Which bike to ride?

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Which bike to ride?

Postby cheneyt119 » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:19 pm

I'm interested what bikes people are riding. I've been totally obsessed after I lost a road bike (stolen off my car carrier) last August. So I restored my old Bianchi and then bought a 90's Trek 5200 full carbon frame and built that up. I really like my newer Trek 2300 with OCLV fork and stays w/9000 aluminum which climbs like a sports car. I'll probably take the 2300 because it fits like a glove. Yet the other two are so new to me that I don't have enough data. I've put 25,000 miles on the Bianchi, purchased in 1994 but the setup is new. The 5200 really smooths out chipseal. They are all geared the same 34-50 11-26 so that's a constant.

What do you ride and what advantage do you think it gives you?
Last edited by cheneyt119 on Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby wayneh » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:54 pm

Like you, I have several choices from which to choose. I used to have a Trek 2300, and loved it. Gave it to my son for graduation. For me it's more about what the route looks like, since I have different gearing and setups depending on the bike, whereas yours are all 34-50 and 11-25? If there's a lot of climbing, to ride a compact I need to go 12-27 or even 11-28 at my age. If it's flatter and I'm in better shape I'll choose a 53-39 and 12-27 combo. My best rides have been on a titanium frame or some aluminum/carbon combo. I've yet to do a CO on steel, but can only imagine how nice that would be. All that being said, for a week long ride choose the bike you'll feel most comfortable on after 400+ miles.
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby Chuck B. » Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:13 pm

I have one road bike, an all carbon 2010 Specialized Roubaix Triple. Last year before we did Rattlesnake and Tollgate I added an Interlock Racing Design wide-range touring cassette with 12-34 gears and had no trouble spinning up any of the hills, mountains, etc...
The voices tell the stories. I just record them for posterity.

And the voices have some good ideas sometimes!
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Postby IbisRider » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:56 pm

I am no longer on my Ibis which I have ridden since the end of 1995. Last year's CO was its swan song. That was a great frame with lots of memories but I am planning on riding my new custom built Eriksen/Hampsten ti frame which I equipped with a Campagnolo Comp Triple crankset with 27/40/50 chainrings and 13-29 in the rear cluster. When I am in my lowest gear (27 in front and 29 in back) I can spin up just about any climb in a less than one-to-one gear ration. I did last year's ride with that same gearing and the Rattlesnake was no problemo even though my fitness level was questionable.

My new bike was built to allow me to mount some larger tires and I am currently assessing whether I want to ride 28s or 33.33 Jack Browns. The amount of chipseal will have some bearing on that problem.
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby boldaddy » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:31 pm

I too am trying to decide. I rode last year on a Steel bike with a triple. Thank heavens for that little ring on Rattlesnake.

However, looking at this year's route, my faster, Ti bike with a compact is tempting.

If I had to decide today it would be the steel bike simply because it fits me so darn well and absorbs the road so nicely. I'll probably try a century or even CO weekend on my faster bike as a test though.
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby Force 5 Robert » Fri Feb 11, 2011 6:29 pm

cheneyt119 wrote:
What do you ride...


I am of the opinion that comfort is king, and comfort does not include the name "assos" in it. 8) Like last year, I will be riding again in sublime comfort. The ICE trike performed admirably last year - and this years ride is even more suited to the plushness, comfort, and safety/security of three wheels:

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c148/ ... G_0944.jpg

...and what advantage do you think it gives you?


Most people seem strangely baffled at why I would chose this heavy contraption over something like a light DF, but there are several reasons:

Balance free and the recumbent position means seeing everything. I look forward this year to loooooong stares at the waves coming in on the coast and at the trees we pass. Zero wasted energy on balance means 100% of effort goes to the rear wheel.

Respect from overtaking traffic. Cars go waaaay around. This is a universal trike rider truth. I was not a believer until I rode a trike (and all of my prior CO's before 2010 were on two wheel recumbents) but it's true - cars see the width and go way around just about all of the time. I say "see" the width because riding a trike does not take up really any more total width on the road than an upright bike in nearly 95% of riding situations, but it looks a lot wider. The other 5% are situations where no bike would be safe to begin with. On my training routes when on two wheels I get less space every time.

I can ride one handed at 20 mph and sip a latte or munch on an ice cream.

Knowing what is coming from behind is a no-brainer. Zero wobbles means I can look long and hard in my rearview mirror to assess oncoming cars and what their intent is. This is especially important on a stiff climb. If the situation arose and it looked like I was going to get squeezed off into the rocky ditch, I would much rather do it on three wheels than on a road bike, where a headfirst spill is a likely outcome.

No t'aint sores. Multiple day rides are easy and there is not "you'll get used to the butt pain" type of nonsense. No sore butt, neck, arms, fingers, back, wrists, etc.

"That hill was how steep?" It's a question but the answer doesn't matter. With training and gearing going up nearly a wall and never falling over is a bonus. Limiting factor is only rear wheel traction and engine power. Spin spin spin for the win.

Fast and comfy cruising ability, even in a headwind. Holding the high teens to low 20's for miles on end is not hard in the clam flats. Down low the headwinds are less of an issue.

Take pictures while cruising easily.

It is heavier than a bike for sure. I had real concerns about this last year before CO, but by the end of the ride it had become a non issue and the pros far outnumbered that only real con.
http://rosecityrecumbentcycles.com/
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby EZPZ » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:07 pm

Robert said:
"Fast and comfy cruising ability, even in a headwind. Holding the high teens to low 20's for miles on end is not hard in the clam flats. Down low the headwinds are less of an issue."

It looks like your bike will be well suited for the coast trip this year :D
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby On Your Left » Sat Feb 12, 2011 1:24 am

I've used two bikes on past rides:

6 series Trek Madone
Cannondale T1 touring bike

I love riding that Madone, but I also love the utility of the touring bike. I'm getting to be one of those types that likes having a handlebar and trunk rack bag to keep some clothes handy for weather changes. I'll likely take the Cannondale again. Robert has me seriously thinking I need to test ride some trikes someday soon.
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby cheneyt119 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:33 am

I've ridden loaded tours down the entire Oregon coast 3x. Ever been on the Coos Bay Bridge? No shoulder with narrow sidewalk 18 inches above the bridge deck, 30 mph cross winds, steep grade as bad as the Lewis and Clark Bridge in Longview (STP Bridge). That trike won't fit on the sidewalk and won't be too popular on the road deck at 4 mph. That bridge is the only place I ever walked my bike in my life. You'll end up having to carry the trike.

How does that trike climb? You can't stand so you can't interval train or even use standing muscles vs seated muscles. You are left grinding it out in lowest gear on a 40+ lb vehicle. Any aero advantage are negated because you are going so slow. Well if there aren't climbing advantages where is any advantage?

How does the trike handle? You can't lean a trike without a wheel coming off the ground. That sounds thrilling, dangerous and terrifying but thrilling.

Don't recumbents sit too low to be safe in city traffic? All the SUV's and big Trucks are sitting so high they can't see what's over their bumpers. I ride many roads where there's practically no shoulder and I want to be able to ride on the white line or preferably on the right of it. I don't see how blocking traffic is any advantage, the public hates cyclists enough already.

Henry Ford joked that if he'd have given people what they wanted he'd have built a better horse. Prehaps you've found one, heck I'm wrong 3x a day. I've barely even seen a trike and I certainly haven't ridden one. But many of the advantages seem to be double edged swords.
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby Force 5 Robert » Sat Feb 12, 2011 12:15 pm

cheneyt119 wrote:I've ridden loaded tours down the entire Oregon coast 3x. Ever been on the Coos Bay Bridge? No shoulder with narrow sidewalk 18 inches above the bridge deck, 30 mph cross winds, steep grade as bad as the Lewis and Clark Bridge in Longview (STP Bridge). That trike won't fit on the sidewalk and won't be too popular on the road deck at 4 mph. That bridge is the only place I ever walked my bike in my life. You'll end up having to carry the trike.


Is that on the route? I would take the lane if at all possible after assessing it. People can wait. If you are on a narrow sidewalk 18" above the road with cars flying by in a 30 MPH crosswind on a road bike that is about as unsafe as I can think of. Is the sidewalk narrower than 30" or so? If the trike would fit I would take the stability of that in a crosswind than risk being blown into traffic on two wheels. If I encountered a situation like that I would assess it and if I had to walk a bridge I would. No biggie. The other 99% of the trip I would rather ride in comfort.

How does that trike climb? You can't stand so you can't interval train or even use standing muscles vs seated muscles. You are left grinding it out in lowest gear on a 40+ lb vehicle. Any aero advantage are negated because you are going so slow. Well if there aren't climbing advantages where is any advantage?


Like any climb its mostly engine IMHO. I cruised up rattlesnake last year at a consistent 5-6 MPH the entire way. I stopped about 6 times to take some video and pictures. That's not TDF fast but I was just laying back and spinning. I was not out to burn myself into a pulp. The last day climb was a bit faster. I was in my middle chaining both climbs spinning around 80 rpms. My gearing is low with a 20" wheel. My granny is for walls. :) I make up the fast gearing with a 56T Q-ring and a 9T rear spinning out at 38 MPH on the downhills. I agree aero advantage is not needed on hills, but on the flats with a headwind it is noticeable. Standing is overrated on anything but short sprints IMHO. My primary training is CrossFit. I have found for me that only riding is bad for overall fitness and riding a recumbent is even worse for overall fitness. CrossFit has improved my riding more than just riding anyway by several times over. On a climb I relax and take it easy. Comfort. Lay back and enjoy the scenery. No need to stand or relieve arm and butt pressure etc because there isn't any. The disadvantage is being maybe 1-2 MPH slower. The advantage is enjoying every minute in the best seat in the house - while you get to watch everyone else do the famous "road bike arm and leg shake."

How does the trike handle? You can't lean a trike without a wheel coming off the ground. That sounds thrilling, dangerous and terrifying but thrilling.


Downhill it handles like a go cart on fire. Awesome. If I lean into the corners it stays planted just fine. Some trikes have better cornering manners than others of course. Also depends on tire make, pressure, wheelbase, track width, etc. Like any set of wheels you have to learn where the limits are in a safe environment and ride within them at all times. The downhill before the rattlesnake climb last year I was hitting the mid 40 MPH range most of the straights and on the yellow signed "25 MPH" turns was maintaining 35 or so around those. The last downhill of that day on the butter smooth new asphalt was like flying down a cloud on the trike. Fast downhill cornering on a trike means you better have very good core strength for leaning into the turns. Or yes - you will flip it if you don't know how to control your speed and know your limits. But this goes for any bike. Just swap "wash out" for "flip it."

Don't recumbents sit too low to be safe in city traffic? All the SUV's and big Trucks are sitting so high they can't see what's over their bumpers. I ride many roads where there's practically no shoulder and I want to be able to ride on the white line or preferably on the right of it. I don't see how blocking traffic is any advantage, the public hates cyclists enough already.


Myth. People see the painted lines and they are lower than I am. I get the following respect from cars: Trike = a lot. Two wheel recumbent = really good. Road bike or MTB = the least. When on the trike in traffic I use my flag that sits 6' high. Maybe drivers think I am handicapped and nobody wants to run over a poor handicapped person. Fine with me I suppose. I also run 3 flashers and often a camera. Most roads have just enough asphalt that if needed I can track my rear tire on the white line and still have my right tire on the asphalt edge. If I do so, I take up NO MORE room than a road bike - even though it LOOKS like I do. That's because all of my width is on the road surface. On a road bike all of your width is up at the shoulders and/or flared out elbows. But my total width is only 6" wider than my own shoulders.

I have done measurements and under nearly all but the rare circumstances I take up the same or less room than people on road bikes. My opinion - drivers gauge how much room they have to pass you by looking at your footprint on the road. That's fine until a car mirror smacks your arm or shoulder when on a road bike and this is the reason why I feel I get the least respect from drivers when on that style of bike - they see you as "small" because your footprint is small. But your real width is not much - if at all - different than mine, especially if you are riding a bit to the left of the white line is a safe position. Drivers can also judge their distance from you easier if you are up high, so they try to squeeze past. Down lower they cannot - and have to swing wide in order to keep you in view to judge distance. Bonus for trikes. If someone is not even looking at all because their brain is somewhere else it doesn't matter what you are riding.

Here is a good read I think all cyclists should take note of:
http://www.tibsnjoan.co.uk/Big.html

Also, if you ride the white line on two wheels you are really just saying "hey cars, please feel free to squeeze me off the road as I am not worthy" and marginalizing yourself. (My opinion) On last years ride I had people pull up aside me and say "wow you take up so much room!" while I rode my rear tire on the white line. They would continue on - riding with THEIR track about a foot to the left of the white line (about where MY left tire was tracking) Funny - under such a situation their upper bodies are a FULL foot or more into the roadway than I was.

This was even funnier on the climbs - as I tracked in a dead straight line as far to the right as I could get - with cyclists passing me laughing at my "too wideness" as they weaved within a 1-3 foot space to the left of the white line. I could only shake my head and think: "Huh??" I also imagine with their weaving up the hill how well they can see oncoming cars in their weaving all over the place mirror. Probably not as well as my dead straight rock steady mirror(s). I took a lot of pictures of this type of thing because the irony was too hilarious for me to ignore:

http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c148/pcrx/Width.jpg

Henry Ford joked that if he'd have given people what they wanted he'd have built a better horse. Prehaps you've found one, heck I'm wrong 3x a day. I've barely even seen a trike and I certainly haven't ridden one. But many of the advantages seem to be double edged swords.


Before I got a trike I thought it would be scary as hell. Once I tried one I was a convert. When I encounter a road I don't feel safe on with the trike - well I would not feel safe on a regular recumbent either or any bike for that matter. The only real disadvantage for me personally is that I love the feeling of carving the corners on my two wheel 'bent.
http://rosecityrecumbentcycles.com/
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby cheneyt119 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:04 pm

All this discomfort you experienced from road riding has not been in my experience at all. If you weren't standing while you ride that could explain it, you need to rest your sitting muscles and break up the routine. Most of the maladies you describe are easily handled with good bike fit and good gloves. But also simply training enough. For example on a hill like Rattlesnake (8 miles 2500 ft) I wouldn't stop at all and I'd do 10 mph with intervals of 12 mph. I see double edged swords and you say it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. I'M SURE THE TRUTH IS SOMEWHERE IN BETWEEN. There are 2200 riders on CO and how many trikes again?
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby Force 5 Robert » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:00 pm

Last year there was three including me. LOL. Definitely there are pros and cons to everything.
http://rosecityrecumbentcycles.com/
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby leisure1 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:59 pm

OK – I’m weighing in! (everyone thinks they have the RIGHT opinion)

I ride a road bike in the city (good cardio) and a high racer recumbent for anything over 30 miles.

Why? Comfort! It is a quality of life thing.

Consider:

You sit upright so you see more - and your neck doesn’t feel like it is going to bust off.

You don’t wear lycra – or use chamois butter.

Your butt doesn’t hurt. I did 10 Cycle Oregons on a road bike and I remember…. Chamois butter helps – but not enough!

You don’t feel chipseal. Honest!

Note that the high racer style recumbent is the lightest, fastest and most efficient iteration of the recumbent bikes. If you get a hankering to – you can really kick butt. These things are FAST. (no they are not slower up-hill – but that is a secret no one is supposed to know…)

When you are truly comfortable – Cycle Oregon is more like a vacation than an endurance test. And since you are taking a week of vacation time to go – wouldn’t you rather it feel like you actually had a vacation?
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby Rchan » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:36 am

I'm wanting to graduate from my Trek Hybrid to my first road bike. I've seen fabulous reviews on Bianchi Infinito Ultegra and am hoping to illicit thoughts from the more experienced riders out there on the possible pros and cons. I'm female, 54, back problems with zero pain on my hybrid, yes I would get it sized, and I know the price. Would appreciate any thoughts you have, thanks.
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Re: Which bike to ride?

Postby johnncarol » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:03 pm

If you have back problems, as I do, and want a bit more of an upright ride to lessen the pressure on your back, you might want to consider a Trek. They have a new frame this year, the H3. It is made for people like us and has a longer head tube so you sit more upright. If you want to sit even more upright you can add spacers to raise your handle bars even more. I have three spacers on the H3 frame (6.2 Madone) and have no back problems. I spend most of my time on the tops of the bars or on the brake hoods. I rarely go down on the drops.
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