Considering a Road bike for commuting... good idea?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Mike Beauchamp, Aug 4, 2003.

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  1. Hey all, I'm considering purchasing a new bicycle (Maybe $800 CDN total) to replace my nearly 8 year
    old Mongoose IBOC Pro mountain bike. I used to use it mainy for offroad but a knee injury stopped
    that, and in the past few years I've used it purely for commuting (10K's to school and back, 30-40K
    rides on weekends, stuff like that).

    I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than a mountain bike. I most
    certainly don't want to be one of those kids riding on the side of the road with a fully suspended
    downhill mountain bike with the seat all the way down bouncing up and down on each pedal stroke.

    I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and get me going as fast as
    possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's definately more fun going nearly the speed of the
    cars instead of having them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?

    In the past few years, I've added slicks to my mountain bike, etc. All in the name of a smoother and
    more efficient ride on pavement.

    Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride, with the small tires and
    the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in the road going to be as bad as I think they are? Is
    that why I don't see too many people riding around the streets on nice road bikes?

    I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but I'm wondering what people
    think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike? Another reason for wanting to get a road bike is
    that I can convert my mountain bike back to offroad and have two bicycles for whatever type of
    riding I want to do.

    Mike http://mikebeauchamp.com
     
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  2. I ride a road bike for commuting everyday and no, it isn't that harsh. At least in my opinion. I
    think the reason you don't see them as often is because of that misconception.

    Preston
     
  3. Tbgibb

    Tbgibb Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, "Mike Beauchamp" <[email protected]> writes:

    >I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than a mountain bike. I most
    >certainly don't want to be one of those kids riding on the side of the road with a fully suspended
    >downhill mountain bike with the seat all the way down bouncing up and down on each pedal stroke.

    Consider a touring bike. You will have a nice range of tires you can use and should have something
    more comfortable than a road racing bike.

    Tom Gibb <[email protected]
     
  4. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "Preston Crawford" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I ride a road bike for commuting everyday and no, it isn't that harsh. At least in my opinion. I
    > think the reason you don't see them as often is because of that misconception.
    >
    > Preston

    Of course the stock answer here is to buy a touring bike. That being said, I also commute on a road
    bike(Schwinn Peloton) and it's not harsh at all.
     
  5. Gazoo

    Gazoo Guest

    or a cyclocross bike?

    --
    Robert M. Hammel, Commercial & Residential Mortgage Specialist Direct: 403-589-7381 Fax:
    403-730-2134 e-mail: [email protected] The MORTGAGE Centre

    "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:h%[email protected]ampabay.rr.com...
    >
    > "Preston Crawford" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I ride a road bike for commuting everyday and no, it isn't that harsh.
    At
    > > least in my opinion. I think the reason you don't see them as often is because of that
    > > misconception.
    > >
    > > Preston
    >
    > Of course the stock answer here is to buy a touring bike. That being said,
    I
    > also commute on a road bike(Schwinn Peloton) and it's not harsh at all.
     
  6. David Kerber

    David Kerber Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...

    ...

    > I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than a mountain bike. I
    > most certainly don't want to be one of those kids riding on the side of the road with a fully
    > suspended downhill mountain bike with the seat all the way down bouncing up and down on each
    > pedal stroke.
    >
    > I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and get me going as fast as
    > possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's definately more fun going nearly the speed of
    > the cars instead of having them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?

    Depends on how strong a rider you are, but you usually won't be keeping up with the cars unless
    traffic's pretty slow. It's nice to have them slowly catch and then pass you, rather than just
    blowing by you, though <GGG>.

    > Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride, with the small tires
    > and the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in the road going to be as bad as I think they
    > are? Is that why I don't see too

    Not in my experience. If you don't like it, you can put just slightly larger, lower-pressure tires
    and soften that up a lot.

    ....

    --
    Dave Kerber Fight spam: remove the ns_ from the return address before replying!

    REAL programmers write self-modifying code.
     
  7. "Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:h%[email protected]...
    >
    > "Preston Crawford" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I ride a road bike for commuting everyday and no, it isn't that harsh.
    At
    > > least in my opinion. I think the reason you don't see them as often is because of that
    > > misconception.
    > >
    > > Preston
    >
    > Of course the stock answer here is to buy a touring bike. That being said,
    I
    > also commute on a road bike(Schwinn Peloton) and it's not harsh at all.

    Yeah, touring bike isn't a bad idea. Like I said in my other post, I went the route I did because it
    was cheaper entry level. I ended up with essentially the same thing, but it took longer to get
    there. Some tinkering and experimenting. I love my bike, though.

    Preston
     
  8. "Gazoo" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > or a cyclocross bike?

    Not a bad idea. I started without much funds so I bought an entry level road bike. Then I had it fit
    and they had to add a funky high stem to adjust the angle. Then I decided I wanted to add "suicide
    levers". Then I added a rack. Before you know it I had more or less some weird hybrid of a
    cyclecross and touring bike. I love it, though. It's right where I want to be so I won't change it.
    But yeah, first time around if you have the money this would be a good way to go. Thing with entry
    level road bikes is you can get one for $599 or less and then work with it.

    Preston
     
  9. Well, after commuting for 30 years on both road and mountain bikes, over terrain ranging fron
    totally flat to very hilly (2000'+ elevation over 7-10 miles), and in all types of weather. I would
    have to conclude that for utility use, like commuting, an MTB, equipped for ON-road travel is
    clearly superior.

    May you have the wind at your back. And a really low gear for the hills! Chris

    Chris'Z Corner "The Website for the Common Bicyclist": http://www.geocities.com/czcorner
     
  10. Eric Murray

    Eric Murray Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, Mike Beauchamp <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than a mountain bike.

    If you want to do only road riding, then yes.

    I find a real road bike both faster and more comfortable than a MTB on the road. The drop bars allow
    more hand positions.

    >I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and get me going as fast as
    >possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's definately more fun going nearly the speed of the
    >cars instead of having them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?

    It's not like you're going to be keeping up with motorcycles or anything, but it will be a
    bit faster.

    >Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride, with the small tires and
    >the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in the road going to be as bad as I think they are?

    It's hard to read your mind from here so I don't know exactly how hard you think its going to ride,
    but my guess is it wont be as bad as you think.

    Especially if you get a commuteable touring bike instead of a full-on racing bike. Touring or
    "sport" touring bikes have longer chainstays that leave room for fenders, slightly relaxed geometry,
    and larger tires. All of which will make the ride a little smoother and won't slow you appreciably
    from the full race bike.

    >I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but I'm wondering what people
    >think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike? Another reason for wanting to get a road bike
    >is that I can convert my mountain bike back to offroad and have two bicycles for whatever type of
    >riding I want to do.

    An excellent reason.

    A 'sport' touring bike would be ideal for commuting. Fenders are a must unless it never rains
    where you live.

    Eric
     
  11. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On Mon, 4 Aug 2003 18:02:12 -0400, Mike Beauchamp <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than a mountain bike.

    Absolutely.

    > I most certainly don't want to be one of those kids on the side of the road with a fully suspended
    > downhill mountain bike the seat all the way down bouncing up and down on each pedal stroke.

    I don't know how they do it, with their knees coming up above their chest...how do they develop any
    power that way? And usually pushing a heavy $65 Wal-mart FS "downhill" bike, at that.

    Funny note: I've acquired one such bike, and it says "DH" and "Downhill" and "Off-road" and such all
    over it; and buried in a little nook you can barely see, a label that says that it is NOT to be used
    for any off-road riding or conditions. It's got fat very knobby low pressure tires, excessively
    plush front and rear suspension...

    > I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and me going as fast as
    > possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's definately more fun going nearly the speed of
    > the cars instead of having them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?

    It depends on the terrain, yourself, and the traffic. In urban traffic, with level land, you
    probably can get there just as fast as you would powered by gasoline.

    > Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh with the small tires and the
    > high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in road going to be as bad as I think they are?

    Possibly. However, I've found that my bike takes the edge off the bumps pretty well; this may be
    because of the long carbon fiber seatpost and the carbon fiber fork legs. At least, that is the
    conventional thought on carbon stuff. I've recently acquired an old steel Peugeot, and haven't
    ridden it much, but have been impressed by it's ride too.

    > Is that why I don't see too many people riding around the streets on nice road bikes?

    No, that's because: -- They're expensive -- Most people don't realise that there's bikes beyond
    Wal-mart -- The ones who do, can't see spending $500 (let alone $1000) on a bike -- Road bikes, to
    such people, don't look manly enough, so guys are afraid to ride them; and women don't seem to ride
    as much, nor do they care as much what they ride. Disclaimer: That was an observation I've made
    locally. It may differ in other areas. It is not a judgement of the female gender.

    > I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but wondering what people
    > think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike?

    No. You will be faster; you will be more comfortable for the road [after proper fit and break-in and
    so on]; and you will feel better after a pavement ride. You will also get in better shape -- a nice
    road bike makes you want to go faster and uses your muscles more efficiently.

    Mountain bikers have said to me about road biking: "It's like steroids for your mountain biking." I
    would add that they're complimentary; while road biking builds your pedalling ability, mountain
    biking enhances your bike-handling skill -- while you will never jump your road bike over a big log,
    in an emergency you might have to get up a curb, or for that matter...a big log that you suddenly
    realise is in front of you.

    > Another reason for wanting to get a road bike is that I can convert my mountain bike back to
    > offroad and have two bicycles for whatever type of riding I want to do.

    That is a very fun setup...and common in this newsfroup.

    > Mike http://mikebeauchamp.com
    --
    Rick Onanian
     
  12. Lewdvig

    Lewdvig Guest

    Its faster and the roads are smoother than they look - at least they are here in Calgary.

    "Mike Beauchamp" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hey all, I'm considering purchasing a new bicycle (Maybe $800 CDN total) to replace my nearly 8
    > year old Mongoose IBOC Pro mountain bike. I used to use it
    mainy
    > for offroad but a knee injury stopped that, and in the past few years I've used it purely for
    > commuting (10K's to school and back, 30-40K rides on weekends, stuff like that).
    >
    > I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate
    than
    > a mountain bike. I most certainly don't want to be one of those kids
    riding
    > on the side of the road with a fully suspended downhill mountain bike with the seat all the way
    > down bouncing up and down on each pedal stroke.
    >
    > I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and
    get
    > me going as fast as possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's definately more fun going
    > nearly the speed of the cars instead of having them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I
    > think it is?
    >
    > In the past few years, I've added slicks to my mountain bike, etc. All in the name of a smoother
    > and more efficient ride on pavement.
    >
    > Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride, with the small tires
    > and the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in
    the
    > road going to be as bad as I think they are? Is that why I don't see too many people riding around
    > the streets on nice road bikes?
    >
    > I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but
    I'm
    > wondering what people think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike? Another reason for
    > wanting to get a road bike is that I can convert my mountain bike back to offroad and have two
    > bicycles for whatever type of riding I want to do.
    >
    > Mike http://mikebeauchamp.com
     
  13. Werehatrack

    Werehatrack Guest

    On Mon, 4 Aug 2003 18:02:12 -0400, "Mike Beauchamp" <[email protected]> may have said:

    >I'm just wondering if purchasing a road bike would be more appropriate than a mountain bike.

    Road bikes, largely due to their narrow tires, tend to inherently be more efficient. If the posture
    doesn't bother you, and your roads are in reasonably good shape, a road bike is probably a good
    replacement for the mtb.

    >I want something that can use my energy as efficiently as possible, and get me going as fast as
    >possible. Like many commuters here I'm sure, it's definately more fun going nearly the speed of the
    >cars instead of having them wizz past you. Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?

    Your results may vary; I find that I can, indeed, go faster on my road bike than on my various mtbs,
    but I would not want to try to keep up with the impatient homicidal maniacs who infest our streets
    at rush hour.

    >In the past few years, I've added slicks to my mountain bike, etc. All in the name of a smoother
    >and more efficient ride on pavement.

    So you've already narrowed the gap in performance, probably by quite a bit.

    >Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride, with the small tires and
    >the high air pressure, etc. Are small bumps in the road going to be as bad as I think they are? Is
    >that why I don't see too many people riding around the streets on nice road bikes?

    If the experience of others is a predictor, then the perception of the harshness is probably worse
    than the reality. Some of the mtb favoritism is actually pragmatic, in my opinion, but a lot of it
    is baseless. I see a combination of the underinformed thinking the fat tires are just better, the
    one-bike folks who want to be able to ride in the dirt some of the time, a few who prefer the
    tolerance for bumps and resistance to curb-hopping punctures that the fatter tires can afford, and
    perhaps most prevalent, the people who buy the mtb either because it looks like the best value or it
    looks neat. The only way to be sure if a road bike's going to suit you, in my opinion, is to try one
    and see. Do you know someone whose road bike you could borrow for a day or two?

    >I'm going to go try a few road bikes out tomorrow, mainly for fun.. but I'm wondering what people
    >think in here. Should I stick with a mountain bike? Another reason for wanting to get a road bike
    >is that I can convert my mountain bike back to offroad and have two bicycles for whatever type of
    >riding I want to do.

    If the rides on the road bikes don't prove too harsh for you, I'd say that having both types would
    not be a bad thing.

    By the way, in a very unscientific sampling at Rice University here in Houston several months back,
    I counted 22 mtbs (a few with slicks) and only 7 road bikes locked up at a popular location on
    campus. This is at a school where there isn't a dirt trail suitable for the real use of an mtb
    within 15 miles. Up at Texas A&M, where bicycles are perhaps more common than Democrats, I didn't
    try to count them, but the ratio looked like it was on the order of the same magnitude and
    distribution...and with just as little apparent reason. I rather suspect that the fact that
    inexpensive mtbs are more widely available than road bikes is the primary driving force behind those
    results. I will note that the mtbs tended to be cheap more so than high-end, but the road bikes
    included a fair number of good units.

    --
    My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail. Yes, I have a killfile. If I
    don't respond to something, it's also possible that I'm busy.
     
  14. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On Tue, 05 Aug 2003 00:50:27 GMT, Werehatrack <[email protected]> wrote:
    > suspect that the fact that inexpensive mtbs are more widely available than road bikes is the
    > primary driving force behind those results. I will note that the mtbs tended to be cheap more so
    > than high-end, but the road bikes included a fair number of good units.

    Additionally, even when you go to an LBS, you can get a rather nice MTB for $500, but you can only
    get a really cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel road bike for that.

    Why are road bikes so much more expensive? More precision machining and workmanship, and exotic
    materials required?

    > --
    > My email address is antispammed; pull WEEDS if replying via e-mail. Yes, I have a killfile. If I
    > don't respond to something, it's also possible that I'm busy.
    --
    Rick Onanian
     
  15. Pete

    Pete Guest

    "Rick Onanian" <[email protected]> wrote

    > Why are road bikes so much more expensive? More precision machining and workmanship, and exotic
    > materials required?

    Image.

    Pete
     
  16. "Mike Beauchamp" <[email protected]> writes:

    >Hey all, I'm considering purchasing a new bicycle (Maybe $800 CDN total) to replace my nearly 8
    >year old Mongoose IBOC Pro mountain bike.

    Do it. The faster the bicycle, the more uses for the bicycle.

    >Here's my concern. Obviously a road bike is going to be a more harsh ride, with the small tires and
    >the high air pressure, etc.

    Untrue. Get a spongey reynolds 531 frame or equivalent (maybe a used bike), and it will be softer to
    ride than a mountain bike with slicks. Or maybe an Alan or Vitus not-oversized aluminum frame.

    >Are small bumps in the road going to be as bad as I think they are? Is that why I don't see too
    >many people riding around the streets on nice road bikes?

    What do you care what other people think ?? Sometimes when you follow the herd you find out too late
    that its a hurd of lemmings.

    - Don Gillies San Diego, CA
     
  17. "Eric Murray" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I find a real road bike both faster and more comfortable than a MTB on the road. The drop bars
    > allow more hand positions.

    That's the big selling point to me. Especially now that I have my "suicide levers" I can ride on top
    like a moutain bike, ride in the drops or ride on the hoods.

    Preston
     
  18. Rick Onanian

    Rick Onanian Guest

    On Tue, 05 Aug 2003 01:10:22 GMT, Pete <[email protected]> wrote:
    > "Rick Onanian" <[email protected]> wrote
    >> Why are road bikes so much more expensive? More precision machining and workmanship, and exotic
    >> materials required?
    >
    > Image.

    Why do those of us who don't care and just want an efficient bike for pavement have to pay for that?

    I guess we pay for worse things...

    > Pete
    --
    Rick Onanian
     
  19. eyagerusenet

    eyagerusenet Guest

    In rec.bicycles.misc Mike Beauchamp <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Hey all, I'm considering purchasing a new bicycle (Maybe $800 CDN total) to replace my nearly 8
    > year old Mongoose IBOC Pro mountain bike. I used to use it mainy for offroad but a knee injury
    > stopped that, and in the past few years I've used it purely for commuting (10K's to school and
    > back, 30-40K rides on weekends, stuff like that).

    Consider a touring bike like the Bianchi Volpe. It has cantilever brakes which leaves plenty of room
    for fenders if you intend intend on riding in the rain. If your going to carry books, it will have
    the proper fittings for a rear rack. 700x28 tires are a good choice comfort wise and still have a
    low rolling resistance. Beware. Some road bikes don't have enough clearance to mount a 700x28 tire.
    A touring bike has enough clearance to mount cyclocross style knobby tires if you wish.

    A triple chainring is STRONGLY reccomended for those of us with bad knees. The gearing of a double
    chainring equipped bike is quite high compared to a typical mountain bike.

    ---
    Eric [email protected]
     
  20. Ed

    Ed Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, "Mike says...

    >Is a road bike as fast as I think it is?

    No. I have done the experiment. On a paved bike trail with several required stops for street
    crossings, a fair simulation of commuting, my average speed measured by computer was:

    road bike 14.1 mph, mountain bike 14.3 mph.

    The road bike was however felt faster and was more fun to ride because of the more lively steering.

    Notes:

    Both rides were in ideal weather, cool, no wind, approximately 16 miles. The mountain bike had no
    suspension. The mountain bike had 1.5 slicks the road bike 25mm tires. The mountain bike ride was
    slightly later in the season so I might have been in slightly better condition. The mountain bike
    was steel, the road bike aluminum, considerable lighter. The trail was flat so gearing made no
    difference. Most importantly the mountain bike had a Jan Ullrich model racing saddle while the road
    bike had a heavy leather Brooks-like saddle (actually Belt.)
     
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