Converting a road bike


New Member
Aug 4, 2016
I recently raided my parents garage and found my old bike from my college triathlon days. After college I joined the military so my Specialized Allez (circa 1996) found it's way into my parents garage for safe keeping and storage. And there it stayed until I pulled it from the rafters this weekend. Well needless to say the last 21 years have left me not quite in the shape or condition I was back then. I rode for a whole 5 miles yesterday and my ass is so sore this morning. Anyway, I seriously doubt I am going to be doing any serious racing, or any racing of any kind, or even riding for exercise for that matter, but since I now have a job that is 2.5 miles from my house I would like to start riding for my commute. Anyway, I would like to know if anyone has ever converted a bike from a road racer to a more commuter friendly version? I'd like to start with a softer seat! My back is also pretty sore from leaning over so far so higher handle bars would be nice. I also doubt that I need the 12 different speeds on the bike either. Anyway, any advice would be helpful.
2.5 miles = 10 minutes of riding...slowly.

I would think your back and your backside would get used to that routine pretty quickly.

You can get a softer saddle, but that is no guarantee of greater comfort. A properly fit saddle, generally, is. And that can be a lot of trial and error.

You can raise your stem up to the safe height limit. You can probably buy a riser stem for your bike (see your LBS. I 'think' you have a 1" headset). You could install flat bars with a little swept back reach, but that requires new brake levers, changing the cables, bar tape, etc.

No clue what you will be taking with you, but there are all manner of bags and racks available for your bike, as are fenders / mudguards. Again, you LBS can advise you as to what you need to fit your frame.
... My back is also pretty sore from leaning over so far so higher handle bars would be nice. I also doubt that I need the 12 different speeds on the bike either. .
IF ...

If you aren't a slave-to-fashion, then a temporary, expedient change would be to simply rotate the handlebars up-and-back, ghetto-style ...


And,. < 5 minutes of your time UNLESS you don't have an Allen Wrench to loosen-and-tighten the stem.

BTW. Presuming that your bike has downtube shifters, it will certainly be better if you figure out what gear ratio works for you before adjusting your handlebars because reaching down to make changes will become more difficult from the alternate riding position.

Softer saddles are generally only more comfortable for a few minutes.
After that, as your sit bones(which might not like it, but are built to do the job) will sink into the surface, allowing the padding to put pressure on the soft tissues between.
Which certainly ISN'T built to carry your weight.
Numbness and chafing can also occur.
If you haven't ridden in a while, give it at least one week of short rides every 2nd day, before giving judgement on a saddle.
It fitted before, right?
Unless your body has been through serious trauma, the shape and size of your pelvis is likely to be pretty much the same.
And really, what's up with trying to "simplify" a perfectly fine bike?
If you don't want the hassle of shifting gears, why go through the hassle of removing gears?
Just find the gear you like the most and leave it there.
Same result, zero spending and minimum effort.
And you get a more useful bike, if riding conditions or preferences change.
Your options for a higher bar depends on what stem design your bike has. But one that should be fairly easily doable is to switch to a North Road bar - depending on type of shifter.
Whether a road bike can be turned into an acceptable commuter depends on lots of things. Personally, I think fenders and a rack are a great idea on utility minded bikes.
I really don't like it when caught out in the rain on my road bike. The instantaneous mess caused by the road grime - the "racing stripe" isn't any fun.
A pannier for carrying beats any backpack any day too.
Space for fenders would be my first thought for turning a road bike into a dedicated commuter.
My next thought would be gearing ratio. I'm rarely above 25 mph, so I prefer to have as many usefully gears as possible in that range.

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