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Two bike questions ...(13 posts)

Two bike questions ...Philber
Jun 24, 2002 11:27 AM
I just completed my first tri, olympic distance, and I did the bike on my mtn bike with slicks on it. My mtn bike is a pretty light (23 lbs.) aluminum hardtail. I am a pretty strong biker, but I was amazed at how many people blew by me on tri/road bikes. So my first question is: how big a difference can I expect if I go to a tri/road bike? I did the 43 km distance in 1:34. Any idea on how much time I could expect to take off that on a real tri/road bike?

The second question is, I don't have much cash, so would this bike be an improvement from my mtn bike, or am I better to wait until I have enough money to buy something better?

Thanks in advance.
re: Two bike questions ...brider
Jun 24, 2002 11:49 AM
You can expect a good time differential based more on your body position than just the bike you're riding. If you can fit them on, try adding clip-ons to your MTB. Also, the narrowest slicks you can get on your rims, at high pressure.

The bike in the E-bay ad is interesting. While it has 650 wheels (one clue that it was built for tri), the seat tube angle of 73.5 degrees isn't all that steep -- more along the lines of a standard road racing geometry. One other thing -- the 8-speed Sach FREEWHEEL says to me that this bike has been retrofitted to use 8-speed (no longer a standard, BTW) from 6 or 7 speed. The problem with that is that the rear triangle would have to be spread to do this, and if it's not done by a pro, it's pretty easy to screw it up. Also, from the side view (and I may be off with this), it looks like the forks don't quite line up with the head tube, like this bike has gone through a front-ender.

Now to the components:
Tires look good, though they may be old.
Mavic Open 4CD rims are good, but I can guarantee they're old (haven't been made in over 5 years).
Hubs - Suntour has been out of business for over 7 years.
Shifters -- Shimano 600s are an old configuration. If they were really 8-speed shifters, they'd be Ultegra. My bets are that it's not index friendly.
Derailleurs -- CHEAP! You'd probably need/want to replace these within weeks.
Suntour Sprint Brakes -- their second to top of the line, and probably aren't bad, but they're single pivot. If you're looking for powerful stoppers (and coming from MTB background, you're probably used to some serious stoppping force) you'll find these a little weak.
Dia-Compe brake levers -- nothing special about these. The reverse running is to avoid some interesting cable runs.

In other words, this bike has been cobbled together from a lot of left-over parts on an old frame. If it were my money, I'd wait for something better.
re: Brider's got you coveredcguck8
Jun 24, 2002 9:57 PM
I couldn't have said it better myself. If I were you, I'd
go with just a regular road bike with some clip-on aero bars. Your very new to the sport...A $500 bike is going to
perform just as well as a $5000 bike at your level. Get
something that fits your budget and isn't garbage. You
will grow out of a bike and will want to upgrade. Sounds
like the ebay bike is a horror.
re: some answers.. or maybe more questions...sctri
Jun 24, 2002 5:52 PM
First off, to echo what Brider said, a set of aero bars will make a big difference no matter what kind of bike you are on.
First off, what type of bike is it that you really want? because there are some differences between a road and a tri specific bike.
Part of the question is i suppose, what are you getting into?
are you looking to do a lot of tri's,
all olympics, or longer?
and what do you plan to train on, the MTB or the new bike? do you ever plan to race on the road?
and so on...
with these answers in mind i think you could find something that meets your needs. Maybe you shouldnt jump on this ebay deal. It wouldnt be my first choice on a budget, but see what works for you, has some cheaper tri bikes, and stores like supergo and those big ones will be blowing stuff out in the next few months. But check out your LBS first, I bet that if you have a good LBS, they can help you waaaay more than us via the internet

my .02
Thanks for the great advice ... more questions ...Philber
Jun 25, 2002 6:44 AM
I'm glad you guys steered me off of the ebay bike. I know mtn bikes pretty well, but I don't know what to look for in a road/tri bike. That comment about the front end was huge - you can definitely see it on the side view. I never would've thought to look.

I should say, in answer to one of the posts, that I don't intend on doing a lot of tri's - maybe 2 or 3 per year - and I don't intend on doing anything longer than olympic distance, although perhaps there is a 1/2 ironman in my future, but not for a year or two for sure. Almost all my training will be on the mountain bike, mostly just because I enjoy riding the mtn bike.

I'm already running thin slicks on my mountain bike for the road and using the max air pressure (80). So it sounds like the greatest advantage of a road/tri bike would be the change in riding posture. That said, can I mount some aero bars to my mountain bike? And, if so, what would be an inexpensive set of aero bars that would work?

I'm not really into doing tons of mods or spending lots of cash to make this work, because I'm really just participating in the tri's for fitness, and whether I'm 363/500 or 279/500 doesn't really matter to me. It's just a bit demoralizing to swim a good swim and then have 100 people blow by me in the first 5 miles of the bike. And I'm not a real strong runner, so any energy I can save for the run is always gonna be a good thing.

Thanks again for the great advice.
Thanks for the great advice ... more questions ...brider
Jun 25, 2002 11:39 AM
Fro fitting onto a MTB, I'd say the Syntace bars would fit better. They have a few models to choose from. Check out (currently under construction, so you may need to look at some dealer sites)

Profiles are a good choice, but I think the pads being as close to the base bar as they are could be a problem on a MTB.
Jun 25, 2002 6:09 PM
Are you running a flat or a riser bar on the MTB?
a flat one will definitally give you more choices, but it may ne akward with your shifters...

good luck

Jun 26, 2002 7:01 AM
I'm running a riser, but there's probably enough room on either side of the stem to clip the aeros on. I might have to move my computer, but it's wireless so no big deal.

One question: do you know if road bars and mtn bars are the same diameter? I'd hate to buy a set of aero clip ons only to find out that they won't fit on a standard mtn bar.

Thanks in advance.
Jun 26, 2002 7:58 AM
Generally speaking, the diameter is the same from road to mtb.. but check out your bar, i have a titec hellbent on my MTB that has some weird "renforced/butted" bulges... that might make things more difficult...

the problem with pads.. and their mounting brackets not having enough clearence... i dunno, thats my thinking, but i only have experiace with profile... maybe someone else can talk about suntace, it was mentioned that they might be better in that respect...

Jul 17, 2002 7:05 AM
Actually, as brider mentioned, diameter is not the same. Clamp diameter goes from 25.4 to 26. Also, bar diameter changes (forget the figures), but mountainbike thingys (brakes, shifters, etc) generally do not fit on road bars.

Having said that, the aeros will work fine, just use appropriate sized shims.
Standards and aero clip-onsbrider
Jun 26, 2002 11:01 AM
Standard clamp diameter for MTB is 25.4 mm. Standard on road bars are 26.0, with some companies at 26.2 (Cinelli notably) and 25.4. You'd need to check with the particular manufacturer on what they use. HOWEVER, there is a big diffrence -- the bulged area on MTB bars is generally very small, while road bars extend several inches. The clip-ons that you'd need to use would clamp onto the bulged portion of a road bar, which is NOT bulged on a MTB bar. PROBLEM!

Another problem would be if you're looking to swap to a road bar for tri use -- your shifters could be made to work, but your brake levers won't.

The reason I suggested Syntace is that the pads are elevated significantly more than Profile, with respect to the base bar. You'd need that to clear the clamps for your shifters and brake levers. I've never tried to fit clip-ons to MTB bars, so there may be some other issues that I'm not aware of.
Standards and aero clip-onsPygme
Jun 27, 2002 5:52 AM
The first thing that comes to my mind when you ask why you got passed so fast by tri-bikes is the gearing. Your MTB probably has a 42 or maybe 43 front chainring. The tri bikes are probably using a 53 or larger front chain ring. That would hake a huge difference.
Okay, here's where I end up on all this ...Philber
Jun 28, 2002 3:20 AM
First of all, thanks for the great advice. I'm a regular poster on (mtn bikes) and it's nice to visit another forum (as a newbie), get good advice and get treated with respect and courtesy.

My mtn bike with slicks on it was "okay". Not great, but okay. I'm running Titec Hellbent XC riser bars (like another poster) and in looking at them, because of the bulge and the bends very near the stem, it doesn't look like I'll be able to put aero bars on 'em.

So the bottom line is: I'm not going to be able to easily mod my mtn bike for road use (beyond what I've done). I'm not entirely surprised by this, because my bike is an awesome XC mtn bike - there's no reason why it would also be a halfway decent road bike.

I'm only going to do one more tri this year, so I'll do it again on my mtn bike with slicks on. I'm only doing it for fitness anyways, so where I finish isn't that important to me. Rather than exert any more effort trying to figure out ways to make my mtn bike into a road bike, I think I will take a good hard look at how much road/tri riding I expect to do in the next few years. And if I decide to do a fair amount, I'll invest in a proper entry level road bike with some aero bars.

Thanks again for the replies. And as we say on the mtn bike forum, Keep the Rubber Side Down.