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Old 07-07-12, 11:03 PM   #1
dartfrogger
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Got the wrong bike -- darn hybrid!

Six months ago I got my first bike in 30 years. I'm 62, and in the kind of shape you'd imagine for someone who hasn't ridden a bike in a long time. I thought I'd need a hybrid because: I have chronic back problems, I have no interest in racing -- I want to see the scenery as I ride fairly leisurely -- and I didn't want to spend much money on something I wasn't sure I'd stick with. I got a Jamis Coda Sport, and I think it's a fine bike. But...

There are a few things that make me think I made the wrong decision and should have bought a road bike. First, the lack of options for hand position is driving me crazy, and causing a lot of discomfort. Secondly, it's not very aerodynamic. Not that I am myself, and I'm sure that as I ride more, I will get more out of the bike. But I've really begun to notice the effect of the wind on my upright body. I am having no back problems at all, and think that I could ride in a bit more aggressive position. But... here's another but....

I don't have the funds to buy a road bike right now. Plus, the bike was a gift from my wife, and if I turn up with a different bike, well, that would lead to all kinds of complications. So my question to you is, what can I do to make the bike I have ride more like a road bike, until I can actually get the bike I now know I want? I'm thinking a much better wheelset is the best option. Suggestions?
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Old 07-07-12, 11:21 PM   #2
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I'd expect higher performance tires to have more of an effect than new wheels. And they have the advantage of being cheaper, less noticeable, and more easily explained since tires do wear out regularly (and yours may even be worn out legitimately). If you ride fast then the reduced air resistance of narrow tires is a benefit, otherwise concentrate on low rolling resistance. Slick tread is good as are supple, very flexible sidewalls so less energy is lost as the tire flexes in the area of the contact patch.

To get a riding position that's more like a road bike you could lower the bars and possibly add some bar ends which would give you an additional hand position and better aerodynamics.
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Old 07-07-12, 11:38 PM   #3
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^^ +1^^
wheelsets won't make near the difference tires will. ergo bar ends will definitely help relieve arm stress.
now as for the NEW bike,(a) you can tell your wife the doctor said a road bike would be better for your back. it's true the arch will be good for your back, think of why bridges have arches. also bumps will be absorbed better than if your back is straight up.
(b) have your bike stolen and when you go to replace it come home with a new roadie.
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Old 07-07-12, 11:43 PM   #4
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"A much better wheelset" could very well be close to the purchase price of an entry level road bike.

If you want 'aero' and more hand positions, you have essentially two options. First, a trekking bar (like the one from Nashbar) will offer plenty of additional hand positions, you can stretch forward, and retain all of your current controls. Second option would be to use a clip on aerobar on your flat bar.
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Old 07-08-12, 06:01 AM   #5
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The Coda Sport is well specced for a hybrid, the wheels are fine and it has unusually good tyres for a hybrid. There is no value to be gained by upgrading unless components are worn out.
You can alter the handlebars for more positions. The options are:
Add bar ends
Add clip-on aerobars
Replace with a trekking/butterfly style.

Drop-bar conversions are too expensive to be worthwhile.

I would advise the trekking bar but between the 2 bar add-ons, I would consider aerobars. In a race, aerobars are set low for aerodynamics. Many flat-bar tourists set them high to avoid the parachute effect of spread arms when using bar ends.
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Old 07-08-12, 06:57 AM   #6
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New tires and bar ends will help considerably.

Last edited by Paul Barnard; 07-09-12 at 07:41 AM.
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Old 07-08-12, 07:18 AM   #7
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Either bar ends or new handlebars. I put trekking handlebars on mine, and I'm somewhat technically challenged, so if I can do it without killing myself, then anyone can do it!

Ergon grips with their integrated bar ends will probably be the easiest solution, since you only have to take off the old grips and put on the new grip. A step up in difficulty would be putting new bar ends or aero bar attachments onto your handlebar. The next stage of difficulty is installing new handlebars of a type that are compatible with your current brakes and shifter, like a trekking bar or bullhorn bar. The final stage, which would involve changing shifters and/or brakes, and possibly cables as well, would be to install actual drop handlebars that are compatible with the 25.4 MTB stems. Then replace all the MTB style shifters and brakes with road versions.

Whichever one you choose, after you've installed it, fiddle with the stem height and bar (or bar end) tilt till you feel comfortable.

Edit: It looks like your Coda Sport doesn't have the problem that mine did, of having the brake cable routed through the stem, so changing bars should be even easier for you, since you can raise/lower the stem without having to readjust the brake every time.

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Old 07-08-12, 08:37 AM   #8
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If you look at the "extended" bar ends on my Jamis Allegro 1, (btw, I have the same bar ends on my Jamis Coda Sport), they may look a bit funky but it gives me "3" different hand positions and REALLY helps when going uphill! These extended bar ends are made by a company called: Origin 8 and cost less than $20 dollars. I also have Ergon GP-1 grips that make reg. bar more comfortable, I went to 700cX28 tires on the Coda Sport and 700cX25 road tires on the Allegro 1. FYI, YMMV.
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Old 07-08-12, 09:52 AM   #9
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Hi, dartfrogger! What happened to you is quite common, people start out as new riders thinking they want a more upright biking position, then realizing the "advantages" or appeal of road bikes. If you really get into riding a lot you'll probably find you'll need (or at least be happier with) more than one bike. You can work with your Jamis for now. New tires, as was suggested, handlebars and bar ends, ergon grips offer more hand comfort. Consider getting refitted to the bike in a more aero position, where they raise the seat, drop and extend the bars, and stretch you out out a bit more. My fitter did this for my Cannondale hybrid, and it greatly improved the ride.

By the way, many of us here have road bikes, but still use and love our hybrids. Different bikes for different purposes. Do NOT get rid of the the bike your wife gave you as a gift! She'll just have to be pursuaded as to why you need a second bike...

Last edited by Bunnicula; 07-08-12 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 07-08-12, 10:00 AM   #10
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ta-da
http://www.amazon.com/Origin-Bicycle.../dp/B0013G6PB8
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Old 07-08-12, 10:07 AM   #11
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There is another bar option I saw not brought up (however everything else, the people here got you covered on!). Scott made a series called AT bars, if you could find them I'd reccomend the at-4 to you.
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Old 07-08-12, 10:59 AM   #12
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I guess AT stands for Aero-Trekking? That's what those bars put me in mind of. I'd never heard of them!

Edit: I guess a link would help. My Google-Fu was almost defeated by this one!

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Old 07-08-12, 11:15 AM   #13
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I guess AT stands for Aero-Trekking? That's what those bars put me in mind of. I'd never heard of them!
No clue, but I love my At-2's although not appropriate for the OP.
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Old 07-08-12, 02:00 PM   #14
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I installed these bar ends on my Rapid 3, and I love them. I don't use the drops enough to justify buying a road bike or installing a drop bar setup, so I will probably stick with this setup for awhile. At any rate, you certainly can't beat the price. I paid a little over $30 for the bar ends and some bar tape.
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Old 07-08-12, 02:12 PM   #15
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I'm in kind of a similar place. I'm also 62 and coming back to bikes after many years. I'd had a 1990 Rockhopper that I rarely rode anymore as it was set for mountain biking which I'm not much into anymore. In some ways it was a blessing that it recently was stolen as I was wanting to start riding again and it pushed me to get a new bike. A hybrid seemed just the ticket and with the help of the internet and having a number of good LBS's in our small college town I picked up a Trek 8.3DS. I do love this bike, it's reasonably fast and nimble and feels great on and off the road and the locking front shocks are a big help. However I'm finding myself noticing the lack of aerodynamics and the 30+# weight a hindrance especially in a headwind which we have a lot of here. I've got Ergons with integrated bar ends and they help a lot with comfort but not much with aerodynamics as it's too wide of a position. I've got road bike fever bigtime now but thankfully don't have to have only one bike although I'll have to sell some music gear to get the funds for a new road bike. I will take more time as the DS is a great bike and will keep me riding. I didn't realize how much I liked the open road and pushing myself and can see the possibilities of some extended riding in my future as I start to get in shape.
I don't see my hybrid as a mistake, more like a doorway into a new world. I don't think it's worth my money and time to convert my hybrid to a halfway there road bike, might as well go for the real thing and leave my hybrid as my all around bike.
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Old 07-08-12, 02:45 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'm off to the local bike shop now to discuss some options and maybe see some in person. I like the stolen bike option but that probably won't happen -- until I get my road bike, then karma will strike!
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Old 07-08-12, 02:54 PM   #17
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Better Grip/bar end: Ergon GR5, almost a trekking bar,
as they wrap around the front.. some..

after 30 some odd years touring on drop bar rigs, [& bike shop serf, to get road bikes]

I'm liking the trekking bar set [@64_3/4] a near and far grip, as well as the sides,
vs up and down + the brake hoods.

[sticking on those drop bar ends . put's a big Lump of the clamps on
where a comfortable handgrip should be..
[unless you put them in the center , first, then slide the shifters, brake levers, then grips on..]

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Old 07-08-12, 03:33 PM   #18
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I got rid of my road bike because of- leaning over puts MORE pressure on the hands that more positions does not always solve, You may be more aero leaning over but you are also more likely to get a stiff neck and stiff lower back, and you loose your field of vision with your head down. You can always lean over on your hybrid to get a lot of the aero benefits you are looking for and it takes the pressure off your hands. Plus, a road bike = less stable skinny tires with your head down it's just a matter of time before you fall and break your collarbone. I am constantly amused at people who get all decked out on a road bike to ride a short distance (less than 20 miles) on a bike trail. I'll take a hybrid any day over a road bike.
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Old 07-08-12, 03:40 PM   #19
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I got rid of my road bike because of- leaning over puts MORE pressure on the hands that more positions does not always solve, You may be more aero leaning over but you are also more likely to get a stiff neck and stiff lower back, and you loose your field of vision with your head down. You can always lean over on your hybrid to get a lot of the aero benefits you are looking for and it takes the pressure off your hands. Plus, a road bike = less stable skinny tires with your head down it's just a matter of time before you fall and break your collarbone. I am constantly amused at people who get all decked out on a road bike to ride a short distance (less than 20 miles) on a bike trail. I'll take a hybrid any day over a road bike.
Like many things, the type of bike one gets is a subjective choice. However, it's not entirely accurate to say that it's just a matter of time before someone falls with a road bike with 23 cm tires going down hill. I'm certainly not the most athletic bike rider out there, but my road bike has helped me gain fitness immensely over the 5 years I've been back into cycling. I have balance issues due to a congenital condition, but was still able to easily adapt to clipless pedals and the only time I've ever fallen because of them was at the end of a 70-mile ride when I didn't eat properly and was literally out of gas at the end and couldn't get my cleat to disengage.

Broken collarbones are a frequent injury from bad crashes, but as a member of two large NYC area clubs, I don't think I've ever run into anyone who's ever broken their collarbone. It's much more of a pro peleton hazard.
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Old 07-08-12, 04:12 PM   #20
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Watch out for those sweeping generalizations .. they are often wrong.
broke my clavicle at age 13, just ran out of pavement in a corner.
hit the gravel in the shoulder..
never been a pro racer.

bike had 26-1_3/8" tires , basically a 3 speed 'english' bike,
though made in Austria.
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Old 07-08-12, 04:24 PM   #21
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I got rid of my road bike because of- leaning over puts MORE pressure on the hands that more positions does not always solve, You may be more aero leaning over but you are also more likely to get a stiff neck and stiff lower back, and you loose your field of vision with your head down. You can always lean over on your hybrid to get a lot of the aero benefits you are looking for and it takes the pressure off your hands. Plus, a road bike = less stable skinny tires with your head down it's just a matter of time before you fall and break your collarbone. I am constantly amused at people who get all decked out on a road bike to ride a short distance (less than 20 miles) on a bike trail. I'll take a hybrid any day over a road bike.
Ohhhhh, I dunno.

I've got a hybrid that I'm using as a commuter. It's been just fine so far, but sometimes the headwinds are a pain in the butt. The chainstays are also a bit short. I had to do some creative mounting of the wald fold-up baskets I've got in order to avoid heel strike.

My wife and I have a deal. When I lose 50 lbs, I get a new bike. I'm thinking about getting a steel touring bike. I like the longer chainstays, and you aren't stuck using sub-30mm tires. Plenty of mounts for fenders, racks & such.

I'm not exactly sold on the drop bars, though. I was thinking some trekking bars mounted on whatever bike I wind up w/.

Edit: I've got a 40 mile r/t commute, so the trekking bars are lookin' pretty good to me right about now.
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Old 07-08-12, 05:14 PM   #22
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I got rid of my road bike because of- leaning over puts MORE pressure on the hands that more positions does not always solve, You may be more aero leaning over but you are also more likely to get a stiff neck and stiff lower back, and you loose your field of vision with your head down. You can always lean over on your hybrid to get a lot of the aero benefits you are looking for and it takes the pressure off your hands. Plus, a road bike = less stable skinny tires with your head down it's just a matter of time before you fall and break your collarbone. I am constantly amused at people who get all decked out on a road bike to ride a short distance (less than 20 miles) on a bike trail. I'll take a hybrid any day over a road bike.
Hmm, I'd like to know what that bike was and how you had it set up.

Drop bars are damned sexy to me, but I'm not allowed to ride them, because my Dr. at the time made the generalization that all drop bar bikes are racing bikes w/aggressive geometries. My wife was standing there when he said I couldn't ride drops, and as I was ignorant myself at the time, I didn't argue. Now I know better, the Dr. has moved his practice out of the area, and my wife refuses to listen to my arguments.
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Old 07-08-12, 07:25 PM   #23
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Drop bars should be okay for anyone, if they get a longer adjustable stem to raise the bar height and maybe bring it back some, and/or tilt up the bars so that the hood top resting surface is at a much less horizontal angle. I think most of the problem folks have with drops, is just how the drops are positioned on the bike. You could even just flip them upside down for even more height relief!
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Old 07-08-12, 09:53 PM   #24
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I changed the flat bar on my hybrid to a trekking bar. The brakes and shifters fit perfectly and now I have a bunch of hand positions, maybe more than on drops. I got mine from Nashbar for about $20. It was plug and play - about 15 minutes to do the swap. http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_175533_-1___
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Old 07-08-12, 10:08 PM   #25
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How about an older used road bike from Craigslist? Will N+1 work?
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