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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys....I've been an avid mountain biker for years, but we have had so much rain in the last few weeks that the trails are complete mush. So, I have been doing most of my riding on the road around the city and in some rural areas. This led me to start thinking perhaps I should get a road bike. I haven't been on one in years, so I have a few questions:

Will I have significantly more speed/maneuverability than I have on my mountain bike? How much weight would I save? Do you guys feel that road biking is more/less dangerous than mountain biking? Basically I am wondering if should invest in a road bike, or just stick to my mountain bike only. Any other advantages/disadvantages?


Thanks!
 

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V-twin anyone?
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The road bike will definitely be faster than a mountain bike. The tire profile is a lot thinner and the bike will be lighter, depending on what model you choose.

There are different frames out there made of titanium, steel, aluminum, carbon fiber...and other composites so you'll definitely have to do some homework on what type of frame will suit your riding style. If you like comfort, carbon fiber is good, but for me, it just flexes way too much. I like to throw the bike side-to-side to get up to speed. I haven't ridden the new Trek CF models, but I'm sure they're a lot stiffer than my old Giant. I haven't ridden on a titanium bike but I hear they are light, rigid, and strong. Steel is heavy but I love the tightness of the frame. Aluminum...I'm not too impressed with them. They can get damaged easily because they are so thin. Light, however.

Riding on the road should be safer than a MTB. No shin guards, sharkskins, back protector, etc to put on when road biking. Just your helmet,gloves, and shoes. Speaking of shoes, it sucks to not get your shoes out of the pedals and fall over in front of everyone at a major stoplight. hahahaha. If you ride in a tight pack, that can be dangerous, but that's major league stuff that you and I don't worry about.

Premium road bikes aren't cheap, and neither are premium MTB's so you know what to expect to pay for quality. Components such as Shimano's and Campagnolo's are the only way to go.

MTB'ing is more challenging due to it's 'road' course, but you run the risk of breaking a bone. Road biking is more relaxed, but you'll want to challenge yourself every time. Time trials are fun but just regular riding is fun as well.

I'd say buy yourself a used road bike, your interest warrants it. If you think you want to get serious after a few months, upgrade. I hate seeing people buy $1000 + bikes and find out that they get tired of riding...i.e. burning calories and staying fit.
 

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My take is that MTB and road biking are similar to dirt bike riding and street riding. In the dirt, you plan on going down. On the street, I don't know of any road bikers that wear protective gear except helmets. :squid :)

There are some road riders around here that are absolute nuts resulting in one or two deaths each year mainly in traffic on hills. Some busses even have signs on the back reminding riders that "spandex" doesn't offer much protection. (Actually I think it's really Lycra :) ).

I would suggest riding your MTB on the road a while to see how you like it. You might want to minimize your investment to just some new tires that are better suited to asphalt. My $0.02.
 

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Why not get another set of rims w/ skinny tires on them?
 

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Dont kid yourself into thinking that the more money you spend on a road bike, the more you will enjoy it. I have an expensive Trek bike and an old Schwinn World from the 1980's that I picked up at goodwill for 15 bucks. The Schwinn is the bike I choose to ride everyday, well built, strong, easy to ride and fix and fairly light and fast. I love the clunker Schwinn. I let my girfriend ride the Trek when we go riding together.
 

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Speed will NOT increase just by getting a road bike. Tires make a tiny difference. You need to keep in mind here you are the engine. If you are slow on a mtb you will be slow on a road bike, no magic involved. The few pounds lighter a road bike is will only be noticed loading and unloading it from your truck.Ive been down these roads on high end bikes with top shelf components. I finally ended up shit canning the road weenie bike in favor of a second set of rims with specialized slicks on them with taller gearing on the cluster. I had much more fun and I didnt have to get re aquainted with the bike each tine I went on a different style ride.

If your looking for speed look to a recumbant, hands down the fastest of all pedal powered vehicles. But be warned they are very odd feeling initally, riding with your hands under your ass just feels so wierd! They are definatly more dangerous. I had one and while I could achive 50mph on flat ground I also got run off the road many times because you are so low most people cant see you.... They are also not nearly as manuverable as a upright is.
 

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Depending on your places to ride, road biking can be magnitudes more dangerous than mtn biking. The primary risk that concerns a roadie is getting hit from a motorist. Depending on the road, time of day, direction of travel relative to the rising or setting sun, windshield glare, attentiveness of drivers, their visual acuity, driving skill, speed, reflexes, etc.
 

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We have a decent trail system around here so I can use my road bike. There are a couple of nice paved ones. I prefer a road bike myself because I feel I can cover more ground. There are only a few people on the trails that can sustain as fast a pace on mountain bikes due to substantially higher rotating masses and gearing.

My view differs slightly that higher-end bikes don't matter, because I find them noticably more responsive but definately at deminishing returns. I have gotten many years of use from an old Schwinn Tour De Lux. However, I had to switch to mountain bike components on the rear after breaking a rear sprocket. I still have that bike that I thought was light at the time, but it is heavy by most current standards.

I also have a bike I custom built by ordering the individual components and assembling it myself.

I like to use taller gears and a slower cadence for a moderately fast pace over 30 or more miles. I am slow by racing standards but pass mountain bikes regularly on relatively flat terrain. Rarely though I do have some pass me. Their's a lot to say about youth and training! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Guys thanks for all of the input. Eyespy you are right one with my number one concern, that being some guy in a car plowing into me. I notice a couple of suggestions to get different rims and tires, and that's an option I considered as well. Do the smaller tires really make that much of a difference? I had an incident today where this guy in a truck apparently didn't see me, and I just happened to turn around in time to see him. I was able to just go off-road to let this guy pass...I'm guessing that wouldn't be an option on regular road tires...am I really going to wear out my mtn. tires that much faster by hitting pavement a few days a week?
 

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Hams51 said:
Speaking of shoes, it sucks to not get your shoes out of the pedals and fall over in front of everyone at a major stoplight.
Yes! I have the Look-style clips with stiff shoes. I have found that I generally perfer not having my feet restricted over the marginal benefit of clips. I can move my feet around on pedals to use slightly different muscles, plus walking in the shoes sucks!

I seldom ride aggressive enough to be concerned about a foot slipping off and crashing in clips can be a real hassle.
 

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ServoR6 said:
Guys thanks for all of the input. Eyespy you are right one with my number one concern, that being some guy in a car plowing into me. I notice a couple of suggestions to get different rims and tires, and that's an option I considered as well. Do the smaller tires really make that much of a difference? I had an incident today where this guy in a truck apparently didn't see me, and I just happened to turn around in time to see him. I was able to just go off-road to let this guy pass...I'm guessing that wouldn't be an option on regular road tires...am I really going to wear out my mtn. tires that much faster by hitting pavement a few days a week?
It happened recently to a patient of mine, a local business owner. He did not survive. Driver was blinded by the sun setting and could not see the rider through the glare.

Light wheels have less rotational mass and a lower polar moment of inertia and are enormously easier to accelerate quickly compared to heavier wheels, especially on a light road bike. Whatever you do, a mirror is essential, I used to use the kind that attaches to the side of my helmet.
 

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V-twin anyone?
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BusaDave said:
Yes! I have the Look-style clips with stiff shoes. I have found that I generally perfer not having my feet restricted over the marginal benefit of clips. I can move my feet around on pedals to use slightly different muscles, plus walking in the shoes sucks!

I seldom ride aggressive enough to be concerned about a foot slipping off and crashing in clips can be a real hassle.
I stopped using the clip-ons also. It took me awhile to get used to them but they were still awkward.

ServoR6- I wouldn't go out and buy new rims for your MTB, just some tires that are smooth. The knobs on MTB tires does slow down the rotation of a wheel. Or there are tires that are fairly smooth down the center and have some knobs on very edges.
 

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No, I was talking about light wheels on a road bike. I thought that was what I was asked. To ride a mtn bike on the road, I would just use a std set of wheels with road tires mounted.
 

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V-twin anyone?
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Eyespy said:
No, I was talking about light wheels on a road bike. I thought that was what I was asked. To ride a mtn bike on the road, I would just use a std set of wheels with road tires mounted.
hahaha..I know what you were talking about. Shoot, a nice set of Mavic Cosmic rims are expensive.
 

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Hams51 said:
hahaha..I know what you were talking about. Shoot, a nice set of Mavic Cosmic rims are expensive.
I know, but my Kestral could use a set :cry
 

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Light it up! Light it up!
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i think the MTB with other rims tires would be the best solution. a real road race bicycle isn't made to withstand hopping off curbs and crusing down stairs. You'd have to find every wheel chair ramp on sidewalks and avoid every hole and drain grate in order to not eat pavement or damage your bike.
 

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I've done both the slick tire on a mountain bike and full on road bike thing, and there is a marked difference IMO. My experince is opposite of KH's, I could definitely feel the difference in weight from the frame when comaring the two. My first ride on my new road bike felt like I was on a rocketship, and getting back on the MTB felt like I was pedaling a farm implement.

If you have good roads to ride on, I would recommend a dedicated road bike, it makes a very noticable difference, but if you still like to jump curbs or go down a hard packed trail, a slick tire on your MTB will work well. You could always split the dfference and get a cyclocross bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Nate99 said:
I've done both the slick tire on a mountain bike and full on road bike thing, and there is a marked difference IMO. My experince is opposite of KH's, I could definitely feel the difference in weight from the frame when comaring the two. My first ride on my new road bike felt like I was on a rocketship, and getting back on the MTB felt like I was pedaling a farm implement.

If you have good roads to ride on, I would recommend a dedicated road bike, it makes a very noticable difference, but if you still like to jump curbs or go down a hard packed trail, a slick tire on your MTB will work well. You could always split the dfference and get a cyclocross bike.
:eek:nfloor

The "farm implement" line cracks me up. I think I am going to probably take the plunge and just buy a road bike. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should look for? I have always been partial to Specialized mountain bikes...what brands should I consider? And what frame material do you guys prefer?
 

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You can't even compare the speed between a road bike and a mountain bike. The road bike is geared differently to start with... it's much lighter and the ergos are created specifically for going fast for long distances (i.e. less wind resistance).

Get a Bianchi w/ Campi components. You will love it.
 
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