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Converting Mountain Bike to Hybrid

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Converting Mountain Bike to Hybrid

Old 06-11-08, 09:37 PM
  #1  
PotatoSlayer
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Converting Mountain Bike to Hybrid

Hello.

I have a car that is about to die (probably within a few months.)

In the meantime I am investing in my bike. a TREK 3700. Nothing fancy.

I told my wife I wanted to get a hybrid/road bike new or used but she insisted one bike is enough and she won't budge. So I'm trying to my this one more road worthy.

Today I changed the seat and added horns to the front handlebar(dont know if those are the correct terms. But my biggest thing I am considering is changing the wheels to make it a hybrid.

then of course, keeping old wheels and putting them back on during the winter for the snowy rides.

Is this a good idea? Any suggestions?
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Old 06-11-08, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
Hello.

I have a car that is about to die (probably within a few months.)

In the meantime I am investing in my bike. a TREK 3700. Nothing fancy.

I told my wife I wanted to get a hybrid/road bike new or used but she insisted one bike is enough and she won't budge. So I'm trying to my this one more road worthy.

Today I changed the seat and added horns to the front handlebar(dont know if those are the correct terms. But my biggest thing I am considering is changing the wheels to make it a hybrid.

then of course, keeping old wheels and putting them back on during the winter for the snowy rides.

Is this a good idea? Any suggestions?
Get rid of the knobbies and get road tires. Bikes tires aren't that expensive, and they make a huge difference. And get fenders, too. Depending on your riding style, you may also want to consider a rack and some panniers.

Keeping the knobbies for snow may or may not be a good idea. Will you actually ride in snow? If you decide that yes, you will ride come hell, high water, or flakes, then I'd suggest you get a second bike: one for normal conditions, and one for ice & snow. I can't imagine that most people would want to change tires that often, especially since weather conditions can vary so much from day to day. And really, a second, beater bike with knobbies can be purchased for not very much money at all, if you're willing to cruise yard sales and used bike shops.

BTW, have you mentioned to your SO that a good used bike costs about the same as a single car maintenance episode?
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Old 06-12-08, 02:18 AM
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You can get road tires to fit a mountain bike. Here are just a few:
Continental Ultra GatorSkin 26x1.125 Wire Bead Tire
Continental Contact Security 26 x 1.75 Wire Tire
Panaracer Pasela 26 x 1.25 Kevlar Folding Tire
Tioga City Slicker 26 x 1.5 Wire Tire

If you live in an area where the snow stays on the ground for any length of time, please consider getting a winter beater bike from your local thrift store. You can get one for very little. The salt and sand on the streets in winter will play havoc with your good bike's drivetrain and bearings.
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Old 06-12-08, 04:33 AM
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A hybrid is pretty much a plain mountain bike but with 700c wheels instead of 26 inch wheels. There's no advantage whatsoever to that, so no point in converting. Just put different tires on your mountain bike and you have the same thing as a hybrid. They don't have to be "road tires", just narrower, smoother tires such as would be found on any stock hybrid. No need to get new wheels.
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Old 06-12-08, 05:20 AM
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And maybe take it to the bike shop and have them get the handlebars up level at or above the seat for comfortable street riding.
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Old 06-12-08, 09:13 AM
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one bike is enough?! what? yeah, what everyone else said. get road tires on that thing, you'll notice a huge difference. make sure your seat and bars are high enough, i like my bars at the same height as my seat, but i'm an old slow guy.i also don't use drops and prefer a moustache bar, but that's me.
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Old 06-12-08, 11:33 AM
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So I can put slick tires on my current rims?

My wife has a mountain bike right now. The tires on it are shot, should I just put my old tires on heres and have that be my way of getting two bikes?
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Old 06-12-08, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
So I can put slick tires on my current rims?

My wife has a mountain bike right now. The tires on it are shot, should I just put my old tires on heres and have that be my way of getting two bikes?
Yep, it's easy. See what size your knobbies are and got to the bike store and get some slicks of the same size.
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Old 06-15-08, 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
So I can put slick tires on my current rims?

My wife has a mountain bike right now. The tires on it are shot, should I just put my old tires on heres and have that be my way of getting two bikes?
Yes, you can put slicks on your current rims. MTB knobbies are usually 2 inch or 1.95 inch. The slicks are usually 1.5 inch. But both will fit on regular 26 inch rims. The people at the bike shop (we call it a LBS) will know for sure if they'll fit your rims.

The main advantage of slicks is not that they're faster, but that they're more stable on pavement. Look for the ones with no tread, or a very light tread. Try to find slicks that you can inflate to 85 psi if you want a slightly faster tire.

You might get more flats with slicks. You can buy them with some form of flat protection, but you'll still get flats sometimes. Learn how to fix them before you get your first flat.

Any good LBS will have several tires to choose from. You'll pay a little more for higher pressure tires, and for kevlar or other flat protection. I can't see paying much more than about $20 (each tire) for this kind of riding, and you can probably get by just fine for less.

The website for Schwalbe has lots of pictures and descriptions of different tires. But I think it's worth a buck or two more to buy at a LBS instead of online.

You can use your wife's bike for a backup if she doesn't mind--and if it at least comes close to fitting you.
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Old 06-15-08, 04:55 AM
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Would I be better off just keeping the tires I have now? I am able to get decent speed on them and they are holding up. Would I be better off just saving the money now and putting it toward a new road bike when this bike wears out?
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Old 06-15-08, 06:06 AM
  #11  
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PotatoSlayer,

I recently converted my old Trek Mountain bike (an 800) to a more street friendly bike. Putting road tires with a less aggressive tread (or even slicks) made a big difference for my bike. The road tires are quieter and seem to have less rolling resistance than the knobby tires. Also, I recently replaced the rims and hubs on my bike (they were 14 years old and were worn out) with some brand new, good quality hubs and rims. This made a huge difference. My old hubs had unsealed bearings that were wobbly and loose. The new hubs are tight, and have great bearings. I notice that I can coast much father with the new hubs and wheels than what I could do with the old set of wheels.

I think buying new tires would be a worthwhile investment. If your existing Trek works well, I wouldn't bother replacing it with a road bike. A well maintained bike can last a lifetime. You might need to replace/upgrade some parts, but a good bike will last a long time.
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Old 06-15-08, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
Would I be better off just keeping the tires I have now? I am able to get decent speed on them and they are holding up. Would I be better off just saving the money now and putting it toward a new road bike when this bike wears out?
Personally, I mostly use slicks on a MTB for street riding in the spring, summer and fall.
  • They are a little faster, if you get lighter tires with higher pressure.
  • They're more stable on pavement. That means you can take curves faster without wiping out, and also get better braking.
OTOH, there are a couple drawbacks to slicks.
  • Obviously, it's another expense.
  • Also, you have less resistance to puncture flats. This is especially important if you ride where there's road debris, glass or thorns.
  • Slicks are less suitable for Off-road use. They have less traction on loose or wet surfaces,
  • and they give less protection to your rims on roots and rocks.
Be aware that for the type of riding that many of us do, it just doesn't make a huge difference what kind of tires you run! And before people get all upset, I mean that it does make a difference--just not a HUGE difference.

No matter what tires you use, you're going to have fun and get to where you want to go! I ride enough miles (and hard enough) that I have to get new tires almost every year. So I think you'll have plenty of chances to experiment with different ones throughout your cycling career.
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Old 06-17-08, 01:24 PM
  #13  
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PotatoSlayer, they are dead right on with the tires..I have a '98 Giant atx that was running 26 x 1.95 knobbies, my first commuter ride was , well for the most part, not encouraging.

Next day I went out and bought a pair of Ritchy slicks 26x1.5 with tubes. Big difference in the ride now..much smoother and better rolling resistence. BTW get slicks that have some tread, usually that will be more on the side and the center of the tire is bare...just is case of some wet weather.

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Old 06-17-08, 01:30 PM
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I'm a sucker for the Forte City ST's. My wife and I both have tons of miles on them and they have held up well. Hard to beat $8.99 each.

I'm glad you're wife stopped you from buying a new(er) hybrid. With a few adjustments you'll be good to go! Add pics as you make changes!
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Old 06-17-08, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Mattys View Post
BTW get slicks that have some tread, usually that will be more on the side and the center of the tire is bare...just is case of some wet weather.
I've had semi-slick tires like that--don't remember the brand name. They're smooth in the center but have knobbies sticking out of the sides. The idea is that if you want to go off-road, you let out some air and the side knobbies will then hit the trail.
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Old 06-18-08, 10:59 PM
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I got the kind you mentioned above and they're on the bike now. I took it for a test run and the bike performed okay.. but I almost wiped out a couple times getting used to the difference in traction.

Is this normal? My bike is just about complete and I will post before and after pictures. The only thing I'm really missing now is a helmet.
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Old 06-19-08, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
Hello.

I have a car that is about to die (probably within a few months.)

In the meantime I am investing in my bike. a TREK 3700. Nothing fancy.

I told my wife I wanted to get a hybrid/road bike new or used but she insisted one bike is enough and she won't budge. So I'm trying to my this one more road worthy.

Today I changed the seat and added horns to the front handlebar(dont know if those are the correct terms. But my biggest thing I am considering is changing the wheels to make it a hybrid.

then of course, keeping old wheels and putting them back on during the winter for the snowy rides.

Is this a good idea? Any suggestions?
Ditch the wife get the bike. Bikes are like golf clubs you wouldn't take on your local course with just a putter would you?
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Old 06-19-08, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
Hello.

I have a car that is about to die (probably within a few months.)

In the meantime I am investing in my bike. a TREK 3700. Nothing fancy.

I told my wife I wanted to get a hybrid/road bike new or used but she insisted one bike is enough and she won't budge. So I'm trying to my this one more road worthy.

Today I changed the seat and added horns to the front handlebar(dont know if those are the correct terms. But my biggest thing I am considering is changing the wheels to make it a hybrid.

then of course, keeping old wheels and putting them back on during the winter for the snowy rides.


Is this a good idea? Any suggestions?
It will be impossible for you to convert to 700c wheels, because your forks are designed for 26" wheels. I suppose you could go to the trouble of finding a 700c fork, but then you'd still run into the same problem at the dropouts.

So keep the 26" wheels, but change the knobbies to commuter slicks, as everybody else has suggested. Then build or acquire a second wheelset, and fit that with studded snow tires. Now you've got an all-season commuter bike. When there's no snow, keep your wheels with the commuter slicks on the bike; when it snows, take them off and put the wheels with the studded snow tires on the bike.

If you really want to make some tweaks to the design, convert the bike to a disk brake on the front wheel, and an internally geared hub on the rear wheel (and if you want to tweak it some more, make the front hub a dynamo hub. Another tweak-- save the shock fork for when you have to ride through rutted ice, and swap it out for a rigid fork for when you're riding on smooth surfaces and/or soft snow.). Converting to a disk brake up front and internal hub at the rear will give you superior braking power during rain and snow, and will also be easier to shift & maintain during the winter.

Last edited by Blue Order; 06-19-08 at 02:40 AM.
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Old 06-19-08, 05:56 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
.

I told my wife I wanted to get a hybrid/road bike new or used but she insisted one bike is enough and she won't budge. So I'm trying to my this one more road worthy.
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Old 06-19-08, 07:31 PM
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I've recently done exactly this, I ride a raleigh m40, which thankfully has only about 3/4 of an inch of travel on the front suspension. I put a pair of continental city ride slicks on it (1.75 wide) and the difference is amazing; i'm averaging close to 4 mph faster on my rides, and the rides are easier allowing me to go much faster. Last weekend I went on a oneway 45 mile trip on the m40; unthinkable on knobbies!! Funnest 3 hours i've ever spent on a mountain bike.
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Old 06-21-08, 12:59 AM
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http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=5430

This is what I roll and I love them. I run them at 30-40 psi. I ride rain shine and some of my commute is on MUP that might be covered in mud from creeks flooding the MUP. I feel I need some tread in case of rain and the mud slicked paths

My speeds are up and the ride is nice and smooth no more knobbie vibes
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Old 10-01-09, 10:28 PM
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a friend of mine just finished his conversion on a man must be about a 20 yo mountain bike, he went completely thru it bearings and all, replace knobbys with slicks, he had me ride it today and i got to say that is one smooth rider, i liked it so much im considering converting my 2nd bike the same way,
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Old 10-02-09, 06:32 AM
  #23  
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Mtb with slicks and currently has a Brooks B17 on it. This is my commuter rig. The road bike is for playtime.
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Old 10-02-09, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PotatoSlayer View Post
Is this a good idea? Any suggestions?
I did what you are doing.

Like Bragi said, swap out the tires for street slicks. You can change tires when needed. That isn't too difficult. Store the spares carefully so they don't dry out and crack.


I added street slicks, fenders, lights, a rack and toe clips to my 20 year old Specialized Hard Rock. So I'm all set for riding some rough streets, and on occasion I do a gentle single track. Since the conversion, I've also added a trailer hitch for my Bikes at Work trailer.
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Old 10-02-09, 08:39 AM
  #25  
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Frankly, I think that a MTB with slick tires makes for a far better hybrid than a real hybrid.

You will be shocked how slicks transforms a MTB. Make you feel like superman on the street.

j
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