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Thread: Converting cruiser into commuter

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    Question Converting cruiser into commuter

    Hello,

    I am looking to convert my cruiser (photo attached) into a commuter for an easier ride to/from work. The frame is perfect for my needs with the low step-though but it is single speed so makes all the hills I have to endure a bit much when I need to get to the office without looking like I just got off a bike. Additionally, I'm spoiled by my Trek with hydraulic disc brakes so the cruiser's coaster brakes are really only ideal at the beach.

    Any tips on how to convert to at least a three-speed and possibly add disc brakes? Also, the bike currently has balloon tires. Will changing to a thinner tire help on the hills?

    Thanks!
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    TwoWheelsDC's Avatar
    TwoWheelsDC is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Welcome to the forum! I guess my question is: why not just use your Trek?

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    It would be fairly hard to convert for less than the cost of a used bike.

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    Disc brakes are a no go. The frame isn't designed for them (doesn't have disc tabs at either the front or rear), and that isn't something you want to kludge on.

    A 3 speed hub is theoretically possible, but it won't get you that much more gear range. And as mstone noted, you're starting to look at costs that equal or exceed simply purchasing a used bike that is better suited to your commute.

    Hills are a matter of gearing and weight. Thats a singlespeed beach cruiser. Its designed for casual cruising in comfort. You likely aren't going to able to convert it to a commuter you'd be happy with. :/

    Welcome to the forum. Cool to see another Restonite on here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    It would be fairly hard to convert for less than the cost of a used bike.
    That's going to be one expensive commuter. The biggest issue is disc/rim brakes. This frame was designed as a balloon tire cruiser with a coaster brake. The frame itself wasn't designed for discs/cantis/rim brakes. If you could find someone to fabricate and weld disc mounts, the sheer cost would probably be in the hundreds. Then add on the cost of front/rear disc systems, new hubs, wheel builds.... well you get my drift.

    I think your best option is to get a couple of your dedicated commuter pals to go with you to a LBS that either specializes in or does a lot of commuter bikes. Ask lots of questions, discuss your current goals along with your future goals for commuting. Use your friends as soundboards and take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. The type of commuter bike I ride and would recommend will be very different from what you have in mind.

    Do a bunch of research on bike styles/makes/models. Make a list of features you must have, want, and don't care about. Look at materials- steel, aluminum, titanium, etc.

    Ride a bunch of different ones, borrow your friends' bikes, see what works and doesn't.

    If you like the upright riding position, there are dozens of makes and models to choose from.

    Good luck

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    I agree with the others that it'll be both difficult and not cost efficient to upgrade your existing bike.

    But if what you're really looking for is a very upright city bike, I'd recommend checking out BicycleSPACE and/or The Daily Rider.

    Daily Rider carries Bobbin, Pilen, Gazelle, Linus and a few other makes that would probably be a very good fit. BicycleSPACE has a few of those models, plus Pashley . I think Capitol Hill Bikes also carries Public, which can also be ordered online if you're comfortable servicing it yourself or have a good relationship with a shop that just doesn't stock the type of bike you want.

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    KLizotte's Avatar
    KLizotte is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Also, once or twice a year the local bike rental companies (not BikeShare but Bike and Roll for one) usually have a big sell off of their used equipment. You may also wish to check Phoenix Bikes or some of the other local co-ops if you are looking for a relatively cheap beater bike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoWheelsDC View Post
    Welcome to the forum! I guess my question is: why not just use your Trek?
    Thanks for the welcome! Part of the problem is the body style, my trek does not have the step through nor the chain guard. It's a great bike but more for my fun and fitness needs.

    The beach cruiser is great in its own way too but I seldom go to the beach so it's just sitting. I was hoping to utilize it before considering a new bike purchase.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    It would be fairly hard to convert for less than the cost of a used bike.
    Thank you for the feedback... I was thinking that would be the case.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jabberwocky View Post
    Disc brakes are a no go. The frame isn't designed for them (doesn't have disc tabs at either the front or rear), and that isn't something you want to kludge on.

    A 3 speed hub is theoretically possible, but it won't get you that much more gear range. And as mstone noted, you're starting to look at costs that equal or exceed simply purchasing a used bike that is better suited to your commute.

    Hills are a matter of gearing and weight. Thats a singlespeed beach cruiser. Its designed for casual cruising in comfort. You likely aren't going to able to convert it to a commuter you'd be happy with. :/

    Welcome to the forum. Cool to see another Restonite on here.
    Thanks for the welcome! You have given me a lot to think about, much appreciated.

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