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  1. #1
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    How do you transition to a road bike?

    I hate wind. I know getting a road bike with drops is the way to attack headwinds. The problem is that test riding road bikes feels weird. It's not my core as pilates this winter and long rides have firmed these up. The weirdness comes from moving my hands all the time to do braking and shifting. I also have wide shoulders so my arms aren't parallel up on the hoods but are angled in. Should I just buy an inexpensive road bike to get used to this or is there a better approach?

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    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    I hate wind. I know getting a road bike with drops is the way to attack headwinds. The problem is that test riding road bikes feels weird. It's not my core as pilates this winter and long rides have firmed these up. The weirdness comes from moving my hands all the time to do braking and shifting. I also have wide shoulders so my arms aren't parallel up on the hoods but are angled in. Should I just buy an inexpensive road bike to get used to this or is there a better approach?
    If you are riding on the hoods or the drops, there is really no reason to move your hands around to brake. You can also install interrupter levers if you want to brake from the tops. If you are using STI shifters, again there is no need to move your hands to shift if you are on the hoods or in the drops.

    As far as the width of the handlebars, you just need to get a different width, no biggie.

    Test ride as many bikes as you can (like you need an excuse to ride new bikes? ) and determine what you like and dislike for each. Then choose a bike that is close and swap out components (as well as have the bike fit to you) to get it just right.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  3. #3
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    Yeah it feels different but it's still basically cycling and you will quickly get used to it. It's important to get the fit right and worth doing a little research and trying a few different ones/sizes and also bars come in different widths too.
    Colnago CX-1 Record 11sp. Carbon Epic Expert 29er

  4. #4
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    The best way is to ride it more. I had to get wider handlebars for my bike as well, it helps with comfort and overall twitchiness. The downside is that it opens you up a bit more to drag.

  5. #5
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I do about 99% of my riding on the hoods, from which you have easy access to the brakes, and with brifters, to shifting. Handlebar width rule-of-thumb is they should match your shoulders. I think that's more important than wind resistance for all but dedicated TT'ers.
    Craig in Indy

  6. #6
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Oh, I missed your question about the inexpensive road bike.

    No, don't buy the inexepensive one first. You should buy the bike you want the first time, in a year you'll buy that bike anyways. So rather than being out the cost of the bike, you're out the cost of the bike + the inexpensive one.

  7. #7
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    The bikes the salesman said were "right" for me were touring (LHT, Trek 520) I hated the barends and no offense to the LHT lovers but it felt like a tank on a 5 mile test. I did ride a Trek 2.3 that was too big for me. The interrupters and STI sound interesting. I told myself that if I did a metric century on my 7300 I could get a road bike. I did one Saturday but fought headwinds both ways (wind changed direction quickly). Is 5 miles enough to know?

  8. #8
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    When you guys say "on the hoods" do you mean the grips where the brake levers attach. The LHT had very small and cheap grips.

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    Try a cross bike with wide bars.

  10. #10
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    When you guys say "on the hoods" do you mean the grips where the brake levers attach. The LHT had very small and cheap grips.
    Yes, on the grip above the break lever. The bar ends on the LHT would explain all your hand movement...I also hate bar ends.

    Maybe we could help you out with selection, what type of riding do you want to do with this bike? What are your requirements of it (eyelets, fenders, tire width etc)?

  11. #11
    Senior Member 1855Cru's Avatar
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    I find the hoods a very natural and comfortable place to rest my hands and like CraigB do the vast majority of my riding on them. The only time I really use the drops is on technical descents and to fight a heavy headwind. In either position brakes and gear shifts are but a fingertip away, no movement of the hand is necessary.

    Do buy the best bike for your needs that you can afford since you have been riding awhile. I started last year after riding my old Trek 720 multitour around a bit and decided to buy a road bike. Got a 2011 Trek 2.1 which was a nice combination of quality, durability and comfort. 9 months and about 2,000 miles later I succumbed to a 2011 Cervelo R3 which is lighter and racier. Hopefully it will be the last bike I buy for a while I kept the Trek as a back up/winter bike to help me feel better about it
    http://www.ablokeandabike.blogspot.com

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  12. #12
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    I'd love to try a cross bike. None within 100 miles maybe farther. As to what I think I want. 28mm min tires, relaxed geo,tiagra/105 groupset, rackable( I like to carry cold soda's) basicly a century bike but not a full on touring bike. I like compact/downsloping headtube frames as my legs are shorter than my arms 34" inseam 37" sleevelength. 90% somewhat rough oil and chip country roads.

  13. #13
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    1855: Is your 2.1 a H2 or a H3?

  14. #14
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    I'd love to try a cross bike. None within 100 miles maybe farther. As to what I think I want. 28mm min tires, relaxed geo,tiagra/105 groupset, rackable( I like to carry cold soda's) basicly a century bike but not a full on touring bike. I like compact/downsloping headtube frames as my legs are shorter than my arms 34" inseam 37" sleevelength. 90% somewhat rough oil and chip country roads.
    Build up a Surly Crosscheck frame to your specs.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

  15. #15
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Jamis Aurora or the Aurora Elite

    http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...11_aurora.html

    If not, a Crosscheck like Chipcom suggested would be a great fit. Have the dealer who put you on the LHT order you in one, then swap the bar ends for brifters.

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    I'm with those suggesting a cross bike. My Scattante X330 is as entry level as you can get but I still love it. I could only imagine how nice the better ones are. With that being said, mine can currently be had for $599 at Performance. The frame is extremely comfortable but you may want to get a bike with Tiagra and up. I'm also thinking about getting a triple in the front. I think most people would be surprised at how nice this bike is for the price.

    As far a riding position is concerned, as others have said, the hoods are a very natural feeling position. I actually just started cycling less than a year ago and with very short legs for my 6' height I found a drop bar setup more comfortable than an upright position because it allowed me to stretch out. Unfortunately I had to go through 2 hybrids before realizing this. You do want to have the bars the width of your shoulders but until you get used to the road bike position it's probably going to feel like your arms are pointing in compared to the slightly flared location of typical flat bar grips. The best advice that I concur with above is to just ride. Your body will adjust and theres a good chance you won't want to go back.
    Last edited by knobd; 06-15-11 at 07:43 AM.
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  17. #17
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    This is riding on the hoods:



    IMO 5 miles isn't enough to know, Jethro, especially when coming from a more upright bike. You'll feel uncomfortably stretched out and low at first, and it could take some time before that starts to feel normal to you. When I got back on my road bike for the first time, after 3 or 4 years on just the mountain bike, the position seemed so extreme I couldn't believe it was the bike I'd ridden for so long a few years back. But some time on it, and a new stem that got the bars about even with the saddle, helped a lot. I feel much more comfortable on it now, though it's still a smidge too big for me.

    Ride as many as you can over several days or weeks, for the longest distances they'll let you. It'll start to feel more normal to you.
    Craig in Indy

  18. #18
    Senior Member ill.clyde's Avatar
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    Touring bikes? Meh ... they strike me as too big, almost lumbering.

    I think the Trek 1. series are good road bikes to get you started (I'm biased, I ride a 1.2) ... but mostly, make sure it's the right size and of course, get it properly fitted.

    You'll get used to it ... and you'll love it.

  19. #19
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    bauteiri: Ths aurora is exactly what I've described. OT your signature reminds me of how I feel when I try to do datestamped joins between oracle and mssql tables.

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    Senior Member jmeissner's Avatar
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    I agree that you will get used to a road bike very quickly and you will realize how nice it is to ride a bike with drops as opposed to a flat bar especially on long rides. I started in mountain biking and found the drops of a road bike strange at first but now I couldn't imagine doing a metric with a flat bar bike. I also spend most of the time in the hoods but on long rides you will appreciate being able to change to ride in the drops or tops.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member CalPastor's Avatar
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    I love my Cross Check. Started riding in the upright position, then got comfortable on the hoods, and now I'll move to the drops occasionally... I think it's just a matter of time on the bike. I built mine from the frame up and so I was able to choose handlebars that fit me. Look into new handlebars. I use bar end shifters and love them, I do have brifters on my other bike and they are nice too.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Brutal.Roadrnr's Avatar
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    Jethro, thanks for opening this topic...I just got a roadbike today and am doing this transition myself.

    5 minutes folks, thats all it took between me getting on the bike for the first time and starting to pedal to my faceplant into a neighbor's yard. I learned that the time to figure out proper hand position during a sharp turn is not halfway through the turn...

    I figured out the position you refer to as 'riding on the hoods' shortly after that...ugh

  23. #23
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    I also have wide shoulders so my arms aren't parallel up on the hoods but are angled in.
    That means the handlebars you used were too narrow for you. They're made as wide as 46 cm, while 42 and 44 cm are pretty common, and you probably test rode one of those sizes.

    It took me some time to get used to drop bars after so many years riding flat bars. My first drop bar bike had cross brakes, which helped a lot with the transition. You should think about getting a set of them, probably used, and installing them if you get a road bike; then you can ride the tops, which feels more like a MTB, but with your fingers on the brakes. See below.

    Don't believe everything you think.

  24. #24
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jethro56 View Post
    bauteiri: Ths aurora is exactly what I've described. OT your signature reminds me of how I feel when I try to do datestamped joins between oracle and mssql tables.
    Cool! I'm glad that bike fits what you're looking for...minus the sloping top-tube part. Now the real question is if there is a Jamis dealer nearby. *checks Jamis dealer locater*...not really. Looks like the closest one is 101 miles away. It would make a nice trip out to go bike shopping if you are ready to buy.

    My signature...I'm sure anyone who has held a job in IT feels that way.

  25. #25
    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    I know it's not a short drive for jethro, but Nebo Ridge, the shop where I'm getting the Cannondale, and that includes extremely thorough fitting services in the price of every bike they sell, is a Jamis dealer. I don't know if they stock that model. There are some they don't keep on hand (like the Ventura Race I was interested in initially).
    Craig in Indy

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