Anyone commute on a roadie - only to go back to MTBs?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Anyone commute on a roadie - only to go back to MTBs?

    If you tried commuting on a road(ish) bike but went back to a MTB, would you mind telling us why?

    I've been incredibly indecisive about my next bike purchase, which will be a dedicated commuter. I'd feel right at home on 29er with slicks, but am also intrigued with the Salsa Vaya. The problem is I'd have to commit to buying the Vaya without riding it first - though it should be the better tool for the job.

  2. #2
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    I have a road bike with narrow, high pressure slicks and a mtb. They both have very different feels and purpose. I have them to change up the commute.

    One thing I disliked about my 29er when I was commuting with it is the space between the tire and crown. Sure makes odd fender mounts.

  3. #3
    bi-winning
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    The Vaya looks like it would make a sweet commuter.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  4. #4
    weirdo
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    Other than the bars and cockpit, the Vaya looks like a mountain bike to me. I`ve been in your position before though- being tempted by a bike that I would have to buy before I could try it out. In my case, I ended up finding a few test bikes that looked to be similar to what I was considering. Hope you can manage something like that.

  5. #5
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    Sounds like you need more bikes. My main commuter is a touring bike, but I ride the mtb when I have time to ride some trails on the way in, or I ride my old rigid mtb with studs in the winter, or ride my road bike when I feel like riding fast. Fenders are fabulous in the rain.

  6. #6
    The Brutally Handsome
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoastieTX
    If you tried commuting on a road(ish) bike but went back to a MTB, would you mind telling us why?
    That exactly describes my situation and while building and commuting on bikes I've spent no small amount of time thinking about it.

    A little over ten years ago, I started commuting on my Bontrager Privateer Comp mountain bike with slicks. At that time, I thought road bikes looked thin and goofy, but after trying my friends I was hooked on the low rolling resistance, larger diameter wheels and drop bars. I sold my mountain bike and bought a 700c touring bike. I rolled this way for several years, enough time to forget how it felt to ride a 26" wheel, and I began to look at people commuting on mtb's as foolish for their wasted effort. I even thought that straight bars were inferior because of their lack of positions.

    This continued until earlier this year when I bought my Surly Big Dummy. The 26" wheels were a real sticking point, and I almost bailed on the whole project because I loathed the idea of riding smaller wheels with fatter tires, but I pushed through and finished the build with a set of Schwalbe 2.35 Big Apples. I never thought riding could be so nice! I found that not only were the wheels just as large in diameter as a 700x25 wheel and tire, but they were now extremely comfortable and fun to ride. There was no more bone jarring bumps in the road or worrying about bending my rims hitting a crack in the pavement.

    In addition to the tires, I found that straight bars with bar-ends were very comfortable compared to my road drops. I couldn't believe the difference, it was like all that time riding road and snubbing mtbs was a complete waste. In fact, my road bike was no longer fun to ride, and I recently sold it. Now, I have my Big Dummy and a Kona mtb which I just finished building as my alternate "light" commuter for those days when my legs don't feel like pushing 60lbs of bike around. With all the advantages, I can safely say my days of 700c commuting are over and the only reason I would ever buy a road bike again would be if I somehow wanted to start racing.

  7. #7
    M8 M12 M15 deez nuts
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    Guilty as charged. I think that the reasoning was that recently I’ve done so many miles on my mountain bikes (2009 Marin Palisades 29er, 2009 Anniversary Edition Surly 1x1) — roughly 1,300 combined between the two, and only 100 or so miles in the same time on my road bike… what this translates to is a very sore set of knees and sometimes sore hips when going back to the roadbike. I guess I need to ride the road bike more. Spring 2008 - Spring 2009 I’d done 7,200 miles of commuting on my road bike, BTW. I do miss the insane high-speeds of the road bike, but I really love the cushy luxury of either a suspension front end (29er) or the cushy squishy fat 24"x3.45" tires (Surly 1x1).
    Donít frail and blow if youíre going to Braille and Flow.

  8. #8
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sizzler
    A little over ten years ago, I started commuting on my Bontrager Privateer Comp mountain bike with slicks.....

    ....With all the advantages, I can safely say my days of 700c commuting are over and the only reason I would ever buy a road bike again would be if I somehow wanted to start racing.
    Interresting.
    I`ve fallen in love with drop bars and can`t see going back to flats for any road/roadish purposes and would even build another mtb with drops if I were still doing enough trails to make it worth the investment. As far as the wheels go, I`m torn. I do have a preference for 559 (or even smaller on roads), but I love the relative cush I get from fatties AND the decreased resistance from 1.25s/32mm. Ironically, the first dropbars that I rode and liked (an MTBish tandem that a previous owner "dropped") have been changed back to flats and I wish I hadn`t done it- my wrists protest every time I ride that bike now. Unfortunately, I`ve since used the shifters and brake levers on a different bike so switching back is going to have to wait until I get more spending loot. Maybe I`ll try barends in the mean time, but I really want my drops back.

  9. #9
    The Brutally Handsome
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Maybe I`ll try barends in the mean time, but I really want my drops back.
    Definitely try some, they are a great substitute for the lever-hood position you get on drops and should alleviate your wrist issues!

  10. #10
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I do my commuting and a fair amount of my recreational riding on road bikes. For my commute, I think I'm a little happier to be on a road bike, but I don't think it makes a huge difference - I'm in Seattle, and while quicker handling is nice, I rarely sustain high speeds on it. I think the advantages of the road bike over a mountain bike with slicks on around here aren't that big.

    OP, I don't know what your commute route will be like. Bellingham seems like it's spread out enough and has long enough stretches of continuous road between traffic signals for a road bike's advantages to be pretty clear to you if you try it. See if you can borrow a road bike for a while to try it out.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  11. #11
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    I have three bikes right now and I go back and forward between them. The one I use the most (right now) is a cyclocross frame built up with flat bars. I chose to go with flat bars on my cyclocross because I wanted to run hydro disc brakes. I also have a mtb with front suspension and a suspension seatpost. Finally, I have a mid-level road bike. After riding any one of them for an extended period of time, you kind of forget what the others feel like. Then when you switch up, you immediately appreciate the differences that each bike has. You just have to figure out what and how much of it that you are willing to compromise. You'll be faster on a road bike, you’ll be more comfortable on a mountain bike, or you can find something somewhere in between that won't be as fast as a road bike or as comfortable as a mtb. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Maybe I`ll try barends in the mean time, but I really want my drops back.
    Just a thought:
    http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Bicycle...3587649&sr=8-1

  13. #13
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    I just had to replace my old comuter which was a Trek Top Fuel that I had an extra set of "road" wheels for.
    I almost went the 29er route but ended up with a Gary Fisher Montare.
    700cc wheels, suspension fork w remote lockout, Avid 7 discs,SLX derailers,etc...
    It is like having a fast MTB for the road. Loving it!

  14. #14
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    Then when you switch up, you immediately appreciate the differences that each bike has.
    i agree with this sentiment. i thoroughly enjoy mixing up my morning commute with a different ride. i keep them all ready to go and my big pannier is compatible with all the rides.
    after taking break from a bike for a while, i always enjoy it immensely when i pick it up again. i got hbars on the pugsley, north roads on the BD. the LHT had stock bars, but that is being rebuilt as a cross check with some drops for now (maybe hbars or dirt drops later on).

  15. #15
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    i also really like mixing up the wheel sizes, the BD with 26in wheels feels rather nimble despite it being so big. the 700c bikes feel so efficient and easy to pedal when you get moving.

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