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  1. #1
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    Commuter/Fitness/Fun Build

    Hi all, first post for me here! I am setting up a commuter/fitness/fun bike for mostly road use and would appreciate any advice on my current and future decisions. Here goes!

    The Story: My old Trek 980 Singletrack from the early ninety's finally bit it right when I was starting to get back into biking, so long story short, a friend ended up giving me his oldish Gary Fisher Marlin (2000).

    The Criteria: I am 6'/220lbs so the bike needs to be durable. At the same time I am trying to keep it light (but not weight weenie light). I don't have a lot of money to spend on this project so best "bang for the buck" is where I am aiming for on parts. The end goal is to be able to give my friend his bike back so eventually, all parts are going to be switched out.

    - Steps Completed So Far -

    1: Replace tweaked out stock wheels. I went for RhinoLite XL's (V-Brake) w/XT Disc Hubs. I really went for durability here. I hate having to constantly true wheels and I wanted to have to option to move to disc brakes in the future.

    2: Get some road tires. I picked up some Specialized Fat Boys (26/1.25 slick -100psi) from my LBS. This allows me to also have a spare set of off-road wheels for quick replacement when I want to hit the hills. For those who care, I am absolutely in love with the Fat Boys . . . very grippy, very fast, very quiet & just the right amount of cushion.

    3: Replace the worn-out, heavy, piece-o-crap stock elastomer suspension fork (Rockshox Jett). I put a lot of thought into this and ended up going rigid carbon. I was able to get a great deal on a Trigon carbon MTB fork w/ matching carbon stem/handelbar combo. The results are amazing (photos attached). This took a ton of weight off of the front and drastically improved the handling of the bike.

    - Future Steps -

    1: New saddle. I haven't decided on which one yet but the one I've got now really sucks!

    2: Full Shimano SLX Drivetrain - Again . . . durable, weight conscious and good value.

    3: Ebay carbon MTB frame. I fell in love with the feel of carbon with the fork/stem/bar setup and have heard nothing but good things about these. A possible cheaper option is to go with a Sette Rekon alloy frame. With the frame will come a new headset and seat post.

    4: Avid BB7 Disk Brakes (185mm front and back). These have to come after the frame as this model Marlin does not have the mounts for disk brakes in the back.

    Done! At this point I can piece my friend's bike back together and return it with much thanks. Anyway . . . let me know what you think!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Commuter/Fitness/Fun Build-2010-02-01-14-26-52.jpg  

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    Commuter/Fitness/Fun Build-2010-02-01-14-25-11.jpg  

    Commuter/Fitness/Fun Build-2010-02-01-14-25-23.jpg  

    Commuter/Fitness/Fun Build-2010-02-01-14-25-37.jpg  


  2. #2
    Bedwards Of The West
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    A few worthless comments:

    First, cosmetics... it looks awesome EXCEPT for the bar ends and seat. If you ditched both of those it would truly have the look of a much newer bike. I like those bars a lot, but it's begging for a racing saddle and no more giant chrome meathooks.

    Second, those wheels: My rhyno lites with XT hubs are on their 3rd bike...currently my Kona Dawg dual suspension trail bike. I am around 200-210 lbs most of the time, and I abuse these wheels. Running them with Hayes discs currently, but I've used them with rim brakes too. Can't say enough good things about these wheels. I've never had either one of them on a truing stand, ever.

    Third, the carbon fork with disc mounts. Nice work. I have Nashbar's version on my commuter, and I love it.

    That looks like a fun bike.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  3. #3
    a lazy pedaler
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    +1 on taking off the bar ends. I'm converting my mtb into a commuter and those will be out of the project.

    I think is looking pretty good.....definetely the saddle has to match the bike, so think on the new frame to decide which one will do it

    it may sound silly but I love my saddle to match with the whole bike colors too....which now makes me think on a saddle

  4. #4
    jrm
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    Id consider

    swapping out the MTB crankset for something resulting in a tighter chainline. I know for a fact a road compact would clear the stays no problem.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    A few worthless comments:

    First, cosmetics... it looks awesome EXCEPT for the bar ends and seat. If you ditched both of those it would truly have the look of a much newer bike. I like those bars a lot, but it's begging for a racing saddle and no more giant chrome meathooks.

    Second, those wheels: My rhyno lites with XT hubs are on their 3rd bike...currently my Kona Dawg dual suspension trail bike. I am around 200-210 lbs most of the time, and I abuse these wheels. Running them with Hayes discs currently, but I've used them with rim brakes too. Can't say enough good things about these wheels. I've never had either one of them on a truing stand, ever.

    Third, the carbon fork with disc mounts. Nice work. I have Nashbar's version on my commuter, and I love it.

    That looks like a fun bike.
    Bar ends are coming off as soon as I pick up some grips that don't have the ends cut off.

  6. #6
    Bedwards Of The West
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    x2 on the compact road double crankset if you're still looking for stuff to do. That would increase your top speed nicely too.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  7. #7
    I Have Cookies
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    Looks Sweet!! Good build!! Jealous of your fork!!
    The most important thing is what God thinks about it. He will have the final say. Joshua Stinebrink

    ____
    Kimo

  8. #8
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Seriously nice ride you put together there. The bar ends are a match for the "old school" frame.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Yeah, why all the bar end hate?
    Looks great, Lostboy. I bet it`s nice and light. My only thought was that 1.25 tires would be too skinny to seat on Rhinolites, but apparently they do.
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    Yeah, why all the bar end hate?
    Looks great, Lostboy. I bet it`s nice and light. My only thought was that 1.25 tires would be too skinny to seat on Rhinolites, but apparently they do.
    I had some initial hesitation about a 1.25" tire on the Rhinos as well and asked one of the guys here at my LBS about it before purchasing. He said the general "recomended" tire sizes for mtn. bikes are based on the fact that many people run their tire pressure down just above the point where they start getting pinch flats for added smoothness and traction off-road. With low pressure like that a hard turn could cause the rim to scrape on the inside with a really skinny tire. He also said that the general rule of thumb with road tires (which these certainly are) is that the tire should not be skinnier than the rim.

    As wide as these Rhinos are, the FatBoy is just a hair wider. At 80 to 110 psi, they are as solid and stable as can be. Once they got down to around 50 psi before a refill and even then they were still quite firm with very little flex under driving pressure.

    These tires really are awesome. At full pressure they are very fast. I took them out in the rain once just to see how they handled water and was quite surprised at how little traction was lost.

  11. #11
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    Love those bars! Looks crazy as!

    I'm doing a similar project and got those exact forks. These are solid forks...but I can't seem to tighten my headset...the expanding plug gets pull out as I try to tighten the top cap and I've turned the expanding plug as tight as I dare in the steerer tube How you go about tightening yours? you use a torque wrench? if so, what torques?

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I bought my first bar ends for the road. I say keep 'em. Or maybe some smaller, less shiny ones. But I love having a lower position available if I'm just cranking out a bunch of flat miles. And I've found I like them for climbing off-road too, although I don't think it makes as much of a difference.

    Hot fork. Love it.

    My bike is starting to get SLX bits in select places. I'm very happy with them so far. If you're going off-road from time to time, I'd stick with a mountain bike or maybe a trekking crank for the lower gear ratios, unless you have no climbing where you are.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    I love barends even on a commuter. I use them all the time sprinting away from a dead stop. Those ones are way too big for me though. I don't need/like the L bend. I actually cut mine down to make them smaller. My next bike will have Ritchey SL's. Short and light.

  14. #14
    a lazy pedaler
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    ok ok... check this out

    I sometimes use the bar ends on my commute, specially on my now usual "hill climb sprint" getting home but I got the GP1s for the pugs and I'm taking those to the commuter project.... I guess I just will learn to live without them.

  15. #15
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    I appreciate the function of bar ends...I just don't like the look. I have bullhorn bars on my commuter, so I get the hand positions without the early 90's style. Before that I had drops on the commuter. Multiple hand positions are very nice to have on the commute. If this bike was mine, I'd consider full-on time trial extensions, elbow pads and all. It's already a freak...embrace it. Might as well be a comfortable freak.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  16. #16
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostboy77
    These tires really are awesome. At full pressure they are very fast. I took them out in the rain once just to see how they handled water and was quite surprised at how little traction was lost.
    I wouldn't think any traction would be lost. Remember that, due to the crowned profile of a bicycle tire you aren't going to have the hydroplaning problems that you would with a flat profile automotive tire. That being said, you still need to be careful of painted areas, metal grates and railroad tracks, but these are things that can be slippery even in dry conditions.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by martinsillo
    ok ok... check this out
    I run the same grips, in non carbon form, on my bad weather commuter. most comfortable grips i've found. i don't use the "end" much, but the standard ergons have plastic clamps which i quickly broke as they can't handle the bolt torque required to keep them from spinning on the bars.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    I wouldn't think any traction would be lost. Remember that, due to the crowned profile of a bicycle tire you aren't going to have the hydroplaning problems that you would with a flat profile automotive tire. That being said, you still need to be careful of painted areas, metal grates and railroad tracks, but these are things that can be slippery even in dry conditions.
    Traction will be lost, you won't hydroplane but traction will most definitely be lost. The surface of the road won't bite as easily to the tire and this is definitely noticeable when you are leaning the bike into a corner or making aggressive turns.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ktse
    Traction will be lost, you won't hydroplane but traction will most definitely be lost. The surface of the road won't bite as easily to the tire and this is definitely noticeable when you are leaning the bike into a corner or making aggressive turns.
    I agree. I certainly noticed some traction loss . . . even the smallest groups of water molecules will have a "rolling" effect between the road surface and the tire which causes slippage . . . this is true for any type of tires. Hydroplaning only occurs when the amount of water causes the tire to completely break contact with the road surface. I was just surprised at how confident I still was in the wet.
    Last edited by lostboy77; 02-08-2010 at 09:20 AM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch
    I bought my first bar ends for the road. I say keep 'em. Or maybe some smaller, less shiny ones. But I love having a lower position available if I'm just cranking out a bunch of flat miles. And I've found I like them for climbing off-road too, although I don't think it makes as much of a difference.

    Hot fork. Love it.

    My bike is starting to get SLX bits in select places. I'm very happy with them so far. If you're going off-road from time to time, I'd stick with a mountain bike or maybe a trekking crank for the lower gear ratios, unless you have no climbing where you are.
    As far as the crank goes, I think I have settled on getting the higher geared (26/36/48) crankset in either the SLX (if I can find one . . . very rare) or Deore XT. There are plenty of hills around here and I still need the lower gearing for when I have my kids in the trailer (notice the "hitch" on the rear axle) and this is my only bike . . . so for those times when off-road calls me, I need to be able to throw on my dirt wheelset and head for the hills.

  21. #21
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    I just ordered a Trigon carbon seatpost and will be picking up new saddle before the weekend. A short (10mile) ride yesterday confirmed that a new saddle is a must.

  22. #22
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostboy77
    As far as the crank goes, I think I have settled on getting the higher geared (26/36/48) crankset in either the SLX (if I can find one . . . very rare) or Deore XT. There are plenty of hills around here and I still need the lower gearing for when I have my kids in the trailer (notice the "hitch" on the rear axle) and this is my only bike . . . so for those times when off-road calls me, I need to be able to throw on my dirt wheelset and head for the hills.
    You might want to take a look at Sugino triples. They`re inexpensive, easilly available in a variety of lengths, versatile (74/110 BCD), and depending on who sells them, they come with 24t or 26t granny and 46t or 48t big ring. They look great too, IMO. The catch is that it looks like you`ve got a nice light build going so far and I`m guessing the options you already mentioned are going to be considerably lighter. It`s one to consider, anyway.
    Recalculating....

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