Thread: Bikes!
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Old 08-19-2004, 01:59 AM   #17
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: somewhere in between
Posts: 995
Originally Posted by Kitsune

Yeah! Hard tail steel frame all the way! They last forever. My old Trek 820 has seen better days, but it continues rolling quite well. Getting it up the steps at the end of a ride is the hardest part.
Hey, I had one of those too! Great fuckin bikes ... Antelope series, I believe. Incredible uphill ride, excellent acceleration, but those came out in the early days of rock shox - which would have helped me tremendously. My fork really took a beating and I think is now busted, but I retired it rather than taking it to the shop. Bought a Giant afterward, but don't ride it much since I got into road cycling.

Anyone want to share their highest milage? I've ridden the Suncoast Parkway two times in recent years -- 55 miles, total. I'm never in shape for it, either. I collapse and hurt for a good three days afterwards and I'm never sure if it was really worth it. I have no idea how people can ride century rides.

I've gone about 90-95 miles, just shy of the full century. Griff's right - once you hit the 40/50-mile barrier, pretty much any distance after that can be handled very easily (with proper training of course).

So, here's my question to those of you that own $1000+ bikes: does it really help? I know actually getting in shape is the best option, but do the lighter bikes make a huge difference? If someone can crank out 10 miles on a normal bike, will they be able to do many more on a racing bike?

Of course it's mostly the kind of thing where if you understand the technical stuff, you'll mentally feel better about your riding. :P

The most notable difference though is frame material - higher priced bikes are just so incredibly well engineered. It's particularly important for carbon, and slightly so for titanium. For example, the Trek 5900 is made with OCLV 110 carbon, which is extremely light yet very sturdy. You could be riding on a 6 percent uphill grade, give one heavy pedal stroke and the bike will literally take off from underneath you (frame stiffness factors into how responsive the bike will be to your pedaling). Aluminum, on the other hand, won't have this kind of zip, but ppl say it handles cornering well and has a very soft overall ride.

Titanium is not as light as carbon, but stronger, which is important when you are exerting a lot of stress on the bike, such as fast downhill corners/turns/sweeping bends. And when climbing hills out of the saddle ("jogging" on the bike, as Mr. Armstrong calls it), stronger materials won't sag. That's something I didn't notice until i tried my other brother's aluminum Cannondale R1000, which felt kinda flimsy when I was out of the saddle and cranking hard on the hill in Central Park. I weigh more than he does though, which is why it probably works better for him.

Then there comes the components. If you can afford nicer stuff, great. Otherwise making sure all the parts fits YOU is the most important thing. If you find a bike doesn't fit well, ask about changing some of the parts - longer/shorter pedal cranks, obtuse or longer stem (part that holds the handlebars), different styles of handlebars, different saddles, different seatposts, taller/shorter headsets. Buying expensive components won't necessarily mean that they fit - unless you ride for U.S. Postal (soon to be Discovery Channel) and Shimano *custom* makes parts specifically for you.

This is all highly technical stuff that I hardly think about. Some of it didn't even become apparent until watching the technical spots on the Lance Chronicles. Bottom line is a more expensive ride will get you better handling, better feeling, stronger acceleration, but it takes a while before any of that makes a difference.
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