Sharon has become a fulltime cyclist since moving to Victoria. Going from the occasional Sunday pleasure ride to biking for 90% of her transportation needs. Her bike has evolved accordingly as she’s been demanding more performance from it. Since just about everyone who wants to get into [or back into] cycling has an old MTB gathering dust in the corner or can score one from a friend/relative who does I thought I’d post about the upgrades we’ve done. Given that this isn’t a kick ass bike to begin with we didn’t want to invest too much $$ in it so almost everything we’ve added/changed has been low cost and/or can be moved to her next bike when this one bites the dust.
We left her front wheel alone as even an average 26″ MTB wheel is plenty strong for commuter use. No need for slow heavy knobbies so Specialized Fat Boy 26 x 1.5″ slicks went on. These are some low cost, but fast and comfy tires…highly recommended. She hasn’t had a flat with these babies all summer even with daily about town use. Fenders are a must so some Planet Bike Cascadia Hybrid 700c fenders were installed. They fit fine on the 26″ wheel and provide great coverage with the long rubber mudflap. Getting them to work with a suspension fork required some DIY action, but it wasn’t too hard. So far they’ve stayed in place nicely with no attention needed. Sharon likes the extra comfort of the suspension fork so we will keep it going as long as we can without investing any major $$$.
With only one bolt available at the back end the rack and fender had to share. The rack is a $40 unit from MEC. So far it’s held up well. I love how low the rear fender mudflap goes – very nice if you are riding behind this bike in the rain. The back wheel is stock – like the front it’s just fine with some new rubber on it.
Sharon likes the Thorn comfort bars on her bike, but we started running out of room for goodies. Bars a couple inches above saddle height makes for a comfortable riding position.
Ergon Grips are a no brainer. If you have flat/riser bars and don’t have Ergon Grips go get some!
The original Shimano shifters and brake levers work well and are reliable. 7spd chains and cassettes are cheap to replace.
The MUP near our house is unlit and pitch black at night so Sharon needs more than visibility lighting. She needs to see far enough down the road at 20kph to avoid obstacles. These 1W Planet Bike LEDs were cheap and came in a kit with a free Superflash taillight. They are doing the job, but I can see some better lighting in Sharon’s future. A dynohub and light would be ideal, but pricey so we’re considering battery powered LEDs as well. Since we started to run out of handlebar space I put a Thorn Accessory Bar on her bike to hold the lights down and out of the way.
There is still some more room on the accessory bar for more lights and now there is room on the bar for the coffee cup holder sitting on my workbench I’m supposed to install.
A rearview mirror is very useful for riding around town.
The AirZound air horn is a cheap way to get even the biggest truck’s attention. It’s louder than the horn in my F150! It’s also under $20 and can be refilled. I put air into Sharon’s horn about a week and she hasn’t run out yet.
You can attach the air reservoir anywhere on the bike you like, but it slides right into a water bottle cage.
I put new pads on the stock v-brakes. They are getting a bit hard to adjust so we may score some $25 Shimano Deore v-brakes to replace them in the next while.
Not much to say about the Planet Bike Superflash other than it’s cheap and works great. MEC sells kits with a PB 1W headlight and a Superflash for the same price as just a 1W headlight – nice! I’m going to mount a 2nd Superflash on Sharon’s rear rack for redundancy.
Sharon scored a basic Specialized saddle from Bow Cycle that she likes.
Plastic platform pedals work well and we’ll keep ‘em turning until they wear out when they’ll get replaced with some nicer metal BMX pedals.
The mountain bike triple crankset up front provides a wide useful gear range.
7 speeds at the back are more than enough – plus I have a box full of derailleurs and cassettes since my conversion to the world of IGHs so I’ll be able to keep this bike running for a long time without going to the LBS.
The AirZound is a great way to get a driver’s attention, but you won’t make any friends with it on the MUP so a regular bicycle bell is a good idea.
Writing this post I was so ashamed I hadn’t gotten a 2nd taillight mounted on Sharon’s bike that I got off my ass I put one on. The ziptie keeps the light from sliding off sideways [not exactly a factory mount] and keeps sketchy people from stealing it [as easily].