Newbie's 1st Build (Mtn to Communter)-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2014

    Newbie's 1st Build (Mtn to Communter)

    Hello everyone,

    I am new to the forums, and new to commuting via bicycle.

    First, some background. I am doing this to get into better shape, and since I am 6' 6" and 350 pounds I need something on which I'll be comfortable.

    With my lower back problems I need something that sits me more upright. I love the Dutch bikes, but they are out of my budget at the moment and I don't want to make that kind of purchase until I know that this is something I enjoy and will continue to do.

    Based on my needs and my budget, I've decided to find a used mountain bike and convert it to a commuter bike.

    I'm looking for something to which I can: add a riser and bent bars, and the one thing I really want are Schwarbe Fat Frank tires (26 x 2.35). I will also add fenders, a chain guard, a rear rack and perhaps some bags.

    Are there any particular bikes that are good candidates for commuters, and wide enough to handle the Fat Frank tires?

    Thank you in advance for your help and input!

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    If you're looking for an old mountain bike, I'd say the main thing is to try to find one with a rigid fork. Cheap suspension forks aren't great for commuting at the best of times, and used cheap suspension forks are even worse. If you can't find one with a rigid fork, look for a suspension for that has a lockout, and make sure that the lockout works for your weight.

    Beyond that, I've got a frame from the late 80's that fits the 2.35 Big Apples with no issue. They also worked fine on a walmart bike I had, and would probably fit on anything that's called a mountain bike - hybrids or city bikes are where you might have problems.

  3. #3
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    I`m another fan of old non-suspension mountain bikes, Ogre. I don`t use tires beyond 2 inches any more, but imagine the Franks would fit most mtbs. Should be nice and cushy for you, too. For the bars, if you want a really upright position, I`m guessing some of the "alt" bars that are popular on the market now would be the ticket for you. Since a lot of them sweep back, you won`t need them chest high in order to avoid leaning forward. Newfangled is our resident "alt bar" expert, I believe- strange he didn`t throw out a few models for consideration.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    ^ alt-bars are a big can of worms to open.

    For older bikes with threaded headsets, it's easy because there are a million varieties of north-road and dutch bars out there. If there's a co-op nearby, you could try a bunch of them. I think that generally the traditional bars are more swept back than the newer alt-bars are.

    For newer bikes you could use a stem with a 25.4mm and use all the old bars. Or with a 31.8mm stem there are a bunch of newer bars to try.

    I like On One, because their stuff is pretty inexpensive. I have the Mary on a bike, and it's pretty sweepy and upright. They also make the less-sweepy fleegle which won't put you upright and is more just a replacement for a riserbar.

    But everyone makes alt-bars now - Surly, Kona, Origin8. There are also the Jones bars, which everyone seems to love, but which are really pricey to experiment with. Awhile ago I found a site that listed ~40 different alt-bars, and I'll have to try to find the link again. Edit: Here is is:

    Alternative or "Alt" Mountain Bike Handlebar Round Up | Old Glory MTB - Mountain Biking Made In America

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