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Old 08-19-06, 09:33 AM   #1
staehpj1 
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MTB to Tour Conversion

I am planning to convert my 1990-ish Cannondale mountain bike for touring. I think the geometry is pretty good for touring. The bike has mostly Deore XT stuff and some Suntour XC stuff.

First decison is tires. My initial thought is maybe Schwalbe Marathon 26 X 1-3/8". Rims are RM 17's. Does that sound like a reasonable choice?

Next choice is bars and brake and shift levers. I definitely find road bars more comfortable than flat bars and bar ends. Will most road brake levers work OK with the Deore XT cantilevers? Any suggestions for shift levers?

I like to ride with my hands on the brake hoods a lot, so road bars and levers seem like the right answer.

Suggestions for other considerations in the conversion welcome too.

Pete
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Old 08-19-06, 10:08 AM   #2
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I like that same position and use a butterfly bar. With a lot of nice fizik bar gel for padding and fizik bar tape. Very comfy.

Will your current stem fit road bars?
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Old 08-19-06, 08:56 PM   #3
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i have recently done exactly what you are looking to do. if you want the inside scoop pm me....
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Old 08-20-06, 12:19 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcavana
i have recently done exactly what you are looking to do. if you want the inside scoop pm me....
mcavana, the original poster posted the thread because he needed help. A secondary purpose that the thread serves, is to inform all who may read the thread of ways of solving particular or similar problems. Finally, the thread also serves as a sort of "archivical record", so that people can do "searches", when and if they need to. A PM would not offer similar advantages.

Thus, I am going to ask you to please post how you converted your mountain bike to a comfortable tourer. It will help a lot of people all over the universe who have access to BikeForums.

Thank you.

Regards,
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Old 08-20-06, 07:14 AM   #5
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I wouldn't recommend changing to new wheels. Your 559mm 26 inch wheels will do fine. There are lots of great touring tires offered in this size. If you don't know what I'm talking about, and aren't planning to change wheels, then WARNING: The tires you are looking at will NOT fit your wheels! "26 inch" is not just one tire size but five different tire sizes! For more information, see http://www.sheldonbrown.com/26/. If you want to replace your tires, you should get tires that give the width measurement in decimal form, e.g. 26 x 1.375 in. A 26 x 1 3/8 in. tire, although it is mathematically the same size, actually has a completely different bead set diameter, and will not fit your rims. When buying tires, just make sure that they are 559mm according to the ISO standard and you'll be fine.

Road levers will work fine with your brakes. For shift levers I would recommend bar end shifters, simply because the front shifting is friction only and road shifters are unlikely to be compatible with your mountain derailer. You might consider butterfly or trekking bars (same thing, different name), which will allow you to reuse the same shifters and brake levers.

Older MTBs make good touring bikes. Good luck, have fun!
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Old 08-20-06, 08:56 AM   #6
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I am not so sure about the butterfly bars. They look interesting, but I think I may be happier with drop bars.

I think that the stem I have is too long, but maybe with the butterfly bars... At some point years ago I went for a stem with a lot of reach. I think I over did it.

I do have a set of drop bars that were designed for touring sitting around. They have an ancient set of Dura Ace levers and bar end shifters. They also have a stem that looks like about the right reach. I will have to check and see if it fits.

If it all fits I will start by trying what I have and seeing how it works out.

I think I actually was looking at the right tires, but referred to them incorrectly. In any case I will check before buying. Thanks for the warning, I didn't realize that all of the commonly available today 26" tires were not interchangeable.

Pete
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Old 08-22-06, 10:58 AM   #7
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I converted a mid-90's trek singletrack last year, and I chose "trekking" handlebars similar to those shown on this article from Sheldon Brown's website:
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/deakins/handlebars.html
I think they are awesome, and I found that the top corners were a very comfortable position for my hands, and there are several other positions available. I find these positions more comfortable than drop bars, and as the article points out, the side position is good for climbing steep hills. Drop bars do not have a similar position. I don't have my brakes and shifters set up like those in the article, though. I have them both near the end of the bars closer to the seat. Unfortunately I don't have any good pictures.
-Patrick
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Old 08-22-06, 12:04 PM   #8
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Okay, here's my commuter/tourer:

I made some changes to what came stock- (marked in red.)

Frame Alpha SL Aluminum
Fork Alloy w/lowrider mounts, straight blades
Wheels Alloy front, Shimano RM60 rear hub; Bontrager Camino rims
Tires Bontrager Satellite Plus, 26x1.5" (when touring) or Serfas Barista 26x1.25 (for commuting)
Shifters Shimano EF50, 8 speed
Front Derailleur Shimano C102
Rear Derailleur Shimano Alivio
Crank SR XCC-100 48/38/28 w/chainguard
Cassette SRAM PG830 11-30, 8 speed
Pedals Crank Bros Eggbeaters (Goes well with Lake cycling sandals.)
Saddle Brooks B-17
Seat Post Bontrager Sport
Handlebars Nashbar "Trekking Bar"
Stem Bontrager Sport, 10 degree
Headset Aheadset Slimstak w/semi-cartridge bearings, sealed
Brakeset Tektro V w/Shimano EF50 levers

Added front and rear racks and fenders, and this thing makes an excellent do-anything bike. I ride it every day, and it's like a reliable old friend.
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