Going off road on a road bike?

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jashn
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Joined: 7 Jan 2019, 10:49am

Going off road on a road bike?

Postby jashn » 7 Jan 2019, 10:51am

Good day! All of you.

I have been riding Trek 4500 for about 2 months now. Riding it is a joy and I have also done a ride of about 100km (my thighs are still sore after a week though). But about 80% of my normal commute is on tarmac roads and the more I ride, the more I get inclined towards buying a road bike. But the problem is, once in a while, I have to go a little bit of serious off roading. I am concerned about

Fragility of road bikes

What happens if I ride 5km on a road like this on a road bike?

According to my knowledge, switching from mountain to road increases efficiency upto 50%. Is this true?

When talking about going off roads on a road bike, most of the people say road bike 'cant handle it'. What do they exactly mean?

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mjr
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Re: Going off road on a road bike?

Postby mjr » 7 Jan 2019, 11:08am

jashn wrote:What happens if I ride 5km on a road like this on a road bike?

A road like what? Any description, photos or something like streetview?

jashn wrote:According to my knowledge, switching from mountain to road increases efficiency upto 50%. Is this true?

Probably not but it depends on so many variables that it might be true sometimes.

jashn wrote:When talking about going off roads on a road bike, most of the people say road bike 'cant handle it'. What do they exactly mean?

I think it's most often that the narrow (often 23mm instead of the 50 on MTBs) high pressure (100/120psi instead of 30) tyres typically found on road bikes make it an unacceptably uncomfortable ride, possibly risking injury to the rider, and sometimes that the low-spoke-count lightweight wheels aren't strong enough to cope with the impacts of the more extreme lumps and bumps. However, for a contrary view, the Rough Stuff Fellowship has been taking suitable road bikes onto trails for years and there are increasingly many cyclocross, gravel and adventure bikes for sale. I don't worry too much taking my 28mm 60/80psi road bike onto gravel roads and firm dirt/grass track, even if I'd prefer to be on the 37mm 40/60psi roadster on them.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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slowster
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Re: Going off road on a road bike?

Postby slowster » 7 Jan 2019, 1:21pm

I cannot be bothered to write a long answer, so here's the short one:

Buy one of these https://www.spacycles.co.uk/m1b0s21p3866/SPA-CYCLES-Wayfarer.

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Audax67
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Re: Going off road on a road bike?

Postby Audax67 » 7 Jan 2019, 2:29pm

Or get yourself an old hard-tail MTB and put old/el-cheapo drops and road/off-road tyres on it:

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(cake-shop not included)

1994 MTB with 1999 Shim 105 3x9 transmission & XT mech. Maybe better with bar-end shifters these days, Shim have rendered their MTB mechs incompatible with road ones.
Have we got time for another cuppa?

peetee
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Re: Going off road on a road bike?

Postby peetee » 7 Jan 2019, 11:54pm

It really does depend on a lot of factors. Mainly the specifics of the road bike in question as there is no clear defining line between road and off road machines. Your riding style can have a lot to do with it too. Some people can glide over obstructions and imperfections while others crash and bash across them. Last but not least, as previously mentioned, off road what? Forest trail, mud bath, boulder field, icy slope, grassy hill, tow path, mountain trail etc etc?
I have just converted a touring bike to a fast off roader for forest trails. Its specification is very similar to a cyclo-cross bike so it should be fine. If I want to ride up Helvellyn again I still have my MTB which will take the extra punishment in its stride.
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thelawnet
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Re: Going off road on a road bike?

Postby thelawnet » 9 Jan 2019, 7:45pm

Not sure if the OP is coming back.

Certain paths can be cycled on road bikes; if the path is flat and compacted without stones then you will generally be ok. With lots of holes, or mud, you are asking for trouble. I ended up on a bit of footpath today through a navigational error. It was through leaf litter downhill and then on a rut on the side of a field. I walked basically the whole way as I wasn't getting any traction at all.

OTOH canalside paths tend to be ok on 23c.

A road bike I think is a good thing to have, just because they are, well, better for roads. And if you want to go properly off road, then have a MTB for that trip.

New road bikes are often fitted with 28c tyres rather than 23c or 25c as in previous seasons and I think this will give you a nice contrast to your MTB while being somewhat more forgiving than 23c/25c would be.

nateboussad
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Re: Going off road on a road bike?

Postby nateboussad » 12 Jan 2019, 5:21pm

depends on offroad

hardpack smooth dirt/gravel... fine. just slower to maintain control

cobblestones, see above, even slower and more punishing

MTB singletrack? don't bother

cross can take it to a certain extent, lines have to be chosen more carefully and you'll be getting off the bike more