I'm New to Bike Commuting... and I'm Stupid- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Bloody Bastard
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    I'm New to Bike Commuting... and I'm Stupid

    ...so please forgive my ignorance in advance. I just ordered a new mountain bike that I plan to use for both commuting and riding trails on the weekends. I'm no serious weekend warrior mountain biker yet, and don't plan to do any serious hardcore riding off-road for now. I know it would be best to have a dedicated commuting bike, but how difficult/easy will it be to simply switch my knobby tires to slicks whenever I want to ride on the street as opposed to off-road? I'm already planning to switch out my front shocks for those with the lockout capability.

  2. #2
    weirdo
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    Hi. All in all, mtbs make for pretty good commuting bikes as long as the distance isn`t too much (you`ll have to decide for yourself what`s too much). Switching tires isn`t a big deal, but I personally wouldn`t care to do it every day. Figure it will probably take 15 to 20 minutes for both wheels. Other options would be to find a tire that works well enough for both the uses you want or to buy another set of wheels and switch wheels instead of just tires. The additional advantage to swapping wheels is that you can also change gear ratios while you`re at it. Maybe you could just keep changing tires for now and keep your eyes open for a good deal on a used wheel set. As far as changing out your fork- unless it`s going to be cheap or there`s some other reason you want a different one, I wouldn`t mess with it. The next guy might disagree, but I don`t think it makes all that much difference. Enjoy your ride!

  3. #3
    Bloody Bastard
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    Thank you for your thoughtful opinion, sir. I suppose I should give some background information here.

    I'm in the Army and I've opted for the 18" Montague Paratrooper for several reasons. It's a folding bike that I plan to take with me on multiple deployments, out of state trips and other special assignments that will require me to take flights. The choice of bike was a no-brainer for me. From what I've read, the bike is solid and is a good performer all around, and the space saving is a plus. However, it is intended for rugged off-road riding, and I want this to double as a fast commuter as well. The bike will spend most of its time on the road going to and from work. My commute is 24 miles round trip. I also plan to do some weekend warrior mountain biking, hence the desire to replace the shocks with lockout capability for road use. I'm considering these tires:

    https://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd....T+CONTACT+TIRE

    NOTE: The following is not my review nor my bike. I'm posting this for referrence material.

    https://commutebybike.com/2006/12/09...rooper-review/

    Last edited by Blu Falcon; 04-30-2008 at 01:26 PM.

  4. #4

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    Take a look also at

    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.a...CTIVE+SIDEWALL

    the center "tread" will serve you well on road, and the knobs on the sidewall will help some offroad. Keep in mind though that traction off-road is impt not only in cornering (which the above tire addresses) but in straight line/loose terrain contexts as well.

    Another consideration (biased more towards the off road side of things)

    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.a...EMI-SLICK+TIRE

    In dry, hard pack conditions, I raced on a similar tire (off road) with much success.

    there is no "one fits all" solution...which is part of the problem and part of the fun

  5. #5
    Bloody Bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by gersting
    Take a look also at

    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.a...CTIVE+SIDEWALL

    the center "tread" will serve you well on road, and the knobs on the sidewall will help some offroad. Keep in mind though that traction off-road is impt not only in cornering (which the above tire addresses) but in straight line/loose terrain contexts as well.

    Another consideration (biased more towards the off road side of things)

    http://www.cambriabike.com/shopexd.a...EMI-SLICK+TIRE

    In dry, hard pack conditions, I raced on a similar tire (off road) with much success.

    there is no "one fits all" solution...which is part of the problem and part of the fun

    A vote for semi-slick tires. Thank you. I'll consider those options.

    So would you say it's better to have a near all-in-one solution (as in semi-slicks) as opposed to a set of dedicated street tires and a set of dedicated off-road tires, and simply swap the tires to fit whatever conditions I'm riding in?

  6. #6
    Ovaries on the Outside
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    Oh man... I've done just an 8 mile commute on my KM and it sucked. For 24 miles.... I vote for a pretty slick tire- but if you live in a place where the semi can do you for offroad, I guess go for it. Changing tires gets old quickly.

    Cool bike though.

  7. #7
    WHEELVALUTION
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    Nice bike B falcon,I would agree with Rodar that changeing the wheels would be best as you can get a narrower rimed wheel and low profile slicks and have a more solid and wider rimmed wheel for off road,dual tread tyres are o.k with slick in the center and nobs on the outer edge,BUT if you are going to ride in areas of differant terrain depending on where you are going, haveing two sets is the best option and pick an allround tread pattern,your local bike shop will advise which ones to get,I always tend to buy tires from the maxxis brand,as do most pros in all areas of offroad rideing,and here in New Zealand they are one of the top selling tires.
    Okay,okay,so how do I put it back together,and where did this spring come from

  8. #8
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    Easy answers are change tires (takes about 10 mins once you get good at it), or get a second wheelset, so you just swap wheels and go (takes 2-3 minutes).

  9. #9
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    Thank you all. I will opt for a slick wheelset. I will give the Maxxis Hookworm a try. My commute is along bike lanes, all road, and I won't be taking any detours to cut through the woods or anything. I'll just swap wheelsets when I hit the trails on the weekend.

    EDIT: Then again, after reading the reviews here, I guess the Maxxis Hookworm isn't the best solution for commuting.
    Last edited by Blu Falcon; 04-30-2008 at 05:14 AM.

  10. #10
    MB1
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    I don't think changing tires once or twice a week will be all that much of a problem so go for the best road slick you can find to make your fairly long commute more enjoyable.

    I suspect that you won't be going off road EVERY weekend so likely you won't be changing tires that often anyway.

    OTOH if you can afford a second set of wheels having a narrower and taller gear set for the road isn't a bad thing either.
    Last edited by MB1; 04-30-2008 at 08:25 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB1

    OTOH if you can afford a second set of wheels having a narrower and taller gear set for the road isn't a bad thing either.
    Thank you. I will consider that option as well.

    I've decided to go with a set of 26 x 1.95 Michelin Transworld City Tires. Thanks for all the great advice.

    EDIT: I changed my mind about the Michelins and decided to go with Forte FasTracs and a pair of Continental Sport Contacts. The Knobbies will be on stand-by pending serious off-road duty.
    Last edited by Blu Falcon; 05-05-2008 at 08:58 AM.

  12. #12
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    BTW...I commute 25 miles round trip on a hard-tail MTB set up with city tires. Works great. About 50 -55 minutes each way. It's a great way to stay in shape (or in my case, a great way to lose weight and GET in shape). Have fun with it!!!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blu Falcon
    A vote for semi-slick tires. Thank you. I'll consider those options.

    So would you say it's better to have a near all-in-one solution (as in semi-slicks) as opposed to a set of dedicated street tires and a set of dedicated off-road tires, and simply swap the tires to fit whatever conditions I'm riding in?
    I think two sets of wheels is the best way to go, second to having different bikes for trail and commuting. You could just start looking for deals, you would need a second cassette also.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fsrxc
    I think two sets of wheels is the best way to go, second to having different bikes for trail and commuting. You could just start looking for deals, you would need a second cassette also.
    Thanks for chiming in. Considering I'm still mostly ignorant when it comes to bikes, could you please explain why I'd need a second cassette?

  15. #15
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    If you have 2 sets of wheels, each one needs it's own gear cassette (and brake rotors if using disc brakes). Switching the cassette back and forth would be as much or more effort than swapping tires.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by comptiger5000
    If you have 2 sets of wheels, each one needs it's own gear cassette (and brake rotors if using disc brakes). Switching the cassette back and forth would be as much or more effort than swapping tires.
    Did I mention that I was stupid?

    Yes, that makes perfect sense. I was thinking only of changing tires, and didn't consider needing new cassettes for a completely different wheel set. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  17. #17
    weirdo
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    Cassette is no biggie. Figure it`ll run about $25 and there`s a possibility that you or a shop will have to dink around a little with shims when you first set up the second wheelset so that the derailer doesn`t have to be adjusted going from one wheel to the other. After that, you just yank out one wheel and drop in the next. It looks like you`re on the right track for tires- your commute is a bit on the long side for a more-or-less upright bike, so you`ll want some that roll nice and easy. You`re just going to carry your lunch and whatever else in a backpack? Daylight only commutes? Even if it`s all daylight, it wouldn`t be a bad idea to clip a blinkie on your seatpost. They`re cheap too.

  18. #18
    Bloody Bastard
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    I just placed an order for the Rockshox Dart 3 suspension fork, so that I can lock up the front suspension for my daily commute. After much deliberation, I finally decided to go with a pair of Forté FasTrac 26x1.9 to replace the stock knobbies. My research led me to believe that this would be the best compromise for the short term. I'll be spending over a month in Washington state this summer, and I'll be hitting some trails as well as spending a fair amount of time on hard roads in my spare time. I figure this to be the best short term solution for now since ideally I'd like to take just one set of wheels with me on this trip. In the meantime I will continue to save up money so that I can invest in a dedicated set of good slicks for my daily commute to the office upon my return. You guys have all been a great help.

  19. #19
    Bloody Bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar
    You`re just going to carry your lunch and whatever else in a backpack? Daylight only commutes? Even if it`s all daylight, it wouldn`t be a bad idea to clip a blinkie on your seatpost. They`re cheap too.
    Yes, I have a rugged Army ACU assault pack that I will use to carry my CamelBak hydration system as well as a few other items. I'll just keep a spare uniform and personal hygiene items at the office. It'll still be dark out when I start my early morning commute, so I will invest in safety equipment that helps increase visibility.
    Last edited by Blu Falcon; 04-30-2008 at 08:29 PM.

  20. #20
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    great tyre

    Quote Originally Posted by Blu Falcon
    Thank you. I will consider that option as well.

    I've decided to go with a set of 26 x 1.95 Michelin Transworld City Tires. Thanks for all the great advice.
    I'm rollin in those at the moment,great tyres,the hookworms are urban assult style tyres,i have also got a set of dunlop 26x1.50 that are awesome,dont know the name of the tyre tho,thay have a D pattern on them
    Okay,okay,so how do I put it back together,and where did this spring come from

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRIPLE R
    I'm rollin in those at the moment,great tyres,the hookworms are urban assult style tyres,i have also got a set of dunlop 26x1.50 that are awesome,dont know the name of the tyre tho,thay have a D pattern on them
    "We be Triple R rated but we form a square, Ruck and Rock, Representatives, your worst nightmare." - Heltah Skeltah circa 1996

    Yes, I'm pretty much sold on the Michelin's but I'm also very tempted to try out the Continentals. I may just get both sets of tires and swap them out from time to time, or just compare the two.

  22. #22
    Bloody Bastard
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    Can anyone recommend a good 26" wheelset that are of good quality but won't cost as much as buying a whole new bike?

    EDIT: Nevermind. I scored a decent set on ebay. Thanks.
    Last edited by Blu Falcon; 05-05-2008 at 10:42 AM.

  23. #23
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    Update: I'll be installing the Rock Shox today hopefully, and I've got the Continental 26x1.6 Sport Contacts on the bike right now. When the new wheelset gets here the Forte FasTrac semi-slicks will go on those.

    Is there anything I should be looking for specifically in an 8-speed cassette strictly for road use?

    EDIT: Nevermind. I scored a decent set on ebay. Thanks.
    Last edited by Blu Falcon; 05-05-2008 at 10:42 AM.

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