Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?

    In June, I'm planning to participate in BRAN, which stands for Bike Ride Across Nebraska. I'm planning to use my Motobecane Fantom Cyclocross Bike for the ride. Other than getting smoother tires, any suggestions about what to change to make the ride better? I would only want to invest $100 or so, which means a lighter wheelset is out of the question. Any suggestions about how to improve the cyclocross for a long road ride?
    Last edited by getagrip; 02-06-2012 at 02:50 PM.

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    If you're running knobbie cx tires, just swap them out for slicks. I like fatter rubber. Try 700x32c. That should be all you'll need to make your cx bike ride really well on the road. Done.

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    tires 700x23 or 25 mm
    maybe a larger big chainring a 50 if you've got a 46 and you're gonna ride in faster pacelines

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    Make sure that you have a comfortable saddle for 5-8 hour rides. When I first started biking 3 decades ago, I used a very comfortable Ideal leather saddle on my road racing bike. I road 26 miles 3-5 days per week and worked up to century runs. Two decades later, I switched to a mountain bike with a fine Selle Italia saddle. I've put about 20,000 miles on that Selle Italia saddle and have not been disappointed.
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    vittoria randonneur hyper's are awesome. I did a century on mine and they were fast and smooth. I think i put 32s on my cx bike. I will absolutely buy another set.
    Last edited by nmanchin; 02-07-2012 at 06:26 PM.
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    Other then tires...No

    on a 7 day ride your going to need the bike to familiar and comfortable. i wouldnt change anything that could change that. id suggest investing a nice pair of 25c tire that will allow 120+ psi. i ve had good results with the continental 4 seasons and panaracer tserv.

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    Break in a Brooks saddle. Randonneur Hypers are amazing.

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    Larger big ring. It's money well spent. Riding on the road with a 46t and 23c tires is annoying. You'll miss it more than you think, atleast in my experience.

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    Tires definitely. Bigger ring possibly. I would also consider a double wrap of the bars perhaps, just for added comfort. Maybe take an old mouse pad and make some "Bar Phat" type padding. The BRAN guys seem far more serious than RAGBRAI, where prepping would be filling your camelback with bourbon..hahahaha. Have fun! There's more elevation change in Western Nebraska than most people think!
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    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by chowdownca View Post
    The BRAN guys seem far more serious than RAGBRAI, where prepping would be filling your camelback with bourbon..hahahaha. Have fun! There's more elevation change in Western Nebraska than most people think!
    Yeah, it seems like RAGBRAI has more of a party atmosphere to it, but I've never ridden it, or BRAN for that matter. My friend who is a serious roadie who rides RAGBRAI every year suggested that I do RAGBRAI instead of BRAN because the Nebraska ride is harder than the Iowa ride. Main reason I'm doing the Nebraska ride is because I've got two friends doing the ride with me. Also, RAGBRAI is in late July, while BRAN is in early June, so I'd imagine that the Iowa ride is a lot more hot and humid, but BRAN will be a challenge. The longest ride I've ever done in a day was about 56 miles...on a mountain bike on a paved bike trail. BRAN is going to be quite interesting and I'm sure I'll have fun, but I suppose there will be times on the ride when I'll be kicking myself and wondering what was I thinking when I signed up.

  11. #11
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    if you think you might change saddle or bars, do it right now to make sure it works for you. second the motion for slicks.

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    It's already a road bike.

    Just adjust the fit for road. As in #11, do it now, make sure you can get it right. If you want to facilitate switching back to 'cross, take pictures of your cockpit. Particularly get the spacers, which stem you're using and whether it's flipped up or down, and if you can figure out some landmarks to help you duplicate the angle of your handlebars, record those too.

    Post some pictures. I know what else I would do to my 'cross bike if I was planning to use it for extended road riding (replace the broken stuff, bottle cages, road pedals) but I realize, especially on MTBR, that people don't always have theirs stripped, fit and geared for racing.
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  13. #13
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    Swap out your tires for some 700x28 or 32 slicks, if you can swing it swap out your seat post for a carbon post.

    I don't think I would change seat (unless it is causing you pain) or position, I personaly have found that while not as aerodynamic effecient CX position actualy does well on the road comfort wise. Besides you could always get down in the drops of the bars.

    Gearing as others have suggested I don't think I would change but that is for you to decide. An easy to decide if you need a bigger front chain ring is to go for a road ride and get spinning as fast as you can in your biggest gear and see how fast you are going. If you can get up to say 28-30 mph when you are spun out then you are good to go. If you hit 20-25 and you are spun out then I would change our for a bigger big ring.

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    carbon post = no change in comfort

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    I think this business about a larger chain-ring is silly, personally. Assuming your bike has traditional 'cross racing gearing of 36-46 up front with a 12-27 or similar cassette, in your tallest gear of 46-12, a cadence of 120rpm (far from spinning out IMO) on 32c tires (still my recommendation for comfort) puts you at 37 mph.

    The OP wants to spend less than 100 dollars on his presumbably stock cx bike to make it better for a 7-day most-likely-supported ride. Not an elite race. Besides slick tires between 28c and 32c, there isn't much you need to do to a 'cross bike for that type of riding. It's pretty much an ideal platform for distance road riding.

    Just make sure you've got a nice little flat kit put together, maybe a few gels or whatever you're into for between rest stops, etc. How are you on chamois cream? Sunscreen? How's your helmet looking these days?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banshee Rider View Post
    Larger big ring. It's money well spent. Riding on the road with a 46t and 23c tires is annoying. You'll miss it more than you think, atleast in my experience.
    Just what kind of cadence do you guys suggesting a bigger ring pedal with anyway? A 46x12 (103.5 gear inches) spun at a lazy 90 rpm will get you to 27 mph, 100 rpm will get you to 30 mph. I've done group rides with pros in the group where that top end was sufficient. Riding down a mountain pass is a different matter (although I did get to 58 mph in the Bighorns this past summer), but we're talking Nebraska here, not the Rockies.

    And I'd recommend 32c Panaracer Pasela or T-Serv tires -- less rolling resistance (scientifically proven!) and more comfortable (or so says my skinny a$$) than 23c high pressure tires.
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    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I think I'll be ok with the chainrings - I have a 50/39/30 setup. I'm starting to get a little stumped on the tires...in this post, I've seen recommendations for 23c, 25c, 28c, and 32c tires. My bike came set up with 700 x 30c tires.

    I'm considering splurging for a better set of rims, as I understand that cutting weight on your wheels is the most important thing to cut if you can because of the rotational force of the wheels...or something like that. Would it be worth it to spend $150 on a new wheelset to cut a pound of weight? There are some pretty good deals on Vuelta Rims on eBay. Also may upgrade the fork...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Thanks for all of the suggestions. I think I'll be ok with the chainrings - I have a 50/39/30 setup. I'm starting to get a little stumped on the tires...in this post, I've seen recommendations for 23c, 25c, 28c, and 32c tires. My bike came set up with 700 x 30c tires.

    I'm considering splurging for a better set of rims, as I understand that cutting weight on your wheels is the most important thing to cut if you can because of the rotational force of the wheels...or something like that. Would it be worth it to spend $150 on a new wheelset to cut a pound of weight? There are some pretty good deals on Vuelta Rims on eBay. Also may upgrade the fork...
    Wheels are the best upgrade on a bike that's working correctly, fits its rider well, and has appropriate gearing.

    They're still a crap upgrade.

    The fork is an even worse place to spend money, unless you let someone sell you a weight weenie 'cross fork that shudders under braking. Then you should have bought a cheaper one.

    Keep in mind that most riders will weigh 5-10 times as much as most bikes. It doesn't necessarily make the weight of the bike completely insignificant, especially for someone who's competing in a high enough category that everyone has a pretty similar fitness level (interestingly, fitness fans out again in the really high categories) and even more so for someone who has to lift their bike repeatedly during a race.

    People attach way too much importance to the width of a set of tires. It does matter, but it's not a huge deal. The presence or absence of a tread pattern and the casing quality are, IMO, a lot more important. If your tires are smooth and have a 120tpi or finer casing, you're probably good. The importance of width is that a larger rider will have to run a smaller tire at maximum air pressure to avoid pinch flats, and that makes the ride harsh. If you can run your tire at "your" air pressure - something that's comfortable and doesn't wallow in turns but doesn't pinch flat either, you're good.

    If there's something magical about wheels as an upgrade, it's to do with their rotating weight. So here's some food for thought: road tires are typically a little lighter than road wheels, but they're in the same ballpark. The swing in weight between cheap, fat road tires and a nicer, skinnier set is a lot bigger than the swing in weight between an inexpensive double-walled road rim and a fancy one. Finally, lightweight tubes cost around $8 and the swing in weight between generic and lightweight tubes can be as big as a swing in weight in rims that costs you an extra $30. I could swear I even have lower rolling resistance with fancier tubes. (Just the fancy rubber ones. A little clicking around and talking to some friends decided me against latex.)

    Were the Vuelta rims you were looking at the paired-spoked ones? Do a little reading before you spend money, even just a few dollars, on paired-spoke rims. Bear in mind that you still have to spend the time to build them onto a hub, or pay someone else on the order of $65/wheel to do it. You also need spokes and hubs. If you're going to get new wheels, buy them complete.

    Honestly, though, I think the best way to go is to get nice, appropriate tires if yours aren't, lightweight tubes while you're at it, and call it a day. It's helpful to think about where the power you put into the bike "goes." There's a very tiny portion that goes to overcoming rolling resistance. A ton of it goes to propelling your body through the air, and another small portion goes to propelling the bike through the air. While rolling resistance is proportional to weight, it's the weight of the whole system. So cutting a couple hundred grams ends up being less than a 1% improvement. When you're climbing, you're also losing power to elevation gain. So weight is more important, but you still weigh over a hundred times what you're going to be able to take off the bike.

    If it's vanity or you want to support the bike industry or line the pockets of the guy selling the rims, fine, it's your money. Just don't expect much in the way of results.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Wheels are the best upgrade on a bike that's working correctly, fits its rider well, and has appropriate gearing.

    They're still a crap upgrade.

    The fork is an even worse place to spend money, unless you let someone sell you a weight weenie 'cross fork that shudders under braking. Then you should have bought a cheaper one.

    Keep in mind that most riders will weigh 5-10 times as much as most bikes. It doesn't necessarily make the weight of the bike completely insignificant, especially for someone who's competing in a high enough category that everyone has a pretty similar fitness level (interestingly, fitness fans out again in the really high categories) and even more so for someone who has to lift their bike repeatedly during a race.

    People attach way too much importance to the width of a set of tires. It does matter, but it's not a huge deal. The presence or absence of a tread pattern and the casing quality are, IMO, a lot more important. If your tires are smooth and have a 120tpi or finer casing, you're probably good. The importance of width is that a larger rider will have to run a smaller tire at maximum air pressure to avoid pinch flats, and that makes the ride harsh. If you can run your tire at "your" air pressure - something that's comfortable and doesn't wallow in turns but doesn't pinch flat either, you're good.

    If there's something magical about wheels as an upgrade, it's to do with their rotating weight. So here's some food for thought: road tires are typically a little lighter than road wheels, but they're in the same ballpark. The swing in weight between cheap, fat road tires and a nicer, skinnier set is a lot bigger than the swing in weight between an inexpensive double-walled road rim and a fancy one. Finally, lightweight tubes cost around $8 and the swing in weight between generic and lightweight tubes can be as big as a swing in weight in rims that costs you an extra $30. I could swear I even have lower rolling resistance with fancier tubes. (Just the fancy rubber ones. A little clicking around and talking to some friends decided me against latex.)

    Were the Vuelta rims you were looking at the paired-spoked ones? Do a little reading before you spend money, even just a few dollars, on paired-spoke rims. Bear in mind that you still have to spend the time to build them onto a hub, or pay someone else on the order of $65/wheel to do it. You also need spokes and hubs. If you're going to get new wheels, buy them complete.

    Honestly, though, I think the best way to go is to get nice, appropriate tires if yours aren't, lightweight tubes while you're at it, and call it a day. It's helpful to think about where the power you put into the bike "goes." There's a very tiny portion that goes to overcoming rolling resistance. A ton of it goes to propelling your body through the air, and another small portion goes to propelling the bike through the air. While rolling resistance is proportional to weight, it's the weight of the whole system. So cutting a couple hundred grams ends up being less than a 1% improvement. When you're climbing, you're also losing power to elevation gain. So weight is more important, but you still weigh over a hundred times what you're going to be able to take off the bike.

    If it's vanity or you want to support the bike industry or line the pockets of the guy selling the rims, fine, it's your money. Just don't expect much in the way of results.

    Great post Andrew!

    Funny you mention the weight thing. I'm about 210 now and way out of shape. I hope to be down to around 180 for the ride in early June, maybe down to 170, but that's pushing it. Needless to say, the ride itself might be much easier than the training for the ride since the rider weight makes such a big difference!

    I'm not sure what you mean by paired spoke rims, but the ones that the Vuelta rims come with are aerodynamic, and come complete with hubs. They are not light by weight weenie standards, but I purchased a pair of Vuelta Zerolite rims for my mountain bike, and they were about 6 oz lighter than the ones that came with my Bikes Direct Windsor, so I would imagine similar weight differences between the Vuelta and Alex rims my cross bike came stock with.

    I'm ok with splurging a little extra to lighten the bike if it will make a difference, but I'm not sure if I'd want to do it for only a 1% difference...that's like 4 minute difference on a 6 hour ride, so to make it worth it, the difference would have to be noticeable. I'm thinking with Vuelta rims and the tubes you mentioned, I might be able to save a pound or so. A carbon road fork might drop another pound or two. The question of the day is, "is 3 to 4 pounds worth $200?".

    Here is a link to the rims:

    VUELTA ZEROLITE Road 700c Wheelset 24 Spokes SHIMANO Hubs Silver Wheels AeroNEW | eBay

  20. #20
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    You see the way the spokes are attached to the rims in pairs, rather than spaced evenly?

    The idea was to make it so the spokes opposed each other better in wheels with a lowish spoke count. I've been too lazy to research the problems people had with them, but it's fallen out of favor. Of course I've ended up with a set of Bontragers with paired spokes and a 130mm disc hub on one of my bikes, but that's life.

    Have you weighed your stock wheels? Weigh them like a marketing person - remove the tires and quick releases and remove the rim tape or at least subtract a few grams for it. By road standards, the wheels in your link aren't exactly light.... You should find out if you're even losing weight before you worry about whether it's significant or not, let alone start adding up your weight savings.

    Same for the fork. The Surly Pacer fork is listed at 2.17 lb and it's steel. The Easton EA90 SL costs $300 more and weighs about 3/4 lb. So you can save about a pound and a half - not nothing, but that's quite an expenditure, and well over what you were hoping to spend to save twice that. And that's going from the extremes of the scale. (Well, not the total extremes, there are some really cheap, heavy steel forks out there that would outweigh the Pacer, it's mid-range.) Since this is a 'cross bike, though, you're probably looking at a little smaller swing in weight - 'cross and weight weenie forks are a bad match.

    What does your bike have on it, anyway? I get that it's a BD bike, but there are about fourteen models of Motobecane Fantom. Post pics. While you're at it, take shots of the hub, especially from the side, where the dust cap is. I'm going to cease and desist trying to talk you out of new wheels if they are what I suspect they might be. (Although I might try to talk you into something that will last a little longer than the ones on ebay.)

    I've tried to avoid getting into specifics beyond "appropriate" because you have yet to share with the thread what, exactly, you're riding. In general, though, a fully-functioning road bike that's a good fit for its rider and has smooth, pneumatic tires is already extraordinarily efficient. High end products are fighting over who can take up more of the small little wedge of the pie that remains.

    I wouldn't even worry that much about 3-4 lb. I've got to be dragging around at least that much extra on my road bike relative to some of my teammates. Certainly some of them can drop me, but I also see the watts they're putting out on computrainers - lots more than me.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    What does your bike have on it, anyway? I get that it's a BD bike, but there are about fourteen models of Motobecane Fantom. Post pics. While you're at it, take shots of the hub, especially from the side, where the dust cap is. I'm going to cease and desist trying to talk you out of new wheels if they are what I suspect they might be. (Although I might try to talk you into something that will last a little longer than the ones on ebay.)

    I've tried to avoid getting into specifics beyond "appropriate" because you have yet to share with the thread what, exactly, you're riding. In general, though, a fully-functioning road bike that's a good fit for its rider and has smooth, pneumatic tires is already extraordinarily efficient. High end products are fighting over who can take up more of the small little wedge of the pie that remains.

    I wouldn't even worry that much about 3-4 lb. I've got to be dragging around at least that much extra on my road bike relative to some of my teammates. Certainly some of them can drop me, but I also see the watts they're putting out on computrainers - lots more than me.
    Thanks again for the reply and for encouraging me to not spend any more money! LOL Seriously, I've spent a crap load more money on bikes and bike parts after getting involved with this forum that I never would have spent if I had not come accross mtbr.com! Its all good though...

    The model I have is this one here - its a low end model, but still a pretty good bike in my opinion:

    Road Bikes | Cyclocross | Cross Bicycles by Motobecane USA | Motobecane Fantom CX Cyclocross | Save up to 60% off New bikes with full warranties

    Its a bit hard to judge how the bike fits me, because I'm new to road style bikes and haven't really ridden it that much because of the cold weather. I'm planning to start riding it quite a bit starting this weekend. I liked my first couple of rides with it on gravel roads, and really enjoyed riding it on singletrack trails, but hated it on a very cold 10 mile night ride a few months ago, but my guess is that a lot of that had to do with the weather.

    I've got some pics in the thread below, and there is also one guy in that thread who purchased the same bike and put a little money into his to knock off some weight, so I was more or less inpsired by him, but I really wanted to know what the performance difference would be like before I spend another $200-$300 to lighten the bike up. I wouldn't even consider the upgrades if I wasn't going for a 400+ mile bike ride, but if it would make the ride easier, it would be worth it. Anyway, here is the thread:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/cyclocross/20...cx-740720.html

    Maybe money would be better spent in equipment - I'm definately going to get new tires and lighter tubes, but I also need a better pair of biking shorts, road shoes, bike jersey, etc. Heck, I'm going to have to spend money on that stuff anyway!

    EDIT:

    Just looked at the other thread and the guy who cut weight on his Motobecane Fantom Cross said there was a noticeable difference in the bike after cutting just 3 pounds (which included a better seat). Of course, he spent close to $300 to cut those three extra pounds, so it looks like its about $100 per pound lost. LOL
    Last edited by getagrip; 02-17-2012 at 02:23 AM.

  22. #22
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    The note on their spec about the hub is pretty incomprehensible. WTF is a standard contact sealed ball bearing? Take a picture of the dust cap and post it. While the wheels are off your bike, turn the axles with your fingers. You might feel some friction, but there should be no grinding.

    Take your chain off the crank and turn the crank with your fingers. If it feels crappy, go to your shop and buy the appropriate Shimano bottom bracket. There may be noticeable friction but it shouldn't actually grind. Don't order it online unless you know what you're doing, they come in a bajillion sizes and types and nobody knows what, exactly, you need.

    Throw out the cross top levers (or sell them to a hipster) and recable your brakes. While you're at it, get some non-crappy brake pads. I like Kool Stop Salmon pads. If the brake pads aren't removable from their holders, get the kind that are, and new holders. Get the right ones (so go to your shop and buy those there too if you're not sure.)

    As long as you're not racing, Sora's fine until it wears out, and you should have plenty of time to see that that's happening.

    My personal favorite road tires are Continental Grand Prix 4000s. While you're at it, get light tubes. I can't be sure if they made as big a difference as I think because I changed wheels and tires at the same time, but I have Maxxis Ultralight tubes in my competition bike and at $12 (less for me ) to save about 80g, that's twice the grams/dollar ratio of the guy on the other thread. I think that tires, bar tape and new brake cables are already more than your budget. If you feel something bad in your bearings, that'll cost even more.

    Aren't you glad you posted a thread?

    The longer I ride bikes, the less I want from my bikes. I now want them to fit, go, stop, shift, and not do anything weird. I guess I like suspension on my mountain bikes. On bikes ridden for high mileage or in poor weather, this standard can sometimes be surprisingly hard to achieve.

    As far as making a bike fit is concerned - most people are adequately comfortable on just about anything for the first fifteen minutes. A strong rider can go longer than that on a bike that doesn't fit very well, although he'd probably also notice it right away. When you ride longer, sooner or later you get tired. Usually you start to hurt first in relation to where the bike fits you most poorly. You can also pay someone to fit the bike to you. There's debate on this subject. I had my road bike fitted and I think it's some of the best money I've spent on cycling. I asked around and went to a guy that a friend recommended. There are definitely also some people whose main goal in fitting is to upsell you a bunch of stuff to make your bike fit better, and since cycling is the new golf, there are plenty of people who are willing to support them.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post

    The note on their spec about the hub is pretty incomprehensible. WTF is a standard contact sealed ball bearing? Take a picture of the dust cap and post it. While the wheels are off your bike, turn the axles with your fingers. You might feel some friction, but there should be no grinding.

    Take your chain off the crank and turn the crank with your fingers. If it feels crappy, go to your shop and buy the appropriate Shimano bottom bracket. There may be noticeable friction but it shouldn't actually grind. Don't order it online unless you know what you're doing, they come in a bajillion sizes and types and nobody knows what, exactly, you need.

    Throw out the cross top levers (or sell them to a hipster) and recable your brakes. While you're at it, get some non-crappy brake pads. I like Kool Stop Salmon pads. If the brake pads aren't removable from their holders, get the kind that are, and new holders. Get the right ones (so go to your shop and buy those there too if you're not sure.)

    Aren't you glad you posted a thread?

    As far as making a bike fit is concerned - most people are adequately comfortable on just about anything for the first fifteen minutes. A strong rider can go longer than that on a bike that doesn't fit very well, although he'd probably also notice it right away. When you ride longer, sooner or later you get tired. Usually you start to hurt first in relation to where the bike fits you most poorly. You can also pay someone to fit the bike to you.
    Just kicked off my training for BRAN with a 5.5 mile bike ride in 38 degree weather. Took me half an hour, which means that at today's pace, a 60 mile bike ride would take me 5.45 hours. Not too bad considering the cold weather and my crappy level of physical fitness, but at this point, its hard for me to imagine being on my cyclocross bike for that long...its going to take some time to adjust to the riding position of the cross bike. Honestly, after that brief ride, that's my main concern right now, rather than cutting weight or any fancy upgrades, other than perhaps carbon fiber fork to make the ride a bit softer up front.

    The riding position of the cross bike feels awkward compared to my mountain bikes. I think the most natural position felt when I was hunched over in stretched out position, but even then, it is a little hard to look up, because it puts a lot of stress on my neck. In fact, it feels more natural in general on a road bike to put my head down toward the ground, rather than to look up to see the road in front of me. I suppose that could be the fit of the bike because I know of other mountain bikers who feel awkward on their cross bikes, but I think it has more to do with the way road bikes feel in general for me, not that it helps that I have a semi bad neck and back! A bike fit would be nice, but I really don't want to fork out the $, but I may just head to the local bike store, buy a couple of bottle holders (which I need), and ask them their opinions on the bike fit while I'm there.

    I think the bottom bracket is ok - I'm a little too lazy to test it out right now, as well as testing taking a photo of the hub, but if you are really really really curious, I can take a picture for you. I like the top brake levers for when I'm riding in a more upright position, but I'm not excited about the Tektro brakes. I've read that some cyclocross owners but V-brakes on their bikes, which I may do, but thanks for the suggestion on pads. What is wrong with the routing?

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    I'm a little like you in that I'm used to riding mtn bikes, and arguably a little out of shape. Last summer I bought a Vaya, in retrospect, probably because it felt most like a mtn bike. I terms of comfort and riding position, I can tell you that at first, riding the Vaya felt very "aggressive" to me, even though the riding position is technically very upright. After awhile though, different muscles got stronger and/or more flexible, and the riding position felt more natural and comfortable. So give it awhile.

    Also: I got fitted by a pro and changed seats, and it was a completely different ride. Money well spent IMHO.

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    I haven't check your bike link but from your comments, you have a low end model and are a beginner road rider. From experience if you end up liking road riding, you'll likely upgrade the bike altogether for better frame and components in a year or so. In that time you'll know how to fit to your bike too.

    For your budget, I would only change your tires to either 28 or 32c tires. By keeping it close to the 30c you have now, the handling will stay the same. A narrower tire will make it handle a little faster and on a long ride, you may not want that. Also with wider tires, you can go with a lower pressure like 85 psi. You will feel the difference more with low pressure than a carbon fork or seatpost.

    Rotational weight won't make much difference unless you are accelerating a lot or climbing big mountains. Once you are up to speed, the rotational weight makes no difference.

    After that, make sure to get a good pair of bike shorts and chamois cream. 5-6 hours in the saddle for days will be tough on your behind if you're not used to it.

  26. #26
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    Sounds like the fit of your bike is pretty off.

    Cross top levers are a band-aid solution for a road bike that has the reach set up too long. If your stem is over 90mm, try a shorter one. If you're already using a 90mm stem, sorry, you just got an object lesson in buying online vs. locally.

    While you're at it, flip the stem up or move it up some spacers. You can also tip up your handlebars more. This is assuming you're already riding in the "normal" road position - hands on the brake hoods, bar ramps or corners. If you have to, consider a higher-angled stem.

    Your road and cross-country riding positions should be very close, IME.

    If the road bike fits right, you won't need cross top levers.

    Tire pressure makes a much bigger difference than fork material, IME.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Sounds like the fit of your bike is pretty off.

    Your road and cross-country riding positions should be very close, IME.
    One question:

    Since I don't have a road bike to compare it it to, is it possible to compare it to a mountain bike? Earlier today, I was more or less doing an effective top tube test between the cyclocross and my mountain bikes, but doing the measurements slightly differently. Instead of measuring the effective top tube, I was looking at the distance between the top of the handlebar to the top of the saddle, where the seatpost would be centered on the saddle if it continued vertically through the saddle (which most seat posts don't do since they angle back slightly as they connect with the rails of the saddle).

    Not sure if that makes sense as it is rather difficult to describe, but my thought is that I could get the correct riding position of the cyclocross by measuring the distance of the center of my handlebars to the center of my saddle, and comparing that distance to the mountain bike set up I use, then I might be able to get the correct fit of the cyclocross. My guess is that to get the correct "fit", the measurements should differ by certain parameters since they are different styles of bikes, but by adjusting the saddle forward or backward, I might be able to get the correct riding position of the cyclocross.

    Honestly, I'm fairly certain that the fit of my cyclocross is pretty close, but to ensure a better fit, moving the saddle forward or backword should compensate for any imperfections in the overall fit of the frame. If it helps, I can post a photo of me on the cyclocross, which might give an indication of where to place the saddle and whether or not to adjust the spacers on the front of the bike, which I don't think I'd want to do since it feels pretty aggressive to me already.

  28. #28
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    Google competitive cyclist fit calculator. Take your measurements and enter into the program and that is a good starting point. You'll likely be an Eddy or french fit. A racer fit is too aggressive for a new road rider.

    For me, all my bikes (road, cyclocross and mountain bike) have the same setup. All the saddles have the same setback and height relative to the bottom bracket (my crank arms are the same length). They also have the same handlebar to saddle drop and reach (from saddle to my grips whether grips or hoods).

    If your mountain bike is set up right, the measurements should be similar. Since you are new to road riding, I would spent the minimal amount of money on upgrades since they may or may not be right until you put much more miles in. Unless you have the money to spend of course.

    Sending a picture won't help unless you are on it. Even then they would only be guesses since we don't know your flexibility or other personal things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by climbbikesurf View Post
    If your mountain bike is set up right, the measurements should be similar. Since you are new to road riding, I would spent the minimal amount of money on upgrades since they may or may not be right until you put much more miles in. Unless you have the money to spend of course.

    Sending a picture won't help unless you are on it. Even then they would only be guesses since we don't know your flexibility or other personal things.
    Thanks for the feedback. I've got two mountain bikes. One is a fairly aggressive Leader hartail which my friend believes I can go "shorter" on the stem (indicating that the bike is slightly too long for me), and the other is a very upright full suspension Schwinn, which feels a bit too "tall" for me, as the front part of the chasis is a little high. My guess is that the happy medium on a mountain bike would be somewhere between the Leader and the Schwinn (which has a shorter effective to tube length). Of course, this doesn't solve the mystery of the Motobecane Fantom cross fit! LOL

    But yes, if it helps, I can post photos of myself on all three bikes. Unfortunately, I was the victim of being "corrupted" by 18" Trek 820 mountain bike geometry, and it took a long time for me to even consider a 17" mountain bike size, and now I'm discovering that the 17" frame might be too big for certain frame manufacturers.

    While I have a pretty good idea of what size mountain bike fits me, I'm at a complete loss at what size cyclocross frame fits me. Whether or not the Motobecane Fantom Cross fits me is now becoming a larger mystery. LOL It would have been much less of a mystery had I spent the last two years on a road bike, rather than on a mountain bike. Oh well...all part of the learning process, right!
    Last edited by getagrip; 02-18-2012 at 03:09 PM.

  30. #30
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    I've noticed some commonalities between my road bikes and mountain bike. All my bikes have about the same relationship between the saddle and pedals. My road bike has a little too much reach for me, and lands with the bar clamp just back of the handlebars on my mountain bike. My cyclocross bike, which is a better fit, has its bar clamp further back than that. That still puts the hoods forward of the grips on my mountain bike, though. On the road-only bike, I have just a little more drop than the mountain bike, but not by all that much.

    Look for your back to be in the same place as on your cross-country bike. If an online calculator roughs it in, great, but you're looking to match the feel of a bike you already can ride for a couple hours at a time. I'd say another good starting point would be to match the saddle/bottom bracket relationship of your road bike to your best-fitting bike, whatever it is, match the saddle-bars drop, and then land the handlebars so that your mountain bike's bars are a little forward of the clamping area of the road bike's bars, or maybe midway between that and the hoods. That last, I'd worry about less because it requires you to go out and buy a new stem. Just use it as a go/no-go - if your mountain bike's bars are forward of the brake hoods on your road bike or back of the clamping area on its handlebars, unless its stem is one of the extreme sizes, you probably can't make it fit.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Problem solved! I measured the distance from the top center of my handlebars on my Schwinn FS mountain bike to the back of the saddle. I compared that measurement to the same measurement on the cyclocross. Turns out the distance was virtually the same. Since the Schwinn's handlebars are about 4 inches higher than the cyclocross handlebars, I compensated for that my moving the saddle on the cyclocross about an inch forward. Took it for a quick spin in my apartment complex, and I noticed a huge difference in the comfort level. I'm going on a 60 mile gravel road ride tomorrow, so we will see how that goes...

  32. #32
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    I'm happy that was an improvement. I think it's coincidental.

    I find that I move my butt forward or back on my saddle so that it's appropriate to where my bottom bracket is. If my saddle is too far back, I get a saddle nose wedgie. If it's too far forward, I end up with way too much of the tail of the saddle between my thighs. So I position my saddle to fit where I'm putting my butt anyway.

    I'm a little more susceptible to being pulled around by my handlebars, however. So once my saddle is positioned wherever I need it to be, I position my handlebars where I need them to be. Basically, I tailor my bike fit to my best riding position, which already exists independent of the bike, rather than trying to use bike fit to adjust it.

    Here's some reading material. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says - this is a very subjective area - but I think it's a good start.

    How to Fit a Bicycle
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Well...I thought it was an improvement until today's bike ride. Rode 30 miles (rather than the planned 60), and was pretty uncomfortable most of the way. Part of that, I think, is adjusting to road style geometry in general, but there is a good chance that the frame is a hair to big. Lately, I've had a knack for ordering frames that are too big.

    I'm planning to get an opinion from a local bike store to see what they think. Alternatively, I have a 17" Novara Buzz hybrid frame on its way that I ordered from eBay. I had intended to swap that frame out for the frame on a different hybridish bike I have that is too big for me, but now I'm wondering if I should swap that out for the cyclocross frame. Hey, its always fun to expirament! LOL I may also order a Nashbar cyclocross frame in a 50" (the Motobecane is a 52"). So...I've got lots of options, and I'm learning. The hard way. You are right, though, mail order has its price!

  34. #34
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    Another idea: I have an extra riser mountain bike handlerbar I want to try out on the cyclocross. Should be fairly easy to test out. My only concern is...shifters. Are there mountain bike style shifters that are compatible with the Tiagra/Sora dereailleur set up that my cyclocross has?

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    Do you have an LBS to go to? You could have them adjust your bike for you. If you're really dead set on ordering a bike online you could get professionally fitted at a shop then hit the internets.

    I didn't see if this has been answered before, but where is the discomfort? Is it joint or muscular? When I went from mountain bikes to road bikes my lower back hurt at first. When the muscles got stronger I flipped the stem over. After a while I had my LBS cut the steer tube for an even more aggressive position. Now I can't stand the vertical feeling and put drop bars on my moonlander.

    Has it been suggested that 4.7 inch tires will give you a very plush ride? Think about it.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volsung View Post
    I didn't see if this has been answered before, but where is the discomfort? Is it joint or muscular? When I went from mountain bikes to road bikes my lower back hurt at first. When the muscles got stronger I flipped the stem over. After a while I had my LBS cut the steer tube for an even more aggressive position. Now I can't stand the vertical feeling and put drop bars on my moonlander.

    Thanks for the reply. I think its a combination of both joint and muscle pain, with most of the muscle/joint pain coming from my neck/trapezius area, but some pain also coming from my shoulders. I think a mountain bike riser bar might solve that problem, but it might be a matter of going for more rides to get used to the road style riding position. I'm finding lots of posts from mountain bikers who don't like the drop bars. Seems like you either get used to it, or you change out your handlebars to fix the problem.

  37. #37
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    Back when I was doing computer science, we had a certain kind of debugging where we'd change a bunch of stuff in the region of a computer program where a problem originated and hope it fixed the program. That was called "shotgun debugging" and it was pretty inefficient. I feel like you're doing that with your bikes. And not to be the pot calling the kettle black (I have four bikes) but you have too many bikes. Or at least you're acquiring them too fast. I can usually rough in a bike pretty well in a ride, maybe a couple if I need to change stems or the saddle or something, but getting them really dialed in takes weeks. Longer if I'm being bullheaded about keeping the stock handlebars or something.

    52" would be a huge bike. 52cm is a fairly little bike, and much of the time, smaller sizes are an illusion or at least have screwy geometry. How tall are you? How long is the stem? When the bike started to bother you, where did it hurt?

    "My" process is to try to address one problem at a time. Fit issues on a bike are always interrelated, so it's hard for me to tell if a change is actually an improvement if I make a few at once. In between a little envy because I'm tired of having to keep aging bikes and my poor truck rolling for longer than i'd like, I actually feel a little bad for the "lots of new bikes all the time" people. I know there are some ways to throw money at the process and speed it up, but fitting a bike is iterative, time consuming, and not the same for each bike.

    So - how tall are you and what's the ETT on the Motobecane?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  38. #38
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    Also, IMHO, mountain bikers who switch their road bikes to flat bars are doing it wrong. Either they're being too proud about where they put their bars, their bikes are too big, or they're putting their hands on the wrong part of the handlebar.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Back when I was doing computer science, we had a certain kind of debugging where we'd change a bunch of stuff in the region of a computer program where a problem originated and hope it fixed the program. That was called "shotgun debugging" and it was pretty inefficient. I feel like you're doing that with your bikes. And not to be the pot calling the kettle black (I have four bikes) but you have too many bikes. Or at least you're acquiring them too fast.

    52" would be a huge bike. 52cm is a fairly little bike, and much of the time, smaller sizes are an illusion or at least have screwy geometry. How tall are you? How long is the stem? When the bike started to bother you, where did it hurt?

    So - how tall are you and what's the ETT on the Motobecane?
    You are right. I do have too many bikes. Honestly, I was fine with 3 (hartail, FS, and Cyclocross), but made an impulse purchase on the hybrid. You can read about why I purchased the hybrid below. It was a stupid purchase where I got caught up in the emotion:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/motobecane/mi...ns-766122.html

    I'm really bumbed out about the fitting of cyclocross though, because I had such a fun time riding that bike offroad. I didn't notice the fit or discomfort of it before, since most of those rides were a lot shorter. I do like the idea of a mountain style handlebar, though. Yes, its a trial and error method, but the idea kind of appeals to me now, and would make the bike more stable off road, and probably more fun to ride on road. I'm going to try it tonight. My main concern is the shifter compatability, but I won't have to change anything out just to do the test.

    I don't have the bike with me since I'm at work, but the stem is probably about 90 or 100 milimeters. I'm 5'7.5" tall. ETT is 529mm. Most of the pain is in my neck/shoulders.

  40. #40
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    The right-hand shifter and rear derailleur for Shimano road and mountain for 9-speed and below are cross-compatible. The left shifter and front derailleur aren't supposed to be. I've heard conflicting things, and haven't tried it myself.

    You'll do what you want with the handlebars of course. In terms of reach, a 10mm change is pretty significant. You should notice a lot if you have a 100mm stem and switch to 90. From what you're saying about the actual problem you're having, I'd start by moving the handlebars up before spending any money. That could be all it takes. If it's not enough, think about a higher-angled stem.

    Post a picture!
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Yeah, I checked it out online. Flat bar road shifters are not cheap, are in high demand, and are in short supply. Sounds like they may also require a very specific kind of front derailleur. Here is an example:

    Shimano Flat Bar Road Bicycle Trigger Shifters Rapid Fire set 3x9sp SL-R440 R441 | eBay

    According to the listing, they are compatible with R440 and R443 front derailleurs only. Also, note that these are the used ones, but still sell for $66 (which is on the cheap end), and do not come with brake levers. So, based on the price of this listing, with the front derailleur ($25) and brake levers ($25), it would cost about $115 to do, and I wouldn't want to make that investment until I knew for certain that it would work and felt right, so I'm holding off for now.

    Of course, there is a cheaper solution, which will crack you up...

    The Bicycle Technologist*: A Double Stem (by Michel Gagnon)

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    You'll do what you want with the handlebars of course. In terms of reach, a 10mm change is pretty significant. You should notice a lot if you have a 100mm stem and switch to 90. From what you're saying about the actual problem you're having, I'd start by moving the handlebars up before spending any money. That could be all it takes. If it's not enough, think about a higher-angled stem.

    Post a picture!
    Yeah, you are probably right on that! Wish I had the luxury of testing this out with a shorter 31.8 stem. I'd think the bike store would be able to give me a good idea if that is the case...assuming they won't charge me $300 for a bike fit to tell me I need to cut 10mm from my stem!

  43. #43
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    Stems cost $10. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise; if they want to spend more, that's their problem.

    Sette Aeon O/S 31.8mm Road Stem at Price Point
    Nashbar Deluxe 31.8mm Alloy Stem - Normal Shipping Ground

    or just ask your LBS if they have a bin full of takeoffs. I usually get mine locally, from a coop.

    Getting your riding position right isn't necessarily an "upgrade" in the sense that you're not replacing a perfectly functional part with a more expensive one that does the same thing. But it's going to mean you can ride longer in comfort and efficiency. Whether or not you can put more power on the road initially, you'll certainly develop more power, faster over time.

    The road shifter is supposed to be compatible with all road derailleurs, as long as you match speed. Check Shimano's own technical documentation before you give up on the combination.

    You can also adapt downtube shifters, but since you have a 9-speed drivetrain, it's likely to be even more expensive.

    Bike fits should cost between $100 and $200, unless you feel a need for smoke, mirrors, lasers, video cameras, and maybe a disco ball and a cappuccino. Ask your riding friends who they like, the person performing the fit needs to be good at it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Well...looks like I'm one step closer to a solution. I tried out the cyclocross with the mountain bike handlebars, without removing any of the cables. I took the drop handlebars off with everything still connected, installed the MTB handlehars (without grips), then used velcro to rest the drop bars on top of the riser bars (DISCLAIMER - DO THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK AND ONLY FOR TESTING PURPOSES), and took it out for a brief 2 minute spin.

    Obviously with this set up, I could not ride very aggresively as I did not want the velcro to loosen, and shifting and braking were very delicate. However, what I did notice was that this totally changed the feel of the bike. It felt a lot more upright and a lot more comfortable - very similar to a hybrid. I didn't like the feel enough to change it to a flat bar, but it did tell me something very useful...

    When I got back inside, I measured the distance of the outer edges of my MTB handlebars (which have a 9 degree backsweep) to the center of my stem. What I noticed was that there was a 3.5 cm difference (35 mm) compared to where my hand position would be on the drop bars, well, at least the outer position, since the inner position of my hands would be closer to the drop bar set up position because of the backsweep.

    So, I think Andrew's theory of getting a shorter stem is right on (and if anyone else mentioned that in this thread, thank you too). I wasn't quite sure how to correctly measure the stem, but it was 90 mm from the center of the handlebar position on the stem, to the center of the head tube positioning of the stem. So, based on that, my guess is that by shortening the stem 10 or 20 mm, it should make the bike a lot more comfortable with the drop bars. Not sure how much the stem angle should be, though, but the MTB handlebar has a 30mm rise to it.

    Called one of the bike store to see if they had a shorter stem, and they were asking $40 for their cheapest one. Looks like I'll have to order online.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?-combo-handlebar.jpg  


  45. #45
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    Panaracer T-servs, and make sure your drive train/cables are in good shape.

  46. #46
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    Stems are measured from center-to-center, as you describe.

    I think my hands are further forward on my road bike than on my mountain bike.

    Can you take a picture of your bike, normally set up, from the side? As a sanity check, the handlebars on a road bike shouldn't end up a whole lot higher than the saddle. If they do, something else is usually wrong.

    One of the guidelines for road bike stem sizing is that shorter than 90mm causes unacceptable handling. I found that to be true when I was sizing one of my bikes about two years ago, and while it's ended up staying a little long, I stayed with a 90mm stem. However, I'm using short reach handlebars. So you can probably get away with an 80mm stem with a more traditional drop bar.

    I've never seen a retail stem for under $35. I think it's silly to buy them at retail when you may have to buy a few to get the right size.

    If you go to a higher angle, be a little conservative about going shorter. Look at a stem calculator and you'll see why.

    Don't forget you also have a lot of flexibility with how you angle your handlebars and where you place the shifters. If you plan to take the bar off-road in future, make sure you don't make the drops position unacceptable when you're doing this. You have to remove the bar tape anyway if you're going to re-do your brake housings. (Routing is fine, except for the interrupter levers in the way - they add friction, and if you can make the bike fit, you won't need them anymore anyway.)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I think my hands are further forward on my road bike than on my mountain bike.

    Can you take a picture of your bike, normally set up, from the side? As a sanity check, the handlebars on a road bike shouldn't end up a whole lot higher than the saddle. If they do, something else is usually wrong.

    One of the guidelines for road bike stem sizing is that shorter than 90mm causes unacceptable handling. I found that to be true when I was sizing one of my bikes about two years ago, and while it's ended up staying a little long, I stayed with a 90mm stem. However, I'm using short reach handlebars. So you can probably get away with an 80mm stem with a more traditional drop bar.
    Turns out that I had a shorter stem (80mm) with a higher rise angle on my mountain bike. It was the perfect test, so I swapped the stems out. Honestly, I'm not sure how I felt about it after doing the test ride...I felt a little cramped. I will take it for a longer ride tomorrow after work to see how it feels. Thanks for the warning on the stability factor - that didn't seem to cause any problems.

    Here are two photos - the top one is with the longer stem, and the bottom one is with the shorter stem. Turns out that the top photo was taken from further away than the bottom one, so there could be a little distortion. From the photos, makes me wonder if I should raise my saddle a little...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?-stem-angle-001.jpg  

    Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?-stem-angle-002.jpg  


  48. #48
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    If the saddle's in the right place for your legs, it's in the right place. Don't worry about how other people photograph their bikes. Sometimes, I think they extend the seat tubes just for the Internet's sake.

    To my eye, the saddle's fore/aft position looks weird. If you put the pedals at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock and lift your butt off it, is that position natural for you? That's one of my guidelines, anyway.

    I find it easier to get comfortable on a road bike with the ramps of the handlebars fairly level, as in your first picture, rather than tipped down a little, as in the second. Not everyone agrees with me...

    Since the 80mm stem has a higher rise angle, you can try to isolate the difference in stem length by moving it down. Probably one spacer is about right.

    Anyway, getting the fit dialed in will make this bike work a lot better for your ride later on. It's a good sign that you could make it feel too short with a stem change. One or the other is probably the length you're looking for. An 80mm stem with the lower angle will feel a little longer, although it shouldn't be by very much.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    If the saddle's in the right place for your legs, it's in the right place. Don't worry about how other people photograph their bikes. Sometimes, I think they extend the seat tubes just for the Internet's sake.

    To my eye, the saddle's fore/aft position looks weird. If you put the pedals at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock and lift your butt off it, is that position natural for you? That's one of my guidelines, anyway.

    I find it easier to get comfortable on a road bike with the ramps of the handlebars fairly level, as in your first picture, rather than tipped down a little, as in the second. Not everyone agrees with me...

    Since the 80mm stem has a higher rise angle, you can try to isolate the difference in stem length by moving it down. Probably one spacer is about right.

    Anyway, getting the fit dialed in will make this bike work a lot better for your ride later on. It's a good sign that you could make it feel too short with a stem change. One or the other is probably the length you're looking for. An 80mm stem with the lower angle will feel a little longer, although it shouldn't be by very much.
    Thanks. This is a lot more complex than I thought it would be...never thought I'd be having this discussion when I started this thread!

    I was recently thinking about the position of the legs in relation to the bottom bracket and didn't know what to think, to be honest. Typically, I'm someone who has the seat further back, but in this case (for Sunday's ride), I brought it forward to try and increase the comfort, which didn't pan out as well as I'd hoped. Just now I did a test of sitting next to the bike in a chair with the pedals in the 9/3 position, where my feet would be positioned at the 9 position. If I'm sitting where my torso is in a 90 degree angle, and stretch out my hands, my figer tips are just touching the handlebars with a little bit of overlap. My butt, on the other hand, would be hanging off the seat by about 4 inches! Not sure how "bike fit" accurate that little test was, but I imagine that means I need to move the seat back a tad...

    I'll move the stem down one spacer for tomorrow's ride and see how that goes.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Thanks. This is a lot more complex than I thought it would be...never thought I'd be having this discussion when I started this thread!
    I admire your tenacity. Seriously, I went and got fitted by a pro, an in 1/2 hr, he got my fit better than I was able to get it by myself. Best money I ever spent. Now I can make little tweaks myself if needed.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by seewhatididther View Post
    I admire your tenacity. Seriously, I went and got fitted by a pro, an in 1/2 hr, he got my fit better than I was able to get it by myself. Best money I ever spent. Now I can make little tweaks myself if needed.
    But if I do that, I won't have money to buy more bikes and parts!

    Just kidding. I'm going to look into it. If I can do it for $100 or less, I'll do it in a little over two weeks after payday. If it cost more than that and I still haven't figured out how to make the cross bike comfortable, I'll go the flat bar route.

  52. #52
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    I say get fitted then ride a ton and hit the gym to work your shoulders and back. As you get stronger you will get lighter and everything will be more comfortable. You're supporting a lot of extra weight so it's no wonder your back hurts.

  53. #53
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    Today I went to the bike store and talked to them about getting fitted. They charge $125, which is a little more than I'd like to spend, but I may do it. The guy at the store took a look at my bike and said he thought its a good frame size for me based on my inseam (although I have almost zero room for standover - not sure how much that matters for road riding). Needless to say, he wasn't one of the guys who does the fitting...

    Before heading to the store, I adjusted the stem down one spacer, raised the seatpost up, and moved the saddle back, except I swapped out the saddle I was using for a much nicer and more comfortable one I had on my mountain bike. I think part of the discomfort of the cyclocross came from the saddle, because an off fitting bike will feel even more uncomfortable with a saddle that makes your butt hurt.

    Didn't have time for a test ride because I only had 2 hours between my normal shift and overtime to make the adjustments and get to the bike store and back to work. However, as usual, I was able to take it for a quick test ride, and it did feel a little better this time around. Of course, I've said that before in this thread, only to be disappointed later, so I don't want to hold my breath.

    While I didn't buy the bike fit, I did pick up a bike part for a very good deal I found in the clearance section, which should make road rides a little more comfortable. I found a set of used Zipp carbon aerobar extensions with the forearm cushions and built in shifters on the ends (which I don't even need) sitting in a slightly beat up Bontrager bag in the clearance section. Apparently, someone didn't like them and returned them to the store so I got them for $37.50! They had been marked down twice!

    Over the next couple weeks, I'm going to expirament with different saddle positions (vertical and horizontal) and possibly stem/spacer combinations to see if I can get the fit right, then maybe fork out the $125 for the bike fit if I can't get comfortable.

    One thing I have noticed, though, which could explain some of my discomfort, and possibly the discomfort other mountain bikers get when trying to adjust to drop bars, is how narrow the grip is. I have broad shoulders, and when I ride the cross bike with my hands in the top position, my arms are actually pointed inward a little bit, which makes my neck, shoulders, and trapezius a little sore, and causes me to tense up a bit. My guess is that other "broader" riders feel this way too, but it doesn't bother some as much as others because of flexibility issues. I haven't yet measured the width of my drop bars yet, but the widest drop bars I found were 48cm on the top bar (not including the width of the drops). So, I wonder if just getting wider drop bars would solve that problem.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    on a 7 day ride your going to need the bike to familiar and comfortable. i wouldnt change anything that could change that. id suggest investing a nice pair of 25c tire that will allow 120+ psi. i ve had good results with the continental 4 seasons and panaracer tserv.
    You couldn't pay me to ride tires that narrow at pressures that high. 28s at 95-100 psi, mo betta

  55. #55
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    It sounds like you are doing several adjustments at a time, but not giving any adjustment enough riding time for your body to actually feel if it's an improvement.

    I would start with a "base line" fit as shown in the following:
    How to Fit a Road Bike - YouTube

    And ride with your bike like that for a couple of weeks. Bring a tool with you to adjust seat height on the ride if needed. From there, if still not comfortable, do one adjustment at time and ride it for a few rides to get a feel for it.

    For comfort (ie road vibrations), go with a wider slick (32c vs 23c), this will allow you to run a slightly lower px and absorb some of the road vibrations with the tire. You can also put padding in under your handlebar tape like this:
    Bike Ribbon Gel Pad Set > Components > Handlebars and Stems > Handlebar Tape | Jenson USA

    For your body, strengthen your core, hips and shoulders. The stronger the musculature through these key components, the longer you will be able to ride. Also while riding, think about maintaining a straight back and keeping your shoulders down and back - don't hunch! You can find some vids on good strengthening exercises at the following:
    Lesson 1 | No Gym, No Problem Bodyweight Workout | MTB Strength Training Systems


    Good Luck!

  56. #56
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    I can't remember what it cost me when I paid for a fit, but $125 doesn't sound out of line. I think once I had a good fit on my road bike, it was easier for me to feel my way to good fits on my others.

    With drop bars, you really need to commit to using the corners, ramps or hoods as a primary position. Do you have the 80mm or 90mm stem on there now? I'd suggest the 80... also, angle the bars so that the ramps are pretty much level. Some people will even tip them up, but that bothers me. Which is funny, because it's not different from the angle on my bar ends.

    It's possible that even using the drop bars as intended, they're just too narrow for you. As with stems, a change of one size is pretty significant. So don't go all the way to a 48cm bar. (It's also relatively unlikely that that's "your" size, even with above-average shoulder width.) As with stems, if you can do your experimenting with new bike takeoffs, used bars, whatever, that's good. Unlike stems, there are some pretty cool things going on in the middle and upper end of the market.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  57. #57
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    Just got back from a 13 mile back ride. The comfort difference was much improved since the previously mentioned changes were made (I used the 80 mm stem). I noticed a little discomfort in my neck and some tensing up after about 9 miles, but it was a much better experience than my Sunday ride. The other thing I noticed is that my "boys" were a little uncomfortable - wondering if I should slightly angle the seat down one notch?

    Aside from the minor discomfort I did experience, that the most fun I've had on the cyclocross bike on the road since I purchased it. On the ride, I used the hoods and drop position probably more than on any other time I've ridden the bike, and also tried to ride more in the middle and outer front chainring - I usually have the tendancy to rely too much on the small front chainring, which is a habit I need to break. After a few more rides of getting more familiar with the bike, I will try clipless pedals for the first time.

    Three questions:

    1. What is the best handlebar position to install aerobars in? I have a pair like these, with extensions and shifters on the ends:

    Zipp - Speed Weaponry | Bars | VukaClip

    2. If I install the aerobars, does that mean I will have to remove the brake levers that are parallel to the flat position of the handlebar?

    3. When riding in the small or middle front chainring, and the rear derailleur is on the 3rd or 4th smallest chainring, the chain will jump back and forth between the two rings, which is annoying as heck. Any tips on fixing this? (e.g. which high-low screw to turn which way)

  58. #58
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    2. Yes.

    3. Just to be "that guy" you're interchanging "cog" and "chainring." The fact that this problem occurs in your middle chainring means that you're not going to fix it by messing around with your limit screws.

    Beyond this - if the problem is actually with the chain jumping between cogs, the answer is one thing; if it's chain rings, it's the other.

    Sorry, no answer to 1). I'm too much of a snob to put them on a massed-start bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  59. #59
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    UPDATE

    Since I started this thread, I've added about 400 miles onto the Motobecane. My perception of road bikes and road riding in general has changed quite a bit. Fit is no longer a concern, and unless I see a deal I can't pass up on a really good road bike, I'm still planning to take the Motobecane on BRAN, as is, without any upgrades except tires, removing the cross brake levers, and adding the aerobars.

    I looked at a number of different tires at JensonUSA, and I think I'm going to go with these, unless someone here advises otherwise - they are a set of Continental Touring Tires:

    Continental Touring Plus Tire > Components > Tires and Tubes > Tires | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    My sizing options are:

    700 X 28
    700 X 32
    700 X 37

    Any recommondations?

    I'm back to using the longer stem that came stock on the cross. Everything feels great, except for one tiny detail...

    Yesterday I lowered the angle of my handlebars to point slightly downward. After riding 35 miles yesterday, and a quick 7.4 mile sprint around the lake between work shifts today, I noticed that the upper side of my wrists were hurting quite a bit from riding on the hoods. Is this something that goes away after a few rides, or do I need to adjust the angle of the handlebars up a little?

  60. #60
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    IME, if you change the setup of your bike and it starts to hurt you, it's not something you'll get used to.

    By my standards, those are some bigass tires. Also, I think they'll ride like ass. The way Conti shows the puncture protection layer, and the super-low thread count are both not great for how they conform to the road. They're not necessarily too big, but bigger than anything on any of my road-going bikes. People doing laden tires like them. People who carry a lot of stuff on their commutes like them. If you're just carrying yourself, most sizes are probably overkill.

    For my racing/training bike, I get the Continental Grand Prix 4000. (now, the 4000S.) It has pretty good wear life, people report around 4000 miles, I'm pretty happy with the puncture protection, and they ride really well. I've always bought the 23mm width, but 25mm tires should have a little lower rolling resistance and you can inflate them to lower pressures, so you can get a bit smoother ride, especially if you have problems with pinch flats when you use lower pressures in the 23mm size. For the sake of disclosure, they're one of two brands of tire that I have a little better access to than most.

    If you really want to do 28mm+, also consider the Grand Prix 4-season and the Gatorskin. Neither will roll as well, as they have another layer of stuff going on in the carcass, but they should still be better than the Touring Plus. Also think about the Contact and TopContact - they'd be similar to the Touring Plus, roll better, and should be cheaper than the GP 4-season and maybe the Gatorskin.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  61. #61
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    Thanks for your response. Others who have responded recommended a 700 X 32 or 700 X 28. Let's say I go with the 28 on the Continental Touring. How would that compare with the 25 Continental Grand Prix 4000? Positives of the 25 vs the 28? Negatives of the 25 vs 28?

  62. #62
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    You like to change lots of variables all at once, don't you.

    The Conti Touring is a big, fat city tire. It'll probably give you okay mileage and it'll let you run low pressures. The puncture resistance thing probably works alright, but it's described as being a special, extra, thick layer of rubber. So, heavy, and it's costing you a lot of energy to deform it, a lot of which is disappearing due to hysteresis.

    The Grand Prix 4000 is a racers' training tire. And a lot of amateur racers' racing tire, too. I don't track my miles, but a lot of people claim to get on the order of 4000 from them, pretty good for a bicycle tire, and excellent for a tire in this class. Going to a lower-volume tire usually requires more air pressure, but I find that tires with a higher thread count don't feel as harsh as low thread count tires at the same pressures. I'm not much of a sample set, so take that for what it's worth. I have good luck with the breaker belt in the GP4000. It's a fabric, so it's a lot more supple than the PlusBreaker.

    As far as the widths alone are concerned, Sheldon covers it pretty well on his site, so you can go find it. For a sporty ride, lately the optimum width is in question. Somewhere in the 23-28 range, though. Going bigger lowers rolling resistance (assuming you don't also switch to a different construction or change something else.) But, it makes a heavier tire that generates more turbulence. Personally, I like the way a 23mm tire handles. It's certainly possible that the numbers favor a 25 or even a 28, though. Lennard Zinn and Schwalbe have both covered tire widths and rolling resistance. I'm really curious about air drag, though. Both are pretty small changes, so it's somewhat academic; you should feel a lot of difference in ride from 23 to 28 and beyond, so if you choose the one that makes the bike behave the way you like, I don't think you need to stress out that much about what the optimal width is. That's why I also suggested some tires that come in wider sizes and will be nicer than the TopContact.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    You like to change lots of variables all at once, don't you.
    No. I like to understand exactly what I'm getting myself into. I like to understand positives and negatives of each course of action. That helps me better understand exactly what I'm getting myself into.

    I like to hear what different people have to say about a specific issue. If one person says go for choice A, while the other person says go for choice B, I want to understand the reasoning behind each decision. I don't want to go with choice A or choice B just because "Mr Expert Biker" says to do so or because "Mr Expert Biker's" opinion is more valid than someone else's opinion.

    Its not that I don't respect "Mr Expert Biker's" opinion, but if his opinions fly in the face of other people's opinions, I want to understand where everyone else is coming from, and why they gave their opinions in the first place. Asking the types of questions I do helps me find out, and helps me better understand exactly what I'm getting myself into with each possible course of action.

  64. #64
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    I think you're right to think critically.

    What I mean is, stuff like changing the stem AND the handlebars AND the saddle all at once. Do it one at a time. You'll have a better sense of what you're doing. Sometimes it's hard to separate variables.

    Here, GP4000 vs. TopContact isn't just a change in width. It's also a pretty significant change in construction and rubber compound. So if you try to make that as a direct comparison, you blind yourself to a lot of what's going on. It's pretty easy for a skinny tire to ride more smoothly than a fat tire, even though that flies in the face of popular opinion and some of the testing that's been published lately, if the fat tire also has a very thick, solid puncture protection layer and a really low thread count.

    I'm not saying that other people's opinions aren't valid. I just think the TopContact specs like a really crappy tire. If you want wide, do wide. Just look for a wide tire with a reasonable casing and puncture protection.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  65. #65
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    I would recommend something other than the conti touring plus. I've ridden them before. They are a great commuter/utility tire because they are nearly indestructible, but they ride like crap. Very stiff, heavy tires.

    I think going with a 28-32mm tire is a good idea. In my experience, cross bikes just don't quite handle the same with a traditional width, road tire. I suggest looking at the Panaracer Pasela TG or the Conti Gaterskin. Both come in 28 and 32mm widths I believe. I've ridden both and can attest to them being supple, reliable tires that last a long time. I've also heard great things about the Rivendell Jack Brown 33.3.

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    So I think I'm going to go with the "Continental Ultra Gatorskin" in the 700 X 28 size - a lot of positive reviews out there. Anything I should know before I order? I've seen some listed as "clicncher" tires and others described differently - don't want to get the wrong ones.

  67. #67
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    That should be a good tire for you.

    "Clinchers" are all tires that mount on a rim using a bead. So the vast majority of current bicycle tires. Certainly the right kind for your bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  68. #68
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    Well...bought em. Thanks for the recommendation. I might wait until 2 or 3 weeks before the ride to install them because I do a lot of gravel riding for my training. Not sure how well the Gatorskins would hold up on gravel - don't want to put them through too much abuse before the big ride!

  69. #69
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    The tires will actually do fine on gravel. But narrow (for a MTB, anyway) road slicks and loose surfaces are a difficult combination for the rider.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  70. #70
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    Can someone recommend a pair of clipless pedals for the ride? Just went for my first ride in clipless pedals on the mountain bike on Saturday, and WOW what a difference they made! The ones I have on my mountain bike are SPD pedals like these (except mine are Welgo - the ones below are Shimano):

    Shimano PD-M520 Pedal > Components > Pedals, Cleats, Toe Clips, Straps > Pedals | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Would the same style of pedals work for the road so I don't have to buy another pair of shoes?

    Thanks!

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    Would the same style of pedals work for the road so I don't have to buy another pair of shoes?
    Yup.

    There are also dedicated road systems. Don't let anyone talk you into one unless there's something specific you're hoping to improve, and you have a real reason to believe the new system will help.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  72. #72
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    Thanks. Since I've spent a crap load of money on my bikes lately (new helmet, converting my hardtail into a single speed, buying a rack, trunk bag, and frame bag...and probably more that I can't think of right now), I really didn't want to invest in a new pair of shoes to go with the second set of pedals. Turns out that Specialized shoes I've been wearing for two seasons had a cut out at the bottom that revealed a place for cleats. Had my friend not pointed that out to me, I would have never known!

  73. #73
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    LOL, this stuff adds up way too fast. It's nice when there's at least something that can do double duty.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  74. #74
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    I know how you feel. Things start wearing out one after another and you end up spending a couple hundred bucks in one month just to get everything sound again. Especially if you have more than one bike! That's what happens when you ride hard though..

    Gatorskins will hold up fine in gravel (although they will be challenging in the deep/loose stuff), but I think getting the most use out of your current tires before you throw them on is a good idea.

  75. #75
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    UPDATE

    Today on Craigslist, I saw a trade I could not pass up. Someone wanted to trade their 2010 Trek 1.5 for a cyclocross, so I jumped on it and made the trade. Originally offered my Motobecane + $100, but because the Trek was a tad on the small side (52cm - I think I'm a 53 cm, maybe a 54 cm), I asked if he was ok with doing a straight up trade, and he said yes, so I jumped on it.

    The Trek 1.5 has about 2,000 miles on it, but was very smooth, and thankfully, the front derailleurs and shifters are Tiagra, which are much better than the Sora on the Motobecane. I told the guy I was getting the better end of the deal, but he liked the Motobecane and was happy he didn't have to shell out any money for his cyclocross, so its all good to me.

    So, looks like I won't be riding a Motobecane Cyclocross across Nebraska after all, but I think it will mean a much faster ride with a Trek 1.5 that is much better at climbing. Kind of a bummer to let go of my Cyclocross. Took it out for one last 20 mile gravel ride before the trade, but I should be able to sell the Trek 1.5 for at least $550 afer the ride is over. Right now, I'm planning to buy another Motobecane Cyclocross, but this time, get the $799 Shimano 105 model with Carbon forks. For now, guess I'm going to have to enjoy the Trek! Here is a photo:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?-trek-trade.jpg  


  76. #76
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    You need to buy a Long Haul Trucker and be done with it.

  77. #77
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    Did you end up doing the ride? How was it?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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    Yes I did! It was awesome! I want to do it again, and also do some other state rides too. Probably won't do anything until next summer, though. The one drawback is that I missed a day and a half of the ride (half of day 3 and all of day 4) due to food and/or water poisoning. It was an ugly situation...So, I ended up with 355, instead of 455 miles in 7 days. I stopped using the SAG stops and rode self sufficient when I resumed the ride on day 5.

    The best thing I did that had the biggest impact on the ride was to use aerobars. I'd say I was in the aerobar position around 50% of the ride. They did hurt my wrists a little bit because of the hand positioning, but they really helped me going against the wind and up hills. The other thing I did was pick up a 15 degree rise, 100mm stem, which kept me a little more upright, but more comfortable for most of the ride than a more agressive stem would have.

    Not sure if I really needed to trade my cyclocross for the road bike, but I will probably be able to sell the road bike for close to what I paid for my cyclocross. I ended up selling the Gatorskins to my friend, who got a flat in the first 10 miles or so of the ride, but didn't have any problems afterward.

    If I could do it again, I'd probably use 25s instead of 28s for the tires, but there were also some sections of the road where the 28s probably benefited me. I guess the main reason would be for speed, because the faster you finish the ride, the faster you get out of the heat. I would also opt for a 10 degree rise stem instead of the 15 degree rise stem.

    In terms of supplies I wish I would have brought along, one thing that stands out would be a camping chair, and a small laptop with wi-fi would have been nice too, not too mention anti-dhiarrea pills! LOL A canopy for shade would have been nice too. Sometimes, to get out of the shade, people would just hang out at the school, except when we stayed in one town where the school wouldn't let us use their facilities, other than to camp and for showers.

    I ended up spending a lot more on the ride than I thought I would, in terms of bike supplies, food, etc. After the $240 registration fee, I brought along $240 in cash for the ride, and came back with just over $5! I think I WAY overpacked for the ride too...but I didn't end up needing some of the cold weather stuff because the weather was awesome (actually, a little too hot at times - I wore a white shirt on 3 days of the ride to help deflect the heat!).

    Anyway, I'd HIGHLY recommend BRAN for anyone who would like to do a long state bike ride. There were a lot of really nice people, although I was surprized that 56 percent of the riders were over 50 years old! I heard someone say that BRAN is BETTER than Ragbrai, probably because of the more mellow atmosphere.

    Here are some photos from the ride:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?-tents.jpg  

    Riding my cyclocross on a 7 day road ride - any suggestions to improve the ride?-chimney-rock.jpg  

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  79. #79
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    It's hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like you've got some spacers left under your stem. According to this little web tool

    Stem Chart

    you could just lower your stem 8mm and get close to the same effect.

    I usually avoid organized rides that don't give me a prize for being faster. I did an organized century a couple weeks ago, though. Fun! And yeah, a pretty huge range of ages and abilities. I suspect a lot of people don't want to give up half of their 10 personal days for a ride like that, can't get away from their SO or kids, etc. Certainly seems like a lot of people get a second period of having too much fun when the kids finish college and get jobs.

    Are you sure you want to resell the road bike? It sounds like you're finally getting it dialed. For me, this is the good period in owning a bike.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  80. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    It's hard to tell from the picture, but it looks like you've got some spacers left under your stem. According to this little web tool

    Stem Chart

    you could just lower your stem 8mm and get close to the same effect.

    I usually avoid organized rides that don't give me a prize for being faster. I did an organized century a couple weeks ago, though. Fun! And yeah, a pretty huge range of ages and abilities. I suspect a lot of people don't want to give up half of their 10 personal days for a ride like that, can't get away from their SO or kids, etc. Certainly seems like a lot of people get a second period of having too much fun when the kids finish college and get jobs.

    Are you sure you want to resell the road bike? It sounds like you're finally getting it dialed. For me, this is the good period in owning a bike.
    Well...I kind of want to keep my road bike, but for some of the rides I do, I'd feel more comfortable on a cyclocross in terms of not worrying I'm going to break something when I hit a large bump. Plus the Trek is a tad too small. Now, I did discover that road bikes can take much more of a beating than I thought they could, but at the same time, I miss my cyclocross, which is a more versatile bike. After riding the Trek 1.5 road bike, I did discover that an all Tiagra drive train isn't a bad thing at all. One thing I didn't like so much about the Motobecane Fantom CX3 cyclocross was the Sora front derailleur. The Sora shifters were ok, but I think the Tiagras worked better after I got used to them. I've got my eye on this one for my next bike:

    Focus Mares Ax 3 Bike '11 > Complete Bikes > Cyclocross Bikes | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop

    Honestly, though, I probably won't pick up another bike until next Winter. There are only 3 and a half months left of good riding weather here in Nebraska, and I have some bike related credit card debt I want to pay off. I'm actually planning to go down to 1 bike...sold my Schwinn FS, and a good chunk of that money went to BRAN. Not sure what the appeal of single speeds are (too slow downhill and on flat terrain, plus really suck to ride uphill), so the Leader is getting the boot too.

    I really like my Motobecane 600HT, althought it is one HEAVY bike. I picked up a set of slicks for it for road riding (Maxxis Hookworms, which are awesome), and I'll keep the Velocity Raptors for off road riding, along with lighter rims I'm currently using for my Leader to make switching tires easier. Also picked up a 2011 Rockshox Recon fork to smooth out the front end, plus a wider 31.8 handlebar that I'll use with the Salsa stem that I'll bring over from my road bike. Since I still have an extra Shimano Dynasys crankset I picked up on brand new on clearance for $30, that nobody here on MTBR wanted to buy, I'll be swapping out the crankset as well, and picking up an extra cassette. The 11-28 I currently have is good for road rides, but not so good for steep offroad hills. Needless to say, the Moto has exceeded my expectations and is very fun to ride, but because it is so dang heavy, I figured I'd invest a little into upgrading it.

    As for organized road rides are concerned, on the one hand, it is kind of a ripoff to shell out money just to ride your bike, but BRAN is all volunteer, and the extra money goes to fund scholarships. Some people brought their kids along - either to ride on the back of a tandom, ride by themselves, or just to enjoy the week long camping trip. Plus, a week off work was nice!
    Last edited by getagrip; 06-21-2012 at 07:50 AM.

  81. #81
    gran jefe
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    Quote Originally Posted by getagrip View Post
    ...I was surprized that 56 percent of the riders were over 50 years old! I heard someone say that BRAN is BETTER than
    Prolly thought the organizers would be giving out bran flakes, and old people love that stuff.

  82. #82
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    The things I liked when I did the Century were the marked course and the aid stations. It made it a lot easier to just ride the course fast. Otherwise on a ride that long, I'm doing a certain amount of route finding and finding water (and maybe a bathroom!) can be a chore. It was not terribly expensive, so that was nice too.

    I've broken things on bikes. My experience is that it's age or a major crash that gets them. About the only thing I've destroyed that I thought was just too light for the application is the rear rim on my Trek Portland. It was actually a pretty similar construction to what you've got, so maybe you're wise to get out now. On the other hand, your current crankset is a conservative construction and it's not very likely to drop the left arm. One of the reasons I tend to stay with my bikes is that I figure out and address the weak points, and I don't really want to roll the dice again, and have a whole new set of weak points to worry about. Also why I'm promising myself something much more expensive when I get back out into the working world.

    If you already have something in mind for the existing stem on the Trek, a 110mm 6 degree stem would give you more room in the cockpit and a little more drop. Kind of like your thought of getting a 100mm 5 degree stem, but in a larger size. Competitive fits frequently go even longer, with 130mm still being regarded as a reasonable stem size for a road bike. So I don't think yours is outside the strike zone of being able to really dial it in.

    The only thing I see as a real advantage to a 'cross bike is that it can fit really big rubber.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  83. #83
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    Not that it has anything to do with this thread, but just thought I'd give a quick update on my Leader/Moto situation. I received the handlebar in the mail, put it on my Moto 600HT, and thought this bike really feels funny with the Salsa riser stem and wider handlebar. Then I thought I don't like the handlebar/stem combo on my Leader, but the new handlebar stem combo I just put on the Moto might make it feel really similar the way it did when I first put it together, except the new handlebar won't have the annoying 9 degree back sweep like the original handlebar.

    So, I made the change and wow, the Leader felt a lot better! Because I was starting to have problems with the drivetrain on the Moto (I must have hit something because the rear derailleur cage was bent), I thought might as well put the Rockshox Recon on the Leader instead of the Moto. Plus, since the Leader has cost me so much dang money in minor upgrades (its nickname is the Money Pit), it seemed "fitting" to put the new fork on it, instead of on the Moto.

    Took it for its first ride with the new fork, and it was awesome! I'm sure the Recon is pretty much an entry level fork for a lot of people here, but its definately a nice upgrade from what I was previously riding on the Leader. Also put the old tires from the Moto on the Leader too, which made a nice difference in the ride.

    Anyway, I'm not going to sell the Leader. I'm going to keep riding it as a single speed to get in better shape, until just before my first race, which I plan to compete in during the month of August. Then I will turn it back into a 2X9 so I can keep up with everyone else!

    As for the Trek, I rode it around the lake with my ex-girlfriend, who is ironically, one of my main riding partners. During the first few minutes of the ride, I thought to myself,

    "This is fun. Do I really want to get ride of this bike?".

    Ten minutes later, I thought,

    "This is boring. I'm definately going to give this bike the boot!".

    Later on in the day, we did some gravel road/singletrack riding. I had a blast riding the Leader on the singletrack trails, but oddly, she seemed a lot faster than me everywhere else. I thought to myself,

    "Am I really this out of shape?".

    Turns out the adjustments I made to my front brake screwed everything up. I practically had the front wheel locked out for most of that 20 mile ride. I could only spin it one revolution before it stopped!

    Anyway, still planning to sell the Trek road bike, but I'll keep my two other bikes. One thing I like about the Moto for street rides is that because its so dang heavy, it should help me get into better shape and burn more calories. After 1,000 miles of training for BRAN, plus 355 miles of the ride itself, I thought I'd lose all kinds of weight and be in tip top shape, but I'm only about 5 pounds lighter than when I started!

    On an unrelated note, one thing I learned today in the bike store might be an indication of why Bikes Direct is able to sell their bikes for such cheap prices. When I took the Leader to the bike store to have the steerer tube on the fork cut, and the Moto rear derailleur looked at, the mechanic said something like,

    "Wow, an old generation LX derailleur!".

    So, it appears that in my case, at least with the 600HT, an older school rear derailleur was used on the bike. Not that this took away in quality because it worked great...until I bent it! The mechanic at the bike store pretty much just un-bent it by hand, and took a hammer out to straighten out the chainring that was bent at well. So, for now, I may have to put up with some unwanted noise when I ride, but we will see if the low tech "hammer" fix worked.
    Last edited by getagrip; 06-26-2012 at 09:21 PM.

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