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  1. #1
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    Looking for training road bike to help XC racing-suggestions?

    Ok, I know this is a MTB XC racing training forum but I didn't know where else to post this.

    My wife and I are just finishing our first year of racing XC and endurance events. We both ride and race S-Works FSR bikes. We are at the point of everyone in front of us saying they spend hours a week on a road bike. We purchased a trainer with a dedicated trainer wheel and have noticed an increase in ability to run at a higher cadence and larger gear on the flats with an hour a day on the trainer.

    However, I don't want to keep putting the wear on our high end S-works everyday just to ride a trainer or around the neighborhood. We live in a private community with a paved mile loop road that we can ride.

    So I'm considering a specialized sirrus/Vita or Trek 7.2 for a training bike (road bikes with flat bars). My thinking is this can be a dedicated trainer bike and road trainer for us. Anyone have any thoughts on this or are there better options. I have no intention of racing road and don't want to spend too much money. I spend too much as it is on MTB'ing equipment.

    I'm just looking to increase my ability to ride faster on the flats and non-technical climbs. I've already got a training plan for MTB skills that is working. I found in my last race that I ride much faster if I concentrate on riding the technical parts clean and go all out on the flats/non technical parts of the course.

  2. #2
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    my suggestion would be one that has a bit more utility.

    cyclocross bikes are very versatile for training, and the double as race bikes in the fall. CX racing is a ton of fun! if you enjoy MTB racing you will likely love CX as well.
    My wife's website....
    Allison Mann

  3. #3
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    I actually enjoy riding road. Not as much as mountain, but I do. I do the occasional criterium and a couple of 'cross races a season. Much as I hate to admit it, I now own three road bikes vs. my one mountain bike.

    If you just want to be efficient with your money and won't be competing, an old 12-speed is a kickass value. To be a good bike to train on, it need only fit well. You'll probably want to put on some pedals to match your MTB and a saddle you like better, and I think if I trained on mine, I might use tighter gear ratios. I use mine to commute and run errands. I get some "free" volume every week, in the sense that all I give up is time I'd spend in my truck, or walking, or riding the bus, and if mine fit better, I might train on it in crappy weather, to give my nicer road bike a break.

    If you think you might have fun with 'cross, definitely get a 'cross bike. I don't think they're as good on the road as true road bikes, but the difference is small and depends on the specific model. You can take a 'cross bike to a road race or a crit if you want to, but you can't fit 35mm knobbies on a conventional, late-model road bike. A lot of 'cross bikes will accept racks and fenders and whatnot, so they can make good rain bikes or commuter/errand bikes in a low-crime area.

    The more common racing/training road bikes are the best things going for road racing and training, if that's all you want.

    Get a hybrid and you'll rapidly learn about the limitations of flat handlebars.

    Regardless of what you get, I'd encourage you to be a bit more ambitious with your road training. Riding around in circles outside may be less mind-numbing than a trainer, but riding routes that are fun and interesting is fun and interesting. I've always liked hilly routes the best, and if you choose them well, you can have both excellent training and a fun ride - it's not like you have to make a sacrifice.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    I was in the same boat as you a few years ago, I ended up buying a used Road bike. After about a month of riding, I ended up loving the road bike (still not as fun as the mountain bike, but still fun!). Don't be suprised how much you like it. Nothing like going 50 mph down a mountain road and wanting to go faster! This bike got stollen last year, so I replaced it with a new road bike (insurance covered it). I ride my road bike way more than my mountain bike since I can ride at lunch around my office, it does a great job at training for such a short amount of time, and it hooks up to my trainer fast.

    So, my suggestion would be to look for a used road bike to see if you like it, worry more about one that is the right size rather than brand, and a used bike that the components are still in good shape. Than if you like it, sell this bike and get one you really like.

  5. #5
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    my vote is a standard road bike (not hybrid). Don't view it as only a way to save wear and tear, view it as a new type of riding. Find a fast group ride and go ride with them. The peer pressure and desire to not get dropped (and have to ride back solo) is a great way to push your physical/mental limits. If you find the right group, you'll be surprised by how strong some roadies are. It's pretty fun too, just research the group ride etiquette a bit first so you know what's going on.

  6. #6
    lgh
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    If it's just for training, a steel road or cx bike that is set up correctly (fits you). Surly and Soma are common choices. You don't really need a contemporary race bike unles you want that look when you're training. That look will cost you.

    Larry

  7. #7
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    Road and cross bikes are both great. If you look, you can get some great deals on a Rival equipped bike of either variety for about $1500 that would be race worthy, maybe with an upgraded wheelset down the line. Competitivecyclist.com has a carbon Lightspeed Rival road bike for $1500 right now. My neighbor got one and it's nice, he upgraded wheels but it's less than 17 lbs with pedals.
    Road riding and racing is a great way to get faster.
    Cross bikes with slicks do pretty darn good on the road, and cross racing is hella fun.
    There is a thread or two beating the whole road vs cross bike thing to death. I have both, I couldn't think about giving up either.
    Of course, you can always get a 29er HT and build up some road rims on a spare set of wheels, and that would make a good flat bar road bike, albeit with pretty low gearing.

  8. #8
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    I guess one thing I should have mentioned was I got hit by a car in 2000 and it took me 6 month to learn to walk again. I have no intention to ride on the road with traffic around me.

    I've been looking for some used road bikes but don't want to spend over $500. Everytime I find a decent bike it is in the $400-500 range and I'd rather just buy a new entry level bike from my LBS for $500 and support them.

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=crimecrusher;8164266]I guess one thing I should have mentioned was I got hit by a car in 2000 and it took me 6 month to learn to walk again. I have no intention to ride on the road with traffic around me.

    Given that, my vote would also be a cyclocross bike. Can be used on a lot of the same trails as a MTB but the difference in geometry, gearing, even hand position on the bars would make the same trails a very different experience than a full sus MTB, and like whybotherme said, cross racing could come into the picture at some point

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by crimecrusher View Post
    I guess one thing I should have mentioned was I got hit by a car in 2000 and it took me 6 month to learn to walk again. I have no intention to ride on the road with traffic around me.
    I'm a little late on this thread but 2nd the cross bike suggestion. I have had so many friends hit by cars that I've lost count. Some lived, some didn't. I now use a cross bike and ride on dirt & lime rock roads. There's always some road involved but the percentage of time spent on them is so much less now. With a cross bike you get the same benefits as road but with a much higher safety rating. Plus you can do cross races, which every rider (road or mountain) should try!

  11. #11
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    Well I went with the hybrid Trek FX bike. Mainly due to cost. I just tacoed my rear wheel in a race crash and had to spend $1300 for a new wheelset, seat, and rebuilt my rear wheel using the old hub so I now have an extra wheelset. I had my LBS set up the hybrid bike like my MTB from my last BG Pro Fit. This week is all road riding while I'm waiting on new wheelset for MTB.

    My LBS had a 2011 specialized cross bike on clearance for $900. Was ready to do that but after the unexpected wheel cost...had to go cheap.

  12. #12
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    I know you are hesitant to get out on the road, and I was as well--at one point I said I'd never get a road bike--but these days I spend a lot of time riding on the road. You can minimize your risk by riding on safer roads and with groups. Road riding can be lots of fun if you ride in the right areas with great scenery.

    If you are a strong rider, I'd get out there on a local shop ride with the FX and push yourself on some group rides. Part of the benefit of road riding is getting out there and pushing your limits with some stronger riders who force you to the next level of you get dropped. One group hammer session a week can be a little like a weekly race, which is hard to get with mountain biking unless you are just willing to travel a LOT. With the hybrid bike, you could surely find a group that will really challenge you and take your fitness to the next level.

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