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Upright riding style questions

This topic contains 14 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  Pierce 1 yr, 3 mos.

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Swalfoort

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Jun 20 2013 at 6:31pm #

A year or so ago I purchased a bike from GTBR at their end of season sale. It is a Fuji Crosstown 2.0. I bought it for several reasons. First, as a bike for guest use. Two of my sisters ride very upright positioned Fujis, so I thought it would be great for them to use when they come (on their rare) visits. I also wanted a “girly bike” as my back up bike. More for the sense of it, maybe, but my day to day bike is a men’s road bike. I wanted something I could wear a skirt in, etc. Finally, I wanted a back up bike, for when my road bike was out of commission. This seemed to fit the bill.

I went to get on my road bike the other morning and found the front tire flat. Since it still takes me WAY too long to change a tube, I took the scooter to work that morning. Today, wanting to ride, I took out the Fuji.

Wow! All the way in, I was cursing the bike. So slow, no power, and the “cushy” seat seemed to be a few inches further forward than I wanted it to be.

The way home was better (I bussed it up the big hill), but this is clearly not a bike for hills, and therefore for my commute. But, I see people (women) riding them all the time, including on flock rides. They seem to be riding much faster than I was, and seem to be fine with their rate of progress.

So, my question is, do I keep the bike (remembering that it is a back up, and very suited for guests who need an upright riding position) or do I get something else that better suits my “back up/girly bike” needs (and wants).

Will I ever come to enjoy, or at least appreciate a vey upright riding posture?


gg

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Jun 20 2013 at 8:01pm #

You would probably just get used to it, if you rode it all the time. I switch between two very different bikes and I just get used to them. One is faster than the other, but whatever.


edmonds59

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Jun 20 2013 at 8:41pm #

Is it the “womens” frame with no top bar or is it still with the top bar diamond frame?
Looking at that model on line, it doesn’t seem like it should be THAT much slower than an average road bike, though it will certainly be slower. The tires arent’ that huge, has triple chainring, etc.
Looks like it has a suspension fork, right? That will be adding weight and sucking up power, so there’s that.
What other bikes do you have? That information will help me with your question.
I have kind of the opposite problem – I ride my behemoth hybridized CL Trek mountain bike to work, with a 15 lb pannier, and it seems like when I get on a “nice” road bike the thing “should” just fly. Except it just doesn’t. Doesn’t feel like significantly less work. Disappoint.


byogman

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Jun 20 2013 at 9:04pm #

I ride a very upright hybrid and have found from my couple test rides on a couple road bikes and Dan’s bike just now that I always jump into too high a gear first. I also haven’t gotten over the postural differences and how weird it feels being lower, different feeling on the balance/steering, etc… It makes it tough for me to judge what kind of speed benefit I might get long term. On a first flat only ride the answer seems to be approximately none.


salty

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Jun 20 2013 at 9:35pm #

I dunno, I bought this big heavy upright Breezer. I rode it everywhere for a month, but now I don’t really ride it at all.

FWIW, it’s probably not as big of a speed difference as it seems, probably under 10% (I know this in my case since I run my GPS all the time). Probably less difference going uphill vs downhill, actually.

Also, I rode a nice ridiculously light Trek Madone carbon bike for a long weekend in Utah and I agree with Edmonds. Nothing magical happened and the hills still kicked my ass. Very disappointing. :)


ajbooth

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Jun 20 2013 at 9:43pm #

I commute on a Giant Talon 1 29er…big, beefy, upright, and I love it. And I drag it up Sycamore on my way home. On the weekends, or other road rides, I climb on my road bike and it feels like a rocket.

It took me a while to get used to the Giant, but now I love it.


cburch

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Jun 20 2013 at 11:40pm #

split the difference, get a Clubman Mixtie and throw on a set of porteur bars

sooooo classy…


Pierce

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Jun 21 2013 at 1:12am #

I started off with an upright hybrid, then got an old road bike, then it got totaled and I’m back on the hybird. (rebuild of another bike pending) I prefer the road bike posture now.

If you want another bike, get another bike. No point in forcing yourself to like something.

That being said, you could at least get rid of the cushy seat if you’re not into it. But I think also, whenever you ride one style bike and then switch to something else, it will feel weird for a little bit until you get re-accustomed.


edmonds59

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Jun 21 2013 at 4:54am #

^What cburch said. Double. Mmmm.


Benzo

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Jun 21 2013 at 7:07am #

I don’t think the crosstown is suited to how you ride. The geometry is off, the shock on the front (I assume this has a shock from my google image search) soaks up a lot of power, and the seat just isn’t doing it. It’s really the shock that makes me not like it, of course I still ride a full rigid bike for mountain biking, so I might be a bit biased.

I do like the suggestion from cburch.

Alternatively, I saw a mixte style step through version of the torker interurban at thick which looks pretty nice and gives you a more racy position. You can always ride on the hoods if you prefer to be more upright (or get some cross levers on the tops of the bars). It’s a 2×8 with sora components and has drop bars, but that can be changed. My girl has the men’s style interurban and really likes it.


Swalfoort

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Jun 21 2013 at 7:36am #

Thanks, guys! This has actually been very helpful. As I think about the reasons for buying the bike, I realize it IS the right bike for two of the three purposes I had intended. But, it may not be a great all around back up bike. I think Cburch might be onto something. What I had failed to mention was that I also felt strongly that I wanted something that did NOT have the drop bars. My sister hurt her wrist (badly) in a bike accident a couple of years ago, and now can only ride in a very upright/very low pressure position. While I don’t anticipate a time when I will have her exact needs, I can envision a riding circumstance where I don’t want to be riding drop bars. So the porteur bars on a mixte might be a great compromise.

Edmonds, the bicycle collection at home includes a hardtail mountain bike, a folder with 20 inch wheels, the old 10 speed Miyata, and my road bike. A couple others, including a Trek that I THOUGHT might be that elusive back up bike, recently found new homes. And no, the Miyata is NOT a suitable back up…… although I love it to death.


JaySherman5000

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Jun 21 2013 at 7:51am #

Just my $0.02:

About a year ago, I was commuting and getting groceries on the 3-speed cruiser you see as my avatar. I averaged 11 mph on my 5-mile, mostly flat commute into Oakland. Now, I have a modern steel touring bike from REI, and my 12-mile commute home averages about 13 mph through Churchill/Beacon Hill, Penn Hills, and Wilkinsburg.

I don’t think the slight difference in speed is at all significant. The biggest reason I can go faster on my touring bike now is probably because it fits me better than the cruiser. It really amazed me how much adjusting the fit of a bike can improve how fast it feels.


Drewbacca

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Jun 21 2013 at 8:26am #

What I’m seeing is this:

1) I want a back up bike which I enjoy riding.
2) I want a back up bike which my sister enjoys riding.

It appears that you can’t have both. This leaves you with a few choices.

1) sell/give bike to sister and get a back up bike you actually enjoy.
2) keep bike for sister and get a back up bike you actually enjoy.

It’s a no brainer. Get the bike you want (and be prepared to go through two or three until you find the appropriate bike).

FWIW, it’s not the upright/hybrid feel that is the problem… it’s a combination of things. If you need to compromise for the sake of space, you should probably be looking at a more fitness oriented hybrid that is more geared towards active riding than it is geared for Sundays on the rail-trails.


sarapgh2

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Jun 21 2013 at 8:43am #

I love my upright summer girlie mixte, but it definitely slower than my winter mtb frame. I have a short commute, so it’s doesn’t mess up my schedule much. In the summer I like it being slower so I don’t work up such a sweat. It’s also a singlespeed though, so that holds it back on flat ground.

I’d say the upright frames are inevitably slower, but it’s also about gearing and fit.


Pierce

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Jun 23 2013 at 10:34pm #

What is wrong with the Miyata?

I think there’s at least a couple of us that regularly commute on older bikes (and I’m thinking now we all have had bike issues…)

AHEM… but none the less! where does it fail at being a backup bike?

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