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Help with new bike for training on.


By clint_1987 - Posted on 02 March 2015

NB: Originally posted elsewhere on the Global Riders Network and appears via syndication.

Would like some help as I have a Merida big nine carbon team bike but would like to have a second bike to train on. Just test rode the Trek superfly 9 and really like the bike but I plan on doing some XC events the Convict 100 as well as some 4hr races this year. So I'm looking for some help I what bike I should train on that won't make me slow on my main bike if that makes sense.

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Main considerations for a training bike are normally road bike vs mtb or cost to replace components (if you are substituting one mtb for another). Another consideration could be hardtail vs dually given the comfort factor.

I doubt the actual mtb makes much difference to your fitness as long as you train to certain guidelines (power or HR).

My suggestion would be to get a road bike - this opens up your options (especially given Sydney's weather). There are also some very strong roadies out there so more people to push you to your limits.

If anyone knows. Its Warthog.

If you can perhaps do a commute to work? get a roady or commuter preferably considerably more heaver than your MTB. Its all about power to weight ratio on race day.
Its easier to train on the road. Probably get better results. However its also important to keep up skills required for your off road riding. So do training on both.

find yourself some riders who are somewhat faster than you so you have something to aim for.

As Warthog has already mentioned, replacing parts on a MTB can get exy. I do most of my riding on a bike which is twice as heavy as my roady.

I use the roady to keep up (occasionally) with some very fast riders finding some hills a few times a week.

You don't need to get a heavy bike to train on. You will just ride slower on a heavier bike but you're still putting out the same power

piece of crap you can find - that's my recipe for a training bike. I've started to commute on one of my old clunkers with a back pack full of laptop, charger, clothes, lunch, towel - you name it - I have it in my back pack. When I then get to ride the nice bike it feels effortless and my theory is that riding the old junk bike builds strength that I would not get from riding a bling road bike to work.

For mountain bike training I use the nice bike but with shit wheels and heavy tyres. On race days it is indeed a bit of a treat to get to ride the nice stuff.

That's my theory too. Always feels nice to put the lightweight wheels on. Maybe it's placebo effect, but it does help me enjoy the race more. Eye-wink

Get a bike that you're going to ride, roadie or commuter can be the same bike, but then you need to ride it, no use getting one if you don't want to ride on the road. No use getting a hardtail if your riding Red Hill.

How about a CX bike..?
Can be a heavy roadie, can be a nice commuter, can be CX a bike.

Just take care that you don't turn into a roadie that can't ride technical stuff anymore.

Getting fitter/stronger is all about putting in effort. I know this is very simply put.

We find hills to ride up so it is easier to put extra effort into training. Right?
I see it as the same principle. S

My roady is 8kg
My commuter is 16kg so a substantial difference.
backpack is anywhere between 7-15 kg depending on day.

If you were fortunate enough to have a power meter in your cranks I would agree. You put the same effort in say 200 watts up the same hill or lets say average output at 200 watts from home to work it would make no difference on the different bikes in effort. you would be far slower on the heavier bike & backpack. However on the heavier bike you would be at 200 w for a while longer. which is also extra effort.

However with a backpack & commuter with the extra weight it becomes easier to put extra effort in consistently. (Like when finding hills to climb) I know with the my roady, I do around 200 watts estimated average on the commute home. With the heavy bike its closer to 300 w estimated average.
So a lot of extra effort goes into those commutes on the heavier bike. They also take longer.

I'm far from an expert but that's my view on it.

Then when getting back on the MTB or roady.....its a total pleasure as well.

Your thoughts Brian?

Just to play devils advocate to all this ‘make it harder so when you race it feels easy’ business – have you ever thought about what you are looking to do when you race?
Is it actually to go hard? Or is it to go fast?
I would suggest it’s the latter. In fact, I’d go far as to say its to go as fast as possible for as little hurt as possible. The very opposite of what is being advocated.

Time and again I see people making the mistake of training so hard, but not racing enough – when they come to a race all they know how to do is go hard – and not go easy for the same speed.
Or (even more disastrous) train on tyres and wheels that handle differently and feel slower. So – they get to the race, put on the ‘good stuff’ hit the first bit of ST and have only trained their skill levels to ride at the ‘slow speed’ – and have no idea of how to go fast – because they haven’t done any of it in their training.
All too often we hear the “Don’t try anything in racing that you wouldn’t do in training” with regard to nutrition, yet why do we think it doesn’t apply to hitting a bermed corner at 5kph faster than you are used to, on a tyre that has (presumably) a thinner sidewall, and possibly tread, so therefore handles completely differently.

Remember – training is about preparing you for racing. There are not prizes for who goes hardest in training, just for who goes fastest on race day.
Practicing going fast is 100% more valuable than practicing going hard.

Anyway – just some food for thought.

Although I can see where Stef and some of the other guys are coming from. To be honest riding is supposed to be about fun - the more fun you have the more training you are prepared to do and the more time you will be spending on your bike. Your skill level certainly comes into play when mountain biking so if you want to ride your clunker on the road and your fancy mtb on the trails it could probably work. That is, if you really enjoy riding that clunker.....

All good points. I have to agree that what ever bike you get you want one that you enjoy riding.

@StanTheMan, I agree 100% with what you are saying. For a fixed loop/commute then yes, the heavier the bike the harder you have to work.

The thing is though, clint_1987 didn't mention it was for commuting which is generally a fixed way as you tend to ride the safest way to work. When it comes to training, the stronger you get the more you can ride in the same time so you just do more kms opposed to making your bike heavier.

As for suggestions of a road bike, for me, I find riding mine is really addictive which I don't see as a bad thing Eye-wink

Yea I think I get it Antsonline.
burn as little energy as possible while going fast when racing.I have a habit of cooking myself even in training.
consistency is the key when racing. right?

yep - thats the key. Use as little as possible, until its time to really turn on the burners.
if ever get the chance to watch the World Cup XCO racers on the Redbull TV etc - you will see that when they dont have to pedal, they really dont - lots of freewheeling, and staying off the brakes. When they do pedal, they pedal hard. There is little inbetween.

My point really was to point out the value of efficiency and the aim of using less energy - or as little as possible - and if all your training is focused on using as much as possible then its hard to imagine all of a sudden you will know how to do the complete opposite.

Its a really important part of the 'transition' phase into the race season - building in race style effrots, or some 'practice races' that you dont care about - it helps transfer the valuable hard work in other training phases into actual real speed and efficiency - which is what actually wins races, or gets pb's etc....

For me its not about the bike. I'm a classic VOMIL. just need to keep the excess weight off. I also want to have a certain level of fitness. (read Midlife crisis) I love the team 24 hr format. I love riding in a group of mates.

Most of all I love getting out on the trails though. Which recently, hasn't been a real lot.

last weekend I was at the Huskey 50. Only lasted 12 min or so before my derailleur broke. So now I have unfinished business.ha,ha

But I'll keep all this advice close at heart for next time.

But as far as to OP. I would get any old clunker. But a few weeks before a race. definitely start riding the bike in the race set up of the bike your racing with to get accustomed to it.
But every so often just sneak in a ride or two to enjoy it.

Thanks gents for all comments some really good points. Now off to get myself another bike!!!

Don't forget to update us with what you decided on Smiling

http://www.trekbikes.com/au/en/bikes/mountain/cr...
I'm thinking the Trek Superfly 9 is the go as it weights about 3kg more than my carbon hardtail and having the dual suspension will allow me to ride all day. I want the 29inch wheels so it handles some what the same as the other bike. I have attached the link to the bike and ATM its 20% off so cant really say no. Would like some feedback good or bad. Cheers.

I currently use a trek superfly albeit a little bit better specced and I think it is wonderful. I tried a few 29er DS before I bought and for me it was either superfly or Specialized and I landed on SF due to its more competitive price point.

If you are a Bupa member you get a sweet discount on Trek and that makes them even more price competitive.

The Superfly platform is a fantastic XC bike. Regardless of level of spec it really rides well, and is a super fast XC and Marathon bike.
To be honest, regardless of the extra 3kg, I am willing to bet that you would be faster at the Convict on the Superfly than on your hardtail!

Great bike, good choice, just get some riding done now!

I recon that's a better bike than my good one LOL

Thanks again gents you have all been very helpful... Pretty sure I'm going to finish work early to go for a ride!!!!

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