Hello all, this is probably something that has been asked before. I have a Norco Bushpilot, bought to do some light trail riding, well a couple of crashes later (see my blog for the details of one of them), I am thinking that more road or even touring oriented riding is where I should be. Having looked at the forums "bikeporn", I see a lot of 26 inchers, many look like converted MTBs .
So, other then swapping the tires for narrower slicks, I think 1.5" is as narrow as I can go. Adding fenders and rear rack looks doable, as it looks like there are a couple of threaded holes on the rear that could be used for a rack mounting. Plastic fenders could probably be mounted somehow.
2 Questions though,
1) There are no rack mounts on the forks, which are suspension, so I am not sure about how to mount a front rack. Could a front rack be mounted on a suspension fork?
2) It's an aluminum frame, does that create any issues (we need a smilie for duck, I realise that I may be starting a war here)
You very well might have opened up a can of worms... This is not an easy question to answer as it ultimately comes down to you. For starters, mountain biking takes a year or two to become proficient. You WILL crash a lot. Probably more the first year than all other years combined.
Mt bikes are not designed for the road. Even with modifications, they will not have the "correct" geometry (body position) and will weight a lot more. They will work however. So it all depends on what you are looking for. If you have the money and want a fast and efficient road riding experience then a road bike (touring, cyclo cross or road sport) is the best option. If you do not care about going fast or very efficiently, then a mountain bike will work. If you realy convinced that mt biking is not your thing, then concider you should get a trade in for you old mt bike when buying new.
As far as your issues with your suspension fork, the best options if you are not mountian biking any more is to buy a non-suspended fork. There are many companies making racks that attach to suspension forks, Old Man Mountian probably being the best.
Concider that Cannondale has been making aluminum touring bikes longer than most companies. There is nothing wrong with aluminum asside from personal issues that some have with it. Aluminum works fine for most.