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Old 03-15-08, 12:54 PM   #1
j0e_bik3
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why does 80% of the world commute on a mountain bike with knobby's??

I see it every day, hundreds and hundreds of people going to work, on a mountain bike complete with nicely under-inflated knobby tires, and not a mountain within 25 miles.

I feel like I want to tell them: "it's SO much easier to pedal, and hold your speed on a bike with high pressure, narrow tires made for riding on the ROAD."

as I almost effortlessly spin past them,.........

the guys on the full suspension jobs bobbing up and down as they stand to pedal up freeway overpasses makes me want to cry,.....

why dey do dat?
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Old 03-15-08, 01:00 PM   #2
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My commute is between two cities separated by about 8 miles of farmland, wetlands, and a causeway. For most of us, the commute is 15+ miles each way. Nobody uses a mountain bike. Most have super skinny tire road bikes. I often wonder the same as to why they don't get touring or cyclocross bikes. They they wouldn't need to wear those big backpacks and get all dirty when it rains.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:01 PM   #3
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What state do you see these 100's & 100s of people commuting every day in ?
Im moving there.

Why do people worry about why other people do the things they do ?
Maybe you should stop and ask one of them. Maybe they know something
you/we dont...........

Save your crying for people in cars, not the MTBers.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:02 PM   #4
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They have not yet been made "fishers of men."
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Old 03-15-08, 01:07 PM   #5
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Probably because that is what is readily available at WalMart? or the thrift stores which are over run with WM bikes

For the past several years the only thing readily available to the uninitiated were MTB or Road, nothing in between. They might have been making them, but they weren't being sold in most of the places I looked.

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Old 03-15-08, 01:36 PM   #6
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Because they are slaves to fashion rather than thinking for themselves?

In SOME cases I don't doubt that they only ride occasionally and just use the bike the way it comes. But like you I've seen some that are obviously doing this on a regular basis based on the gear they are dressed in but still have knobby tires.... <shrugs>

In some cases they are riding this way because they are out for fun and every curb and ramp they can jump from. For those yeah, it's the right way.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:41 PM   #7
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Originally, when in high school, because of:

1. igorance of the alternatives
2. lack of cash (once I knew about slicks)
3. laziness (once I had slicks but only one set of wheels)

I have no idea why some other commuters don't use slicks though.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:41 PM   #8
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Most of the xmart/mtb/knobby tire bikes I see are chosen for the extreme cheapness, as well as the lack of concern for when they are stolen. I think a lot of people cycle in the city because it's less effort than walking, not so much for the additional speed.

Two other factors with the knobbies - less chance to flat on bottle glass, but the biggest one is: that's the tires the bike came with. I mean, why spend $20 on new tires for a bike that cost less than $100? Not to mention that likely a lot of these riders wouldn't know how to change a tire anyway (not that it's not easily learned, but some people won't make that effort).
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Old 03-15-08, 01:42 PM   #9
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People are riding on mountain bikes because that's what they have!
To some degree it's because they don't know any better.
But then, I don't have one of your preferred bikes, either - I have a hybrid with 38mm invert-tread tires.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:45 PM   #10
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People are riding on mountain bikes because that's what they have!
To some degree it's because they don't know any better.
But then, I don't have one of your preferred bikes, either - I have a hybrid with 38mm invert-tread tires.
Good point - I do most of my city riding on a slick tire, BMX pedal, rigid MTB myself. It's nimble, deals with potholes and curbs well, and it's relatively easy to stop, start and accelerate.

I also see a lot of people riding BMX bikes - partially for tricks, but I think also for the manouverability and compact size.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:58 PM   #11
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I own one of those road bikes with the skinny tires and drop bars, appreciate the speed on flat terrain and improved aerodynamics, but the bike has its downsides. Too low for my preference, can't get the same visual command over the terrain, and have yet to feel that much slower on my hardpack tire equipped Xtracycle MTB than I have on my road bike.

Some road bikes are also designed with a lower weight capacity than what I can carry in Cargo, let alone my own weight on top of that.

I'm also capable of taking shortcuts that would be dangerous or damaging on a road bike, as well at that the MTB came with a very convenient and wide gear range. They can be perfectly well suited and viable machines for commuting.

Full suspension and knobbies? I certainly agree, its a bit silly. But there's always the option of taking the stairs in this case

As to full suspension and knobbies, I suspect its one of three things:
1. Lack of knowledge to options. The MTB is the commonplace pick among the mainstream public, whereas the road bike is seen in their eyes typically along hardcore races like the TdF. In other words, there aren't as many people doing it, so its not suited to the demographic who would rather go for something more familiar and comfortable to them (which is a lot of people!) - this actually ends up being a positive feedback loop:

The more average riders there are out there on mountain bikes, the more that the "average person" will see that particular style of ride as being what he/she should have in order to fit in. As that number grows, a disparity starts to appear as the populace sees the mountain bike as a familiar ride, whereas they'll see the road bike being used by those gaudy Europeans in the TdF, those obnoxious messengers, or those guys who want to be like the gaudy Europeans in the TdF!

2. Urban assault joyriders. Come on, its fun..
3. Lack of options? Some people don't want to blow $500+ to get drop bars and road tires. Unfortunately at the same time, rather than dept. stores offering commuter models, they basically offer MTBs, but instead of offering similar choices at different price points with different components, they basically offer something like this:
$75, rigid bike with cheap junk parts
$150 front suspension bike (ditto, cheap junk)
$200 full suspension (cheap junk, 45lbs )

It would be nice to see a store offering $200 "basic commuters", with some reliable parts and the applicable rack-fender-balloon/slick tire combo.

If they can throw together a bicycle for $100 with Shimano Tourney on it, why can't they throw together a bicycle for $200 with Acera and a modest commuting design?

Last edited by Abneycat; 03-15-08 at 03:43 PM.
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Old 03-15-08, 01:58 PM   #12
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Personally, I think the reason why so many people ride mountain bikes is the fact that they're cheap and easy to find. I spent weeks looking at all the big box stores, and I couldn't find a single street bike. So, I went to specialty bike shops, and the cheapest ones I saw were $500 or in that range. I know for someone looking for something that's an affordable replacement to driving, $500 is a lot less appealing than $80 for a mountain bike. I know $500 isn't THAT much compared to a car, but really, when you consider that most Americans live paycheque to paycheque, it actually is a lot.

Another reason why I personally ride one isn't related to the price thing. I dislike bikes with different speed. My ideal bike is a single-speed utility bike like the ones army couriers used in Europe during WWII. However, I haven't seen any bikes here locally like that, even at bike stores. They're all multi-speed (whether they're street or mountain). So, when it comes down to paying $500 or $80 for something that I'm not going to be 100% satisfied with either way, I'm definitely choosing the latter, which is what I did.

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Old 03-15-08, 02:01 PM   #13
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I would be too fast on a road bike so use a mountain bike with knobbies and heavy rims to keep my speed down. Also to get a better workout.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:43 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by j0e_bik3 View Post
I see it every day, hundreds and hundreds of people going to work, on a mountain bike complete with nicely under-inflated knobby tires, and not a mountain within 25 miles.

I feel like I want to tell them: "it's SO much easier to pedal, and hold your speed on a bike with high pressure, narrow tires made for riding on the ROAD."

as I almost effortlessly spin past them,.........

the guys on the full suspension jobs bobbing up and down as they stand to pedal up freeway overpasses makes me want to cry,.....

why dey do dat?
well, myself, this week, because my commuter is out of commission. People really love it when a guy on a full suspension bikes complete with knobby tires passes them on the bike path. And I don't swap out the knobbies on my commuter until April as it snows a lot in March (as it is doing today)
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Old 03-15-08, 02:55 PM   #15
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Because I don't want to break the sound barrier while riding my mtn bike with slicks..might wake the people in the neighborhood that I ride through.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:57 PM   #16
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I see it every day, hundreds and hundreds of people going to work, on a mountain bike complete with nicely under-inflated knobby tires, and not a mountain within 25 miles.
I'm curious... where do you live where you see HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of people riding these bikes - every day?

Seems extremely unlikely.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:30 PM   #17
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When i was in high school i just didn't know any better. I went to a store and bought what they had, which were mountain bikes. But after i took commuting seriously i learned about better options.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:35 PM   #18
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Because I don't have pavement on my commute...
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Old 03-15-08, 03:35 PM   #19
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and it is hard to bunny hop a chicken with a road bike
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Old 03-15-08, 03:39 PM   #20
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WTF of a difference does it make what type of bike somebody is using ? After all ,everybody has their own style and preferences. Personally I don't like road bikes or hybrids with skinny slicks , I prefer mountain bikes with wide knobbies because that just me, and I don't care if it takes more effort to pedal or if it's a little slower. I am the same when it comes to vehicles, I like 4x4 trucks with big agressive tires: you may ask me why ? Well I guess it's because I've been an offroader for so many years, and because that's just my style. There is no such thing as a wrong bike for commuting, a bicycle is a bicycle.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:46 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abneycat View Post
I own one of those road bikes with the skinny tires and drop bars, appreciate the speed on flat terrain and improved aerodynamics, but the bike has its downsides. Too low for my preference, can't get the same visual command over the terrain, and have yet to feel that much slower on my hardpack tire equipped Xtracycle MTB than I have on my road bike.

Some road bikes are also designed with a lower weight capacity than what I can carry in Cargo, let alone my own weight on top of that.

I'm also capable of taking shortcuts that would be dangerous or damaging on a road bike, as well at that the MTB came with a very convenient and wide gear range. They can be perfectly well suited and viable machines for commuting.

Full suspension and knobbies? I certainly agree, its a bit silly. But there's always the option of taking the stairs in this case

As to full suspension and knobbies, I suspect its one of three things:
1. Lack of knowledge to options. The MTB is the commonplace pick among the mainstream public, whereas the road bike is seen in their eyes typically along hardcore races like the TdF. In other words, there aren't as many people doing it, so its not suited to the demographic who would rather go for something more familiar and comfortable to them (which is a lot of people!) - this actually ends up being a positive feedback loop:

The more average riders there are out there on mountain bikes, the more that the "average person" will see that particular style of ride as being what he/she should have in order to fit in. As that number grows, a disparity starts to appear as the populace sees the mountain bike as a familiar ride, whereas they'll see the road bike being used by those gaudy Europeans in the TdF, those obnoxious messengers, or those guys who want to be like the gaudy Europeans in the TdF!

2. Urban assault joyriders. Come on, its fun..
3. Lack of options? Some people don't want to blow $500+ to get drop bars and road tires. Unfortunately at the same time, rather than dept. stores offering commuter models, they basically offer MTBs, but instead of offering similar choices at different price points with different components, they basically offer something like this:
$75, rigid bike with cheap junk parts
$150 front suspension bike (ditto, cheap junk)
$200 full suspension (cheap junk, 45lbs )

It would be nice to see a store offering $200 "basic commuters", with some reliable parts and the applicable rack-fender-balloon/slick tire combo.

If they can throw together a bicycle for $100 with Shimano Tourney on it, why can't they throw together a bicycle for $200 with Acera and a modest commuting design?
This guy sums it up. Also I'm running Geax Evolutions they look like mountain bike tires but are semi-slicks

Last edited by Jonahhobbes; 03-15-08 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 03-15-08, 03:51 PM   #22
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I ride a Jamis Coda Sport as my commuter and think it is preferable to my road bike, which is a Soma Smoothie.

The flat bars give me a bit more upright position, in turn giving me better visibility.

Then there is the matter of the grass/gravel areas that I go through. My road bike tires might have a bit of trouble with that but the wider tires on the Jamis do fine.

There is also the lower gearing on the Jamis that helps with the one hill that I have to deal with. I'm old and have bad knees.

My Jamis cost $403 and I have about $1200 in my Soma Smothie.

The wheels on the Jamis have a higher spoke count than the wheels on my road bike, making me think it is a bit more reliable......but I have no proof of that since I have never broken a spoke.

My Jamis has lugs for mounting racks that the Soma does not.

The kickstand looks great on the Jamis.......might look out of place on the Soma.

Just some of my reasons.
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Old 03-15-08, 04:33 PM   #23
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Quote:
savethekudzu;6348170]People are riding on mountain bikes because that's what they have!
To some degree it's because they don't know any better.
Exactly! I have a 14 year-old Trek that I bought at a co-op while I was in college. It was the previous year's model, hella cheap, and I didn't know any better. The darn thing just won't die, and proves to be espically worthy in winter snow and slush.

Many of us can't afford to buy a fancy bike just for commuting. Be happy that other people are bicycle commuting and leave it at that.
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Old 03-15-08, 04:44 PM   #24
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I don't see 100 other cyclists on the road in a year, probably 2 years. Almost all that I see are roadies so not many fat tires. I saw a kid riding a fat tire bike the other day, but just around a neighborhood.

What gets me is all the people I see riding bikes that are so small that their knees are in their chests. That's got to be incredibly hard to ride.
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Old 03-15-08, 04:48 PM   #25
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Why do people join a group and then want to divide the group into sub groups?

Does it really matter what kind of bike another bicyclist rides? I'm pretty sure the cagers aren't making distinctions; we're bicyclists'. Find something else to worry about.
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