want to beable to keep up with the faster roadies but are not in top shape you may just want to consider getting an entry level road bike.

DBD
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Old 10-19-05, 08:10 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
I realize that.....but come on. I mean if you have two twin brothers one on a mtb bike with slicks and the other on a dedicated road bike who do you think would win a road race?
A road race is not the same as a commute.

Any rider should be able to ride a modified MTB at the same speeds as his or her road bike. Skinny, high pressure tires, a slightly more aerodynamic position, and possibly a change in gearing should be all it will take. Sure, the MTB wheel is smaller, but over a commute, that's not a huge issue. The big difference is comfort. There's a reason flat-bar road bikes are big sellers right now. Comfort and speed.
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Old 10-19-05, 10:00 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by MERTON
would drop bars even be comfortable on a mtb?
No. But they do make clip-on drops.
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Old 10-20-05, 06:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expatriate
No. But they do make clip-on drops.
Drop bars.....intersting. But nah, I think I would stick with the bars as is. So to review, putting on a 26x1.0 inch tire might help with the rolling resistance plus what again? Changing the ring in the front? How much would that cost me ya think? The ring I mean. And there is also the fork cost to consider.
But in the meantime check out this site. They sell used bikes for good prices so I'm gonna check em out.

recycledcycles.net
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Old 10-20-05, 08:20 AM   #24
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A new ring big enough to make a diiference will mean problems with you FD. I would get a road bike cog set instead.
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Old 10-20-05, 09:12 AM   #25
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In shopping for a beater for commuting, I found and bought an old Bridgestone RB-4 (Shimano 600 equipped) for $100. It's in great shape and works great. When cash flow is better, I'm doing a SS conversion on it. I'd go to bike shops and e-bay and look for something similiar.
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