Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

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twoscoops
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Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby twoscoops » 14 Jul 2017, 10:08am

Hi all

I am currently riding a 2016 Specialized Sirrus Elite Disc 'Fitness Bike' and love it (https://www.rutlandcycling.com/bikes/hy ... red_318931). I am training for a 100 mile sportif and am trying to work out what difference I would feel in comfort and in speed by going for a full road bike?

I am thinking about a Cannondale Synapse / Boardman Road Sport / Btwin Triban 520 but am really struggling to find any comparisons in performance etc between a Fitness (not a hybrid) and a Road bike.

I have fitted bar ends and happily cycle 50+miles on the Sirrus. It has 30mm tyres and seems to chug along well but I do feel that I cannot get down out of the wind.

I dont want to invest money in the new bike to find that there is no real difference between the new one and the flat bar bike that I already have.

Does anyone have experience of making the swap or advise on whether to simply stick with what I have?

Thanks in advance.

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meic
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby meic » 14 Jul 2017, 10:23am

I am training for a 100 mile sportif and am trying to work out what difference I would feel in comfort and in speed by going for a full road bike?


The answer to which bike would depend on whether you just want to complete in time or to get the fastest possible time. Then add to that whether you think there is a serious danger of not completing in time.
If all you want is to complete the ride and you can do so, albeit with some effort, then stick with what you have.

If you want the fastest possible time, then the aerodynamics and thinner tyres of a road bike should win out at higher speeds.
Yma o Hyd

twoscoops
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby twoscoops » 14 Jul 2017, 10:29am

Thanks for the response....i suppose the answer is that I want to do the best that I can. I know I will complete it but i dont want to come away feeling that I could have done better. Everyone that I am doing it with is on road bikes and I dont want to feel that I am going to be constantly left behind. I just cant work out whether there will be a noticeable difference between the fitness and the road.

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Si
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby Si » 14 Jul 2017, 10:52am

Differences between your bike and a similarly priced 'road bike':

- handle bars: on drops you'll be able to get more areo, which makes a difference when you can maintain higher speeds or when riding into head winds. You can get a bit more aero on the current bike by using longer bar ends but not quite as good as drops. If you are going to swap to drops do it well before the big ride so you can get used to them first.
- brakes: you'll probably feel no difference between your discs and a reasonable caliper in the dry. In the wet discs (if they are any cop) tend to work better.
- tyres: road bike will have narrower, higher pressure tyres....should go faster initially but be less comfortable (thus you may lose speed towards the end of a long ride due to the pounding you are taking), also probably less grip and potentially more prone to p*ct*res (one p*nct*ure may wipe out all the other speed advantages you have gained)
- weight: the change of brakes and tyres will mean the bike weighs less- certainly a good thing if you've to do a lot of stop and starting or climbing. If your route is pretty flat with few stops or starts then weight is less important.
- stiffness: some road bikes may feel stiffer....people often equate this with speed in so far that a stiff frame transfers power more economically. However, it's a lot more complicated - for instance a stiff frame _may_ also transfer road buzz better and thus wear you out quicker due to the discomfort.

For me, these days, for a long ride I look at comfort and reliability first....but then I'm getting on a bit, creaking around the edges, and prefer to enjoy the ride rather than the result. :lol:

At the end of the day it's all personal choice and preference. The only way that you'll really know for sure is to try the options and see which one works best for you personally.

twoscoops
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby twoscoops » 14 Jul 2017, 11:30am

Si and Meic, it is lovely to join a board where people give sensible, thought out and constructive responses....thank you!

So reading between the lines it sounds like if I stick with the Sirrus I am likely to have less chance of punctures and possibly a more comfortable ride however I will probably have to work harder overall to keep up as I cannot get as 'aero' and the rolling resistance of the 30's will be higher.

....hmm the conundrum continues.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby [XAP]Bob » 14 Jul 2017, 11:48am

You *could* also put 'bar end drops' on the existing bars, or replace the bars with drops (not necessarily cheap enough to be wroth it though).

If you watch the Tour at all you'll see that the aero position they all adopt is with forearms towards the centre of the bars. Note of course that they have closed roads etc....
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those can extrapolate from incomplete data.

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meic
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby meic » 14 Jul 2017, 11:52am

and the rolling resistance of the 30's will be higher.

A much contested point on these forums.
Personally I believe and my own ride stats back up a speed reduction when I move from 28mm tyres to fatter ones. Some tests indicate this isnt due to rolling resistance so it may be another bit of the contribution to aerodynamics.
Yma o Hyd

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 14 Jul 2017, 12:07pm

Hi,
As others have said, long bar ends, no brainer, ( struggle to find at less than £15) reverse the stem and bars even........ like I have done but I had rise on mine, yours would make less effect, I would even go as far as to say my skip trainers are more comfortable to ride than drops but they have fat tyres also -
DSC01037_a.jpg

SDC10142_aa.jpg


P.S.- When you consider a vast majority of sportive riders seem to live on the hoods...............drop bars into a head wind..........some gain maybe, I am old fashioned so on my tourer its drops 99% of the time (that's were my hands are every ride).........including my latest sportive :)
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
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freeflow
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby freeflow » 14 Jul 2017, 12:26pm

You should only consider changing your bike if you can maintain an average speed of about 17 mph for 100 miles on your current bike. If you can then a new bike which allows a more aero position may help.

BUT

Before you get this far see if you can make effective use of your current bike.

1. Can you put faster tyres on the bike. There's no reason to not use something like a 25c Continental GP 4000 or a 32 c Vittoria Hyper with your current bike. If you can get a significant reduction in rotating weight just by changing tyres that's a big win.

2. When I used a hybrid I could get quite aero just by leaning forward so the my chest was quite close to the handle bars. You may need to adjust your saddle position (move it backwards) to find the right 'fit'.

3. Minimise clutter on you and the bike. So close fitting garments for you and no unnecessary stuff on the bike.

BUT BUT

You might find you actually prefer to enjoy the ride rather than focussing on going 'fast'. Don't get too intimidated by peer pressure to go fast.

AND FINALLY

Like many people who take up cycling, you may have reached the point where you have out grown your current bike and need to move on and your post us just a seeking justification for a new bike. In which case welcome to the world of n+1

Roadster
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby Roadster » 14 Jul 2017, 12:30pm

As others have said, I'd consider changing or modifying just my handlebars/stem rather than the whole machine: everything else seems quite well suited to a 100-mile ride, or at least not worth changing for that one specific event.
The real unanswered question is not "Fitness vs Road" but in fact "Comfort vs Road", and you'll perform much better if you're comfortable on your current bike than you would if you were uncomfortable on an out-and-out Road (Racing) bike.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 14 Jul 2017, 1:46pm

Hi,
Aero is not the only gain.
Getting your hands down and forward mean climbing is a lot easier.
Having high bars even with drops defeats the object of drops in the first place.

Aero

Better ergonomics, thigh to hip..performance gain, if you can stick it :)

Better easier climbing stance

And the ability to crouch on the drops..................if your knees aren't hitting your chest you aren't trying............enough.. :mrgreen:

Stem flip and bars ends will do the job at a budget........................many obviously cant stick the pose on the drops anyway, so if you like new position then with exception of tyres nothing else will get you faster apart from hard work........good luck.
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twoscoops
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby twoscoops » 14 Jul 2017, 5:21pm

Thanks all for the responses so far..they are very much appreciated.

I am going to try and push my seat back slightly and see what effect that has as I have been feeling slight crunched up on the bike. I am also going to go and have a look at 2nd hand Synapse 2015 Sora at the weekend to see how it feels. Unfortunately budgets at the moment are tight so new isnt an option other than the Btwin 520 or the Boardman Sport.

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Mick F
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby Mick F » 14 Jul 2017, 5:30pm

freeflow wrote:You should only consider changing your bike if you can maintain an average speed of about 17 mph for 100 miles ...........
17mph is a speed I can only dream about.
I don't think there is a person alive who can manage an average of 17mph round here.

Well ............. a TdF rider could do it, but mere mortals can't.
Best I've ever managed was 14mph or so.
Mick F. Cornwall

twoscoops
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby twoscoops » 14 Jul 2017, 5:41pm

I'm averaging 15mph over a hilly 60 miles but surely the bike aids in the ability to increase your average time?

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meic
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Re: Fitness vs Road...the unanswered question

Postby meic » 14 Jul 2017, 5:48pm

freeflow probably knows more about fast cycling than I do, but if you AVERAGE is 17mph, then you must be at higher speeds than that a lot of the time and difference in aerodynamic drag becomes a noticeable issue between solo bikes from 15mph.
With the trailer on the back I found I was working harder by 12mph and killing myself at around 17mph.
Yma o Hyd