Road bikes: Newbie questions

PaulSecteur

Specialized fanboy
Hi,

Im thinking of selling my Kraken and getting a Road bike. I really like the Kraken but Im hardley ever off road and want to try something more road orientated.

Im probably going for a budget of £500 ish and current favorites are Spesh Allez or Secture, The Birmingham Store isnt far from me, but I may consider other brands if I find a good deal.

So, onto the questons...

1- From the pictures the wheels and tyres look VERY thin - do they stand up to the knocks of everyday life(considering the state of our roads)?

2- Are those thin tyres prone to punctures?

3- Is there any way of breaking or changing gears when not in the dropped position?

4- Can someone explain what a "Compact bike" is, and why your foot hits the front wheel when turning?

Cheers for any help,

Paul.
 

colinr

Well-Known Member
Location
Norwich
1- From the pictures the wheels and tyres look VERY thin - do they stand up to the knocks of everyday life(considering the state of our roads)?

Yep! Just don't use it for curb jumping.

2- Are those thin tyres prone to punctures?

No more so than any other tyres. Keep them correctly inflated and routinely check for foreign objects and you'll be fine.

3- Is there any way of breaking or changing gears when not in the dropped position?

Yes, you ride with your hands on the brake hoods - this will probably be how you spend most of your time riding. My connection is going too slow to find you a picture, I'd ask the bike shop, they'll show you.

4- Can someone explain what a "Compact bike" is, and why your foot hits the front wheel when turning?

Compact can mean two things, it references gears and frames. I suspect you mean frame as you mention toe overlap (as 'tis known), it's a means of frame manufacturers building less frame sizes to cover people of various heights. Usually characterised by the top (horizontal) tube sloping down slightly instead of being straight. Though the Specialized ones are curved so I don't know if they use compact geometry or not.

Toe overlap is nothing to be feared, you would have to turn at an near impossible angle to actually hit the wheel when riding (at least is my experience with size 9 feet on a 49cm frame, aka really small)
 

Norm

Guest
I think Colin has it covered there. I ride a Secteur and I weigh about the same as a small semi-detached house, and I've only had one slight buckle from hitting a pot hole which I didn't see in the middle of a puddle at about 25mph.

The tyres puncture more than those on my MTB, but I don't stick to the road and also ride in the rain, which makes punctures easier to pick up.

On the Sora equipped bikes, changing gear is easier on the hoods than on the drops as the move to a smaller ring at either end is done with a thumb switch. Braking is very easy on the hoods, although I've added interrupter levers so I can also brake with my hands on the top of the bars.

I've never hit my size 10 feet with the front wheel.
 

Willo

Well-Known Member
Location
Kent
Others have answered, but from a relative newcomer to road bikes I've found the conversion great and easier than expected. Obviously not as robust as a MTB but I've had no problems.

Re punctures, I gave in on the stock tyres (I bought the entry level Allez) after a few 'visits'. In fairness, I did get mine last November so the Ps I had were through the winter in poor conditions. I switched to Specialized Armadillos since and have had only 1 since (and that was literally a blow out from some metal in the road), so bear in mind that you may well want to upgrade. Whatever, keeping them up to the max with a decent track pump was one of the best pieces of advice I got on here.

At your budget, the entry level Allez and Secteurs have the basic Shimano 2300 (I think) shifters and these are easily changed when riding on the hoods and, as others have said this is where you'll most likely be positioned most of the time, particularly when you want to change gears.

Not had the foot touching wheel problem on my Allez (which I love by the way). I would strongly recommend sitting on a few bikes and even better going for a little spin (Evans, for example, will arrange that for you).

Enjoy :-)
 

JNR

New Member
I would strongly recommend sitting on a few bikes and even better going for a little spin (Evans, for example, will arrange that for you).

Enjoy :-)

Yeah, you've got to ride the bike first. I ended up with a 51cm Pinarello and I'm 5ft9, thought for sure going into the shop I would be right for a 53cm but nope, with the seat at decent height I coulnd't reach the pedals.
 

photography27

Active Member
Location
Swansea
i have the secteur, and after riding a mtb for ages, the tyres on the secteur looked super thin lol, but after a few rides you get confident on them and i dont think about the size of the tyres, they come with 700*25 but i have just bought some 23's so they are even thinner now lol.

i did 620 miles with out a puncture, then got 2 in 2 days, but that was in the rain, and it washed all the crap and bits of glass to the edge of the road, (probably still got the punctures on the mtb).

just move your foot back on the pedal, if your catching your foot on the wheel, my mate rode mine for the first time, and he did exactly that with his foot.

i wont look back from my road bike now, love it
 
Just my 2p Paul,

1. My wheels have stood up well to the roads which are in a terrible state just now. Have to admit I'm not a heavy rider though, I do tend to avoid the obvious though which helps ;).

2. Again not being heavy I'm not p'ture prone (touch wood) but given exposure to distance, I would say they are no more p'ture prone than other wider tyres I've had. What also helps regardless of tyre width is having them pumped up to or near max pressure, it makes it more difficult for foreign objects to enter the tyre and it reduces the chance of the tube being pinched between the tyre and rim, a snakebite.

3. As other have said most gear changing/ braking is done from the hoods rather than the drops and as Norm says for Sora equipped bikes its easier that way, although I prefer having the option to do both.

4. A Compact Geometry bike has a sloping top tube which allows a smaller more compact frame to fit a wider range of users.

A Compact Geared bike has two slightly smaller chainrings than standard which makes the bike generally better geared for climbing/ hills.

Your front wheel hitting your foot on turning is known as toe overlap, this is not unique to road bikes but IMO it is less of an issue on a road bike as you generally lean the bike slightly to turn at speed and for it actually to occur you have to be going very slowly and turn your handle bars extremely sharp, too sharp to be practical anyway.

Giant and Trek also do good bikes around the £500 and IMO you've made the right choice opting for a road bike try a few out before you buy to get what is right for you, good luck :smile:
 

g00se

Veteran
Location
Norwich
The only times you are going to be effected by toe-overlap is if you're track-standing - never effected my for obvious reasons :smile: - and if you're setting of of a very sharp turn (where you have to steer the turn rather than lean in) and your leading foot is on the outside. This usually gets me when negotiating a local entrance gate to a cycle path that's there to stop motorbikes and scooters. But that that speed, it's not going to go anything. I should practice setting of with the other foot but that feels as weird as writing with the wrong hand.
 

BrumJim

Forum Stalwart (won't take the hint and leave...)
As a Specialized Allez owner, I have nothing further to add to the above comments - agree completely.
 

martint235

Dog on a bike
Location
Welling
Just my 2p regarding the wheels, I'm not exactly little and my racing wheels handled the Old Kent Road in London ok without any problems. For my own peace of mind though, when it came to replacing the rims I changed to a 32 spoke front and 36 spoke rear. I run these with 23 tyres on with not problems at all. Not had a visit from the fairy for a good while now, got a feeling she's saving them up for the Friday Night Ride to the Coast tomorrow.
 
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