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Old 11-14-04, 02:03 PM
full of enthusiasm
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: vancouver, British columbia, canada
Posts: 8

Bikes: kuwuhara Aries - yep, 20 years old and one of the original mountain bikes

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Originally Posted by Big Helmet
I believe that Andrew was suggesting not another bike (metaphorically "a second set of wheels") but, literally, a second set of wheels -- one with different tires than the wheels that come with your new bike. You pick the tires and switch out the wheels depending on what you're intending to do that day.

I have a cyclocross bike that came with low gearing (a wide range gear cluster on the back wheel) and some pretty sturdy wheels mounted with wide (38mm?), fairly knobby tires. I use that for light off-road and lately, actual cyclocross racing. My second set of wheels is lighter, with narrower (25 mm), slick road tires, and a narrower range of gears on the back wheel.

I can switch from my off-road wheels to my on-road wheels in less than about 2 minutes, which changes the cyclocross bike to a very fine commuting/road training bike.

This is by no means my invention. Lots and lots of folks do this with cyclocross bikes, because they are made to be decently quick and responsive, but with lots of clearance to mount wide, knobby tires.

The cost of the second set of wheels and tires was a small fraction of the cost of a second bike, and a second set of wheels is much, much easier to stash inside a small living space than a second, third, fourth or fifth bike, believe me.

In your case you might decide on a a hybrid or commuter bike and one wheelset mounted with narrower tires for dry, relatively fast rides around town, and a second wider set for wet, curb-hoppy, or (reasonably sane) trail rides.

You may not feel the need to do this right away but as you shop for your new bike you may want to consider frame and brake tire clearance spacing to give yourself the option of mounting any of a range of wheels/tires later -- simply as one of your purchase considerations.
Finally he catches on...thank you Big Helmet, your last paragraph particularly is important as a starter. I would not have thought of frame and brake tire clearance spacing at all when shopping for a bike. Thank you guys again for the thoughtful comments.

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