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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been mountain biking for six years, and feel like a very competent rider. I do all my own wrenching and have built my last three bikes myself. I love mountain biking. That's why it has been so hard to move to Houston. I have a 1.25 mile flowy pump track two miles from work, so I get at least two rides in during the week, and then I ride with buddies on the weekend. I take the random excursion out to places with (a little) more topography when I'm bored with the trails here.

The thing that gets me is that when it rains here the trails typically aren't ride-able for two or three days. It drives me nuts that it will be a beautiful day, but I can't ride because the trail is underwater from the rain a couple days ago. I need more saddle time and am thinking of getting a road bike for those days where the weather is great, but the trails are closed. I have some friends that are roadies that I have gotten into mountain biking. They are having a blast and want me to ride with them on the road, which would probably be fun.

Now to my question. How big of a difference is there really in most road setups? I know my way around mountain bike components and tuning really well, but am not familiar with most road bike components. I have researched these and feel comfortable that I have some base knowledge to go off of, but I wanted to ask MTBR instead of RBR because we all know what it's like to have to replace parts because we are breaking tham and always have to be tuning, etc.

Road bikes do not seem very complicated compared to mountain bike components. I would imagine that the drop in performance from someone riding a Sora groupo versus a 105 groupo would be significantly less than someone riding tektro brakes/Acera groupo vs. someone with a Deore or SLX groupo. Essentially what I'm asking is will I be at a disadvantage on a used bike with Tiagra or Sora components when riding with my buddies with 105 and Ultegra groupos? I would probably be buying used. I'm not worried about tune-ups, maintenance, etc. because I already do all that myself. After rebuilding forks and bleeding hydraulic brakes, how hard can road bike maintenance be?

Sorry for the long-winded post. I'm just trying to be as descriptive as possible.
 

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I wouldn't get the road rig. I've been hit by a car, a hit and run IF you can believe that. It just ain't worth it, it is 100% luck I'm hear to even tell my story. I've been biking for 30+ years seriously, got hit 20 years & just about then, mt bikes hit the market & I've been on them ever since. My saying is, you can win a battle with a tree in the woods, but you can't win one with a car.

However, if you insist on riding on the road, you might consider getting a couple of extra rims, throwing on some road tires & riding your mt bike on the road. MUCH smoother on the body and joints WITH suspension THEN that stiff road frame. I only ride my own private subdivision, and I sometimes use this set up.
 

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You're right, there isn't a whole lot to most road bikes, and they don't get nearly as beat up as mountain bikes. Even old road bikes that have decent components ride very well. The road bike is a great thing to have when the trails close, which happens around here in the Spring as well. It's a good training tool as well to increase your endurance for those long rides.

When I decided to buy a road bike, I went to BikesDirect.com and picked up a Windsor Knight for $999. If you already do your own work, they offer a great value and as you mentioned there just isn't much to them. In over two years of riding, and a few thousand miles I've replaced a couple chains and some cable housing. Stock saddle, pedals, and tires are crap IMHO...

Here's my build and review thread on RBR. It's been a great bike and every time I look at a nice carbon fiber bike from a big name manufacturer I just can't find anything wrong with the Windsor. It rolls smooth and fast and everything just works really well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You're right, there isn't a whole lot to most road bikes, and they don't get nearly as beat up as mountain bikes. Even old road bikes that have decent components ride very well. The road bike is a great thing to have when the trails close, which happens around here in the Spring as well. It's a good training tool as well to increase your endurance for those long rides.

When I decided to buy a road bike, I went to BikesDirect.com and picked up a Windsor Knight for $999. If you already do your own work, they offer a great value and as you mentioned there just isn't much to them. In over two years of riding, and a few thousand miles I've replaced a couple chains and some cable housing. Stock saddle, pedals, and tires are crap IMHO...

Here's my build and review thread on RBR. It's been a great bike and every time I look at a nice carbon fiber bike from a big name manufacturer I just can't find anything wrong with the Windsor. It rolls smooth and fast and everything just works really well.
Thanks for the link. Very interesting.
 

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I wouldn't get the road rig. I've been hit by a car, a hit and run IF you can believe that. It just ain't worth it, it is 100% luck I'm hear to even tell my story. I've been biking for 30+ years seriously, got hit 20 years & just about then, mt bikes hit the market & I've been on them ever since. My saying is, you can win a battle with a tree in the woods, but you can't win one with a car.

However, if you insist on riding on the road, you might consider getting a couple of extra rims, throwing on some road tires & riding your mt bike on the road. MUCH smoother on the body and joints WITH suspension THEN that stiff road frame. I only ride my own private subdivision, and I sometimes use this set up.
With all due respect I disagree with many of your opinions.

1. road riding and mountain riding can be equally as dangerous. Hitting a tree at full speed surely can kill you and likewise matching strength with a car doesn't guarantee your will perish.

1 1/2. I get injured far more frequently and more intensely on my mountain bikes over my road bikes.

2. mountain bike on road is not nearly as smooth or as comfortable as a legitimate road bike, regardless of tire selection. suspension will not make it significantly smoother on the body, good riding form and style will. I ride "stiff frames" but they are all supple material e.g., carbon, high quality steel, and they are very smooth and comfortable on the road. Geometry alone will make a road bike faster on the streets than a mountain bike. dealing with pedal bob etc, will become extremely tiring and possible harsh to body parts e.g., lower back will not dig the constant thrusting and modulation (think riding fast while seated)


**my opinion**

components do differ in quality and most notably weight as you go higher up in hierarchy. also, with quality and lower weight comes higher price. Will dura ace/record/red shift better than sora/veloce/apex? yes. Will the lower end stuff suck and be un-ridable, with proper maintenance and setup, absolutely not.

Frame material and geometry will dictate your comfort on the bike. Finding a well fitting bike will be key, fitment is significantly more important on road over mountain as you spend most of your time seated. if you are cramped you will feel it way more since you spend alot more time in that position. Also, saddle height high or low will be extremely apparent on a road bike again, since you will be in one position most of the time.

I always recommend buying used to maximize the amount of bike you get for your money.

I am full of other opinions but they are really off base per your actual inquiry.

p.s., I was originally a roadie only and migrated to mountain bikes and now am an equal opportunity rider. :thumbsup:
 

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No less than 105-level componentry.

No way an mtb works as nicely on the road as a road bike.

Learn to plan your road routes for safety; just because you have access doesn't mean it is a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
No less than 105-level componentry.

No way an mtb works as nicely on the road as a road bike.

Learn to plan your road routes for safety; just because you have access doesn't mean it is a good idea.
I agree on the MTB with slicks thing not being remotely the same.

In regards to the "no less than 105.." comment, is it just a durability thing, or is it a functional thing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
With all due respect I disagree with many of your opinions.

1. road riding and mountain riding can be equally as dangerous. Hitting a tree at full speed surely can kill you and likewise matching strength with a car doesn't guarantee your will perish.

1 1/2. I get injured far more frequently and more intensely on my mountain bikes over my road bikes.

2. mountain bike on road is not nearly as smooth or as comfortable as a legitimate road bike, regardless of tire selection. suspension will not make it significantly smoother on the body, good riding form and style will. I ride "stiff frames" but they are all supple material e.g., carbon, high quality steel, and they are very smooth and comfortable on the road. Geometry alone will make a road bike faster on the streets than a mountain bike. dealing with pedal bob etc, will become extremely tiring and possible harsh to body parts e.g., lower back will not dig the constant thrusting and modulation (think riding fast while seated)


**my opinion**

components do differ in quality and most notably weight as you go higher up in hierarchy. also, with quality and lower weight comes higher price. Will dura ace/record/red shift better than sora/veloce/apex? yes. Will the lower end stuff suck and be un-ridable, with proper maintenance and setup, absolutely not.

Frame material and geometry will dictate your comfort on the bike. Finding a well fitting bike will be key, fitment is significantly more important on road over mountain as you spend most of your time seated. if you are cramped you will feel it way more since you spend alot more time in that position. Also, saddle height high or low will be extremely apparent on a road bike again, since you will be in one position most of the time.

I always recommend buying used to maximize the amount of bike you get for your money.

I am full of other opinions but they are really off base per your actual inquiry.

p.s., I was originally a roadie only and migrated to mountain bikes and now am an equal opportunity rider. :thumbsup:

I love off base opinions. Do share!
 

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Big Mac
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Dude. A road bike is just like a mountain bike. It's just made to ride on the road. Higher tier components may or may not matter to you.
 

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I love the trails. I love the road. Just ride. I have 5 bikes. If I could only keep one it would be my Yeti Arc-X with SRAM force drivetrain. With my cross tires it's a gravel grinder and comfy on the road. Need to go fast? Slap on some road tires and I can keep up with the roadies. Also have a Cervelo S5 road bike. Honest to god I don't feel that it's enough faster than the yeti with road tires to justify me owning it.
 

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Also saying 105 minimum. Shifts a lot better. Invest in a good (light) wheelset. Best perfomance bumper for a road bike. Light wheels are more important than a light frame.

Road bike to commute are a whole lot of fun (I use a old steel frame with 105 and fulcrums).

The components are much easier to maintain than a full suspension rig. Get 105 brakes and use the ultegra brake pads.
 

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road riding is all about airodynamics. I'm sorry to tell you this but to keep up with your roadie friends you'll need to ware spandex.
 

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Also saying 105 minimum. Shifts a lot better. Invest in a good (light) wheelset. Best perfomance bumper for a road bike. Light wheels are more important than a light frame.

Road bike to commute are a whole lot of fun (I use a old steel frame with 105 and fulcrums).

The components are much easier to maintain than a full suspension rig. Get 105 brakes and use the ultegra brake pads.

Ultegra/Dura Ace... all shimano pads for that matter pick up a lot of rim slag, your way better off running a kool stop or a swiss stop pad. Better performance and way more rim friendly.

Also, I do agree with your wheelset point. Single most valuable upgrade on most bikes. lighter wheels will make climbing easier, more aero wheels will make flats faster as well.
 

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There is nothing like a road bike for the road...a mtb can't compete. I found a great mid-90s road bike on eBay, upgraded some bits to get it modern (threadless headset, carbon fork, cockpit stuff) and for $600 have a killer road bike. Its just right in terms of me using it only a few times a month. You don't have to spend a fortune to get something decent. Road stuff hasn't changed nearly as much over the years and is a bit less complicated than a mtb. The single biggest issue you face with a road bike is fit..this is where fit makes a big deal. If you sit in the same position for an hour the thing has to fit right. And I mean anal-retentive little adjustments in stem length, rise, bar width, saddle fore/aft. I have tweaked mine so much to get it so I feel ok riding it. My mtbs have pretty much been purchase and ride. I would say 105 components are the bare min...its the road bike equivalent of SLX. You can also go Campy (that is what I have) which is also nice..bottom end Campy (arguably) is a bit better than Shimano's bottom end stuff. You will get more flats on a road bike and a really durable set of tires (training level) is the key; you don't need ultra-light race tires. I recommend just getting something used to start with...if you love it, then re-sell (for what you bought it for) and get a 105 or higher complete new road bike. Finally, a carbon work IS worth it and isn't just hype...it will make the ride much more comfortable for you.
 

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I agree on the 105 or Apex minimum.

If you have decent componentry on your mountain bike you will notice low end stuff ( and hate it) on the road bike
 

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Getting a road bike will increase your base fitness a lot. I got mine 4 years ago for the same reason. It rains a lot and the trails are crap for 2-3 days after it stops. This week it rained almost every day, but it was beautiful right after work and I got 5 rides in. 10 hours of road riding is awesome. You'll own all the hills.

Ditto on the 105group and good wheels.

Go for it.
 

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If you sit in the same position for an hour the thing has to fit right. And I mean anal-retentive little adjustments in stem length, rise, bar width, saddle fore/aft.
... just want to put a bit of emphasis on FIT.

105 seems to be the baseline for road bikes used in a sporty manner. Many prefer Campagnolo or SRAM but I don't remember what is what there. The different brands have different ideas on shaping the hoods and how shifting should work.

Wheels, clearly wheels that suit you are important: not too heavy or too soft.
 
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