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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Thinking (just thinking!) of moving up...suggestions?

    After my first metric century the other day, I've begun doing some thinking about my next bike. I have two questions:

    1. Is there some kind of rule of thumb that would compare riding a knobby-tired low-end MTB on the street with a better bike equipped with thinner tires? In other words, I went a particular distance (in this case, 62 miles) on my Trek 3900. Had I been on, for instance, a Trek 7500 FX (or something similar) would it be reasonable to expect that I could have gone 10% further on the same effort? 20%? More? (In other words, would a better bike -- more appropriate bike -- make a Century more feasible?)

    2. My next bike will probably be a sub-$1000 hybrid (I like flatbars). Probably can't buy until Spring unless the deals are just completely irresistable. I know there's a ton of threads on this in the forum, but I'm asking particularly from the 50+ group -- any suggestions, recommendations, etc. as to which bike?
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  2. #2
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Stapfam is more likely to have a good answer comparing "x" miles on each bike. The good part, Gary, is the inevitable, inexorable, irresistable, God-help-all-cyclists (especially single ones on average incomes) urge to newer, better equipment. Back when you first put foot to pedal earlier this year, that new bike you're planning to buy was already "purchased forward".......your 62 miler just nailed it down tighter. LOLOLOL.

    I think you will notice a greater sense of glide and smoothness and grace out on the road with a lighter frame, smoother components, and tighter, thinner tires. That feeling is hard to resist and, when you're not sweating or wishing for a third lung, will entice you on to greater mileage...up to and including a century. I only ride road bikes because that's how I started. Try a few road bike configurations along with some hybrids. The more and farther you ride them, the more you'll develop that "feel" for what you and your body need and want to buy. Limited cycling budgets (that's me) have to look judiciously, but there are lots of options.

    Guess that was all vague enough....other posters will be more specific. But do consider a road style bike with bars up to or slightly above saddle height.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Gary,
    Look at the type of riding you are now doing, and for what you would like to do. Mountain bike now, but do you ever go offroad? Do you even go on Rough trails or tracks or is most of your riding done on tarmac?

    Mountain bikes are good and strong, they are readily available in all bike shops in all shapes, sizes, prices and capabilities. The same will go for all the other types of bikes, but a road bike may not be for you, a comfort bike is out of the question so I think you are looking at a hybrid. Basically this is a road bike with straight handlebars. (Others will correct me if I am wrong on this)

    Two names to look at

    Kona Dew/Dew Deluxe

    Specilaised Sequoia.


    These are two that I have seen on the road that even I have admired, but will give you a start into what to look at.

    Your current trek has been a good starter bike. It will be time to move on next year, But make certain that you have looked at all the posibilities on the types of bikes around before upgrading.

    By the way- I only ride mountain bikes, would never dream of any other bike, Don't want any other type of bike, so I am biased and will not offer to give you advice on what bike to get. Except get some proper knobblies on the trek, find some good muddy trails and go and enjoy yourself.Never know- you might enjoy falling off the bike into the only mud patch for miles, or swear at that hill that is impossible to ride.

    My mountain bike does do road rides. On knobblies I will average 15/16mph on the flat, With slicks on that will raise to 19/21 so slicks will help considerably on tarmac. On top of that, 65 miles on knobblies is enough for me, but last year I did 120 miles on slicks and could have done more. Well could have done if The saddle had not been so painfull after 8 hours non stop riding. That was one ride I should not have done as I was on high pressure tyres at 110psi. This was the ride where I noticed the Hybrids. They roll very easily, and it did take some effort on my part to stay with them. Especially up the hills, even with my MTB gearing.
    Last edited by stapfam; 10-11-05 at 02:08 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    In my experience, I get between 10 to 15 percent extra mileage/speed for the same effort with my red racer (23 mm tires at 130 psig) vs. my hybrid bike (37 mm tires at 90 psig). The difference should be even greater with knobby MTB tires. Of course, there's no reason not to run the narrower, higher pressure tires on the hybrid if I want to.

    In fact, I'll probably move the 37 mm tires from the hybrid to my fixed-gear bike and refit narrower tires to my hybrid. If you like hybrids, look at Kona's Dew and at the Specialized models. Good values both places.

    I'll probably also fit narrow, high-pressure tires to my touring bike that I'm building. Since I want a maximum number of hand positions on the (long-distance) tourer, I'll probably fit aero bars to that bike too. You might consider adding aero bars to your hybrid - you might like them!

    Happy shopping!

  5. #5
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    Well, my opinion is as follows:

    1) A road bike with drop bars will take you about 20% further for the same expenditure of energy. Of course you'll have to put up with a sore neck and tired arms and numb hands until you get your position right and get used to riding the drop bars.

    2) For $1K I would suggest buying a fairly good road bike off of Ebay or roadbikereview.com classified ads.

    Believe me, you may have to fiddle a lot with position in order to get it right, but you won't regret riding a road bike.

    Think about Grant Peterson who for some reason always seemed to have a good idea where bikes are concerned:

    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/htm...fposition.html

  6. #6
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    I think you should at least test drive a couple of road bikes, Gary. You might like them more than you think. But, I have to say I love my Jamis Coda Elite hybrid. They have three hybrids, the Elite being the most costly, but I've test ridden the Sport, which is pretty inexpensive and it was pretty nice...especially for the money. They are a bit heavier because they're made out of steel, but, man, do they give a great comfortable ride.

    So, I'd get out there are test drive quite a few bikes and buy one that suits you best.

    But, do try the Jamis if you get the chance.

  8. #8
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    I don't know the answer to your second question. But you will love, really love, narrower, less knobby tires (even on a mt bike if riding on the road). You'll think you could challenge Lance Armstrong.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  9. #9
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Gary, if you don't get a road bike. you will end up kicking yourself in the butt!

    And, the next time I am in San Diego, I will come to your place and do the same.

    There are plenty of great road bikes for less than $1,000. Plenty.

    It is like a sports car (roadie) as opposed to a Buick (hybrid) as opposed to a Jeep (mtn bike).

    Live, live, live.

    Don't be afraid of a road bike. I LOVE mine and I am many years older than you.

    Go for it.
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  10. #10
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Gary, you've unleashed a torrent sorta. Comes down to.....if you want to cover increasing miles as smoothly and efficiently as possible, then a roadbike is the best of the upright machines. DF is right: they are not just for those who are lean and ride with flat backs parallel to the road. Drop bars (especially with aero attached) offer the greatest array of hand positions and the most comfortable long distance position on an upright bike. If you want to build personal speed and sustain it (and you will), again-- a road bike is your ticket to the horizon.

    Naturally, that's a generalization.....we're all unique.....but promise yourself to try all kinds of bikes--and then imagine yourself at the end of next summer...will a hybrid be just what you'll want for a long time after, or just a means to your final end....a road bike.
    Your metric century puts you into the league of people who are "serious about road riding"...and most of them are on road bikes of some sort. Worth consideration.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Test ride a Giant OCR3 carbon fiber bike. If you don't like the handlebars, have them switched over to a flat bar with curved bar ends and trigger shifters. This is over $1,000, but will last you forever.

  12. #12
    Senior Member doghouse's Avatar
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    Hey Gary,

    I was in your area a couple of weeks ago. Wish I had brought my bike!

    With 7500FX experience, I agree with the other folks. Add the road bike if you can afford to have two. You have a nice MTN bike and could put on some smooth, narrower tires and keep your straight bars.

    I bought my 7500FX in 2003 for the "fitness and exercise" part, and just could not see myself on a road bike. It rode great on the shorter distances of 10 to 25 miles. Beyond that, and I ran out of places to put my hands, even with bar ends. So for two years I did not ride very much.

    This year I really got the bug and wanted to be out more. Looking for the cheapest way out, I chose to add drop bars and sora shifters to the FX rather than get a new bike. (I also plan on replacing the 700x35 tires in the spring with 700x28's.) It works well enough for me to run 30 to 50 on a daily ride up and down the hills around middle TN and even gets me through the longer events too.

    While I was reinventing the wheel, my 19 year old son bought a 2005 Trek 1000 in UT orange on closeout for $550 out the door! I must admit, it rides better on the longer events, and is just an entry level bike.

    Now I regret not just selling my FX and buying a road bike. To realize that several mfgrs make road bikes with geometry similar to the hybrids only adds insult to injury.

  13. #13
    Jim Shapiro
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    After my first metric century the other day, I've begun doing some thinking about my next bike. I have two questions:

    1. Is there some kind of rule of thumb that would compare riding a knobby-tired low-end MTB on the street with a better bike equipped with thinner tires? In other words, I went a particular distance (in this case, 62 miles) on my Trek 3900. Had I been on, for instance, a Trek 7500 FX (or something similar) would it be reasonable to expect that I could have gone 10% further on the same effort? 20%? More? (In other words, would a better bike -- more appropriate bike -- make a Century more feasible?)

    2. My next bike will probably be a sub-$1000 hybrid (I like flatbars). Probably can't buy until Spring unless the deals are just completely irresistable. I know there's a ton of threads on this in the forum, but I'm asking particularly from the 50+ group -- any suggestions, recommendations, etc. as to which bike?
    Here's my (minority) opinion, from someone who presently has 7 bikes and has ridden everything, road, cyclocross, touring, mountain, fixed-gear, folding, shaft-drive, old and new. I have two $1000+ Bianchis and a Trek 7000 mountain bike, but I always seem to gravitate to my 2 1980's Centurions, one a fixed gear (that I built up), the other a touring bike. The former cost me $50, the latter $15 (on sale!). Both have drop bars, in-line brake levers and nice seats. I enjoy both Centurions and never worry about them getting stolen (I don't even lock either up when I bike to breakfast!). I keep up with folks my age (64) on my old bikes and can fix every part on them. Works for me, anyway.

    Jim

  14. #14
    Senior Member bernmart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Gary,
    I think you are looking at a hybrid. Basically this is a road bike with straight handlebars. (Others will correct me if I am wrong on this)

    Two names to look at

    Kona Dew/Dew Deluxe

    Specilaised Sequoia.


    These are two that I have seen on the road that even I have admired, but will give you a start into what to look at.
    The Specialized Sequoia is in no sense a hybrid. It has drop handlebars, 700x25 tires, and a relaxed but definitely road bike geometry. It's a pretty light, nimble, fast-handling road bike, with braze-ons for a rack, etc. If I were a hard-core racer (an amusing thought) I'd go for something more radically designed, but as is it's an excellent all-rounder: to my mind, what a road bike should be. As you can tell, I love mine.
    Specialized Roubaix Pro
    Specialized Sequoia Elite

  15. #15
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Since you live in an area that has good bike weather year round and some flat terrain, I would suggest a single speed or a fixed gear bike. They are fast, light and responsive. Set up with a "flip-flop" hub you can have a single speed freewheel on one side and a fixed cog on the other.... best of both worlds. For exercise, you can't beat a fixed gear. It won't let you slack off. If you wan't to take it easy on the way home, flip the wheel over and use the freewheel side so you can coast and enjoy the scenery. There are several top quality fixed gear/single speeds on the market now. Look for the Raliegh Rush Hour, Soma Rush, IRO mark V and Rob Roy, Bianchi Pista SE from Harris...... there are others but these are all under $1,000.00..... most by quite a lot. You can put a set of bullhorn bars on any of these for a more upright riding position.

    Some food for thought:

    SINGLE SPEED

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  16. #16
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Getting late and I'm getting goofy, but look what I found at eBay:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Bridgestone-XO-1...QQcmdZViewItem

    A Bridgestone Xo-1...prototype for some current Rivendells. If you want a hybrid, and you want speed, and nimbleness with stability (sounds like bad copy for Bicycling, then this is one of those "niche" bikes that can do it. Rode a borrowed XO-l for a month....great commuter and the moustache bars were the ultimate for climbing. Some like moustache for long rides, some don't. Put a $50 aero bar on the bar sleeves and hit the high road on some 700x25's or dirt roads on 700x38's.

    Anyway, an interesting, hybrid/road mix that will fly as you wish. Many choices Gary!
    Going to bed here.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  17. #17
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great suggetions and ideas. Guess I better try out a few road bikes as well! The reason I was shying away from them was a worry about my back being able to handle it; a disc problem I had a dozen years ago seems to be recurring (and I'm taking care of it).

    But I'll try the roadies anyway. In fact, I've nothing to lose by trying all sorts of bikes over the next few months, until the LBS's start locking their doors when they see me coming!
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  18. #18
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Regarding backs and drop bars: don't be put off by racer-boys or slick ads with bars 3 inches or more below the saddle. Many of us ride with drop bars very nearly level with the saddle...and some, as Rivendell suggests, above saddle height. I have two tilted vertebrae in my lower back that can be touchy. Often, with a sore back, that 45 degree angle when I'm on the hoods along with the movement of my legs loosens and warms my back and it often feels better after a ride. But, we're all uniquely different.

    Core strength is important for daily life and for long rides w/o back cramping-- which can afflict "normal" riders, too. Watch how many riders are getting off their saddles and arching/stretching their backs around mile 60. Anyway, drop bars can be set up at hybrid flat bar level and, with shallow drops, can give your back the same comfy angle when on the bar tops or hoods yet still offer a reasonable go-for-it-angle when "down on the hooks".

    Jeez...what are we doing up this late? 8-)
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  19. #19
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannyGear
    Jeez...what are we doing up this late? 8-)
    Good question! Just hanging out reading posts on BF, I suppose!

    Thanks for the info about setting up drop bars at hybrid flat bar level, because I hadn't considered that. That being the case, I'd have the best of both worlds it would seem.

    Geez, a few months ago all I wanted to do was get a bike so I could have some fun, and now I'm thinking about what I need so i can do a century and generally ride longer rides more often. And learning all about geometry and saddles and clipless and so on and so forth. Who wudda thunk it?
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  20. #20
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Hey, as long as you are having all this fun, you might consider a recumbent, given your back.
    Gone from the 50+ forum. - Email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for fun new group of 50+ folks

  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bernmart
    The Specialized Sequoia is in no sense a hybrid. It has drop handlebars, 700x25 tires, and a relaxed but definitely road bike geometry. It's a pretty light, nimble, fast-handling road bike, with braze-ons for a rack, etc. If I were a hard-core racer (an amusing thought) I'd go for something more radically designed, but as is it's an excellent all-rounder: to my mind, what a road bike should be. As you can tell, I love mine.
    Stand corrected. The bike I saw was a Specialised Cirrus.

    Looked at the web site today, and Specialised do various forms of the Cirrus, starting from what is probably an economic price right up to taking the Bank manager out to dinner.

    Funny thing is- I looked at the mountain bikes aswell, and There is not one of them that caught my eye. It was the Cirrus, the Sequoia, and a cyclocross one that caught my attention. Think I'll stay with my Cannondale and the Bianchi. I know how they ride, and They don't mind a bit of neglect and mud.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    The reason I was shying away from them was a worry about my back being able to handle it; a disc problem I had a dozen years ago seems to be recurring (and I'm taking care of it).

    Seems that we're talking handle bar height here. With the variety of stems available today there is no reason that the bars can't be placed above the seat height.

    There is a night and day difference in riding long distances on mountain, comfort, hybrid, and road bikes. Road bikes win hands down. What you have to do is customize a road bike to your liking. First find a bike that you like and is equipped as close as possible to what you're looking for. Then swap out the bars ,seat, stem, wheels, tires, or whatever else you dont like.
    LD riders do this all the time.

    For my distance riding, I ride a touring bike, a Trek 520. It's a road bike with very comfortable geometry. Another bike to look at is the Bianchi Volpe. It can be made into a touring machine, but for your purposes is an excellent platform for riding Long Distance.

    As comfortable as my 520 is, and it's comfortable, my Lemond Zurich is even more comfortable. The Zurick, at about $2500, is out of your price range, however Lemond has less expensive road bikes that share the Zurich's geometry, so they may be worth a look.
    I'm just trying to be the person my dog thinks I am.

  23. #23
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    My next bike will probably be a sub-$1000 hybrid (I like flatbars). Probably can't buy until Spring unless the deals are just completely irresistable. I know there's a ton of threads on this in the forum, but I'm asking particularly from the 50+ group -- any suggestions, recommendations, etc. as to which bike?
    Gary, take a look at the Specialized Sequoia. A base model is under $800. It's a roadbike, but more upright than a "typical" roadbike with the handlebars roughly level to the seat when you're on the hood. They were Linda's and my first road bikes. Responsive, lightweight, comfortable. Decent components on them too.

    You really should at least test drive a road bike. It's sort of the next step

    Take care,

    Steve

  24. #24
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Gary-I started out the same way as you. I started with a Trek Mtn bike and basically put 800 miles on it riding on the roads. At about 300 miles of the 800, I converted the knobbies to "inverts" and picked up about 10-15% in speed. Thus, assuming the same energy exertion that shows you how much difference tires can make.

    At 800 miles I went to my first road bike and picked up another 10% gain in speed over the inverts. I ride in an area with hills and rollers so I'm thinking the last improvement was due to reduced overall weight of the bike, improved aerodynamics plus going from platform to clipless pedals (cycling efficiency). There was also some improvement in the gearing of the road bike over the mountain bike-especially in the big chainring.

    When I bought the road bike, I got an adjustable stem so my riding position was not too drastically different than the mountain bike.

    Like others have mentioned, you can get a road bike fitted to accomodate your back issue. Based on my experience, I think you'd be really happy with a road bike after you've had some time on it.

    Best of luck with your choices. There are lots of options for sure!

  25. #25
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    Gary, this summer I faced some of the same issues you've raised here, except I rode my hybrid on a couple of centuries and several 75-mile rides. I developed wrist and elbow nerve problems from long hours on the flat bars. I've decided to try a road bike to see if the road bar will lessen the problem.

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