Audax bike advice please

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by AndyM, Feb 19, 2005.

  1. AndyM

    AndyM Guest

    As Spring is approaching and an Audax/Randonneur group has started
    fairly near to me (100kms), I would like some advice please. I want to
    do a 200kms course, that has a fair amount of climbing in it, would my
    mountain bike (it has narrow tyres) be suitable or would a road bike be
    better?
    I used to ride with a friend who had a road bike and my legs had to go
    round at a fair pace to keep up. A round trip of 160kms or so up into
    the mountains near Tokyo used to take us about 7-8 hours with breaks,
    is this a reasonable pace for a 200kms Audax on a slightly hillier
    course (Nikko area if anyone knows it).
    Sorry for the long windedness.

    AndyM
     
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  2. "AndyM" <[email protected]>typed


    > As Spring is approaching and an Audax/Randonneur group has started
    > fairly near to me (100kms), I would like some advice please. I want to
    > do a 200kms course, that has a fair amount of climbing in it, would my
    > mountain bike (it has narrow tyres) be suitable or would a road bike be
    > better?
    > I used to ride with a friend who had a road bike and my legs had to go
    > round at a fair pace to keep up. A round trip of 160kms or so up into
    > the mountains near Tokyo used to take us about 7-8 hours with breaks,
    > is this a reasonable pace for a 200kms Audax on a slightly hillier
    > course (Nikko area if anyone knows it).
    > Sorry for the long windedness.


    > AndyM


    Comfort and reliability are what's needed for an Audax bike, as well as
    mudguards on rides that mandate them.

    Ride on whatever you're comfortable. Attend to any minor discomfort
    before it becomes a major pain.

    Your speed will be dictated much more by strength and stamina than by machine.

    A good wide spread of gears is useful if your routes are hilly.

    Try different machines out over shorter distances and try to find out
    what's efficient and comfortable. These decisions are too variable and
    personal to be specific.

    I have done Audax type rides on:

    An Audax bike
    A light touring bike
    A Brompton
    A mountain bike (Knobbly tyres, 'dead' feeling frame, no suspension,
    combination NOT recommended)
    A hybrid bike (no mudguards but otherwise no trouble)
    A Cheltenham Pedersen

    --
    Helen D. Vecht: [email protected]
    Edgware.
     
  3. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>,
    AndyM ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > As Spring is approaching and an Audax/Randonneur group has started
    > fairly near to me (100kms), I would like some advice please. I want to
    > do a 200kms course, that has a fair amount of climbing in it, would my
    > mountain bike (it has narrow tyres) be suitable or would a road bike
    > be better?


    A road bike would be better. More hand positions means you can move your
    hands about more - one of the problems with being on the bike a long
    time is stress on the hands and wrists, and being able to move your
    hands is a good thing. Also, when battling into a headwind, being able
    to get into an aerodynamic tuck is a good thing.

    What are sold as 'audax bikes' are compromises between road bikes and
    tourers. These are great general purpose bikes for general leisure use
    but they're not the compromise I prefer. You don't actually carry much
    luggage on an audax. You don't need more than a barbag. And the lighter
    and faster the bike, the less work you have to do. So I've taken a bike
    which was designed as a time-trial bike, fitted a bar bag and a
    slightly wider range cassette (53-39 double front, 13-26 ten-speed
    rear). I've done 4 100Km+ rides on this bike in the last three months
    and it's been very comfortable. It now weighs, ready to roll, just a
    touch under 20lbs.

    This is a fairly hilly area and two of those rides will have exceeded
    1000 metres of ascent. If your area is very hilly a triple might be a
    good idea, but I don't feel I need one.

    > I used to ride with a friend who had a road bike and my legs had to go
    > round at a fair pace to keep up. A round trip of 160kms or so up into
    > the mountains near Tokyo used to take us about 7-8 hours with breaks,
    > is this a reasonable pace for a 200kms Audax on a slightly hillier
    > course (Nikko area if anyone knows it).


    I don't, but I envy you. I'd really like to see rural Japan - I've only
    seen the cities.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    ---===***<<< This space to let! >>>***===---
    Yes! You, too, can SPAM in the Famous Brooke Rotating .sig!
    ---===***<<< Only $300 per line >>>***===---
     
  4. Simon Brooke <[email protected]>typed

    > What are sold as 'audax bikes' are compromises between road bikes and
    > tourers. These are great general purpose bikes for general leisure use
    > but they're not the compromise I prefer. You don't actually carry much
    > luggage on an audax. You don't need more than a barbag.


    You might not need more on a 100km ride.

    You probably will should you undertake longer rides. 600km entails a
    night on the road and you may need extra clobber for night riding, food
    for eating between controls etc. (Tooth cleaning and fresh shorts aren't
    a great luxury either!)

    Tools and spares are also a consideration.

    --
    Helen D. Vecht: [email protected]
    Edgware.
     
  5. AndyM

    AndyM Guest

    Thank you Helen and Simon for your helpful replies!! My bike is
    reasonably comfortable but... towards the end of 100kms+ my bum/lower
    back was starting to hurt, so that proabably means a new saddle and
    some adjustments. A Brooks seems likely though which I haven't a clue,
    any thoughts?
    The Audaxes that they are doing here all are 200kms and above, I had
    therefore thought of a Carradice saddlebag or SQR thingy.
    A concern for me is gearing, not for the climbing - the current set up
    is fine for that, but, for the flat bits as going at 30+km/h gets a bit
    tiring after about 30mins, 25km/h is comfortable and is my average on
    most rides, but I do like going faster!! Mmmm....does sound like a road
    bike of some description would fit the bill!!
    Well Simon if you do get the remotest chance to come to Japan you are
    more than welcome to visit. I live about 200kms east of Tokyo in a
    fairly rural are that is somewhat like the Lake District/Lowland
    Scotland but with higher mountains (1400m+) and more trees. Skiing and
    snowboarding are 20-30mins away, a large lake (3rd largest in Japan)
    for windsurfing, sailing and fishing about an hour away and the Pacific
    about 2 hours drive. My old workplace (www.british-hills.co.jp) is also
    within 30 mins and has a pretty reasonable facscimile pub with Bass on
    draught (hand pump) and serves excellent fish and chips :)
    Cycling is quite fun too, especially as most, not all :-( motorists are
    pretty good, though they are consistently incapable of judging speed
    :-( but I'm used to that.
    All I want now is for the snow and ice to melt ... just a few more
    weeks:)!

    AndyM
     
  6. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    in message <[email protected]>,
    AndyM ('[email protected]') wrote:

    > Thank you Helen and Simon for your helpful replies!! My bike is
    > reasonably comfortable but... towards the end of 100kms+ my bum/lower
    > back was starting to hurt, so that proabably means a new saddle and
    > some adjustments. A Brooks seems likely though which I haven't a clue,
    > any thoughts?


    Depends on your bum. Personally I have long been a fan of Brooks saddles
    because I personally find the 'Professional' model fits me perfectly,
    but it depends mainly on the shape of your pelvis and people differ.
    Measure the distance between the bony knobs on the back of your pelvis,
    and find a saddle that wide.

    *However*, I've just switched from a Brooks to a Selle Italia SLR on my
    long-distance bike. It's over 500g lighter. On last weekend's 120Km
    ride it was fine _for_ _me_, and losing 8% of the total weight of the
    bike seemed worthwhile.

    > The Audaxes that they are doing here all are 200kms and above, I had
    > therefore thought of a Carradice saddlebag or SQR thingy.
    > A concern for me is gearing, not for the climbing - the current set up
    > is fine for that, but, for the flat bits as going at 30+km/h gets a
    > bit tiring after about 30mins, 25km/h is comfortable and is my average
    > on most rides, but I do like going faster!! Mmmm....does sound like a
    > road bike of some description would fit the bill!!


    My setup is good for a pedalled 65Km/h on suitable downhills, and I can
    cruise at 28Km/h on the flat in calm conditions. Having said that, in
    my experience, a long ride without a wind problem somewhere is a rare
    thing, and you always have to earn those downhills.

    --
    [email protected] (Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

    Morning had broken, and we had run out of gas for the welding torch.
     
  7. davek

    davek Guest

    AndyM wrote:
    > A Brooks seems likely though which I haven't a clue,
    > any thoughts?


    I have a B17, which suits me perfectly - it's relatively wide compared
    to some of the sleeker "racing" models. But as others will tell you,
    saddles are a very personal issue - you need to try different ones to
    see which suits you best.

    > The Audaxes that they are doing here all are 200kms and above, I had
    > therefore thought of a Carradice saddlebag or SQR thingy.


    I agree with Helen - a small-ish saddlebag or bar bag would be fine for
    up to 200km, but the longer the ride, the more you need to take with
    you. It might be worth considering fitting a rack for the extra luggage
    capacity.

    > A concern for me is gearing, not for the climbing - the current set

    up
    > is fine for that, but, for the flat bits as going at 30+km/h gets a

    bit
    > tiring after about 30mins


    What sort of cadence are you pedalling in top gear to maintain that
    speed? If it's much higher than 100rpm then I'd say yes, your gearing
    probably needs to be higher.

    But there are other factors to consider, too, such as the fact that you
    are sitting upright on the bike, and don't have the more aerodynamic
    position of drop handlebars, which means you have to work harder to
    overcome wind resistance. Also think about tyres - for riding on roads
    at those kinds of speeds, you need narrow, high-pressure tyres to
    minimise rolling resistance.

    As Simon says, these are the kind of features you would expect to find
    on a "proper" audax/fast touring bike.

    > though they are consistently incapable of judging speed


    Some things are the same the world over...

    d.
     
  8. davek

    davek Guest

    Simon Brooke wrote:
    > My setup is good for a pedalled 65Km/h on suitable downhills


    On last year's Invicta Grimpeur I recorded a shade under 50mph on one
    of the downhill stretches, pedalling a 52*11 top gear.

    However, for an Audax type event (ie not a race) there is no need to be
    putting in that kind of effort on the downhills (I paid for it later on
    in the ride).

    Accordingly, I have just changed the cassette for one with a 14-tooth
    smallest sprocket[1] and in future hilly rides (eg this year's Invicta
    Grimpeur, which is in a couple of weeks) I intend to use downhill
    stretches for a spot of well-earned coasting.

    > and you always have to earn those downhills.


    Downhills are certainly thrilling, but there is something deeply
    satisfying and inwardly rewarding about a good climb. Therein lies the
    appeal of hilly rides.

    d.

    1. I swapped an 8-speed 11-28 cassette for a 9-speed 14-25, while
    swapping the double 52-42 chainset for a triple 52-42-30, giving a
    lower top gear in return for a much more useful lower bottom gear, and
    a larger number of closer-spaced gears overall. To my mind, this ought
    to be a near-enough ideal gearing set-up for Audaxing.
     
  9. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    davek <[email protected]> wrote:

    : 1. I swapped an 8-speed 11-28 cassette for a 9-speed 14-25, while
    : swapping the double 52-42 chainset for a triple 52-42-30, giving a
    : lower top gear in return for a much more useful lower bottom gear, and
    : a larger number of closer-spaced gears overall. To my mind, this ought
    : to be a near-enough ideal gearing set-up for Audaxing.

    That's a nice setup for Audaxing. I run a compact double so have
    34x25 bottom gear and a 48x12 top gear so my gearing is a little
    higher all round.

    You are quite right that 52x11 is a stupid gear for Audaxing. Most
    racers don't need a 11 (or even a 12 a lot of the time)

    Arthur


    --
    Arthur Clune PGP/GPG Key: http://www.clune.org/pubkey.txt
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
     
  10. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    AndyM <[email protected]> wrote:
    : (Nikko area if anyone knows it).

    I was there at Christmas. A very beautiful part of the world. I didn't
    have a bike with me but it looked like there was some good riding
    around


    --
    Arthur Clune PGP/GPG Key: http://www.clune.org/pubkey.txt
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
     
  11. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 22/2/05 1:37 pm, in article [email protected], "Arthur Clune"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > davek <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > : 1. I swapped an 8-speed 11-28 cassette for a 9-speed 14-25, while
    > : swapping the double 52-42 chainset for a triple 52-42-30, giving a
    > : lower top gear in return for a much more useful lower bottom gear, and
    > : a larger number of closer-spaced gears overall. To my mind, this ought
    > : to be a near-enough ideal gearing set-up for Audaxing.
    >
    > That's a nice setup for Audaxing. I run a compact double so have
    > 34x25 bottom gear and a 48x12 top gear so my gearing is a little
    > higher all round.
    >
    > You are quite right that 52x11 is a stupid gear for Audaxing. Most
    > racers don't need a 11 (or even a 12 a lot of the time)
    >

    That's why I have just taken the plunge and ordered a shiny new compact
    double crankset.. I don't even get above 52x15 on descents so figured that
    48x12 would be more than high enough, and 34x26 would give me the extra
    couple of gears I needed this weekend.

    OK, it's not shiny, it is black, crank and chainrings, and is the right
    length for me. This means I will have an old Ultegra double, 165mm crank
    length and newish BB (only a few hundred miles on it) of the right length up
    for sale soon.

    ...d
     
  12. AndyM

    AndyM Guest

    Wow! If that was Nikko and the Toshogu shrine I'm about an hour away by
    car. As yet I have to cycle there, but will go there in a few weeks
    once the snow melts enough. Must get into training!!
    Sadly due to one thing and another I've become a bit of a lardarse over
    the past months, so a saddle will have to be generously sized ;-( I
    really like the look of the Brooks Swift but a B17 or similar is more
    likely.
    As to cadence I seem naturally(?) to pedal at around 85, with 100 or so
    to trundle down a mountain road and try to reach 60+kph, done it too,
    but I think my computer is a bit out as I changed to 1.5 slicks.

    Thank you all for your kind, helpful advice as well as the
    inspirational ride reports! I'll post a report when I do the ride.

    AndyM
     
  13. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Arthur Clune wrote:

    > You are quite right that 52x11 is a stupid gear for Audaxing. Most
    > racers don't need a 11 (or even a 12 a lot of the time)


    It's proven pretty pointless on the Streetmachine, certainly, and when
    it comes to wearing out the current gear block and chainwheels it won't
    have that on again.
    Though it's not the nippiest bike in general it /does/ go fast
    downhills, but I've never yet been able to spin it out and I have
    certainly tried quite hard on some quite big hills. Unless you have a
    long, steep, sustained hill with open sightlines your chances of
    spinning out are, at best, rather low judging from my experience.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  14. davek

    davek Guest

    Peter Clinch wrote:
    > Unless you have a
    > long, steep, sustained hill with open sightlines your chances of
    > spinning out are, at best, rather low judging from my experience.


    Absolutely - the hill mentioned previously was a dead straight piece of
    decent tarmac with a fairly steep gradient. Not long enough, though
    (less than 1km), so I ran out of road before I could run out of
    pedalling - however, I've worked it out[1] that I must have peaked at
    about 130rpm, which I couldn't have sustained for more than a few
    seconds anyway.

    d.

    1. see http://www.arachnoid.com/bike/
     
  15. dkahn400

    dkahn400 Guest

    Peter Clinch wrote:
    > Arthur Clune wrote:
    >
    > > You are quite right that 52x11 is a stupid gear for Audaxing. Most
    > > racers don't need a 11 (or even a 12 a lot of the time)

    >
    > It's proven pretty pointless on the Streetmachine, certainly, and

    when
    > it comes to wearing out the current gear block and chainwheels it

    won't
    > have that on again.


    I think those enormous gears are pointless for nearly all riders and
    nearly all purposes actually. The only chance most of us will get to
    use them is on long steep descents. At some speed, which for me seems
    to be about 35 mph, pedalling on a steep descent becomes futile. The
    extra drag caused by the pedalling requires more power to overcome than
    the pedalling provides. You will go faster by putting the hands
    together at the centre of the bars, keeping the elbows in, flattening
    the body against the top tube and keeping the feet at quarter to three
    with the knees tucked right in.

    --
    Dave...
     
  16. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    dkahn400 wrote:

    > I think those enormous gears are pointless for nearly all riders and
    > nearly all purposes actually. The only chance most of us will get to
    > use them is on long steep descents. At some speed, which for me seems
    > to be about 35 mph, pedalling on a steep descent becomes futile. The
    > extra drag caused by the pedalling requires more power to overcome than
    > the pedalling provides.


    Ah, but I'm cheating and using a 'bent. Not the world's sportiest, by
    any stretch, and I find that a pal on a racer in an /extreme/ aero tuck
    will freewheel a little faster, but then I can just take the piss by
    pedalling in my normal riding posture and pull away. But even so, the
    52 x 11 top gear is just too big, and that's on a 26" rather than 700c
    as well.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch Medical Physics IT Officer
    Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Univ. of Dundee, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK
    net [email protected] http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  17. dkahn400 wrote:
    > Peter Clinch wrote:
    >> Arthur Clune wrote:
    >>
    >>> You are quite right that 52x11 is a stupid gear for Audaxing. Most
    >>> racers don't need a 11 (or even a 12 a lot of the time)

    >>
    >> It's proven pretty pointless on the Streetmachine, certainly, and
    >> when it comes to wearing out the current gear block and chainwheels
    >> it won't have that on again.

    >
    > I think those enormous gears are pointless for nearly all riders and
    > nearly all purposes actually. The only chance most of us will get to
    > use them is on long steep descents. At some speed, which for me seems
    > to be about 35 mph, pedalling on a steep descent becomes futile. The
    > extra drag caused by the pedalling requires more power to overcome
    > than the pedalling provides. You will go faster by putting the hands
    > together at the centre of the bars, keeping the elbows in, flattening
    > the body against the top tube and keeping the feet at quarter to three
    > with the knees tucked right in.


    I frequently spin out the 52/11 on my preferred Audax mount, but given that
    this is only 86" it's rather easier than for most people round here... I
    don't think I've pedalled it at more than about 55 km/h, which corresponds
    to about 135 rpm.

    --

    Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
    World Domination?
    Just find a world that's into that kind of thing, then chain to the
    floor and walk up and down on it in high heels. (Mr. Sunshine)
     
  18. Arthur Clune

    Arthur Clune Guest

    AndyM <[email protected]> wrote:
    : Wow! If that was Nikko and the Toshogu shrine I'm about an hour away by
    : car.

    That's the one. A very, very lovely place. It was also ideal visiting
    it over Christmas since it was nice and quiet. Apparently it gets
    very busy in summer which would rather spoil the atmosphere.


    --
    Arthur Clune PGP/GPG Key: http://www.clune.org/pubkey.txt
    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness
     
  19. Jon Senior

    Jon Senior Guest

    Dave Larrington wrote:
    > I frequently spin out the 52/11 on my preferred Audax mount, but given that
    > this is only 86" it's rather easier than for most people round here... I
    > don't think I've pedalled it at more than about 55 km/h, which corresponds
    > to about 135 rpm.


    I spun out on the fixer while descending (72" gear) with an estimated
    rpm of 160. I don't think that I can manage that without the aid of the
    rear wheel dragging my legs around.

    Jon
     
  20. Jon Senior wrote:

    > I spun out on the fixer while descending (72" gear) with an estimated
    > rpm of 160. I don't think that I can manage that without the aid of
    > the rear wheel dragging my legs around.


    Vmax on my fixer so far has corresponded to about 140 rpm, but I've hit
    higher than that in 50 m drag races, including pulling a foot out of the
    pedal at 165 rpm... How that one didn't result in a smashed shin is a
    mystery worthy of the attention of someone who specialises in mysteries.

    --

    Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
    World Domination?
    Just find a world that's into that kind of thing, then chain to the
    floor and walk up and down on it in high heels. (Mr. Sunshine)
     
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