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Converting MTBs to Comforts & Cruisers

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
While spending some time in the 'flatlands' tooling on and checking out 'tweeners and comfort bikes, the writing on the wall is a sporty new comfort bike for my wife for in town tooling, commutes and gravel roads. Since we already have her old stationary MTB and my old Coyote will be gathering more dust, it seems that throwing on a cushy seat with seat post shock and taller handlebars will get pretty close, rather than simply buying yet another bike (which will probably happen anyway .

Any thoughts or favorite seats, posts & handlebars to consider? (Already have 2" slicks.) Other ideas and mods to consider......or, just buy the damn thing when I get home?

Here's the current flavor of the day, a Novara Mia with a 700 x 40 tire:



TIA
post #2 of 32
Suggestion: pic of old MTB?
post #3 of 32
I converted my old mt. bike for around town use by installing 1.5" tires on the rims. These are the thinest tires that will fit on a mt. bike rim and take 90 psi. If you are more concerned about comfort than speed then stick with fatties, but I would suggest something with just a little tread so they don't slide around on painted stripes and wet or oily spots.

I went with a cruiser seat with the springs underneath. Very comfy, but you need to make sure you get one that fits your butt shape, because they can chaff alot more than a road or mt. seat.

For the handlebars I went with real high rise "ape hangers." People laugh, but after riding around town with my original straight bars I realized I can't see over the parked trucks and the cars can't see me. High rise bars add a whimsical feel to the bike so that I don't feel the need to be in a hurry. They are also easy on the back and give and get max visability in traffic. Also perfect for walking the bike across crosswalks because I don't have to bend down at all.

The final touch was cheap plastic fenders that can be attached to the seat post and front suspension fork.
post #4 of 32
We do this lots.

A high-rise stem and 3 inch riser bars can help, but often mountain bikes, especially those from the mid 90s have pretty aggressive geometry. It still won't ride like a comfort bike, and you'll likely have to replace all the cables and housing to accommodate the higher bars. If you're just looking to make your mountain bike a little more ridable, it's great, but it won't be a cruiser.
post #5 of 32
I had to put tandem cables on mine to accomodate the high bars because they rise over 12", which pretty much negates the agressive frame geometry.
post #6 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. Where are you getting seats, stems and handlebars, Mudfoot? The 1980's vintage tank may still be fun to mess around with to modify.

Comprex, it's somewhat of a generic question since the main differences I'm seeing between MTBs and some of these 'comforts and cruisers' are body position, padded butts, seat shocks and light tread and narrower tires (for some)..... and as of this morning, apparently the Coyote will be nice to have around for occasional off road use on camping trips, etc.

Then there's the 'I want a new bike with cool colors' factor and if it gets her to ride more, I'm all for a new bike. She's talking about commuting to town periodically, but I see that short lived due the 1000 ft vertical climb home. Not sure what bike type will make that possibility doable while maintaining the comfort/cruiser geometry.
post #7 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Then there's the 'I want a new bike with cool colors' factor and if it gets her to ride more, I'm all for a new bike. She's talking about commuting to town periodically, but I see that short lived due the 1000 ft vertical climb home. Not sure what bike type will make that possibility doable while maintaining the comfort/cruiser geometry.


Thanks for the phone call/ help the other day too BTW.
post #8 of 32
Alpinord:

The Durango Cyclery has a good selection of cruiser bikes, but also lots of experience "cruiserfying" old mountain bikes. My old hard tail was worth $200 at best if I had tried to sell it, but with about $150 in ungrades I'm now cruising in style. Like me, if you've got alot of vert to deal with on your rides you don't want a heavy cruiser with only a couple of gears. My old mt. bike already had 27 speeds and a front shock that was beat, but good enough for pavement, alleys and the occasional off road action. By adding a cushy spring seat, skinny tires, $15 plalstic fenders, and high rise bars (with new cables) I could adjust the riding position up and back as far as I wanted.

For some people it's about the cruiser style, but if you want a comfortable and functional ride then cruiserfying a mt. bike is a good alternative. You can even go with the ski-town style and make fenders out of old ski top sheets. There's nothing cooler than a Black Diamond street ride.
post #9 of 32
Not a mountain bike.







post #10 of 32
I have a friend with a cruiser bike. We call it her Witch bike, because she looks like she needs toto in a basket when she rides it.

C'mon you know that's funny!
post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Comprex, it's somewhat of a generic question since the main differences I'm seeing between MTBs and some of these 'comforts and cruisers' are body position, padded butts, seat shocks and light tread and narrower tires (for some)..... and as of this morning, apparently the Coyote will be nice to have around for occasional off road use on camping trips, etc.

Then there's the 'I want a new bike with cool colors' factor and if it gets her to ride more, I'm all for a new bike. She's talking about commuting to town periodically, but I see that short lived due the 1000 ft vertical climb home. Not sure what bike type will make that possibility doable while maintaining the comfort/cruiser geometry.
Understood: just wanted to see how short and how much rise the current stem had, eyeball how much the current seat could be dropped and see whether a seatpost with significant setback would work.
post #12 of 32
this is the coolest cruiser I have ever seen, looks like it could actually like go fast!!
post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Well......with the little guy off to the Dells with his aunt and cousin, we had a little lunch date....on the way we happened by the Trek Bike Store (company store) and I mentioned TrekChick to my wife and we just have to stop in.....and since Treks are made just up the road.....:....after checking out the wares, calling back home for local options versus shipping from Madison, we ended being sent to the other Trek Bike store on the west side where they had the only 2009 Eggplant 7200 WSD, 16 inch (on sale) around until late August:

Here it is in Cream:



I definitely like the aesthetics and it rides the same as the straight bar with the same components and kevlar line tires, etc.....

It'll be built, packaged and shipped tomorrow or the next day. Both crews at both Trek stores were extremely helpful.

KRP, that ride may be the closet motor bike I get to the beemer, I've been drooling over...: Your Cannondale is definitely a sweet ride, glad the 6 worked out for you. The 5 was definitely sweet.

MF, definitely need to stop in a talk to the infamous Bicycle Bob, etc, or Derek with Animas when back, thanks.

The tan leather Bontrager seats are real nice and might want one for the new mods.
post #14 of 32
Alpinord..........:

post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
TC, I can't get that song out of my head and now my kid keeps singing it with his own variations. :

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Suggestion: pic of old MTB?
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
Understood: just wanted to see how short and how much rise the current stem had, eyeball how much the current seat could be dropped and see whether a seatpost with significant setback would work.

I'll need to borrow a mid-80's riding ensemble from Phil to ride this (was my wife's, not mine, BTW):



Tape shows approximate location of desired hand position: 13 to 15 cm back and up.



Splitter, nice ride. What handle bars are those and from where?

I have some 1 1/2" 'City Slickers' used for the CycleOps and occasional road rides and the gel seat is fine for me for the short run. So I think I'm simply down to dealing with the handle bars for now. I'm also thinking I'd be more interested in spinning on the CycleOps if the handlebars were up and back.

(As an aside: had an unusual and fun flight path coming back from Denver. We flew over/near: Eldora, the Divide, Winter Park, Summit County, Vail/Beaver Creek, Aspen and the San Juans (including Silverton) and could see up towards Steamboat. Still patches of snow statewide. . )
post #16 of 32
I'm betting they're Dimension Cruiser Wide Sweeps.


If I were doing this, I'd swap stem, bars & cable stop.

Some places to scout bars:

http://store.somafab.com/handlebars.html
http://www.velo-orange.com/haandst.html
http://www.jensonusa.com/store/sub/1...rs.aspx?s=1449

or you could think about BMX bars.
post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
Meant stems as well as handlebar......The Trek has an adjustable stem which might also be useful for my gerry rig. Extraneous or a nice touch?

Thanks!
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
The Trek has an adjustable stem which might also be useful for my gerry rig. Extraneous or a nice touch?
Nice touch for a trainer queen imo; bit heavy, redundant and weak compared to a quill stem + swept bars combo for outdoors. ymmv.
post #19 of 32
That painted stem with cable hanger is beautiful. Please don't remove that. Hopefully, the plan to convert the Bridgestone to a cruiser died with the purchase of the Trek.
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post
That painted stem with cable hanger is beautiful. Please don't remove that. Hopefully, the plan to convert the Bridgestone to a cruiser died with the purchase of the Trek.
Pssst. Hush. I want one o'dem for my pseudo-X0 project. :

shiny: http://www.velo-orange.com/psfrcaha.html



(I'm not a B-stone cultist but I know several dozen in assorted sizes, about half of them would drool over that bike, how you like the Biopace rings?)
post #21 of 32
Thread Starter 
The Bridgestone is to have to ride with my wife while she's on the Trek....especially during the multiple away soccer tourney weekends, forthcoming. Running errands in town and being more of a 'townie' is also on the list, along with some pavement/gravel road rides.

Switched tires today (and took off the pink bottle holder and just got back from a long time bike mechanic bud who talked me out of changing the stem and painting the the bike black cherry (for now, anyway). I'm just gonna put on a handle bar and grips, along with new cables and see how it goes......and can always switch back.

I'm betting it's an '87 or so vintage Bridgestone.

Haven't ridden the bike much lately (and only on the trainer previously) so no opinion on the rings....
post #22 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
I'm betting it's an '87 or so vintage Bridgestone. .

1989 MB-4






tele, that is generous; I haven't an immediate use.
post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 

Cruise-ivication follow up

Thought about powder coating the handlebars but the chrome is growing on me. The blue stem remains Telerod. Added 4" to new. lubed cables and sleeves:



Tip: my repair manual suggested using alcohol to lube and slide on grips. Short on alcohol, I used Purell. Coat interior and grips slide on quick & easy and the Purell evaporates.
post #24 of 32
That bike looks pretty cool. Nice job. Enjoy the ride!
post #25 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
Tip: my repair manual suggested using alcohol to lube and slide on grips. Short on alcohol, I used Purell. Coat interior and grips slide on quick & easy and the Purell evaporates.
We use cheap hair spray - the cheaper the better. It lubes the grips going on, then dries and becomes gluey. The grips won't be twisting or coming off any time soon.
post #26 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklgirl View Post
We use cheap hair spray - the cheaper the better. It lubes the grips going on, then dries and becomes gluey. The grips won't be twisting or coming off any time soon.
A bike mechanic bud uses rubber cement and also suggested using a nozzle connected to an air compressor under the edge of the grip to move it around.....
post #27 of 32
howz the ride?
post #28 of 32
Thread Starter 
An excellent 'tweener' option for tooling around in flip flops, etc. on gravel and pavement.
post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
A bike mechanic bud uses rubber cement and also suggested using a nozzle connected to an air compressor under the edge of the grip to move it around.....
Spray paint works.

Air compressors are the boss for removing grips.

In my antiquity, I have grown tired of fussing with grips. I have succumbed to the ODI....

http://www.odigrips.com/

I saw one of these sell for $349 at a LBS.

http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...retrikedeluxe/
post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpinord View Post
A bike mechanic bud uses rubber cement and also suggested using a nozzle connected to an air compressor under the edge of the grip to move it around.....
Rubber cement? You won't be getting those grips off. I use windex...has always worked ok for me.
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