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MTB for duathlon

Jun 19, 2009
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As a commitment to my own health and well-being, I have decided to participate in a local duathlon that takes place next May. Since I am strapped for cash and only just a newbie to the sport, I will be using my mtb (2005 Gary Fisher Tassajara) for the cycling portion. I have outfitted it with 1.5 slicks, swapped the pedals for some clipless pedals, and swapped the riser bar out for a sturdy aluminum flat bar and added bar ends and some short aero bars (Cinelli Spinaci). My question(s) are, what else can I do to make this bicycle at least a little bit more road specific? I have considered swapping the fork out for a rigid fork and will probably do that anyway. Would it be possible to fit a cyclocross crankset to this bike? If so, would this require a new derailleur and/or bottom bracket? Also, would it be beneficial to swap the current 11-34 cassette to something like an 11-25? I'm not currently to concerned about weight of the machine. Thanks!
 
Mar 11, 2009
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RichCT said:
As a commitment to my own health and well-being, I have decided to participate in a local duathlon that takes place next May. Since I am strapped for cash and only just a newbie to the sport, I will be using my mtb (2005 Gary Fisher Tassajara) for the cycling portion. I have outfitted it with 1.5 slicks, swapped the pedals for some clipless pedals, and swapped the riser bar out for a sturdy aluminum flat bar and added bar ends and some short aero bars (Cinelli Spinaci). My question(s) are, what else can I do to make this bicycle at least a little bit more road specific? I have considered swapping the fork out for a rigid fork and will probably do that anyway. Would it be possible to fit a cyclocross crankset to this bike? If so, would this require a new derailleur and/or bottom bracket? Also, would it be beneficial to swap the current 11-34 cassette to something like an 11-25? I'm not currently to concerned about weight of the machine. Thanks!

Rigid fork and road cogset if what I would do. You may be able to fit a larger big and middle chainring onto the crank you now have..check with a decent bike shop.
 
why would you swap your cassette to an 11-25? The 11 is what you're more likely to use and off your big ring too it should be fine.

wouldn't bother with the clipless either - just use the regular toe hook/strap thingys (sorry, don't know their actual name). as a beginner, you'll be better off just shoving your runners straight into these instead of fartarsing about with having to change shoes twice during the event at each changeover.

can't see the point in bar ends either - what purpose will they serve??

can you lockout your forks? do that and save yourself the hassle of getting rigid forks...

if i was to use my MTB for a duathlon (or tri), i know that on the big ring i can maintain 28-30kmh as-is with the forks locked, so other than fitting it with slicks there really isn't anything more i'd do.

You're not out to win the event, so just keep it simple and enjoy yourself.
 
Jun 16, 2009
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Not sure what kind of fork you have and what your weight is, but assuming that you've got air adjustment and maybe some rebound adjustment - and aren't already maxed out on them - why not just pump the fork full of air up to the setting recommended for the heaviest weight riders and then also wind the rebound out to "maximum +" (ie., the fastest rebound) That'll give you a pretty stiff fork - not as good as rigid, but you've got it all for free.

Also try turning your stem around so that it's a drop rather than a riser - and consider removing any spacers under the stem. This'll drop your profile and mean that you can get "more aero". Check it before the race to make sure that you're not going to give yourself a back strain when your ride.

I'd leave the cassette as is and wack a 46 on the front if you want to change gears. I've been riding my cross bike on the road and that has a 46 big ring. I get creamed in sprints, but can pull comfortably in a paceline in most gears - the 46 is equivalent to dropping two teeth at the back for a 53 (ie., 46x11 is a rough equivalent to 53x13) so you'll have way enough gears with your 11-34 cluster ...

And most importantly - having done a season of duathlons after riding bikes for years - get ready for some pretty funky sensations in your quads when you ride and some weird legs for the second run ... but it's a blast!! So have fun and good luck for whatever goals you have for the race! :D
 
Mar 30, 2009
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The route you are going will cost a reasonable amount and you will end up with a sub-standard road machine with the position all wrong and a bag of spare parts.

You should consider selling the bike (as a boa-fide mountain bike) and purchasing a second hand road bike.

If you can afford it put all the mountain bike bits back on and buy a second hand road bike - you should be able to pick up a specialized allez/equivalent for 200.
 
Jun 20, 2009
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All of these parts start to add up to a decent used road bike off of Craigslist. I would either spend no money on your GF and ride it like it is or have an experienced cycling friend help you find a used road bike on Craigslist, etc.

Good luck and I'm sure you'll have a fine and pleasant misery in your first race!:)