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road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 19th 06, 07:16 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Maurice Wibblington
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 13
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

Chums

Further to a previous post about upgrading from my initial cheap intro
to cycling with a sub 100 'mountain bike' (this a deliberate
decision), I'm popping into townat the weekend to do a bit of window
shopping - there are four cycle shops in Colchester :-)

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

-but-

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).

A 'fitness bike' as described on CTC seems to be the thing I should be
looking at - a sort of racer with straight handlebars, or a 'lite'
hybrid

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=3793

It's alll very confusing!

So what kind of bike should I be looking at? What shoulds I be looking
at in terms of

- type of bike
- type of gears?
- 2 or 3 front chainrings?
- very narrow wheels?
- dropped handlebars a must?


M
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  #2  
Old September 19th 06, 07:56 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Nigel Cliffe
external usenet poster
 
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

-but-

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 www.sheldonbrown.com 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
hoods.



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 http://www.2mm.org.uk/


  #3  
Old September 19th 06, 08:05 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Pete Biggs
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,801
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

Maurice Wibblington wrote:
Chums

Further to a previous post about upgrading from my initial cheap intro
to cycling with a sub 100 'mountain bike' (this a deliberate
decision), I'm popping into townat the weekend to do a bit of window
shopping - there are four cycle shops in Colchester :-)

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


No mudguards = a lot of extra cleaning, unless you save the bike for those
odd days where there's no chance of rain.

-but-

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).


The position needn't be terribly bent over or stretched out with drop bars.
An alternative handlebar stem may have to be fitted but you can have a lot
of the benefits of the racing bike but with a touring position.

A 'fitness bike' as described on CTC seems to be the thing I should be
looking at - a sort of racer with straight handlebars, or a 'lite'
hybrid

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=3793

It's alll very confusing!

So what kind of bike should I be looking at? What shoulds I be looking
at in terms of

- type of bike


Racer, tourer or something in between like an "audax" bike.

- type of gears?


Derailleur, with 8+ cogs on the back.

- 2 or 3 front chainrings?


Two will do if no steep hills to climb, though you might like "compact"
double, which can take smaller rings than a standard one. But a triple is
the safe if in doubt and it will keep your options open nicely.

- very narrow wheels?


Standard road bike wheels are pretty narrow but will take a range of tyre
widths. More of a limiting factor will be the frame. Some don't safely
have room for tyres wider than 23 or 25mm -- which will be fine with a
lightweight bike on decent-to-average tarmac. Generally, if it has
mudguards (or can take mudguards) then it'll cope with wider tyres as
well -- which you'd appreciate on more broken up surfaces.

- dropped handlebars a must?


No, whatever you like. Some of the bikes with straight bars are pretty
similar to sporty bikes with drops. I think they count as what the CTC
calls "fitness bikes".

~PB


  #4  
Old September 19th 06, 08:11 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Chris Eilbeck
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 261
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - whichone

Maurice Wibblington [email protected]/met writes:

Chums

Further to a previous post about upgrading from my initial cheap intro
to cycling with a sub 100 'mountain bike' (this a deliberate
decision), I'm popping into townat the weekend to do a bit of window
shopping - there are four cycle shops in Colchester :-)

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

-but-

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).

A 'fitness bike' as described on CTC seems to be the thing I should be
looking at - a sort of racer with straight handlebars, or a 'lite'
hybrid

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=3793

It's alll very confusing!

So what kind of bike should I be looking at? What shoulds I be looking
at in terms of

- type of bike
- type of gears?
- 2 or 3 front chainrings?
- very narrow wheels?
- dropped handlebars a must?


Buy a tourer. As soon as the clag starts you'll appreciate the
mudguards, and as soon you have to carry more than a phone and a
credit card, you'll think a rack with panniers is a good idea too.

I have a road-rigged MTB, a fairly nice tourer and a fairly quick road
bike. I wouldn't be without the tourer.

Chris
--
Chris Eilbeck
  #5  
Old September 19th 06, 11:20 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Simon Brooke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,493
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

in message , Maurice
Wibblington ('[email protected]/met') wrote:

Chums

Further to a previous post about upgrading from my initial cheap intro
to cycling with a sub £100 'mountain bike' (this a deliberate
decision), I'm popping into townat the weekend to do a bit of window
shopping - there are four cycle shops in Colchester :-)

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

-but-

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).

A 'fitness bike' as described on CTC seems to be the thing I should be
looking at - a sort of racer with straight handlebars, or a 'lite'
hybrid

http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=3793


OK, let's be clear about one thing. Most bikes are built by mixing and
matching fairly standard components. If you buy a 'fitness bike' or
a 'flat bar racer', the only difference between that and a race bike from
the same maker will be the handlebars and shifters. This means two things:

(i) to switch from straight bar to drop bar or vice versa, all you need to
change is the bars themselves and the control levers (although these are
quite pricey these days) - so whichever you decide to buy, you aren't
locking yourself in forever; and

(ii) the default riding position is identical, but the racer has lots more
hand positions so you can relieve pressure on your hands by changing
position regularly.

People look at racers with their drop bars and hard cutaway saddles and
think 'oooh, that looks uncomfortable'. But a racer has evolved to look
like a racer does because people have to be able to ride them six hours a
day for three weeks in any of the major stage races. If they weren't
supremely comfortable, people simply couldn't complete the races.

Flat bars are desperately hard on your wrists, because you can't change
positions. Soft saddles are desperately hard on your plumbing. Look at the
bikes which people who do a lot of riding ride, and think about why they
are put together the way they are.

So what kind of bike should I be looking at? What shoulds I be looking
at in terms of

- type of bike


If you don't want to carry luggage, you don't want a tourer. You're looking
for either a conventional race bike or a 'flat bar racer', and I really
would advise the race bike.

- type of gears?


If you're wanting to exercise on the road, given that you're in a
relatively but not absolutely flat part of the country, a singlespeed
(such as the Specialized Langster, which seems to me very good value for
money just now) would be a serious option. For people who commute
regularly in bad weather I recommend hub gears, which are low maintenance;
but that doesn't seem to apply to you so if you do go for gears a
derailleur setup is more efficient.

- 2 or 3 front chainrings?


In Essex, one is enough; two is overkill, and three is ridiculous.

- very narrow wheels?


Depends what you call very narrow. I used to ride 700Cx20, which is very
narrow; they look very elegant and were perfectly comfortable but
vulnerable to pinch flats on poor road surfaces. I now ride 700Cx23, which
is only very slightly wider buy a lot more robust.

- dropped handlebars a must?


No, not a must, just more comfortable.

--
(Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; not so much a refugee from reality, more a bogus
;; asylum seeker

  #6  
Old September 19th 06, 11:41 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Simon Brooke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,493
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

in message , Nigel Cliffe
') wrote:

Maurice Wibblington wrote:

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

-but-

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).


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 www.sheldonbrown.com for articles on gear
inches, calculators etc).


I'd agree with this. I have friends who go a lot higher, but my top gear is
107", and I don't spin out on descents until I hit about 40mph, by which
point you're usually faster getting into a tuck and letting gravity do the
work for you.

- 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.


Oh, come on... I can do a thousand feet of climbing just nipping into the
shops (not the most direct way, I admit, but one I often take). I rarely
if ever use my 39/26 lowest gear doing that. The lowest gear on my winter
bike is 42/26, and until a fortnight ago was 42/23. I can /once/ remember
having to get off and walk up a hill with that, and that was a fairly
steep hill and against a strong wind.

I'm no athlete. I'm overweight, 50+, with blood full of warfarin because of
deep vein thrombosis, and a hernia. If I can do it anyone can. You may
need a compact double or a triple if you're doing the Fred Whitton
Challenge or the Bealach na Ba, but in Suffolk?

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,


When I put together my current road bike I used a medium cage rear mech so
that I would have capacity to put on a 13-29 cassette if I needed it. I
never have. The bike has now been over pretty much every nasty climb in
the south of Scotland, and 53-39 driving 13-26 is enough. As I say, if
you're going to do the English Lake District you might want something a
bit lower.

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.


Good point, and someone no-one else has had the sense to mention. Full
carbon bikes are extremely comfy; if you can't afford that, carbon forks
make a real difference, and so do carbon seat stays.

--
(Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/
;; "If I were a Microsoft Public Relations person, I would probably
;; be sobbing on a desk right now" -- Rob Miller, editor, /.

  #7  
Old September 20th 06, 12:02 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
DavidR
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 105
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

"Maurice Wibblington" [email protected]/met wrote

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).


The problem with drop bars is not the dropped part; you don't have to use
it - and in fact many users of the non-head banging variety are rarely seen
to do so. My contention is is that having the drop compromises the
remaining hand positions[*] and hampers the brakes [**].

I find they work best when working hard enough to pull on them, such as
uphill or on fast, open sections with a gradual descent. They give a
position where I find I can get away with climbing on a double chainset
where I need a triple on straight bars.

But I hate them to my very core on downhills & on narrow roads with poor
sightlines. They are completely unsuitable for leisurely group rides when
people spend most of the time up on the transverse section (so they run
into each other). They are a big part of cycle culture and are oversold to
many 'lite' riders.

A 'fitness bike' as described on CTC seems to be the thing I should be
looking at - a sort of racer with straight handlebars, or a 'lite'
hybrid


One thing they don't say is that these bikes can be too short. They are
essentially drop bar bikes with straight bars fitted. Such dimensions are
ok for a utility bike but you might want slightly more stretch for longer
distances. Trying to adapt by fitting a longer stem is not as good
as building a bike with a longer wheelbase - such as mountain bikes.

The Cannondale Bad Boy is the only bike I know of intended for road use
that has mountain bike proportions.
[*] Hotly disputed on this group.
[**] Ditto. Except I know several regular users that agree with me. They
just think it's an acceptable situation on balance.



  #8  
Old September 20th 06, 12:56 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Rob Morley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 7,061
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

In article
Simon Brooke wrote:
snip
Oh, come on... I can do a thousand feet of climbing just nipping into the
shops (not the most direct way, I admit, but one I often take). I rarely
if ever use my 39/26 lowest gear doing that. The lowest gear on my winter
bike is 42/26, and until a fortnight ago was 42/23. I can /once/ remember
having to get off and walk up a hill with that, and that was a fairly
steep hill and against a strong wind.

I'm no athlete. I'm overweight, 50+, with blood full of warfarin because of
deep vein thrombosis, and a hernia.


So you push big gears and you've got a hernia ... :-)
  #9  
Old September 20th 06, 12:59 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Rob Morley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 7,061
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

In article
Nigel Cliffe wrote:
Maurice Wibblington wrote:

snip

- very narrow wheels?

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

You can fit 28mm tyres on all but the narrowest rims - I wouldn't
restrict my choice of bike because of the tyres it comes with,
especially as the shop will probably change them for something a bit
wider for minimal outlay.
  #10  
Old September 20th 06, 08:17 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Simon Brooke
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,493
Default road bike / race bike / hybrid / touring / fitness bike - which one

in message , Rob Morley
') wrote:

In article
Simon Brooke wrote:
snip
Oh, come on... I can do a thousand feet of climbing just nipping into
the shops (not the most direct way, I admit, but one I often take). I
rarely if ever use my 39/26 lowest gear doing that. The lowest gear on
my winter bike is 42/26, and until a fortnight ago was 42/23. I can
/once/ remember having to get off and walk up a hill with that, and that
was a fairly steep hill and against a strong wind.

I'm no athlete. I'm overweight, 50+, with blood full of warfarin because
of deep vein thrombosis, and a hernia.


So you push big gears and you've got a hernia ... :-)


I never push big gears. I'm not that sort of cyclist. I'm not into macho
nonsense.

--
(Simon Brooke) http://www.jasmine.org.uk/~simon/

;; lovely alternative to rice.


 




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