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Old 05-31-04, 03:43 AM   #1
Alrocket
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Converting roadie MTB to DH

I've got my Trek 4300 setup for road, with dropped and reversed stem for lower positioning, and true slicks (conti sport contacts). I'm also still on platforms. Some friends are doing relatively light DH/single trails next wkend, and I'd like to change my setup to suit, but on a budget.

First thing I need is tires, I'm going to go for something relatively cheap. I might need new tubes (contis come with thinner than normal presta tubes). I'll eventually get a complete new set of rims and good tires, but not for the moment if possible.

Do I really need to get clipped-in? I will do eventually, but it's not the best time financially, and I'm wondering whether I'll get enough time to get use to 'em.

If I do, there's a BS near me which deals in Specialized. I want to get some Specialized Rockhopper shoes. I'm choosing them as I need something I can wear at work, and they're pretty acceptable & have good reviews.

And for pedals, I'm thinking the entry-level Shimano MTB spds. Can't remember the model number, but they looked ok in reviews. Next year I can get some chrome egg-beaters or see what else is out there.

Do I need a new stem? When flipping it to get the better angle, I noticed that there was a warning label on it saying it shouldn't be used for DH/serious XC. Are they just covering a$$ with this, or should I be concerned about using this stem on DH? (it's a stock 4300 stem). I also plan to swap the stem back right way up before heading out. (less painful if I hit it for one thing)

Comments/suggestions?

Al.
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Old 05-31-04, 05:07 AM   #2
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You do road not clipped, and want to dh clipped?????

p.s., find me a bike that can road\ xc\ dh and i'm SOLD! (Under $2000)

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Old 05-31-04, 07:04 AM   #3
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a) "Do I really need to get clipped-in?" is a question, hence the question mark. I don't see where I stated "I do road not clipped and want to dh clipped!!!!!!", was I really that unclear?

b) Any bike can do road/xc/dh. Just depends what speed you want to do. I'll find you a 2nd hand fixed speed for $40 and keep the $1960.

Constructive replies much appreciated.

Al.

Last edited by Alrocket; 05-31-04 at 07:05 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 05-31-04, 07:54 AM   #4
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troll, being a smartass gets you nowhere
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Old 05-31-04, 08:05 AM   #5
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When you say DH do you mean true DH such as 30+ mph all downhill, big jumps, drops and rock gardens? If so I would say get a DH or at least a freeride bike for that.

I just noticed that you said LIGHT dh. I would take that to mean aggressive xc. Swap out the tires for some serious rubber, get a short stem (30 or 50mm), riser bars and a lower your seat so you are in a more upwright position. As for clipless, if there are no serious stunts (ie big drops, nasty rock gardens, skinnies and big jumps) then you should be fine with clipless.

Be warned. a lot of riders who venture to the darkside end up staying there You may end up wanting to buy a new dh rig for just such an occassion

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Old 05-31-04, 08:20 AM   #6
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By the notice on your stem it simply means no dedicated fulltime DH or XC. Nowadays this includes drops, jumps, rocks, roots, fast speeds, big front end hits (which could under the original build or that stem) break. They say this for warranty, and liability issues. Not all manufactured bikes as I am sure you know are meant to be ridden hard and put up wet on a full time basis.
Anywho Dirtbikedude's advice is great. I will suggest and I am being biased, that I have a set of Wellgo WPD 800's on closeout if you are interested. Check my list. There are other things there as well.
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Old 05-31-04, 08:26 AM   #7
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Peter: Troll? Hmm, maybe so, but not intentionally. Still you're not far off the mark, it was unnecessary.

Apologies to Jeff W- I felt your post was a little unhelpful, but I way overreacted. Stressful day here at work

Light DH, I think ~15-25 mph, smaller jumps. I can convert to a more upright position very easily with a couple of changes to the stem and bar positions.

Thanks dbd.
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Old 05-31-04, 12:22 PM   #8
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Basically you will want a tougher frame even for light DH.
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Old 05-31-04, 02:24 PM   #9
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The Trek 4300 is more of a light XC bike than a light DH bike. I wouldn't be surprised if you break a lot of stuff your first time out. You may break spokes or your whole wheel. You will probably need to tighten up the fork as much as possible just to keep it from bottoming out. It will probably do next to nothing. Also, be careful as your brakes might not be up to the job if things get going fast. Upgraded brake pads like Kool Stops might help a bit. When buying tires consider how wide your rims are. You might have a problem fitting 2.5" or similar size tires on them.
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Old 05-31-04, 02:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrocket
a) "Do I really need to get clipped-in?" is a question, hence the question mark. I don't see where I stated "I do road not clipped and want to dh clipped!!!!!!", was I really that unclear?

b) Any bike can do road/xc/dh. Just depends what speed you want to do. I'll find you a 2nd hand fixed speed for $40 and keep the $1960.

Constructive replies much appreciated.

Al.
about (a). he is implying that you should be clipped in for the road, and not be clipped in for DH. you implied that you were not clipped in for road and wanted to get clipped in for DH.
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Old 05-31-04, 07:27 PM   #11
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dont under-estimate the trek 4300 frame. my friend has the frame cuz i think his kona hoss broke, and he got this amazing deal on it, (the frame was temporary).
anyways i do like 4-6 foot drops on it and it hasnt shown any ware. he does like 7-8 on it. of course its not meant for dh, but it can last.

from one dh ride, the 4300 frame wont break. My guess is that it can withstand a lot freeriding, all of xc, and at least one dh ride.
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Old 05-31-04, 09:11 PM   #12
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I'm not, trek only has one freeride bike and that is the diesel, the others are just xc bikes.

XC bikes are not freeride/downhill bikes.
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Old 05-31-04, 09:27 PM   #13
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Guys, guys, guys....you forget what it was to be relatively new to the sport (no offense). I'm sure that Alrocket means that he's going to do mostly XC type riding, but is going to have a blast going down! Not true DH in any sense of the term.

You guys remember doing that when you began do you not? I called it DH, and it was simply XC in the downward direction.

Your bike is and will be fine. Swap out the slicks for some knobby tires. If you weight under 175 lbs, get a decent knobby in a 2.1 width. A good inexpensive all around tire is the WTB Velociraptor. They're pretty inexpensive and one of my favorite all around tires.

I'm a little confused about your "dropped and reversed stem" comment. Did you simply flip it over so it has a "negative" rise? Or/and did you reverse it so it points toward your saddle? (I HOPE NOT!)

I'm guessing just the flip. If so, what you want to do is probably flip it back over. This will raise the bars a bit, which will put you in a more upright position. Not so good for climbing, but better for descending. Plus, your back will thank you at the end of the day.

Pedals...Forget clipless for right now. If you're entering into the sport, get VERY comfortable on your bike before you get clipless. Stick with platforms (regular pedals). If you have those plastic clips w/straps, remove them.

You are going to have SO many new experiences riding off-road that worrying about clipping in or flipping to pedal over to insert your foot into the clip (cradle thingy) will be the last thing you need to do.

If you get into the sport, ride for at least 6 months, then get clipless. It's a HUGE advantage for riding XC type trails, but a HUGE detriment if you switch too soon.

My other advice for a beginner is as follows:

Don't lock your elbows or your knees-EVER! Use them as additional suspension to absorb bumps and hits.

Keep your grip on the bars firm, but never tight. So many beginners use the DEATH GRIP that their arms wear out prematurely.

Look about 10 feet in front of your front tire, not 1 foot! You mind will remember what's there. If you focus too close to the front tire, you won't have enough time to react to trail conditions.

Sometimes faster is better. Beginners tend to ride too slowly. Some forward momentum is good for getting over bumps, roots and other obstacles. Also, if you ride slowly, you have more tendency to fall over. If you ride just a little faster, your forward momentum will keep you rolling forward.

Lastly and most importantly. There is NO shame in walking! If a section of trail is beyond your ability, get off and walk it. You can tackle that section when your ability improves. You can't improve if you hurt yourself. (physically and MENTALLY).

Have fun!

L8R
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Old 05-31-04, 09:49 PM   #14
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But a stronger frame could be gotten for about the same cost. He would be just as good to get a hardrock for that price and alrocket would have a bike that would be good for lite DH, but would still do good as a xc bike. I just don't like the attitude that automatically puts Treks above everyone elses offerings.
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Old 05-31-04, 10:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KonaRider24
But a stronger frame could be gotten for about the same cost. He would be just as good to get a hardrock for that price and alrocket would have a bike that would be good for lite DH, but would still do good as a xc bike. I just don't like the attitude that automatically puts Treks above everyone elses offerings.
Agreed about the Hardrock. I also know what you mean about the attitude. It seems like a lot of Trek owners seem to think Trek makes the only good bike regardless of intended use or pricepoint. There seems to be a lot of unwarranted (from the uneducated mainly) snobbery about Trek bikes. I think this is at least partly do to their marketing strategy and sponsorship of Lance Armstrong. Trek makes some decent bikes, but they don't appeal to me and I think there are better bike for almost every pricepoint and use.
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Old 05-31-04, 10:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bg4533
Agreed about the Hardrock. I also know what you mean about the attitude. It seems like a lot of Trek owners seem to think Trek makes the only good bike regardless of intended use or pricepoint. There seems to be a lot of unwarranted (from the uneducated mainly) snobbery about Trek bikes. I think this is at least partly do to their marketing strategy and sponsorship of Lance Armstrong. Trek makes some decent bikes, but they don't appeal to me and I think there are better bike for almost every pricepoint and use.
I've seen it firsthand and you're exactly correct. It's the same way it was when ever Schwinns were decent bikes.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:47 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by KonaRider24
But a stronger frame could be gotten for about the same cost. He would be just as good to get a hardrock for that price and alrocket would have a bike that would be good for lite DH, but would still do good as a xc bike. I just don't like the attitude that automatically puts Treks above everyone elses offerings.
wait, but doesn't he already have the trek? its a moot point.
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Old 06-01-04, 11:11 AM   #18
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Thanks for the interesting discussion guys. Phatman is correct, it is a mute point as I own the Trek already.

- I'm in Dublin, Ireland. The Trek was considerably cheaper than the cheapest Specialized so cost rather than brand was the major factor. I did not know that Trek was a US brand or know of the links to Lance Armstrong (I'm a complete cycle newbie, yes, how could I miss seeing it.... never been a Tour fan).

- I am talking about very light DH compared to what you guys probably get up to. Hey, gotta start somewhere
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Old 06-02-04, 11:06 AM   #19
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I'm kinda serious about the 2k price tag. O.K $1000.
You CAN buy\build super x bikes.
I personally would start with a more advanced frameworks.

But...

Big tires (not true dh flat profile), riser handlebars, bmx platforms with big pins, chain tensioner.
Take a breath...Strip the bike of extraneous b.s. All of it, 'cept a water bottle cage.
Get a phat seat, road position seats are usually too narrow for slamming all day, Go single chairing front (no derailler\ no prob..9 speed to a 34-38 t chain ring depending on bike weight,) get new quick release axles, your gonna bend a few, the seat post clamp has to be HQ. Replace cheap stem\headset\seat post-all these things bust REAL quick jumping. Run @ least a front disk brake.
Some things to think about..

My upgrades to be able to do small DJ, light DH on mtb that is still light enough to road cost over $400 in parts-not done yet. Most members would not advise taking a bike out of the area of it's intended design and the cost to upgrade or modify post purchase is huge. (best buy the bike intended for the type of riding.)

I would not clip in DH until I achieve Forest Ninja-level of riding ability.

Maybe just make a road\xc bike, light off road is fine for most bikes, just use appropriate tires. A second wheel set?

I just mount my riser bars between my preferred DJ and normal position and live\ride with it.

Last edited by jeff williams; 06-02-04 at 11:35 AM.
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