Old rigid mountain bikes make great commuters. They’re plentiful and cheap. Also, many of them are cro-mo frames with long wheelbases. Perfect for loading down with your commuting gear.
Niki’s old Trek 820 was not getting ridden after she bought a new commuter. It needed work. The brakes didn’t stop. The gears didn’t shift. The tires didn’t hold air. The chain had numerous stuck links. I thought about giving it away or selling it, but it needed work before anyone could ride it far.
First step was to fix those gears. The cheapeast and easiest option was to convert it to a single speed. Using a kit found at Performance Bike, I removed the original 21 speed drivetrain and shifters and replaced the cassette with a single cog. The original chainrings were riveted to the crank arms, so I picked up a cheap crank set with removable rings. I geared it rather low which was perfect for riding up all the hills near my home in Denver.
After replacing the brakes and grips, I threw on a set of Planet Bike hardcore fenders and some cheap slick 26″ tires the local bike shop had. It was all set up for cruising around town.
It later became my snow bike after I put some studded tires on it. Studs rock.
I ended up selling it to a nice lady who needed it for commuting to work. Just what I built it for!
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