Changing over to Road Bikes

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Ubaldo, May 24, 2006.

  1. Ubaldo

    Ubaldo New Member

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    I have been riding a mountain bike for four years and am able to do 60km a day on it. I would like to now switch to riding a road bike. How difficult is to to make the transition from a mountain to road bike and what are some of the initial challenges I need to learn to adjust?
     
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  2. robbielg

    robbielg New Member

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    I am more comfortable on a mountain bike than on a road bike. Its a flexibility issue for me. Maybe if you have a lot of flexibility you'll be just as comfortable on a road bike. But still you have to fit a road bike more carefully, theres less margin for error than when fitting a mountainbike.

    I was immediately comfortable on my mtb, I fiddle endlessly with my roadbike.

    On a road bike, you must steer around some road hazards that you could just ride over if you were on a mountainbike. You could ruin your tires and rims, and your day if you forget this.

    I love the acceleration and smoothness and light weight of my road bike. I go faster and farther, not by that much though.
     
  3. Virenque

    Virenque New Member

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    I think it`s very similar to transition from being a smoker/alcoholic to a non smoker/non alcoholic. It`s hard, but when you get used to it, it`s fantastic! The only difference is that you don`t miss MTB anymore which is not a rule for smoking/drinking.:D
     
  4. obeeone

    obeeone New Member

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    I changed over a few years ago, I went from living in Vancouver to Chicago, I fought long and hard over the issue and realized that I needed to change. Wow I guess I have always been a roadie at heart (i'm also in my fifties) . The change I noticed the most is that riding in groups is more of a teamwork issue, whereas on the slopes its more individual. I have fallen in love all over again with cycling now that Im on the road... dont fight it embrace it... its a blast.
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Here (attached) is a picture of a project bike I have been working on -- it is an extra hardtail frame that I had which I mated with a road fork. The bottom bracket is a little higher than on a road bike, but not by a great deal.

    The wheels are 700c (aka 29er). The front fork in the pic can only handle a 700x28 (maybe!?!), but a different fork would allow it to use larger tires.

    Because it is what I had, I fit a long reach Tektro brake caliper on the bridge that spans the rear stays by slightly enlarging the "fender" mounting hole to accept the recessed nut; but, a standard reach calipers may work, too.

    Regardless, it is not a typical Frankenbike ...

    Initially, you can do something similar to your mountain bike (i.e., swap the fork and wheels, and change the brake calipers & levers -- v-brake levers have a different pull ratio) to help you make the transition.

    Change from flat bars to road bars and/or indexed shifting when you're ready AND/OR opt for a new road bike.

    Probably, the main thing you need to learn is to RIDE WITH TRAFFIC ...

    If you are on a two lane road -- CARS ARE BIGGER, so they have the right of way if the driver is obnoxious ... but, you are a vehicle with rights.

    OBEY the standard traffic laws (stop at stop lights & stop signs, etc.) ... WEAR A HELMUT.
     
  6. obeeone

    obeeone New Member

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    sweet ride!
     
  7. big Pete

    big Pete New Member

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    I also came from a MTB background.The biggest change that I have found is the handling, one can not let the tail end of a road bike slide out as much or one hits the pavement (I learned that the hard way)
     
  8. cavedog

    cavedog New Member

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    Throw some slicks on your mtb and go for it. After a few weeks, you will have a little better idea of what kind of road bike (if any) you want to aquire. I personally ride a mtb with slicks, as the seating is more upright, and when and if I leave the pavement for a short jaunt, it's not a big deal.

    The downside? Mtb's are heavier and not geared like roadies. It's a personal call.
     
  9. rousseau

    rousseau New Member

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    Newbie question, have to ask...what are "slicks?"
     
  10. Virenque

    Virenque New Member

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  11. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    In MTB parlance, a "slick" is a tire lacking knobbies -- the tread was designed to be SMOOTH ... as found on a road tire (which often has "rain" grooves OR other minimalist patterning to reduce hydroplaning) ... vs. a bald tire whose tread has worn away.
     
  12. rousseau

    rousseau New Member

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    Thanks for the info. I'm a quick study. This thread interested me so much, especially the part about putting "slicks" on your mountain bike first to see if you like them, that today I took my hybrid into the LBS and asked about getting skinnier tires. They sold me a couple of Specialized 700 x 25 tires (kevlar), which I took home and put on myself. I think the last time I changed a bicycle tire was over 25 years ago when I was in my early teens. Fun!

    I had an issue with tire pressure at the gas station, i.e. it would only go up to 60 psi, in spite of the fact that the side of the tires had a recommended psi of between 115 and 125! I can't be the first cyclist in the world to have discovered this issue with Presta valves/skinnier tires, so I'm sure a search through the archives will turn up the pertinent info.

    I think I'm a budding "roadie" in the making. I really like how the thinner tires feel on the road (even at only 60 psi), and can't believe I spent my first four months back into cycling on the comparatively fatter hybrid tires that came stock with the Fuji Crosstown I bought. I daresay a more "serious" bicycle purchase may be in the works down the, erm, road.
     
  13. SpecializedWRX

    SpecializedWRX New Member

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    Haha...I started out as a mtb'er as a adrenaline rush replacement for snowboarding during the summer time here in cali and I gotta say that as far as mtb'ing is concerned, the road bike has been the best source of improvement for me. Hills that I used to be able to power up and just make it before my head exploded are now a simple matter of spinning. I find that doing the longer and less technical suffer-fests of road-climbing have improved my ability to spin my way out of trouble on steep and technical climbs on the mtb.

    One way or the other, I love my road bike and the way it feels on the pavement...it's like going from a jeep to a ferrari.:D:cool:
     
  14. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Oh, you'll probably want to up the pressure of a 700x25 tire to be between 85-to-95 psi ... the tire will deflect some (but, not all) road debris better if it is firmer ... closer to 95 psi is probably better than the amount of air pressure you have been riding on, recently.

    When it is inflated to only 60 psi, the tire could have a tendency to shroud debris as you inadvertently pass over the pointier "stuff" ... the sharp edged stuff could possibly work it's way into the tread with each passing rotation, subsequently become embedded ... eventually, it could pentetrate the tire's casing AND your tube! The result is a mystery flat tire because it may occur at some point on the road beyond when the debris was encountered ...

    You were right to be wary about filling your tires with more air at the gas station ... WHEN you fill your tires with air from a gas station, PULSE THE AIR INTO THE TIRE/TUBE ... otherwise, there is a potential for inflating the tires too quickly and potentially over-inflating/damaging them. Use a hand-held tire gauge to check the air pressure rather than relying on the gauge which may be on the station's hose (at least, the first time -- the station's gauge may have read 60 psi, but actually have been much higher). Most of the currently available "bicycle" floor pumps are "high pressure" and don't require as much effort as the ones you may remember from your youth; and, they will often have a built in pressure gauge.

    FWIW [someone has to say this ...]. Not that it matters what I think -- and, although I don't own one -- I'm a big fan of so-called hybrid bikes ... particularly, the hybrid frame concept. Where some people see compromise, I see potential!

    As delivered from a bike shop, hybrids may not be particularly good for today's mountain biking on trails which benefit from having a robust front suspension fork and/or rear suspension on the frame, but hybrids ARE good for paved roads & great for unpaved roadways (when fitted with 700x32, or larger, tires); and, as you have found out, they can be readily fitted with "regular" ROAD tires + fenders (if desired), too. And, the bars can be changed to road bars (for better aerodynamics), or left as-is. The potential versatility of a hybrid frame by it being capable of effectively morphing into a multitude of usable configurations makes the hybrid a great value for the money, IMO. The cost of making component changes is the only drawback; but, that is true with most bikes.

    FWIW2. I know some roadie snobs who used to eschew the concept of hybrids because the slanted top tube was not manly enough for them, or something; but, they are now chattering about how their next bike will probably be a road bike with a slanted top tube ... or, they've got a "compact" frame on order! OR, they're thinking about putting "flat bars" on one of their old road bikes ... or, they have recently gone to "flat bars" and some have found that the limited tire sizes they can fit on their old bikes to be disappointing, now ...
     
  15. rousseau

    rousseau New Member

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    Okay, now I "get it."

    I just did my first real ride with the new thinner tires, 35 kms, and my average speed went up by quite a bit. But more importantly, there were long stretches I felt like I was gliding.

    Wow.

    I'm hooked. Really. At the age of 40 I've rediscovered cycling, but I hadn't yet experienced anything so euphoric as what I did today. For the first four months I used the stock tires that came with my hybrid--can't think of the measurements off-hand, but the width was halfway between mountain bike tires and road tires--and there were many times where it felt like I was struggling against the bike, especially going into headwinds.

    I guess the tread and width on the hybrid are there so you can go off-road, or at least give you more versatility in a bike, but I'm discovering that I don't want that.

    No, what I want is to put my head down along 10-km straightaways and get into a steady, meditational rhythm with my cadence, because it just feels so damn good. Funny, I've always been serviceably athletic, and even made the city all-star team for basketball in high school, but only now have I finally found a really and truly satisfying physical activity that, at times, brings me as near a state of euphoria as I've ever experienced (yes, it's better than that other thing).
     
  16. SpecializedWRX

    SpecializedWRX New Member

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    I think that it also has to do with feeling like a kid again. I am only 25 but I remember the first thing that I truly loved doing as a child was going out on a bike and being liberated for the time that I could go out and play. The bike was the first real transport that YOU realize 100% of the return. You pedal, you go. Plain and simple. I think that the childlike wonder is what really gets me at the heart of it all, that and the achievement of getting up large hills...;)
     
  17. hdavidh

    hdavidh New Member

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    I can so relate. At 48 I quit a 2 pack a day habit and started "gliding" too. I have renewed the love of cycling I had as a 19 year old. I came home from my first long ride with a group the other night and my wife said I looked like a kid again...
    That's totally worth the price of admission.:)
     
  18. SpecializedWRX

    SpecializedWRX New Member

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    Congrats! I hope you don't ever lose that.
     
  19. rousseau

    rousseau New Member

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    I see what you mean. The feeling of liberation, of having this one hour slot of time to myself out on the road, is exhilarating. But for me it's less a "child-like" thing than a rediscovery of how good exercise feels. My whole adult life I never had a regular exercise activity that I was devoted to or could depend on. I just was never into it, and had other things going on. Now, I'm getting back into shape. Yesterday my wife and I were comparing a photo of me from one year ago to one of me now, and the difference was very noticeable...I've lost a fair bit of weight!

    What's so addicting is I'm seeing the physical benefits of a concerted exercise regimen, viz. one hour per day gliding through the countryside on my hybrid (with the skinny new 700 x 25 tires--they're the major reason for the current state of euphoria I'm in). For instance, today here in southwestern Ontario it was a steaming 33 degrees, but I did 25 kms effortlessly. The heat just simply did not wear me down like I was afraid it might. I feel great, my legs aren't tired, and I sense that I'm getting stronger.

    Okay, I'm done gushing for today!
     
  20. robbielg

    robbielg New Member

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    Its all those things for me too, the feeling like a kid and the exhiliration of excercise. It feels so good sometimes i remember shouting out with joy on some of my bike rides :)
     
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