Help! I want to turn my Trek 820 into a commuter- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Help! I want to turn my Trek 820 into a commuter

    I work about 25 miles from home. I'd like to try commuting.

    Are there some decent fenders and rack that would fit on my Trek 820?

    I also plan on getting some street tires and eventually some studs when the snow starts falling.

  2. #2
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Wow! That's a long commute. Some people prefer a road or CX bike with drops for a commute that long, but I think you can do it on a MTB just fine. Planet Bike's Hardcore fenders should fit your 820 (they fit my 850). They come in three widths, depending on what size tires you're running. And speaking of tires, I would definitely get some slicks or lightly treaded street tires for your non-winter commute. The width you select depends on personal choice. Generally, narrower tires tend to be faster, but with fatter tires you get a plusher ride and better traction. Check around on the commuter forum here, there are lots of detailed threads on tires. I'd don't know much about racks, but your old Trek should have eyelets on the rear triangle for both fender stays and the rack mount. There are a lot of racks of varying quality and price.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  3. #3
    Drinking the Slick_Juice
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    Quote Originally Posted by krott5333
    I work about 25 miles from home. I'd like to try commuting.

    Are there some decent fenders and rack that would fit on my Trek 820?

    I also plan on getting some street tires and eventually some studs when the snow starts falling.

    you can probably un 700x25 wheels. i easily fit that under my trek 850 , i think it might be the same geo.
    "If women don't find handsome , they should at least find you handy."-Red Green

  4. #4
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    Planet Bike's Full ATB fenders are also good, that's what I got. Splurge on some good reflective tape and make good use of all that surface area:



    Studded tires often sell out in the United States once the first good storms arrive, so you might want to shop for them now. I've used the Nokian Extremes and Panaracer Blizzards, but if I were going to ride 50 miles round-trip for a commute, I'd probably get the Schwalbe Marathon Winter. Puncture resistant, reflective sidewalls, carbide studs.

    Make sure you're equipped to change flats and fix a broken chain. Also, if your old 820 has trigger-type shifters, I'd flush them with a bunch of aerosol TriFlow since shifters can gum up with age and that'll get worse in cold weather. Wear eye and face protection when flushing them, I've gotten backblasted a few times.

  5. #5
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Hey mech, what brand of reflective tape is that and where did you get it?
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  6. #6
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    I second the Planet Bike fenders. They work great and are really cheap. I personally prefer a mountain bike position while riding, so let's pretend you'll be ok for the commute.

    I've only had snow to commute in a couple times. Can't imagine such a long commute. I'd love a winter commute ride report with pictures.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    Hey mech, what brand of reflective tape is that and where did you get it?
    That's some Peterson Manufacturing stuff I bought at Fred Meyer in the Automotive section. It's $10 for four 18-inch pieces, each one being 1/3 silver and 2/3 red, and is packaged like this:



    Like most reflective tape, it doesn't conform very well to surfaces that curve in two directions at once, so I cut it into thin strips and put them on crosswise. One of the benefits is simply the sheer amount of reflective surface you can get this way. Also, it reflects even from severe angles, unlike the typical plastic reflectors. Personally, I think someone should just make fenders that are inherently reflective and be done with it


    Oh, and I forgot to touch on the rack question. Have you decided on a style of bags? If it's small-to-medium panniers, consider some front lowrider racks. Your rear wheel has plenty to do already, without being saddled with a bunch of dead weight as well. Your 820 should work great with them, and they're about $20 at Nashbar. They look like this:




    ^ Sundown at 20F and dropping

    If you leave a pannier unzipped a bit, you can even reach down while riding and grab stuff. The weight stays down low where it doesn't make the bike top-heavy.
    Last edited by mechBgon; 10-08-2009 at 12:17 PM. Reason: moar pics!

  8. #8
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Just what the other guys said. Old Treks (or pretty much any rigid mtb) make great commuters for shorter trips. 25 miles each way is an awful long bike commute, though.
    Recalculating....

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    And if anybody else is looking for reflective tape (silver), I started a thread recently on rbr about a specific tape that I wanted. but the only place that offered it charged outrageous S&H,
    http://www.identi-tape.com/hi-intensity.htm
    I ordered bulk and split it with a few other guys. There`s still about half of it left @ .80 per foot, any quantity and 5.00 flat rate shipping to anywhere in the continental US.- PM if you`re interrested.

    EDIT: good for smooth hard surfaces (frames, fenders, helmets), not good for folding little pieces around spokes (I tried).
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Thanks for the info about reflective tape, mech and rodar. I've also seen some before that's shows up black during the day but is highly reflective at night. I forget where I saw it, but it may have been the same people that make the reflectors that wrap around spokes (what are they called? CommuterBoy has them).

    EDIT: It's called Stealth Tape. http://www.bikesomewhere.com/bikesom...5078/29094?g=1
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  11. #11

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    I recommend the Planet Bike ATB fenders as well -- cover as much of the wheel as you can, it'll keep you and the bike cleaner. I tried my first 25 mile (each way) commute earlier this week on an old rigid with knobbies. It was slow and painful, but I felt strangely energized. My only regret was travelling with so much weight (laptop, two meals, camera, etc). Next time I'm going to make sure the tires are fully inflated and leave some stuff at home.

  12. #12

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    Oops, forgot you asked about racks. I installed a cheap MEC rack, it's held up well so far. If it breaks and if I'm still commuting with that bike then I'll replace it with something nicer (hello Tubus) because at that point I might consider using it for touring.

  13. #13
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    Also;
    http://www.lightweights.org/
    for more stealth tape.
    I especially like the iron-on tape...I used it on my DIY panniers.

    Oops same stuff as GNTC recomends.
    I bought a roll of red and black...it covered 2 bikes worth and a bunch leftover.

  14. #14
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    thank you everyone so very much for all the good advice.

    Its not an 'old' 820. Its actually a 2009, not a rigid, has the cheap Suntour fork.

    Yes, I know its a long commute, I'd like to at least give it a try. I think the feeling of accomplishment after an 8 hour day of work along with 3-4 hours of commuting would be awesome.

    Keep it comin!

    The new 820 is set up the same way..

    heres a little diagram that I threw together with my limited knowledge of racks and fenders and panniers


  15. #15
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Yup, looks like you're good.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  16. #16
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    so those Planet Bike ATB fenders that are marked at 29.99, is that the price for one fender, or is that the price for a pair (front and back)?

  17. #17
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    For both. Dude.

  18. #18

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    Got lights?

    Magicshine is the best bang for the buck for a head light. (Geomangear is a great vender and fast.) More than enough lumens, small, and good quality. Mount on bars or helmet. I use a Planet Bike Super Flash for a tail light.

    Ditto on all the other good advice.
    Mikey

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by krott5333
    thank you everyone so very much for all the good advice.

    Its not an 'old' 820. Its actually a 2009, not a rigid, has the cheap Suntour fork.

    Yes, I know its a long commute, I'd like to at least give it a try. I think the feeling of accomplishment after an 8 hour day of work along with 3-4 hours of commuting would be awesome.

    Keep it comin!

    The new 820 is set up the same way..

    heres a little diagram that I threw together with my limited knowledge of racks and fenders and panniers

    Would you be open to suggestions on upgrading the bike? That rear wheel could stand some improvement, for the type of scenario you're planning. 36-spoke Sun Rhyno Lite rim, SLX hub, new gear cluster, reliable DT Swiss spokes, Velox rim tape... now you got a wheel for going 50 miles in the winter with a load on the rear rack, month after month

    Trek's own rear racks are OK, about $45 and they include the super-long struts that'll let the rack sit level. The platform's pretty long too, so if your panniers are really big, you can back them away from your heels.

  20. #20
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by krott5333
    Its not an 'old' 820. Its actually a 2009, not a rigid, has the cheap Suntour fork.....

    ....Yes, I know its a long commute, I'd like to at least give it a try. I think the feeling of accomplishment after an 8 hour day of work along with 3-4 hours of commuting would be awesome.....

    ....heres a little diagram that I threw together with my limited knowledge of racks and fenders and panniers
    Oh. Man, I don`t know- lockout on the fork any chance?
    ....Stud muffin! I hope it works out for you!
    ....Well kudos to Trek for keeping up with that stuff. It`s a good idea to put on any frame and can`t add much to the cost, but I don`t think many others are still at it.
    Recalculating....

  21. #21
    No-Brakes Cougar
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    Hey Krott, I forgot to ask, what's the deal with that Shimano MegaRange thing on your cassette? I've never seen one of those before, looks like a big jump between that and the second to last cog, especially with that short cage derailleur.
    R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio ~ July 10, 1942 May 16, 2010

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary the No-Trash Cougar
    Hey Krott, I forgot to ask, what's the deal with that Shimano MegaRange thing on your cassette? I've never seen one of those before, looks like a big jump between that and the second to last cog, especially with that short cage derailleur.
    Its just a really low gear for steep climbing I guess

  23. #23
    weirdo
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    My wife`s bike came with a freewheel like that- they`re still available. Seven speed 11 or 12 to 34 with a big jump to the "bail out" sprocket. The Tourney RD is kind of deceptive. It looks like a short cage because the lower jockey wheel is huge.
    Recalculating....

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