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Commuting on the road on a mountain bike = worst idea ever

Old 10-28-13, 07:28 PM
  #26  
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Fill those tires all the way to the max psi
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Old 10-29-13, 05:30 AM
  #27  
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Years ago, when I firsted started commuting on mtn bike with slick. The distance was roughly 13 miles each way. Then we moved and the distance increased to 18 miles and that worked out ok too even though at times the roadies just buzzed by me as if I was standing. Fast forward 3 years ago, we moved again and the commuting distance bumped up to 30 miles each way and suddenly the mtn bike sucked. I love commuting on my road bike now.
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Old 10-29-13, 06:09 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
Years ago, when I firsted started commuting on mtn bike with slick. The distance was roughly 13 miles each way. Then we moved and the distance increased to 18 miles and that worked out ok too even though at times the roadies just buzzed by me as if I was standing. Fast forward 3 years ago, we moved again and the commuting distance bumped up to 30 miles each way and suddenly the mtn bike sucked. I love commuting on my road bike now.
+1

Increased commute distances are always made more convenient with drop handlebars. OTOH, rough terrain always beg for the wider more beefy tires often found on a mtb, CX, hybrid, or touring bike.
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Old 10-29-13, 06:28 AM
  #29  
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To the OP, slicks and/or semi-slick tires make such a huge difference over knobbies. Easiest and biggest bang for your buck to get an easier MTB commute.

I went from 26x1.95 Kenda knobbies to 26x1.75 Continental TourRIDE tires and started running 60psi. Instantly gained nearly 3mph. Granted mine's a rigid frame, but it'll do the same for a hardtail. My buddy had the same experience replacing his 29x2.1 Specialized Ground Control tires with 700x32 Continental TourRIDE tires on his 2012 Specialized RockHopper.

Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Don't forget gearing. I gave my Nishiki Blazer the larget front chainring (53) that would fit. That and road tires.
Hey, a fellow Blazer commuter! Don't mean to hijack this thread, but I'm curious about your upgraded crank. I've been thinking about making this my touring/commuting bike giving it drop bars and larger chain rings. How'd it work out? What crankset do you have on yours?



pm me!
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Old 10-29-13, 07:07 AM
  #30  
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Yet another factor to consider would be lights. Are you basing that 10mph difference on an actual cycling computer or on how long it took to get to work? If you went slightly slower and it affected how you hit traffic lights it could make a huge difference. At least I know it would for me.
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Old 10-29-13, 07:08 AM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by joyota View Post
To the OP, slicks and/or semi-slick tires make such a huge difference over knobbies. Easiest and biggest bang for your buck to get an easier MTB commute.

I went from 26x1.95 Kenda knobbies to 26x1.75 Continental TourRIDE tires and started running 60psi. Instantly gained nearly 3mph. Granted mine's a rigid frame, but it'll do the same for a hardtail. My buddy had the same experience replacing his 29x2.1 Specialized Ground Control tires with 700x32 Continental TourRIDE tires on his 2012 Specialized RockHopper.
Everyone, including WestMass, seems to be missing the point. To remind you, look at WestMass's first sentence:

Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
I run this bike club after school with my students and they like riding trails rather than on the road, but usually I commute on my 'cross bike and it wouldn't be the best in the woods. Since we're meeting today I rode my mountain bike to work.
Yes, slicks would be more efficient on the road. Here in Colorado, I could ride trails with a semislick tire because most of my trails are dry with fairly hard surfaces. But I know from experience that trail riding in the northeast US are very different and wouldn't be amiable at all to a slick or even semislick tire. Roots, mud and wet surfaces are very common and those would only lead to many uncomfortable crashes.

If I were to ride a mountain bike every day on the road, I'd go with slicks. I'd suggest that anyone using a mountain bike for road riding do the same. However, if you use a mountain bike as a mountain bike on your commute or following your commute, the extra energy needed to ride the knobs on the road is worth the caloric cost, not to mention avoiding the medical costs.
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Old 10-29-13, 07:36 AM
  #32  
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Not on bike today, will let you know.
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Old 10-29-13, 08:04 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
.......I can't imagine how putting slicks onto it would have made any difference...........
What a lack of imagination!
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Old 10-29-13, 08:18 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Everyone, including WestMass, seems to be missing the point. To remind you, look at WestMass's first sentence:



Yes, slicks would be more efficient on the road. Here in Colorado, I could ride trails with a semislick tire because most of my trails are dry with fairly hard surfaces. But I know from experience that trail riding in the northeast US are very different and wouldn't be amiable at all to a slick or even semislick tire. Roots, mud and wet surfaces are very common and those would only lead to many uncomfortable crashes.

If I were to ride a mountain bike every day on the road, I'd go with slicks. I'd suggest that anyone using a mountain bike for road riding do the same. However, if you use a mountain bike as a mountain bike on your commute or following your commute, the extra energy needed to ride the knobs on the road is worth the caloric cost, not to mention avoiding the medical costs.
^Agree. Sounds like logical advice to me. If you want to do some off road with your students like they enjoy, then keep using the crossbike just like it is. Its the perfect compromise for road and dirt combined. Most of us have multiple bikes that optimize certain types of riding. But if you want to do a mix, the MTB is the way to go. It can commute on the roads or city and also do some trails.
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Old 10-29-13, 08:59 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Yes, slicks would be more efficient on the road. Roots, mud and wet surfaces would only lead to many uncomfortable crashes.

If I were to ride a mountain bike every day on the road, I'd go with slicks. I'd suggest that anyone using a mountain bike for road riding do the same.
Exactly.

At that point I stop thinking of my bike as a mountain bike, it is unsuitable for that style of riding. I refer to my bike as a commuter bike. It just happens to be built on a MTB frame and has 26" wheels.

I run slicks, no simi anything. Smooth as a baby butt. I get folks commenting on my bald tires......they aren't bald, they are smooth. There's lots of tread left, it just doesn't have any grooves in it.

I do run knobbies on my "mountain" MTB.

I think the OP had dismissed commuting on a mountain bike for good reasons.

But, that's different than commuting with a MTB frame set up to be a commuter bike.
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Old 10-29-13, 08:59 AM
  #36  
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If you ride on the road with knobbies and lower tire pressure typical for MTBing, not only will you be really slow, but tire wear will increase. Some MTB tires are OK on the road, but many should only be used offroad. I wouldn't commute on these tires:

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Old 10-29-13, 09:43 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
If you ride on the road with knobbies and lower tire pressure typical for MTBing, not only will you be really slow, but tire wear will increase. Some MTB tires are OK on the road, but many should only be used offroad. I wouldn't commute on these tires:
Panaracer Dart and Smoke tires, on the other hand, wear like iron. I get enough seasons out of mine that the sidewalls wear out before the tread does. And the tread is far more aggressive than those Continentals.
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Old 10-29-13, 09:50 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Everyone, including WestMass, seems to be missing the point. To remind you, look at WestMass's first sentence:
Yeah, not missing the point. It's the very reason I recommend the TourRIDEs. I too ride a mix of trails and pavement on my commute and they're an excellent compromise with the deep(ish) treads for the dirt and a center bead for fast riding on pavement.



They're not going to grip the dirt as well as MTB knobbies, but the key word is "compromise" and these were the best for me.

Last edited by joyota; 10-29-13 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 10-29-13, 09:55 AM
  #39  
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Especially for Joyota, here are some quick pics of my Nishiki Blazer crank with 53-tooth chainring and 70-someting crank arms. As you can see the clearance between the chainring and the frame is tight, and over the years the chain has slipped off and gouged the paint. But when I take the time to periodically adjust it it works well, even with indexed shifters. I've always been a slow cadence kinda guy, so this works well for me. My other bike's a Nishiki International. I've tried some touring bikes with longer frames and I think I'd like to buy one for the directional stability and relaxed ride. But for picking through traffic and tight manuevers around curbs etc, the Blazer is terrific. I have wide handlebars thrown forward for a lower position with in-board bar ends for a jockey like position and aero-bars for stretching out. In fact, I rotate bikes often to help prevent repetitive stress injuries, and that's why I haven't put drop-bars on the blazer, although I'd love to. You can see my hand positions on my April and June commute videos.
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1#post16194136
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Old 10-29-13, 10:03 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by joyota View Post
Yeah, not missing the point. It's the very reason I recommend the TourRIDEs. I too ride a mix of trails and pavement on my commute and they're an excellent compromise with the deep(ish) treads for the dirt and a center bead for fast riding on pavement.



They're not going to grip the dirt as well as MTB knobbies, but the key word is "compromise" and these were the best for me.
Those would be a disaster on New England's wet roots, rocks and leaves. Kind of like riding on ice.
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Old 10-29-13, 10:22 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
It actually got me thinking that I might swap down on my cross bike from the 700x32s I'm riding now back to 25 in front and 28 in back like I used to have.
Obviously you're looking at some trade-offs if you want a bike that is fast on the road but is also used for trail riding. Have you considered putting 700x35 or 700x40 tires on your Jake? Running them at a lower pressure than your 700x32s will make a noticeable difference on the trails. Pump them up to a higher psi for a fast but harsher ride on the road. For me, nothing beats a trail ride on my mtb, but I have come to really enjoy mixed terrain rides (road, greenway, gravel, singletrack) on my CX bike.

Have you considered putting flat or riser bars on the Jake? I love my riser bar SSCX for my commute and sometimes throw in a mixed terrain ride at lunchtime. My riser bar SSCX with 700x35 is super fun on trails.

Last edited by mtb123; 10-29-13 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 10-29-13, 10:45 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Those would be a disaster on New England's wet roots, rocks and leaves. Kind of like riding on ice.
Hey, I'm just speaking from my own experience here of making my commute on a Mountain Bike easier on the whole from day to day. If Mass's wet roots, rocks, logs and leaves are somehow different than Michigan's brand of wet roots, rocks, logs and leaves, then by all means look elsewhere. I'm just saying I've never felt unstable with these tires on the trails and pavement I ride everyday even at 6am when the dew's still fresh on the ground and they've greatly reduced the effort I have to put into my ride.

Last edited by joyota; 10-29-13 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 10-29-13, 01:40 PM
  #43  
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to the OP ... yup
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Old 10-30-13, 07:22 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by gregjones View Post

I think the OP had dismissed commuting on a mountain bike for good reasons.

But, that's different than commuting with a MTB frame set up to be a commuter bike.
Yes, this. I used to have a 90s trek 820, set up for commuting, as my wet-weather bike, and it was slower than my cross bike, but nowhere near as horrible to commute on as my 2014 mtb.
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Old 10-30-13, 07:29 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Dwayne View Post
Slicks make a huge difference, even fat ones like Big Apples.

Another nice benefit to always taking the heavy commuter is on the occasional day where I take the road bike, it's like being shot from a cannon.
Ain't that the truth, and one has to relearn how to ride when cornering.
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Old 10-30-13, 07:32 AM
  #46  
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You just have to get used to it. When I started commuting a few yrs ago my only bike was a Mtn bike. I enjoyed it. But maybe my expectations were different.
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Old 10-30-13, 07:48 AM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by WestMass View Post
Yes, this. I used to have a 90s trek 820, set up for commuting, as my wet-weather bike, and it was slower than my cross bike, but nowhere near as horrible to commute on as my 2014 mtb.
The mountain bike may not have been the best commuter but how well would your commuting bike performed on the ride in the woods with your students? Was the point of your ride to work to get there as quickly with as little effort as possible or was the point of riding the mountain bike to work to go use it as a mountain bike after work?

I ride a mountain bike (actually 3 different ones) to work on a regular basis. Each one is fully outfitted as a mountain bike with knobbiest, suspension fork, and rear suspension on 2 of them. I don't ride them that way to be less efficient on the road but to be more efficient off-road. I actually look for places to ride them off-road on the way in to work and on the way home. I have a cross bike that I ride on the road and, if I wanted to, I could ride it off-road as well. But it doesn't handle the off-road duties nearly as well as the mountain bikes do. For me, the mountain bike handles the on-road duties far better than the cross bike could handle the off-road riding. I can ride the mountain bike harder on-road to go faster but I can't ride harder on the cross bike off-road to go faster...not without a lot of crashing which really puts a dent in your average speed.
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Old 10-30-13, 10:50 AM
  #48  
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I commute on my mtn bike all the time for the 22 mile RT commute. I love it, especially when fighting wind and carry a bunch of stuff in the panniers. Why? Because when I get on the road bike on the weekends, its like a feather.
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Old 10-30-13, 01:17 PM
  #49  
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I would love it if I had dirt trails all the way to work - I'd be much faster commuting on my mtb in that situation. mountain bike for trails, road-type-commuter-type bikes for roads
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Old 10-31-13, 10:02 AM
  #50  
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Throw on some studded tires.. then you can feel slow
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