QUESTION: I read your advice in Off-Season Training for Roadies about buying a used “beater bike” for sloppy roads. My local shop has an old mountain bike with a rigid fork for sale. It’s in great shape and the price is right, but are mountain bikes OK for road training? — Perry C.
COACH FRED: You bet! If you found a rigid-fork mountain bike in decent condition, you’ve got a prize. Just be sure you can make the saddle’s height and fore-aft position (relative to the bottom bracket) the same as on your road bike.
Here are a mountain bike’s advantages for a roadie:
—It’s versatile. You can put on smooth-tread tires for road training, or knobbies to ride on dirt roads, trails, or snow-covered roads. It’s a great bike for commuting and errands, too.
—It’s slow. This is an advantage when it’s cold because you’ll feel less windchill. If you ride the road with knobby tires, the extra rolling resistance will give you a great workout at a slower — and warmer — speed.
—It’s convertible. Check with your bike shop about installing a drop handlebar to get your exact road position. Then you’ll have a bombproof, year-round beater that you can use during any inclement weather. Here’s an example of a very high end drop bar mountain bike from Salsa.
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