Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

What is it like having a road bike?

Notices
Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

What is it like having a road bike?

Old 03-28-20, 12:47 PM
  #26  
Amt0571
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Catalonia
Posts: 356

Bikes: Canyon Grand Canyon AL SL 8.0, Btwin Ultra 520 AF GF, Dahon Mu P27, Triban Road 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 133 Post(s)
Liked 54 Times in 34 Posts
Originally Posted by noodle soup View Post
+1

this is why gravel bikes are becoming so popular.
No way a gravel bike is faster than a MTB on the trails in my area. Gravel bikes need a relatively smooth surface to work well without being a torture.

It depends on where you live though.
Amt0571 is offline  
Old 03-28-20, 12:49 PM
  #27  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 16,052

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2257 Post(s)
Liked 354 Times in 261 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
It's like having an F-35 Lightning II under your carport, instead of a Kia. Don't get one unless you're ready.
Yeah! it's like having a license to fly. Only thing is, if you don't keep making the installment payments, your license is taken away.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Likes For Carbonfiberboy:
Old 03-28-20, 01:15 PM
  #28  
noodle soup
Senior Member
 
noodle soup's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 7,751
Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3924 Post(s)
Liked 946 Times in 546 Posts
Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
No way a gravel bike is faster than a MTB on the trails in my area. Gravel bikes need a relatively smooth surface to work well without being a torture.

It depends on where you live though.
I’m talking about riding unpaved roads, where anything more than a fully rigid 29er is overkill.
noodle soup is offline  
Old 03-28-20, 05:07 PM
  #29  
UmneyDurak
RacingBear
 
UmneyDurak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: NorCal
Posts: 8,987
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 243 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 15 Posts
It's like dating an Italian super model with all the plus and minuses that come with that.
UmneyDurak is offline  
Likes For UmneyDurak:
Old 03-28-20, 05:55 PM
  #30  
Kimmo 
bike whisperer
 
Kimmo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Melbourne, Oz
Posts: 8,565

Bikes: https://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=152015&p=1404231

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 779 Post(s)
Liked 178 Times in 142 Posts
Further to Maelochs 's long and detailed post about the biomechanics of road bikes, the bars offer a huge variety of hand positions, allowing you to fine tune your position according to varying conditions and avoid the fatigue and discomfort of maintaining a single position.

And, huge point, the bars are only as wide as your shoulders, so you're far less likely to clip them on a rearview mirror or something, and you have an instant intuitive grasp of whether you can make a gap.

All of which, in my view, implies that a road bike is pure bicycle, and everything else is a specialised distortion of that. Pure bike is pure joy.

Originally Posted by chainwhip View Post
Hill climbing, after a bit of a learning curve, becomes a fun challenge, and the downhill speeds exceed the comfort bike, and most likely the MTB speeds.
On the right sort of road, dudes with sufficient cajones on road bikes can outrun motorbikes.

Tell me that ain't badass AF.
Kimmo is offline  
Old 03-28-20, 07:26 PM
  #31  
seedsbelize 
smelling the roses
 
seedsbelize's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Tixkokob, Yucatán, México
Posts: 13,129

Bikes: 72 Schwinn World Voyageur, 78 Schwinn World(upright town bike), 79 Trek 930, 80 Trek 414, 84 Schwinn Letour Luxe (coupled), 88 Centurion Ironman Expert,92 Schwinn Paramount PDG 5

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5761 Post(s)
Liked 303 Times in 220 Posts
Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
It's like having an F-35 Lightning II under your carport, instead of a Kia. Don't get one unless you're ready.
This. Exactly
__________________
one general tip for when the exact hub cone is not readily available. discovered that the curvature of the bearing surface on the shimano 600 was a pretty good "skeleton key" for many applications. it would sometimes require a small change in ball size to make everything come out correctly.
seedsbelize is offline  
Likes For seedsbelize:
Old 03-28-20, 07:28 PM
  #32  
seedsbelize 
smelling the roses
 
seedsbelize's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Tixkokob, Yucatán, México
Posts: 13,129

Bikes: 72 Schwinn World Voyageur, 78 Schwinn World(upright town bike), 79 Trek 930, 80 Trek 414, 84 Schwinn Letour Luxe (coupled), 88 Centurion Ironman Expert,92 Schwinn Paramount PDG 5

Mentioned: 102 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5761 Post(s)
Liked 303 Times in 220 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Fun. It's fun.
This too.
__________________
one general tip for when the exact hub cone is not readily available. discovered that the curvature of the bearing surface on the shimano 600 was a pretty good "skeleton key" for many applications. it would sometimes require a small change in ball size to make everything come out correctly.
seedsbelize is offline  
Likes For seedsbelize:
Old 03-28-20, 08:08 PM
  #33  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 20,909
Mentioned: 63 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11395 Post(s)
Liked 2,593 Times in 1,505 Posts
Like bags of sand.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Likes For Seattle Forrest:
Old 03-28-20, 09:23 PM
  #34  
chainwhip
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 476
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 174 Post(s)
Liked 71 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Like bags of sand.
And so castles made of sand,
Fall in the sea eventually.
chainwhip is offline  
Likes For chainwhip:
Old 03-28-20, 09:43 PM
  #35  
jim dandy
Senior Member
 
jim dandy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Carrollton, Tx
Posts: 299

Bikes: N+6

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 92 Post(s)
Liked 118 Times in 52 Posts
PRO - Fast
CON - Everyone else is faster
JD
jim dandy is offline  
Likes For jim dandy:
Old 03-28-20, 11:36 PM
  #36  
woodcraft
Senior Member
 
woodcraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 4,944
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1337 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 336 Times in 206 Posts
Hands are greasy from cleaning chains, lots of time spent weighing little parts on a gram scale.
woodcraft is offline  
Old 03-28-20, 11:46 PM
  #37  
wgscott
Occam's Rotor
 
wgscott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 5,663
Mentioned: 61 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2366 Post(s)
Liked 930 Times in 468 Posts
Wax.
wgscott is offline  
Old 03-29-20, 02:45 AM
  #38  
guadzilla
Pointy Helmet Tribe
 
guadzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Offthebackistan
Posts: 3,814

Bikes: Venge, R5, Shiv, Lynskey and a few more

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 200 Post(s)
Liked 224 Times in 105 Posts
Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
You can go fast
Feck. I think my bike is broken.
guadzilla is offline  
Likes For guadzilla:
Old 03-29-20, 12:33 PM
  #39  
Sojodave
Senior Member
 
Sojodave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 461

Bikes: Fezzari Fore CR3 Di2

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 158 Post(s)
Liked 54 Times in 28 Posts
What's it like owning a road bike. You're always wondering how much faster you could have ridden if you would have just saved 20 grams.
Sojodave is offline  
Likes For Sojodave:
Old 03-29-20, 12:59 PM
  #40  
ChrisAlbertson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Southern California
Posts: 151

Bikes: 70's frame, newer parts

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 83 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 32 Times in 23 Posts
Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
What do you like and dislike about owning a road bike? Does road biking cause discomfort in your back? Never been on a road bike and am considering trying one. My only bikes have been mountain bikes and a comfort bike.
Bikes of all types work best when they are matched to the kind of path you are riding on. I have an MTB but I live in the city and there is a road at the end of my driveway so with a road bike I can start and end my rides from my driveway. The MTB, on the other hand, has to first go inside the car then a drive to the place where there are dirt trails. I could have been riding my road bike all that time I wasted in the car going to and from the trailhead. So there is a huge advantage to owning a road bike because you can just start from where you live.

Road bikes are very fast on the road. I have what I call a "city bike" that I ride to the store or short trips and the difference is very noticeable. I would never want to ride that city bike (flat bar and pedals and 26x2 tires) on a 50-mile ride. I'd never finish. Get a road bike for riding dozens of miles on a road then turning around and riding back home.

Make certain the bike FITS. The MTB or city bikes don't have to fit well because the rides are very short before you change position or stand up. But on a road bike, it is common to ride an hour without moving any bit of your upper body. The bike has to fit and it is worth it to get some expert to help you fit it. Also, you must use the bike shoes with cleats although the MTB style SPD cleats work "well enough".

Last edited by ChrisAlbertson; 03-29-20 at 01:22 PM.
ChrisAlbertson is offline  
Old 03-29-20, 03:52 PM
  #41  
JayKay3000
Senior Member
 
JayKay3000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 37 Times in 29 Posts
I dislike those moments when I see myself in the mirror and realize I look like a condom.

I like that 100km later my butt is thanking me for wearing padded shorts.
JayKay3000 is offline  
Old 03-30-20, 08:11 AM
  #42  
joesch
Senior Member
 
joesch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Hotel CA / DFW
Posts: 602

Bikes: 83 Colnago Super, 87 50th Daccordi, 87 Guerciotti, 90s Colnago Master and Titanio, 96 Serotta Colorado TG, 95/05 Colnago C40/C50, 08 Lemond Filmore, 12 Cervelo R3

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 188 Post(s)
Liked 58 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by Kimmo View Post
Further to Maelochs 's long and detailed post about the biomechanics of road bikes, the bars offer a huge variety of hand positions, allowing you to fine tune your position according to varying conditions and avoid the fatigue and discomfort of maintaining a single position.

And, huge point, the bars are only as wide as your shoulders, so you're far less likely to clip them on a rearview mirror or something, and you have an instant intuitive grasp of whether you can make a gap.

All of which, in my view, implies that a road bike is pure bicycle, and everything else is a specialised distortion of that. Pure bike is pure joy.



On the right sort of road, dudes with sufficient cajones on road bikes can outrun motorbikes.

Tell me that ain't badass AF.
Agree bada$$ as terminal velocity == 130 kph
joesch is offline  
Old 03-30-20, 08:48 AM
  #43  
MoAlpha
• —
 
MoAlpha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Land of Pleasant Living
Posts: 5,230

Bikes: Shmikes

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3436 Post(s)
Liked 988 Times in 568 Posts
Originally Posted by JayKay3000 View Post
I dislike those moments when I see myself in the mirror and realize I look like a condom.
More aero than a diaphragm.
MoAlpha is offline  
Likes For MoAlpha:
Old 03-30-20, 09:19 AM
  #44  
Rides4Beer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: SC
Posts: 965

Bikes: Defy | Revolt

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 505 Post(s)
Liked 392 Times in 217 Posts
I like going fast, and doing long rides, a properly fitted road bike is def the ticket.


Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
No way a gravel bike is faster than a MTB on the trails in my area. Gravel bikes need a relatively smooth surface to work well without being a torture.

It depends on where you live though.
Def depends on the terrain. I don't see any of my mtb friends here doing 50-100 mile rides, much less any ride with avg speeds over 15mph, so if we're talking speed, I'd have to give the nod to my gravel bike. That's what drew me to gravel, I can still go fast, but get out in nature and away from traffic.
Rides4Beer is offline  
Old 03-30-20, 09:37 AM
  #45  
Cypress 
Globo Gym lifetime member
 
Cypress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Salem, Oregon
Posts: 5,180

Bikes: Fast ones

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 403 Post(s)
Liked 583 Times in 296 Posts
It's like owning a **********. It's super fun and a great way to get in tune with your inner monologue, but it's (probably?) not something you tell your coworkers about.
__________________
Originally Posted by botto
incorrect.
Cypress is offline  
Old 03-30-20, 10:00 AM
  #46  
SethAZ 
Senior Member
 
SethAZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,351

Bikes: 2018 Lynskey R260, 2005 Diamondback 29er, 2003 Trek 2300

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 550 Post(s)
Liked 271 Times in 160 Posts
I've got a friend I used to MTB with until he moved away. He was mostly a MTBer with a little road, and I was mostly a roadie with some MTB. He had much better skills than I did on the MTB, and he would beat me on descents and technical parts, but on less technical parts and the climbs and whatnot I'd blow him away. On one 15-mile MTB route nearby my Strava PR was like a half hour faster than his. I'd say even if you prefer MTBing, getting a road bike and laying down some serious high-output mileage will do more for your endurance than just about anything I could think of. And that endurance will in turn pay dividends during your MTBing.

I'm not sure I can really answer "what's it like to own a road bike?" For laying down miles on the road it can't be beaten. If you're not into road riding then it's just an expensive toy taking up space in the garage. If you like road riding, though, having a nice road bike is a real joy. I've currently got the road bike of my dreams, though it wouldn't be the road bike of everyone's dreams, and I love it every time I take it out. It's not the Ferrari of road bikes, but I'm at the age where I'd rather have the Cadillac of road bikes anyway, and that would be a good descriptor for my bike. Owning it is cool, though the novelty wears off. Riding it just reminds me how fortunate I am to have it.

Anyhow, owning a road bike is great if you are interested in road cycling, and even if your primary interest is mountain biking, adding road cycling and doing a lot of it can really improve your mountain biking with improved endurance and strength that is much harder to come by purely mountain biking. Not saying MTBers aren't strong or don't have endurance, but if you're doing 150+ miles/week at a good pace on a road bike it's going to be tough matching the benefits on a MTB in the hills.
SethAZ is offline  
Old 03-30-20, 12:46 PM
  #47  
RiceAWay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Posts: 216
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 155 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 31 Posts
Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
What do you like and dislike about owning a road bike? Does road biking cause discomfort in your back? Never been on a road bike and am considering trying one. My only bikes have been mountain bikes and a comfort bike.
Initially we used road bikes on and off road. I am still not daunted by taking hilly trails with a 23 mm street tires though it is too uncomfortable for me now at my age. The MTB's were invented. They were nothing more than a street bike with a longer wheelbase that used fat 26" tires. Everything built from there. I have some top flight full suspension bikes but was entirely unimpressed with them since they are so damned much heavier than a cyclocross bike that in anything but the roughest terrain I can drop full suspension bikes. Well, I could. Now I've had a concussion and no longer have any balance, I can't be sure of hitting the trail through narrow passages I've slowly given up off-road other than gravel.

But road is where it's at. Yes, at fist you get pains everywhere but that eventually goes away. The proper saddle makes a lot of difference since road saddles ae a lot different than MTB saddles. For many years I was putting in 10,000 miles per year and that took a lot of my time but a friend Dan'imal put in 20,000 a year until he could no longer stand the stress of traffic and feeling like at any minute he was going to be run over. I've never had that feeling except in particularly dangerous areas and after I learn where they're at I avoid them.

Doing 40 or 50 mph downhill or climbing a 10% to 12% hill for a mile or more is really great (after it's over) and you get a much better connection with the land. You see the farms (much of which are now gone). I visited a friend in Phoenix and saw flat land where they thought that a 5% climb was a dangerous hill. Although this has been a typical winter and there hasn't been a lot of riding I have over 800 miles and over 33,000 feet of climbing so far. All of the early season Centuries have been canceled so I have plenty of time to train for those later in the season.

Road riding is definitely where it's at and if I feel like a slow ride far away from traffic there's plenty of gravel trails. I have two cyclocross bikes and one of them is great on gravel.
RiceAWay is offline  
Old 03-30-20, 05:20 PM
  #48  
Kabuki12
Senior Member
 
Kabuki12's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Ventura County ,California
Posts: 899

Bikes: 1973 Windsor Profesional,1976 Kabuki diamond formula with full Campy, 1977 Raleigh Competition GS , 1971 Stella original Campy equip. 1978 Raleigh Super Grand Prix, 1972 Italvega Gran Rally ,1972 Super Mondia Special,Medici Pro Strada

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 199 Post(s)
Liked 213 Times in 148 Posts
I have been riding ten speeds since the early seventies so I don’t have anything to compare it to. I had a mountain bike in 1990 and it was ok but found myself back on my road bike more often than not. I am 65 and still ride with the drop bars with no back issues. Get fitted correctly by a reputable bike shop with the type of road bike that suits your type of riding. Don’t spend too much on your first one, your desires are most likely going to change after about a year.
Kabuki12 is offline  
Old 03-30-20, 06:18 PM
  #49  
HTupolev
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,260
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1468 Post(s)
Liked 324 Times in 188 Posts
Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
Initially we used road bikes on and off road. I am still not daunted by taking hilly trails with a 23 mm street tires
On smooth dirt, sure. But bikes designed with rougher surfaces in mind have always left room for wider tires.

Prior to the mid-80s, it was very common for road bikes to fit much wider than 23mm rubber. All 3 of my vintage steel road bikes will happily fit at least 32s with adequate room; one would probably be okay with 38s.
The fat-tired 650b French "randonneur" bikes from the early-mid 20th century were allroad/gravel bikes by today's standards, built to manage rough mountainous double-track roads and such.

The MTB's were invented. They were nothing more than a street bike with a longer wheelbase that used fat 26" tires.
Early mountain bikes weren't based on road bikes, they were based on the Marin klunkers, which were basically modified beach cruisers. It wasn't just the longer chainstays: the steering geometry was wildly different, with a very slack head angle producing high trail. They also used slack seat tube angles like beach cruisers, and swept-back non-drop handlebars, with the intention of being set up with a fairly reclined posture.

I have an '84 Stumpjumper that's fit like a road bike, and I occasionally use it as one...





...but due to the differences in the steering geometry, it handles dramatically different from road bikes, even from road bikes with long chainstays and fat tires (like some touring builds).

The proper saddle makes a lot of difference since road saddles ae a lot different than MTB saddles.
The proper saddle does make a lot of difference versus having a saddle that doesn't fit, but I'm not sure I'd say that road saddles are much different from MTB saddles. There's a ton of design overlap, and it's not unheard of for an "MTB" saddle to work great on someone's road bike or vise versa.
HTupolev is online now  
Old 03-31-20, 08:04 AM
  #50  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,322
Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 787 Post(s)
Liked 181 Times in 146 Posts
What is it like having a road bike?
Originally Posted by morgothaod View Post
What do you like and dislike about owning a road bike? Does road biking cause discomfort in your back?

Never been on a road bike and am considering trying one. My only bikes have been mountain bikes and a comfort bike.
As an extension of your question, I have posted about riding an expensive (i.e carbon fiber) bike vs a more ordinary but fine steel bike (a Bridgestone RB1), that emphasizes the advantages of a road bike in general.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
"Why Expensive Commuter bikes?"

…My average speed stayed the same, but I think I was hampered by injuries from the accident [including a fractured sacrum], and I believe the new bike compensated at least to maintain my average speed. I did note that I was more inclined to sprint (successfully) to beat traffic lights before they turned red.

I further craved the smoothness of the ride, including the shifting,making cycle-commuting more pleasurable. Of greatest benefit, while long (greater than 40 mile) rides took the same amount of time as before, I felt much less tired at the end.
Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
… Performance in this context does not mean outright speed because that is down to the person riding it and their strength and endurance.

But rather is in the quality of the shifting, braking, ride, handling through corners and over rough surfaces, aerodynamics and (dare I say it) comfort.
Jim from Boston is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.