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  1. #1
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    Buying a Road Bike

    This is a difficult question to frame properly, and might be impossible to answer.

    I am riding a hybrid now. I want to get a road bike Ė I think.

    My only concern is whether I will find a road bike comfortable enough to ride long distances. I havenít been on a road bike since the 70s. I turned 50 last August.

    So, Iím wondering, how long do I need to give it to know whether I will be comfortable on a road bike? Can I tell in a 5 minute ride that it is either the bike for me, or not the bike for me?

    I realize every person is different, and each individual body reacts differently. Perhaps there is no way to know short of riding one for awhile.

    Iím just hoping there might be a consensus opinion.

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't ride anything other than a road bike for any distance. If you are interested in a road bike, it certainly will take longer than a five minute ride to decide. I can think of several options. These include: (1) borrow a road bike from someone that's close to your physical dimensions, (2) go to a local bike store, explian your delimna, and get them to loan you a used/beater/employees bike for awhile, (3) go to a LBS and ask to test ride a bike over a weekend with the intention of buying a bike from them if you like it, (4) go to a gym that has spinning classes and sign up for some - the spinning class bike is set up like a road bike, or (5) buy a used bike at a garage sale that's cheap. Make sure it fits and either give it a good tune-up or take it to a LBS for the same.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlodewell
    This is a difficult question to frame properly, and might be impossible to answer.

    I am riding a hybrid now. I want to get a road bike Ė I think.

    My only concern is whether I will find a road bike comfortable enough to ride long distances. I havenít been on a road bike since the 70s. I turned 50 last August.

    So, Iím wondering, how long do I need to give it to know whether I will be comfortable on a road bike? Can I tell in a 5 minute ride that it is either the bike for me, or not the bike for me?

    I realize every person is different, and each individual body reacts differently. Perhaps there is no way to know short of riding one for awhile.

    Iím just hoping there might be a consensus opinion.

    You want to focus on the riding position first, ask the LBS if they can let you try the bikes on a trainer first, I find this help determine 1) position on the bike and necessary adjustments before tryiog outside 2) eliminate bikes I definitly don't like. Not many LBS do that, always ask. Then I guess, come equipped and go for a long ride, they'll surely hold your credit card anyway
    Many manufacturers now do a performance and comfort line (often called sport), the comfort/sport you will probably like better.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for replying.

    I've been pretty sure it'd take awhile to determine whether I'd like a road bike or not, and that I'd have to figure out some way to accomplish that. I appreciate the suggestions.

  5. #5
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by rlodewell
    ..My only concern is whether I will find a road bike comfortable enough to ride long distances...
    You'll probably find (as most do) that the road bike is going to be MORE comfortable than your present mount **once you get used to it**. There is definitely a "break in" period with a road bike while your butt bones develop a tough-enough hide to tolerate the saddle. After that, there are more positions to be had. You can ride upright with hands on the tops of the bar, forward with hands on the brake levers, down with hands on the drops, or forward and down with hands in the bends. This variety will allow you to vary the position and amount of weight on your seat over the course of a ride, allowing greater comfort than if you could only sit bolt upright.

    Don't base your decision on a brief "test ride." You won't have benefit of the break in period, and you'll probably conclude that the road bike is profoundly uncomfortable. Instead, try to borrow a friend's road bike (that also fits you) for at least a week or two and ride it daily until you become accustomed. You may have to modify the seat height, bar height, and bar tilt until you find the right position. Keep in mind, also, that the seat may not be the best for you (one man's treasure is anothers trash).

    If a loaner is not available, buy based on budget from the local store with the understanding that if, in the first week or two, you find it unsuitable for any reason, a return is allowed on another model. Most stores will offer this deal, even on inexpensive bikes. Also consult the store on saddle selection with the understanding that no matter what bike you buy, you MAY (not certainly, but possibly) have to buy another saddle that better suits you.

    Good luck and happy shopping!

  6. #6
    But I'm saving $ on gas! OhiOH's Avatar
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    I concur on the comfort of a road bike on long rides. I have a MTB, hybrid and two road bikes; the road bikes win on comfort Ďhands downí (pun intended). With the drop bars of a road bike you have 4-5 very different hand positions you can and should use. Each of those hand positions result in a different riding posture, forcing you to use different muscles and pressure points
    You can go somewhere to bike or you can bike to go somewhere.
    Support Transportation Cycling!

  7. #7
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Choose a road bike with a relatively short top tube, and substitute a short-reach handlebar stem, if necessary. If you are more interested in comfort than in performance, there is no reason your handlebars have to be lower than your saddle.

    When you are test-riding, make sure the salesperson knows you are not interested in achieving a full time trialist's "tuck" position! An older salesperson may better understand your needs than a younger one.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  8. #8
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    I'm with John E. If you can get your handlebars UP near the height of your seat, that might be more comfy. When I had some back problems, it worked like a charm.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  9. #9
    Senior Member OldShacker's Avatar
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    The Trek 1000c does the job for me. It is a nice mix. You can adjust the handlebars up or down. It truly is the mix of hybrid and road bike for me.
    Performance Road Comfort Road

    http://www2.trekbikes.com/Bikes/Road...000C/index.php
    Ride well and be kind to others
    OldShacker

  10. #10
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    Try to get a loaner somewhere that comes close to a fit and ride at least an hour a day for a couple weeks, this should be enough to gice you a good idea if this is for you.

  11. #11
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    Hey, I had a similar situation. I hadn't ridden in some years and the last bike I had was a hybrid. I did not like the posture on that bike. So, I got my friend who teaches a spinning class at the local Y to give me advice on the purchase of a new bike. I bought a 2004 Specialiized Robaix. Although I am not loyal to any manufacturer I was impressed witht eh carbon fiber forks and seat post that dampens the road shock. Fuji and I suppose other companies make similar designs with the carbon fiber material. I recomend this bike highly. The only thing was that I got buyers remorse when I went to a local bike swap meet and could have bought a used one and saved a bundle. None the less I am very satisfies withthe bike.

    Good luck

  12. #12
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    later dude

  13. #13
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Went back to riding at 51 after a 30 year break. Started with a Hybrid/Comfort Bike (Giant Sedona DX.) I loved that bike. It was however, replaced after a year witha Giant OCR 1. This happened after I listened to someone in this forum tell me to draw concentric circles on a map around my house. The one mile circle is what he said I would see while running, jogging or walking. The 10 mile circle is what I would be exposed to on my comfort/hybrid. The 30 mile circle is the territory I'd be operating in with the road bike. Twas true.

    In January, I traded the OCR1 on a Specialized Roubaix just to reward myself for quitting smoking at the end of 2004.

    Truth be known sir, I am indeed much more comfortable on longer rides using the road bike. If you do decide to buy one, you aren't risking the entire amount you pay for the experience. You can always sell or trade it.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  14. #14
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    I'm a bit older than you. I just got a Gunnar Sport. Rides like butter.

  15. #15
    shewhobikes spinhappy's Avatar
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    OK, I'm 49 so I hope it's OK if I post here. I'm a nice lady so y'all don't kick me out.
    I worried that a road bike would be uncomfortable for someone new to the sport--no interest in racing. I tried a Cannondale Sport Road (SR) 800. It's a road bike with some comfort features built in (check their web site). I am happy with it as I can be. Don't be afraid of the road bikes. You will love it once you get used to it, and it doesn't take that long, I promise. Work with a LBS that will help you tweak until it's just right for you. Have fun and go fast!!!

  16. #16
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    To see if you (and your body) can get along with a road
    bike I suggest that you look for an older used road bike
    from the 70's or 80's.

    Why then??

    Simple really, mate. Bikes from that time were often a bit
    overbuilt of steel construction (better ride) with less & simpler
    gearing. If you spend $100 or less (my guess would be way less)
    you'll get to see if the idea will even work for you and at worst
    wind up with a good beater /town bike.

  17. #17
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spinhappy
    OK, I'm 49 so I hope it's OK if I post here. I'm a nice lady so y'all don't kick me out
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  18. #18
    Elmira>Taiwan>Elmira flatlander_48's Avatar
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    Regarding comfort:

    The bike is part of it, but don't discount the value of a good (ie not cheap) pair of padded riding shorts. That makes a world of difference in how you feel, how far you can go, etc. The longer you can ride pain-free and numbness-free, the more use you will get out of your bike.

  19. #19
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    My story is very similar to Webist's (3/29/05). I'm 49, and returned to riding
    about 7 yrs. ago. I started with a Schwinn Crosscut hybrid with Exage LX drivetrain
    (very nice bike, I still use it to ride around town). Then, I bought a 2001 Giant OCR 1, because it was time to switch to a roadie. After realizing my discomfort was due to the improper fit of the OCR 1, I have just sold it, and bought a new '05 Specialized Roubaix. (FANTASTIC !!!), which my LBS spent over two hours fitting me properly.
    My advice to you....Try a road bike with a "more relaxed geometry" (Roubaix, Trek Pilot, Giant OCR series)...BUT make sure you get fitted properly at a good LBS.
    The proper fit on the right bike will make you want to ride forever ! Godd luck !!!

  20. #20
    bici accumulatori pinerider's Avatar
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    My return to a road biking was 3 years ago, I'd been riding mountain bikes, but hadn't been on a road bike for at least 10 years. The first ride felt very strange and uncomfortable, but after that I was back in business in no time.
    I also suggest a used bike if you still have doubts, my return to roading was on a $35 yard sale Bianchi ( a firend of mine still has it -I sold it to him for $50 after replacing tires and bar tape)
    ...!

  21. #21
    Let's do a Century jppe's Avatar
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    Rlodewell-sounds like you're getting lots of sound advice. You will find that probably the majority of us have recently traveled the same path as you and I'm no different. I'm 52 and have only been back on the bike about 3-4 years. I started with a hybrid as well thinking it would do all I ever wanted. Let's see, I'm now on my 3rd road bike so can offer my perspective and some hard learned lessons.

    Go to someone (probably a well known fitter at a LBS) who knows what they are doing. Tell them what you would like--if it's comfort for longer rides--they can accommodate that. It probably means exactly what others have already said-a slightly shorter top tube with the handlebars at about the same height as the seat. I started that way and found it very enjoyable. Now, I'm actually in a very agressive riding position and find it very comfortable as well. My handlebars are now about 4" lower than my saddle and I even ride a lot in the drops. I even had the fork tube cut off a couple inches on my new bike so it would not look so bad sticking up above the stem. It's not unusual for me to do 60-80 miles with 5000 ft and up worth of climbing.

    It's very important to get the right size bike. It's also extremely important to have the seat position in the correct location. The saddle needs to be the right distance (within a range) from the pedals for your leg length plus it needs to be in the correct fore/aft position above the pedals. I've found even sliding my saddle forward a centimeter can create real knee pain for me.

    You can easily be fitted with what you need. They make every gadget you can think of from saddles to bike stems, etc that focus on comfort and position. Go with a road bike and come out and join us!! You'll ride longer, and easier and pick up a lot new friends along the way.

  22. #22
    if x=byh then x+1=byn blandin's Avatar
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    Hi rlodewell,

    I'm 54 and was off my bikes for 2 years due to a health issue. When I began riding again a little over a year ago I had to get myself back into physical shape and needed to reacquaint my butt with sitting on the saddle. I'd say it all boils down to a good fit, getting accustomed to the riding position and having the right saddle. The best saddle I've found for comfort on long rides is the Fizik Arione. I like it so much I've installed one on 3 out of my four road bikes. That doesn't mean it will work for you, but you might want to take a look. I hope you enjoy your transition to road biking!

  23. #23
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    The best saddle I have found is the Brooks Pro. I just put a used Team Pro on my mountain bike, and it's a vast improvement over the narrow padded vinyl thing it came with.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
    Bianchi: 1981 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
    Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069

  24. #24
    One Tough Cookie. Black Bud's Avatar
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    I'm "only" 48 (almost!), but I have to agree with making sure the handlebars are about the height of the saddle...for anyone who is NOT a racer--at ANY age--this seems to be the best arrangement.

    I know that this formula, when I'm using drop bars, works for me!! Any lower, and I'd not be able to use the drops at all.

    If you can't use the "drops", why bother with a drop bar in the first place?
    A bad day on the bike is better than a good day at work!!

    My discussion board, another resource for the "utility" and commuter cyclist: "Two Wheeled Commuter: The Everyday Cyclist"

  25. #25
    Lets Ride Trekke's Avatar
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    I am 49. Rode a hybrid for a couple years until I decided I was serious about riding and went to a road bike. I explained to the salesperson at my LBS what my intentions were and some goals and objectives. He took some measurements. I did not want to race. I simply wanted to ride building my endurance, loose weight and improve fitness and riding skills to a point I could do a century etc.. He fit me with a bike that had a more comfortable geometry, shorter positive angle stem and a tripple crankset. If I had wanted to race I would have ended up with another type bike. My point is this. Knowing what you want to achieve means a ton when picking out a bike and getting the right bike for you. A good salesperson will listen, understand and give you good direction. Good Luck.
    Phil

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