Clydesdale/Athena Index Thread - read before posting and ALL the old Stickies linked
If you're asking a question for the first time skim the topics and discussions below - it's very possible we've talked about it. You may still have a question but this may help to be more specific so we can help you ("Which bike between ___ and ___ would be good for me" is better than "What bike should I get" without any sort of possibilities). The more information you can give us the better we can help you. Don't forget to try searching too.
The first part are some great conversations that put what factors Clydes and Athenas should concentrate on, below those are threads divided up into topics. Happy reading!
I've written this several times and in several ways...
The make of your bike should be about frame fit! If you are going to be riding for exercise or for transport get a road bike. The dropped position is a little awkward for some people at first. But give it a few days and you will get over that. The way you get in shape riding a bike is by gettig on and spending a fair amount of time spinning the pedals. You won't do that as well with a mountain or a hybrid. It is really that simple.
Hybrids are the worst of both road and mountain bikes not the best. They are slower and less efficient than road bikes and no where near as bullet proof and comfortable as mountain bikes.
If comfort is your primary concern, build that into which road bike you choose. You may sacrifice a little performance but you can address this down the road when you are shopping for a new bike.
Here are the items I think clydesdales should focus on:
wheels (upgrade before you get your bike. If the shop won't work with you find another shop.)
tires (gotta take high max psi)
pedals (if you ride light (another of my diatribes) your pedals take serious abuse -- splurge for good ones.)
seat (especially on compact frames)
(probably in that order....
* Good gel bibs do soooo much to take pressure off the parts that contact the seat...
* A good seat is invaluable. It helps keep the tingley dingley from getting too bad. I have a Specialized with the Minkoff Wedge. I like it a lot. Others like other designs.
* Wheels -- I am down to from about 350 pounds. When I started riding my 36 spoke Mavic Open Pro Rims on Ultegra hubs -- they were perfectly round. Almost 2,000 miles and about 75 pounds later, they are still true. Excel in Colorado built my wheels. My understanding is that who builds your wheels can be as important as whet they are built with/from. Either way, the higher the spoke count the stronger the wheel.
* I shredded a cheap pair of pedals. Lets be honest, none of those spindles are made to hold up 300+ pounds. Get a decent pair, pay attention to them...
* Tires. If I knew then.... I built my road bike with a nice pair of Continental tires. They were rated for 120psi. I ran them bald faster than I thought they should have gone. So I switched to "commuter tires" but they had a lower psi. Big mistake. Tried several different tires. None of them as good as the Conti's. I have a new pair on order now!
Just to be clear. I love my mountain bike. If I can, I take it to the trails near my family and I cover it in mud. I ride it hard and I smile the whole time doing it. But the reason I have lost 75 pounds over the last nine months is diet and my road bike. Period.
Buy the bike that 1. fits you the best and 2. you think is sexy. Buy the bike that when you see it in the store it just tugs at your guts and makes you want to ride. When I saw the frame of my road bike (a GT Edge Aero) I had a reaction to it. I still look at that bike and want to ride... fast.
(First, I'm not an expert -- just a guy with an opinion and a fair amount of time in the saddle. Take what I say here with a healthy dose of scepticism!)
I ride from Brooklyn to Harlem every workday. (Give or take...) I get on/off the West Side bike trail via 125th Street fairly often which means I am going over cobblestones. NYC streets are not real tire friendly but I have only had two flats in four months of commuting by bike in NYC. I ride hard but -- I think for a big guy -- I ride pretty light. On the weekends I put in longer rides when possible. Sometimes with my kids in the trailer, sometimes just getting out there and riding. I average about 500 miles/month.
If you (Air) are concerned with too much frame flex, look into an aluminum frame. It is much more rigid and at the entry level price points it will be lighter. But that ridgidity takes a toll on your nether region. Aluminum is a harsher ride. (My current road bike is an aluminum frame. I love my bike but if I could go back in time, I'd get a steel frame. Opposite is true on my mountain bike.)
Superslomo raises an interesting option. Touring bikes are beefier "road" bikes. For a "clyde" it might be the best of both worlds. Many commuters (who are putting in lots of miles in adverse conditions) opt for these. You can also look into cyclo cross bikes. (Cyclo cross is a European dirt riding. The bikes are drop barred and somewhere between road and mountain as far as the components. I have no knowledge of makes or models. Sorry.)
Cypress..., as I said, I'm no expert. And truth be told, a good bike is one you sit on -- a bad bike is one that leans against a wall somewhere. If you enjoy your bike and ride it... it is a good bike. No offense intended.
Texas, funny you use that analogy. I have used the same about several things -- including losing weight. (Weight Watchers is sailing, Gastric by-pass is power boating...) Use your SPDs. Road pedals may be a little more comfortable on the bike (I ride SPDs exclusively) BUT they suck to walk in.
Air, in reference to MTB wheels vs. Road wheels -- I wouldn't bunny hop a log at 15 mph on my road bike but the last time I did that on my mountain bike, well I was ten years younger and that cost me a rim, too. The reality is that road wheels are less sturdy than mountain bike wheels. You should ride differently on a road bike period. But the part of the NYC Parks Dept. Greenway near Rockaway Blvd that somebody mentioned, I do that on my road bike. Get in a higher gear and spin and you'll be fine.
You will get more flats on a road bike if you ride it like a mountain bike.
Maxrep, again, I'm no pro. If you were my brother and I had no way of really gauging road vs other, I'd probably say get a used mountain bike (like from Craig's List) and put slicks on it. Ride that for a year and see from there.
(But if you were my brother, you'd have gotten the hybrid anyway and now we couldn't go ride the gnarley trails near your house with me on my mountain bike because you have a hybrid; and we wouldn't go out for a long ride in wine country because you find it too cumbersome. OK, I admit I am not a fan of hybrids. But I'm not a bike snob. It is just that if you are going to get a hybrid, I say go the extra step and get the MTB. Then you can beat the crap out of it in the dirt, too.)
Finally, I find I get a better work out and I enjoy my ride more on my road bike. If I'm just around town I'll grab my mountain bike sometimes. But for sweating or getting somewhere, it is the road bike. Period.
One more thing... (my boss distracted me for a minute) if you can, why not rent a bike? Rent a mountain for a day and a road the next.
Seat - The Brooks are highly recommended but take a while to break in. Also, if you're going to go with a Brooks you really need to get padded shorts or bibs. ~$100
Gloves are tough - a few lbs' have plenty of gloves that are really expensive. I've gotten a few pairs from Performancebike or Nashbar and they shred by the end of the season. I'd say keep trying pairs on sale till you find ones you like, I'm finding I really like the Cannondales. Between $20-$40.
For a seatpost I'd recommend Thompson. Really, really strong and a seatpost up the arse is as much fun as massive dental work without the Novocaine.
Now you got the safety stuff out of the way you're left with about $300. If you really want to skimp you can get go to your lbs and get:
- cheap top mount shifters
- front and rear deraileurs from the used bin
- used brake calipers
- brake & deraileur cables and housing
- used crank set (I'd go with a triple and check out a fitting site for the right length, when I went up to 175 I felt a HUGE difference (I'm 6-1") from the 170s - I'd never go back) and:
- have them install a sealed bottom bracket so you can have them worry about the right spacing based on the cranks
- ($10 shifters, $40 deraileurs, $25 for brakes, $25 brakes and housing, $25 for bb, $25 labor, $25 crank set, $20 for gently used chainrings laying around (or could spend $60 for new ones there, get steel they're much stronger (I've bent the aluminum ones))).
cassette ($20) and chain ($10 - 6/7/8 are all the same size and are thicker than 9 and 10 speed (which I tend to snap).
Total on the 'group' - $215.
Another option is to buy a 'group' which will be all those things together and better shifters that will probably start around $400.
Lastly the fork, headset ($40ish), and handlebars. Some people love carbon and some people you wouldn't pay enough to put it on - you can read the threads for yourself to decide. Maybe $100 though probably could go cheaper especially if your lbs has one laying around used. Use a fitting site to get the right width for your handlebars - that will make a huge difference. You can go drops, flat, or treking or touring (which I have and love - $25). If you do the treking bars treat yourself to some grips (3 pairs for the trekking bars) and THEN wrap grip tape over the top ($20).
So, my estimate there is $1100. You might be able to find a used bike on CL and strip the deraileurs and brake calipers off along with the cranks and chainrings so there's a little wiggle room but that should get you started.