Fitness or Ease??

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Fitness or Ease??

Postby suzieQ » Tue Apr 21, 2009 4:59 pm

Well I am facing a new bike decision dilemma....

Currently I ride a MTB 20ks each day round trip to work (with more than a few hills) its only a relative cheapy and I don't think it's gonna last me that long.

I don't do any off roading although the tracks I take are hardly level/flat/sealed properly/clean/free of broken bottles etc etc etc

Basically I like the fact that the MTB is harder to ride because it means I get more exercise when I ride but the idea of a hybrid/roadie being easier to ride is really quite appealing!!

I'm not really after pros/cons of each bike I know there are tons of those threads, this is more an ease of riding or fitness question, any personal preferences/comments??
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by BNA » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:39 pm

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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby toofat » Tue Apr 21, 2009 5:39 pm

if you bought a reasonable road bike you would soon be looking for longer ways to get to work,
or looking for excuses not to go to work so you could go out riding, so no ease there, plenty of fitness to be had.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby suzieQ » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:30 pm

Well that is true toofat, I currently ride the shortest way home but I quite easily could double the distance and the hills by taking the long way! :D
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby ni78ck » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:35 pm

road bike :D . no need to explain! :P

toofat is tooright!
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Mulger bill » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:36 pm

Get a lighter bike and the distance must go up to get the same excercise benefit.

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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby the dang » Tue Apr 21, 2009 7:44 pm

Hi There

Only a relative newbie to commuting and cycling in general, but if you like your mtb becuase its harder and therfore more of a challenge, yet still interested in roadie or flatbar roadie, I say go for the roadie/flatbar roadie. You already have a mtb anyway and getting a roadie won't neccessarily make the ride easier, rather you can just go harder/faster/longer/push bigger gears netting off any effect a roadie has of making the same commute easier.

Yeah!!!

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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Nobody » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:01 pm

If you already have high pressure slicks and your shocks lock-out, you'll get little advantage by going to a road bike. The main advantage of a road bike are the hand positions and tyres.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby toofat » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:29 pm

ever wondered why everyone isnt on a mountain bike, after all they are durable, go anywhere machines,
its speeeeeed and distance
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Nobody » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:10 pm

toofat wrote:ever wondered why everyone isnt on a mountain bike, after all they are durable, go anywhere machines,
its speeeeeed and distance

Most people who have both and have setup a MTB for road know that the speed of a road bike is overrated. If both positions are setup the same then you get one to three Km/h out of the tyres alone at best for average speed. I got about 1 Km/h at best going from 70/80 psi 1.5" Xeniths to 23mm 110/120 psi GatorSkins.

This has been discussed here before.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby sharktamin » Tue Apr 21, 2009 9:52 pm

Fitness or ease... depends on the mood your in.

Better have one of each and choose on the day.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby casual_cyclist » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:15 pm

I have a road bike and a MTB with off road tyres. Rode the MTB to work the other day to check out the running gear. With the off road tyres it was quite a workout 9km but I am thinking of switching to the MTB full time esp in rainy weather. In such a short distance I don't mind getting my heart rate up a bit extra. BTW it was only marginally slower to ride the MTB. I guess the lower gears made up for the off road tyres :D
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Kalgrm » Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:23 pm

I went for ease, but when you're riding 50km+ a day, ease is good! :)

There is no reason not to have both - when you feel like taking it easy, you take the road bike in. When it is raining or you want a harder workout, take the MTB.

If you do get a road bike though, you'll find yourself riding for pleasure at other times (ie when you don't need to ride, but you want to ride anyway.) That's got to be a good thing!

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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby toofat » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:10 am

nobody wrote
most people who have both, and have set up a MTB for road know that the speed of a road bike is overrated,
this has been discussed before

Well, You must be right then,

I just cant understand why people I ride with who own quality MTB's still went out and spent thousands on race style or touring style bikes, these are audax people not fashionistas,

even when the road bike is out of service they still dont turn up on the MTB, some of them do use the MTB as a beater bike for the commute to the office, but when it comes to dedicated road riding there is not one in sight.

I have no doubt that your Mtb can be witinin 1kph to your road bike over your commute,

Perhaps the millions who have bought road and touring bikes must be out of step and wasting their hard earned.


I tend to find that those, longer of tooth of massed experience, tend to choose the tool of most efficiency rather than argue that the tool at hand is the most efficient.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Kalgrm » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:24 am

toofat wrote:Perhaps the millions who have bought road and touring bikes must be out of step and wasting their hard earned.

We 'bent riders think they have been wasting their money, but let's not go down that path, eh? ;)

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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby m@ » Wed Apr 22, 2009 9:37 am

Nobody wrote:If you already have high pressure slicks and your shocks lock-out, you'll get little advantage by going to a road bike. The main advantage of a road bike are the hand positions and tyres.


...not handling, weight or aerodynamics?
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby simonn » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:13 am

Nobody wrote:Most people who have both and have setup a MTB for road know that the speed of a road bike is overrated. If both positions are setup the same then you get one to three Km/h out of the tyres alone at best for average speed. I got about 1 Km/h at best going from 70/80 psi 1.5" Xeniths to 23mm 110/120 psi GatorSkins.


Not to sure if I agree with you on this. Maybe in flat areas?

IMHO, putting what are essentially road tires on an mtb kind of defeats the point of commuting on one, i.e. less flats, IMHO of course, however, now I have found my flat resistant roadie tires (Schwalbe Stelvio Plus) this is no longer an issue.

I am around 3-5km/h average faster on my commute on my roadie which translates to about 5-10 minutes quicker for my commute, but easier as well (I have ~600M of climbing). Irrelevant for a 10km each way commute, but not for a 25km each way. The main differences are...

- Roadie is a lot faster (or easier) up hills (it weighs 5-6kgs less than the mtb)
- The lower top speed and slower acceleration of the mtb. I can cruise at 35-40km/h along Military Rd (Lower North Shire) with the traffic, but am lucky if I can cruise at 30km/h on my mtb and as a result feel a bit more vulnerable with buses right behind me, so tend to take all the back routes instead.

Sure I have 1.5" slicks compared to the 23s on my roadie, but see top of post. Disc brakes are kind-of-better, but I have found that the pads wear out a lot quicker with less notice and are more expensive to replace. Mind you I have bottom of the range disc brakes on my mtb (Trek 4300 disc).

EDIT: Oh, to get to the point of the post... IMHO, go for a roadie, much easier to ride longer and harder, unless you want to go off road.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Nobody » Wed Apr 22, 2009 10:53 am

m@ wrote:
Nobody wrote:If you already have high pressure slicks and your shocks lock-out, you'll get little advantage by going to a road bike. The main advantage of a road bike are the hand positions and tyres.


...not handling, weight or aerodynamics?

Handling is subjective. It likely could be better on a road bike depending on chosen tyres and how rough the road is. You could argue either way depending on what aspects of handling you prefer.

Weight, yes, there could be 4Kg or more there, but if your just commuting 10Km each way...

Aero, yes, drop bars make it easier to get lower, but once again suzieQ needs to decide if spending $1K+ on another bike is worth this advantage.

Depends what you value and what you do, but for a relatively short commute I think the small advantages of a road bike just don't add up if you already have a MTB.

Having said that, all my fitness training time on the road is on a road bike these days. I keep the MTB for off road.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby mikedufty » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:09 am

I think you need to buy the bike that is most fun for you to ride. Then ride it as much as you need to, to get the required exercise. I've tried road bikes, flat bar road, and mountain bike, and for commuting prefer an mtb with slicks. No detectable speed difference for me if the tyres are similar. I didn't like the bar position on an mtb at first, but now I can't go back to road bikes. Most people seem to prefer mtbs, but a lot of people like road bikes too. I'd really recommend puncture resistant tyres and panniers though. Punctures slow you down without providing much exercise.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Nobody » Wed Apr 22, 2009 11:12 am

simonn wrote:
Nobody wrote:Most people who have both and have setup a MTB for road know that the speed of a road bike is overrated. If both positions are setup the same then you get one to three Km/h out of the tyres alone at best for average speed. I got about 1 Km/h at best going from 70/80 psi 1.5" Xeniths to 23mm 110/120 psi GatorSkins.


Not to sure if I agree with you on this. Maybe in flat areas?

... I can cruise at 35-40km/h along Military Rd (Lower North Shire) with the traffic, but am lucky if I can cruise at 30km/h on my mtb and as a result feel a bit more vulnerable with buses right behind me, so tend to take all the back routes instead.

Sure I have 1.5" slicks compared to the 23s on my roadie,...

Fair enough.
What are the tyres on each bike? Might give us an idea of what the comparison is.

What pressure did/do you use on each tyre?

Is your position on each bike setup the same (when you are on the hoods)?

Do you ride along Military Rd on the hoods or the drops when your computer is reading 35-40Km/h?

Are each of your bike computers calibrated with an average of the 10 times weighted rotation of the wheel, or are there nominal numbers in the computers?

You may be correct and I may be wrong, but if I'm wrong I'd like to know why.

I've just checked the calibration of the road bike computer to find it reading 0.33% too slow (wheel circumference was 2096 now 2103). Not significant.
I know the MTB was correctly calibrated.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby simonn » Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:16 pm

Nobody wrote:What are the tyres on each bike? Might give us an idea of what the comparison is.


Various brands and models for 1.5" slicks on mtb and 23s (Punc^k^k^k^kGatorSkins and Stelvio Pluses) on road.

What pressure did/do you use on each tyre?


~70-85 on mtb, ~90-110 on roadie - estimated as I probably only check every 4-5 days and always pump up to max quoted.

Is your position on each bike setup the same (when you are on the hoods)?


No. MTB is slightly more upright.

Do you ride along Military Rd on the hoods or the drops when your computer is reading 35-40Km/h?


Hoods 99% of the time, too scary going onto the drops with that level of traffic :).

Are each of your bike computers calibrated with an average of the 10 times weighted rotation of the wheel, or are there nominal numbers in the computers?


Not nominal. Fill tires to correct pressure. Line up valve of front wheel with 0 on measuring tape role bike along tape until valve is the correct position again.

You may be correct and I may be wrong, but if I'm wrong I'd like to know why. I'll just go and check the calibration of the road bike. I know the MTB was correct.


IMH(but terribly anecdotal)O, weight of the bike (acceleration and hills, or even inclines) and tires a little.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Nobody » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:27 pm

Thanks for the reply Simonn. :)

simonn wrote:
Nobody wrote:Is your position on each bike setup the same (when you are on the hoods)?
No. MTB is slightly more upright.
I think the position is the significant difference. Most of the total resistance by far is wind resistance and most of that is the rider.

Admittedly mine is a rigid MTB so it is easy to get the position to the level of a road bike but the average MTB with 100mm shocks may not be able to do that.

There was a thread similar to this recently which had some comments by Twizzle and others. I'll try to find it.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby suzieQ » Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:28 pm

Thanks for all the interesting replies!!

I probably should have made it more obvious that my MTB is a second hand $200-$300 bike without slicks/clipless pedals or any nice fancy modifications, also I do have to carry it up and down 5 flights of stairs each day and it certainly is heavy (adds to the butt workout though)

To convert the bike to get it faster would be a bit of a waste of money considering what I am starting with so this is just me thinking 'what next' when I finally get the money together to upgrade.

I do like the idea of having a roadie for general commuting and keeping the cheapie with rugged tyres for incredibly rainy days.

As far as speed is concerned I can tell you it does suck being overtaken by pretty much everyone as you ride along, I'm pretty fit and have been riding for a few months now so although I don't expect to keep up with experienced riders I do sometimes feel my equipment is working very much against me!
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby Nobody » Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:02 pm

suzieQ wrote:Thanks for all the interesting replies!!

I probably should have made it more obvious that my MTB is a second hand $200-$300 bike without slicks/clipless pedals or any nice fancy modifications, also I do have to carry it up and down 5 flights of stairs each day and it certainly is heavy (adds to the butt workout though)

To convert the bike to get it faster would be a bit of a waste of money considering what I am starting with so this is just me thinking 'what next' when I finally get the money together to upgrade.

I do like the idea of having a roadie for general commuting and keeping the cheapie with rugged tyres for incredibly rainy days.

As far as speed is concerned I can tell you it does suck being overtaken by pretty much everyone as you ride along, I'm pretty fit and have been riding for a few months now so although I don't expect to keep up with experienced riders I do sometimes feel my equipment is working very much against me!

Sounds like your best option is flat bar road bike. If you do a search you should find plenty of information on them on this site.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby thepeddler » Wed Apr 22, 2009 4:58 pm

I started commuting a couple of years ago on a flat bar road bike, a Giant Crx 4. Lots of people recommended buying a bike with drop bars instead of flat.

I of course thought they were bike snobs and ignored the advise.

Just recently I brought a new road bike with drop bars and have never looked back. I have found the hand positions better. I don't get "hot-foot" anymore and I am no longer being over taken by all and sundry. I feel that the drop bar position is more efficient and surprisingly more comfortable than the flat bar.

Should have gone for the drops to start with.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Fitness or Ease??

Postby simonn » Wed Apr 22, 2009 5:06 pm

Nobody wrote:I think the position is the significant difference. Most of the total resistance by far is wind resistance and most of that is the rider.


~30km/h+ sure, but not at ~10-20km/h going up hill on mtb when you do the same hills at 15-25km/h on a roadie with hands on the middle of the bar, so similar position.
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