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Questions about using old Trek 6000 MTN bike as a commuter

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Questions about using old Trek 6000 MTN bike as a commuter

Old 07-21-12, 02:09 PM
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nonlinear
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Questions about using old Trek 6000 MTN bike as a commuter

I have a Trek 6000 mountain bike from the late 1990s. I was planning to use it as a commuter beginning in late August and through the winter, until I get a new bike in the spring. (Ideally, I would get a new bike in August, but I've heard that's off-season for bikes, and I don't want to be stuck buying a "left over" bike.) The bike had been sitting for a few years, and I think it will need some work to get it in shape for commuting.

The bike has gas shocks on the front - do these need to be refilled? I don't think they can be locked out, so i'm kind of stuck with the gas shocks which I would rather not have as I don't think it's the best for commuting on city streets.

I also need new tires. The tires currently on the bike are original from the late 90s. I filled them up a couple of days ago, but didn't have a pressure gauge and overfilled them. today, I noticed that one of the tires had actually popped and blew out the sidewall. I can see the same thing happening on the other tire. I am thinking of putting road tires on the bike, is that possible?

So, I guess my main question is this: is it worth trying to use this mountain bike as a road commuter, considering I need a tune up, new tires, refill the gas shock (?)? Or, should I try and buy a new bike out of season?
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Old 07-21-12, 02:39 PM
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Hey there Nonlinear!

Since you're just waiting for the right time to spring for a new bike, more suitable for your taste as a commuter, I'd just swap that suspended fork with a rigid fork and get some new tires. New 26 inch slicks would fit the bill just fine, in your case.

PS.

You'll need to keep your old MTB as an extra, just in case of a commuting emergency...

N+1 is the key!

Last edited by SlimRider; 07-22-12 at 08:12 AM.
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Old 07-21-12, 02:56 PM
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Slim's got it.

When I started commuting I rode my old '91 ParkPre mountain bike. Just went to the bike shop and got some Kenda 26x1.95 "slicks", put a beam rack on there and rode it. The months I rode that bike helped me narrow down what I wanted in a dedicated commuter.

While not completely necessary, I'll second the suggestion for a rigid fork, especially if you can't lock yours out.

Here's my "original" commuter. Still have it.
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Old 07-21-12, 08:56 PM
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First off, don't think of off season as a bad time to buy a bike. How much do you think bikes change year over year?

Next, you already have a bike. Do you really need another before you've even started?

I ride a 1991 trek 8000 as my commuter, with slicks being the only mod. For my 10 mile NYC commute it is just fine. It does not have a front shock however. I'd look to do something with that.
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Old 07-21-12, 09:33 PM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. I brought my bike to a local bike shop here, and the guy said the shock is fine (it can't be refilled). He suggested new slick tires, a tune up, replacing some cables, new chain and "gears" (i don't know the correct terminology)... so all in, it would cost $250-$300 to get it in shape for commuting.

He also showed me a road bike and a hybrid, both of which were nice but were priced at $1600 and $1100, respectively.

So, I think that I will fix this one up and ride it for the time being, and keep my eyes open for good deals in the fall and winter. And who knows, I might just continue using the Trek for my commuter. Before asking here and at the bike shop, though, I didn't even know if that was possible or a good idea! So thanks for the help.

Also, the guy at the shop said it was very common to set up a mountain bike as a commuter. So now I don't feel so weird about it haha!
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Old 07-21-12, 09:36 PM
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Oh - btw, can anyone recommend a rigid fork for this Trek 6000? What kind of price would that run?

Thanks!
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Old 07-21-12, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by nonlinear View Post
Oh - btw, can anyone recommend a rigid fork for this Trek 6000? What kind of price would that run?

Thanks!
The Nashbar Rigid MTB Fork ~ $50
www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_174928_-1_202347

* Call Nashbar in order to confirm.

1 (877) 688-8600

Last edited by SlimRider; 07-21-12 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 07-22-12, 05:49 AM
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Also, whatever you decide, leave some money aside for accessories. It sounds like you need a floor pump at the very least. Lights if you plan on riding at night are a must. Something to carry with, such as a rack and bag, as backpacks get uncomfortable. I tried riding my road bike with a backpack on to work a month or so ago and I remembered why I don't do that. My back was soaked.

Some cycling specific clothes are also nice, but not really necessary. I ride in my lycra shorts and usually a t-shirt, others don't like having anything cotton, others still will ride in regular shorts. In winter, that depends on where you live.
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Old 07-22-12, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by nonlinear View Post
He suggested new slick tires, a tune up, replacing some cables, new chain and "gears" (i don't know the correct terminology)... so all in, it would cost $250-$300 to get it in shape for commuting.

He also showed me a road bike and a hybrid, both of which were nice but were priced at $1600 and $1100, respectively.
$300 to get your bike commutable sounds crazy to me. Even if that does include a fork swap. I would definitely question a shop that would tell you that you need a ~$1600 bike to begin commuting on.

I suggest finding another shop, tell them that you plan on experimenting with commuting and you do not want to invest too much until you know you want to stick with it. I did my first few thousand miles on a $70 used Raleigh mountain bike (early 90s frame) with not much more than a new set of slick tires, and a $30 set of fenders BC I liked to ride through the puddles on the way to/from work. My total investment for bike/accessories/lights was under $200.
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Old 07-22-12, 10:39 AM
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$300 does seem a little high, only because my wife bought a brand new Specialized Vita for $470, and that's probably a nicer bike than the old Trek the OP has, and I can tell you it is nicer than my Trek 8000 as a hybrid.

As for $1600 or even 1100, there are much cheaper bikes than that which are perfectly good for commuting. You don't want anything too expensive if you are leaving it outside. $1100 for a hybrid is pretty high-end for that kind of bike.
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Old 07-22-12, 10:57 AM
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nonlinear,

You're definitely on the right track, and everyone else has given some great suggestions. I agree that $250-300.00 is way too much to get your bike serviced;
look around your area and see if there's a local bike co-op that might be able to lend a hand. If you buy the cables and tires someone at the co-op can show
you how to complete the work, or perhaps you have a bike savvy buddy that could do it for a 12 pack of Fat Tire or something. Or, take the plunge and DIY...
it's a great way to learn, and comes in handy when you start commuting hard core or meet people who need a helping hand (think aforementioned 12 pack!)

Definitely think about some lights if your commute occurs at night, a good sturdy rack and some sort of bag system (DIY or name brand), and a GOOD lock.
You don't want your new commuting rig to get snagged your first time out!

Good Luck!
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Old 07-22-12, 11:07 AM
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Thanks for all of the advice! The prices might seem high because I'm currently in Canada, and everything is twice the price here than it is in the US. However, I am moving to Tucson in August, where I will be commuting for my new job.

I would be comfortable doing the work myself (I've built 3 or 4 bikes in my life, although they were all single speeds), but it's more of a time issue for me as I need my commuter within the first few days of moving to Tucson, and I will be busy moving in, shopping, buying furniture, etc. I don't really want to have to add in bike work during that time. So, it would be easiest and most convenient for me to just bring it into a shop, but the parts there and have them do the work.

I did call one shop in Tucson who quoted $50 for a tune up (the shop here in Canada wanted $70).
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Old 07-22-12, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by nonlinear View Post
Thanks for all of the advice! The prices might seem high because I'm currently in Canada, and everything is twice the price here than it is in the US. However, I am moving to Tucson in August, where I will be commuting for my new job.

I would be comfortable doing the work myself (I've built 3 or 4 bikes in my life, although they were all single speeds), but it's more of a time issue for me as I need my commuter within the first few days of moving to Tucson, and I will be busy moving in, shopping, buying furniture, etc. I don't really want to have to add in bike work during that time. So, it would be easiest and most convenient for me to just bring it into a shop, but the parts there and have them do the work.

I did call one shop in Tucson who quoted $50 for a tune up (the shop here in Canada wanted $70).
If you've built bikes before, it won't take much just to switch out the fork and tires. Of course, you can always let the LBS tune it up for you. However, you could slash the extra expense by doing the major stuff yourself. Three hours tops! Fifteen minutes here... A half hour there...Within the week, you'd be done with your part.

Just Say'N!
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Old 07-22-12, 11:41 AM
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I suppose I could do the tires and inner tubes - can you guys recommend what tires I should use? I think the current ones on there are 26 x 1.95 knobby tires. The bike will be used in Tucson, where it is extreme heat in the summer, and hot weather the rest of the year. Are tires something that I can get cheapest online (and from where), or should I just go into a local bike shop and buy them there?

How much would I save by doing the tires myself? I'm not sure it's worth the hassle if I'm only gonna save like $20 or $30 bucks.

The guy at the shop yesterday also mentioned I should get a new chain, gears, cables, etc. and a tuneup. I don't think these are things I want to get into after driving 3 days from Canada to the desert, with nothing to my name except what I can fit in my car. At that point ease and convenience is going to be more important to me than saving a few bucks.
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Old 07-22-12, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by nonlinear View Post
I suppose I could do the tires and inner tubes - can you guys recommend what tires I should use? I think the current ones on there are 26 x 1.95 knobby tires. The bike will be used in Tucson, where it is extreme heat in the summer, and hot weather the rest of the year. Are tires something that I can get cheapest online (and from where), or should I just go into a local bike shop and buy them there?


How much would I save by doing the tires myself? I'm not sure it's worth the hassle if I'm only gonna save like $20 or $30 bucks.


The guy at the shop yesterday also mentioned I should get a new chain, gears, cables, etc. and a tuneup. I don't think these are things I want to get into after driving 3 days from Canada to the desert, with nothing to my name except what I can fit in my car. At that point ease and convenience is going to be more important to me than saving a few bucks.

Continental's Gatorskins ~ $56
www.rei.com/product/768508/continental-ultra-gatorskin-bike-tire--26-x-1-18

OR

Geax's Street Runners ~ $24
www.rei.com/product/804426/geax-street-runner-bike-tire-26-x-16

Otherwise:
www.biketiresdirect.com/tires-and-tubes-category

Last edited by SlimRider; 07-22-12 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 07-22-12, 06:30 PM
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Hey nonlinear-

How far is your commute and what kind of surfaces? Road, MUP, dirt, etc.?

I have 1997 Marin hardtail mountain bike that I've been using as a commuter and I've even kept my suspension fork on there. My commute is 20-30 miles, but I only do it once or twice per week (for now). I'd like to upgrade bikes soon, but for now I think the Marin does quite well!

I am using Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires and they are great.
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Old 07-22-12, 06:49 PM
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Here are my thoughts.
1. As many others have said 250-300 is steep. The vita, or the sirrus for men, mentioned by another poster for 450 is a great bike that would be a good commuter. That said there are a few options around that price range that would do the trick, and for only 100-150 more than fixing the old bike.
2. Buying a last years bike is a good way to save money. The current years bike will likely have very few differrences between it ant the previous years. Usually the paint jobs is the biggest change.
3. If you were to pick up a new commuter bike you could always keep the Trek and use it as project bike slowing fixing it up.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ROJA View Post
Hey nonlinear-

How far is your commute and what kind of surfaces? Road, MUP, dirt, etc.?

I have 1997 Marin hardtail mountain bike that I've been using as a commuter and I've even kept my suspension fork on there. My commute is 20-30 miles, but I only do it once or twice per week (for now). I'd like to upgrade bikes soon, but for now I think the Marin does quite well!

I am using Schwalbe Marathon Supreme tires and they are great.
It's a very short (2 mile) commute. It's on paved roads, but then again it is Tucson and the infrastructure isn't the best; I don't actually live there yet, but I have been there and I'm expecting potholes, cracks, lots of dirt/dust, and EXTREME heat.
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Old 07-25-12, 11:25 AM
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Can anyone tell me if there is a big difference between the first two tires listed here? One tire is twice the price, but I'm not sure why.

Also, the current tires I have are 26 x 1.95. Is it only the first number I need to be concerned with when looking for new tires (I notice the two tires linked above have different numbers for the second number)?

Can anyone else recommend any tires, or are the REI ones OK? Does REI have the cheapest prices on those tires, or is there a better online retailer?

Sorry for all the silly questions, but thanks for the help - I really appreciate it!!!
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Old 07-25-12, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by nonlinear View Post
Can anyone tell me if there is a big difference between the first two tires listed here? One tire is twice the price, but I'm not sure why.

Also, the current tires I have are 26 x 1.95. Is it only the first number I need to be concerned with when looking for new tires (I notice the two tires linked above have different numbers for the second number)?

Can anyone else recommend any tires, or are the REI ones OK? Does REI have the cheapest prices on those tires, or is there a better online retailer?

Sorry for all the silly questions, but thanks for the help - I really appreciate it!!!
The "difference" between the two tires is that the Conti's have a lot of extras to prevent flats. However, the Geax tires have a tpi of only 26 so they are very puncture-resistant too, so if those were the only two choices I would lean to the Geax. I have Geax Evolutions on one of my bikes and the quality is great. Another bike has a pair of Continental SportContact, which is very similar to the Gatorskins, and the quality is also very high. Best bet for price is to shop around - For the most part, any 26" tire on the market will fit your rims, so the first number is all you need to follow.

There's no silly questions. Everyone is on a learning curve here!
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Old 07-25-12, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nonlinear View Post
Can anyone tell me if there is a big difference between the first two tires listed here? One tire is twice the price, but I'm not sure why.

Also, the current tires I have are 26 x 1.95. Is it only the first number I need to be concerned with when looking for new tires (I notice the two tires linked above have different numbers for the second number)?

Can anyone else recommend any tires, or are the REI ones OK? Does REI have the cheapest prices on those tires, or is there a better online retailer?

Sorry for all the silly questions, but thanks for the help - I really appreciate it!!!
Hey there Nonlinear!

Gatorskins cost more, due to their puncture resistant construction. They usually outlast other conventional tires, about two or three tire lifetimes. You get fewer flats, and therefore less tire damage and less emotional hassle, as well.

Right! The first number is roughly, the diameter of the tire in inches for MTN bikes, and that's the most important number. The second number is the width of the tire, which cannot exceed the clearance of the stays, brakes, or fenders.

Your best tire deals, I've found are mostly through biketiresdirect.com or nashbar.com. However, sometimes REI has some amazing deals too...

For example, here's a nice quality Panaracer slick for just ten bucks from Nashbar:

The Panaracer High Road MTN Tire ~ $10
www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_178154_-1_202470

Last edited by SlimRider; 07-26-12 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:14 PM
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I have Specialzied fatboy slicks on my Mountain bike & i love them. they're pretty cheap too (I think I paid around $20 each). A new fork would be great, but if you are only riding 2 miles each way, then you can probably make do just fine with what you have.

Also, as far as the chain, cassette, etc goes, if you have ridden the bike a lot or those parts are rusty, it's probably worth getting new ones, but just becuase they're od doens't mean you need new ones. Get a bike chair checker online or from your LBS & if the chain still passes, then I'd hold off on buying any of those parts for the bike, at least for the time being.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:22 PM
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I use my Trek 4300 disc for everything including long rides (around 60 miles). Sometimes I lock out the front but usually not. Sure I'd like to have a touring bike, but money is an issue right now. And besides.... I love this thing.
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Old 07-25-12, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by tractorlegs View Post
For the most part, any 26" tire on the market will fit your rims, so the first number is all you need to follow.

There's no silly questions. Everyone is on a learning curve here!


This can catch somebody that doesn't know any better... not any 26" tire. He needs to be careful not to pick up a fractional sized tire (example: 26 x 1 3/8)
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Old 07-25-12, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Wolfwerx View Post
This can catch somebody that doesn't know any better... not any 26" tire. He needs to be careful not to pick up a fractional sized tire (example: 26 x 1 3/8)
Why would a 26 by 1-3/8 not fit his rim?
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