New commuter looking for advice
I have a 45 mile round trip commute that's almost entirely country back roads. My car isn't very good on gas and I'd like to ride my bike more than I currently do for fitness reasons.
I recently picked up a 2009 Langster to start commuting on. The Langster is my first road bike and it's great on nice smooth roads but those skinny tires are killing me because a lot of my commute isn't perfectly smooth.
I'm looking at a couple options:
1. Buy wider tires for the Langster. (I have 23's on now, I think I can fit 28's)
2. Sell the Langster and buy some big apples and maybe a wheelset for my Cannondale F29.
The F29 will obviously be a much plusher ride but will it require significantly more energy to commute on?
Biggest tires possible on the Langster would be a good option, but 45 miles round trip on a single speed sounds like a lot of work to me! I'd throw cushy tires on the 29er with gears and use that, especially if there is wind/hills to deal with.
I can't see using a singlespeed for a commute like that either, but whatever.
Before you get into spending money on the tires, are you using a reasonable pressure? For most people under about 200 lb, the sidewall pressure on most road tires is too high. Experiment with your tire pressure a little, and see if you can make it better. For example, I way 155 lb right now and in the 23mm tires on my racing bike, I like 80 in the front and 95 in the rear.
Also, just because you're on roads doesn't mean you can just park your butt on the saddle. You wouldn't do that on a mountain bike, so don't ride your road bike passively either.
If dropping pressure doesn't help, or you've already done that, 25mm or 28mm tires will certainly make a difference. I actually don't like 28mm tires that much on road bikes I ride athletically, but I use them on my commuter, which I usually ride carrying extra weight.
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx
Having one gear is probably slowing me down on the flats and downhills, hills aren't bad with the stock gearing but I couldn't go any higher or I'd have trouble. I'm leaning towards road tires for the F29.
...a wiggle theres a way
my suggestion is to get wider tires, i run 700x35 @35psi for my 36mile daily commute and they seem to roll fast, and offer some comfort when pot holes swallow the front or rear tire.
The 29'r would probably be an option as well, since you could run some 29x1.5, 29x1.9 that would soak up the bumps and make it more comfortable, only catch is your going to possibly run out of gears since most mountain bikes seem to be geared very short.
If its an option you may consider looking at a Cross bike as a commuter, since you'd be able to fit some wider 700 cc tires in there, and it would probably also have eyelets for fenders/racks
good luck! and great job on riding
Especially with 26" bikes, this line of thinking, for me, works its way back to a road bike pretty quickly.
Originally Posted by xufima
It goes like this - for a lazy person like myself, swapping tires every week, or twice a week if I'm getting off-road once midweek, gets old fast and I don't do it. Also, the selection of 26" slicks isn't great, and they're mostly not as nice as 700C slicks. So, a set of road wheels would make it a lot easier since a wheel swap is quick and easy, and then I can also leave the road wheels set up with a road cassette. But a set of road wheels for under $200 that will fit a mountain bike is pretty hard to find. Once the budget is already $200, I may as well just buy a Craig's List bike. (And of course it's more, since I'd need another cassette, a couple of rotors, and the tires that got me started on this path.)
I'd say if you're not bothered by the gearing or something else on the Langster, monkey with the tires a little bit more - singlespeed is a weird way to approach a longer commute, IMO, but at least the Langster is sort of a road bike, especially set up with road handlebars and brake levers. If you decide it's not a viable option, look for a more practical road bike. The snob in me hates to see 'cross bikes, at least competitive ones, used as commuters, but they certainly accept some wide tires and there are some commute bikes badged as 'cross bikes that have all the braze-ons for racks and fenders. Traditionally, all but the raciest road bikes had the mounts and enough clearance for quite a lot of tire. You can't quite blindly buy a used bike in your size and expect that, but bikes from the '80s and '90s are not usually as bad as some of the new bikes that barely have room for a 25mm tire, let along 28s. In recent models, Surly is all about having clearance and mounts for things, and off the top of my head many Salsa and Jamis models do too. Touring bikes can often take even bigger tires than 'cross bikes. (Remember, 'cross bikes are not meant to be practical, they're meant to be fast in a weird kind of race necessitating bigger tires. Any practicality is a convenient side effect.)
"Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx