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Road versus hybrid for a triathlete commuter

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Road versus hybrid for a triathlete commuter

Old 09-22-11, 07:08 AM
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Road versus hybrid for a triathlete commuter

I need some help!

I'm about 6 months into riding as an adult, and I love it. I did my first triathlon last month (Chicago Sprint) and I'm planning to keep that up. However, I also want to commute to work (9 miles) and I like to ride to the grocery store and things like that.

Right now I am riding a borrowed, 20 year old, steel mountain bike. While there are things about it I don't like (gears don't like changing, etc), as a larger person (5'4 and about 270 - for now), I felt SAFE on the mountain bike. It's heavy and sturdy. I could go over cracks in the sidewalk and things like that and not feel like it was going to break.

Since this bike is borrowed, I am planning to buy my own in the next month or two. I had almost convinced myself to go road bike because of the triathlon training. Now, though, I'm looking at how safe I'm NOT going to feel and wondering if I shouldn't go hybrid. It'll be lighter than the bike I have now (I'm pretty sure ANY bike would be lighter than what I have now), but I just feel like a road bike isn't going to do well with things like cracks in the sidewalk and bumps in the road when there's 270 pounds bouncing around on the seat. Plus, commuting on a hybrid would be more comfortable overall, right?

Thoughts? I will talk to my LBS but they're all pretty trim and I want some feedback from people who know what it's like to be big and biking.
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Old 09-22-11, 07:21 AM
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If you want to do groceries, I'd look into a semi race or hybrid, maybe even a top of the line touring bike. I have a semi-race (351 tubing, 23mm tires but has a back rack and fenders) It's fine for one or two bags of groceries tops, but is great for commuting long distances. She's not meant for a full load and you can feel it.

Husband has a Koga Myata Adventurer (world touring). She makes a fine commuter and will handle a full load of groceries. She's not a very heavy bike and has been a great all around bike. We switched out the cassette from a 11-28 to an 11-22. My son has a hybrid and it works really well for him too but I think he's about to outgrow the smaller triple crank and go to a bigger one.

I have a touring bike also and with a front rack, she does groceries on both the front and back. She's not as slow as a city bike, but she's not racing material either. I use her the most.

No matter what type of bike you go for, get the best frame you can afford and one that fits. You can always upgrade parts later as they wear out.

I suggest checking out the "living car free" or the "utility" bike forums too.
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Old 09-22-11, 08:16 AM
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I don't know ... hybrids are great and all, but I'm a non-believer. Mainly because you're going to be replacing it eventually, and really, it seems that you're committed to this and driven.

I'd definitely consider a roadie, maybe even a CX type bike which could double as your grocery getter/commuter and your "race" bike. You could even replace the "fat" CX tires with thinner road tires when you do your tri's.

I will say this ... I'm between 250-270, depending on beers consumed, and I have NO problems with my roadie. I ride a Trek 1.2.

Keep riding ... and keep writing
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Old 09-22-11, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by ill.clyde
I don't know ... hybrids are great and all, but I'm a non-believer. Mainly because you're going to be replacing it eventually, and really, it seems that you're committed to this and driven.

I'd definitely consider a roadie, maybe even a CX type bike which could double as your grocery getter/commuter and your "race" bike. You could even replace the "fat" CX tires with thinner road tires when you do your tri's.

I will say this ... I'm between 250-270, depending on beers consumed, and I have NO problems with my roadie. I ride a Trek 1.2.

Keep riding ... and keep writing
+1

I rode a Trek 7300 Hybrid to startout. Get a road bike that can handle racks and fenders. You can take them off for competition.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:03 AM
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So then my next question...how do I know if it can handle racks and fenders? The road bike I was looking at was the Felt 95W. In purple.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:22 AM
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Fenders?

just kidding ... Felt 95W? I can't find that model online.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:26 AM
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A touring bike is a road bike; get one of those. It'll be built to carry a load, just like your mountain bike. It's got room for racks and fenders for your commute.

You may get snickers when you show up for a ride or race with racks and fenders. Ignore them. Once you can stay with the group, you'll get all kinds of remarks about how much faster you'd be on a light bike. Ignore them, too, at least until the difference in the bike's weight (touring vs. "light" road) makes a significant difference, like 5%, in the weight of bike+rider. But don't ring your commuting bell as you attack going up a hill; for some reason it seems to irritate the people you're passing.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:34 AM
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Do you mean the Felt ZW95? A quick look at the website doesn't reveal any info about whether it will take fenders or not. Often they'll say so, but not always. Best thing would be to ask the shop, or if you're there, take a look and see if there are any threaded bolt holes or eyelets near the front and rear dropouts.
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Old 09-22-11, 09:40 AM
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Doesn't look like it's ready made for a rear rack either ...
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Old 09-22-11, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by ill.clyde
Doesn't look like it's ready made for a rear rack either ...
Not all bikes that have one will have the other. My Synapse will take fenders, but not racks.
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Old 09-22-11, 10:06 AM
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I'd say a cyclocross or road bike. sooner or later someone's going to come in and recommend a surly cross check or LHT. probably the cyclocross bike over the touring bike if you're going to race it as it's slightly more aggressive in setup. If you're comfortable with what you want and know how to do a little wrenching, you can do ok at bikesdirect.com, but since that doesn't sound like you, probably just a good idea to go to several bike shops, ask, and find the one that makes you most comfortable.
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Old 09-22-11, 10:35 AM
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If you didn't need a rear rack (e.g., you could commute with just an Handlebar bag - I do most of the year), I'd suggest a Surly Pacer Complete. It'll handle 28mm tires with fenders (the complete comes with 28mm, but no fenders), or 32 mm w/out fenders.

If you need the ability to add a rear rack, Surly Crosscheck Complete. Fits wider tires, too.

Caveat on the CC Complete - the tires it comes with are probably better for CX than commuting.


If you want to build a bike up (or have a LBS do it for you), you could go with a Soma ES - 28mm tires with fenders, 32 w/out, braze-ons for fenders AND a rear rack... it's also a beautiful deep red color.
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Old 09-22-11, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by teresamichele
Plus, commuting on a hybrid would be more comfortable overall, right?
No! Hybrids are more comfortable for the first 3 miles of a ride, but that dwindles. A well fitted road bike is a very comfortable machine. I know, I didn't believe it either.

Feeling safe is hugely important, and it's only somewhat connected to reality. I'm not saying that to insult you. A road bike can handle cracks in the sidewalk ... go into the road forum and ask whether or not bunny hopping is an essential skill and everybody will say yes. Even the heavy people.

If you're going to train for tri, a road bike would be much better than a hybrid. Again, not meaning any offense, triathletes aren't well known for their bike handling skills. A TT bike handles more like a road bike than either handle like a hybrids. Besides just training, you should be doing lots of handling drills, cornering, and the like. What you do on a road bike will mostly carry over, and it will bring up your confidence, too. As you realize how safe a road bike is, that should make you feel safer on the bike leg at the Iron Man.
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Old 09-22-11, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
If you're going to train for tri, a road bike would be much better than a hybrid. Again, not meaning any offense, triathletes aren't well known for their bike handling skills. A TT bike handles more like a road bike than either handle like a hybrids. Besides just training, you should be doing lots of handling drills, cornering, and the like. What you do on a road bike will mostly carry over, and it will bring up your confidence, too. As you realize how safe a road bike is, that should make you feel safer on the bike leg at the Iron Man.
You're being kind ... triathletes are some of the worst riders I've ever seen LOL
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Old 09-22-11, 11:10 AM
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My opinion/experience/predjudice....ymmv.

9 miles each way is a respectable commute. I would go with a roadish bike with drop bars, not flat bars. there are lot of common recommendations, as noted.

Why?
I find flat handle bars are a pain....literally, i get wrist pains...it is not a natural ergonomic positions (look and handle bars over time.....most are set so that the thumbs point forward and palms face in.....form follows function). Though this can be minimized by using ergonomic barends like the cane creek ergo or the ergon.

Drop bars give a lot of postions options.....really handy when the wind is not with you.

Efficiency..... even a flat bar is not going to position you quite like a road bike..... I find a huge difference between my upright commuter/utility bike and my road bike. This will make a difference on a 9 mile commute

cross training...goes more directly to your triathlon goals.

You can get fenders on most bikes.... for a road.... the race blades or use p clips for frames without mouting points. Putting full fenders on a racy road bike may give very limited clearance or going down a size in tire..... but in the past I have run my miyata 1400 with full fenders.... tight but doable.
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Old 09-22-11, 12:12 PM
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https://link.marktplaats.nl/485817776

The best bike made under the sun in my opinion... the Gazelle Champion Mondial in 351 Reynolds with fenders and rack, takes racing slicks and is just a dream to ride. Its a hand made frame from the workshop that made the Mondials that won international races. (that workshop has been shut down now) I'd bid on this one if it wasnt for the fact I just bought my hubby a bike for his birthday last week and I have a garage full of goodies already.

They don't make bikes like these anymore. My choice for a newly manufactured bike would be one of the Van Nicholas' https://www.belgafietsen.nl/producten...Van%20Nicholas I know that badboy can handle my weight and some groceries
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Old 09-22-11, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ill.clyde
You're being kind ... triathletes are some of the worst riders I've ever seen LOL
"Runners on a bike"
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Old 09-22-11, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
"Runners on a bike"
yup ... at least I'm a "bicyclist that tries to run."
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Old 09-22-11, 01:08 PM
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teresamichelle, I did a little digging and found a couple of bikes that would take care of your primary concerns/duties and be tri friendly. The Raleigh Clubman and the Bianchi Volpe.

Brad
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Old 09-22-11, 01:29 PM
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oooooh.. I like that clubman... it's beautimus
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Old 09-22-11, 02:33 PM
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I got a Jamis Aurora touring type bike. My wife got a Trek 7500 hybrid bike. Having ridden both, I'm really glad I got the Jamis. I really don't need suspension for my kind of riding.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ill.clyde
yup ... at least I'm a "bicyclist that tries to run."
I thought I was the only one of those. Though I use the term "run" pretty loosely. More like a double-time march.
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Old 09-22-11, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CraigB
I thought I was the only one of those. Though I use the term "run" pretty loosely. More like a double-time march.
mine's more of a shuffle
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Old 09-23-11, 01:38 AM
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I think the Giant Avail will take a rack. There isn't room under that seat stay bridge for fenders, but they make fenders now that don't require eyelets to install.
Other possibilities: Soma Smoothie and ES, Salsa Casserole.
Every once in a while, I see a full-fledged Cervelo time trial bike in the rack at work. I can only assume that it's owner is meeting his clubmates for a training ride after work, because while it's a very fast commuter, it sure isn't designed for picking up groceries after work!
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Old 09-23-11, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Rhodabike
Every once in a while, I see a full-fledged Cervelo time trial bike in the rack at work. I can only assume that it's owner is meeting his clubmates for a training ride after work, because while it's a very fast commuter, it sure isn't designed for picking up groceries after work!
Do you happen to know which model, or even which series? I'm thinking about buying a used Soloist for commuting. I'm doing a 48-hour test ride right now...
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