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Noobie trying to compare comfort to road bike

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Noobie trying to compare comfort to road bike

Old 05-02-15, 07:23 PM
  #1  
bakes1
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Noobie trying to compare comfort to road bike

I am 50 years old and just started riding a month ago. I am riding a 10 year old Trek Navigator 200 which is an old gift from the wife.
I am really enjoying my daily rides and average about 10-12 miles per day on the road (mostly flat with a few small hills)
I use a program on my iphone called mapmyride and according to it I am averaging about 13.5 mph on these rides. I am not blown out at any point during the ride but I am definitely working a bit to maintain my pace. I finish my regular 10.5 mile route in around 48 minutes.
As a new and inexperienced rider I have no idea what pace I should be at or shooting for but this just seems kind of slow to me.
Other than my obvious lack of experience and training is the type of bike I am using making much difference in my overall speed?

As I plan to stick with this and ride almost daily I think I will be purchasing a new road bike soon.
Any experienced advice on a good model under $1000 would be greatly appreciated.
I like the idea of a bike like the Trek Cross Rip as it seems to be the best of both worlds but don't want to waste my money if I will rarely be off the pavement?
I am also a bit concerned about my riding position. With my current bike I sit fairly upright and my rides have been pretty comfortable. Will the road bike be a big difference in comfort?
Lastly, does size play a factor in bike type? I am 6'2", 230 lbs.
Or just in actual fit of whatever model I choose?
Any advice greatly appreciated and thanks in advance!
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Old 05-02-15, 08:07 PM
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You're a lot further along than I am... I chose a hybrid and although most of my rides are pavement, the suspension seat post and forks and the upright position are working pretty well for me. I'm sure I'd be faster with a road bike though. We do ride some multi use paths that are crushed limestone but I think it would be better to have 2 bikes instead of one that's not really good at dirt trails OR pavement. I have been looking at Cannondale quick series but the carbon framed one is over 2 grand. I'm sure you'll get some good responses to your questions here. BTW, your pace sounds great to me, I'm not that fast. 10mi. takes me about an hour
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Old 05-02-15, 08:38 PM
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Since you're in north NJ, you have lots of bike store choices. I would ask around and find one with a reputation for good knowledge and customer service. Then go in, explain your wants and needs, test ride a few bikes, take your time deciding, and enjoy yourself. The more you ride and learn from your experience, the more your needs become apparent.

If you plan on riding exclusively, or mostly on paved roads, mountain bikes or cross bikes with knobby tires aren't needed. That leaves hybrid or comfort and road bikes. One chief difference is how upright you sit - upright usually is more comfortable and let's you look around more but isn't as efficient or as quick paced.

Since you really just started a month ago, don't be in a rush. Enjoy looking and riding different bikes.

Also congratulations on getting back to riding and you should be proud on what you're done.
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Old 05-03-15, 07:18 AM
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Reading your post it made me think I've stumbled upon a parallel universe running about a year out of phase with earth. You sound almost exactly like me a year ago. I started riding last May on a hand-me-down Trek from my wife's family, and on her old Schwinn mountain bike. I loaded the Map-My-Ride app and rode around 10-12 mile circuits at about 13mph. We're a similar height and weight too, though I've slimmed down a bit over the last year

I got into debating a new bike and had the same concerns. I liked the upright riding position and I was worried that drops on a road bike would put strain on my lower back. I was 51 at the time.

I went with a newer hardtail 29er trail bike from GT - the Timberline. I upped my mileage and wore the thing out and ended up with a factory replacement, another 29er a few models up the range.

I like the 29ers but wanted to up my pace so I started researching more road oriented bikes. By mid-summer my riding had really evolved beyond the simple 10 mile circuits I'd been doing. I did a couple century rides and some bikepacking and spent time on dirt and gravel trails. So I really needed an all-rounder that could cover all the different needs and options.

In October last year I rented a road bike for the day, a Trek Domane. I hated it. The ride was brutal on the rough asphalt roads we have in my area. I was in pain the whole ride. Sure, it hadn't been setup properly for me, but the geometry was too aggressive and those skinny tires transmitted every little imperfection in the road up the pipe and into my butt cheeks!

It was the best and worst $50 I've ever spent.

I put the decision on hold over the winter (went and bought a Fat Bike!), then a few weeks ago I had it narrowed down between the Trek Crossrip, a Salsa Fargo and a Salsa Vaya. The local Trek dealer was out of the Cross rip and it was showing zero stock with no update on a delivery date (about 7 or 8 weeks ago). Anyway, I ended up on a Salsa Warbird which is actually a gravel bike but very similar to a Cyclocross bike.

I absolutely love the bike! It has a more upright riding position than the Trek Domane, so I'm not too crouched over and there's no strain on my lower back. The cockpit doesn't have me too stretched out, I can reach the hoods without leaning forward too much. Even the lower drop position is quite comfortable.
It has an in-house vibration reduction system (a sort of rear suspension) and a carbon fork and it rides as smooth as silk.
I did a century ride on it last weekend and couldn't have been more comfortable given the circumstances (though my legs were shot!)

Anyway - I think your 13.5mph pace is fine for where you're at. A higher pace will come from spending more time riding outside of your comfort zone. You have to push to get small gains in fitness and pace.

A newer more road oriented bike will help your pace a bit, but most of the gain will come from increased fitness.
Given your height, age and weight, I'd strongly recommend a Cross bike. If you're not looking to break any speed records, and comfort is important, you'll get that with a Cross bike. Also, new Cross bikes tend to come with slicker tires. It's up to you to add knobby/wider tires after the purchase, if you want. I haven't needed them on mine. It has 35mm intermediate tires and they've been fine for everything.

Good luck!

PS - If you're interested I did a write-up on the whole decision making process here, it's quite lengthy though so be warned, LOL Salsa Warbird Review - 2016 Model Warbird
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Old 05-03-15, 07:30 AM
  #5  
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^ very helpful input. +1.
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Old 05-03-15, 08:38 AM
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I can't help specifically on which make/model. But speaking purely about the relationship of hills and knees and age, you should consider triple chainring rather than any compact double, imho. Maybe I overgeneralize, but I recall northern NJ as having some potentially big climbs. Or perhaps the roads sensibly go up the valleys. Anyhow, a few very low gears is nice to have to call on in that eventuality. In eastern Canada roads seem to go straight up hills. Hills are nice to conquer. Spinning up feels fine. Grinding up, not so much.

ps And I think there's such a thing as a bike being too stiff in the vertical plane. For that reason, I would tend to prefer a lighter steel frame over a too stiff aluminum one. Such a beast may exist in your price range new, but I don't know. I went used after much research.

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Old 05-03-15, 10:11 AM
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Very helpful advice. Thank you!
Based upon your post and my budget I think the Trek Cross Rip still may be a good fit for me.
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Old 05-03-15, 12:35 PM
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I'm about your height and not very flexible. I've found many models don't come in a size I can use. I ride road bikes and I like the bars higher than some, so I ride 62 or 63 or 64 cm frames with long headtubes so I can use an uncut steer tube to get the bars where I want them.
It's very rare that I will find a bike in a store that I can actually ride.
As to gearing, I use a compact on one bike with a 34x29 low gear. I know people who use a 34x32 low, which is quite low.
I don't think you have to have a triple to get a low gear.
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Old 05-03-15, 01:11 PM
  #9  
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I am heading out to my local shop now to ask some questions and get a bit of an education on how to get fitted for the right bike.
I am going to assume it may be a bit of a process as my price range is limited and they will only have so many cyclocross models in stock I guess.
That and the fact that as a new rider I really don't even have an idea of what is comfortable or correct for me regardless of what they recommend for me.
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Old 05-03-15, 06:42 PM
  #10  
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I owned a Trek Crossrip, for a while, and found it to be a satisfying bicycle. It was OK on the road and OK on the rough. But a road bicycle, it is not! My opinion, of course and, perhaps, fitted with a less aggressively treaded tire, it might offer more road like performance.

All that said, it is a good bicycle and, for most people, they won't notice the short comings as a road bicycle...

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Old 05-04-15, 02:24 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by bakes1 View Post
That and the fact that as a new rider I really don't even have an idea of what is comfortable or correct for me regardless of what they recommend for me.
Completely understand. Being knew, how could you know. There really is no substitute for experience.

Four years ago (this month in fact) I was new to road cycling with many questions. My biggest concern was ride comfort. Talking to a few people, I was afraid that bikes with skinny high pressure tires would ride to harsh and I wouldn't like it. Plus I wasn't interested in spending a lot of money if I didn't like the sport or thought it to unsafe riding with traffic.

So here's my recommendations....

- Test ride, test ride, test ride, as many bikes as you can. Believe it or not, even without experience, you'll notice differences between bikes and frames. If you can, ride different bikes over the same rough pavement to help you decide. I still believe in looking for comfort first. Bikes that ride harsh can lead to numbness in the hands and arms.

- Don't buy expensive, don't buy cheap. Buy quality, but something on the lower end. Bikes keep going up in price, so that could still mean a $1000 price tag (or more) for an entry level bike. The experience you gain on this bike will help you when your ready to upgrade.

- Buy the lowest gearing you can. Have you got hills? Low gearing will help you get over them. Hills are still my biggest challenge and I've paired the 50/34 compact with an 11-34 MTB cassette. If gearing sounds confusing, make sure you ask about this.

- Buy quality bike clothing, this can really help with ride comfort.

So what did I choose...... a steel framed drop bar road bike with Shimano 105 and 25c tires (and under 1k). This has turned out to be a great first bike and still meets all of my needs today. Honestly, the bike is far more capable then I am.

Best of luck in whatever you decide.

-

Last edited by GFish; 05-09-15 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 05-04-15, 03:00 AM
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Best advice I got was that all of the frame manufacturers are pretty much the same. Focus more on gearing, tires, and fit--which all add up to comfort. Pick the LBS that will take the time now to find what fits you best. You can get a road bike with relaxed geometry and a more upright position.

Set a budget and stick to it, because the accessories will eat you up later. Whatever you buy now will be mechanically way more advanced than anything you've ever ridden before. You can't go wrong.

i liked the Crossrip too, but I'm more of an open road guy. A year ago I got an entry level Felt road bike with Shimano Claris. Indexed shifting is light years ahead of the road bikes I had in the 70's and 80's. It's been great.

My preference now would be lighter weight, a more aggressive position than what I wanted a year ago, and even sharper handling, rather than an endurance, or touring style bike. Keep that in mind, what you want today may not be what you'll want a year from now.
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Old 05-04-15, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bakes1 View Post
I am heading out to my local shop now to ask some questions and get a bit of an education on how to get fitted for the right bike.
I am going to assume it may be a bit of a process as my price range is limited and they will only have so many cyclocross models in stock I guess.
That and the fact that as a new rider I really don't even have an idea of what is comfortable or correct for me regardless of what they recommend for me.
My suggestion is to road test several different types of bikes. Cross, Hybrid, Road (Endurance) and Road (Racing). Try each one for several miles. You know your body better than anyone else. The LBS employees can make sure that you have a basic fit on each bike, but you're the best person to determine which bikes feel the most comfortable to you. If you're only planning on riding on roads, Multi-Use Paths/Trails, or good gravel roads, then any of those bikes will probably suit you. While a road bike may not be your cup of tea, you won't really know until you try one.

GH
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Old 05-08-15, 03:31 PM
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Just a quick word of advice, don't worry about avg. mph. Enjoy your rides, the slower parts are much more enjoyable sometimes, depending on the surroundings, the weather, your mood etc. Some days you want to push it the whole way and that's fine, just don't get obsessed with speed or avg speed. Just sayin'
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Old 05-08-15, 03:50 PM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by GFish View Post
So here's my recommendations....

- Test ride, test ride, test ride, as many bikes as you can. Believe it or not, even without experience, you'll notice differences between bikes and frames. If you can, ride different bikes over the same rough pavement to help you decide. I still believe in looking for comfort first. Bikes that ride harsh can lead to numbness in the hands and arms.

- Don't buy expensive, don't buy cheap. Buy quality, but something on the lower end. Bikes keep going up in price, so that could still mean a $1000 price tag (or more) for an entry level bike. The experience you gain on this bike will help you when your ready to upgrade.

- Buy the lowest gearing you can. Have you got hills? Low gearing will help you get over them. Hills are still my biggest challenge and I've paired the 50/34 compact with an 11-34 MTB cassette. If gearing sounds confusing, make sure you ask about this.

- Buy quality bike clothing, this can really with ride comfort.
+1000
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Old 05-08-15, 04:40 PM
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If you will rarely be off pavement, I think you will be happier with a bike designed to be on pavement.

I have a comfort bike I use on those rare occasions when I am going to be on gravel. I find my back gets unhappy after too many miles on it. For longer, faster riding, my road bike is so much more comfortable, even if less upright. I do have a relaxed geometry on my road bike, I don't think I'd like an aggressive geometry, but being TOO upright is not good after while.

Fit will be important. What feels right will be important, but what feels right after 5 miles might not be what feels right after 25 miles.

If you want a suggestion for something new under $1000, a 55 year old friend of mine back east who wanted to spend under $1000 recently purchased a Jamis Quest Sport (a steel frame) that he is very happy with. If you are wedded to sub-$1000, then most of your options will be aluminum, which to me is just nowhere near as comfortable as steel, but you may feel differently. My friend kept everything stock on his Quest except the saddle, although he thought that the saddle was pretty good for a stock saddle. I make this suggestion based only on what someone else who shopped a lot for sub-$1000 told me, but I don't know how many around here have shopped extensively for a sub-$1000 road bike.

Speaking of which, if you want comfort, aside from fit, getting the saddle that is right for you is important, and that is such a personal matter that it is hard to give a lot of advice other than try as many as you reasonably can.

Good luck!
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Old 05-09-15, 02:58 PM
  #17  
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Op,, your 230 pounds, This bike makes you work hard in your opinion, harder than need be, But your not racing....

Are you reaching and holding your target heart rate ?
Are you fine tuning your skill set ? Learning to spin correctly, efficiently ?
Wait, be patient, show some resolve, and ride the bike you have down to 175 pounds,,,,,,,,

Then you will be ready and get more out of a faster lighter road bike..

Now go back and read my first sentence one more time, then contemplate this on the 'Tree Of Woe'
,
,
,
I ride a 30 pound Full squish mountain bike, I love it, I have ridden lighter but I will NOT ever seek or want a 25 pound bike that costs several thousand more..
I started out and got strong on a bike that was harder to ride, I rode that big wheel monster for two seasons....
Just sayin.

I may loose five pounds more for no particular reason

Last edited by osco53; 05-09-15 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 05-17-15, 07:58 PM
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Thanks all.
After testing a half dozen bikes or so I ended up buying a new Specialized Secteur Elite. I allowed the shop owner to talk me into an upgraded carbon/zertz seat post and nicer tires and am very pleased with the bike but have barely ridden it yet.
I will definitely check back after putting some real miles on it.
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Old 05-17-15, 08:02 PM
  #19  
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Nice choice for your ride, pictures and a first ride report are of course mandatory here. We await your posts.

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