Bikes for distance riding

icowden

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
Hi all,

As some of you know I currently ride my trusty Tern Joe ludicrously large folding bike. I have been enjoying doing some longer distance rides (55 and 65 miles so far as well as lots of 20 and 30 mile rides as training) and am painfully aware that this isn't really the right sort of bike for doing sportives. It has good gearing but is fairly heavy (14.2kg before accessories, closer to 16kg after!) and after the New Forest Ride I've been left with numb fingers on my right hand which is irritating.

So....

It's "consider buying a new bike time"!

I need something that is going to absorb vibrations, is comfy, light and has good gearing for hills (the Tern has 3 wheels at the front and 8 at the back - 27 gears, I'm not a gear expert but it's great on hills). I have a phobia of drop handlebars and tend to prefer straight ones. I also favour a more upright sitting position for better or for worse.

I tend to need a medium frame as I have short little leggies (inside leg 28"), and I'm not particularly tall (5'6") although carrying too much in the "good eatin" department (15 stones). I think I'm trying to say I don't want it to break under me as I am not a racing snake.

I also don't want to spend gazillions of spondulicks, so between £500 and £1000, preferably closer to the former than the latter. I'm not aiming to compete in Iron Man or win the Tour de France, but I would like to get something light and comfy. The ambition is to do some 100 mile rides.

I often ride sustrans 4 which does have some gravel paths / towpaths and even fields in places, so mild off roadability is a bonus although not mandatory.

Any suggestions?
 
 
OP
icowden

icowden

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
Size seems to vary based on the bike. A bit like trousers and manufacturers (although for a lot of those Men with less than a 30" leg don't exist). But yes - looking at that size chart I would be a small, not a medium. Looks lovely though. And I have just discovered that there is a Giant showroom at St Pauls, so I might take a stroll over there next week!

Thanks very much for the suggestion.
 
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What you describe is known in Germany as a trekking bike - a flat bar bike designed for all day rides on road and well-made cycle paths.

I was going to suggest something by Herr Rose, but they are all nearly two grand now.

Radon, as sold by Bike Discount, is better value.

This Solution Sport 9.0 has mostly Deore/XT gears, brakes and bearings, Alex Rims, DT Swiss Spokes, Busch and Muller lights. Ergon Grips, and a Racktime rack.

Schwalbe Marathon tyres with some width will give you long distance wear,some comfort, and about as much puncture protection as you can get.

It's all good quality kit which shouldn't let you down on those century rides.

A hundred miles equates to being out on the bike all day for us mere mortals, so mudguards will come in handy - being out for that length of time makes you more likely to cop some weather.

You could fuel from your jersey pocket, but the rack gives you more options for carrying food and clothing.

The bike has mountain triple gearing giving a wider range than a double.

It might not be the lightest bike you could get for your money, but it is ideally specced for the job.

https://www.bike-discount.de/en/buy/radon-solution-sport-9.0-800283?currency=3&delivery_country=190
 
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I like Skol

Hold my beer and watch this....
I think @DCLane has hit the nail on the head. There are a few bikes available along similar lines, fast but robust, with a good gear range (triple at the front) and larger tyres for comfort and protection (35-45mm is a decent size).
Take your time and try to look at as many as you can. Sit on them and get a test ride if possible.
 

Sharky

Veteran
Location
Kent
But both have drop handlebars and that seat higher than handlebars thing going on :cry:.
Don't be put off by dropped handlebars. Most of the time, riders rest their hands on the brake hoods or the straight part of the bars at the top. The height of the brake hoods should be about the same as your flat bar positions.

The drop part of the bars gives you alternatives. Lowers your center of gravity and make cornering and descending better, quicker and safer.
 

Chuckschreiner

Regular
Location
Los Angeles
Don't be put off by dropped handlebars. Most of the time, riders rest their hands on the brake hoods or the straight part of the bars at the top. The height of the brake hoods should be about the same as your flat bar positions.

The drop part of the bars gives you alternatives. Lowers your center of gravity and make cornering and descending better, quicker and safer.
I am trying to also figure out flat vs drop. The thing I can’t deny is the most comfortable of all hand positions is on the hoods. I think the rest of the bike geometry has to solve neck strain of looking up all day.
 
I have 3 drop handlebar bikes and never use the drops.

But the bike that DCLANE picked out would tick all your boxes. A nice bike for the price.
 

Sharky

Veteran
Location
Kent
I am trying to also figure out flat vs drop. The thing I can’t deny is the most comfortable of all hand positions is on the hoods. I think the rest of the bike geometry has to solve neck strain of looking up all day.
I ride well over 90% of the time on the hoods/tops, but I wouldn't want to lose the 10% by switching to flats.

A few years ago, I switched from traditional deep drop handlebars to compact bars. These have less of a drastic drop and are much more comfortable..
Neck strains can lessen as you do more mileage. I often find in the spring, after a low mileage winter that I get neck strain, but tends to disappear as the mileage creeps up.

Another option is to fit clip-on tri-bars. When positioned at a higher position than you would for racing, they can give you a comfortable riding position and takes strains off your neck and arms. They also have a bonus that it will make you faster by keeping your arms tucked in front of your body.
 
OP
icowden

icowden

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
You’re in a part of the world with dozens of bike shops. Hop on your folder and go visit a bunch :okay:
That's true, but an awful lot of them are Evans Cycles...
On a serious note, it's useful to get some tips for brands / models to look at. I know @DCLane does a lot of distance cycling, so a tip from him is worth looking at.

The Sonder Camino also looks interesting.
@Pale Rider's suggestion looks fab, but my concern would be that it is not much lighter than my existing bike.

That said the Giant doesn't show a weigh, just some maths for each part. It *looks* light tho...
 
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OP
icowden

icowden

Senior Member
Location
Surrey
Don't be put off by dropped handlebars. Most of the time, riders rest their hands on the brake hoods or the straight part of the bars at the top. The height of the brake hoods should be about the same as your flat bar positions.

The drop part of the bars gives you alternatives. Lowers your center of gravity and make cornering and descending better, quicker and safer.
Thanks @Sharky. My issue with dropped handlebars stems from being made to have a raleigh racing bike as my first bike (thanks Dad). I never felt particularly stable or in control of it. I've always felt better placed with flat bars. Maybe now I am older (and possibly wiser) I should try some test rides with drops and see how I get on...

Can an old dog learn new tricks? (well "old" by the definition of the retirement homes I saw in the New Forest - 45 and over ?!!)
 
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