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Greenway riding - bike choice

Old 02-25-18, 05:41 PM
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Greenway riding - bike choice

Hello. I'm 50, 6'4" and 230 and looking for some thoughts on paved greenway riding. Last year I bought a Giant FastRoad and although it's a terrific bike, I find myself envious of people with what looks like more comfortable bikes for 20+ mile rides.

So now I am looking at hybrids and comfort bikes. Maybe it's a tradeoff but I would love to know what people find comfortable and fast enough - so I welcome your comments and/or suggestions.

My concern is that I won't be able to ride as fast. I was averaging about 13-14 mph on my FastRoad for 90 minute rides. On my mountain bike I get about 12mph. I test rode the Specialized Roll and it was nice, but wow was I slow uphill.

Thanks very much for your comments!
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Old 02-25-18, 07:53 PM
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What kind of bikes are these people who look more comfortable? Are they road bikes with drop bars?

Your Giant is plenty fast. You aerobic conditioning is what you have to work on to go faster/farther.

If you are riding with groups you can always ask if you can join with your current bike. Aerodynamic drag will slow you down a bit with the upright riding position, but you can mitigate this by bending your elbows, and using the bar ends. This is similar to the position you'd assume on a road bike riding on the hoods anyway.

If you're still not convinced, then get a road bike. You can find some with more relaxed geometry. The drop bar will give you the option to ride the drops to minimize drag, if you have the flexibility and core strength to sustain that position for a long period of time.
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Old 02-25-18, 09:04 PM
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Sorry I should have been more clear. Iím looking for a more comfortable ride and a bike where I can sit more upright. Iím just too bent over on the Giant and that wears on me after 15-20 miles.

So Iím thinking comfort bike or hybrid but Iím concerned I wonít be able to go as fast. Maybe thatís just something Iíll have to deal with. A friend has a Giant Roam and that looks decent. His is a small so I havenít tested XL on that.

Iíll look at some types you suggested, as well. Thanks.




Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
What kind of bikes are these people who look more comfortable? Are they road bikes with drop bars?

Your Giant is plenty fast. You aerobic conditioning is what you have to work on to go faster/farther.

If you are riding with groups you can always ask if you can join with your current bike. Aerodynamic drag will slow you down a bit with the upright riding position, but you can mitigate this by bending your elbows, and using the bar ends. This is similar to the position you'd assume on a road bike riding on the hoods anyway.

If you're still not convinced, then get a road bike. You can find some with more relaxed geometry. The drop bar will give you the option to ride the drops to minimize drag, if you have the flexibility and core strength to sustain that position for a long period of time.
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Old 02-25-18, 09:39 PM
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Hybrids with handlebars above saddle height are comfortable and reasonably fast on flats, but don't make efficient use of the hip adductor muscles. So you'll find yourself slower on hills, or leaning forward to get the adductor muscles working.

Drop bar road bikes with the bar below saddle height are more aerodynamic and make better use of the adductors, but are more physically demanding. I usually experience some neck pain after about 30 miles on my road bike. The fit is fine, but an old C2 neck injury will always limit me on any road bike with aggressive riding position.

The compromise I see in many drop bar bikes locally with middle aged and older folks (I'm 60) is a drop bar with less reach, at saddle height, with the brake/shifter hoods slightly above saddle height. They still have a more aero position available, but a more upright and comfortable position on the tops or hoods for most riding situations.

On a hybrid, a handlebar swap can help a lot. I swap between a flat bar and riser bar with slight back sweep on my hybrid. Just depends on how my neck is feeling. After trying both for more than a year I'm leaning toward a bar with some back sweep but no rise, like an arc bar or albatross type without any rise.
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Old 02-25-18, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Bucs79 View Post
Hello. I'm 50, 6'4" and 230 and looking for some thoughts on paved greenway riding. Last year I bought a Giant FastRoad and although it's a terrific bike, I find myself envious of people with what looks like more comfortable bikes for 20+ mile rides.

So now I am looking at hybrids and comfort bikes. Maybe it's a tradeoff but I would love to know what people find comfortable and fast enough - so I welcome your comments and/or suggestions.

My concern is that I won't be able to ride as fast. I was averaging about 13-14 mph on my FastRoad for 90 minute rides. On my mountain bike I get about 12mph. I test rode the Specialized Roll and it was nice, but wow was I slow uphill.

Thanks very much for your comments!
If you want to be more upright, you might be able to acheive that with a different stem on the bike you have.
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Old 02-26-18, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bucs79 View Post
Sorry I should have been more clear. Iím looking for a more comfortable ride and a bike where I can sit more upright. Iím just too bent over on the Giant and that wears on me after 15-20 miles.
Are your handlebars level with your saddle? If not, raise them so that they are.

If you're finding the bicycle uncomfortable after only 20 miles, you might just need to ensure that the bicycle is set up to fit you properly.
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Old 02-26-18, 01:09 AM
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For me, the perfect compromise was a CX bike. I got a Cannondale CAADX, and it has been my main ride for the past four years. The key for me was the shorter top tube - it allowed for more upright posture while still being a decently lightweight and aggressive bike. The 35mm tires works well and are comfortable. I’m pretty old, so a comfortable bike is important to me. Check the CX bikes out - they might work well for you.
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Old 02-26-18, 07:09 AM
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You can get a stem which rise upwards to sit more upright on you Fastroad. Possibly you can add some spacers under them stem as well. You could also tries some bars with rise and sweep, a Canklecat suggests.

Sweep (I hope I am using the word correctly) is really important. As I understand it, this is the angle of the bar from straight, as in the the ends of the bar bend back towards the seat a from the center mounting point some. A straight bar can force the arms and hands into an awkward position which strains the muscles (and can numb the hands.)

The more upright you sit, the slower you go pretty much---you turn your body into a sail which pushes you backwards. Also you might get less leverage on climbs. But at the speed yo travel air resistance isn't going to be a huge factor, unless you hit a strong headwind.

The pain yo mentioned after a certain amount of time on the bike I would put down to fitness, technique, and possibly set-up. When I start to get tired I sit on the seat more, and lean on my hands more, and my lower back, neck, and shoulders really hurt after a while.

I need to do more core exercises .... but as I reach my maximum comfortable range my legs get tired, and cannot support as much weight, so automatically everything else is going to get overworked.

If your body right now is getting tired after 15 miles, then it will start to hut. Ride more (or just keep riding) and you should adapt. Try a new stem or bars, and see how that goes.

Bike fit is the most important aspect of comfort and pain relief, and the hardest to examine on a text-based forum or to examine remotely. I will assume the bike is set up to fit you but can be tweaked just a little. Otherwise ... whole new thread and 12 pages of controversy.
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Old 02-26-18, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Bucs79 View Post
Sorry I should have been more clear. Iím looking for a more comfortable ride and a bike where I can sit more upright. Iím just too bent over on the Giant and that wears on me after 15-20 miles.

So Iím thinking comfort bike or hybrid but Iím concerned I wonít be able to go as fast. Maybe thatís just something Iíll have to deal with. A friend has a Giant Roam and that looks decent. His is a small so I havenít tested XL on that.

Iíll look at some types you suggested, as well. Thanks.
I think you are looking to trade one problem for another (perhaps worse) problem. You aren't saying what is making your uncomfortable but sitting more upright may not be the solution to most any fit problem. Sitting more upright makes you work harder since you expose much more surface area. Most "upright" bikes are also heavier. The Giant Roam, for example, is going to be significantly heavier because it has mostly useless suspension fork that has a significant amount of steel parts.

But the biggest issue with upright bikes in my opinion is that they put more pressure on your delicate bits. They encourage you to sit on the saddle rather than float over the saddle like you are supposed to. Impacts are also translated up the spinal column which leads to more discomfort.

There are some things you can do to the Fast Road to make it a little more comfortable, however. It has a flat bar. Swapping the bar out for a riser bar will allow you to ride a little more upright without sitting straight up. Changing the stem for one with a bit higher rise (not too much) will also help. Going to a shorter stem may also help.
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Old 02-26-18, 09:36 AM
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Get some North Road, or Townie, or Mustache bars.
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Old 02-26-18, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Bucs79 View Post
I would love to know what people find comfortable and fast enough
A question that only you can answer: "fast enough for whom?" You will always be able to find riders who are faster than you. What is your goal?
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Old 02-26-18, 01:18 PM
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Slower bike will make your stronger and faster.

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Old 02-26-18, 01:46 PM
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Your Fastroad is set up to be pretty aggressive, as far as hybrids go. In fact, It's essentially a road bike with flat bars. So it's no wonder it's not comfortable for someone like you--older, maybe just getting back into fitness, maybe slight overweight, maybe a bit inflexible. Sorry, lots of assumptions based on your OP. Like others have suggested, you might be able to swap out the stem and handlebar for something that will allow you to ride more upright. Either that or just HTFU, build endurance and core strength with more time on the saddle.
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Old 02-26-18, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Bucs79 View Post
Sorry I should have been more clear. Iím looking for a more comfortable ride and a bike where I can sit more upright. Iím just too bent over on the Giant and that wears on me after 15-20 miles.

So Iím thinking comfort bike or hybrid but Iím concerned I wonít be able to go as fast. Maybe thatís just something Iíll have to deal with. A friend has a Giant Roam and that looks decent. His is a small so I havenít tested XL on that.

Iíll look at some types you suggested, as well. Thanks.
If your current bike fits you badly, you might be able to fix that with either a new bike or a professional bike fitting (which would likely involved replacing the stem to make you more upright).

If you go to a bike with a more upright standing tall design, those can be more comfortable, but they are definitely slower. I do personally enjoy being able to easily ride while seeing all around me without effort, but there's no doubt it's a slower design. It has something to do with what muscles your body can use in your legs and hips meaning you put out less power.
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Old 02-26-18, 03:16 PM
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Your Fastroad is a hybrid, just a fitness and you are asking about a comfort hybrid. I have owned both (Trek Verve and FX), and would consider a comfort hybrid comfortable for about 10-20miles, while I was good on the fitness for around 40 miles. My back and butt started to hurt on the comfort hybrid much sooner than the fitness.

I'd 2nd other suggestions about looking for higher stem and/or different handlebars.
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Old 02-26-18, 03:32 PM
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i am 6ft 1in and 218lbs and i was out looking for an upright bike to go with my road bike and gave a serious look at Giant's Anyroad line. I liked what I saw. If you're looking for a more upright position but with some road bike qualities, you may want to give it a look I think it would be a good fit on greenways and rail trails. The only drawback I saw was that they are a bit on the heavy side.
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Old 02-26-18, 04:52 PM
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6'4" and 230 ? there is a lot of You that will have wind resistance working against you and more so the faster you try to go..
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Old 02-26-18, 09:23 PM
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I got seats with steel spring s on all my upright riders. When you ride upright you’re putting more force on your back and, you need some cushion from road shocks .
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Old 02-26-18, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Get some North Road, or Townie, or Mustache bars.
Plus one. My current ride. Rockhopper Comp, North Road bars, Ergo grips wrapped in cloth tape. Pretty darn comfy. You may lose a little speed in a head wind, but you'll be surprised how low you can get riding on the forward part of the bars. Less difference then you'd think.I've got an old C6 fracture that's much happier riding this way. No going back for me. Thank you, Grant Peterson...........
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Old 02-27-18, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by gorillimo View Post
Plus one. My current ride. Rockhopper Comp, North Road bars, Ergo grips wrapped in cloth tape. Pretty darn comfy. You may lose a little speed in a head wind, but you'll be surprised how low you can get riding on the forward part of the bars. Less difference then you'd think.I've got an old C6 fracture that's much happier riding this way. No going back for me. Thank you, Grant Peterson...........
Exactly.

I ride for fun and exercise. I don't time my rides and only barely keep track of mileage. While I do enjoy going fast, I don't really care about the actual MPH numbers. Comfort takes priority for me.

I have grips for sitting lazily upright, but wrap the entire remainder of my bar for extra hand positions. The 'Hooks' in front of the grips are good for standing starts or out of the saddle climbing. When I hit a hill or headwind I can put my hands down by the stem. As you can see that is as low as the 'Tops' of drop bars. The cruising position is 5 inches higher with about 8 inches of pull back. It's kinda like having two bikes.




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Old 02-27-18, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Dude, thatís hot.
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Old 02-27-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Dude, thatís hot.
Thank you for the compliment. Lotsa people give me crap for wrapping upright bars like that. They say it looks ridiculous. I don't care. Four hand positions and all day comfort.
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Old 02-27-18, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Thank you for the compliment. Lotsa people give me crap for wrapping upright bars like that. They say it looks ridiculous. I don't care. Four hand positions and all day comfort.
Yeah, well they are freaking idiots.

I did not mean just the bars, the whole package looks really good.
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Old 02-27-18, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Yeah, well they are freaking idiots.


I did not mean just the bars, the whole package looks really good.
Then you might enjoy seeing its bigger, black and blue sister.

(shamelessly post another photo of one of his bikes)


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Old 02-27-18, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidPuppet View Post
Then you might enjoy seeing its bigger, black and blue sister.

Iím sure she has a really great personality.
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