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I have been out of road biking for about 15 years (got married and had a couple of kids). My last bike was a Trek aluminum/carbon composite. I continued to ride my MTB whenever I could. I was never a light weight rider even when I was putting in 150 miles a week. I'm built short and stocky - 5'6", 165 lbs at that time. Well, after all this time, I have put on an additional 40 lbs.

While I still drool over 18 lb road bikes, I'm not real comfortable on them due to my age and weight. I can not ride with a drop bar or use the new type shifter/brake levers due to a wrist disability. In addition, I have an inseam of around 28.5 and have a difficult time finding a small enough frame. Some frames this size have 650c wheels.

This started me thinking that maybe I should take my 14" Ti hardtail MTB and set it up for road use. Set up with a lightweight suspension fork, wheels and components, I think I could get the weight down to under 23lbs.

Any thoughts on this?
 

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if you think you're going to do a lot of road riding

Rocketman58 said:
I have been out of road biking for about 15 years (got married and had a couple of kids). My last bike was a Trek aluminum/carbon composite. I continued to ride my MTB whenever I could. I was never a light weight rider even when I was putting in 150 miles a week. I'm built short and stocky - 5'6", 165 lbs at that time. Well, after all this time, I have put on an additional 40 lbs.

While I still drool over 18 lb road bikes, I'm not real comfortable on them due to my age and weight. I can not ride with a drop bar or use the new type shifter/brake levers due to a wrist disability. In addition, I have an inseam of around 28.5 and have a difficult time finding a small enough frame. Some frames this size have 650c wheels.

This started me thinking that maybe I should take my 14" Ti hardtail MTB and set it up for road use. Set up with a lightweight suspension fork, wheels and components, I think I could get the weight down to under 23lbs.

Any thoughts on this?
you might want something lighter than 23 lbs. my dad has disk issues in his neck that prevent him from riding with drop bars. he is currently riding a mtb with slicks on the road but would like something lighter and faster. i have been pushing him toward a road bike outfitted with a carbon fork & some suspension (to suck up some of the road vibration), a more upright position, and a flat bar rather than traditional road bars.

something like this....
 

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I have similar height and weight dimensions as you although I was probably heavier to start with. I started cycling 3 years ago at age 53 and I went into it with complete commitment to succeed.

For a road bike, I choose a Cannondale Multisport. Admittedly, this is an odd choice. Nonetheless, with the relatively steeper seat tube angle, I appreciated that the reach to the handlebars was relatively shorter than for a road bike. I have cowhorn bars and while mine have a slight drop to them, you can get "flat" ones. Instead of STI shifters, you can opt for bar-end shifters. You can also play with the stem rise. Three years ago, I looked like a fat man on a bicycle. I now look like I belong on it. Forget about what you are now and take aim at what you want to be.

Over the last year or two, you can now get road bikes from some manufacturers that are designed for a person who has less flexibility (the stereotype is an "older" person) but is somewhat athletic. Generally, these bikes have a longer head tube and some other alterations in geometry to place the rider in better proxity to the handlebars.

I also bought a used Litespeed Ocoee MTB; and, I have thought of "converting" it. Rather than trail rides, I find myself doing long distance dirt road rides. I miss the speed of the road bike. I could probably use a cyclo cross bike and this could be a choice for you.
 

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Get going now. Adjust as you go.

Using your mountain bike is a great place to start. I'm in a similar position to you (kids, weight, etc) and I've been back into riding for about 2 years now. I started out with my mountain bike and last year I picked up a used road bike. I still like the mountain bike for longer rides although I do give up 1-2mph when I use it.

The trick is to roadize your mountain bike for comfort/speed. Consider the following changes:

Tires!!! - It's amazing how much faster a 2" slick is than any kind of knobbies. It's amazing how much faster a 1.25" slick is than a 2" slick. This is the single more important change.

More comfortable bars - either bar-ends, aero bars (looks strange but hey) or I use cow-horn bars which give a lot of different positions. Personally I find a straight flat bar miserable on the road.

Seat? - The more road riding I did, the more I ended up adjusting my saddle up and my bars down. This may affect how comfortable your seat is as the location of the pressure changes.
 

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Have you tried current cyclocross bikes???? I'm not a fan of aluminum unless it has beer in it. Try a good quality steel frame to help with your soreness. Proper set up and a good pair of riding shorts really help. Ever wonder why all these dainty aluminum bikes have carbon forks???? There are a lot of "competitively priced" frames on the market. Soma and Surly come to mind. Most of the newer cyclocross frames have a shorter height. Size them by the length of the top tube. If you insist (gasp) on aluminum, try Cyclocrossworld.com for high end cyclocross frames at surprisingly competeitive prices. You may find that a cyclocross bike rides pretty well on the road due to most of them having longer chain stays. Throw some knobbies on there and head out for a fire road or two.
 
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