Converting old mtb to commuter bike



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I

Ivan

Guest
Hi,

I've been lurking on this newsgroup for a while and have read many posts and sites about
converting bikes.

I'm considering turning my old mountain bike (1996 specialized hardrock, 21 spd, no suspension) into
a more suitable commuter bike by adding mudguards, pannier, lights, maybe a larger front sprocket
etc. The thing is, I've checked the total cost of these parts in several LBS and H*lf*rds and
they're comparable with what the bike cost me in the first place. I'm beginning to wonder if I would
be better off buying an off the shelf one that already has all these fittings as standard plus the
benefits of more modern components and being designed for the job in the first place.

The bike is in reasonably good condition as it has never been used off road and lay unused in my
hallway for a couple of years. Most of my riding is commuting and leisure rides along towpaths. I
rarely cycle more than 25 miles on a single trip.

Can anybody advise me on which is the better option ? How would my converted bike compare to a more
modern commuter bike?

Thanks, Ivan
 
R

Richard Bates

Guest
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 11:47:59 +0100, Ivan <[email protected]> in
<[email protected]> wrote:

>is, I've checked the total cost of these parts in several LBS and H*lf*rds and they're comparable
>with what the bike cost me in the first place. I'm beginning to wonder if I would be better off
>buying an off the shelf one that already has all these fittings as standard plus the

If the total cost of required parts is comparable to the original cost of the bike then for the same
money you can almost certainly get something better today thanks to technology trickling down
through the ranks.

Buy new and keep your old as a spare for times when you wake up in the morning and find your main
bike has a flat tyre! Real Cyclists (TM) have more than one bike.

Who originally came up with the term Real Cyclist (TM)? I keep using the term but I don't know who I
should be paying the royalties to.

Love and upgrades from Rich x

--
If ingnorance is bliss then I am the erm er luckiest thingy in the whatchamacallit. To mail me,
change the obvious bit to richard
 
R

Richard Goodman

Guest
"Ivan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I'm considering turning my old mountain bike (1996 specialized hardrock, 21 spd, no suspension)
> into a more suitable commuter bike by adding mudguards, pannier, lights, maybe a larger front
> sprocket etc. The thing is, I've checked the total cost of these parts in several LBS and H*lf*rds
> and they're comparable with what the bike cost me in the first place. I'm beginning to wonder if I
> would be better off buying an off the shelf one that already has all these fittings as standard
> plus the benefits of more modern components and being designed for the job in the first place.
>
> Can anybody advise me on which is the better option ? How would my converted bike compare to a
> more modern commuter bike?

Hmm... I don't think there's necessarily a clear answer to this. Of course, if it would cost you
more to convert to your tastes than to buy a new bike that suits your tastes, then buying a whole
new bike is clearly indicated, _but_: It depends what you want in a "commuter" bike (I don't think
there is any such thing, there are only bikes used for commuting), what parts _you_ consider
necessary, and where you get them from - eg you could try buying off ebay where you might get good
prices on new/nearly new components. The bike you have sounds like a reasonable basis for a
commuting bike already. I would be inclined to doubt you really need a larger front sprocket for
commuting which is probably where most expense would come in. As to how yours would compare to a
'more modern commuter bike' - what sort of bike do you want to compare to - a Brompton? A
flat-barred racer? A more modern MTB with road tyres? A "city bike" with hub gears, swept back bars,
step through frame, chain case etc?

I would expect your bike could be made into a perfectly suitable commuter with just the addition of
mudguards, lights, road tyres, and a rack if you want to use panniers.

Rich
 
P

Peter B

Guest
"Ivan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I'm considering turning my old mountain bike (1996 specialized hardrock, 21 spd, no suspension)
> into a more suitable commuter bike by adding mudguards, pannier, lights, maybe a larger front
> sprocket etc.

I've already done this to a Hardrock of similar vintage to create a winter hack/training bike
and used it every winter since about '95 or '96 with minimal maintenance. Mudguards: A new bike
may not have these as standard anyway so they will be an added cost to it. I'm currently using
SKS Chromoplastics, expensive but durable and rattle-free, unlike some alu ones I tried after
the previous SKS ones fell apart. Panniers: A new bike is unlikely to have these as standard.
Ditto lights.

If it has an all steel Sakae 100 chainset like mine it probably has a 48 front chainring already,
more than adequate, even a 46 would be. I fitted an 11-19 rear cassette to mine, not neccessary but
preferable unless your commute takes you up Hardnott Pass :)

It would be beneficial to fit narrower road tyres, currently I use Panaracer Paselas, not the
cheapest and not the kind of thing you'd get on a cheap new bike.

> Can anybody advise me on which is the better option ? How would my converted bike compare to a
> more modern commuter bike?

My Hardrock has a hard ride, ok for winter length rides and possibly fine for commuting but in
fairness wider tyres at a lower pressure than what I use would help alleviate this. A new cheap bike
might not be better but I wouldn't know.

The achilles heel of my Hardrock were the wheels which were ****, the spokes rusted and the no-name
freehub split on a ride leaving the cassette holding the thing together until I got home. (A Shimano
freehub wouldn't fit). Luckily I had some spare hubs and spokes and was able to build new wheels
myself after buying new rims so this was economical for me to do but is a serious consideration if
you need to rely on the bike. Again, if you buy a cheap new bike it too may have **** wheels so
investing in decent new wheels for the Hardrock may be a better option.

Since the wheels were changed and the dodgy seat post modified following a recall the bike has
proved very reliable for the past 7 or 8 years. The Gripshift rubbers have all but worn out but it
just goes on.

On balance I'd say spend the money on making the Hardrock suitable for your needs.

Pete
 
Y

Yankee Bandit

Guest
"Richard Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> "Ivan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > I'm considering turning my old mountain bike (1996 specialized hardrock, 21 spd, no suspension)
> > into a more suitable commuter bike by adding mudguards, pannier, lights, maybe a larger front
> > sprocket etc. The thing is, I've checked the total cost of these parts in several LBS and
> > H*lf*rds and they're comparable with what the bike cost me in the first place. I'm beginning to
> > wonder if I would be better off buying an off the shelf one that already has all these fittings
> > as standard plus the benefits of more modern components and being designed for the job in the
> > first place.

I'd go for the new bike.

My LBS is selling the Ridgeback Day 00 for £375 (was £449) and it would be ideal for commuting (at
least for me anyway.)

regards, YB
 
I

Ivan

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, "Richard Goodman"
<[email protected]> wrote:

> "Ivan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > I'm considering turning my old mountain bike (1996 specialized hardrock, 21 spd, no suspension)
> > into a more suitable commuter bike by adding mudguards, pannier, lights, maybe a larger front
> > sprocket etc. The thing is, I've checked the total cost of these parts in several LBS and
> > H*lf*rds and they're comparable with what the bike cost me in the first place. I'm beginning to
> > wonder if I would be better off buying an off the shelf one that already has all these fittings
> > as standard plus the benefits of more modern components and being designed for the job in the
> > first place.
> >
> > Can anybody advise me on which is the better option ? How would my converted bike compare to a
> > more modern commuter bike?
>
> Hmm... I don't think there's necessarily a clear answer to this. Of course, if it would cost you
> more to convert to your tastes than to buy a new bike that suits your tastes, then buying a whole
> new bike is clearly indicated, _but_: It depends what you want in a "commuter" bike (I don't think
> there is any such thing, there are only bikes used for commuting), what parts _you_ consider
> necessary, and where you get them from - eg you could try buying off ebay where you might get good
> prices on new/nearly new components. The bike you have sounds like a reasonable basis for a
> commuting bike already. I would be inclined to doubt you really need a larger front sprocket for
> commuting which is probably where most expense would come in. As to how yours would compare to a
> 'more modern commuter bike' - what sort of bike do you want to compare to - a Brompton? A
> flat-barred racer? A more modern MTB with road tyres? A "city bike" with hub gears, swept back
> bars, step through frame, chain case etc?
>

What type of bike to buy would be a tough decision for me. There's too much choice. Like I said I
don't do very many miles at the minute but at the back of my mind there's the desire to do a bit
more and ideally I'd like to enter some charity rides and do a cycling holiday next summer. If I was
buying new I'd probably want something that can cope with that ambition as well as ordinary
commuting.

I'd love an Audax or Tourer. My plan was to modify the mountain bike for now and get something like
a Galaxy in the new year. I could then use the better bike for longer distances and commuting where
I've secure parking and keep the mtb as a beater or backup.

> I would expect your bike could be made into a perfectly suitable commuter with just the addition
> of mudguards, lights, road tyres, and a rack if you want to use panniers.

I think this is what I'll do. I've already got the road tyres. I guess I was just looking for
confirmation that the price is worth it as it seems like there's no limit to what you can spend
when you start modifying a bike. I have to stop thinking like a kid in a sweet shop when I go
into the LBS.

Thanks, Ivan
 
I

Ivan

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Richard Bates
<[email protected]> wrote:

> On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 11:47:59 +0100, Ivan <[email protected]> in
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
> >is, I've checked the total cost of these parts in several LBS and H*lf*rds and they're comparable
> >with what the bike cost me in the first place. I'm beginning to wonder if I would be better off
> >buying an off the shelf one that already has all these fittings as standard plus the
>
> If the total cost of required parts is comparable to the original cost of the bike then for the
> same money you can almost certainly get something better today thanks to technology trickling down
> through the ranks.
>
> Buy new and keep your old as a spare for times when you wake up in the morning and find your main
> bike has a flat tyre! Real Cyclists (TM) have more than one bike.
>
> Who originally came up with the term Real Cyclist (TM)? I keep using the term but I don't know who
> I should be paying the royalties to.
>
> Love and upgrades from Rich x

I think I'm a long way from being a Real Cyclist (TM) but I do what I can. I like the idea of two
bikes but I wouldn't want them too similar. I think I've a some more thinking to do before I decide
which bike to buy next. As problems go I can think of worse :).

Ivan
 
S

Steph Peters

Guest
Ivan <[email protected]> of ntl Cablemodem News Service wrote:
>I'm considering turning my old mountain bike (1996 specialized hardrock, 21 spd, no suspension)
>into a more suitable commuter bike by adding mudguards, pannier, lights, maybe a larger front
>sprocket etc. The thing is, I've checked the total cost of these parts in several LBS and H*lf*rds
>and they're comparable with what the bike cost me in the first place. I'm beginning to wonder if I
>would be better off buying an off the shelf one that already has all these fittings as standard
>plus the benefits of more modern components and being designed for the job in the first place.

I've got a 91 or 92 vintage Specialized Hardrock which is my hack around town bike left locked to
lampposts etc. I've added mudguards, rack, lights and bell and changed the tyres. Already had the
panniers - you'd have to buy these for a new bike anyway, so take them out of your price comparison.
Mine has the fixings for attaching racks and mudguards, so they're not a problem. Being a 10-12 mph
cyclist who lives in flat Manchester, I rarely make it into the existing largest front ring so
certainly didn't need a larger one.

I've used this bike to commute/dawdle around town for 10 years now. A lot of the components are the
originals. I did have to replace the back wheel when the axle broke (no idea how I managed that)
but the front is original. Obviously in that many years use various bits have worn out - chain and
rear block - but nothing I wouldn't expect to replace on any bike. It does me fine for about 50
miles a week.

The other factor to consider is fit. Does your bike fit you well? If it isn't quite right, then see
whether you can better the fit with a modern bike. Mine is a good fit (well as good as an off the
peg frame ever fits someone of only 5 feet tall). I can comfortably do a day's ride of 60 miles or
so on mine, so I intend to keep it going as long as sanely feasible.
--
Philosophy teaches us to bear with equanimity the misfortunes of others. Oscar Wilde Steph Peters
delete invalid from [email protected] Tatting, lace & stitching page
<http://www.sandbenders.demon.co.uk/index.htm
 
J

Just Zis Guy

Guest
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 11:47:59 +0100, Ivan <[email protected]> wrote:

>I'm considering turning my old mountain bike (1996 specialized hardrock, 21 spd, no suspension)
>into a more suitable commuter bike by adding mudguards, pannier, lights, maybe a larger front
>sprocket etc.

Mudguards, racks and lights are a side issue: you would need those whatever bike you ride; a new
tourer or hybrid would have mudguards as standard I suppose but since they only cost £25 it's
probably moot.

A larger front sprocket is a different matter. A budget 21 speed bike will have some fairly low-end
gearing (not that it won't work), and messing with it starts to get into "not worth the money"
territory quite fast.

Why not get the rack, mudguards and lights, a pair of decent road tyres, and try it as-is? You can
always swap the add-ons to any new bike later.

>How would my converted bike compare to a more modern commuter bike?

Which modern commuter bike? I commute on one of four bikes: an audax bike, a rigid MTB, a recumbent
and a triplet.

How far are you commuting? Anything over a couple of miles and you'll probably feel the benefit from
an audax bike or road bike. But what you have will undoubtedly do the job.

Guy
===
** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com New!
Improved!! Now with added extra Demon!
 
T

Tim Downie

Guest
Richard Bates wrote:

>
> Who originally came up with the term Real Cyclist (TM)? I keep using the term but I don't know who
> I should be paying the royalties to.

It was me. I'll accept a cheque. ;-)

Tim

--
Time for a new sig.
 
S

Sue

Guest
In message <[email protected]>, Richard Bates
<[email protected]> writes
>
>Who originally came up with the term Real Cyclist (TM)? I keep using the term but I don't know who
>I should be paying the royalties to.
>

Apparently rec.bicycles in 1990 - there's a good version of the list of Real Cyclist (TM)
properties in 1992.

Don't pay the nasty Yanks any royalties unless they're willing to come over here to drink it!
--
Sue ];:))
 
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