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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Baffled and befuddled

    Okay, help me sort this out.

    I have a basic MTB, the Trek 3900, with slicks. Nothing fancy, but it's a pretty nice ride, if I do say so myself. I put about 50-70 miles a week on the bike and hope to increase next year.

    I am interested in a Trek 7.2, which is a road bike with flat bars. It is lighter, shifts more easily, and is generally more responsive in every way I can imagine.

    Now, I ride for two reasons -- to have fun, and to get exercise. I believe when I eventually upgrade to something like the 7.2, I will probably ride a little farther because it's a little easier, and a little faster, as well. But will I get more, less, or the same exercise benefit?

    In other words, if I stay with my current bike, don't I get a bigger excercise bang for my buck because it's less efficient, in a given amount of time? For every hour I spend on the bike, am I not getting more physical benefit from the less effecient machine?

    Or have I forgotten to factor in something?
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    Dgee when you ride further you do more work. Your 3900 may be slightly less efficient than the 7.2 but the differences are minimal.

    Don't buy another bike because you think it will allow you to ride further and faster. Get another bike because you WANT it.

    The rest of that stuff is merely excuses for getting something you want to get.

  3. #3
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    Or have I forgotten to factor in something?
    It's 90% mental, remember? Get the bike that is the most fun to ride.

  4. #4
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    DeeGee, wondering here if having a pair of custom-made square wheels would further maximize your fitness benefits? For a more incremental increase in resistance, I'd recommend tying balloons to your seat stays....their bubbling sounds of power rubbing against the spokes can be uplifting, especially if they're filled with helium.

    Sorry, Gary, your question is a worthy one. Especially in a place where people are obsessed with shaving ounces, exploring new materials...and the age old question of whether its more weight efficient to carry your water bottle in your jersey pocket or in its cage on your bike.

    A quick generalization before the more thoughtfully analytical post: Natural resistance of distance, speed, gearing, and hills is so variable and gives you so much range from which to make demands on your body, that I would first opt to maximize comfort and efficiency...factors that will keep you on the bike longer, more frequently, and more happily so you can more fully expose yourself to intervals, climbing, out-of-saddle, etc. So, no, a heavy, clunky, cumbersome old torture rack probably doesn't contribute to fitness...and, in fact, may persuade you to ride the couch instead. Hardy old veteran cyclists, like old veteran soldiers, probably first secure their physical comfort before going on the attack.

    Have you considered removing your saddle and just sitting on the seatpost...really strengthen those quads! 8-) Go enjoy that new bike!
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  5. #5
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    In regards to your using your mtn bike, to paraphrase someone (Lance or Greg?):

    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

    But, I have been known to take the mtn bike out one day specifically for the purpose of seeing how much fun the roadie is the next day!

    It's all about the ride.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  6. #6
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    In other words, if I stay with my current bike, don't I get a bigger excercise bang for my buck because it's less efficient, in a given amount of time? For every hour I spend on the bike, am I not getting more physical benefit from the less effecient machine?
    Not generally. An hours worth of work is an hours worth of work. A road bike may take you farther and faster in the same hour but it's human nature to expend energy at roughly the same rate regardless of the bike.

    YMMV, but that's been my experience.
    Dennis T

  7. #7
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trsnrtr
    Not generally. An hours worth of work is an hours worth of work. A road bike may take you farther and faster in the same hour but it's human nature to expend energy at roughly the same rate regardless of the bike.

    YMMV, but that's been my experience.
    See, that's what I don't quite understand. Let's say on my mtb I'll get 15 miles in an hour, and on the road bike on the same route I'd get 18 miles, or whatever, in the same hour. Are you saying the only difference is that I went farther with the road bike, but spent the same amount of energy? That's what I think. (That doesn't include the fun factor, the more-likely-to-get-out-and-bike factor, etc.)

    It sounds like if measured by time, the energy is the same and the distance is greater, and if measured by distance, the energy is lower for the road bike and the time the same. Right?
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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    See, that's what I don't quite understand. Let's say on my mtb I'll get 15 miles in an hour, and on the road bike on the same route I'd get 18 miles, or whatever, in the same hour. Are you saying the only difference is that I went farther with the road bike, but spent the same amount of energy? That's what I think. (That doesn't include the fun factor, the more-likely-to-get-out-and-bike factor, etc.)

    It sounds like if measured by time, the energy is the same and the distance is greater, and if measured by distance, the energy is lower for the road bike and the time the same. Right
    ?
    I think it's similar to the difference between walking and running. For each mile travelled, the work and the benefits are about the same. For each hour travelled, running (or riding a clunky bike) will provide more work and more fitness benefits than walking (or riding a smooth bike).

    As mentioned, there are other factors. For example, running for an hour is probably harder on the joints than walking the same hour. Riding the mountain bike might be harder (or easier, with MTB gearing) on your joints. Also you might enjoy one more, leading you to do it longer andmore often, as others mentioned.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  9. #9
    Senior Member Skipper's Avatar
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    Forget the math. Get the 7.2. Ride It.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    In other words, if I stay with my current bike, don't I get a bigger excercise bang for my buck because it's less efficient, in a given amount of time? For every hour I spend on the bike, am I not getting more physical benefit from the less effecient machine?
    This is actually an excellent question. Unfortunately, I don't have an answer!

    But . . .

    If I take my lightweight road bike out on Monday and ride for an hour; then on Tuesday, take my heavy Schwinn coaster-brake bike out and ride for an hour . . . I will be able to enjoy one piece of pie on Monday, but TWO pieces of pie on Tuesday.

  11. #11
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    It depends.....

    If you ride by yourself, on a long ride you tend to get into the same power output level and the road bike just gives you more speed and distance. The effort is the same but the ride results are different.

    If you ride with others and try to keep up with the same riders, then the slower bike will become more work. You are more conscious of keeping the same speed because of the other riders.

    If you ride a slower bike like a mountain bike with others you will have more work but be the slowest one in the group. It's frustrating. If you get a nice light fast fixed gear or single speed bike you will work harder than others, but you may be the fastest one in the group. So it's a lot more fun. You eventually end up droping everyone else on the hills as you get stronger. That's much better.....
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  12. #12
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Deege....remember your maxim about its mostly in the head. Sure, your heart, lungs and legs don't know from Adam (! hehe) but just respond to resistance, beats per minute, etc. But your mind reaches for more. If you FEEL light, fast and graceful, pretty soon you may well ride light, fast, and graceful. In the end, feeling and personal performance are one and the same. A more roadish bike will encourage you to try new things and allow you a comfortable range of greater distances and speeds. You can continue to cruise at 15 mph or start pushing up to 16 and higher. Again, you choose your riding style, not your equipment choosing for you. Better components and frame will click, grip, and turn-when-you-lean just a little more efficiently and, if you believe the industry (shoulder shrugging emoticon) hold up better. The better bike won't make you faster, but it won't hold you back either. I've crossed the country in my old Mazda GLC, and I've done so in a rented DeVille. Both made it, but I definitely had a preference.

    If there weren't differences, perceived and otherwise, we'd still all be riding our old indestructible Schwinn Varsity bikes. And LookinUp wouldn't have embraced her new Orbea. Its those little, impractical, seemingly marginal differences that sometimes encourage us to drive on farther. You know, be the person our dog thinks we are--as someone here signatures.

    The Trek 7.2 won't re-make you, but might inspire you to new things. No guarantees. We're cruising here in the mysterious, not always dollars and sense, affective realm.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  13. #13
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    In other words, if I stay with my current bike, don't I get a bigger excercise bang for my buck because it's less efficient, in a given amount of time? For every hour I spend on the bike, am I not getting more physical benefit from the less effecient machine? Or have I forgotten to factor in something?
    Just my $.02 on this, and I've been through 4 bikes in two years...

    The lighter, faster, easier to ride bikes MAKE a person want to ride longer and attempt longer rides and set higher goals. The longer you're on a bike, it just stands to reason, the more benefit you'll gain from it.

    Just my opinion, YMMV

    Steve

  14. #14
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Um, he said, sheepishly, I meant to say the Trek 7.6. Now back to your regularly scheduled thread. And thanks for all the responses so far!
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    What we're failing to factor in is that many people don't end up riding the same equivalent distance, we end up going further and further due to the enjoyment.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  16. #16
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Gary - yes there are differences in efficiency between styles of bike. However, watts is watts. The power output you expend is what you expend. If you want to know how many calories you're actually burning, get a cycle computer with integrated watt calculator. This takes into account how hard you're pushing on the pedals and how fast. I don't exactly understand the technology, but I believe such meters have a sensor in the rear hub (?!?).

    Without this type of measurement, there are too many variables to accurately calculate your power output. If you want the non-technical measure - the harder you breathe and the longer the time - the more energy you spent.

    Note that these measurements (technical and non) are completely independant of the style of bike you're riding! For that matter, you could be on a stationary trainer and the measurements would still be valid.

    You're completely right about the bike differences - If you pant just as hard for the same length of time, you'll have merely gone farther on the road bike than on the MTB. You've burned the same amount of calories in either case.

    If you want a better understanding, read "Aerobics." This book is a classic and is based on solid research.
    Last edited by FarHorizon; 12-19-05 at 11:26 PM. Reason: grammar

  17. #17
    Coyote!
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    >>>Or have I forgotten to factor in something?

    Yes, aesthetics.

    There's something indescribable about having a thoroughbred under you. . .I'll try though. Efficiency. . .speed. . .joy of motion. In the end, you'll get yourself "out there" more often and more cheerfully if you're using good gear.

  18. #18
    The Grampster tlc20010's Avatar
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    Personal parallel experience. I had been riding my Specialized Crossroads (comfort) since June and put about 3,000 miles on it—even did a century. Recently I bought a Janis Coda Comp (a sort of steel framed, Bontrager-less version of the 7.6). Here is what I discovered. My usual ride was a 21 mile round trip with a coffee break (and catch my breath) in the middle—ET 1.5 hours riding, 1.8 hours with break. With the new bike I do 25 miles round trip and skip the break—ET 1.5 hours. I really enjoy it and I get to write on the forum that I have increased my average speed by nearly 20%. Oh yes, with the 7.6, make sure you have a state of the art lock.

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    Gary; Get the bike. Expand your route & enjoyment. The more you enjoy riding, the more you will ride. The more you ride, the greater the fitness benefit.

    If you want a new bike, buy it (assuming money is not an issue). Keep the old one & use both. If you find that you are not riding the old one, sell it. I don't regret the purchase of my new bike at all. I did find that my riding increased.

    Just my $02.

  20. #20
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    At first I didn't think there was much more that I could add that this enlightened group has not already said. However as I started typing I realized you made me ask myself again what it was about this riding stuff that got me so enthused. I apologize for the length of the reply and keep in mind it's just my thoughts. However, I was right where you are just a couple years ago asking my cycling brother the very same questions if that helps any.

    I tend to subscribe to Cheeseflavor's comments. I've also been through multiple bikes over 4-5 years and would agree that is all about the experience. I started out on a Mtn Bike with slicks/inverts and never intended or really wanted to do group rides, centuries. mountain climbs, etc. It evolved over time and the different road bikes DO make a difference. I've got is so bad I'm now out shopping for a used Time Trial bike just to ride 9 times a year!!! I even spend $600 (and that was a deal!) on another set of wheels just to lighten the bike to do the mountain climbs easier.

    If it helps any, there are the things that a roadie allows me to do that a Mtn Bike would not allow me to do at the level I want to do it. Here are some things that come to mind.

    Organized group rides that are just to numerous to mention-from 30 miles to 117 miles.
    Epic Century rides like The Assault on Mt Mitchell, Hilly Hellacious, Bridge to Bridge (Grandfather Mtn climb), Cheaha Challenge and on and on.
    Two day bike trips covering over 200 miles.
    Numerous solo rides of 60+ miles exploring the countryside-finding treasured spots I never knew existed.
    Time Trials at Lowes Motor Speedway where some of the best riders in the Southeast test their cycling skills.
    Social rides of 100 miles where you pedal along with 25 folks for 5-6 hours and enjoy each other's company.

    Just my thoughts, but if you're satisfied with the miles, exercise regime and the types of things you're doing today then it's difficult to really justify investing in a different bike. However, there is a totally different experience out there waiting for you if you're interested.

    It's much, much more than just the exercise and the amount of time on the bike. It's everything else that comes along with it. I'd love for you to have the feeling of doubt, accomplishment and exhiliration of doing a 100 plus mile ride with 1000 other riders and finish at the top of a mountain. I'd love for you to have the thrill of standing around with a group of other cyclists after doing a 10 mile time trial where everyone has given it all you had and you were the only one to set a new Personal Record. If only you could experience what it's like to zoom along in a pack of 100-200-300 riders with the draft sucking you along for so many miles you don't realize how far you've gone. And then there is the sheer feeling of relief when you've been dropped by a stronger group only to be picked up by another smaller group after struggling by yourself for a while.

    I know you'd enjoy greatly increasing your circle of friends by meeting lots of people over time through rides and other cycling events. It's amazing the number of people and friends I've made over the last several years from seeing and riding with them at various rides. Hey, there are lots of very healthy females out there doing these events as well. And the best part of that is that I tend to ride at the same pace they do!!

    So, for me I guess it comes down to the experience and what you're after. I didn't realize all this was out there until I put my toe into the pedal and began to experience it. You just need to determine what you want to get out of this cycling stuff and go from there.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention the Blackberry Cobbler........

  21. #21
    Stv
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    There is no "Magic Bullet" out there.

    ...... short cuts to fitness are a myth. There is no substitute for hard work and applied effort. If you think a nicer, newer, lighter, prettier, smoother running bike will encourage you to significantly increase the number of miles you ride at an increased level of intensity, by all means go for it.

    Otherwise, your net gain will be ZERO !


    If I may suggest to you that you revise/reverse your tag line to:

    " Cycling is 90% physical and 50% mental "

    ...... and live by it.





    How are them ab's coming along?
    Last edited by Stv; 12-20-05 at 08:17 AM.
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  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Right, Everyone is basically saying that if you get a new lighter bike- you will have to go faster, go further, and put more rides in to get the exercise as you are now doing on your old faithfull friend. I used to think that, but I have now reverted to a 56lb beastie, Full downhill spec front suspension that does not give you any incentive to ride fast on the road, wheels that are so heavy they leave depressions in the trail if you let the thing stop, and tyres with so many spikes and treads on them that they would not look out of place on a tractor.. Of course I am talking about the Tandem. This thing is heavy but for the job it was designed to do-- it works.

    It is going to be horses for courses I am afraid. If I were to stop doing the gnarly ofroad stuff that I currently do and change to Forest trails- I would set the bike up differently. Then again if I were to change over to road riding- it would be set up completely different again. Just to do the Forest trails I could go for lighter wheels, harder suspension with less travel, and a Semi slick tyre. Except for the Suspension, not a great deal of expense. If I were to go solely on the roads I could go to a far lighter wheel, A thinner tyre like the Continental Grand Prix, Fully rigid forks, and then just a few changes to the set up- Lower and longer stem to get the body into speed mode, possibly afew lighter components and a change of crank sprockets.

    Hold on- Except for the Suspension forks change- this is what I do now. One bike that does everything from 100 mile XC rides to 50 mile fun rides on gentle forest roads to 100mile road rides. The effort I put in to each form of riding does not change. We are still fast. At the end of each ride we still have enough energy to find a decent cafe to get a decent bit of pie while waiting for the rest of our riding group to come in, and All on one bike. Mind you,I would hate to do the 100 mile road rides on heavy wheels and gnarly tyres, and there is no way the the lightweight wheels will ever see a bit of mud, let alone forest trails.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  23. #23
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam
    Everyone is basically saying that if you get a new lighter bike- you will have to go faster, go further, and put more rides in to get the exercise as you are now doing on your old faithfull friend.
    True: for purely over-all fitness concerns, 75% heart rate for an hour is the same no matter whether you're cycling to work on a Huffy or a Madone, swimming laps, or making love. (For the latter, perhaps not all of us go for the full hour any more.) Trouble with universal tools is, while they all work, they don't always feel as "right" for any one special job. And for someone who does the job daily, seriously, and with a passion--maybe better to have a specialized tool that really lets them perfect themselves. I can scrape cow manure with a "pointed" shovel, but might find the job less burdensome with a scoop shovel...especially if I do it often and with a committed passion. Or mow my lawn with a pair of hand clippers.

    For a daily road rider who doesn't go off hardtop often, it seems a more specialized tool is more ideal....not necessary to make the heart pump and be more fit...but maybe necessary to some riders to maximize their "wholistic experience". Not really about the bike, but about the "rider riding his ride". No OCP stuff here, just the best tool for the job. Gary, if its affordable, desirable, and a pretty color......get the bike, enjoy it to the max, be responsible for your own fitness gains instead of relying on the aura of equipment-- there's plenty of justification for a new bike.

    Be glad this isn't a car forum and you're dying for a Turbo Maximus Mark 10.....your Trek 7.6 is a relatively humble indulgence.
    Last edited by GrannyGear; 12-20-05 at 04:37 PM.
    ..... "I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time." Mark Twain, Speeches
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  24. #24
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    Bottom line - is the 7.6 more fun for you to ride? If you are having more fun, everything else is BS. (no offense to all the fine advice everyone gave concerning the technical aspects)
    "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

  25. #25
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    I bet Gary is now more confused than ever!!!!

    Hey-you asked!

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