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Building a road-like bike - looking for advice on groupset, etc.

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Building a road-like bike - looking for advice on groupset, etc.

Old 02-12-16, 01:45 PM
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Building a road-like bike - looking for advice on groupset, etc.

Hi,


I'm relatively new to biking as an adult and BF. I think this is road, as that and MUPs are certainly where I plan on riding the bike, but I'm not sure. I'm working on a build - mostly for road/commute but really a bit of an all-rounder, pretty budget sensitive. I rode mostly my 88 Bianchi Strada for commuting (base, all hi-ten, 2x5, original-ish) last year, I'm planning on a little more cycling this summer - maybe a (small, informal) group ride up to the local lookout now and then, etc.

I've got a 2002 Cannondale CAAD3 mountain bike frame (it's got the headshock fork), I really like those old cannondale mtn frames. Plan is drop bars, maybe keep the headshock fork to start with and see if I want to get a road fork (which would drop the headtube - and I'm aware of the funny headset issues, looking at the problem solver adapter) after riding it. I realize I won't be able to use the brakes from the groupset, plan is either mechanical disc or cantilevers.

I'm looking at Chain Reaction & Wiggle trying to decide between the Tiagra triple 10 speed and the 105 11 speed. Both seem to be pretty good deals, I guess some of the question is whether the 105 is really worth $150 over the Tiagra.

Is there such a thing as a 'cyclocross' group that comes with mechanical disc or canti brakes? Which is the way to go for this? I know a poorly set up canti doesn't do much, but I've had good ones on an old mountain bike (20 years ago) and I really don't have any experience with disc. I keep hearing that the mechanical disc aren't that great, and they're certainly more expensive than canti. I've considered hedging that bet and going with disc in the back and rim brake (canti for now) in the front - would work better if I move to a road fork that isn't fitted for disc.
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Old 02-12-16, 01:57 PM
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Old 02-12-16, 02:01 PM
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Hmmm, your plan to adapt the Cannondale sounds half-baked, but you seem to realize that already. You're turning a competent MTB into a not-very-good hybrid.

The Headshock Cannondales are pretty light for an MTB (I have a 2004 F400), but the geometry would not be ideal for a road/hybrid.

Adapting the Cannondale MTB will be even harder than you describe because:
* MTB and Road cranks and front derailleurs don't mix well with each other. You can't fit the Road bottom bracket on the Cannondale frame (68 mm vs 73 mm), and the Road front derailleur won't fit either. If you put on a MTB crank and FD, it won't play well with Road shifters.
* Road brake levers don't pull the correct cable for V-brakes or Discs. Cantilevers would work with Road brake levers, but you'll have to install a cable bridge for the front cantilevers.

In your position, I'd take the money that you're prepared to spend on a new groupset and other parts to adapt the Cannondale, and buy an inexpensive cyclocross bike. You should be able to find Tiagra and discs for less than $1k.

Or, buy the Tiagra group go find a good road frame.

You can buy individual components from Ribble, Chain Reaction, and others, but not at the same price as the complete group. But it may still be cheaper to buy individually if you won't be able to use half of the complete group anyway.
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Old 02-12-16, 02:20 PM
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MTB frame with drop bars and road fork is called a Monster CX Rig nowadays, or other similar names. While technically a "hybrid" they are usually run for high-end gravel racing. Some go the other way, build a cross bike with a mix of MTB and road parts for the same type of riding - mixed pavement and fast forest service roads.I agree with [MENTION=343977]Tim_Iowa[/MENTION]. It would be better to just buy a cross bike and work from there. Cannondale CAADX Tiagra Disk is about $1200.
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Old 02-12-16, 02:30 PM
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Older MTBs tended to have really long TT's so that means using a very short stem when converting to drop bars. It could potentially mean wonky handling.
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Old 02-12-16, 02:46 PM
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+1 to a cx bike. You can have cantis, and usually a quite sizable tire as well. Two wheelsets set up for road and off-road makes a single bike that does everything well.

You're usually in for a very expensive and poorly functioning experience if you try to mod an old mtb
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Old 02-12-16, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by CafeVelo
You're usually in for a very expensive and poorly functioning experience if you try to mod an old mtb
Old MTBs with rigid forks can be adapted into touring/commuting bikes without too much hassle. But, equipping a headshock Cannondale with road parts is a bridge too far.

But, mine still has a long top tube and short stem, and the handling isn't ideal. The handling keeps me from riding that bike on twisty trails; it's fine for road and gravel (mostly straight line).
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Old 02-12-16, 03:03 PM
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Tim_Iowa - thanks. I didn't realize the BB was different, I'm new to bike wrenching. That definitely changes the buy a group vs buy components decision.

There are road disc calipers now though - with pull to be compatible with road levers.

I'll re-examine. I think I still want to build this frame as a drop-bar bike - because I really like this frame, and because I want to build up from frame as I haven't before. I may drop the road components though - if I go with separate brakes and shifters, I think I can make this a reasonable low-cost but interesting build.
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Old 02-12-16, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Viich
Tim_Iowa - thanks. I didn't realize the BB was different, I'm new to bike wrenching. That definitely changes the buy a group vs buy components decision.
Yeah, the BB difference makes it harder. It also means that a MTB front derailler has to reach a lot further to shift the chain rings, so a road FD won't work. Using an MTB FD means you're stuck with whatever chain rings it's specified to use (smaller than most road cranks).

Because of the compatibility issues, this would be a valid use of a single front chain ring and a wide-range rear cassette.

Originally Posted by Viich
There are road disc calipers now though - with pull to be compatible with road levers.
Yes, BB7R are an example of road disc calipers. I have them on my Foundry Auger (with SRAM double tap), and they're OK. Not great, though, so I have a set of Tektro HY/RD calipers to replace them with when I get around to it.

Originally Posted by Viich
I'll re-examine. I think I still want to build this frame as a drop-bar bike - because I really like this frame, and because I want to build up from frame as I haven't before. I may drop the road components though - if I go with separate brakes and shifters, I think I can make this a reasonable low-cost but interesting build.
Your idea of building it with separate brake and shift controls would definitely make it easier to do.
You could use standard road brake levers and BB7Rs (or equivalent), or V-brake compatible drop levers with V-brakes or MTN discs.
Bar-end shifters are easy to set up, and I like them a lot. The front/left bar-end shifter has enough pull to be compatible with a MTB front derailleur, at least for a double crank.
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Old 02-12-16, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa
You can buy individual components from Ribble, Chain Reaction, and others, but not at the same price as the complete group. But it may still be cheaper to buy individually if you won't be able to use half of the complete group anyway.
If you're doing a little mixing, then the price of the individual components isn't bad.

For example, snag Ultegra Shifters/Derailleurs, and build up with a used crankset, and re-use your existing canti brakes (or wherever you acquire them).

I've been running a MTB to Road conversion.



Not everything is perfect on it. I think I would have been better off starting with a full groupset, rather than grab-bag mixing and matching.

My vintage Dura-Ace cranks hit the chainstays, and were a no-go. As it is, the chainring is mighty close to the chainstays. I'll probably try to dimple the stays sometime.

Oh, also note the unused Canti pegs on my bike. If you go from 26" to 700c, you need to convert to standard calliper brakes. If you keep the 26", the Cantis are fine. And, going from 26" to 650b, you may need to hunt for long-reach canti brakes.
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Old 02-12-16, 04:29 PM
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so you're trying to convert an older MTB frame into a road setup? Yeah, def. go for that Tiagra triple gruppo, esp. if you live near hills and climbs, cause that old cannondale is gonna e heavy and you'll need every gear ya got...

If you live somewhere flat, I'd be looking into converting my old Bianchi Strada, not that cannondale frame...
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Old 02-12-16, 04:34 PM
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See the drop bar conversion thread https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-vi...nversions.html

IMHO 10 & 11 speed is Overspending but You can Judge your Desires ..

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Old 02-12-16, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa
Old MTBs with rigid forks can be adapted into touring/commuting bikes without too much hassle. But, equipping a headshock Cannondale with road parts is a bridge too far.

But, mine still has a long top tube and short stem, and the handling isn't ideal. The handling keeps me from riding that bike on twisty trails; it's fine for road and gravel (mostly straight line).
I agree on old rigid MTBs. I did one as a snow bike with really knobby 2.75" tires and flared out dirt drops. Traded for the parts I needed, total cost: ~ $5. Im yet to try the bike because of the mild winter, but the test ride on gravel and dirt, plus a lap around my neighborhood when it did snow, were very promising. Anything else probably won't work.
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Old 02-12-16, 08:48 PM
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Can you even fit a normal fork in a headshock head tube?

I'd support buying a dedicated frame or bike and finding something better to do with the Cannondale frame. I can tell you from experience that some Frankenbikes never come to life ... those are the ones that drain the bank account most until the mad scientist finally accepts fate and lets them stay dead.
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Old 02-12-16, 08:52 PM
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Old 02-12-16, 08:54 PM
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Old 02-12-16, 09:01 PM
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...seriously, there are a crappe tonne of non-suspension MTB's on my local CL that will end up costing you less as a complete bike (even the occasional Cannondale), than you will end up spending on this conversion project. I don't know about where you live, up in the frozen North, but suggest you might do some looking on the CL there..
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Old 02-12-16, 09:14 PM
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Pretty funny that guy is a big fan of the Headshock just because it has 100 percent lockout ... for a few rides. Slooooow learner.

Maybe the guy (who has four or so of the bikes with Headshocks) is by himself keeping Cannondale making the shock ... so long as people still buy the crap, C'dale will keep selling it.

He makes this long video about how he is being ripped off and has to have four bikes just to have one to ride ... Dude, watch your own video.

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Old 02-12-16, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Can you even fit a normal fork in a headshock head tube?

I'd support buying a dedicated frame or bike and finding something better to do with the Cannondale frame. I can tell you from experience that some Frankenbikes never come to life ... those are the ones that drain the bank account most until the mad scientist finally accepts fate and lets them stay dead.
You can, there are adapters. - Problem Solvers Bike - That actually is the part of the plan I am least attched to.
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Old 02-12-16, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Viich
You can, there are adapters. - Problem Solvers Bike - That actually is the part of the plan I am least attched to.
Well, that's not so bad then .... but then I have to ask about frame geometry.

So long as you kept the Headshock, you would have a normal ride, but dropping the front end three or four inches with a road fork would drop the bottom bracket and maybe cause pedal/road conflicts, would make your seat tuber a lot more upright, and make your head tube nearly vertical, which could lead to some very interesting----not twitchy but maybe epileptic (and no offense to anyone so afflicted)) handling.

You could fit it with 48-38-28 rings and with an 11-tooth top cog could still have plenty of top end, and standard MTB stuff will work with all that---but I am sure you have also researched all that, because a lot of brifters will not work with MTB FDs (I can attest that a 1988 Deore LX FD works fine with a 2014 Tiagra 10-speed brifter, but anything more recent, I think Shimano changed the cable pulls.)

There are Shift-Mates and another pulley system the name of which escapes me (Travel-Agent) which can make just about any shifter or brifter work with any derailleur, and probably with different brake systems. You will possibly end up buying several until you find the right ones, because you might be trying combinations no one ever considered before.

Unless you are 100% committed to this regardless of cost and headaches, repeated failures, parts replacements, more parts replacements, more headaches, and possibly a finished product which totally does not satisfy you ...

On the other hand, you could join the ranks of those of us who tried a "simple, cheap conversion" that ended up costing twice the price of a new bike and was eventually broken down for parts for other projects. I am stuck in the middle of one right now ... even though I am only a few tiny adjustments from being done, my rational brain tells me that I am actually a Loooong way from done ... I have been "a few tiny adjustments from being done" about six times now. I am in too deep to quit, but I can't seem to make progress. The only positive is that I refuse to throw any more money at it.

This could be you, a few months and several hundred fewer dollars from now.
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Old 02-13-16, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa
Yeah, the BB difference makes it harder. It also means that a MTB front derailler has to reach a lot further to shift the chain rings, so a road FD won't work. Using an MTB FD means you're stuck with whatever chain rings it's specified to use (smaller than most road cranks).
Actually measured, BB isn't 73, it's 68. Non-issue. Cannondale MTBs apparently didn't go to 73 until 2008?
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