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Convert roadie to commuter

By jpack - Posted on 03 December 2014

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

I am looking to convert an old roadie into a commuter bike.
Can I put 27.5" mtb tubes and slick tyres on a road bike.
Any suggestions re: handlebars? I don't think drops are appropriate for commuting (imho)

Any other suggestions/advice welcome.




... will not be your friend. Your post isn't clear - are you planning on using 27.5" wheels (aka 650B) or just the tyres? Either way you will have challenges ... unless this is a brakeless fixie track bike.

You need to get the brake calipers to line up with the brake track. Unless the frame is for 650B wheels (rare) this is unlikely to be achievable without rare or custom brake parts. Most road bikes use the 700c wheel size.

You can use 650B/27.5" tubes in 29er wheels, which are basically mtb hubs on 700c road rims. I've even used 26" tubes when i was desperate. But you wont get 27.5" tyres to fit on 700c rims.

The good news is that normal road bikes make great commuters as-is. I use one myself.

Good tyres make a massive difference. I use Conti GP4000s Black Chillis. Not only do they roll well but the wet weather grip is among the best, and I've found their puncture resistance to be good. If you want greater comfort you can try 25mm or even 28mm. Some frames (eg my CAAD9) won't fit 28s, but many will.

Hope this helps.

It depends on handlebar height and brake setup.

When riding on the hoods, my hands are only an inch lower than my XC 29er.

However, the braking power isn't the greatest from that position and it takes time to develop the required finger strength. In fact roadie rim brakes are generally shite if you set your standard by what mtb hydros deliver.

However good pads make a big difference. It was recommended to me by a commuter forum that Koolstop Salmon pads provide the best combination of all weather braking power and rim wear and I've been very happy with their performance. Almost no "Oh shit!" moments in traffic wondering if I'll stop in time since installation.

It won't take long for you to get used to the drop bar position. I don't find vision to be a problem nor do I worry about going OTB.

My mtb braking habits with shifting weight rearward when braking hard are now deeply ingrained and will be for you too.

How old is the roadie? What's the objective of the conversion? I commute on a 20 year old roadie with 23mm tyres, drop bars and downtube shifters. No issues so far.

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