Advice on MTB Commuter options/setups- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Advice on MTB Commuter options/setups

    I've been commuting for the better part of 10 years on an old '06 Hardrock. I think it started life a 3x8 setup. Over the years that's become a 3x10 with a rigid On-One steel fork. I've pretty much ridden the bike into the ground 3 or 4 times and currently most of it is kitted out with SLX or Deore kit. I definitely want to stay with an MTB as I find it's the best multi-purpose bike for navigating city but also some light trails/towpaths. Now I'm at a crossroads. I want a new commuter setup and looking at these various options.


    1. Salvage what I can, junk it and buy a cheap commuter bike for 300 or so. Likely single speed or 1x.
    2. Go single speed on it using a chain tensioner/chain guide (it has vertical dropouts). I'm not really a fan of this option as in my mind it looks "untidy" and is not a true single speed with the tensioner gubbins.
    3. Go 1 x 10 using existing SLX shifter. I think this is the cheapest option but I want to find a nice middle ground with the gearing. Something that would get me up a steepish incline ok (my fitness is good) but enough to also not spin out on flats. On my current 3 x 10 I rarely use the granny but would use both bigger rings.


    Basically I want a bike that's as maintenance free as possible as I run 3 other bikes. If money was no object I would get something with a carbon belt drive. Single speed appealed to me as I know I have the fitness for it and hate cleaning cassettes gunked up from commuting.
    1 x 10 is most likely option but I need to be cautious on what gearing I go with. Opinions and views welcome from other MTB commuters. Cheers!


    XC
    Trail
    Road
    Fat...it's all cycling.

  2. #2
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    here is my winter commuter.... 97 rockhopper converted to single speed using an old derailleur for a tensioner
    bontrager crankset from the bargain bin at my LBS
    unknown rear wheel with SS conversion using cassette spacers
    bolt on thrift store front wheel
    amazon special rigid front fork
    stem, handlebars and pedals from amazon
    generic replacement BB and headset
    brakes from a junker GT I picked up for free (very low end GT)
    brake levers from the same GT
    $5 walmart clearance beach cruiser tires
    bell seat bought on clearance
    stock grips from my GT aggressor
    $3 thrift store rack
    bell light set
    bell basket ( not mounted in pic)
    wheelbritz wheel lights
    homemade fenders
    cheap bell
    rustolem key lime paintjob
    milk crate from my work (not stolen, paid what they charge the store for missing ones)

    ask me next spring about reliability
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Advice on MTB Commuter options/setups-20155941_10154570617570303_5518123410505571702_n.jpg  

    97 specialized rockhopper.- urban beater
    2013 GT aggressor 3.0- urban assault vehicle

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockhopper97 View Post
    here is my winter commuter.... 97 rockhopper converted to single speed using an old derailleur for a tensioner
    bontrager crankset from the bargain bin at my LBS
    unknown rear wheel with SS conversion using cassette spacers
    bolt on thrift store front wheel
    amazon special rigid front fork
    stem, handlebars and pedals from amazon
    generic replacement BB and headset
    brakes from a junker GT I picked up for free (very low end GT)
    brake levers from the same GT
    $5 walmart clearance beach cruiser tires
    bell seat bought on clearance
    stock grips from my GT aggressor
    $3 thrift store rack
    bell light set
    bell basket ( not mounted in pic)
    wheelbritz wheel lights
    homemade fenders
    cheap bell
    rustolem key lime paintjob
    milk crate from my work (not stolen, paid what they charge the store for missing ones)

    ask me next spring about reliability
    actually looks pretty good for a cheap build. You forgot the Bontrager bottle cage unless my eyes deceive me! Milk crate is a nice touch.


    XC
    Trail
    Road
    Fat...it's all cycling.

  4. #4
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    cheap walmart bottle cage.....
    97 specialized rockhopper.- urban beater
    2013 GT aggressor 3.0- urban assault vehicle

  5. #5
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    OP, I run a 1x9 drivetrain 44 T up front, 32x11 cassette. On a converted road bike, flat bars. Seems to be a good range, slight hills though. A 36x11 would probably work well too.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockhopper97 View Post
    cheap walmart bottle cage.....
    lol probably made in exact same factory and re-branded at higher price!


    XC
    Trail
    Road
    Fat...it's all cycling.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    OP, I run a 1x9 drivetrain 44 T up front, 32x11 cassette. On a converted road bike, flat bars. Seems to be a good range, slight hills though. A 36x11 would probably work well too.
    Thanks. At the moment I've a gear ratio calculator up on screen so looking at a 38 or 40T NW ring up front, 11-36 cassette, re-using old SLX shifter and rear mech (non-clutch) and either re-using the old SLX front mech as a chain guide or buying a cheap one. My route has a few gradual hills on it but nothing major but I would like the bike to be flexible. Currently I swap between Schwalbe Nobby Nics (cheap evo version) and Big Apples depending on where I'm going. I prefer a fatter 2.25 tyre up front cos the bike is rigid so it helps take out the bumps but I'm gonna see what the largest balloon tyre is with a bit of grip I can fit on the standard MTB rims. Will post some pics if I can find/link them.


    XC
    Trail
    Road
    Fat...it's all cycling.

  8. #8
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    Advice on MTB Commuter options/setups-hardrock.jpg

    This is pretty much how it is at the moment with different tyres. Ragley seatpost and seat, DMR seatclamp, Shimano M515 (I think!) brakes, bars & step ripped from a Giant Anthem, On-One steel fork, Brand-X headset, DMR V6 plastic pedals (these are great and going strong...lasting longer than the metal V8s so far).


    XC
    Trail
    Road
    Fat...it's all cycling.

  9. #9
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    Sold a converted 29er Dragon because I thought I'd like a drop bar "adventure" bike better. Nope. So now in the midst of converting a 20 year old 26" Rocky Mountain Stratos.

    IMO, the late 90's/early 00's era is the sweet spot for (cheap) frames that will convert easily (68/73 BB's, 1 1/8" head tubes, has disc or v mounts, fender and rack mounts etc).

    Its not the cheapest way to go but it sure is fun going piece by piece.

    Starting point



    Stripped of decals and cleaned up



    The Pig headset Origin8 rigid fork



    This a 21" frame so able to leave the steerer uncut



    $35 tektro hydros feel great. Not sure how they stop yet, but not too worried; this isn't a downhill bike



    Sunlite fenders are cheaper and seem about the same quality as the P-B Cascadia's I had on the Dragon. Wheels are WTB Dual Duty's which offer the option of a mullet brake setup (disc in f, v in rear)



    nice flaps



    The 2.0 WTB All Terrains would not clear. No problems with these 73psi 1.75" Michelins



    Installed a spare R-F Evolve crankset I had. Swapped in a larger chain ring for more speed.



    Big Stamp pedals



    Deore is cheap and works



    On eBay there are these "demo" Brooks cambium C19's for $59 so going to give it a try



    Installed some decals. Now just waiting for some bars, a 26.2MM seat post, hydro hose clips, and a front rack




    Cant wait to ride!

  10. #10
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    Installed a Sunlite Gold Tec front rack and Origin8 Off Road II bar tonight


  11. #11
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    dude, your pics aren't showing *at work*

    They show up now at home. Damn work innerwebs filters.
    Last edited by ranier; 08-21-2019 at 04:07 AM.
    Amolan

  12. #12
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    This was my project last winter. 2011 Scott Sportster 60 that I had picked up for $75 about 2 years prior to try commuting. Turns out I liked commuting and wanted a better bike. The 60 was the street configuration and had terrible Tourney/Altus components, but Scott sold this same frame outfitted as a 29er hardtail MTB so the frame was high quality Al alloy with disc tabs and seemed worth upgrading.

    Stripped it to the frame and painted with Spray.Bike paint. In the parts bin I had:

    -SLX brakeset
    -10sp X5 shifter and GX RD
    -11-42 Sunrace 10 sp cassette
    -Thomson seatpost
    -WTB saddle
    -Ergon grips

    which was a good start, but I needed wheels, new cranks (stock cranks were riveted) and a few other bits. Found the following on Jenson closeout deals for 40-50% off:

    -Mavic XM119 29" rims on Deore hubs ($100 for the set, though unfortunately centerlock)
    -Acera spidered cranks ($30ish)
    -40t Saint chainring ($30ish)
    -Deore centerlock rotors ($20ish for the set)
    -SLX 10 sp chain ($20ish)
    -New UN55 BB ($15, cranks needed a wider spindle and I figured replacing the old BB was a good idea regardless)
    -IS/PM brake adapters ($15ish total for F and R)
    -Conti RideTour 32c tires ($50ish total IIRC, tires needed to be replaced soon regardless)

    About $350 all-in including the fancy paint to go from this:



    to this:






    Way better than anything I could have bought off the shelf. Anything remotely equivalent would have cost 3-4x the upgrade cost. Rides like a dream now. So quiet with the 1x and clutched RD compared to the rattle trap it was before. If I had to do it all over again I might go with a 42t or 44t chainring. I spend way more time in the high half of the cassette than the low half, but when I do need that 40x42 combo it's nice to have. On the high end 40x11 gets you to about 25 mph before you're fully spun out. As-is it still has a higher high gear and lower low than the stock 3x7 setup.

  13. #13
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    nice!

  14. #14
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    the maiden voyage...






  15. #15
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    OP, I think you'd be fine with 1x10. I am riding 36 up front and 11-36 in the back. The ratios are useful throughout the rear cassette, and the 1:1 ratio for lowest gear is just low enough for all of the hills I tend to climb. YMMV, but I find 36:11 to be plenty for riding flats. Yes, I do spin out when dropping the bike down a steep hill.

    PS - if I were doing this at the moment, I may still go 1x10, but with 11-40 or 42 in the back so I could use a 38 in the front. That said, the setup I have does work in every case I encounter.

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