Mutant Road Bikes

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Dave Mayer, Mar 7, 2004.

  1. Dave Mayer

    Dave Mayer Guest

    I've observed a weird new species of road bike around on my daily commute
    and weekend rides. These bikes must be new as they have all the latest
    gimmicks and are ridden by guys in their 20's. Symptoms:

    - Compact geometry with a steeply sloping toptube leaving a
    whole bunch of seatpost exposed.
    - Fattish tires with treads
    - Oversized alu frame with a garish paint job
    - Triple crankset with ridiculously low gearing
    - Drop bars with a treadless stem mounted upside down to
    give lots of rise.
    - Disk brakes?!?
    - Low spoke count wheels.

    Whats up with this? I invariably come up on these guys fast
    and see them struggling with a seat postion 6" too low (must
    be converted mountain bikers). Their high stems put their
    bars above the level of the seat making the bike look like a
    hybrid. Despite the low seat position, their seatposts are
    bending 1" back and forth as they thrash along at a 40rpm
    cadence (yep: mountain bikers). I draft them for about 5
    seconds until I get bored of watching their boat-anchor
    brake calipers dragging on the disks. Then I drop them.

    Is this the future? Have I died and gone to hell?
     
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  2. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

    Joined:
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    I have never seen this combination before. I have seen people riding something close with upright bars (and bar ends) as an urban cruiser, but without the low gears and low seat post.
    I don't catch up to many 20 something riders any more.
    There are many riders who don't know about proper leg extension, bio-metrics, aerodymanics, etc. Many don't know how to adjust their disc brakes.
    Maybe you could ask them why their bicycle is set up that way and/or if they would like some help adjusting their brakes.
    Some just want to ride and be able to put their feet on the pavement while seated and stopped.
    Catch a brand name and model that next time you pass one.
     
  3. Rocketman

    Rocketman Guest

    "Dave Mayer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I've observed a weird new species of road bike around on
    > my daily commute and weekend rides. These bikes must be
    > new as they have all the latest gimmicks and are ridden by
    > guys in their 20's. Symptoms:
    >
    > - Compact geometry with a steeply sloping toptube leaving
    > a whole bunch of seatpost exposed.
    > - Fattish tires with treads
    > - Oversized alu frame with a garish paint job
    > - Triple crankset with ridiculously low gearing
    > - Drop bars with a treadless stem mounted upside down to
    > give lots of
    rise.
    > - Disk brakes?!?
    > - Low spoke count wheels.
    >
    > Whats up with this? I invariably come up on these guys
    > fast and see them struggling with a seat postion 6" too
    > low (must be converted mountain bikers). Their high stems
    > put their bars above the level of the seat
    making
    > the bike look like a hybrid. Despite the low seat
    > position, their
    seatposts
    > are bending 1" back and forth as they thrash along at a
    > 40rpm cadence
    (yep:
    > mountain bikers). I draft them for about 5 seconds until I
    > get bored of watching their boat-anchor brake calipers
    > dragging on the disks. Then I drop them.
    >
    > Is this the future? Have I died and gone to hell?

    The bike you described is either a touring or cyclocross
    bike with all of the ultra-trendy features. Yes, the
    "compact" geometry is definitely inspired by mountain bikes.
    As for the cadence: I see just as many roadies running a low
    cadence as mountain bikers. The seat position is just
    stupidity - not a flaw in the bike's design. I ride mountain
    bikes (and a commuter bike) with very long exposed seatposts
    and have experienced none of the flex that you're
    describing. Being a "40 something", with neck problems, I do
    prefer a higher stem. As the population ages, this will
    become the standard, along with wide, cushy saddles on road
    bikes. What's weird is that young guys are buying these
    bikes. Very interesting.

    I'm surprised that you've seen a lot of these bikes around:
    I only know of a few models on the market (Giant, Cannondale
    and Kona particularly). The other trend that you didn't
    mention is toward what are called "fitness" bikes -
    basically, road bikes with flat handlebars. This is only a
    slight variant on the hybrid bikes, which are almost
    identical in form and function. The difference is probably a
    lack of shock fork and a longer top tube for the "fitness"
    bikes. Fitness bikes are starting to feature disc brakes.

    It is rather ridiculous to add 3 lbs to your bike's weight
    to get discs, unless you're doing fully-loaded Alpine
    touring. Also, I don't think I want that kind of stopping
    power when riding drop handlebars, especially in a pace
    line. It's hard enough to modulate side pulls "just so" when
    riding in a group at high speeds, wheel to wheel. With
    discs, one false flick of the brake finger and it's an
    instant bloody pile-up.

    Rocketman
     
  4. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    Dave Mayer wrote:
    > I've observed a weird new species of road bike around on
    > my daily commute and weekend rides. These bikes must be
    > new as they have all the latest gimmicks and are ridden by
    > guys in their 20's. Symptoms:
    >
    > - Compact geometry with a steeply sloping toptube leaving
    > a whole bunch of seatpost exposed.
    > - Fattish tires with treads
    > - Oversized alu frame with a garish paint job
    > - Triple crankset with ridiculously low gearing
    > - Drop bars with a treadless stem mounted upside down to
    > give lots of rise.
    > - Disk brakes?!?
    > - Low spoke count wheels.
    >
    > Whats up with this? I invariably come up on these guys
    > fast and see them struggling with a seat postion 6" too
    > low (must be converted mountain bikers). Their high stems
    > put their bars above the level of the seat making the bike
    > look like a hybrid. Despite the low seat position, their
    > seatposts are bending 1" back and forth as they thrash
    > along at a 40rpm cadence (yep: mountain bikers). I draft
    > them for about 5 seconds until I get bored of watching
    > their boat-anchor brake calipers dragging on the disks.
    > Then I drop them.
    >
    > Is this the future?

    Yes. They have been assimilated by the mass marketing Gods
    of cycling. Don't look now but you're next.

    > Have I died and gone to hell?
    >
    >

    Purgatory, maybe.

    Greg
     
  5. In article <[email protected]_s53>,
    "Rocketman" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > "Dave Mayer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > I've observed a weird new species of road bike around on
    > > my daily commute and weekend rides. These bikes must be
    > > new as they have all the latest gimmicks and are ridden
    > > by guys in their 20's. Symptoms:
    > >
    > > - Compact geometry with a steeply sloping toptube
    > > leaving a whole bunch of seatpost exposed.
    > > - Fattish tires with treads
    > > - Oversized alu frame with a garish paint job
    > > - Triple crankset with ridiculously low gearing
    > > - Drop bars with a treadless stem mounted upside down to
    > > give lots of
    > rise.
    > > - Disk brakes?!?
    > > - Low spoke count wheels.
    > >
    > > Whats up with this? I invariably come up on these guys
    > > fast and see them struggling with a seat postion 6" too
    > > low (must be converted mountain bikers). Their high
    > > stems put their bars above the level of the seat
    > making
    > > the bike look like a hybrid. Despite the low seat
    > > position, their
    > seatposts
    > > are bending 1" back and forth as they thrash along at a
    > > 40rpm cadence
    > (yep:
    > > mountain bikers). I draft them for about 5 seconds until
    > > I get bored of watching their boat-anchor brake calipers
    > > dragging on the disks. Then I drop them.
    > >
    > > Is this the future? Have I died and gone to hell?
    >
    > The bike you described is either a touring or cyclocross
    > bike with all of the ultra-trendy features. Yes, the
    > "compact" geometry is definitely inspired by mountain
    > bikes. As for the cadence: I see just as many roadies
    > running a low cadence as mountain bikers. The seat
    > position is just stupidity - not a flaw in the bike's
    > design. I ride mountain bikes (and a commuter bike) with
    > very long exposed seatposts and have experienced none of
    > the flex that you're describing. Being a "40 something",
    > with neck problems, I do prefer a higher stem. As the
    > population ages, this will become the standard, along with
    > wide, cushy saddles on road bikes. What's weird is that
    > young guys are buying these bikes. Very interesting.

    I think these are mostly repurposed 'cross bikes, though

    > I'm surprised that you've seen a lot of these bikes
    > around: I only know of a few models on the market (Giant,
    > Cannondale and Kona particularly). The other trend that
    > you didn't mention is toward what are called "fitness"
    > bikes - basically, road bikes with flat handlebars. This
    > is only a slight variant on the hybrid bikes, which are
    > almost identical in form and function. The difference is
    > probably a lack of shock fork and a longer top tube for
    > the "fitness" bikes. Fitness bikes are starting to feature
    > disc brakes.

    For various reasons, all three of those brands are
    reasonably common in the part of the world Dave lives in.
    Kona has its head office just over the US border outside of
    Greater Vancouver, and the Dr. Dew is one of the better-
    known fitness bikes, avec discs.

    > It is rather ridiculous to add 3 lbs to your bike's weight
    > to get discs, unless you're doing fully-loaded Alpine
    > touring. Also, I don't think I want that kind of stopping
    > power when riding drop handlebars, especially in a pace
    > line. It's hard enough to modulate side pulls "just so"
    > when riding in a group at high speeds, wheel to wheel.
    > With discs, one false flick of the brake finger and it's
    > an instant bloody pile-up.

    It makes more sense in Vancouver, where rain is a
    significant issue, and rain is a situation (while the fans
    of rim brakes don't like to admit
    it) where discs provide more consistent performance than
    rim brakes.

    3 pounds is a ridiculous guess, unless you're planning to
    transplant something from a KX250. Avid lists its Juicy 7
    disc system at 385g (picked at random as the first disc
    weight I could find), or well under a pound. Given that Avid
    single-digit 7 V-brakes weigh in at 180g (I'm discounting
    the Ti version's 15g advantage for being stupid), that
    suggests a total disc weight penalty of about 200g, or less
    than a half-pound. This costs nobody nothing, unless you're
    a Cat 1 hillclimber, and you're in a close one.

    As for the sensitivity of discs, you're suggesting an
    issue which is down to either a rider with insufficient
    skill, or a brake system set up badly. Now that I think
    about it, I'd be pretty choked if my sidepulls _didn't_
    offer enough performance to cause a peloton pile-up with a
    flick of a finger. They do, and I resolve the issue by
    using my brakes properly.

    Nothing special, just RSX dual pivots on the front of both
    road bikes,
    --
    Ryan Cousineau, [email protected]
    http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine/wiredcola/ President, Fabrizio
    Mazzoleni Fan Club
     
  6. G.T.

    G.T. Guest

    David L. Johnson wrote:
    > On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 21:58:11 +0000, Rocketman wrote:
    >
    >
    >>It is rather ridiculous to add 3 lbs to your bike's weight
    >>to get discs, unless you're doing fully-loaded Alpine
    >>touring.
    >
    >
    > I don't see it even then. Rim brakes _are_ disk brakes,
    > with a 622mm-diameter disk. To think that a mountain-bike
    > disk brake will be more efficient is plain silly. They
    > have their uses, but that revolves around mud.
    >

    Hand fatigue on long descents? A well setup hydraulic brake
    saves my hands considerably.

    I don't ride wet weather but I hear that non-rim disk brakes
    shed water much quicker than rim brakes shortening stopping
    distances.

    Greg
     
  7. On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 19:12:13 GMT, "Dave Mayer" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >I've observed a weird new species of road bike around on my
    >daily commute and weekend rides. These bikes must be new as
    >they have all the latest gimmicks and are ridden by guys in
    >their 20's. Symptoms:
    >
    >- Compact geometry with a steeply sloping toptube leaving a
    > whole bunch of seatpost exposed.

    MTB-inspired, and pretty common in the peloton these days,
    if you pay attention.

    >- Fattish tires with treads

    Beats pinch-flatting on the way to work

    >- Oversized alu frame with a garish paint job

    Oversized Al makes up for the fact that you can't get
    the same stiffness out of an Al tube of the same gauge
    as a CrMo steel one, assuming equal wall thicknesses.
    (erm, right?)

    No excuse for the paint.

    >- Triple crankset with ridiculously low gearing

    Not everyone is Tyler.

    >- Drop bars with a treadless stem mounted upside down to
    > give lots of rise.

    A consequence of the threadless stem. Many steerers cut too
    short to raise bars comfortably for guys who don't intend to
    impersonate Europros. Ergo, weird looking rising stems.

    The benefits of threadless are as yet unknown to me, and
    probably to be learnt at another time...as it stands, I'm
    happy with my threaded stem, and will probably use its
    position and dimensions as a means to selecting stem and
    handlebar position on a new bike--whenever that might be,
    and whether or not its headset is threaded.

    >- Disk brakes?!?

    Maybe you were looking at newfangled cyclocross racing
    bikes, where the discs offer advantages in muddy, ucky
    conditions.

    >- Low spoke count wheels.

    I'm not sold on these, either. But I'm a big fat bastard.
    Weigh me up on the bike and I'm my own two-man breakaway.

    >
    >Whats up with this? I invariably come up on these guys fast
    >and see them struggling with a seat postion 6" too low
    >(must be converted mountain bikers).

    Low saddles are a function of bad positioning, and perhaps a
    lack of confidence in bicycling skill. Beginners always set
    their saddles lower than optimum. raising the saddle
    requires confidence in your own ability to control the
    bicycle, and faith that such a change won't unduly
    compromise that same control.

    >Their high stems put their bars above the level of the seat
    >making the bike look like a hybrid. Despite the low seat
    >position, their seatposts are bending 1" back and forth as
    >they thrash along at a 40rpm cadence (yep: mountain
    >bikers). I draft them for about 5 seconds until I get bored
    >of watching their boat-anchor brake calipers dragging on
    >the disks. Then I drop them.

    You're exaggerating seatpost flex, or those guys are using
    bendy straws as seatposts.

    If you take pleasure dropping obvious novices, I have a few
    helpless baby seals that you might lwant to club to death.

    -Luigi
     
  8. On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 21:58:11 GMT, "Rocketman"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >The bike you described is either a touring or cyclocross
    >bike with all of the ultra-trendy features. Yes, the
    >"compact" geometry is definitely inspired by mountain
    >bikes. As for the cadence: I see just as many roadies
    >running a low cadence as mountain bikers. The seat position
    >is just stupidity - not a flaw in the bike's design. I ride
    >mountain bikes (and a commuter bike) with very long exposed
    >seatposts and have experienced none of the flex that you're
    >describing. Being a "40 something", with neck problems, I
    >do prefer a higher stem. As the population ages, this will
    >become the standard, along with wide, cushy saddles on road
    >bikes. What's weird is that young guys are buying these
    >bikes. Very interesting.
    >

    The older guys have money, and buy bikes, which creates
    demand. The bikes that old guys buy is what's generally
    available. So young guys buy them.

    At least, the ones who aren't so young and so under-
    resourced that they do their first few miles on beaters
    plucked from used shops or pawnshops or other such venues.

    -Luigi
     
  9. Frkrygow

    Frkrygow Guest

    G.T. wrote: [regarding disk brake "advantages"]:
    >
    > Hand fatigue on long descents? A well setup hydraulic
    > brake saves my hands considerably.

    I can't imagine this comes up very often for most people.
    I've ridden mountains with full touring loads and had no
    such problems. And my arms look nothing like Popeye's.

    > I don't ride wet weather but I hear that non-rim disk
    > brakes shed water much quicker than rim brakes shortening
    > stopping distances.

    Probably true, but OTOH - a little reduction in wet braking
    is perhaps fine. It tends to match the reduction in tire
    traction, and helps to keep the "rubber side" down.

    --
    Frank Krygowski [To reply, omit what's between "at" and
    "cc"]
     
  10. Rosco

    Rosco Guest

    "Dave Mayer" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I've observed a weird new species of road bike around on
    > my daily commute and weekend rides. These bikes must be
    > new as they have all the latest gimmicks and are ridden by
    > guys in their 20's. Symptoms:
    >
    ...
    >

    Not exactly the same species as you describe, but here is
    another version of the mutant road bike:

    http://www.bikecult.com/works/archive/03bicycles/bucking1.h-
    tml

    There was an interesting little article describing this
    culture at:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1024/p05s01-ussc.html

    And I thought the decision to put mid-fork fender braze-ons
    on my repainted touring bike was radical.
     
  11. Dave

    Dave Guest

    Rocketman wrote:
    >
    > the flex that you're describing. Being a "40 something",
    > with neck problems, I do prefer a higher stem. As the
    > population ages, this will become the standard, along with
    > wide, cushy saddles on road bikes.

    As an almost 60 something, even with a ruptured disk in my
    back as of a year ago, I still have the same seat-height and
    drop from the seat to the handlebars as I had 25+ years ago.
    And I just bought a Selle Italia XO. I am fighting against
    the ravages of time! At least for a while longer. :)

    -=Dave=-
     
  12. Jeff Starr

    Jeff Starr Guest

    Luigi de Guzman <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    >
    > The older guys have money, and buy bikes, which creates
    > demand. The bikes that old guys buy is what's generally
    > available. So young guys buy them.
    >
    > At least, the ones who aren't so young and so under-
    > resourced that they do their first few miles on beaters
    > plucked from used shops or pawnshops or other such venues.
    >
    > -Luigi

    Hi, based on that theory, and assuming that I qualify as an
    older guy, at 49, then the younger guys should all be
    riding traditional styled, steel framed road bikes.
    Certainly nothing compact. Of course I really don't fit the
    above profile, as I don't have money. I either have to save
    up or go into debt for my biking needs. Although I am a set
    of wheels away from being set, for quite a while. Life is
    Good! Jeff
     
  13. Jeff Starr

    Jeff Starr Guest

    Luigi de Guzman <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    >
    >
    > The older guys have money, and buy bikes, which creates
    > demand. The bikes that old guys buy is what's generally
    > available. So young guys buy them.
    >
    > At least, the ones who aren't so young and so under-
    > resourced that they do their first few miles on beaters
    > plucked from used shops or pawnshops or other such venues.
    >
    > -Luigi

    Hi, based on that theory, and assuming that I qualify as an
    older guy, at 49, then the younger guys should all be
    riding traditional styled, steel framed road bikes.
    Certainly nothing compact. Of course I really don't fit the
    above profile, as I don't have money. I either have to save
    up or go into debt for my biking needs. Although I am a set
    of wheels away from being set, for quite a while. Life is
    Good! Jeff
     
  14. frkrygow <[email protected]> wrote:
    >G.T. wrote: [regarding disk brake "advantages"]:
    >>Hand fatigue on long descents? A well setup hydraulic
    >>brake saves my hands considerably.
    >I can't imagine this comes up very often for most people.
    >I've ridden mountains with full touring loads and had no
    >such problems. And my arms look nothing like Popeye's.

    I don't get it either - a long descent means a long ascent,
    and after a pair of such it's not my hands that are tired...
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  15. frkrygow <[email protected]> wrote:
    >G.T. wrote: [regarding disk brake "advantages"]:
    >>Hand fatigue on long descents? A well setup hydraulic
    >>brake saves my hands considerably.
    >I can't imagine this comes up very often for most people.
    >I've ridden mountains with full touring loads and had no
    >such problems. And my arms look nothing like Popeye's.

    I don't get it either - a long descent means a long ascent,
    and after a pair of such it's not my hands that are tired...
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> flcl?
     
  16. Whitfit

    Whitfit Guest

    > - Triple crankset with ridiculously low gearing

    > as they thrash along at a 40rpm cadence

    How can you criticize for low gearing and too low a cadence
    in the same rant?

    Whitfit
     
  17. scituatejohn

    scituatejohn New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2003
    Messages:
    66
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    0
    These bikes have a 12-25 in the back with a 30-42-52 in the front. What is ridiculously low about that?
     
  18. Mike S.

    Mike S. Guest

    "David L. Johnson" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:p[email protected]...
    > On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 21:58:11 +0000, Rocketman wrote:
    >
    > >
    > > It is rather ridiculous to add 3 lbs to your bike's
    > > weight to get discs, unless you're doing fully-loaded
    > > Alpine touring.
    >
    > I don't see it even then. Rim brakes _are_ disk brakes,
    > with a 622mm-diameter disk. To think that a mountain-bike
    > disk brake will be more efficient is plain silly. They
    > have their uses, but that revolves around mud.
    >
    I haven't ridden discs on a road bike so can't comment on
    their functionality there, BUT I have ridden discs on a mtn
    bike and the difference is amazing. You stop the same wet or
    dry, muddy or not, etc. ...and that was with the Avid
    Mechanical discs!

    I could see discs on road bikes in certain markets: upper
    NW, BC, snowy/icy places, etc. For the rest of us that don't
    have to deal with rain/nasties on an almost daily basis, rim
    brakes are just fine.

    Mike
     
  19. Vic

    Vic Guest

    On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 19:12:13 GMT, "Dave Mayer" <[email protected]>
    wrote:
    >I've observed a weird new species of road bike around on my
    >daily commute and weekend rides. These bikes must be new as
    >they have all the latest gimmicks and are ridden by guys in
    >their 20's. Symptoms:
    >

    I'll bite, but I'll offer a simultaneous translation for the
    un-anointed.

    >- Compact geometry with a steeply sloping toptube leaving a
    > whole bunch of seatpost exposed.

    [translation] I ride a classic steel frame which mashes my
    balls if I try to stand over it.

    >- Fattish tires with treads

    [translation] I like 20-23mm tyres, possibly tubs.

    >- Oversized alu frame with a garish paint job

    [translation] I ride a classic steel frame which is stove
    enameled in muted tones.

    >- Triple crankset with ridiculously low gearing

    [translation] I ride a classic steel bike with a campy
    double up front.

    >- Drop bars with a treadless stem mounted upside down to
    > give lots of rise.

    [translation] I ride a classic steel bike with the bars set
    so low my nose scrapes on the front tyre. It worked for
    Merckx after all!

    >- Disk brakes?!?

    [translation] I ride a classic steel frame fitted with long-
    drop side pull brakes.

    >- Low spoke count wheels.

    [translation] I bought my tyres off a tandem enthusiast. On
    a clear day you can see some daylight between my spokes..

    Enough already: I think we get the picture by now.

    >
    >Whats up with this? I invariably come up on these guys fast
    >and see them struggling with a seat postion 6" too low
    >(must be converted mountain bikers). Their high stems put
    >their bars above the level of the seat making the bike look
    >like a hybrid. Despite the low seat position, their
    >seatposts are bending 1" back and forth as they thrash
    >along at a 40rpm cadence (yep: mountain bikers). I draft
    >them for about 5 seconds until I get bored of watching
    >their boat-anchor brake calipers dragging on the disks.
    >Then I drop them.

    What mighty victories! The stout old ladies and cripples
    must be left choking in your dust!

    >
    >Is this the future? Have I died and gone to hell?
    >

    If so, it's a hell of your own making, and you're
    welcome to it.

    Vic.
     
  20. On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 19:50:48 -0500, "David L. Johnson"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> It is rather ridiculous to add 3 lbs to your bike's
    >> weight to get discs, unless you're doing fully-loaded
    >> Alpine touring.
    >
    >I don't see it even then. Rim brakes _are_ disk brakes,
    >with a 622mm-diameter disk. To think that a mountain-bike
    >disk brake will be more efficient is plain silly. They have
    >their uses, but that revolves around mud.

    And ice. Here's a picture from this winter:

    http://jkk1.scm.no/bilder/hpim0616.jpg

    Needless to say, my v-brakes didn't work very well...
     
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