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Mountain bike to commuter

Old 08-28-15, 10:55 AM
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Simoune
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Mountain bike to commuter

Hey guys, first post out here!

So I just reminded myself that i have an old Cannondale f1000 (the woody one) lying in my house, so I figured i'd do something with it. Its got those knobby tires that i wanna get rid of. Well, see the specs here: 2002 Cannondale F1000 (Woody) - BikePedia

Anyways, I was looking for a fixed gear to go around town and for commuting, but realised I could not do alot with it (cant climb sidewalks or those kind of things) so I thought I might switch some things on my mtb to make it more road friendly. I want to be able to bike comfortably and go moderately fast on the cycling roads and all that stuff.

If you guys could recommend what to change/add/remove for a good commuter bike (cannondale f1000) would be nice to have some help.

Thanks!
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Old 08-28-15, 11:04 AM
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Biggest thing would be tires. You can get some semi-slick tires in 26 x 1.25"-1.9"
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Old 08-28-15, 11:22 AM
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Or full slicks.

Tread on road tires is just to make the consumer feel good, it isn't really necessary...
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Old 08-28-15, 11:23 AM
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Next would be gearing. More road friendly gearing and tires and call it good.
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Old 08-28-15, 11:33 AM
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Thanks guys, any of you have suggestions for good tires?
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Old 08-28-15, 11:33 AM
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Lights, a rack and maybe fenders.
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Old 08-28-15, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Simoune View Post
Thanks guys, any of you have suggestions for good tires?
Nashbar Streetwise City Tire
some version of these. Performance sells the same basic tire, and some sizes come with flat protection.
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Old 08-28-15, 12:08 PM
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1. How well does it it you - biggest thing for both speed and comfort
2. Looks like no rear shock in the back which is good - rear shocks just eat your power
3. Slick tires would make a big difference, tread slows you down a lot and only gives you more grip on loose stuff like dirt - on pavement it actually makes your grip worse as the tread moves around under the tire
4. If the front fork has a lockout lock it out. Not nearly as big of a deal as rear suspension though.
5. Somewhat skinnier tires. You don't want to go to skinny as the speed increase becomes tiny but it becomes a lot less comfortable. In my opinion 1.5" or 40c tires are about the right balance between speed and comfort. To go smaller than that for speed one is better off getting a different bike designed for road riding.

Unfortunately not sure what to suggest on tires. Love Schwalbe Supreme's, but very good tires but expensive. I've used Panaracer TServ's before and they've been good as well for less money.
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Old 08-28-15, 12:14 PM
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I have a pair of Bontrager's in 1.5" on a MTB that I use around the neighborhood with the kids, etc.
Similar to this (and the Nashbar suggestion):
https://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400238__400238

I've used Conti Town & Country (1.9") before that with good success - but they weren't quite as fast.
https://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400237__400237

Another option:
https://www.performancebike.com/bikes...400237__400237
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Old 08-28-15, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Simoune View Post
Thanks guys, any of you have suggestions for good tires?
Schwalbe Big Apple 26 X 2.0 will make a huge difference in riding comfort and you can ride fast compared to knobbies.

That and upgrading to a rigid fork will make your MTB feel right at the home on the streets.
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Old 08-28-15, 01:09 PM
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Hard to install a rigid fork, would change geometry radically, just leave the suspension fork and adjust to lockout or max firmness. Tires for sure. Fenders could be hard to install, but possibly can rig something up. Same with rack. Gearing is fine.

Or, sell it and buy a more street oriented bike.
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Old 08-29-15, 07:24 AM
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Road tires, higher gears for cruising. I did it. Everything else to taste.
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Old 08-29-15, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
Schwalbe Big Apple 26 X 2.0 will make a huge difference in riding comfort and you can ride fast compared to knobbies.
I'm going to take that a step further and suggest that you consider the 26" X 3.5" Big Apple, if it will fit your frame. I rode my old GT Outpost MTB on semi-slick Specialized Nimbus 1.5's for a while, but then I decided to try these fatboys. I wasn't impressed at first, but now I don't think I would ever go back to narrow tires for either commuting or touring. They run about $45-50 each, though, so be sure this is the direction you want to go before investing.

I also agree with the suggestion to go to a rigid fork. In my opinion, suspension ANYWHERE on the bike turns everything to jelly and takes all the power out of each pedal stroke.
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Old 08-29-15, 09:33 PM
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My current street bike is a 2006 Gary Fisher "Hi-Fi Deluxe". It has full suspension and the same gearing as your Cannondale. It is my favorite ride!
I got it in trade with a friend; I wasn't looking for a full-suspension bike. I spent some time learning about the Fox front and rear suspension components and wound up adjusting the pressures a little high and the rebound damping maxed out. Fitted 1.9" street tires and run the pressures @ 28 front and 42 rear. Fitted my favorite seat and narrowed the handlebar to 25".

Don't give a damn that this bike needs more energy to get some place or other because it is so much fun to ride! And --- 'fun to ride' is what biking is all about, isn't it?

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PS: I'd rather tour with this bike than my much more 'efficient' 2013 Cannondale "Synapse". I don't have to look for bumps, drain grates or other road changes short of potholes. I now understand the appeal of fat-tired bicycles. Why should I care if I were to need an extra day or two to get from Los Angeles to Portland (either one) if the difference meant reduced comfort and, dare I say it, fun? -- JM

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Old 08-30-15, 09:21 PM
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Thanks guys, not sure if ill switch to rigid bike fork since I can lock my suspension. I will definitely check out the advantages of fat vs narrow tires though. Anyone knows what are the minimum and maximum sizes of tires will fit on my rims?
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Old 08-30-15, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Simoune View Post
Thanks guys, any of you have suggestions for good tires?
A lot of people will tell you to get skinny slicks. Like 1.5" or less. They're not necessarily wrong, but I think skinny slicks on a MTB aren't all they're cracked up to be on this platform. Wider slicks, however, are amazing. I think the 2" range is probably a perfect mix of size/weight/volume. You can get really fast, light tires in that range(schwalbe kojak), or something with more flat protection(tons of options here). Alternatively, balloon tires are really damn fun, and still a lot faster than knobby tread MTB tires. Schwalbe makes a bunch, and if you ever decide to take it on a bumpy trail you can drop the pressure super low and have fun instead of rattling your fillings out.

Whenever I hear people talk about "fat" tires being slow, it's almost always because they compared a HEAVY fat tire to a much lighter skinny tire. Now, obviously, there's a limit where two tires of equal construction but different sizes must have a weight difference, but it's usually smaller than you think. The problem is most tires stocked in bike shops tend to more extremes. People who want skinny tires want less weight, people who want fatter tires want heavy duty stuff, so that's what you find around, and it makes those highly flawed comparisons very common.

Great example is my room mate who had 700x23 gatorskins on his roadbike commuter. I had 700x33.3 Jack Browns on my CX bike, and they measure noticeably wider than that. Even though he knows bike stuff, his first impression when I told him I tackled a very steep road ride in town was "on THOSE huge tires??", even though his anorexic little gatorskins weighed more and have much more rolling resistance, pretty much less performance in every way (besides flat protection).

Cliffs: fat slicks on MTBs are fun, and keep it versatile. Skinny slicks are theoretically faster, and fine if all you do is sit up straight and pedal along. But if you want to keep some MTB characteristics, go fat and fast.

Not my bike, pulled from the interwebs.
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Old 08-30-15, 09:54 PM
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Sorry to double post but I really gotta quote this
Originally Posted by Joe Minton View Post
PS: I'd rather tour with this bike than my much more 'efficient' 2013 Cannondale "Synapse". I don't have to look for bumps, drain grates or other road changes short of potholes. I now understand the appeal of fat-tired bicycles. Why should I care if I were to need an extra day or two to get from Los Angeles to Portland (either one) if the difference meant reduced comfort and, dare I say it, fun? -- JM
I agree with this so much. I have a $1600 CX bike, with really light/fast 35mm slicks on it. A great bike in many ways, fits well, pretty fast.

My 1995 rigid MTB with a few modifications gets ridden 90% of the time now. I did have 2.35" balloon tires, now 2.125 fast rolling MTB tires. It just handles amazingly, stable but fun. Much better geometry, IMO. And the fat tires are just worry free. Cruising MPH might be 1mph different around town. Spirited road riding might end up a few MPH slower on longer rides. But the ride is just fun. I can't argue with that.
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Old 08-30-15, 10:24 PM
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Perhaps heresy for this subforum, but I think that is a really cool mountain bike and deserves to remain one... get a bike more like what you want.
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Old 08-30-15, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by AlTheKiller View Post
A lot of people will tell you to get skinny slicks. Like 1.5" or less. They're not necessarily wrong, but I think skinny slicks on a MTB aren't all they're cracked up to be on this platform. Wider slicks, however, are amazing. I think the 2" range is probably a perfect mix of size/weight/volume. You can get really fast, light tires in that range(schwalbe kojak), or something with more flat protection(tons of options here). Alternatively, balloon tires are really damn fun, and still a lot faster than knobby tread MTB tires. Schwalbe makes a bunch, and if you ever decide to take it on a bumpy trail you can drop the pressure super low and have fun instead of rattling your fillings out.

Whenever I hear people talk about "fat" tires being slow, it's almost always because they compared a HEAVY fat tire to a much lighter skinny tire. Now, obviously, there's a limit where two tires of equal construction but different sizes must have a weight difference, but it's usually smaller than you think. The problem is most tires stocked in bike shops tend to more extremes. People who want skinny tires want less weight, people who want fatter tires want heavy duty stuff, so that's what you find around, and it makes those highly flawed comparisons very common.

Great example is my room mate who had 700x23 gatorskins on his roadbike commuter. I had 700x33.3 Jack Browns on my CX bike, and they measure noticeably wider than that. Even though he knows bike stuff, his first impression when I told him I tackled a very steep road ride in town was "on THOSE huge tires??", even though his anorexic little gatorskins weighed more and have much more rolling resistance, pretty much less performance in every way (besides flat protection).

Cliffs: fat slicks on MTBs are fun, and keep it versatile. Skinny slicks are theoretically faster, and fine if all you do is sit up straight and pedal along. But if you want to keep some MTB characteristics, go fat and fast.

Not my bike, pulled from the interwebs.
Wide tires are better. Balloon tires are more comfortable than skinny tires and roll faster. On rough roads and trails, the most effective suspension you can put on a bike are tires that can absorb shock and road buzz.

And on a 26" MTB 26 X 1.0 road slicks feel harsh. The narrow tires feel like a jackhammer and the ride is unpleasant. I'd go wide and take comfort over speed any day.
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Old 08-30-15, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by NormanF View Post
Schwalbe Big Apple 26 X 2.0 will make a huge difference in riding comfort and you can ride fast compared to knobbies.

That and upgrading to a rigid fork will make your MTB feel right at the home on the streets.

I tried Big Bens for 3,000 miles recently on my converted MTB commuter, and went back to 1.5" tires, the Vittoria Randonneur Pro's I ran for the previous 6,000+ miles. I have Vittoria Rando Pros on my converted MTB tourer as well. Superb tire, good value, and regularly on sale at Nashbar online, sign up for their e-mail alerts.

One of the reasons I went away from the Big Bens, was that even with the biggest fenders I could find (P65's?) the fenders weren't as effective in the rain as good fenders with 1.5" tires. Fenders are essential to my riding year 'round.

I run my front tire at about 75 PSI and my rear at 90, and while it is true the fatter tires like Big Apples and Big Bens were a little more comfortable over the rough roads here, I don't think they were worth the penalty in handling and speed. Someone mentioned Continental Town & Country's, I used to like these when they were available in 1.75" and I think they were slightly different in compound and tread, but I don't think they're a good tire in larger sizes than that. The Big Ben is a much better ~2" tire. BTW, I was glad I went with the 2.15" size, the 2.35" wouldn't have fit under fenders at all.

Good 1.5" tires don't limit my riding whatsoever, I still jump on and off curbs, happily ride fist sized railroad balast gravel roads, dirt roads, and the occasional light singletrack, usually while carrying a bit of a load in a bag, or even more on my MTB tourer. Smaller MTB tires can be very limiting in the riding you do in them. My 1&1/8th Conti Gatorskins pinch flatted if I even attempted to set the front wheel down off a curb.


You might consider a handlebar with more rise and sweep.

If you are riding in traffic, I highly recommend having an Airzoundz horn.

All bikes should have a bell. Nothing beats a brass bell for penetrating tone and distance. Origin8 and Crane make some great ones.
Get a rack and a pannier or trunk bag or a large saddlebag to haul your gear. I've been eyeing the click-fix system for this, but really like my large saddlebag on a QR saddlebag support. If heel strike is an issue with a rear pannier, the Jannd Expedition and some other racks put the load back further and solve this.


For lights I like an expensive Cree knockoff small flashlight, rechargeable batteries, and a flashlight holder on the handlebar for seeing potholes and being seen by cars. I also run a Cateye Reflex as both a reflector and a flashing front light. There are a variety of good helmet lights out there, I can't recommend having a helmet light enough, just make sure it isn't too powerful, I find a .5 watt headlamp is enough and wouldn't go much stronger. I think having a rear helmet light is a good idea too, it gets seens sooner, especially in hilly areas, and helps ID a bicyclist. There's a number of good options out there for this, but I like the Planet Bike 3-H as it is self leveling and so should always be pointing straight back, and I run rechargeable batteries, so a single AAA is good for me. Lots of great rear lights out there, I like rack mounted Planet Bike Superflash and Mars 4.0 strapped to a seatpost or saddlebag. I like running one steady rear light (the Mars) so that cars can judge my distance, and the Superflashes zzzPOPzzzz pattern gets drivers attention early, but mounted low on a seatstay or to a rack mount helps keep it from being too blinding.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 08-30-15 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 08-30-15, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Hard to install a rigid fork, would change geometry radically, just leave the suspension fork and adjust to lockout or max firmness. Tires for sure.
It doesn't necessarily have to change the geometry, there are suspension corrected aftermarket forks available. I've done it before, my girlfriends 1996 GT Pantera is superb with a Tange Infinity rigid fork now and I'm in the process of doing it for an early hybrid for myself with one of the Rivendell unpainted forks. One can actually take the opportunity to purposefully change the geometry a bit at this time, in our case, we went a few mm's higher and tamed it perfectly from a moderately aggressive mountain bike into a perfect city bike/light tourer.

There are good threads here on converting an MTB and going to a rigid fork. The forums' search function doesn't work, but if you google "bike forums" + "show me your MTB conversion" and separately a query on rigid forks on MTB's you'll get a couple of excellent threads here.

Fenders could be hard to install, but possibly can rig something up.
There are options for fenders out there.


Same with rack.
Several good options for racks out there.

Gearing is fine.
Disagree. With slick tires, they'll quickly want a 46 or 48 tooth front chainring.


Or, sell it and buy a more street oriented bike.
This would be easier, and probably more economical and definitely less of a bodge. Depending on where you live, you can probably pick up a mint condition, high end, 15-25 year old full rigid mountain bike that would make a better basis for a conversion for about a hundred bucks.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 08-30-15 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 08-30-15, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Simoune View Post
Thanks guys, not sure if ill switch to rigid bike fork since I can lock my suspension. I will definitely check out the advantages of fat vs narrow tires though. Anyone knows what are the minimum and maximum sizes of tires will fit on my rims?
Any 26" tire will fit those rims. Didn't know you had a lockout, that definitely makes it a better candidate for a conversion.
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Old 08-31-15, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero View Post
This would be easier, and probably more economical and definitely less of a bodge. Depending on where you live, you can probably pick up a mint condition, high end, 15-25 year old full rigid mountain bike that would make a better basis for a conversion for about a hundred bucks.
If someone is going to go through all the hassle of sourcing a new bike optimized for commute/errand duty... why, oh why would/should they look for another MTB??? A Touring or CX platform has to make a better basis for a conversion than an MTB. Just because cagers use military spec off-road vehicles to make runs to Plaid Pantry for Pork Rinds doesn't mean that cyclists should emulate that kind of mispurposing.
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Old 08-31-15, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Medic Zero View Post
I can't recommend having a helmet light enough, just make sure it isn't too powerful, I find a .5 watt headlamp is enough and wouldn't go much stronger.
I find even .5 watt too much, unless its rainy out, so I let the batteries run down in my garage and use the light only after its really, really dim. Sometimes the light goes out completely half-way through my commute. Perfect. I may soon try just not using any lights at all at night.
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Old 08-31-15, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I find even .5 watt too much, unless its rainy out, so I let the batteries run down in my garage and use the light only after its really, really dim. Sometimes the light goes out completely half-way through my commute. Perfect. I may soon try just not using any lights at all at night.
Dim to no lights? Good luck with that. Trying for a darwin award?
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