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Old 01-08-07, 11:16 AM   #1
phillygal
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looking for advice on bike upgrade

I am looking to buy a new bike. I have cycled seriously for the lst 12 months on a Specialized hard rock mountain bike. I am 59yo and originally choose that bike because I liked the security of the fat tires and I was concerned that a road bike would be less safe for me. I am biking primarily on paved surfaces and have improved quite a bit. I huff and puff up the hills but do it. I am cycling 50 - 60 miles/week (average 17 mph on level ground and 8-10 on hills)and think that I would like to bike with some of the local cycling groups on road. I will keep the mountain bike for rail to trail type biking but think I need to upgrade to ride with groups.
My question specifically is should I buy a hybrid or a road bike? What features of each would be important? Any advice would be appreciated
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Old 01-08-07, 11:32 AM   #2
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If you're averaging 17mph on a mountain bike, I think you should be giving me advice.

My short sermon will be: Take your time to sort out what you really want. Test rides can help. While various features mean different things to different people, a comfortable fit is the most important thing of all (you can always change out components). If I were in your shoes, I'd be thinking about a road bike. While MTBs and hybrids are great in their way, a roadbike will give you speed, fun, and a sporty sense you can't get with the others. Enjoy the process.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:41 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackberry
If you're averaging 17mph on a mountain bike, I think you should be giving me advice.

My short sermon will be: Take your time to sort out what you really want. Test rides can help. While various features mean different things to different people, a comfortable fit is the most important thing of all (you can always change out components). If I were in your shoes, I'd be thinking about a road bike. While MTBs and hybrids are great in their way, a roadbike will give you speed, fun, and a sporty sense you can't get with the others. Enjoy the process.
Well answered except why should you hog all the advice? That is some fitness gained in a year. Have to agree about the road bikes though but test ride before you commit. Some of us take a bit of adjustment to drop bars but for road riding- they are better.
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Old 01-08-07, 11:52 AM   #4
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Id try a hybird and a road bike,see if they will let you ride both?Do you like your position on the bike you have? do you want to set up more or bend over more? does your neck get soar or your back after several miles? lot to consider,I ride a MTB converted over to a hybird, highrise handlebars,100psi tires1-1/2,i love it! best thing to do is take your time, try everything! over and over and over....maybe you dont need to up grade your bike,maybe you just need to take your bike and go upgrade?
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Old 01-08-07, 12:46 PM   #5
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My wife is 54 and rides a flat bar roadie on asphalt...it gives her a little more upright position and puts less stress on her back. My neighbour, also in her 50's just picked up a Trek Pilot 2.1, and tells me that its great.

Both have MTB's as well for the trails

Mrs. M's "roadie"
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Old 01-08-07, 01:40 PM   #6
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I started with a hybrid in the late 90's and liked it for trail riding. Since starting group rides on the road I've switched to a road bike. All the riders in my group ride road bikes and it's easier for me to keep up with them with my road bike. I'm even seeing improvement on those hills

I have two road bikes - one with the comfort geometry (Trek 1800c) and the other is the more standard road geometry (Trek Madone 5.0). The comfort style will allow you to sit up straighter than the standard style. I now prefer the standard over the comfort style.

As others have suggested, test drive a few different bikes. My bike shop loaned me a couple bikes to take on club rides before I decided on my last purchase. They should be happy to set one up with your saddle and pedals.
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Old 01-08-07, 01:56 PM   #7
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Go with the road bike because its faster and you'll cover more miles. The hybrid is an in-between type bike. In your context (baby boomer in the 50's) you would benefit with a good bike fitter who may even be a coach.

Assuming you will be covering more miles and riding faster, the caveat is to prevent injuries. Let the fitter/coach know what type of riding you will be doing and that will influence the bike set up. Also your riding form is important and the coach will give you pointers. Good fitters will examine the way you walk, the way you pedal, etc.

I went to an independent fitter.coach, so there was no inclination to a product sales pitch. My first fit (road bike) was because of injuries. My second fit was because of a new road bike.

I think you realize that you are a work in progress. As you get stronger (core muscles too), your bike set up (flipped stems) may change. Enjoy the process. Change is inevitable.
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Old 01-08-07, 02:07 PM   #8
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Rans Zenitek Tour
Little or no back/hand pain with this model:
http://www.ransbikes.com/07ZTour.htm
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Old 01-08-07, 02:13 PM   #9
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Looks like a medieval instrument of torture, but the geometry makes sense.

Mrs. M. relized that "one bike suits most rides" didn't work for her so in addition to her flat bar, she uses a comfort hybrid for errands and urban rides, but also we both use the heavier hybrids for touring...allows us to pack up the panniers and cruise through cow contry.

she also has an MTB for XC rides that we both enjoy at the cottage:
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Old 01-08-07, 03:45 PM   #10
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I'm 52, started riding about 2 1/2 yrs ago, on a very nice used Marin Mtn Bike. Last June, I went bike shopping and tried a hybrid, it was a very nice bike, but very little change from my MTB. I decided if I was going to be a dolt and not really make a change there wasn't much point in buying a new bike, then my LBS had me try a Scott Contessa Speedster, it is woman specific, which with my shorter body, I really like. I put wider tires on it, but still very narrow compared to my MTB, I've put about 1000 miles on it and fondly call her Tessa now. I still use my Marin, but it is like two different sports, the difference between the MTB and the road bike.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:06 PM   #11
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I suspect a hybrid will be too close to what you already have. Try to get some test rides of 5 to 10 miles on several road bikes. The difference between what you have now and a decent road bike can be jaw dropping. If, however, you don't find anything that lights your fire after four or five different bikes, I'd try the hybrid. At least this is the order I'd try to sort out the two different types. BTW, one of the things I do to reward myself for reaching a goal (given I don't want to reward myself with food or other such things) is to take a test ride on a bike I've been wondering about. You learn a lot by riding lots of different bikes.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:14 PM   #12
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No one's mentioned a touring bike yet. Any thoughts on these?
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Old 01-08-07, 04:19 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by The Weak Link
No one's mentioned a touring bike yet. Any thoughts on these?

I consider a touring bike a type of road bike.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:39 PM   #14
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Can you rent? A lbs here rents bikes for the weekend for $35, and then deducts all rental fees from the price of a new bike. This allows much more than a ride around the parking lot, for what can be a large financial outlay.

If I had the money I would look hard at the Trek Pilot series. Relatively upright position and the ability to fit larger tires with fenders. Good luck.
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Old 01-08-07, 04:55 PM   #15
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If you're already averaging 17mph I think you will absolutely love a road bike. Just work with a LBS to find a style and size that suits you. And go with the most bike you can afford. If you go "cheap", you will continue to question yourself and compare and eventually will spend the extra dollars towards more bike anyway.......voice of experience many times over here!!!!
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Old 01-08-07, 05:59 PM   #16
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Definitely Road Bike

Look at women specific models from Trek, Cannondale, Terry and others. If you can afford it, get a 2007 model with the Shimano 105 component group which is now functionally equivalent to more expensive Ultegra and Dura-Ace groups. It's a great value.

Many dealers will try to sell you what they have in stock whether it fits or not. Shop around, read up on bike fit, and ask lots of questions. If there is a dealer near by that offers Serotta fittings or some other high-end professional fitting service, they will probably give you better fitting advice even though you don't purchase that type of fitting service ($100-200).

Ask the dealer to put a stem on the bike that will bring the handlebars level with the saddle. Once your body adapts to road cycling, you will probably want to swap out the stem for one that lowers the handlebars 1-2 inches below the saddle for a more aero dynamic position, or you might decide to stick with what you start out with.

Good luck to you!
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Old 01-08-07, 06:39 PM   #17
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This is my first post, I am overwhelmed and very appreciative of the advice I've gotten. Much thanks!
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Old 01-08-07, 07:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by phillygal
This is my first post, I am overwhelmed and very appreciative of the advice I've gotten. Much thanks!
Keep us posted!
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Old 01-09-07, 11:42 AM   #19
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Phillygal,
People often ask me what bike they should buy? My answer goes something like this:
"Get a cheap beach bike from WalMart and ride it a lot. They are comfortable and you can get just as good physical conditioning on that bike as any of the really expensive bikes. Now, if you want to travel long distances while riding then get a good road bike and, for the same energy expended on the beach bike, you will travel farther and faster." In fact that is the way I got into riding.

Based on your experience with 12 months riding I would say that you are really interested in traveling farther and faster as you get more fit. If so, then get a road bike. Do a lot of looking at the different designs, and as others have recommended, try out as many as you can. I would also consider going to a LBS and getting fitted for bike size. Even though that process is very subjective, it will give you a better feel for what to look for in a bike as you look.
Good Luck and keep riding.
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Old 01-10-07, 07:42 AM   #20
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Great advice - I have decided that:1- a road bike it is! 2- I need to try a number of bikes 3- I will get a professional fitting 4- I am sure I'll be back for more advice
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Old 01-10-07, 07:53 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillygal
Great advice - I have decided that:1- a road bike it is! 2- I need to try a number of bikes 3- I will get a professional fitting 4- I am sure I'll be back for more advice

You forgot #5: You'll post pictures of your bike when you get it.
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Old 01-10-07, 09:26 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillygal
Great advice - I have decided that:1- a road bike it is! 2- I need to try a number of bikes 3- I will get a professional fitting 4- I am sure I'll be back for more advice
Sounds good. But even if you do get a professional fitting, trust your own judgment. Many people who fit bikes are thinking primarily in terms of speed and efficiency. Now that I'm 53 with a few spine issues, I put comfort at the front of the line. To ensure that, my handlebars are at seat level (and there's nothing wrong with higher), and my stem is shorter than it used to be (that is, I'm not as stretched out as before). In addition, I'm not ashamed to have lower gearing than I used to. These thoughts may or may not work for you. Just don't let someone (including me) put you into his or her cookie cutter mold.
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