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  1. #1
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    Road bikes, built for the road, but mostly the mountain?

    I don't know how I came across this article, but it's there's to much greatness that i couldn't help but to share it with you guys. Granted, it was written in the early 90's, so times and bikes have changed, but it's still funny.


    "I routinely dust every mountain biker I encounter on the trail. And I ride a road bike."

    Mountain Bikes: Who Needs Them?

  2. #2
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    where's my popcorn?

    a "healthy ego" indeed. I'd say his ego is downright obese. let's not sugar coat it. he likes crowing how he's such a better rider than everybody else.

  3. #3
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    700c wheel isn't THAT stout.

    His moustache is indicative of 90's ego.

    edit: btw, I wonder where this dude is at now-a-days with FS bikes blasting down unreal terrain at 25mph+. Some one should find this guy to see if he's still out there "kicking mtb ass"
    Im referred to as a BBBM. Big Beautiful Beard Man.

  4. #4
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    Doooooooooooooshshshshsh

  5. #5
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    That was pretty funny to me. He was wrong then but he is super wrong now. I'd love to see him try to keep up with me through some of the rock gardens that my bike lets me navigate. He'd be picking his teeth up and wondering what happened to all the welds on his bike.

  6. #6
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    He's got a point, depending upon where you live and the terrain available to ride. I have a very nice full-suspension bike that I'm in no way giving up, but it wouldn't be a stretch at all to ride any trail in my county on a cyclocross bike or any of Salsa's gravel bikes (e.g., the Fargo, the Vaya, or even the Warbird).

  7. #7
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    Sure, it's hugely terrain-dependent.

    My road bike would be fine on trails around here (I ride it on some of them) but the loose, deep sand spells doom for skinny tires. Wide and low pressure is the only way to go. I have to stick to the hardpack trails in low areas to avoid the sand.

    Dude is just a pr!ck for the way he said it.

  8. #8
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    I take issue with "skinny tires are better for the trail" HA! Try that when the trail's even remotely wet! Goober.
    Gears give me headaches

  9. #9
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Sure, it's hugely terrain-dependent.

    My road bike would be fine on trails around here (I ride it on some of them) but the loose, deep sand spells doom for skinny tires. Wide and low pressure is the only way to go. I have to stick to the hardpack trails in low areas to avoid the sand.

    Dude is just a pr!ck for the way he said it.
    Errrr He did mention he rides it on 'Gnarly' roots and rocks.

  10. #10
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    "I routinely dust every mountain biker I encounter on the trail. And I ride a road bike."
    Pics or it didn't happen.


    EDIT//And he goes on to say that "slick rock" is the one place you need a MTB? I'd ride a road bike there way before I'd ride one on my favorite local trails...

  11. #11
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    A product of the time. MTB was blowing up & there had to be some roadie backlash. The dude did come off like a dick. He states that for 99% of the "off road" riding HE does a road bike works just fine. But he also states that most of his "off road" rides are on fire roads. Aren't those roads? Hell, I have plenty of fire/gravel road miles on my rodie. Does that make me as bad a$$ as that dood.

    Yes, I know it's spelled dude so save me the grammar police.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    where's my popcorn?

    a "healthy ego" indeed. I'd say his ego is downright obese. let's not sugar coat it. he likes crowing how he's such a better rider than everybody else.
    This.

    And I started mountain biking on a road bike I tore sidewalls open and generally made a mess of the bike. That was 1993, the update in 2010 is much more conciliatory, but the dude is still nuts.
    Likewise, riding fat tyres on-road will build strength, hill climbing ability, and provide a comfy and largely bullet-proof ride.
    So me I take the comfy bullet proof ride on or off road. Why would I want an uncomfortable fast ride? I don't get paid to be fast. I ride for fun.

  13. #13
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    Sounds like he is talkIng about cyclocross before cyclocross was invented. He is the ultimate hipster! He has the epic beard and everything!

  14. #14
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    Found the sequel
    Mountain Bikes: We Need 'Em!

  15. #15
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    The one time I took my road bike on the dirt, it was only good for climbing. I'm pretty sure the mtb would've been better for that too. Steep, rough dirt roads = mtb territory, IMHO.

    For those who are curious, here's video of that climb (caution heavy breathing!). Because I was on a road bike, I couldn't enjoy that dirt descent. I had to take a paved road back down the hill, as attempting this descent on 700 x 25c tires would have meant certain crash footage, especially with my sucky skills!

    MTB climb on a road bike from freighttraininguphill on Vimeo.

  16. #16
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    And here is his rebuttal to all the "neg reppers" before it was cool too

    A Rebuttal to Close-Minded Mountain Bikers

  17. #17
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    Interesting thread. Personally I believe in using the best tool for the job.

    If you want to take your road bike on stuff like this, hey its your money

  18. #18
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    The arguments basically make no sense. In the original piece the argument is that a road bike is just as good as a mountain bike.

    The rational is that it is rider skill that is important and your skills will improve on the road bike.
    Why do they improve? Because it is harder to ride. Sounds like a mountain bike is better in that scenario then

  19. #19
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    I suppose it is the noob in me talking but I think the basic idea behind the article makes a lot of sense (assuming you ignore all the crazy outlandish claims), If we remove the "road bike" and substitute it with "rigid mountain bike" his idea of the article is the same today: a rider can become a much better rider not relying on awesome, high-tech equipment.

    Many times I have been out on trails with my son on his Capa forked, 24" wheeled Specialized and had him climb through technical areas that guys on $5000 full suspension bikes climb through with the same difficulty. The "concept" of his article is that my son will be a much better technician when he steps up to a $5000 bike in the future.

    But I will agree, the details of the article, like those thin wheels, are outlandish and will get him hurt fast (assuming he actually rides the same trails).
    Please visit my bike blog! And if you click a few banner ads, I wouldn't complain!
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  20. #20
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    I remember the original article from Bicycle Guide back in '93. That inspired me to take my Bridgestone RB-T out to whatever trails I could find around my college in Seattle. I remember sliding around loosey-goosey on 32mm slicks, trying to avoid the using the "wimp ring." Good times.

    A skilled rider can do a LOT with very little in the way of gear. Maybe not as fast, maybe you have to pay a lot more attention, but underbiking can be fun.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by StopStaring@myUnit View Post
    700c wheel isn't THAT stout.
    You're joking, right?

    Here's some really flimsy looking 700's...



    I don't see much difference in an early 90's steel frame / steel fork road bike and a 29'er rigid. You can get cyclocross tires now almost as wide as 90's vintage 1.75 race tires.

  22. #22
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    You have to take that article within the context of the times. In 1993, mountain bikes were everywhere, and anyone into road bikes could easily get a little annoyed by the mountain bike hype. I actually went shopping for a road bike in 1994 (it's ok, I bought a new mtn bike that year as well) and had a hard time finding a shop that even stocked road bikes (it was all mtbs or hybrids).

    And he was probably right about 99% of miles ridden on mountain bikes being on very easy trails or roads. That's probably still true today, but back then most of the "mountain bike trails" in my neck of the woods were wide relatively smooth XC ski trails. They were physically challenging due to lots of climbs, but they were not very challenging technically.

    While he has some valid points, overall he's wrong on many things. But take it more as a rant from a guy that likes road bikes in a time when mountain bikes were king.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  23. #23
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    Ive personally taken my 80s road bike on my local trails.

    First, let me just say that my old 90's wally world bike was like a ferarri in comparison.



    FACT:
    1) The geometry made it impossible to climb hills with, and even more impossible to negotiate technical uphills. The front end is impossible to bounce from a bad line to good.

    2) The handlebar setup is a b*** downhill. There is zero confidence even IF you have decent road bike brakes, which could never measure up to, say, xtr.

    3) Sand? You may as well walk it.

    4) Any bump at all? Sure, you can clear it. If you feel like slowing down and trying desperately to get lift on the front wheel, because you sure as heck cant bomb the thing.

    5) Creek crossing with loose gravel? I hope you dont mind getting wet because youre going to have to walk.

    6) Any remotely moist dirt? You're screwed.

    7) Anything that remotely resembles mud? Drive to the ER yourself now to save on the ambulance bill. Actually... sliding in the mud is fun. But only once. Then its just a b***




    Flat, smooth, hardpack trails? AWESOME! oh wait........ that basically describes roads. Which is where a road bike belongs.

  24. #24
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    Regardless of when it was written and what not, I would like to see him do a river crossing on a road bike. Or go through a quarter mile of sand - or even 5 feet. Jump a ditch. Run through washboard. And obviously, I am not as good a rider as the author, no one is for that matter, riding anywhere on my old Bridgestone MB 5 would have been a much better choice than a road bike, even on a fire road. Funny article.

  25. #25
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    I wonder if he took Clydesdales into account when writing this article. I can't say that I would want to test the limits of any road bike coming down Tiger Mountain with my 240pnds of man on the saddle.
    Some of my happiest memories in life took place on my bicycles. - Me

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