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Old 08-04-08, 03:36 PM   #1
BHohmeier
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Seeking wisdom

Enough scouring the internet, it's time to just ask you guys. I recently purchased a Raleigh Detour 4.0, a smooth enjoyable ride. When visiting a friend in Denver last month, however, I borrowed and experienced my first single-speed road bike. Ever since, I've felt lacking performance from my comfort hybrid.
I don't regret my selection of the Detour -- it was really the only new quality bike I could afford -- but I'm interested now in slowly increasing its performance where possible. I started easy with raising the seat and lowering the bars (as much as I could. Darn near bent an allen wrench on that bolt). I also replaced the bulky stock comfort seat with something a little harder and narrower. When I can afford it, I intend to ditch the "comfort riser" handlebars for butterflies or drop-downs.
What else can I do though to increase performance and peddling efficiency? How much is the more upright frame geometry going to limit me? Is it even possible for me to convert this to a road or cyclocross -- I'll settle for a performance hybrid? Is it unfair for me to compare a lightweight single-speed to a heavier multi-speed?
I love my bike, but sometime it's angles really bother me. Bottom line: I want to make sure my weight is less on my butt and more on my legs (and arms) and lay comfort on the altar for the sake of efficient peddling.

For reference: http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/hybr...?page=overview

Thanks for any wisdom or advice you might have on this general matter.

-brian
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Old 08-04-08, 04:28 PM   #2
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Sounds like you need two bikes for two different applications. Keep the bike you love and start a new relationship with a sexier new bike. Some days you'll want the comfort of your old familiar hybrid, and some days you'll want the performance of a perfectly tuned road master. It sounds like you know what you want, but you're somehow convinced that the relationship between a person and their bicycle should be monogamous.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:37 PM   #3
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Unfortunately the monogamy in this relationship is out of financial necessity. I could barely afford the bike I got as a poor college student.
I'm keeping the comfort saddle, and the seat post is a quick-release, so I imagine if I still have some flexibility to go back to a comfort ride. If possible, I'd like to get what performance I can squeeze out of this until I can put my money something a little more performance-oriented.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:57 PM   #4
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Ride your Raleigh Detour 4.0. Go slow, Stand up when you feel butt discomfort. Your are trying to advance too quickly.
Get seat time on your Raleigh.
When your legs get 1500 miles, you will then be ready for a road bike.
Riding is 10% bike, 90% rider.
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Old 08-04-08, 04:57 PM   #5
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Pouring money you really don't have into a comfort bike to try and make it more like a road bike is, IMHO, a waste of money and a waste of a bike. Changing bars means changing shifters and brake levers. You'll want lighter wheels, skinnier, higher-pressure tires. You'll end up with a bike that isn't as good as a road bike and isn't a good as a comfort bike. It will cost you $100 to even make a start on the parts you'll need to switch to drop bars alone.

Instead, keep an eye out for an older road bike. Thrift stores, garage sales, Craig's List, dumpsters, etc. Spend a little time (and a little money) fixing it up. This year I picked up a '77 Schwinn Le Tour II out of a dumpster and spent $50 getting it roadworthy (it is now my commuter). I also bought a '78 Schwinn Le Tour III (for my wife) from Craig's List for $50 and spent $30 more getting it roadworthy.

If you are more patient, you can probably get something of higher quality for the same or a little more. You'll end up spending less and ending up with 2 bikes that each serve their purpose well.
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Old 08-04-08, 05:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CACycling View Post
Pouring money you really don't have into a comfort bike to try and make it more like a road bike is, IMHO, a waste of money and a waste of a bike. Changing bars means changing shifters and brake levers. You'll want lighter wheels, skinnier, higher-pressure tires. You'll end up with a bike that isn't as good as a road bike and isn't a good as a comfort bike. It will cost you $100 to even make a start on the parts you'll need to switch to drop bars alone.

Instead, keep an eye out for an older road bike. Thrift stores, garage sales, Craig's List, dumpsters, etc. Spend a little time (and a little money) fixing it up. This year I picked up a '77 Schwinn Le Tour II out of a dumpster and spent $50 getting it roadworthy (it is now my commuter). I also bought a '78 Schwinn Le Tour III (for my wife) from Craig's List for $50 and spent $30 more getting it roadworthy.

If you are more patient, you can probably get something of higher quality for the same or a little more. You'll end up spending less and ending up with 2 bikes that each serve their purpose well.
+1
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Old 08-04-08, 06:49 PM   #7
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It will never be more than a Detour -- so be it. But I refuse to sit back and rest heavy on the saddle!

Thanks for the advice. Of course if anyone has more to add, by all means I'm the student.

-brian
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Old 08-04-08, 07:26 PM   #8
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Change the saddle and start looking for a hot deal on Craigslist or elsewhere.

You said that you liked that singlespeed bike. Consider saving up for a cheapish $400-500 singlespeed like the Fuji Track bike or something. I have an IRO Roby Roy and I love it, but it's not really a road bike.
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Old 08-04-08, 07:30 PM   #9
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Get an older but well-maintained road bike and keep your other bike.

You can get a bike for 100 bucks that will be super fast. It might have a steel frame, but it'll still be fast.

The bikes the pros were riding thirty years ago were FAST, but they're a dime a dozen at Craigslist now.

Get a good old-fashioned tenspeed. The gears will be more of what you want, and the geometry will be better. You'll go fast.

Just make sure it's tuned up first (gears, brakes, wheels, etc.). You don't want to eat it.
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Old 08-04-08, 07:32 PM   #10
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I have a bit of an edge in the modification department as I work in a well stocked bike co-op...my Trek 7500 comfort hybrid has now been refitted with a stiffer drive, drop bars, and cyclocross tyres so that the bike can, and does take me damn near anywhere.

It is a DIY version of the Trek Portland sans disc brakes and a a fabulous ride.
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Old 08-04-08, 07:35 PM   #11
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Here's a perfect example:




This thing is in great condition and 150 bucks on Craigslist in Atlanta. Ohio will have similar deals.

And you could easily talk him down 25 bucks, maybe 50.

Now you have ME interested in an old road bike. I'll put on one of those 70s riding caps, ride around Bloomington Indiana, pretend to be Italian, and sing romantic songs.

I love that film (Breaking Away).
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Old 08-04-08, 08:10 PM   #12
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I'm none too thrilled with the selection in Cleveland. Does this look like rust to you guys? http://cleveland.craigslist.org/bik/782692694.html
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Old 08-04-08, 10:25 PM   #13
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Keep your new saddle and pitch the comfort saddle. It's not a speed issue, it's a comfort issue. You need a good stiff saddle to keep the weight where you need it.

Other than that, I agree with an earlier poster. Keep an eye open for a good price on a used road bike. Don't expect to find anything real quick, there are a lot of used road bikes that are your age (I presume you're college age) going for more than your bike cost new. But you might get lucky.
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Old 08-04-08, 11:04 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JMRobertson View Post
Sounds like you need two bikes for two different applications. Keep the bike you love and start a new relationship with a sexier new bike.
+1

The answer to use issues with a bike is always: get another bike.
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Old 08-05-08, 01:04 AM   #15
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+1

The answer to use issues with a bike is always: get another bike.
Until you find you can't get to the lawn mower because of a shed full of bicycles, several antiques that you're going to do up, one day, sitting in the loft, and warm up a spinner in the conservatory, whereupon significant other says, "no more!"
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Old 08-05-08, 08:50 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHohmeier View Post
Enough scouring the internet, it's time to just ask you guys. I recently purchased a Raleigh Detour 4.0, a smooth enjoyable ride. When visiting a friend in Denver last month, however, I borrowed and experienced my first single-speed road bike. Ever since, I've felt lacking performance from my comfort hybrid.
I don't regret my selection of the Detour -- it was really the only new quality bike I could afford -- but I'm interested now in slowly increasing its performance where possible. I started easy with raising the seat and lowering the bars (as much as I could. Darn near bent an allen wrench on that bolt). I also replaced the bulky stock comfort seat with something a little harder and narrower. When I can afford it, I intend to ditch the "comfort riser" handlebars for butterflies or drop-downs.
What else can I do though to increase performance and peddling efficiency? How much is the more upright frame geometry going to limit me? Is it even possible for me to convert this to a road or cyclocross -- I'll settle for a performance hybrid? Is it unfair for me to compare a lightweight single-speed to a heavier multi-speed?
I love my bike, but sometime it's angles really bother me. Bottom line: I want to make sure my weight is less on my butt and more on my legs (and arms) and lay comfort on the altar for the sake of efficient peddling.

For reference: http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/hybr...?page=overview

Thanks for any wisdom or advice you might have on this general matter.

-brian
well, you want to get some trekking bars (they have more hand positions and allow you to get more aero... also they allow for the same components for your bike (brake levers and shifters...)

you want to get thinner tires (maybe 27 mm, that's what my LBS recommended and I am going to try...)

it will cost about 60 to 100 $$... depending on tires and cost of bar...
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Old 08-05-08, 05:40 PM   #17
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well, you want to get some trekking bars (they have more hand positions and allow you to get more aero... also they allow for the same components for your bike (brake levers and shifters...)

you want to get thinner tires (maybe 27 mm, that's what my LBS recommended and I am going to try...)

it will cost about 60 to 100 $$... depending on tires and cost of bar...
That's what I like to hear: never give up on the possibilities of a good bike. Don't get me wrong - I would LOVE to get my hands on a nice light used road bike, but it's just not in the cards right now. Plus Sheldon Brown says that hybrids can make "OK" touring bikes. Good enough for me. There's my ambition.
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