Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
9 posts • Page 1 of 1
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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 Comp 1
2012 Specialized Roubaix Elite
2013 Giant Talon 0 29er
2013 XACD Ti R540 Di2
2014 Bianchi Infinito CV
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...
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
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.
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