Posts Tagged ‘a mountain bike for road use’

A :  My Giant Boulder 550 with 50mm tyres and 1:1 first gear ratio.

a jack of all trades

a jack of all trades

I haven’t been previously able to settle on a format that I really like for this ’90’s model Cro-moly ‘4130’ framed MTB, ( now actually an STC –  or  “suburban touring commuter” ). I hope I have nailed it this time, all I really need are some V-brake levers for the drop bars, some bar tape and perhaps a change of pedals.

The additions/modifications since last time are :

Remove VO Belleville bars and  welded stem, fitted Nitto 10cm alloy stem and Win “Kusuki” randonneur style steel drop bars (originally from the pink mixte). The VO bars made riding it an awkwardly upright experience. Wrong choice by me !

Fitted salvaged steel guards from an old Apollo step through – they are almost too narrow for 2″ tyres !

swanky cateye rear reflector and apollo guards

swanky cateye rear reflector and apollo guards

Added a better quality Brooks “team pro” saddle taken from the reworked Repco – it was too unyielding and hard for that bike…but ideal for the softer ride of this one.

I’ve always liked this Giant bike since rescuing it as a frame only, but it’s been low on the list of cycling priorities, really a spare parts bike. Now I think it will finally get a lot more use. The frame is unfashionably large (60cm) as you can see from the long head tube, but the advantage of this is that the lowered position of the seat – for my height – means that the handlebars can be kept at a level where they feel almost like an MTB flat-bar when holding near the stem yet allow a good position for headwinds or faster riding in the dropped section.

And who cares  anyway, if it doesn’t look fashionably “bum in the air” . Also, I don’t know why stem shifters aren’t more popular with pre-“brake shifter”  bikes, because although they are associated with cheap 70s sports bikes I find them quite  easy to use compared with ‘thumbies’ or downtube shifters. This model originally came with twist-grip shifters.

that's a long headtube - salvaged alloy v-brakes replaced original cantis

that’s a long headtube – salvaged alloy v-brakes replaced original cantis

I don’t know whether a modern MTB would convert to “semi-road” quite as naturally because this bike was born at the time of styling crossroads, and looks somewhat ‘normal’ with its more slender frame tubes and rigid fork. Styling wise, that’s how I like bikes to look, and to have a horizontal top tube as well … so I would recommend this conversion for older MTBs only – but then, who knows, I’ll bet someone out there has done a similar thing to a 29er !

It’s relatively heavy so accelerates somewhat slowly, is very manoeuvrable at low speed, calm and stable at moderate cruising speed. Riding over rough surfaces, grass and ruts are almost a pleasure as compared with my usual high pressure 27″ tyres. Top ratio 48x14T, low ratio 28x28T and a triple ring with 6-speed cluster gives plenty of range too…

a versatile one

a versatile one for the road

NB – With the the current brake levers I can only brake from the drops, so they will be replaced with something nicer and more appropriate.

MTB’s – if you can’t beat them for versatility, why not join them, as they say ? ….


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