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new guy needs some info and friendly advice

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new guy needs some info and friendly advice

Old 07-22-08, 01:36 AM
  #1  
ebrake
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new guy needs some info and friendly advice

Hi all

I am currently riding a POS mtn bike for commuting and exercise. It is rideable but needs quite a few repairs, and don't want to dump any more money in it considering it is just a crappy Wal-mart bike bought almost 6 years ago. I have never ridden a road bike before and I have a few questions/concerns that you all might be able to help me with.

Those skinny tires on road bikes kind of make me uneasy seeing as there is less rubber on the road than a big fat mtn bike tire. How stable are they when pulling an emergency swerve at speed, or leaned over in a turn? How are they going to react in a rear lock-up skid/drift situation as opposed to a mtn bike? (I know the back brake is basically useless on pavement and locking it up and drifting it is bad for the tires, but what can I say, it's fun sometimes.) With no front suspension and little cushion from the tires, am I going to be able to hop up and down curbs, which I tend to do a lot of, without damaging the rims?

I see a lot of single speed/fixed gears tooling around, I by no means want a fixie, but what are the advantages of a SS over a geared road bike? Will I be able to attain a higher top speed on a SS as opposed to a geared bike?

I assume the steering geometry is different on a road bike than it is on a mtn bike. How does this affect maneuverability? Could the maneuverability and steering response be enhanced with a set of mtn bike handle bars as opposed to those curved/drop bars. What exactly is the point or advantage of having those curved bars?


Thanks for reading and any insight or advice would be much appreciated
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Old 07-22-08, 10:13 AM
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Garfield Cat
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If you haven't ridden a road bike before, then go and test ride one. That will answer a lot of your questions. There's a world of difference between the two.

Your questions really are a comparision type: mountain versus road.
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Old 07-22-08, 07:33 PM
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You can also get much much fatter tires to fit on any road bike. I use the widest ones I can find because Im a big fat load and the roads are pretty rough around here and I hate flats (I think the wider tires are better able to handle rough roads) Maneuverability ...... as far as road bikes go they come in all different configurations , for example my Fuji is extremely quick and squirrelly because the rake is so steep, it was designed for racing and to be nimble in a pack of riders. My Bianchi is a cyclocross/touring so its very stable. Still quick to steer and maneuver but it feels docile. The curved bars are called drop bars and I believe they're mainly for multiple riding positions on top sitting upright for cruising, down low and ducked for speed, etc its nice to be able to move your hands around when your riding for a while, kinda helps if you get numb after a few miles. They make bikes called hybrids you know, they're like toned down mtn bikes more for road riding, more rugged and abusable than road bikes, but how hard do you plan on being? How often do you lock up the rear and do a sideways skid anyhow? Thats bmx stuff! You might not know this but 80% of your braking power is in your front btw. Take a look at one of the tour de france stages, that might give you an idea of what's possible on a road bike.
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Old 07-22-08, 07:51 PM
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There is a number of different bikes on the road. You are thinking of racy bikes.
But there are sport bikes. Unlike race oriented bikes, they can take a good sized tire. My Sport has a 32c.

Then there are touring bikes, and hybrids, a lot of guys like cyclocross bikes. And
a lot of cyclocross bikes aren't really intended for cross racing, they're road bikes that will take a big tire.

In fact, given what you've said, a cyclocross bike is something you should try.

SS and fixies are style statements. A geared bike will be faster and more versatile.

As to bars, drop bars are a little better than Mtn bars. But I add Off the Front Grip Shapes and gel tape to make them more comfortable. I also use inline brake
levers. The bars give you more places to put your hands.

What you need to do is go to some bike shops and test ride some bikes.
When you are doing a test ride, hit a pothole. That will tell you about the ride quality. Find a hill, get up off the saddle and accelerate. That will tell you if there is flex down in the bottom bracket. A little is not a big deal. but more than a little
is very bad. I bought my bike because it put a smile on my face.
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Old 07-22-08, 07:52 PM
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A lot of your questions can be answered with an "it depends." Really it does. I was skeptical of the skinny tires on my new road bike, only ever having ridden on 26x1.375" tires for my "skinny tires" experience. The new bike has 700x25 slicks. The only time I've ever felt traction was an issue was in the rain, on a wooden underpass on the bike path. As far as the suspension issue goes, I've never ridden a bike with a "real" suspension. The MTB has a flexible stem, but aside from that there isn't much, so I can't really comment on that, though I wouldn't be uncomfortable jumping curbs so long as my tires were up to pressure. Granted, this also depends on the wheel set you have, but I've jumped off curbs (haven't gotten the rhythm down to jump UP curbs) without problem before - just have to get out of the saddle lest it force itself into my hind quarters and its fine.

Curved drop bars give you more hand positions which is very nice, especially on longer rides. I don't race, but I can tell you that its perfectly fine from a maneuverability standpoint. I don't feel as though this is any better or worse than my mountain bike, its just a little different.

Seriously, go try one out, but at the same time, don't immediately write it off. If you are used to the MTB it will take some getting used to. And you may find you don't like it even over time, some people prefer the MTB geometry.
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Old 07-22-08, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
If you haven't ridden a road bike before, then go and test ride one. That will answer a lot of your questions. There's a world of difference between the two.
I would add this to the above statement:

If you're used to a mountain bike, a road bike will feel strange and uncomfortable at first. A test ride might turn you off of a road bike, but just be aware that you will get used to it quickly if you ride it regularly. My personal opinion is that road bikes are best for roads, and I wouldn't want to ride a mountain bike on my regular commute. But some people like mountain bikes even on relatively flat roads, and that's fine too.

With a road bike though you will get much less rolling resistance. And a more rigid frame will absorb less of the energy you put out, and translates into more efficient riding if the surfaces are relatively smooth.
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Old 07-22-08, 10:00 PM
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Thanks for the info everyone, very informative and helpful! I actually test rode a road bike today, a Single Speed 2007 Specialized Langster. Kind of awkward at first but after a few minutes it felt real comfortable, and smooth as butter, totally loved it, even the drop bars and the skinny slick tires inspired confidence. In fact after I was done I was not looking as forward to saddling up the mtn bike for the ride home as I usually am. I will absolutely be going to go the ss road bike route, really like the reliability, smoothness and workout aspects that it offers. Be damned the style statement, I dress too plain to ever attempt at making a style statement anyways. Now I am set on figuring out how to scrape the money together for this expensive ass bike (I may soon have a nice wooden Penguin with a trailer for sale, located by the Chesapeake, if there are any east coast sailors on this forum.) In fact I am really surprised at the prices they are trying to get for new bikes now a days! I saw some bikes at the shop going for a two grand or more! ****, if I was going to spend that much on two wheels I expect it to have a motor and do highway speeds! I wonder if a used bike off craigslist would be a more economical? I just really don't want to end up with a used bike that needs money dumped in to it to get it running smoothly, seeing as I practically have one of those in my current bike already.
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