Buy a new road bike or keep using "vintage" rigid Hardrock with slicks?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Gingerbread Man, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. Gingerbread Man

    Gingerbread Man New Member

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    Hi,

    I have an early 1990s Specialized Hardrock which I use for occasional commutes (9m e/w) and short evening rides BUT I spend all of my time on roads. How much do I have to gain from buying a road bike that would cost me £400-£600 ?

    I really like this bike. The frame is light, there is no suspension and I have slicks on it. I am wondering if I should just stick with it for my commutes. I have learned a lot from maintenance on this bike and I get a kick out of making the most of a good bike in need of TLC rather than throwing money at the local cycle shop guy for a shiny new one.

    HOWEVER, I would like to increase my average speed. I dream of the minimal rolling resistance of 700c wheels and drop handlebars would mean not having to fight against air resistance at higher speeds. (I soooOOOooo hate that!). But is that really worth £400 ?

    If I do go for a road bike then I might get some new front forks and use it for MTBing with my kids.

    Any advice?
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    After I gave up racing a long time ago I had to sell one of my 2 bikes. I had friends who occasionally went on trail rides and I was going to do some commuting so selling the road bike was a given. I swapped out the front-end suspension for a hard Kinesis fork and threw on some Vredestein S-Licks, a VERY fast handmade 1.3" tire, but unfortunately no longer available (I kept the knobbies for single track days). I slammed the stem, removed all the headset spacers, and ran a low rise stem to keep the position as close to the road bike as possible. The relationship from saddle to bars was actually almost identical to the hoods on my road bike. I had SPD pedals and used some Sidi Dominators. I.e. I could run with regular sneakers, or bona fide riding shoes and be "locked" in.

    I rode that setup for 10 years before getting back into road racing a few years ago. It was not as fast as the road bike, but I guess between my conditioning, the positioning, and the cleats I was able to keep up on some group rides but when the pace went up I usually got toasted. You will never be able to go as fast as you would on a road bike and you won't win any hill climbs (my Voodoo weighed in at about 25 lbs), but you wil be able to go pretty fast. I may be mistaken but I believe there was a short periood when some TT bikes had 26" wheels. Tires, riding position, locked into pedals, bada bing. Unless of course you secretly just want a new bike...

    Skip the front suspension on a road bike for MTB purposes, the brakes are not up to real off-road conditions and lack the clearance for both the appropriate tires and the mud you may collect along the way. If you must, go with a cyclocross bike, but then that's still another bike.
     
  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. You do have options beyond spending £400+ for a new Road bike ...

    If you want Drop bars, you can put Drop bars on a MTB. You may recall that in the early 80s (?) that at least one of Bridgestone's MTBs was available with Drop handlebars ...

    Here is one of my Hardtail frames outfitted with Drop handlebars + Road crankset + CAMPAGNOLO shifters mated to Shimano derailleurs (to state the obvious, the picture shows the bike in a transitional state prior to installing brake calipers & cables/housing -- ignore the non-slick tyres!):

    [​IMG]

    I have to tell you that I was 'delighted' when I test fit the Road crank and the arms AND 52t chaniring cleared the chainstay ... on some frames (MTB & "Touring"), a BB spindle designed for a Triple crankset may be necessary.

    As I've noted numerous times in the past, Campagnolo shifters work very well with an otherwise Shimano drivetrain ...

    [​IMG]

    • one advantage of Campagnolo shifters is that they can be mated with almost ANY front derailleur ...
    • the 10-and-11-speed Campagnolo shifters can replicate various Shimano indexing sufficiently to provide smooth shifting ...

    Depending on your bike's current derailleurs, you may be able to limit your cost to the Drop handlebars + shifters ... £100 if you are a wise shopper on eBay.

    • your current rear derailleur may work, so 'I' wouldn't replace it until you find out otherwise

    A larger chainring than your bike probably has is probably worth considering (particularly, in light of the smaller diameter of a 26" wheels w/ slicks vs. 700c wheels & tyres). Depending on your current crankset's BCD, you may be able to simply install a larger chainring if-and-when you feel a larger chainring is warranted.
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    BTW. It is relatively easy to fit 700c wheels in a Hardtail frame ...

    [​IMG]


















    On this frame, to use a Road crankset, I needed to use a BB whose spindle length is typically used for a Triple crankset ...

    To accommodate of the frame's 135mm rear spacing, I laced a 700c rim to a MTB hub ...

    Using a Road fork changed the head tube angle to ~73º (typical for a Road bike) & lengthened the virtual top tube length which subsequently necessitated a shorter stem length ...

    I was able to use long reach (49-59) TEKTRO brake calipers front-and-rear.

    As pictured (sans seat pack), the above bike weighs just under 20 lbs. Not the lightest bike on the road, but certainly not the heaviest.
     
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