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Buy a hybrid or modify a mountain bike

Old 01-20-11, 02:00 PM
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ericg2000
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Buy a hybrid or modify a mountain bike

i have an older diamond back outlook i pick up used and cheap off craigs list last summer. i'm a casual street rider and this mountain bike isn't exactly street friendly. it rides fine, but it takes a lot of "energy" to ride.

i've gone back and forth about getting a low end trek hybrid (either 700 or 7000). the 700 has a steel frame the 7000 aluminum (how much better is aluminum over steel?). basically, i don't want to be out a ton of money but i want something i'll enjoy riding. what would it take for me to convert my diamond back? is it as simple as getting new tires and maybe different wheels? or should i just go the extra mile and buy the new trek. please don't everyone say buy the trek... i'd like to get pros and cons of both options... thanks
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Old 01-20-11, 02:48 PM
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FWIW, here's what I'd suggest.

1. If you feel relatively comfortable on the Diamondback otherwise, two questions:
i) does it have knobby mtb tires?
ii) does it have a (cheapish) "suspension fork"?
2. If yes to (i), for very little money you could replace those tires with decent slick or semi-slick road tires; that, and having a bike shop check over/adjust the hubs if necessary, will make the single biggest difference re. the 'takes a lot of energy' sensation.
3. If yes to (ii), can you lock it out? If not, again ... your local bike shop can probably replace it with a suitable rigid steel fork ... again, a significant improvement will result.

Doing the above will cost very little, and will result in a bike which is not far off (if at all) the efficiency etc. of the kinds of new bikes you mention. Then,

4. Ride lots! and
5. Test ride/compare such new bikes to what you have and see if the difference is worth it to you. Even if you get a new bike, you'll have a serviceable back-up.
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Old 01-20-11, 03:01 PM
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If the Outlook is the right size for you, a set of 'slick' road tires will go a long way toward 'hybridizing' it. You can also have some options for swapping out he flat handle bars for ones that give more hand poisitons.

Aim for a tire that is 26x1.5 or 26x1.75 -- Niagara Cycle Works has a bunch of options and many price points. Getting rid of the knobby tires will really transform how the bike rides. I have been using an old Raleigh mountain bike with slick tires and trekking handle bars for the past 3 years. Makes for a very nice all around ride.

Some possibilities --
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=433322

http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=508013
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Old 01-20-11, 03:10 PM
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Yes it has knobby mountain bike tires. I priced tires last fall I just never bought any. A friend who rides suggested it. It does not have the suspension fork. I've seen them and while yes I'm sure they have a surpass I think the look horrible. Got any tire suggestions? And yes the bike is a good fit. I went and sized at the bike store but bought used off craigs list.

Last edited by ericg2000; 01-20-11 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 01-20-11, 03:55 PM
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Just called my local bike store and all they have is tires that are slick down the middle with knobs on the side. What's everyones opinion on these? I'd rather get just plain cheap road tires like the ones linked above but I'm still curious about the slick/knobby combo tire.
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Old 01-20-11, 04:07 PM
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Slick/knobby tyres otherwise mostly known as cyclocross tyres are basicly simply fantastic.
I use the Schwalbe CX comp's ... they are very cheap for their quality and have a lightly threaded pattern in the middle for doing roads and wet roads and then they have knobs on the sides for having traction in the mud and gravel.
They are in fact "hybrid" tyres and I LOVE them!
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Old 01-20-11, 04:10 PM
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I ride mostly on crushed limestone, so the tires that are slick in the middle, and knobby on the outside are perfect. Plus these tires have good puncture resistance! Continental TravelContact...


I've also have Specialized Borough XC tires...


Mikey

Last edited by mikeschn; 01-20-11 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 01-20-11, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by ericg2000 View Post
Just called my local bike store and all they have is tires that are slick down the middle with knobs on the side. What's everyones opinion on these? I'd rather get just plain cheap road tires like the ones linked above but I'm still curious about the slick/knobby combo tire.
I'd let 'where you (mostly) ride' dictate that choice. If you tend to be off-pavement a fair bit (dirt, gravel, etc) then the semi-slicks make lots of sense. However, they are pointless if you mainly stick to paved surfaces -- if anything, they work against you for cornering/handling. Slick tires (and semi-slicks) at all quality levels and a fair number of widths are easily available for 26" wheels; if one bike shop doesn't have any, another should, and there's always 'online'. FWIW, I'd stay with something between 1.5 and 1.75". Good brands: Panaracer, Schwalbe, Specialized, Kenda, Continental, etc. etc.
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Old 01-20-11, 06:12 PM
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ericg2000
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I will be mostly on pavement. I live in the Houston area so finding tires won't be hard. Im going to look online tonight and see what I find.
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Old 01-21-11, 10:58 AM
  #10  
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I've got Bontrager LT3s on my Gary Fisher and they're incredible tires. They are a great all around tire. I'm going to get a set of them for my Trek soon. I plan on using the Trek as my bad/cold/snowy weather bike to help keep the Gary Fisher nice. Bontrager also has LT2s if you want something a little slicker. Neither of which are too pricey. I think you can get the LT3s for about $25 per tire.
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Old 01-25-11, 11:18 AM
  #11  
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I have more or less modified my 4500 into a ATB (All Terrain) or urban cruiser. The first thing that goes are the knobby tires, in fact when buying a new bike swapping them with something else has come to be part of the deal. My tire of choice for bike paths and commuting is the Michelin City Tire or CST Selecta in 1.8-1.9 inches - wider is too much rolling resistance. These have no knobs, but some negative tread to handle water. Tires with a smooth center and knobs on the sides work for crushed rock etc but I do not like they way they handle on corners on paved surfaces. Smoother, narrower tires make a very big difference.

The next thing is a fork that can be locked out. Especially at lights, on hills or anywhere you want/need to accelerate the fork can absorb too much energy. Mine is variable so I run it at about 85% lock out so it can handle the odd pothole etc.

But that doesnt make it a hybrid IMO. I have a pair of 7.5FXs with wider than average tires (38s) which are much, much easier to ride and ride fast mainly because it is much lighter than a MTB frame. I dont think they are quite as comfortable to ride owing to the narrower tires.

The ATB/urban cruiser is harder to ride, but I want to burn calories/get a work out when I ride, so it doesnt bother me. My average non winter ride is 40 miles, so to do the same work on the FX I have to go much farther or faster and that would cut into playing poker time
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Old 01-26-11, 06:45 AM
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My primary vehicle recently has been a mountain bike with 1.5 Specialized Nimbus tires. I never lock out the suspension fork.
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Old 01-26-11, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
My primary vehicle recently has been a mountain bike with 1.5 Specialized Nimbus tires. I never lock out the suspension fork.
Those are great tires. They were on my short list and cheaper than the Michelins.
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Old 01-26-11, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Plutonix View Post
Those are great tires. They were on my short list and cheaper than the Michelins.
There were some negative comments about these tires when they were mentioned here in the past. They are very good for resisting punctures, but the rubber might not provide the same traction as some other tires. My only complaint is the tread comes off the tire before it's worn through. They don't seem to last as long as they could, but I don't track mileage, so not sure about that.

I bought Schwalbe Marathon 26x1.5 to try after the Specialized wear out. The Scwalbes get a lot of high praise here on BikeForums, but the preferred models are the Marathon Plus and Marathon Supreme. Although I didn't spend a lot of time looking, I couldn't easliy find a vendor that carried those in the size I wanted, so I went with the base model. While I like the Specialized, I'm looking forward to trying the Scwalbes. I'm not sure if I'll notice much difference though.

If you want to try something narrower, Continental Gatorskins come in 26x1.125 (about 28.5mm). The 700 x 28 Gatorskin is the tire I have on my hybrids. http://www.amazon.com/Continental-Ga...6088791&sr=8-1
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Old 02-03-11, 01:19 PM
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just an update, i put ritchy comps 25x1.4 on my bike. now once this winter storm clears out, i'll take it out and ride to check out the difference
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Old 02-03-11, 04:43 PM
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as someone who has spent the past year or so "hybridizing" my 15 year old raleigh mountain bike into a back-up/winter commuter street bike, here's what i did, along with some before and afters.

- switched out the crappy old first-gen rock-shox out for a rigid cro-mo fork.
- switched out the original wheelsets with some vuelta zero-lites that allow me to run a narrow 1.0" road tire.
- switched out the old 24-34-42 crankset for a larger 28-38-48 for greater top end firepower.
- switched out the fat knobby kendas for some ritchey tom slick tires (though as pictured below the bike currently has schwalbe snow studs for winter commuting).
- switched out the flat bar for some bullhorns because i find that riding with my hands parallel to direction fo travel to be much more comfortable.

the bike is still somewhat heavy due to its bomb-proof cro-mo frame, but with all my changes and adjustments, i've turned it into a very serviceable and fun-as-hell to ride urban street bike for winter/back-up commuting use. as other have said, the biggest and most immediate change you'll notice will be switching from off-road knobbies to something designed for street travel.



before:



after:

Last edited by Steely Dan; 02-03-11 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 02-04-11, 01:03 AM
  #17  
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I agree - make the most of what you have!

Originally Posted by ericg2000 View Post
i have an older diamond back outlook i pick up used and cheap off craigs list last summer. i'm a casual street rider and this mountain bike isn't exactly street friendly. it rides fine, but it takes a lot of "energy" to ride.

i've gone back and forth about getting a low end trek hybrid (either 700 or 7000). the 700 has a steel frame the 7000 aluminum (how much better is aluminum over steel?). basically, i don't want to be out a ton of money but i want something i'll enjoy riding. what would it take for me to convert my diamond back? is it as simple as getting new tires and maybe different wheels? or should i just go the extra mile and buy the new trek. please don't everyone say buy the trek... i'd like to get pros and cons of both options... thanks
Lets say for the sake of argument you bought that Trek. OK so now you have a low end hybrid with 700 size wheels instead of a low end mtb with 26in wheels. I don`t see any real advantage because according to your other posts you already have a rigid front end and no disk brakes so the bike can`t be all that heavy.

So while I agree with the suggestions that changing tires will change the character of the bike - I have a few other comments as well. If there`s no co-op in the area that you can take the bike to and have someone show you how to inspect and rebuild the wheel bearings - suggest you buy a couple cone wrenches and do the research to learn to do it yourself. Low end bikes are seldom adjusted optimally and seldom get proper maintenaince. Properly adjusted and greased bearings are the first step to a bike that`s more fun to ride.

And tires? I`ll be a little contraversial in tire suggestions. You stated that you mostly drive around the city and most people have suggested that you look at putting on narrower, slick style tires. I`m going to suggest you look at BMX style tires instead. Unlike a hybrid, that mtb frame gives you the room to mount really WIDE tires and putting on something like a Geax Tattoo (26 x 2.3) would give both low rolling resistance, an effective diameter equal to a a 700 x 33 tire - and a real urban assault go-anywhere-in-the-city machine. Already roadtested that combo and its a real blast to drive. Relative to Schwalbe Big Apples - the Tattoos are lighter and the tread wraps right around the tire. They sell for about $35.

In any case - have fun!

Last edited by Burton; 02-04-11 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 02-04-11, 08:54 AM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
There were some negative comments about these tires
Interesting, but which ones are you talking about - the Specialized Nimbus or the Michelin City Tires? I've seen almost nothing bad about the Nimbus; OTOH I cant recall seeing anything about the Michelins, but liked the size, tread, belt and price.

Most criticisms that a tire wont last 5 yrs dont faze me. I'm happy if I get 3 out of them before they pick up enough nails etc that they develop a hole or the bead starts fraying.
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Old 02-05-11, 06:05 AM
  #19  
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Just some ideas on a build if you wanted...(you could always choose a cheaper Deore groupset but here it goes)

Nashar touring fork $49.00
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...2_511246_-1___
Nashbar touring frame $99.00
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Produc...2_511239_-1___
Shimano Deore LX trekking (touring) groupset (crankset, rear derailleur, front derailleur, shifters, brake levers, brakes, cassette, chain) as low as 271.21 euro (depending on which options you choose); with shipping to North America (means you don't pay European VAT tax) is $368.33 US dollars (the exchange rate fluctuates)
http://www.bike24.com/p29129.html
WTB Freedom Ryder 23 rims 36 hole $18.45 (times two = $36.90) (I put the link here from eBikestop for people who want to order from Canada, shipping for large items is cheaper from eBikestop last time I ordered)
http://www.ebikestop.com/freedom_ryd...rim-RM2241.php
Shimano Tiagra rear hub 36 hole $27.89
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=414678
Shimano Tiagra front hub 36 hole $19.84
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=407883
(I haven't chosen that yet, you can look below why)
Velox rim strip $1.83 (times two = $3.66)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=432533
Dimension spoke protector $3.00
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=419815
Sunlite wheel reflectors $2.49
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...oducts_id=5777
DT Swiss Champion 14g (2.0mm) spokes
for rear wheel
(I measured both hub and rim and used two sizing calculators for that rim and rear hub and chose 287mm and 289mm spokes, 18 of each length)
287mm $0.43 (times 18 = $7.74)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32422
289mm $0.51 (times 18 = $9.18)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32640
for front wheel using this calculator http://lenni.info/edd/ says it's 290mm both sides
290mm $0.51 (times 36 = $18.36)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32638
DT Swiss Champion 12mm, 2.0mm brass nipples $0.26 (times 72 = $18.72)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=32619
Dimension chainstay protector clear $5.95
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=501118
Origin8 classique sport seatpost 27.2mm x 300mm silver $26.08
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=509738
Origin8 seatpost clamp 31.8mm gold $5.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431892
Origin8 headset spacers 1-1/8" (ten x 10mm) silver $6.20
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431892
Origin8 headset threadless 1-1/8" gold $31.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431753
Origin8 stem threadless 1-1/8" 25.4mm silver $21.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431946
Origin8 handlebars 625mm long 25.4mm clamp 40mm high silver $19.80
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=431636
Black Ops platform pedals clear $14.99
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=432203
WTB Freedom Relax saddle light brown $36.98
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=433923
Dimension hand-stiched leather grips light brown $14.88
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=408543
Continental tubes 700x28-47mm Presta $6.26 (times two = $12.52) (or the thicker Michelin tubes)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=424089
Continental TourRide tires 700x37mm $26.96 (times two = $53.92) (or Michelin Tracker tires) (you can also get these in cream color with reflective strips from bikexperts.com in Germany if you ask them)
http://www.amazon.com/Continental-To.../dp/B0013DZGVG
Well, here the total without the shipping cost for amazon.com, niagaracycle and eBikestop and cost of assembly is $915.40
Sunlite bottle cages $1.99 (times two if you want $3.98)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=12697
Sunlite Tec HD tourer rack $24.99 (these were actually all silver when they arrived)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=430988
Axiom Rainrunner trekk reflex 700c fenders $54.00
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=426889
Avenir Softside City panniers $42.56
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=507460
Trek Lime bell $7.99 (you can click on additional views to see the 8 colors, I would choose white)
http://store.trekbikes.com/jump.jsp?...ProductID=1439
Civia two leg kickstand $27.00 (right now I'm not sure what the top plate model means yet)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=710999
Halo hex key skewers $15.00
http://www.universalcycles.com/shopp...s.php?id=12529
Cateye Strada cycling computer CD-RD100 $21.51 (this one is the black on sale but I've seen the white on sale before)
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=13708
The total at this point would be $1112.43
Kryptonite Kryptolock Value Series 2 (make sure to grease the mechanism inside) $32.16
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=30504
Giro Hex helmet $67.95 (depends on size, color)
http://www.amazon.com/Giro-Mountain-...6885571&sr=8-2
Dimension eyeglass mirror $10.50
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=411405
Fox Racing gloves $21.95
http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=702678
Bellwether rain jacket $119.99
http://www.amazon.com/Bellwether-201...888369&sr=1-44
Bellwether AquaNo pants $60.39
http://www.amazon.com/Bellwether-Aqu...6895452&sr=8-3
The total at this point would be $1425.37
If you chose to go with a dynamo front hub and front and rear dynamo lights, this could be a choice
Busch&Muller D'Toplight Plus rear dynamo light 17 euro
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/133927
Busch&Muller Lumotec Lyt Plus 25 lux front light for dynamo hub 24 euro
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/359500
(you could also choose the IQ Cyo 60 lux front light but that's 64 euro)
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/359497
Shimano DH-3N72 dynamo hub 58 euro (actually, I wanted to choose the Deore LX model for this message but the spoke calculator did not include this one, I can only measure it once I order it)
http://www.bike-x-perts.com/en/produ...ucts_id/242167
(The spokes for this would be 283mm both sides with the WTB Freedom Ryder 23 rim)
DT Swiss Champion 283mm spokes $0.49 each (times 36 = $17.64)
http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.asp?id=92390
So, if you chose a dynamo hub 58 euro, front light 24 euro, rear light 17 euro (plus the 283mm spokes minus the 290mm spokes and Tiagra front hub), it would be $1539.26 without the shipping from bikexperts
I'm a little surprised I did all this work. But, please tell me if I missed any bike parts.
You can always use the frame sizing calculator at ColoradoCyclists.
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Old 02-05-11, 11:52 AM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Plutonix View Post
Interesting, but which ones are you talking about - the Specialized Nimbus or the Michelin City Tires? I've seen almost nothing bad about the Nimbus; OTOH I cant recall seeing anything about the Michelins, but liked the size, tread, belt and price.

Most criticisms that a tire wont last 5 yrs dont faze me. I'm happy if I get 3 out of them before they pick up enough nails etc that they develop a hole or the bead starts fraying.
Two thumbs down on the Armadillos in this thread, both very credible sources (Meanwhile and 65er).
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-another-bike?

Meanwhile calls them the slowest tires in existence in this thread
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...light=schwalbe

He tends to overstate his opinions, but I got the impression that the Speciaized Armadillos are not the fastest tires available or the best in wet conditions. I haven't really had any complaints personally though. From my experience (as stated previously) they are very good for flat protection but possibly not very long lasting. The good news is you can keep riding hem for a long time after the rubber starts falling off.



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Old 02-05-11, 12:26 PM
  #21  
no1mad 
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
as someone who has spent the past year or so "hybridizing" my 15 year old raleigh mountain bike into a back-up/winter commuter street bike, here's what i did, along with some before and afters.

- switched out the crappy old first-gen rock-shox out for a rigid cro-mo fork.
- switched out the original wheelsets with some vuelta zero-lites that allow me to run a narrow 1.0" road tire.
- switched out the old 24-34-42 crankset for a larger 28-38-48 for greater top end firepower.
- switched out the fat knobby kendas for some ritchey tom slick tires (though as pictured below the bike currently has schwalbe snow studs for winter commuting).
- switched out the flat bar for some bullhorns because i find that riding with my hands parallel to direction fo travel to be much more comfortable.

the bike is still somewhat heavy due to its bomb-proof cro-mo frame, but with all my changes and adjustments, i've turned it into a very serviceable and fun-as-hell to ride urban street bike for winter/back-up commuting use. as other have said, the biggest and most immediate change you'll notice will be switching from off-road knobbies to something designed for street travel.



before:



after:
Re: bullhorns, what and where did you get? Been kicking around the idea of swapping for either the Nashbar Trekking (but seems to be out of stock more than in) or some bullhorns. Only thing is that I currently have grip shifters and don't know if the pods will slide around the curve...
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Old 02-05-11, 12:50 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
Two thumbs down on the Armadillos in this thread, both very credible sources (Meanwhile and 65er).
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-another-bike?

Meanwhile calls them the slowest tires in existence in this thread
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...light=schwalbe
Thanks for the info - those are from well after I had looked into the Nimbus and similar ones. I do now recall some comments from elsewhere about drag, stickiness etc; but it didnt seem overwhelming. It is never good to buy in the heat of the moment because you can overreact. I think I had a string of 5 flats in like 2 days, so was considering some solely on the reputation of flat resistance.
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Old 02-05-11, 01:11 PM
  #23  
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I like the Specialized tires, am currently using them and would use them again but I'm going to try the Schwalbe Marathon next. I don't want people to think Nimbus are bad tires. Any tire will run out of tread (or fall apart) eventually. The hard miles I put in, my frames last 3 to 5 years, tires maybe 6 months...

Flat resistance is the most important quality for me. The Armadillos may be slow when Meanwhile rides them, but they go fast when I'm the engine.
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Old 02-05-11, 01:23 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Re: bullhorns, what and where did you get? Been kicking around the idea of swapping for either the Nashbar Trekking (but seems to be out of stock more than in) or some bullhorns. Only thing is that I currently have grip shifters and don't know if the pods will slide around the curve...
I got the Nitto bullhorns online from niagra cycles. Kinds pricey at 50 bucks, but they're great lightweight bars. As for gripshifts, I don't think youll get them around the bends. My old bar setup had gripshifters, but I picked up some shimano rapid fires because I didn't really like the grip shifters anyway. They were hard enough to work around the bends as it was, so I think getting gripshifters on would be out of the question. Also if you do go the bullhorn route you'll have to get reverse pull levers if you want the brakelevers out on the horns.

The conversion was about 150 bucks all in, but it's totally worth it for me. Now that the bike is stritcly just a street bike, I LOVE having my main hand position to be parallel to the direction of travel as opposed to a flat bar.
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Old 02-05-11, 01:43 PM
  #25  
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Dan, nice conversion! What are the one inch road tires you use in good weather? I've never seen 26in tires quite that narrow. Do you know what "Steely Dan" was before it became the name of a rock band?
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