building a new commuter- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    building a new commuter

    I'm thinking about building a commuter bike, but the only extra bike i have is this (but it only has 1 speed right now):


    should I put on some fat slicks, flat handlebars and make it into a 1x9, or should I trade it for an old mountain bike frame and start from there?

  2. #2
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Will the bike be suitable for your commute?

    1 x 8,9,10 is going to cost you unless you already have a wheel and cassette since your rear hub is probably threaded for a freewheel. 1 (or two) x 5,6,7 would be possible with no big purchases. If you put a flat bar on it, remember that those brake levers will have to be shimmed (no big deal) and probably won`t be very easy to reach (might be a big deal). Also keep in mind that the reach will be a lot shorter with flat bars unless you mount them on a super long stem. Trade value will be very little, so if you like it, you might as well keep it whether you commute on it or not. If you don`t have any use for the bike as it is, you`re probably bettter off donating it to somebody who does have a good use for it and start from scratch with a different bike.

    EDIT: Can`t tell from the pic, but if it has Mafac Racer calipers, maybe you can trade those for an old mtb. All in all, cool bike with no monetary value.
    Recalculating....

  3. #3
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    I don't know what you should do, but if I were in your shoes...I'd leave it mostly as is but convert it into a dedicated single speed.

  4. #4
    weirdo
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    Totally off topic, but your profile just says CA and you listed "Stampede" as favorite trail. Any chance you`re around Truckee and mean the Emmigrant trail from Stampede Reservoir to Hobart Mills? I`m in Reno and ride out that way quite a bit, but usually on a roadbike.
    Recalculating....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Will the bike be suitable for your commute?.
    Suggestion: Check the bike over especially the brakes then take a dry run on the weekend with the bike will help clarify things. Take a cell phone or have someone tail you just in case. You will learn a lot that you must learn for yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    1 x 8,9,10 is going to cost you unless you already have a wheel and cassette since your rear hub is probably threaded for a freewheel. 1 (or two) x 5,6,7 would be possible with no big purchases.
    +1

    Check to see if someone locked the deraileurs on one cog or chainring with the adjustment screws. New shift cables ($12), WD40, a new chain, and a cleaning of and chain lubing the derailers can resurrect many 2 x 5 gearing system. Clean the freewheel and put a couple of drops of oil where the freewheel spins, to lube the pawls. The 2 x 5 system can be quite adequate depending on your commute and fitness. A one speed conversion is another affordable alternative but your terrain, weather, and fitness may need gears.

    I generally don't trust old tires, especially the tubes, or chains and they are cheap to replace but you need to think what you are changing or you may buy tires and chains you won't be using if you make major changes. Bummer to buy over $100 dollars of tires, tubes, new spoke protectors (they deteriorate after 20 years) and chain, to thro w them out a week or two later. If you ride them a year, that's OK.

    If the brake pads are old they will be hard. Too hard to brake properly.. You can put cheap ones in for now, but do yourself a favour and get the aluminum backed Kool stops if you are serious about riding this bike. They are amazing insurance/assurance (not cheap but how much is a plastic surgery?) and they would look great with those brakes.

    A complete regreasing of all bearings in a bike that has not rolled in years is highly recommended as the grease turns to wax if there is no water present and if there is water there will be corrosion and parts that need replacement. Brake cable replacement is another highly recommended thing to do as they have also improved (stainless cables and teflon lined casings with no lube needed). The LBS can do a tune-up for you if you are noit feeling up to it.

    Fat tires may be hard to do. The bike appears to be of an age when 27" tires and wheels predominated. It is a Peugeot though, so maybe it has 700C rims. The fattest non knobby street tire I found for 27" was 1 1/4 inch size which is about the same width as a 700C 32mm wide. If you have 700C rims 32 mm may be the largest that will fit with fenders, but you might squeeze 35mm ones in without fenders. A bike shop would help you determine that. Any fatter and you need 650B wheels which will mean new brakes and... may as well get a new bike.

    If the reason for wanting straight bars is a more upright position I agree, but a longer quill stem with a shorter reach like a Nitto Technomic (about $70 or a Swan about $30 + new bar tape) can work wonders for less hassle AND you still have drops if the wind really gets in your face. I have a 50 mm reach stem with 15 cm of maximum extension or height (original was like yours, 10 mm or 4 " of reach and 7.5 cm of extension) . Also the cork foam handlebar tape is nice on the hands, but you may need bike gloves with padding if you hands give you trouble like mine did.

    I have converted two bikes from classic 27" ten speeds (2 x 5) over time with 7, 9 , or 10 in the back and 1, 2, or 3 in the front and 700C wheels with either 32 or 35 mm tires. These changes run from resonable for the 2 x 7 (<$60 + my own labor), through not cheap for the 1 x 9 (circa $280 with fat flat resistant tires, new derailler) to enough to buy a very nice brand new bike for the 3 x 10. I'd suggest riding what you have in safe condition with as little money in it as possible until you know what you need and whether bicycle commuting is for you. I hope it is.

    I hope this helps.

  6. #6
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    wow brian thanks man that was super helpful.

    right now i'm thinking about buying flat handlebars (the top tube is a little bit long and when i've ridden it around the drops are uncomfortable), cheap brake levers and new tires/tubes.. but i'm gonna sleep on it for a couple nights before i do anything crazy

    and rodar yeadude my parents have a cabin in truckee like a 20-30 minute ride from the all the stampede trails, the whole areas pretty sweet

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by spnce
    right now i'm thinking about buying flat handlebars (the top tube is a little bit long and when i've ridden it around the drops are uncomfortable), cheap brake levers and new tires/tubes.. but i'm gonna sleep on it for a couple nights before i do anything crazy
    Straight bars may be the right answer for you. I mention the replacement stem idea because it can move the bars back 2" of reach and another 1/2" because of rake at the higher 6" extension above the headset. It feels like the bars came back 4". Night and day difference.

    Unclamping the bar and rotating it so the sides going forward to the levers are level and the drops angle down at about the same angle as the down tube will reduce your reach a bit more and ease things on the current setup while you decide. Just remember to tighten that clamp bolt back up agaiin nice and snug because suddenly rotating the bars down when stopping is not healthy.

    Delta makes a quill stem extender for about $25 that lets you raise the current stem If I remember right about 2-6". If the brake cables are long enough this is an easy install. If the LBS has one lying around, you might be able to test ride with it to get a feel for whether these bars higher and closer would work. But if you just plain like the look/idea of straight bars, do that.

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