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fully convert MTB or road bike?

Old 07-02-09, 09:17 AM
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Darth_Firebolt
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fully convert MTB or road bike?

I'm posting this here because I use my bike to commute/ run errands most of the time, with a "pleasure ride" every now and then. More on the commuting end of the spectrum.
Right now i'm riding the HardRock Sport in my sig around quite a bit. I have a BB7 160 on the front, michelin transworld city tires, and toe clips/ straps for pedals. right now i'm spinning big ring + small cog on the flats comfortably. this means i have no option but to spin stupid fast down hills or coast, and i really don't like to break my rhythm.
here's where my questions begin.
Should i go road gearing + 26x 1.5 (or smaller) tires + drop bars + rigid fork (crappy stock suntour on it right now), or just buy a road bike?
I would ride the Schwinn Traveler in my sig, but that is more of a restoration project/ in town bike. it really sucks in the hilly areas (a.k.a. where i live).
I really like the more upright seating position of the MTB, but i could probably get used to drops, too. I am thinking about a Specialized Allez or Sirrus, a Jamis Satellite, Ventura, or Allegro, and anything else along those lines. not a hardcore race bike, but something more at home on the road than off it. i am not afraid of used bikes, i just wanted to provide modern examples.
so... what should i do? : ]
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Old 07-02-09, 09:24 AM
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I would consider a Cyclocross bike. You will get 700c wheels & tires that roll much faster than 26 inchers. You will have good all-around gearing for road use and easier trail riding.

Consider;

Jamis Nova Pro
Surly Cross Check
Kona Jake

Upgrading a MTB is not cost effective and you will not be able to improve the bike to meet all your needs.

Michael
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Old 07-02-09, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
I would consider a Cyclocross bike. You will get 700c wheels & tires that roll much faster than 26 inchers. You will have good all-around gearing for road use and easier trail riding.
I'll agree. I just picked up a Fuji Cross Pro and I love it.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:18 AM
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You should just buy a road bike - the cost of replacing the entire drivetrain plus the handlebars plus the fork? The only thing you'll have left from the original bike would be the wheels and frame.

If you want to do all the work of replacing that stuff, I would suggest buying an steel road bike from the 80's - it should cost about $100 to $150, then replacing everything on it. It will end up being faster, lighter, and more suited for road riding for the same money - plus you'll still have your mountain bike.

For your road bike if you don't know or don't think you'll like the racy hunched over position I would recommend trying the Specialized Sequoia -
https://www.specialized.com/OA_MEDIA/...char_sil_d.jpg



The Specialized Allez is a road bike designed for racing, the Sequoia is a road bike designed for comfortable riding - more upright handlebars, more vibration absorption, a more stable frame geometry that doesn't require you to pay attention every second to keep going straight.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:33 AM
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Another vote here for a cyclocross bike or a touring bike. These offer more flexibility (ability to use fenders, racks, larger tires) and are built for carrying more than just the rider.
Most pure road bikes are aimed at racers (or aspiring racers), and have shorter wheelbases, less fork rake, lighter weight frames and components, etc, none of which suit the needs of a commuting / recreational rig.
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Old 07-02-09, 10:41 AM
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You're spinning a 42/11 combo "comfortably" on the flats? that should put you around 26mph @ a cadence of 90...wow..

If you like the upright position of your MTB, I'd explore the "fast hybrids" on the market...typically those with tires 700x32c or narrower, some will use more road oriented components, some more MTB oriented, but either way a 700 tire plus a bigger ring should get you where you need to be...

Your 42/11 with a 26x1.9" tire give you a top gear of 98.3 gear inches

moving to a hybrid with a 48/11 and a 700x28 tire gives 116.8 gear inches (or 31mph @ 90) (Jamis Coda)
moving to a road with a 52/12 and a 700x23 tire gives 113.9 gear inches ( or 30mph @ 90) (Jamis Satellite)
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Old 07-02-09, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by barturtle View Post
You're spinning a 42/11 combo "comfortably" on the flats? that should put you around 26mph @ a cadence of 90...wow..
I'm guessing he's riding nowhere near 90rpm.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
I'm guessing he's riding nowhere near 90rpm.

That's what I consider comfortable...any lower and I'm working too hard.
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Old 07-02-09, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
I'm guessing he's riding nowhere near 90rpm.
correct. right around 70 is comfortable for me. i usually spin faster going up hills, and just rest on the flats.
i didn't start this thread to be a "you need to spin faster" bashfest. i would spin faster in my top gear if i was slightly more aerodynamic than a brick with large tires. big ring + 7 (instead of 8) is just wasted energy for me, since there's no discomfort/ mashing going on at 70 rpm, and i would usually go around the same speed (due to sitting upright and "fat" tires).
i guess the main reason i want a more road-oriented hill friendly bike is so i can put my dirt tires back on my MTB and still have a bike that does well in the hills. my Traveler does not fit this requirement.
i'm strongly considering the Sirrus Sport now. it seems exactly how my MTB would turn out if i completed the road conversion, only with 700c wheels and rack mounts. i'll check out some of the others you guys have mentioned when i get home.
thanks.
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Old 07-02-09, 01:17 PM
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I love cyclocross bikes as commuters, but I think you could get what you want with just a new set of chainrings and a rigid fork. The conversion to drop bars is expensive and unnecessary. It doesn't even sound like you need a skinnier tire. Of course, that wouldn't free up your mountain bike to be a mountain bike.

I've got a 48-38-28 X-Flow power spline crank sitting in my garage that I'd be willing to trade you for your Iso-Flow if you're interested in changing your gearing on the cheap (though I'm not sure either of them is worth the cost of shipping).
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Old 07-02-09, 01:23 PM
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drop bars can be raised, so you can get a road or cyclocross bike and still be a bit more upright
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Old 07-02-09, 01:29 PM
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If you're going to check out the Sirrius Sport, might as well check out its competitors, Jamis Coda and Allegro, KHS Flite 250, Kona Dew and Cannondale Road Warrior to name a few...
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Old 07-02-09, 01:47 PM
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I tried to commute comfortably on my MTB with shocks and whatnot. It didn't work.

I tried to commute comfortably on my road bike without rack or fenders. That didn't work unless it was sunny and not hot.

I eventually decided to change my mountain bike into a commuter- I got a new rigid 700c front fork and a sealed headset. I got a 700c wheelset(rather, I had it lying around). I got a brake adapter from mavic to run a 700c on the rear and, luckily, my frame had clearance. I put my road fenders on and got a rack and panniers.

Now obviously, the slick 700x23c tires and no suspension make it a quick, efficient machine- but it's still got some weight to it because of the "throw me down a mountain" aluminum frame. it's also pretty jarring because of the frame as well, which was designed to be damped. The efficiency is great, the weight is actually nice, and what's most important is that the geometry is lazy.

The lazy geometry of a mountain bike is GREAT for short commutes. it handles like a scooter, it leans through turns predictably and takes a bit of leaning to get knocked off course. I love this for my short, super hilly commute. on a longer, faster, or less hilly trip it would likely get tiresome... but I love how it handles... like a mountain bike... with the efficiency of a heavy road bike.

If you really are going any distance, a mtb will be a workout. maybe you want that- but the quest or sirrus or sequoia or jake will all be a lot more at home on the road... and to me it sounds like that's what you want.

the dew, to me, rides somewhere inbetween those options and my converted mtb.
it's SUPER upright, even more so than my mtb... it's also fast and relatively quick while still stable, and the big wide tires are great for smoothing out the pavement.

i'd ride a dew, sequoia, sirrus, jake, and a quest and then decide what you really want.

oh, and if you buy used parts you can convert a mtb for very little money.
ymmv:
wheelset-125(i had one lying around)
used fork, headset and stem, plus install- 50 (great deal if you ask me)
brake adapter- 30

210, but you lose the use of your mountain bike. for me, i already had everything but the fork and brake adapter, so it was a no brainer- i spent less than 100 on the bike itself, then the rack and panniers are another story.

compare this to a dew plus which gives you discs for 550, and well... that's a lot of money- though you're left with two bikes.


i'm just here to say that i converted my mtb and i'm happy i did. i don't know if i could afford a dew as well as panniers.

if you're thinking you want a new bike- go test ride the ones that have been mentioned. they'll all be a great experience to aid in your decision making.

Last edited by cc700; 07-02-09 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 07-02-09, 03:21 PM
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i use to be in the same exact position as you Darth, had a mountain bike and had some road slicks on it. then i was going to put road gearing on it. but i'm glad i just went onto craigslist and bought a used roadbike for $200 (03 khs flite 500.) best decision i ever made. for me it cost less to buy a used road bike than to convert my mountain bike to be more road worthy. my average went from 15-17 mph to 18-20 mph. also i thought you had to baby the road wheels, thinking that it was fragile, but i was wrong. i ride in chicago where there are many potholes, and sometimes i jump off curbs from sidewalks sometimes. the wheels are still true. plus my bike felt wayyyyyyy lighter. so carrying it upstairs/downstairs, or over obstacles makes it pretty easy.

mountain bikes are great for short commutes as someone stated above. but if you were to ride longer than a few miles, road bikes are best. the wheels are bigger, skinnier, has better gearing, better geometry, in other words, road bikes is more efficient in pedalling than mountain bike.

last year my friends and i did the mcdonalds night ride (around a 25 mile bike ride around chicago), and my friends that had road bikes beat me by 20 minutes. the first couple of miles i could keep up with them, i could even hit 30 mph easily on a flat road while my friends on road bikes couldn't. but after a few more miles, i couldn't keep up with them anymore. thats where the efficiency of the road bikes came in. my other friends on mountain bikes and i were too tired to keep up with my other friends on their road bikes. although it mostly depends on the rider on how fast they bike, having a road bike makes your pedalling more efficient, so you'll pedal less to get the same distance as you would have on a mountain bike.

so in short, i think you should go for a road bike. buy a used modern road bike on craigslist, its way cheaper than buying a brand new one. police auctions are a good place to buy bikes too.
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Old 07-02-09, 05:00 PM
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Your sig chides people to use the search, but you asked one of the most common questions here and the answer is always the same.

Anyway... are you in/around Fayetteville?
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Old 07-02-09, 08:16 PM
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I converted a 99 Jamis Exile mountain bike into a commuter. I am not sure how long you have been commuting on your Hard Rock but it seems like a while. Like another poster mentioned, for short trips most mountain bikes perform well enough. For greater distances (10 miles or more) I would definetly look into a roadbike.

However, if you are willing to spend some more on your Hard Rock and you plan on using it strictly for commuting there are some things you can do. You might want to look into changing the handlebar to give you more hand positions. I believe nashbar had/has a trekking bar (~$23). Also a Titec H-bar (I think) would do the job.

I had the Michelin TransWorld City's and while they were better than my stock knobbies they were heavy and slow (in my estimation). I now have Specialized FatBoys (~$20) which are slick with a max psi of 100 and are 1.25 inches. They are a lot faster than Michelins but a little harsher ride; though the Manitou fork does help.

You could also look into changing the fork (suspension corrected) (~$60) to help save some weight and help with pedaling effeciency.

For pedals I just have the stock ones with PowerGrip straps (~$30). They work well enough for me

As a disclaimer I now commute on a LHT though I did and do commute sometimes on my Exile .
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Old 07-03-09, 09:33 AM
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Converted MTB - Full blown Dorksville

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Old 07-03-09, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by ok_commuter View Post
Your sig chides people to use the search, but you asked one of the most common questions here and the answer is always the same.

Anyway... are you in/around Fayetteville?
i started my own thread because i have already done the basic "BF MTB Commuter Conversion" and was wondering if i should turn my MTB into a full-blown road only bike, or get something else so i could still have a MTB for off-road use. and the answer is not always the same. there are suggestions for cross bikes, there are a few votes to fully convert my MTB, there are a few votes for whatever these bikes are called, and i still haven't decided what i'm going to do. radiohead... nice.
and i'm just north and east from springdale a bit. sometimes i ride to and down the scull creek trail to meet friends on dickson street.

my commute is around 13 miles one way. there is about .5 miles of dirt road (there is a hard-packed tire track that i ride in and it's as smooth as most of the asphalt on my commute). i usually ride about 6 miles during my lunch break to go get a chocolate malt (guilty pleasure, and my GF works at braums. ^_^)

and thank you dobber, exile, hypermaniac, cc700, and everyone else who gave me alternatives to what i suggested. i have lots of homework to do now! finding a bike like this that 1) accepts racks, 2) possibly disk brake mounts, 3) doesn't weigh more than my MTB, 4) isn't too fragile, and 5) is less than $700 NEW isn't as hard as i thought! i have too many choices! woe is me.
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Old 07-03-09, 02:26 PM
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I too am curious if it is worth converting my current MTB into a more paved road efficient machine. What I am more interested about is the ROI and the laws of diminishing returns. What would be the best bang for the buck (apart from getting fit .... am working on that!) to get an MTB to be faster on roads?
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Old 07-03-09, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by wunderkind View Post
I too am curious if it is worth converting my current MTB into a more paved road efficient machine. What I am more interested about is the ROI and the laws of diminishing returns. What would be the best bang for the buck (apart from getting fit .... am working on that!) to get an MTB to be faster on roads?
Depends on how your bike is currently configured. If you have knobby tires, that is far and away the best bang for the buck you can get. If you have a suspension seatpost, I'd say that's the next best change you can make. You don't want to waste energy compressing your seatpost.

If you have a suspension for with lock-out capabilities, locking it out is a free upgrade. If not, a rigid fork will spare you some wasted energy. Regardless of lockout, suspension forks are crazy heavy and even a cheapo rigid fork like the one Nashbar is selling for $60 right now would probably save you a pound or two.

Finally, if you aren't using them yet, consider clipless pedals. They're more of an investment (shoes + pedals), but you can move them to whatever bike you have.

BTW, all of the above is the standard stuff you'd find with the search feature. Personally, I don't mind repeating it, because I for one am here to talk bikes.

I am a big fan of switching to a cassette with road gearing (12-25, for instance) because you rarely need a 32t gear when commuting and having tight gear spacing makes the bike noticeably more efficient. I'd probably rate this right after the tires, but a lot of people disagree with me.
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Old 07-03-09, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
I am a big fan of switching to a cassette with road gearing (12-25, for instance) because you rarely need a 32t gear when commuting and having tight gear spacing makes the bike noticeably more efficient. I'd probably rate this right after the tires, but a lot of people disagree with me.
i use my big cog (idk what it is, probably 32) daily, so just think of how much you use 1 x 1 before you swap cassettes. or get a megarange if applicable for your bike.
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Old 07-03-09, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Depends on how your bike is currently configured. If you have knobby tires, that is far and away the best bang for the buck you can get. If you have a suspension seatpost, I'd say that's the next best change you can make. You don't want to waste energy compressing your seatpost.

If you have a suspension for with lock-out capabilities, locking it out is a free upgrade. If not, a rigid fork will spare you some wasted energy. Regardless of lockout, suspension forks are crazy heavy and even a cheapo rigid fork like the one Nashbar is selling for $60 right now would probably save you a pound or two.
I do have knobbies. Am in the process of researching on "less-knobby" tires. What is this suspension lock-out feature? Mine is an adjustable front suspension type. How do I "lock it out"?
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Old 07-03-09, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
Depends on how your bike is currently configured. If you have knobby tires, that is far and away the best bang for the buck you can get. If you have a suspension seatpost, I'd say that's the next best change you can make. You don't want to waste energy compressing your seatpost.

If you have a suspension for with lock-out capabilities, locking it out is a free upgrade. If not, a rigid fork will spare you some wasted energy. Regardless of lockout, suspension forks are crazy heavy and even a cheapo rigid fork like the one Nashbar is selling for $60 right now would probably save you a pound or two.
What do you mean by suspension lockout? How do you do it? Mine's an adjustable Suntour shocks. Is there a away to twist the dial to lock it out? Is that what you mean?
I am in the process of researching on less-knobby tires.
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Old 07-03-09, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth_Firebolt View Post
i use my big cog (idk what it is, probably 32) daily, so just think of how much you use 1 x 1 before you swap cassettes. or get a megarange if applicable for your bike.
I disagree.

I had a MegaRange on my first bike and hated it. That last gear felt like the chain was falling off, so I never used it. In effect, instead of having a 14-34 7-speed, I had a 14-24 6-speed. Blech! I swapped it out for a 13-28 7-speed freewheel, which gave me a lower gear I was willing to use.

Whatever your lowest gear, within a month or so you'll develop enough leg strength for it to be enough for your daily ride, whatever your daily ride is. If it's not low enough now, you'll get stronger. That's a win.

Of course, this is obviously my own very subjective opinion. I don't doubt that the MegaRange makes some people happy.
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Old 07-03-09, 06:51 PM
  #25  
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Location: Beaverton, OR
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Originally Posted by wunderkind View Post
What do you mean by suspension lockout? How do you do it? Mine's an adjustable Suntour shocks. Is there a away to twist the dial to lock it out? Is that what you mean?
I am in the process of researching on less-knobby tires.
You probably can't lockout your Suntour. It's generally only a feature of expensive forks. I've never had one, but I mention it, because it's an option for some people. I had a Suntour, and it didn't lock out.

I like the look of those Super Moto's on dobber's bike above, but they aren't as flat resistant as some of the other Schwalbe's. I've got Marathon Supreme's on my 29er, which are really nice if you've got the budget.
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