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  1. #1
    Medi
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    Commuting: Mountain Bike or Road Bike

    I just commuted to work today on my 2012 SJ FSR 29er EVO and it was a lot of fun. 18.7 miles one way. About 2 hours. I've commuted on road bikes before but, I sold my last road bike a while ago and decided to use my MTB for the first time.



    I liked the riding position and ability to ride over whatever was in front of me. The suspension was nice and plush. Made for a comfortable ride.

    I'm going to ride my bike to work a lot more. My dilemma is do I go with a road bike (like the Roubaix or Sirrus) or a Hardtail MTB (like the SJ or Rockhopper)?

    If I go with a MTB, it will be a 29er and will obviously be equipped with slick tires.

    The Specialized bikes I listed above are just examples and there are a lot more options out there, I know. So, don't lose your minds over that.

    Lightweight MTB or Road BIke/Hybrid?
    2009 Niner S.I.R. 9
    2012 Spec SJ EVO 29er
    2008 Spec Tri-Cross
    2001 Spec FSR S-Works

    http://www.TemporaryObsessions.com

  2. #2
    Bedwards Of The West
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    A drop bar 29er with a big fat slick tire is my commuter of choice. And any bike is 3.14 times more fun if you build it yourself.

    I currently have a rigid 29er with drops, BB7 discs, and 2.35" Schwalbe Big Apples. I have ridden a cyclocross bike, which was fun. I have a singlespeed cyclocross bike now, and that's fun. I have the hardtail mountian bike, which is fun...but there is nothing like bombing around on a rigid, drop bar 29er with big fat slicks. It's like a big squishy cadillac.


    But that being said, for an 18 mile one way commute in So-Cal (assuming no dirt options?) I might wind up with something more cyclocrossy, just for the speed factor. I have a dirt road and a singletrack option on my commute, and I like the versitility of the fat-tired 29er.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  3. #3
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    I use a Rockhopper Comp 29 with Michelin Tracker 700x35c tyres. Works really well.

  4. #4
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    I've used road bikes for years.

    I don't think mountain bikes start to be better than a road bike with the appropriate tires until I have to do extended climbing or descending on singletrack.

    I guess if you feel a need to ride up or down multiple stairs or have no finesse about curbs and potholes, a mountain bike has the advantage. But if your route is on the road or a paved bike path and you don't hit a bunch of that stuff along the way, road bikes are a lot more efficient. (Or if you can sneak in some dirt miles, of course.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
    Bedwards Of The West
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    ^^ I have a road bike too, and on the days when I do an 18 mile one-way after work, It's the go-to bike. I love it for the effficiency, but I don't like the harshness. I say 'cyclocrossy' because I'd prefer giving up a little of the effficiency in order to fit a slightly bigger tire for more plushness.

    My other disclaimer is that I live on a dirt road and I have a singletrack option on my commute (adds a couple miles)...so beefy and singletrack friendly are usually high on my priority list. The drop bar 29er is awesome for dirt road plushness and singletrack friendliness.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  6. #6
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    My commuters have typically had 25-32mm tires. For me, 32mm (nominally 27" by 1-1/4" when I've had 'em) are overkill. 25s and 28s seem about right. Although if I never carried a messenger bag or pannier, I'd be happy to ride on 23s, like what my "fun" road bike gets. I was having a lot of fun doing that over the summer with just a change of clothes in my bag, shoes waiting for me at work, and no panniers.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  7. #7
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    I picked up a bianchi san jose on cl for around 350 bucks and love it. Perfect mix of off road and road bike.

  8. #8
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    I like riding mountain bikes onroad and offroad. I tried road bikes and they were only slightly faster ‎but waaaaay more uncomfortable.‎ Plus, I just can't seem to stay away from the dirt no matter where I go. It's just too tempting.

  9. #9
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    Best of both worlds in my opinion is a cyclocross bike. It can accept tires up to 700x37c which means you can put anything from slicks, to knobbies to studded. I have different wheels for different seasons on my cyclocross.

    Here is a pic with non-studded Conti Top Contact Winter IIs:


    With studded Schwalbe Marathons:

  10. #10
    Squeaky Wheel
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    I've got a 18 mile each way commute.

    Every once in a while I will break out one of my mountain bikes and make the commute. Then I remember why my cross bike is my daily commuter.

  11. #11
    Monkey Junkie
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    It really depends what your commute route is like. If you are on the road, going straight for almost the entire time, then something more roadie like would probably be best. If you ride bike paths, dirt trails, MUP's, etc..then something more upright and mountain bike like would be my suggestion. My commuting routes are bike paths for the most part, with some curbs and such, so I ride my rigid 29er. Riding a road bike would be silly on my commute.

  12. #12
    dirtbag
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    Both of my commuters are old mtb's converted over. Both aluminum, one rigid and the other with a sweet old Noleen fork. My commute for the past couple of years has been through old cobblestone roads and paths through the woods and my old mtb's serve me well. A road bike would probably be a bit faster but would give me a beating on the cobblestones. With semi-slick knobbies, I can take fun detours on singletrack on the way home. Win!
    Amolan

  13. #13
    sofa king awsm
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    Banshee Paradox w/ slicks
    I am President material.

  14. #14
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    For a commute of that distance, something more along the lines of a cx or "relaxed" road bike (that can accommodate up to a 28-32mm tire) would be my choice. A fully rigid 29er with slicks could also be a contender, as you don't give up too much speed by going that route. Seeing as you already have a full squish MTB, I'd opt for the cx/road bike.

    If you want to keep costs within reason, a cx or sport-touring bike with bar-end shifters and reasonable build would be pretty sweet, IMO.

    The super popular Surly Crosscheck comes to mind, as does the Masi cx uno (has brifters, though).

    Alot depends on your budget.

    One that has captured my interest as a potentially great deal is this one, or this one assuming your size is available.

  15. #15
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    I'd go with a road bike of some sort. My longest commute, one way, was 12 miles. Fenders, fatter tires and road gearing made it an easy commute. My commute now is much shorter so I get to choose between my MTB, steel framed road bike, 2 different recumbents and my latest edition, an Xtracycle build.

  16. #16
    I need skills
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    just bought a cross check

    bought it for commuting.

  17. #17
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    I prefer my mountain bike from November to April for a couple of reasons:

    -Disc brakes (from both a performance and rim-wear standpoint)
    -Accommodation of large studded tires for snowfall events
    -Slightly more upright position in traffic works better with winter clothing
    -Flat bar works better with my mirror and pogies.

    While all of these things could be accommodated on my cross bike with alterations, it seems like kind of a waste when my mtb is set up that way by default. And on dry roads, I'm looking at travel time differences of maybe one light cycle or 2 minutes on a 20-minute ride.

    In the summer I often commute my CX bike with 23C road tires for weeks at a time, unless I'm planning some trail riding on the way home..
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  18. #18
    CB of the East
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    All of the above. Like everybody else has already said it depends on the terrain you have to commute. My commute takes as little as 30+ min for 12.5 miles on the road bike or 55 min on my heavy commuter.

    I use:
    Nice summer days: Road Bike (choice of 2)
    Rainy summer days/non-trail sloppy winter days: MTB converted to commuter w/fenders
    Winter trail rides: FS MBT
    Good weather winter days with bad roads, frost heaves & pot holes: Surly Cross check

    If I were you I'd go with a cx bike with your choice of drops or flats.

  19. #19
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    Teal goodness

    Good compromise. 1991 Wheeler. The lugged Tange MTB tubed steel frame was purchased at a local thrift store for $25. I was able to piece it together with some old mtb and road parts. A little porky, but a ton of fun. My daily driver.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Commuting: Mountain Bike or Road Bike-imag0272.jpg  

    Commuting: Mountain Bike or Road Bike-imag0273.jpg  

    Commuting: Mountain Bike or Road Bike-imag0274.jpg  


  20. #20
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    5 words, nothing else matters:

    RIDE
    WHATEVER
    YOU
    WANNA
    RIDE.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  21. #21
    Singleton
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    I use an all steel 29er with fat tyres as my all season/weather/purpose bike!

    [/url]

  22. #22
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    I either do fixed gear or my salsa casseroll. Lots of friends are marvelling at 90s 26" rigids these days, saying they work great for the commute, but I like the more road bike feel. Granted, that is all I have used for the last few years.

  23. #23
    Short-Change-Hero
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    I have been riding my On-One Inbred 29er for the last month or so and while it is fun you can definitely feel the rolling resistance with the tires. I actually just grabbed a used 2009 Kona Jake for $500 from a local shop owner (picking her up this weekend) and just riding around the parking lot I could tell the difference. My route is mostly road with the option of bike paths and gravel if I really wanted it so the CX bike will be perfect. With my area I will also have the ability to take it on some fire road climbs up into Tahoe for a little fun. Can't wait!!

  24. #24
    VENI VEDI BIKI
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    On nice days, i like to ride my single speed road bike. If it is crummy weather or I have a big load, I will ride my MTB. In the winter I use all terrainasuarus 1.8 tires. In the summer, I use 1 inch slicks. I runmy MTB 1x9. From a pure utility pespective, the MTB with slicks/fenders is the way to go. Funwise, the singelspeed takes the win. Also, my MTB is good and beat up. I don't mind getting it dirty and locking it in the parking garage.....it is not likely to be stolen.

    IMHO, a good commuter should be versatile, strike a good balance between stability and speed, and be low maintenance. For that a older MTB can't be beat.
    Veni Vidi Biki

    I came, I saw, I biked.

  25. #25
    VENI VEDI BIKI
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    Quote Originally Posted by lwkwafi View Post
    Lots of friends are marvelling at 90s 26" rigids these days, saying they work great for the commute,
    Yup. Cheap, versatile, hardy, and can be made into a single speed if you want.
    Veni Vidi Biki

    I came, I saw, I biked.

  26. #26
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    Depends on your ride. I would like the mountain option with narrow street slicks. you may not get the speed you would on a road bike, but you will have more options for your ride beside purly on the road.

  27. #27
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    I use my trek 4100 when commuting with my daughter in the Burley and my Allez Elite when it's just me. I know the specialized isn't the greatest road bike out there, but it feels like I am towing a boat with a corvette when I tow the trailer.

  28. #28
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    I'm a little biased, but if a new bike is in the works for commuting purposes, I think the Salsa Vaya is really tough to beat. Reasonably upright position with drop bars, takes 700c/29" tires up to about 48mm, disc brakes, able to handle racks, panniers, etc. I ride pavement, gravel, and fire roads on it, and I would not hesitate to do some mild single track. Even with some tires with some tread to them it beats my Fisher 29er in the road speed department by a mile. The time on that 18.7 mile commute will drop a lot with a bike like a Vaya.

  29. #29
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by medi.hash View Post
    Commuting: Mountain Bike or Road Bike

    ...

    Lightweight MTB or Road BIke/Hybrid?
    I ride a mountain bike, but it is anything but lightweight. It started out as a '93 GT Outpost, which is a heavy steel bike to begin with, and it's got lights, fenders, and racks now too. I'm not complaining though, I like the way steel rides, and wouldn't have it set up any other way. I usually run nominally 1.5" touring tires for my roughly 8 mile each way commute on Seattle's rough, potholed roads and hills.

    With all the stop and go of controlled intersections and traffic on my commute I wouldn't get much benefit out of larger tires anyway, in fact, most of the time I'd probably just be getting them spooled up when it'd be time to stop again. Between that and liking a really stiff frame and having had bad luck breaking spokes and getting lots of flats with a hybrids 700cc wheels I can't imagine commuting on either a road bike or a 29er.

    YMMV
    Last edited by Medic Zero; 03-02-2012 at 02:48 PM.

  30. #30
    psycho cyclo addict
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    Road bikes are so 80's

    In addition to trail riding whenever possible, I commute on my 29er mountain bikes 2-3 times per week and do an urban assault ride weekly too (smoked a couple decent roadies last night which is quite gratifying).

  31. #31
    Moderator Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by medi.hash View Post
    ...Lightweight MTB or Road BIke/Hybrid?
    Yes.

  32. #32
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    I really dislike road bikes. I'm too much of a rough rider; I don't think twice about flying down a curb or stair set etc.
    Due to this I have to say mtb all the way! I need a bike that can put up with a bit of loving abuse
    Come this Tuesday I will be the proud owner of the very sexy
    Giant Revel Ltd.0

  33. #33
    Medi
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    I just bought a used 2009 Niner SIR 9 complete bike. It should get here in about a week. I'll set it up with some slicks that are not too narrow and not too wide. Schwalbe Big Apple might be a bit too wide. This bike will be dedicated to 99% road and a chance of dirt/mtb. When it comes, I'll take pics and post a follow up.
    2009 Niner S.I.R. 9
    2012 Spec SJ EVO 29er
    2008 Spec Tri-Cross
    2001 Spec FSR S-Works

    http://www.TemporaryObsessions.com

  34. #34
    Bedwards Of The West
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    You have chosen wisely. I'd consider drop bars for it. I was a naysayer for a looooooong time, but my rigid 29er commuter/tourer/dirt road/some trail bomber is now sporting drop bars and I love them, even on the moderate trail use it gets.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  35. #35
    Medi
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    I have an FSA K Wing Carbon Fiber 440mm handlebar laying around that I could slap on there. I'm really happy with the 750mm Easton Havoc Carbon handlebar one on my SJ. You think a 440mm set of drop bars would suit me better?
    2009 Niner S.I.R. 9
    2012 Spec SJ EVO 29er
    2008 Spec Tri-Cross
    2001 Spec FSR S-Works

    http://www.TemporaryObsessions.com

  36. #36
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    I don't think that the same bike will fit the same person with both drop bars and flat bars. Drop bars add a significant amount of reach, and road bikes have shorter top tubes to make that work. If you can figure out a way to jury rig your controls and give it a try, though, you can give it a shot. For a more permanent setup, you'll need a do-over on your controls as the handlebar diameters are different.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  37. #37
    Medi
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    It's a single speed, so it's just the brakes. The clamp diameters are the same. I guess I could try a day on each.
    2009 Niner S.I.R. 9
    2012 Spec SJ EVO 29er
    2008 Spec Tri-Cross
    2001 Spec FSR S-Works

    http://www.TemporaryObsessions.com

  38. #38
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    Not the clamp diameter - the diameter of the handlebar itself. IIRC, it's mountain bike bars that are slightly smaller. Some brakes can be finessed on. Some can't.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  39. #39
    mtbr member
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    Ride & Smile

  40. #40
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I don't think that the same bike will fit the same person with both drop bars and flat bars. Drop bars add a significant amount of reach, and road bikes have shorter top tubes to make that work. If you can figure out a way to jury rig your controls and give it a try, though, you can give it a shot. For a more permanent setup, you'll need a do-over on your controls as the handlebar diameters are different.
    I don't mean to be whoring out this picture (again ) but my mountain bike and commuter/tourer are the same frame. I love the feel on the mountain bike, and compensated for the drop bars with a short, downhill stem on the tourer. Riding position is very comfortable on both bikes for me.

    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  41. #41
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    ^^^
    That picture makes your opinion make a lot more sense. I wonder if I haven't seen it before?

    My mountain bike is sized such that I use a 90mm stem. My road bike is also sized such that I use a 90mm stem, although I wish that frame were a little smaller...

    What it means is that I couldn't switch either to a different handlebar (maybe the road bike to a ginormous stem and flats, but not the other one anyway) without screwing up my riding position.

    I'd always wondered how someone with apparently a fair amount of saddle time could switch the same frames back and forth and be happy; from the pic it looks like you found a size right between where I'd put frame sizes for flats and drops.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  42. #42
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I have a road bike (a Giant with 'compact' geometry) and the frame is way too short to be able to run a flat bar if I wanted...unless, like you said, I added a reeeealllly long stem. But the road bike fits me great as a road bike. I did a lot of measuring on this mountain bike before I built the commuter. I actually have a shorter stem that I tried, and I went longer after riding it for a while. With the downhill stem, there's a little bit of rise also, which puts them in a great spot...slightly more stretched riding position, but not uncomfortably 'road bike' feeling, not 'upright' or mountain-bikey. Awesome for the little amount of touring I've done, comfortable all day. Awesome for the commute, comfortable even on the trail (suspension corrected rigid fork, mtb geometry). I don't get in the drops on the trail. I stay on the hoods, and do the 1 finger brake thing from the hoods.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  43. #43
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    Here's a 1990 Trek 930 Singletrack that I built up as a commuter for my son. I put Schwabble Stelvio 26x1.10 road tires on it. Its a sweet little rider. Its a pretty neat old bike.




  44. #44
    Medi
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    Niner SIR 9 Commuter

    Alright, I finally got my commuter bike. Here's how the bike was setup before:



    And here's the bike with Ergon GR2 carbon grips and Specialized Infinity tires (700x35):









    Click here for more pics and a write up
    Last edited by medi.hash; 03-13-2012 at 09:37 PM.
    2009 Niner S.I.R. 9
    2012 Spec SJ EVO 29er
    2008 Spec Tri-Cross
    2001 Spec FSR S-Works

    http://www.TemporaryObsessions.com

  45. #45
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    Great, now I want one of these. I need to sell my 700ht first. My girlfriend would kill me if she sees another bike in the house.

  46. #46
    Bedwards Of The West
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    That Niner looks fun! I can't help but look at those bars and think of how inefficient they will be on the road though... You are going through what I went through expanding from your mountain bike roots... my prediction is that in a year or so if you're still riding it, you will go to a narrower drop-bar set-up. I had a wide MTB bar and found myself grabbing it way in by the stem to keep my open chest out of the wind, and then before you knew it, it morphed into a road bar
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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    (no excuse for that either)

  47. #47
    Short-Change-Hero
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    Nice.. and Steel Is Real!!
    Now, since it is going to be a pure commuter bike I would drop the Reba for a rigid fork and then you have a full commuter.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by medi.hash View Post
    And here's the bike with Ergon GR2 carbon grips and Specialized Infinity tires (700x35):
    What gearing are you using? My 29er is 33x18, and with 2.4 knobby tires it's fine but it is definitely a little spinny. With skinny slicks like that I think it would be really, really spinny?

  49. #49
    Bedwards Of The West
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    My SS is 46x20. Just about right for the commute with 700x38's. No major climbs though. A few moderate ones....
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  50. #50
    Medi
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    I commuted to and from work with it yesterday, 40 miles! After the commute I realized that 32x18 is too spinny. Today I got a RaceFace Turbine 44 tooth up front. Hopefully 44x18 will work out.
    2009 Niner S.I.R. 9
    2012 Spec SJ EVO 29er
    2008 Spec Tri-Cross
    2001 Spec FSR S-Works

    http://www.TemporaryObsessions.com

  51. #51
    Fat-tired Roadie Moderator
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    That's going to be a pretty big step up. Not necessarily too big, and you can get a bigger (or smaller) cog if you have to.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  52. #52
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    I bought a Kona Unit last year for commuter duties. Bought a Salsa chainring immediately running 42x18, as 32x18 was way too spinny. I was running schwalbe marathon plus tyres which were great, but found the ride was way too rough on many of the beat up roads I commute on.

    Recently got a set of Big Apple 2.35s which have transformed the bike. My commute is now so enjoyable and plush. Next step is to change my cog to a 17 or 16 as I have found I am now spinning out with my current ratio.

  53. #53
    Medi
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    Quote Originally Posted by OliSS View Post
    I bought a Kona Unit last year for commuter duties. Bought a Salsa chainring immediately running 42x18, as 32x18 was way too spinny. I was running schwalbe marathon plus tyres which were great, but found the ride was way too rough on many of the beat up roads I commute on.

    Recently got a set of Big Apple 2.35s which have transformed the bike. My commute is now so enjoyable and plush. Next step is to change my cog to a 17 or 16 as I have found I am now spinning out with my current ratio.
    did the Big Apple 2.35s slow you down compared to the marathon plus?

    I'm kind of in the same boat. My 700x35 Specialized Infinity tires are fast but rough on bumps and I don't feel confident dropping off curbs and things. I'd like to go with some fat slicks like Big Apples if they don't slow me down too much. I live in Orange County, California and the streets are pretty solid
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    Not at all, if anything I am now even quicker as I feel confident about taking some shortcuts that I wouldn't have done so before.

    There is a bit of a misconception about high volume tyres having a greater rolling resistance than smaller tyres. There is a good write up on the schwalbe website called balloon bikes that discusses the science behind this. With the BA's, I can run at a lower pressure than I would with marathon plus and achieve the same rolling resistance.

    I have been running the BAs at 45 psi, and am also really impressed with tread pattern and grip, they are really confidence inspiring.

    If your worried about the 2.35s being too big, you could always go with the 2.15s, or 2.0s.

  55. #55
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    I've heard a lot of chatter about Big Apples lately. I can't believe they could have a lower rolling resistance than skinny 700c tires but on my 26" bike I might have to give them a try.

  56. #56
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    Skinny tires provide no benefit to rolling resistance. Schwalbe has a good article on the subject.

    But, the width of the tire doesn't tell the whole story. My road bike has skinny tires with 120tpi casings and a relatively thin, slick tread. So I'd be very surprised to swap in some tires with a coarse casing and thicker tread (and maybe more puncture protection, there's yet another variable) and experience lower rolling resistance, no matter the width.
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    I run my commuter tires at a fairly low pressure. Local roads have rough pavement in good spots. I'm on my winter setup with fenders and narrower tires and I'm still running 40psi on 700x32's. I ss with a 42x18 (have a 46t ring but it's a little tall on one hill). I find tread pattern makes more difference in rolling resistance. My summer tires are a hair wider but have more tread for riding the occasional dry trail. I really notice that tread on the pavement. Much more buzzy.

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Skinny tires provide no benefit to rolling resistance. Schwalbe has a good article on the subject.

    But, the width of the tire doesn't tell the whole story. My road bike has skinny tires with 120tpi casings and a relatively thin, slick tread. So I'd be very surprised to swap in some tires with a coarse casing and thicker tread (and maybe more puncture protection, there's yet another variable) and experience lower rolling resistance, no matter the width.
    I read the article. It's the 20K or so miles that have rolled under my bike tires that makes me doubtful. In my experience, skinny = faster & higher pressure = faster. There are other factors but those two seem do dominate. Take any tire and increase the pressure and it gets harsher and faster. That's why I might have to try them to see for myself.

    On a semi related note, I just took my cross bike out for the first time and experienced the fun of riding the road, taking a detour across a poll line and then back to the road. The roads have 1/2" of sand on them around here right now so it's the perfect commuter for me at the moment - the best of both worlds.

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    I have a very very hard time telling the difference in rolling resistance between my Maxxis Overdrives and my other bike with Hardrock'r on the rear, and Fast Trak Control up front (both fast rolling hardpack tires)....and yes I do a lot of pavement riding on both bikes (20-40 mile rides usually pushing hard). I still think my trail tire bike will out coast the other one...but there are other factors at play. (Overdrives are thinner and smaller street tires btw).

    With thicker tires you will have to consider rotational mass and aerodynamics.

    I would imagine the more important thing to consider would be PSI and actual tire contact patch area..and specifically how much of the tire's circle dents in when it contacts the road. I would imagine a lower air volume tire w/ higher pressure would be able to maintain its circle better (smaller contact patch) and have better rolling resistance.

    However if you had a wider tire that could maintain similar contact patch...then would there be much of a difference in actual rolling resistance (assuming same wheel and tread pattern)?

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    Any tread on a tire of the same size as one without will cause more rolling resistance. If it makes noise on the road, that is friction/rolling resistance. Softer compound = rolloing resistance. Lower pressure= rolling resistance. It all depends on what tire you like and feel good about riding in the environment "you" ride in. What works for me make suck for you. Rolling resistance =exercise and isn't that part of the reason we ride anyway. I prefer a bit of tread on my commuter, Surly Ogre, since I might see a trail or dirt road I want to ride down and explore a bit. My 2 cents worth Kenda Kross 700 x 40 ordered for Ogre as my current tires are a bit too buzzy

  61. #61
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    I just ordered Schwalbe Marathon Supreme's 29x2.0 (700x50). I figure they will be a good mid-point between thick road tires and Schwalbe Big Apple's (29x2.35). They're lighter than the BA's too.
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  62. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Skinny tires provide no benefit to rolling resistance.
    You need to continue your sentence. Skinny tires provide no benefit to rolling resistance when compared to a fatter tire inflated to the same air pressure.

    Therefore, if you mount a 700x23c tire on your bike and pump it up to 70PSI, you'll generally be in no better shape than if you mount a 700x32c Schwalbe Marathon Supreme and also pump it to 70PSI.

    However most who mount skinny tires are probably going to pump them to well over 100PSI and will achieve lower rolling resistance than the fatter tire with the sacrifice of ride quality.

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    According to Schwalbe (citing university studies), the comparison between fat and skinny tires in terms of rolling resistance does not require the tires to be at the same air pressure. Their website balloonbikes.com has this graphic:


    with the accompanying explanation that a 37mm tire and a 60mm tire have the same rolling resistance when the fatter tire is at 1/2 the air pressure. Apparently, on rougher the surfaces, the fatter tire gains an advantage in rolling resistance, presumably because momentum is not lost to bouncing.

  64. #64
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    I recently decided to get a new commuter/road bike. But I have dirt roads around and I like to play in the woods. I narrowed the field to one manufacturer, but couldn't decide between two models. It was going to be either a Salsa Fargo or a Salsa Vaya. Ultimately, I settled on the Vaya, but it was a pretty close decision. If I was looking at an 18-mile commute, it would have more quickly gone to the Vaya. At that distance, the benefits of "road" geometry and efficiency become more important.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAWS View Post
    According to Schwalbe (citing university studies), the comparison between fat and skinny tires in terms of rolling resistance does not require the tires to be at the same air pressure. Their website balloonbikes.com has this graphic:
    Sure if you are talking about two fat tires, but I was not talking about two fat tires, I was talking about a fat tire and a skinny tire. The skinny tire is more than likely going to be inflated to a much higher pressure and hence will have lower rolling resistance. If you think that a Big Apple inflated to max rated air pressure is going to have a lower rolling resistance than a 700x23c tire inflated to max rated air pressure, then I don't really have anything to say to that except good luck!

  66. #66
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    My Stan's ZTR Arch rims have a max rating of 55psi tubeless. what about with tubes?
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    Just rode my new surly ogre with kenda kross pluses, 700 x 40 today and they are much faster than any of my larger mountain tires on the road but still slower than a true road tire. YMMV. Still think it will be an awesome commuter even at 15 miles one way. Pretty much flat but wind can be a problem so I put areo bars on the flat bar
    Last edited by mike1125biking; 03-21-2012 at 09:01 PM. Reason: typo

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike1125biking View Post
    Just rode my new surly ogre with kenda kross pluses, 700 x 40 today and they are much faster than any of my larger mountain tires on the road but still slower than a true road tire. YMMV. Still think it will be an awesome commuter even at 15 miles one way. Pretty much flat but wind can be a problem so I put areo bars on the flat bar

    Do you have any pics of the flat bar with aeros?
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Sure if you are talking about two fat tires, but I was not talking about two fat tires, I was talking about a fat tire and a skinny tire.
    Where do you draw the "fat" line? That chart (whether you believe it or not) compares a 37mm to a 60mm if I`m reading it correctly. Pretty big difference there.

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    aero bars on my ogre

    Quote Originally Posted by stop619 View Post
    Do you have any pics of the flat bar with aeros?
    I had to pull them back from where they were in the pic without the pads and they don't show as good in the singletrack pick. With the bar ends and the aero bars I have 4 good and one optional hand positions. I like the upright position better since I'm getting older, plus I can hit the trails that I couldn't do on my road bike.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Commuting: Mountain Bike or Road Bike-photo-3-.jpg  

    Commuting: Mountain Bike or Road Bike-photo-1-.jpg  


  71. #71
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    My Big Apples are in. Maybe I'll get a chance to install them over the weekend. How do they do on wet roads? I can either swap my studded tires for them leaving me with some very slightly knobby tires and the BAs or i can put them on my good rims and leave the studs mounted.

    So the question is, can I run the Big Apples in all weather but ice and snow? I'm thinking that's the way I'm going to go but figured I'd ask those of you that are using them.

  72. #72
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    Unless you have a crappy rubber compound, your BAs should be fine in wet weather. In general, slick tires are superior to studded tires for all on-pavement riding, but the tread compound matters too.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by medi.hash View Post
    My Stan's ZTR Arch rims have a max rating of 55psi tubeless. what about with tubes?
    Definately one of the draw backs with Stans rims...

    Shimano XTR rims also limit the air pressure to 55 psi...

    Mavic SLR limits the air pressure as a function of tire diamter...something like

    2.35 50 psi
    2.1 65 psi
    1.9 85 psi
    1.3 120 psi


    Anyway I run a 1.3 inch slicks on my XTR rims at 80 psi (max tire pressure) and I have had no problems...

    I did ruin a Mavic SLR rim running 2.35 at 65 psi (max tire pressure)...

    The basic science says Mavic has it right and Shimano, Stans are conservative with small tire diameters....

  74. #74
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    Iív been commuting to work for about four years now on the following bikes: a 2007 Specialized Sirrus Sport with 700 x 25 Continental Gator-skin tire, a 2007 Specialized Globe with a rear rack and 700 x 38 Specialized Nimbus tires and a 2009 Specialized Epic with 26 x 2.1 Specialized Captain tires. Each bike has its strengths and weaknesses, which can be felt on my short 6 mile commute through the city of Chico. The roads I ride over are rough so I inflate my tires to the minimum pressure to smooth out the ride (Sirrus 90 to 95psi, Globe 75 to 80 psi and the Epic 50 psi). Luckily my Sirrus has a carbon fiber fork and seat stays with zerk fittings to take the edge off the bumps. The Sirrus is the fastest and lightest bike out of the bunch and the easiest to pedal. However; I need to ride the Sirrus with a backpack because itís compact road frame is not long accommodate my pannier bags and my size 13 feet. So when the temperatures in Chico climb past 90 degrees, I ride another bike because the backpack is way too hot on my back. The Globe is by far the heaviest bike I have but it rides like a slow moving Cadillac, which requires a lot of leg muscles to keep it moving. If you like to cruise around at 12 mph with your rear rack loaded with panniers and a rear bag then the Globe is your bike. Pushing a fully loaded Globe past 12 mph on a flat will stain you joints and cause lactic acid to buildup in your quads. The Epic with its Captain tires is also a slow mover but is by far the smoothest bike to ride over the rough AC. Unfortunately, like the Sirrus, I cannot ride the Epic in the Summer months because the backpack is too hot. I think for long commutes (without a lot of stop signs) I would go a cycle-cross or newer Sirrus with a non-compact frame, zerk inserts, a comfortable seat and puncture resistant 700 x 32 tires

  75. #75
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    Communiting Tires...

    I have a 2008 Kona Caldera. My girlfriend got me a Mavic Crossride wheelset for my birthday and I've committed myself to riding my bike to and from work (about a 25 minute ride each way).

    I'm looking for a solid commuter tire I can slap on this wheelset. The guy at the Alt bikeshop recommended the Continental Town and Country. I'd been eyeing up this tire but after reading a number of reviews I'm not so sure (punctures).

    I've also been looking at some Kenda and Panaracers.

    I'd also like something a little wider too so let me know what you guys think.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions you all might have.

    Thanks

  76. #76
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    cwhiatt - Schwalbe Marathon Supreme 2.0 (50)
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  77. #77
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    I ride a mtb - either a 2003 khs alite500 or a 2012 norco nitro 9.2 29er. Need to get some slicks, thinking big apples. At 245 pounds I could use the extra cushion of the fat tire with the faster rolling slick tread.

  78. #78
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    Big Apples Vs Road Tires

    I had a windless day to do a speed comparison between my Big Apple 26x2.35 tires on my mountain bike compared with my previous speeds on my road bikes running 700x23C tires. This is my normal commute and I usually enter my average speed in a spreadsheet along with which bike I am riding. This route is relatively flat with some rolling hills but no real climbs. My road bike speeds vary between 16mph average to my best of 23mph average (with a tail wind for sure) . Ipod loaded with Tool and Hollywood Undead for inspiration, here are the results.

    At the same effort level (pushing hard, not quite race pace) on a windless day:
    Road Bikes, about 20 & 28 lbs, 700x23C @ 100psi, 20mph average
    Mountain Bike, about 34 lbs, Big Apple 26"x2.35 @ 40psi, 18.7mph average

    Not completely scientific but I've got a lot of experience with this route. A lot of the difference is probably the bike weight more than the tire difference.

  79. #79
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    I'd expect that it's a difference in rolling resistance from your tires and air drag, more than bike weight. Especially absent real climbs.

    Even if you don't have a particularly aero position on a road bike, you're still a fair amount narrower. Tires included. There's an idea out there now that 23mm tires are narrower than optimal for rolling resistance, but 2.35" is a lot wider than optimal. So there's that too.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  80. #80
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    I'm sure it is some of both. Even the shorter hills are noticeably slower on the heavier bike, then in the downhill sections the increased drag sucks up the gains of the extra weight going down hill.

    I forgot to mention that my speed on that route with this bike before I put the Big Apples on was in the low 18s with WTB Vupine and in the 15-16s with the studs but that's usually in colder weather, higher density air, more restrictive clothing and so forth.

    I'm kind of interested in doing a group road ride on my commuter with the BAs, just for the looks. I think I can probably hold my own with the groups that ride around here, especially in the "early season" since I've been riding year round.

  81. #81
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    Tires do make a big difference, especially to mountain bikes. At the lowest speeds, your biggest opposing force is rolling resistance, greatly effected by tires. At faster and faster speeds, rolling resistance increases proportionally and air resistance really explodes.

    But yeah, if you're noticing some more work on hills, that's some difference too. Your weight differences are big enough to matter, which is a nice change from all the fighting about half a pound that sometimes goes on.
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  82. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    But yeah, if you're noticing some more work on hills, that's some difference too. Your weight differences are big enough to matter, which is a nice change from all the fighting about half a pound that sometimes goes on.
    ...Like your signature says.

    I can hardly notice the difference between my light (probably 18.5 lbs without the seat bag) CF bike and my trusty vintage steel road bike. I can feel it accelerate faster because of the light wheels but my overall average speed differences are negligible. I have fun bringing that on group rides too.

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    I run an circa 2003 motobecane mtb frame, a $30 aluminum fork I painted, 1x8 w/ friction shifter. Put a new front wheel and a front disc brake on last year. New vulpine's on this winter. About as cheap as a 20lb bike can be.

    Ride whatever works in your situation. For me, the less fancy, the better, and carbide studs make more sense than fat tires.
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  84. #84
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    Been riding a 2004 Giant NRS2 for year-round daily commuting in Anchorage AK for two years now. To this point I've been using Specialized Hard Rockr knobbies in the spring/summer/fall and Kenda Klondik studs in the winters.

    I like that I have one bike and am able to use it for all my riding situations. From the daily commute to long weekend paved trail/road rides to gnarly singletrack and even some urban freeride. Yeah, I know that if I had a bike purpose built for each riding situation, I might be more effecient at that particular ride, but I never know what type of mood I'll be in before leaving the house and, honestly, I know I'll never be a racer of any stripe, so getting out and enjoying my ride is more important to me than anything else.

    This said, I will admit that I am serious looking at purchasing a fatbike as so much of the year is winter up here, I love riding in the places these things allow one to go in the winter, and I can outfit it with a nice niner wheelset for summer riding.

    I'll also say, quickly, that I see a lot of folks in Anchor-town rolling on cheap arse Huffy's all year long and they seem just as happy doing it as those who roll on a different expensive bike every day. I don't think it is possible to not be happy when on a bike.

  85. #85
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    I managed to do one bike only until I was a year into college. Training-oriented road riding was what popped my multiple-bikes cherry.
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  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    I had a windless day to do a speed comparison between my Big Apple 26x2.35 tires on my mountain bike compared with my previous speeds on my road bikes running 700x23C tires. ...

    At the same effort level (pushing hard, not quite race pace) on a windless day:
    Road Bikes, about 20 & 28 lbs, 700x23C @ 100psi, 20mph average
    Mountain Bike, about 34 lbs, Big Apple 26"x2.35 @ 40psi, 18.7mph average

    Not completely scientific but I've got a lot of experience with this route. A lot of the difference is probably the bike weight more than the tire difference.
    Now you need to handicap the road bike, like a jockey, and carry the weight difference between the 2 bikes and see how fast you go on the weighed down road bike.

  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    At the same effort level (pushing hard, not quite race pace) on a windless day:
    Road Bikes, about 20 & 28 lbs, 700x23C @ 100psi, 20mph average
    Mountain Bike, about 34 lbs, Big Apple 26"x2.35 @ 40psi, 18.7mph average
    What !?!
    Not that I don`t believe you, but that`s nearly unbelieveable! I get about the same difference just switching from my bombproof 1.75 Maxxis Overdrives to my flimsy 1.25 Paselas on the same bike (drop bar rigid mtb with bunches of heavy crap bolted on). I don`t keep a record of my times/speeds, but I do look at roll time and avg after each ride. For me, there`s no way in hell I could keep an 18.7 avg for 12 miles on a mtb, but could at least come close to that 20 when I had a road bike, or on my recumbent.

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    So... which part don't you believe? It's just about what I expected.

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    I don`t doubt your word at all, Bedwards- my apologies if bad phrasing on my part made it sound that way.

    It`s just... so amazingly far from my own experiences that my mind has a hard time accepting it. Now you have me wondering how much perception has wiggled its way into my memory in place of facts. If I were to keep paper records of my times and avgs, would my own records look equally absurd to me, compared to how they seem at the time? I dunno if that makes any sense or not.

    EDIT: I know the obvious way to find out, will consider following through with it. The problem is that it`ll take a long time and many trips because I have such big variations from day to day even with no bike changes... winds, clothes, energy level, etc. I guess I`d better find myself a big sheet of blank paper

  90. #90
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    I'm just not sure which part you found unbelievable. Was the difference in speed to big or too small? I'd agree, the difference from day to day with no other changes can be up to 8mph or so just with the difference in wind.

    I'd use excel over paper. I attached my bike geek sheet for the world to see.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by bedwards1000 View Post
    I'm just not sure which part you found unbelievable. Was the difference in speed to big or too small?

    I'd use excel over paper. I attached my bike geek sheet for the world to see.
    It`s way less difference than I would expect, but it doesn`t seem to strike anybody else that way

    Thanks for the geek sheet- I take it U,G,S, and B are your bikes? Like you said, the speeds don`t seem to have trends depending on which bike. For a few weeks, it looks like one of them is much faster than another, then things flip-flop.

    I want to try tracking too now. My differences can`t be ALL imagination, can they? As we`ve both noted, a lot of non-bike factors affect speed, but on a not very windy trip (that`s definitely the biggest factor), I can expect anywhere from about 11 to 14 MPH with the big tires, and the same bike with skinny tires I get from like 13 to 17. Percentage wise, that`s a bigger difference than you`re seeing between 23s on a road bike and whatever BAs you have on your mtb. I`ll come up with a blank chart including the information I think is pertinent and see how it goes. Probably keep riding the same bike and switch tires weekly to get a good overview. What is excel over paper?

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    Thanks for the geek sheet- I take it U,G,S, and B are your bikes? Like you said, the speeds don`t seem to have trends depending on which bike. For a few weeks, it looks like one of them is much faster than another, then things flip-flop.
    Univega - steel road bike
    GT Sensor - FS mountain bike.
    Scott CR1 Comp - Light CF
    Bridgestone - Loaded MB3 commuter
    Surly Cross Check - Not listed cause I didn't have it in 2011

    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    I want to try tracking too now. My differences can`t be ALL imagination, can they? As we`ve both noted, a lot of non-bike factors affect speed, but on a not very windy trip (that`s definitely the biggest factor), I can expect anywhere from about 11 to 14 MPH with the big tires, and the same bike with skinny tires I get from like 13 to 17. Percentage wise, that`s a bigger difference than you`re seeing between 23s on a road bike and whatever BAs you have on your mtb. I`ll come up with a blank chart including the information I think is pertinent and see how it goes. Probably keep riding the same bike and switch tires weekly to get a good overview. What is excel over paper?
    Excel speradsheet, not a big sheet of paper. I just have mine load when I log in and enter my distance, price of gas and average speed if I remember it. Shoot me a PM with an email if you want my template.

  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    It`s way less difference than I would expect, but it doesn`t seem to strike anybody else that way
    It's not that, it's just that my numbers are so much lower it's hard to compare. If I'd blasted along at 20mph avg I would remember it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blockphi View Post
    Been riding a 2004 Giant NRS2 for year-round daily commuting in Anchorage AK for two years now. To this point I've been using Specialized Hard Rockr knobbies in the spring/summer/fall and Kenda Klondik studs in the winters.
    I'm running Hardrock'r on the back of both of my bikes, it's definitely rolls nicely on pavement while having a nice ride too....good protection while being not THAT heavy.

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    I suppose the Raleigh 3 speed I used in the 1970s was purpose-built commuter before the explosion of products we have now. My fairly new commuter is probably modern day counterpart.

    I've used road, MTB, and usually build up a bike from parts or others but got a purpose-built commuter early this spring and cannot be more happy. It's ready to go, not as expensive or cheap is the other stuff I had in mind.

    Maybe I'd have thought differently if I felt like using more time to build and tweak.

    The belt drive is really nice in that I don't get grease on pants and it should be pretty much no maintenance.

    When I had other bikes I had to dink around getting bags and panniers right and not so.

    I also bought a Burley Travoy. That makes any bike a commuter but life without the Travoy is better for longer trips and strong winds. I am surprised I do not read or hear more enthusiasm for the Travoy.

  96. #96
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    ^^I bet you`ll hear more about the Travy when it`s been on the market longer. What I have heard has been glowing, just not many people with them yet.

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    First time out on the road bike since early December. It's like riding a rocket compared to the mountain bike. 19.7mph average. I'd call it 20mph if I take out the times I was stopped for a light.

    So, back to the topic of this forum, If you have distance to cover and the road surface is acceptable: Road Bike.

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    I took the Scott out today. This is the one that surprises me. This bike feels noticeably lighter in the climbs, accelerates much faster, is stiff as a board and overall feels faster than my Univega. It is 10lbs lighter and much of the weight loss in in the wheels which helps the acceleration. By all accounts I'd say I was riding faster today.... Except I wasn't. When I got to work I had the same average speed as the steel horse. I find that weird.

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    ^^Yeah, that is wierd. I would double check for any drag, just in case a brake pad or sticky hub is slowing it down. The gearing can make a difference too. My cross bike just has a double so I end up climbing the hills faster just because I can't granny it like I do with a triple.

  100. #100
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    Not so weird.

    I like energy methods for figuring out bike stuff. Basically, what you do is compare your mechanical energy at a standstill and at your cruising speed. If you know your power output, it's pretty easy to estimate the change in time taken if all you do is change the bike weight. It's not totally true because you start losing energy to air drag as soon as you start moving, but to do better, you need to do calculus and I'm lazy about it when I'm not getting course credit.

    It's even better for climbing. You can compare your potential energy at the bottom and top of the hill, and figure out how many extra seconds it takes to put out the extra energy for the heavier bike at your climbing power output.

    Both differences turn out to be very small. The big-ticket loss is air drag, so if your position on your Scott and your Univega is close, you end up with pretty similar times on most routes. Actually that's why I was initially surprised at your earlier difference, because it hadn't sounded like the climbs were that significant.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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