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Mtb'r thinking of getting into road-riding...need advice(8 posts)

Mtb'r thinking of getting into road-riding...need advicedrsam
Dec 3, 2001 11:04 AM
Hi, I'm sure you guys have had similar posts in the past, so sorry for that.

I'm currently a mtb rider (and avid mtbr.com visitor)and feel pretty well versed in this arena regarding what are good frames, dealers, components, etc...

Lately I've been thinking of entering the road bike arena, but know very little here.

Please tell me the major diferences between triathalon bikes, touring bikes, and racing bikes.

If I make this move, I'm likely to build my own bike rather than go through a LBS...if I had it to over, this is what I'd have done with my mountain bike, and saved a bundle.

Any advice here on frame and component selection for a clydesdale...(I'm about 250#...I know, I know...I'm fat, but I'm working on it!)

Thanks,

Sam
my experienceDAS
Dec 3, 2001 11:23 AM
When I went from mtbiking to road riding, I made sure my road bike was set up to suit a mtbiker. I made sure to get wide bars and long cranks. The wide bars are great for climbing. They should be about the width of your shoulders. The long cranks for for mashing. I recommend getting the same length as your mtn bike just for consistency.

I have Shimano Ultegra and it's been great. I just got up to 5000 miles on my bike and no problems with Ultegra. Nothing, nada.

The frame is the hardest choice. There are a million options. As with mtbiking, steel is comfy, AL is good for racing, Ti is expensive and plush. It's quite complicated. Personally, I would go with a mid-range Reynolds 853 b/c I like comfort and don't race too much.

Good luck.
What I didMoney D
Dec 3, 2001 12:47 PM
I was in your shoes four months ago. I'm 230 myself and factored that into the equation of what to look for. I shopped around and found a great deal on ebay for a full ultegra GT ZR2000 w/ spinergy's for $860. I figured with big guys, the Al will dampen the vibrations a little more and the plushness or ti or steel would lead to flex with our increases weight/strength. If you've been mt biking for a while and have a sweet bike, get nothing less than shimano 105 or you'll notice a quality difference and want to upgrade quickly. As stated above Ultegra is excellent.
I honestly think ebay or used in general is the way to go, just talk to the seller and make sure he's not shady. You might have to be more patient than working w/ your lbs, but it sounds like you've been down that road.
Good luck.
welcome to the road!guido
Dec 3, 2001 1:03 PM
Friends tell me road biking is harder than mountain biking. Everything's longer, climbs, flats, distances, times, so you end up burning more calories, and getting fitter in the process. Road bikes all have standard 700C wheels. For durability and a 250# load, you could go with a strong set of wheels, like 32 or 36 spokes, and run 28C tires until you get weight down to 165 or so.

Road racing bikes have short wheelbases. This puts the weight of the rider 60% over the rear wheel for good traction, and 40% over the front wheel to keep it on the ground. They scribe tight circles in turns, and are very responsive. They'll take you the distance in comfort.

Triathlon bikes are like time-trial bikes in road racing. They're designed for aerodynamics and straight-line speed. The rider is hunkered down on low handlebars or "tri-bars," equipped with elbow rests. You can't steer very well with elbows, however, and positioning is aerodynamic but not very comfortable. Like track bikes, tri bikes are specialist. They don't work very well for general riding, and tri bars are actually outlawed in many group rides.

Touring bikes mainly have longer chainstays, so that loading up the rear wheel will not put too much weight behind the axle. Touring bikes are also made for long distance comfort, still mostly made of steel, and are capable of maintaining stiffness while loaded, as low-priced racing bikes aren't necessarily, in the interest of saving weight. Tour bikes have slightly longer wheelbases because of the long chainstays, so they aren't as quick steering, but the ride is forgiving, similar to a mountain bike.

I'm sure others could add to the above. If you're a big guy, go for stoutness, strength. It'll provide a more responsive exercise platform for your body, which is one thing a bike is supposed to do, other than get you down the road. A few pounds of frame weight is not a handicap except if you're on the ragged edge trying to keep up with really fit racer types attacking a hill.
re: Mtb'r thinking of getting into road-riding...need adviceKEN2
Dec 3, 2001 1:11 PM
I'm not quite in your league (I'm 195 lbs), but I find that aluminum tends to be the best ride for bigger guys. All the hubbub about it being too harsh is in my experience from little guys. You don't mention, but I'll bet you have an aluminum MtBike?

A good option right now is either the GT ZR 1 or Schwinn Fastback Limited frame from Supergo (no I'm not affiliated with them, although I did just build up a new bike last month with a yellow ZR 1 from them). These are top-quality frames for a song... $350-400.

I second the recommendation of Ultegra for high quality, trouble-free performance. Actually Supergo also has some great prices right now on Ultegra components as well. You will need some bombproof wheels too... although on a road bike you don't need anything that takes the stress of off-road riding.
re: Mtb'r thinking of getting into road-riding...need adviceScot_Gore
Dec 3, 2001 3:43 PM
Sam,

I made the same move your contemplating a few months back and I too am 200+.

I looked around quite a bit and factoring my size into the equation I decided on a compact geometry AL frame. I had more concerns abount the harshness of my body on my bike frame than the harshness of the frame on my body. I've been very pleased with the choice. As stated in another post it's the light guys who feel bounced around by AL.

Good luck

Scot
Don't forget Cannondale too.High Gear
Dec 3, 2001 5:01 PM
The Cannondale CAAD4 is a great frame, very light and stiff in the bottom bracket. You might be able to find a good deal on one due to the fact that the CAAD6 or 7 is out now. Also do yourself a favor and look into Campagnolo for the components too. I ran Shimano for years but fell in love with Campy's shifter comfort and it's solid shifting. Now's the time before you invest to pick what road you'll follow, Shimano or Campy. Try both they have a totally different feel to them. Good Luck
My advice ...tarwheel
Dec 4, 2001 6:21 AM
Before you do anything, get a professional frame fitting done at a good bike shop that sells Serottas or has a comparable fit system. It might cost you $50-75, but it is money well spent. Fit is the most important factor in road biking, and could make the difference between owning a bike that gets ridden or just sits in the garage. Once you have the fitting done, you can start shopping around for a bike. If you don't have a lot to spend, consider eBay, but don't get suckered into buying a frame that doesn't fit. Don't pay much more than half the cost of a new bike because you probably will end up additional spending money on a stem, cassette, saddle and other components needed to make it fit you right. A used bike also will not have a warranty.

If you buy new, you can get some great deals on very nice frames from some of the mail-order, internet businesses -- assuming you've had a fitting done and know what size frame you need. Some good places to shop for frames include excelsports.com, coloradocyclist.com, gvhbikes.com. In contrast to some of the other advice given here, I would recommend a quality steel frame unless you are really hung up on light weight and can afford ti. I am fairly heavy (185-190), and couldn't stand the ride of the one aluminum frame I had -- lots of road buzz. Steel is hard to beat for the price, and nothing rides better. It's a little heavier than al or ti, but if you already weigh 250, an extra pound or two in the frame is not gonna make one bit of difference. You will notice the difference in ride quality with a steel frame if you put in lots of miles.