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  1. #1
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    Switch to Road-based bike?

    Hello, all; new(ish)bie here, wondering whether it's time to go over to the dark side? Thought I might canvass opinion/experience, as some of you may have had a similiar start/decision. Started riding again in summer 02 (now age 54), to get fit/commute etc. I suspect like many here, I used (70s/80s) to pile up the miles on a '10 spd', then left cycling behind. Began with, and still using a good, lightweight mtb (Giant Rainier, now) w/slicks. I really don't ride off-road much at all, and then only on wussy groomed singletrack adjacent to multi-use paths. But, I find (a) I'm addicted to cycling again, and (b) I'm starting consequently to pile up mileage (about 3000kms over each of the last two seasons). Obviously, I'm thinking I should be changing over to a road-based bike. So, my question really is: have any of you gone through a similiar pattern, and if so, how have you found the switch? Flat bar vs. drops? Frame material? etc. I am concerned about 'comfort', to some extent (incipient arthritis; somewhat limited flexibility) and safety: a lot of my mileage is accumulated commuting/riding in traffic. The problem is, of course, that 'test rides' don't really tell one much at all -- hence my interest in others' long term experience. Sorry for the long post, but any thoughts etc. on all this much appreciated. Cheers.

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    You can ride and enjoy cycling on any bike. I know several people who still ride old Schwinns and even supermarket bikes and enjoy them completely.

    But the high zoot stuff is generally easier to ride and hence easier to go faster and to rack up more miles on with limited physical ability.

    You take your pick. Maybe you'll like to keep your MTB and ride the heck out of it or like me become essentially a collector until you've filled all the available space with bikes that you like so much you don't want to change.

  3. #3
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Also 54. Returned to cycling in 2001 after a diagnoses of diabetes. Started with a Giant Sedona hybrid. After about 8 months realized I was wanting greater distance and was not using trails etc. I now ride a Specialized Roubaix which has a drop bar and is an Al/Carbon mixed frame. I find it comfortable and enjoyable. I do have the bar set a bit on the high side (haven't flipped the stem.) I try to get 100 miles per week when possible. I'm not pitching the Roubaix. It's just the ride I use. What I am saying is that after 3000 miles I am very pleased, and quite comfortable with a road bike.

    I kept the Sedona for several months after purchasing my first road bike. Didn't use it much though. My decision wasn't irreversible in other words, though I likely would have suffered some depreciation of value were I to have decided against the road bike after all.

    You are certainly right that a test drive alone still leaves you wondering whether the switch to road is the right thing. Can you rent a road bike for a week or borrow one from a friend? The setup may not be perfect or the same as one you might eventually buy but you should be able to learn a few things that way.

    One more thing - Make certain to tell the fitter/salesperson that one of your concerns is stability. There is awide variety of frame types out there. Some are twitchy. Others much more genteel.
    Last edited by webist; 12-01-05 at 01:00 PM. Reason: Spelling and typos
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    Thank you both for the replies (so far)--much appreciated. Tom: I agree with you completely, but budget/space and personal inclination dictate one bike, and as well -- I am getting the 'see how far/fast I can go/develop within age/genetic limitations' itch! In a way, too bad for me, but there it is!
    Webist: very helpful. As it happens, I have to watch (out for the development of) diabetes (family history), hence one reason for the return to bikes. The Roubaix or similiar is certainly the kind of bike I'm considering (i.e. OCR, Roubaix, Pilot or similiar); I've ruled out bikes with a twitchier crit geometry; at the same time, I'm not ready (don't think) to do the 'full Rivendell' thing! Cheers.

  5. #5
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Badger, we're on the same journey. I've posted in other threads about my new search for a roadie. Today I'm off to try a couple of Treks -- the 1000, maybe the 1200, and the Pilot 2.1 (I think it's called.)

    Best of luck to us both!
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    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    Badger, we're on the same journey. I've posted in other threads about my new search for a roadie. Today I'm off to try a couple of Treks -- the 1000, maybe the 1200, and the Pilot 2.1 (I think it's called.)

    Best of luck to us both!
    Sorry Gary but in my opinion, you can go better than Trek's for the same money.Go back to the Specialised or Cannondale you tried last week and even look at Giant- Not my favourite bike, but they do make good road bikes. Then there are the other manufacturers that may be worth looking at second hand to get a real deal- so keep looking.

    I started on mountain bikes, and stayed on mountain bikes. I do have an old Bianchi road bikethat is collecting dust, but I do not enjoy road biking or road bikes. The majority of my riding is offroad because of the range of hills we have that just cry out to be ridden. Within 6 miles of where I live- I can can take such a variety of trails that I can take 50 different rides in the year. Cant see the interest in riding on the overcrowded roads, taking my life in car drivers hands, when I can damage myself through my own fault up on the hills- or rather the Downhills. Still do a few road rides, and all I do for them is change to slick Tyres, and still do a 65 miler in 4 hours. 100 milers take longer as that is where I find the drawbacks to riding a bike that is not suitable for long distance. Still, 100 milers do not agree with me in any case so only do a couple each year, but then do the highlight- 100 miles offroad and I couldn't do that on a road bike. Wheras, my MTB will go anywhere.
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    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger1
    Hello, all; new(ish)bie here, wondering whether it's time to go over to the dark side?
    "Dark Side?" LOL, you have no idea of the power of the Dark Side. Try to find a TourEasy to test ride. But remember: once you are seduced there is no turning back. Since you are a Badger, are you in Wisconsin?

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    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Well, ya know that I have the same issue, but just with road bikes -- wondering what I am missing not riding CF, or Ti, or steel. That's why I'm going to actively experiment; I can only learn a thing or two. It's difficult to tell much in a road test -- if you could do a long ride on each bike you wanted to try out, that would be a better test.

    Quote Originally Posted by webist
    ...You are certainly right that a test drive alone still leaves you wondering whether the switch to road is the right thing. Can you rent a road bike for a week or borrow one from a friend? The setup may not be perfect or the same as one you might eventually buy but you should be able to learn a few things that way.

  9. #9
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    I agree with Jazzy above......the bike you circle the LBS parking lot in and buy, and what you end up with a over the years, are often different. Stems, bars, saddles, seatpostss, etc. tend to evolve (with the didn't-work-outs filling a box in your garage). I have one bike that annually goes from dt's to bar-ends. Currently, it has a moustache bar with aero bar, fat Pasellas,and is good for city, sightseeing, or a roll in the country. It started out as a basic sport tourer, still is, but is far different and now uniquely suited to a personal use I need..

    Point: Changes to a given bike can make some appreciable changes in the way you ride, experience, and regard your bike. A road can't become a mtn bike, but it can be altered dramatically with bolt ons, tire changes, etc. You're not absolutely stuck with the bike as bought.
    Last edited by GrannyGear; 12-01-05 at 07:41 PM.
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  10. #10
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Sorry Gary but in my opinion, you can go better than Trek's for the same money.Go back to the Specialised or Cannondale you tried last week and even look at Giant- Not my favourite bike, but they do make good road bikes. Then there are the other manufacturers that may be worth looking at second hand to get a real deal- so keep looking.
    Well, Stepfam, as I have mentioned in another thread, I may have found my true love, and yep, she's a Trek, the 7.6 FX hybrid. Who'da thunk?

    But I do appreciate the advice. Thanks!
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  11. #11
    Senior Member granularus's Avatar
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    I started back riding at 47 - I had always had a bike, but wanted a good one to ride regularly, thus I went to the local store and got a specialized Crossroads - plush saddle, handle bars higher than the saddle etc. In three months I gained tremendously in fitness, and wanted to go faster, so I bought a Specialized Sirrus (flat bar roadie) because I "knew" that I'd never be flexible enough for drops. Six months later, I got an Allez Elite (basically a road bike for criterions). I got a size larger than the race oriented store would have put me on (a 56 instead of a 54 - basically the "Eddie" fit size from the Comptetive Cyclist fit computer). I have no problem riding it (except finding enough time), I have the handlebar about 3 cm below the saddle. I'm 49 now, but I would think that as long as you don't go with a "race" fit, drops would be fine. I'm planning on fitting drops on the Sirrus as it is now my poor weather bike , I'm also thinking of flipping the stem on the Allez, as I could now ride comfortably with lower handlebars.

    The basic message is - get the drops, the extra hand positions are useful - you'll want one eventually anyway.

  12. #12
    Are we having fun yet? Prosody's Avatar
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    I went back to cycling in 2002, also, and started with a Trek hybrid. One year later I bought a Fuji Roubaix and find it much more comfortable than the hybrid, not to mention lighter and more responsive. For a road bike you should look for a frame big enough, one with a head tube long enough to allow the handlebars to be near the same height as the saddle. I think my bars are about 1-2 cm. lower than the saddle, and I find that comfortable, even with a 51-year-old's neck.
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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I was on a "road specific" bike when I started riding again. I just moved up to a better one. If I'd had a mountain bike, the move would have been sooner. I still have my older son's MTB hanging in the garage if needed. There are many road specific bikes that will last you forever, and give many comfortable miles of riding.
    Last edited by Dchiefransom; 02-08-09 at 10:42 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
    ...There are many road specific bikes that will last you forever, and give many comfortable miles of riding.
    Hi Dchiefransom!

    I notice all your thumbnails are of LWB models. I'm eyeing that batch as well, and one that appeals to me (but doesn't appear in your thumbnails) is the Turner TNT. Are you aware of that one and what might you think of it in relation to those you picture?

    Thanks!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger1
    Hello, all; new(ish)bie here, wondering whether it's time to go over to the dark side? Thought I might canvass opinion/experience, as some of you may have had a similiar start/decision. Started riding again in summer 02 (now age 54), to get fit/commute etc. I suspect like many here, I used (70s/80s) to pile up the miles on a '10 spd', then left cycling behind. Began with, and still using a good, lightweight mtb (Giant Rainier, now) w/slicks. I really don't ride off-road much at all, and then only on wussy groomed singletrack adjacent to multi-use paths. But, I find (a) I'm addicted to cycling again, and (b) I'm starting consequently to pile up mileage (about 3000kms over each of the last two seasons). Obviously, I'm thinking I should be changing over to a road-based bike. So, my question really is: have any of you gone through a similiar pattern, and if so, how have you found the switch? Flat bar vs. drops? Frame material? etc. I am concerned about 'comfort', to some extent (incipient arthritis; somewhat limited flexibility) and safety: a lot of my mileage is accumulated commuting/riding in traffic. The problem is, of course, that 'test rides' don't really tell one much at all -- hence my interest in others' long term experience. Sorry for the long post, but any thoughts etc. on all this much appreciated. Cheers.
    This is my 4th year of cycling on a road bike. The decision from hybrid to road was easy. The frame material was simpler due to budget. I got the steel alloy and it happened to be on sale. I think fortunate for me it was a good traditional geometry bike. The thing that slowed me down for a while was injuries. I had to go to a chiropractor and then to a professional bike fitter. These two I believe helped more than frame material. The bike fitter also is is her 50's and continues to race and is a coach. So I had to correct the bad form as well as to fine tune my fit. So don't concentrate too much on the bike but think about your aging body and surround yourself with the kind of help you cannot automatically get at a local bike shop. I live in Southern Calif and there happens to be plenty of coaches, good professional fitters, and health professionals who know sports.

    As for the bike, its a Cervelo Prodigy which isn't made anymore. Cervelo put its resources behind the Tour de France and the CSC team. The Prodigy might come back but I think it will be a carbon fiber material.

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    Here's my two cents:

    I went the other way. Started as a roadie, years on the rode bike a Trek, lots of miles by myself and lots of rides with fast groups. Then a few months ago I bought a Trek MTB with full suspension. I became convinced that I could ride it in the colder weather on trails than I might be able to ride the road bike out in the open. So, that I have done and I enjoy the MTB'ing immensely. Its a whole new set of skills I'm trying to develop, getting over logs, tree roots, short steep technical climbs.

    But now, when I get back on my road bike it is so impressive, it feels like a Ferrari. So smooth, fast and controllable. A real joy to pedal. I love them both.

    At the same time I wouldnt worry too much about pampering your body with friendly geometry, etc. I find you can do pretty much the same stuff you could years ago, you just have to slow it up a bit. I'm 56 by the way.

    Cheers

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    Well -- many thanks again to all for the replies; lots of food for thought, and good conversation in a sense, no? Not in Wisconsin, but am in the Great White North. The mtb/road thing is interesting; problem is, where I am (SW Ontario) there is essentially no off-roading unless one loads the bike into car/drives to trailhead -- something that's always seemed (not that there's anything wrong with it) a little oxymoronic to me, I guess! Hence the switch I'm contemplating -- I'm more of a 'go out the door/get on the bike' type. Mtb w/slicks DOES work 'well enough' on the road --but I suppose that 'well enough' is the point. My hesitation over bars (flat or drop) again has to do with what I've come to recognize as my riding habits/preferences; a lot of my distance on the bike is accumulated commuting, either in heavyish traffic or on muti-use paths populated by 6-abreast joggers on cell-phones, dogs on those bloody expanding leashes, strollers, more cell-phone/i-pod users, etc. -- you get the picture. Seems to me that flats/vbrakes (or disc) provides a little margin of safety/reaction time v. drops/caliper, but who knows? Anyway, thanks again for all the comments. Cheers all!

  18. #18
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie47
    Here's my two cents:

    I went the other way. Started as a roadie, years on the rode bike a Trek, lots of miles by myself and lots of rides with fast groups. Then a few months ago I bought a Trek MTB with full suspension. I became convinced that I could ride it in the colder weather on trails than I might be able to ride the road bike out in the open. So, that I have done and I enjoy the MTB'ing immensely. Its a whole new set of skills I'm trying to develop, getting over logs, tree roots, short steep technical climbs.

    But now, when I get back on my road bike it is so impressive, it feels like a Ferrari. So smooth, fast and controllable. A real joy to pedal. I love them both.

    At the same time I wouldnt worry too much about pampering your body with friendly geometry, etc. I find you can do pretty much the same stuff you could years ago, you just have to slow it up a bit. I'm 56 by the way.

    Cheers
    I agree with you and might even consider adding a mountain bike someday. However, that is somewhat different than the OP's, and my experience. Going from using a hybrid or, for that matter, a mountain bike on the road to using a road bike on the road is quite a different circumstance. He suggested that he was looking to change or perhaps add, equipment in order to do road cycling. You on the other hand want to add mountain biking and a mountain bike to your routine rather than give up the road bike and road riding.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Sorry Gary but in my opinion, you can go better than Trek's for the same money.Go back to the Specialised or Cannondale you tried last week and even look at Giant- Not my favourite bike, but they do make good road bikes. Then there are the other manufacturers that may be worth looking at second hand to get a real deal- so keep looking.

    I started on mountain bikes, and stayed on mountain bikes. I do have an old Bianchi road bikethat is collecting dust, but I do not enjoy road biking or road bikes. The majority of my riding is offroad because of the range of hills we have that just cry out to be ridden. Within 6 miles of where I live- I can can take such a variety of trails that I can take 50 different rides in the year. Cant see the interest in riding on the overcrowded roads, taking my life in car drivers hands, when I can damage myself through my own fault up on the hills- or rather the Downhills. Still do a few road rides, and all I do for them is change to slick Tyres, and still do a 65 miler in 4 hours. 100 milers take longer as that is where I find the drawbacks to riding a bike that is not suitable for long distance. Still, 100 milers do not agree with me in any case so only do a couple each year, but then do the highlight- 100 miles offroad and I couldn't do that on a road bike. Wheras, my MTB will go anywhere.
    Stapfam: thought I'd reply specifically here -- I've actually read through many of your comments on all this. Lucky you, I say -- I mean, being in the UK; if I were in your part of the world, no question I'd stay with the mtb. I'm always buying your mags, esp. Singletrack, and drooling over the 'out the door' bridleways, canal paths, etc etc.! Problem is, as I say below, where I am it just isn't so! Everything paved, OR pack into the car/drive an hour etc. Wah! Mtb is, and I think will always be, best-loved bike type, but there we are. Am I 'conflicted' or what?!? Cheers!

  20. #20
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Hi Dchiefransom!

    I notice all your thumbnails are of LWB models. I'm eyeing that batch as well, and one that appeals to me (but doesn't appear in your thumbnails) is the Turner TNT. Are you aware of that one and what might you think of it in relation to those you picture?

    Thanks!
    I don't know much about Turners, except that Milt dropped advertising in RCN after receiving a poor review on one of his bikes. It sounded like similar stuff to this:
    http://www.cyclingforums.com/t163733...ecumbents.html

  21. #21
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    badger-53 here. I've been riding 4 years and am on my 4th bike (5 if you count the one my brother gave me)

    Looking back, it would have helped me 4 years ago if I knew what "level" of riding I planned to get to. At the time I was just getting started and had no aspirations of doing centuries, mountain climbs, etc. I just intended to get out on the road and get in some miles and get some exercise. Well, the more I rode the more I enjoyed it and the longer and faster I wanted to try and ride. I wasn't competing with anyone else but I did find that I was competing with myself to see if I could continue get more fit and also improve my cycling.

    I started with a Mountain bike with knobbies and eventually changed them to slicks. After doing that for almost a year and 1000 miles I then went with a good "value" road bike (less than $1000) thinking it would be all I ever needed. I found the value road bike's frame and fork construction to be pretty uncomfortable for long rides-and found myself riding more with others and doing more longer rides.

    I wound up with a carbon fiber bike which I never would have predicted 4 years ago. It's perfect for me in that it is lightweight, stiff and dampens a lot of the road noise. While it was not cheap I just wish I'd gone that route at the very start and saved some cash along the way. However I now very much appreciate the ride comfort so maybe we all have to do a little experimenting just to get to the right set of wheels.

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    Badger,

    I will be 54 next month. Just got into biking this summer. My wife and I have Diamondback comfort bikes. I am liking biking so much that Santa is bringing me a new road bike. It is the Trek Pilot 2.1. I will let you know how I like it next week.

    Dennis

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    Two road racing bikes (CF) and one road touring bike (steel). I'm 63, with osteoarthritis, and have never owned a mountain bike.

    Al

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    Badger, there must be a parallel universe out there. 55, started riding again after 14 years off to get fit & control weight. Started with a hardtail bike my son suggested & have enjoyed it very much. Just not into going off cliffs & killing myself so I started to get into road riding again. The itch would not go away & proceeded to rebuild my 1984 Centurion Elite 12 with a modern drive train & lighter components. This was set up for rail to trail type riding & use it more than any bike I own. Have done more road riding as time goes on as well. Rode my Mt bike on the 23rd on an ice covered trail & it was great.

    One thing I found was returning to the road was hard. I still am somewhat uncomfortable with all the auto traffic out there. Good luck & Merry Christmas to all.

  25. #25
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Consider the longer wheelbase, ability to add racks, fenders, wider tires, etc. as well as the bone-friendly ride of steel in bikes like the Trek 520, Jamis Aurora, Bianchi Volpe, etc.
    "Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey

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