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Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 4th 03, 11:02 PM
Mike Beauchamp
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

Hey all,
I'm considering purchasing a new bicycle (Maybe $800 CDN total) to replace
my nearly 8 year old Mongoose IBOC Pro mountain bike. I used to use it mainy
for offroad but a knee injury stopped that, and in the past few years I've
used it purely for commuting (10K's to school and back, 30-40K rides on
weekends, stuff like that).

I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than
a mountain bike. I most certainly don't want to be one of those kids riding
on the side of the road with a fully suspended downhill mountain bike with
the seat all the way down bouncing up and down on each pedal stroke.

I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and get
me going as fast as possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's
definately more fun going nearly the speed of the cars instead of having
them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?

In the past few years, I've added slicks to my mountain bike, etc. All in
the name of a smoother and more efficient ride on pavement.

Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride,
with the small tires and the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in the
road going to be as bad as I think they are? Is that why I don't see too
many people riding around the streets on nice road bikes?

I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but I'm
wondering what people think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike?
Another reason for wanting to get a road bike is that I can convert my
mountain bike back to offroad and have two bicycles for whatever type of
riding I want to do.

Mike
http://mikebeauchamp.com


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  #2  
Old August 4th 03, 11:41 PM
Preston Crawford
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

I ride a road bike for commuting everyday and no, it isn't that harsh. At
least in my opinion. I think the reason you don't see them as often is
because of that misconception.

Preston


  #3  
Old August 5th 03, 12:39 AM
Steve McDonald
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?


I used road bikes with 1-inch or 1 1/8-inch high-pressure tires on
all sorts of city streets and country roads for many years and thought
nothing about discomfort or relative safety. But, several years ago, I
got a very good, unsuspended mountain bike. I put on gears that give me
101 inches of travel in high. It has light but sturdy alloy rims and
hubs and I've put Tioga City-Slicker smooth treads on it. I pump them
to 65-70 lbs. (high-pressure for 1.95 tires) and get a great ride.
I use a HyperPlush spring-loaded seat and the chronic saddle-sores from
road-biking have disappeared. It's like sailing on a cloud, compared to
riding a typical road bike. I will now use a narrow-tired road bike
only on smooth, newer roads and bikepaths and never after dark, if I can
help it. The wide tires give so much more safety in adverse conditions,
last longer and resist punctures and sidewall breakdowns better. I can
make this rig go pretty fast, for a mountain bike. If anyone passes me
on a road bike, they have to work hard for it.

Borrow a road bike and navigate your commuting route a few times
and you'll have your answer about
how much difference it makes to you.

Steve McDonald

  #4  
Old August 5th 03, 12:45 AM
Preston Crawford
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

"Gazoo" wrote in message
. ca...
or a cyclocross bike?


Not a bad idea. I started without much funds so I bought an entry level road
bike. Then I had it fit and they had to add a funky high stem to adjust the
angle. Then I decided I wanted to add "suicide levers". Then I added a rack.
Before you know it I had more or less some weird hybrid of a cyclecross and
touring bike. I love it, though. It's right where I want to be so I won't
change it. But yeah, first time around if you have the money this would be a
good way to go. Thing with entry level road bikes is you can get one for
$599 or less and then work with it.

Preston


  #5  
Old August 5th 03, 12:47 AM
Preston Crawford
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

"Slider2699" wrote in message
m...

"Preston Crawford" wrote in

message
...
I ride a road bike for commuting everyday and no, it isn't that harsh.

At
least in my opinion. I think the reason you don't see them as often is
because of that misconception.

Preston


Of course the stock answer here is to buy a touring bike. That being said,

I
also commute on a road bike(Schwinn Peloton) and it's not harsh at all.


Yeah, touring bike isn't a bad idea. Like I said in my other post, I went
the route I did because it was cheaper entry level. I ended up with
essentially the same thing, but it took longer to get there. Some tinkering
and experimenting. I love my bike, though.

Preston


  #6  
Old August 5th 03, 01:42 AM
Rick Onanian
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

On Mon, 4 Aug 2003 18:02:12 -0400, Mike Beauchamp
wrote:
I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate
than a mountain bike.


Absolutely.

I most certainly don't want to be one of those kids on the side of the
road with a fully suspended downhill mountain bike the seat all the way
down bouncing up and down on each pedal stroke.


I don't know how they do it, with their knees coming up above
their chest...how do they develop any power that way? And usually
pushing a heavy $65 Wal-mart FS "downhill" bike, at that.

Funny note: I've acquired one such bike, and it says "DH" and
"Downhill" and "Off-road" and such all over it; and buried in
a little nook you can barely see, a label that says that it is
NOT to be used for any off-road riding or conditions. It's got
fat very knobby low pressure tires, excessively plush front and
rear suspension...

I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and
me going as fast as possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's
definately more fun going nearly the speed of the cars instead of having
them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?


It depends on the terrain, yourself, and the traffic. In urban
traffic, with level land, you probably can get there just as
fast as you would powered by gasoline.

Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh with
the small tires and the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in road
going to be as bad as I think they are?


Possibly. However, I've found that my bike takes the edge off
the bumps pretty well; this may be because of the long carbon
fiber seatpost and the carbon fiber fork legs. At least, that
is the conventional thought on carbon stuff. I've recently
acquired an old steel Peugeot, and haven't ridden it much, but
have been impressed by it's ride too.

Is that why I don't see too
many people riding around the streets on nice road bikes?


No, that's because:
-- They're expensive
-- Most people don't realise that there's bikes beyond Wal-mart
-- The ones who do, can't see spending $500 (let alone $1000)
on a bike
-- Road bikes, to such people, don't look manly enough, so guys
are afraid to ride them; and women don't seem to ride as
much, nor do they care as much what they ride. Disclaimer:
That was an observation I've made locally. It may differ
in other areas. It is not a judgement of the female gender.

I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but
wondering what people think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike?


No. You will be faster; you will be more comfortable for the
road [after proper fit and break-in and so on]; and you will
feel better after a pavement ride. You will also get in better
shape -- a nice road bike makes you want to go faster and uses
your muscles more efficiently.

Mountain bikers have said to me about road biking: "It's like
steroids for your mountain biking." I would add that they're
complimentary; while road biking builds your pedalling ability,
mountain biking enhances your bike-handling skill -- while you
will never jump your road bike over a big log, in an emergency
you might have to get up a curb, or for that matter...a big log
that you suddenly realise is in front of you.

Another reason for wanting to get a road bike is that I can convert my
mountain bike back to offroad and have two bicycles for whatever type of
riding I want to do.


That is a very fun setup...and common in this newsfroup.

Mike
http://mikebeauchamp.com

--
Rick Onanian
  #7  
Old August 5th 03, 01:50 AM
Werehatrack
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

On Mon, 4 Aug 2003 18:02:12 -0400, "Mike Beauchamp"
may have said:

I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than
a mountain bike.


Road bikes, largely due to their narrow tires, tend to inherently be
more efficient. If the posture doesn't bother you, and your roads are
in reasonably good shape, a road bike is probably a good replacement
for the mtb.

I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and get
me going as fast as possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's
definately more fun going nearly the speed of the cars instead of having
them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?


Your results may vary; I find that I can, indeed, go faster on my road
bike than on my various mtbs, but I would not want to try to keep up
with the impatient homicidal maniacs who infest our streets at rush
hour.

In the past few years, I've added slicks to my mountain bike, etc. All in
the name of a smoother and more efficient ride on pavement.


So you've already narrowed the gap in performance, probably by quite a
bit.

Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride,
with the small tires and the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in the
road going to be as bad as I think they are? Is that why I don't see too
many people riding around the streets on nice road bikes?


If the experience of others is a predictor, then the perception of the
harshness is probably worse than the reality. Some of the mtb
favoritism is actually pragmatic, in my opinion, but a lot of it is
baseless. I see a combination of the underinformed thinking the fat
tires are just better, the one-bike folks who want to be able to ride
in the dirt some of the time, a few who prefer the tolerance for bumps
and resistance to curb-hopping punctures that the fatter tires can
afford, and perhaps most prevalent, the people who buy the mtb either
because it looks like the best value or it looks neat. The only way
to be sure if a road bike's going to suit you, in my opinion, is to
try one and see. Do you know someone whose road bike you could borrow
for a day or two?

I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but I'm
wondering what people think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike?
Another reason for wanting to get a road bike is that I can convert my
mountain bike back to offroad and have two bicycles for whatever type of
riding I want to do.


If the rides on the road bikes don't prove too harsh for you, I'd say
that having both types would not be a bad thing.

By the way, in a very unscientific sampling at Rice University here in
Houston several months back, I counted 22 mtbs (a few with slicks) and
only 7 road bikes locked up at a popular location on campus. This is
at a school where there isn't a dirt trail suitable for the real use
of an mtb within 15 miles. Up at Texas A&M, where bicycles are
perhaps more common than Democrats, I didn't try to count them, but
the ratio looked like it was on the order of the same magnitude and
distribution...and with just as little apparent reason. I rather
suspect that the fact that inexpensive mtbs are more widely available
than road bikes is the primary driving force behind those results. I
will note that the mtbs tended to be cheap more so than high-end, but
the road bikes included a fair number of good units.

--
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pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
Yes, I have a killfile. If I don't respond to something,
it's also possible that I'm busy.
  #8  
Old August 5th 03, 02:04 AM
Rick Onanian
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

On Tue, 05 Aug 2003 00:50:27 GMT, Werehatrack
wrote:
suspect that the fact that inexpensive mtbs are more widely available
than road bikes is the primary driving force behind those results. I
will note that the mtbs tended to be cheap more so than high-end, but
the road bikes included a fair number of good units.


Additionally, even when you go to an LBS, you can get a
rather nice MTB for $500, but you can only get a really
cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel road bike for that.

Why are road bikes so much more expensive? More precision
machining and workmanship, and exotic materials required?

--
My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail.
Yes, I have a killfile. If I don't respond to something,
it's also possible that I'm busy.

--
Rick Onanian
  #9  
Old August 5th 03, 02:14 AM
Donald Gillies
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

"Mike Beauchamp" writes:

Hey all,
I'm considering purchasing a new bicycle (Maybe $800 CDN total) to replace
my nearly 8 year old Mongoose IBOC Pro mountain bike.


Do it. The faster the bicycle, the more uses for the bicycle.

Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride,
with the small tires and the high air pressure, etc.


Untrue. Get a spongey reynolds 531 frame or equivalent (maybe a
used bike), and it will be softer to ride than a mountain bike with
slicks. Or maybe an Alan or Vitus not-oversized aluminum frame.

Are small bumps in the road going to be as bad as I think they are? Is
that why I don't see too many people riding around the streets on nice
road bikes?


What do you care what other people think ?? Sometimes when you follow
the herd you find out too late that its a hurd of lemmings.

- Don Gillies
San Diego, CA
  #10  
Old August 5th 03, 02:20 AM
Preston Crawford
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Default Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

"Eric Murray" wrote in message
...
I find a real road bike both faster and more comfortable than
a MTB on the road. The drop bars allow more hand positions.


That's the big selling point to me. Especially now that I have my "suicide
levers" I can ride on top like a moutain bike, ride in the drops or ride on
the hoods.

Preston


 




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