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Road bike vs. Mountain
#1
I know I am opening Pandora's box here. But, I really am curious for some advice on my next bike. It is for commuting. I ride a mtb now, and pretty much always have, or bmx. Road bikes have always seemed a little weird to ride. Is it just me or are they hard to steer? Also, I really don't like having to be bent over all the time. But, if road bikes get you up hills easier and really do offer a better commute, I am willing to try.
Does it just come down to personal riding style?
If you can't duck it, chuck it!
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#2
ever try throwing slicks on your mtb? that can make a world of difference on the street.
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#3
As ou2 said tires have a lot to do with performance, road style tires on MTB's make a huge difference. As far as your question they are built for racing on road and maybe "different" to what you are use to. I personally think that Road bike are more accurate (harder) to steer because of the speeds.


Bill
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#4
Road bikes are much easier and quicker to ride on road than even a slick shod mtb, but they do not have any off-road capability at all, but a mtb can be used on or off road.
They can be more twitchy, this is down to the forks, any curve in the fork legs will soften the ride somewhat but straight forks will make it worse.
You can vary your riding position by fitting tri-bars.
You have other options, ie, hybrids or something like this
http://www.raleigh.co.uk/b_details.aspx?brand=8&id=329&pt=14
Why not borrow a road bike for a few days, you will be surprised at the difference, but do try to get one with curved fork legs.
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#5
There are also different styles (if that's the word) of road bikes. Mine falls into the category called "plush," which is an odd description, but what it means is that the riding position is more upright than a racing style road bike. It's not as upright at your mountain bike, but somewhere in between the mountain bike position and the more horizontal position you get with racing style road bikes. I was away from cycling for many years, and I was pretty amazed to see how many categories of road bikes there are now, from pure racing all the way through city bikes and commuters, cargo bikes, comfort bikes, hybrids, etc., etc.

If you spend some quality time at a good bike shop (and online, for that matter), you'll find the right bike for you. I rode a mountain bike with road tires all of last year, and when I got my road bike, I was amazed at the difference. If you're interested in upgrading, it's worth the time to research and ride lots of bikes.
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#6
My mtb has road slicks already. Technically it's my brothers, I doubt he ever is going to ask for it back, but Im going to just go ahead and start working on my own.
I guess I'm just going to start test riding a lot of bikes. I figure any store that doesn't let me test ride as many as I want, isn't worth my money.
If you can't duck it, chuck it!
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#7
If you're just shooting around a city, you might look into touring bikes.
Live life one century at a time.
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#8
If you like the road position (or get to like that position) but want something more flexible try a cyclocross bike. They are basically road bikes with wider frames and different brakes to accommodate wider tyres (and rims). Handling will be quite different on a road bike compared to an MTB, they also give a harsher ride as they have no suspension at all. What I find really comfy to ride is old steel road bikes. The handling is not as quick but the steel forks give a smooth ride, to some extend even on cobblestone roads (which is really harsh on a modern road bike, you feel as if the whole bike gets shaken apart). I usually ride a modern road bike on road an an old road bike with cyclocross tyres off road (and in winter).
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#9
Another thing to consider if commuting in traffic, where you need to keep your whits about you, is that a low riding position with drop does make it more difficult to look around, it's tiring to keep your head up and the tendency is to not look far enough ahead.

I have an older steel framed MTB with rigid forks and road tyres that I use on road and it makes a great all-rounder.The fatter 1.75x26 inch tyres are more comfortable on poorly surfaced and potholed roads than narrow section ultra high pressure road tyres and there are frame fittings for a rack and mudguards as well. Many race orientated frames do not have fittings for mudguards or do not have clearance for them.

You can pick up good used 80's and 90's steel framed, rigid forked MTBs for reasonable money, they're not generally particularly light, but are very sturdy and fitted with road tyres, I currently have some Schwalbe Marathon Plus on mine, make great workhorses or tourers.

My hack:
[attachment=960]
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#10
xerxes,
Those are the style tires I have on one of my MTBs for road style as you say also they are on my trike. They do a great job!
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#11
If you are using the bike to commute, I would really avoid getting a road bike. Or at least not a modern road bike. I am not sure where you live, but if you want (or need) to install fenders, new road bikes leave such little clearance that is is nearly impossible to do. As stated by others, touring and cyclocross bikes are road style, but leave plenty of room for fenders. They also commonly have braze-ons so one can add a rear rack. If you are going to commute any distance or ever haul anything, they can be invaluable, and they are not common on bikes built for speed. Older steel frame road bikes also left plenty of room for them. One good thing about an older steel frame is that the rear stays can be stretched if you want to upgrade to a more modern drivetrain.

You are on the right track in the thought that going to a LBS and trying out different bikes will be your best bet. I would just really not want to spend the money on an expensive road bike if its primary purpose was to commute.
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#12
Hi Bill,

I've actually replaced the Schwalbe City Jets you can see on my bike in the picture with a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus. The City Jets are hard wearing and quite fast on tarmac, but I found they can be a bit slippery on greasy wet roads, I actually washed out when taking a corner at speed in the rain. In addition the lip around the tyre fouled the brake blocks, even with the cable unhooked, making it difficult to drop the wheels out. The Marathon Plus is slightly narrower at 1.75" as opposed to 1.95" and doesn't have a lip, which solved the brake fouling issue and although I haven't tried them in the wet yet, they do feel more grippy in the dry than the City Jets did. On the down side, they are about twice the price of City Jets.
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#13
Just want to point out that there are a lot of bikes out there now that are neither "road" nor "mtn" and are probably better suited to commuting. Why decide between a race car and an off road vehicle for commuting?

Unless you specifically like the drop bar position, I'd say avoid that. But it's hard to get a mountain bike without suspension these days which you really don't need for road use. Also, larger wheels give you a faster smoother ride. Look for a "city bike" or whatever they call them where you are. It will have a good riding position, be already set up for street riding, have mounts for racks, fenders, etc. I especially like the internal geared hub bikes for durability, convenience, having a chain guard. I say buy the tool designed for the job instead of modifying something not made for it.
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#14
In Germany the companies "Norwid", "Riese und Müller" and "VSF" have bikes for touring and commuting. They have decent components, racks, fenders... unfortunately they do not all offer English catalogues (and finding a dealer abroad might be challenging, too). Nevertheless, check out their bikes for some ideas.
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#15
(06-01-2010, 05:55 PM)DaveM Wrote:  Just want to point out that there are a lot of bikes out there now that are neither "road" nor "mtn" and are probably better suited to commuting. Why decide between a race car and an off road vehicle for commuting? . . . But it's hard to get a mountain bike without suspension these days which you really don't need for road use. Also, larger wheels give you a faster smoother ride.

Good points DaveM. I picked up a free 1991(?) 21-speed Raleigh Tangent MTB (no suspension) chro-moly frame with cantilever brakes. So I am thinking of customizing it to be a hybrid or commuter bike with some modifications. Since it was free, I have some room to spend money on it without exceeding its sell-able value. I'll post the final result when it's done but have two other bikes I'm currently restoring now.

Steve
Junkyard Tools rescued from the junkyard!
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