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  1. #1
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    90s Specialized Hardrock

    I got one off of CL for $75 bucks. It's in great condition, was previously owned by a bike mechanic. It currently has flat bars on it and I want some bars like the ones shown on this bike here in this picture http://www.randysrecycledcycles.com/.../bikes-005.jpg

    Anyone have any suggestions for some more higher/comfortable bars such as those as well as some grips to go with it? Also right now it has knobby mountain bike tires on it and I wanted to get something a little quicker for the road Any input would be appreciated. My commute will be 18 mi round trip

  2. #2
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    What's shown in the photo is a pretty basic riser bar. It looks like it's got 2" of rise, which is a little uncommon because most tend to be 1".

    The main thing to know is the clamp diameter - mountain bike bars can be either 1" (25.4mm) or 1-1/4" (31.8mm). This matches the stem, so if you get a new bar it needs to have the same clamp diameter as your old bar.

    A 90's bike probably has a 1" clamp diameter, but it's worth doublechecking. And then this will give you an idea of what's out there: Components > Handlebars and Stems > Handlebars > Mountain Bike Handlebars | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Your current grips/shifters/levers will fit pretty much any mountain or cruiser bar, but they won't fit onto road-style drop bars.

    But before you buy a new bar: Depending on the type of fork that you have, you can probably also raise the bars up. The bike in the photo could have its bars raised an extra 2-3". This isn't possible with newer bikes, but it might be with yours. And for an 18mi commute you'll probably quickly find that you don't want to be too upright.

    As for tires, one of my bikes has big, fat slicks like these: Panaracer UFF Da! > Components > Tires and Tubes > Tires | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop. I think they're fantastic, but some other people will probably recommend skinnier slicks. ymmv.

  3. #3
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    Just posted some advice, then read more carefully and saw the link was just an example of the bars! Post one of your bike if you can!

    For grips, my faves are the ESI silicone chunky. I recenty put 1.75" Schwalbe Marathon green guards on my MTB. Not the plushest, the lightest, the heaviest, the cheapest, the most expensive, but they roll a lot better than the knobbies.

  4. #4
    weirdo
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    Wow, that`s a long commute- hope it works out well for you.
    Yeah, those bars in the picture justlook like mtb riser bars with a little extra rise to them. Maybe a bit more swept back too? Take a look at what`s available and see what calls your attention. There`s also quite a variety of "alternate" handlebars available these days. I haven`t tried any of them, but a lot of people sure seem to love them. On a 90s bike, you won`t have 1-1/8 stem clamp, so no need to worry about that. On road bars, there are a few different 1 inch-ish bars that all look the same but don`t actually interchange. Not sure if mtb bars also commonly came in 26mm or any weirdo sizes, or if anything other than 1 inch was a rarity. Good point by Newf about raising your stem! Do you know how to do that?

    Ditching the knobbies will be the biggest improvement tire-wise. Probably the biggest improvement on the whole bike. As long as you aren`triding a lot of loose dirt with that bike, you`ll never miss the knobs. Very little difference between completely slick and nearly slick- either way will be way smoother, better cornering on pavement, and easier to roll. Beyond going to slicks, everything else tire related is a tradeoff of one sort or another. Skinny- medium width- fat and tough V pliable are personal decisons that will lead to a lifetime of searching for perfection
    Recalculating....

  5. #5
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    Sorry I might have explained poorly. It's 9 mi to work then 9 mi home. That isn't terrible right? I think some people on here say they do 20-30 mi both ways a day! I'll try and get some pics up today so you guys can see the bike and more specifically the bars and the stem. Thanks a lot so far!

  6. #6
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    Wow thanks for the great info. Although I'm going to post pics later the bike in the photo, i'm almost positive is the same as mine. The stems look fairly similar. So were you suggesting before I buy new bars to maybe raise my flat bars 2 - 3"?

  7. #7
    weirdo
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    9 mi each way isn`t crazy long, but it is pretty far. The average for this forums is probably about... 6 each way? A few hard core guys have in the neighborhood of 20, and the rest of us just look at them in awe.

    If your bars feel low, yeah- definitely try raising the stem. Depending on the size of the bike, there`s ususally about 2 inches of play in there, but it isn`t guaranteed because small bikes have much less range, we don`t know what part of that range your bars are in right now, and if your cables are on the short side, they might not let you raise much anyway. Still, it`s free and only takes a minute to try.

    Waiting for the pics
    Rigid mtbs are nice- about the most versatile bikes on the market, and its a shame they aren`t still made. At least there are still plenty of used ones, like you noticed.
    Recalculating....

  8. #8
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    On my old MTB thats very similar to OP's i installed Kool Stop brake Pads. The best $10 investment i ever made on this bike. I tried the more upright position using a tall stem and "north-road" bars but i found the original flat bar/stem with bar-ends made for a comfier ride on my back and hands...and better handleing +aerodynamics. Original foam grips are great too especially when worn with padded gloves.

  9. #9
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    Hm maybe I'll just stick with the flat bars then. But, then I feel like I really won't know which I'll prefer unless I try the high rise bars, but would hate to waste the money? Are high rise bars just recommended for shorter commutes? I definitely need some new grips though because the ones on there are killing my hands.

  10. #10
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    If your bike is like the one in the picture, you should be able to move the bars up and down a few inches. This picture gives the basic idea:


    (from Montague Bikes | Folding Bike Maintenance and Adjustment)

    If you loosen the quill expander bolt at the top, then you should be able to raise and lower the handlebars and stem (although it might need a good twist, or a whack with a mallet to loosen things up). The stem will have a minimum insertion line stamped into it, and you don't want to go beyond that.

    Bar height really depends on how your bike fits, and riser bars could be helpful. But if your bike is a pretty good fit, then sitting upright with high bars is the type of setup that you'd generally use on the occasional leisurely weekend cruise, but not really on a regular commute.

    As for grips, almost anything will be better than grips that are 20 years old. If you've got a nearby bike store the best option is to try a few different ones. I really like lock-on grips - they're pricier (probably at least $25/pair vs. as cheap as $5 for slip-ons) but they make it super easy to make adjustments like swapping handlebars.

    And like CabezaShok says, koolstop pads are a fantastic upgrade.

  11. #11
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    here's the bike. also there is a picture of some highrise bars on my g/f's diamondback. Think I could borrow those off that bike and put them on my hardrock just to see if I like it?
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 90s Specialized Hardrock-gedc0008.jpg  

    90s Specialized Hardrock-gedc0010.jpg  

    90s Specialized Hardrock-gedc0014.jpg  


  12. #12
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    So there's definitely room for you to raise your stem and bars a few inches - right now they're about as low as they can go.

    And yes, the bars from your gfs bike will work on yours without a problem.

  13. #13
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    Like others have said, you could try a tall stem with short stem length to get you more upright body position and get the pressure off your hands. I like Nitto Technomic quills but they are $50+ but are really strong (forged aluminum) Cheaper (steel) quills can be found on Ebay. But IMHO, riser/north-roads style bars aren't any better on your hands unless your body is fully upright like those classic dutch bikes. Tip: Periodically stop and shake some blood into your hands as often as possible.

  14. #14
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    Well thanks everyone! Guess I'll experiment and decide on what I like the best. I'll post up pics when I have the new tires, lights, fenders, and racks on.

  15. #15
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    Actually here is my last question. Think if I ever wanted to I could fit 29" rims on that fork or would I need a new fork?

  16. #16
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    I think the general consensus is that old mountain bikes can usually fit 700c rims with skinnyish (42mm?) tires. And that's kind of like a 29er, but not exactly.

    That also moves your brakes up by 1.5" so you'd need to use something like this:


    Mavic 700c Brake Post Adapter | Urban Velo

    Or you could switch to a fork and wheel that take disc brakes.

  17. #17
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    Thanks NF

  18. #18
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    Stem warning: our brainfart for not thinking of it, but before you do anything with that stem, you need to get a brake hanger!
    The front brake on your bike depends on a cable housing stop that`s integrated into the stem (a dumb idea, but very common on bikes from that era). As is, if you raise the stem, your brake cable won`t reach the straddle wire any more. The solution is cheap and fairly simple- there are cable hangers incorporated into a ring that you put between the lock nuts on your headset availible from any bike shop for like $10, or can be ordered online for about half that price.
    Various Manufacturers Headset-mount front cable hanger (housing stop) for tradtitional cantilevers and centerpull caliper brakes - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts
    With one of those installed, you`re free to do anything you want with the stem and not affect the brakes. The secondary issue that changing around will have is that you might need new brake cable housing if the old housing doesn`t quite reach the new hanger. Cable length should probably work. The headset mount hangers come in two sizes, depending on the bike- looks like yours is 1 inch, but a bike shop will be able to tell you for sure. Sorry to spring all that on you after telling you how simple it would be to raise your stem! Honestly, I`ve refurbished several old mtbs, and always switch to a separate hanger just for good measure. Besides being able to do whatever I want with the stem, you`ll eliminate the housing kinks that those stem stop types inevitably have. For a quick experiment, you can disconnect the front brake and do any changes you want. Just remember that you won`t have front brakes until you deal with the hanger situation.

    Oh, and that`s a nice looking bike
    I like the thumb shifters! A good tip for installing and removing grips that I was really slow to catch on to is to dribble a little bit of rubbing alcohol into them and wiggle around- they slide right off (or on) then without a fight.

    Anybdoy recognize the shifters on his GF`s bike?

    EDIT: After all that yapping I just did, I see that there`s still a lot of excess brake cable. You could likely get away with unhooking the straddle wire, moving the stem to a new position, then reclamp and readjust the brake cable. The cable will be kinky, but as long as it isn`t frayed from the old bolt position, will still work. Personally, I`d switch to the other system anyway.
    Recalculating....

  19. #19
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    That also moves your brakes up by 1.5" so you'd need to use something like this:


    Mavic 700c Brake Post Adapter | Urban Velo
    Cool!
    I never heard of those, but have been considering trying a set of road wheels in one of my mtb frames. My original plan (if I actually attempt the switch) was to use sidepulls or center pulls with single bolt, but that might be a simpler option.
    Recalculating....

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Cool!
    I never heard of those, but have been considering trying a set of road wheels in one of my mtb frames.
    When I hear about a weirdo part like that I save it in my big wishlist, just in case I ever get bored and decide to do something inexplicable to one of my bikes.

  21. #21
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    Thanks you guys are very knowledgable. Bike mechanics or commuting gurus?

  22. #22
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    So, essentially the cable hanger is like an extension chord or something for the break cable?

  23. #23
    local trails rider
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    Cable hanger is a cable stop - or actually stop for the cable outer.
    Now your front brake cable comes through the stem, and the (plastic?) outer rests against something there. With that brake design, you need to match the length of cable, down from the stem, with the height of the stem. OR, you can have a "hanger" stuck to the headset, so that braking does not depend on stem height.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  24. #24
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    Do you guys recommend toe straps for commuting? I thought it might make it easier. If so is there a universal pair I can buy offline that will fit pretty much any pedal. More specifically the plastic pedal as seen above on my Hardrock?

  25. #25
    local trails rider
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    I used to have toe cages on my town bike. The worst part is that there's only one way to get the foot out of them. I never tightened the straps.
    For toe cages and straps, a pedal needs holes for bolting them on and some sort of slots for the strap to run through. Here's a random photo I found by googling:


    Bike Pedals

    There's also something called Power Grips, that is just a strap and is apparently easier to release from:
    Bike Pedals: - Power Grips at REI - FREE SHIPPING With $50 minimum purchase.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

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