Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
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I'm a newbie here and have found this forum a great source of info so figured I would ask the question.
I'm a 44 yo small light guy who has recently jumped back on to my old MTB and have been loving being back on the bike. Mainly I ride on weekend for fitness but thinking (maybe) of commuting as well. Considering a road bike such as Trek 1.2, Defy 3/2, CAAD 8 or Specialized Allez based on this forums feedback and reviews ( have not tested any yet, just research) as want a relaxed Geo and a spend around 1k. But I'm not keen on going from 1.5 in (presumably 38mm) tyres on the MTB to 23 of the road bikes mainly due to comfort and more sure footing even though will mostly be on road and paths. I have considered flat bar like trek 7.3 fx but think it would dissapoint me and CX bikes seem expensive and aggressive.
So can I run 28 or 32 tyres on the type of road bikes mentioned (am I dreaming) or are there some other options for drop bar road bikes with wider tyres that I have not considered before I start venturing into LBS. Thanks heaps
comfort of 23mm tyres is marginal.
I've found the grip/stability of 23mm tyres is excellent. Don't worry about this aspect. Get good tyres though - it's worth buying grippy tyres even if they wear out faster. I use Conti GP4000s tyres and they're great and can be had for about $40 online.
A lot of road bikes will take slightly larger tyres. 25 should be fine and many bikes with more relaxed geometry will take 28s. Check clearance between the tyre and the seat tube as well as between the chain stays (some come in pretty tightly there) and at the top of the fork.
As I understand it, Dagzb, the dual pivot mechanism of modern road bikes relies on acting only over a short distance, so along with fork clearance you may have to look at CX bikes with their cantilever or disk brakes, or a flatbar with V brakes.
You'll likely find that the quickness of the fast-rolling 23 mm tyres is well worth any potential trade-off for comfort.
Most road bikes will take 25mm tires, but not wider than that.
Generally not. If not cyclocross, then have a look at touring or commuter bikes (also called asphalt). Specific long distance comfort road bikes may take larger than 25. As said above, most road bikes are only good for 23 or 25s.
In my opinion 23s can be very grippy, but are not particularly stable compared to wider tyres. The two problems with 23mm tyres are:
Higher pressures which cause the bike to bounce more on rougher roads or debris and so are less forgiving.
Thinner tyres are more likely to track irregularities in the road or get knocked off course by surface edges.
Unless the OP has some particularly bad bits of seal to travel over, 23 or 25mm tyres are perfectly adequate for most normal Australian road and path conditions that you might commute over. Hundreds of people commute on 23mm tyres with no problems at all. In my bike store room at work the only bikes with wider than 25mm are a few hybrids and MTBs.
Tyre pressure plays a big part in comfort. Run them at 85-90psi for a light guy and they will be noticeably more comfortable than at 110psi.
Not sure of current models but I had an OCR (Giant replaced it with the Defy in their line up) and was able to fit 25mm tyres with mudguards so I'd imagine it could have taken 28mm tyres if I chose to. Best to ask the question of the LBS when purchasing the bike to be sure for a particular model but I'd imagine there would be other relaxed geometry bikes that this would be the case for as well.
This won't be an issue while riding as there is heaps of tyre clearance around the brakes, you'll most likely run into frame clearance issues well before brake clearance. The issue the brakes will have though is that the tyre may need to be deflated in order to remove and reinsert the wheel, or you may be able to work around it by using the brake adjustment barrel to open them up but don't forget to readjust when the wheel is back on.
As others have mentioned, lower pressures will help with comfort but don't expect the cushiness of the MTB regardless of tyre size you choose. Grip of the skinnier tyres in the dry should be fine, in the wet it will depend on your tyre choice and in that regard I found the better gripping tyres tend to be the 'performance' end of the range and in that regard availability is very limitted in wider sizes. I'm fairly confident that a 23 or 25mm GP4000S will outpeform a 28 or 32mm Gatorskin in terms of wet weather grip.
Thank you all for you feedback, appreciate the time to post replies. I guess the enjoyment of the road bike probably outweighs my perceived negatives. Looks like some good 25s may be the go. I think it's time to go test riding.
You can get longer reach DP calipers, but they flex more, affecting performance, hence touring bikes with cantilevers.
A year ago I came from exactly your position, ex MTBer (although with busted knees) and 20kg overweight. I was concerned with the longevity of road bikes, wheels and tyres as I tend to be rough on equipment. After a lot of research I ended up buying a Giant TCX cyclocross bike as it does everything you are asking for. It is more laid back so rides a bit more like a MTB. It has cantilever brakes and lots of clearance so you can run up to 32-36mm tyres or thin 23-25mm tyres and is not particularly heavy compared to road bikes in the same price range (9-9.5 kg). If you are lucky you might pick up a 2012 TCX 1 for about a grand.
I have run 25mm continental gatorskins and 28mm Schwalbe durano pluses, the 28mm tyres have a very slight speed reduction (weight and drag) but are much more comfortable and the schwalbes are excellent for puncture resilience. Otherwise I also swapped out the front large chainring for a 53 tooth as I am solely road or cycle path only. I also do regular road riding (every saturday) and can ride with the group and on front as needed and do not feel I am at a disadvantage
I am completely happy with the purchase in all aspects and now upgrading the bike (new wheelset- prolite braccianos) which should strip half a kg from the weight of the bike.
Basically don't rule out a cross bike as they are much more versatile and can run the larger tyres you want and are a bit more like a MTB to ride.
Late to the party, but I wanted to echo others in saying that you should test ride all these types, including road bike. I suspect you might be surprised. I went from riding a hybrid with an upright position 28m tyres to a road bike. There is definitely no loss of stability. In fact, handling is generally better, and when it comes to cornering at speed, the road bike is massively superior ... possibly a function of the lower centre of gravity? I don't find the position any less comfortable, and it's definitely more efficient. In terms of comfort on the road, yes, there are types of bumps that feel less comfortable on this set-up than my hybrid, but a lot of the smaller vibration is actually dampened (though this may be a function of a carbon frame, which I take it you're not considering).
Definitely, GBH ... there's real weight on the front wheel. A descent with corners should be done 'in the drops'.
I run 25 Conti's on my Cervelo 'Strava' bike. They are light enough to bang out consistent KOM's yet 'thick' enough for the gravel backroads I often ride on.
Take it easy on your first few rides. Get the feel of any new tyre/change in handling.
Vegan since 2001.
You probably have good reasons to do descents in the drops, like better brake leverage and better aero. But according to my scales there is more weight on the front wheel while on the hoods (at least on my bike).
Must be something about your setup, Nobody. Stretching to the drops should take people's torsos further forward and lower, and that new weight distribution is great for control but can lead to hand numbness and lower back pain.
See https://fitwerx.com/road-or-tri-position for the obvious example - aero bars.
The big thing to check with 28's is the increased profile height clashing with the brakes or the seat tube, generally the fork crown is high enough. I use 28's, triple butted spokes and nice strong Campy Omega 19's on my 1990 Shogun because our local roads are pretty ordinary, plus at 115kg and 6 foot i'm a heavy boy and they fit ok. I have had to machine away a little of the underside of the front brake caliper however to give me a bit of clearance though.
Be aware that machining away metal from brakes prolly aint the smartest thing to do. Its akin to drilling holes in handlebars to save weight.
I can hear some people now saying 'whats wrong with that?'.
Vegan since 2001.
I'd go as far to say that most people who know enough to do parts machining also know enough about the associated risks.
Here's some others to consider:
Carbon, Al, or for that matter 1" steel fork steerers where you can't even see a crack developing.
Carbon handlebars to that can fail suddenly.
Road bike front forks with only a small amount of room between the tyre and fork crown. They can get sticks and D shackles caught in there causing an instant superman impression.
Hard inflated 23mm tyres that can be very unforgiving if you hit something you missed seeing on the road (which I covered in an earlier post).
Last edited by Nobody on Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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