Road bike or comfort bike

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by Mike1jw, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. Mike1jw

    Mike1jw Member

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    I'm thinking about getting a road bike in the near future. I keep hearing that road bikes are not that comfortable. If that's the cast, it would seem to me that the only reason someone would own a road bike would be for speed or for racing. Are there any other reasons someone would prefer a road bike over a comfort bike.

    I would like to do some long rides. Right now I'm doing 25-30 miles on a mountain bike (hard frame) fitted with 1.5 road tires. Takes me about 2-2 and a half hours. I would like to do longer rides, but I just don't know if I want to sacrifice comfort for speed.

    Any Suggestions?

    Mike
     
  2. Xela

    Xela New Member Tavern Member

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    There are all levels of road bikes. You can get quite a comfortable road bike, especially if you stay away and resist the urge to get a pro-caliber race frame. A lot has to do with the frame geometry and how well the bike fits you.

    See this thread here for a link to Competitive Cyclist's road bike sizing. As you see in my first post on the thread, CC has three sets of numbers depending on the type of fit you want. If you are worried about long-term comfort and not being in a race position, stay away from the Competitive Fit.

    http://www.twospoke.com/forum/f78/sizing-1488/

    I'm saying this partly based on my own experiences. I did buy a superlight, super-racy carbon frame; a Look 595. My biggest problem with it was the seat the handlebar drop. I was/am not flexible enough for the pro riding position which sacrifices comfort for aero efficiency. I have since gotten off that frame (still hanging in my garage, though) and now am riding a Roubaix SL2. Very comfortable frame, and its taller headtube allows me to sit more upright. Very happy with that bike! And the SL2 is no slouch, by the way. Built up with my heavier all-purpose wheels, it still only weighs slightly over 16 lbs, and that's with cages and pedals mounted.

    I think with the right road bike frame properly fitted to you, a road bike can be a comfort bike.
     

  3. fatandslow

    fatandslow New Member

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    I concur with Xela. You can retain the MTB riding position but get most of the benefits of a road bike by going with any number of hybrids now on the market (Trek Fx line, Specialized Sirrus line, Kona Dew line, etc.). These bikes are actually closer to road bikes in geometry, but with flat bars. The drop bars on a road bike are much more flexible in terms of the number of different hand positions available, which over a long ride can make a huge difference in comfort. They can also be adjusted a little, with the bar-ends pointing at the ground somewhat for a little more upright position. You would also appreciate the drops after a couple hours riding into a 20 mph headwind. Because of this, most really long distance riders tend to prefer drop bars. Cyclocross bikes and touring bikes (i.e. Trek 520, Surly Long Haul Trucker) will tend to have more comfortable geometry, like longer head tubes and chainstays, than race-replica type bikes. Look for chainstays at least 430mm long, and a steering head tube ( or steerer tube or combination of the two) long enough to put the brake hoods at at least saddle height when adjusted for you. A little larger frame size can raise the bars too. The good news is that many manufacturers' most comfortable bike lines are the cheaper ones, because the expensive ones tend to have more racy geometry.
     
  4. Mike1jw

    Mike1jw Member

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    Very helpful, Thanks

    But that one questions remains, Why would someone "want" a more uncomfortable bike? Would it be for speed and racing only, or are there other reasons?
     
  5. fatandslow

    fatandslow New Member

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    I think some people want to look the part of something they aren't. The motorcycle market is the same way. People want to look like either Rickey racer on low-barred, high-pegged sport-bikes, or Billy and Captain America in Easy Rider on feet-forward, ape-hanger equipped choppers. In fact most people would be better served by something in the middle. The industries themselves are partly to blame as well, but in the end they are only responding to the perceived demand for particular products. I have found that the older I get, the less likely I am to fool myself about what I want.

    The other side of the coin is that most people can't afford more than one bike, so if you do want to race, what one bike do you buy, and where do you compromise? In the best of worlds, I guess we'd all have a carbon-fiber race bike, a commuter, a tourer, a high-tech mtn bike, a cruiser, and who-knows-what else.
     
  6. Mike1jw

    Mike1jw Member

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    I ride motorcycles too, and I couldn't agree more with you. I have rented alot of different Harleys and I Always come back to the Electra Glide. The seat postion, foot position and bars are the most comfortable of any of them, and it handles like a bicycle once you get used to it. The only reason you might want to ride the other models is for the look and, or attitude. I never thought of applying that same principal to bicycles.

    Good post
    Thanks
     
  7. Mike1jw

    Mike1jw Member

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    I'm sick

    I'm getting sick. I'm doing so much reading and there are just toooooo many choices. I want comfort so I think carbon fiber, but now I read that carbon fiber doesn't last as long as steel or titanium, and can even fail. I have a 20 year old alumium mountain bike. I have never done a PM, never cleaned the chain. My moto is "if it aint broke, dont fix it". I know that that's not good but it is what it is. I want comfort, but I also want to go farther/faster in the time I have to ride. So should I go with narrow tires (road bike) or wider tires (hybrid) then if I buy a hybrid there's the problem of the handle bars (fewer hand positions). If I'm going to spend 1,500 to 2,000 dollars on a bike I want it ALL. Once I think I'm narrowing down my choices, I read something new and I'm back to square one.

    This is not easy, there are just too many choices when buying a bike.
     
  8. fatandslow

    fatandslow New Member

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    There are actually quite a few hybrids out there with pretty narrow tires, if that's what you want. I have one that came with 700c23 tires, and I went up to 28s for the comfort, and they are more comfortable(100 psi instead of 120). Unfortunately, since I'm unaware of a bike shop that offers a 50 mile test-ride, at some point, a leap of faith will be required. I am curious tho, what is the exact comfort issue with your MTB?
     
  9. Mike1jw

    Mike1jw Member

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    Right off I would say handle bars. I would like more speed (I think). I do between 15 - 20 MPH, maybe 25 down some hills and it takes me about 2-2 1/2 Hrs. to ride 30 mi. I dont know, do you think it's ok to do 30-50mi. rides with a mountain bike, as long as I confortable on it. that would sure save me a lot of money. :)
     
  10. fatandslow

    fatandslow New Member

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    I can't see any reason why you shouldn't go as far as you want. There will be limits to your speed, however. The decreased aerodynamic efficiency of an upright seating position and the low gearing of a mountain bike make top speed lower than on a Road bike. For most people that's a worthwhile trade-off because most people's top-speed is limited more by their conditioning than anything about the bike, myself included. I assume you have bar-ends already. If not get some, as they make a world of difference. I've even seen 2 sets, one mounted on the ends, and one set mounted next to the stem. There are also numerous different shapes of handlebars, but you have to be careful, because there are also a number of different diameters. Not only do the bars have to fit on the bike, but all your controls have to fit on the bars. Cable length can also be an issue.
     
  11. Mike1jw

    Mike1jw Member

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    As a matter of fact, I just went to a bike shop tonight and was looking at a set of hand grips that might help alot.

    I also spoke to the saleman about test rides. He said they didn't offer test ride but would rent me a "simular" bike for $65. a day and that the rental fee (or fees) would go toward the bike I purchased even if I rented a few different bikes.

    I'm going to ask around some more to see if there are other shops that offer free test rides. I have a feeling that this is going to be my best option. It will be good too, because I will rent a road bike set up with an agressive position. And If I'm comfortable after a long ride (I guess I better buy shorts or a bib) I'll go with the road bike.
     
  12. whyeyebike

    whyeyebike New Member

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    If you get the right road bike, fitted properly to your riding style....it can be just as comfortable as any other bike.
     
  13. cubie

    cubie New Member

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    hi , only recently got roadbike from using hybrid with suspension all round and a big comfortable saddle was very suprised how quickly got used to road bike saddle and ride position you can allways ride with your hands on cross bars which is more comfortable on longer rides but its well worth it when you get used to it as you can travell and climb hills so much easier if your on tarmac and its much more exciting to ride ....
     
  14. Skidmark

    Skidmark Cycling for life

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    At our LBS you can ride to your hearts content in the parking area of a big strip mall. That said considering the cost renting for a day sounds like a great idea. We just rented a couple of road bikes for half a day and just rode from the store. We switched bikes half way through the ride at lunch. One of the bikes was actually what they called a Hybrid but it looked like a road bike to me. Specialized Sirrus (our favorite). Both were Light, FAST, and fun to ride for sure. Comfort was fine on both. Fit is what its all about! We plan to stay with the Hybrid's to own though due to our riding conditions. I loved the speed.
     
  15. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Sizing and fit is all that matters.
     
  16. coco2

    coco2 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with what whyeyebike & industry hack say, if the bike fits and you don't feel strained in any way then the road bike is the way to go. You can ride further and faster with less effort therefore getting more out of your cycling.
    As far as material goes i've got an old steel hack road bike, a fully carbon fibre road bike and a aluminium mountain bike...and they all feel comfortable, because they fit.
     
  17. gatorguy

    gatorguy New Member

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    I have a Windsor hybrid with road tires, a Specialized Hardrock MTB with 2.2" knobbies and a Specialized Roubaix. I like them all for different reasons. The mountain bike for off road (of course), the hybrid for cruising around the lakes and in town riding. It's an aluminum frame and a straight bar and I get fatigued riding it more than 40 miles. It transmits all the road vibrations and my hands get numb on the straight bar, even though I use bar ends and gel padded gloves. For longer rides, definitely the Roubaix. The carbon fiber really absorbs the road vibrations and the drop bars give me more options for changing hand positions. While it's definitely a road bike all the way, it's also my most comfortable bike. Chro-moly is also comfortable, particularly with carbon forks, seat post and stays and is less expensive.

    Like you said, lots of options.
     
  18. sandlynx

    sandlynx sandlynx

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    Also, I've found that with any bike with a straight bar, like a hybrid, you have the best of both worlds (comfort or multiple hand positions) by using clip-on drop bars that clip right onto the ends of your straight bars. When the wind comes up you can still get down and get more streamlined. They look really ugly but they work. I have a set on my hybrid that I use for long-distance riding. When the wind comes up, I ride in the drops too just like the road bikes.
     
  19. wild

    wild Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man

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    Nead some picatures. I have bin thinking of somthing for my quick-6
     
  20. topgun514

    topgun514 Guest

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    put your but bones on the hard parts, get the right geometry and right seat. Thats all