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1, and only 1, bike for everything...(11 posts)

1, and only 1, bike for everything...Bosun
Jan 10, 2002 12:29 PM
I am in the market for a new bike (or a bike make-over) and could use you advice. I have an old Merlin MTB that I have ridden plenty...years later, I am married, have a career, live in Mpls, and I don't use it for it's intended purpose anymore.
I need a bike that can be ready to ride from my door--no 30 minute drives (both ways)to the trail-head. I want something that I can use on the road for fun and fitness, keep up with the group road rides, but also use on easier trails when the need arises. (Most of the trails around here aren't too technical)
Caveat: The executive finance minister [wife] says "only 1 bike."
The options I have percieved:

Sell the MTB (lousy re-sale value) and purchase a cross bike?

Sell the MTB, buy a road bike, give up on the rare days of trail riding.

Make the MTB into more of a cross bike with 650 wheels--i.e. drop or mustache bars, trad levers, I give up too much of the road riding doing this?

ALSO--some it seems that some cross bikes are better suited to RACING, and some better suited for a nice ride. (lower bottom bracket, longer chainstays, more forgiving ride due to material.) I have decided to go with steel--some ideas are Gunnar, Steelman, Lemond, IF. I'm not buying this for the lone purpose of racing, although I imagine doing a few.

re: 1, and only 1, bike for everything...mackgoo
Jan 10, 2002 5:03 PM
I would say you've been a good boy and gotten your money's worth out of the MTB. Give it to some poor kid and build your self a cross bike. You'll have a blast and you might even make some points with the finance minister.
re: 1, and only 1, bike for everything...badabill
Jan 10, 2002 7:03 PM
Get a cross bike. Have 2 sets of wheels, 1 for road and another for cross rides. You will be surprized how well a cross bike handles the dirt, and will be able to keep up with most group rides. All the bikes you listed will work fine, make sure you have a good shop fit you.
Jan 10, 2002 10:38 PM
Get a custom Croll.
1 bike? Find a new wifeclimbo
Jan 11, 2002 6:01 AM
if you really have to, that's fine, but a cross bike would not handle East Coast MTB trails too well. I don't know about Mpls. but the trails out here are much too technical for a cross bike, it's a lot of pounding and much hardert o maintain control. I think a cross bike is the way to go for you if you don't really trail ride too much. Get a frame that can handle big fatties and go trail riding when you need to, Surly makes a cheap frame for all occassinos, Steelman and IF are beautiful bikes but a lot more $$$ but you'd get a great all-rounder and any cross bike is raceable.
Keep the Merlin at the office . . .swede16
Jan 11, 2002 11:56 AM
and "work" on weekends ;)
Get a decent cross bikeFiver
Jan 11, 2002 1:01 PM
I live in St. Paul, and every trail in the metro area is rideable on a cross bike, even places like Battle Creek and Lebanon Hills. If you went farther away, to Milaca or the Farm, you'd probably be hurting, but otherwise you wouldn't have much trouble.

As someone else suggested, buy two sets of wheels, one for cross and one for the road. If you're smart with your gearing, you'll be able to keep up with anybody. Maybe get an MTB standard triple with a 48 large tooth? You might spin out on a few downhills on the road, but it should be adequate for the terrain around here, even with road tires.
True Bike CostBlair
Jan 12, 2002 10:17 PM
The cost of one's fleet is not just number of bikes.
You could try to tell your wife that the keeping the Merlin and getting the Gunnar would be cheaper than getting the IF and selling the Merlin. But the danger is she might say getting the gunnar and selling the merlin would be cheaper still.
Making a mutt out of the Merlin will probably be both expensive and leave you with a bike that does nothing well.
Getting a cross bike doesn't limit your road racing (for a couple of years), but a road bike will limit you to the pavement.
I second the rec. of a cross bike with two sets of wheels with perferably one heavy and tough and one light and fast.
Jan 13, 2002 11:10 AM
Personally, I find the one bike only deal depressing, but it does make some sense. I just added an Airborne Carpe Diem cyclocross/touring bike to my fleet and it does appear that it could be a one bike does all type ride. In that sense, forget trying to adapt the Merlin. Sell it for what you can get and study the cyclocross options.

Since my Carpe Diem hasn't technically hit either the road or trails just yet, I can't opine on it. Great looking bike, titanium though and relatively inexpensive, but I do like steel too. So, have fun shopping.
1 bikeclaud
Jan 14, 2002 9:17 AM
get the Merlin Newsboy- it will do mtn and road
CX probably good choice for youWriConsult
Jan 14, 2002 12:50 PM
Since you said your MTBing isn't very technical, I'd say a cyclocross bike - with 2 sets of wheels as mentioned above - would be an excellent choice for you. You'll be significantly faster (likely about 2 mph) on your fun/fitness and group road rides than you would be with slicks on your MTB. 4-5 mph faster than the MTB with knobbies mounted.

If you had said you still wanted to do some highly technical riding, I'd say you were in for a compromise if you had to have one bike: then you'd have to keep the MTB and have a set of 1.25" slicks mounted on a second set of wheels. Still a viable option - I know because I did it for years. But if riding tougher trails isn't a priority, no compromise needed.

Since racing isn't top priority, I'd second the decision to stick with steel. After years of only having a mountain bike, I just bought a Bianchi Volpe (OK, not really a cyclocross bike, although I think it used to be marketed as such and does come with cyclcross tires). I'm still adjusting to drop bars after not having had a road bike for 9 years, but I sure am enjoying the increase in speed, and the sweet ride of that Bianchi steel. I am keeping the mountain bike though, for technical riding and for winter commuting.

- Dan