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Adult new to cycling - When should I get my first road bike?

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Adult new to cycling - When should I get my first road bike?

Old 10-07-16, 03:02 PM
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Adult new to cycling - When should I get my first road bike?

Hello guys,

I learnt how to ride a bike only 2 years ago, in my early 30s (weird I know ....)

I have since done about 6,500 miles on a Specialized hybrid. I do 2 or 3 30-50 mile rides per week, combining flat and climbs.

I am quite fit, slim but not lean (5'9 / 160 pounds). Used to run or go to the gym regularly before I took up cycling. Nowadays I just bike. This might explain why I don't see any particular improvement recently in my speed or endurance.

I expect that a road bike combined with core or conditioning exercises will help me improve. However, I see some obstacles:

1. I still cannot ride standing. If I do, I generally end up stalling. I always wonder how people on roadbikes can so seamlessly ride standing.

2. I cannot ride no-handed and bike handling is not great (but I am comfortable riding one-handed).
Probably even casual riders who rode a bike as kids will always be more comfortable.

3. I haven't used clipless pedals.

I wonder then if I am really ready for a road bike. Given that I am an adult newbie, will the 'learning curve' be much steeper?

Finally, what kind of road bike should I look at - carbon or aluminium?

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions.
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Old 10-07-16, 03:19 PM
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6500 on a hybrid with no clipless pedals... you're so ready.

If you can afford, treat yourself to a good bike. I'd suggest a Trek Emonda ALR5 $1700 (aluminum) with Shimano 105. If you can afford $2500 get a Emonda SL5 (carbon).
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Old 10-07-16, 03:20 PM
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It sounds like you caught the bug and will get a lot of joy out of a nice road bike.
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Old 10-07-16, 05:59 PM
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Hmmm... standing is up to the rider. The only way I can ride little kid bikes is standing. But, I have a habit of standing periodically on any bike I ride. Not necessary with the right gears, but it is comfortable. Also at stop lights, or starting on hills.

I don't ride without hands by choice. Had a crash as a teenager, and decided it wasn't worth it.

As oldnslow2 mentioned, you've been cranking out a lot of miles.

The choice, however, is yours. Ride what is comfortable and motivates you to get out on the road.
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Old 10-07-16, 06:25 PM
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You don't need to do any of the things you mentioned to ride a road bike. Plus, your asking if you should get a road bike on a rode cycling forum. The answer is obviously going to be YES!
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Old 10-07-16, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rekon
Plus, your asking if you should get a road bike on a rode cycling forum. The answer is obviously going to be YES!
Good point.

Perhaps ask the same question in a BMX or Motorcycle forum.
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Old 10-07-16, 06:37 PM
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I had my hybrid for two months before I bought my road bike, and then 12 months later converted that hybrid to another drop bar. I'm surprised you waited this long. Go for it!!
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Old 10-07-16, 07:34 PM
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There is no learning curve to speak of for the road bike. With your experience, a couple of rides.

You don't have to use clipless unless you really want to, so there's no need to worry about that.

Standing up or riding no-handed, there are times when you'll want to but neither is really a required skill. I'm sure that you're definitely ready for a road bike, and it just makes sense if you're riding on the road and like to go fast, why not ride a bike that's designed for it? Carbon fiber or aluminum, or even steel - all I can tell you is that an aluminum bike won't really hold you back, and on the other hand there's no reason to shy away from the carbon fiber if that's what you want and you have the cash.
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Old 10-07-16, 10:05 PM
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Go to a lot of shops and test-ride a lot, and when you know basically what you want try to find a place which does bike rental and ride your normal route a couple times.
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Old 10-08-16, 05:48 AM
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6500 miles is no joke. Treat yourself.

I prefer the comfort of a drop bar road bike for riding distances. I'm sure I can't be the only one.

Test ride a number of bikes and see what you like.
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Old 10-08-16, 08:55 AM
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I never understand this obsession with riding with no hands
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Old 10-08-16, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13
I never understand this obsession with riding with no hands
Looks awkward if you just raise one celebratory arm in the air when you beat your friends on the final sprint into the parking lot.
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Old 10-08-16, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by rms13
I never understand this obsession with riding with no hands
It's fun and cool.
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Old 10-08-16, 09:53 AM
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Thank you all for your replies and unanimous encouragements.

I will start my search then. I will soon get clipless pedals just to get the feel of them in advance.

I've racked up the miles as I've been quite methodical trying to learn proper braking technique, cornerning, riding in rain or snow, riding at night or forest trails etc.

I realise though that the hybrid does hold me back considerably due to its geometry, weight, limited hand position etc. I do intend to keep it though and put fatter tires esp. for forest rides.

One more thing: the chainset on my Crosstrail is 44/32 with 11-36 cassette. What should I look at for the road bike?
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Old 10-08-16, 10:38 AM
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Unless you've got some really hilly terrain, you'd could probably do with a compact 50-34 and a 12-28 cassette. What front/rear combination of gears do you use most often on your rides?
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Old 10-08-16, 11:03 AM
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Definitely shop around and test ride more than just around the parking lot. You will likely find more than one model/brand that you like. Factor in the bike shop and how they treat you during your hunt. Don't suffer from "paralysis by analysis". Whatever your budget, there will be many quality choices. Shop wisely and whatever you end up buying dont regret it or wonder what if, just ride and enjoy your new bike.
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Old 10-08-16, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by keoke
One more thing: the chainset on my Crosstrail is 44/32 with 11-36 cassette. What should I look at for the road bike?
EDIT: Mcours2006 above said all this in far fewer words .... you might want to save a few minutes and skip this post ...

Depends on the terrain you plan to ride. Most of my bikes are 52/42 which is higher than I need but I live in Flatahoma where a driveway is a "hill." My current favorite is 50/34 which I really like ... and when i hit the occasional gentle incline, I really like. Most bikes now seem to offer 52/39 or 50/34 ... more hills, lower gearsd.

In back ... few people Need a 52x11, so an 11-xx cassette is probably overkill (unless you like going really fast downhill ... and even then over about 36 mph you would be faster tucking and not pedaling.) I'd say 12-28 should offer most non-competitive riders a wide enough range with enough close ratios in the middle that you would almost always be able to find a comfortable cadence ... assuming 9-, 10-, or 11-speed cassette.

If you are a really strong climber and don't do a lot of mountains 12-25 might work.

Cassettes are relatively cheap and easy to change ($25-435, plus a couple tools which should be under $20 and can be used forever.)

My question would be, what do you use on your current bike? Are you climbing in the smallest ring and the largest cog? Are you spinning out the top end a lot? Figure a road bike would be more efficient which might mean that your 44/32 would translate to a 50/34 and your 11-36 would be an 11-25 for the same performance/output. if you usually use the lower gears a lot, look for an 11-28 or 12-28. if you spend most of your time in the big ring and the smallest cogs ....
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Old 10-08-16, 12:06 PM
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Old 10-08-16, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs
Go to a lot of shops and test-ride a lot, and when you know basically what you want try to find a place which does bike rental and ride your normal route a couple times.
Yup. Try some out. Then get a road bike only if you want a road bike, not because you think you're supposed to get one.
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Old 10-08-16, 05:49 PM
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I think you should not only get a road bike now, you should get a race bike. You don't have to spend a lot - a Giant TCR can be had for less than $1,500 - maybe less than $1k on closeout.

They aren't any more difficult to ride, they just feel a little bit different, and some of those little differences can be really exciting. If you are truly methodical, you can be methodical about your training, and learn to go really, really fast - something enjoyable for a much longer period than you'll ever ride hands-free. If you want to make riding a bike something you work on, why not work on accomplishing something significant, or something you can at least brag about?
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Old 10-08-16, 06:16 PM
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Why would you ride something that's not a road bike? Grocery run? Road bike! Beach cruising? Road bike! Single track? Road bike! Not serious. But seriously.
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Old 10-08-16, 06:40 PM
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A "normal" road bike isn't difficult to ride, you may find it more responsive than your hybrid at first, but in a few rides you'll be used to it.
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Old 10-08-16, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006
Unless you've got some really hilly terrain, you'd could probably do with a compact 50-34 and a 12-28 cassette. What front/rear combination of gears do you use most often on your rides?
Originally Posted by Maelochs
My question would be, what do you use on your current bike? Are you climbing in the smallest ring and the largest cog? Are you spinning out the top end a lot? Figure a road bike would be more efficient which might mean that your 44/32 would translate to a 50/34 and your 11-36 would be an 11-25 for the same performance/output. if you usually use the lower gears a lot, look for an 11-28 or 12-28. if you spend most of your time in the big ring and the smallest cogs ....

I would say more than 80% of time climbing I'm in the big ring (44) with the cassette in the 19-28 range. I live in Luxembourg which is mostly hilly.
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Old 10-08-16, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by keoke
I would say more than 80% of time climbing I'm in the big ring (44) with the cassette in the 19-28 range. I live in Luxembourg which is mostly hilly.
The gearing you need is also dependent on how good of a climber you are. There are mountain goats who climb the steepest stuff in a 39x25 low gear, and there are fat old guys like me who need a 34x29.
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Old 10-09-16, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by keoke
Hello guys,

I learnt how to ride a bike only 2 years ago, in my early 30s (weird I know ....)

I have since done about 6,500 miles on a Specialized hybrid. I do 2 or 3 30-50 mile rides per week, combining flat and climbs.

I am quite fit, slim but not lean (5'9 / 160 pounds). Used to run or go to the gym regularly before I took up cycling. Nowadays I just bike. This might explain why I don't see any particular improvement recently in my speed or endurance.

I expect that a road bike combined with core or conditioning exercises will help me improve. However, I see some obstacles:

1. I still cannot ride standing. If I do, I generally end up stalling. I always wonder how people on roadbikes can so seamlessly ride standing.

2. I cannot ride no-handed and bike handling is not great (but I am comfortable riding one-handed).
Probably even casual riders who rode a bike as kids will always be more comfortable.

3. I haven't used clipless pedals.

I wonder then if I am really ready for a road bike. Given that I am an adult newbie, will the 'learning curve' be much steeper?

Finally, what kind of road bike should I look at - carbon or aluminium?

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions.
1. You don't have to stand.

2. You don't have to ride no hands.

3. You don't have to use clipless pedals.

4. Steel.
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