Converting MT into Roadbike??



gquinn

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Mar 5, 2006
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I have a Haro V-1 that I road in the desert all the time. After awhile I found that I loved to ride it on the streets and to work! I just had it sent to the bike shop to change my knobby tires to 80 psi 26X1.5 slicks. I also am upgrading the rims, derailer, and changing the crank to a larger one to pedal faster. I decided to do this instead of getting a roas bike because I like the front shock absorbtion and I can jump up on the sidewalk(on-off curbs) when I feel traffic is getting a little dangerous! I have never had a road bike or slick tires! Not sure what to expect when I get my bike back???????
 

gclark8

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Apr 13, 2004
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Expect? Lots of fun!! :D

My most fun bike was a Merida MTB with Conti Sport Contact 26x1.3 90psi slicks! Spent heaps on it, 8 speed shifters, new wheels, road cassette, Alivio RD, flat bars, sus seat post... CrMo forks... then I sold it to a girl to do Triathlons! :confused:
 

gquinn

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Mar 5, 2006
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How much of a difference do slicks really make? I would get tired trying to pedal on knobby tires especially because the tires were often underinflated as I used them to do some MT biking on some really rocky trails? I found that I really enjoy riding on the street at night at high speeds! Makes me feel good and like I did when I was a kid on my BMX!

I talked to a avid cycler who told me that if I really want to fly that I should buy a road bike, but I have never ridden one and don't know how fast they really are?

Thanks for any input
 

1id10t

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Apr 11, 2005
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Putting slicks on your bike will make a world of difference. I'm currently running GEAX 1.25 Roadsters on one MTB and Maxxis 1.75 Overdrives on another. Both have made a big difference to the wider knobbies I had on it when I first started commuting.
A road bike would definitely be faster but I guess you have to work out what's best for you. Just remember, bunny-hopping sidewalks is probably not a good idea on a road bike. I'm currently going through the process of looking for an alternative to my MTB (ie road bike or flat bar road bike) as my commute is going to be longer (going from approx 6km to almost 20km). If it's a short commute stick with the MTB. If you don't like the look of skinny tyres try a pair of GEAX Evolutions. They're 1.9 which is pretty wide but it still makes your MTB look like an MTB. They won't roll as fast as the skinny tyres but they're pretty fast for what they are.
 

gary.ray

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Oct 15, 2004
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Switching from knobbies to 80 psi slicks on my old MtnTek a few years ago cut about 10 minutes off of my 13 mile commute. Buying my road bike a year later cut another 5-8, but that is a different story...

The two best recommendations I would have are 1) Slicks, and 2) Clipless pedals and shoes. Beyond that I think you would need to consider the more tucked possition on a road bike to see any real efficiency gains.
 

Traffic Jammer

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Nov 5, 2005
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slicks clipless and a front shock...you gonna love it.
If you are really feeling the need for speed get a road bike, or a cross bike with a 2nd set of wheels for the dirt. That's what I'm saving up for.

BTW roadbike = wicked white knuckle holy **** fast, with the right engine of course
 

randog

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Apr 6, 2006
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I recently did the same thing to my mtn bike, which I use to commute to work. you are going to really notice a difference. much more fun and faster. :)
 

LioNiNoiL

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Sep 29, 2004
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gquinn said:
I just had [a Haro V-1] sent to the bike shop to change my knobby tires to 80 psi 26X1.5 slicks.
I have commuted on a MTB with slicks for a number of years, and it has the advantages of more comfort and sturdiness than a standard road/touring bike, especially on the badly-maintained urban roads I have ridden.
 

wALDOsLACK

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Apr 15, 2006
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If your setting your MTB up for Road only, you might want to consider changing the gears in the back to something closer to a straight block. 3-4 tooth jumps are too much, Unless you like that sort of thing.

We get people showing up all the time for road rides on thier converted MTB's. They just don't have the gearing to keep up unless it's modified.

Last year a local MTB pro showed up for one of our 60 miler road group rides, Knobbies & all.... He pulled most the day & dropped alot of the group. Now that was impressive. Talk about a handicap & he still killed us...

Suspension can be troublesome as well. Ever tried to do a sprint on a full suspension MTB? Too much lost energy unless you can lock your rear shock & make it rigid. Roadies don't loose that energy & it translates to more speed on the bike.
 

LioNiNoiL

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Sep 29, 2004
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wALDOsLACK said:
Suspension can be troublesome as well. Ever tried to do a sprint on a full suspension MTB? Too much lost energy unless you can lock your rear shock & make it rigid. Roadies don't loose that energy...
A number of studies done decades ago showed this myth that "roadies don't loose [sic] that energy" is just not true. They in fact do *lose* that energy, and then some. Prove it for yourself: pick an uneven offroad uphill course, and time yourself climbing it on a road [or cyclocross] bike, then on a fully-suspended MTB. Offroad racers don't carry the extra weight, and pay the extra freight, for full suspension just for the Hell of it. FS works on uneven terrain, and for good reason. Roadies don't need it because the roads upon which they race are relatively smooth, not like the urban jungle through which we commuters have to ride. Repeat after me: "I am not a road-racer. I am an urban jungle commuter." You'll catch on, after a few dozen commutes.
 

gclark8

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Apr 13, 2004
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A little experiment, if you have some old bathroom scales (not digital) and a mag/wind trainer, put the scales under the front wheel and see just how much energy you waste on pushing the wheel up and down, a definite case for rigid forks and back ends. :D

This is a good way to compare the effeciency of cleats, toe clips and bare pedals. Try to keep the needle steady.. :rolleyes:
 

GeekCyclist

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Apr 18, 2006
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LioNiNoiL said:
Roadies don't need it because the roads upon which they race are relatively smooth, not like the urban jungle through which we commuters have to ride. Repeat after me: "I am not a road-racer. I am an urban jungle commuter." You'll catch on, after a few dozen commutes.
So by this logic, all the riders in the spring classics that traverse huge sections of cobbles would be better on a full sus mtn bike?? That must be why all the bike messengers I see ride mountain bikes rather than road or track bikes...

I commuted for years on a rigid fork hardtail with 85 psi slicks. I ride through the industrial area of Salt Lake City, past wrecking yards with roads in front that would make a radial laced wheel buckle in an instant under my 200 + lbs. But even if I slow down for the rough road I am still much faster anyone I have encountered on a full sus bike.

I can understand wanting to have a suspension fork for the occasional hole or bunny hop, but for me it makes more sense to ride my road (touring) bike on my daily commute. I have yet to see a road bike ad that said it was only for riding on smooth roads.
 

AKTed

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Mar 18, 2006
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Well, like everyone else says, the slicks will make a big difference. I put Ritchey Tom Slicks (1.4") on my hardtail last year for commuting and it made a big difference. I also found myself locking out the fork anytime I wanted to stand up and pedal. The yo-yo-ing sucks up a lot of energy in my opinion. But the suspension does smooth the ride otherwise, even on pavement.

I've just (finally) got a road bike and I'm still a bit amazed at how different (and fast) it feels compared to the hardtail (even with the slicks). Sure it weighs a bit less than hardtail, but I'm not quite sure what it is that makes it feel so much more quick and responsive!
 

Ike90

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Feb 10, 2005
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The two best recommendations I would have are 1) Slicks, and 2) Clipless pedals and shoes.

I absolutely agree about slicks. Since I live in rainy Seattle, I use a wet pavement tread pattern rather than a slick, but slicks would be the way to go in a dry climate.

Clipless pedals and shoes are a complete fraud, and a waste of money. I know plenty of people disagree, but I think old-fashioned toe clips or PowerGrips are every bit as efficient, much less expensive, and offer much more flexibility in footwear options. But then, I don't wear those silly padded lycra pants, either.
 

oxford_don

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May 10, 2004
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I thought about doing the above, but I decided to buy a separate bike for the commute. Giant FCR is great bike, light enough to go fast and upright position with the straight bar good for town. Potholes and kerbs still not advisable on these wheels.

Got great SPD pedals with cleat fitting on one side and normal pedal on the other, means i can cycle in any shoes or clip in if i want to go faster!!
 

cavedog

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May 10, 2006
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I realize this thread is old, but.....I ride a "mountain bike" that I've put street tires on. I used to be strickly a roadie, but, after riding the MTB with 2.125 tires with shocks, I love it. IMO, the street is not as pristine as some would have you believe. Having wide fat tires on a stiff frame works for me. I can "get light" over curbs without having to worry about broken spokes, and when the real world throws a pothole at me, the bike is better equiped to deal with it. It may be more inefficient, but sometimes, that is the way the world is.
 

slcbob1

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Sep 22, 2003
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I ride a converted hard tail 20 miles everyday for a commuter / town bike. Works great. Though I would not recommend for legit group road biking unless you need to handicap yourself because you're riding with a group below you. But a few cheap changes made a big difference.

Key mods for speed I made, over the course of time, in order of perceived impact:
- slicks (as stated in earlier posts) (~$40)
- road cluster (11-25 for me) (~$35)
- rigid fork ($55)

Only other speed mod would be clip-on bars, but on a pseudo MTB I think they'd boost the freak factor up to near recumbent level and I don't like hunching over that much given the frame angles. That's where I'd buy a new frame. But I do get another free 2mph whenever I drop out of the upright position.

Wouldn't ride without clipless so can't tell you where on the pecking order they stand.

Get a cluster with an 11 small gear, as you have will still have too much bottom and need all the top gear you can get with just a 44T chainring. As is I can go to around 29mph before I'm just spinning too fast, so haven't felt the need to mess with the cranks and chainrings.

The fork was from Nashbar, about $55 for the part only, probably another $40-$60 if you don't do your own work. Bigger difference than I expected, don't believe the crack head who says suspension doesn't hurt you. Key measurement, other than the 1 1/8 or 1 steerer, is the axle-to-crown height so you don't screw up your frame geometry. Get that right, and just buy the cheapest one you can find. There's plenty of give in the MTB wheels and your arms for road riding.

Other mods for commuter comfort / safety, so maybe you don't care:
- fenders!!!!
- rack / panniers
- lights
- reflector stickers all over the damn thing

One thing left I covet -- since I already have disc-ready hubs and the new rigid fork has IS mounts, I may spring for a front Avid BB7 for those wet days. No mounts on the rear, so impractical to lust for disc all around.
 

LioNiNoiL

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Sep 29, 2004
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GeekCyclist said:
So by this logic, all the riders in the spring classics that traverse huge sections of cobbles would be better on a full sus mtn bike??
I don't know where you've seen "huge sections of cobbles", but the courses on which the Spring Classics are run are velvety-smooth compared to the two urban construction zones through which I commute.
GeekCyclist said:
... even if I slow down for the rough road I am still much faster anyone I have encountered on a full sus bike.
Good for you, you're a frakkin' hero. My recommendation was directed toward those who merely want to commute to work without having to become a frakkin' hero.
 

GeekCyclist

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Apr 18, 2006
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LioNiNoiL said:
I don't know where you've seen "huge sections of cobbles", but the courses on which the Spring Classics are run are velvety-smooth compared to the two urban construction zones through which I commute.Good for you, you're a frakkin' hero. My recommendation was directed toward those who merely want to commute to work without having to become a frakkin' hero.
Wow - maybe my post was a little heavy on the sarcasm. Sorry for that.

My point is this. In my opinion a full-suspension bike is overkill for commuting use. This opinion is based on 4 years of nearly daily commuting on two different bikes, 30 miles round trip in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. I think this for the following reasons:
  • It will be heavier and slower than a comparably equipped hard-tail or touring bike.
  • On smoother roads, unless you can lock out the suspensions, your pedaling will be less efficient.
  • More moving parts = more maintenance
  • It's more difficult to attach fenders, a rack and panniers to most (not all) full-sus bikes.
  • Sure, on a full-sus you may be able to bunny-hop obstacles better, etc. But in my opinion, if you have to do that regularly, you should be looking for a new route to work. You miss the hop you may end up really late.
When people tell me that they are thinking of commuting, I tell them to use the bike they have. When they tell me they are ready to upgrade I recommend:
  • Flat or Drop Bar road bike designed for touring, or a hard tail mtn bike. (My hard tail has a rigid fork as well).
  • Fenders and a rack. Personal preference, but I don't like things on my back.
  • Tires - For 700c wheels, I like 28-32 widths; for 26" I like 1.5 slicks.
  • If they have been biking a while, or come from a "spinning class" background, clipless pedals, otherwise platforms, maybe with toe clips.
Like they say after the TV editorials, The GeekCyclist welcomes contrasting points-of-view, from responsible individuals.
 

balaclavas

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Apr 10, 2007
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This is my converted mountainbike, I ride a full roadbike at uni, but while I'm home for the holidays, this is my ride, I litrally jammed an ebay handlebar on it and jerry rigged the brakes and gears. I love the dropped position, it gets you a couple of seconds extra. Eventually I will put some aero brakes on it (its not v type so no need for dia compe's and 700c hybred wheels, which just about fit. Its good fun to ride, even with only semi slicks, it corners very quickly and will probably be used as a cyclocross / commuter once it has some brakes I can use from the drops. This means I havn't changed the gearing yet as it was already rigged for touring, before the frame became too small. The drops and a longer seatpost have brought it back to life.
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