How much difference would a new bike make?

Beating the system - the cycling commuting section

How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby sorted » Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:59 am

I've recently started commuting by bike (between 40 and 60km per day) and am really enjoying it after years of driving to work.

All of the cycling I have done since I was about 10 years old has been on XC mountain bikes, spanning steel and aluminium frames, varying degrees of suspension, 29ers etc. so riding mainly on tarmac has been a bit of a learning experience.

I'm currently riding an aluminium framed MTB that I've had for 20 years. It's fitted with road tyres and taller gearing (48T big ring on the crank). It looks pretty scruffy, but rides OK on tarmac, gives me a bit of fun in the CCR and I'm in the top 25% of times in Strava for most of my commute (so very much an amateur, looking at the speeds/times posted by the quickest!)

However, I'm toying with the idea of getting another bike and am looking at a number of options:

- Build/buy a steel single speed/fixie to improve my cadence and give me a bit of variety
- Get an older but decent quality road bike (steel frame from the 70s/80s) to have a go and see if I get on OK with a road bike
- Just buy a new road bike (this will be a harder sell to my better-half, as I bought a new MTB about 6 months ago)
- Keep using my existing MTB and enjoy riding it

Has anyone else made the transition from an MTB to a commuting on a road bike? If so, how much difference did it make on a practical level?

I'm pretty happy riding my MTB but, if changing to a road bike will be noticeably quicker, more fun or indeed a bad idea, I'd be interested to hear what people think.
sorted
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:06 am

by BNA » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:59 pm

BNA
 

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby Recycler » Sat Apr 05, 2014 3:59 pm

A big difference! It does not have to be a brand new bike, I have just changed a 30 yo racing bike to a flat bar day tripper. It is so easy to ride with down tube shifters, with a 6 speed cluster I do not change gear often. The combined ages of my bike and myself is 102. Photo of bike later. Bob
Recycler
 
Posts: 176
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:32 am
Location: Woolgoolga NSW

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby lobstermash » Sat Apr 05, 2014 4:13 pm

When you get used to riding a road bike, you realise how upright and draggy the riding position on other bikes is. But how much of a difference it will make to your average speed depends on how much you have to stop and start on your commute anyway.

You'd be surprised how little difference average speeds are between old road bikes and new ones with the same rider. You can pick up a good 80s or early 90s roadie for under $100 pretty easily off Gumtree.
Passing on your right - me, said just about never...
lobstermash
 
Posts: 964
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:51 pm
Location: Canberra

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby sorted » Sun Apr 06, 2014 9:32 am

A big difference! It does not have to be a brand new bike

You'd be surprised how little difference average speeds are between old road bikes and new ones with the same rider.


This was what I had wanted to know - it sounds like it is definitely worth a try and it's good to know that my level of skill and fitness is probably the biggest factor in whether it is worth commuting on a new road bike over an older one in good nick.

You can pick up a good 80s or early 90s roadie for under $100 pretty easily off Gumtree.


Sounds like a plan. I have a love-hate relationship with Gumtree. There are some good buys to be had, but you need to be patient and then quick when something good comes up!
sorted
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 12:06 am

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby rodneycc » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:02 am

I'm about the same (top 25% in strava times) and find for example, I might do 20kms in an hour on the 29er on a commute on sealed road and the difference on the road bike(s) would only be a few minutes (less than 5 mins I'd say). I do find I use less energy on the road bike but the 29er is a more comfortable ride ( and is much better in the wet). There are a lot of factors involved depending on your circumstances but I find having both is great.

Sent via Tapatalk so expect the odd typo and mis-posting!
2012 Giant Defy Composite 1
2012 Cannondale CAAD10
2013 Giant Talon 0 29er
2013 Flight Podium 1
2013/14 Bianchi Infinito CV
User avatar
rodneycc
 
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:50 pm
Location: Melbourne Suburbs, Victoria

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby lobstermash » Sun Apr 06, 2014 1:39 pm

sorted wrote:
You can pick up a good 80s or early 90s roadie for under $100 pretty easily off Gumtree.


Sounds like a plan. I have a love-hate relationship with Gumtree. There are some good buys to be had, but you need to be patient and then quick when something good comes up!


You're right, you have to be quick. If you're looking for something in particular, it's worth installing the app and checking a couple of times a day.

Rod's right. On my fixie I average between 23-28km/h (it's my wet weather commuter), which is 38-47 minutes over my ~18km commute. On my roadie I average between 29-32km/h, which is 34-37 minutes. I value the minutes saved because it's time with my wife and kids and those extra minutes get lost so easily...
Passing on your right - me, said just about never...
lobstermash
 
Posts: 964
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:51 pm
Location: Canberra

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby trailgumby » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:04 pm

As a mountain bike tragic, I can relate to your question.

I have just recently started riding a roadie, and I am really enjoying it. Very different, makes you work harder up the climbs due to the taller gearing, but you go a lot faster. It shaves 4-6 minutes off my ~20km commute.

The downside is the braking. I've just put the highly recommended Koolstop Salmon pads on mine, which has redressed some of the deficit to hydaulic discs and I don't feel nearly so white-knuckle scared when the guy in the SUV in front hits the anchors. Grip can also be an issue. I use Conti GP 4000s rubber which is pretty good in wet conditions.

However, I did my first wet ride on the roadie today and the braking was pretty awful until the grit cleared off. Scrape scrape scrape scrape scrape scrape oh finally we have some braking. I would not want to commute in heavy traffic on the roadie in the wet.

So the slick-tyred hardtail is being retained as the wet weather bike. For training and recreational riding, though, it's a big thumbs up from me.
"People have a right to their own opinions, but not their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight." -- James W Loewen

http://www.facebook.com/Drive2WorkDay
User avatar
trailgumby
 
Posts: 10299
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 4:30 pm
Location: Northern Beaches, Sydney

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby queequeg » Sun Apr 06, 2014 3:40 pm

trailgumby wrote:As a mountain bike tragic, I can relate to your question.

I have just recently started riding a roadie, and I am really enjoying it. Very different, makes you work harder up the climbs due to the taller gearing, but you go a lot faster. It shaves 4-6 minutes off my ~20km commute.

The downside is the braking. I've just put the highly recommended Koolstop Salmon pads on mine, which has redressed some of the deficit to hydaulic discs and I don't feel nearly so white-knuckle scared when the guy in the SUV in front hits the anchors. Grip can also be an issue. I use Conti GP 4000s rubber which is pretty good in wet conditions.

However, I did my first wet ride on the roadie today and the braking was pretty awful until the grit cleared off. Scrape scrape scrape scrape scrape scrape oh finally we have some braking. I would not want to commute in heavy traffic on the roadie in the wet.

So the slick-tyred hardtail is being retained as the wet weather bike. For training and recreational riding, though, it's a big thumbs up from me.


Yep, that's why I went CX drop bar with disc brakes for commuting. All weather commuting on rims does horrid things to the braking surface.
'11 Lynskey Cooper CX, '00 Hillbrick Steel Racing (Total Rebuild '10), '09 Electra Townie Original 21D
User avatar
queequeg
 
Posts: 2855
Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 9:09 am

Re: How much difference would a new bike make?

Postby bychosis » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:08 pm

I've done the roadie switch. Like trailgumby I am (was?) an MTB tragic. I started commuting regularly about 5 years ago and about 18mths ago picked up a cheap roadie. I was surprised that even an old, heavy steel bike could shave as much of the time as it did. Slicked MTB is 1-2minslower over my 6.5km commute. The braking on a roadie is different, but fine in most situations. Just need to take more care in the wet, or something with discs.

I'm also in a similar boat as you with my serious money going to he MTB and some leftovers going into he n+1's. Roadie cost me $70, added bar tape, wheels, tyres, brake pads and some tlc and it runs fine. It's also nice knowing that I don't have to worry about my roadie out in the weather etc.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.
User avatar
bychosis
 
Posts: 2258
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:10 pm
Location: Lake Macquarie


Return to Commuting

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users



Popular Bike Shops
Torpedo 7 Torpedo7 AU
Ground Effect Ground Effect NZ
Chain Reaction Cycles CRC UK
Wiggle Wiggle UK
Ebay Ebay AU

“Bicycles BNA Twitter
“Bicycles BNA Facebook
“Google+ BNA Google+
“Bicycles BNA Newsletter

> FREE BNA Stickers
> BNA Cycling Kit