Just a couple quick details so you understand my situation. I am not a bike enthusiast so to speak. I have many hobbies and don't tend to get too involved with any of them. I enjoy cycling just as much as I enjoy playing the drums, building home theaters, and other hobbies I have. I am not engrossed enough in any one hobby to be reading articles every week about what products are coming out in a couple months. I like to actually partake in the hobbies and enjoy them rather than making sure what I have is the best product for me. Thus, I don't really know much about bicycles other than knowing how to ride them and that they're really fun.
I have had the same bike for nearly 10 years now. It's a Specialized Rockhopper mountain bike. I never purposely thrashed the bike, but we've taken some rough hits together. Anyways, I recently got the idea to ride cross country. I live in Phoenix, AZ and will travel west to the Pacific and then turn around to go to the Atlantic. I'm very tight on money right now and think it would be cheaper for me to simply convert my Rockhopper mountain bike into a road bike.
I would really appreciate it you would all please look at the pictures I have attached and make some suggestions as to what I should do to convert the bike. I know I should probably make the following conversions - switch to a solid fork, convert to clip pedals, switch to road tires, replace the current chain, and switch to drop down handlebars with aerobars. Besides that I'd probably also take my bike to a shop for a tune up. Oh and replacing the seat. The one I have now is hard as a rock.
I am a 22 year old male. I weigh 185-195 and am 6'0". I will be doing a loaded tour with panniers, but I will be keeping it very lightweight. I won't be bringing a stove and I will be sleeping in a hammock.
Here are the questions I would like you all to consider while looking over the pictures of my bike (Please note I know nothing about my Rockhopper in terms of specification sizes, so if there are important sizes I should know please inform me):
1. Is the rockhopper still a good size frame for my build?
2. What suggestions do you have for forks? Will any solid fork I find on eBay work?
3. What size tire should I be looking for to tour across the country?
4. Besides the wear and tear that I will have serviced, are the brakes and shifters pictured any good? What do you know about them? If they're worthy, are they only mountable on straight bars or would they work well on drop downs?
5. I have read on several touring threads that granny gears are pretty much necessary on loaded tours. I assume I have granny gears on this bike since my lowest gear almost feels like my chain is off the gears. Can you tell by the pictures what my gear set is? 8/9/10 speed? Granny gears?
6. Depending on your response to question 5, I never thought I was getting a lot of speed from my mtb. Is this because it is on mtb tires or do mtb's have different gear ratios for top speed compared to road bikes? I'm only looking to average 60-80 miles per day when I tour.
7. Can you tell from the pictures if I need to replace the gears? Are the teeth shot or can they be repaired in your opinion?
8. The tires on my bike right now are marked as 26 X 1 90147-559. I assume that means it is a 26" wheel by 1". Are my rims then a good size for touring bikes? Any clue what the 90147-559 means?
9. Along with my brakes and shifter, is the derailluer junk or capable of handling the trek?
10. Is there anything else I haven't considered that I should know about?
11. Are there any sizes I should know about when looking to replace the handlebars to dropdowns, suspension fork to solid fork, pedals to clips, or anything else?
Here are the model numbers from the bike:
Brakes - Shimano Dia compe DP7 and Shimano VC733
Shifters - Shimano LX Deore
Derailleur - Shimano STX RC
Preferably my gear would be road worthy and just require replacement wear and tear parts or a tune up. Replacing all these little parts will add up quickly to cost that I could use on other things that are necessary for the journey, like food! But if you do suggest replacing parts do you have any specific recommendations in mind? I will appreciate any and all help in this manner.
P.S. - Please don't flame me for the shape of my bike. I know it's bad already.
Hello all. I hope I'm not spoiling the thread for anyone. I just want to make information easier to find people. It is now several months later and I've completed the tour. Looking at this first thread I certainly have come a long way from where I started. Thank you all of you who posted in the thread or helped me in other ways.
I have completed posting my journal on the internet. You can view it at www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/4176
To view every single picture I took while on the tour you can visit http://good-times.webshots.com/album/560058990dSfbIM
As I post more online I will add it here for convenience. Thanks. Matt