Advice picking up a flat-bar road bike, and on tektro r559s

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by How did I get here?, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. How did I get here?

    How did I get here? New Member

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    I'm new to the forum, this is my first post. Apologies in advance if I'm posting in the wrong place.

    I'm considering picking up a flat-bar road bike that I'd mostly use for city riding and fitness rides, and have the option to get back into touring. I've gotten out of shape, but I rode cross country when I was 19, and it's in my blood.

    I'm leaning towards a project in which I'd get a Motobecane Cafe Java flat bar road bike and swap out parts with parts (mostly Shimano 105) harvested from a bike with a cracked carbon frame with a triple crankset that's available in my area. A possible drawback of this that the only option I have in terms of brakes on the Java are stock Tektro R559's. It could be a complete misconception. but it's my understanding that they're considered below average by today's standards.

    Another option would be getting a Motobecane Noir, also a steel frame with mostly Shimano Deore parts and what look like decent entry level hydraulic disc brakes. The thinking on that is I could always upgrade parts on it down the road should I get more serious about cycling. The Noir has much lower gearing, so that's another advantage on that side of the ledger.

    I've only used hydraulic discs on test rides, and for many years was just fine with brakes nowhere nearly as powerful. I'm wondering if I'm overthinking the Tektro R559s, which equipped with Kool Stop pads may be more than adequate for my needs.

    The costs of the two options, with help from my local shop with assembly are roughly the same. If you or a friend were between two steel frame flat-bar road bikes, one with mostly Shimano 105 parts but with Tektro R559 brakes, the other with lower level parts but with Shimano hydraulic brakes and better gearing, which would you pick?
     
    #1 How did I get here?, Dec 3, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    The R559s aren’t ”bad”, I’ve got them on an old Bianchi. A considerable improvement from the original Saccon.
    But they’re long-reach brakes.
    Now, for a given lever, the longer reach brake you pair it with, the less pinch force you get for a set effort at the lever.
    So if you’re comparing a short reach brake, one for a ”true” road bike(no fenders, 25-maybe 28 mm tires) with a long reach brake, the LR, for a similar quality, will always perform poorer.
    The thing to remember is that something being true doesn’t guarantee that it’s important. And I don’t think you’ll ever see ”killed by LR brakes” in an obituary or Coroner’s report.
    Unless you have limited hand strength, LR brakes are likely to be perfectly fine for you.
    A bike with Shimano Deore will not be a FB road bike, it’ll be a hybrid.
    Nothing wrong with that. It can make a great do-it-all kind of bike.
    If you really want to take up touring, look for things like lowrider mounts, how many water bottles it can carry etc.
    But probably the disc brake bike would make a better basis for a touring bike.
     
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  3. How did I get here?

    How did I get here? New Member

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    Thanks for through and thoughtful response dabac.

    I think the better road bike overall would be Cafe Java with mostly 105 and Ultegra parts with the 559s. Their performance can probably improved with Kool Stop pads. I don't plan on doing long tours. The main use of the bike would be fitness/transportation. I'd love to do a 5-day San Francisco to L.A. ride one of these days when I get back into shape but that's not the main purpose.

    I had an older touring bike that had Deore equipment. It was a Trek 520 with a Reynolds 531 frame from the 1980s. I get that today's Deore equipment is geared for mountain biking, but wouldn't it work for touring too? The other bike I was looking at (the Cafe Noir) frame has eyelets for front and rear racks, and very low gearing (50/39/30 triple front and a 10-speed 11-36 cassette in the back). Aside from the Cafe Noir being a lot heavier, any other reason it wouldn't be suitable for touring?
     
  4. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    I’m on a slow connection, so I ”can’t” look up your listed bikes in detail. The MTB/road definition is more of a suggestion than a rule. Sometimes helpful in short-listing which parts are compatible, but otherwise not something you need to let rule your choices.
    What I like to do is to use a gear calculator set to show mph@100 rpm cadence when comparing bikes/drivetrains. For my commuter I know that I spend maybe one minute out of the hour outside 8-25 mph. Above, I’ll simply coast. Below, I’ll either walk the bike or grunt it out for a few seconds.
    My road bike needs to go a bit higher for me to be able to hang with the crowd during a power descent. My MTB needs to go a bit lower.
    There’s a TINY advantage in using bigger chainrings and bigger sprockets WRT wear rate. Might be useful if you need to break a stalemate, but otherwise not important.
     
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