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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a bit of an off the wall question for you guys. The majority of my bike riding is spent commuting on the road for distances from 3 miles to 25 miles or so in rain, sleet, snow, mud, whatever. I ride 90% road and up until recently I had a single speed road bike that I would use for the longer distances. I had planned to enter a 160 mile century type road event in July with this bike and had been practicing climbing and so on with a single speed.

Recently some things have changed and I no longer have my road bike. I have been looking hard at replacing it with a cheap rigid fork SS 29'er, as I feel this will serve my needs 85-90% of the time as I am much more comfortable and familiar on MTB geometry. The only thing I am not certain about is the longer road rides- in particular the 160miler. I am not looking to be competitive as it really isnt a "race" more of a finish or not finish event. They allot 13-14 hours to complete the event which boils down to about a 14mph average.

Planned mods for ultra long road rides include tires (at least 700x35 road tires, maybe an entire change to road rims and skinny road tires). Drop handlebar w/ cantis replacing the V-brakes, and clipless pedals. Total bike weight should be around 25lbs.

Now, I know this sounds crazy and it isnt the optimum bike for the job. I am just curious if you guys think it can even be accomplished on a 29'er. I understand the bike is probably heavier with a more upright riding position than a road frame, barring that is there anything else that would make this an impossible task? The terrain is fairly flat, but it is 100% road.
 

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Currently in Exile
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Anything is possible. I've seen people riding 26ers 80 miles into a road century with the only mod being the tires. For longer rides IMHO it is more about the riders limits and not the bike. Some bikes work better than others for certain applications. A SS 29er may not be the best option for 160 road miles, but if you were planning on riding it on a SS roadie anyway, I don't think that it would prevent you from succeeding. Would I choose to go that route, no way! But then again I have a stable of bikes to choose from.

If you start looking at wheels and bars and other parts to convert your current ride into something more road 'worthy', you might want to consider dropping a little extra coin and getting an entry level road or cross bike with gears and stuff. Or just get yourself a new SS roadie (Langster, Bowry, etc)
 

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LCI #1853
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Both this past year and the year before, I've passed folks riding the Hotter 'n Hell 100 century ride on mountain bikes with knobby tires... and they all finished in good time.

I ride mine on group road rides from time to time, as well as commuting. I just pump the tires up to about 50 psi, climb on, and go ride...
 

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The biggest issue for me would be the handlebars on a "Mtn" vs. "Road" set-up. I think 160 miles in MTB position would be hard without bar-ends or some other place to put your hands - perhaps you were thinking this already. A 29'er would be an all-round more versatile bike, as you can put whatever size tire you want on it (i.e. 2.3", or 25c, with the narrower rim) but it also may have some disadvantages if you don't plan on using it off-road. Extra weight and slower handling being the two major things I can think of. One problem with getting one of the newer SS roadie bikes is the limited clearance many of them offer. The fashion seems to be "very tight" and there is often not much clearance for more than a 25c tire.

If you like to ride dirt, think you might want to someday use the bike for other things than just road riding (like rough-road touring, etc...) I'd go 29'er with a bar that has positions to satisfy you for longer rides. Put a somewhat larger tire (32, 35 or 38c) on it and calculate the gearing with that tire to try to match what you were going to use on your previous bike. While the 29'er might be a bit slower-handling compared to the road bike, it may also be a bit more forgiving if you are tired in the last stages of a 160-mile SS ride! You'll have a pound or two more weight in the bike, but the wheels, if done right may only weigh a little more than the corresponding road wheel. Where is the event, how hilly/mountainous and what gear were you using with what tire on your road bike?
 

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I did the Hilly Hundred in Bloomington, IN this past October on my 29er.

With a bunch of my road racing friends, who had told me that they were going to be on their MTBs or cross bikes. Apparently I missed the memo, as I lelf my road bike in the car, and roll up to the meeting place to see 150+ college dudes, all on road bikes.

Wasn't a big deal, but I got more of a workout in 75mi than I would have normally. In addition to that, I had to push/pull my friend up the longer hills when he ran out of steam on his very overgeared SS beater...with a mini-keg strapped to the back.
 

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Hey Helmsdini
I live in your exact world and will state that you can do 160 on a ss 29er with no problems. I have (soon to be had) a stable of bikes so I have a broad amount of experience with a 30mile commute per day. I switched to a Kona Unit this year for my daily and have to say that any sacriface for speed is made up for by ease of operation.

My commute is rain sleet snow and mud so the ss 29er is a way more cost conscious way of travelling. As you probably know a replacement drivetrain is under a hundred bucks.
So the reason I mention the Kona is that it has a 75degree seat angle ( 16 inch frame) and replaceable sliding dropouts. The vesatility to run a 1x9 or single is awesome. The magic is the seat position, I regularly ride randonneur events and recently rode a 120 mile event on my Kona, I was very happy and can't see going back to a road bike format.

Since the seat position and a good KOP are quite easy to achieve I then worked on having a flatter back and muliple hand positions. I changed the stem from a 105 mm 5 degree to a 120mm o degree and changed the bar from a riser to a flatbar with barends.
I also changed the tires to a 28mm 85psi road tire. The result was a comfortable fast rolling rig. Gearing is your next consideration, I run a 39-18 with knobbys and a 42-16 with road tires. The only area that I don't mess with is that I run disc only on every set of rims I have..no rim brakes for this guy.

As far as I'm concerned the 29er format gives you all the options you need to only having one bike.
 

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I say go for it :thumbsup:

Once you get a proper fitting frame, use the drop bars (never done this myself) and swap the tyres out to some slicks/semi slicks you shoudl be fine. Yes a nice 18lb road bike would make it a lot easier, but riding a nice light - 22-25lb - rigid won't kill you. Heck as several have said, I've done several metric road centuries on my old 26" wheeled FS bike with 1.75" commuter tyres and more recently 70 miles on my Niner RIP9 and Nanos pumped up - avg speed on that ride was 14.* mph and about 5500+ ft of climbing.
 

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Always Learning
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Helmsdini said:
I have a bit of an off the wall question for you guys. The majority of my bike riding is spent commuting on the road for distances from 3 miles to 25 miles or so in rain, sleet, snow, mud, whatever. I ride 90% road and up until recently I had a single speed road bike that I would use for the longer distances. I had planned to enter a 160 mile century type road event in July with this bike and had been practicing climbing and so on with a single speed.

Recently some things have changed and I no longer have my road bike. I have been looking hard at replacing it with a cheap rigid fork SS 29'er, as I feel this will serve my needs 85-90% of the time as I am much more comfortable and familiar on MTB geometry. The only thing I am not certain about is the longer road rides- in particular the 160miler. I am not looking to be competitive as it really isnt a "race" more of a finish or not finish event. They allot 13-14 hours to complete the event which boils down to about a 14mph average.

Planned mods for ultra long road rides include tires (at least 700x35 road tires, maybe an entire change to road rims and skinny road tires). Drop handlebar w/ cantis replacing the V-brakes, and clipless pedals. Total bike weight should be around 25lbs.

Now, I know this sounds crazy and it isnt the optimum bike for the job. I am just curious if you guys think it can even be accomplished on a 29'er. I understand the bike is probably heavier with a more upright riding position than a road frame, barring that is there anything else that would make this an impossible task? The terrain is fairly flat, but it is 100% road.
I rode RAGBRAI one year across Iowa on my Karate Monkey with Specialized Infinity tires at 35mm width. One day was an optional century, and I had no problem cranking out the 100 miles on the KM. Of course, I stopped for lots of pie and beer along the route.:thumbsup:

I routinely ride a 28 mile loop on any of my 29"ers running big meat like the Nanoraptor, XR 2.25's or Big Apple tires. I own a road bike, but seem to always reach for the 29"er for the road training rides.

Since it is not a race and just an event with 13-14 hours, I think you'll be fine and dandy. However, if it were me, I would run some 28 - 35 mm slicks in such an event. A lot easier to pedal those than running big meat mountain bike tires for 160 miles and you'll keep your average speed up a bit with them.

BB
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
You guys rule! Thanks for all the help.

To fill you in some more, basically I am parting with my trek Soho S. The main reason is that the frame doesnt fit me. I am about 6'1 with a 33-34" inseam and had a 20" "L" frame. Over time I realized that it was just too small for longer rides, as I progressively kept jacking the seat up and back and while it helped, I never felt like I could get full extension on the bike and felt cramped to some degree. I suppose others did as well because looking at the sizing this year, trek moved everything up one size- in other words, my "large" frame of last year is now the "medium" and the old "XL" frame is now called a "large". Anyway, i messed with gearing on that bike a good deal. I went from 35, 42, 44, and 47 tooth front wheels and switched between the 17/16 freewheel (not man enough to go fixed) More often than not, I found that the stock gearing of 44/17 was a great all around gear, capable of 30 MPH blasts as well as really quick starts. I did most of my training in that gear, climbing all sorts of grades in the fall.

My brother, which is conveniently enough 3" shorter than I am, recently saw my trek and fell in love. He lives on a naval base and says its easier to ride to work than drive due to parking. He offered to buy my bike and I obliged as it seemed to solve two problems.

I have been debating either getting a 'cross bike, 29er or hybrid type bike to replace the soho S. My situation is a bit odd in that I prefer flat bars, MTB geometry and stellar brakes over most road frames, drop bars and DPC's even though I ride mostly road. I guess I just like to have the option of tearing through a field, hopping a curb or riding through a blizzard if need be and as I pointed out, I ride in everything mom nature dishes out.

I also have a 26" nishiki cascade that I use for winter commuting and really, really nasty weather or riding through high bike theft areas. I have been riding that thing exclusively the past month and 1/2 and I must say that I am getting to the point that I HATE derailers. When its dry, it goes out of adjustment. When it gets cold it freezes and doesnt shift, etc. I would much, much rather have a SS because of the utilitarian "less to break" aspect.

I thought I made up my mind a couple days ago (finally) about which bike to go with and picked a fuji absolute knockoff by motobecane as it seemed to offer the geometry, brakes and components I was looking for with a road tire package and keep my 26" bike for crappy weather and off-roading. Since then, I am not so sure and I just keep getting the urge to go SS '9er and get it over with as that seems like what will really make me happy. I just didnt know how that would impact my plans to complete the RAIN ride this summer (ride across indiana). Here is a preview of the course elevation changes. Thankfully, this area was covered by a glacier, so overall it is just a steady incline.

http://www.roadbikerides.com/ride/view/rain_ride_across_indiana/712

Obviously, the SS '9er bug has bitten for whatever reason, but I am still tossing up either a cyclocross bike of some sort or the hybrid type bike. Hearing that I could feasibly complete the ride on a rigid '9er takes away a bunch of aprehension I had though. Thanks for the help and support!
 

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sonoranbiker
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I just went through a similar process, ended up buying a Redline D440. It's a rigid 29er, similar to the Monocog 29er but with vertical dropout rather than track ends. I had to get rid of my 2 single speeds for knee reasons, and wanted to get an "all-purpose" bike that will work for commuting, mountain biking, and the occasional road ride or tour. I mounted a rack on the back, got a second wheelset to avoid having to swap tires back and forth, and ordered a Titec H-Bar for comfort and multiple hand positions. My commuter wheelset has Serfas Drifter 2.0 slicks on it, which roll suprisingly fast given their size but still smooth out the crappy Tucson roads. It's heavy, but so am I (215 lbs w/o gear), and it rides like a champ. Plus, 29er MTB geometry is soooo much more comfortable than my old SS road bike. The best part is that my LBS worked with me so that the whole project came in at under $1000, which is the budget I had from selling the other 2 bikes.

If you plan on doing any off road riding, probably stay away from a 'cross bike, mainly b/c you can't put big knobbies on if you want to. A 29er seems to be the best bet for you in terms of versatility.

Good luck!
 

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Ovaries on the Outside
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I'm going to echo the general sentiment here- I biked up to Portland on my KM from Eugene with everything I needed for Thankgiving at my parents as well. Aim for something in the 60-70 gear inches, depending on hills, get narrower tires and enjoy the ride. Though I really support getting a cross bike. Cross bikes are on my current "want" list. Get the Motobecane Uno with the WTF technology.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
umarth said:
. Though I really support getting a cross bike. Cross bikes are on my current "want" list. Get the Motobecane Uno with the WTF technology.
That bike looks sick, but they are out of my size in the white and I just cant do the black scheme on that with the loud graphics :madman: the 61 cm might work, but it would put my jewels on the top tube :skep:
 
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the world is a trip

i dont own a car for some years now, so everything is bike-centric for me.

here in Monterey, Ca.
the world is zig zag cut up with roads

so of course everything is mixed terrain

and a rigid 29er has become my favored mode in the realm of "fast bike"

i have a Fondriest complete with Zipp 404's and record groupo, and it just sits. i rarely ride it.

i'm a big fan of MAVIC SpeedCity wheelsets. they are around $430 new, and often i've seen them on ebay for around $150/pr.

i've used tyres from 23c to 2.4" Rampage

these days I use a Thudbuster on most of my bikes, and thats it for suspension.

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=445185
 

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Not exactly 160miler but pipped a lot of roadies in a 30km road race on SS 29er. You spin a bit in flat sections, that was the downer but take em on the hills as usual. If are doing a ride where you pace it over 160miles then I see no problems riding one.
 

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Hell yes...I plan on doing the Santa Fe Century on my 1x8 D440. Ergon grips, Brooks B17 and 31-90 gear inches...should be enough. Might switch to something skinnier than my 2.2" Nanoraptors. Then again, maybe I won't. Don't think I could do 160 miles on any bike, but that's me, not the bike:)
 
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