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Old 11-09-08, 01:24 AM   #1
vespera
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Bike Types

Hey guys.. I'm still rather new to these forums (and cycling in general), and I hope this is the right place to ask this question. Please forgive me if I'm mistaken

I just recently started riding together with a friend, and got a little worried thinking he might actually be a bit healthier than me despite my living a much more active and healthy lifestyle. He has a street bike, and I have a (what I thought was good quality) mountain bike, and when we started riding together I noticed he was able to accelerate way faster to me and get to a very high top speed without getting tired.

He has a good old street bike from the '90s with what look like incredibly thin tires to me that he says go up to like 90 psi (?!). My mountain bike tired are 3x the width of his tires, and tell me to inflate to 55psi. My bike also has shocks in the fork and rear, one of those cushy gel seats, and a heck of a lot more gear range.

We switched bikes one day, and he couldn't handle it (suddenly I was going 25mph right off the bat while he couldn't get past 10), so there is obviously something I'm doing wrong.

I have my seat set properly (I think) to where my leg is just a few inches from fully extended when I pedal down, whereas his is set really low even for him, so I don't think that's it.

I'm just so confused. Is it just my super wide, knobby mountain bike tires creating all that resistance (in which case I can just buy some new tires), or is it the whole dynamo of my mountain bike? The wide gear ratios, the rear shock, the cushy seat, the wide handle bars.. am I going to have to get a new bike just to keep up with my friend once he loses some weight?

Thanks in advance to any and all help!!
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Old 11-09-08, 01:27 AM   #2
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I forgot to mention.. my bike does weight 2x as much as his (his seems incredibly light to me, where as mine is like 40 lbs.. it's HEAVY!! )
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Old 11-09-08, 01:32 AM   #3
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The tires are a huge factor. Those big knobby tires suck up speed like nothing else because of the extra rolling resistance. There are plenty of other factors, too: your suspension (especially the rear) saps pedaling power, your mountain bike is much heavier than a road bike, and the mountain bike puts you in a more upright position, which will really hurt you in a headwind or if you're going to push speeds up over 20 mph.

You may in fact have a very good mountain bike, but short of a pair of slicks and lockouts on the suspension, it will always be out of its element on pavement.

Edit: road bikes are also geared higher (=faster) than mountain bikes, but unless you're spinning out on your mtb, that's not really an issue.

Last edited by DaylightsDrknss; 11-09-08 at 01:37 AM.
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Old 11-09-08, 06:53 AM   #4
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Equipment matters.

While it's true that it's mostly the motor, if your goal is to ride consistantly with another person, it's best to have similar bikes.
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Old 11-09-08, 10:29 AM   #5
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You have a 40 pound FS MTB with knobby tires. I will guess since you do not mention brand/model that it is something generic. Maybe even something from an Xmart.

I am not a bike snob (no one loves a rat bike more than me!), but I think it is pretty clear that you have the wrong bike for what you want to do.

Slick, higher pressure, tires will help. But much of the problem is that you are hauling around a lot of squishy bike under you. But think how strong it will make you!!

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Old 11-09-08, 03:29 PM   #6
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Those tires are probably killing you the most but the weight is also a factor.


If you are going to be ridding on the street or even paved bike paths then get a road bike or at least a non suspension hybrid with thinner tires.

If you are ridding on limestone/gravel bike paths then a non suspension hybrid might me a better fit.

There is really no need for one of those heavy mountain bikes with the full suspension and bike knobby tires unless you want to use it off the beaten path (so to speak).

The right tool for the job.

If you can't shell out the bucks right now, talk to a bike shop to see how thin you can go on tires on those rims. That will hel a lot.


Good luck and welcome to the sport. It is always good to see more women getting involved in cycling.
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Old 11-10-08, 04:15 AM   #7
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Tragically I would love to do some off road mountain biking, but I live in a city and don't have a bike rack for my (tiny!) car..

In any case, thanks for all the replies! I'll be keeping my eye out for a new hybrid bike with a.. hard tail? That's what it's called when there's no suspension in the back, right? But any way, until then, I twisted the rear suspension spring so that it's completely compressed and doesn't allow any travel, and I'll look for some more flat tires for my rims next time I hit up Kyle's Bike Shop

Thanks again everyone!

(And yes, it tragically is a walmart bike, but in my defense, I thought spending $250 at walmart was as expensive as bikes got! I didn't realize you could get a carbon fiber diamond frame in the few thousand dollar range, lol! Curse my ignorance)
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