Slicks on mtn bike vs. cheap road bike



Hailey

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Apr 16, 2013
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I am new to bike touring and serious cycling, and I'm planning a trip down the Natchez Trace Parkway. I have a mountain bike that I have ridden for years and is in decent condition. Funds are very limited. So my question is....should I just buy slick tires to put on my mountain bike? Or do I really need to be on the lookout for a road bike? There are several decent deals on Craigslist (mostly Schwins--I don't know much about different bikes and which are good). I don't plan on doing much touring after this trip, for a good while, so I would like to do whatever is most economical but also practical for having a successful trip. Thanks!
 

vspa

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Jan 11, 2009
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it all depends the distance that you are covering, where do you start from ?
 

Hailey

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Apr 16, 2013
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Renting a bike is a good idea, Volnix. There is a good bike shop right at the start of the Trace that I know does rentals, I will need to price check. That is the defining factor for me.

And vspa, I am starting from the Northern terminus in Nashville and planning to do the entire 450ish miles down to Natchez, MS.
 

alfeng

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Jul 23, 2005
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Originally Posted by Hailey .

I am new to bike touring and serious cycling, and I'm planning a trip down the Natchez Trace Parkway. I have a mountain bike that I have ridden for years and is in decent condition. Funds are very limited. So my question is....should I just buy slick tires to put on my mountain bike? Or do I really need to be on the lookout for a road bike? There are several decent deals on Craigslist (mostly Schwins--I don't know much about different bikes and which are good). I don't plan on doing much touring after this trip, for a good while, so I would like to do whatever is most economical but also practical for having a successful trip. Thanks!
It will be much more economical if you buy Slicks for your MTB ...

BTW. The TYPE of MTB which you have does matter to some extent ...

  • if it is a reasonably good Hardtail, then a definite 'yes' to the Slicks (don't forget, you will probably need narrower tubes) ...
  • if you have an inexpensive MTB (sub-$150 MSRP), then you may be happier with another bike UNLESS you can lock out the front suspension and/or rear shock.


BTW2. I presume the "Parkway" more-or-less runs alongside the Mississippi ... so, the only time you will truly be going uphill will be on the return trip + if you venture away from the River ...

So, while 'I' am not keen on FLAT handlebars, DROP handlebars may be unexpectedly uncomfortable for you to use for the trip ...

  • MOUSTACHE handlebars may be a good transitional choice ... they are basically Drop handlebars with negligible drop + you can continue to use your MTB's current shifters & brake levers.
 

vspa

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Jan 11, 2009
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450 miles is a respectable distance, you need to consider a small repair kit for punctures, broken spokes, a couple of chain links, touring is great but you cannot do it with a overly tight budget, remember you need a place to sleep and daily food, and transportation for the return for you and your bike,
 

rcrampton

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Mar 17, 2005
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I've done plenty of fully loaded touring on both mtn and road bikes. Off-road fully loaded is done on my mtn bike, road touring is done on a road bike now but I did it on a mtn bike until I finally bought a road bike. I used a very large handlebar bag and tried to pack light since all of my weight was over my back tire (only a rear rack on a hard tail).

Road-oriented tires make a big difference, you'll be just fine if you can get all of your junk on the bike. Enjoy, it looks like a great ride.
 

Hailey

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Apr 16, 2013
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Thanks for the good information y'all. I'm feeling more prepared to make a decision and also more at peace that I can work it work with whichever bike I do decide to ride, as long as I prepare correctly! And vspa, I have already budgeted out for all of those things, and also some bigger panniers. But a new bike is a far cry from a 20 dollar repair kit, so trying to save the dollars where I can!