Author Topic: "Converting" a hybrid bike  (Read 5758 times)

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Offline peterharris

"Converting" a hybrid bike
« on: May 16, 2011, 05:21:28 pm »
I bought a hybrid (Trek 7.5FX) a year and half ago, thinking that was the type of riding I'd want to do ... general fitness, bike paths, and that sort of stuff. Then I went on my first credit card tour with friends about 7 months ago and loved it. I now want to give touring a more serious try, starting with a few long weekend trips - solo or with friends if I can find any to go along. I'm not inclined to buy a true touring rig unless I discover I really am serious about it. My budget can't cover the cost of another bike so I'm considering trying to upgrade what I have for now.

I have a rear rack and panniers. The bike has a carbon fork but I've found a front rack that will work - OMM Cold Spring or Ultimate Lowrider. After doing a lot of reading on this forum and elsewhere, it appears the biggest issue with the bike is the funky, trendy spokes on the wheels - 20 spokes front and rear, unconventional pattern - fine for a general fitness bike on a bike path I guess but definitely nowhere near the 32-36 conventionally arranged spokes I probably need to have for a (mechanically) successful long-weekend tour.

So ... new wheels. I'm going to give my LBS a try but - as much I love the guys - they're into mountain biking and cyclo-cross but not so much into touring. I can probably swing $200-$300 for a new wheelset, maybe a smidge more. I am overwhelmed by the choices though so I'd like you out there to provide some advice (which I've valued very highly so far!). When I look on-line, the common components I tend to see in a wheelset in this price range tend to be Shimano Deore or Tiagra hubs, Mavic or Velocity Dyad rims, and 36 DT (?) spokes. The principal thing that means to me is that some combination of those components from a range of on-line sellers yields a wheelset in the price range I can afford. Beyond that ... I am clueless.

Suitability? Durability? Decent components? Best place to buy?

Newbie needs help!

Offline whittierider

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2011, 06:26:06 pm »
The components you've mentioned are fine, but the quality of the build job makes a big difference.  We've gotten wheels made by Peter White of Peter White Cycles and have been very pleased.  You get a very durable, nearly maintenance-free, and reasonably light pair of wheels for a good price (just over $400 for a pair) and with a lifetime warranty on anything having to do with the quality of the build.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 03:02:43 pm by whittierider »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2011, 10:23:17 am »
Peter White is known for good work, but you might also be able to make do with machine built wheels through one of the big bike mail order catalogs.


Either hub you listed will work just fine for you.  I have Velocity Dyad rims and they are great.  I would check Mavic specs real closely, as they sometimes engineer around the assumption that every rider weighs 160 LBS.  Any touring rated rim should work for you.  I would think you could find something for $300.  And do check Peter White as he can be very competitive on price.
Danno

Offline peterharris

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 11:41:35 am »
paddleboy17 and whittierider: thanks for your thoughts and ideas.

Quote
... you might also be able to make do with machine built wheels ...

That's the dilemma, isn't it? I can spend $500-$600-$more-$$even more on a dynamite set of wheels that could last me for years but if I find that touring doesn't really resonate with me, or I find out that I'm really only interested in doing 3-4 day weekend tours a few times a year, then I've spent money I didn't need to. Or I could spend that much and find out that touring is a true passion and I could take the wheels with me to a new, proper touring bike and get years of service out of them.

On the flip side, I could spend $200-$300 on a "decent" set of wheels that might be all I'll ever need for 3-4 day weekend tours a few times a year, then find out I really want to do long tours several times a year (and maybe a cross-country one day) and have to upgrade the wheels to something way more durable. But I've just answered my own question ... if I get THAT serious about touring, I'll likely need/want a true touring bike - not a hybrid that I've upgraded to just "make do" status. Getting the "right" wheels would be part of the whole package of buying a touring bike.

Now ... if I could just hit the lottery (or grow a money tree or find the Fountain of Youth or ...).

Offline happyriding

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 02:48:06 pm »
Here's another way to go: just use your current wheels.  You said you are going on a weekend trip.   If you aren't riding straight out into the desert, and you will be near taxis, subways, trains, bike shops, etc., just take some extra spokes and a spoke wrench along, and see what happens. 

I would think a hybrid tire would be somewhat fatter than a road tire, so that will help protect your rims.


Offline whittierider

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 03:07:42 pm »
I don't think I've really seen a correlation between price and durability.  There's definitely a correlation between price and bling, but not durability.  You buy the rims, spokes, and hubs from Peter White and he does the labor for $35 a wheel and you get super good quality, or you could have some inexperienced wheelbuilder at the LBS build up the wheels with the same components and it won't be reliable.

Offline knolltop

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Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 05:46:25 pm »
Yep, think peterwhite answered his own question.
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Offline forrest

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 06:53:59 am »
You are fine, I have a hybrid and it works great.  Don't spend a lot of money on something you don't need.  Consider pulling a trailer they handle better in the wind than panniers.  Either way your bike will be fine.   

Offline DaveB

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2011, 06:44:25 am »
it appears the biggest issue with the bike is the funky, trendy spokes on the wheels - 20 spokes front and rear, unconventional pattern - fine for a general fitness bike on a bike path I guess but definitely nowhere near the 32-36 conventionally arranged spokes I probably need to have for a (mechanically) successful long-weekend tour.
You are unnecessarily concerned and don't spend your money on new wheels yet.  As recommended, for a weekend tour use the wheels you've got.  Hybrid wheels tend to be rugged with strong rims and wider tires so the low spoke count should cause no problems unless you weigh 275 and carry 50 ppounds of gear.  I further assume you have a 135 mm OLD rear hub so the rear wheel has little dish and that makes it even stronger. 

I have a set of Shimano's prebuilt road wheels on one bike (WH-560) with 16 front and 20 rear spokes and they have held up fine for over 6000 miles and should last three times that long despite the rough roads and potholes that are abundant around me.   

Offline paddleboy17

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2011, 07:45:37 pm »
paddleboy17 and whittierider: thanks for your thoughts and ideas.

Quote
... you might also be able to make do with machine built wheels ...

That's the dilemma, isn't it? I can spend $500-$600-$more-$$even more on a dynamite set of wheels that could last me for years but if I find that touring doesn't really resonate with me, or I find out that I'm really only interested in doing 3-4 day weekend tours a few times a year, then I've spent money I didn't need to. Or I could spend that much and find out that touring is a true passion and I could take the wheels with me to a new, proper touring bike and get years of service out of them.

On the flip side, I could spend $200-$300 on a "decent" set of wheels that might be all I'll ever need for 3-4 day weekend tours a few times a year, then find out I really want to do long tours several times a year (and maybe a cross-country one day) and have to upgrade the wheels to something way more durable. But I've just answered my own question ... if I get THAT serious about touring, I'll likely need/want a true touring bike - not a hybrid that I've upgraded to just "make do" status. Getting the "right" wheels would be part of the whole package of buying a touring bike.

Now ... if I could just hit the lottery (or grow a money tree or find the Fountain of Youth or ...).

Harris Cyclery has wheel set based on a Shimano Tiagra hub and a Velocity Dyad rim for $239.  If you cannot afford these then take up another hobby.
Danno

Offline DaveB

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2011, 07:14:05 am »
Harris Cyclery has wheel set based on a Shimano Tiagra hub and a Velocity Dyad rim for $239.  If you cannot afford these then take up another hobby.
It's not a matter of cost but of unwarranted concern. The OEM wheels will hold up fine for what the OP wants them to do.  He's going for a week-end ride, almost certainly less than 200 miles and with a light load.  It's not as if he's going from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego unsupported.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2011, 08:46:28 am »
Harris Cyclery has wheel set based on a Shimano Tiagra hub and a Velocity Dyad rim for $239.  If you cannot afford these then take up another hobby.
It's not a matter of cost but of unwarranted concern. The OEM wheels will hold up fine for what the OP wants them to do.  He's going for a week-end ride, almost certainly less than 200 miles and with a light load.  It's not as if he's going from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego unsupported.

The OP seemed to be of the impression that he needed to spend $600+ for a wheelset when his budget was $200-$300.  I recommended a $239 wheelset based on a Shimano Tiagra hub and a Velocity Dyad rim   From my point of view, the Velocity Dyad is as good a rim as you can buy, perfectly suited to anything he might ever want to do.  Shimano Tiagra hubs are a great value hub to tour on.  I had the impression that OP wanted to tour regularly, and even weekend trips can require a full compliment of gear if you camp.
Danno

Offline DaveB

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2011, 05:41:59 am »
[The OP seemed to be of the impression that he needed to spend $600+ for a wheelset when his budget was $200-$300.  I recommended a $239 wheelset based on a Shimano Tiagra hub and a Velocity Dyad rim   From my point of view, the Velocity Dyad is as good a rim as you can buy, perfectly suited to anything he might ever want to do.  Shimano Tiagra hubs are a great value hub to tour on.  I had the impression that OP wanted to tour regularly, and even weekend trips can require a full compliment of gear if you camp.
My impression was that the OP thought he HAD to have new wheels even for short lightly-loaded trips and was concerned about the cost since he isn't sure he will even like touring.  I said his current wheels will be plenty adequate for his immediate needs and suitable dedicated touring wheels can wait until he is sure touring is for him. 

Your recommended wheel set is indeed a good choice for strength and component quality at an attractive price.  I would caution him, and anyone else, that these machine built wheels, while using good components, are often not delivered properly trued and tensioned.  A few more dollars spent having a good wheel builder check the true and bring the tension up to spec is money well invested.   

Offline paddleboy17

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2011, 09:46:11 am »
DaveB, so maybe we are both right. :)  I would expect his existing wheels to give him trouble with any significant load on them, but I would also expect his frame to give him a hard time too.  He won't know unless he tries the set up out under his definition of lightly loaded.  And it could be just fine for a weekend.

My experience with machine built wheels has not been quite as dreadful as yours.  The wheelset that I recommended came from Harris Cyclery, and they are a pretty first rate outfit to deal with.   I would expect machine built wheels from Harris to be better than machine built wheels from Nashbar of Performance. Too many people do not realize the delicate balance between true, round, and tensioned.  Actually I am not even sure that ordinary joe understands what round and tensioned mean. 

I can only manage 2 out of 3 when I work on bicycle wheels, so I generally don't work on them anymore.  Peter White only charges $35 to build most wheels and that is a miracle (I think).
Danno

Offline DaveB

Re: "Converting" a hybrid bike
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2011, 03:58:30 pm »
My experience with machine built wheels has not been quite as dreadful as yours.  The wheelset that I recommended came from Harris Cyclery, and they are a pretty first rate outfit to deal with.   I would expect machine built wheels from Harris to be better than machine built wheels from Nashbar of Performance. Too many people do not realize the delicate balance between true, round, and tensioned.  Actually I am not even sure that ordinary joe understands what round and tensioned mean. 

I can only manage 2 out of 3 when I work on bicycle wheels, so I generally don't work on them anymore.  Peter White only charges $35 to build most wheels and that is a miracle (I think).
My experience with machine built wheels hasn't been dreadful either but it's worth checking.  I've bought two sets using Mavic CXP-33 rims. One was from Wheelsmith on 7700-series Dura Ace hubs with Wheelsmith XL14 spokes 3X 32H.  The other was from Colorado Cyclist using Chorus hubs and DT 2.0/1.8/2.0 db spokes also 3X 32H.   Both sets were perfectly true, round and tight and neither needed any truing.  The first set was retired due to thin sidewalls from brake wear at 28,000 miles.  The second set is still in service at 17,000 miles and going strong. 

However, I also got a set from Jenson (much lower price BTW) on Tiagra hubs, Alex R390 rims and DT 2.0 plain gauge spokes, again 3X 32H.    These needed some attention.  The tension was decent but the truing needed some work and the rear wheel dish had to be refined.  Not a lot of work but the wheels should run better and last longer because of it.

So, my conclusion is if the pre-built wheels are expensive, they are more likely to be properly built.  If ypu save money plan on some work to improve them.