Roadbikes- no longer in the public consciousness it seems

Discussion in 'The Clubhouse' started by scottish steve, May 28, 2012.

  1. I bought a roadbike yesterday; std diamond frame with 23cc tyres and drop bars.
    There are precious few of these around my city and most of them seem to be ridden by "serious" cyclists in full branded lycra kit who are rarely seen on weekdays. Every other bike seems to be granny bike or a MTB. I told me colleagues I'd bought a roadbike and the first question they asked was "Is it a hardtail or full suspension?". Try as I might I could not get them to understand what I'd bought so I was forced to show them. Both of them were flabbergasted that I'd bought such an "unusual" machine.
    What the hell?
  2. Love those "unusual" machines, I have a Cervélo with campy Athena that I used when I did triathlons and a Giordana frame with shimano 500. Love em both. I have little time to ride now, but when I can I hit the road.
  3. Somehow people have gotten it in their heads that mountain bikes are bikes. If you cycle daily, there is nothing that compares to a roadbike. For once in a while biking I do recommend a MTB because they are more comfortable to ride, just no rear suspension unless you are in rough terrain.
  4. Legion

    Legion Moderator Emeritus

    It seems in Melbourne the road bike rules, especially ridiculously expensive European ones with brand names you have never heard of. But you have to wear all the lycra kit, and ride in a peloton of fifty other guys on your way to work, and take up at least one full lane of traffic.

    Personally I tuck one trouser leg into my sock, and ride on the paths where possible.
  5. I'm certain its illegal to drive on the pavement in the UK. Of course nobody cares where you drive in China. The Japanese are very aware of bikes and quite good about driver-awareness. I always loved going into work in the morning and seeing several thousand school kids, housewives and even businessmen in suits pedalling along. I must admit to a hugely increased sense of vulnerability riding in Suzhou compared to riding my electric scooter which weighs 90kg (instead of 10). In The UK there is a healthy single speed culture, which I love, I have a Lemond Fillmore (spelling?) at home and my friend, who passionately advised me not to get a single speed ["you'll die as soon as you hit a hill!"], preferring an urban assualt bike to er, go to the shops, finally allowed me to persuade him to try my "crazy suicidal bike" after about a year. Two hundred yards down the road I could hear him shout "I've GOT to get one of these!" :)
    I think most people assume that a roadbike is old-fashioned or incapable of standing up to the rigours of tarmac. A bit like people who've just bought a new mechanical watch and are scared it's going to fall apart if they change a tyre with it on. I am very glad there is a healthy number of dedicated companies putting out really good kit, but once again it's like the traditional shaving culture- thriving, but still very much a niche. Once again, it's people being scared to learn how to operate something. The adjustment period of a few weeks or even days to reap the benefits of a machine which is designed specifically to allow you to travel on roads as efficiently as possible, seems too much for people who want to assess a major purchase by pedalling around a car park for five minutes.
  6. Congrats on the new bike score! I'm around the corner from picking up a hybrid style bike, my first step to increasing fitness and maybe working up to a proper road bike, so I can appreciate the sentiment.

    Show some pics of your new ride of you can.
  7. I think that part of the issue is the fact that most people (in the US, at least) get their bikes as cheaply as possible from places like Wal-Mart. They see $250 as an expensive bike. It's cheaper and easier to make a MTB-style bike than it is to make a road bike, so those are the kinds that Wal-Mart sells and the kind that people buy.

    That said, there are quite a few road bikes in my area. Cycling is relatively popular around DC, and road bikes are bound to follow that.
  8. Around here where I live we have a great bicycle culture that is growing, which includes the city expanding the trail system. Plenty of shops too, selling all of the name brands you could want. Mountain bikes are very popular, but with the number of serious cyclists around here you can see road bikes daily out on the streets.
  9. With Lance Armstrong living and being from here, Austin has an incredibly strong road biking crowd. There are events nearly every weekend for charity rides, etc, and I'd guess that the road guys outnumber the MTB guys 2:1.

    Back in Kansas, the road bikers got funny looks and comments while the MTB folks were the bulk of the riders. I guess it varies pretty widely based on where you are.
  10. Hybrid bikes are becoming popular -- sort of a combination of the mountain bike and a road bike.


    I ride a single speed Murray Monterrey cruiser, but I need to get something more serious with gears. I bought it for $5 at a yard sale, and it looked like it had never been ridden. I added a huge basket to the front that will hold 3 bags of groceries.
  11. I do get some strange looks when I pull up on my Trek Road Bike that I purchased in the early 90's.

    People wonder how I have kept all my fingers since the shifters are about an inch from the front wheel.
  12. Ha!
    I remember friction shifters. I'd spend lots of time looking at my back sprocket and straining my ears to check the chain was lined up perfectly. Indexing is less suited to very long, low maintanence applications, but a lot easier in general
    I have taken a couple of shots of the bike. I'll post them soon. It's a b'twin Triban3, from Decathlon and it's actually a real bike. I went to the Specialized shop and the prices they are charging are ludicrous- unsure if this is due to local import duty or the company trying to make a name for itself, but the bike I got at 3,000 rmb is far lighter than the Specialized one at 5,500, with better hardware etc. I think you might have to spend 7,500 to get one of similar lightness in the Specialized place.
    Merida had some nice ones, but the only dropbar one was a magnesium-framed racer that was a bit too big. Doh!
  13. I am a full on roadie these days, even for the commute to work. I hung up my mountain bikes a good decade ago (though I plan on purchasing something this year exclusively for the wonderful single track we have to offer.) Here in Western New York the culture is half and half. There is a serious crowd of roadies that wear kits and train on "bike paths," the groups of hipsters and their crappy 80s Schwinn conversions with neon wheelsets, and then the usual mountain/hybrid fitness folks; but I go old school and mingle in traffic almost exclusively. I currently ride a Cannondale R5000 setup in Dura-Ace 7800, and an Eighth Inch Scrambler single speed that I use to train with.
  14. I ride a road bike built with a Columbus steel and Shimano Dura Ace down tube, index shifters. It seams that steel frames are a thing of the past and you never see down tube shifters, except on old guy's bikes. I've got the bike torn down to clean and service all the bearings, and adjust the derailleurs, so today I road a mountain bike. I have to admit that it was the most uncomfortable ride I've had in years.
  15. I haven't ridden for years, but when I did I loved my road bikes. I still have them, just don't ride any more, but I'm thinking about getting back into it. They are both steel frame machines, with downtube shifters. One would be a 1980s vintage that I bought used for next to nothing. It has a beautiful lugged chromoly frame with quadruple butted tubing. I found it in a thrift shop. The wheels were crap, so those were replaced. I did a number of other upgrades as well, including the shifters. I don't know if anyone remembers the Suntour brand, but that's what was on it originally. (In fact the front derailleur is still original equipment.) I upgraded the rear to a Shimano Ultegra, plus a new set of cogs on the back. The front fork had to be replaced after a run in with an idiot on roller blades. I used it mostly as a daily ride.

    The other I bought around 1995 and used it for more serious rides. It's a chromoly frame, but tig welded, so it doesn't have the beauty of a lugged frame. It came with Ultegra components and I didn't upgrade since at the time all the Shimano components functioned very well, and all the bike magazines I read said that it was hard to tell the performance of Ultegra and Dura Ace apart. It was lighter and faster than my other bike.

    I just love the way a road bike handles. Those skinny tires are so responsive to your pedalling efforts. The double fulcrum brakes can stop you on a dime. Compared to a mountain bike, you have more positions to put your hands in and this means less fatigue on a ride. The frame geometry also makes road bikes super responsive to your steering input. I have only ever driven two mountain bikes, and in each case I was simply going on a ride on a borrowed one. If I were to ride trails, they'd be the machine of choice. But on the road, they just seemed so heavy and unresponsive. I though I was driving a tractor. There is no way I would have considered a long ride on pavement on a mountain bike.

    I think most people buy mountain bikes because they look at the wheels and they think that with the fat tires and wider rims they are stronger than narrow rims and tires on a road bike. Also, people think to themselves if they can fly over rocks and whatnot on the trail, they must be tough machines. What people don't realize is that the strength of a bike wheel has nothing to do with the fatness of the tire or the width of the rim. The strength is derived from the tension on the spokes. Any properly built wheel will be plenty strong. As I said above, I had to replace the forks on one bike after a collision with a roller blader. Even though the forks were fubar, the wheel was just fine.
  16. Here in California $5000 road bikes are everywhere!
  17. Steel is very prevalent in the single-speed community and there are even steel single speed mountain bikes available nowadays. Here's a couple of shots of my new bike. It was raining today so I didn't go out- rain is a rare thing in Suzhou and I'd like to keep the exposed steel parts pristine for a little longer. So it 6061 with carbon forks and shimano 2300 groupset. The 57cm frame weighs 10.5kg and mine is 51cm, so I'm hoping it'll just tip 10kg. 100 psi 23cc tires. The good thing about this purchase is that it was straight out the back of the shop, no-one had ridden it at all and the tech and I spent over an hour setting it up pretty much perfectly. I upgraded the pedals to "sylan-a-likes" and the wheels are 97% true- with your fingernail on the rim you can see a very slight wobble but not when riding. This was designed in France, so if they don't know how to make a bike for the road we all may as well give up.
    Looking at the geometry today I realised it's not quite a pure road racer, more a triathlon/cindertrail frame, though probably made that way for strength, given the pricepoint, rather than demanding tight tolerances and risking a frame failure. All in all, it's a good buy and well-thought-out, concentrating on a decent frame and forks with very comfortable dropbars and a basic but reliable drivetrain. If upgrading I think the bottom bracket and cranks should be first.

    Attached Files:

  18. Yeah, I had a full-carbon frame Giant until a couple of years ago. I started getting numb hands when I rode, and no combination of padded gloves or hand positions worked. I then tried a hybrid with upright bars and bar ends. No good. Finally, I got a recumbent, which takes all the weight off the hands. Love it!
  19. She's a beauty! I really like the colour. It looks like there is a spot for a second water bottle cage on the seat tube, so you might want to add one if you plan on doing long distance cycling. Just for the cool factor, I'd take off the reflectors on the wheels and the spoke protector (the clear plastic disk between the rear cassette and the spokes). The protector is completely unnecessary as there is a screw on the rear derailleur that limits the travel. Get this properly adjusted and you don't have to worry about the derailleur going into the spokes.

    It might sound nerdy, but I would ad a bell because it is a good safety device. Of course, you will have to decide if a bell will work for you in China. I always found it one helpful if I was approaching another cyclist from behind and the person was wandering all over the cycle path. One ding from the bell will usually get them going in a straight path until you get past them. There are neat little bells that look ok on a road bike. For example: $incredibell-bicycle-bell-triple.jpg

    I hope you enjoy your bike. It should give you lots of fun.
  20. That's not unusual-----THIS is unusual. My hybrid converted to a single speed! Clean look without all the clunky derailers and gear clusters and ring gears, lightweight, simple and robust----nothing to go out of adjustment, no chain clattering, etc. Solid, light, simple. $002.jpg $004.jpg $003.jpg

    If I ever buy a geared bike again, I'd be looking at something like the Trek FX series, but I'm happy with my single speed for now! Yes, it's a workout on hills, but I can stand up just like we did as kids. Fun bike, fun project!!

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