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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so my mind is still racing with trying to somehow make it make sense for me to do some bike commuting (for those who have responded to previous threads, much appreciated).

So the latest hair-brained scheme (as my wife might say) is to ride about 8 miles to the northern most subway stop, hop the train and then either take it straight to work or hop off uptown and ride another 5-6 miles. For a possible daily roundtrip total of about 30 miles. Even with a local gym membership to make sure I have a shower available to me, this approach would save me about $120 a month in commuting costs.

I have an older Kona mtn bike I was gifted and put a bit of cash into re-furbing last fall.

Here is what I see as bare minimum to make the Kona a commuter:
new tires (the knobbies just won't cut it)
new rims (the rims would need to be replaced anyway if I was to use the bike in any serious manner, they are in sad shape)
a rack and panniers
pedals (just gifted the pedals on it to my brother-in-law)

Nice to haves:
a rigid fork (which would likely require a new stem, as the current suspension fork is threaded)
bar ends
fenders
rain pants
basic cyclocomputer
dedicated commuter shoes

Anything I am overlooking? Anything you'd suggest moving from nice to have to essential or vise versa?

Can a mtn bike be a good commuter? I see most folks trending towards cross/touring bikes for longer length commutes.
 

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My $0.02: Sounds like you are on the right track. I'd maybe move fenders up to the must have list, especially if it rains at all where you live. That one might be more important in a few months. Add lights to the must-have list. Most places its the law for riding after dark and its a good idea anyway even in daylight hours for extra visibility. For a starter kit that will work well for commuters, I highly recommend the Planet Bike 2W Blaze front light and the Superflash rear light. They can be found sold as a pair for a little cheaper than if you bought each seperately. You could probably move panniers to the nice to have list. I find a gym bag bungeed to the rear rack works best for me. It holds lots of stuff and is easy on, easy off. Best of all, it cost me nothing since I already had the gym bag lying around. Obviously, plenty of people use panniers, so its one of the those personal preferrence things.
 

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abominable slowman
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Probably the smartest thing to do first is to spend as little as possible to make it ridable and then test it out for your commute a few times. So maybe just replace the old rims/wheels and get some pedals. How aggressive are the knobbies? If they're not too aggressive you can probably tolerate them for a while. If you already have bike pedals/shoes of some kind, then use those. Otherwise just buy some cheapo flat pedals (you could probably score some from the parts bin at your local shop for like $10).

Then after you test it, you can start to decide what you want to change. Maybe you won't mind using a backpack or messenger bag. Or maybe you'll decide you need a rack and panniers. The important thing is to get out and start experimenting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks. I probably should have mentioned I already have a set (front and rear) of Dinotte lights, although I might consider replacing them with some Magicshines if I were to really commute. I don't think I'd want to leave those on my locked bike in NYC. At least with the Magicshines, they'd be relatively inexpensive to replace and have far less of a bling/resale factor. I also need to add locks to my list, as I don't currently have any.
 

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Just an fyi - you can easily get a threaded rigid fork to replace your threaded suspension fork and use the same stem and headset you already have. If you plan on doing the swap out yourself, after taking apart the headset and taking the sus fork off the bike, measure the distance from the steerer crown to the start and end of the threading. This is the measurement you'll need to find a fork that will work with your current headset/stem combo.

Otherwise, buy a new headset that's threadless, slap on a threadless steerer tubed fork, and find a modern stem that's comparable to your current one.

Good luck and have fun with the wondrous adventure that is commuting.
 

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Low rep power
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krisdrum said:
Can a mtn bike be a good commuter? I see most folks trending towards cross/touring bikes for longer length commutes.
My winter commuter is a mtb. With drop bars and bar ends, but even so.....

It's also harder to find studded snows for a non-mtb.
 

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I'd be inclined to put a tighter range cassette on it (11-25 or so). The mtb gearing is not tremendously useful on the road unless there are some serious hills on your route.
 

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Who needs a map?
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I have my road bike for long rides.... then I have an old giant yukon that is my mountain bike, beater, commuter, and general abuse bike. The rear rack stays on at all times and I usually have slicks on it for commuting. Works great - very stable geometry, able to take potholes, bumps, etc (1.5 inch tires and front suspension help with this).

My current commute is about 14 miles(ish) each way in the summer heat (it is 80*F and humid before the sun comes up). I ride in bike shoes, and bring a change of clothes/shoes in the panniers. Bring some no-rinse soap (available in camping stores) or baby wipes, wipe down when you get there, change clothes, and you are ready for the day.
 

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My other commuter is a hardtail mtb with slicks. Works great. Time difference is minimal. Both have their pros and cons.
 

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My other commuter is a hardtail mtb with slicks. Works great. Time difference is minimal. Both have their pros and cons.

<double post! Delete please!>
 

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I have been commuting on a Cannondale hardtail for the last 5 years with no problems. I do have a lock out on the fork which I keep locked for 90% of the ride. I ride in my Sidi mountain bike shoes, they work great. I don't need a bike lock since I keep it in my office. I will say this, lugging this pig on and off a train would not be much fun since it weighs a half ton! (I have a Nelson saddle bag which holds my change of clothes and lunch). I keep shoes, baby wipes and a case of soft drinks at the office to lighten the load.
Enjoy the commute. John
 

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I ride a hard tail MTB as my commuter 2-3 time per week and will be doing so until I finish rebuilding an old CroMoly road bike that I have. I put a rack on the back, some inexpensive Nashbar saddlebags and some lights I bought from Performance and some slicks and its good to go. It's only about 5 miles each way (purposefully bought a house close to work), so I can be home in as little as 15 minutes if I want. Normally I take 30 minutes though, I like riding enough that taking the long way is preferable to the straight route.
 

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your text here
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i used to ride in to work about three times a year. it was 25 miles each way and we have no showers. nearest club with showers is 5 miles away.

i rode on a mtb. mullet set-up. the only change i made was to put a semi-slicks on it. kept the front suspension fork. was still able to average a sub-90 minute commute each way. if i were able to ride in more often, i probably would have put true slicks on the bike and maybe a lockout or rigid fork.
 

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krisdrum said:
So the latest hair-brained scheme (as my wife might say) is to ride about 8 miles to the northern most subway stop, hop the train and then either take it straight to work or hop off uptown and ride another 5-6 miles. For a possible daily roundtrip total of about 30 miles. Even with a local gym membership to make sure I have a shower available to me, this approach would save me about $120 a month in commuting costs.
Can you take a the bike on the train? Might want to double-check that, I know in MA only folding bikes are allowed on commuter trains during peak times. You can get a nice folder from Downtube or Citizen bikes for not a lot of cash. Or check CL, they seem to come up pretty regularly with descriptions like "rode once, put in closet 2 years ago, need cash".
 
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