Background: Right now I ride a mtb mostly on the road with 1.95 'dillo semi slicks. I got my first multigeared bike almost 20 years ago. A cheap Murray 10 speed when it seemed that (to my young perspective) any sort of bike that went on a road was called a 10 speed unless you had one of those hip wide-tire bikes you could go on trails with.
There were three things about that bike I hated. Actually there was nothing I liked (except that it was faster than my BMX and I didn't have to pedal backwards to stop) - but my gripes in order of annoyance were these:
1) When I pedaled the frame flexed and torqued. A good 3-4 inches in each direction.
2) If I stood up to go up a hill my knee would hit the downtube shifter causing the bike to pretty much stop. Many an ouch on that.
3) I hit a pothole and tacoed the wheels. Jumping on them straightened them better than they were
So, after reading these boards a lot and bookmarking many a thread I know that it was a cheap bike and was probably too small (which is why my knee hit the shifters).
However there is a lot of discussion on steel being better because a) it flexes and (in my opinion more importantly) b) won't suffer the same type of catastrophic failure Al, Ti, and carbon fiber can.
There are three types of bikes that seem (to me anyway) very closely related though confuse me. I understand that touring bikes
tend to be steel and beefy with the ability to attach fenders, racks, and extra bottles. Cyclocrosses are also beefier road bikes meant to take more of a beating and are faster (and usually made of al, ti, or carbon fiber) than a mtb or touring. Both of these make a good Clydes bike for the road. So far I haven't read of a decent quality road bike frame failure here so that's a viable choice as well.
With any large purchase I take my time and do as much research as possible. I think I want a bike that's stiffish and made of steel (is that possible?). My current mtb is steel (Hi-Ten (yeah, yeah, I know)) and flexes a little when I push - wouldn't mind something a little stiffer but would settle for no more than that much bend. It seems like my best bet may be a touring bike
since I'd like to tour a little next year while racing is not in my future. I'm open to either a road or cross if it means being able to load it up with 50-100 lbs of gear on it and it not caring.
OK, here are the questions
How can someone tell these frames apart without a label? For example, here's a warehouse sale.
There are a bunch of frames
that they are selling beforehand too and a few of the descriptions are kinda vague. They may all be crap too but I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I also have access to a supply of used frames which may hold a good deal or two. Can you tell the geometry apart just by looking at them? Read something about chainstay length being important if you're putting paniers on (an option for the future). Anyone have some good high res pics of different types of frames I could see and compare? Hard to tell from the pics I've dug up online.
Is it me or is there no 'standard' with these classifications. Online I see advertised hybrids (with drop bars) that look like a cyclocross bike and cyclocross bikes (with flat bars) called hybrids. While hybrids seem to be looked down on 'round these parts because they're not as strong as a mtb but slower than a road bike cross bikes are praised. Is it the frame geometry, components, or both?
How old are these bikes classifications? Would almost any bike from the 70's be just suitable for a road bike? For example, from CL an older Raleigh
. Would you only find older 'road bikes' on CL or could there be an 'old' touring bike?
Is the rider position the same for all three of these bikes? I know with the drop bars you'd get different hand positions and there are slightly different positions if you're looking to sprint in a race - but generally is the position similar?
When triple vs double rings are advertised the big ring for the triple is usually smaller than the top ring on the double (I guess to maximize the gearings possible). Is it possible to create a triple with the largest ring being 60t+ on a touring bike so you could get the speed of a faster bike when unloaded and still have that small triple for a long climb? (I know, it's more about the engine - but on my mtb anything over 25mph and I'm just spinning (top ring 48). A mechanic also noted that my top ring was much more worn than the middle since I tend to stay on it).
If you have some good pictures of the differences between these types of bikes that would also be really useful. I hope none of these questions are too dumb, I've been trying to wrap my head around the differences and they seem fine on paper but can't seem to tell them apart by sight.
If I see a decent roadbike in my size I'll jump on it - but if I'm looking to buy a bike new or build one up I need more information to see what will work the best.