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  1. #1
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    Mountain bike conversion for long distance riding

    Anyone ever do it? I had the idea of touring on my giant sedona once it was converted. I was told not to it would be too tough to ride for long distances.

  2. #2
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    Personally, I think that you can tour on anything that's comfortable to you.
    I rode a Kona Scrap over 400 miles, including a few 70 mile days. It's certainly not ideal, but that depends on how far you're going.
    If you can ride it all day, then by all means go for it... some stuff will wear out, and you'll eventually get an idea of what you like and dont like.
    I'd say that if I was "converting" a mountain bike I'd do two things right away.
    1. get some smooth, tough tires.
    2. replace a suspension fork with a rigid one, Surly sells some that aren't too pricey.
    Then I'd either get a rack/panniers or go with a trailer. I did the trailer with the Kona for obvious lack of rack-bosses.

    how far are you planning on going?

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    Easy! Here's something similar to the beast I'll be taking to the Himalayas (1,000km) next month:

    Orange P7 Rohloff

    I bought mine as a SingleSpeed (on Ebay), bought the hub already built into a rear wheel (on Ebay), fitted Tubus Logo & Swing racks, Fox vanilla forks (necessary for the unpaved tracks we'll be riding on), replaced the hydraulic disks with Avid BB7 mechanicals, and put on some Marathon XRs. Everything about it is built for abuse, and it looks like a tank! But it's easy and comfortable to ride. I can't wait to get out there.

  4. #4
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    As stated, you can tour on anything, if its comfortable to ride for long distances, you will even be happy with it. Racks can be fit to bicycles that were not designed to take them. Fenders can be really useful too. The single best upgrade would be smooth puncture resistant tires. Trekking bars would really help too.

  5. #5
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Put slick pavement tires on it, rear rack, and swap out the straight bar for a nashbar or similar trekking bar. You can tour on just about anything as others have said.
    A few years ago I found an 80's Specialized CrossRoads hybrid and converted it for touring and commuting. I have thousands of miles on it. Just use it as an example.
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  6. #6
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    Hi

    of course. It should be a hardtail to mount a rack and a low rider that's it.

    Thomas
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

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    Quote Originally Posted by n4zou View Post
    swap out the straight bar for a nashbar or similar trekking bar.
    Hi n4zou,

    I'm interested (but not convinced yet) in those trekking bars. Can you tell me - when you're getting on the bike, fresh, and start cycling down the road, whereabouts on those bars do your hands naturally rest? And don't you find the 'straight' part (with the rubber grips) too close to your knees?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnyW View Post
    and a low rider
    Hi Thomas,

    It doesn't have to be a low-rider - I know they do offer a handling advantage, but if you need front suspension then the Tubus Swing is a great product - isolates your luggage from the bumps!

  9. #9
    Cycled on all continents JohnyW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    Hi Thomas,

    It doesn't have to be a low-rider - I know they do offer a handling advantage, but if you need front suspension then the Tubus Swing is a great product - isolates your luggage from the bumps!
    Hi,

    I don't have a Tubus Swing. And I don't like it because the weight is too high. If you want a low rider designed for front suspension then search for faiv (It isn't cheap).

    I have a low rider for a non suspension fork on a suspension fork. Loaded with 16 kg. The suspension is very hard and on tarmac / uphill it's always locked. I have no negative experience with that.

    "isolates your luggage from the bumps" - My luggage never complained

    Thomas
    My Travelogues: http://thomasontour.de (currently only in German)

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnyW View Post
    I don't like it because the weight is too high.
    Yep, I know that this is a weakness (along with the 140mm travel in my forks!), but the trade-off is a much smoother ride on rough and unpaved tracks, which I think will account for most of my riding in the coming months.

  11. #11
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    Hi n4zou,

    I'm interested (but not convinced yet) in those trekking bars. Can you tell me - when you're getting on the bike, fresh, and start cycling down the road, whereabouts on those bars do your hands naturally rest? And don't you find the 'straight' part (with the rubber grips) too close to your knees?
    The reason for trekking bars is the many different hand positions available. As I ride I'll swap hand positions using every part of the bar. This might be a couple of minutes or even a half hour or so. When approaching a situation where I may need to brake I'll get on the grips where the brake and shift levers are mounted. When starting from a dead stop you'll always be on the grips where the shifters are. Once up to speed I will start using different parts of the bar. Shifting hand positions prevents numbness and pain from a constant hand position. The widest hand position gives you considerable leverage when climbing and promotes good balance at the low speeds involved. My knees are no where near the bars.
    More information about trekking bars can be found here.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/deakins/handlebars.html
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    I'm converting my Trek 3900 MB to a touring bike and getting ready for a 2000 mile tour. I added handlebar extensions and put Lizard skins on them, added a nice heavy duty rear rack, put on Kevelar street tires and added a Brooks B17 Champion Special saddle. I've also update to a better quality rear cluster and chain. I am going to have our company welder fabricate a front rack that will accomodate the suspension forks. This bike is tough and comfortable and I know will do the job.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Bentley6's Avatar
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    Oh, and I've also added a nice set of Freddie Fenders that look great and perform well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by babysaph38 View Post
    Anyone ever do it? I had the idea of touring on my giant sedona once it was converted. I was told not to it would be too tough to ride for long distances.
    As posts above -- absolutely you can do this; this is a very common conversion, using mtbs both older and new. Probably wouldn't want to use a modern, ultra-light alum. or carbon race frame as a base, but other than that the only real question is whether the bike fits you well -- if it does, then go for it. My only bike (for daily commuting, fitness rides, and longer tours) is a converted/upgraded Giant Rainier ('05 model). It's oriented toward paved road/very light off-road, distance use. I've retained front suspension (personal preference, though I have upgraded the fork), but changed the gearing to a road cassette; use either Panaracer Pasela TG or Schwalbe Marathon tires. Made lots of other changes re. contact points (Ergon grips, that kind of thing), and ended up with a bike that is very tough, quite light, very quick when I want it to be, stable, and (above all) very comfortable to ride for long days. Go for it!

  15. #15
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    thing to look out for

    Mountain bike geometry often includes short chain stay length. Rear pannier must be far enough back so that your heel clears. This can be arranged with choice of both rack(extends back far enough to mount pannier way back) and panniers(long and narrow as opposed to wide).

    I am planning to get a front rack as well so that I can have a set of 4 fairly small panniers.

    I will be touring on a 1992 Trek 820 an both pavement and gravel/dirt.

  16. #16
    afoot and lighthearted Boondock's Avatar
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    here is my recently powdercoated, 20 year old, Trek 950. Over the years I've upgraded all the components, and this year, added a 22 tooth inner chain-ring to go along with the 34 tooth rear cassette.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17
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    That's quite a stem you've got there, Boondock!

  18. #18
    afoot and lighthearted Boondock's Avatar
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    yeah, I guess I should explain that... I sustained a neck injury, and I needed to sit up higher so that I could ride without being in a lot of pain. I bought a Tectronic stem with a very short reach. After talking to my doctor, he said, to lower the handlebars about 1/8 inch every 2 weeks and ride daily. This allowed the muscles around the injury to strengthen. The handlebars are now 2-3 inches lower (over the course of 3 months). I should have chosen a better picture. But the strategy has worked and I've ridden pretty much daily without significant pain.

  19. #19
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Downie View Post
    Hi Thomas,

    It doesn't have to be a low-rider - I know they do offer a handling advantage, but if you need front suspension then the Tubus Swing is a great product - isolates your luggage from the bumps!
    I use two OMM Cold Springs racks on my LHT and on my Big Dummy. These put the panniers in the "high" position and I haven't had any handling issues at all on multiple tours. I also like them because I can lean down and grab stuff out of my panniers while still on the bike. These OMM racks will work with suspension forks as well as disc brakes.

    I've nothing against low riders, but I think they are far from essential.
    safe riding - Vik
    VikApproved

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