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  1. #1
    Flying Pig rolliepollie's Avatar
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    "Converting" mountain bike to road feasible?

    I've been making a switch from trail/mountain biking to road, and have so far bought lighter and narrower rims and slick 26x1.95 tires to make it a tad "faster." Thing is, I'm looking to join a cycling team/club for road riding (not ready to be full-blown racer yet) and worried a mountain bike won't be suitable for road races I plan to try out. So is it possible to replace some components to make it more characteristic as a road bike? Aerodynamics is the primary factor I believe, with weight a close second. But hey, I'm not sponsored and not even in competition yet, so I don't need the very best anyway. Here are some info on my bike to compare to those in road bikes:

    Access frame, Mavic XC717 rims, Michelin Transworld City tires, Deore drivetrain, Rockshox seatpost, Syncros 1in. riser bar, no-name -17' stem, 02 Rockshox Judy C fork, LX brakes. Riding position is nearly as low as road riders I see.

    I'm on an extremely tight budget, so I can't simply fork over $600+ for a new road rig (another reason not to be a full-time racer..yet). I figure with that amount I could just upgrade my existing bike and have it comparable to an entry level road bike as well.

  2. #2
    My toilet-Floyd's future
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    It's going to be hard. You'll need narrower (23mm) tires, drop handlebars and road bike shifters/brake levers, and perhaps a new stem.

    It just so happens that after the frame and wheels, the most expensive part of a road bike is the shifters/brake levers.

    I don't expect you'd be able to do it for less than $300, and then it would be nowhere near a road bike.

    You'd be better off spening $600 on a second hand road bike.

  3. #3
    El Diablo 2Rodies's Avatar
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    I took my wifes mt bike and and put a solid fork on it and high pressure slick tires. It's not a roadie but it's alot more efficient on the road than it was as mt bike. The whole deal cost me about 150 bucks.

  4. #4
    Spit out the back tinrobot's Avatar
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    It's about as feasable as converting a Jeep to a Porsche.

    Well, it's a little easier than that, but you get the point. You'd need new fork, stem, bars, shifters, seatpost and even after all that it's still not a road bike. It's better and probably cheaper to buy a new/used bike made for the road.

  5. #5
    Proud To Be An American EXCALIBUR's Avatar
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    In the words of the great Italian cycling champion, Francesco Moser, "From a coconut tree, you cannot get grapes."
    EXCALIBUR
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Goldnblazer's Avatar
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    For what it would cost to even get anywhere close you could find a used road bike.
    A rider in our group did just that, he found a used Cannondale for 250 USD and kept his mountain bike as an errand bike.

    MIke

  7. #7
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    It would be silly to put drop bars on a mountain bike. New shifters and brakes will cost a fortune. Best you could do is convert your mountain bike into a fast road hybrid. By that I mean:

    mountain bike frame
    700c wheels
    700x25 - 700x28 slicks
    rigid fork (preferably carbon for comfort)
    carbon seatpost (again for comfort)
    race saddle
    bar ends

    Such a bike would blow away a mountain bike at speed and could keep up with a full blown road bike for short distances. However in a long race it would not be as comfortable or as efficient as a proper road bike.

  8. #8
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maximum01
    It would be silly to put drop bars on a mountain bike. New shifters and brakes will cost a fortune. Best you could do is convert your mountain bike into a fast road hybrid. By that I mean:

    mountain bike frame
    700c wheels
    700x25 - 700x28 slicks
    rigid fork (preferably carbon for comfort)
    carbon seatpost (again for comfort)

    race saddle
    bar ends

    Such a bike would blow away a mountain bike at speed and could keep up with a full blown road bike for short distances. However in a long race it would not be as comfortable or as efficient as a proper road bike.
    Alot of nonsense here.

  9. #9
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Its easy and cheap.

    And, the performance difference is not that great.

    First, try to find some narrower high pressure 26" tires. I think you can get 1.25" tires.

    Then get some drop handlebars, tape and old-school (non STI brake levers).

    Then pick up some barcon shifters off of EBay.

    Then buy a tightly spaced freewheel/cassette with an 11 tooth small cog and you should be good-to-go.

    For all you nay-sayers, I have raced training races in which expert mountainbike racers participated with mountainbikes with slicks - no drop bars - just a tire change and they hung right in. Lots of climbing too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    I built this for my kid - mainly because real road bike frames are hard to find in his size and fully built bikes are far too expensive for an 11 year old to experiment on.

    Since this picture - I've replaced the fork with a chrome rigid one.

    55/Rad

  11. #11
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    Pretty slick Rad...

    But the seat is too low and/or the cranks are too long... better measure and change them out...

  12. #12
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    For gawd's sake why do people make things so complicated?

    The prevailing wisdom seems to be that if it doesn't "look" like a boy racer bike it's just a waste. Nonsense.

    For a 26 inch rim you can get 1 inch tires that will ride at 100 psi and make a great difference in the performance of any MTB.

    Hutchinson and Richey both make them. Continental make a 1.25 inch tire.

    Your fork does not need to be replaced, if you can dial down the travel do it, but otherwise leave it.

    At some point in the future you can look at replacing the bars if you like - I would use Moustache bars as they will offer you varied hand positions but still be useful if you want to go off-road.

    I see many people around here who take their MTBs out on group rides or club rides and quite simply are as fast as anyone else out there, if that is what you want. The only change they have made is the tires.

    I just bought a new pair of the Tom Ritchey slicks in 1.0 inch size, total cost ---> $35.

    Benefit is the tires actually ride pretty nicely too. Nashbar carries them.

  13. #13
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    OK speaking from experence, I have done this. However I had the advantage of taking the parts from my road bike and putting them on my mtn bike. (My road bike frame broke and so while waiting on getting everything for my new road bike I converted my old mtn bike.) I left the rock shock on it. It was plenty fast and even seemed as fast as the old bike that it replaced which was a steel Bianchi 15 yrs old. In the rides I did I hung with the people that I needed to hang with. Now yesterday was my first ride on my new $2k Orbea Onix and there definatly was a difference, but for you gettting going ona budget it will be fine.

    If you look at the Hybrid and Cyclocross part of this colum you will see lots of threads and info on how to do this. I have seen a thread titled something like "drops on my hybrid, Done" where they took drop bars and replaced the flat mtn style bars. THey even used their existing shifter/brake lever combos and I believe put them in the same positions that drops have them in and they worked fine.

    The cyclocross part of the forum talks about converting a mtn bke to use 700c wheels. The weels will probably be your most expensive purchase as they need to have the right number of cogs and be compatable with your Deore shifters.

    By the way, you may get some people looking at you like you are not going to be able to hang and aren't a roadie, but all you have to do to stop their thoughts is hang with them and then they will respect you regardless of your bike.

    Here is a picture of my mtn converted. Now that I have my new road bike I am using this to pull my daughter and with cyclocross tires to ride on forest roads when I go to the mtns.
    2005 Orbea Onix - Chorus
    old Trek 8700 mtn bike converted to cyclocross - 8 spd Veloce

  14. #14
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    Definitely swtich out the wheels and front fork.

    Would 650's be a better fit than 700's?

    I wouldn't race this against road bikes, though.

    Check out the $700 and under bikes sticky post up above. A used roadie with 105 or above is another option.

  15. #15
    Senior Member 55/Rad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen_52657
    Pretty slick Rad...

    But the seat is too low and/or the cranks are too long... better measure and change them out...
    Thanks Galen. The picture was taken on the test ride - since then, proper adjustments have been made including raising the saddle, shortening the stem and changing the cranks to a Bulletproof 155 mm. It's actually a durable, fun little bike. I have no problem cranking on it myself.

    That was 2 months ago and he's growing fast.

    55/Rad

  16. #16
    UberClydesdale Motophoto's Avatar
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    Yeah I have had these thoughts to about making my MTB a road bike. I had a pair of slicks put on the old Klein (85psi,1.25 tire) it made a huge difference on the road but its still no road bike . The frame geometry is different making it more twitchy at speed and it weighs more than my 20 year old steel road bike. If I spin the wheels of the MTB by hand while holding it off the ground you can really feel the difference in the weight of it compared to the road wheels. It works ok as a road bike, and I enjoy riding it but thats just for fun if I were going to race or compete I would try very hard to find a road bike I could buy/use. Thats just my opinion maybe it will work ok for you but I think you would do better on a road bike giving the same effort .
    2006 Pedal Force
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  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    No offence, but that's one ugly bike!

  18. #18
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    About the twitchiness, it's due to the bb being so high off the ground compared to a road bike.

  19. #19
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    It depends what kind of MTB you start with. Some of the sportier cross-country (XC) style frames avoid excess metal. The low bar position favoured by many XC racers is pretty much the same as a roady on the hoods. As long as it is this aero you are OK.
    The main alterations are a set of 1.25" slick and higher gearing. With smaller wheels you need bigger chainrings/smaller cogs to achieve ther same gear inches. A bigger chainring may need a different type of front mech with larger radius.

  20. #20
    Senior Member StalkerZERO's Avatar
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    What about a specialized hardrock sport? Would it even accept the 700c wheels?

  21. #21
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
    What about a specialized hardrock sport? Would it even accept the 700c wheels?
    That's a good question, one I'd like to know, too. I have a Diamondback Sorrento SE I'm wanting to turn into some sort of a road bike. It has V-brakes which I might like to keep. I'm even thinking about 650 rims but I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  22. #22
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
    What about a specialized hardrock sport? Would it even accept the 700c wheels?
    That's a good question, one I'd like to know, too. I have a Diamondback Sorrento SE I'm wanting to turn into some sort of a road bike. It has V-brakes which I might like to keep. I'm even thinking about 650 rims but I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  23. #23
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StalkerZERO
    What about a specialized hardrock sport? Would it even accept the 700c wheels?
    That's a good question, one I'd like to know, too. I have a Diamondback Sorrento SE I'm wanting to turn into some sort of a road bike. It has V-brakes which I might like to keep. I'm even thinking about 650 rims but I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  24. #24
    Buddha Khan
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    If you're actually planning to race, you're better off getting a used road bike than trying to convert your MTB. If you're training to get into shape for racing, you can train with your existing MTB. If you can keep up with the roadies with your MTB, you'll blow them away when you switch to a road bike... I can usually keep up with roadies on my (unconverted) MTB (even though typically <10 miles before I get dropped). Most of the group roadies (when I was at UCD a long time ago) usually ride in the 20~21mph range. So if you want to stay with them, practice maintaining that speed. Oops! Forgot one more thing, most of them usually do rides in the 20~50 mile range.

  25. #25
    2-Cyl, 1/2 HP @ 90 RPM slvoid's Avatar
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    No. You'll have to change out the brakes.
    Unless you have discs, then you're fine.

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