Forum home Road cycling forum Your road bikes

My first road bike. **New bars

The secret riderThe secret rider Posts: 812
edited February 2015 in Your road bikes
So obviously downhill, all mountain and cross country riding is not enough :roll:

So decided to get myself a road bike. Unlike the other bikes I wanted this to be a cheap affair, to see if I like it. I have never riden a road bike before so after a few calls and some helpful people later picked up a Carrera TDF 2014 for a shade over £100 ! . . . . . Perfect to allow me to see if its for me.

WAIT !!! Don't click the cross in the corner of the screen yet ! I know its a Halfords special, I know it's heavy, I know it has the most basic of components from drivetrain to forks but for me, for now its perfect.

I don't particularly like the way it looks or how heavy and cheap it is but it's exactly the amount of money I wanted to spend right now.

I don't plan really on upgrading it at all, I see little sense in it. However if there is something that breaks or needs improving for a specific reason then ill look into it . . (see below questions)

If I like the road ridding thing this winter ill buy something tidy for the summer.

So . . .

Took the bike home this week and gave it a good clean as the guy who had it before me had hardly ridden it so it was all dusty. Quick clean and polish later and she is ready to rock and roll looking 100% better.

I know nothing about road bikes at all i'm sure that will become apparent in this thread but I know you good people will help me out.


Today after a clean I went to the LBS which happens to be a top end bike dealer (Europe's largest titanium road bike dealer) ran by good friends of mine and they helped me by doing a bike fitting I had not ridden the bike before but even on the turbo in the shop after the fitting the bike felt much better !

Swapped the tyres that it came with for some Mavic Akison tyres, I had read online the ones it comes with are almost impossible to change roadside and are not great so swapped them out for these which the lads had kicking about so zero outlay.

Living up in Scotland most of the time I am already thinking of using a tyre that provides a better wet/damp grip, thinking about the Conti gatorskins but happy to take recommendations. (700 x 25)

2nd thing is with the hills up here ill be needing to change to a compact chainset 50/34 I want to keep everything really cheap so ive found the same make chainset as the one thats on it but compact will it just bolt straight on ? Oddly they don't seem to offer it in anything less than 170mm


Some pictures

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Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,196
    Worth levelling the saddle when you get a minute - your knees will thank you if you do. If your bike shop set it like that during the fitting, I would think about changing LBS...
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    You will find the road biking will help your mountain biking a lot. Road biking is about controlled power and endurance. I find it really helped my XC riding.
  • dwanesdwanes Posts: 954
    it looks like a compact chainset is already on there, surely your LBS told you that?

    Nice bike, i think you've got a bargain.
  • dwanes wrote:
    it looks like a compact chainset is already on there, surely your LBS told you that?

    Nice bike, i think you've got a bargain.

    Never thought to check just read online that they came with 54, Hope you are right I will check in the morning. I never asked them to be honest.
    kajjal wrote:
    You will find the road biking will help your mountain biking a lot. Road biking is about controlled power and endurance. I find it really helped my XC riding.

    Thats what I am hoping.
    Imposter wrote:
    Worth levelling the saddle when you get a minute - your knees will thank you if you do. If your bike shop set it like that during the fitting, I would think about changing LBS...

    No the saddle was my error :( fixed now. It's practically level.
  • Thanks for all the replies. Encouraging to see some people like the bike and think it was a good buy :)

    As some people said it does indeed have a compact chain set on their already so thats £39.99 saved which is great.

    Went on my first ride this morning on the bike, and my first road ride in general, just went 14miles at 16.8MPH which i was happy with to be honest. could have gone further felt fine but i only had a limited time.

    Originally i thought i might need a shorter stem but after even a short ride out on the bike my hands seem to "fall" naturally to where they should so again another winner.
  • My daughters BF bought one of those at a very good price last summer and for the money it wasn't bad, I don't think it justified its £600 price tag but the amount he handed over was much less.

    To be honest he hasn't been out on it much and I think it would benefit from a few choice upgrades, wheels and tyres being the obvious but as a starter bike it's pretty good.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    .....Swapped the tyres that it came with for some Mavic Akison tyres, I had read online the ones it comes with are almost impossible to change roadside and are not great so swapped them out for these which the lads had kicking about so zero outlay.

    Living up in Scotland most of the time I am already thinking of using a tyre that provides a better wet/damp grip, thinking about the Conti gatorskins but happy to take recommendations. (700 x 25).....
    Gatorskins are durable but they're not known for good grip in the wet or for being comfortable. In fact quite the opposite!
    If your concern is punctures there's some argument for Gatorskins but I wouldn't get them unless I had a severe problem with debris on the roads. If you want good grip and comfort and reasonable durability there are plenty options but the Michelin Pro 4 Endurance seems to be getting a lot of praise lately. I'm using the Pro 4 Service Course which is similar but will be more of a race tyre and a bit less durable - I'm very happy with them. The Endurance tyres have a high RRP but you can get them heavily discounted like the current price at Wiggle linked below which brings them from £39 down to just over £20 each. Bigger volume tyres help with comfort too and the 25mm Pro 4 tyres actually come up closer to 27mm which is great for comfort with no real downsides unless you don't have the frame clearance
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/michelin-pro4-e ... road-tyre/
  • My daughters BF bought one of those at a very good price last summer and for the money it wasn't bad, I don't think it justified its £600 price tag but the amount he handed over was much less.

    To be honest he hasn't been out on it much and I think it would benefit from a few choice upgrades, wheels and tyres being the obvious but as a starter bike it's pretty good.

    Yes I agree even with my limited knowledge I can see its not worth the £599 tag, however i know they have been on sale for as little as £249 i think which is better but buying one like me used but almost new is the best way i think. I agree about the wheels and tyres. I have little money or interest in upgrading it however if i found a set of lighter wheels for cheap i could be tempted, but as with most things it's knowing what your looking for and also being in the right place at the right time.

    Plan for now is to ride it and get used to road riding and go from there.
    ai_1 wrote:
    .....Swapped the tyres that it came with for some Mavic Akison tyres, I had read online the ones it comes with are almost impossible to change roadside and are not great so swapped them out for these which the lads had kicking about so zero outlay.

    Living up in Scotland most of the time I am already thinking of using a tyre that provides a better wet/damp grip, thinking about the Conti gatorskins but happy to take recommendations. (700 x 25).....
    Gatorskins are durable but they're not known for good grip in the wet or for being comfortable. In fact quite the opposite!
    If your concern is punctures there's some argument for Gatorskins but I wouldn't get them unless I had a severe problem with debris on the roads. If you want good grip and comfort and reasonable durability there are plenty options but the Michelin Pro 4 Endurance seems to be getting a lot of praise lately. I'm using the Pro 4 Service Course which is similar but will be more of a race tyre and a bit less durable - I'm very happy with them. The Endurance tyres have a high RRP but you can get them heavily discounted like the current price at Wiggle linked below which brings them from £39 down to just over £20 each. Bigger volume tyres help with comfort too and the 25mm Pro 4 tyres actually come up closer to 27mm which is great for comfort with no real downsides unless you don't have the frame clearance
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/michelin-pro4-e ... road-tyre/

    Thanks for the info. After this weekends ride i was surprised how well the mavic tyres i've got did in the damp although i don't think i was pushing them at all :oops: and the ride was bone shaking at time but that could be a number of things (no carbon forks for one) :D
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    ...Thanks for the info. After this weekends ride i was surprised how well the mavic tyres i've got did in the damp although i don't think i was pushing them at all :oops: and the ride was bone shaking at time but that could be a number of things (no carbon forks for one) :D
    I think I rode on Aksions before with a rental bike. If that's what they were, they seemed okay though not spectacular. Having said that, I never tried them in the wet.

    There's 3 main options for a smother ride.
    1. Reduce tyre pressure in existing tyres
    2. Get bigger tyres to allow you reduce pressure further without risk of pinch punctures
    3. More supple tyres (light tyres with high thread count cotton casings etc)

    depending on the pressure you have now, you might not be able to do 1. Light high thread count cotton cased tyres tends to equal expensive, fragile, racing tyre so probably not the way to go.
    A lot of people seem to run very high tyre pressures and treat the tyre maximums as a target. You may be able to drop a fair amount of pressure without any problems, depending on what you've got now, and how heavy you are. If you're light you can get away with less pressure, obviouly. I ride 25mm Pro 4 Service Course tyres at about 85psi front and 100psi back, they're even comfier with 10psi less and don't seem likely to pinch but I like the handling at around 85/100 - I'm not terribly light at 85kg).

    I just realised this is your first road bike, not your first bike so you probably knew all that! :oops:
  • Glad you seem to be getting on allright with it!
    They aren't such bad bikes when they're boiled down, although slightly lighter wheels might be appreciated when those wear out (although it'll probably take a couple of years!). Even the cheap RS-500s are surprisingly responsive.

    As for tyres I've had Gatorskins for the best part of 4 years and found the grip to be OK- certainly not racing rubber but they're fairly grippy when it's dry but not too bad in the wet as long as you don't push it through corners too hard. They are almost certainly the best value tyres out there though- I've put best part of 10k miles into my last set and although they now have lots of small cuts (and even a gash to the outer layer of a sidewall 6k miles ago- reinforced and glued though) the puncture protection never really diminished, and the wear indicators are still visible.

    However, I've just switched to 25C Pro 4 Endurance as I've worn my 2nd pair of 23C Gatorskins flat so I can make comparisons between brands rather than just going for the same thing time and again. Unfortunately I've only done 40 miles so far on the Pros in one ride, and the comfort difference wasn't all that much but it did take some of the edge off. I used to run the 23Cs around 110psi, dropping to 100 at the front when really wet, and now the 25Cs at relatively high 90psi front and rear.
    Grip wise is too early to tell, certainly no worse than the 'skins, and same with durability and puncture resistance but they have good reviews.

    Hope you enjoy the road bike though- I'm sure it's only the first of many :wink:
  • Thanks both for the reply. Some really useful info. Please dont think as i know my MTB's i know anything about road bikes because i dont :)

    I find your advise really useful and I am learning lots.

    I think form what you have said tyre pressure could be my issue here. The mavic akinson's on the bike now are 700x25 and were at 110psi for Saturdays ride I am aprox 90KG's
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    ...I think form what you have said tyre pressure could be my issue here. The mavic akinson's on the bike now are 700x25 and were at 110psi for Saturdays ride I am aprox 90KG's
    You could definitely drop the front pressure 15 or 20psi in that case and you could drop the back a little bit too if you want a slightly cushier ride.
  • ai_1 wrote:
    ...I think form what you have said tyre pressure could be my issue here. The mavic akinson's on the bike now are 700x25 and were at 110psi for Saturdays ride I am aprox 90KG's
    You could definitely drop the front pressure 15 or 20psi in that case and you could drop the back a little bit too if you want a slightly cushier ride.

    Don't get me wrong I have nothing to compare it to but I think it could be better ride wise, so I will try doing as you say.

    Won't be this week though sadly as man flu stops play :(

    As a side not is there a way to tell what forks and wheels to look out for if they come up for sale ? (used of course) I only ask as ive seen carbon forls for sale in the for sale section for £25!! for example.

    For example are the forks all the same size ?
  • This would save a serious amount of weight current wheels weight aprox 4kg !

    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/fulcrum-racing- ... -wheelset/


    Must stop looking !
  • £200 wheels are a serious upgrade though when the OP has stated he's little or no money to spend...

    That said my desk stash might be spent on something like that some day
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • £200 wheels are a serious upgrade though when the OP has stated he's little or no money to spend...

    That said my desk stash might be spent on something like that some day

    Indeed 'twas me just dreaming :)

    Maybe not impossible something will come up 2nd hand though so good to know what to look for I guess
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    I wouldn't
    I'd like to know exactly where my fork came from before descending a mountainside at 80km/h with only the front wheel stopping my face hitting the road.
  • ai_1 wrote:
    I wouldn't
    I'd like to know exactly where my fork came from before descending a mountainside at 80km/h with only the front wheel stopping my face hitting the road.

    I assumed it would be too good to be true :(

    Shame, oh well.
  • Evening everyone !

    Would like to update everyone on a few things and surprise surprise ask for more help.

    Before I do THANKS SO MUCH for the tips on letting some wind out the tyres it has made such a difference today I ran 100psi rear and 90psi front and the difference was amazing ! Felt like I had suspension in comparison, with the exception of that pesky road surface where they just spray chippings onto wet tar and leave it the ride was alright, on that surface mentioned i think any bike would be a bone shaker !

    Today I completed my first 30 Mile + road bike ride on the TDF, nothing compared to most I know but for me another big milestone ticked off on my list of "newbie road man'! As mentioned the ride right out the gate was improved so instantly onto a winner. I found it great too peoples advice and took it easy and plodded around.

    ScreenShot2015-02-14at205733_zps946273b0.png

    I did however have some niggles and rather that guess the solution I wonder if anyone can offer any help to avoid me wasting both my time and my money. :)

    1 ) Feet position
    While riding I noticed that my shoes were at different angles and while this did not give me any joint issues or anything on this ride I wonder if on longer rides it will. Please forgive the pictures but I am just trying to make it as easy as possible for people to see what I mean and hopefully help. Is it a simple case of making the right like the left one ? straight almost and close to the crank ? to avoid issues in the future and potentially get a bit more power down.

    Oh by the way before the pics note I did not ride in jeans i took the pictures post ride after a shower :)

    IMG_5633_zps126dd8e4.jpg

    IMG_5631_zps085e9932.jpg

    2) Bike length / hand placement
    Okie dokie so again another 'special' picture :roll:

    IMG_5630_zps244a016a.jpg

    So although I found the ride OK I couldn't get comfy, now i'm not sure if this is because I am new to road biking or if its because there is a small issue or a few but I will explain how it feels.

    I felt like I couldn't find a nice place for my hands and when in the 'normal' position there seemed to be too much weigh in the side (outside) of my palm, to combat this sometimes I found myself placing hands at A and B , not great for speed perched all the way up there but gave the hands a rest.

    Originally I thought the stem (120mm) was too long, then i thought it was OK now i think it could be too long again ? I guess it could be bar rotation too ? not sure if its normal to not be able to find the comfy spot for new or experienced riders ? If a shorter stem is the way to go for now I assume I could just get a £10 one from eBay to try until I have found the right length as I assume moving to a 110mm or 100mm would be smart for now.

    3) Cramp
    Avoided it for this ride however . . . when applying power in for example seated climbs i constantly felt that i was on the edge of getting calf cramp ( both legs ) now I am assuming this is just lack of time on the bike but having still been riding XC and what not I would have thought those muscles would have been used to it ? I was hydrated etc and had warmed up. Again on this ride it was OK but I feel rather than plodding around if i was to go out and push I would get cramp so anything anyone can thing of to avid this would be ideal. Assume it could be the feet angle ? or something else.

    I appreciate there is a lot of text there and thanks to anyone who has bothered to read it !

    Thanks in advance for any help given.

    A
  • First off, the feet angle- I woudn't worry unless you start having knee problmes, I think I have the same issue as you with my right foot tending to rub on the chainset and left foot not, and been doing that for at least 4 years with no big problems yet. Just make sure your cleats have enough float/ are angled enough for your feet to sit at their natural angle one the bike, but I guess that's already the sace as you notice they aren't symetric.

    Hand position- unfortunately that's just something you have to work out yourself, but having thick tape (not sure how thick the tape it that comes with carrerra bikes- in the shops it seems ludicriusly thin) and good padded gloves will help make things feel nicer and help prevent nerve damage. Cyclists Palsy is worth looking up, but all padded gloves I've seen have the padding in the right place to protect the vulnerable Ulnar nerve.
    The good news with drop bars is that you do have lots of hand positions for long rides- why touring bikes still have them. I spend most of the time on the hoods, but if the road gets really rough I'll swap to the tops or drops to benefit from the padded tape, plus increases grip on the bars so they're less likely to bounce out of your hands.

    Cramp:
    This is your enemy whenever you change your riding position or style. I guess your position is more aggressive than on your CX bike and probably changes the active muscle areas slightly. I get the same thing going from the road bike to the TT machine, as on the TT bike my position is rotated slightly and can cause me issues. Also, I suspect you put out more effort on the road bike overall as you don't have to keep stopping the pedals to get over rough patches and such like, again even on my standard road bike I'm more likely to cramp when on the turbo trainer as you never have to stop pedalling for lights, descents etc and it is surprising how much more energy it takes from the legs.

    As you say, keeping hydrated will help- the isotonic tablets can help as well, and also I find keeping the sugar levels up help. Apart from that and making sure the saddle is in the right position (it should be after your bike fit) just going out and increasing the distances covered gradually will help prevent cramps- they tend to occur with me when I start reaching the end of my endurance.

    Good luck!
  • holiverholiver Posts: 800
    The bars on your bike look like they might have quite high reach and drop numbers. Some more compact bars might help by bringing hand holds closer to you.

    I just fitted some compact bars to my Kinesis which have made a huge difference to my comfort. I can now ride for extended periods of time using the drops too, which helps a lot on the flat.
  • ravey1981ravey1981 Posts: 1,111
    I would definitely try a shorter stem, coming from an mtb background (I did the same) you will used to a much more relaxed riding position. Bringing the bars back by 20mm will put less weight on you're hands and wrists and should be more comfortable. As you get used to the road position you can always drop the bars and or extend the stem again.

    I spend around 80 percent of the time on the hoods (you have this marked "normal riding/seated climbing). Try and get this position to feel as natural as possible by making adjustments. The road position will take some time to adapt to though.

    The compact bars suggestion is good to, I have some on my cx bike and I will probably put some on my road bike too when it comes back out of the shed, I find the drop position way more comfortable than by current road bars.
  • Thanks for all this help !

    I have to admit until now i did not even know what a compact handlebar was :oops: I have just googled it and read a few articles and feel a little more informed.

    just tried to measure my current bars as i cant find the spec online anywhere for this bike :(

    I think ( no idea if i have measure these correct but i have tried to do what is listed on google. )

    145 / 150 drop
    100 reach
    44 width

    I spent about 2% of the ride on the dropped part of the bars i felt it was too low and certainly not comfy so perhaps a compact bar would help.
    Am i right in thinking it would be best to try either a shorter stem OR the compact bars ? rather than both as it would reduce the length too much ?

    what sort of drop / reach should i look for ?(Need to find a cheap set) !

    Ref the grip tape, this makes sense now its been pointed out to me it is or seems paper thin and offers no padding when now that i think about it. I will need to change this hopefully its not a costly job and depending on the outcome of the bars could be done at the same time. I will look for some good grip tape with good padding.

    maybe these although unsure if the reach is reduced enough ? or if the other numbers are 'good'

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/bran ... prod118996
  • holiverholiver Posts: 800
    I would definitely try a set of compact bars before a shorter stem. That way the tops of the bars (the straight part either side of the stem) is still the same distance away which is good for knee clearance when out of the saddle, but the hoods and drops will be closer to you.

    Coincidentally I have a set of these for sale ;) They are 44cm centre to centre Pro LT compact drop bars which suit a 31.8mm stem clamp. I used them a handful of times before deciding they were a tad wide for me. They have 70mm reach and 125mm drop which is pretty much the most compact you can get. Just shoot me a PM if you're interested as I could get them to you for a tenner or so.

    I also recently fitted some Zipp Service Course CX tape which is very well padded and grippy. I'd be happy to recommend that along with Fizik Performance tape.
  • Feeling the weight on your hands is a position issue, try shifting your saddle forward a few mm to take some weight off your hands.

    I'm a MTBer and my first thought was to buy a shorter stem but doing this worked wonders. That said a 120mm stem IS long...

    Also bear in mind that unlike a mountain bike you're sat in the same position for lenger periods of time so small adjustments can make a big difference, I rolled my bars back around 1-2 degrees and the effect sat on the hoods was massive and made the bike much more comfortable.
    Advocate of disc brakes.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    A shorter stem will move the whole bar closer. A compact bar will move the hoods and drops closer. Moving the hoods higher on the curve will bring the hoods a little closer as will rotating the bars; both of these also change the shape and/or angle of the location where you rest your hands at the hoods.
    If you're not stuck for knee space, I'd start by shortening the stem. You can often get stems fairly cheap at a discount from Wiggle, Chainreaction, Ribble and others (Often ~€20). Shortening the stem is an easier and cheaper option than a compact bar. So unless you want a compact bar anyway, I'd start with this. A bar change isn't a huge job but you will need to transfer your STIs across and re-tape the bars. So probably new bars and new tape plus extra time to install. A stem is normally just 6 bolts.
    I'm not trying to put you off changing the bar, I did it 2 years ago and was very happy with the result. I just think a stem change might be a better starting move, especially if you can get a cheapish one.

    I got one of these a while back. Perfectly good stem if the colour scheme suits you. None in 100mm, would 110mm be enough shorter than what you've got?
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/ie/e ... prod124130

    This one comes in black and is available in 100mm length for a few quid more.
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/ie/e ... prod121018
    Feeling the weight on your hands is a position issue, try shifting your saddle forward a few mm to take some weight off your hands.
    I don't think that's the right approach. Moving the saddle forward gets you closer to the bar but also shifts your position to put your legs further aft relative to the saddle. If the pedaling position is okay, then saddle position shouldn't be changed to correct for reach. Also moving the saddle forwards can increase weight on the hands since you can't support as much on your legs in the forward hip position.
  • Thanks !

    I had not even heard of a compact bar till last night but thinking about it it would potentially solve the issue of hand placement also. The grip tape is paper thin anyway so needs changing. Don't get me wrong I'm not desperate to get bars far from it but seems like a good plan.

    Saying that it's a big job if you fit them and then don't like it. I have large hands later than most :) so placement always to be an issue I guess .....

    If I do go bars there are loads out there including some 70mm reach ones with a reduction of 30mm reach. I pared to mine. That's a 125 drop too which is 30mm less than mine. I guess a 44 is what I would be wanting as I'm pretty broad shouldered.

    I will up that grip tape thanks. Anything padded or more so than now would be ideal.

    Thanks so far :) really helpful
  • Quick measure up looks like the one thing i think i know i need will be for them to be 44 wide.

    thats the same as existing ones.
  • Had another spin on the bike last night; was my first group ride and also my first night ride.

    21.0mi Distance
    1:25:47 Moving Time
    882ft Elevation
    Avg Max Speed 14.7mi/h 35.3mi/h

    Before the ride I changed to a 100mm stem that i picked up new for £2 !!! and its about half the weight of the original ! Winning !

    Felt much better, natural fall still felt about 10/20mm back from where i was 'falling' but think ill leave it for now and see what happens. The bottom drops still felt unusable so perhaps a compact bar is the way to go.

    Other than a bit of calf cramp ( most likely need to move saddle forward ) was a good spin out !
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