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Help! Where do I go from here?(6 posts)

Help! Where do I go from here?jwhite480
Jan 1, 2003 4:54 AM
Last Christmas my wife bought me a new Cannondale hybrid bike and it was great for about 4 months. Then I found that I had lost a little weight and was riding longer rides with a faster crowd...only problem was that the bike wasn't set up for it and my hands would go to sleep after about 10 miles. My goal in 2003 is to ride at least 2 centuries. I know that I probably should change bikes and have looked at a couple tourning bikes and a couple of road bikes, but hate to spend another thousand or so to see if that is the right way to go. Any suggestions on where to look for good used bikes or maybe converting my hybrid to a road bike??
some shops carry used bikes. I am not a big fan of classifiedsbill
Jan 1, 2003 6:25 AM
for people getting a first bike -- there are too many bikes and too much to know. You may get a great deal. You may not (because the bike is the wrong size, the wrong kind, uses an obsolete system that you can't get parts for, who knows?). Go to a shop and start talking.
My vote? You just should go buy a road bike. If you like to ride on the road, guess what? Road bikes are made to ride on the road. You won't be disappointed. You just need to worry a little about whether you're getting a road setup that is too aggressive for you (are you less flexible, back problems, etc?), because some shops will put you right into a racing setup, but there are ways to set up most bikes to accommodate most riders, as long as the fit is there.
The hands going to sleep thing, btw, probably doesn't have anything to do with the kind of bike. Either your fit is bad or you just aren't moving around enough OR you are plain gripping the bars too tightly.
As for converting -- well, I guess you could put drop bars on the hybrid, to see whether you like that, but you would have to change the shifters as well, and you still would have a hybrid that wouldn't give you the beauty and function of a road bike.
Jan 1, 2003 7:47 AM
Go to your LBS. Consider trading in the hybrid for something with a more standard road geometry (porbably not race though). If you're bigger then you may need to have more attention place to the details of the frame's bottom bracket (flex) and wheel set up (stronger wheels). You may also be able to trade in your hybrid for a better deal on a new (or used) bike.

The hand numbness thing may also be due to other physiologic factors other than the ones mentioned by bill like a history of local injury to the nerves under the skin or any of the several systemic causes of peripheral neuropathy (DM, small vessel disease, spine problems) though not likely.

Good luck, it's a tough question.

Great advice so farfeathers mcgraw
Jan 1, 2003 8:36 AM
I bet the reason your hands are getting numb is that you have only one hand position. As a real cheap fix you could throw on some bar ends and see if that helps. They'll also let you get lower and more aero.

Maybe you could get a hold of a local club and see if someone could fit you and help you buy a used bike. The classifieds on this site have some amazing deals, but only if you're experienced.
The way I see it...crosscut
Jan 1, 2003 6:52 PM
The hybrid phenomena created more problems than it solved, in my view. Being a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike, it doesn't perform EITHER of these functions, even to minimal performance standards. They are marketed and fine for the very occasional recreational rider. But the problem is just exactly what you are experiencing. What happens if you get serious about the road (or MTB)? You are stuck with a lousy, heavy, poor performing bike.

At this point, your best bet is to purchase a new road bike. $1000, while it's a chunk of change, can get you an awfully good bike, suitable for doing centuries and long hours in the saddle. One very economical way to go is to get a cross bike, used for cross racing (of course). It is almost as light weight as a road bike, but has more stable handling. It's suitable for century riding, touring, can accomodate fenders, racks, etc. Lemond has a good model for a very reasonable price.

The very cheapest way to go is to try to improve the performance of your existing hybrid. I wouldn't go through the trouble of changing handlebars and shifters (expensive), because you would still have a heavy bike. But you can try changing to a narrow road tire and add bar-ends to give your hands more options to grip. A lighter road tire will make a lot of difference.

Good luck
re: Help! Where do I go from here?Nug
Jan 2, 2003 8:21 PM
I had the same experience- bought a hybrid, ended up riding lots on the road, agonized over converting it to drop bars, etc. Glad I didn't. I did put on a flatter stem (came with 40 degree rise, I went to 15) and a flat bar. I put on small bar ends, fixed the numbness problem (Singletrack solutions, $17). And I eventually got a road bike (TCR2). The hybrid is a great around town or winter ride, so it serves a purpose (put on clipless/platform combo pedals). I would NOT get a cross bike if what you want is a road bike- my LBS steered me the right way on that one. Think about it- you have a compromise bike already. If you're not riding cyclocross, why get another compromise? Road bikes have road geometry. (I might try cross on my hybrid anyway, next year.) But you can have a flat bar roadie for alot less than any drop bar conversion (I spent LOTS of time pricing this out) and it will serve a purpose. Heck, Shimano's trying to create a niche out of this (see their "fitness" line).