Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 01-04-06, 10:03 AM   #1
jimmuter
Urban Biker
Thread Starter
 
jimmuter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Durham, NC
Bikes: Trek 720 hybrid; 2007 Specialized Tricross Comp
Posts: 731
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Light touring on a hybrid

I've had a Trek 720 hybrid for the past 8 years or so. I've mostly biked short distances to/from work, but this past year I started stretching my rides out a bit. I did a 100k ride (64 miles) in October on it and struggled mightily. Granted I didn't get in a lot of training time after about 1 month before the ride, but I was still in fairly good shape. It took me over 5 1/2 hours (including 2 rest stops) to complete the ride. It wasn't a race, but I felt like I was one of the last ones in.

This year, I plan to do Cycle North Carolina which crosses the state in a week. Other than buying a nice new bike, which I can't afford right now, what sort of upgrades can I make that will make the ride a little easier? How much difference do tires make? I have 700c x 38 on the bike now. How about gearing? I have mostly the stock components that came with the bike. I also have the upright handlebars with bar end shifters.

If I have a windfall this year, I'll just buy a new bike. I don't want to spend a lot on upgrades for a marginal return. I'll definitely up the training this year too as I think that will make a difference.
jimmuter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-06, 10:56 AM   #2
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Bikes:
Posts: 12,932
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Switching to 28mm tyres will make a huge difference to your speed and efficiency. Make sure you keep the pressure as high as possible.
You could also investigate the use of aerobars or bar ends to provide alt hand positions and a more aerodynamic position. Conversion to drop bar is rarely cost effective.
Do you use toe clips/clipless pedals and cycling shoes?
MichaelW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-06, 11:17 AM   #3
crtreedude 
Third World Layabout
 
crtreedude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Costa Rica
Bikes: Cannondale F900 and Tandem
Posts: 3,075
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
I used to ride my MTB on metric centuries and have no problem at all keeping up - I would train with the knobbies, and then switch to slicks for the road pumped to 100 lbs.

It was wonderful - I and the bike felt like we were as light as air going up hills.

An increase of 10 to 15 % is wonderful - just don't train that way!
crtreedude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-06, 11:33 AM   #4
jimmuter
Urban Biker
Thread Starter
 
jimmuter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Durham, NC
Bikes: Trek 720 hybrid; 2007 Specialized Tricross Comp
Posts: 731
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
Do you use toe clips/clipless pedals and cycling shoes?
No, but I've been looking at those. I understand you can get pedals that are clipless on one side and platform on the other. I think I would like that. I've just been using running shoes on platform pedals with no clips.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
Switching to 28mm tyres will make a huge difference to your speed and efficiency.
Will a change that big require me to change wheel rims too?

Last edited by jimmuter; 01-04-06 at 12:02 PM.
jimmuter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-06, 11:36 AM   #5
mtnroads
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon and SE Asia
Bikes: Waterford ST-22, Jamis Quest Elite, Jamis Dragon Pro
Posts: 933
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
The tires will help, especially slicks or semi-slicks designed for low rolling resistance and high pressure. You should also look at your riding position - many of the earlier hybrids were fairly upright which is a poor position for efficiency in pedaling and also puts you square into the wind. A lower and longer stem might help out a lot, combined with a slightly narrower seat. All of these mods can be done for less than $100 if know what you want and look carefully. I assume your bike does not have front suspension, if it does that will also suck up energy as you pedal.

There are also a lot of nice used roadbikes out there in the $300 range that would serve better and you could keep the hybrid as is for bike paths, city use, etc.
mtnroads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-06, 12:26 PM   #6
wintermute
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Bikes: 1980 Motobecane Grand Jubile, 1986 Kuwahara ATB (WIP), 1991 Spec'zed Rockhopper, 2006 Bianchi Volpe
Posts: 401
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
wonderful things can be done with straight bars and bar-end grips. The Antler Bar...
The "Antler" Bar
wintermute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-06, 12:47 PM   #7
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Bikes:
Posts: 12,932
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
You can use your existing rims but avoid the very narrowest varieties of 28 as it may be too narrow (there is wide variation in actual width).
Toe clips are a cheap way to improve your efficiency with your current pedal/shoe combo.
Next up is to use a stiffer cycling shoe.
Then a clipless pedal system. The combo-pedals are useful for urban runabouts but are heavy and not generally used on long distance bikes.
Most distance riders go the whole hog and ride clipless.
MichaelW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-06, 07:23 PM   #8
jkmartin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 167
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
The biggest improvements for the current bike would be pedals/shoes. Cycling shoes have a stiffer sole than tennis shoes and transfer more power. Clipless pedals will make better use of the power you're generating.

If you have a suspension fork you may look at replacing that with a rigid model. Suspension forks add weight and can eat up pedalling energy.

Considering the age of your bike I'd make sure the chain and cassette are in good shape. Clean, free of rust, and well lubricated.

Skinnier tires and a more aerodynamic riding position will help out but you're still going to be at a disadvantage to traditional road bikes.

And finally it goes without saying that riding more (particularly longer distances) will improve your speed.
jkmartin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-06, 08:12 AM   #9
cc_rider
Calamari to go
 
cc_rider's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Falls Church, VA
Bikes: Trek 750
Posts: 3,107
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm in a similar place as you. I ride a 12 year old Trek 750 (rode a 720 before that, until it was stolen).
The last few years I've been extending my rides. In 2005 I did 20 rides 50 miles or longer, with 80 miles the longest. The only time I was struggling was on the hillier rides. Plan to do one or more centuries this upcoming year on the 750, and maybe a 3 day tour this summer.

Suggested upgrades -
Pedals, either toeclip or clipless. I had used toeclips with sneakers for years but my feet would hurt after about 30 miles. I've had no foot problems since I started using Shimano mtb shoes in toeclips. The stiff shoe really helps on the longer rides. Also take a look at clipless.
Bar end extensions - give you several more hand positions.
Skinnier tires - less rolling resistance
A good, comfortable seat.

Have fun.
cc_rider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-06, 08:19 AM   #10
crtreedude 
Third World Layabout
 
crtreedude's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Costa Rica
Bikes: Cannondale F900 and Tandem
Posts: 3,075
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 100 Post(s)
I will agree on the clipless - a little to get used to, but then there is no turning back once you learn to pull and push - I have read that it increases power by 30% - which is a huge difference.

One thing that I was told was that if you trying and make it a complete circle, not just mashing the pedal down, it makes a big difference - and I agree. Going up hills become much easier, you are just spinning away it feels.
crtreedude is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-06, 11:44 AM   #11
Mentor58
'Mizer Cats are INSANE
 
Mentor58's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Clarksville, TN
Bikes: C-dale T800
Posts: 808
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You may want to consider putting on a Trekking Bar . That will give you more hand positions, but I'm now sure how well grip shifts would mount on them. I know that there's a thread or two on them in this forum, search for trekking bar or butterfly

Steve W.
Mentor58 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-06, 12:14 PM   #12
mtnroads
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon and SE Asia
Bikes: Waterford ST-22, Jamis Quest Elite, Jamis Dragon Pro
Posts: 933
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by crtreedude
I will agree on the clipless - a little to get used to, but then there is no turning back once you learn to pull and push - I have read that it increases power by 30% - which is a huge difference.

One thing that I was told was that if you trying and make it a complete circle, not just mashing the pedal down, it makes a big difference - and I agree. Going up hills become much easier, you are just spinning away it feels.
No way clipless makes a 30% difference. Maybe 10-15% over regular shoes with stiff soles. You don't really get much pull out of it, only eliminate some of the energy required to push the off-side leg up. That said, I use them most of the time.
mtnroads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-06, 01:23 PM   #13
wintermute
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Bikes: 1980 Motobecane Grand Jubile, 1986 Kuwahara ATB (WIP), 1991 Spec'zed Rockhopper, 2006 Bianchi Volpe
Posts: 401
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I got rid of my road bike with clipless pedals. I got sick of having to "gear up" for every ride. I didn't notice too much of a difference between platforms and clipless (although there was some advantage). Where I thought the clipless pedals excelled were on steep mammerjammer hills, where I would get out of the saddle, support all my weight w/ my arms, and start hauling UP on the pedals. On the new all-purpose bike I hope to get this spring, I'm going to try platforms w/ Power Grips (which for some reason get a bad rap) which would allow me to wear normal sneakers all the time, but still give me some of the advantages of being clipped in.
wintermute is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-05-06, 06:51 PM   #14
supcom
You need a new bike
 
supcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Bikes:
Posts: 5,433
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmuter
Other than buying a nice new bike, which I can't afford right now, what sort of upgrades can I make that will make the ride a little easier?
Practice riding longer distances. That's your best bet.

The multiday organized tours I have been on generally do 60 miles/day average. You have all day to cover the distance. If you ride fast, you just get to camp a bit earlier and have more time to kill. Instead, why not just take it easy, enjoy the ride, and not worry about speed. You know you can cover 60 miles. You just need to practice doing it so you can do it everyday for a week.

While you can certainly put narrower tires on the bike, they will undoubtably be higher pressure and give you a harsher ride on rough roads. If you're fine with this, then go for it. The smaller tires will reduce weight slightly (depending on the tire you choose) and, if the pressure is high enough and/or the tread pattern is slick enough they will have less rolling resistance and give you some free speed.

Forget about replacing the gears, bars, seat, etc., unless there is a problem with them as they are now. If you have saddle "issues" start looking for a new one now. HINT: Many touring cyclists ride Brooks saddles. There's a reason for this.

Although bar ends are rapidly going out of fashion, if you don't have them already, they do provide additional hand positions that will help reduce numbess. Raising your bars up near the level of your saddle will also help reduce numbness in the hands (and crotch, if that's a problem for you).
supcom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-06, 11:28 AM   #15
jimmuter
Urban Biker
Thread Starter
 
jimmuter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Durham, NC
Bikes: Trek 720 hybrid; 2007 Specialized Tricross Comp
Posts: 731
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by supcom
If you have saddle "issues" start looking for a new one now. HINT: Many touring cyclists ride Brooks saddles. There's a reason for this.
My saddle is OK, and if I had a really nice bike, I'd probably outfit it with a Brooks. On my current bike, that would feel a little like putting gourmet steak sauce on a veggie burger.

I appreciate everyone's input and will explore the suggestions to find out what works best for me.
jimmuter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-06, 11:47 AM   #16
weed eater
Patrick Barber
 
weed eater's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Bikes:
Posts: 888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
shimano m324s are the pedals you are talking about, with cleat-things on one side and regular pedals on the other. they are not the lightest pedals around but they increase the versatility of your bike considerably and I used them for 5 years while I was SPD'ing. Now I use Crank brothers system, and while I like it a lot more than SPD, CB doesn't make a pedal that can be used as either flat pedal or cleated. I have compensated for this by increasing my number of bicycles .

That all said, it's also really easy to switch pedals once you get the hang of it. It's feasible to use clipless for longer rides and your current flat pedals for 'round the town...assuming your bicycling activities are that distinct (mine never seem to be).
__________________
the day job. | the urban homestead.
weed eater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-06, 12:08 PM   #17
Map tester
I am not a car
 
Map tester's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Decatur, GA
Bikes: Giant Revel 1, Surly Ogre
Posts: 747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have the m324s and really like them. This winter I am wearing a pair of Rockport boots when it is too cold or wet for my Shimano sandals. It's great have the option of wearing very different shoes with no pedal prolbems. +1

I also have the touring bars on one of my bikes and like the different hand positions it allows. +1

Quote:
Originally Posted by weed eater
shimano m324s are the pedals you are talking about, with cleat-things on one side and regular pedals on the other. they are not the lightest pedals around but they increase the versatility of your bike considerably and I used them for 5 years while I was SPD'ing. Now I use Crank brothers system, and while I like it a lot more than SPD, CB doesn't make a pedal that can be used as either flat pedal or cleated. I have compensated for this by increasing my number of bicycles .

That all said, it's also really easy to switch pedals once you get the hang of it. It's feasible to use clipless for longer rides and your current flat pedals for 'round the town...assuming your bicycling activities are that distinct (mine never seem to be).
__________________
"Bad facts make bad laws." FZ
Map tester is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-06, 12:38 PM   #18
chipcom 
Infamous Member
 
chipcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
Posts: 24,366
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Map tester
I have the m324s and really like them. This winter I am wearing a pair of Rockport boots when it is too cold or wet for my Shimano sandals. It's great have the option of wearing very different shoes with no pedal prolbems. +1

I also have the touring bars on one of my bikes and like the different hand positions it allows. +1
I recently switched from M324s to M424s. The M424 is double-sided with pop-up cleats and a resin cage. No problem riding in street shoes and they are both lighter and cheaper than the 324s.
__________________
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
chipcom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-06, 02:05 PM   #19
rmwun54
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Bikes:
Posts: 898
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My suggestion.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Picture 00042.jpg (43.7 KB, 63 views)
rmwun54 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-06, 03:21 PM   #20
daveF
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 738
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would change pedals before anything else. I just bought a cheap set of Shimano SPD pedals & cheap recreational, lace up, Shimano SPD compatible shoes. They are not as stiff as racing cycle shoes, but much stiffer than regular shoes. They are very comfortable to walk in while still being very efficient to cycle. These are my every day training shoes as well as touring shoes. Good fitting cycle shoes & clipless pedals will greatly increase your efficiency. I won't argue percentages, but I know I pull up on the pedal stroke almost as much as I push down. I know this from recently riding my Cyclocross bike with resin pedals. My feet kept coming off. I wouldn't worry too much about tire width, but I would be concerned with how well they roll (rolling resistance). I have 32mm Cyclocross tires on my San Jose & I can't tell the difference between those & my skinny tires on my fixed gear. I can ride in packs doing 30mph with no problems on the wide tires. You may find yourself less fatigued riding on wider tires with slightly lower pressure due to less road shock.

I would be most concerned with training, however. You may want to build up gradually & then try doing at least two long training days in a row to get used to recovering quickly.
daveF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-06, 10:46 PM   #21
supcom
You need a new bike
 
supcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Bikes:
Posts: 5,433
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmuter
My saddle is OK, and if I had a really nice bike, I'd probably outfit it with a Brooks. On my current bike, that would feel a little like putting gourmet steak sauce on a veggie burger.

I appreciate everyone's input and will explore the suggestions to find out what works best for me.
While I am glad that you are satisfied with your current saddle, I must take exception to your logic. You should match the saddle to your butt, not your bike.

BTW, if I had to eat a veggie burger, I'd want that gourmet steak sauce!
supcom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-06, 03:20 PM   #22
Boudicca
Conquer Cancer rider
 
Boudicca's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Toronto
Bikes: Fun bike, city bike, Bike Friday, Brompton (also fun bikes)
Posts: 5,997
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
When I was thinking of going clipless I also thought the two-way pedals would be the way to go, so I had the choice of clipless or not. But I bit the bullet and went clipless all the way and have never regretted it. I commute in my biking shoes and change when I get there, I have mtb shoes that are good to walk around town in (I've even taken them on gentle hikes, although I'm sure it's not good for the cleats), and I find things work really well. Also look into skinnier tires and use a floor pump to pump them up really hard. Yes, and as everyone else says, practice, practice, practice. It does help.
__________________
Zero gallons to the mile
Boudicca is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:54 PM.