View Full Version : mtber looking for a road bike

07-17-2004, 06:49 PM
My husband and I are both thinking about getting road bikes so that we can keep in shape over the winter months. They'd also be nice for the day after it rains, when the trails are probably too wet to ride but the sky is clear.

I have a pretty good idea of what to look for in a mountain bike -- but what about in a road bike?

Some questions:

Will buying in the fall/early winter give me a better chance at a sweet deal?

Are prices pretty comparable to a mountain bikes? IE, is a $1500 mountain bike better or worse than a $1500 road bike?

What component designations are comparable to LX, XT, XTR?

What's the pedal situation? Can I get pedals that will let me use my mtb shoes with their sh-55 cleats, or is that a bad idea?

What haven't I considered?

07-20-2004, 09:30 AM
I'm a mtn biker, just bought a road bike. Those are all good questions, but I am not knowlegeable enough to help on some. My mountain bike is a TREK6700, which is what I would call a step above entry level, and I paid about 800 for it. For that price, I bought a Specialized Allez Sport, which I would also call a step above entry level. If you go to road biking sites, eg. Roadbike review, you can read alot about bikes and get a feel for what's out there. Most of the roadies suggested getting better than the "Sora" level of Shimano components, and go for Tiagra, 105 or better. I think the Shimano site actually has a chart that describes the levels of components. After reading alot, I went to several bike shops, talked with guys, asked lots of questions, tried a few bikes. The road bikes fit differently, I'm sure you know, so make sure that when you buy, someone spends a bit of time with you personalizing the adjustments. As for the pedals, well, I didn't want to buy new shoes, so I had them put mountain bike pedals on them. They work fine. By the way, Shimano does make a road pedal that accommodates those cleats, but I read that those pedals are one-sided, which makes them a pain to get into. That's why I went with the mtn. pedals.

Adventure Girl
07-20-2004, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by bounceswoosh
What component designations are comparable to LX, XT, XTR?Here's a list from the Shimano website.Mountain Biking
XTR - Pro Racer
XT - Hard Core
LX - Enthusiast
Deore - Advanced Recreational
Alivio - Novice Recreational
Acera, Altus and Tourney - Entry Level
Road Biking
Dura-Ace - Pro Racer
Ultegra - Hard Core
105 - Enthusiast
Tiagra, Sora - Recreational

In biking compnents, there are 3 factors. Strong, Cheap and Light. You can only have two. Strong and Cheap will not be Light
Cheap and Light will not be Strong
And Strong and Light sure won't be Cheap!!

Adventure Girl
07-20-2004, 01:08 PM
Originally posted by bounceswoosh
Will buying in the fall/early winter give me a better chance at a sweet deal?As with most cycling stuff, "last year's models" are usually marked down when the new stuff comes out. Sometimes these are great deals, sometimes they aren't. If the only change in next year's model is something like color or tires, then getting a discounted 2004 model might be a great deal. But if there are significant improvements in the 2005, you might be willing to shell out the extra dollars to get the newer version.

As far as pedals go, I've seen lots of road bikes with mountain bike pedals (but never a mountain bike with road pedals). My road bike, my hardtail and my DS all have the same pedals and saddles. But I do use different shoes for road and off-road. My mountain bike shoes get pretty muddy and dirty. My road shoes stay pretty clean.

07-21-2004, 10:49 AM
First: In my opinion there is no such thing as a sweet deal on a bicycle. Shops don't get much of a mark up on the bikes, but rather the accessories. That is one reason why they tend to give the cage & bottle or other small items as a free perk. They really don't have a lot of leeway on the actual bike for discounts.

In a lot of ways, you get what you pay for. With todays technology and advances you are getting more bang for your buck. The differences of quality are probably not that different than MTB. Some help on this one?

More importantly, FIT FIT FIT!
You can spend $4500.00 on a bike, but if it don't fit, it ain't worth a dime!

Consider your needs and goals? What can you live without? What do you need? Always anticipate upgrade ability? Will it be able to grow with you if you get hooked?

Without starting any riots, I'm a Campy girl so have no opinion on components. You can always upgrade later on and it has developed well enough that it's all pretty good if you don't want to get techy.

It is not unusual for road riders to have MTB pedals, especially for charity rides etc. It's easier to walk around, stop for a picnic etc.

And I do reiterate FIT FIT FIT! ANd do a lot of talking with a lot of shops if you can.

07-28-2004, 06:29 PM
I recently purchased a new road bike after getting back into biking last year with a comfort bike. I did alot of reading at roadbikereview.com. I also hooked up with an excellent bike shop that just opened in the area. The fellows at the new shop were excellent in providing information and really explaining the 'fit'. I had originally looked at the Giant OCR3 as Bicycling magazine gave it a great review and reading up about the compact frame at Giant's website. But, after talking with the guys, and their seeing how I had my comfort bike outfitted, it was determined that I should probably look at the next step up - the OCR 2. Reasoning was that I would not need to upgrade anything in the future and it's a serious road bike. I bought it - Giant OCR2 ($825.00). Great bike, I love it. They put on narrower handlebar, female specific seat at no cost. Also got 2 water bottle cages and a rear rack.

I took the bike home and rode it for 2 days. The handlebars were too low and the gear 'hoods' were too low and far away. Took it back down to the shop. They raised the bars and brought the levers up and closer. Everything fits perfectly now. I've been getting real comfortable with this bike. I ride a minimum of 10 miles at least 4 times a week - more if the weather cooperates. No saddle sores or discomfort.

You should check out the Giant OCR bikes. The compact frame geometry really works for getting a good fit.

Just want to add a good word for the bike shop: I'm 51 and have just been getting back into cycling. I asked the guys about buying shoes and they told me "not now. Get more comfortable with the bike and then we'll talk shoes." Rather than jump on making a sale, they decided not to sell me shoes until they are sure I'm not going to injure myself forgetting to disconnect the shoes before stopping. I sent another middle-aged gentleman down there for bike repair and told him how they won't sell me shoes yet. The same friend asked to buy shoes and they told him "no". :D Top-notch shop that really takes care of the customers!

07-28-2004, 06:56 PM
It's great that you found a useful LBS! That can be a real learning process.

When I start shopping, I'll look at all sorts of bikes, but I tend to fit the standard geometries better than the "compact" or "women's-specific" ones.

07-28-2004, 09:31 PM

There seems to be a bit o' confusion about "compact" and "WSD" etc. etc etc.

Here's a brief history of (recent) road frame evolution (from someone who's been selling bikes for ~9 years now....).

A long long (ok not so long) time ago Cannondale made pretty little (stiff!!!) frames in tiny little sizes (43cm, 45 cm, and 47 cm I believe). They had 650c wheelsets. They came in gender-neutral paint schemes, and although they fit very small women very well, they were also oh-so-easy to sell to height-challenged men and small junior riders too. They were marketed as Cannondale Compact frames.

Now Giant (being a well GIANT bike maker) decides to introduce a new-and-improved frame to the cycling public. They claim that this new frame geometry will be lighter and stiffer and (lo and behold oh so good for the bottom line) because *gasp* the bike frames will only be offered in THREE sizes. The beauty of this design is in the sloping top tube (borrowed from the mountain bike) which will allow many *average* sized riders to *fit* the bikes with simple (ha! I lived through the first wave....) swaps of seatposts and stems.

Oh and this new geometry shall be called....COMPACT (because of the compact rear triangle). Do we see confusion setting in? Yes we do.

Compact catches on and all kinds of bike manufacturers start making this style frame.

Now we have many many clueless (and mainly male) bike sales people fitting small (tiny even!) women on these new "compact" frames. Why? Because the dear woman has standover (which of course we all know is the most useless measurement in road biking....).

So we ended up with a bunch of 5' women riding these *small* (44cm I think the first ones were...) frames with ridiculously long (think 52cm+) effective toptubes. Which the ever ingenious salesperson would outfit with a ridiculous 50mm (think mtb "dual slalom") stem. Ugh. Can we say "twitchy"?

About this time a few companies wake up and smell the coffee and notice that a few human beings without penises might like to ride and race bicycles.

WSD is born.

Now, as nice as it is to be noticed and hence marketed to, it is slightly disconcerting to realize that the bike industry views women pretty much they way the beer industry does. We must all be long of leg, short of waist, large of breast, and narrow of shoulder.

Cannondale admits defeat as the "compact" frame idea takes off (it's actually a very nice geometry for racing and if you have short legs and a long torso offers fabulous fit) and they abandon the term and jump on the "WSD" bandwagon with their "Feminine" line.

And then along come the now-aging baby boomers. They fondly remember their Schwinn Varisty. They own "Breaking Away". They need to loose a few pounds and they want to ride again....but....they don't want to be all hunched over like they were in the 70's. And so now we have "Comfort Road Bikes" (also often notated with a "C" at the end of the name). These bikes have the now-familiar sloping top tube. Standover is good. They also have shortened top tubes and offer comfort features such as adjustable stems and suspension seatposts. Once again I can sell a bike with a short tt to a man with a short torso and I don't have to talk him into Seafoam Green or Silver Lilac. Life is good

Ok rant off.

Here's the important stuff:

"WSD"(et al): Works well for those who are short-statured and/or have the long-leg/short torso build. Even works well for men/boys with these dimensions; just don't tell 'em what "W" stands for.

"Compact":True "compact geometry" frames are great for crit racing. Fits those with short legs and long torsos very well. Very fit riders who just want to be "stretched out" love em too.Very short riders should beware being talked into these just because they offer "standover". If the shop has to put anything shorter than a 90mm stem on to make the bike "fit" run away.

"Comfort": Looks like a "compact" frame because of the sloping top tube, but offers a less aggressive riding position. Shorter top tube enables the rider to sit more upright. Features such as an adjustable stem, suspension seatpost or cyclocross-style bar-top break levers can be added to pretty much any bike, so don't buy a bike based on those features alone.

Sorry I wrote a book....:o

07-29-2004, 07:53 AM
Now, as nice as it is to be noticed and hence marketed to, it is slightly disconcerting to realize that the bike industry views women pretty much they way the beer industry does. We must all be long of leg, short of waist, large of breast, and narrow of shoulder.

Amen! Thanks for putting my thoughts into words.

Thanks, also, for the write-up. Interesting stuff. It just re-emphasizes to me the need to throw a leg over a bike rather than chasing buzzwords, brands, or sizes.