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Old 01-24-11, 08:14 AM   #1
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BP MS 150: bike selection

Last year I did this ride on my Trek 1.5. I don't have too many issues with climbing, but I do have an issue with the vibrations. The roads were kind of getting to me after a while. I guess I'm spoiled with the decent pavement on the west side of Houston.

Anyway, I have heard from many riders that carbon fiber frames help soak that up very well. I am wondering what you all have to say about it. I know several of you have participated in the ride and know what kind of roads we deal with. I do not have any roads that rival some of these around me.

I am willing to part with my motorcycle in order to free up space in the garage for the new bicycle. I do not want anything high end. Everything I am considering has Shimano 105's. My current list includes: Giant TCR Composite, Madone 4.5, Specialized Roubaix Elite SL2, Fuji SL 2.0, and C'dale SuperSix 5 105.

I do plan on taking these bikes for a test spin before I decide on one over the other. Just curious if there is a noticeable comfort benefit from using CF. My aluminum frame seems to send every little thing right up to my butt and hands. I have also heard they are better on long rides when looking at energy consumption. I do plan on attending a race or two later this year (Cat 5) if there are some near me.

I like the look of all the bikes listed above, and I am floored with how light they are. I made it a point to ignore anything carbon fiber in the past until I got more serious about cycling. I also hope to participate in a century ride or two if I have the chance. Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-24-11, 08:15 AM   #2
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Does your bike have a carbon fiber fork? (sorry, I don't know Treks very well).
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Old 01-24-11, 08:46 AM   #3
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It has carbon legs.
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Old 01-24-11, 08:52 AM   #4
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I did the North Florida MS150 on my carbon fiber bike; we went over some crummy roads and I didn't notice much vibration. It was a bit better than my aluminum/carbon fork bike, but I'm not sure I would have bought the CF bike for this reason alone. The biggest complaint I had on my ride was my bike's geometry. My back was hurting by the end.

You can always try playing with the air pressure in your tires too; a little decrease may help.
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Old 01-24-11, 09:07 AM   #5
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Couple of questions - what tire pressure are you running and how much do you weigh?

I agree that carbon fiber isn't quite as jarring as aluminum, but if you're expecting some kind of magic change when switching bikes, it's just not going to happen. The bikes you are looking at are all worthy and excellent choices you really can't go wrong with any of them. However, as VG mentioned, I wouldn't change solely on the basis of vibration reduction. The sad fact is the MS route takes you through some of the worst chip sealed roads in the state and you're going to feel it no matter what bike you're on.

A couple of possibilities that will significantly improve your current setup. If you're a light rider and are running a high air pressure (120 psi), you will notice a big difference in comfort by simply reducing tire pressure, especially on the chip seal. Secondly there are gel kits made to go underneath your bar tape which help comfort and reduce vibrations. Also have a bike shop take a look at your fit, too much weight on your hands can lead to pain and numbness.

Hope that helps.
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Old 01-24-11, 09:17 AM   #6
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Op, you can do two things to your Trek.

Wrap the bars with an old inter tube, then cover with new bar tape.

Go to a larger tire, I went to 700 X 28's.
You would have to try this to see if one would fit on your bike.
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Old 01-24-11, 09:28 AM   #7
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I tend to run between 100-110 on my tires @ 180lbs.

I also would just like a lighter bike. I have noticed that the 1.5 is a bit hard on my wrists (even after tweaking everything imaginable), I just think it would be a good change. I know it won't be magical, but any improvement is an improvement. I've been wanting to get one for a while. I also think it could help some of my sprint triathlons too. I'd still use the 1.5 to train on, since it is a good bike.
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Old 01-24-11, 11:29 AM   #8
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Larger tires and lower pressure will be the most worthwhile change you can make, so if you have your mind set on a new bike, choose one that can accommodate 28s. I have 25s at 90psi, and although there's not much you can do to smooth out the worst road surfaces, that tire & pressure combo is a good compromise between rolling resistance and comfort.
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Old 01-24-11, 12:14 PM   #9
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I'll add to the chorus suggesting new tires. I won't try to dissuade you from getting a new bike, I'll just say that you might be surprised what a big difference fatter tires can make.
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Old 01-24-11, 02:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
I'll add to the chorus suggesting new tires. I won't try to dissuade you from getting a new bike, I'll just say that you might be surprised what a big difference fatter tires can make.

+1 but only with the necessary accompaniment of lower pressures. I weigh 190, ride a 25lb bike and use 25c's at about 85 front / 90-95 rear for rides that have a lot of chip seal. At first it will feel squishy / mushy to you and your brain might interpret that as "slow" but that is not the case. Give it a try.
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Old 01-25-11, 01:18 AM   #11
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What about a cyclocross or touring bike with fat city or touring tires. When I put my 38c city tires at 50-60psi it is smooth as butter on my cross bike. Not only that your second bike can carry duties that you road bike couldn't do well at.
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Old 01-25-11, 02:38 PM   #12
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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I will give the tires a try.

I decided I will still try them out to see if I should even bother to keep on looking. The LBS by me has Trek, Specialized and Gary Fisher (of course, since Trek owns it now). They know me pretty good and will let me "borrow" a bike for a bit to help me make a decision. I'll do that and, if it feels right, start to think seriously about what fits. Geometry is big with me. The Trek is a good bike and it works good enough for <60 mile rides, but I want something that feels a lot better and suits me on longer rides. I want to try a century ride later this year or next year. I want a bike that will work perfectly for that situation. If that is a steel framed 'cross bike, then so be it. If it is a higher dollar carbon fiber bike, then that is ok...as long as it works for me.

Thanks again everyone!
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