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Newbie in need of help! Flat bar to road bike? (LONG POST)

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Newbie in need of help! Flat bar to road bike? (LONG POST)

Old 03-04-10, 10:51 PM
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Newbie in need of help! Flat bar to road bike? (LONG POST)

so i bought my first "real bike" 3 weeks ago. As a kid I rode everything, heck, I still get bloody noses from when I crashed a 27 inch 10 speed into a parked car when I was about 6 years old and had no business riding a bike that big.

I live in NYC and work as a personal trainer. I'm 6'3" 245 lbs and while most of it is muscle, I could stand to lose between 15-25lbs. Getting my weight below that is just not realistic for me. As a personal trainer, I travel around the city and after blowing out my knee playing basketball in january, I was forced to take cabs just about everywhere. I had a 2 week stretch on crutches and couldn't walk the mile to my gym. after spending $500 on cabs in january, I broke down and bought a Giant Rapid 3 Flat bar bike at the recommendation of the sales person at my LBS. He was awesome, he showed me different bikes, let me ride a couple of them and I went from not planning to buy one and just browsing, to buying it that day.

So heres my dilemna; I love cycling! I didn't realize how much I missed it and I've caught the bug! It's a bit of a personality trait for me I guess as I did the same thing with golf 2 years ago. This bike was recommended to me based on me telling the salesman that it would primarily be a commuter around manhattan. The big problems I have now are 1. I've blown both tires out because NYC streets are awful. The stock tires have been replaced with armadillos. 2. I want to go faster! Sitting upright on the flat bar is comfortable but man, the amount of wind is brutal!

I have multiple options I'm considering. I'm handy with tools and enjoy working on things ( i got hooked on golf and now build my own golf clubs) The bike saves me so much on cabs that I can justify the expense of buying another bike dedicated to road riding. I'm thinking about a bikes direct bike. (yes, i've googled and seen the pro's and cons)

I'm also wondering if I should just "Convert" my flat bar to a road bike. I know the Rapid is very similar to the Defy which is Giant's entry level road bike. Is the geometry on my Rapid prohibitive to putting on roadbars and making a conversion? One reason the flat bar was recommended was that I'd have better visibility riding in the streets than on a true road bike. Now that I have a few weeks under my belt, that isn't much of a concern. there is too much traffic in Manhattan for me to want to take long rides through the city streets, my preferred rides will be in central park and on the dedicated bike trails along the rivers surrounding the city. It seems like I'd need a major component swap because the flat bar shifters can't be converted to road bars. Am I better off just buying a new road bike? If I do that, can I put bigger tires on my flat bar to make it a little more durable for these NYC streets?
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Old 03-04-10, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by CPFITNESS View Post
so i bought my first "real bike" 3 weeks ago.

I live in NYC and work as a personal trainer. I'm 6'3" 245 lbs and while most of it is muscle, I could stand to lose between 15-25lbs. I broke down and bought a Giant Rapid 3 Flat bar bike at the recommendation of the sales person at my LBS.

So heres my dilemna; This bike was recommended to me based on me telling the salesman that it would primarily be a commuter around manhattan. The problems I have now are 1. I've blown both tires out because NYC streets are awful. The stock tires have been replaced with armadillos. 2. I want to go faster!

I have multiple options I'm considering. The bike saves me so much on cabs that I can justify the expense of buying another bike dedicated to road riding. I'm thinking about a bikes direct bike. (yes, i've googled and seen the pro's and cons)

I'm also wondering if I should just "Convert" my flat bar to a road bike. my preferred rides will be in central park and on the dedicated bike trails along the rivers surrounding the city. It seems like I'd need a major component swap because the flat bar shifters can't be converted to road bars. Am I better off just buying a new road bike? If I do that, can I put bigger tires on my flat bar to make it a little more durable for these NYC streets?
Much easier to read now.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:11 PM
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if i ever write a book, your hired as my editor. any advice? one other piece of info. My older brother who is the polar opposite of me and very out of shape just bought a giant Defy road bike. He is signed up to do a 150 mile MS ride in june 75 miles each day. He is about 6'5" and over 300 lbs and just getting into exercising and cycling. The personal trainer in me is wondering if the more upright geometry of my flatbar might be more ideal for him. he is taking delivery of his bike this week, my bike is 3 weeks old and has 150 miles on it so perhaps he and I should just trade bikes?
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Old 03-04-10, 11:16 PM
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Yeah trading bikes seems like it could work.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:18 PM
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+1
If he is a big guy, the upright position might be better, and if the bike fits, trading saves you some cash too.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:26 PM
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Do not attempt to convert your flatbar into a typical road bike, unless you can get parts at cost and do labour for free. You will end up with a half assed conversion that will be more expensive than an entry level road bike.

At 245, get some slightly wider tyres (you won't be able to do this on most modern road bikes) like 28+'s and learn to go light on bumps and not train into every pothole. Everything will last longer. Learn to go light on road undulations.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:32 PM
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bike would def fit. I'm 6'3" and a muscular 245 he is 6'5" 300 plus. I'm in shape, core strength and dealing with bent over position on a road bike will be no issue for me. My brother has never been athletic and is in bad shape, i'm thinking he would really benefit from the upright position as well as the slightly longer frame. My brother also is in a better financial position than I. Much easier for him to buy a 2nd bike.

I'm very happy I found this forum and I'm happy my brother got his bike. We come from a tough upbringing and are 8 years apart and never really got to be "brothers". Our dad died of a heart attack at 46, I was 13 and there to see it happen. My dad smoked like a chimney, had bad knees, and never worked out. After he died I was basically raised by my brother who was 21 at the time. It's a lot to ask a 21 year old who should be having the time of his life to effectively raise a teenager. I was always athletic and into spors and my brother was not. I'm now 32 and he is about to turn 40. He smokes half as much as our dad did but drinks at least 3x as much as our dad did (dad wasn't a big drinker but still, he drinks significantly more than him). Dad was a blue collar worker so got a little bit of exercise that way. My brother has been a corporate guy for the last 20 years. My dad's weight never went over 280 and he was muscular like me. My bro isn't muscular at all and weighs over 300lbs. His time is limited here is limited if he doesn't make some changes and I think he's starting to do that now.
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Old 03-04-10, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by operator View Post
Do not attempt to convert your flatbar into a typical road bike, unless you can get parts at cost and do labour for free. You will end up with a half assed conversion that will be more expensive than an entry level road bike.

At 245, get some slightly wider tyres (you won't be able to do this on most modern road bikes) like 28+'s and learn to go light on bumps and not train into every pothole. Everything will last longer. Learn to go light on road undulations.

When i first moved to NYC I had a car with a performance sport suspension so avoiding potholes has always been my m.o.! the bike came with kenda 700 28c's and I already blew them both out and laid out the money to put the armadillos on them.

I keep researching and I'm beginning to feel like a 2nd bike from bikes direct is my best option if my brother won't trade. I can always sell my rapid on craigslist since its like new and not take much of a hit.
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Old 03-05-10, 12:05 AM
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What do you mean "blew them out"?
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Old 03-05-10, 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
What do you mean "blew them out"?
I'm guessing pinch flats.
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Old 03-05-10, 12:54 AM
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Trade bikes.
Put as fat a slick tire as you can fit on it.
Ride lots.
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Old 03-05-10, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
What do you mean "blew them out"?
Not pinch flats. one of them developed a random bubble in the tire. the tube didn't let go, the tire did. The stock tires were kenda kwest rated for 85psi max pressure which was probably just not a strong enough stock tire. the second tire I don't konw what happened to. I rode to the post office, everything was fine. came out of the post office, tire was flat. I opened up my cell and there was a bike shop 2 blocks away. perhaps they sent someone out to flatten the tire and force me to go there????
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Old 03-05-10, 01:11 AM
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More advice: get a patch kit, tire levers, spare tube, and pump. You may not always be within two blocks of a bike shop.
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Old 03-05-10, 01:29 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
More advice: get a patch kit, tire levers, spare tube, and pump. You may not always be within two blocks of a bike shop.
thats already in the works but I'm in NYC so I'm almost always within 2 blocks of a bike shop!
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Old 03-05-10, 01:31 AM
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Conversion will cost a lot of money and labor time. The L & R road shifters alone will be expensive. You will also get stuck with a lot of flatbar parts you wont ever need. Cheaper to buy a complete dropbar road bike.
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