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  1. #1
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Brevets on a mountain bike

    Hey everyone, I am trying to talk myself into biting the bullet and getting a road bike. I have done a 200k and numerous endurance mountain bike races. I am hoping to get back into randonneuring this coming spring. I know I can be comfortable (it really does fit me well) on my mountain bike with slicks through a 200k but if the year progresses well I would like to at least do a 400k and possibly a 600k if I am really doing well.

    I know even PBP has been done on all sorts of bikes but I can not help but think a road bike will be significantly more efficient than my fairly heavy mountain/touring bike, my question would be how much? After winter I may not be able to get a deal from Specialized any more so I would like to make the call here in the next month or so. Either way it does seem like giving myself one less excuse for not having proper equipment seems like a good thing but what do you guys think, keep with the mountain bike and hope for the best or give in and get the road bike?

  2. #2
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriskmurray View Post
    Hey everyone, I am trying to talk myself into biting the bullet and getting a road bike. I have done a 200k and numerous endurance mountain bike races. I am hoping to get back into randonneuring this coming spring. I know I can be comfortable (it really does fit me well) on my mountain bike with slicks through a 200k but if the year progresses well I would like to at least do a 400k and possibly a 600k if I am really doing well.

    I know even PBP has been done on all sorts of bikes but I can not help but think a road bike will be significantly more efficient than my fairly heavy mountain/touring bike, my question would be how much? After winter I may not be able to get a deal from Specialized any more so I would like to make the call here in the next month or so. Either way it does seem like giving myself one less excuse for not having proper equipment seems like a good thing but what do you guys think, keep with the mountain bike and hope for the best or give in and get the road bike?
    It's not the weight.

    I have two converted MTBs in the stable, they are delightful road riders. But, no getting around how un-aero they are. WHen you need to cruise up to 20 mph or higher to make up some time, it is a serious effort. Worse, if you hit sustained headwinds it feels like you are pulling a trailer.

    Go find yourself a 30 mile road ride with a sustained headwind, see how you do on your MTB, look at your avg speed. That should answer your question.

    Specialized: I have a Roubaix, obviously ideal for brevets. I also have a Tricross that I built up from frame, lightweight wheelset, ultegra/DA...a very close second.
    Last edited by FrenchFit; 10-20-12 at 10:05 AM.

  3. #3
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    krobinson103 who posts here regularly has been going great guns on an MTB in South Korea with long-distance rides... a century in under six hours is might good going.

    He might be the ideal person to PM and start a dialogue with.

    As with most things, it has to do with you, the engine, as much as anything else, and it seems you have a background that will give you a good platform to work with.

    But in my experience riding an MTB as a road bike, gearing with a chainring combination such as 22-32-44 might be too low to be effective when you want to hang with the group, and you need to look seriously at your tyre and wheel combinations to achieve the best efficiency gains there.

    You time constraints are somewhat tight, if you want to look at a Specialized road bike before the end of the year, but bear in mind, there are good secondhand bikes that appear on eBay and Craigslist that might suit you at a price that's even better than from a dealer.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Of course a road bike will be faster - and probably more comfortable because of the additional hand positions. That said, do notice that some people choose to ride fixed or under various other limitations. I've ridden with two people who rode MTB's on brevets and LD races - and not with slicks. It's hard to say if they were just nuts or wanted to make a tough-guy statement, or whether those two possibilities are equivalent. The last fellow who did that is unfortunately now out with a commuting injury, not his fault.

  5. #5
    Dharma Dog lhbernhardt's Avatar
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    You can always put drop bars and cantis on the mtb. If the frame has split cable stops, the change would be fast and simple. On my road fixie, which uses standard rim brakes, I've got one handlebar/stem setup with aluminum bars and stem cabled to Centaur-level brakes that I use in the winter. Come spring, I unbolt the brake calipers and the stem and replace them with another handlebar/stem setup with carbon fiber bars and Chorus-level brakes for summer riding. You could do the same sort of thing with the mtb. The changeover on my bike typically takes about five minutes. (And, being a fixie, I've even got a handlebar/stem setup with no levers attached so I can set up the bike for track riding.)

    Luis

  6. #6
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    Either way it does seem like giving myself one less excuse for not having proper equipment seems like a good thing but what do you guys think, keep with the mountain bike and hope for the best or give in and get the road bike?
    I've ridden a triple century on a hybrid. I've seen some of the most experienced LD riders of all time ride all kinds of bicycles on ultra long distance rides. As you already suspect, there is always a "best bike" for the ride at hand - but it doesn't have to be the same kind for every rider.

    Like so many questions in these Internet forums - the best answers can only be found when all the details surrounding a rider's goals and the nature of the particular ride are known.

    In general, really strong riders can ride most anything and be successful. Its the novice cyclists that require the benefits of perfect equipment selection. One of the joys pf cycling is discovering how you and your choice of toys gets you where you are going. Good luck.
    Sorry about my comments - I thought you wanted honest feedback.
    2003 Lemond Wayzata - 2002 LeMond Malliot Jeune

  7. #7
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, there is certainly some truth to the statement about not being as aero on a mountain bike, I run fairly wide bars and do not want to chop them down as I still use it for a lot of mountain biking. The wheel/tire combo I have works really well for road, they are conti sport contacts (26x1.3) with some lighter weight wheels. Running out of gear is a major problem since after 26/27mph I am spinning uncomfortably fast and now that I think back about the 200k, I missed a turn and me and another rider were riding close to that to try and catch the group again.

    I think I may end up giving in, at the very least I guess it would keep me from having to swap tires all the time.

  8. #8
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    250km last week on Saturday. This week was 220km. Around 1000km in the last two weeks. On a 24 speed mtn bike. If you have steep climbs or headwinds then its no fun. It can be done if you suck it up and just do it. Your slicks will help a lot as would 48t at the front for those times you want speed. I am running 1.75 slicks and they really suit my bike. That being said I don't think I want to do 600 on an mtb. I would say 300ish is my comfort limit.

  9. #9
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    250km last week on Saturday. This week was 220km. Around 1000km in the last two weeks. On a 24 speed mtn bike. If you have steep climbs or headwinds then its no fun. It can be done if you suck it up and just do it. Your slicks will help a lot as would 48t at the front for those times you want speed. I am running 1.75 slicks and they really suit my bike. That being said I don't think I want to do 600 on an mtb. I would say 300ish is my comfort limit.
    Good to know, thanks for the reply. I will likely start putting some money down on a bike. It seems like a good plan, especially if I hope to do a 400k or 600k.

  10. #10
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    I also think that having more grip options would make arm fautigue less of a problem. For an all day ride my legs don't bother me, but the fact that I have 2 positions to hold the bars with - handles and small extenders makes it painful after 8 hours or so.

  11. #11
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    I think today's ride sealed the deal. Most of my riding is solo but today I went out with a friend for a fast 45ish mile ride which was basically an out and back uphill out and downhill the whole way back. Keeping pace up I did not feel like the bike was holding me back at all but when we turned back around we spent most of our time between 25-35mph and while he was spinning a nice comfortable pace I was spinning faster than I would deem comfortable because I was out of gear. I could see that being a real problem when wanting to ride with a group and you can not keep up on extended downhills.

  12. #12
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    Do what I did and go 48-11 as your highest gear. I got 67kmh downhill and I was holding back.

  13. #13
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    Do what I did and go 48-11 as your highest gear. I got 67kmh downhill and I was holding back.
    That is pretty good, are you on 26in wheels or 29? I have a 44-12 and it just does not cut it. I am getting worried about making my mountain bike less of a mountain bike because it is still my go to ride for the dirt. I will still probably end up riding this bike on a couple hundred milers next year though.

  14. #14
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    What about a 48T as your make-do big ring for all riding and swap in an 11T cog for the 12 on the cassette?

    I can't imagine you would use the big ring that often offroad.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  15. #15
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    What about a 48T as your make-do big ring for all riding and swap in an 11T cog for the 12 on the cassette?

    I can't imagine you would use the big ring that often offroad.
    There are some trails I do actually spend a good amount of time in the big ring in around here. At the very least if I get a road bike for most of my longer rides it will save me from swapping tires often. I think I just needed to convince myself to spend the money and it is hard to pass up buying a bike at cost.

  16. #16
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    Errrr... that Specliazed at cost was something I missed earlier. If that's the case, consider yourself convinced.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  17. #17
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    That is pretty good, are you on 26in wheels or 29? I have a 44-12 and it just does not cut it. I am getting worried about making my mountain bike less of a mountain bike because it is still my go to ride for the dirt. I will still probably end up riding this bike on a couple hundred milers next year though.
    I have 26 inch wheels. I think I could get 80kmh out of it but I don't have the nerve to do it. I agree though, its no longer an mtb. Its great on the road, ok on gravel, and well.. forget mud. The gearing however doesn't have to suffer. The big ring for the road and the middle and lower rings for off road. N+1 is also good. Leave the mtb for mountains and ride the road bike for brevets.

  18. #18
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    Errrr... that Specliazed at cost was something I missed earlier. If that's the case, consider yourself convinced.
    I think I just said a "deal". It is still a fair amount of money but worst case if I do not end up liking it I can probably still ride it for a year and sell it for nearly what I have invested.

    I must say though, it is awesome to see how supportive of trying out brevets even without "ideal" equipment everyone is. I am sure the mountain bike will come on a couple of the shorter brevets since I plan on doing a couple long mtb races as well and what better way to really test your fit than with 10+ hours of road riding where you are not moving around on the bike constantly.

  19. #19
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriskmurray View Post
    I must say though, it is awesome to see how supportive of trying out brevets even without "ideal" equipment everyone is. I am sure the mountain bike will come on a couple of the shorter brevets since I plan on doing a couple long mtb races as well and what better way to really test your fit than with 10+ hours of road riding where you are not moving around on the bike constantly.
    It's worth keeping in mind that the earliest randonneuring bikes were not as accomodating as what we can get now.



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    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  20. #20
    Senior Member chriskmurray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    It's worth keeping in mind that the earliest randonneuring bikes were not as accomodating as what we can get now.

    Charles Terront, who won the first PBP with a time of 71:22.
    Very good point!

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