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Road to Mtn bike?

Old 10-28-09, 08:26 AM
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woodenidol
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Road to Mtn bike?

So my commute has changed after my restart on commuting and some sections are pretty rough. The bike lane on the bridge in particular is fairly rough and with a fair bit of debri at times. I was perusing Craigslist for bikes for fun when I saw an old Trek 800 mountain bike conversion. Guy had done a nice job on the single speen conversion (not sure I would drop it to a single speed, got that now) and I liked the bigger tires, which has gotten me thinking about my commute.

Anyway, has anyone made this switch and what did you think? I tried this back when I rode to college a zillion years ago and while the bike was fun, it seems incredibly slow. Its likely just getting a cross bike with better clearance and putting on some bigger tires would do the the same, but Im intrigued by the project I guess.

My present commute is 14-16 miles one way, depending on what train I catch.

Thanks for any input.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:37 AM
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Hmmm, the wheels are turning now. Well slowly and there is a grind. smile.

Maybe I could go with an IGH hub.

Old Trek 800 or Antelope, with an IGH worth more than the bike. Hmm, that sounds about how smart I am.
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Old 10-28-09, 08:38 AM
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If I were going to put 30+ miles a day into my commute, I'd definitely go with a CX over an MTB... Faster, more comfortable, etc...
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Old 10-28-09, 09:34 AM
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For my winter commuter I'm putting dirt drops (salsa bell laps actually) on an old 700c MTB.

Looking to get the best from both worlds.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by woodenidol View Post
Hmmm, the wheels are turning now. Well slowly and there is a grind. smile.

Maybe I could go with an IGH hub.

Old Trek 800 or Antelope, with an IGH worth more than the bike. Hmm, that sounds about how smart I am.
This isn't a bad way to go, the Nexus and Sturmey 8-speeds are less than $200 if you shop around. They're geared differently, though, so your chainring choice would be affected by which hub you chose. But don't be fooled into thinking you'll hammer through town with that setup, it's heavy, and yes, they're slow. But 15MPH still isn't walking.

I guess it depends on what kind of bike you stumble across, and how much modification it needs to get where you want it. One of the guys at work here is buying a crossover bike for neighborhood riding, but he normally rides a carbon fairy bike... I don't think he'd be happy with a MTB conversion. I however ride a MTB with slicks all the time, so it doesn't bother me at all. And I can take it offroad if I have to swerve into a ditch or shoulder.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:13 AM
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I recently started using an old rigid Trek 820 for commuting. Dropped it to a single speed, keep it at about 67 gear inches. Threw on some rather fat slicks. It makes for a very comfy ride, and I didn't lose too much speed. My 7 mile commute takes about 5 minutes longer.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:15 AM
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My mountain bike and CX bike have similar cruising speeds in the city.

But it's worth mentioning that this is a MTB designed for XC racing, fitted with 700C wheels.

Mountain bikes that are heavier, more upright, and/or designed for freeride-type applications will be slower.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
My mountain bike and CX bike have similar cruising speeds in the city.

But it's worth mentioning that this is a MTB designed for XC racing, fitted with 700C wheels.

Mountain bikes that are heavier, more upright, and/or designed for freeride-type applications will be slower.
Correct... mine's an aluminum hardtail, big difference from a dual suspension setup. A cross-country lightweight MTB isn't that heavy at all.
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Old 10-28-09, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by woodenidol View Post
Hmmm, the wheels are turning now. Well slowly and there is a grind. smile.

Maybe I could go with an IGH hub.

Old Trek 800 or Antelope, with an IGH worth more than the bike. Hmm, that sounds about how smart I am.
I didn't hear anything in your first post that would necessitate a drivetrain change.

Is this a real need, or just the urge to spend money?
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Old 10-28-09, 10:55 AM
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I'd hold out for a Trek 990 personally, and, like Jeff, not change drivetrain until it becomes necessary.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:03 PM
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Definitely... if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:28 PM
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Well I have no such bike at the moment. The drivetrain consideration is for ease of maintanance. I stopped riding my road bike in the winter as I got annoyed with cleaning up the drivetrain. Im lazy and like to ride, not clean or maintain. I ride the Single speed for that reason. Besides, Im intrigued by the minimilist approach now. I am thinking old Trek Hardtail MTN bike, IGH with coaster brake. For now, its just me and my trusty Madison. Thanks for all the input.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:46 PM
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No problem, woodenidol. I've got a Sturmey 8-speed drum brake hub on one of my bikes, and I love it (though it's a bit noisy). If you need info on it, I'll gladly help.
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Old 10-28-09, 12:50 PM
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I have a Trek MTB I use for my winter riding and it isn't that big of deal to maintain. I just wipe it down quick during the week and a little chain lube on the week-end and clean out the gears once a month if the week-end weather permits.
It's about to go into winter #2 and I rode it during the summer as a regular MTB. Plus having the shifting ability during Wester New York winters was a plus (made it easier on these old knees).
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