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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Noob wants a faster bike, but..

    OK, so I've got a Marin Muirwoods which is basically a rigid, steel ATB with slick 26x1.4" tires. It rides comfortably over seemingly any pavement but it (and it's rider) are slow. I would like something lighter and with lower-friction tires.

    I would get a road bike with drop bars but that makes my back ache almost from the second I sit on the bike, even with "comfort" geometry incl. a shorter top tube, longer head tube, etc. So, I've been looking at flat bar road bikes, if it is accepted that there is such a thing. The one in particular that I'm looking at is the Novara Express:
    http://www.rei.com/product/744777?vcat=REI_SEARCH

    For some reason, this thing doesn't feel much faster than my Marin Muirwoods. My guesses as to why include:
    1. it's rider is just too lacking in strength and cadence/rpm to exploit it's lower weight and tire friction
    2. it's tires aren't even that lower in friction; their max psi is 85, whereas my Muirwoods' tires' max psi is 80
    3. the Express, being a flat bar bike like my Muirwoods, leaves the rider so un-aerodynamic that, riding into any headwind, the bike's lightness and low-friction tires aren't much of a factor on bike speed, per a given rider effort
    4. with both bikes, since my hips aren't very flexed, I'm just not in a good enough posture to transfer power from my hips

    Any other guesses? Is pretty much any flat bar bike going to feel slow if the rider? Must one be more flexed at the hips and in a more aero position to actually pick up some speed?

  2. #2
    Gorntastic! v1k1ng1001's Avatar
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    For starters, slap a higher pressure tire on the road bike, like 100-120 psi.

    Next, dial in the fit of the bike so that your biomechanics are more efficient.

    Third, ditch the Novara and look into a steel frame because I bet you're gonna hate the aluminum on longer rides with the tires above 100 psi.

    You might just want to find an old steel frame on ebay and have your LBS build it up as a flat bar (or rise bar) road bike for you.

  3. #3
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    A shorter top tube isn't necessarily more comfortable. A more stretched out position can be better (riding my drop bar bike makes my back *better*).

    A new riding position takes a while to get used to. Your muscles need time to adapt, a month of riding every day would do it.

    Once you are riding faster than 15mph, most of your work is overcoming air resistance. A 10mph headwind will require an extra 100watts or so to maintain speed; fat slick tyres will only require 10watts or so over road bike tyres

    If your bike is otherwise ok, try putting some 2nd-hand aero bars on for a bit.


    PS
    Narrow road tyres will handle better at speed, they aren't just about reducing friction.

  4. #4
    Senior Member maddyfish's Avatar
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    No bike will make you significantly faster. If you want to get faster, you'll need to get stronger.
    Not too much to say here

  5. #5
    Drop Master slyjackson's Avatar
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    Wanna go faster on a bike ? Work on the engine ! The faster the engine, the faster the bike !!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairytoes View Post
    A shorter top tube isn't necessarily more comfortable. A more stretched out position can be better (riding my drop bar bike makes my back *better*).

    A new riding position takes a while to get used to. Your muscles need time to adapt, a month of riding every day would do it.

    Once you are riding faster than 15mph, most of your work is overcoming air resistance. A 10mph headwind will require an extra 100watts or so to maintain speed; fat slick tyres will only require 10watts or so over road bike tyres

    If your bike is otherwise ok, try putting some 2nd-hand aero bars on for a bit.


    PS
    Narrow road tyres will handle better at speed, they aren't just about reducing friction.
    I also found that I like to raise the handlebars on my bike by using a stem extension (for threaded) and you can get a "spacer" for non-threaded headsets. it allows a bit more upright position on the hoods and also allows me to hit the drops when in a headwind...

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