Converting a Commuter to Road or MTB?
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  1. #1
    tinkerer
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    Converting a Commuter to Road or MTB?

    I have decided to recast my Fuji Absolute 1.5 (2014) into a more challenging ride, by replacing my 3x9 Acera based drive train with something stronger, in both quality and challenge.

    The commuter hybrid Fuji is fine, it stays. But changing Shimano RD, Cassette, FD & crank is a fork in the road: MTB or Road?

    Likely going in steps, rear first, then crank. Sticking with 9spd, willing to go to 2x up front. Don't care about this year's version, there is a fair amount of NOS from previous years. Looking for a two step compatible makeover, Ultegra, XT, Shadow, Saint.

    For ref: its 11-32 rear, 28-46 Octalink front. The 28 has never been touched.

    I have all the archived Shimano docs from 2010, and see 9spd in both categories. I ride the gulf coast in florida, the biggest climbs are over the Intercoastal bridges. I go 100 miles/week.

    I would appreciate any feedback other than the pure MTB vs Road 'better than you' comparo. I ride, you ride, we all love to ride. I want to push myself, and tinker a bit.

    Thanks.

    PS. Consider a wavecel helmet...I had an ummm, need to replace an older helmet. I think the tech is good, and it is not bad for airflow. (No relationship with mfg other than paying for the merch.)

  2. #2
    hfc
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    With older 9 speed parts, you will have an easier time using your 32 tooth cassette with an MTB rear derailleur like XT or LX. If you go Ultegra, 105 then you might need a long cage RD which are out there, but harder to find and more expensive. AFAIK Shimano 9 speed groups all play well together as far as shifting, so you can go MTB thumb shifters, Brifters, down tube or bar end. I am a Campy guy now, so very little personal experience, but 105 has a good reputation for cost effectiveness and reliability.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by paterbil View Post
    I have decided to recast my Fuji Absolute 1.5 (2014) into a more challenging ride, by replacing my 3x9 Acera based drive train with something stronger, in both quality and challenge.

    The commuter hybrid Fuji is fine, it stays. But changing Shimano RD, Cassette, FD & crank is a fork in the road: MTB or Road?

    Likely going in steps, rear first, then crank. Sticking with 9spd, willing to go to 2x up front. Don't care about this year's version, there is a fair amount of NOS from previous years. Looking for a two step compatible makeover, Ultegra, XT, Shadow, Saint.

    For ref: its 11-32 rear, 28-46 Octalink front. The 28 has never been touched.

    I have all the archived Shimano docs from 2010, and see 9spd in both categories. I ride the gulf coast in florida, the biggest climbs are over the Intercoastal bridges. I go 100 miles/week.

    I would appreciate any feedback other than the pure MTB vs Road 'better than you' comparo. I ride, you ride, we all love to ride. I want to push myself, and tinker a bit.

    Thanks.

    PS. Consider a wavecel helmet...I had an ummm, need to replace an older helmet. I think the tech is good, and it is not bad for airflow. (No relationship with mfg other than paying for the merch.)
    Not at all clear why you want to do this unless there is something that is worn out/not working and can't be fixed. Projects like this can turn into black holes for time and money with little performance improvement.

  4. #4
    tinkerer
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    Thanks Kerry & hfc...

    To the general comment re general 9 speed Shimano compatibility, that follows what I have read as well. Which seems to open the field allowing for a range of options, which follows to Kerry and the risk of a rabbit hole. Fair point. The Fuji came with thumb shifters which I have upgraded, along with going to spd pedals.

    Re: the gearing, and the 'black hole', I am here partly to avoid the trouble I will get myself into. Specifically, I have little need for the range of the MTB gearing, ie the 11-32 cassette and the 3 ring front.

    There is noticeable wear on the cassette teeth, and frankly, the precision of the RD & FD is a bit sloppy. I had a tune recently (see previous wavecel comment), but the lack of crispness has returned.

    I have another Shimano attraction, fishing. So gears & precision are a hobby, or fetish, no judgement.

    I have the time and inclination to push on revising the bike. The warning is well appreciated, and I again thank you for the advice & caveat.

    Given that I take responsibility for my own messes, I am just looking to avoid the problems others have solved in similiar pursuits. Thanks

  5. #5
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    I purchased a Specialized Diverge with Sora for use as a commuter/knockaround bike. Sora is 9 speed and more than adequate for what you want. That said, I upgraded to Tiagra because I got a good deal and wanted 10 speeds. Shoot me a PM if you're interested in picking up the Sora groupset. Either way, I think that's the way to go.

  6. #6
    ngl
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    Sounds like you planning to make a "flat bar road bike". Note, you will also need a new chain, bottom bracket and cables & housings. Are you planning to reuse your front shifters? In addition, you should replace your 700 x 28c, 30tpi wire bead tires to pick up some real speed. Are you planning to buy tools and do the work yourself or have your LBS do the work for you? I can see the final bill being in the neighborhood of $500-$700.

    My recommendation is to buy a used road bike for the same money. You can keep your Fiji as a second bike or sell it to recoup some of the costs.

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