Yesterday was my one-year anniversary of bike commuting! I've gotten in much better shape, enjoy the freedom of not being in a car stuck in traffic, and have a much better attitude in general.
For Christmas, my wife got me a new Trek Allant to replace the Trek hybrid I was borrowing from my dad (an older 7300FX I think...). Comfortable to ride, upright position, came with fenders and a rack, seemed like a good choice.
After riding on it for the past 8 months, I've come to the conclusion that it's heavy, a nightmare in a headwind, and not the best choice for my hilly 14 mile roundtrip commute. What it is, is practical, durable, and reliable.
This all has me thinking about getting a road bike to use on the good weather days and save the Allant for shorter errands and rainy days. But I have a few questions:
1. I'm riding the whole way on asphalt, but I do hit the occasional pothole, piece of gravel, etc.. Will I damage lighter-weight road wheels? I'd probably be looking at 700x23 tires. My current bike is 700x32 inflated to 60-80psi and I haven't had any issues (although my front wheel could benefit from truing).
2. I'm not the "roadie" type. Will a dedicated road bike be too "aero" for me? Should I look at touring bikes instead? I tend to wear normal workout clothes and not Lycra. I find that my upright position helps cars see me better; my only close calls have been when I'm tucked coming down a hill.
3. Do all road bikes these days have rack mounts?
4. Do they still make brake levers that are usable in more than one drop bar position? It doesn't seem like you can get much brake leverage from the "hoods" position. On my downhills, I like to be in a "ready to slam on the brakes" position.
5. On my steepest hill, I drop into the smallest chainring (28). Are there road bikes with a triple chainring? It may be that the lighter weight/less rolling resistance eliminates the need for that, but I don't want to have to get off and walk.
5. Finally, any suggestions? Local dealers are Trek, Giant, Bianchi, and Jamis.