Road wheels for a mountain bike- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Road wheels for a mountain bike

    This subject comes up as a question frequently, someone wants to ride their MTB on the road without wearing out their MTB tires. There are usually several common responses: Mount narrower tires or get a road bike. I've also given these answers before, but recently I've been "evolving" my thoughts (don't run away). A repeat customer wants to commute on a fixie, and asked me to build him a wheelset for the new bike he is building.

    His needs: Moderate length commute, minor hills, riding in traffic, durability, safety -- traffic light and emergency stops, performance. 700 x 25c road tires.

    The wheel build: Velocity A23 with non-machined sidewalls, Wheelsmith DB 14 spokes, brass nipples, DT Swiss 350 CL front QR hub, Paul Fixed/Disc Word 6B rear BO hub. Disc brake caliper mounts on the frame and fork permitted using non-MSW rims available from Velocity. I love building with these rims, as I balance the spoke tensions, these rims settle into a stable, rigid and highly true state. These new rims are designed to be UST compatible, and the spoke holes are directionally drilled for greater durability.

    Applications: You don't ride fixed? No problem. Think about a rear wheel built using your favorite rear MTB hub instead. I like these so much, I'm going to build myself a set for short road rides on my MTB! My road bike will always be there for those 4-8 hr rides when I want it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120509_velocitya23_db14_dts350_fixie_front_p1040400.jpg  

    Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120509_velocitya23_db14_paulfixeddiscword_fixie_rear_p1040408.jpg  

    Hey everybody, ride my wheels! They ride good, real good.
    I'm a wheel builder. SRLPE Wheel Works. Send me a PM.

  2. #2
    Ride da mOOn Moderator
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    Good job!

    Like this?

    Great to be able to use my 29er MTB for different purposes, I have even raced cyclo-x, just for fun!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Road wheels for a mountain bike-tds-4-29-12-001_900x900.jpg  


  3. #3
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    I liked building A23's as well.. they come up to tension nicely, I was impressed.

  4. #4
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    I just used a set of my 17mm rims (narrow by today's standards) plus 26" slicks as my road wheels with disc brakes. However, I have a set of perfectly good 700cc road bike rims laying around. The problem is that they are 20 hole and I don't know of any disc brake hubs like that. Is there anything I can do about it?

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    700C rims with road slicks fit in most 26" hardtails. Only those with a really tight clearance might be a problem.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Road rims on mtb hubs

    I finally got the road wheels for my mtb built, and mostly set up. The wheel build includes Velocity A23 non-machined sidewall rims, CX-Ray spokes, and DTS 240s hubs. Rotating weight is 1,661g. Still waiting on the cassette to come in, and not wanting to swap one over from my AM wheel set. I'll report back after I get a ride or two in. Following are some photos:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120903_velocitya23_cxray_dts240s_front_p1040755.jpg  

    Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120903_velocitya23_cxray_dts240s_front_setup_p1040761.jpg  

    Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120903_velocitya23_cxray_dts240s_rear_p1040759.jpg  

    Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120903_velocitya23_cxray_dts240s_rear_setup_p1040760.jpg  

    Hey everybody, ride my wheels! They ride good, real good.
    I'm a wheel builder. SRLPE Wheel Works. Send me a PM.

  7. #7
    A Baker St. Muse
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    I have a set of Mavic SpeedCity wheels I bought back in 2007 when I still had a hardtail. They're good... but knowing what I know now, I'd certainly build something from scratch, like you're doing, those look excellent.

    Hmm, this reminds me I should get off my ass and sell the SpeedCity wheels which I never use anymore.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NEPMTBA View Post
    Like this?<iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://tinyurl.com/27shlk6" vspale=0></iframe>
    <iframe border=0 frameborder=0 framespacing=0 height=1 width=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0 name=new_date noResize scrolling=no src="http://tinyurl.com/yz4gjyd" vspale=0></iframe>


    Great to be able to use my 29er MTB for different purposes, I have even raced cyclo-x, just for fun!
    Nice bike

  9. #9
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    I like your info but to use my disk equipt cross bike for road use.

  10. #10
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    I've been riding my mountain bike with the 700c road wheels mounted, 6 days a week for about three weeks, on a 7 mile series of nested loops on roads in my neighborhood. This is a 26" wheel mountain bike running 700c tires. At first the steering seemed slow, then I quickly got used to it. I started out not having full trust in the tires gripping during cornering, but after about two weeks I was taking the corners without braking, just like on my road bike. It seemed a little harder to pull a high gear on my mountain bike, and I haven't calculated the difference in gear ratio between the two bikes yet. I have noticed that my time to ride the route is within a minute or two of riding the road bike.

    I won't be giving up my road bike, it is more efficient for me on longer road rides. The combination of road wheels and mountain bike suspension is at least as good as I was expecting. I plan on alternating between riding the two bikes, with the option of staying on one bike while I am working on the other bike.

    The tape on the seat post in the photos indicates I raised the saddle about 2" to get a comfortable road riding position, as compared to where the saddle is positioned for riding trails. Now that the Arizona temperatures are dropping, I'll be also riding the mountain bike on trails, but with my AM wheels mounted.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120927_velocitya23_cxray_dts240s_wheels_mounted_front_p1040784.jpg  

    Road wheels for a mountain bike-20120927_velocitya23_cxray_dts240s_wheels_mounted_rear_p1040785.jpg  

    Hey everybody, ride my wheels! They ride good, real good.
    I'm a wheel builder. SRLPE Wheel Works. Send me a PM.

  11. #11
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    What is the benefit of going 700c? Wouldn't it be easier to get an extra set of 26" rims and mount them with a Schwalbe Kojak or something? I want to do this, as I don't always get to the trails to ride, but have a very close opportunity to ride 50 miles on a paved bike path. No, a road bike is not in the cards due to cost.

  12. #12
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Couple reasons.

    The outside diameter of a 700C wheel with skinny road tire is closer to the outside diameter of a 26" wheel with a fat tire than a 26" wheel with a skinny tire is. Handling and gear ratios are more similar.

    Availability of nice road tires for 700C wheels is a lot better.

    FWIW, it's cheaper to buy a complete used road bike than a set of aftermarket wheels, especially when rotors, another cassette and a set of tires are part of the cost.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    AndrwSwitch, as always, thank you for the great insight. I have been looking for a used road bike, but craigslist in my area isn't very desirable. I will keep trying. I have priced a wheelset and tires and I figure around 300 bucks. Does this sound reasonable?

  14. #14
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    300 is doable... thats cutting it close if you're trying to get something decent and well built. Id check out used wheels and see whats around.

  15. #15
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    I suggest 26" wheels over 700c.
    1) they are stronger
    2) they comes with hubs that support rotors
    3) there is a good selection of slick and semi-slick tires wider than 1.5" for good shock absorption

    Clearance Wheels - Bicycle Wheel Warehouse

    Find City Bike Tires: The Best Bicycle Tires From Performance Bike

  16. #16
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    700c is more than strong enough for road riding. Its more than strong enough for offroad riding at that. Strength is a non issue really.

    700c tires are definitely faster than 26 inch slicks as well. Theres really no fast big tires out there, its hard to even find 26 and 28 fast road tires. 25c is plenty comfortable for many hours in the saddle.

  17. #17
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I got some wheels I like for $200. But by the time I put tires, rotors and a cassette on them, they were more expensive...

    I commuted on a $100 road bike for a while. I have a track bike I bought for $260 (Craig's List) and race. My current commuter was $450 from a friend.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    The main advantage of 700c rims and road tires is that it enables you to ride at road tire pressures (100 psi +/-) This dramatically reduces rolling resistance and enables you to ride at higher speeds. Mtb rim maximum pressures range from 45-65 typically, and narrower mtb tires can take those pressures. It's just a different experience, and depends on what you want to do.
    Hey everybody, ride my wheels! They ride good, real good.
    I'm a wheel builder. SRLPE Wheel Works. Send me a PM.

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