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Road Bike Upgrade Advice Requested

Old 05-16-22, 04:19 PM
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lmk5
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Road Bike Upgrade Advice Requested

Over the past year, I've been riding my 1987 Schwinn World Sport about 3-4 times per week over a 10-mile paved trail at an average of about 15MPH. I'd like to upgrade to a more modern road bike (and hopefully faster). I've been looking at Trek Domane, Trek Emonda, and others online, but I'd like some advice on what would be a smooth transition from the Schwinn. For instance, should I be sticking to endurance bikes rather than performance bikes? I'm 61 years old and my budget is up to $2500. Any guidance would be appreciated.
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Old 05-16-22, 04:36 PM
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Endurance today tends to mean the bike has geometry for a more relaxed and not as aero position. If you don't like being very aero, then don't get a race fit bike. However a race fit bike for those that don't have issues with the position will keep you more aero and leave you with more energy to use at the end of a long ride.

Nothing wrong with either. Just depends on you. If you are fit and have been very active all your life, you might like a race fit. But it's something you need try before you buy for 10 miles or more. Got a friend with one your size you can try if the shop doesn't let you do test rides?

The Emonda is more like my bike, slightly aggressive fit. The Domain will be closer to your old Schwinn for your riding position. Both are good bikes. If you are unsure after fretting about everything then just get a lower tier model of either with a 9 or 10 speed rear. Then you'll hopefully be able to figure out what you do and don't like and what you want in your next bike.

Last edited by Iride01; 05-16-22 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 05-16-22, 05:20 PM
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Do you feel like you have reached your physical limit on that bike, lmk5 ?
Have you located the exact causes of your dissatisfaction with that bike ?
Is it the size ? The weight ? The mechanics ? Or maybe it's the image ?
Answering some of these questions might help you with that decision. Who knows, you might even find out that you maybe don't need a new bike. Maybe upgrading some components, changing the saddle, or investing some time in fitting your bike will give you more satisfaction (and speed) from your rides.
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Old 05-16-22, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Endurance today tends to mean the bike has geometry for a more relaxed and not as aero position. If you don't like being very aero, then don't get a race fit bike. However a race fit bike for those that don't have issues with the position will keep you more aero and leave you with more energy to use at the end of a long ride.

Nothing wrong with either. Just depends on you. If you are fit and have been very active all your life, you might like a race fit. But it's something you need try before you buy for 10 miles or more. Got a friend with one your size you can try if the shop doesn't let you do test rides?

The Emonda is more like my bike, slightly aggressive fit. The Domain will be closer to your old Schwinn for your riding position. Both are good bikes. If you are unsure after fretting about everything then just get a lower tier model of either with a 9 or 10 speed rear. Then you'll hopefully be able to figure out what you do and don't like and what you want in your next bike.
Thanks for the input. I do like the riding position of the Schwinn, and in fact I very rarely use the drops. I know that I will drop some weight with a new bike (the Schwinn is 27 lbs.), and the ergonomics will be better as I now have stem-mounted shifters. The new bike should also be more aero, so I'm wondering how much faster would a Domane be than the Schwinn? Is there a way to guess how much speed would be gained above the 15MPH I've been averaging?
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Old 05-16-22, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by holytrousers View Post
Do you feel like you have reached your physical limit on that bike, lmk5 ?
Have you located the exact causes of your dissatisfaction with that bike ?
Is it the size ? The weight ? The mechanics ? Or maybe it's the image ?
Answering some of these questions might help you with that decision. Who knows, you might even find out that you maybe don't need a new bike. Maybe upgrading some components, changing the saddle, or investing some time in fitting your bike will give you more satisfaction (and speed) from your rides.
Great questions. Honestly, when I'm out riding and someone my age passes me up I'm always wondering if my bike, being older, is making a difference. It's ego LOL! I don't feel like I've reached my physical limit on the bike as my speed has been very slowly improving. The size and comfort of the bike is fine, but I wouldn't mind gaining something in the following areas:
1) Speed
2) Easier/faster shifting
3) Better absorption of road imperfections

Although I enjoy riding the bike, gaining some of those attributes would make it worth the purchase.

Last edited by lmk5; 05-16-22 at 05:37 PM.
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Old 05-16-22, 07:23 PM
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You get faster when you start but in my experience that plateaus fairly soon. After that if you want to get faster you have to really work at it. Which is hard to do alone. Riding with faster riders is easier than trying to ride faster riding solo.

A new bike will definitely make shifting easier. Might make for a smoother ride, but tires might make more difference in that regard.

Speed is mostly a function of the rider. Better fit and lighter weight can make a bit of difference, but unless you're moving up from a beach cruiser a new bike isn't likely to get you more than 1 mph.
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Old 05-16-22, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jon c. View Post
You get faster when you start but in my experience that plateaus fairly soon. After that if you want to get faster you have to really work at it. Which is hard to do alone. Riding with faster riders is easier than trying to ride faster riding solo.

A new bike will definitely make shifting easier. Might make for a smoother ride, but tires might make more difference in that regard.

Speed is mostly a function of the rider. Better fit and lighter weight can make a bit of difference, but unless you're moving up from a beach cruiser a new bike isn't likely to get you more than 1 mph.
I agree that you plateau fairly quickly. When I started one year ago I averaged about 13.5mph, now Iím at 15mph over the same route. Honestly, if I knew that Iíd get an extra 1mph with a new bike Iíd gladly do it.
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Old 05-16-22, 10:23 PM
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I would think that old steel World Sport would soak up the bumps fairly well. Not sure of the current tire size on the bike, but larger tires work well on bumpy surfaces.

Iím guessing that you will get a little improvement just from better hubs and lighter weight, especially if the current hubs are pitted.

You might get a little gain from better gearing with closer gaps or lower ratios if you have climbing on your routes.

I agree that speed increases with a new bike may not be earth shattering. If you are able to ride in the drops, you might pick up 1/2mph with no more effort.

That said it is probably never a bad decision to upgrade from a lower level heavy 35 year old bike if you are looking for more performance.

John
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Old 05-16-22, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I would think that old steel World Sport would soak up the bumps fairly well. Not sure of the current tire size on the bike, but larger tires work well on bumpy surfaces.

Iím guessing that you will get a little improvement just from better hubs and lighter weight, especially if the current hubs are pitted.

You might get a little gain from better gearing with closer gaps or lower ratios if you have climbing on your routes.

I agree that speed increases with a new bike may not be earth shattering. If you are able to ride in the drops, you might pick up 1/2mph with no more effort.

That said it is probably never a bad decision to upgrade from a lower level heavy 35 year old bike if you are looking for more performance.

John
Thanks John. The bike does ride well. Iím riding on 27x1.25 tires (about 32mm), but theyíre nothing special. Sometimes I do ride in the drops but I donít find it very comfortable. I probably just need to get used to it. Not sure about the hubs. Is there an easy way to check their condition?
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Old 05-16-22, 11:25 PM
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I wasn’t suggesting that you try and overhaul your bike. Just making an observation that whatever you get will probably be better than those wheels, more so if they have issues.

John
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Old 05-16-22, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
I wasnít suggesting that you try and overhaul your bike. Just making an observation that whatever you get will probably be better than those wheels, more so if they have issues.

John
Understood.
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Old 05-17-22, 03:29 AM
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Most of the time, for most people, an "upgraded" bike is not going to make that big of a difference in one's average speed. By all means, if you want a new bike, buy one, but, try to keep your expectations realistic. Getting the proper fit is most important. One caveat to the speed, if you think you are going to be faster, you likely will be, but probably not as much as hoped.
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Old 05-17-22, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Most of the time, for most people, an "upgraded" bike is not going to make that big of a difference in one's average speed. By all means, if you want a new bike, buy one, but, try to keep your expectations realistic. Getting the proper fit is most important. One caveat to the speed, if you think you are going to be faster, you likely will be, but probably not as much as hoped.
You're probably right. There are things I can do now to get faster that I should be doing:
1) Installing clipless pedals
2) Getting better tires
3) Using the drops more often
4) Wearing tighter fitting clothing
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Old 05-17-22, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by lmk5 View Post
The new bike should also be more aero, so I'm wondering how much faster would a Domane be than the Schwinn? Is there a way to guess how much speed would be gained above the 15MPH I've been averaging?
Weight won't do much for speed. It holds you back from accelerating as fast as you will on a lighter bike. And more weight will make you expend more energy going up hills. The mechanical aspect of how bicycles work though is so efficient at converting leg power to motion over the road that for fairly level roads you won't really be any faster as long as you can ride without stops from which you have to accelerate or climb hills.

12 or so years ago in my early 50's, I still had a 46 lb Schwinn Varsity that I was riding more and more for fitness. Switching to a 23 pound vintage Raleigh netted me all of 1 - 1Ĺ mph over a 22 mile ride through constantly rolling terrain. And it left me with much more energy to finish longer rides.

2 years ago I got a sub 18 lb bike and off the bat showed maybe Ĺ - 1 mph better average. However I do remember several times that I'd get to wondering on my ride where all those hills were that use to give me trouble climbing. And I had more energy left to use at the end of my rides instead of just gasping to make it to the end.

Weight, IMO is more about saving you energy to climb hills and to ride farther or finish that last sprint to the line faster. Not so much over all speed. That's all on you the motor.

As for aero, even the benefit there, IMO, is more small gains that add up over longer distances to save you energy. Not so much that you'll see a big change in average mph.
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Old 05-17-22, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Weight won't do much for speed. It holds you back from accelerating as fast as you will on a lighter bike. And more weight will make you expend more energy going up hills. The mechanical aspect of how bicycles work though is so efficient at converting leg power to motion over the road that for fairly level roads you won't really be any faster as long as you can ride without stops from which you have to accelerate or climb hills.

12 or so years ago in my early 50's, I still had a 46 lb Schwinn Varsity that I was riding more and more for fitness. Switching to a 23 pound vintage Raleigh netted me all of 1 - 1Ĺ mph over a 22 mile ride through constantly rolling terrain. And it left me with much more energy to finish longer rides.

2 years ago I got a sub 18 lb bike and off the bat showed maybe Ĺ - 1 mph better average. However I do remember several times that I'd get to wondering on my ride where all those hills were that use to give me trouble climbing. And I had more energy left to use at the end of my rides instead of just gasping to make it to the end.

Weight, IMO is more about saving you energy to climb hills and to ride farther or finish that last sprint to the line faster. Not so much over all speed. That's all on you the motor.

As for aero, even the benefit there, IMO, is more small gains that add up over longer distances to save you energy. Not so much that you'll see a big change in average mph.
That's amazing that you dropped 23 lbs. on bike weight and only got a 1-1.5MPH bump. I'm curious as to whether that surprised you. For me, even a 0.5MPH bump would allow me to stay ahead of some of these riders in my age group who are passing me up! That would be worth the upgrade to me.
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Old 05-17-22, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lmk5 View Post
That's amazing that you dropped 23 lbs. on bike weight and only got a 1-1.5MPH bump. I'm curious as to whether that surprised you. For me, even a 0.5MPH bump would allow me to stay ahead of some of these riders in my age group who are passing me up! That would be worth the upgrade to me.
Not too surprised. We all will wince when our data shows us the truth.

Remember it's the average speed for the entire ride. Most of my ride is not climbing or accelerating. Now if you want to talk max speed I hit in a short sprint or the time it took me to climb a particular hill, then those were more impressive numbers. But the time and distance of the rest of the ride will diminish greatly those impressive numbers to just a paltry increment.
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Old 05-17-22, 12:54 PM
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I've been riding a Specialized Roubaix for a few years, it has 'endurance' geometry. It is comfortable for me, and I enjoy riding it. I'm 65.
My advice is to do some test rides! Go to a few bike shops, ask to ride the bike you want. Talk to them about different bikes. Then decide on the shop you want to deal with.
Then TEST RIDE. It won't take long for you to decide if you like the way a bike rides once you ride it.
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Old 05-17-22, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by leob1 View Post
I've been riding a Specialized Roubaix for a few years, it has 'endurance' geometry. It is comfortable for me, and I enjoy riding it. I'm 65.
My advice is to do some test rides! Go to a few bike shops, ask to ride the bike you want. Talk to them about different bikes. Then decide on the shop you want to deal with.
Then TEST RIDE. It won't take long for you to decide if you like the way a bike rides once you ride it.
Great advice. Do most bike shops allow test rides? Has the shortage of inventory affected their policies?
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Old 05-17-22, 01:52 PM
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Bike fit should be the first option. Then work from there. Over the years my riding position has changed a lot. So just try bikes out and the one that fits you is best. The brand I dont believe makes a big difference at that price and the component selection is what to look for. Even used are hard to come by now and everyone wants top dollar.
Good luck
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Old 05-17-22, 10:40 PM
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So far you've been discussing objectivity. The joy you will derive from riding a newer, precision machine, cannot be explained. You will rediscover cycling.
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Old 05-18-22, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Outrider1 View Post
So far you've been discussing objectivity. The joy you will derive from riding a newer, precision machine, cannot be explained. You will rediscover cycling.
That's where I was going to go with my response.

OP at 61 years of age wanting a new bike, I say you deserve it. I tend to think an endurance geometry bike is the way to go. I also don't think that brand matters much at all. You might get a little nicer rims or other spec on a lesser known brand than one of the big names, but overall, you'll get bikes that are very similar, and very good, at that price point.

Post pics when you get it.
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Old 05-18-22, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by lmk5 View Post
You're probably right. There are things I can do now to get faster that I should be doing:
1) Installing clipless pedals
2) Getting better tires
3) Using the drops more often
4) Wearing tighter fitting clothing
Details, details, GET A DOMANE!!!
(I'm only saying that 'cause I want one)
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Old 05-18-22, 05:52 AM
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I too recommend the Spec. Roubaix for the riding you describe.
I'd recommend SPD style pedals and shoes...you can walk in them while getting a bit more pedaling efficiency.
Tight clothes won't make you faster but you may look funnier in them if you're not slim.
Riding in the drops at 12mph or a bit faster does not improve aerodynamics so why bother.
You may also want to look at a gravel bike perhaps with flat bars. You riding description really points towards a bike of this type. You can ride on a variety of road surfaces, you are more upright, the ride can be more comfortable...you will only get faster if you ride harder to get stronger physically and aerobically. The bike provides minimal increases in performance...it's all about the body and mind at your stage of ability.
Good luck and keep us informed.
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Old 05-18-22, 07:19 AM
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A comparison of old and new regarding speed, comfort, etc

Synopsis, you probably won't go a whole lot faster on a new bike, but you'll probably enjoy the ride more.
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Old 05-18-22, 08:22 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Kai Winters View Post
Riding in the drops at 12mph or a bit faster does not improve aerodynamics so why bother.
Personally, I havenít found this to be true. While there are diminishing returns, I ride an uphill stretch at around this speed and on those days when Iím not feeling it, or want to pick up the pace, going to the drops gives an immediate boost in speed, or ease in peddling; depending on what is needed.

Throw in a headwind and it is even more obvious.

John
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