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Help, do i need a road bike/commuter or is my MTB ok

chopperHarrischopperHarris Posts: 119
edited June 2009 in The workshop
Hi all, need some help please, pedal into london from kent at least twice weekly (28 miles round trip) and want to ideally move up to do it everyday, the problem i have is i currently do the journey on my Giant XTC with 2.1 road tyres and although i enjoy the journey i feel i could be doing it alot faster on something designed for the job, im averaging out at around 15mph for the whole journey which involves a couple of big hills but its all tarmac and after the first 5 miles or so is all bus lanes as well.

So what should i do, i have a all mountain for my off road stuff so would sell the giant to buy something more suitable, would want a fast hybrid over a full on road bike as i have bad wrists after a motorcycle accident a few years back.

Also any suggestions on the sort of thing i should be getting?

And finally....... anyone know if a bike shop that would be willing to rent me something suitable for a few days to see it its really worth it.

Ta all
08 Felt Compulsion 2 SE
09 Corratec S-light
10 Giant Defy 2

Posts

  • inceince Posts: 289
    Hi

    My advice woudl be to go for the full on road bike.

    I was doing my trip on a subway 2 and average of 13 to 14mph. First trip on the road bike and it jumped to 17 and I have even managed 18 mph since. I find the road bike makes the whole trip better.

    As for you wrists, I too haver broken my right wrist in a motorcycle accident and I find I have no issues on the road bike, the option to move to lots of diffrent positions help remove the stiffness I get if I hold my hand in one position for any length of time when out on the bike.

    Mark
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    Yes go for a road bike if you can

    I am currently doing a 10 mile each way commute on a subway and gawd i wish i had gone road route, due to work now sticking us on short time i am stuck with it though.

    Pretty any other mtb based frame i can keep up with /overtake but a road bike will just sail bye .Takes me good 35-40 mins to to the trip when i have my full commute kit (pannier rack, bag with tools tubes etc, mudgaurds ) mind you that 3 mile up hill ride does not help :wink:
    FCN 3/5/9
  • chopperHarrischopperHarris Posts: 119
    Ok 2 votes for a road bike out of 2 responses is a sure sign its what i should have!

    Gonna get the Giant up for sale and start the search for somethiing suitable for commuting on.

    Any suggestions anyone?
    08 Felt Compulsion 2 SE
    09 Corratec S-light
    10 Giant Defy 2
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    depending on how I feel, I can either take my road bike or 1.5" slicked MTB, today I'm on the latter (it was the first one to hand).

    It's probably 10 minutes slower over my 20 mile commute but the big tyres do give a nicer ride.

    a) do you really have to sell one bike to get another? I aim to increase my bike stock beyond 5 sometime soon :o

    b) How much money is ten minutes worth?
  • BikerbaboonBikerbaboon Posts: 1,017
    mr_si wrote:
    depending on how I feel, I can either take my road bike or 1.5" slicked MTB, today I'm on the latter (it was the first one to hand).

    It's probably 10 minutes slower over my 20 mile commute but the big tyres do give a nicer ride.

    a) do you really have to sell one bike to get another? I aim to increase my bike stock beyond 5 sometime soon :o

    b) How much money is ten minutes worth?

    10 min a day.... 50 min a week ( can you see where im going? ) comes out close to 40 hours over a year. ( ihave taken 2 weeks holiday) thats an extra 2 days a year.......
    Nothing in life can not be improved with either monkeys, pirates or ninjas
    456
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    Road bike, so fast and comfy.

    As others have said, many hand positions offer more relaxation to wrists etc.
  • chopperHarrischopperHarris Posts: 119
    cant afford to buy one without selling the other, plus i have a FS MTB already that i love, and to be honest could ride to work if need be. I also have three motorbikes in the garage so already am on the limit with the wife!!!

    As for the extra 10 mins, yes it makes a hell of a difference, i have a choice every morning of either the push bike or the motorbike, motorbike takes 25-30 mins, pushbike 45-50 mins, the closer those two times are the more likely i am to take the push bike. :D
    08 Felt Compulsion 2 SE
    09 Corratec S-light
    10 Giant Defy 2
  • edhornbyedhornby Posts: 1,780
    what's your budget ?? I'm guessing this is mostly dependant on what you can get for the XTC... I would bet a 28mile round trip would be a killer on a full sus mtb

    I would have a look at the road bikes in your local shops first off, they will give you an idea on what is available and more importantly you'll get good fitting advice (this is something you can't get off the internet !!!)

    best of luck
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • chopperHarrischopperHarris Posts: 119
    i would have thought around £700 budget for something new or second hand, have been looking at the Boardman bikes in Halfords but not sure on what they are like.

    As you say i need to get my backside down to my local shop and try a couple out for size and then start a online search.
    08 Felt Compulsion 2 SE
    09 Corratec S-light
    10 Giant Defy 2
  • Robmanic1Robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    Just imagine though, with the Giant, the Felt AND a road bike, you'd have a bike for every occasion!

    That's what I have at the min, use the full-suss for summer and away-days, the hardtail for winter and schlepping around locally and the roady for big miles and training rides.

    Always fancied a singlespeed and a crosser, ooh and those 69-ers look pretty good too.
    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3336802663/
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    +1 for road bike (although I think you're already won over)

    I got a Road Rat frame from Cotic and built it up low maintainence / touring style with drop bars, rack, sks full guards, alfine, BB7 disc brakes dynohub (they really are very good these days) for about a grand. It's sooo comfy (much more so than the alu MTB frame and slicks I was riding before) and with the full guards, I'm not at all put off by foul weather. A full on racer would be faster, certainly, but this set up suits me perfectly and the Alfine has proved completely maintainence free so far. I give the chain a sniff of oil every 200 km or so and that's all.
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    mr_si wrote:
    depending on how I feel, I can either take my road bike or 1.5" slicked MTB, today I'm on the latter (it was the first one to hand).

    It's probably 10 minutes slower over my 20 mile commute but the big tyres do give a nicer ride.

    Today I came in on the road bike. It goes like stink and I got to work with a big grin on my face. :lol:
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,677
    A mate of mine is put off road bikes (and race rep motorbikes) because of painful wrists. Flat-bar bikes have advantages with braking, in tight spaces and traffic. You need a test ride or three. Deciding between competing models is hard enough, but don't make a hasty decision of whether a hybrid or roadie is your bag. A visit to a couple of dealers should narrow it down.

    For flat-bar bikes I'd consider Specialized Sirrus, Boardman <drool>, Carrera Subway or equivalents from other big brands.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    Simon E wrote:
    Flat-bar bikes have advantages with braking, in tight spaces and traffic.

    what advantages?

    knuckles not being outboard perhaps but width overall of my drop bars with my knuckles on the outside of the hoods are still narrower than teh flat bars I had before (of course you *can* cut flat bars down .. but ... just .... no)

    braking? dunno what you mean there, ability to fit hydro discs maybe, but on the road, I doubt you'd get better performance out of Avid Codes than from BB7s, which can be run from drops. Tyre chouice is key, I would have thought, rather than what handlebars you have.

    Drop bars do take some getting used to (which I think is the central reason for the success of flat bars) but I contend that they are at least as maneouverable as flats on the same frame

    Or I missed something.
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,677
    Simon E wrote:
    Flat-bar bikes have advantages with braking, in tight spaces and traffic.
    what advantages?
    With flat bars I can jam on the brakes and brace myself against the bar grips better. If riding on the hoods I can't stop quite as quickly. Yes, you should ride with this in mind, but I do ride both. I don't mean the performance of the brakes themselves or the width of the bars.

    I've ridden drop-bar bikes since I was about 9 or 10 but I'd suggest that most people find the MTB and hybrids more stable for low speed steering stability (e.g. nipping around obstacles*).

    And when you lean it against something you won't scuff any expensive STI levers.

    I think flat bars are easier for people to get used to and I wouldn't want to persuade anyone to buy a drop-bar bike unless they wanted to. There are plenty of riders who just don't like / don't want to use drop handlebars.

    As it is I think too many people ask advice from strangers on forums when they ought to trust their own judgement (or try it first) - whether it's bars, gears, which model in a price range etc etc. I think the OP has it right by considering rental.

    * I was going to say up and down kerbs too but would not want to be seen condoning pavement cycling.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • bomberesquebomberesque Posts: 1,701
    Simon E wrote:
    With flat bars I can jam on the brakes and brace myself against the bar grips better. If riding on the hoods I can't stop quite as quickly.

    hmm, I don't find this personally but there you go.

    As for the rest, I agree that drops take some getting used to and that flats are probably more intuitive ... I did say that but nvm. I also found that, not having ridden drops for years (like you I imagine, I used to commute to school as a kid on a drop bar bike, but that's over 20 years ago now :shock: ) it was a lot easier to get back used to them than I had thought it would be, perhaps because I had ridden them before, I don't know. Once used to them, I think drops are as maneuverable round obstacles and whatever just as easily as my flats were. And as for STI levers I couldn't bring myself to pay the money they asked for them and ended up with bar end shifters (which are anyway prettier), which I thought at the time would be vulnerable but have turned out to be no problem.

    and you're right, of course, popping curbs is not at all easy on drops, or the skinny wheels/tyres that they imply, not that I would condone pavement riding either.

    as for advice; the dude asked. You say flats, I say drops, he can make his own mind up, I challenged your statement because it seemed a bit glib and in need of further explanation.
    Everything in moderation ... except beer
    Beer in moderation ... is a waste of beer

    If riding an XC race bike is like touching the trail,
    then riding a rigid singlespeed is like licking it
    ... or being punched by it, depending on the day
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    mr_si wrote:
    Today I came in on the road bike. It goes like stink and I got to work with a big grin on my face. :lol:

    See, this is it. This is why I ride 2 grand's worth of vastly unnecessary carbon to work and back. I think occasionally about theft and damage risk, and about how I can't leave it outside, how I'm wearing down my expensive rims, how it's no fun over bad road surfaces, but... it goes like stink and makes me happy :)
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,677
    Thread resuscitation in progress...

    This week I have mostly been riding my old rigid steel Kona mtb to work and back with the 1.5" City Jets fitted. I've been suprised at how quick it is compared to the SCR, though I haven't logged enough times on both to make a meaningful comparison.

    What I really like is what I alluded to above - I can practise my late braking technique and choose (and change) a line more easily around traffic and other obstacles on the flat barred bike. If my daily ride didn't have as much open road as it does I'd be tempted to use the old steed more often.

    I'm not saying to anyone they should do one thing or another - just suggesting that the almost automatic reaction is "get a roadie" but it might not be best for everyone.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • If you were to go for a cross bike you could switch between tyres, still do some off road if you wanted and have the advantage of getting to work quick. Everyones a winner!
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    just an update with city jets on i actually got round to getting a speedometer

    on a subway 1 clocking 20 mph on the flat average , i was suprised given the amount of censored i lug about as i have fitted mudgaurds, pannier rack and bag full of stuff including clothes, spare tube, tools, puncture kit, overshoes,pack a mac :) spare gloves if its cold ,and lock .

    slowest speed is aound 9 mph on the honking hills i have to negotiate and fastest so far down hill is 37 mph

    I mean sure a road bike will be quicker but im not sure it worth splashing out for a few more mph ( note got an old reynolds road frame thats needs bits when i can source some free haah )
    FCN 3/5/9
  • by way as an update from me, i got a road bike and love it, yea its not as comfy as my MTB was, and yea i cant hop up and down curbs anymore but i am getting to work 10 mins earlier than i was which on a 55 min commute is a noticeable difference, average speed has increased to around 18mph (have a couple of 10mph 5 mins sloggs on the way home) and i find myself overtaking lots of people now instead of being overtaken all the time!

    Also lost another half stone which is nice!

    initially found the pressure on my wrists uncomfortable but have got used to it now and find the drop bars fine, as said by many i can move my hands around etc.

    Would i recomend the change, yes, does it suit everyone, no, all depends on your route i guess

    Thanks all for your input[/u]
    08 Felt Compulsion 2 SE
    09 Corratec S-light
    10 Giant Defy 2
  • fnegronifnegroni Posts: 794
    I am in the process of converting my old MTB into a winter commuter/shopping trolley.

    I just fitted some Conti CityContact 1.5" which are smooth enough to make me forget their weight (500g)

    They were cheap and came with free inner tubes which is a plus on a commute.

    I usually commute on a road race bike which hasn't even got space for mudguards and I usually average 19/20mph on my 27mile round trip daily commute.

    On the MTB today, I averaged 18.5mph on the way in (13.5 miles) which I thought was great.

    I realise I pushed it more than I would have normally done on my racer though; had I been pushing the racer just as hard, I would have averaged 21-22mph, which is what I average when I want to test my fitness level.

    Now, the front fork is a suspension one, but it seized up recently so acts more like if I had it locked. Still it is 1.5kgs heavier than a rigid cromoly Salsa fork which is my next purchase.

    Next I would probably fit lighter tyres and lighter inner tubes. Combined with the fork upgrade, that would shave off nearly 2kgs in total, and also improve the overall energy efficiency.

    The hand position on the flat bar is not an issue on such short distances, and infact gives me great handling ability at slower speed.

    Gearing is the biggest issue: apart from the fact that I have a heavy MTB groupset mounted (with V-brakes...), the chainrings and cassette are aimed at off roading.

    Today I was in the top three gears 99% of the time, except for small inclines which on the road bike I can do with the 50t ring, while on the MTB given weight and geometry, had to go down a few more cogs.

    As winter sets in, I will certainly appreciate the fact that I am saving wear and tear on my main steed.

    Also the SPD pedals and MTB shoes combo are a lot easier to live with when negotiating busy intersections.

    Overall I think in a year I could get the MTB converted into a decent enough hybrid for a total of maybe £200, this includes wear and tear so not too bad.

    Plus it would save the racer for the really nice weekend work.
  • I had a Specialized Hard rock XC mtb. for my commute... Wanted a second bike, decided on a hybrid (Specialized Globe) Went to my local bike shop (Specialized Concept Store)and they persuaded me to try a Vita Elite (Sirrus body). I was in love even as I pushed off!! Straight bars, easy to manoeuvre, light as a feather and goes like s.o.a.s.s! 'Go figure' as our American cousins would say! I added Shimano SPD pedals (M424 I think) and with the carbon forks I find it nearly as smooth a ride as the Hard Rock unless the road surface is especially poor. :wink:
  • cyberknightcyberknight Posts: 1,238
    What about a 700cc wheeled hybrid?

    I have never ridden one but would they offer a good compromise between speed and control of flat bars?

    the boardman ones i see in the bike rack at work do look sweet
    FCN 3/5/9
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