Hybrid or Road?

Oct 15, 2010
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#1
Been in Tokyo for years but just getting into biking again. Live near the Tama River and thinking I want a good bike for trips to Okutama, Mt. Fuji etc. and being a former offroad MTB rider do not know if I should get a road bike or a hybrid. I'm 83kg and although I think road bikes look nicer, I don't know if they will hold up carrying me over all the dumps and stuff around. I have an old MTB with me but the MTB tires make riding such an effort. Don't know if there is a big comfort difference between the two either. Lastly, any tips on how to get a cheap used bike would be much appreciated.
 
Jul 13, 2010
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#2
I had similar thoughts a few months back. I have always ridden bicycles but never had a real road bike before.
In July I added a road bike to the hybrid and the MTB I already had and my only regret is that I didn't do this earlier.
There is nothing more comfortable than a well fitting road bike for longer and faster distances.

And btw...I am 110kgs :)
 

fredstaple

Speeding Up
Nov 1, 2009
198
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Puerto de la Santa Maria
#3
MTB Tyres

You could switch out the knobby MTB tyres for 26 inch tyres with little or no tread to reduce rolling resistence while you are in the city and use this bike for those times when you are on rougher roads. There are a nuber of options available from no tread to light tread able to do some off road while at the same time offer lower rolling resistence.

This would give you an option of something close to a hybred for not much money while allowing you to purchase a road bike.

There are deals on the internet right now as stores are dumping their 2010 stock. If you know your size in a road bike, this may be a good option for you to get a bike at a better price. If you can live with all Alum frame, or Alum with carbon seat stays and fork and a shimano 105 level groupo, there are a lot of nice bikes in the more reasonable price point. 105, SRAM Rival and Campy Veloce/Centuar/Athena may not have the bling factor of their big brothers, but are very nice groupos. Hope this helps.
 
May 22, 2007
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halffastcycling.com
#4
Buy a road bike. Being 83 kg is not a problem. You will enjoy long-distance cycling much, much more if you have the right bike for the job. Less effort for more distance.

Spot pot-holes early and ride around them. Main roads are well-maintained. If you're riding on minor roads or roads closed to motor vehicles then you need to be more vigilant than on a bike with huge tires and suspension.

Your first few rides without suspension will be really rattly. You'll get over it. It's worth it for the extra speed and distance and lack of effort.

Cheap used bike: go to Cycle Paradise (http://www.cypara.com/) - they buy and sell used bikes, including road bikes. The shop is by Kyodo station in Setagaya.

--HF Mike--
 

andy_w

Warming-Up
Feb 4, 2009
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tri-japan.blogspot.com
#5
Spot pot-holes early and ride around them
Where are the pot holes in Japan? I once asked what the word was in Japanese, but first had to explain what a pot hole was.

Buy a road bike - I used to take my trek hybrid commuting bike over tomin no mori, which at the time seemed like fun. It was fast, sturdy, and the kevlar tyres never punctured, why bother upgrading?

But a decent, light bike will take you further, faster and will be so much more comfortable on the long rides. There are hundreds of open roads, closed rindos to explore in the Tokyo hills alone, before you even get into Yamanashi and beyond.

I used to ride only mountain bike in Scotland btw.
 
May 22, 2007
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halffastcycling.com
#6
Where are the pot holes in Japan?
They're there, Andy.

Many roads (well-travelled or otherwise) lose a layer or two of cheapo tarmac after a good freeze.

The red stuff used to mark 'bus' lanes and no parking zones is particularly susceptible to peeling, holing, and splitting to leave 23mm-wide crevasses.

Shinjuku-dori just before Hanzomon is a real mess right now thanks to the thousands of construction vehicles going in and out of a building site.

There are four bumps at many popular bus stops, where every bus stops at exactly the same spot. Severity depends on the cheapness of tarmac used by the local authority. While not an actual pothole, the stress eventually creates a peak and trough in the tarmac - just enough to divert a 700C x 23 tyre in one or both directions perpendicular to travel.

YMMV. Keep the rubber side down.

--HF Mike--
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#7
Ah to be 83 kg again--that's my weight loss goal... :)

Seriously, as every one else says, a road bike is the most efficient choice for, er, traveling on roads, and it will hold up fine on all kinds of surfaces as long as you choose reasonably sensible equipment (I regularly take my road bikes over the dirt/gravel roads in my local area). The only possible exception for heavier riders is wheels; it's definitely a good idea to avoid the lightweight/low spoke stuff for everyday riding or rough roads.
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#9
HF Mike,
I checked out Cycle Paradise today. Nice. Not much in there under 100,000 but lots of nice stuff to look at. I kind of like the Bianchi C2C bikes. There were a couple in there. Need to keep checking Yahoo Auction Japan I guess. I wanted to get an idea of what my size would be too, but they were pretty busy and there was not a lot of space. Guess I will try some of the online calculators for now. Was able to ride out to Haneda Airport on Friday and made it to Tachikawa last Sunday. Would love to be on something other than my el cheapo 3 sizes too small mountain bike though. Anyway... Just wanted to thank you for the tip on Cycle Paradise. Cheers
 
Oct 25, 2010
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Oregon
#10
I'm a little late to the party but hey, I just joined up today.

Have you thought of a 'cross bike? Biggest difference is that you're going to get a lot more tire clearance - so you can mount up wheels with either road tires or cross tires. (which will give you a lot of flexibility in terms of terrain you can roll on) With cyclocross tires, there's a lot of options too- for example, when I run on pavement and dirt I use Hutchinson Piranhas- which has knobby sides and lower profile center. But, you're also not going to want to go on a 100K+ ride with those tires. Cyclocross bikes also tend to be cheaper than road bikes.

I wish I could give recommendations on brand in Tokyo. Over here in the states, you can find a pretty decent setup for around $800 (around ¥65000).
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#11
Have you thought of a 'cross bike? Biggest difference is that you're going to get a lot more tire clearance
I do like my 'cross bike, but cantis really, really suck compared to good dual pivot road brakes. Admittedly, the ones on my bike are low end stuff (and I plan to upgrade the front calipers to something better), but at the moment they are bad enough the keep me from riding it more.

You're also perched up a little higher because of the high bottom bracket than a road bike, and that can be disconcerting on fast descents etc.

And there's the weight issue too, but that's not such a biggie where I ride.

The long wheelbase can make it feel less snappy and maneuverable 'round tight corners.

Otherwise, yeah, the 'cross bike is as good as a road bike.

(Edit: In case it's not clear, I'm trying to agree with Kenji, while adding some caveats...)
 

kpykc

Speeding Up
Jun 13, 2007
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#12
Phil, you might be happy to know they legalized disc brakes for cross bikes - should make cross bikes a little more attractive for all terrain riding, including commutes. Look out for those new frames (in 2011?).

I do like my 'cross bike, but cantis really, really suck compared to good dual pivot road brakes. Admittedly, the ones on my bike are low end stuff (and I plan to upgrade the front calipers to something better), but at the moment they are bad enough the keep me from riding it more.

You're also perched up a little higher because of the high bottom bracket than a road bike, and that can be disconcerting on fast descents etc.

And there's the weight issue too, but that's not such a biggie where I ride.

The long wheelbase can make it feel less snappy and maneuverable 'round tight corners.

Otherwise, yeah, the 'cross bike is as good as a road bike.
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#13
Went to Y's Road in Nikotama yesterday. Nice selection of bikes. I want a roadbike now - little scary because I don't have any experience on them and I am sure they are different. No great deals on 2010 stuff though. I was expecting some bargains in there.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
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#14
Cyclocross

A cyclocross bike can indeed be a good compromise as it is easy to mount just any tyres. My cantilever brakes work very well. Actually, better than my Dura Ace brakes. Almost as good as my 105 brakes. Which shows it is all a bit of luck or just a matter of adjustment/how new they are.

Yes, the bike is a bit bigger than my road bike, but that also means more stability and thus more comfort on really long rides. Really the only downside is the weight - though even this is relative to my carbon bike because there is basically no difference to my aluminium road bike.
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#19
Thanks for all the advice!

I just about have 300km on my road bike now and am very happy with it. Very happy I went with a road bike over a hybrid too. Did my first 100km ride today and would have tried for longer, but needed to be back home early. Here is a pic of what I ended up with.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22496972@N03/5461147454/in/set-72157626093080998/

Looking forward to some warmer weather and some longer rides.