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  1. #1
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    Building the ultimate in-city MTB?

    I'm leaving behind a lifestyle split between New Hampshire White Mountains and Los Angeles for Cambridge, MA. It's time to build a mtb that can get me around the city and keep the 'real' FS bike safe from sticky fingers.

    I would love to hear your suggestions for what you'd build here and for specific components, etc. It's a unique problem, because I think it should:

    1) look like crap. I'll remove all fancy labels, and I'm not above using the wire wheel on spots and/or shooting it with the dreaded spray paint can -- anything to make it look like something you wouldn't want to steal. I'll put a giant lock on it, and hopefully passers by will privately wonder why I invested more in a lock than I did on the bike.

    2) be cheap. Because evidently some people enjoy stealing bikes that look like crap, or because someone might recognize that it isn't crap. Used is definitely an option except for drive train stuff -- I always end up having to replace it all anyways when I get it used...

    3. involve minimal maintenance. Snow already costs a lot of replacement part money and tuning time on the 'real' bike...now I'll be adding salt to the mix.

    4. Still be a ton of fun to ride over curbs, staircases, and other sources of commuting fun. This is why a Trek 7200 with a 10 pound lambskin seat is a poor candidate.


    So far, Here's what I'm thinking:

    Frame: Relatively skinny hardtail XC Frame that doesn't look expensive but can take a good beating -- I'd love steel, but I think it will likely rust out...

    Fork: have an '02 Marz Magnum I could throw on it

    Wheels: Something nicer/stronger than the rest of the build -- I'm 180lbs and an athlete, and wheels hate me

    Drivetrain: single speed? Or something uber simple 1x7 or 2x7? to minimize the amount of time I'll spend wrenching on salt corroded parts that don't feel like moving

    Brakes: Good set of v-brakes to avoid any disc brake blink, or possibly an old BB7 on front

  2. #2
    local trails rider
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    You need a second hand bike.

    "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"

  3. #3
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    Yeah, secondhand bikes for cheap will give you something that won't attract much thief attention.

    That said, I think it would be hard to skip over a belt drive for a low maintenance system in the wintertime.

  4. #4
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    Nate -- You lost me. Ive built and ridden a lot of bikes and I know nothing about belt drive systems (well, actually, I know a lot about them related to industrial machine design, but I've never seen one on a bike). Is there a model you'd recommend?

    I'm divided on the buy used idea. I tend to think that moving parts should usually be bought new -- i generally have had to replace every used drivetrain part I've ever bought within a couple months...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostinNH View Post
    Nate -- You lost me. Ive built and ridden a lot of bikes and I know nothing about belt drive systems (well, actually, I know a lot about them related to industrial machine design, but I've never seen one on a bike). Is there a model you'd recommend?
    I don't know any brands/models specifically. I think it was at chain reaction cycles I was browsing recently for parts for my bike and I saw that they carried some belt drive parts - but they only had one brand from what I remember.

    Also look for some of screampint's photo threads in passion. She's got a belt drive mtb that's pretty sweet.

    If you want gears, you could set one up with an internally geared hub - the folks on the IGH forum would probably help you out there.

  6. #6
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    definitely do the old bb7 up front and ss if you can get away with it.

    Pick up a set of cheap ryno lite wheels, $99 at many online dealers.

    Any bike that is good enough to have some fun on in the city is still going to attract theives

  7. #7
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    Internal geared hub for extra maintenance freeness.
    2013 Ritchey Swiss Cross
    Sram Red
    Syncros Carbon Wheelset

    2014 Lapierre ProRace 729

    I am employed by a bike shop.

  8. #8
    007
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    Belt-drive's are pretty sweet . . . a google search will turn up what you are looking for. Trouble is, they aren't cheap and standard chain-drive frames can't effectively be retrofitted without a substantial amount of fabrication (rear triangle has to have a notch cut to allow the belt to pass through).

    My ideal commuter is a belt drive with an internal rear hub and v-brakes. An almost maintenance free set-up if you ask me . . . trouble is, it won't be cheap (at least $1K, probably much more) and anyone who know's bikes - especially the commuters/messengers - will see right through any camouflage you add to make the bike "look" like junk.

  9. #9
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    90's Rockhopper SS rigid with 1.95 slicks. Pisscan paint job in flourescent orange.

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