Road Or Mtb for a student? (maintenance cost)

yukun

Speeding Up
Feb 18, 2011
55
0
26
Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya
#1
Hi,
Currently a full-time student with about 200k's worth of yen to spend(either a giant reign 2 or a 105spec carbon or alu/carbon roadie).
Was looking round at my local bike shop (mishuku, great guy) and y's road for both mountain bikes and road bikes.

Had a dilemma as to which disciple to choose. Long term running costs are an issue. Recently went to fujimi last weekend and wrote off my fork (air shock mechanism is stuck and bent and not worth replacing for my cheap 90k hardtail)

Mountain bikes tend to be cheaper starting off with a lower base retail price. Read around the forum about how they require much maintenance. Had to do a close to full stripdown after every other ride on my hardtail as things get loose, banged up or dirty to keep it in tip-top condition(used tons of kitchen paper). Was told not as much was needed on better mid range bikes like the reign(is it true?) other than basic maintenance(maybe a full strip down check once a year) such as lubing and alignment after rides like the B-Course in Fujimi. Transport is anther issue. With trails mainly in Nagano or Tohoku, i spend an average of 15000-20000 per trip on JR Tickets(is there somewhere nearer??!!) unlike back home where its only a 10minute ride away.

I know road biking would be the easier/cheaper? choice considering the numerous routes ringing tokyo and numerous groups within tokyo that aren't too punishing on the bike(i promise i'll join a group ride soon mike(half-fast)!! Was kinda busy in school this half year).

But like your first love, i think i'll never get round getting over mountain biking, but only has cash to buy one bike,me needs someone to knock some sense into me and back to reality i guess.
 
#2
A common dilemma for most people looking to get a new bike! I used to be a mountain biker but when I moved to Tokyo I switched to a road bike and haven't looked back since. I work at the Y's Road in Shibuya, if you want to stop by we can chat! The Shibuya store doesn't have a large selection of mountain bikes or road bikes because it is primarily a fixed gear store (so don't worry about me trying to sell you anything lol). I'll be working today, Friday and over the weekend. Just stop by if you want to chat. I'm the only gaijin working there so I shouldn't be hard to spot.

Cheers
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#3
<Shameless plug> - but we sell carbon road bikes at a student-only price that is well under your 200,000 yen. And I can also build a hardtail version, if you like, with MTB frame and use 29'er hard fork. The weight difference , actually between the MTB frame and Road frame is only about 400gr - so, in fact, you could ride the MTB version (with smoother tires) on the road and probably be just as fast and comfy as the road bike. But the roadbike is really designed for general purpose road (training, touring, fast commuting, event). Again, either way, and no problem at all with your budget. How tall are you?
 

yukun

Speeding Up
Feb 18, 2011
55
0
26
Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya
#4
<Shameless plug> - but we sell carbon road bikes at a student-only price that is well under your 200,000 yen. And I can also build a hardtail version, if you like, with MTB frame and use 29'er hard fork. The weight difference , actually between the MTB frame and Road frame is only about 400gr - so, in fact, you could ride the MTB version (with smoother tires) on the road and probably be just as fast and comfy as the road bike. But the roadbike is really designed for general purpose road (training, touring, fast commuting, event). Again, either way, and no problem at all with your budget. How tall are you?
Quite short. Bouts 170cm:warau:....
 

yukun

Speeding Up
Feb 18, 2011
55
0
26
Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya
#5
A common dilemma for most people looking to get a new bike! I used to be a mountain biker but when I moved to Tokyo I switched to a road bike and haven't looked back since. I work at the Y's Road in Shibuya, if you want to stop by we can chat! The Shibuya store doesn't have a large selection of mountain bikes or road bikes because it is primarily a fixed gear store (so don't worry about me trying to sell you anything lol). I'll be working today, Friday and over the weekend. Just stop by if you want to chat. I'm the only gaijin working there so I shouldn't be hard to spot.

Cheers
Will pop by sometime this week!!
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
5,528
538
193
Yokohama
#6
Ok.

Fact....

There are both road bikes and Mountain bikes that start in the same price ranges and you get exactly what you pay for .

Both a road bike and mountain bike are equally liable to break and require maintenance if used incorrectly or abused.

A cheap Road bike will require just the same amount of servicing as a cheap mountain bike.

Locations:
There are MTB trails in Yokohama, Kamakura, Yokusuka, Haichioji (Mt. Jimba) Yabitsu and Miyagase area. In fact just get a hiking book for the Tokyo and Kanagawa area and you’ll have a whole host of off road riding. Also North East of Tokyo there are lots of riding locations. Just a bit of research needed.

Fiction:

Top of the line bikes require less maintenance….. Actually it’s the other way around. Think F1 and Rally Car when you look at top of the line road bikes and mountain bikes. Think Toyota Primus when you look at a mid entry bike and think Eastern bloc when you see any cheap bike.

My Pinarello pretty much requires a work over every month especially in the rainy season, granted I ride on average about 500km plus a week and not tighten nuts and bolts but more bearings and tuning in the gears and brakes.

The guy in the shop knows best…. Again, how can this guy ultimately know that you are going to be better off with a road bike when all he has done is talk to you over a space of 5 minutes? Really only you know what is ultimately going to be better off for you. If your true love is MTB and you’ve enjoyed going out to new location and riding then I suggest you keep going that way as you may find a road bike doesn’t give you that same feeling as you got from the MTB.

However if you are really starting to get the bug then how about this:

Buy two bikes? You are in the perfect height range to buy Japanese specific models and right now there are a lot going very cheap in clearance sales. I saw a full carbon Shimano 105 FELT going for 105,000 JPY and the same goes for MTB’s especially ones with the old 9 speed system.

So why not treat yourself and get two bikes. No doubt you were bombing around town on the MTB before it died so getting a road bike will reduce the mileage off the MTB to just when you head in to the hills for fun, thus cutting down on the servicing required.

Also one other option to bear in mind is that on 100,000 JPY MTB’s the frames and groupsets are pretty good, normally Alu with either Deore or XT Deore mix and then the cheap out on the forks. Right now you can get SIDI, FOX and other 2010 forks at a song…. 58,000 JPY. Which would leave you some more cast to splash on the road bike ;) Remember though you will probably need a new headset.

finally if you do go the route of repairing the bike let me know..... I can install the forks for you gratis.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#8
You can also choose to go singlespeed on the MTB, which is quite popular these days - and your maintenance will drop to practically nil except for fork and brakes. Agreed the alloy MTB's are really a good deal now - especially the 2010 models which everyone is blowing out to make way for the 2012 committed orders.

On roadbike - makers will keep the costs low by choosing the lower end groupsets (Sora, Tiagra, etc) This is no issue - they are great groupsets and work perfectly fine for most riders until they get past intermediate level. The 105 group takes a very nice step UP - so honestly , I would either go for a better frameset and cheaper Sora group (if you're cash strapped) , then plan upgrade later to 105 or Ultegra group when you have the extra cash and / or your riding merits it. As FE said - the 9speed versions of 2010 have quite large discounts as most levels have been superseded now with 10speed (except Sora)

The other obvious economic point is wheels. Most cheap bikes come with, well, the cheapest wheels and tires they can get. Which means very heavy and not so great rolling. I prefer to build with the Shimano WHR-500 as the lowest end wheel as it actually works pretty darn good for novice road riders, everyday bomber wheel and good for indoor trainer wheel. Then save up your money for a 'next level' wheelset that will put your new found conditioning to use. But hey, these will always come in handy on that rainy day or as a spare set of indoor trainers, or even your 'next' bike .

Service - again exactly as FE says. Top end bikes require attention to keep clean, properly lubed and adjusted. If you don't, then you risk damage or replacement of much more expensive parts. And the tolerances are designed to work best when kept clean and well lubed. A cheap bike you can just about ride into the ground and if you keep track of the cost per km - maybe you could even say just ride until you replace the entire groupset once a year! It's not that it requires less maintenance - more that the cost of maintenance will actually overwhelm the cost of replacement if done too regularly. So - for this - main thing is just keep it lubed and when it becomes so gunked up it doesn't shift - then clean it and start again. I have serviced my wife's Trek hybrid 1x in 1 year (chain clean and lube and replace brake pads) , whereas even my fixed gear bike gets a complete clean and lube down to bare metal at least every 350km or so of riding. And the roadbike gets chain / cassette / derailers completely degreased and relubed every 2 or 3 rides.

Ok.

Fact....

There are both road bikes and Mountain bikes that start in the same price ranges and you get exactly what you pay for .

Both a road bike and mountain bike are equally liable to break and require maintenance if used incorrectly or abused.

A cheap Road bike will require just the same amount of servicing as a cheap mountain bike.

Locations:
There are MTB trails in Yokohama, Kamakura, Yokusuka, Haichioji (Mt. Jimba) Yabitsu and Miyagase area. In fact just get a hiking book for the Tokyo and Kanagawa area and you’ll have a whole host of off road riding. Also North East of Tokyo there are lots of riding locations. Just a bit of research needed.

Fiction:

Top of the line bikes require less maintenance….. Actually it’s the other way around. Think F1 and Rally Car when you look at top of the line road bikes and mountain bikes. Think Toyota Primus when you look at a mid entry bike and think Eastern bloc when you see any cheap bike.

My Pinarello pretty much requires a work over every month especially in the rainy season, granted I ride on average about 500km plus a week and not tighten nuts and bolts but more bearings and tuning in the gears and brakes.

The guy in the shop knows best…. Again, how can this guy ultimately know that you are going to be better off with a road bike when all he has done is talk to you over a space of 5 minutes? Really only you know what is ultimately going to be better off for you. If your true love is MTB and you’ve enjoyed going out to new location and riding then I suggest you keep going that way as you may find a road bike doesn’t give you that same feeling as you got from the MTB.

However if you are really starting to get the bug then how about this:

Buy two bikes? You are in the perfect height range to buy Japanese specific models and right now there are a lot going very cheap in clearance sales. I saw a full carbon Shimano 105 FELT going for 105,000 JPY and the same goes for MTB’s especially ones with the old 9 speed system.

So why not treat yourself and get two bikes. No doubt you were bombing around town on the MTB before it died so getting a road bike will reduce the mileage off the MTB to just when you head in to the hills for fun, thus cutting down on the servicing required.

Also one other option to bear in mind is that on 100,000 JPY MTB’s the frames and groupsets are pretty good, normally Alu with either Deore or XT Deore mix and then the cheap out on the forks. Right now you can get SIDI, FOX and other 2010 forks at a song…. 58,000 JPY. Which would leave you some more cast to splash on the road bike ;) Remember though you will probably need a new headset.

finally if you do go the route of repairing the bike let me know..... I can install the forks for you gratis.
 

yukun

Speeding Up
Feb 18, 2011
55
0
26
Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya
#9
Ok.

Fact....

There are both road bikes and Mountain bikes that start in the same price ranges and you get exactly what you pay for .

Both a road bike and mountain bike are equally liable to break and require maintenance if used incorrectly or abused.

A cheap Road bike will require just the same amount of servicing as a cheap mountain bike.

Locations:
There are MTB trails in Yokohama, Kamakura, Yokusuka, Haichioji (Mt. Jimba) Yabitsu and Miyagase area. In fact just get a hiking book for the Tokyo and Kanagawa area and you’ll have a whole host of off road riding. Also North East of Tokyo there are lots of riding locations. Just a bit of research needed.

Fiction:

Top of the line bikes require less maintenance….. Actually it’s the other way around. Think F1 and Rally Car when you look at top of the line road bikes and mountain bikes. Think Toyota Primus when you look at a mid entry bike and think Eastern bloc when you see any cheap bike.

My Pinarello pretty much requires a work over every month especially in the rainy season, granted I ride on average about 500km plus a week and not tighten nuts and bolts but more bearings and tuning in the gears and brakes.

The guy in the shop knows best…. Again, how can this guy ultimately know that you are going to be better off with a road bike when all he has done is talk to you over a space of 5 minutes? Really only you know what is ultimately going to be better off for you. If your true love is MTB and you’ve enjoyed going out to new location and riding then I suggest you keep going that way as you may find a road bike doesn’t give you that same feeling as you got from the MTB.

However if you are really starting to get the bug then how about this:

Buy two bikes? You are in the perfect height range to buy Japanese specific models and right now there are a lot going very cheap in clearance sales. I saw a full carbon Shimano 105 FELT going for 105,000 JPY and the same goes for MTB’s especially ones with the old 9 speed system.

So why not treat yourself and get two bikes. No doubt you were bombing around town on the MTB before it died so getting a road bike will reduce the mileage off the MTB to just when you head in to the hills for fun, thus cutting down on the servicing required.

Also one other option to bear in mind is that on 100,000 JPY MTB’s the frames and groupsets are pretty good, normally Alu with either Deore or XT Deore mix and then the cheap out on the forks. Right now you can get SIDI, FOX and other 2010 forks at a song…. 58,000 JPY. Which would leave you some more cast to splash on the road bike ;) Remember though you will probably need a new headset.

finally if you do go the route of repairing the bike let me know..... I can install the forks for you gratis.
Thanks!! Lots of things to consider there and probably should start looking at Japanese mtb pages for more trail info. 2 bikes might be a squeeze considering i'm living alone at a mansion(not ikkenya) (already with one mamachari and my recently broken hardtail).

Kind of torn about that idea, considering i might move to another country for university. Might change my hardtail to a full rigid as a commuter bike(crank's getting old too).Though 10 grand for 105 felt :love:.

@ GSAstuto :great looking cf frames there!! (titan looks awesome, though i bet i would not have the dough for a complete build):eek:

Ritto gotta make some hard decisions i guess. Road biking personally consists mainly of drag racing with the toukyu/tomei bus drivers and cycling up and down the tamagawa(though most of my friends own road bike).Gotta Choose:(
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,670
483
103
Japan
#10
buy the CF MTB hardtail and you can still race the trucks and your mates plus you can go off road any time you get the chance. No reason a MTB can't keep up with roadies.
 
Oct 15, 2010
669
10
38
#11
I am no expert, but my 2 bits on this would be: mountain bikes CAN NOT keep up with road bikes.

The first of the reasons why, include, the gearing is usually goes lower on MTBs and tops out higher on road bikes, secondly, the aero shape one has when on the hoods, or in the drops, on a road bike, and the way their weight is over the peddles instead of on the seat, makes a huge difference as well.

Looking forward to seeing someone prove me wrong on this (either by riding at 35km/h on the flats with me on my road bike for a prolonged distance or with theory).

I only rode MTBs up until this year and made the switch over in January, and will not go back. That said, I am likely going to start a DIY project and put together a fixie out of junk, because I love to make things, and I feel I need to wear head-to-toe Lycra on a road bike. I think I can wear my work clothes on a fixie (or MTB) and will not mind locking it up places when I commute and also will not be too bothered about riding it in the rain etc.

Long story short, I have given up on off-roading in Tokyo even though some do manage to make it happen.
 
Jan 14, 2007
2,515
213
83
Noda
japanichiban.com
#12
For city living you can't beat a road bike. Faster, lighter (for trains) and you can use them to get out of the city as well and tour around, race, go almost anywhere.

MTBs are heavy, tiring if you're in a hurry... but good for bumping off gutters and bashing into things....

I ride my MTB to work about once a year...takes an extra 30 minutes....
I also only get to go on the mountain trails about once a year with it... basically it's a hassle to get a MTB to the mountains.
 
Oct 15, 2010
669
10
38
#14
FE, I like your style, but seriously, have you ever been on a TTC unofficial ride (or otherwise) with someone on a MTB who you could not keep up to, or was... keeping pace with you? Lance, could, perhaps, doped up or otherwise, but, apples to apples... I don't think you can say MTBs are as fast as road bikes. If they were, what would be the point of getting a road bike, right? You see any guys in the TDF riding mountain bikes?

Sure, there are reasons to get a mountain bike, but if you are not going to ride it off road, there is absolutely no point to it, unless you like going slow... or enjoy walking around with a big lens on your camera (if you get what I mean) to compensate for other things.... Sure some people do it, but I just don't get the point.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#15
Absolutely! Ask Pete and Tetsu. As we came back from a long ride into the Yamanashi we spotted some guy on a hacked together MTB with worn knobs at the light. Tetsu proceeded to humiliate himself about 10x trying to outsprint this guy! We all tried to bring him down. Impossible - he killed all of us, with big s: eating grin, over and over. Clapped out MTB and all. Finally asked WHERE he'd been - well, yeah , same 'mountain' but he did it the 'hard way' - all on MTB trails - and combined the ride with the Route 20 commute there and back again.

Yeah - its all about the engine! At the end of the day - we, on our perfectly bred steeds of carbon and titanium, were mashed potatoes crying in each other's arms - while Mr. Clapped out MTB with the Ugliest Paint Ever was toodling Dixie all the way home.

Its all dependant on the engine!
 

yukun

Speeding Up
Feb 18, 2011
55
0
26
Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya
#16
Thanks for all the replies people!! Has been a great help.

Guess its starting to tilt towards a road bikeafterall(after a rather sweaty/smelly(old grease) late night wrestling session with my fork:mad:). Definitely will not be able to keep in pace with my roadie classmates since i only hit about 28kph constant(max was only about 56kph on Ikejiriohashi down slope, ran out of gearing...).

I think i'll spend my 200k's on a 105 spec(maybe even an alu ultegra)(would support kokusan if not for the name: ANCHOR??!!) and keep the balance 60-70k for a decent fork upgrade and maybe a beefier hydro disc brake upgrade/rebleed for my hardtail for the occasional XC run (trails are alittle inconvenient without a car ) since its only the fork that's failed. Deore components (not XT) are holding up surprisingly well thus far (touches some wood:warau:).

Looks like my game system (Playstation) plans are shelved for another year:D(maybe i should pick up soccer again..cheaper eh??:rolleyes:)
 

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,181
74
68
Kochi
#17
Yeah - its all about the engine! At the end of the day - we, on our perfectly bred steeds of carbon and titanium, were mashed potatoes crying in each other's arms - while Mr. Clapped out MTB with the Ugliest Paint Ever was toodling Dixie all the way home.
It is all about the engine, but as ikedawilliams says, 'Mr Clapped Out' on a road bike would still beat 'Mr Clapped Out' on an MTB. Just like I'm faster on my wife's hybrid than on my mama chariot, and faster still on the CAAD 9.

I think i'll spend my 200k's on a 105 spec(maybe even an alu ultegra)
As GSAstuto wrote, bear in mind that 2012 bikes will start to filter through soon and if you can hang on just a little bit, you should be able to pick up a good bargain on a 2011 model 10-speed as well. For instance, CAAD 10 105's were 200k so just a 25% drop would see it down to 150.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,670
483
103
Japan
#18
It is all about the engine, but as ikedawilliams says, 'Mr Clapped Out' on a road bike would still beat 'Mr Clapped Out' on an MTB. Just like I'm faster on my wife's hybrid than on my mama chariot, and faster still on the CAAD 9.
But if both of them rode consistently Mr MTB will be in better shape than Mr Roadie and he has the option of pursuing his first love MTBing. I rode a road bike from Kumagaya up to Okutamako and back with a professional (Bridgestone Anchor) on an MTB. He caned my arse, it's all about the engine. Lesson learnt with a big dose of humble pie.
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#19
Much as it grieves me to say it; you'd be better off with a road bike around Tokyo. There are hundreds of km of fine mountain roads a short train ride away, paved bike paths following the course of the major rivers and organised road rides most weekends.
There are some trails around but not many, and they are generally a bit of a pain to get to.
I have a road bike and an MTB (lucky me) but the road bike gets used almost 10 times as often. Keep an eye out for a good deal on a new fork for your MTB and spend the rest on a slick road bike.
 

Ludwig

Speeding Up
Oct 9, 2008
871
0
36
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
#20
And then of course there is the option of getting a cyclocross... With the right tyres you can keep up with your roadie friends, and yet you have the option of going off-road. You can't do trails as easily as on an MTB, but you will improve your handling skills.