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Making an MTB road friendly

KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
edited March 2016 in Commuting general
Hello - I'm new here!

I've done done searching on this but still have questions.

I used to mountain bike until about 8-10 years ago - I then had a bad accident and stopped mostly.

Then I got chubby.

I've just recently started cycling to work which is mostly road albeit potholed - occasionally gravelly - ones, it has a couple of bits of hard packed paths too with a few rough and shingly bits.

I'm thinking of either making the mountain bike a bit more road friendly or buying some sort of gear wielding hybrid - a road bike is probably a stretch too far due to the paths and the need to occasionally jump off the road to avoid big Mercedes cars and a Seat Leon.

It's a 2004 Kona Cinder Cone with some crazy bouncy front suspension that you don't seem to be able to lock off.

Mods I'm thinking of are tyres, rigid forks, maybe a stem or bar change.

What do you all think, should I start modding or buy something else?

Posts

  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    An MTB can make a decent Hybrid road commuter.
    1/ Decent slick tyres, the go to Budget option (about £11 ea) are Schwalbe city jet, for a livelier ride there are lots of options at about £25 each
    2/ Rigid forks, I love the Mosso forks on mine, can be had for about £45 off evilbay, try and match the A2C of your bouncy specimens.
    3/ Riding position can be improved by swapping riser bars to flat, moving spacers above the stem as well as flipping the stem (so it angles down and not up).
    4/ If you have very wide bars its worth considering narrowing them a bit.

    My commuter is a Hybrid frame with mostly MTB components fitted, now racked up just over 6000 miles.
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Thanks; I have semi slicks already, they're already a bit, erm, twitchy on the gravelly corners! Will slicks be face-planty?

    I understand the a2c of a 100mm travel Marzocchi is about 440 a2c - these are 430 a2c will that be OK do you reckon?http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/201536830733

    Lovely job - thanks for the info!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Depends how far to work it is ...

    I've got a "few" bikes - TT to 29er - I'll take the TT to work, but not the 29er - because it's 10 miles of road with a small amount of country lane.

    The bike I take the most is the wet road bike - I say wet - it's set up with mudguards and it's a cheaper bike with cheaper components that I don't mind getting grubby - even with 23mm tyres I've taken that "off road". It's a quick bike and a pleasure to ride (on the road).
    The 29er is superb at the few off road trails I ride - I can lock the forks, but with the wide knobbly tyres on and high sitting position it's hard work on the road - which is why I've not taken it to work.

    I did borrow my wifes hybrid a few winters ago - just a week of commuting (same road) - before I'd got my CX - I used it because the lane I ride down had got so mucky it was clogging up the guards on the wet/winter bike. It was hard work - fixed hand position on the road meant it was harder to get "aero" and thus a lot of energy (seemingly) wasted.

    The CX is a great do-it-all but with rack and full solid mudguards on it's master of none - but it's my go-to bike when conditions are terrible (ridden in ice/snow) or I'm going to be doing distances and a lot of off road touring - it's neither the fastest on the road (even with slicks) or off road (29er is more controllable).

    But - a mountain bike can make a good commute bike - slicks and fixed fork if you're primarily on the road. If it's cheap enough to do then do it - If you stick to riding then you'll probably want a bike better suited to the trip eventually ... :)
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Thanks - that sounds like good advice; I would guess my ride is barely a ride at all by your standards! It's a fairly flat 4.3 mile journey each way! (But it still take me 22 minutes here and 20 minutes home!)

    Sounds like the advice is slick tyres, fixed forks (and locating my phantom Shimano clipless shoes rather than riding in 10 year old trainers) - then upgrade to something more suitable in the longer run IF I stick at it?

    Beyond hunkering down a bit to avoid drag on my bloated midriff, changing shoes, tyres and forks is there anything else I can do to make what should be a simple, easy ride, seem - well - easier?!

    I've just checked and looks like the Schwalbe City Jet Bike Tyres are 26" x 1.5" - that's the same as the Specialized Nimbus I already have - and I don't think I can go any narrower!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    yup - 4.5 mile flat - anything will do - although if it's mostly road then a drop bar bike will be quicker - which is why I got my CX rather than a flat bar hybrid.

    If your aim is to get back into shape then a bike that is harder work to ride is going to make you work harder ... so you'll get fitter quicker ! :) It's just a balance between a bike that makes you work hard that you don't ride often because it's too hard and a bike that is too easy - 20 minutes is barely a warm up! ;)

    My ride isn't that arduous - 30-40 minutes depending on bike/conditions - although it did take me >1hr in the snow/ice :)
    What was nice (before I was rushing home to see my son) was taking the road bike on a longer commute home - in the summer I could get an hour or two "training ride" in by sticking to the country lanes - you definately want the nice bike for that! :) Although the 29er would've been nice when I did a mostly offroad route back on the cx - with slicks! ;)
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    So really I should just crack on! With or without fork swap!
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    The fork will be fine, but a lightweight rigid nicer, yes that A2c will be fine as bear in mind your sus forks are compressed a bit while you are riding.

    The Nimbus count as slicks, not the nicest (the worst at that price I've tried for me) but perfectly capable.

    Look at lowering the front end a bit for better aero.
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Many thanks! Will do the bars and/or stem - and go rigid too!

    Thanks for all your help folks!
  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,163
    Konajon wrote:

    I've just checked and looks like the Schwalbe City Jet Bike Tyres are 26" x 1.5" - that's the same as the Specialized Nimbus I already have - and I don't think I can go any narrower!

    I wouldn't recommend going narrower than 1.5" wide on the tyres, I tried some Specialise 26" x 1" turbo S once on my Kona mtb commuter, while a bit faster they made the ride harsher, higher pressures required, and were prone to frequent puncturing. 1.5" are a nicer ride and more versatile as to where you can ride.
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Thanks all.

    Now sorry for more questions, but how do I work out if my forks have lockout please?

    I'm pretty sure they don't but wanted to make sure before I change them!

    Assuming they don't, how do I work out the right dimensions please - will I need to remove them and get the calipers out!?

    All help genuinely appreciated.
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    Heres something i did last weekend
    Subway rigid MTB with slick tyres , 3x8 flat bar with disc brakes.
    Changed to drop bar with bar end shifters and linear pull aero brakes.
    drop_bar_mtb.jpg
    FCN 3/5/9
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Looking good.

    So today I bought some lights, and I've just been out and rolled my bars forward so they fall rather than rise and given it a quick clean.

    Next job: go rigid!
  • pazzarpazzar Posts: 24
    Converted my old Trek3700D to be more road friendly

    trek3700.png



    Mosso rigid fork (ebay)
    New bars (exotic aluminium)
    New Stem (exotic aluminium)
    New Hollowtech crank (shimano)
    Kojak schwalbe 26 x 1.35 slick tyres
    Lighter seat
    Mavic cross one wheels

    Great for commuting.

    She went from 32 lbs in weight down too 24 lbs
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Still can't work out what forks I even need!
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Mines a different colour but looks similar!
    http://1mg.me/?w=300&h=300&filename=200 ... g&f=Photos
  • pazzar wrote:
    Converted my old Trek3700D to be more road friendly

    trek3700.png



    Mosso rigid fork (ebay)
    New bars (exotic aluminium)
    New Stem (exotic aluminium)
    New Hollowtech crank (shimano)
    Kojak schwalbe 26 x 1.35 slick tyres
    Lighter seat
    Mavic cross one wheels

    Great for commuting.

    She went from 32 lbs in weight down too 24 lbs

    I like the look of this and am thinking of doing something similar to my Carrera Subway One, at least the forks and wheels bit.
    Carrera Subway 2015
    Boardman Hybrid Team 2014
  • pazzarpazzar Posts: 24
    Thanks,

    Its worth doing,the old fork was over 2kg on its own.
  • Al1000Al1000 Posts: 14
    I've just checked and looks like the Schwalbe City Jet Bike Tyres are 26" x 1.5"

    I have these on my MTB and mine are 26 x 1.95
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Err yes, they sell them in different sizes!

    For the fork you need steerer length and diameter (almost certainly plain 1 1/8") and the A2C, a little shorter on the A2C wil give the same ride height, shorte still will give a livelier on road ride.

    Lockout, if you have it will be a knob on top of the right hand fork leg above the crown, if it's mechanical it will lock the forks solid, if it's hydraulic it will just make them very stiff.
  • KonajonKonajon Posts: 11
    Thanks. I've been reading up and I think I'm clued up now on what I need!
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