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How much faster would a real road-bike get me?  

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 

Stats:  5'7 185 lbs.  Newbie gaper bicyclist.  Cruise the wooded trails and roads for exercise and outdoor experience.

 

With a concerted effort can average 16 mph over medium distances, on a pretty cheap Trek Hybrid bike (it cost 500 retail).  I was only doing 12 on a mountain bike.

 

How much faster would I be on a real road bike?

 

 

Also, in general, do my stats pretty much physically preclude me from decent-speed road-biking?  (I pass most on the trails, but out on the road every single biker wearing bike clothes and with a road bike passes me, regardless of their age or apparent condition, or even build)

post #2 of 59

 

If you cycle over flattish or short-hill terrain then a road bike will give you 2-3 mph avg. almost instantly.    That's if all climbs and descents take less (or far less) than 2 minutes.     

 

You should be able to get to 20mph avg with enough time in the saddle and enough focus on smooth pedaling.  

 

At this stage of the game your build is pretty close to completely irrelevant.    You need to get over 20mph and start doing longer climbs before it is a significant factor.  

 

Much more relevant is how well you do at high heart rates (close to or over AT).    You may need to do some serious cardio training to get to that 20mph.   And said cardio training needs base miles in the saddle to build on.      If you don't have at least 1K miles in the legs by end of May, you're simply not riding enough.

 

post #3 of 59
Thread Starter 

I ride 20 miles 2-3 times a week in the summer.  It is mostly flat (maybe rolling hills).

 

That 16 mph I average seems to be a ceiling for me.

 

I've never had great cardio endurance (as a kid in gym class running the "mile" was always a bitch).  Some other factors since then certainly haven't improved my CV fitness.

 

But anyway 3 mph-more sounds good so maybe I'll see if I can pick up a low-end road bike this summer.

post #4 of 59
Why are you focused on "how much faster" a new bicycle will be compared to your current one?

You can improve your cycling strength and fitness on any bicycle. I know people that do road training on cyclocross bikes and on mountain bikes. They recognize that the value in training is the way you approach the saddle time, not whether you might be faster on a different type of bicycle.

It's pretty easy to get into the trap of thinking your current cycling is limited mainly by your bicycle, and not by your training and/or technique.

If your current bike fits you well then it's not really the limiting factor you might imagine. Most cyclists could stand to work on their pedaling form, their breathing technique, their gear selection, and their strategy(ies) and technique(s) for handling hills and corners.

I'm not sure I understand the narrow focus on "what bike will make me faster." It reads like a highly loaded question, written by someone who already knows it's not about the bike, as if to ferret out poseurs who know nothing about bikes.

It's also kinda interesting how your perspective and background is entirely different from one post to the next in the very same thread. Somehow it all seems very sloppily fabricated.

You know... like your ski equipment threads.
post #5 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

Why are you focused on "how much faster" a new bicycle will be compared to your current one?
You can improve your cycling strength and fitness on any bicycle. I know people that do road training on cyclocross bikes and on mountain bikes. They recognize that the value in training is the way you approach the saddle time, not whether you might be faster on a different type of bicycle.
It's pretty easy to get into the trap of thinking your current cycling is limited mainly by your bicycle, and not by your training and/or technique.
If your current bike fits you well then it's not really the limiting factor you might imagine. Most cyclists could stand to work on their pedaling form, their breathing technique, their gear selection, and their strategy(ies) and technique(s) for handling hills and corners.
I'm not sure I understand the narrow focus on "what bike will make me faster." It reads like a highly loaded question, written by someone who already knows it's not about the bike, as if to ferret out poseurs who know nothing about bikes.
It's also kinda interesting how your perspective and background is entirely different from one post to the next in the very same thread. Somehow it all seems very sloppily fabricated.
You know... like your ski equipment threads.

^That^ is a post with purpose.

Outside of the OP who I don't follow around here, you've got it correct. I'd also disagree with cantunamunch post that the OP would instantly find 2-3 mph over that of the bike OP currently has. Actually, when most of those type of claims are tested, you'll find that a rider may "feel" faster with new equipment however speed remains constant...and that is even at a cat 1 level.

Frankly, and with respect to OP's physical and emotional happiness with "self"; cycling at 5'7" and 185lbs is a tough spin. That BMI is well out of wack...use the current bike and have a coach develope a training plan while confirming your bike's fit to you. Stick with it and drop 30 lbs...you'll be flying then at a clip easily 5mph higher, a new level for you. Then reward yourself with a current wonderbike at that point to help you reach the next level. Once there, you'll then know it will never be another new bike purchase to make you faster...only improvements to your engine will.
post #6 of 59
Thread Starter 

I'm only interested in going faster so I can join local bike clubs in my area and actually participate.  I could care less how fast I go on my own (other than to measure fitness progress).

 

I can't lose 30 pounds, and I'm not going to try.  I enjoy the benefits while skiing.

post #7 of 59

At 5'7" 185,  you're likely to be more happy on a track bike at the velodrome.  

 

And yes, you can be a pretty proficient recreational road cyclist at your current weight, but unless you have a freakishly odd heart/lungs, you're too big to cycle competitively above cat 4-5. That's not the goal though, so it's not.... what am I posting for? 

post #8 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

I'm only interested in going faster so I can join local bike clubs in my area and actually participate.  I could care less how fast I go on my own (other than to measure fitness progress).

 

I can't lose 30 pounds, and I'm not going to try.  I enjoy the benefits while skiing.


Wait...wut?! "I could care less how fast I go on my own"..."Benifits while skiing". Huh!?

GrizzledVeteran, now I get it rolleyes.gif

Bye thread.
post #9 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

I'm only interested in going faster so I can join local bike clubs in my area and actually participate.  I could care less how fast I go on my own (other than to measure fitness progress).

 

I can't lose 30 pounds, and I'm not going to try.  I enjoy the benefits while skiing.


wrong reasons.  seriously  read gv's post again.  first, 16 on a hybrid aint bad given your exp and body habitus.  second, any decent shop in your town is going to have club rides for different rider abilities.  pick the right shop and right club ride and move up over time.  third, if youre a newbie, bike handling skills in a group and signal and rotation skills are what you need to learn via beginner club rides in traffic - dedicated road bike or not. there,s more to it than just going faster.  finally, it's supposed to be fun and social. fitness is incidental.

 

finally i think it is cool that youre psyched about riding and getting better.

 

sorry, android tablet.  text on forum is a pain.

 


Edited by JeffB - 3/9/12 at 10:13pm
post #10 of 59
Thread Starter 

I thought bike clubs would be fun and a nice way to meet people, but anybody my age that would be in a cycling club is probably a sweet biker and much skinnier than me.

post #11 of 59
How many different TGR regulars** know the password to log on as "Vitamin Ski"? How many different people post under that handle? Four? Three? Six?

How low is their self-esteem, that they must come here to snark pseudo-cleverly in order to feel superior?

How many of them used to post as BushwackerinPA?

I must admit, the attempt at satire almost makes me smile. But it's such a poor attempt. No subtlety, very little cleverness. Too much ego shines through. Too eager to feel superior.

Here's what I think, "Vitamin Ski." To ride pavement around "South-Piste PA" you need a $10,000 fully-carbon wonder-bike of the same kind ridden by Alberto Contador in the alpine stages of a major multi-stage tour. Why? Because it's the bike that makes him fast, and nothing else.

It's a lot like how you need a 195cm uber-planky "big mountain" ski to "dominate" Ski Roundtop and Seven Springs. Any lesser ski means you're just a Gaper and will inevitably humiliate you in lift lines and during the parking lot traverse.

_____________________

**"TGR regulars" = Flatlanders who think that by posting regularly on TGR, they automatically are impressive big mountain skiers. Generally, much better skiers in their own minds than on actual snow.
post #12 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

How many different TGR regulars** know the password to log on as "Vitamin Ski"? How many different people post under that handle? Four? Three? Six?
 


LOL, I'm wondering if Telerod15 knows/hacks GrizzledVeteran's

 

 

I don't think VS is really that bad of a troll.  Perhaps a bit overzealous, and over thinks some things that are much more simple than need to be construed.  But, seems genuinely passionate about the sport. 

 

Carry on.

post #13 of 59
Thread Starter 

Donald Duck Denver, you've made my block list in only two posts, and the second person to do so in this thread.

 

And only two people are on it.

 

That is quite an accomplishment, given my great tolerance for intrusive personalities on this forum.

post #14 of 59

A road bike will easily put you about 3 mph faster, on a smooth trail.  If the trail is rough it will really slow you down.  If you have to deal with mud, steep inclines, sand, wheel eating rocks etc.  forgetaboutit. 

post #15 of 59
Fess up Josh. You have fun being "Vitamin Ski." It is another way to stroke your ego!
post #16 of 59

I ain't no peddler, but my MTB seems to be geared to top out at 20-25 MPH tops.  Can't bike gurus change their gears for top end versus climbing or extremes of both with less middle?  I get that the thinner profile, lighter weight, and tuck of a road bike also cuts resistance.  But, I'd think the gear choices with the set up would allow options

post #17 of 59

^^^ you can change gearing.   Tires (and wheels) make a big difference too.

post #18 of 59

You can change the frame and handle bars as well.  I suggest you get all these changes in a package (only if he trails you ride are just like roads, and not like trails).  I think they call the package a "roady"?

post #19 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

Stats:  5'7 185 lbs.  Newbie gaper bicyclist.  Cruise the wooded trails and roads for exercise and outdoor experience.

 

With a concerted effort can average 16 mph over medium distances, on a pretty cheap Trek Hybrid bike (it cost 500 retail).  I was only doing 12 on a mountain bike.

 

How much faster would I be on a real road bike?

 

 

Also, in general, do my stats pretty much physically preclude me from decent-speed road-biking?  (I pass most on the trails, but out on the road every single biker wearing bike clothes and with a road bike passes me, regardless of their age or apparent condition, or even build)

 

Speed on a road bike comes in two forms:

  • On flat / rolling terrain, reducing your frontal profile is paramount.  i.e., aerodynamics rule.  You're a somewhat smaller guy (at least in terms of height), so you should be able to stay in a paceline fairly easily.  Learn drafting skills and you can hang with anybody.  Hauling at 25mph in a nice tight paceline isn't that hard.  Even if you're solo, you have a smaller aerodynamic profile and that helps tremendously.
  • On hilly terrain...  Hills are all about power/weight ratio.  (i.e., how many watts / kg of body weight can you maintain).  Other-worldly (i.e., Tour de France winners) is somewhere around 6 watts / kg -- for an hour.  When I rode a lot, I could do 3, 3.5 watts / kg for extended periods, and that was a little above average.  Light guys rule on hill-climbs -- and you're not light, at least not in terms of the cycling world.  Hill climb speeds are also (usually) low enough that aerodynamics don't matter that much.

 

So...  There's more to cycling speed than raw size.  As I said, learn drafting skills and you can hang with some mighty fast groups.  Hill-climbs are not gonna be your thing though, at least not without some serious dedication.

 

post #20 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by GrizzledVeteran View Post

Fess up Josh. You have fun being "Vitamin Ski." It is another way to stroke your ego!


Not possible...try again, but good work on doubling up and getting two digs for the price of one. popcorn.gif

post #21 of 59
Thread Starter 

My bike tires say 60-80 psi.  Can I inflate to 95 psi?  On some bike forum place I read about overinflation and the consensus was it was fine, as the listed specs are well below the actual blow-out tolerance?

 

Would buying replacement wheels that go up to 120 psi help me get better pedaling mileage?

post #22 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

My bike tires say 60-80 psi.  Can I inflate to 95 psi?  On some bike forum place I read about overinflation and the consensus was it was fine, as the listed specs are well below the actual blow-out tolerance?

 

Would buying replacement wheels that go up to 120 psi help me get better pedaling mileage?


What tire size are you running?  You can probably over-inflate your tires to some degree and get away with it; whether or not it makes you any faster is another question.  Everything you could want to know about the subject is here:  http://sheldonbrown.com/tires.html#pressure

 

(Side note:  everything you could want to know about cycling, period, is on that web site).

 

post #23 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinF View Post


What tire size are you running?



I don't know; they aren't as skinny as a road bike, but much skinner than a mountain bike.

post #24 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post



I don't know; they aren't as skinny as a road bike, but much skinner than a mountain bike.


Sorry, I had a brain fart.  I was thinking you were already running road bike tires, and I never heard of a road bike tire running at that kind of pressure (i.e., 60 --> 80psi).

 

But in answer to your original question, there is no such thing as "free speed" on a bike.  i.e., aerodynamic / lightweight wheels, perfect tire pressure, ceramic bearings, yadda yadda yadda gets you seconds in a 40k time trial.  You will never notice the speedometer go up based on some equipment difference.  (One exception:  aero bars, but they make bike handling squirrely and they make other riders in a group nervous).  As they said, "don't buy upgrades, ride up grades".  wink.gif

 

post #25 of 59
Thread Starter 

The more I ride, it seems my endurance and power (going up hills) goes up, but my overall speed hits a ceiling, and I am unable to really go past the 23rd gear (i.e. I usually cruise on gear 22; gear 23 is a push, and gear 24 is too hard).  In other words, the front hear is on number 3, and the back gear is on number 6, 7, or 8.

 

 


 

 

Why did I increase my speed by 3 mph when I switched from a mountain bike to a hybrid?

post #26 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffB View Post....16 on a hybrid aint bad given your exp and body habitus.  second, any decent shop in your town is going to have club rides for different rider abilities.  pick the right shop and right club ride and move up over time.  third, if youre a newbie, bike handling skills in a group and signal and rotation skills are what you need to learn via beginner club rides in traffic - dedicated road bike or not. there,s more to it than just going faster.  finally, it's supposed to be fun and social. fitness is incidental.

 

finally i think it is cool that youre psyched about riding and getting better...

 

 


Yeah, you're fast enough to do group rides. I ride a hybrid and average around 16mph on my solo rides, but I managed to hang with the front group on a group century ride I did last year. I joined the group at mile 30, so I had fresher legs, but if I had started from the beginning, I'm sure would have been able to hang with the slower group, or the slower riders in the fast group.

 

Get a road bike if you want, I'm sure you'd enjoy riding one, but you don't need one to do group rides. :)

post #27 of 59

VS,

I think that you are trying to find a way to justify buying a road bike.  Like the Nike commercial says, "just do it."

 

If you are going to buy a bike, here are a few notes:

  • Make sure the frame and components are high quality.  Your local bike guy could give you his spiel on that.  As for me, a modern carbon fiber frameset has the best balance of lightweight, smoothness, and energy.  Componentwise, I prefer something of the Shimano Ultegra (SRAM or Campy equivalent) level or better.  Quality components just seem to last.
  • Most important.  Like ski boots, the bike fit is very important.  A good bike shop will use a "fit kit" to make sure the bike is dialed into you.
  • If you are trying to save a few bucks, look at buying a previous years model.  A lot of times, the change is just graphic.  I bought my current bike (2005 model) on closeout buy from my local shop.  The only change was the graphic.  And that saved me $700 on a $2300 bike.

 

Just another note.  I read that you like to hammer.  Just for fun, try bumping your RPMs up on lighter gears, and see where that takes you.

 

Good luck with your search.

 

Dennis

post #28 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

I ride 20 miles 2-3 times a week in the summer.  It is mostly flat (maybe rolling hills).

 


Now imagine riding 3  20-ish mile rides during the week, a nice hilly 40 miler on Sat. and a nice cruisy 40 miler on Sunday.      With that kind of mileage per week you can be at 4K miles in the legs by the end of the season, which is really the cycling equivalent of 15 ski days per season.

 

As per my original post, if those rides were mostly hilly a road bike would not give you any noticeable improvement right off the bat.

 

Quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post


That 16 mph I average seems to be a ceiling for me.

 

Made to be broken.   As an aside - are you riding with clipless pedals now?    If the answer is 'no' then buying those will immediately improve your climbing, /even with just the hybrid bike/, and especially if you've been training your hamstrings in the weight room.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post


 

I've never had great cardio endurance (as a kid in gym class running the "mile" was always a bitch).  Some other factors since then certainly haven't improved my CV fitness.

 

Can't get cardio ability until you invest the time and the dedication.    

 

Frankly, I very much doubt that you'd still be at 185lbs at the end of the season, but even if you're still at that weight, you'll have /far/ more energy, more breath and more top-end ability than what you have now.

 

For the purposes of training, btw, inline skate miles count exactly the same as 65-70rpm fixed-gear bike miles.   Except that the skates give you far more hip and balance control benefit.

 

 

Quote:

Quote:

But anyway 3 mph-more sounds good so maybe I'll see if I can pick up a low-end road bike this summer.

 

Get a bike that fits, and that won't need remedial parts replacement at 2K-3K miles.

post #29 of 59
Thread Starter 

Thanks for additional thoughts, guys.

 

I have a  45 cm bike, I think.  It is made for people 5 inches shorter than me, but it felt right, and the bike salesperson said it would be fine.  The 52 cm bike (which is the "right" size for me felt way too long to the handlebar).

 

I think the cheapest roadbikes at my store are 800 bucks.  I need to give this some thought.  I may buy it mid season (if there's some kind of sale), and if I actually find myself joining a bike club.  Then again, at that point if I am able to set aside that amount of money, I may just order a 2013 ski in the fall.

 

 

 

One thing I like about the hybrid is I can take it off road, even up into some gnarly stuff if I'm cautious.  It's kind of like a versatile mid-fat ski... it does everything OK.

post #30 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

Thanks for additional thoughts, guys.

 

I have a  45 cm bike, I think.  It is made for people 5 inches shorter than me, but it felt right, and the bike salesperson said it would be fine. 

 

I would expect you to trust a generic bike salesperson about as far as you'd trust a box store "bootfitter".       Yeah.      Little wonder you're topping out at 16mph.   Guh.  

 

Good thing you don't have really tall gearing on that bike or the front of your knees would be screaming.    Good thing you don't have any 40-50-60mph descents nearby or you'd have been speed-wobbled into toothlessness.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

 

  The 52 cm bike (which is the "right" size for me felt way too long to the handlebar).

 

The distance to the bars is /different/ for different-brand, different-model 52cm bikes.     The distance to the bars also depends on seat setback, stem length, and handlebar reach.    All of which are subject to customization.

 

Read your above sentence in ski terms "the 26.5 boots felt way too tight at the toe".

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vitamin Ski View Post

 

I think the cheapest roadbikes at my store are 800 bucks.  I need to give this some thought.  I may buy it mid season (if there's some kind of sale), and if I actually find myself joining a bike club. 

 

Yes.   Thought is good.    Amongst your thoughts include "go elsewhere or buy used".     Speaking of which, it's two months to Trexlertown:

http://www.thevelodrome.com/flea-market/

 

 

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