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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 11-26-17, 09:46 AM   #26
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Thanks, there are quite a few bike shops around, lol. As far as switching to a road bike, I just figured it would be better suited to pretty much 100% of the road cycling I’d be doing. Plus if I want to join up with a local cycling club, they all ride road bikes too. And I just want to see the difference and if hilly sections would be easier, and if a properly fitted bike would be more comfortable. But yeah, can’t really get to that next level without a bit of a minor financial investment I gues...
If you want to go faster and ride more, you are on the right track. And while the gains will be small initially, if you want to join a road club, sooner or later you will wind up going with a road bike.

That said, climbing hills is one area where things don't get easier by switching to a road bike. Initially, it might even seem harder. Don't get me wrong. A lighter bike will feel more responsive and be more aerodynamic and hence, faster for the same perceived effort. The thing is, aerodynamics are not as much of a factor going uphill. And, road bikes are geared higher so your perceived effort might actually be higher than it would be on a hybrid with a triple chainring.

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Old 11-26-17, 10:33 AM   #27
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If you want to go faster and ride more, you are on the right track. And while the gains will be small initially, if you want to join a road club, sooner or later you will wind up going with a road bike.

That said, climbing hills is one area where things don't get easier by switching to a road bike. Initially, it might even seem harder. Don't get me wrong. A lighter bike will feel more responsive and be more aerodynamic and hence, faster for the same perceived effort. The thing is, aerodynamics are not as much of a factor going uphill. And, road bikes are geared higher so your perceived effort might actually be higher than it would be on a hybrid with a triple chainring.
Ok, good to know. I guess I was under the impression that I might be able to power through hilly sections more efficiently on a road bike due to gearing and bike weight. Around me the “hills” are just rises really, it’s pretty flat overall. But I wasn’t sure if it was harder as a result of my current hybrid. Thanks!
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Old 11-26-17, 10:52 AM   #28
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Ok, good to know. I guess I was under the impression that I might be able to power through hilly sections more efficiently on a road bike due to gearing and bike weight. Around me the “hills” are just rises really, it’s pretty flat overall. But I wasn’t sure if it was harder as a result of my current hybrid. Thanks!
As a native Jersey guy, I should have known where Howell is, but somehow I forgot. Monmouth county is actually pretty flat. I wasn't sure if you were in the hillier part of NJ but you are near the coast so there really aren't big hills to worry about. So the good news is, the stock gearing on most road bikes should be OK for you to get started.

OK, re: bike weight. On flat or downhill, bike weight is not really a factor except when accelerating from a stop. A road bike puts your body in a more aerodynamic position (if you have the core strength and flexibility to do it) and that makes a difference in speed vs. perceived effort. Also, road bikes are designed to be very stiff laterally so your pedaling motion translates into forward motion rather than in frame flex.

And while bike weight is a factor going uphill, it isn't as much of factor as you would think. Since you weigh over 200 lbs, the difference between climbing with a 20 lb road bike and a 28 lb hybrid is 220 lbs vs. 228 lbs. a 190 lb rider riding a 30 lb bike is pulling the same total weight uphill as a 200 lb rider on a 20 lb bike. Except for pro racers who are all extremely lean, most recreational riders would get more benefit from losing 5 or 10 lbs than they would by buying a lighter bike.

If you are having trouble going up grades, that is more a matter of fitness than it is a question of bikes. Since you just got started, you probably need to give yourself a break and keep working on your fitness and climbing technique. Some folks make the mistake of trying to "power through" hills when what they need to do is keep their cadence high. If you are going that, shift down to a lower gear and trying spinning, rather than hammering up hills. It is better for your knees and a better way to climb hills. If you watch any professional road race, you will notice that is how most of the pros climb these days. If you do this enough, the hills will get a little easier and you might even look forward to conquering them or at the very least, you won't fear them.

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Old 11-26-17, 11:25 AM   #29
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Is there a bike coop or alternative bike shop in your neighborhood? One that has used bikes and a good mechanic? That might be a great place to start. A very decent used bike with 105 would be quite possible at $800. Remember, if you stick to this, you will outgrow whatever you get now as your riding and conditioning change (unless you start out with a bike too extreme to get comfortable enough to actually want to ride). But this used bike could do a very good job of getting you started riding longer distances, then be a very serviceable second bike (for wet days, rides to places where it will be locked up, perhaps with fenders, lights and racks) saving your next bike for those days where you can really enjoy it.

If you have such a bike shop near by, go there. Get to know them. Tell them what you want. Be patient. Make it known you are dead serious about wanting to ride and improve and that you want them as your ally. (They will only have the bikes that have been brought in and that changes over time. Start now and maybe by February that perfect road bike will show up. If you work hard enough at befriending them, you might get a call out of the blue "we just got Univega in with 105 that looks like it ought to be perfect for you if we changed the stem". Be open to whatever gear system. 8-, 9-, 10-speed, etc. Even 7 cam make a fine ride, especially with a triple. The bike and fit are far more important. And having that ally to help you fine tune that bike to work for you will be huge.

Pursue this and you can become one of the reasons that mechanic is willing to work for pay most of us would never accept. When you move on to the next bike, bought new from a higher end shop, stay in touch with that first mechanic.

Ben
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Old 11-26-17, 12:02 PM   #30
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As a native Jersey guy, I should have known where Howell is, but somehow I forgot. Monmouth county is actually pretty flat. I wasn't sure if you were in the hillier part of NJ but you are near the coast so there really aren't big hills to worry about. So the good news is, the stock gearing on most road bikes should be OK for you to get started.

OK, re: bike weight. On flat or downhill, bike weight is not really a factor except when accelerating from a stop. A road bike puts your body in a more aerodynamic position (if you have the core strength and flexibility to do it) and that makes a difference in speed vs. perceived effort. Also, road bikes are designed to be very stiff laterally so your pedaling motion translates into forward motion rather than in frame flex.

And while bike weight is a factor going uphill, it isn't as much of factor as you would think. Since you weigh over 200 lbs, the difference between climbing with a 20 lb road bike and a 28 lb hybrid is 220 lbs vs. 228 lbs. a 190 lb rider riding a 30 lb bike is pulling the same total weight uphill as a 200 lb rider on a 20 lb bike. Except for pro racers who are all extremely lean, most recreational riders would get more benefit from losing 5 or 10 lbs than they would by buying a lighter bike.

If you are having trouble going up grades, that is more a matter of fitness than it is a question of bikes. Since you just got started, you probably need to give yourself a break and keep working on your fitness and climbing technique. Some folks make the mistake of trying to "power through" hills when what they need to do is keep their cadence high. If you are going that, shift down to a lower gear and trying spinning, rather than hammering up hills. It is better for your knees and a better way to climb hills. If you watch any professional road race, you will notice that is how most of the pros climb these days. If you do this enough, the hills will get a little easier and you might even look forward to conquering them or at the very least, you won't fear them.
Yes, it is pretty flat, except for the rises here and there. And yes, my conditioning at this early point has a lot to do with it too! But I do downshift so that my cadence is the same throughout the rise. I just was not sure that on that exact rise and at the exact same time if I'd been riding a road bike - would it have just felt smoother overall? I guess the answer is - not very noticeably at this point. I would like to do longer rides (20+miles) which means more hills/rises if the route is a single loop. Also, I NEVER see any other cyclists on the road, who appear to be at least as serious as I am, riding hybrids - so it just gave me the impression I was using the wrong bike, lol.
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Old 11-26-17, 12:05 PM   #31
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Is there a bike coop or alternative bike shop in your neighborhood? One that has used bikes and a good mechanic? That might be a great place to start. A very decent used bike with 105 would be quite possible at $800. Remember, if you stick to this, you will outgrow whatever you get now as your riding and conditioning change (unless you start out with a bike too extreme to get comfortable enough to actually want to ride). But this used bike could do a very good job of getting you started riding longer distances, then be a very serviceable second bike (for wet days, rides to places where it will be locked up, perhaps with fenders, lights and racks) saving your next bike for those days where you can really enjoy it.

If you have such a bike shop near by, go there. Get to know them. Tell them what you want. Be patient. Make it known you are dead serious about wanting to ride and improve and that you want them as your ally. (They will only have the bikes that have been brought in and that changes over time. Start now and maybe by February that perfect road bike will show up. If you work hard enough at befriending them, you might get a call out of the blue "we just got Univega in with 105 that looks like it ought to be perfect for you if we changed the stem". Be open to whatever gear system. 8-, 9-, 10-speed, etc. Even 7 cam make a fine ride, especially with a triple. The bike and fit are far more important. And having that ally to help you fine tune that bike to work for you will be huge.

Pursue this and you can become one of the reasons that mechanic is willing to work for pay most of us would never accept. When you move on to the next bike, bought new from a higher end shop, stay in touch with that first mechanic.

Ben
Thanks Ben! I will look into that and see. There are a lot of bike shops in the area, so I'm sure I can find the one that gives me the right vibe and fits your description.
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Old 11-28-17, 11:25 PM   #32
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I'm 51yo, 6'1", and my current weight is 220 lbs. I want to try to get down to 205-215. I purchased a used hybrid Fuji Sabres a few months ago so I could start cycling more frequently around the rural-ish roads in my central NJ town. (My only other bike previous in the last 20 years is a Giant Rincon mtb).

I would like to buy a road bike for the Spring. I was riding the other day at what felt like a reasonably brisk pace, and a group of cyclists on road bikes just blew right by me, seemingly peddling no faster than I was, lol! So my feeling is that a road bike would be more suitable to my purposes, but this is where I am getting frustrated - it is a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how buy the right road bike. So many variables! Fit, bike geometry, aluminum or carbon fiber, pedals and shoes, all of the different brands, stock wheels or upgraded (hand built?), tires brand and size? How many gears/speeds? All staying within by ideal budget of $800 or less. New or used? LBS or online retailer like Nashbar to save $? And of course the saddle...

I would like an entry level road bike that will hopefully serve me for many years without needing too many upgrades or adjustments. So I guess the only thing I can say for sure is Shimano 105?

I would mainly be riding on local roads, some slightly hilly, mostly smooth with the usual small cracks, bumps and minor potholes along the shoulder. Right now I'm doing 10-15 mile rides on the Hybrid, but of course over the Spring/Summer I'd like to be doing longer rides, and maybe even join a local cycle group.

Any advice for someone looking to go deeper into this terrific sport?
I've got a beautiful 88 specialized sirrus with full 105 groupset.

I have not listed on eBay yet. If you are interested, I'll list it sooner. Cheers
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Old 11-30-17, 04:27 PM   #33
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Thanks Ben! I will look into that and see. There are a lot of bike shops in the area, so I'm sure I can find the one that gives me the right vibe and fits your description.
I was in a very similar situation some 5 years ago.

I will add my 2 cents here.

Simply try and ride as many bikes as you can from the local shops. I would stick with the main guys as they have the most variation. Trek, Specialized, Giant and Cannondale. You would be surprised at the ride differences between manufacturers.

Case in point, I had my bike all picked out until a very nice rep from the Specialized store guided me into another model. For us larger and older guys, you will be better served with an endurance frame/fit. The bike is a tad more upright and that translates into more comfortable riding.

I bought a Specialized Secteur Elite Compact that was a year old and on sale. Got it for 950 which is slightly above your limit but it was a very nice bike. Compact gearing (50-34 in front) and a 9 speed. Shimano Tiagra groupset. Aluminum frame, stock Shimano wheelset.

I put almost 12k miles on that bike in 3 years without an issue. Tires of course, but no other issues with the exception of changing out my rear cassette from a max of 28 to a 30. I needed a bigger gear since I was riding a lot of hills, big hills at that. Blue Ridge Parkway stuff. Anyway, most of the bikes now come with 11-32 cassette so no problems there. I'd stay away from the triple in the front. More alignment issues and you really don't need it with 11-32 in the rear.

Like others have said, after a few years, you will get in better shape and want to upgrade. I did as my current bike was on sale for 30% off. Now riding a Felt Z3, full Ultegra and carbon frame. That was a huge jump in ride quality and shifting. So, you get what to pay for.

Key thing is, test ride a bunch of bikes. Keep your eyes open to sales. My current bike was 30 percent off because they were moving the shop to another location. That was 1000 off on the bike. I would never find a bike with a full Ultegra grupo and carbon for 2k. But it pays to look around.

Don't buy the first bike you ride though. Lastly, although Craigslist and used is definitely an option, as I said, every bike rides a bit differently and you can't really tell how you fit on the bike until you take it for a test spin. When I test rode my Felt, it was literally night and day from my Specialized.

You ride. Your fitness will get better and you might not be able to stay with the young guns but it will get better over time.

john
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Old 11-30-17, 04:32 PM   #34
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I was in a very similar situation some 5 years ago.

I will add my 2 cents here.

Simply try and ride as many bikes as you can from the local shops. I would stick with the main guys as they have the most variation. Trek, Specialized, Giant and Cannondale. You would be surprised at the ride differences between manufacturers.

Case in point, I had my bike all picked out until a very nice rep from the Specialized store guided me into another model. For us larger and older guys, you will be better served with an endurance frame/fit. The bike is a tad more upright and that translates into more comfortable riding.

I bought a Specialized Secteur Elite Compact that was a year old and on sale. Got it for 950 which is slightly above your limit but it was a very nice bike. Compact gearing (50-34 in front) and a 9 speed. Shimano Tiagra groupset. Aluminum frame, stock Shimano wheelset.

I put almost 12k miles on that bike in 3 years without an issue. Tires of course, but no other issues with the exception of changing out my rear cassette from a max of 28 to a 30. I needed a bigger gear since I was riding a lot of hills, big hills at that. Blue Ridge Parkway stuff. Anyway, most of the bikes now come with 11-32 cassette so no problems there. I'd stay away from the triple in the front. More alignment issues and you really don't need it with 11-32 in the rear.

Like others have said, after a few years, you will get in better shape and want to upgrade. I did as my current bike was on sale for 30% off. Now riding a Felt Z3, full Ultegra and carbon frame. That was a huge jump in ride quality and shifting. So, you get what to pay for.

Key thing is, test ride a bunch of bikes. Keep your eyes open to sales. My current bike was 30 percent off because they were moving the shop to another location. That was 1000 off on the bike. I would never find a bike with a full Ultegra grupo and carbon for 2k. But it pays to look around.

Don't buy the first bike you ride though. Lastly, although Craigslist and used is definitely an option, as I said, every bike rides a bit differently and you can't really tell how you fit on the bike until you take it for a test spin. When I test rode my Felt, it was literally night and day from my Specialized.

You ride. Your fitness will get better and you might not be able to stay with the young guns but it will get better over time.

john
Thanks John - great advice and info. I'm adding the details about the gearing/ cassette to my notes!
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Old 11-30-17, 04:48 PM   #35
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Tires of course, but no other issues with the exception of changing out my rear cassette from a max of 28 to a 30. I needed a bigger gear since I was riding a lot of hills, big hills at that. Blue Ridge Parkway stuff. Anyway, most of the bikes now come with 11-32 cassette so no problems there. I'd stay away from the triple in the front. More alignment issues and you really don't need it with 11-32 in the rear.
I totally agree, and a little information and self-education go a long way. Was doing a mountain ride with some guys, and one of them was really struggling mashing up that slope. I asked if he had a standard or compact crank, and his reply was "I don't know." I asked what cassette he had on, ie: what size cogs. His answer: "I don't know." That's quite sad, because this isn't rocket science, and with just a little trouble to edumacate himself he could make these rides far easier on himself and hate them less.

I had been on a standard crank and 12-25t (9-speed on that bike) cassette because I normally ride fairly flat or shallow hills area. Prior to that mountain ride I swapped over to a compact crank and a 12-27t cassette (best I could do at that time), and that ride, though tough, wasn't as grueling for me because I had gearing more appropriate for the climb and my abilities. But I'd bothered to learn something about my bike and how it worked. I ended up building a custom cassette for my everyday rides with 13-25t range, which optimized my shifting during high-cadence solo cruising rides in my local terrain.

When my new bike showed up with an 11-32t cassette I already had a 12-25 that I'd ordered, and swapped it over. While having the range available is great for someone who doesn't want to have to know anything about their bikes, I seldom ride anything that actually requires the 32t, nor do I find myself very often in the 11t except for the occasional descent. Going 12-25t gave me the nicest shifting for the speeds and slopes I encounter on 99% of my rides. I'm thinking of going to a 12-27t though, because on those group rides where we do climb a thousand feet or so at once it'd be nice to keep my cadence out of the 70s a little easier, and that extra 1-tooth shift that my current cassette gives me falls at a speed that's actually slower than I'm usually riding, so it wouldn't be much of a sacrifice to give it up.
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Old 11-30-17, 06:06 PM   #36
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Gearing
Many road bikes have lower gearing than they did 10 years ago. Back then, the easiest combo was typically 34 front and 25 rear, or 27 rear "for hills". Now, 34F - 32R is pretty common. These low gears are great for many riders, but the tradeoff is bigger gaps between shifts in the middle of the range. So it's a little harder to get that "just right" cadence. Experienced riders in an area without really steep climbs might prefer a narrower range, like 12-25.

The move to 9, 10, 11 cogs on the back is to extend the range of gearing without excessively large shifts.

I think the wider range cassettes are great for most newer riders.

Groups
That group you saw might be riding 3 times a week, 25 to 40 miles at a time. And groups do encourage riders to go a little harder, and to ride regularly each week, to be able to keep up. That's a main reason I like them!

On the other hand, there are also more social rides, at a conversational pace, with occasional stops along the way. Both types are fun.

I was really surprised at all the interesting routes that the local bike club rides. I'd never expect some of those areas to be good for riding, but the cyclists have refined the routes over the years, picking the best roads. And I'll go farther out with a group than I'd probably do solo.

Distance and effort
Road bikes, even set up to be quite upright, have a more aero rider position. That's a big difference at faster road speeds.

Road bikes also give you different hand positions, very helpful on longer rides.

Saving maybe 3 to 5 pounds over a hybrid helps a little on climbs, but the climbing effort is quite directly comparable to the difference in rider+bike weights. For someone around 200 pounds, that's a pretty tiny percentage.

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Old 12-01-17, 03:31 PM   #37
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Thanks John - great advice and info. I'm adding the details about the gearing/ cassette to my notes!
Thanks.

Another word about group sets as you had previously mention the Shimano 105. Just in case, the group sets for Shimano go like this if I remember correctly.


Claris, Sora, Tiagra, 105, Ultegra, Dura Ace

As I stated before, my Specialized came with Tiagra 9 speed. I then bought a Felt Z3 that came with Ultegra 6800 which was an 11 speed at 11-32. Yes, there is some large spacing between some of the gears, but it is not that noticeable. That 32 is "in case of emergency, shift here" type of gear. When climbing Mt Mitchell in North Carolina and you have 16 miles of uphill, believe me when I say you will be glad you had that 32. I should say, at least at my age and weight. Besides, no one really cares if you are spinning a 27 or 32 when everyone is suffering like a dog. It is just about getting to the top.

I also totally understand if you are mainly a flat lander and rarely see any climbs over 1/2 mile or over 6%. I would say you would be fine with 11-27 or 11-28 in the rear. From what I have seen though over the last few years, the main manufacturers have moved to a sweet spot so to speak and are basically gearing their bikes for the average cyclist, not the avid young gun. This is why most have moved to the 50-34 crankset. It is a compromise and better fits the average rider.

One other thing is the wheelset. On my Felt, I blew out the Fulcrum's that came with the bike. Garbage. At our weight of say over 200lbs, you really need a stronger rear wheel. I had one built by a local wheelwright for right around 200 and it has held up without a hitch and again, I have over 6,000 miles on that rim. Mine is a 32 spoke count and think about that for a minute. My entire weight is being held by just 4 spokes at the road surface at any given rotation of the wheel. Kind of scary but us heavier guys need those extra spokes!

Good luck with your search.

john
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Old 12-01-17, 03:37 PM   #38
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I totally agree, and a little information and self-education go a long way. Was doing a mountain ride with some guys, and one of them was really struggling mashing up that slope. I asked if he had a standard or compact crank, and his reply was "I don't know." I asked what cassette he had on, ie: what size cogs. His answer: "I don't know." That's quite sad, because this isn't rocket science, and with just a little trouble to edumacate himself he could make these rides far easier on himself and hate them less.

I had been on a standard crank and 12-25t (9-speed on that bike) cassette because I normally ride fairly flat or shallow hills area. Prior to that mountain ride I swapped over to a compact crank and a 12-27t cassette (best I could do at that time), and that ride, though tough, wasn't as grueling for me because I had gearing more appropriate for the climb and my abilities. But I'd bothered to learn something about my bike and how it worked. I ended up building a custom cassette for my everyday rides with 13-25t range, which optimized my shifting during high-cadence solo cruising rides in my local terrain.

When my new bike showed up with an 11-32t cassette I already had a 12-25 that I'd ordered, and swapped it over. While having the range available is great for someone who doesn't want to have to know anything about their bikes, I seldom ride anything that actually requires the 32t, nor do I find myself very often in the 11t except for the occasional descent. Going 12-25t gave me the nicest shifting for the speeds and slopes I encounter on 99% of my rides. I'm thinking of going to a 12-27t though, because on those group rides where we do climb a thousand feet or so at once it'd be nice to keep my cadence out of the 70s a little easier, and that extra 1-tooth shift that my current cassette gives me falls at a speed that's actually slower than I'm usually riding, so it wouldn't be much of a sacrifice to give it up.
Well, you certainly are a flat lander. Unless you are 25 and 145lbs, riding a 12-25 around my area is a death wish. Very few will spin that group set on the Assault On Mt Mitchell. 11k feet of climbing. I barely made it with 11-32.

What is refreshing is venturing down to the coast around Savannah or Charleston and doing a ride. At over 60, there is something to be said for riding on the flats. It is a nice change and I must say a little easier.

john
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Old 12-01-17, 05:17 PM   #39
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Well, you certainly are a flat lander. Unless you are 25 and 145lbs, riding a 12-25 around my area is a death wish. Very few will spin that group set on the Assault On Mt Mitchell. 11k feet of climbing. I barely made it with 11-32.

What is refreshing is venturing down to the coast around Savannah or Charleston and doing a ride. At over 60, there is something to be said for riding on the flats. It is a nice change and I must say a little easier.

john
Yeah, no doubt. I have a 32.5-mile route I do a lot that has a total altitude change of something like 200 or 300 feet. I don't treat cassettes as a final solution sort of problem. I kept both the 11-32t cassette (brand new, maybe 30 miles on it) and the brand new chain that the bike came with, which was the appropriate length with that cassette, off to the side, and the next time I plan for a ride up into the mountains I'll just swap the cassette and chain back over and use them. When I put the 12-25t on I used a new chain and sized it appropriate so it fit just right with that smaller cassette. Swapping a cassette and chain on the bike will take me something like 5 or 10 minutes, tops. Having the right tools and a proper work stand makes it trivial.

As for losing the 11t cog, I did that on purpose. I essentially spin out at around 100-105rpm. My legs are just too old and heavier to get up much beyond that. With the 13t high gear I used on my 9-speed bike I would spin out at around 30-31mph. When I swapped cassettes on the new bike I gave myself one higher gear than I used to have by keeping the 12t, but gave up the 11t because it's simply not needed. Having the 11t would keep me from spinning out until what, 33 or 34mph? If I'm on a descent that's steep enough that I'm spinning out my 12t I just assume the "escape velocity" tuck and enjoy the ride.

By giving up the 11t I gave myself an extra close shift further down the cassette in the ranges where I typically spend most of my time. With the 12-25t 11-speed cassette I now have 1-tooth shifts actually further down the speed ranges than I actually need them, which is why I'm thinking of picking up a 12-27 or 12-28. At the bottom of my 1-tooth shifts a shift up or down will only change my cadence by like 4 rpm, which is actually tighter than it needs to be.

I guess the point is that it pays dividends to learn about the gears, the ratios, pay attention to the cadence changes between shifts, etc. and learn what cogs will support the riding a person actually does. I understand why something like an 11-32t looks great on paper, because it covers pretty much everyone, but the problem is it doesn't do it well. When my new bike showed up and I rode the 11-32t I had 2-tooth shifts that were throwing my cadence off by like 15+ rpm down in speed ranges I actually found myself fairly often. Meanwhile the 32t and 11t were never used. It simply wasn't a good cassette for me in my riding environment. So far the climbs available to me locally I've handled with the 34/25 combo and kept my cadence at least in the 70s. Going to the 12-28t would probably make it a little easier to never get out of the 80s.
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Old 12-01-17, 10:09 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
Yeah, no doubt. I have a 32.5-mile route I do a lot that has a total altitude change of something like 200 or 300 feet. I don't treat cassettes as a final solution sort of problem. I kept both the 11-32t cassette (brand new, maybe 30 miles on it) and the brand new chain that the bike came with, which was the appropriate length with that cassette, off to the side, and the next time I plan for a ride up into the mountains I'll just swap the cassette and chain back over and use them. When I put the 12-25t on I used a new chain and sized it appropriate so it fit just right with that smaller cassette. Swapping a cassette and chain on the bike will take me something like 5 or 10 minutes, tops. Having the right tools and a proper work stand makes it trivial.

As for losing the 11t cog, I did that on purpose. I essentially spin out at around 100-105rpm. My legs are just too old and heavier to get up much beyond that. With the 13t high gear I used on my 9-speed bike I would spin out at around 30-31mph. When I swapped cassettes on the new bike I gave myself one higher gear than I used to have by keeping the 12t, but gave up the 11t because it's simply not needed. Having the 11t would keep me from spinning out until what, 33 or 34mph? If I'm on a descent that's steep enough that I'm spinning out my 12t I just assume the "escape velocity" tuck and enjoy the ride.

By giving up the 11t I gave myself an extra close shift further down the cassette in the ranges where I typically spend most of my time. With the 12-25t 11-speed cassette I now have 1-tooth shifts actually further down the speed ranges than I actually need them, which is why I'm thinking of picking up a 12-27 or 12-28. At the bottom of my 1-tooth shifts a shift up or down will only change my cadence by like 4 rpm, which is actually tighter than it needs to be.

I guess the point is that it pays dividends to learn about the gears, the ratios, pay attention to the cadence changes between shifts, etc. and learn what cogs will support the riding a person actually does. I understand why something like an 11-32t looks great on paper, because it covers pretty much everyone, but the problem is it doesn't do it well. When my new bike showed up and I rode the 11-32t I had 2-tooth shifts that were throwing my cadence off by like 15+ rpm down in speed ranges I actually found myself fairly often. Meanwhile the 32t and 11t were never used. It simply wasn't a good cassette for me in my riding environment. So far the climbs available to me locally I've handled with the 34/25 combo and kept my cadence at least in the 70s. Going to the 12-28t would probably make it a little easier to never get out of the 80s.
The area you ride through sounds similar to my local terrain- mostly flat with some rises here and there. So I will keep those numbers in mind as I start checking out road bikes, thanks for the input!
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Old 12-01-17, 10:11 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Gearing
Many road bikes have lower gearing than they did 10 years ago. Back then, the easiest combo was typically 34 front and 25 rear, or 27 rear "for hills". Now, 34F - 32R is pretty common. These low gears are great for many riders, but the tradeoff is bigger gaps between shifts in the middle of the range. So it's a little harder to get that "just right" cadence. Experienced riders in an area without really steep climbs might prefer a narrower range, like 12-25.

The move to 9, 10, 11 cogs on the back is to extend the range of gearing without excessively large shifts.

I think the wider range cassettes are great for most newer riders.

Groups
That group you saw might be riding 3 times a week, 25 to 40 miles at a time. And groups do encourage riders to go a little harder, and to ride regularly each week, to be able to keep up. That's a main reason I like them!

On the other hand, there are also more social rides, at a conversational pace, with occasional stops along the way. Both types are fun.

I was really surprised at all the interesting routes that the local bike club rides. I'd never expect some of those areas to be good for riding, but the cyclists have refined the routes over the years, picking the best roads. And I'll go farther out with a group than I'd probably do solo.

Distance and effort
Road bikes, even set up to be quite upright, have a more aero rider position. That's a big difference at faster road speeds.

Road bikes also give you different hand positions, very helpful on longer rides.

Saving maybe 3 to 5 pounds over a hybrid helps a little on climbs, but the climbing effort is quite directly comparable to the difference in rider+bike weights. For someone around 200 pounds, that's a pretty tiny percentage.
Nice primer, thanks for sharing that!
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Old 12-03-17, 08:56 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by rutan74 View Post
I was in a very similar situation some 5 years ago.

I will add my 2 cents here.

Simply try and ride as many bikes as you can from the local shops. I would stick with the main guys as they have the most variation. Trek, Specialized, Giant and Cannondale. You would be surprised at the ride differences between manufacturers.

Case in point, I had my bike all picked out until a very nice rep from the Specialized store guided me into another model. For us larger and older guys, you will be better served with an endurance frame/fit. The bike is a tad more upright and that translates into more comfortable riding.

I bought a Specialized Secteur Elite Compact that was a year old and on sale. Got it for 950 which is slightly above your limit but it was a very nice bike. Compact gearing (50-34 in front) and a 9 speed. Shimano Tiagra groupset. Aluminum frame, stock Shimano wheelset.

I put almost 12k miles on that bike in 3 years without an issue. Tires of course, but no other issues with the exception of changing out my rear cassette from a max of 28 to a 30. I needed a bigger gear since I was riding a lot of hills, big hills at that. Blue Ridge Parkway stuff. Anyway, most of the bikes now come with 11-32 cassette so no problems there. I'd stay away from the triple in the front. More alignment issues and you really don't need it with 11-32 in the rear.

Like others have said, after a few years, you will get in better shape and want to upgrade. I did as my current bike was on sale for 30% off. Now riding a Felt Z3, full Ultegra and carbon frame. That was a huge jump in ride quality and shifting. So, you get what to pay for.

Key thing is, test ride a bunch of bikes. Keep your eyes open to sales. My current bike was 30 percent off because they were moving the shop to another location. That was 1000 off on the bike. I would never find a bike with a full Ultegra grupo and carbon for 2k. But it pays to look around.

Don't buy the first bike you ride though. Lastly, although Craigslist and used is definitely an option, as I said, every bike rides a bit differently and you can't really tell how you fit on the bike until you take it for a test spin. When I test rode my Felt, it was literally night and day from my Specialized.

You ride. Your fitness will get better and you might not be able to stay with the young guns but it will get better over time.

john
I agree with most of this advice except for the bit about avoiding triples. Probably not an issue anyway since triples are out of favor. That said, I have used triples for many years and have yet to experience this alignment issue. The advantage of triples is, you can really have it all. Narrowly spaced cluster (I used to use 12 - 25, then switched to 12 - 27). But, because you have a small chainring, you don't need to use a wide 11 - 32 cassette to get low gears for getting up hills. The other advantage of triples is, more gears in the range where you will use them without cross chaining, as you will surely find yourself doing on a road compact double. Put another way, for most people, a 50 tooth big chainring paired with an 11 - 32 cassette wastes a lot of high gears, that are too high for a lot of cyclists who own those bikes. IMO, a triple solves this problem. In my flat to rolling hills area, I would say I use my middle chainring more than 80% of the time. If I got rid of my triple, I would probably look to replace it with a 46 - 30 or even 44 - 28 double.

As I said, probably not an issue unless OP goes with a used bike as triples have gone out of favor, but don't pass up a nice bike with a triple just because it has a triple. Maybe you won't win any parking lot bragging rights on group rides, but IMO, triples are great.
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Old 12-03-17, 03:51 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by mcgeggy View Post
I'm 51yo, 6'1", and my current weight is 220 lbs. I want to try to get down to 205-215. I purchased a used hybrid Fuji Sabres a few months ago . . .

I would like to buy a road bike for the Spring. I was riding the other day at what felt like a reasonably brisk pace, and a group of cyclists on road bikes just blew right by me, seemingly peddling no faster than I was, lol! So my feeling is that a road bike would be more suitable to my purposes . . .

I would like an entry level road bike . . . the only thing I can say for sure is Shimano 105?

I would mainly be riding on local roads, some slightly hilly, mostly smooth with the usual small cracks, bumps and minor potholes along the shoulder. Right now I'm doing 10-15 mile rides on the Hybrid, but of course over the Spring/Summer I'd like to be doing longer rides, and maybe even join a local cycle group.
Congrats and welcome.

I'm 53, 5'11" and 230# so not that different than you. The good news is that a decent road bike will be faster than the equivalent quality hybrid. The bad news, the difference is not as much as you would think. I've got a road bike that is butted chrome-moly with a carbon fiber fork, mostly 105 components, and a comfort/endurance geometry. I've also go a 1990s buttend chrome-moly hybrid (Trek 720 Multitrack) upgraded with 9sp Deore, LX and XT components. On flat ground with no wind, my average speed over 50 miles is < 2 mph faster on the road bike. As far as distance, I've done 100+ mile rides on each of the bikes with equal comfort.

Truth be told, you could put me on a brand new 2018 Trek Domane SLR and there would still be a lot of riders who could blow right by me. Equipment certainly plays a role but the most important aspect of speed will always be the engine. A rider may have the same cadence (pedaling speed) as you, but if they are pushing a higher gear, they are going to be faster.

I'm not trying to discourage you, just put things in realistic perspective. Joining a local cycling group is a great way to get into the sport, but don't expect an equipment upgrade to put you at the front of the pack with the hardcore roadies.

Many clubs or shops sponsor rides suited to different levels of riding based on expected speed, distance and difficulty of terrain. Fast, keep-up-or-get-dropped training rides (sometimes called "A" rides) are for the experienced, competitive roadies. "B" rides are for the more casual cyclist who is reasonably fit and only competitive in a friendly manner. "B" rides are often no-drop but the definition of such can vary. For some clubs, no-drop means that they stop at points along the way for slower riders to catch up. For others, it means that the pace is set so that nobody falls off the back or at least gets brought back up quickly. "C" rides are very recreational and some even allow hybrids, touring bikes, cross bikes, etc. Check out your local clubs and LBSs for further descriptions of their rides.

One of the clubs that I ride with sponsors what would be considered a "B/C" ride where everyone starts out together but the larger group usually breaks up into two or three smaller groups based on desired pace. The faster groups stop at intervals for the slower groups to catch up, but nobody ever rides alone. A couple of the shop riders will act as sweeps and will ride with any rider who falls off the back of the group until the next rest stop.

105 is a good balance of performance and price. It can be hard to find a new bike that is completely 105 equipped for under $1,000 but there are some good compromises. While I don't recommend online bike purchases for new riders, unless they have someone with a lot of bike fitting experience helping them, the Motobecane Gran Premio from Bikes Direct fits the bill at $899 Save Up To 60% Off Pro Level Steel Road Bikes FREE SHIP 48 STATES ON ALL BICYCLES FREE SHIP* Motobecane Gran Premio Elite New Shimano 22 Speed 5800 / 105 + Shimano Wheelsets Reynolds High Grade Steel Road Bikes . It has 105 shifters, derailleurs and cassette with a FSA crankset and Tektro brakes. A lot of bike for the money and more than adequate for "B" and "C" club rides, fitness and recreation. My road bike is an older model of the Gran Premio and I've put thousands of miles on it with only a few minor upgrades for creature comforts.
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Old 12-03-17, 07:07 PM   #44
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Congrats and welcome.

I'm 53, 5'11" and 230# so not that different than you. The good news is that a decent road bike will be faster than the equivalent quality hybrid. The bad news, the difference is not as much as you would think. I've got a road bike that is butted chrome-moly with a carbon fiber fork, mostly 105 components, and a comfort/endurance geometry. I've also go a 1990s buttend chrome-moly hybrid (Trek 720 Multitrack) upgraded with 9sp Deore, LX and XT components. On flat ground with no wind, my average speed over 50 miles is < 2 mph faster on the road bike. As far as distance, I've done 100+ mile rides on each of the bikes with equal comfort.

Truth be told, you could put me on a brand new 2018 Trek Domane SLR and there would still be a lot of riders who could blow right by me. Equipment certainly plays a role but the most important aspect of speed will always be the engine. A rider may have the same cadence (pedaling speed) as you, but if they are pushing a higher gear, they are going to be faster.

I'm not trying to discourage you, just put things in realistic perspective. Joining a local cycling group is a great way to get into the sport, but don't expect an equipment upgrade to put you at the front of the pack with the hardcore roadies.

Many clubs or shops sponsor rides suited to different levels of riding based on expected speed, distance and difficulty of terrain. Fast, keep-up-or-get-dropped training rides (sometimes called "A" rides) are for the experienced, competitive roadies. "B" rides are for the more casual cyclist who is reasonably fit and only competitive in a friendly manner. "B" rides are often no-drop but the definition of such can vary. For some clubs, no-drop means that they stop at points along the way for slower riders to catch up. For others, it means that the pace is set so that nobody falls off the back or at least gets brought back up quickly. "C" rides are very recreational and some even allow hybrids, touring bikes, cross bikes, etc. Check out your local clubs and LBSs for further descriptions of their rides.

One of the clubs that I ride with sponsors what would be considered a "B/C" ride where everyone starts out together but the larger group usually breaks up into two or three smaller groups based on desired pace. The faster groups stop at intervals for the slower groups to catch up, but nobody ever rides alone. A couple of the shop riders will act as sweeps and will ride with any rider who falls off the back of the group until the next rest stop.

105 is a good balance of performance and price. It can be hard to find a new bike that is completely 105 equipped for under $1,000 but there are some good compromises. While I don't recommend online bike purchases for new riders, unless they have someone with a lot of bike fitting experience helping them, the Motobecane Gran Premio from Bikes Direct fits the bill at $899 Save Up To 60% Off Pro Level Steel Road Bikes FREE SHIP 48 STATES ON ALL BICYCLES FREE SHIP* Motobecane Gran Premio Elite New Shimano 22 Speed 5800 / 105 + Shimano Wheelsets Reynolds High Grade Steel Road Bikes . It has 105 shifters, derailleurs and cassette with a FSA crankset and Tektro brakes. A lot of bike for the money and more than adequate for "B" and "C" club rides, fitness and recreation. My road bike is an older model of the Gran Premio and I've put thousands of miles on it with only a few minor upgrades for creature comforts.
Thanks for sharing your perspective! I was kind of referring to more of an all encompassing “going further” - not just speed, but moving onto the next level of bike, and overall understanding of the sport. There seems to be a decent local riding club in the area that caters to group rides of every level, so if I can keep up my rides through the winter, I should feel confident about keeping up with a mid level group. I just want to use cycling as a vehicle for fitness and maintaining a healthy body weight. I’ve lost almost 15 lbs already since mid-October, and I’ve only ridden 230 miles so far! But I also want to be able to read through this forum and understand the technical side of things. And I’d like to find a bike that I will be happy with for a number of years...
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Old 12-05-17, 11:06 AM   #45
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I ride an old, heavy bike with nubby trail tires because my number one goal is burning calories. When I get to goal weight I'll worry about anything else. YMMV.
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Old 12-05-17, 08:35 PM   #46
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I ride an old, heavy bike with nubby trail tires because my number one goal is burning calories. When I get to goal weight I'll worry about anything else. YMMV.
If you enjoy riding your old, heavy, knobby tired bike, cool

. . . but just to put the information out there, you can burn just as many calories riding a lighter bike with supple road tires. You just burn them while going a lot faster
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Old 12-06-17, 02:21 AM   #47
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If you enjoy riding your old, heavy, knobby tired bike, cool

. . . but just to put the information out there, you can burn just as many calories riding a lighter bike with supple road tires. You just burn them while going a lot faster
Assuming you actually go faster. On my old commute, I had my pattern, self-regulated to my preferred speed. So the crappy tires, more upright bike was better as far as calories.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:41 AM   #48
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Assuming you actually go faster. On my old commute, I had my pattern, self-regulated to my preferred speed. So the crappy tires, more upright bike was better as far as calories.
Hard to say if I would go faster. I too self-regulate to set points along my route that I need to hit at a certain elapsed time. Now, I guess I could probably recalculate those set points to match the pace on a new bike, but why bother.
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Old 12-06-17, 05:31 PM   #49
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Assuming you actually go faster. On my old commute, I had my pattern, self-regulated to my preferred speed. So the crappy tires, more upright bike was better as far as calories.
Following that logic, you could drag a couple of concrete blocks behind you on a logging chain and burn even more calories.

You can ramp it up to the same number of watts on a heavy bike with bulky knobbies or on a lighter bike with good quality road tires. Say you averaged 150 watts on each bike. You would burn the same number of calories in a given time period. If you are like most riders your "preferred speed" is more a matter of hitting a comfortable cadence rather than an actual MPH figure. On a lighter bike with better tires, you could likely hit the same cadence at the same wattage but in a higher gear and thus would thus gain some speed while getting just as fit and burning just as many calories.

I'm not saying you should or shouldn't ride your current bike or upgrade, that's up to you, but what I am saying is don't kid yourself that you are somehow going to burn more calories or get more fit with a heavy bike with knobbies than you could with a lighter one with road tires. It's all about what you put into it.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:51 AM   #50
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It's all about what you put into it.
Oh, absolutely.

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If you are like most riders your "preferred speed" is more a matter of hitting a comfortable cadence rather than an actual MPH figure.
It was an empty mup, deliberately winding to bring cyclist speed down. I pretty much always took it at a cornering speed I was comfortable at(I commuted at off peak hours when it was empty).

I must be odd in regards to preferred cadence vs speed then. My current commute, I deliberately vary my gearing to regulate effort. Nope, I always end up getting to work in the same amount of time. Whether I'm grinding a big gear or spinning a small one.
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