MTB / Touring

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Keith Willoughb, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Hey all,

    Desperately needing some exercise before my heart gives up out of boredom, I've decided to give
    cycling a bash. I haven't cycled since I was a kid, and I know pretty much nothing about bikes.

    I've been given a mountain bike (Giant Boulder Shock, if that means anything to you. Seems OK to
    me, although it's damned heavy). I'd have rathered a tourer - I only want to ride on roads and
    cycle-paths, and wouldn't mind doing some medium-distance stuff in the future - but beggars
    can't be choosers. I can't really justify spending money on a new bike when I have use of this
    one for nothing.

    So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control whilst on an actual road - can
    I do anything to make it a better road cycle that wouldn't be expensive? Specifically, can I fit
    some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now? And would that help me any?
    (They're 26x2.1, according to what's written on them. Does that mean those are the only size tires
    I can use?)

    Cheers.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "Individuals have international duties which transcend
    the national obligations of obedience" -- Justice Robert Jackson
     
    Tags:


  2. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Keith Willoughby wrote:

    > So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control whilst on an actual road -
    > can I do anything to make it a better road cycle that wouldn't be expensive? Specifically, can I
    > fit some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now? And would that help me any?
    > (They're 26x2.1, according to what's written on them. Does that mean those are the only size tires
    > I can use?)

    Yes, yes, yes and no. Fitting road tyres is the easiest and most effective way to make an MTB
    actually enjoyable on the road. It makes the bike quieter, more efficient and improves the cornering
    on tarmac. You can put all sorts of different widths of tyres on most rims. Check with wherever you
    get the tyres from, but I'd think 26x1.5 would probably work fine. The magic word is "slicks" for
    the shop to know what you're on about.

    After that you might consider some re-gearing, but that requires non-DIY for most people, and rather
    money money than a new pair of tyres. For touring gearing you're probably better off just slightly
    higher and closer together than MTB gearing, but just use the gearing you've got for starters and
    see how you get on with it.

    Pete.
    --
    Peter Clinch University of Dundee Tel 44 1382 660111 ext. 33637 Medical Physics, Ninewells Hospital
    Fax 44 1382 640177 Dundee DD1 9SY Scotland UK net [email protected]
    http://www.dundee.ac.uk/~pjclinch/
     
  3. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "Keith Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control

    Perrish the thort ;-)

    > Specifically, can I fit some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now?

    Yes you can. Most bike shops stock normal tyres for 26" wheels, something like the Panaracer Pasela
    or whatever, but the best thing is to go to the shop and choose one you like the look of. One with a
    little bit of meat is a good idea if you're considering Sustrans type paths (they are often full of
    tiny flints, around here at least).

    --
    Guy
    ===

    WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk
     
  4. Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

    > "Keith Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    >> So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control
    >
    > Perrish the thort ;-)

    I've done a mere 8 miles so far, and haven't come off yet. I think there's a demon on my shoulder
    whispering "law of averages".

    >> Specifically, can I fit some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now?
    >
    > Yes you can.

    Excellent.

    > Most bike shops stock normal tyres for 26" wheels, something like the Panaracer Pasela or
    > whatever, but the best thing is to go to the shop and choose one you like the look of. One with a
    > little bit of meat is a good idea if you're considering Sustrans type paths (they are often full
    > of tiny flints, around here at least).

    Yeah. The Taff Trail goes right behind here, and it's where I plan on cycling most. It's mostly
    tarmac, but at the moment you can't see it for leaves and fragments of ex-tree, so I'll need a bit
    of grip and thickness, but it seems to me that the really knobbly tyres are wasted on me.

    While I'm posting - saddles. To put it bluntly, my arse hurts, and I've only been on the damn thing
    for an hour. Now, I've read the stuff about adjusting, and getting a new saddle that's more suitable
    for my dimensions (lard-arsed). However, how long should I put up with it before deciding something
    needs changing, rather than just needing to get used to it?

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ 9-3
     
  5. Peter Clinch wrote:

    > Keith Willoughby wrote:
    >
    >> So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control whilst on an actual road -
    >> can I do anything to make it a better road cycle that wouldn't be expensive? Specifically, can I
    >> fit some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now? And would that help me any?
    >> (They're 26x2.1, according to what's written on them. Does that mean those are the only size
    >> tires I can use?)
    >
    > Yes, yes, yes and no.
    [snip]

    Thanks! Most helpful.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "She rubs the Sunlight soap around by Claddagh Just to
    watch the suds flow down by Galway Bay"
     
  6. Simon Brooke

    Simon Brooke Guest

    Keith Willoughby <[email protected]> writes:

    > Hey all,
    >
    > Desperately needing some exercise before my heart gives up out of boredom, I've decided to give
    > cycling a bash. I haven't cycled since I was a kid, and I know pretty much nothing about bikes.
    >
    > I've been given a mountain bike (Giant Boulder Shock, if that means anything to you. Seems OK to
    > me, although it's damned heavy). I'd have rathered a tourer - I only want to ride on roads and cycle-
    > paths, and wouldn't mind doing some medium-distance stuff in the future - but beggars can't be
    > choosers. I can't really justify spending money on a new bike when I have use of this one for
    > nothing.

    Reviews here:
    <URL:http://www.bikemagic.com/review/reviewproduct/mps/RPN/4149/v/1/sp/328803336541364298484> Seems
    on the whole not bad for the price. The thing to beware of is if riding a heavy bike puts you off.
    If you don't enjoy it, at least try a lighter bike before giving up on cycling altogether.

    >
    > So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control whilst on an actual road -
    > can I do anything to make it a better road cycle that wouldn't be expensive? Specifically, can I
    > fit some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now? And would that help me any?
    > (They're 26x2.1, according to what's written on them. Does that mean those are the only size tires
    > I can use?)

    Yes, fitting slicks would be a good move, and not expensive. You will need 26" tyres, but you can
    use narrower ones - precisely how narrow depends a bit on your rims so seek advice from your local
    bike shop. But simply pumping up your tyres harder may improve things a bit
    - the harder they are the less rolling resistance they will have, within certain limits and with a
    number of minor caveats.

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

    ;; If you're doing this for fun, do what seems fun. If you're ;; doing it for money, stop
    now. ;; Rainer Deyke
     
  7. Frobnitz

    Frobnitz Guest

    "Keith Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > Hey all,
    >
    > Desperately needing some exercise before my heart gives up out of boredom, I've decided to give
    > cycling a bash. I haven't cycled since I was a kid, and I know pretty much nothing about bikes.
    >
    > I've been given a mountain bike (Giant Boulder Shock, if that means anything to you. Seems OK to
    > me, although it's damned heavy). I'd have rathered a tourer ....

    I toured without problems on my trusty old Hardrock - damned heavy too.

    I put slicker tyres on - my favourites were Hemispheres as I felt that they could handle rougher
    tracks better (at ~2"), and didn't give up so quickly when mud was around as either Fatboys or
    Nimbus (EBC is a Specialized shop). I also added a pair of bar ends - I found that the extra
    positions available stopped cramps building up in my arms. I changed my chainrings to slightly
    larger ones when I felt that the gears were limiting my cruising speed, and I never needed the 24-28
    granny setting. Longest I managed in a day was about 110 miles, and though I was a bit fatigued
    afterwards, no major problems.

    Enjoy,

    Eddie Dubourg
     
  8. On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 14:56:48 +0000, Keith Willoughby wrote:

    > Hey all,
    >
    > Desperately needing some exercise before my heart gives up out of boredom, I've decided to give
    > cycling a bash. I haven't cycled since I was a kid, and I know pretty much nothing about bikes.
    >
    > I've been given a mountain bike (Giant Boulder Shock, if that means anything to you. Seems OK to
    > me, although it's damned heavy). I'd have rathered a tourer - I only want to ride on roads and cycle-
    > paths, and wouldn't mind doing some medium-distance stuff in the future - but beggars can't be
    > choosers. I can't really justify spending money on a new bike when I have use of this one for
    > nothing.
    >
    > So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control whilst on an actual road -
    > can I do anything to make it a better road cycle that wouldn't be expensive? Specifically, can I
    > fit some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now? And would that help me any?
    > (They're 26x2.1, according to what's written on them. Does that mean those are the only size tires
    > I can use?)
    >
    > Cheers.

    As others have said, it's no problem changing the tyres. I use IRC Mythos XC Semi Slicks (£14.99
    from www.wiggle.co.uk) which are fine for tarmac and forest roads but you can get slicker ones
    than this.

    One of the poorest things on this bike could well be the suspension fork. It's likely to be heavy
    and unreliable. Don't rush out to change it but if it does fail you might consider fitting a steel
    one without suspension. For the sort of riding you want to do it's not needed.

    As regards the saddle, getting the right position will almost certainly help a lot. You can move it
    up and down and backwards and forwards but do try to keep it level.

    In my opinion it's not worth spending much money on this bike. If you get bitten by the cycling bug
    you'll probably want to replace it as soon as you can afford to.

    What part of the Taff Trail are you near?
    --
    Michael MacClancy Random pleonasm - "Cliches are a dime a dozen--avoid them like the plague."
    www.macclancy.demon.co.uk www.macclancy.co.uk
     
  9. David Martin wrote:

    [snip]
    > Little and often is the way to get the bum ued to the saddle. It's a bit liek breaking in a new
    > pair of boots.

    Yeah, that makes sense. I'll try to tough it out before I start looking at a wider saddle.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "Everything is repairable"
     
  10. Peter Clinch wrote:

    [...]

    > If you don't fancy lycra shorts for reasons of sartorial elegance (or lack thereof)

    The world isn't ready to see me in Lycra shorts.

    > note that you can get cycle-specific padded underwear and also baggier shorts with padded inner
    > briefs. Whatever, padding applied through the bumwear tailored specifically for cycling comes
    > highly recommended.

    Thanks for the suggestion. I'll definitely try a pair.

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ Ceci n'est pas une sig
     
  11. Michael MacClancy wrote:

    > What part of the Taff Trail are you near?

    Rhydyfelin (Between Ponty and Nantgarw)

    --
    Keith Willoughby http://flat222.org/keith/ "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not
    mean to stand by the president or any other public official."
    - Theodore Roosevelt
     
  12. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 3/2/04 3:28 pm, in article [email protected], "Keith Willoughby"
    <[email protected]> wrote: .
    >
    > Yeah. The Taff Trail goes right behind here, and it's where I plan on cycling most. It's mostly
    > tarmac, but at the moment you can't see it for leaves and fragments of ex-tree, so I'll need a bit
    > of grip and thickness, but it seems to me that the really knobbly tyres are wasted on me.

    Yup. The other thing to get (depending on budget) is a decent pump. No tyre is much fun if it is too
    squidgy. Halfords or similar places will have what are known as 'track pumps'. These are upright
    pumps that you stand on the base of with a two handed handle for pumping up the tyres. A great piece
    of kit. Having the tyres pumped up properly (irrespective of whether they are knobbly or slick)
    makes a huge difference. The bike feels better, you can go quicker, and you get less punctures. On
    my MTB (used 99% on road for commuting) I have Schwalbe City Jet which seem very good so far.

    > While I'm posting - saddles. To put it bluntly, my arse hurts, and I've only been on the damn
    > thing for an hour. Now, I've read the stuff about adjusting, and getting a new saddle that's more
    > suitable for my dimensions (lard-arsed). However, how long should I put up with it before deciding
    > something needs changing, rather than just needing to get used to it?

    Saddles are very individual things. Each person prefers a different saddle. What may seem
    strangely perverse is that the saddles that look least comfortable are often the most comfortable
    over a long distance.

    The first suggestion I'd have is that you keep the saddle you have for the time being and see how
    you get used to it. Part of the ache is that you are not used to sitting in that way. If you are not
    particularly fit and haven't cycled for a long time then an hour is good going without a break.

    The body sits on a saddle via the 'sit bones'. What you want is a saddle where these bones are what
    you sit on rather than putting pressure on soft squidgy bits of your anatomy. After a while these
    bones get used to it. The sofa like saddles that look really comfortable, are often quite
    uncomfortable in the longer run. The 'razor blade' racing saddles are often quite comfortable once
    the body is used to them.

    Little and often is the way to get the bum ued to the saddle. It's a bit liek breaking in a new
    pair of boots.

    ..d
     
  13. Peter Clinch

    Peter Clinch Guest

    Keith Willoughby wrote:

    > While I'm posting - saddles. To put it bluntly, my arse hurts, and I've only been on the damn
    > thing for an hour. Now, I've read the stuff about adjusting, and getting a new saddle that's more
    > suitable for my dimensions (lard-arsed). However, how long should I put up with it before deciding
    > something needs changing, rather than just needing to get used to it?

    When you go to get your tyres, sit on a few alternatives and see if anything strikes you as more
    immediately and significantly comfortable. It might be the case that you're just not used to sitting
    on saddles again so changing might not help, but OTOH if you have got the wrong shape you may
    benefit a lot by changing, and sitting on a few is the best way to find out. I'd think the exact
    shape and dimensions of your pelvis will probably have more effect than how much padding in over it.

    In the meantime, go for a ride with suitable tool(s) for adjusting the height, angle and front/rear
    placement and have a fiddle with all of them. It can make a *huge* difference sometimes, just
    changing the position and alignment a little.

    Note that padding on the saddle isn't necessarily any better. In practice what happens is that the
    padding compresses and/or is moved around to pressure bits you don't want pressured, so they're
    often *less* comfortable than a harder but well shaped saddle. Padded cycling shorts target the
    padding rather better and use more sensible quantities so they tend to make more of a difference. If
    you don't fancy lycra shorts for reasons of sartorial elegance (or lack thereof) note that you can
    get cycle-specific padded underwear and also baggier shorts with padded inner briefs. Whatever,
    padding applied through the bumwear tailored specifically for cycling comes highly recommended. Note
    that if you have a short with padding it's worth trying with and without underpants as well to see
    which works better.

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

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "Keith Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Just zis Guy, you know? wrote:

    > The Taff Trail goes right behind here, and it's where I plan on cycling most. It's mostly tarmac,
    > but at the moment you can't see it for leaves and fragments of ex-tree, so I'll need a bit of grip
    > and thickness, but it seems to me that the really knobbly tyres are wasted on me.

    The Panaracer Pasela Tourguard will do nicely for that (65psi, adequate tread, reasonable rolling
    resistance, Magic Kevlar Band). Similar tyres are available.

    > While I'm posting - saddles. To put it bluntly, my arse hurts, and I've only been on the damn
    > thing for an hour. Now, I've read the stuff about adjusting, and getting a new saddle that's more
    > suitable for my dimensions (lard-arsed). However, how long should I put up with it before deciding
    > something needs changing, rather than just needing to get used to it?

    Check the adjustment first. Sit on the saddle with one pedal at the bottom of its travel, put your
    heel on the pedal and your leg should be straight. If the knee is noticeably bent then the saddle's
    too low. Put your elbow against the nose of the saddle, your fingertips should touch the horizontal
    part of the handlebars. If you can't touch the bar or your fingers overshoot a long way, the reach
    is likely wrong. Sometimes you can get away with shuffling the saddle backwards / forwards on its
    rails, sometimes you need to change the stem. Sitting on the saddle and holding the bars, you
    should be balanced with some weight on your hands and your "sit bones" on the broad part of the
    saddle. If your sit bones are wider or narrower than the wide bit of the saddle, it will nbever be
    comfortable (most blokes are OK on this). The top of the saddle needs to be roughly level, you can
    tweak it up & down a bit for comfort adjustment but if you can't get close with it level there's
    probably a problem. Squidgy saddles are comfortable for the first ten minutes and hell on eart
    after an hour (in my experience, your arse may vary). A good firm saddle is better. Eventually it
    breaks your arse in :)

    How long to give it? Fiunger in the air, about ten rides over a maxiumum of three weeks, If it's
    still uncomfortable after that, consider a change. No doubt others will disagree: this is completely
    empirical (read: a guess)

    --
    Guy
    ===

    WARNING: may contain traces of irony. Contents may settle after posting.
    http://www.chapmancentral.co.uk
     
  15. Keith Willoughby wrote:

    > Hey all,
    >
    > Desperately needing some exercise before my heart gives up out of boredom, I've decided to give
    > cycling a bash. I haven't cycled since I was a kid, and I know pretty much nothing about bikes.
    >
    > I've been given a mountain bike (Giant Boulder Shock, if that means anything to you. Seems OK to
    > me, although it's damned heavy). I'd have rathered a tourer - I only want to ride on roads and cycle-
    > paths, and wouldn't mind doing some medium-distance stuff in the future - but beggars can't be
    > choosers. I can't really justify spending money on a new bike when I have use of this one for
    > nothing.
    >
    > So, given that if I end up off-road, it'll be because I lost control whilst on an actual road -
    > can I do anything to make it a better road cycle that wouldn't be expensive? Specifically, can I
    > fit some smoother tires to it to replace the knobbly ones on it now? And would that help me any?
    > (They're 26x2.1, according to what's written on them. Does that mean those are the only size tires
    > I can use?)
    >
    > Cheers.
    >

    The basic rule is not to get a tyre narrower than the rim. Measure the rim and go for something at
    least 25% wider. Unless it has chromed steel road-roller wheels, most road tyres should fit. I like
    Vredestein S-Licks personally, but they're tarmac-only.
     
  16. Andyp

    Andyp Guest

    "Simon Brooke" <[email protected]> wrote

    > Yes, fitting slicks would be a good move, and not expensive. You will need 26" tyres, but you can
    > use narrower ones - precisely how narrow depends a bit on your rims so seek advice from your local
    > bike shop. But simply pumping up your tyres harder may improve things a bit
    > - the harder they are the less rolling resistance they will have, within certain limits and with a
    > number of minor caveats.

    When I swapped to slicks on my MTB I found the difference to my journey times negligible. Is this
    risk compensation at work somewhere?
     
  17. W K

    W K Guest

    "Keith Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Peter Clinch wrote:
    >
    > [...]
    >
    > > If you don't fancy lycra shorts for reasons of sartorial elegance (or lack thereof)
    >
    > The world isn't ready to see me in Lycra shorts.

    They don't see me in them much. But I have been known to wear them under jeans. (Ha... that makes
    the roadies think you're useless).

    I've found the seat on a cheap Giant pretty good. Note that some "sore bum" is to do with muscular
    soreness that goes when you have more practice.

    Rubbing and numbness OTOH is not in this category.
     
  18. Marc

    Marc Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] says...
    > While I'm posting - saddles. To put it bluntly, my arse hurts, and I've only been on the damn
    > thing for an hour. Now, I've read the stuff about adjusting, and getting a new saddle that's more
    > suitable for my dimensions (lard-arsed). However, how long should I put up with it before deciding
    > something needs changing, rather than just needing to get used to it?
    >
    >
    No time at at! Get your self to Rocky Mountain Cycles in Talbot Green or Simon's Cycles in Cowbridge
    and buy a proper saddle ( I suggest a Brookes
    B17), other's advice will vary ( Ewan's and Simon's will also and take longer)
     
  19. davebee

    davebee New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Messages:
    442
    Likes Received:
    0
    [snip]

    The basic rule is not to get a tyre narrower than the rim. Measure the rim and go for something at
    least 25% wider. Unless it has chromed steel road-roller wheels, most road tyres should fit. I like
    Vredestein S-Licks personally, but they're tarmac-only. [/B]

    [/snip]

    oops. I am running continental Grand Prix tyres which I think are slightly thinner than my vuelta Airline rims. I haven't had any pinch flats or anything **yet** so I will hold my breath and carry on praying. They are very nice tyres by the way, and work well in the wet or dry. but not so good on ice.
     
  20. Vince

    Vince Guest

    "W K" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > "Keith Willoughby" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > > Peter Clinch wrote:
    > >
    > > [...]
    > >
    > > > If you don't fancy lycra shorts for reasons of sartorial elegance (or lack thereof)
    > >
    > > The world isn't ready to see me in Lycra shorts.
    >
    As far I'm concerned, the world isn't ready to see - anybody - in Lycra shorts. Lycra short do more
    to make cycling look like a 'geek' activity than any other single accoutrement. The worst possible
    combination being lycra shorts and hemet both of which are invariably too small for the rider. You
    don't need special clothes to ride a bike, just comfortable ones.

    As for the tyres; it's just for leisure cycling so you don't need to go to town (well you do
    but...), just look for ones with a continuous line of rubber on the centre line for smooth rolling
    on the road.

    Vince.
     
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