Just Built a Commuter from an MTB- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Just Built a Commuter from an MTB

    Tomorrow morning I start commuting 3 days a week by bike because my new job puts me in biking range (streets, not distance).

    Not knowing the best solution, buy a dedicated commuter/urban bike or build up, I took the cheaper option and started with my backup MTB (my main bike is a SC Blur LT):



    Because it has disc brakes, I can swap out wheelsets and pedals quickly if I ever need to hit the trails because the Blur is in the shop.

    I started with a Topeak Explorer rack and bag. The Topeak system is great, it slides into place and latches quickly. Putting it on and taking it off quickly is a snap so when I get to the office I can pop in to work quickly (we have showers.) The sides unzip and drop down for cargo carrying space. I am going to scam an extra locker so that I can keep clothes at the office most days so it is only a few small things that I need to bring with me.

    Here is the built out bike:



    I changed the pedals from Time ATACs to flats. People had said that the flats were better for short commutes. Since I have a locker, bike shoes don't matter, but there seemed to be a consensus on flats.

    I had a set of Mavic Crossrides hanging around that I threw on. Having a second set is nice because it lets you easily move back and forth between commuting and trails. The Crossrides are not sturdy enough for trail riding so they were sitting in the garage.

    I put WTB 1.5" slicks on the wheels. They have a special puncture resistant design, so I shouldn't have to worry about flats. But just to be sure I put in Slime tubes. I run tubeless on my main bike, but that has Stans rims, with the wire bead in these tires I figured that a Slime tube would work better.

    When buying a rack, be sure to check for a disc compatible rack. Mine has an extra clearance for discs.

    The bag has a nice net pocket on the top and a bungie strap that perfectly fits a U-lock.

    Right now it is a 15 minute drive to work (35MPH), I'll be seeing how close I can get to that time on a bike.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  2. #2
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    My commute is just under five miles and takes the same amount of time to ride or drive.

    I also have that rack and bag. Works great for groceries too.
    "Never mistake motion for action."

    "If I can bicycle, I bicycle."

  3. #3
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    I did the same thing last year by converting my old dean hard tail to a 1x9. I geared it for low hills. Installed is a SRAM 9-speed DH cassette 11-26t with an E-Thirteen 34t chainring and BBG bashguard. Just started back commuting last week. Riding from Downtown to E Ben White Blvd. It's so nice to unwind on a ride after a hard days work, even in the heat. Good luck on your first ride!

    Rick
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Just Built a Commuter from an MTB-ricks_1x9_sm1.jpg  

    Last edited by rrdiaz30; 08-19-2012 at 11:02 AM.

  4. #4
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    That is a SWEET Dean, but don't see how you could commute on it. I"d spend all my on the clock hours worried about some sticky finger making off with that lovely, lovely ride.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  5. #5
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    Right on that! I park it in my cubicle at work. We also have bike lockers at our other facilities that are safe as they behind card access gates and loads of security cameras.

  6. #6
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    sweet, that dean beats the snot outta my ride, very nice
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  7. #7
    CB of the East
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    ^^They both look nice! My "commuter" is my old MTB too.

  8. #8
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Nice pair.
    I use an old camera/video bag that locks to a front platform with an extra set of pannier clips, very handy to yank the whole thing off and tote it into the building with me. The Topeak bag looks slightly bigger than mine, and probably extremely aero.
    Austin, don`t forget to update now that you`ve had a chance to compare riding Vs driving time!

  9. #9
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    Driving is 15 minutes. Today was the first ride @ 27 minutes. That was fully loaded down. I do not expect that I will be carrying a laptop (mine is HUGE) and I plan to keep clothes in the lockers at work. Some days I expect to travel without a bag at all, so my times should get better.

    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  10. #10
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    ^^Great going! 12 mins longer than driving is almost nothing in my book! If you get too much faster you'll have to detour a few extra miles to make it worthwhile and get all the health benefits.

  11. #11
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    The ride home was 23 minutes, which is as long as it takes to drive. And with no big ring I was spinning in my highest gear wishing I had more. Gonna get a 34t chainring soon.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  12. #12
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    The Wife and just took a day trip to Block Island . I put this same set-up on my Rocky Mountain Soul .

    Backpacking would have been just as easy , but ..... packing for a day could have easily turned into a couple had something happened .

  13. #13
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
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    Holy cow, is that the same bag in both pics? If it is, it sure gets big when it unfolds!

    Riding in the same time it takes to drive as a good deal, Austin Bike. Groovy!

  14. #14
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    Yes it is the same bag. The side panels unzip into panniers. They have a bungy to connect to the bottom of the rack. It was big enough to hold a laptop securely (in a protective sleeve).which I thought I was going to have to put in a backpack.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  15. #15
    sofa king awsm
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrdiaz30 View Post
    I did the same thing last year by converting my old dean hard tail to a 1x9. I geared it for low hills. Installed is a SRAM 9-speed DH cassette 11-26t with an E-Thirteen 34t chainring and BBG bashguard. Just started back commuting last week. Riding from Downtown to E Ben White Blvd. It's so nice to unwind on a ride after a hard days work, even in the heat. Good luck on your first ride!

    Rick
    That is beautiful.
    Baby, I want my face to be your quiver killer.

  16. #16
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    Just switched my Kona Kula 29er into my dedicated commuter. 44t x 16t SS.

    Just need a carbon rigid fork and some Big Apples and I am set. Possibly switch up my hydro brakes for some mechanical BB7s.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Just Built a Commuter from an MTB-kula.jpg  


  17. #17
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    After a week on the MTB I have been thinking about buying a commuter. Or buying a 29er SS.

    Time will tell.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

  18. #18
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    which do you think would make for a better commuter? 26 or 29er?

  19. #19
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    Generally I would think that a 29er would be a better choice if I was buying new. I went 26er because that is what I had. But I am borrowing a 700mm SS commuter from a friend. We'll see how that goes.
    Austin Mountain Biking and worldwide travel pictures:

    http://www.austinbike.com

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