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Old 02-18-13, 03:39 AM   #1
The Scotsman
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New Bike make a difference?

Just need some suggestions, I have been cycling to work for 3 years now, 12 miles a day, I have a mountain bike alluminum frame, 24 speed, and 26" by 1.5 marathon tires, So far it has been good to me, problem now is, my work is moving probably another 2-3 miles, so it is going to obviously add time to my daily routine, also more hills likely to be involved.

My question is:
I have been considering replacing my bike for a hybrid, I don't know if the different wheel size and larger frame would make my trip less strenuous, or would I not see any real difference in performance? I haven't to considered a road bike as I am not too keen on the handlebars position, and also the gearing I think would not help going up hills, also while my trip is 80% road, the other 20% is on sidewalk due to the road being dangerously busy.
I do love my bike, but if it is going to be worth changing then that is what I would do, I have never ridden a hybrid, so what I know about them is limited, and I don't want to waste money on something that is going to be more or less the same as what I have.
Any comments appreciated guys.
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Old 02-18-13, 07:49 AM   #2
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Consider a cyclocross bike. Rides like a road bike, or at least much different than a mtn. bike. After commuting on a Trek 7000 for 12 years I switched to a cyclocross bike, and it is much more fun to ride. Mine is a cross check. Not sure what there is to not like about the bars, but there are many options out there for different CX bikes and bars. Kona Jake is another popular CX bike, but same bars as the cross check. Go to your LBS and try one out, then decide.

I personally would not recommend a hybrid, only thing it has on your present bike is slightly larger wheels. You bike will likely climb better anyway, assuming it is geared for climbing. Most mtn. Bikes are.
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Old 02-18-13, 08:04 AM   #3
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Your mtn bike will climb better or I should say "easier" than anything else but they are slower. If your commute will increase in distance by 2-3 miles changing bikes will not make much difference. Allowing a little more time would be needed. A road bike or cyclocross bike is faster and more nimble and actually more fun like mentioned above but you lose the utilitarian aspect of the mtn bike as it lends itself to be a multiuse all terrain commuter. You can also put commuter bars or offset mtn bike bars on a cyclocross or road bike if you choose that. I have tried those out and they were almost as comfortable as a mountain bike after that simple change.
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Old 02-18-13, 08:28 AM   #4
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Personally, I am always looking for an excuse to get another bike. Why not keep the mountain bike and get something truly different, like a road or cross bike? A lot of mtn bikers are scared away from road bike due to the handlebars, but drop bars just give you more alternatives for riding positions. Riding on the tops or the hoods should be little different than flat bars, and drops provide welcome relief in windy weather and long rides. Unless your roads are really bad, a road bike should be able to handle any sort of pavement and allow you ride much faster and more efficiently. You can find plenty of cross and road (touring and sport touring) bikes that will handle 32 mm tires or larger, which should be sufficient to handle almost any paved roads.
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Old 02-18-13, 08:34 AM   #5
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Personally, I am always looking for an excuse to get another bike. Why not keep the mountain bike and get something truly different, like a road or cross bike? A lot of mtn bikers are scared away from road bike due to the handlebars, but drop bars just give you more alternatives for riding positions. Riding on the tops or the hoods should be little different than flat bars, and drops provide welcome relief in windy weather and long rides. Unless your roads are really bad, a road bike should be able to handle any sort of pavement and allow you ride much faster and more efficiently. You can find plenty of cross and road (touring and sport touring) bikes that will handle 32 mm tires or larger, which should be sufficient to handle almost any paved roads.
That is a possibility, I could try out a road bike and see how it feels, how would they be up hills, the gearing is a bit different isn't it?
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Old 02-18-13, 08:43 AM   #6
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If your current bike has a suspension then getting a bike without one could help some, especially on the hills. I wouldn't expect huge differences in time over a 9 mile distance by using a different bike. Maybe 5 minutes. 10 minutes at the outside. Could be more like 2 minutes or even 0 minutes.

As others have said, drop bars can make your life easier with headwinds. I think a lot people are more turned off by the riding position that many road bikes put you in rather than the drop bars themselves. Road bikes can be found that don't have the extreme drop from saddle to bars.

If you'd really prefer a hybrid there are lots of different bikes that fall into that category. I'd recommend what really amounts to a flat bar road bike.

Unless these are really steep hills I wouldn't worry about gearing too much. Even road bikes are available with triples or compact doubles which are adequate to get you up most anything (with a road).
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Old 02-18-13, 08:45 AM   #7
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If I was considering a road bike, anything I should avoid? I have no idea what to buy, but also not in position to spend a load of money, mid range. e.g how many gears, considering i will be riding some hills, brakes?
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Old 02-18-13, 09:08 AM   #8
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Weight is the most important thing. A lighter bike will definitely be faster, and it could be more pleasant, because a light bike rewards you for increasing your effort. The way it responds to hard pedaling is less body-punishing than a heavy bike. I believe that one reason heavy bikes are slow is obviously the efficiency of converting power to motion. The other is the fact that each bike has a different cutoff point where adding effort becomes unpleasant. That cutoff point is higher with a lightweight bike than with a heavy bike.

Road bike encompasses road racing, cyclo-cross, sport-touring, touring, and various other designs. 700c wheels are almost always the size now. Lightweight wheels can go to astonishingly high prices, so the sky is the limit, but the more you spend, the lighter they'll be. If you ride with good form, it's possible to get long life out of any wheel set, even if you buy high-end racing wheels. This is if you don't put a lot of cargo weight on the bike. Believe it or not, a lightweight racing bike is perfectly suitable for people who don't carry much and like the way it rides.

Also, your choice of tire is even more important. If you get light tires and learn how to avoid flats, you'll fall in love with them. Tires are worth whatever you spend, and it pays to buy nice tires.
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Old 02-18-13, 09:19 AM   #9
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A road bike should be faster than a mtn bike, particularly on hills. However, as Greg LeMond said, "It doesn't get any easier, you just get faster." I can easily finish my one-way commute 10 minutes faster on road bike compared to a mtn bike.

Start by looking at "sport touring" models that are relatively light weight but have mounts for fenders and racks and clearance for larger tires. Some examples would be the Salsa Casseroll, Soma ES, Gunnar Sport. If considering a used bike, a lot of older Japanese bikes were sport touring models. Look for brands such as Lotus, Miyata, Shogun, Panasonic, Univega from the 1980s.
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Old 02-18-13, 09:47 AM   #10
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Thanks for your comments, i will check them out
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Old 02-18-13, 10:39 AM   #11
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You didn't specify your gearing, but a cassette change may be quite useful if you currently have an 11-3x.
Going to a 12-23 or 12-25/6 (or 13-2x)will give you much closer spaced gears and allow you to maintain a more EFFICIENT cadence.
For uphill, you can switch to the granny ring and actually use it.

http://www.amazon.com/SRAM-PG850-8-S.../dp/B003WOQ5DM
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Old 02-18-13, 11:06 AM   #12
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A road bike or cyclocross bike is faster and more nimble and actually more fun like mentioned above but you lose the utilitarian aspect of the mtn bike as it lends itself to be a multiuse all terrain commuter.
A cyclocross bike IS a mutiuse terrain commuter.

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Old 02-18-13, 11:24 AM   #13
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I'd just get an old steel road bike with forks/stays big enough for cross tires, and throw some handlebars on there that match your preference.


Personally I prefer just using road tires on my commuter. I used cyclocross tires for a while (mixed road and sidewalk commute like yours, but much shorter) but ended up switching back to regular road tires (Although I went with non-tiny ones, maybe 700c x 21ish? maybe a hair bigger?). I didn't feel like the few sidewalks and dirt patches I rode over gave my road tires enough problems to justify the speed loss (which really isn't much, so don't worry) of cross tires.

Of course, if you aren't broke like myself and don't mind buying something brand-new, a new cross bike would be dandy, I'm just new-bike averse. (Besides, you miss all the fun of rebuilding a junker!).
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Old 02-18-13, 11:53 AM   #14
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if you wanted a bike for the rest of your life:

http://www.shandcycles.com/frames/

personally, to all people on this side of the Atlantic I recommend VSF as they're very hard to beat for the money (they retail for starting at €499):

http://www.fahrradmanufaktur.de/bikes/

here's an example of a Englishman describing why he likes them and where to buy them in the UK:

http://www.jonworth.eu/bringing-germ...ure-to-the-uk/
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Old 02-18-13, 11:57 AM   #15
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New bikes bring great joy.
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Old 02-18-13, 12:19 PM   #16
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Hi Tom,

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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Weight is the most important thing. A lighter bike will definitely be faster, and it could be more pleasant, because a light bike rewards you for increasing your effort. The way it responds to hard pedaling is less body-punishing than a heavy bike.
If somebody was not climbing hills (the OP is), then the weight of a bike is almost irrelevant, except to somebody who's racing. Once it's up to speed, there's very little difference between a light bike and a heavy bike.

If you are climbing hills, weight matters. But it's total weight (bike + rider + stuff) that matters. At my weight, a 10 lbs difference in bike weight is less than a 5% difference over all.

Lighter bikes often have better (lower friction) hubs/wheels and higher pressure tires (lower rolling resistance) and that can make a big difference, similar to what you describe above.

Cheers,
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Old 02-18-13, 12:38 PM   #17
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I've been commuting on mountain bikes for 2 years. Just decided to get a road bike this weekend - wanted something lighter and faster. At points on my commute I have to carry the bike up several sets of stairs, etc.... even though my MB is pretty light, it can be a load.

I'll probably throw some GatorSkins on there to be safe - I do a fair amount of night riding and it's impossible to avoid every piece of bad road.
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Old 02-18-13, 12:39 PM   #18
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Hi Tom,
If somebody was not climbing hills (the OP is), then the weight of a bike is almost irrelevant, except to somebody who's racing. Once it's up to speed, there's very little difference between a light bike and a heavy bike.

If you are climbing hills, weight matters. But it's total weight (bike + rider + stuff) that matters. At my weight, a 10 lbs difference in bike weight is less than a 5% difference over all.

Lighter bikes often have better (lower friction) hubs/wheels and higher pressure tires (lower rolling resistance) and that can make a big difference, similar to what you describe above.

Cheers,
Charles
It isn't just the overall weight, its where the weight sits. If you have to spin the weight, you will be slower than just strapping on the weight, so lighter wheels, tires, pedals and shoes do a lot for speed and reduced effort. That said, the best way to reduce effort is just to slow down and gear down. If speed matters on your commute, you are bound to be frustrated by lights/stop signs and traffic that will slow you down much more than weight. Just my $.02.
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Old 02-18-13, 01:49 PM   #19
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I swapped my folding bike to a 29er mountain bike for my commute. The primary motive was comfort: I wanted the plushest tires possible under me. The 29er makes me 1-2mph faster on the same trip. It hardly feels like a difference on my 10 mile trip. I haven't changed my alarm clock. Comfort is king on my commuter bike; I wouldn't swap this bike for anything else because it's so damn nice to ride.

Unless you're really getting the maximum out of your bike, arriving all depleted and sweaty, I don't think it's a good investment to change the bike for anything. And a hybrid is going to be pretty close to your mtb anyway if you ask me, so that'd definitely be money down the drain.

Short summary of my opinion: if you haul ass all the time, get road bike. If you drive calmly, keep mtb. Don't get hybrid.
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Old 02-18-13, 02:14 PM   #20
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It isn't just the overall weight, its where the weight sits. If you have to spin the weight, you will be slower than just strapping on the weight, so lighter wheels, tires, pedals and shoes do a lot for speed and reduced effort. That said, the best way to reduce effort is just to slow down and gear down. If speed matters on your commute, you are bound to be frustrated by lights/stop signs and traffic that will slow you down much more than weight. Just my $.02.
For purposes of acceleration, the weight of the tires/rims (but not hubs) counts as a factor of two because of the rotational energy. But light set of wheels are what? 0.5 kg lighter than a heavier set? So, factor of two, we're talking an effective total of 1kg. Compared to a 50kg rider, we're talking 2%. For climbing, heavier wheels is the same as a heavier bike. For top speed on the flats, it matters almost not at all.

Finding tires that have lower rolling resistant tires can make a big difference.

Cheers,
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Old 02-18-13, 02:25 PM   #21
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cplager, we may need to agree to disagree. I feel weight differences in a major way, and they make a big difference in speed for me. It matters whether I'm climbing or riding on the flats.

However, if I'm carrying cargo of significant mass, then the weight of the bike doesn't matter.
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Old 02-18-13, 02:43 PM   #22
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For purposes of acceleration, the weight of the tires/rims (but not hubs) counts as a factor of two because of the rotational energy. But light set of wheels are what? 0.5 kg lighter than a heavier set? So, factor of two, we're talking an effective total of 1kg. Compared to a 50kg rider, we're talking 2%.
And that rotating mass difference only matters when accelerating and decelerating. Heavier wheels accelerate AND decelerate more slowly. Total time over a course at a constant power will be identical, whether the weight is in the wheels, on the frame, or in the belly. Momentum is momentum, mass is mass, energy is conserved. Physics 101.

All these "I feel the difference" comments are irrelevant.
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Old 02-18-13, 02:48 PM   #23
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Hi Tom,

Quote:
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
cplager, we may need to agree to disagree. I feel weight differences in a major way, and they make a big difference in speed for me. It matters whether I'm climbing or riding on the flats.

However, if I'm carrying cargo of significant mass, then the weight of the bike doesn't matter.
I have no problem agreeing to disagree.

Are you riding two different bicycles with the same tires at the same pressure? I'm willing to bet that this has a much bigger difference than the weight of the bike.

In general for flats, physics says it's the total weight of the bike + rider that matters (for accelerating, the weight of the rims/tires counts double, but this is generally a small effect).

One exception to this that has to do with feel and not speed is that heavier tires/rims have more angular momentum and make the bike feel more stable, less responsive. So if you are doing a slalom course, you might be able to tell the difference with heavy wheels compared to light ones.

Note that almost every bike store I've been to when asked has quoted the same thing that you have: that lighter wheels are important. If you are not racing, then their importance has been greatly over-stated.

Cheers,
Charles
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Old 02-18-13, 02:59 PM   #24
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And that rotating mass difference only matters when accelerating and decelerating. Heavier wheels accelerate AND decelerate more slowly. Total time over a course at a constant power will be identical, whether the weight is in the wheels, on the frame, or in the belly. Momentum is momentum, mass is mass, energy is conserved. Physics 101.

All these "I feel the difference" comments are irrelevant.
But there are a lot of different forces at work. Even though that air resistance plays a huge role in the fuel efficiency of a car, manufacturers also do what they can to reduce weight. They wouldn't do that if it didn't matter.
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Old 02-18-13, 03:37 PM   #25
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Most commuting, you often have to use your brakes which wastes all that energy put into accelerating the extra mass. It adds up. Which is why I coast to stops, lazy cyclist that I am.

I started out commuting on a touring geometry bike, then a little on mountain bikes and finally conventional road bikes. I miss the touring bike some times, the longer wheel base and rack and fender capabilities. OP at least try some of them out; objectively you get the best of the cyclocross bike for commuting purposes and better in other ways.
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