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  1. #1
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    Long rides on a mtn bike

    Any of you guys do long rides on a mtn bike. I am enjoying my mtn bike as I can go off road when I want without fear of falling with the skinny tires that comes with a road bike. I just wanted to get some long rides in as I do a lot of road riding. I have not tried much over 25 miles on my mtn bike as was wondering what you experience was.

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    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babysaph
    Any of you guys do long rides on a mtn bike. I am enjoying my mtn bike as I can go off road when I want without fear of falling with the skinny tires that comes with a road bike. I just wanted to get some long rides in as I do a lot of road riding. I have not tried much over 25 miles on my mtn bike as was wondering what you experience was.
    1. I rode my mtn bike on the "Ride the Rockies" in 1998, which included days of near 100 miles per day. The next year I rode a roadie. There are a number of folks who regularly ride mtn bikes on the RTR. Typically these are younger "real mtn bike riders" with extremely powerful legs, etc. In fact, they often beat the roadies in to the next town. Slicks make it a bunch easier.

    2. Many folks do long tours on mtn bikes. I met a young man who had toured the world on his mtn bike.

    3. Road bikes are faster and easier, as one might expect.

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    Yep -- I do, crazy or not! You made a reply to the thread I started on this topic generally (50+ Bike Preference); I found all the responses really interesting! Anyway, I use a mtb (my only bike), set up with Panaracer Pasela 1.5 road/touring tires, road cassette (12-26), flat bar w/Cane Creek bar ends, and with a 'road' ride position. I find this combination is very swift, especially in stop/start traffic conditions but also on the open road. It's also more comfortable (for me) in terms of shock absorbtion (combination of tire air volume and a few carbon bits (bar/seatpost). What you can't get around, w/o going to drop bars or clip-on aero bars, is wind resistance -- and it seems to me that that is the limiting factor v. a true road bike (not talking about racing and/or group riding here, just 'touring'). Consequently, one does expend a little more effort to cover an equivalent distance while maintaining good speed. For me, this is a good trade-off (comfort, acceleration, quick/stable handling on/off road and in traffic v. ultimate, steady-state speed). I find it quite easy to cover 25+ miles in a ride, and routinely do 40 to 50 without fatigue. Just some thoughts! Cheers.

  4. #4
    Hardtail WorldWind's Avatar
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    Not sure exactly what you are asking as our definitions may not exactly jive but there are few really long mtn bike trails around unless you are at Moab or Henry Coe or some place in the black hills.
    In the past I have done multiple loops of Long Ridge and In Marine you can without too much backtracking string together all the Headlands trails but truthfully most of the long trails that are worth riding have sections that are off limits to bikes. So if you tell anyone that my favorite ride is the full Skyline to the sea trail I will just deny it.

  5. #5
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I am lucky where I live as I am at the foot of the Eastern end of the South Downs. A long Chalk ridge that runs along the South Coast of the UK. I can from my house, take a multitude of trails varying from 10 to 30 miles on circular routes or name a distance and it can be done if you want out and back with a few variations in route. All this with only 2 miles of road to get to the starter trail. Our regular Sunday ride will take in 25 to 30 miles, but with a few extra road miles to get a decent cup of coffee and a breakfast. It will also take in 2-3 or 4 climbs at 15% + lasting from 1/2 to 1&1/4 miles.

    Now if you are talking a long ride- then 100 miles, 95 of it offroad-10,000ft of climbing and only 15 hours of daylight to do it in. Thats the one I train for, and only do it once a year. Part of the training for this involves century and metric century rides on the road, with only a change of tyres to the bike. We use Schwalbe marathon in 1.4 size and this is a high pressure tyre at 100psi. The solo also does some road rides But I use Conti grand prix at 120psi on this and these are a skinny tyre.

    I only have mountain bikes and do not find any disadvantage on the road if properly set up, but road rides get boring for me. Give me a bit of mud and a few hills to climb and I am am in my element. Just don't ask me to sprint up the hills though.
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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Longer rides will take you more time. With more time on the bike, it's best to ride whichever bike you feel is most comfortable for YOU.
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    Quote Originally Posted by babysaph
    Any of you guys do long rides on a mtn bike. I am enjoying my mtn bike as I can go off road when I want without fear of falling with the skinny tires that comes with a road bike. I just wanted to get some long rides in as I do a lot of road riding. I have not tried much over 25 miles on my mtn bike as was wondering what you experience was.
    To me, it's like pedaling a couch down the road.

  8. #8
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    I've done long rides on my Nishiki Cascade (mostly on the road, 50, 65, 75, 100+ milers). A few of the earlier rides were on knobblies. I didn't realise just how noisy they were until I changed the tyres for knobblies with the hard ridge down the centre - inflated to 85psi they were great in a straight line, but still noisy on the corners.

    Halfway through last season, I put some 1.5" semi-slicks on and the difference was amazing! So quiet, so smooth - but still much better off-road than a skinny-wheeled bike. At the end of the season, I started using the MTB on the rollers and trainer, and even the semi-slicks were pretty noisy, so I changed to completely slick tyres which, at 85psi are as quiet as quiet can be! If you're doing lots of mixed riding, I think the slickies are pretty good, even for moderate off-road riding.

    Riding the MTB for long periods was quite uncomfortable with the supplied straight bars - so I changed them to "butterfly" or "trekking" bars - I did a lot of tweaking of the stem and angle of the bars to get them just right (see other threads for pics) - I think that, and the tyres made a vast difference to long ride comfort on the MTB.

    I've also tweaked the gears over the winter - from (46-36-24 and 12-14-16-18-21-24-28), to (50-40-32 and 11-13-15-18-22-26-34)

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  9. #9
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    My main bike is a cheap (okay, inexpensive) Trek mtb. I've not got much experience, but I've ridden a metric century and a couple 50+ miles rides, and two or three of forty miles or more. I found that putting slicks on the bike helped. I think as I get stronger, I will be able to do longer rides than that. My last 56 miler was tiring, but the next day I was just as eager to get back on the road as the day before.
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  10. #10
    jcm
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    Long rides? Well, if you accept a day ride of 60 - 80 miles, then yes. However, I dumped the fatties, straight bars and saddle for something that worked better for me way before I worked up to that kind of mileage.

    As it is now, I wouldn't hesitate to take this bike anywhere. But, having a choice between the 830 MTB and the 520 tour bike for a long trip over 60 miles, it'll be the 520.

    The 830 is still my primary "Git 'er done" bike, though.

  11. #11
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    Well I am in it for the workout not the speed so I have to be getting a better workout pushing the couch down the road

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    As far as the 'couch' analogy is concerned, I've heard it before/still don't get it! I realize all this is partially subjective, but: what is necessarily 'couch-like' about a mtb any more than any other bike type? Take a good, sub-25 lb. x-country hardtail, set it up with a proper 'xc race' riding position (which apart from the drops mimics a trad. road position), use a light xc wheelset w/ 1.5 or so slicks/semi-slicks -- how a couch? Such a bike will allow one to snap away from traffic lights etc. extremely quickly, move along over distance at a very good pace, go off-road at will, avoid obstacles, and so on. Or, set it up as a 'couch' -- as you will! But surely one could do the same with a road-based bike?? Raise the bars, slap on a 'comfort seat' and some 35 or 38 road tires and you have a nice comfy but sluggish 'couch' -- whatever!

  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badger1
    As far as the 'couch' analogy is concerned, I've heard it before/still don't get it! I realize all this is partially subjective, but: what is necessarily 'couch-like' about a mtb any more than any other bike type? Take a good, sub-25 lb. x-country hardtail, set it up with a proper 'xc race' riding position (which apart from the drops mimics a trad. road position), use a light xc wheelset w/ 1.5 or so slicks/semi-slicks -- how a couch? Such a bike will allow one to snap away from traffic lights etc. extremely quickly, move along over distance at a very good pace, go off-road at will, avoid obstacles, and so on. Or, set it up as a 'couch' -- as you will! But surely one could do the same with a road-based bike?? Raise the bars, slap on a 'comfort seat' and some 35 or 38 road tires and you have a nice comfy but sluggish 'couch' -- whatever!

    100% agree. When I used to do more road centuries than I do now, I had a 21lb mountain bike that was good on the road. Mountain biking it was set up in standard form but this was rigid fork MTB. (I could take the knocks in them days) All I did for road rides was change the wheels to a lghtweight set(Too fragile For mountain biking) with the thin high pressure slicks fitted and Flip the stem. If you can remember the Time trial bikes of the TDF last year- they had a Flat Bar and the centre "Aerobars" fitted. I did not have the aero bars, but did have long Bar ends. If anything- those Time trial bikes look very similar to my Mountain bike of 5 years ago. That thing used to fly- and proof came on a 25mile section where I got in a chain with some good club roadies. I held my own and the 25 miles was covered in 58 minutes. Hows that-8 top quality road bikes and a mountain bike that was just as good. Difference is the following week I was up on the hills getting muddy, and they had to do a boring road ride again.
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  14. #14
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    I did the SF to LA AIDS Ride (560 mi) a few years back on my Stumpjumper and it did ok, but not as comfortable as the Trek 520 I use now. For the ride I used Avocet Cross 1.5 tires, raised stem and bar, and added bar ends + Profile aerobars for change of position. They really helped in headwinds. Big mistake was leaving the front susp fork on it - no lockout and it sucked up a lot of pedaling energy. I just didn't know any better. I have a similar setup now built on a Trek 970 that has a rigid fork but fatter 1.9 tires and it's just as fast.
    Specialized Roubaix SL4 Disc, Cannondale T2000 (touring), Stumpjumper M5 (Mtn - hardtail), Cannondale Rize4 (Mtn - full susp)

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    jcm
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    A decent steel MTB set up for paved travel is, to me, more like a 4x4 pick-up with street tires and low 4.1.1 gearing for towing a boat. My wife's $75 Huffy is a couch.

  16. #16
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    I used to ride a specialized hardtail/rigid fork on extended trips all the time. I used Avocet 1.5 tires. My highest mileage was 176 miles in a day. I also took it on a 560 mile 7 day trip without a problem. The only other modification I made was to remove the straight bars and replace them with Scott bars for the added hand/arm positions.

  17. #17
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    My only mountain bike (see signature) has no suspension and would make a superb road touring bike if fitted with slick high-pressure tires. The long top tube lets me get into a pretty decent racer's crouch, eliminating the wind resistance objection. However, the big benefit of a road bike is the 5 or 6 hand positions offered by the drop bars. Also, since my mountain bike is old school, it weighs almost as much as my Peugeot UO-8 (high 20s of pounds).
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm
    A decent steel MTB set up for paved travel is, to me, more like a 4x4 pick-up with street tires and low 4.1.1 gearing for towing a boat. My wife's $75 Huffy is a couch.
    I don't want to pedal a 4x4 pickup down the street either I do have a mountain bike that gets ridden off road occasionally, but I'm not a big fan of riding off pavement. I am putting slicks on the thing so my son inlaw can pull my grandaughter on a tagalong with it.

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Couch bike:
    Last edited by Dchiefransom; 02-08-09 at 11:41 AM.
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    I rode a mostly stock (changed tires to slicks and pedals to clipless) 1986 Specialized Rockhopper in the 1988 Ride the Rockies when I was in my mid-30s and in decent but not exceptional shape. The first day of RTR was 45 miles, the farthest I'd ever ridden a bike at that point. The second day was a century from Steamboat to Vail via highway 131. It took me 11 hours to do the century but I made it and was up to ride again the next day. Later that summer, I did an 80 miler with some friends from Estes Park to Winter Park through Rocky Mountain National Park over Trail Ridge Road, this time on the stock knobbies. The next day those of us on mountain bikes finished the ride back to Boulder on dirt forest roads over Rollins Pass through Needles Eye Tunnel (before it collapsed the last time).

    All in all, the MTB made that summer's trips possible for me as the low gearing let me just walk it up the steep climbs. Yeah, I was slow, particularly in the beginning, but I got stronger as time went on and the mountain bike let me go places I'd never have gone on a road bike.

  21. #21
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    The couch idea as superiour for fitness seems counterintuitive. Plug into a heart rate monitor and it doesn't really matter what you are riding...lightweight roadbike or M-1Abrams mountain bike....its first how hard to push yourself, not the bike. Personally, I'd rather work at the same fitness level with the grace and speed of a roadbike than wrestle with a mountain bike onroad. Having said that, a bike is a bike is a bike....and whatever suits your needs and preferences....and gets the ticker beating, the legs moving. I know hardcore mtn bikers who are married to their bike for every purpose. Also, some local clydesdales who just feel more secure on their mtn bikes. Interestingly, the most obese rider I've ever met rode a rock solid old style Cannondale tourer and I had to work hard to catch him.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannyGear
    Interestingly, the most obese rider I've ever met rode a rock solid old style Cannondale tourer and I had to work hard to catch him.
    I used to see a young woman out riding in the early morning hours, and she weighed at least 300 pounds and rode a lithe Masi road bike. It "looked" absurd, but I couldn't keep up with her on the flats. She absolutely screamed down the road. It was a great experience to see! That was about 10 years ago, and I've always wondered what became of her.

  23. #23
    Banned. DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Paulie
    I used to see a young woman out riding in the early morning hours, and she weighed at least 300 pounds and rode a lithe Masi road bike. It "looked" absurd, but I couldn't keep up with her on the flats. She absolutely screamed down the road. It was a great experience to see! That was about 10 years ago, and I've always wondered what became of her.
    Here she is now. It is absolutely amazing how bicycling can improve one's physique!


  24. #24
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    On Saturday morning I dropped and twisted the chain on my tourer while 6 miles out. I got someone to come get me, got out my hardtail, and rode it for 34 miles, albeit on a different route.

    I find that I can sweat and become breathless on either bike. I can also run either one into the ditches if I don't pay attention.

  25. #25
    Not So Senior Member jisaak's Avatar
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    My only bike until this year was a Trek 4500 mtb - put on a 1000 road miles last year plus another 700 on trail miles. I replaced the nobies with semi slick tires and the stock pedals to Shimano SPD pedals w/clips & shoes. I rode a century last year and also numerous 40-50 mile rides - got a few strange looks but that's all I could afford at the time and I will admit that my avg time on the century was 16 mi/hr - not bad for a 30+ lb bike. I now have a used cross bike that I use on the road and paved trails - sure it's faster but for me I still won't committ to saying it's better - just faster.
    As far as a couch comments - to each his own. Not everyone can afford a stable of bikes so if the mtb is all that the budget allows for now so be it - I'd rather be on a mtb then truly logging hours on the couch. If the budget will allow get a pair of semi slicks or even slicks for your stead and you will definetly notice a difference vs nobbies. Run what ya brung!

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