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Mountain Bikes to Cruisers - Questions

Discussion in 'BIKE TALK' started by rockethead26, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Since my wife and I no longer mountain bike like we used to 10-12 years ago, and we are enjoying our new Electra cruisers so much, we decided we would try converting our mountain bikes to something a lot more fun for us. I've seen some threads here on RRB that shows the results of such conversions and we like what we see.

    We have my wife's Trek 8000 and my Schwinn Moab 3 to play with. I am really looking forward to this.

    Here's the rub. Since I will be doing all the work with only creative input from my wife and I have no experience at all tearing down and modifying bikes (this will be my first and second build), I'm gonna need a lot of help here and it seems you kindly rad rodders here are usually willing to offer it.

    I plan on starting the conversions this fall when it cools down giving us time to enjoy the summer and save some money for the builds. I'll use the intervening time to gather my thoughts on what we want to do.

    What I see so far is:

    1) stripping and re-painting the frames and wheels. Looks like the Dupli-Color products are good for this.
    2) replacing the front forks, handle bars, grips, seat posts, seats, pedals, tires and maybe the front chainring (see below)
    3) adding the fun stuff like fenders, chainguards, mirrors and bells

    This thread will probably run to infinity and beyond, so I'll start exhibiting my complete lack of knowledge with the following...

    First question: Is there an "Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Converting A Mountain Bike To A Cruiser" reference anywhere?

    Just kidding, I sorta know the answer to that one so...

    Second question: Can I replace the front three-ring chainring for a simple chainring?

    Why you ask?

    Well, first of all, who needs 21 speeds on a cruiser, right? Secondly, I would like to simplify the looks of the bike by getting rid of a derailleur and one of the handle bar controllers and also to be able to add a chainguard if I can find something that would work. I figure a single chainring somewhere between the largest and second largest diameters with an appropriate tooth count would do the trick. I'm also assuming some spacers will be necessary so the right crank will clear the frame. Will this require new cranks or is this question completely dependent on the crank set in place? The Trek has a Bontrager Comp, 22/32/44 teeth crankset with Shimano Deore LK deraileurs/shifters and the Schwinn has a Shimano Alivio, 22/32/42 teeth crankset with a combination of Shimano Alivio, Acera and STX-RC deraileurs/shifters.

    I'm gonna leave it there for now and go think up some more stuff to drive you folks crazy. I'd go to my LBS, but those guys are worthless with anything that doesn't apply to expensive road bikes.

    Thanks!
  2. jackdaw

    jackdaw

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    That sounds like a fun project. There is loads of basic info on bikes in general here, http://www.sheldonbrown.com/.
    You can put a single chainring on, or you could just take two of them off, and leave the middle one. Lots of people convert their MTB to a 1x9 system that way.

    This is my 1x9 on my C'dale, I have a 36t chainring and a bashguard. It used to be a triple.
    [​IMG]


    Have fun!!
  3. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Thanks for the link Jackdaw. Looks like a lot of great info there. I also found some helpful videos on YouTube. Looks like removing all but one chainring and maybe replacing the remaining one with one that will give me some good ratios is the ticket. At least I know I don't heen to replace the crank or the bottom bracket (unless they're worn out).

    I also remembered I had a book on Mountain Bike Maintenance tucked away in a box that I had forgotten about. A wealth of info there as well.

    Now I can limit my questions to those times when I 'm absolutely stumped.

    Looks like I need a good bike repair stand and a few absolutely necessary tools.

    I was looking at this stand:

    http://www.amazon.com/CYCLE-MECHANI...=1339953372&sr=8-3&keywords=bike repair stand

    Looks like it has decent reviews and the price is right. Anybody familiar with it?
  4. Voyager Al

    Voyager Al

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    Junk. I bought one, it broke in 15 minutes,they sent another. The BB bracket is gona break soon. Build your own, gas pipe and a clamp. Theres plans online.JMHO
  5. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Good to know, Voyager. Thanks!
  6. jerrykr

    jerrykr

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    Here's a LOT of good info.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/

    If you go to one chain ring on the front, don't forget to get one that uses the correct size teeth width for your rear gears.

    Cruiser and BMX chains are wider than multi-speeds.

    It's all there on the link.

    First step, ditch the knobbie MTB tires for some smoother street tires.
    Makes a lot of difference cruising on pavement, it's cheap, and you will end up changing them anyway.

    Most of all, have fun, don't try to do it all at once, learn what you want as you go.
    .
  7. motopsyco

    motopsyco

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    Or cough up the dough for a Park Tools stand, or keep you eyes peeled for a used one. I found one on C-list for $40
  8. MadMax '58

    MadMax '58

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    ..........
  9. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Will do, thanks!
  10. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Madmax,

    Yours is one of the threads that got me motivated. Love the Urban Bomber and I was just showing the purple and white one to my wife yesterday for ideas.

    Thanks for the inspiration.
  11. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Great help on the chain ring teeth width, thanks. I don't know if I would have caught that. You're the second to refer to Sheldon Brown's site, so I'll take it he must be one of the gurus.

    Thanks again! I love this forum.
  12. Dr. Tankenstein

    Dr. Tankenstein

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    Hey rockethead26,

    This is rather 'straight forward' re-purpose (compared to what some of the folks do on here :mrgreen: ).

    You mentioned a fork swap, from what to what? From suspension to rigid? From rigid tubular to vintage blade or springer (which looks pretty cool BTW)

    Here's before and after shots of my Diamond Back MTB turned 'path bike'. I'm in the process of upgrading to U-Brakes even thinking about fenders... I'm running a single ring in the front and 6 speed cassette in the rear. It's plenty of gears for my needs.
    Before:
    [​IMG]

    After:
    [​IMG]

    Let me know if I can help out.

    Cheers,
    Dr. T
  13. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Dr. T,

    That's a great conversion and almost exactly what I'm thinking. Both bikes will be going from suspension forks to what I thought would be rigid tubular. I hadn't thought about a springer, but it's certainly on the table now. I have some learning to do on fitting a proper replacement fork.

    I'm researching just removing/replacing chainrings to simplify the drive train, but I really had in mind doing what you did which appears to be a complete changeout to a single chainring. I will certainly ask your advice when it comes time to do this. I think it has to look cleaner than leaving a single chainring on the original triple.

    I was also thinking of a slight lay-back seat post , but started thinking that it may throw too much of the riders weight over the rear wheel and make it unsafe. Yours looks like an interesting solution. How is your saddle mounted?

    Fenders are a definite on our builds, so if you discover any tricks of the trade, I'd appreciate your help.

    I like your handle bars, too. They look just about perfect for the geometry. What did you use? I'll start a list of possibilities.

    Thanks!
  14. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Thought I would post a couple of pics of the future victims. The last two years we were in Flagstaff, we had already changed out the tires to a hybrid style (Geax Evolution), but both will be changed out to balloons or bricks depending on what will fit. We had also added the rear rack on my wife's Trek to hold a pair of paniers. Just before we got our cruisers a couple of months back, I changed out the pedals from the clip style to the street style. Both are cheap plastic and will deserve better when the time comes.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  15. Eclipse

    Eclipse

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    You have nice looking bikes. They look well maintain so they should be fun to work on. I play with castaway bikes and some are so negledctec and beat and rusted they are a pain to be around and an eyesore. When you mentioned Moab 3 I thought you ment the one model with dual suspension (like I have) I was going to say it was to be an interesting built. Easier when they are hard tails tho. Thanks for this thread. Now I want to put my hands at it too!
  16. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Cool, Eclipse. It will be fun. I just checked to make sure I had the Moab model right and I do. I think the Moab 1 was the tricked out model with the rear suspension.

    I did discover something when checking the specs. My rear cog is an 8-speed, I was thinking 7 on both bikes even though I have ridden mine forever. I guess that's what the 1-8 stands for on the shifter. Doh!

    Also looked at the Trek specs and realized her bike has a 9-speed rear cog.

    So after converting the front chainrings to single rings, she'll have a 9-speed and I'll have an 8-speed. Perfect for when we return to the hilly terrain of Flagstaff.
  17. Eclipse

    Eclipse

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    Rockethead, I have no idea why I thought my Moab was a DS because it's a HT. I checked this morning and there's nothing to move at the back of that thing. My bad.
  18. CRASH

    CRASH

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    Is there a standard cruiser headset size? I know that MTN bikes can be all over the map. What if you want to do a fork swap with a dissimilar headset size?
  19. rockethead26

    rockethead26

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    Good question, Crash. I can tell by looking that my two mountain bikes have different size headsets.

    I'll look forward to any enlightenment with you.
  20. interstate1976

    interstate1976

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    In cold snowy kommunistik Russia we have not much cruisers and this culture is just appeared. So few years ago I haven't seen a cruiser and I wanted to make my mtb looks a bit hot rod or something like that. I started with tyres, but a bit later a bought a cruiser. Well, the result was

    [​IMG]

    Cool topic anyway.

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