Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

thefreak
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Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby thefreak » Sun Feb 15, 2015 3:04 pm

Are there road bikes comfortable enough to ride when wearing casual clothes? The roads I ride on are far from perfect. The bitumen is patched and pitted which can result in a very uncomfortable ride. I had an all alloy flat bar bike that was a good commuter however it was quite heavy. Also it had the assistance of 32mm tires. It seems everyone that rides a road bike must also wear padded shorts to alleviate the harsh ride.

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MattyK
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby MattyK » Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:32 pm

The issue is really that if you're going to ride a road bike, the main benefit is being in a more aerodynamic position. So you might as well not compromise on loose flappy clothing that retains sweat.

The other issue is that in the lower body position, your pelvis is rotated forward more, putting more pressure on the perineum rather than the sit bones. Hence the benefit of extra padding. Having the padding move with you rather than on the saddle reduces chafing.

If you set up a road bike with high handlebars then you can more likely get away without the costume.

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bychosis
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby bychosis » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:24 pm

Apart from it being against 'the rules'...

How far are you going to ride? I rode for years without padded shorts. Mainly MTB, but a reasonable amount of roadie riding without too many issues. Longer rides lead to chafing and a sore bum but ive found its not bad until you get over the hour mark depending on the effort level. I still rarely use knicks other than for rides over an hour, but do have a pair of MTB style shorts with a padded liner that get regular use.

Like many other things there is a uniform built for purpose that makes life a little easier. Padded Lycra is one for riding, but there is no reason why you can't wear whatever you think is comfortable.
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lobstermash
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby lobstermash » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:29 pm

I commuted in casual clothes for about a year before donning the uniform. If your saddle is comfy there's no reason for needing knicks. Cycling does wear out the fabric in your crotchal region though, and if you have to get changed at work anyway then lycra starts to make a lot of sense. Not only is it more comfortable, but it saves your casuals from getting ruined and dries nice and quickly after a wet commute/late Sunday arvo panic wash.

The difference in comfort generally isn't that huge (but still noticeable), unless you're riding on an unpadded saddle in the first place.
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PatNZ
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby PatNZ » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:33 pm

I have two road bikes. No cycling cloths. Works fine for me. I haven't used proper cycling kit yet so I can't compare. All my rides are usually less than 60kms, so i'm not sure if its more important past a point?
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yugyug
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby yugyug » Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:29 pm

I ride all sorts of bikes on the road in casual clothes, though I also ride in lycra for weekend rides. There always an optimal solution for what u need to do I reckon - tell us more about what kind of riding u do and what kind of bike u want or have.

thefreak
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby thefreak » Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:55 pm

Well I am thinking about a road bike because of the weight and speed. However the roads are quite rough so I don't want a bike that jars my body at every bump. I probably wouldn't ride any moor than 30km round trip. Th majority of riding would be 10 to 20km.

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yugyug
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby yugyug » Sun Feb 15, 2015 8:18 pm

Wrote a reply and tapatalk failed me. Gist of it was, when u buy a road bike see what the max tyre size is, 28mm or larger sounds like they would suit your local conditions and maybe a CX bike is a good choice for that reason.

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RonK
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Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby RonK » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:14 pm

thefreak wrote:Are there road bikes comfortable enough to ride when wearing casual clothes? The roads I ride on are far from perfect. The bitumen is patched and pitted which can result in a very uncomfortable ride. I had an all alloy flat bar bike that was a good commuter however it was quite heavy. Also it had the assistance of 32mm tires. It seems everyone that rides a road bike must also wear padded shorts to alleviate the harsh ride.

If you want a bike to commute over poor roads and in casual clothing at that, why would you buy a road bike?
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thefreak
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby thefreak » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:46 pm

RonK wrote:
thefreak wrote:Are there road bikes comfortable enough to ride when wearing casual clothes? The roads I ride on are far from perfect. The bitumen is patched and pitted which can result in a very uncomfortable ride. I had an all alloy flat bar bike that was a good commuter however it was quite heavy. Also it had the assistance of 32mm tires. It seems everyone that rides a road bike must also wear padded shorts to alleviate the harsh ride.

If you want a bike to commute over poor roads and in casual clothing at that, why would you buy a road bike?


Speed and weight.

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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby PatNZ » Sun Feb 15, 2015 11:18 pm

thefreak wrote:
RonK wrote:
thefreak wrote:Are there road bikes comfortable enough to ride when wearing casual clothes? The roads I ride on are far from perfect. The bitumen is patched and pitted which can result in a very uncomfortable ride. I had an all alloy flat bar bike that was a good commuter however it was quite heavy. Also it had the assistance of 32mm tires. It seems everyone that rides a road bike must also wear padded shorts to alleviate the harsh ride.

If you want a bike to commute over poor roads and in casual clothing at that, why would you buy a road bike?


Speed and weight.


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yugyug
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Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby yugyug » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:56 am

.

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bychosis
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby bychosis » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:28 am

thefreak wrote:Speed and weight.


Sounds like motorised traffic. Speed, red light, wait ;)

As above maybe a cyclocross bike is a good option. I'm riding an old steel bike with 23mm tyres and it can get a bit rough. For my 15min commute I can go without the knicks no worries, but I'll always don knicks or padded shorts for travelling more than half hour.
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RonK
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby RonK » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:26 pm

thefreak wrote:
RonK wrote:If you want a bike to commute over poor roads and in casual clothing at that, why would you buy a road bike?


Speed and weight.

So, you want a road bike that is fast and light, but comfortable to commute on rough roads in street clothes. Every heard of an oxymoron?

Perhaps you should look into an upgraded carbon fibre flat bar bike with 28mm wide or wider tyres.
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby HappyHumber » Mon Feb 16, 2015 2:39 pm

I ended up just embracing the low-key lyrca look for everyday commuting across a stable of different bikes I rode. Mostly steel roadies with drop-bars.

Investigate some of the plainer less-clown like clothes brands like Ground Effect for quality gear. You can keep 'the rules' or worrying about looking Pro, as far as I'm concerned.

Decent practical cycling clothes are available in bright colours, but plain designs that also mean you're not paying to advertise for other companies
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TrikeTragic
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby TrikeTragic » Mon Feb 16, 2015 3:54 pm

In my case, I've always sweated easily and pretty well once I'm warmed up so the move to lycra started with nicks and progressed from there (into "non-Pro territory"!) Regardless of the choice of wheels (2 or 3) or commute vs weekend ride, it's lycra for me! :?

From the description of the riding environment in the OP, the style of bike is going to be a compromise between comfort, strength, and weight (or lack of it), with the issue of clothing a minor complication. The cycling cynic in me says there's not one solution but several, another lead in to N = N+X :roll:

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thefreak
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby thefreak » Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:58 pm

PatNZ wrote:I have two road bikes. No cycling cloths. Works fine for me. I haven't used proper cycling kit yet so I can't compare. All my rides are usually less than 60kms, so i'm not sure if its more important past a point?


Are your road bikes alloy,carbon or steel? What size tires do you run? Did you have to make any changes to the bikes in the interests of comfort?

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yugyug
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby yugyug » Mon Feb 16, 2015 7:53 pm

What the OP wants is totally doable. I'm curious to know whether he or she wants to buy new or secondhand. Some older steel framed road bikes work well with bigger tyres and IMO look better riding in casual clothes.

thefreak
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby thefreak » Mon Feb 16, 2015 8:26 pm

I've started looking on gumtree. However I'm not too keen on the gearing setup on the older style steel bikes. It seems bigger tires are the key to rider comfort. Even on a carbon framed bike. A comfortable seat is also important. I know on the flat bar alloy bike I had the ride was harsh until I changed the seat.

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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby PatNZ » Tue Feb 17, 2015 12:15 pm

thefreak wrote:
PatNZ wrote:I have two road bikes. No cycling cloths. Works fine for me. I haven't used proper cycling kit yet so I can't compare. All my rides are usually less than 60kms, so i'm not sure if its more important past a point?


Are your road bikes alloy,carbon or steel? What size tires do you run? Did you have to make any changes to the bikes in the interests of comfort?


Both are steel road bikes. Running 700x23c but planning to go to 700x25c for the next upgrade. I haven't made any changed to the bike for comfort other than just adjusting it to get the fit better.

Not much comfort issues other than when I hit rough bumpy road isn't the nicest.

I had a Hybrid bike with 700x28c in the past. With the larger tires things did feel much smoother and a bit slower.

From what I've heard Aluminum bikes are much rougher to ride than steel.
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trevisl
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby trevisl » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:27 pm

Yes my alloy bike was rougher than steel, but it was also softer than my CF. All depends on exactly what you are wanting from the bike. Hard, light and fast, or a little more comfortable and a little slower. Having said that my new titanium frame with 28mm tyres and Brooks saddle is as comfortable as any steel frame and I have only lost maybe 1kmh off my average speed over my CF (and that's with a dynamo hub in the new bike). So add another factor in - cost. You can get a good balance of both worlds by going titanium, but it comes at a cost premium. In my case it's worth it due to the amount and way I ride, but for others it would be a waste of money. It's all relative to personal taste and style, do what feels right for you.

And to answer the OP I can happily ride in standard shorts on my Brooks for reasonably short distances without discomfort (< 30km), but lycra is there for a reason, it's purpose built for the job. If you want the casual look without withering your bits you can always wear some lycra shorts under your casuals.
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skydance
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby skydance » Wed Feb 18, 2015 12:10 pm

thefreak wrote:Are there road bikes comfortable enough to ride when wearing casual clothes?

If it does not take longer than 1 hour - why not?
The only problem would be sweating and stinking like a wet dog. That's why I prefer to cycle in sport clothes with backpack full of casual clothes.

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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby human909 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:17 pm

thefreak wrote:Are there road bikes comfortable enough to ride when wearing casual clothes? The roads I ride on are far from perfect. The bitumen is patched and pitted which can result in a very uncomfortable ride. I had an all alloy flat bar bike that was a good commuter however it was quite heavy. Also it had the assistance of 32mm tires. It seems everyone that rides a road bike must also wear padded shorts to alleviate the harsh ride.


That is what I do. As well as half the hipsters in my suburb.

thefreak wrote:Are your road bikes alloy,carbon or steel? What size tires do you run? Did you have to make any changes to the bikes in the interests of comfort?


My bike is aluminum. And it is far more flexible and comfortable than most carbon or steel. But my bike is an exception. In general steel is more flexible because it is normally a smaller cross section.

Bigger tyres and a more practical seat and any road bike can be comfortable.

Irish Yobbo
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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby Irish Yobbo » Mon Feb 23, 2015 12:58 pm

I still commute with casual clothes on a road bike. I used to use an old steel mountain bike back in the day, before moving to a Jamis Allegro flat bar, now the Reid road bike. My commute is about 13km each way, so not a long distance.

If it's rougher roads your looking at, I'd recommend a flat bar road with 28-32 tyres. My Jamis had 32mm tyres, and I still use that for the occasional dirt track with my friends. The Reid with its 23mm tyres is great on the bike track, but the difference is really in the top speed. Below 30km/hr they're not too different.

For a good compromise of comfort and speed, I think thicker tyres and a comfortable seat are most important.

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Re: Commuting in casual clothes on road bike

Postby k3narki » Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:30 pm

I roughly do around 40+ kms round trip with casual clothes. No issues at all. My previous bike was a mountain bike and having a road bike is soo much better.

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