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Old September 19th 06, 07:56 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Nigel Cliffe
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Posts: 728
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

Maurice Wibblington wrote:
shopping - there are four cycle shops in Colchester :-)

If your budget is medium (or high), try 53-12, who are back trading in
another unit after the fire at the Cowdrey Centre.

If you want another opinion outside of Colchester, travel north to Mick
Madgett in Diss.

I'm clear that what I want is to

- go faster on the country roads in north Essex (a few occasional
uphill bits, but its probably as flat as anywhere in England) and
never want to go off road on it

- no need for mudguards, panniers or any of that palaver


I'm not too sure about assuming a bent over body position on the drop
handlebars for long periods. (In my 40s and never had a racer before).

- type of bike

Maybe one of the flat-barred racing bikes (aka Fitness bike), eg. Ridgeback
Genesis series.
Or traditional drop bars. I'd go for the drop bars.

In either case, you need to decide how far over you will bend, because the
standard low bar position of either is possibly too low for you, and its not
very different with the "fitness bikes". Some bikes come with adjustable
stems which will allow you to raise the bars, others will require you to
purchase replacement parts to raise the bars.

- type of gears?

Doesn't really matter. They will be derraileur. There is a difference
between Shimano and Campagnolo gears, but basically they all work. As the
price rises the quality rises (and weights fall), but eventually you reach
the point where the next step up is a massive hike in price for marginal
weight/quality changes.

If you know the gear you tend to ride a lot on your current bike, you can
work out exactly which ratios you should fit. I suggest that there is no
point having gears higher than 110inches, quite a few bikes come higher than
this which is fine for professional atheletes, but no good for ordinary
people's knees. (consult for articles on gear inches,
calculators etc).

- 2 or 3 front chainrings?

I'd get three for the times I am tired (and I live in Suffolk, equally
flat). But Mr Brookes will be along to say get two, or a "compact" which is
two with a slightly smaller inner ring than normal.
Probably for what you've said, an ordinary double and a wider range road
rear cassette (say 12-27 or 13-29) would be sufficient, or a "compact
double" and a closer ratio rear cassette (say 12-25), but, if you can, leave
open the option of retro-fitting the triple should you change your mind.

- very narrow wheels?

Not sensible in my opinion. I'd go for something with 28mm tyres for the
improved comfort. Certainly not below 25mm.

- dropped handlebars a must?

I'd go with them as they offer more hand positions than straight ones. This
gives your muscles and joints more options to avoid stiffness.
There are three on the top, with lots of small shifts between (same height
as flat bars): on the straight bit, hands outside the curve, on the brake

For what you've said, I'd try to get something with a carbon front fork if
you can afford it. The better comfort is worth the expense. And I'd get
something with mudguard clearance incase you change your mind about getting
wet and sprayed with horse muck.

Nigel Cliffe,
Webmaster at


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