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Old 05-16-12, 10:49 PM   #1
commodorefork
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First impressions of road bike riding (coming from MTBs)

Hello!

I'm really getting into cycling lately and I've been riding all the trails near me on my mountain bike that I made a few upgrades to (such as swapping the knobbly tires with thinner road tires.) Since I've read so much about these road bikes, I finally decided to buy a used Trek 1000. I wanted a bike that was lighter and faster.

My first impressions of road bikes are mixed. They feel very unstable compared to my mountain bike. Every bump in the sidewalk feels like it's going to knock me over. The hunched over riding position also takes some getting used to.

On the positive side, I really like how light the bike is compared to my heavy mountain bike. The pedaling is also almost effortless.

You can call me silly, but I think the ideal bike for me would be as light as a road bike but with wider tires (1.5 inch) and flat handlebars. I'm wondering if these upgrades would be feasible on my Trek 1000? Would I have to replace the wheels to accommodate wide tires?

Thanks for your comments. Feel free to call me a Fred.

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Old 05-16-12, 11:42 PM   #2
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Not only would you have to replace the wheels, you would probably find that you don't have the clearances to run such fat tyres. They'd rub against the frame. And in any event, mounting much heavier wheels would deprive you of much of the weight advantage that you say you enjoy.

Puttting flat bars on a road bike isn't simply a matter of changing the bars. You'd also have to change the brakes and gear shifters, plus you would probably find that the height of the bars relative to the saddle would need changing, because the reach would alter.

In short, if you want a hybrid bike you should buy one rather than spend what would be quite a lot of money on what would probably end up as an unsatisfactory conversion. However, I'd suggest you persevere with the Trek for a while. Road bikes are no less stable than MTBs. They are faster-handling, because of the short wheelbase and different geometry. That makes them feel twitchier, but that's the point of them. As for the "hunched over" riding position, yes it does take some getting used to. But very few people spend all their time in the drops, and the dropped bars offer much more variety of hand positions as well as reducing air resistance. The latter is a big component in their being faster, weight (except in the hills) is secondary.
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Old 05-16-12, 11:43 PM   #3
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Sounds like a hybrid is what you need! I have Giant Escape 2.0 and I quite like it. I hate the drop bars of normal roadies but hybrids tend to be flat, and a bit "sturdier" as well. Check some out.

And also, if you can hit nicely asphalted piece of road, your road/hybrid will flyyyyyy. Sadly, being in LA, those are rare and few between :/
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Old 05-16-12, 11:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorefork View Post
but I think the ideal bike for me would be as light as a road bike but with wider tires (1.5 inch) and flat handlebars. I'm wondering if these upgrades would be feasible on my Trek 1000? Would I have to replace the wheels to accommodate wide tires?
You are talking along the lines of a flat bar cyclocross bike:

http://www.rei.com/search?cat=450086...tyle=Road+bike
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Old 05-17-12, 02:14 AM   #5
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My first impressions of road bikes are mixed. They feel very unstable compared to my mountain bike. Every bump in the sidewalk feels like it's going to knock me over. The hunched over riding position also takes some getting used to.

You can call me silly, but I think the ideal bike for me would be as light as a road bike but with wider tires
Get off the sidewalk and ride on the road where you belong

Raise the handlebars

What size are your tires?
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Old 05-17-12, 04:12 AM   #6
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^^^ She's the boss. You better listen to her before you get into trouble.

Perhaps a hybrid bike is more up your alley with the wider tires and flat bars. We do have a section here for those. http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...ybrid-Bicycles Check it out! You might be able to find ideas on how to make the bike more comfortable for you. Oh and welcome to Bike Forums.
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Old 05-17-12, 05:02 AM   #7
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You can call me silly, but I think the ideal bike for me would be as light as a road bike but with wider tires (1.5 inch) and flat handlebars. I'm wondering if these upgrades would be feasible on my Trek 1000?
Salsa Fargo. Salsa Vaya. Kona Sutra comes w/32mm tires. Touring bikes generally have clearance for wider tires. My own "road bike" is a Salsa Fargo on which I currently am running some 1.75" tires.
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Old 05-17-12, 06:57 AM   #8
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My first impressions of road bikes are mixed. They feel very unstable compared to my mountain bike.
I suspect you aren't don't very hard trails with your mountain bike. If you do "enough" mountain biking, it can help with your road riding because you'd have a habit of being light on the seat.

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Every bump in the sidewalk feels like it's going to knock me over.
Don't ride on the sidewalk. Sidewalks really don't work so well for the speeds road bikes are ridden.

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Originally Posted by commodorefork View Post
You can call me silly, but I think the ideal bike for me would be as light as a road bike but with wider tires (1.5 inch) and flat handlebars. I'm wondering if these upgrades would be feasible on my Trek 1000? Would I have to replace the wheels to accommodate wide tires?
I'm going to guess you don't have that much experience riding (anything). There's nothing wrong with that but it might be more useful to stick with what you have rather rushing to changing stuff that you need more time to get used to.

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Old 05-17-12, 08:05 AM   #9
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Ride the Trek for a couple hundred miles. Then report back.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:12 AM   #10
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Yeah, road bikes feel twitchy and unstable to everyone the first time around. Give it a chance, and you'll come to appreciate the responsiveness and speed.
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Old 05-17-12, 11:01 AM   #11
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Hunched over? Who is riding hunched over?? (j/k)

Seriously, like was already said......those roadie bars are only as low as you want them to be. They are adjustable. Even them up with your seat height.

Also, those drop bars will give you more hand positions which you will find very ***ahem*** handy when you start feeling fatique and newbie numbness settles in. The drops are for riding in the wind. If you have a trip computer you wont believe how much difference it makes riding upright in the wind. As soon as you get into the drops your speed will jump up significantly with no extra peddle pressure. Check it out.
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Old 05-17-12, 01:35 PM   #12
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After 16 years Of MTB's- I got a road bike to see what they are like. They are faster- lighter- can do more mileage with less effort and are efficient on asphalt. Downsides are that they don't like rough tracks or sidewalks (Or roads for that matter). Gearing is higher for those steep hills-and initially they are not comfortable. I was never comfortable in the drops so I practiced- 20 seconds at a time but many times on a ride. I mainly rode on the hoods but that little bit further into the drops took a while to adjust to but very usefull downhills- into a headwind or if that bit of extra speed is wanted. The gearing and I had to change the granny to a 28t but that was my fault for wanting to climb a mountain and it did take me a while to actually use the 52t on the flat. And as for comfort- being an ex mountain biker I did not take advice on sizing and went one size too small. It felt right initially but as my body adjusted and my style adapted to road bikes-it was too small.

That was corrected on the next bike and improved on the one after and by the time I ordered my last bike in February I knew what was required so got it.

So an Ex Mountain biker here that still manages to get out on the rough stuff occasionally and really enjoy it. But as I say---"EX" mountain biker.
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Old 05-17-12, 01:44 PM   #13
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Try riding 100 miles on a mountain bike in a day...

Don't ever ride on the sidewalk unless under extreme duress. Then, be careful.

Have someone qualified check your fit.

Did I mention not to ride on the sidewalk?
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Old 05-17-12, 05:47 PM   #14
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Agree - make sure the current bike you have fits properly. Put the largest tires on it that you can. Some, especially lower end, road bikes can take 28mm tires which definitely feel more stable than 23's.

Then ride it a lot before you decide you don't like it - and on the road, not the sidewalk.

Finally, there's a million options for what you're looking for. Look for bikes called "hybrid", "flat bar road bike", "flat bar cross bike". Or, my favorite is a regular drop-bar cross bike converted to a fat tire road bike (32mm slicks with fittings for fenders and luggage rack, and slightly modified gearing more suitable to the road than the trails).

Drop handlebars are oh so much more comfortable for road use than flat bars. There is no comparison to most users (some are dedicated to flat bars, but among roadies and even commuters, they are a minority.....there's a reason few if any long distance tourers use flat bars.)

Drop bars with ample brake lever hoods are ergonomically more correct for the wrists and elbows. If you don't agree, just observe a mountain bike rider on the road vs. a road bike rider. The MTB rider's wrists are cocked at a severe angle to hold the handlebars and the elbows are splayed out because the bars are wide and the hands must be placed at right angles to the bike axis, not parallel with it. Parallel (i.e. on the hoods of a road bike or in the drops) is actually the "anatomical" correct, less stressful position by far. If you don't believe me, let your hands dangle alongside your body and see what position the hands/wrists are in.

Mountain bike position and handlebars just KILL wristts and elbows if used on the road for sustained "steady state" riding. Road riding is totally different than the continually variable riding on a rough trail which is what MTB bars and general fit are designed for. Totally different conditions, totally different handlebars required!

It seems counterintuitive to MTB riders and casual observers, but a well fitting road bike with drop handlebars is so much more comfortable to the back, butt, and every joint in the arms because it is designed to be so. The mountain bike is designed for, like I said, continually changing conditions, body position, turning, and leverage needed in those situations.

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Old 05-17-12, 06:15 PM   #15
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Try riding 100 miles on a mountain bike in a day...

Don't ever ride on the sidewalk unless under extreme duress. Then, be careful.

Have someone qualified check your fit.

Did I mention not to ride on the sidewalk?
Thank You.

and Machya and stapfam...
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Old 05-17-12, 07:55 PM   #16
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i split the difference and got a cyclocross (Nashbar steel w/ carbon fork and Shimano 105's). i run 30's with a mild knob, but i'm going to Vittoria Rando 32's for my 60/40 road/gravel commute. i usually run max to max+5psi.

i spend most of my time on the hoods, but alternate with the drops when hands get stiff/numb.

i do like the speed/handling of road bikes and may pick one up and add 5mi to my commute to make it all pavement. just to change things up.
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Old 05-17-12, 07:58 PM   #17
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Fair enough. I think I'll try to adapt to the road bike. ;-)

In fact, it's already feeling a bit more stable. I'm just worried that if it can't handle a few bumps in the sidewalk how safe will it be if it hits any crack in the road going above 20mph? Maybe lower tire pressure would make it handle road hazards better. I obviously am going to ride it primarily on the road. I was using the sidewalk to avoid riding on a busy street since I'm not used to the bike yet.

These hybrids look nice and that's probably what I should've got. I don't see any with horizontal top-tubes, though. That disappoints me.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:18 PM   #18
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Salsa Fargo. Salsa Vaya. Kona Sutra comes w/32mm tires. Touring bikes generally have clearance for wider tires. My own "road bike" is a Salsa Fargo on which I currently am running some 1.75" tires.
Agreed. I ride a Salsa Vaya. A little more like a road bike than the Fargo, but less of a mountain bike than the Fargo. Takes nice wide tires. A little more relaxed riding position than a road bike. Wider drops than your average road bike, makes me feel more in control. I want to be buried with this bike.

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Old 05-17-12, 08:55 PM   #19
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buy flat bars, bmx brake levers, friction shifters and retstring your cables.. i would be surprised if anything wider than a 28mm would fit on that bike. it's easy to test.
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Old 05-18-12, 12:51 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Try riding 100 miles on a mountain bike in a day...

Don't ever ride on the sidewalk unless under extreme duress. Then, be careful.

Have someone qualified check your fit.

Did I mention not to ride on the sidewalk?
Before getting a Road bike I only had one bike type and it was MTB. Put slicks on and Flip the stem to get a bit more Aero and it is Good fun showing the roadies with 53/42 and 11/21 gearing how the steep hills can be ridden. Metrics were done in 4 hours but 100 milers took around 8. Won't show the link but 100 miles offroad in a day--That is hard.
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Old 05-18-12, 01:54 AM   #21
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Fair enough. I think I'll try to adapt to the road bike. ;-)

In fact, it's already feeling a bit more stable. I'm just worried that if it can't handle a few bumps in the sidewalk how safe will it be if it hits any crack in the road going above 20mph? Maybe lower tire pressure would make it handle road hazards better. I obviously am going to ride it primarily on the road. I was using the sidewalk to avoid riding on a busy street since I'm not used to the bike yet.
What size tires do you have, and what tire pressure are you running?
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Old 05-18-12, 02:09 AM   #22
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You can always get a single speed road bike with bull horns. It is a very popular choice here with good reason too.
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Old 05-18-12, 02:11 AM   #23
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Fair enough. I think I'll try to adapt to the road bike. ;-)

In fact, it's already feeling a bit more stable. I'm just worried that if it can't handle a few bumps in the sidewalk how safe will it be if it hits any crack in the road going above 20mph?
It certainly can handle a few bumps in the sidewalk, or the road. The question is whether you can handle them. Road bikes are regularly ridden at high speeds over severe cobblestones broken road surfaces and so on. You simply aren't used to the harder ride of a non-suspension, stiff bike with high-pressure tyres.

Quote:
Maybe lower tire pressure would make it handle road hazards better.
Tyre pressure certainly makes a difference to the feel of the ride. But if you are running 23mm or 25mm tyres, as is typical for a road bike, you should be cautious about running lower pressures. These are low-volume, high-pressure tyres. Cutting the pressure too much risks pinch flats when you hit a bump, because the tyre will pinch the inner tube against the rim.

The point of a road bike is that it is built for speed. There's no point in expecting it to ride like a MTB.
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Old 05-20-12, 10:21 AM   #24
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Don't bother with swapping to flat bars. You'd be trying to solve the wrong problem- the flat bars would just be where the tops of the drop bars currently are. Just raise the existing bars to a comfortable height. You don't have to have them cranked right down below the saddle.
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Old 05-20-12, 12:22 PM   #25
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Bag it. Get a recumbent.
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