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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My main love for biking is on my mountain bike. I have recently been doing some road training and commuting to work on my old hardtail. My question is this... Will I notice a huge difference riding a road bike instead of my hardtail w/ slicks? Will I be able to maintain higher average speeds with the same effort? Before I drop $800 or so on a new road bike, I want to make sure it will be worth it. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

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You will go a lot faster, I cant say for sure but when I changed from my cross bike which had 700c tires to a road bike I was able to increase my speed from a high average of 16 mph to 17.4 mph. I would think going from mountain to road would add at least 2 mph. I bought a used road bike that was like new for half price.
 

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The difference is night and day. There is no comparison between a hardtail with slicks and a road bike. I can't quantify the difference because I don't use bike computers but it is pretty major. Plus you can maintain a much more aero position. I would definitely advocate buying used since there are a ton of used ones out there that are in amazing condition (1 or 2 rides before the person realizes that they're lazy and don't like pedaling :) ).
 

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Any advice on where to look for a used road bike? I just made up my mind not too long ago to get a road bike. Do you know of any places online? Thanks in advance.
 

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Yes...and no, maybe...

Consider this:
Will I notice a huge difference riding a road bike instead of my hardtail w/ slicks?
As someone who did this very thing (I had a steel hardtail with old Jett Rockshock w/slicks) there is a big difference. A road bike has a distinctively different feel. It's like Ned Overend said in his book, to paraphrase, "...it's like going from boxers to bikini briefs." You feel every ounce of effort on a road bike. Handling is much more crisp also.

Will I be able to maintain higher average speeds with the same effort?
Absolutely. Gearing is much higher on a road bike. The same effort will yield a much higher average speed.

I bought mine back in 01' mainly to be able to ride when I couldn't get into the woods. Also, I do most of my race training on my roadie. I'd be remiss if I didn't throw in this caveat though: I live in a fairly rural area with pretty low traffic. Even at that rate I've still got one eye glued to the mirror when I'm riding. I respect the fact that the vehicles that I'm sharing the road with out-weigh me by about 3000lbs or so. I ride road because it's convienient and it doesn't expose my body to the same ammount of wear and tear as mountain biking when training. I couldn't imagine riding in a congested, high-traffic area...I'd be a nervous wreck.
 

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If you have to ask...

No.

It sounds like you've never ridden a road bike. Go do it. Take a test ride. My guess is, the decision will be made after the first mile.

johnmre said:
My main love for biking is on my mountain bike. I have recently been doing some road training and commuting to work on my old hardtail. My question is this... Will I notice a huge difference riding a road bike instead of my hardtail w/ slicks? Will I be able to maintain higher average speeds with the same effort? Before I drop $800 or so on a new road bike, I want to make sure it will be worth it. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
 

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That's why they are called "Road Bikes."

Larger radius wheels with smaller patch and higher pressure make for better roll. Body position forward (no endo worries) and over the cranks more for better ower tansfer. More aero position and straighter tracking for efficiency.
Nowhere near as fun as mtb but very useful for workouts with less prep, cleaning, and mainaainance.
Try and find somethng used. For $800 you can do pretty well.
 

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I'll just throw out that the Scattante bikes from Supergo are a unbelievable deal. You can get the R-550 Triple with a mixed 105 group and made from Easton Ultralight tubing for $699.
 

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Stick said:
No.

It sounds like you've never ridden a road bike. Go do it. Take a test ride. My guess is, the decision will be made after the first mile.
I disagree with the part about being able to decide quickly. I regularly alternate between mountain bikes and a road bike. After even a short layoff (a week or so), I find the transition awkward and it takes a little while to get the groove back. The road bike feels twitchy, tempremental and harder to pedal. The mountain bike, on the other hand feels squat, cramped and hard to get a good, sustained spin out of. After a little while, things feel better, and road biking definitely helps with MTB fitness and smooth handling skills (can't say it works the other way too). But, hey, maybe that's just me.

Also, if you've never ridden a road bike before, you will get a different impression depending on whether you ride it for a mile on a straightaway downhill, on a downhilll with swooping curves, on a flat with a tailwind, on a flat with a headwind or up a hill with a 15% grade.

A decent road bike is relatively cheap. Used roadbikes are a great deal, especially when you consider that few roadbike owners are truly capable of trashing a road frame or components (and why would you want to ... its not much fun huckin' a roadbike). Also, as far as I'm concerned, you could spend your money on a lot worse things than a new bike. D.
 

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johnmre said:
My main love for biking is on my mountain bike. I have recently been doing some road training and commuting to work on my old hardtail. My question is this... Will I notice a huge difference riding a road bike instead of my hardtail w/ slicks? Will I be able to maintain higher average speeds with the same effort? Before I drop $800 or so on a new road bike, I want to make sure it will be worth it. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Get the road bike! In the big picture, what's $800? Do you really need a reason to get a new bike, any new bike?

Nat [the voice of unreason]
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the input...

Generally, my resoning is buy first and ask questions later, but I thought I would try a different approach this time. Really I just want to make sure that if I spend the money it would be a very noticable difference. I have noticed that just during the last couple of weeks of mixing in 2-3 road rides per week (including the commute) I am using harder gears on my mountain bike with less effort on the same trails.

Sounds like I need to start looking for a used road bike. Guess I'll go check the bulletin board at REI. Anyone know of someone selling a used road bike in Atlanta?
 

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I just threw slicks on my hardtail - and I love it - I can still cut across dirt lots and have no qaulms about jumping up and down curbs in order to avoid traffic, pedestrians, other bikers, etc. But, I only ride like 40 or 50 miles per week (which is relatively little for a roadie). If you were riding more - I think you could easily justify having a road bike - or check out a cyclocross style setup...

for me, I can only keep my wheels on smooth pavement for so long before veering off onto some bump or patch of dirt...
 

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Buying advice

Check out a bunch of different bikes at your LBS - fit is much more important than on a mountain bike, as you are often seated in the same position for a much longer time. After you have found a couple models and/or geometery configurations that work for you, start checking for the used rides. We've gotten two bikes from roadbikereview.com (mtbr's sister site - click the link at the bottom of the page). Also, do a little lurking on RBR's site - there is always tons of great information.

have fun!
 

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johnmre said:
My main love for biking is on my mountain bike. I have recently been doing some road training and commuting to work on my old hardtail. My question is this... Will I notice a huge difference riding a road bike instead of my hardtail w/ slicks? Will I be able to maintain higher average speeds with the same effort? Before I drop $800 or so on a new road bike, I want to make sure it will be worth it. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
This past year I got back into MTBing regularly after a 7 year layoff. I saved my dough and bought myself a very nice hardtail. I get to the trails about 3-4 times a month if I'm lucky, and luckily when I do, I'm willing to travel long distances to get really good trail time in. I wanted to get 'bike' fit and figured the best way was to ride all the time. So like you, I started commuting to work (16 miles roundtrip everyday), and that led into, better form, better shape, better aerobic capacity and of course, FASTER SPEED!!

I bought an extra set of wheels as I couldn't justify another bike this year, so I invested in an extra wheelset to swap between my knobbies and my slicks. With the slicks I go considerably faster, but because I am so used to my bike now, I feel I have a great control over my bike at just about any speed and I'll road train on it with my roadie friends (they graciously slow down for me for the majority of the rides). My fitness is level is decent as I can average 18MPH for 30-40 mile rides on the road on my hardtail with slicks. I have been itching to go faster and farther with more efficiency, but I'd rather save my money for next year and get a nice road bike to complement my MTB and get the best of both worlds.

Think of it this way. Continue training on your 'heavy' hardtail with slicks. My idea is that with the base training you do this year and with the familiarity you get with your fitness level in conjunction with your riding ability, you'll appreciate the move up to a road bike that much more as you're conditioning will be ready to do 30MPH assaults for long stretches.

I challenge myself almost daily on the bike paths with roadies. You'd be surprised how well you can do if you keep 'training' on your commutes. I've extended my commute distances purposely to include the higher mileage in my weekly routine. Its definitely paying off.

Best Regards.
 

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Big Difference

johnmre said:
My main love for biking is on my mountain bike. I have recently been doing some road training and commuting to work on my old hardtail. My question is this... Will I notice a huge difference riding a road bike instead of my hardtail w/ slicks? Will I be able to maintain higher average speeds with the same effort? Before I drop $800 or so on a new road bike, I want to make sure it will be worth it. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thanks
Got my carbon road bike for $1300 in December. You can definately improve on your efficiency and speed on a road bike. It improve my climbing abilities as well which can be applied directly to my MTBing. By buy used if you can get a good starter road bike for $800.
 

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Like someone else said, it's night and day between a mountain bike and a road bike on the road.

Besides just being able to move faster, etc. - if you get out and ride a decent amount on the road bike, you'll find your trail riding improves as well. You'll be able to climb better than before. When I first got my road bike, it wasn't but a few weeks before I went from back-of-the-pack with my regular trail riding crew to middle or near the front of the pack.
 
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