Think you smell new bike? Yup. BotchedExperiment has taken the dive and invested in a roadie. And after much consternation and gnashing of teeth, he gave in and wrote a blog entry about his latest aluminum addition. Feel free to reflect on your own euphoric experience of having your bike replace your dog in the "man’s best friend" category:
Although I’ve been riding since 1989, I’ve never really owned a road bike and I haven’t been on one at all in about 15 years. My “road” bikes have always been mountain bikes with 1.5-inch semi-slick tires on them. Last year, in training for the Park City E-100 mountain bike race, I put in quite a few miles on the road, so this year I thought I’d pick up an inexpensive real road bike. On Saturday, I nabbed a new 2005 Cannondale R500. I only had time for a 30-minute cruise but it felt really light and responsive. On Sunday, I was able to go out for about 2.5 hours and covered a variety of terrain.
• Very light and very stiff. Stomp on the pedals and the bike spurts forward. This bike accelerates very quickly.
• More comfortable than I expected. I expected to need several weeks to get used to the riding position, but it actually felt pretty good (with one major exception, see below paragraph).
• Big tires roll quite smoothly. They’re skinny and hard, but the larger diameter wheels allow them to roll over bumps pretty well. This makes me think that there might really be something to the current 29” mountain bike wheel craze.
• Fast on the flats, amazingly fast on descents. It is super easy to get the bike up to 30 mph on the flats (not so easy to keep the bike at 30), and with a little downhill, it pops right up to the high 30’s almost without even trying.
• Not faster on the climbs. This was the biggest disappointment, which in retrospect I should have been able to predict. The single biggest factor in climbing fast, is (of course) overcoming gravity. Losing a couple pounds off the bike does very little to reduce the total weight of bike and rider. Since wind resistance (at the speed I climb) is negligible, superior aerodynamics is wasted. This gave me newfound respect for the Pros’ riding up huge mountains at 17+mph.
• I hate the triple chainring cranks that came on the bike. The middle ring is fairly useless as the chain crossover is too extreme to use the middle ring with the top or bottom two cogs. The thing I REALLY HATE about the triple rings is that I need them! I definitely need the lower gears that the cursed granny cog provides.
I never noticed that all my bike shorts have a seam right in the middle of the front that runs from the top of the chamois up to the waistband. On my mountain bikes, this was never a problem. Due to the different riding position of the roadie, I am now acutely aware of this seam.
An unexpected result of getting the bike is that I suddenly have an interest in trying some road races and criteriums (isn’t that supposed to be criteria?). In fact this Saturday I’m going to go ride my first crit (call me Cat5). I’m thinking of putting a big black ‘Cat 5’ chain-mark on my leg on purpose.
Overall I’m really happy (so far) with my decision to get a road bike and I’m also quite happy with the R500. (Photo coming)