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The case for a fast bike

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The case for a fast bike

Old 11-20-08, 10:25 PM
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tjspiel
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The case for a fast bike

They're fun.

Some of you people are way too practical. Even though you may not get to work a whole lot faster (though you might), sometimes it's how you get there that makes the difference.

No, I'm not saying everybody should or would enjoy a road bike, just that sometimes the intangibles can be more important than having a rack on the back.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:29 PM
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I read on here once that not every style or type of bike will fit everyone. My bike is not a road bike or a mountain bike, it is a hybrid. It fits me. It may not be the nicest or most expensive, but it still gets me from point A to B. Who cares what type of bike it is, as long as its a bike.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:33 PM
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uke
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Any bike is faster than walking.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:39 PM
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i love riding my road bike to work, in the rain, in the heat in the bone cold windy days. it handles better, is safer and more enjoyable ride. i also have a mtb commuter with a rack and basket, its slower, doesn't break well, entire drivetrain needs to be replaced, heavy as anything, slow, and not much fun to ride

rather than putting money into a bike i don't like to fix it up, i'm planing on getting a road bike form the 80s, i don't mind if it has a 5lbs steel frame(shouldn't be hard to keep it between 25-30lbs) put on some wider tyers for winter and spare 23c for rest of the nonraining year. i plan to put fenders and a rack...i like the easy of a milk crate with a backpack, but i hate the high center of blance so i'm thinking side baskets(but its less aero). i love drop bars for windy days, the speed of 23c tyers, but i hate the bag on my back and worring about my road bike while i'm at work or school.
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Old 11-20-08, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by uke View Post


Any bike is faster than walking.

I remember this bad snow storm that hit just early enough before rush hour to cause some real problems. Too much snow for me to deal with on my bike. I hoofed it. A bit faster and a lot easier.
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Old 11-20-08, 11:15 PM
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I ride a geared road bike or my SS road bike when the roads are clear and its not raining. But in the rain, I ride my SS MTB with full fenders and slightly easier gearing. Keeping up with traffic *IS* fun on the road bike, but in the rain I am slower, can see less and thus have less reaction time, and find alternate routs to AVOID riding in traffic because if I can't stop as well, the cars behind me sure as hell can't either.

So I agree, road bikes are loads of fun, and if your commute is long (This week I could only ride twice, but my week's mileage was 84 miles) it definately makes for a faster commute.

But MTB's are lower to the ground, take road hazzards easier, and are easier to fender/rack up than a road bike simply for the clearance issue with the brakes.

Each I think has their place, and I am completely happy riding *ANY* bike over sitting in 60 minutes of traffic and gumpy commuters.
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Old 11-20-08, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
No, I'm not saying everybody should or would enjoy a road bike, just that sometimes the intangibles can be more important than having a rack on the back.
One of my two road bikes does have a rack on the back And even fenders. What's surprising is that it's not much slower down the highway than my "real" road bike, maybe 1mph difference in average speed. Not bad for a 28-year-old frameset I got for free However, it is getting upgraded to a Soma Smoothie ES with the IRD carbon fork next Spring.

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Old 11-20-08, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
One of my two road bikes does have a rack on the back And even fenders. What's surprising is that it's not much slower down the highway than my "real" road bike, maybe 1mph difference in average speed. Not bad for a 28-year-old frameset I got for free However, it is getting upgraded to a Soma Smoothie ES with the IRD carbon fork next Spring.

What prompted my rack comment is the frequent dismissal in this forum of any bike without eyelets for a rear rack as unsuitable for commuting. The truth is that like your bike (and both of mine) many road bikes do have eyelets. For that matter you can put a rack on virtually any bike, - eyelets or not.

But beyond that is my main point. A rack isn't always that important, nor is any particular feature we may consider critical in a commuting bike. Lights only matter if you ride at night. Fenders are great when the roads are wet but you can get by without them. What is critical in my mind is that you get some pleasure out of the ride. For some people that might mean speed and responsiveness, for others that might mean being able to ride over obstacles.

I'm not slamming racks and I understand that for some people riding without a rack would detract from the fun.
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Old 11-21-08, 12:01 AM
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Lights only matter if you ride at night.
I run lights in the daytime too, for better visibility/awareness to others, and get compliments for being easy to notice. Even the "real" road bike gets DRLs (its predecessor was destroyed by a left-hook by someone who didn't see me).

I dislike the bike industry's sweeping "commuter" presumptions. If I had to commute with the industry's prevailing idea of a "commuter" bike, using "commuter"-level lights, I'd be pretty frustrated.
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Old 11-21-08, 12:04 AM
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I like fast bikes too. My commuter is fast, because I'm fast. And it has a rack that is fast, and the fenders are fast too. In fact there isn't a slow part on it.
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Old 11-21-08, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
I like fast bikes too. My commuter is fast, because I'm fast. And it has a rack that is fast, and the fenders are fast too. In fact there isn't a slow part on it.
My rack is fast, too ... even though it's chromoly.
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Old 11-21-08, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
I like fast bikes too. My commuter is fast, because I'm fast. And it has a rack that is fast, and the fenders are fast too. In fact there isn't a slow part on it.
My Soma will have a wattage dial that goes all the way to 500.
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Old 11-21-08, 12:48 AM
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I've got a 700c bike with North Road bars coupled to a 52-11 top geared drivetrain. it's plenty fast enough.
My Smoothie ES has drop bars and is only a couple miles an hour faster all things considered.

Daytime running lights while operating either, absolutely.
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Old 11-21-08, 06:41 AM
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I'll never ride a hybrid bike again. I really didn't know what I was missing until I got my CX bike.

I agree with the OP that too many are quick to dismiss commuting on a bike that is not a "commuter", whatever that is.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:02 AM
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I like the sentiment behind "it's not the bike, it's the rider." It's just not that true. The day I went from a hybrid to a cross bike my one-way commute went from 23 minutes to 19 minutes. It was about that percent more fun, too - going fast is a blast. As someone who uses a backpack and doesn't like a bike with lots of stuff on it I've thought about going to a road bike - I'm almost frightened to try it for fear of how fun it would be and how many $$$ it might end up costing me. But any faster and my commute wouldn't be enough exercise. Plus I'd be dodging other bikes all the time. If I wanted to be frustrated with traffic I'd drive.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:13 AM
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My bikes' speed tends to be limited by their old motor.

'06 Trek Portland
Rack: Check
Fenders: Check
DRLs: Check
Studded snow tires: In season
Fast: You betcha. Once chased down a paceline on the way home from work--after stopping to fill the grocery panniers.



'00 Trek 1000
Rack: Check
Fenders: Sorry, fair weather only
DRLs: Check
Fast: Runs like a puppy. Chases things too. Likes to draft police cars. Likes to drop Madones.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:14 AM
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I don't have to bring anything to work but myself. No racks required. However, in the fall and spring, when temperature differences are large between 6 am and 4 pm, a topeak mtx rack with slide on/off trunk bag is darn handy for carrying the stuff I needed in the morning but didn't need in the afternoon. Darn handy but not necessary, since you can get a handlebar bag that will carry your spare clothing, your rain clothing, and your expensive lights and such when leaving the bike.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:15 AM
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Fast enough for me
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Old 11-21-08, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by GearsForFears View Post
I like the sentiment behind "it's not the bike, it's the rider." It's just not that true. The day I went from a hybrid to a cross bike my one-way commute went from 23 minutes to 19 minutes. It was about that percent more fun, too - going fast is a blast. As someone who uses a backpack and doesn't like a bike with lots of stuff on it I've thought about going to a road bike - I'm almost frightened to try it for fear of how fun it would be and how many $$$ it might end up costing me. But any faster and my commute wouldn't be enough exercise. Plus I'd be dodging other bikes all the time. If I wanted to be frustrated with traffic I'd drive.
I'm not saying you're wrong; I do think that the type of bike you ride can make you a little faster in some cases. But don't discount the placebo effect. If you think you're going to ride faster, you probably will. I think that's often a factor too.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:32 AM
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Obviously, you should ride whatever bike best suits your commute. How "fast" the bike is may matter in some circumstances, but in others it will not. Case in point:

I have two commuter bikes; one is a lovely old Trek tourer, the other is a folding bike with 16" wheels. Both bikes have 8-speed IG hubs and dynamo hubs powering the lights; both have fenders; but only the Trek has a rack. The Trek is the faster bike, and I definitely like the Trek more, but I usually ride the folder. Why?

Well, quite simply, my commute takes less time when I ride the folding bike. The Trek is not fast enough to make up for the three or five minutes it takes to get my briefcase out of the pannier and put the bike my locker at the train station before I can get on the train; the folding bike just folds up and comes on the train with me. I don't even have to take my messenger bag off my shoulder. I miss my train more often when I ride the Trek than the folder.

Aside from that, the folder is also useful when I get to the city; but that's another story.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
They're fun.

Some of you people are way too practical. Even though you may not get to work a whole lot faster (though you might), sometimes it's how you get there that makes the difference.

No, I'm not saying everybody should or would enjoy a road bike, just that sometimes the intangibles can be more important than having a rack on the back.
I agree about the value of the intangibles. For me, comfort trumps all.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by GearsForFears View Post
I like the sentiment behind "it's not the bike, it's the rider." It's just not that true. The day I went from a hybrid to a cross bike my one-way commute went from 23 minutes to 19 minutes. It was about that percent more fun, too - going fast is a blast.
It's both.

I've had similar time change experiences in switching equipment -- from MTB w/ knobbies, to slicks, to rigid fork, to road bike.

There's been a lower impact, but noticeable nonetheless, as my own motor and flab ebb and flow.

And I am still passed by dudes wearing sneakers and jeans hauling giant packs on crap fat tire bikes, while I breeze by tricked out racer poseurs on the latest unobtanium special. Thank God the ratio of the former:latter is low. -ish.
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Old 11-21-08, 07:56 AM
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If commuting by bike becomes a big ole drudge, why do it? Whatever bike is fun to ride is one worth commuting on.

Which is why I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my 80s Fuji.
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Old 11-21-08, 10:15 AM
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I've got a reasonably fast setup, since my commuter is decked out as my rando/distance bike.

Cross Check complete
lowered low-end gearing for hills
dynohub
front bag-support rack

I took the rear rack off because I found myself using it less and less frequently. I have panniers, but I don't use them often enough to justify leaving my rack on there. Instead, I'm getting a trailer for errand and grocery runs, so I'll have a larger hauling capacity and it's easily removable for distance rides.
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Old 11-21-08, 10:48 AM
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Like some of you have alluded too, speed on a bike comes in large part from the engine, not the bike itself.
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