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    Thread: Cycling for fitness- new bike or retrofit old mountain bike?

    1. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-05-2012 04:14 PM #1
      I come here as a complete know-nothing as far as cycling goes; long story short, I've decided to get fit and lose some weight and interested in cycling for exercise. I currently have an older (2004-5ish) Gary Fisher mountain bike and am wondering if 1) I can put road tires on that and be good to go or if that's not possible, 2) suggestions for a new road/hybrid/fitness bike. Not looking to do any serious long-distance cycling or racing, just something I can do some riding on (lets say no more than 10 miles a trip) to get into shape.

      Any info is greatly appreciated and I'll pre-apologize if I used incorrect terms or don't know them.

      TL;DR: For getting in shape, road tires on a MTB I already own or suggest a new road/hybrid/fitness bike, budget $550-700.

      Thanks guys!

      EDIT: Tires/Tubes/Tools purchased, waiting for day off to clean path in the garage to get to it and swap tires and get riding! Thanks for all of the info and help!!
      Last edited by Vee-Dubber-GLI; 08-25-2012 at 04:22 PM.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
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    2. Member username's Avatar
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      08-05-2012 07:52 PM #2
      I think if you are only looking at relatively short 10-mile road rides, some skinny tires on your MTB would be a good, and inexpensive way to go. I used to do the same thing (used Panaracer Urban Max 26" x 1.25" tires, which i would definitely recommend), however, as I started to go longer distances, and faster speeds, The stretched out geometry of my '98 Specialized Stumpjumer MTB became uncomfortable, because unlike MTB'ing where you're often up out of the saddle when climbing and decending, you have a much greater tendancy to stay in one spot when riding on the road. I eventually got a cyclocross bike, which is bascially a road bike, but has a little more upright geometry, is a little beefier than a proper "road" bike as the cyclocross discipline can involve racing both on and off road, and can fit thicker diameter tires.

      anyways, going from MTB tires to skinny tires is just a matter of changing the tires and using the appropriate size tubes, super easy.

    3. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-05-2012 10:24 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by username View Post
      I think if you are only looking at relatively short 10-mile road rides, some skinny tires on your MTB would be a good, and inexpensive way to go. I used to do the same thing (used Panaracer Urban Max 26" x 1.25" tires, which i would definitely recommend), however, as I started to go longer distances, and faster speeds, The stretched out geometry of my '98 Specialized Stumpjumer MTB became uncomfortable, because unlike MTB'ing where you're often up out of the saddle when climbing and decending, you have a much greater tendancy to stay in one spot when riding on the road. I eventually got a cyclocross bike, which is bascially a road bike, but has a little more upright geometry, is a little beefier than a proper "road" bike as the cyclocross discipline can involve racing both on and off road, and can fit thicker diameter tires.

      anyways, going from MTB tires to skinny tires is just a matter of changing the tires and using the appropriate size tubes, super easy.
      Thanks for the input! I'm looking into shorter rides to supplement running/hiking and looking to save towards an actual road bike. I figure as I bike longer distances I'll need an actual road bike. Posture/comfort was one of my concernes, but it shouldn't be too bad/detrimental I suppose.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
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    4. Member GTaye's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 07:27 AM #4
      I would just throw some slicks on the MTB and save for a decent road bike.

      Ride the hell out of it and then you'll be ready for the transition. By then 10-12 miles will no longer satisfy you, you'll be looking for your first metric century. And although it doesn't look comfortable to the casual observer, riding a metric (or longer) on a road bike with drop handlebars is much more comfortable than the upright position of an MTB or hybrid.
      Dave
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      '13 Touareg Sport V6/FSI


    5. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 09:06 AM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by GTaye View Post
      I would just throw some slicks on the MTB and save for a decent road bike.

      Ride the hell out of it and then you'll be ready for the transition. By then 10-12 miles will no longer satisfy you, you'll be looking for your first metric century. And although it doesn't look comfortable to the casual observer, riding a metric (or longer) on a road bike with drop handlebars is much more comfortable than the upright position of an MTB or hybrid.
      Is that a term for a normal road bike? I know the drop handlebars and the difference between those and the regular ones like on a MTB, but don't know what metric or metric century is.

      VW CEL Breakdown here.
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    6. Junior Member DJKhakiPants's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 10:12 AM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by Vee-Dubber-GLI View Post
      :don't know what metric or metric century is.

      A traditional century is a 100 mile ride. A "metric" or metric century is a 100 km ride, or about 62 miles.

    7. Member Martinus's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 10:16 AM #7
      A metric century, is just a fancy way for old people or ss hipsters ( that cant ride 100 miles ) to say that they rode 62 miles and still try to sound "strong".

      ... but yeah, Panaracer 1.25 untill you find more cycling friends, and get more serious road bike or some sort of hybrid ( when I say hybrid, I mean flat bar road bike or "fittness bike". )
      Last edited by Martinus; 08-06-2012 at 10:20 AM.

    8. Junior Member DJKhakiPants's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 12:53 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by Martinus View Post
      A metric century, is just a fancy way for old people or ss hipsters ( that cant ride 100 miles ) to say that they rode 62 miles and still try to sound "strong"
      HA! Too true... Kinda like your buddy running in a marathon - quick to say they ran a marathon but will only qualify that it was a half marathon if someone asks.

      Skip the hybrid. Get fit on your mountain bike and if you really like it you will want a road bike anyway. The mountain bike will be heavier and not as efficient - perfect for losing some weight and getting back in shape. A few months on the Gary fisher and you will be ready to hit some real rides on a road bike. A hybrid is supposed to be a cross between a road and mountain bike but is a bad example of each.

    9. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 07:41 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by DJKhakiPants View Post
      A traditional century is a 100 mile ride. A "metric" or metric century is a 100 km ride, or about 62 miles.
      Thank you!

      Quote Originally Posted by Martinus View Post
      A metric century, is just a fancy way for old people or ss hipsters ( that cant ride 100 miles ) to say that they rode 62 miles and still try to sound "strong".

      ... but yeah, Panaracer 1.25 untill you find more cycling friends, and get more serious road bike or some sort of hybrid ( when I say hybrid, I mean flat bar road bike or "fittness bike". )
      Thoughts on a 'fitness' bike?

      Quote Originally Posted by DJKhakiPants View Post
      HA! Too true... Kinda like your buddy running in a marathon - quick to say they ran a marathon but will only qualify that it was a half marathon if someone asks.

      Skip the hybrid. Get fit on your mountain bike and if you really like it you will want a road bike anyway. The mountain bike will be heavier and not as efficient - perfect for losing some weight and getting back in shape. A few months on the Gary fisher and you will be ready to hit some real rides on a road bike. A hybrid is supposed to be a cross between a road and mountain bike but is a bad example of each.
      I was told the MTB would be harder work and that I should save for a road bike but my thoughts were "I need the harder work..." I know nothing of bikes so any input helps, had a few of the Target/Big5/WalMart specials and then got the Gary Fisher in '04/'05 and rode it and now it's hanging in my garage.

      Any other upgrades I should look into besides tires? Or tires/tuneup and ride?

      Thanks again for all the help!
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

    10. Member choochoo's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 08:45 PM #10
      There are some amazing places to ride in the wine country. Like the poster above said, just slap some 26x1.25" tires on and you're good to go. the lower rolling resistance of those tires & the gearing of your mountain bike will make your life easier. So, if your goal is just general fitness and 10 mile rides, don't bother spending more money.

    11. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-06-2012 10:16 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by choochoo View Post
      There are some amazing places to ride in the wine country. Like the poster above said, just slap some 26x1.25" tires on and you're good to go. the lower rolling resistance of those tires & the gearing of your mountain bike will make your life easier. So, if your goal is just general fitness and 10 mile rides, don't bother spending more money.
      There are some great places to ride. I used to ride when I was younger and now can't wait to get back into it. Supplement the workouts and clear my head.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

    12. Junior Member DJKhakiPants's Avatar
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      08-07-2012 04:23 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Vee-Dubber-GLI View Post
      Any other upgrades I should look into besides tires? Or tires/tuneup and ride?
      Nah, good tune up and some tires and you'll be ready to roll.

      A "fitness" bike is a road oriented hybrid. Meh. Your Fisher will do great - happy riding

    13. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-09-2012 04:44 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by DJKhakiPants View Post
      Nah, good tune up and some tires and you'll be ready to roll.

      A "fitness" bike is a road oriented hybrid. Meh. Your Fisher will do great - happy riding
      Good to know. Thanks.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

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      08-10-2012 06:07 PM #14
      You can always add more weight as you get accustomed to the 10mile ride.

    15. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-11-2012 04:26 AM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by rmchung View Post
      You can always add more weight as you get accustomed to the 10mile ride.
      Add more weight as I'm trying to lose weight.
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      08-18-2012 08:10 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Vee-Dubber-GLI View Post
      Add more weight as I'm trying to lose weight.
      add more weight (either carry stuff on a backpack or strap it to the bike) and try to do your short distance in a quicker time....get it? Not stuff your belly to add weight. lol

    17. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 12:00 AM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by rmchung View Post
      add more weight (either carry stuff on a backpack or strap it to the bike) and try to do your short distance in a quicker time....get it? Not stuff your belly to add weight. lol
      I know, I was joking.
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      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

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      08-21-2012 06:44 PM #18
      OK, update: I have been searching through forums and reading tire reviews and trying to learn the lingo/vocabulary/terms of cycling and have narrowed it down to the following choices:

      -Panaracer Urban Max as mentioned above; only found it online in a 700Cx32. What does this mean for sizing? Most others are in the 26'x1.25/1.5/1.75" variety and the Urban Max's seem to be in this odd size. Centimeters? Metric? SAE?

      -Forte Versa-Trac: Significantly less expensive than the Urban Max ($9.99 compared to 29.99 for Urban Max, price is no big deal though) but seems to be well liked/received. Any thoughts?

      -Panaracer Paesela: These seemed to be mentioned in the "Slicks on MTBs" threads often as well, though most people recommend them without saying why, just "Paesela 26"x__".

      Thoughts, insight, reviews always appreciated.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
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    19. Junior Member DJKhakiPants's Avatar
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      08-22-2012 08:19 AM #19
      700c is metric speak for 29" so they will not fit your 26" wheels. As far as tire options, it is largely personal preference. I have run several 26" slicks but had the best luck with the continental sport contact 26x1.6. They make it in a 1.3 as well but i liked the little bit of extra air to make for a better ride. I have had very few flats even though I go though about once a month and remove small pieces of junk lodged in the tire that just didn't quite make it through the flat protection layer. They also go to 90 psi for a quick feel.

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      08-22-2012 08:54 AM #20
      I run roadish tires on my GaryFisher 29er and the only limitation I have is gear range. I'd just go road tires on the MTB for now then road bike if you will.


      Tips.
      A thin higher pressure tire will roll easier but be more prone to damage and ride harsher. I'd do a 1.25. And one that goes up to the 80's in psi.

      Get Bike shorts with padding and gloves. Seriously.

      Lose the soft couch of a seat if you have one.

    21. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-22-2012 12:59 PM #21
      Quote Originally Posted by DJKhakiPants View Post
      700c is metric speak for 29" so they will not fit your 26" wheels. As far as tire options, it is largely personal preference. I have run several 26" slicks but had the best luck with the continental sport contact 26x1.6. They make it in a 1.3 as well but i liked the little bit of extra air to make for a better ride. I have had very few flats even though I go though about once a month and remove small pieces of junk lodged in the tire that just didn't quite make it through the flat protection layer. They also go to 90 psi for a quick feel.
      Thanks for the clarification and insight! It's like a whole other language. Continentals seems to be a common choice as well.

      Quote Originally Posted by XClayX View Post
      I run roadish tires on my GaryFisher 29er and the only limitation I have is gear range. I'd just go road tires on the MTB for now then road bike if you will.


      Tips.
      A thin higher pressure tire will roll easier but be more prone to damage and ride harsher. I'd do a 1.25. And one that goes up to the 80's in psi.

      Get Bike shorts with padding and gloves. Seriously.

      Lose the soft couch of a seat if you have one.
      Don't go for a soft seat? Thanks for the tips.

      Question: Anyone recommend an online store for parts/tires/tubes? PerformanceBike came up a lot and seemed to have decent prices. Or just pay a little more at a local shop and go through their selection? Again, thanks for all the info and insight. It's much appreciated guys.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
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      08-22-2012 01:39 PM #22
      being the first person to recommended the Panaracer Urban MAx tires, i must confess that I bought those tires over 5 years ago, and maybe they aren't available any more. Looking at their offerings now, they were similar to the Pasela's and T-serv tires currently offered. the Rimbo looks decent too, though even more of a "slick"

    23. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-22-2012 04:27 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by username View Post
      being the first person to recommended the Panaracer Urban MAx tires, i must confess that I bought those tires over 5 years ago, and maybe they aren't available any more. Looking at their offerings now, they were similar to the Pasela's and T-serv tires currently offered. the Rimbo looks decent too, though even more of a "slick"
      Thanks. All I've found was the 700cX32 for the Urban Maxs. I'll look more into the Pasela's and the Versa-Tracs.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
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      08-25-2012 03:08 AM #24
      Ended up going to REI today with a buddy as he was looking for a daypack and boots; I came out with Continental SportContacts in 26"x1.6. Got some slime and skabs, and a Camelbak as they were having a killer sale as well. Hope to get these mounted and aired up soon and then some impressions.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

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      08-25-2012 10:54 PM #25
      ^^ Sorry should have clarified about the seat. If you have one of those super huge gel couch like seats. Often times (depending on the person) a thinner, road bike like seat will be more comfortable for long rides as you don't have a ton of gel chafing everything.

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      08-26-2012 12:38 PM #26
      Quote Originally Posted by XClayX View Post
      ^^ Sorry should have clarified about the seat. If you have one of those super huge gel couch like seats. Often times (depending on the person) a thinner, road bike like seat will be more comfortable for long rides as you don't have a ton of gel chafing everything.
      Good to know! I was wondering if the padded bike shorts/gel liners are worth it. My seat isn't cushioned really; it's just padded but not gel or really soft. Is the Chamois lube stuff worth it as well? I just plan on riding in athletic shorts.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

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      08-26-2012 08:02 PM #27
      In a total 'fat kid new to cycling' move, I forgot to grab a second tube for the new tires. Now, I placed an order online for another tube, spare, chain tool, Quick Stik for tires, and some extra stuff for the Camelbak. Picked up some Wellgo pedals as well.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

    28. Member Martinus's Avatar
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      08-26-2012 09:18 PM #28
      Some times those, *soft* to squeeze saddles flatten out when you put ALL of your weight on it ... and you end up sitting on the plastic base. Obviously worse than a firmer sportier saddle ...

    29. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-26-2012 11:25 PM #29
      Quote Originally Posted by Martinus View Post
      Some times those, *soft* to squeeze saddles flatten out when you put ALL of your weight on it ... and you end up sitting on the plastic base. Obviously worse than a firmer sportier saddle ...
      Ok, I see what was meant now. I'll look into seats down the road. I need to get on the road first. Really can't wait for the rest of my stuff to get here so I can get going, it's been perfect weather here. No work tomorrow so I'll probably pull it down from the rack in the garage and clean it up and see what I need to do for a tune-up.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

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      08-27-2012 09:33 AM #30
      ^^ Thats really what its all about. See what works and get riding. Honestly. Two bike add-ons that are priceless IMO. Clipless pedals and shoes... And good riding shorts. Spandex with the pad in them. Keeps your jossiallybits in place, reduces chafing, and but burn. Adds a bit of softness to the seat too.

    31. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-27-2012 03:40 PM #31
      Quote Originally Posted by XClayX View Post
      ^^ Thats really what its all about. See what works and get riding. Honestly. Two bike add-ons that are priceless IMO. Clipless pedals and shoes... And good riding shorts. Spandex with the pad in them. Keeps your jossiallybits in place, reduces chafing, and but burn. Adds a bit of softness to the seat too.
      Shoes I have no idea on to be honest; planned on wearing my New Balances and seeing how they worked with the MTB pedals and then swap to the Wellgo city pedals as they seemed to work really well with athletic shoes and even work shoes.

      Riding shorts I have to look into more Need to find some that aren't skintight or find some riding skivvies if they make those (I think they do, called liners or something, very Depends-esque name).
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

    32. Member XClayX's Avatar
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      08-27-2012 09:44 PM #32
      ^^Shorts are a personal preference. I've had good luck with Pearl Izumi but theres many brands out there. They have cargo shorts with liner too. Link for reference.
      http://www.rei.com/category/4500003_...Cycling+Shorts

      Shoes and pedals. - i.e. clipless. They provide more power as you can push and pull while you ride. If you get them make sure they fit 100% as they don't change much. Down side is there is a bit of a learning curve as your foot is stuck to the pedal. Twist to release.

    33. Member Iceman18T's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 09:57 AM #33
      Noticed this late. I did the same thing and tossed some slicks on my old Mongoose. It was a big difference in speed and easy of peddling. After about a month that grew old and I was hungry for more distance. Bought my first road bike a few months ago and only used the MTB for short rides with my nieces.
      I went with Specialized tires from my LBS.



    34. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      08-28-2012 03:45 PM #34
      Quote Originally Posted by XClayX View Post
      ^^Shorts are a personal preference. I've had good luck with Pearl Izumi but theres many brands out there. They have cargo shorts with liner too. Link for reference.
      http://www.rei.com/category/4500003_...Cycling+Shorts

      Shoes and pedals. - i.e. clipless. They provide more power as you can push and pull while you ride. If you get them make sure they fit 100% as they don't change much. Down side is there is a bit of a learning curve as your foot is stuck to the pedal. Twist to release.
      Next time I'm at REI I'll try some of the shorts on. Might buy some of the chamois butt'r for the time being, see if its worth it.

      Quote Originally Posted by Iceman18T View Post
      Noticed this late. I did the same thing and tossed some slicks on my old Mongoose. It was a big difference in speed and easy of peddling. After about a month that grew old and I was hungry for more distance. Bought my first road bike a few months ago and only used the MTB for short rides with my nieces.
      I went with Specialized tires from my LBS.


      Nice! Looks great! I plan on injecting some money into getting this bike going to bide time and pinch pennies for a road bike if I decide I want to really get into this and go whole hog.
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

    35. Member Vee-Dubber-GLI's Avatar
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      09-10-2012 05:05 PM #35
      My timetable for getting the bike going has been completely destroyed by it being busy/tourist season at work. Back to back 16s for about 6 days straight has left me a zombie, but a zombie with a larger than usual paycheck.

      Got the bike down from the darkest corner of the garage, as it was not hanging like I thought it was, and got the front tire (That was completely shredded) off and replaced and it's going into the local bike shop today to get tuned up and a clean bill of health. A bit sappy but when I pulled it out of the garage today and looked it over, I remember the same feeling when I first saw it in the bike store. Can't wait to get it back and start riding!

      It's a Gary Fisher Wahoo, either 2002-2004; crappy cell phone pic:
      VW CEL Breakdown here.
      My GLI is dead, waiting for new headwork. AEM intake, APR R1, APR TIP, ST Coilovers, Eurosport Lower Front Stress Bar, BFI Stg. 1 Motor Mount Kit, .:R32/BFI LCA Bushings, Neuspeed 28mm RSB, Forge SS w/ S2S, 42DD shift linkage bushings, Verdict Motorsports shift bracket bushings.

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