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Trying a road bike

Old 08-21-19, 08:17 PM
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kq2dc7
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Trying a road bike

After a 40 years away from bikes I bought a hybrid bike last summer and rode it daily losing 60 lbs in the process. During the winter I bought a mountain bike and really liked the single track riding.

Last week I picked up a Specialized Allez sport A1. I guess I was expecting it to cover my normal 20 mile loop with less effort than the hybrid. I am averaging 2 to 3 mph faster but it is taking a lot more effort than the hybrid. Has anyone else switched over from hybrid to road bike and felt that big of a difference.

I plan on riding all three bikes I just havnt had a chance to ride the MTB recently.
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Old 08-21-19, 08:36 PM
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I feel like I'm cheating riding my new road bike instead of my old hybrid. The road bike is much lighter and the hybrid was too small for me. A light bike that fits properly and puts me in a more aero position makes riding seem almost effortless. I sold the hybrid and have no regrets.
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Old 08-21-19, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kq2dc7 View Post
After a 40 years away from bikes I bought a hybrid bike last summer and rode it daily losing 60 lbs in the process. During the winter I bought a mountain bike and really liked the single track riding.

Last week I picked up a Specialized Allez sport A1. I guess I was expecting it to cover my normal 20 mile loop with less effort than the hybrid. I am averaging 2 to 3 mph faster but it is taking a lot more effort than the hybrid. Has anyone else switched over from hybrid to road bike and felt that big of a difference.

I plan on riding all three bikes I just havnt had a chance to ride the MTB recently.
”It never gets easier. You just go faster.”
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Old 08-22-19, 04:58 AM
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"Felt like it took a lot more effort" is very subjective - do you have a heart rate monitor? If so, see if your heart rate was really higher on the road bike. (A power meter is even better, but heart rate is still a step up from perceived exertion.)

Another possible issue: do you have the fit dialed in on the road bike?

One thing I found when I went from years on drop bars to my first hybrid and then 10 years later back to drop bars: just changing the riding position I was used to changed my efficiency pedaling. Years of riding leaning further forward kinda tuned me to pedaling in that position and going to the more upright hybrid position "de-tuned" me until I "re-tuned". Wasn't quite so bad when I went from the hybrid to a touring bike, but did feel "de-tuned" again.

I don't often ride all the way down in the drops, but you can feel the same thing on the road bike going from hands on hoods to hands on drops - even though I'm reducing wind resistance, not use to pedaling in that position and it feels harder. The heart rate monitor shows I'm really not working harder at all though, at least from my heart's point of view!
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Old 08-22-19, 05:23 AM
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Yeah, sounds like a fit issue. The road bike ought to feel "easier" with the same amount of effort. Maybe your arms and/or legs are not getting full extension.
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Old 08-22-19, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by kq2dc7 View Post
...rode it daily losing 60 lbs in the process. During the winter I bought a mountain bike and really liked the single track riding.

Last week I picked up a Specialized Allez sport A1. I guess I was expecting it to cover my normal 20 mile loop with less effort than the hybrid. I am averaging 2 to 3 mph faster but it is taking a lot more effort than the hybrid. Has anyone else switched over from hybrid to road bike and felt that big of a difference.

I plan on riding all three bikes I just havnt had a chance to ride the MTB recently.
First, congrats on the weight loss!

Besides rider position and fit, tires can also make a huge difference in effort. Different tires can have different rolling resistances based on tread, suppleness and inflation pressure.

Is the Allez Sport new? You used the phrase "picked up" in reference to it. If the wheel bearings are good and the wheels are rolling well, but the drive train is dirty, misaligned or the bottom bracket or rear cassette bearings need cleaning, regreasing, repacking or replacing, you're gonna work harder.

Even if the Allez is new, there could be a drivetrain misalignment, or drivetrain issue.

Whether new or used, if bought the bike at a shop that has mechanics, have them check it out. If not, it may be worth having the bearings inspected whether you can do it yourself, or have a shop check it out.

My 1984 Nishiki International became difficult to pedal uphill and under pressure. Turned out, the rear axel had broken. After having it replaced, it rode much, much better. Six months later I had the bottom bracket repacked and the bike is now a rocket.
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Old 08-22-19, 08:15 AM
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The bike is a rescue, it had been in a basement not used for 10 years. It shifts to all the gears perfectly but probably needs the bearings repacked.
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Old 08-22-19, 09:04 AM
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Could also be an issue of gearing. On a typical stretch of road check to see what gears you are riding in for each bike. I have one road bike with compact gearing and one with mid-compact. They both weigh 17 lb 11oz. Since the mid-compact is new to me I've had to relearn proper gear selection. Both have an 11 cog so when I'm in 50x11 it's quite different than 52x11 in terms of effort.
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Old 08-22-19, 10:54 AM
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The gearing is completely different, I feel like the road bike has no easy gears and were I ride it is all hills and turns.
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Old 08-22-19, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by kq2dc7 View Post
The gearing is completely different, I feel like the road bike has no easy gears and were I ride it is all hills and turns.
When I acquired my 1984 Nishiki roadbike in 2009 its gearing was also too high for hilly Colorado Springs. I put a smaller small chain ring on the front for $15. Problem solved until last year when my 56 year old knees asked me to buy lower gearing for Christmas. So both my road bikes got more widely spaced gears in the back. Still, not expensive.
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Old 08-22-19, 02:11 PM
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I agree about gearing. Most derailer bikes, From comfort & mountain bikes to road bikes have the gear we need for a perceived optimum efficiency on reasonably flat land or small hills, and for some headwind. It just takes some experience to find what works best on each bike. If you know what gear inches worked on your old bike, It's a good baseline. Generally speaking switching to a road bike from a hybrid, you might add 5 - 10% and go from there.

Effort is purely subjective unless you have a power meter and cadence monitor. My 34 lb Comfort bike with it's bolt upright seating and 2" 35 psi tires is so easy to peddle at moderate speeds I feel like I could ride forever. And with a 21 gear inch low gear, I can climb pretty much any hill, Even with soft gravel with moderate effort. But it REALLY doesn't like to go fast.

Last edited by xroadcharlie; 08-22-19 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 08-22-19, 02:32 PM
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100% agree on the gearing. If the bike is older, it likely has a road double crank with 52 & 39 (or similar) rings on the front. Current compact (50/34) and sub-compact (52/36) doubles, or a (gasp) triple might suit you better. You can also get a rear cassette with a larger big gear - although a combination of that MAY mean you need to change out your rear derailleur with one that can take up more chain. (longer cage)

A picture of the bike in question might help with more detailed suggestions.
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Old 08-22-19, 02:48 PM
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Here's a 2001, the last year the Allez A1 was made. Looks like a 53/39 combo up front:



A 50/34 would make a world of difference. Or better yet, a triple crankset. Bicycle Blue Book says these run a Tiagra rear derailleur with 12x25 gearing. A 12x32 in the back (assuming your rear derailleur can handle it) would also help quite a bit.
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Old 08-23-19, 10:39 AM
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It does have the 53 combo up front, thanks I'm going to change that.
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Old 08-23-19, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by kq2dc7 View Post
After a 40 years away from bikes I bought a hybrid bike last summer and rode it daily losing 60 lbs in the process. During the winter I bought a mountain bike and really liked the single track riding.

Last week I picked up a Specialized Allez sport A1. I guess I was expecting it to cover my normal 20 mile loop with less effort than the hybrid. I am averaging 2 to 3 mph faster but it is taking a lot more effort than the hybrid. Has anyone else switched over from hybrid to road bike and felt that big of a difference.

I plan on riding all three bikes I just havnt had a chance to ride the MTB recently.
I think you and I have had very similar experiences, and there's a really simple explanation for it. You're going 2-3 mph faster because you are working harder. When I went from several decades of hybrid riding to a road bike last year, I first found myself just naturally picking up the pace a bit and feeling much more tired after covering the same distance. I only increased at first by about 1 mph, but as I've relearned how to be more aero, that's increasing somewhat this year.

The only explanation I have for it is that I think the road bike posture just lets me use more of my leg muscle, and that actually is more energy out. My fitness level, which was already quite good on the hybrid, fairly rapidly increased, so now the road bike seems like the "normal" level of effort for me.
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Old 08-23-19, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I think you and I have had very similar experiences, and there's a really simple explanation for it. You're going 2-3 mph faster because you are working harder. When I went from several decades of hybrid riding to a road bike last year, I first found myself just naturally picking up the pace a bit and feeling much more tired after covering the same distance. I only increased at first by about 1 mph, but as I've relearned how to be more aero, that's increasing somewhat this year.

The only explanation I have for it is that I think the road bike posture just lets me use more of my leg muscle, and that actually is more energy out. My fitness level, which was already quite good on the hybrid, fairly rapidly increased, so now the road bike seems like the "normal" level of effort for me.
I sure hope that is the case. I'm looking to better my conditioning and lose a few more pounds. I want to be able to ride both mountain and road. I really enjoy them both and can ride the trails and paved paths right from my neighorhood.
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