Bike Advice Required

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
psvrichard
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Bike Advice Required

Postby psvrichard » 1 Sep 2017, 10:08am

Hello everyone. I have a 10 mile commute which incorporates modest hills and I currently have a Fuji hybrid with relatively thin tyres. I'm not a speedster by any means and my best time is 38 mins carrying a load of stuff in my shoulder bag. If the wind is seriously against it can take 50 mins! Usual time is 42/43 mins I'd say. The majority of the commute is on road but there are a couple of points where it's more of an off road track for 100m or so. I'm thinking about changing my bike but given that my tyres are already quite thin would I gain much by updating to a road bike? I don't use special pedals right now and don't want additional equipment really. Is the simple answer to get fitter and faster on my existing bike or am I missing a trick with technology now? Any advice or anecdotes about similar dilemmas most welcome.

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squeaker
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby squeaker » 1 Sep 2017, 10:27am

Sounds like you're at the point where aerodynamics becomes important. I got into recumbents that way, but the conventional approach is riding more stretched out / bent forward. A CX style bike might be the way forward, or e-assist to 'flatten' the headwinds and the hills :roll: :shock:
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roubaixtuesday
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby roubaixtuesday » 1 Sep 2017, 10:30am

I do a similar commute (on a road bike) and I'd say your times are quite respectable, dependent on hills and junctions.

A few comments/suggestions:
- it's personal preference, but for a ride as long as 10 miles I hate flat bars. You could fit bar ends to your current bike give an alternative, more aero position - I also find that makes it much easier to put more effort in than being upright.
- fit a pannier rack rather than use a shoulder bag. Not faster, but a lot more comfortable. A bar bag might also be adequate for your needs.
- if you do go for a road bike, make sure it has mudguard clearance and fittings, most don't. Commuting through winter without guards is awful.
- if fitness and times are important to you, use Strava and rather than time the whole ride, aim to beat uphill segment times and recover between. Interval training is very effective.
- you say you don't use "special" pedals; again it's just personal preference but modern SPDs or road pedals do make a big difference, particularly if speed matters to you. I use single sided SPDs so the bike can be used without special shoes for other journeys.

PH
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby PH » 1 Sep 2017, 12:25pm

10 miles in 38 min is around 16mph, that's pretty impressive on the route you describe, even your 43 min is around 14 mph still a decent speed.
IMO there isn't going to be a lot a different bike will reduce those times by, I'd get the luggage onto the bike and be sure I had the best position and see how speeds change over time. Tyres may make a difference, narrow isn't always best, plenty of info/opinion on this forum.
Bottom line is your commute is mixed, if you optimise a bike for any section of it, then it's likely to be compromised on another.

Bonefishblues
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby Bonefishblues » 1 Sep 2017, 12:57pm

As you intimate it's the human engine that's key, and it sounds like it's in decent shape already. A more focused road bike would likely be a little faster, but ultimately your call as to whether perhaps 5 mins a day is worth the outlay.

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TrevA
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby TrevA » 1 Sep 2017, 1:09pm

You may save 2-3 minutes by using a road bike, but a lot of it is down to motivation to ride fast. My commute is 8.5 miles, on a road bike. My best time is 28 mins, which equates to 17.5mph, but I was really going for it. My normal time is around 34 minutes. I also commute on my touring bike, with 37mm tyres. I find this is 2-3 minutes slower but more comfortable, as it smooths out the bumps and potholes.
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psvrichard
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby psvrichard » 1 Sep 2017, 2:14pm

Thanks everyone for the responses, most helpful. I don't think a new bike is the answer but one or two adaptations to my existing machine may be a solution.

It's not a common commute in terms of other cyclists but I'm very conscious of being overtaken by two cyclists on different days. One was a club cyclist who was clearly an elite rider but the other was a fairly innocuous looking rider who sailed past me one day when I thought I was going quite fast! His bike wasn't much different to mine and he had luggage.

If I eat better I should be able to rider better, a Greggs lunch isn't really the best fuel for riding! I think I'll definitely hold off for now on a new purchase and will see how I get on over the winter when the weather will suit my present bike a lot more. Will focus on the engine and some slight tweaks and see where that takes me! Thanks for the help.

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tykeboy2003
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby tykeboy2003 » 1 Sep 2017, 3:06pm

PH wrote:10 miles in 38 min is around 16mph, that's pretty impressive on the route you describe, even your 43 min is around 14 mph still a decent speed.
IMO there isn't going to be a lot a different bike will reduce those times by, I'd get the luggage onto the bike and be sure I had the best position and see how speeds change over time. Tyres may make a difference, narrow isn't always best, plenty of info/opinion on this forum.
Bottom line is your commute is mixed, if you optimise a bike for any section of it, then it's likely to be compromised on another.


Completely agree with all of this. I would only add that I use my steel framed tourer (Revolution Country Explorer) for leisure rides or anything much more than 5 miles and use my flat-bar alloy framed Giant Escape hybrid for work (2.5 miles) or the shops etc. I have a luggage rack with panniers on both.

eileithyia
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby eileithyia » 1 Sep 2017, 5:44pm

PH wrote:10 miles in 38 min is around 16mph, that's pretty impressive on the route you describe, even your 43 min is around 14 mph still a decent speed.
IMO there isn't going to be a lot a different bike will reduce those times by, I'd get the luggage onto the bike and be sure I had the best position and see how speeds change over time. Tyres may make a difference, narrow isn't always best, plenty of info/opinion on this forum.
Bottom line is your commute is mixed, if you optimise a bike for any section of it, then it's likely to be compromised on another.


Another +1, also your commute is not a race... who cares who overtakes you.... I have never overly worried about it.... there have always been the odd ones who try to take me on.... TBH I had done anything from 8 hours to 12 hours nursing shift, and might well be going home via a cycle race.. where I got to race properly with a number on, or going home to do some other form training.
I doubt another bike will gain you much, a lower more aero position might but will still only be minimal gains... if you are not riding for Sky then is it worth the bother?
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

psvrichard
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby psvrichard » 4 Sep 2017, 2:47pm

Back on the commute after a 3 week gap owing to holidays and working at a different site and managed the journey in 41 mins 20 today. I agree that a new bike wouldn't save me much unless it had a motor in it! Every day I tell myself it's not a race and that I'll take it steady. I wasn't fired up this morning at all at home but buzzing by the end. Cycling definitely gets you going in a way that driving to work never does! Just hoping the clouds hold off for the return leg!

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby The utility cyclist » 4 Sep 2017, 10:11pm

Fit wider tyres, (28mm-32mm if possible) additionally fit luggage onto a pannier as described above, if you want to be more aero, lower the bar height a bit.

A road bike is not going to make any significant difference to how fast you can complete the ride, nor will it improve your fitness over and above what you have, buying a new bike just to shave a few seconds or even a minute off your journey is pointless IMHO.
Pushing hard on your commute is fine, that's how you build up your strength and endurance.
Now, if you're simply bored of your bike and want a change, that's an entirely different matter altogether.

Samuel D
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby Samuel D » 4 Sep 2017, 11:42pm

Contrary to common wisdom, wider tyres are probably faster than narrower ones at your commuting speeds (in addition to offering other advantages of comfort, possibly grip, possibly puncture resistance, etc.).

However, tyre width affects the rolling resistance only slightly whereas tyre construction affects it greatly. Fast, supple tyres make a noticeable difference to speed and comfort. New bicycles never come with good tyres (since they’re expensive and buyers don’t usually realise how much tyres matters to performance), so upgrading tyres and tubes can make a real difference.

Have a look at the “Touring Bike Rolling Resistance Reviews” column (scroll down, on the right) on this page to dip your toes into the world of tyre performance.

What tyres does your bicycle have at the moment?

lauraharvey
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby lauraharvey » 5 Sep 2017, 9:29am

Adjustments or new components for your bike will probably result in very minor time improvements. I'd focus more on cycling efficiently

eileithyia
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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby eileithyia » 6 Sep 2017, 7:45am

During the telelvised Tour of Britain stage, it was stated that riding crouched down on the hoods is more aero-dynamic than riding on the drops, so food for thought. But still reckon that a commute of around 15-16mph is perfectly adequate on a commute where you may have to take into consideration watching out for hazards; cars, peds, children, junctions, stopping and starting.....
I stand and rejoice everytime I see a woman ride by on a wheel the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. HG Wells

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Re: Bike Advice Required

Postby Vorpal » 6 Sep 2017, 10:01am

I am a few minutes faster on my road bike than my hybrid, and my commute is a hilly 10 miles. The difference in fastest times is 2 minutes. I think the average is likely around 3 minutes difference, though I don't keep track of it cloesly enough to know.

I wouldn't suggest, in any case that 2 or 3 minutes makes it worth buying a new bike. As above, it's not a race.

That said, there are some very good reasons to have a second bike if you are commuting every day.

-It's nice to have a 'winter' bike and a 'nice' bike
- if you depend on your bike, it's good to be able to take a different one in case of finding a puncture, or maintenance
-it means that service can be done over a few of days, or by a shop instead of *having* to do it of an evening or weekend

I would still get something where you can put the load on the bike instead of your back, though. If it doesn't have a rack, get one, or use a saddle bag,
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