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  1. #1
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    How much fast will i be on a road bike?

    I know this is a difficult question to answer but i have been thinking of getting a road bike for ages and am not sure how much difference it will make. I haven't owned a road bike (with drops) since i was about 12 (26 years ago)

    I have been commuting on the bike below for several years now. Its my wife's old MTB and it fits pretty well as a commuter. I have the setup as dialed as possible for road, with 700c wheels, vittoria Randaneur tyres in 25mm at 80psi. My commute at the moment is about 26k (about 16 miles) which i consitently do in about 60minutes (57 if i really push). I cruise at around 30kph and it is pretty flat and open but gets busy for the last 5k with traffic and lights.

    My question is how much fast will i be on a road bike?

    I am pretty sick of racing guys on road bikes and either losing or at least doing it harder. I have been thinking about this for a few years and would borrow a road bike to test if i knew anyone who had one but i don't. Will a road bike shave 1 minute off time commmute time? 2 minutes? 5 minutes? 10?

    I know it is a dumb question but i also know there is no such thing as dumb questions, only dumb people.....

    How much fast will i be on a road bike?-img_4284-large-.jpg

  2. #2
    ~Disc~Golf~
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    "how much fast" is hard to quantify; if not impossible.
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  3. #3
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    Its hard to say. A road bike would be lighter with higher gearing, and probably more comfortable and efficient. You'll probably gain 2-3mph on average.

  4. #4
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    You've nearly got a road bike as it is. Can you swap out the chain rings on those arms to add more teeth?

    You could also swap out the bars to a drop set but that is going to be considerably more money once you sort the brakes and shifters too.

  5. #5
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    Are you spinning out at top end? if so a road bike higher gearing will help

    Are riding in an aero postion? if not a road bike (drops) will help

    Are you concerned about acceleration? a road bike (lighter) will help you latch on to someone passing you.

    Do you want to work harder for training effect, a road bike won't help.

  6. #6
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    There is always somebody faster, so if you switch you will not eliminate that issue, and you won't have a mountain bike as a handy excuse for being passed. That said, the road bike could be faster, especially on windy days. I would guess you would not gain much on the 5k with traffic/lights, so if you gained 5mph (over your 30 kph cruising speed) on the remaining 21k, that part of the ride would be 33 mins. If that last 5k takes you 15 mins (a guess, 20 kph), the whole ride would be 48 mins, a savings of 10 mins at most. My 11 mi a.m. commute takes about 15 mins longer when I switch from a cyclocross bike to a mtn bike with wide studded tires, but some of this slowdown is due to to snowy roads and cold temps not the bike.

  7. #7
    weirdo
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    It sounds like you`re pretty fast already (faster than me, anyway). You`d probably pick up a few minutes though, which is a lot in my opinion. Only one way to find out for sure....

    If I were you, I`d start hounding Craigslist for a $200 roadie to see how it went. If you like it, great. If not, turn around and sell it. Buying a 15 year old bike, the depreciation is pretty well played out. For a 16 mile ride twice a day, I`d be looking for a way to mount lights on my road bike for sure.
    Recalculating....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    "how much fast" is hard to quantify; if not impossible.
    According to my calculations it should get him about 10 more "fasts".

  9. #9
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by GDubT
    According to my calculations it should get him about 10 more "fasts".
    No way, dude! With that kind of mileage he can`t afford to be fasting.
    Recalculating....

  10. #10
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    Mountain bike? I don'gotno mountain bike! I don'need no 'steekeen' mountain bike! My gray mustache says it all!

    Fast enough for my age. But I have a poorly developed competitive gene.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GDubT
    According to my calculations it should get him about 10 more "fasts".
    Really? 10 more fasts huh?

    Thanks for the feedback guys, it is all useful. My commute is pretty flat so weight isn't really an issue and i am not spinning out. The cassette is a 26-11 road cassette and the big ring is 44t so gearing isn't the issue.

    I imagine a road bike is going to be a lot more aero both in the riding position and the bike itself which is where most of the benifit would be aswell as a slightly better pedalling position. I am not interested in training (my current bike is fine for that) I just want to shave some time of my commute and i would consider even a 5 minute reduction as a massive gain. Also my competive gene is well developed so when I see another bike, I find it hard to not try and pass them.

    BTW this is my commute http://connect.garmin.com/activity/5...2dd7afe46d%2C0

  12. #12
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    Put a pair of the old fashioned bar-end extensions on those handlebars so you can get more aero in position and do more of a road sprint on the uphills and to latch on.

    Get a small rear view mirror for your helmet so you can time your sprint better(start jumping early enough) for latching on, as a hot shot all-titanium roadie with 3 gram wheels and 14c wide tires starts to overtake you. Then draft about 2 inches off their rear wheel, giving them a look when they want you to take a pull, like "WHA? Do you REALLY want to be seen drafting behind a $200 mtn bike with your $6000 roadie setup????"

    Someone will ALWAYS be faster than you. With your current very respectable pace(I have 12 miles each way and am lucky to break 50minutes with a full gear backpack) and bike, they prove nothing when they pass you with their titanium wonder. BUT, if you can hang on or maybe even drop them, THATS bragging rights.

    How much does that frame weigh? Besides the bar ends, thats the main spot I can maybe see a weakness in your rig IF Thats a REALLY heavy frame. I finally wore out my 1991 resurrected Specialized Rockhopper, and its extremely light steel frame, and picked up a smokin deal on an almost new GT avalanche "aluminum" frame bike. The GT is a PIG and the aluminum is dead and significantly heavier than the old Rockhopper, which I now sorely miss. That frame, with tires and wheels and all else about equal, added about 5 minutes to my 12 mile commute.

    I am guessing you can trim about 3 minutes off your commute (after adding bar ends) with a road bike. Maybe 4 minutes if you want to sink an additional $4k or so. Is it worth it?
    Live in the moment.
    YMMV

  13. #13
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    You'll definitely be faster. Why?

    1. Lower rolling resistance. Putting on narrower slick road tires will help quite a bit. I like 700x23c Gatorskins for commuting, and have only had a flat once this whole year.

    2. More aerodynamic position. After 18mph or so, you're mostly fighting wind resistance. The more aerodynamic you can be, the faster you will go provided you have the fitness and gearing to get there.

    3. Gearing. Most mountain bikes and even some hybrid bikes have gearing that is too low for sustained speeds of 20mph or more. A proper road bike will enable you to pedal efficiently to around 30-35mph depending on the setup.

    I've used an old MTB with 26x1.5" slicks and a Trek Soho hybrid with 700x32c tires to commute on. Both were horrible aerodynamically and the gearing was not right for long distances. The MTB would spin out at 20mph and the Soho at 24mph. They were comfortable and perfect for short trips to the store/bar/park, but not for over 10 miles.

    I would average about 16-18mph on both bikes, and pushing it would get up to around 20mph. Once I switched to a road bike I'm averaging 20-22mph using about the same effort, and 25mph if I'm pushing it.

    On more thing I like about the road bike vs. flat bars is the hand positions. Instead of 1 position like on a flat bar, or maybe two if you have some bar ends, typical drop bars have at least 3. I find that there are four I use, which is nice on longer rides: flats, hands on hoods, front of drops, end of bars in drops.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/deakins/handlebars.html
    "Got everything you need?"

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbowen444
    You did ask "How much fast?".

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by GDubT
    You did ask "How much fast?".
    twice
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  16. #16
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    700c wheels, vittoria Randaneur tyres in 25mm at 80psi.
    so you're basically on a flat-bar road bike already. Your bars are slightly lower than the saddle, depending on your body dimensions that could already be a fairly aggressive position. 18mph is pretty good and I agree that aero effects really kick in there. Can you get rid of those fenders? you could try flipping your stem to get lower or narrower bars to reduce your cross-section to the wind.

    A picture of you on the bike might help. I don't think you're going to get massive gains unless you get a pretty aggressive road position, it's not like you're going from 26" knobbies to 700c 22mm slicks.

  17. #17
    over 50 years of cycling
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_box
    so you're basically on a flat-bar road bike already. Your bars are slightly lower than the saddle, depending on your body dimensions that could already be a fairly aggressive position. 18mph is pretty good and I agree that aero effects really kick in there. Can you get rid of those fenders? you could try flipping your stem to get lower or narrower bars to reduce your cross-section to the wind.

    A picture of you on the bike might help. I don't think you're going to get massive gains unless you get a pretty aggressive road position, it's not like you're going from 26" knobbies to 700c 22mm slicks.
    Good point on flipping the stem. I sort of assumed that had been done, but I noticed it hasn't. Some curved bar ends combined with a flipped stem can give you more than just two aero hand positions if you get creative. You just don't get the full dropped position and you are a bit wider "embrace" than aero bars, although that opens up your chest for better breathing.

    Definitely go to 26x1.25 tires. Geax has that size in their Street Runner series that is very tough and roll easy.

    Learn to draft well. Staying within a couple inches will gain you much. Just remember whoever bumps from behind goes DOWN. I did a bunch of years road racing so not overlapping wheels and tight drafting is second nature, but for some reason a LOT of people getting all torqued off when I draft. You wouldn't think some old geezer, pushing 60 years old, with a full pack on a heavy mtn bike would be that intimidating.

    Or just buy a road bike....but remember, then you HAVE to be faster than all the other commuters on mtn bikes.
    Live in the moment.
    YMMV

  18. #18
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    It will make almost no difference in the part of your commuter with lots of stop lights and intersections.

    It'll probably improve your average by a couple mph on the long, flat parts. You'll probably be a lot more comfortable - that's the big reason I ride road bikes instead of flat-bar bikes on the road. It'll be a lot less work for you to maintain your 30 kph, but going faster will be very difficult - air resistance increases at some really ridiculous rate, I think it's proportional to the square of someone's speed. Something like that.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
    deals with engineers...
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    mountain bikes are slow There's a 29er in here.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB7SNJhaOjI&NR=1

  20. #20
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    Thanks everyone for there input. seems like consensous that a road bike will be faster but how much faster (or how much fast ) depends. I do lilke having the "crutch" of riding a MTB so that if i can't catch someone I can always think "well if i was on a road bike too....." but really i would just like to shave a few minutes off my commute.

    I have tried a flat bar (currently 1inch rise) but haven't flipped the stem. Haven't tried bar ends. Also i could remove the fenders which i imagine would make a difference.... Think i really need to try a road bike to know for sure though....
    Last edited by gbowen444; 01-15-2011 at 03:25 AM.

  21. #21
    weirdo
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    You betcha!
    Since you obviously suffer from the opposite affliction that Brian and I have, no doubt you`d get some kicks out of a sporty roadie. Hell, even I get to feeling like Eddie when I get out of the saddle for a good sprint on my 25 pound Bridgestone. The only difference is that my all out sprints usually only last until I get across an intersection after the light has just turned green for me! Seriously though, they`re a lot of fun and feel a lot different from an mtb- worth trying out to see how you like one.

    BTW, it looks like you tried to put a link at the end of your post that got a little scrambled.
    Recalculating....

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_box
    mountain bikes are slow There's a 29er in here.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB7SNJhaOjI&NR=1
    meh - a bunch of spandex tarts...
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by highdelll
    meh - a bunch of spandex tarts...
    They are on bikes and having a blast (for them). I can relate to anyone shedding the steel cocoon. Well, as long as they don't take the 'BMW attitude' (Big Money Wheels) with us mere mortals. I found riding long distances in the heat without spandex is not a good idea, but I'm no tart, more like a Deep Dish Pie!

    Loved the Mountain Bike Bunny hop to the sidewalk and back. That'll sho'em!

    So as far as faster goes, whatever tears your ticket, gbowen444!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc
    They are on bikes and having a blast (for them). I can relate to anyone shedding the steel cocoon. Well, as long as they don't take the 'BMW attitude' (Big Money Wheels) with us mere mortals. I found riding long distances in the heat without spandex is not a good idea, but I'm no tart, more like a Deep Dish Pie!

    Loved the Mountain Bike Bunny hop to the sidewalk and back. That'll sho'em!

    So as far as faster goes, whatever tears your ticket, gbowen444!
    hehe, I know- just tryin to stir the pot some
    Honestly... ahh I give up

  25. #25
    Squeaky Wheel
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twisted Trail
    but for some reason a LOT of people getting all torqued off when I draft. You wouldn't think some old geezer, pushing 60 years old, with a full pack on a heavy mtn bike would be that intimidating.
    Drafting places responibilities on both the person in front and the person in back. The person in front may not want those responsibilities. When tires touch, the person in the back goes down, but the person in front can go down too. When I am commuting, I don't want to worry about anyone behind me. So unless invited on, stay off the wheel of someone you don't know.

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