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Old 08-14-05, 12:32 AM   #1
Vuroth
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Mountain bike at a tri

I've done my first 3 triathlons this year (1 try-a-tri, essentially a half-sprint) and 2 sprints (500m swims). I'd love a road bike, but since I live in a world where money doesn't grow on trees, that won't happen for a year (two if I'm unlucky).

For now, I'm riding a Nakamura (Sports Experts in-store line, I think). Alivio/Acera/Altus components, basically what I was willing to pay for years ago, when I knew even less than I do now about bikes.

Anyways, I've put slick tires on it, replacing the knobbies. I'd rather save money than invest a ton in the Nakamura, but I'm curious as to whether or not anyone has tips for getting the most out of this bike on raceday.

For example, I know people seem to like pedal upgrades as good value for the money. Presumably, toe-clip types would let me continue riding in my running shoes, but would give some small increase in performance. I'm currently considering this.

I tend to feel very upright when racing, which obviously comes with the mountain bike geometry. Is it possible to lower the handlebars, raise the seat, and possibly move the seat forwards/backwards (assuming my seat allows it, no idea) to get a performance boost, or will I only injure myself?

Also, I know enough to know that not every gear combination is practical, or smart. With 3 in the front and 7 in the back, I've been using 3-7, 3-6, 3-5, 2-5, 2-4, 2-3 (and 1-3, 1-2, 1-1, but only if I offroad). Reading some roadbike threads led me to believe that I might be missing some valid intermediate settings (gear ratios, I guess) between these settings. (i.e maybe 3-4 is something I should use, between 2-5 and 3-5). Is this something that cyclists think about? Do you tend to "know" the order of gear combos, from big/small to small/big? Should I start counting teeth and find some sort of gear calculator? Are the teeth standard for my components?

For now, my project is an engine upgrade, and I feel pretty confident in saying that I shoudl be able to go faster than I've gone, even on a mountain bike. Until the day my dream road bike comes in, I'm stuck trying to make my mountain bike go as fast as possible. It's not an ideal problem, but any help folks could give me on this issue would be greatly appreciated.

Vuroth
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Old 08-14-05, 02:18 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vuroth
For example, I know people seem to like pedal upgrades as good value for the money. Presumably, toe-clip types would let me continue riding in my running shoes, but would give some small increase in performance. I'm currently considering this.
Toe clips will allow you make your pedal stroke more efficient by allowing you to apply power thoughout the entire circle. The most efficient way to increase your pedal stroke would be to buy clipless pedals and dedicated cycling shoes. But of course, the investment might be more than you're willing to make.


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I tend to feel very upright when racing, which obviously comes with the mountain bike geometry. Is it possible to lower the handlebars, raise the seat, and possibly move the seat forwards/backwards (assuming my seat allows it, no idea) to get a performance boost, or will I only injure myself?.
You can lower your handlebars by getting a stem that's either longer or with a lower angle. Raising your seat may or may not help. No one can help you to adjust your current position unless they see you on your bike. Talk to someone that's an experienced roadie or triathlete for some tips. If you don't know of anyone who can help you, post a picture here of you on your bike from a side angle view and some of us may be able to give you a critique of your position. Proper fit is the quickest (and cheapest) way to increase performance.

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Should I start counting teeth and find some sort of gear calculator?
Yes. But don't worry too much about gearing now. First thing is to get toe clips (or clipless pedals) and a good fit.

Good luck and let us know your progress.
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Old 08-14-05, 05:46 AM   #3
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If you have a seat post with a shock absorber, you may want to replace it with a regular seat post so you don't bounce around so much. Every time you bounce, you lose momentum. If your bike has rear suspension you might want to see if it can be locked to create a stiffer ride. Also, if you are going with clips (city clips) instead of clipless, you need to practice with them before you race as they can reduce your ground clearance when leaning into a turn unless you keep your pedal up on the side you are turning.
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Old 08-14-05, 09:28 AM   #4
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Go with clipless pedals. When you buy a road bike you can move the pedals over to that bike. Clipless pedals willl be a big performance gain.
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Old 08-14-05, 09:56 AM   #5
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if you're looking for a cheap performance upgrade, there's nothing better than (after making sure all your shocks are locked) adding toe clips. Should be really cheap to get clips, and I've found that, properly tightened, they work almost as well as clipless pedals, without the cost of new shoes.
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Old 08-14-05, 11:00 AM   #6
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Sorry, should have mentioned, but no shocks on the bike. It's about 8 years old, so maybe I beat the fad.

I'll definitely look at clipless. Do the pedals have to support clipless, via some kind of mount hole/bracket, or is it any clipless fits any pedal?

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old 08-29-05, 05:51 PM   #7
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The clipless IS the peddal and yes they fit any crank arm.

Just yesterday I was a spectator to The Accenture Chicago Tri (I don't know if it's true) but it's claimed to be the world largest, anyhow I saw a bunch of guys in hybrids along some of the nicest & dreamiest TT machines.

If your engine is finely tuned I'd say the diference between riding that and a road bike should be just around a few mins for a 20 mile course.
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Old 08-29-05, 11:34 PM   #8
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if you have any questions past this always turn to your local bike shop most of them are good and can help you and give good pointers
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Old 08-31-05, 09:02 AM   #9
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Well, I finally upgraded my ride. Argon 18 Xenon road bike. I'm so happy. I just wish it wasn't raining, so I could go ride.

Now I need to get used to clipless pedals, changing shoes at T2, shifting.... Did I mention I have a triathlon on Saturday?

Wish me luck! I may need it, if only to avoid falling over!
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Old 08-31-05, 06:31 PM   #10
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get lots of practice between now and saturday unclipping. That will be your biggest problem coming into T2 with lots of people around, the more practice you get, the better.
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Old 09-01-05, 09:19 AM   #11
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get lots of practice between now and saturday unclipping. That will be your biggest problem coming into T2 with lots of people around, the more practice you get, the better.
*nods* Yeah, I worked on it last night, and again this morning. If I fall, I fall, but taking someone with me would be heartbreaking.

Good advice. Thanks.

V
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Old 09-01-05, 09:35 AM   #12
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*nods* Yeah, I worked on it last night, and again this morning. If I fall, I fall, but taking someone with me would be heartbreaking.

Good advice. Thanks.

V

I fell once this year coming into T2, and took one guy out with me, he was pretty pissed, then agian, he was pretty close behind me(situation, i was dismounting via, the keeping my shoes clipped in method, and when i was on just one side, the shoe unclipped...kinda sucked, brand new seat got rash on it )
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