Making 29er MTB more road-friendly- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Bikecurious
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    301

    Making 29er MTB more road-friendly

    I know there's probably multiple posts about this already, but I was hoping someone could answer my questions all in one short reply. I have a Haro Mary 29er that I currently have set up with a CF fork, mtb tires, and Titec J-bars. I want to start using it to cruise around town more, which would be mainly paved roads with a few gravel paths and some hard packed dirt. I'd like to switch to drop bars with coordinating brake levers, and more appropriate tires. Probably not more than 5-6 mile round trip trips, so don't need to do any serious mileage, and would prefer not to spend too much in the process either. Any input would be very much appreciated. Thanks.
    Howdy Doody's past the House of Aquarius

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Posts
    877
    Drop bars on a 29er can be done, but it's best on a drop bar specific frame. The geo is different so you will probably want a riser stem or at least a very short stem. Swap out the tires for a touring specific tire like Vittoria Randonnuer and you will probably buy tires once every 5 years. Depending on your brakes you will need either a whole new set up (if you have hydro discs) or just levers and cables if you have mechanicals or v-brakes. The levers need to be long pull specific.
    Last edited by khardrunner14; 03-08-2015 at 05:16 AM.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: grandsalmon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,020
    Short reply-

    Also consider the road bars -short reach & drop, work/feel best to me.

    Long reply-

    I prefer this over some dirt drops, they align the (don't say it!) beloved brifters -in plane- re an optimal hand-hang position, offers greater adjustment too.
    I commute half the time on a 9r mtb frame w drops; 460mm cowbells I think, w a Haven 0deg 70mm stem (too pretty not to use), prob 20mm o spacers, if that. Suffice to say it is a super stable bike at any speed, and no excessive body weight on the bars. Length of fork is important too. My commute is 17 miles one-way, and w 32mm semi-slicks, the bike feels good beginning to end. I switch off w my K2 Enemy cross w hydraulics- twitchier & more fun, easier to unweight. All depends on geometry greatly, and so on... Just one success story here.

  4. #4
    Positively negative
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,287
    Bikes built for a traditional drop bar setup, road and cross bikes, have a significantly shorter top tube, 30 to 60mm, than a MTB. You may also run into compatibility issues with your derailers, if you have them, and likely your brakes.

    Dirt Drop setups are a little different in that you generally just need a crazy amount of front end height, or gymnast flexibility, but the compatibility issues apply.

    My suggestion would be the keep the Titecs. I actually converted my cross bike to use them I like them so much. I also use them for bikepacking and touring.

    As far as tires, the width of your rims are going to limit you from using true, 23-25, road tires but anything 32 and up should be fine. Consider your bb height too. I find 38-40mm tires make a MTB as road friendly as I'd ever want it.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    11,663
    If your bike fits you now, putting drop bats on it will make it feel two sizes too big. And integrated road shifter/brake levers are expensive and might not cooperate with you derailluers. Stick to alt bars and fat-ish slicks. 42mm Conti Speed Rides are nice.

  6. #6
    Bikecurious
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    301
    Thanks for the input so far. Guess I should've mentioned I'm running it SS, well actually it's a 2 speed that I have set up so you have to shift the cable by hand, allowing me to have a gear for road and flats, and one for trails and climbs (which I've actually found I typically just use one gear so will likely change it to just full SS). Also running mech brakes, so not too much issue with swapping levers if I go that route. I've got a few stems lying around so maybe I'll see if the bike shop will lend me some drop bars just to try out to see how the geo fits and if it's an option worth pursuing. This little bit of warm weather we're getting here in VA has me itching. Thanks again.
    Howdy Doody's past the House of Aquarius

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    439
    Higher psi slick or slick- ish tires make an impressive difference. Schwalbe Big Apples have a loyal following, but Schwalbe is pretty proud of them too. Some of the cheaper Continentals might harsh your ride a bit, but they will roll well.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    118
    Big apples 2.15

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,321
    Warning: this is a deep rabbithole.

    About 2 years ago I picked up a pair of midge dirtdrops for $20, and thought it would be a fun and cheap experiment to put them on my ss Unit. It cost another $30 for levers and cables, but that's still pretty cheap.

    But that was only the start. Now I've got more stems than I can count: a 32mm stem, a 90mm/45deg, a 75mm/40deg stem, a 60mm/35deg stem, and a pile more. And I also switched from the midge to a woodchipper to try to improve the fit.

    And I really liked the drops, but just couldn't get a good fit, and after a year of killing my shoulders I bought a drop-specific frame.

    So my $20 midge ended up being one of the most expensive bikeparts I've ever bought.

    (that being said, the midge got handed-down to my roadish bike, where I find it super comfortable to ride on the hoods. And the woodchipper on my new frame is really nice)

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    184
    tires and gears for road first, over drop bars

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    5,499
    What about some bars ends before switching over to drops? I have Geax tattoos 29x2.3 tires on the Karate Monkey and really like them. Mostly slick, sort of like a hookworm.

  12. #12
    jrm
    jrm is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    11,642
    Change your riding position so that you have more weight towards the front of the bike. You can make up for some of the slack ST angle by using a seat post w/o set back or moving the saddle forward so that your over the crank instead of behind it. With the bars you want to get your hands as close as you can over the axle of the front wheel. Lowering your existing bar and/or using a longer stem will get you further forward. Otherwise bars like the surly open bar, what i use and really like, will work as well. With all the investment to transform your 29er you might just consider a buying a decent hybrid and call it a day. Or build something.

  13. #13
    Bedwards Of The West
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5,451
    I have gone with drop bars on two different 29ers. I use a standard road drop bar (not an "alt" bar, and a super short downhill stem. Combined with a few headset spacers, I have found the geometry to be very comfortable for me without any sort of a magical bike with custom geometry specific to the use of road bars.
    You need to get a drop bar with what roadies call an "oversized" 31.8mm clamp area, so that a "normal" mountain bike stem with a 31.8 clamp will fit it. I use super cheap Tektro road brake levers with "Mountain" specific BB7 brakes, and have never had a problem with lever throw. If anything you just have to be a little more picky with the way you adjust your brake pads. Lever throw is not an issue as far as my experience goes when mixing "Mountain" BB7 brakes with road levers.
    I use bar-end shifters, which lets you use the cheap brake levers, but you do have to pay for the shifters. Fairly common ebay item though.

    My drop bar 29ers have both been the same size frame as I use for mountain bike duties, because I want to be able to throw on a suspension fork and a flat bar and have a hardtail mtb at some point when I get bored. I've done centuries and touring on bikes set up like this, and I have survived...and actually even had a good time, without geometry woes.

    I highly recommend Schwalbe Big Apples in the fattest 2.35 width for cushiness, durability, and fun factor.... and Serfas Drifters for incredibly long life and multi-surface traction.

    The current steed:

    Making 29er MTB more road-friendly-picture1.jpg
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  14. #14
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: Harryman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,855
    tires and gears for road first, over drop bars
    Agreed. 35-40mm range tires, file treads all around, (I like Conti Speed Rides) or a small knobby up front.

    It's nice to have a road crank to push big gears, but not necessary.

    I'd agree that adding drops to your already fitting MTB will make it feel too long, and unless you are racing crits on it, for no benefit. Been there, done that. Flat bars work just fine on the road.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    173
    I have a hybrid/dual sport and I will say I prefer the extra cushioning a wider tire has. I'd say get something with a bit of tread, another barrier between you and sharp objects. There are lots of good choices 42-47mm.

    And if its a commuter don't forget fenders and a rack.

Similar Threads

  1. 29er, mtn/road convertible, travel friendly!
    By danlafran in forum 29er Bikes
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-16-2014, 10:18 AM
  2. Making my CX a bit more mountain friendly
    By old crank in forum Cyclocross
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 03-19-2013, 09:12 PM
  3. Making My Surly BD Touring Friendly ???
    By LongtailJunkie in forum Cargo Bikes
    Replies: 24
    Last Post: 06-13-2012, 07:45 PM
  4. Making the 2010 Enduro more XC friendly
    By brad72 in forum Specialized
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 03-28-2012, 05:24 PM
  5. making my enduro more XC friendly
    By championp in forum Specialized
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-25-2012, 10:16 PM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.