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Cheap Roadie vs. MTB w. Slicks?

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Cheap Roadie vs. MTB w. Slicks?

Old 01-12-06, 01:45 PM
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SaladShooter
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Cheap Roadie vs. MTB w. Slicks?

I am trying to get back into shape, and as a result am going to start biking to and from work. I only have a three mile commute so it isn't grueling by any stretch of the imagination.

I currently own a Kona Kikapu with a number of upgrades, weighs in a a little under 30 lbs. I am playing with the idea of picking up a Motobecane Mirage Sport off of ebay to use as a simple bare bones commuter. The frame seems decent, and components are meant to be upgraded when they break or frustrate me to the point of removal. I can have it at my door next week for around $360. General scuttlebutt puts the Mirage S in the 24-25 lbs range.

The other option is to put a set of 1.8 slicks on my Kikapu. I am a MTB rider at heart, any road riding would simply be exercise and commuting, the passion lies in the dirt. I would have to swap tires any time I wanted to go ride a trail, not a huge time investment, but a pain nonetheless. However, instead of $360 I would be spending $30ish.

The short version:

Road bike:

Pros:

- lighter, faster, less rolling resistance
- wouldn't have to swap tires
- excuse to buy another bike.

Cons:

- Not enough money laying around for a GREAT bike
- $360 I could be saving toward a downpayment on a house

MTB w/ slicks

Pros:

- very cheap
- save storage space in my tiny apartment's shed

Cons:

- heavy, wide tires
- have to swap tires whenever I wanted to hit a trail
- don't get to buy a new bike

Any insight from commuters and fitness only roadies is welcome, especially anyone that rides a mountain bike to and from work for any distance.
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Old 01-12-06, 01:48 PM
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buy a spare set of cheap used wheels on ebay and put the slicks on those. then it's like a 5-second job to swap out for your dirt-work. for a three-mile commute, the mtb will be fine.
[edit]
check out these cane creek crono wheels for $60. auction closes in 15 mins.
https://cgi.ebay.com/Cane-Creek-Crono...QQcmdZViewItem
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Old 01-12-06, 01:50 PM
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The slicks on the mountian bike will work well. As you said the swapping would be a pain. I think the big issue there might be if you ride weekdays either before or after work. The time needed to change tires is not great, but it can be enough to kill a ride that would barely get squeezed in. Other drawback is that you may very well run out of high end gears on the road. But for a 3 mile commute that may not be all that annoying.

Edit Look at post above.
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Old 01-12-06, 01:57 PM
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I thought about building a cheap wheelset. Keep in mind the Kikapu is disc, so I would need the wheelset, skewers, a cassette, tubes, tires, and rotors. By the time all of that is done I am only $100 or so cheaper than the road bike... thanks for the info though, anything helps at this point
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Old 01-12-06, 02:04 PM
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Swap out the suspension for frigid, slick smaller tires.
Do anything to reduce weight.

A tire I used last summer off and on-road was a Serfas Vermin.
1.9 Kevlar semi-slick, hooked up everything but mud -was a good wet ashphalt cornering tire though.
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Old 01-12-06, 03:02 PM
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If you go the second wheel set route, make sure the rim widths are the same. I bought a second set of wheels for my daughters mtb, and mounted slicks on them so I could swap her between road and dirt.

When I went to mount them, they were wider than the existing set, so the brakes could not be closed enough without clamping down hard on the rim sidewalls. There was way too much adjustment needed to just use the adjustment barrels, and re-adjusting the cable was way too much trouble every time we wanted to switch.
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Old 01-12-06, 04:17 PM
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I agree with getting another set of wheels. I have an extra set for my mountain bikes. They are a great asset. In the winter i have the studs on them. In the warmer seasons I have 1.4 ritchey tom slicks on.

This is really a personal decision for you to make. But base it on the following:

Are you interested in road riding? Road riding generally involves highway and greater distances. This is where a road bike excels. Your commute is very short and probably involves some stopping and starting along with rough terrain that includes pot holes, rail road tracks etc.

Your Kona would be a much better bike for this type of riding. Put some 1.4 slicks on it like i have and you can fly. How fast? Fast enough. Consider that the difference between that Mirage and your Kona with 1.4's on it may be as little as 30 seconds for a three mile commute. In some cases a mountain bike with slicks might even be faster depending on the type of commute you have. You will be amazed how fast you can go with tires that narrow on a mountain bike.

A road bike has a very harsh ride compared to a mountain bike. This is not an issue if you are out on the highway flying over smooth pavement at 20 mph, but it can be an issue if there is a lot of rough stuff between work and home.

If you have the road bike bug and want to buy one, don't buy the Mirage. You can spend just a little more and get a much nicer bike. I bought a Trek 1000 last Spring and only paid $520 for it brand new. I am very cheap and was going to go the Mirage way myself.

I am glad i didn't! For one thing i was going to order a 62 cm because that is what all of the online fit calculators said i needed. Turned out that when i actually went and rode, i ended up buying a 58 cm. I would have been miserable on that HUGE 62cm. I was very close to buying one. I dodged a bullet.

Last but not least, if you are in it for exercise forget about weight. It is easy to catch the weight weenie bug but if you are like me and ride for fitness, the heavier the bike, the better workout you get. And the penalty is pretty small in terms of speed or time, unless you are racing.
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Old 01-12-06, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by SaladShooter
I thought about building a cheap wheelset. Keep in mind the Kikapu is disc, so I would need the wheelset, skewers, a cassette, tubes, tires, and rotors. By the time all of that is done I am only $100 or so cheaper than the road bike... thanks for the info though, anything helps at this point
you can do without the rear brake (seriously), and you don't need an extra set of skewers, so it's just standard rear wheel, disc front (with rotor), tubes and tires. But - still, you're not saving big bucks with that program. you are saving space, though.
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Old 01-12-06, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SaladShooter
I am a MTB rider at heart, any road riding would simply be exercise and commuting, the passion lies in the dirt.
Since your commute is relatively short and you don't want to spend much or do other road riding, I recommend you find an old bike (garage sales, local craig's list, and thrift stores are good places to look) and either ride it as is or convert it to single speed (mb even fixed gear). It shouldn't cost you more than $50 and wouldn't require any modification to your MTB. You'd also probably get better quality than an entry level road bike too. Weight would be similar or lower if you went single. The only downside is that you might have to spend some time looking for a bike you like/fits. Although, with determination, it can be done in a weekend if you're not picky.
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Old 01-12-06, 05:46 PM
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I did 2 metric centuries last year with my dad on my 13 year old Trek 950 and slicks. Worked fine. I also rode 30miles every friday morning with him on the same bike.

So for a commute your mtn bike with slicks would be fine. Heck, at 3miles it would work even with knobbies.

-D
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Old 01-12-06, 06:22 PM
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Hell for three miles i wouldnt even buy new tire or a new bike if it is only going to be for those three miles to and from work. You may shave, what? 2 minutes each way? IMO
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Old 01-12-06, 09:33 PM
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SaladShooter
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Thanks for the advice guys, looks like a road bike isn't the best option if all I can afford is a big hunk of tin. I'll take the knobbies out a few times and see how they do, but I think I will just stick to the MTB and keep my eye peeled for a good yard sale in the spring.
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Old 01-12-06, 09:36 PM
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Oh hey, I just noticed you are in Columbia. I work in Columbia, live up near Reisterstown. I have given thoughts of trying to commute down once I get back into shape, but it is more like 35miles for me.
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Old 01-12-06, 09:52 PM
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Originally Posted by derath
Oh hey, I just noticed you are in Columbia. I work in Columbia, live up near Reisterstown. I have given thoughts of trying to commute down once I get back into shape, but it is more like 35miles for me.
That would be a killer commute, MD drivers are idiots and you would be on some pretty busy roads!
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