Rigid MTB for a commuter- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    76

    Rigid MTB for a commuter

    I currently have a Motobecane Cafe Fixie (SS side of the flipflop) with flat bars as my daily commuter. It has served its purpose over the past few thousand miles as an inexpensive commuter I was willing to lock outside. Now I am looking to build/buy a bike with more versatility over the next 6 or so months to replace it.

    I am looking to keep a more upright position with flat bars (unless something really changes my mind). All the odd shaped bars have piqued my curiosity. Also, I think I will keep it simple and light, so no suspension and 1x9 drivetrain. Fenders are a must for the commute, and racks may also happen in the future so having the braze-ons would be ideal. I would prefer disc brakes if possible, but is not a deal breaker.

    Daily use will be ~10mi on paved roads in dry/wet conditions, and I really love the idea of throwing knobby tires on it and taking it on trails (I have a full squish bike for the rougher trails). Taking it on gravel/fireroad trails may happen a handful of times. Thinking long term it may get added to the MTB stable as a full rigid.

    The rigid setup I am thinking about is:
    - frame: Salsa El Mariachi
    - fork: Salsa CroMoto Grande 29er
    - tires: Big Apples
    - drivetrain: SRAM 1x9 (whatever is a deal)

    Here are the questions:
    - Should I look for a complete bike that gets me 90% to what I am looking for and piece out the rest? Or should I just build it from scratch?
    - Any other rigid bikes I should be looking into? Surly Karate Monkey?
    - Anyone have a good reason to consider a cyclocross or drop barred trail bike? Salsa Fargo?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: J.B. Weld's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    14,045
    Quote Originally Posted by bjames View Post
    - Anyone have a good reason to consider a cyclocross or drop barred trail bike? Salsa Fargo?
    I've ridden both styles quite a bit and find drop bar (cyclocross/road) bikes a lot more comfortable for any rides longer than a few miles. Of course YMMV.

  3. #3
    29er and 26er
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    679
    I would keep an eye out for a good deal on a bike that gets you 90% there. The custom build will probably cost you lots more unless you have extra parts laying around.

    I have the Surly Karate Monkey set up with an 8 speed IGH. It does fine as both a commuter and trail bike. I've had no issues mounting a rack to the back, but your options for fenders on the front may be a bit limited. I run without fenders.

    I had my KM build up for me a few years ago for $1200.00. This was in a single speed configuration. I just added a new rear Wheel with 8 speed IGH for $500.00. That will give you an Idea of what this may cost you to have built.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Did I catch a niner+?
    Reputation: Mr Pink57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,955
    I would start looking on your local CL for completes and shape it from there. Also if it's going to be a commuter go with a fargo v2 fork to get a few more mount options or an ogre fork. Heck if you can get an ogre do that!
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    826
    I really like my Karate Monkey (as a MTB) but wouldn't the track end dropouts be a pain to fix a flat with fenders?

    I would think the horizontal alternators would be easier on the El Mariachi.

  6. #6
    Bedwards Of The West
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5,451
    I have a Surly Ogre... same exact geo as the Karate Monkey, but with all the mount options and braze-ons you could ever want. I have run full cascadia fenders with Big Apples in the 2.35 size with no issues (with a front D even). Definitely give the Ogre a look.

    For the fenders, you just have to set the rear of the fender back far enough to accomodate sliding the wheel out of the dropouts. When I built up the bike initially, I didn't do this. A mistake you only make once . I adjusted once, and haven't had to mess with the fender at all to get the wheel in and out since. I use 2 wheelsets in the winter (one with studs) so I swap quite a bit, and no issues with the horizontal dropouts.

    To answer the other question, I think it's always better to build it up from scratch yourself. Just my opinion.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  7. #7
    Did I catch a niner+?
    Reputation: Mr Pink57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,955
    Quote Originally Posted by formula4speed View Post
    I really like my Karate Monkey (as a MTB) but wouldn't the track end dropouts be a pain to fix a flat with fenders?

    I would think the horizontal alternators would be easier on the El Mariachi.
    It's not too bad I have an Ogre with the track ends, IGH and fenders so you can imagine there is a lot going on back there.


    Another option is the new Novara Safari from REI, the handlebars are not for everyone but can be swapped out for anything and can easily take knobby tires. Get a nice amount back if an REI member or order through Active Junky and get some cashback.
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: watts888's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    6,285
    I'd also build up from scratch, but keep an eye out on CL for something that's 90% there. rigid 29er fork and a mountain bike frame.

    Playing devil's advocate, is there anything wrong with the moto fixie, or just looking for something different? If it's still good, throw some 40mm tires on it, put on a different rear wheel (maybe you can fit a 7-speed freehub on your current hub if you change up the hub bolt spacing and dish), and add a derailure to the moto.
    "a hundred travel books isn't worth one real trip"

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    827
    Somebody else was just asking about this bike...looks like it fits your criteria and it's a fine looking bike it its' own right...

    https://www.traitorcycles.com/2015/Bikes_Slot.cfm

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    104
    I recently upgraded my 'pub bike' from a 1994 26" rigid mt bike to a 2011 Raleigh XXIX 29er. Having switched to a 29er few years ago, I couldn't deal with the smaller wheels, especially on the road. The XXIX is rigid with discs and I run semi-slicks. I use a seatpost mounted rack with one pannier for locks, tools, etc. With the pot holes, curbs, etc on the road, I prefer the comfort of the bigger tires over using my cross bike on the road.

    My 2ndary reason for this bike was to have a back up for the trails. The bike came with a belt drive but I made it a 2x1x9. I have two front rings but no front derailleur. I manually switch it to the granny for trail use. Just this month my Santa Cruz Tallboy was down so I switched the tires on the XXIX, pulled off the rack and hit the trails a few times. Met my needs for a short term bike. (How people ride rigid bikes off road all the time is beyond me. More power to them, but I like my bike squishy.)

  11. #11
    Positively negative
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2,287
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post

    Another option is the new Novara Safari from REI, the handlebars are not for everyone but can be swapped out for anything and can easily take knobby tires. Get a nice amount back if an REI member or order through Active Junky and get some cashback.
    The Safari has a weird top tube length to work with the goofy bars. I almost got one at one point but couldn't make it work with normal bars.

    I have been riding a KM to work for years. Rack, fenders, and 40mm tires. Works great, although a bit slow. It should be mentioned that the new KM doesn't have rack mounts, which kinda ruins what could be a very versatile bike.

    I built me KM from and old bike, so I had most the parts, but it if I were starting from scratch I think I would search cl for a generic 29er and make it into a commuter. There are tons of mid level 29er that get bought and never ridden people dump when they realize they don't have the space. Strip off what you don't want, get some tires and a fork, and you could be running for less then $500 bucks.

    Speaking of Novara, they are dumping their 29er for half price right now. Worth a look.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: newfangled's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    3,321
    Quote Originally Posted by bjames View Post
    - Should I look for a complete bike that gets me 90% to what I am looking for and piece out the rest? Or should I just build it from scratch?
    If you've got a bunch of parts hanging around, then build from scratch. But if you're buying everything new, all the little $30 things (saddle, seatpost, stem, bar, headset, pedals) can add up.

    The last time I bought a complete bike (a Kona Unit: pretty similar to the Karate Monkey) it was hundreds of $s cheaper than I could have built it for. And then I sold the stock wheels on craigslist, and bought a set I wanted.

  13. #13
    psycho cyclo addict
    Reputation: edubfromktown's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    2,918
    I'd snarf something that covers 90% of what you are looking for. I ride MTB's everywhere; gears some of the time (alum framed steeds).

    Old school (custom) steel is my favorite- I have two '07 bikes- a Bob Brown and WaltWorks. I run them single speed with 39x16 on one and 36x17 (w/ a Knard 3.0" up front) on the other for trails, some commuting and occasionally on weekly urban assaults. They also come in handy when I do slower pace rides with the wifey (so I get a massive workout at slower speeds).

    Being in a more upright position with bars further away gives me more power to climb and get the front wheel up over obstacles.

    Rigid MTB for a commuter-screen-shot-2015-12-17-10.04.32-am.jpg
    【ツ】 eDub 【ツ】

    Gravel bike w/ MTB tires
    Rigid steel SS 29er
    Rigid titanium SS 27.5
    Full suspension 29er
    Hard Tail 29er

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    2,127
    the ogre is a fine commuter platform,been using mine as my around town bike,and beyond,for years...very versatile bike..i have run it with everything from skinny little 38c tires up to a 29x3 up front and 29x2.4 in the back and with every sort of rack and gizmo strapped or bolted on....and many many pounds of cargo hauled in a bob trailer...

    Rigid MTB for a commuter-dsc03417.jpgRigid MTB for a commuter-dsc03418.jpg

  15. #15
    Brown Jersey Winner
    Reputation: Mumonkan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    72
    i bought this frame with the cranks / bb / headset / RD for $100 on another forum, its pretty much done. i think i have ~$500 into it

    1x, townie bars, big apples, drum brakes, dyno lights, rando bag



    best commuting bike ive ever had.
    I'll be the axe that clears the forest.

    https://dirthurt.wordpress.com/

  16. #16
    Bedwards Of The West
    Reputation: CommuterBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    5,451
    Love that Ogre up there^^ whoop!
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Posts
    76
    Quote Originally Posted by p08757 View Post
    I would keep an eye out for a good deal on a bike that gets you 90% there. The custom build will probably cost you lots more unless you have extra parts laying around.
    Quote Originally Posted by edubfromktown View Post
    I'd snarf something that covers 90% of what you are looking for.
    I don't have many parts laying around, so I will likely try and start looking to scrounge together some last model year deals on parts if I go custom build. There is some kind of knee-jerk reaction to the idea of getting a complete new bike and immediately starting to swap out parts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pink57 View Post
    I would start looking on your local CL for completes and shape it from there. Also if it's going to be a commuter go with a fargo v2 fork to get a few more mount options or an ogre fork. Heck if you can get an ogre do that!
    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    I have a Surly Ogre... same exact geo as the Karate Monkey, but with all the mount options and braze-ons you could ever want. I have run full cascadia fenders with Big Apples in the 2.35 size with no issues (with a front D even). Definitely give the Ogre a look.
    I am warming up to the Ogre. May need to poke my head in the local shop and see if I can get some time on behind the bars. Though those bars do look a bit odd, but that bike hamsterspam - looks awesome

    Quote Originally Posted by jmctav23 View Post
    Somebody else was just asking about this bike...looks like it fits your criteria and it's a fine looking bike it its' own right...

    https://www.traitorcycles.com/2015/Bikes_Slot.cfm
    this has made on the short list if I go new, thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by watts888 View Post
    Playing devil's advocate, is there anything wrong with the moto fixie, or just looking for something different? If it's still good, throw some 40mm tires on it, put on a different rear wheel (maybe you can fit a 7-speed freehub on your current hub if you change up the hub bolt spacing and dish), and add a derailure to the moto.
    Nothing terribly wrong yet with my SS Motobecane. I have never been impressed with the drivetrain or really much on it. Was thinking I could hold off to build something up, rather than invest in some new parts that may not translate over to a new build.

  18. #18
    Did I catch a niner+?
    Reputation: Mr Pink57's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    2,955

    I rode this for a lot of years, I still have this bike.

    Rigid MTB for a commuter-12346414_10153825152184802_1878437746661010435_n.jpg
    I ride the Ogre now.
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    2,127
    the jones loop bars do take some getting used to but they really pay off on the longer rides.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 36
    Last Post: 09-06-2019, 07:14 PM
  2. Destroying Rotors/pads on rigid commuter bike
    By CuddlyToast in forum Clydesdales/Tall Riders
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 12-16-2014, 12:03 PM
  3. Replies: 29
    Last Post: 11-18-2014, 02:31 PM
  4. Replies: 44
    Last Post: 10-03-2011, 07:48 AM
  5. Rigid fork for 26" commuter??
    By swoody in forum Weight Weenies
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 04-12-2011, 12:01 AM

Members who have read this thread: 3

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.