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  1. #1
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    Help Me Pick Out My Mount Mitchell Dream Bike

    I am planning/training for this years MM ride. It is 103 miles and 11000 ft of climbing. I've never owned an actual "Road" bike but do have a 1984 Trek touring bike that I use for training/commuting. I'm 5'-10" and weigh 214.6. My goal is to be 175 before the ride which is May 16th. As an award for my reaching that goal and as a motovator I will purchase a new bike if/when I reach my weight goal to make the ride more doable.
    I'm not sayin money is no object but I do want the most bang for my buck and get a bike that is a good hill climber. My bike shop guy is recommending a Trek 201 up to the Madone 4.5 and says I don't need and will still be too heavy for CF. Also says Alluminum is my friend. I was thinking light would be my friend for this ride.

    Recommendations will be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Fie on your LBS guy.... you can ride CF at your current weight if you have good wheels! IMO that is a lot of weight to drop in such a short time. Be careful about that.

    I think I would need to know more about your level of fitness before suggesting an appropriate bike. There are lots of possibilities for gearing etc. Whatever you do, don't get white!

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  3. #3
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    I recommend a triple chain ring and a granny gear.

    The infamous bike shop words "You'll just get stronger" may not apply.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  4. #4
    Oh! That British Bloke .. ThatBritBloke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony N. View Post
    (My bike shop guy) says I don't need and will still be too heavy for CF.
    Uh??? However, I wouldn't decide until you get close to your target weight. You might want to consider a bike designed for endurance and comfort rather than a grand tour winner.
    Alan

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  5. #5
    rck
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    For my longer, hillier rides I use my 1990c-dale sports tourer. Its triple crankset, as Boudicca recomends, gives a wider set of options on the hills and its longer wheelbase gives it a more stable and in fact more comfortable ride than my titanium bike. Why not do some upgrades on your current ride and use that for Mt. Mitchell? Its a bike you know and breaking in a new bike on a challenge ride could make it much more than challenging. Then buy your new bike.

  6. #6
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    If it's going to be a specific hill/mountain climb bike then yes, light weight and CF are your friends. When I rode the Assault on Mount Mitchell in '88 I rode my Mercian touring bike (Reynolds 531 steel) and it worked well, but I was far from the first to the summit!

    True, that was a long time ago, and I am an old guy, but if I were riding Mitchell today it would be on my CF GURU Photon. Not sure I agree with the aluminum comment above either. Of the four frame materials I've ridden and lived with for several years, aluminum is at the bottom of the list for comfort.

    YMMV of course, but my biggest challenge on the day of Mitchell was dealing with all the weather extremes. Hopefully you will be spared that, no matter which bike you ride!

    Rick / OCRR

  7. #7
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    What kind of rider are you? Can you ride a 53/39 with an 11/23 cassette up NC 80? I've ridden the AoMM 6 times and my personal best times were with a gear easy enough to maintain around an 80 cadence up that hill. Of course once you get to the BRP there is only another 15 miles of climbing to go. For Mitchell I would choose a bike like the Tarmac over the Roubaix. I think the Tarmac climbs a bit better and on a long climb would make a difference to me. I'd get the bike sooner rather than later. That way you can get it dialed in on long training rides.

    If you live close to Asheville I'd check out MotionMakers Bike Shop off I26. They'd get you setup right.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  8. #8
    Fran & Nanette McQz's Avatar
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    As a retirement reward, my bride and I bought Specialized Roubaix for me and Ruby Pro for her about a year ago. They are CF, weighing in at around 15#. I weighed about 220# when I got mine and have dropped 20 of those in the past year. I NEVER have regretted the CF! Even the competition wheelset that came on the bike have not had any problems - both wheels are still dead-on-true today, in spite of several thousands of miles logged under my semi-clydesdale mass and some serious torque climbing serious hills with the compact double chainring.

    I know that some wheels are considered too fragile for us bigger guys (? I'm only 5' 9", but at 200# outweigh most of my fellow riders in the Flagstaff area), but I'd definitely recommend the lightest frame you can afford! It is always a thrill to take it out of the stable for a ride, even if it is only to the library.

    With all that said, what other kinds of riding would you want to do on it? Are you planning on hanging it up after the MM? The competition type bikes aren't the best for rides where you might want to carry more than a light backpack on paved roads. Since you have your tourer, that might be all you need, but we've found that there are several light and responsive cyclocross bikes that with different tires can be good road bikes or decent unsprung MTBs or anything in between.
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  9. #9
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    You can get any CF bike you want. Here is a pick of Thor Hushovd winning the 2010 World Championships in an uphill sprint finish. He weighs 180 pounds and produces a couple of thousand watts of power on the sprint finish and rides CF. Also, he tested Cervelo's latest bike frame which was a 680 gm. That is much lighter and stiffer and more expensive than anything Trek has to offer.



    In an event that features 100 feet / mile of climbing the most important metric is the power to weight ratio. Weight can be either body weight or bike weight. It is better to have less body weight.

    BikeWNC has the right answer and he has a lot of local knowledge.

    One other point is that get the new bike a few months / weeks before the event. I would not want to do a century on a new bike.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  10. #10
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    Thanks for all the replies. I have thought of upgrading my Trek but don't know which way to go with it. It is all original even has the original 27" wheels which I would love to upgrade and is a triple-18 speed. My LBS guy says it would cost as much or more to upgrade it as to buy a mid price lighter bike. I am hoping to have at least a month of training with the new bike before MM.
    Please keep the comments coming.
    Local bike shops have Trek, Look, Specialized, Cannondale, and Recumbents. Not all at the same shop of course.

  11. #11
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    In addition to previous comments, you could also look for a bike with SRAM Apex (or retrofit, if you want) to keep the weight down (compact vs. triple, with a low gear lower than typical triple low).


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    Fie on your LBS guy.... you can ride CF at your current weight if you have good wheels!
    There are lots of possibilities for gearing etc.
    Whatever you do, don't get white!
    Even if you are Not "Near" Clyde weight- I can still recommend the good wheels.

    I went CF and initially I was disappointed with it. That was down to some sorting on the wheel front but I got there eventually. But even when I did have handling problems- That CF bike went up hills. Something about the build that makes it easier to climb than with Boreas. And due to Boreas- don't dismiss quality aluminium either.

    But gearing- That is going to be some climbing for one ride. I like to ride a compact crank-50/34 and 12/27 cassette on our local hills. They may not be long but they are mostly around 12 to 15%. For mountains- I like to use a 1 to 1 ratio on gearing for the lowest gear and it is now possible to get a 10 speed 12/34 cassette. With the 34t chainring- that will give me the 1 to 1 ratio but it is not the way I would suggest. For general riding that 12/24 cassette is too widely spaced for comfort so unless you are prepared to change cassettes for flatter rides- I would go for a triple. 30/27 will get me up a wall but when I went to the Alpes- I changed granny to a 28. Gets near that 1 to 1 ratio again.

    And a word on the training--Get in lots of hills and find the steepest one locally and do repeats. Get tge bike as soon as you can to get that sorted aswell. Make of bike- A Good one but I did the Alpes on my OCR3- not the lightest bike around- but it did have good sensible weight handbuilt wheels and Michelin PR tyres that rolled well.

    But if you can go lightweight Bike and lightweight wheels- then you will find it easier.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member chasmm's Avatar
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    It's been 25+ years since I did the AoMM, but I do remember the statement at the start; "This is not a race". Then when I got to the end I found out that they recognized the first finishers!

    On the topic of the bike, you can ride a CF bike. I'm a bit heavier than you and have over 2500 miles on my 2010 Specialized Roubaix. IIRC, Specialized says that their CF frames have a MFG limit of 240 lbs including rider, clothing, etc.

    I would think that you need to look at your riding and figure out what your drivetrain should be. Are you comfortable with the climbing AND the gear selections that a compact double would provide, or do you really need that triple/granny gear?

    Another thing I would emphasize is what a couple of others have mentioned...get that new bike in time to get it completely dialed in for your ride. Believe me, you don't want to find out on mile 65 that your saddle has suddenly become uncomfortable, or that you've complete run out of comfortable hand positions <grin>.

    Whatever way you go, you're in for a great experience...

    Edited to add:

    Stapfam mentions good wheels. I'll echo this. Within a month of getting my Roubaix, I bought a pair of Spinergy Xaero Lite wheels. This was a very good use of $450. The wheels are light and I can really feel how much easier they spin up (or at least I think I can). If it's all in my head, at least it's still there after 8 months...

    There are a lot of good wheelsets out there...and whatever bike you end up getting may have a great one. Just don't hesitate to consider upgrading them. You can always use the originals for foul weather...
    Last edited by chasmm; 01-19-11 at 10:35 AM.

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  14. #14
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    The following bikes are light, stiff and offer a more comfortable riding position compaired to most road bike;

    Specialized Roubaix
    Fuji Roubaix
    Giant OCR Composite
    Felt Z15, Z25
    Cervelo R3

    I would also consider a Shimano road triple drivetrain with a 12-27 cassette. Having a tight set of gears from 6 mph to 20 mph will provide a more comfortable cadence than any double. Only a triple will give you 20 gear combinations to use in that speed range.

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 01-19-11 at 01:48 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member MinnMan's Avatar
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    I'm not a doctor, but losing 40 lbs in 4 months does not seem like a healthy goal. Particularly not while you are trying to build fitness. Cycling is a great way to lose weight, but it's not magic. Something more like 1 lb/week might be better.

  16. #16
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    My gearing of choice for long mountain rides that might also have steep grades is a compact crank 50/34 with an 11-32 cassette. That gives me 14 distinct gears all in sequence on the chainrings. In other words I don't have to shift between chainrings to find one gear harder or easier until I run the range on that ring. 14 gears is plenty with the wide range on hills. I can see on flats in windy conditions a tighter gear range might be desirable but in the hills the compact with 11-32 is great.

    Of course the OP might be a stronger rider or prefer to mash more, then an 11-28 might work better. The 11-28 is my everyday cassette for riding in WNC.

    edit. Oh, and the OP should come up and ride with NealH and me here in WNC. We know some great training rides for the AoMM. Bring your climbing gear.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  17. #17
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    You can get any CF bike you want. Here is a pick of Thor Hushovd winning the 2010 World Championships in an uphill sprint finish. He weighs 180 pounds and produces a couple of thousand watts of power on the sprint finish and rides CF. Also, he tested Cervelo's latest bike frame which was a 680 gm. That is much lighter and stiffer and more expensive than anything Trek has to offer.





    In an event that features 100 feet / mile of climbing the most important metric is the power to weight ratio. Weight can be either body weight or bike weight. It is better to have less body weight.

    BikeWNC has the right answer and he has a lot of local knowledge.

    One other point is that get the new bike a few months / weeks before the event. I would not want to do a century on a new bike.
    Thor is one of my faves in the pro peleton. What a classy guy, and great heart too. Loved the way he grabbed those sprinter points in the mountains. Now he's WC.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  18. #18
    Pat
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    Well, I ride a 53/39 with a 12-26. I can make it up a slope a bit steeper than 20% on it. Now I should point out the difference between "can" and "want". If there are few climbs on a ride that are that steep and they are short, then this gearing is OK. But if there are long climbs over 7%, I want something a bit lower so I can sit and spin.

    The gearing you need is affected by your preferred climbing style. If you prefer sitting and running pretty high rpm, you need really low gears. If you like going to a higher gear and out of the saddle on long climbs, then you don't need gearing that is so low.

    I understand that the Mount Mitchell ride has sustained steep climbs. I would strongly suggest that you go for compact gearing 50/34 or better yet, a triple which gives a 30 tooth small ring. I understand that one can cheat on the small ring and go down to 28 teeth. Combine the small ring with a big cog of 27 or so, and you should be good for climbing most things.

    Now I have never ridden carbon fiber. But I understand that it is the frame material of choice these days. At your present weight, you are not too heavy for carbon fiber. Now, it is a bit silly to pay $$$ to drop 3 lbs off the bike rather than drop 30 lbs off one's body but I have seen many, many people do it.

    Losing more than a lb per week is a tall order. If you get down below 190, I say get the new bike. But that is me. The important thing about weight loss is changing your life style so when you lose the weight, you keep it off. Losing weight does you no good if you immediately gain it all back and then some.

    Good luck on your quest.

    Pat

  19. #19
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    My gearing of choice for long mountain rides that might also have steep grades is a compact crank 50/34 with an 11-32 cassette. That gives me 14 distinct gears all in sequence on the chainrings. In other words I don't have to shift between chainrings to find one gear harder or easier until I run the range on that ring. 14 gears is plenty with the wide range on hills. I can see on flats in windy conditions a tighter gear range might be desirable but in the hills the compact with 11-32 is great.

    Of course the OP might be a stronger rider or prefer to mash more, then an 11-28 might work better. The 11-28 is my everyday cassette for riding in WNC.

    edit. Oh, and the OP should come up and ride with NealH and me here in WNC. We know some great training rides for the AoMM. Bring your climbing gear.
    I think the OP will need a triple, however the Sram Apex is a good option. I have a Compact with a 11-32 ten speed cassette on my road bike and a Triple with a 12-27 on my CX/century bike. The triple provides a very tight cadence range;


  20. #20
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
    My gearing of choice for long mountain rides that might also have steep grades is a compact crank 50/34 with an 11-32 cassette. That gives me 14 distinct gears all in sequence on the chainrings. In other words I don't have to shift between chainrings to find one gear harder or easier until I run the range on that ring. 14 gears is plenty with the wide range on hills. I can see on flats in windy conditions a tighter gear range might be desirable but in the hills the compact with 11-32 is great.

    Of course the OP might be a stronger rider or prefer to mash more, then an 11-28 might work better. The 11-28 is my everyday cassette for riding in WNC.

    edit. Oh, and the OP should come up and ride with NealH and me here in WNC. We know some great training rides for the AoMM. Bring your climbing gear.
    Great advice and invitation from a taller local rider with local knowledge that climbs all the time.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  21. #21
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    There is a lot to be said for having a reward as motivation, but there is also a lot to be said for making the time needed to achieve your goal more enjoyable and more effective. I'd say to get the new bike now, but the problem with that is you don't yet know what you want/need. There is a saying with road bikes that you buy the first one to figure out what you really need, then you get the real deal. Maybe the experience with your touring bike is enough, but it doesn't sound like it based on what you have posted so far. You may want to play with the existing bike, as economically as possible, before deciding what to buy. Things like getting it properly fitted will guide you when selecting your CF dream machine. Sorting out proper dimensions during the new bike process may not be your best bet. If you have the old bike so that everything is working for you except its weight and mechanical attributes, then all you need to do is match that with the new bike. No need to get new wheels and drivetrain to lighten up something that will never be light: focus on seat, pedals, bars and fit. Training hard, and losing that weight, will point out what needs to change. When you feel like "Hey, this feels great, maybe I don't need the new bike", then buy the new one. Just a thought...

    Definitely take the advice of the folks here over what your LBS is saying!
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  22. #22
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    So WNC is Western North Carolina?
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  23. #23
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    So WNC is Western North Carolina?
    Yes, I'm about an hour west of Asheville.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

  24. #24
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    Given our respective levels of fitness, you might want to consider one of these:


    I hear they get about 8 hours per charge, so that should let you get most of the way without any problem.

  25. #25
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    Thanks so much for all the advice. 175 is my goal for the year and the new bike is my reward. I'm probably going to be somewhere in the 190's by ride date but am considering the new bike early. I'm doing my research in this forum because you guys are here. If I do decide to get the bike for the ride, I will have it professionaly fitted and have at least 4-6 weeks of road time on it. Thanks for being frank and honest and glad to hear from a few guys that have expierenced AoMM. I drive it one time with my wife following the cue sheets and my wife got tired and kept saying, "how much further" and something about me being crazy to even consider it. Said if I must do it, I must wear a shirt that says, "If found please call and her cell #". :-)

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