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road bike going off road(9 posts)

road bike going off roadDavid
Aug 29, 2001 11:58 PM
I recently read a web page saying that the author loves to use his road bike to go off road, does anyone do it regularly?

I'm afraid that riding my road bike on unpaved, gravel road might punture my tire, is my worry rational? Can road bike goes on unpaved trails (of course, not those with lots of roots and big bumps)?
re: road bike going off roadMJ
Aug 30, 2001 12:11 AM
most road bikes can take a bit of offroad (think Paris-Roubaix) - you may want to change out the wheels and tryes - or get a cyclocross bike where you can go anywhere - obviously be reasonalbe about where you go offroad
Aug 30, 2001 12:21 AM
I use my roadbike offroad regularly, on moderately severe (gnarly?!) fireroads and singletrack. The main increased puncture risk comes from pinch flats- but careful riding can avoid those.Remember that 1-inch slick tubulars were invented for unpaved roads... the grand tours in the first half of the 20th C were all held on unpaved roads, and many of the famous passes in Europe are still unpaved (the Gavia?). I'd say you can ride over the roots and bumps as well, care taken.

It makes more interesting and certainly hairier riding than using a mountain bike, unless the terrain is truly adverse: where I live in SE England there's very little good mountain terrain, and a road bike (with 23c tyres) easily suffices. It also generates comedy moments when the fully suspended downhill bunch (in Richmond Park or suchlike) get confused by this odd rattling character passing them, admittedly a little out of control.

Aug 30, 2001 12:56 AM
hey Jofa - are you doing the Hell of the North Cotswolds on 16 Sep.?
Sadly noJofa
Aug 30, 2001 2:18 AM
I never seem to be around when its on: this time I'm going to be in France for September. I'd love to do it one year- though I'm thinking of trying for the tourists' Paris-Roubaix next year: I may be a bit late already as I don't know if my form will be up to it.

However, I have to go into Spain from France in a couple of weeks for work... while there, I want to go and have a crack at the Angliru. This might be called a 'hell of the South', according to descriptions I've heard.

In any case... are you doing the HOTNC? or, have you done it before? It has the comedy quality I like in bike events, it seems.

happily yesMJ
Aug 30, 2001 2:36 AM
Muncher and I are both 'signed up' - however, I bet he's not kept any form while on holiday in South Africa the past three weeks

I'm game on - more so because if I don't do HOTNC I've got to do the Great North Run in Newcastle with my better half

I like the comedy value it has as well - very generalist, very English

I'm game on for the tourists Paris-Roubaix - I'd appreciate a post of any details you find - also thinking about doing some weekend cyclocross viewing in Holland and Belgium - hope to be racing cross in the SE series this autumn

enjoy France and Spain!
I even ride my track bike off road.MB1
Aug 30, 2001 4:31 AM
It is just terrific fun. Mountain bikes were developed for downhill fireroad racing -Remember Repack - by guys who did epic road/dirt rides on their road bikes. They wanted bikes that could be ridden to the top of the hill and raced down. Then mountain bike sales took over the sport since it took less skill to ride them and they could take so much more punishment than a road bike. Now you even see people taking ski lifts to the top of hills and just riding down.

Of course you can take a road bike off road, careful tire selection helps. It is a real skill and confidence building thing to do. Did I mention how much fun it is?
Do it all the time; helps to change tiresCory
Aug 30, 2001 7:33 AM
The breakthrough came when I tossed those dimbulb 23mm tires and put on 32s--makes a huge difference, more comfortable on the road and MUCH better in loose stuff. Now I have 32s on the Allez (actually only about 25mm wide) and 35s on the Atlantis, and I can go anywhere except sand and very loose dirt. Doesn't seem to be slower on pavement, either--at least I can't measure it on my normal training rides.
Not on anything serious...Mike K
Aug 30, 2001 8:44 AM
I've taken a road bike off road before with some success (read: no broken bones). But I would not recommend taking a road bike on anything really serious.
While a touring bike or a cyclocross bike can take wide and knobby tires, most road bikes cannot accommodate anything over about a 25 or 28mm tire. There is also no margin for mud clearance on most road frames.
Gearing (in most cases) is not conducive to mountain terrain and brakes are rather questionable by MTB standards.
Also, just looking at my road bikes and my MTB's there is certain degree of "fragility" that comes to mind. I know what I have done to MTB (even double walled, 36 hole 3X) wheels. There would seem to be just a tad bit less rock/root/drop hitting ability in a set of say Ksyriums with 23mm tires.. And then there is the carbon steerer/carbon blade fork....
Another thing would be the abuse your drive train takes from the mud and sand off road - I go trough chains and cassettes at a rate of probably 5 to 1 MTB to road (new cassette and chain about every 1k to 1.5k miles on MTB and 5 to 7k on road - also chain rings get trashed off road).
And obviously there are the comfort, control and traction advantages of suspension and big, fat, low pressure tires.
I think that if you want to ride dirt roads and some non-technical trails than a road bike is OK but if you want to get gnarly then MTB is the only way to go.
Just can't see taking that 10 foot drop on my road bike - 5" of front and rear travel on my dually seems like a more logical choice.. Kind of like taking one of the new boutique SUV's like the Benz, Acura or Bimmer for serious off roading - you could, you might make it home but you sure as hell would be a lot better of in a Hummer.