Last week, my road bike was out of commission while my cassette woes were being attended to. That left me without a ride on Sunday morning, which is my main ride of the week. What to do?
Aha! Hanging in the garage, seldom used, is a 10-year-old mountain bike. My wife gave it to me for a birthday present, and I never really took to it. At one point, I thought I might turn it into a utility bike and use it for running errands and such. It’s gotten vary limited use in that regard, although I have mounted a rear rack to it and put on skinnier slick tires to replace the knobbies.
I decided I’d give it a try. I hadn’t really ridden the thing on the roads for a couple of years. I pumped up the tires and hopped on.
Nothing adventurous — I just wanted to get some time in the saddle. I rode a mish-mash of neighborhood routes, and covered 14.5 miles in a little over an hour.
So how was it? Better than I remembered, actually. Oh, there are things I still don’t like about it: My hands hurt after a relatively short while because there isn’t the variety of hand positions that I have on my road bike. However, that also might be a fit issue. I never took advantage of the simple fitting the bike shop does, because back when I got the bike, I didn’t know anything about biking, and didn’t think being fitted to the bike was all that important.
I’m also not crazy about the front suspension. Obviously, if I used the bike as intended — off road — they would be most welcome. But riding on suburban streets, they’re completely unnecessary. I just can’t get used to the diving sensation that occurs when I make a stop.
On the plus side, it’s a good workout. I worked harder than I would, and at a slower speed, than I would to ride the road bike the same distance. When it was over, I felt really good.
So, I think I might be taking it out again. I doubt I’ll ever get into mountain biking in a serious way, but as a change of pace, it’s worthwhile. Close by, we have some nice county parks with bike trails. Nothing technical, but the steed would be in a more appropriate environment when it rides there. I might have to break out the knobbies again.
I imagine many, if not most, Bike Noob readers have mountain bikes of their own. How much do you ride them compared to your road bikes? Do they serve as fill-in duty like mine, do you run errands in them, or do you bash round singletrack? Let me know.
I have the entry MTB that I started with. That was supposed to be a commuter bike. Nowadays, my spare road bike fulfills that role 🙂
I like my 29er cause I can ride it anywhere. I putz around different trails around Bauerle Ranch or behind the Alamo draft house and do Ladybird Lake hike and bike trail. Just grab my helmet and go as opposed to all the gear and prep that goes with the road bike.
I grew up a BMXer, so have always had that bike to ride. I fall in the category of “old enough to know better” when I ride skateparks on the BMX. But, the kids asking how old I am is always funny.
I have a vague recollection that you should be able to “lock” the fork so it doesn’t have any travel….not 100% certain about that, though.
Bike Noob says
Well, that’s news to me. I’ll have to look into it.
That depends on the fork. Some you can lock, some you can’t.
I use a GT MTB for my daily commuter. It’s a mid-level racer, so the frame is a bit lighter and it has special nobbies on it to reduce roll resistance. I am looking for a new road bike, but that will be for touring and fitness rides that need speed. I prefer the MTB because of the ride position and because I can jump from road, to trail, to sidewalk as needed depending on the traffic and conditions. I’ve also hit construction unexpectedly more than once, so it’s useful there.
For your other issues: I don’t think that model of Trek comes with a manual susension lockout, but you should be able to take it to your LBS or to a Trek store and they will show you how to do it. Downside is that you can’t turn it back on if you decide to jump on a trail on a whim, you’ll have to plan for trails. Honestly, though, you probably don’t need it unless you are doing serious downhills with lots of debris. For the hands, put bar ends on to increase positions. I actually pulled my grips off and wrapped the bar and ends in grip tape to increase comfort.