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Durability vs Efficiency

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Old July 22nd 03, 05:54 PM
Jim Edgar
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Default Durability vs Efficiency

salmoneous at wrote on 7/22/03 8:11 AM:

I've started comminuting a bit to work - 20km each way, but only on
good weather days. I think it time to stop taking my MTB and get
something more appropriate. Here's my question:

If we look at the continuum of bikes - from mountain to true road
bike, we trade comfort for efficiency as the bikes become more
road-like. I'm certainly willing to give up some comfort to shorten my
commute time.

'pends on what you describe as "comfort" - they transmit a bit more road
shock, particularly if you are running front suspension on your MTB. But,
if you are talking about your comfort on the bike, probably not. Get fitted
well and the different position will take a bit of getting used to, but
shouldn't be less comfortable.

What I'm not willing to give us is durability. By durability, I don't
mean the structural integrity of the metal frame over the years. I
mean the likelihood that flat tires or other mechanical problems will
interrupt my commute.

Road bikes should not be brittle. Flats may be a problem -- see below.

My route is on roads, but mostly on the shoulder where there is broken
pavement, gravel, debris, glass, etc. to deal with from time to time.
I've had to hop a couple of 1-2" branches. When I look at road bikes
with those skinny tires, I just start imagining all the problems I'll

Look for a frame that gives you maximum tire clearance. That will be the
_minority_ of frames available. But, trusty steeds like the Surly, Soma,
Rivendell and others of that ilk are designed to take big honkin' tires
(technical term), which give you a lot of rubber to resist nasty little bits
on the road. Your tire choice will help a lot. (So will your piloting

Here's a very good tire option:

Is it just my imagination, or is there a real risk here? Is tire width
a key metric to look at, or are there other features I should care
about? (Yeah, I know, find a good LBS - but I'd also like you guys

Bicycle Fit is the key metric. Tire width is high on the list.

Hope that helps,

-- Jim


Old July 23rd 03, 04:17 AM
George Shaffer
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Default Durability vs Efficiency

I found an old Giant "Option" ATB and built it up as a tourer. I've commuted
to work several times, did two metric centuries on it, and numerous +20-mile
"run-around-town" rides. It's sporting 700x35mm touring tires (traded out
the 27" x 1 1/8") that give a fair decent ride without too much rolling
resistance. They also hold up well on gravel hike & bike trails, dirt paths,
and uneven sidewalks. A skinny tire at 90 or 100 psi would blow on some of
the stuff I ride on, but at about 50 psi, 35's roll right over 'em. Except
2" high rises in the concrete...

Flats are one of the constants of the universe...as far as mechanical
trouble, just keep your bike maintained, and you shouldn't have any

Old July 23rd 03, 01:30 PM
Review Boy
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Default Durability vs Efficiency

I 2nd George's suggestion to look for a bicycle that has enough clearance
you can mount at least a 28mm tire, if not larger (I don't know HOW rough
ride is nor your willingness to trade off speed). Also, I recommend looking
a bicycle that has a large number of spokes built in a cross-over
pattern. This will reduce the need for frequent re-truing.

Use of kevlar-belted tires or flat prevention strips is controversial. I
like them.

Good luck.

"salmoneous" wrote in message
... By durability... I
mean the likelihood that flat tires or other mechanical problems will
interrupt my commute.

Old July 24th 03, 12:06 AM
Luigi de Guzman
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Default Durability vs Efficiency

A tourer might work for you--

I picked up a Jamis Aurora on sale for US$450; 700Cx32 tires, fender
clearance, rack mounting points, all around comfortable position
(dropped bars; I ride on the hoods 95% of the time) okay gearing.

I'm only now learning the intricacies of hopping and wheelie-ing a
bike with dropped bars, so I'll get back to the ng after a while when
I learn how to crawl over stuff.

As to speed and comfort--the aurora is the fastest I've ridden a bike.
It's also my most comfortable bike. the comfortable bike will be
faster than an uncomfortable bike, just because you can stay in the
saddle longer and put more power in.

Other option is to convert your MTB. Advantage: this can be a phased
project, so you get used to one modification at a time. Disadvantage:
parts singly are more expensive than a whole new bike.

Phase I [Minor alterations]: High-pressure, slick tires. Rack.
Fenders. Bar-ends. Toeclips/straps

Phase II [Major alterations]: Conversion to dropped
handlebars--entails new handlebars, levers, shifters, cables, housing,
stem (?). Rigid fork (if applicable) Clipless pedals.

If your frame sits you very upright as you pedal, then the dropped-bar
conversion option might not be too great. If, on the other hand, your
frame stretches you out more--your back is flatter, more weight on
your hands--then the dropped-bar conversion might be a great idea.


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