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Newbie to road biking - looking to get a bike....(17 posts)

Newbie to road biking - looking to get a bike....rory1
Jun 6, 2003 10:29 AM

Just a few questions and seeking your thoughts. I am currently a fairly active mountain biker - I have a 2000 Gary Fisher Sugar 3 that is my primary bike.

I am looking at joining the ranks of road biking, there are numerous trails (paths) for biking where I live. In addition, I may be getting a new job where I could commute - and stay in better shape.

I am starting the thought of a road bike, and I have minimal knowledge of specific road bikes. I am currently looking at a Trek 2200 or 2300 as my first road bike.


In addition, I use the Time ATACs as my clipless pedals on my MTB, and am thinking on using the same on the road bike so I don't have to get yet another pair of shoes. Does this make sense?

Anything else I should keep in mind as I progress?

Great planSteve_0
Jun 6, 2003 11:07 AM
the 2200 is more than capable and will give you plenty of good seasons.

I'm unfamiliar with ATACs, but using MTB shoes on the road is also an excellent idea; 1) saves you from buying an extra pair of shoes, and 2)you dont look like a duck when you walk around OFF your bike.

Just dont yield to the bikesnobs who try to convince you you need 'more' bike or 'road' shoes.
re: Newbie to road biking - looking to get a bike....kjr39
Jun 6, 2003 11:08 AM
I don't have experience with Trek roadies, so I can't comment on that, but I ride with Eggbeaters on my roadie and use the same shoes as on my mtb bike. Times should be fine on your roadie...
Another question - double or triple chainrings up front.?rory1
Jun 6, 2003 11:16 AM
I have been reading that some bikes come with double, some triple, and some (like Trek) have options for both.....

Obviously I am familiar with the triple, since my MTB has that (yet the largest ring in front is like a 44)....

How should one go about deciding whether a double or triple setup?

Another question - double or triple chainrings up front.?ClydeTri
Jun 6, 2003 11:23 AM
terrain and your ability...lots of mountains nearby you will be riding? think maybe a triple...very strong rider? then a double might be your choice...weak rider? maybe a think this out in advance, retrofitting is very expensive...
Mountains you ask........?rory1
Jun 6, 2003 11:30 AM
Does living in Denver count? (joke).....

OK, that answers one question.


Pro's and cons of triplesSteve Young
Jun 6, 2003 12:14 PM
I'm was in a similar situation a few weeks back so here are my 2c for what they are worth. I come from a mountain biking background too. (Stumpjumper M4 and Time Atacs).

I went the route of buying a set of road shoes and pedals (SPD_SL). Observations.

1) This resulted in an additional expediture of ca. 250 USD (!)

2) The SPD_SL's provide a better platform to pedal from on the road (in my opinion) - there just seems to be more to push off. The float feels different too - it's hard to explain but feels "free" as opposed to Atacs where you can float your foot but have to do this consciously. Some of the road pedals I tried lock your foot in pretty much one position. If you are used to Atac's you may not like this (I didn't) so worth thinking carefully what you want out of road pedals. As a newbie I think float is good to start with. Maybe after you get used to everything and understand the set-up that works for you one of the less floating designs might become more appealing ..?

3) You walk much more like a duck in road shoes - i.e. they are very poorly suited to walking so if you need to walk a bit then mountain shoes and Atac's make sense.

I's really pleased with what I got for the 250 bucks and would make the same decision again. However, it was not necessary to do it right away. You could just switch the pedals from the mountain bike and see how you get on before making a decision. (The downside of this is if you like to ride both bikes regularly when switching pedals all the time becomes a drag).

If it's your first road bike it might be worth considering what is available on close out (especially at this time of year). I got a very nice Bianchi for about 50-60% of the new price (it's a 2001 model). The plan was to get used to roadriding on that and then use the knowledge to make a more informed purchase of a better bike further down the road (assuming I like it of course).

I toyed with the idea of spending several grand on something flash and custom but in the end decided this would be foolish until I had a much better idea of what I wanted out of a roadbike...

what does your post have to do with triples??? nmClydeTri
Jun 6, 2003 12:18 PM
Come on Steve! you are a tease....!rory1
Jun 6, 2003 12:19 PM
Thanks for the information you provided. Good thoughts to consider.

your post subject was "pros and cons of triples"..... do you have comments on that too?

Sorry there was a fire alarm ...Steve Young
Jun 6, 2003 1:01 PM
half way through my post and I forgot to put in the salient bit of information before I posted.

I got a triple (to the derision of a couple of my more hardcore roadie friends). They were the ones who persuaded me to buy a roadbike in the first place....

The small chainring is very helpful. I live in the Bay area where there are some hills although it would be an exageration to describe them as mountains. I've been training up old La Honda with a fit friend. He speeds up (twice) on a double and I labour up the harder part in the lowest gear (once).

The bottom line is that as a newbie, I find the triple ring very useful where more experienced riders clearly have less need of it. I'd recommend going with it if there any hills at all where you are.

One comment. I don't know what the right answer to this is (perhaps one of the more experienced cyclists can help). Chainrings are 30, 42,52. However my block is a 12-27 and this leaves gaps which are too big between the gears. i.e. My cadence changes by more than 10 rpm when I make some shifts and this is just too much.

With a triple I think it would make sense to have a much tighter block (perhaps 12-23 and keep the small chainring as a bailout. I think this makes sense but I want to do a few hundred more miles and be sure before I make any changes.)

(as background, mountain biking fitness per se may not be an indicator of whether a triple is a good idea or not. I generally spend 4-6 hours plus a week mountain biking (in the Santa Cruz mountains or at Skeegs on the SF peninsula) so I would regard myself as being in reasonable condition although most of the roadies I have met seem to drop me without changing gear !!


The perfect cassette (for me anyway...)CurtSD
Jun 6, 2003 1:34 PM
I don't know why Shimano doesn't offer it, but I always take my 12-27, and convert it to a 13-27 (13-14-15-16-17-19-21-24-27). This conversion gives you the same jumps in the high end as a 12/23, while giving better low gears for those (like me) who need it. I don't spin out the 53/13 until about 40 mph, so I never miss the 12.
Jun 7, 2003 6:03 AM
I have 13-28 on my touring bike (13-14-15-16-17-19-21-23-28). It began life as a Shimano 12-23. I replaced 12 & 13 with a 13 (built-in spacer) and added the 28 (all from Sheldon Brown). The big jump at the end is not a problem and I don't miss the 12 either.

Another question - double or triple chainrings up front.?Steve_0
Jun 6, 2003 11:30 AM
Unless you live in some serious hills, two is usually enough; just get yourself a wider spread on the rear if necessary.
Trek 2300? Norco RD Two?Eug
Jun 6, 2003 12:30 PM
I haven't ridden one, but consider the Norco RD Two - full Ultegra with Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels. I haven't ridden it, but I mention it because around here it's significantly cheaper than the Trek 2300, which is similarly spec'd.

P.S. While I'm no SuperRoadie (TM), I ride Shimano 535 SPD pedals (now discontinued) on my MTB and 515 on the road bike. Works fine.

P.P.S. I'm a wimp and I NEED my triple. On the way to work there is quite a steep hill and if I stick to my 42 middle ring I have to mash so hard it hurts my knees. I have to drop down to my granny (30) and use at least my second biggest cog (23). So what if I can only spin up the hill at 10 mph...

I think it won't be too long until I'd be strong enough to use a 39T and a 27 rear, but alas my biggest cog is only a 25 anyway, and AFAIK the Trek 2200 and 2300 only come with a 12-25. (I suppose your LBS could swap it out for a 12-27 if you're lucky though.)
Isnt NORCO only available in Canada??? nmClydeTri
Jun 6, 2003 12:32 PM
Here is a list of US Norco dealers...Eug
Jun 6, 2003 12:41 PM
I'm in Canada which means it might be easier to get here, but I see from their website that there are many US dealers, including in Colorado. See here:

The LBS I asked here said that Norco is trying to gain North American market share with road bikes and thus is really trying to undercut the competition. He also said that the Norco road bikes are already quite popular in Australia. (Can any Aussies confirm this?)

BTW, I myself ride a tarted up Trek 2000 and have no affiliation with Norco, so it's not as if I have a particularly biased opinion. I was just surprised at how inexpensive the Norcos can be.
re: Cross Bike..from a fellow dirt headjrm
Jun 6, 2003 3:29 PM
to much fun in the dirt and pretty capable on the road with a swap of the tires. If you want versitility go with a triple mountain groupo.

I use my sidi dom's and atac aliums on my CX bike. They work fine.