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convert Mt. bike to commuter, or buy commuter bike

Old 06-21-07, 12:40 PM
  #1  
gholt
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convert Mt. bike to commuter, or buy commuter bike

I have a dilemia. Since my road bike is in the shop and waiting to see if Trek will warranty the back whee, it made me ponder if I should either buy a bike that is more durable for commuting, or to get a set a wheels for my mountain bike and put slicks on them.

The main problem I have using my road bike is on we weather. Because of the design of the bike The only pair of fenders that I can use are the RACE XCS something or other, so when the fender is mounted, it leaves a pretty big gap at the bottom of the fender, so, in all actualaty it does not pick up much stuff.

So, my thinking would be to either get another bike made for commuting, (Road style that can accomidate fenders and have more sturdy wheels, and more easialy accomidate weight on the back wheeel), or to make a few changes to the MTB that can be changed back and use the mt. bike when the weather is not so good for wider tire and better fenders.

My road bike is a Gian OCR with Bontrager Race wheels (I know they aren't the best for commuting, but I thought I would ride them until they fail. It looks like Trek will replace the back wheel, but it will take a while to get the new one.)

My Mt bike is a Stumpjumber basic, hardtail. I have the same petals on both bikes, so I don't have to switch shoes for either (SPD) It had deore hubs with a mavic 717 fron rim and a cheaper back rim with deore hub.

So, the question is what would be better overall, or would it be cheaper to buy wheels and fenders for the mt. bike.
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Old 06-21-07, 12:44 PM
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gholt,

Do you commute now on your road bike (up until it went into the shop that is)?
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Old 06-21-07, 12:47 PM
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I love the road bike, but when the weather is bad, it doesn't work the best because i think it was mainly built for racinig.
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Old 06-21-07, 12:48 PM
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Do you use the MTB for anything else or does it mostly sit around?
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Old 06-21-07, 01:00 PM
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I have used a mountain bike as a commuter and here is my take on it.

Mountain bike frames are generally heavier than road bike frames.
Mountain bike standard gearing is pretty low for road use.
The chainstays on mountain bikes are shorter than a road bike, so if you use panniers, you will likely hit your heel on them.

All that being said, I found the mountain bike to be an ample commuter bike. I used a backpack with hydration bladder, so the pannier issue was not a factor. I put drop bars and barcon shifters on mine and was very pleased with the way it rode and handled. The wheels are pretty bulletproof for road use. The only change I might make would be with the cranks. For my ride, I could get my peachy fine with a 53-42 up front.

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Old 06-21-07, 02:07 PM
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How long's the commute? I find that more than 5 miles on a mtb isn't so fun. With MTB wheels, you can only get so narrow a tire, somewhere around 1.25" minimum. Definitely slower than a road bike. Then again, we're usually not racing to work..
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Old 06-21-07, 02:09 PM
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Just saw your other post. 20 miles each way. That's a long way, and over 20 miles you'd definitely be able to tell the difference. I don't think you'd like it. I'd be looking at a new road bike type commuter. All the flavors are endlessly debated here.
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Old 06-21-07, 02:49 PM
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"...so when the fender is mounted, it leaves a pretty big gap at the bottom of the fender, so, in all actualaty it does not pick up much stuff."

I cut a piece out of a 4? gallon plaxtic bucket (the squarish kind) and mounted it between the chain stay & seat stay braces. Attaches almost like it was made for it.
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Old 06-21-07, 03:05 PM
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Ok, thanks for all the advice. Found out Trek will replace the back wheel, but the front is toast. So, I out about $150 for the front wheel.

I like the mt bike for the trails, it is great, but it may be a good alternative for getting to work when the weather is bad, i could just take the approach that when it rains I will be completely soaked instead of trying to stay somewhat dry. So, i'll get the slicks for my bike for right now and then see how that goes to see if it is something that I like to commute.

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 06-21-07, 03:59 PM
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I've got a rigid Stumpjumper for my commuter and I love it. I've had it for 17 years, beat the snot out of it all through college both on and off road, then made it my commuter bike when I graduated.
I've got a Blackburn expedition rack, PB Freddy HC fenders, homebrew mudflaps, Profile bar-ends, and my lights/blinkies. I swapped out the mudder tires with Marathon Plus tires for the street, and I haven't had any problems with flats; even through construction/demolition areas, potholes, curbs, etc.
If you're not using the MTB for offroading, then I'd say outfit it for the commute.
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Old 06-21-07, 04:05 PM
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I like my converted mountain bike
http://www.bikeforums.net/showpost.p...postcount=1809
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Old 06-21-07, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bsyptak
How long's the commute? I find that more than 5 miles on a mtb isn't so fun. With MTB wheels, you can only get so narrow a tire, somewhere around 1.25" minimum. Definitely slower than a road bike. Then again, we're usually not racing to work..
You can get 1.0 26" tires.

Anyway I use a converted mtb to commute and get around town. Full fenders, 1.4 slicks, risers with barends for different hand positions. I can't comment on gear ratios as its fixed gear, but I have no problems anywhere in the city on it. Awesome bombproof bike that gets riden 365 sun, rain or snow.
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Old 06-21-07, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by bsyptak
How long's the commute? I find that more than 5 miles on a mtb isn't so fun. With MTB wheels, you can only get so narrow a tire, somewhere around 1.25" minimum. Definitely slower than a road bike. Then again, we're usually not racing to work..
26 x 1.25 is the roughly the same width as a 700 x 32 (If I've worked my maths properly.)

While a 25 or 28 is probably more common, a 32 isn't really a HUGE tire to run for commuting or touring. I run a 26 x 1.75, just because I like the extra cushion it gives me on rough roads.

25 = 1"
28 = 1 1/8
32 = 1 1/4
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Old 06-21-07, 07:11 PM
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Wait, why is Trek warrantying the wheel if the bike is a Giant?

Anyways, the mountain bike will make a fine commuter. Depending on the model, you may only be able to get clip on fenders, but you can get the full kind, probably, as well as a rack if you need it. Also, you can put on slicks for the road. Not even really necessary, of course, but they are nicer to ride on then knobbies.

The mountain bike even with slicks will be a bit slower than the roadie, but who cares? It's also a lot more durable, which you want if the bike is your main mode of transport to and from work.
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Old 06-21-07, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by CliftonGK1
26 x 1.25 is the roughly the same width as a 700 x 32 (If I've worked my maths properly.)
I'm pretty sure 700's are closer to 27", right?

I always wonder in the commuting forum how long of a ride in we're talking about though. It makes a difference I think. I used to commute on a front suspension mtb happy as a clam. Nowaday w/ the longer commute - simply wouldn't work unless I sacrifice necesary sleep.

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Old 06-22-07, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by pyze-guy
You can get 1.0 26" tires.
Yes, you can get them, but I think most standard mtb rims are too wide to accomodate them safely. Plus, mtb's look hideous with really tiny tires.
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Old 06-22-07, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by M_S
Wait, why is Trek warrantying the wheel if the bike is a Giant?
I bought the road bike "Giannt" from Wrench at the bike shop. He had the Bontrager Race wheels on it. So, that is why Trek is warranting the bike. After 2nd thought I wondered if it was a good idea to put these wheels on again, but I got another back wheel under the warranty, so I bought another front one to match. So, when these go kaput (sp) again, I will have to get something that has a better spoke pattern.

I put slicks on the bike last night, Bontrager Select, rode in this morning and I wasn't much slower than my road bike. it was quite a bit more comfortable than the road bike though.
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Old 06-22-07, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bsyptak
Just saw your other post. 20 miles each way. That's a long way, and over 20 miles you'd definitely be able to tell the difference. I don't think you'd like it. I'd be looking at a new road bike type commuter. All the flavors are endlessly debated here.
A touring bike would fit the bill nicely. Nearly as rugged as a mountain bike and much more rugged than a race bike. Plus it has every thing you need for carrying stuff.
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Old 06-22-07, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by marcoocram
I'm pretty sure 700's are closer to 27", right?
Width of tire. Not diameter.
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Old 06-22-07, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
A touring bike would fit the bill nicely. Nearly as rugged as a mountain bike and much more rugged than a race bike. Plus it has every thing you need for carrying stuff.
So, what are the better touring bikes around that would have at least the 105 build with decent wheels?
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Old 06-22-07, 08:40 AM
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I commute on a Cannondale hard tail mtn bike. I set it up with lights, fenders and such, and bought a close ratio cogset that works for my flat commute. I also got 1" Tom Slick tires that made a HUGE difference.
At 8+ miles the difference between it and my road bike doesn't really matter. Plus the suspension fork is kinda nice in the morning.
Unless you are looking for ran excuse to buy a new bike (a legit excuse) or really need to keep the mtn, bike a mtn bike, I'd convert it.
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Old 06-22-07, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by gholt
I put slicks on the bike last night, Bontrager Select, rode in this morning and I wasn't much slower than my road bike. it was quite a bit more comfortable than the road bike though.
That's what I would do... Commuter bikes take a beating, so you want them to be durable and cheap. I wouldn't go out and buy a touring bike, unless you just feel the urge to spend money. Ride the heck out of the mountain bike.

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Old 03-07-09, 01:10 PM
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MTN bike as a commuter

When I decided to convert my hardtail mountain bike into a road bike I made very simple changes: replace the suspension fork with a rigid fork, replace studded tires with Tioga City Slicker slicks and add a stem riser. The slicks make the bike feel more like a road bike that a mountain bike, the rigid fork adds to the weight reduction issue and the stem riser adds comfort.
There are time when I like mountain bikes more than road bikes because of their versatility. When road bikes are good for one application mountain bikes can also serve as a road bike, with some simple changes.
Now, don't missunderstand me, I like road bikes. They are naturally faster, but mountain bike are just as good if road bike - like speed is not a factor.
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Old 03-07-09, 07:47 PM
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In this area older steel MTB's w/o suspension seem to go dirt cheap. I just picked up a 1990 Trek 950 lugged Chrome Moly MTB for $60 at Goodwill. It needed new brake cables and replacement tires, along with a thorough cleaning, but overall not too bad. Per a web check this was originally a $700+ MTB. The earliest price I could find was for a 93 when MSRP was about $769.

I am retired so not commuting but intend to use it as a beater bike. I may end up doing a Xtracycle kit install to use as a shopping and hauling bike.
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Old 03-07-09, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by gholt View Post
it was quite a bit more comfortable than the road bike though.
+

Hardtail MTB bike's make good commuters, comfy upright riding position, durable frame, ability to mount full length fenders, plenty of eyelets to mount cargo.

Keep up with converting it.
Oh and tires don't need to be narrow, wide slicks might be a good choice for you too; give a smooth ride and should still be able to handle trails.
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