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  1. #1
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    Can you use a touring bike for racing?

    Can you use a touring bike in bike races and events? Ive never heard of anybody using a touring bike in races. I want to use my touring bike then if I get good I will buy a road bike.

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    umd
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    Sure, but they may make you take racks or other attachments off.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slipknot0129 View Post
    Can you use a touring bike in bike races and events? Ive never heard of anybody using a touring bike in races. I want to use my touring bike then if I get good I will buy a road bike.
    Been there done that and was even competitive. My favorite touring bike versus race bike story is an older, retired lady that used to ride the longer club rides, she was pushing 70 and rode a Raleigh Super Tourer she would crank that thing along at 80 rpm all day long, most of the go fast roadies would blow by her early in the day, but she would go cranking past them at lunch time and quite often would finish the day ahead of them.

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    If they're real hardcore racers with the carbon bikes, you probably won't be competitive, but it would be interesting to see a tour-race of multiple days.

  5. #5
    Pat
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    You would take a performance hit.

    At least when I had one, touring bikes tended to weigh a fair bit more than high performance bikes. It is not a big hit but say at 5 lbs, it would have a slight effect.

    Another thing is touring bikes tend to have large tires such as 28 mm. High performance bikes have tires of around 23 mm. Having the narrower tires does help acceleration a bit.

    Another problem is the fact that touring bikes have a longer wheel base than high performance bikes. The longer wheel base makes touring bikes more stable. But it also makes touring bikes a bit slower in sharp turns which is not a good thing in a race. Also, I felt that the acceleration of the touring bike was not as good as a high performance bike.

    You have a number of things on a touring bike that work against performance. There is also another. It makes you a marked rider. I do not think that there is an experienced racer in the country who races on a touring bike. Riding a touring bike in a race would be a bit like writing COMPLETE ROOKIE on your forehead.

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    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    If you were going to race my Randonee without major changes in the chain rings, you would not be competetive - unless the entire race were uphill. The gearing is designed for a fully loaded bike. I suspect other touring bikes would have a similar flaw.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

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    I had wondered this myself. Actually, I was looking at a 20k time trial. Looking at the posted results from last time, I think I might be on a par with the very slowest riders in it. It'd still be $40 to go ride it, so I'll probably pass anyway, though.

    One thing I noticed in the requirements was that they require USAC-compliant bikes, which have the bar-end-plug requirement. Does that prohibit bar-end shifters? They're pointy, so you'd think the intent would be to not allow them, but the wording doesn't actually seem to say that. I'm assuming this is so you don't have a handlebar through your gizzard after a pile-up.

    I can't say for other touring bikes, but my Sojourn came with fenders, with 35x700 tires, a steel frame, etc. I noticed on Cannondale's site, that their touring bikes are rated for more weight than regular road bikes, so I assume the wheels are a bit heavier as well. I haven't ridden regular road bikes to compare, but the gear ranges on mine using just the middle ring up front covers about 7mph-30mph. So I can't tell that gearing or frame length would be a problem for me, just the extra weight and drag.

    As far as having "Complete Rookie" on the forehead, that doesn't bother me if it's true. I assume other people would deduce it shortly anyway. And sometimes, it's better if other people know it up front.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
    One thing I noticed in the requirements was that they require USAC-compliant bikes, which have the bar-end-plug requirement. Does that prohibit bar-end shifters? They're pointy, so you'd think the intent would be to not allow them, but the wording doesn't actually seem to say that. I'm assuming this is so you don't have a handlebar through your gizzard after a pile-up.
    It's not about pointy, it's about not coring your leg (or someone else's).

  9. #9
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slipknot0129 View Post
    Can you use a touring bike in bike races and events? Ive never heard of anybody using a touring bike in races. I want to use my touring bike then if I get good I will buy a road bike.
    Yeah, but not for winning.

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    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    StephenH - There is an ultra non technical approach to gearing. If you can maintain, say 95 rpm on level ground, check your speed. If it is inadequate for a non embarassing race result, you don't have enough gears. Assuming you have a computer that displays cadence, of course.

    I checked my speed at my cadence, and it would have been embarassing.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

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    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I understand that exactly, but I'm not going to run out of gears on level ground, period. With a long downhill and a tailwind, maybe. And rest assured, my results would be embarrassing if I was concerned about the results. That's one reason you want that "Complete Rookie" to be visible, so people don't expect too much.

    And I like genec's answer.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  12. #12
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    For straight line speed there will be little difference between a road and properly set up touring bike...

    Items that might need changing or that could slow you down:
    -Install narrower tires than what you use for riding to the grocery store in Tibet (good quality 700 X 23 to 700 X 28, depending on your weight and what you like)
    -Take off the racks, bags, and at least 4 of your 5 water bottle cages
    -Make sure you have gearing so you will not run out of gears during the event
    -If it is super hilly and you are as fit and lighteweight as you can be, a 7 pound touring frameset will put you at a disadvantage to an identical rider on a 4 pound frameset
    -you will fall to the back during the first tight corner and slip further back with every subsequent corner

    Most of these do not apply to you and a normal time trial. The reality is, amateur racers are seldom anywhere near reaching the performace limit of their bikes. If Alberto Contador or Carlos Sastre entered a local race on a touring bike he would still kick arse.

    My advice: Run whatever bike you think you are fastest on and do your best.
    $40 is a lot for one race, though. Maybe if you joined a club you could take part in their weekly time trials to track your progress over a season.
    Also, if you join a club you generally make a lot of contacts with people who are selling or know others who are selling road bikes - if you want to be a little more competitive.

  13. #13
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input, y'all. (And no, I didn't go ride in it.)

    Here's the Results page from the time trial I was looking at:
    http://ic3-ntx.org/HCTT_2010_March_Results.pdf

    This was a 20k ride with some hills, or actually shown a bit shorter on the bikely route. The times ranged from 26:02 to 51:19. Figuring exactly 20.0k, that ranges from 28.64 mph to 14.5 mph. There's only a few people in that slowest category, though. I think I could probably hit 16 mph average, maybe better on a good day. Doing 16-18 mph would put me in last place by a fair bit on the Master's list, or next-to-last on the Men's 4/5, so it wouldn't be pretty either way. "Master's" to me implies old and experienced, which is what those results look like, but on some older result sheets, they also had some slow people in the Master's group, too. Maybe they were 80 or something.

    They also had photos posted. Most of them were riding with time trial helmets, etc., but a few had regular bike helmets and drop bars, which I would assume were the slower times.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

  14. #14
    umd
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    Masters just means old, experienced is just often a side-effect.

  15. #15
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
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    "StephenH - There is an ultra non technical approach to gearing. If you can maintain, say 95 rpm on level ground, check your speed. If it is inadequate for a non embarassing race result, you don't have enough gears. Assuming you have a computer that displays cadence, of course."

    I was looking up the gearing for another post. I think my bike's got a 50/39/30 triple on front and 11-34 on back. At 95 rpm, that would me 27 mph in the middle ring or 34.9 mph in high gear. The 27 mph is generally a downhill-tailwind situation. The 34.9 mph is sort of a hypothetical situation.
    "be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."

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