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Another do I need a road bike thread

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Another do I need a road bike thread

Old 10-03-11, 07:20 AM
  #1  
donheff
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Another do I need a road bike thread

I was reading jmiked's thread about do I need a road bike and found the question interesting. I started to pipe in with my own questions but realized it would be too much of a hijack so decided to post separately. I find bikes a lot like skis and windsurfers (I used to do a lot of the later): it is difficult to figure out what works best for you because it is difficult to test drive them long enough to get a real feel. I test drove a few road bikes from the LBS but didn't spend enough time on them to really know if I liked them. My wife and I ended up buying Specialized Tricross Comps which appear to have a sort of road/touring geometry, with wider tires. We figured they would be good overall bikes for the mix of roads and MUPs that we frequent and they seem to be. We both like them a lot. Nevertheless, I often wonder whether I should buy a road bike and give that a try. I can afford it but I have a frugal, live below your means personality (which is why I was able to retire at 56 ) and keep coming back to the assumption that it would not be enough different than the cyclocross bike to be worth buying.

So, my question to those of you who are way up the N+ chart: are road bikes enough different than cyclocross that it would be worth trying one? If so, what to start with? I lean toward "comfort" geometry but I don't really have a basis for choosing that style. I want to be comfortable, but who doesn't? Would I have to buy three different geometries to figure out what will be comfortable for me?
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Old 10-03-11, 07:28 AM
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You have a very nice bike.. Enjoy it.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:10 AM
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I agree with 10 wheels. A 'cross bike is an excellent compromise - fast enough to keep up, clearances for tyres that will allow you to go off-road, capable of taking a rack for light touring if you want to try that.

If you put 23mm or 25mm slick tyres on it, you'd be a long way towards a road bike "feel". If you decided to spring for a lighter wheelset to put on the bike when you're just riding on paved roads, that would make the gap still smaller. Personally I think I'd do those things rather than buy a whole new bike.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:38 AM
  #4  
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Will a road bike be different than your Tricross? Yes. A little faster. A little lighter. A little more responsive.
Will it make enough difference to be worth it to you? Nobody knows but you...and you won't really know unless you do it.
My guess is that if you do decide to get a road bike, you will be glad that you did.
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Old 10-03-11, 08:43 AM
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Me like road bike.
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Old 10-03-11, 10:33 AM
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"Need" is the verb you've invited comments on.

"Need" - nope, I'm afraid. If it was a question of need, you'd be choosing a Flying Pigeon to haul carcasses to market or a trishaw to win fares.

However, a good buddy is an excellent guitarist. He "needs" all of the slightly different instruments to feel the slight differences they can make to what is the most important thing in his life
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Old 10-03-11, 10:48 AM
  #7  
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A road bike would be a better instrument on nice paved roads. But your present ride works fine. I know the sentiment. I ride an elderly litespeed. I figure that I can nurse a few more years out of it. My wife rides a pricey trek carbon fiber with Dura Ace which she got for a really nice price. She LOVES the bike. She wants me to upgrade but I as hanging onto my trusty litespeed.
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Old 10-03-11, 11:05 AM
  #8  
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Not much difference between a cyclocross and a road bike--Depending on quality so in My opinion you already have a road bike. BUT as you know -all the first bike is there for is to tell you what your second bike is going to be.

The type of riding you do now-Is it suitable for the bike you have? Is the gearing right for a road ride in your area?- Is it comfortable on a 40 mile ride? Is it the right size and does it fit you?

These were questions I asked a year after buying my basic OCR3. It was the wrong size- I wanted (Not needed) more gears- I did need the gearing to be better for my area- and back ache was getting severe after 30 miles.

Got a new bike and kept the OCR as a foul weather bike. Sold it this year to a new rider that is going to have the same decisions to make as I did with it.
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Old 10-03-11, 11:33 AM
  #9  
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I think you have the perfect road bike already. If you want it a little more "roadie" get some lighter wheels with 700x23 race tires (nah). If you already have slick-ish 32s, I think it's the perfect combo of road bike and touring bike.
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Old 10-03-11, 11:36 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
The type of riding you do now-Is it suitable for the bike you have? Is the gearing right for a road ride in your area?-
It certainly fits the mix or riding we do and I would not get rid of it if I got a new bike. The gearing is good. We both got triples since we were new to riding when we bought these. We actually replaced the original small ring with a slightly smaller one to add uphill range. At this point we could probably swap back.

Is it comfortable on a 40 mile ride? Is it the right size and does it fit you?
Now there is the rub. I can't tell. After buying the bikes we had them professionally fitted. My wife is convinced that hers is perfect. She won't touch anything. But me -- I don't know. It seems fine for a 40 mile ride although I occasionally ride upright with no hands to loosen up and my butt gets sore. The thing is, I can hop on a bigger bike for 5 or 10 miles and that feels fine, hop on a slightly smaller bike for a short ride and that feels fine. Same problem I had with skis. I can't just get on a new one and make a coherent judgement. So, it seems that if I want to try something different if I will simply have to go with others' reviews and see if something slightly lighter and more responsive feels better over time. If I do decide to buy an N+1 this time I will have a professional evaluation of sizing before I shop.
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Old 10-03-11, 11:41 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by dbg View Post
I think you have the perfect road bike already. If you want it a little more "roadie" get some lighter wheels with 700x23 race tires (nah). If you already have slick-ish 32s, I think it's the perfect combo of road bike and touring bike.
You are echoing my wife's opinion. I do have the slickish 32s and it does ride fine. I suspect I am just getting an e-viral N+1 infection from reading BF50+.
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Old 10-03-11, 11:42 AM
  #12  
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It occurs to me that even my purely road race bikes eventually start shifting toward touring setups like your cross bike. I usually evolve toward the largest tires that will fit. I'm even considering building some wheels on a wider rim to see if I can squeeze 700x28 on a carbon fiber racing bike. I don't race anyway. And I'm also thinking about trying out some randonneuring handlebars. So even my Trek 5900 Superlight is shifting toward a Randonneur setup.
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Old 10-03-11, 12:09 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post

So, my question to those of you who are way up the N+ chart: are road bikes enough different than cyclocross that it would be worth trying one? If so, what to start with? I lean toward "comfort" geometry but I don't really have a basis for choosing that style. I want to be comfortable, but who doesn't? Would I have to buy three different geometries to figure out what will be comfortable for me?
I went from this;



To this;



...and knocked 30 minutes off my 75 mile solo fitness ride time using the same wheelset & drivetrain on each bike. An important detail, the road bike now has aero bars that work great to add speed and are both comfortable & stable on the flat local roads here.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-03-11 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 10-03-11, 12:12 PM
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That OCR that I started with--Not a bad bike but it did lack in one area and that was the wheels. The OM wheels let it down and I bought a pair of Hanbdbuilt ones and what an improvement. Nothing fancy in 36 spokes (For long life and durability) Mavic CXP33 rims that were a proven rim and 105 hubs to keep the cost and weight down a bit. They transformed the bike and that was probably why I put up with the other faults the bike had. It rode better- and faster and in fact I have just sold the OCR to a neighbour with the original OM wheels. For the ride this weekend with the new owner- I put the handbuilts on for him. He may only have been riding for 3 months or so but he felt the difference.

Cheapest way to improve a bike is to put better wheels on it. They are better built and lighter than the originals---Unless your bike cost in excess of $2,000 and has a quality wheel fitted as standard.
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Old 10-03-11, 12:19 PM
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You do not need a road bike.

Do you want one? Have you done nice long test rides? Do you still want one? What would it add to your present life? Would spending the money leave obligations unmet?
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Old 10-03-11, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
Not much difference between a cyclocross and a road bike--Depending on quality so in My opinion you already have a road bike.
This....

Besides larger tires and a different style of brakes, you already have a road bike. Changing tires to 23's or 25's with different wheels will reduce weight and decrease rolling resistance some, but you may not like the end result, especially if you're already feeling seat discomfort after 40 miles. A road bike won't help with comfort, only a properly setup bike with frame material and geometry that helps dampen vibration.

When I was looking at new bikes, there is a very obvious difference between frame materials and how this relates to comfort. Aluminum is less forgiving (stiff) and rides harsh, vibrations from rough roads are easily transmitted to the rider. Carbon, steel and I'm told titanium all absorb or transmit less vibration to the rider and makes the ride more comfortable. So if you're thinking about new, try riding road bikes with different frame materials.

I have a couple friends that both have (older) aluminum road bikes and if the ride involves some distance, they choose to ride titanium and steel bikes since these bikes feel and ride more comfortable versus aluminum.

As for me.....After test riding aluminum, carbon and steel road bikes, I quickly ruled out aluminum for the harsher ride and carbon, because I was new and possibly prone to crashing, and choose steel for durability and ride comfort. Currently, I just replaced the 700x25's tires after these wore out for 28's and dropped the air pressure, and so far, I'm enjoying the ride even on chip seal roads.
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Old 10-03-11, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post

Great bike!!! Can I have this one??

Who makes this bike? Is this from BD?
What is the biggest difference between the bikes? How did carbon make you faster?
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Old 10-03-11, 01:38 PM
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The bike is a Pedal Force CG2.

The aero bars (not pictured) alone are worth 1 to 2 mph. How much of a gain depends on a number of factors, including fit, aerodynamics...

The road bike is slightly lighter, but 2-3 lbs will not make anyone faster on a flat route.

The Carbon fiber frame transmits power from the pedal to the rear hub with better efficiency than the steel framed Cyclocross (CX) bike. The steel CX bike is not a race bike and is tuned more for comfort. The steel CX bike is very good at moderate effort, but loses some ability to perform well as the power output of the rider is increased. The Carbon framed road bike continues to apply power to the rear wheel with excellent efficiency at higher levels of effort.

The combination of the aero bars and the stiffer frame have a synergistic affect, better aerodynamics and power transfer really aid acceleration and cruising above 20 mph. The carbon fiber road bikes will pick up speed as power is increased in an almost linier response. The recreational steel bike becomes less efficient at these speeds and will waste higher power levels.

Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-04-11 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 10-03-11, 01:56 PM
  #19  
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Just get a second wheelset with better wheels and narrower tires. Then when you want to do a pure road ride you can put the lighter new wheelset on. If you want to do trails and whatever, it's a quick swap to put on your current set that's a bit more beefier. Presto, you're able to do both and you've got a new feel for your bike satisfying your N+1 need. Should be cheaper than getting a new bike if you like the setup of your current one well enough. Some clip on aerobars might help with a new position, or they might not get used, but they're something else to consider without getting a whole new bike.
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Old 10-03-11, 02:22 PM
  #20  
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donheff
I have a Tricross and a Roubaix. I really like both bikes but they are for different purposes. The Tricross is a backup to the Roubaix, for bad weather (I put on fenders during the rainy season) and for gravel roads. The Tricross can also be used for loaded touring. It's a very versatile bike The Roubaix is for fast club rides and long distances. I would not want to ride the Tricross for a 60-70 mile ride. It's heavy (compared to the Roubaix) and not as smooth.

If I could only have one bike it would be the Roubaix but most of my riding is fast club rides of 40-70 miles. Do you need a road bike? Maybe, maybe not but if you do decide on a road bike keep the Tricross it's a great all around bike.
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