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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am currently riding a Trek Mt. Bike as a bicycle for my 25 mile round trip commute. I decided to give my kids the cars for college and ride my bike to work and home. I ride on a paved bike trail with moderate incline. The bike I am riding is one of my kids when they were between child and adult. It is a bit too small for me but I manage fine. I live in Michigan and have been told I should have a road bike for what I am doing. I am into my 3rd month and love it and take a detour to ride around the local metro park...a 12 mile extra ride on paved bike path with moderate incline. I don't know what difference a road bike would make for my ride and will be riding in some snow I'm sure as the weather changes. Thanks for any advice you can give.
 

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I live in Michigan and have been told I should have a road bike for what I am doing.
You seem to enjoy what you're doing, so I'm not sure why someone would tell you that. A road bike would be faster given the same effort, so you could get your bike ride over with a little sooner. But you're taking detours for the joy of it, so that wouldn't make any sense. I'm not knocking road cycling, that's all I do. But I would never tell anyone who's happily riding a mountain bike on asphalt to get a road bike.

Now, if they would ask me how to ride faster and longer, well, that's a whole nother thing.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am a teacher. This summer I started riding 30+ miles a day. I'm over 50 and used to Mt. Bike when I had kids...mind you with them in a bike trailer...ugh. I just started riding now that we have this bike trail by the house. I love it. I did feel like I was "slow" this summer. Average speed about 15mph. Sometimes I want to go faster. I'm worried if I go to a thinner tire in the winter I may have issues...thinking what I have may not even work but willing to X-Ski :)
 

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If u are riding mostly a MUT, having a road bike is not really an advantage, unless the MUT is not busy.
So, regardless, yes, you need a new bike.
 

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You're biking plenty and it's on paved stuff so you should consider a road bike. Once you get used to it you'll feel like you've switched from a Honda Accord to a Fort GT...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok so I know little about bikes. I bought my TREK Mt. Bike 20 years ago. If I go to get a road bike.....what am I looking for? I try reading about bikes and I feel like I am learning a new language. I always just got on it and rode. Did little to nothing with it. Rode them and towed kids.

I would be riding 20-40 miles a day I would say on mostly paved surfaces. Some roads I cross are gravel. Thanks for any help or advice. I am commuting...as well and right now I carry my clothes from the day and papers to check in a sling backpack. IDK if I will need something bigger or more durable. Looking for any advice. Thanks
 

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As an alternative, you may consider a flat bar road bike which has a more heads-up position, like you're used to, and are generally more durable and lower priced.

If you're going to shop at a bike shop, test ride some bikes to get a feel for them. Don't get caught up on the lingo and all, just ride a bunch of bikes and get familiar with what feels more "right" from one bike to the next. I personally like renting bikes for a weekend if possible to really get a good feel and then put on a bunch of hours of riding, especially with trail bikes.

I'm also located in MI, SE Michigan to be more exact. For winter, hands down get studded tires if you plan to do it consistently. Knobs are okay in snow but do nothing for ice or hardpack, glazed over snow and that is especially the case for ruts and bumps/ snowy potholes. If you do want a road-type bike (drop bars) then look at something like a cyclocross bike that would accept the studded tires which are wider than most road bikes can accept.
 

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Of course you need a new bike, that is always the answer to any bike question!

As a cheaper alternative you could just try some slick tires. If you don't feel beat up and saddle sore after riding the mtb then I'd think it's OK.
 

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I would say to look at a road bike with high volume tires. Maybe a rack to carry things on the bike instead of your back, and since it's a commuter good aluminum fenders and lights.

I've taken to riding a low trail bike set up as such and am incredibly happy with it. The low trail allows the load to be carried on the front of the bike where it impacts the handling less and the fenders and lights allow riding comfortably in most conditions.

My bike has a rather large handlebar bag and rides like it isn't there, and I've probably had 15lbs up there. If you need more than that, front low riders and panniers would do or a "porteur" rack and bag, which is a larger front rack made to carry larger items. The lights are powered by a front hub generator so no need to worry about batteries.

This isn't a "race bike" but a good handling "all road" practical bike that is fun to ride.
 

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+1 on you don't really need to make a change. What you are doing is great and if you are having fun, that's superb in and of itself. That being said, I think you might have fun riding on a flat bar road bike or an adventure/endurance drop bar bike. There are tons of models at every price point out there to choose from. My recommendation is to hit a few bike shops one weekend and take some test rides and/or spins in the parking lot to see what you think.
 

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The bike I am riding is one of my kids when they were between child and adult. It is a bit too small for me but I manage fine.

Until I read this part, I was going to say, no, you don't need a new bike. That is until I read this part.

A bike that doesn't fit is a bike that:

1) You are less efficient on.

2) May cause a repetitive use injury over time.

The latter is a big issue. As you get older, if you keep riding a bike that doesn't fit, your body will let you know. Especially if it's too small, your knees may start talking. And trust me, you don't want to do any irreversible damage.

So yes, I would say you need a new bike. You don't necessarily need a road bike for the type of riding you do, but you need a bike THAT FITS. Most importantly, go to a reputable bike shop that will give you a detailed fitting with a bike purchase. That is one where they put you and your new bike on a trainer, watch you pedal and make adjustments to tweak your fit just right.

If you think you may ride some dirt trails at some point, you may want to look into a gravel, touring or even a hybrid bike. There are many good choices out there.
 

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Sounds like you already know the answer to your question, OP, and are looking more for affirmation. NTTAWWT. As an anonymous stranger to you, I have absolutely no qualms telling you hell yes! Buy a road bike. n+1 and all that...

Seriously, though, if you're using it as transportation, it should be something that fits you properly, is efficient and enjoyable to ride. You only live once... twice if you're Buddhist...
 

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+2 on fit. You don't necessarily need a road bike. But you should have a bike that fits properly. If you have any aches, pain or numbness during/after a ride, it is most likely due to fit. It certainly was for me, once I got a bike that fit properly, all that stuff went away.
 

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+2 on fit. You don't necessarily need a road bike. But you should have a bike that fits properly. If you have any aches, pain or numbness after a ride, it is most likely due to fit. It certainly was for me, once I got a bike that fit properly, all that stuff went away.


This.
 

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if a bicycle is your primary mode of transportation, you have room for a second bike and you can afford it, get another one.

i ride vintage road. you can usually find a really good one for $400.

if you have $100 of bike tools, you can often find a good one (that needs some work) for $200 or less.

i recommend buying the tools and overhauling the bike yourself. if you do this a couple of times and flip the bikes you don't need, they pay for themselves and you can upgrade at will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks so much to all of you for the thoughtful advice. Today I rode to school in the dark with the moon and stars to light the rails to trail path I take to work. I absolutely love this start to my day. When I left school I took the detour to the metro park and I did three 6 mile laps around a beautiful lake...still on paved trails. On my way out of the park I pulled off and did some off road riding on the mountain bike trails. Oh how I loved this part of my day. The wild turkeys, the deer, the hills and bends in the trail and the crazy bouncing around. I absolutely loved my whole day. I returned to the rail to trails paved trail and met up with 6 male bike riders on their "road bikes" I hung with them for most of the next three miles but no matter how hard I peddled I just couldn't keep up. Thus...the need or want for a new bike. I know I need one that fits better....but now I don't know if I want to give up the mountain bike for the speed on the paved trails. Also, I hope to ride as much as I can in the winter and those thin tires that were riding with me today don't look like they will last in a Michigan winter....Again, thanks so much for all of the thoughtful advice. I think today confused me even more. 28 miles on the paved trails and 6 miles in the woods today. I can't decide what I enjoy more. So thankful I gave my cars to my kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks so much to all of you for the thoughtful advice. Today I rode to school in the dark with the moon and stars to light the rails to trail path I take to work. I absolutely love this start to my day. When I left school I took the detour to the metro park and I did three 6 mile laps around a beautiful lake...still on paved trails. On my way out of the park I pulled off and did some off road riding on the mountain bike trails. Oh how I loved this part of my day. The wild turkeys, the deer, the hills and bends in the trail and the crazy bouncing around. I absolutely loved my whole day. I returned to the rail to trails paved trail and met up with 6 male bike riders on their "road bikes" I hung with them for most of the next three miles but no matter how hard I peddled I just couldn't keep up. Thus...the need or want for a new bike. I know I need one that fits better....but now I don't know if I want to give up the mountain bike for the speed on the paved trails. Also, I hope to ride as much as I can in the winter and those thin tires that were riding with me today don't look like they will last in a Michigan winter....Again, thanks so much for all of the thoughtful advice. I think today confused me even more. 28 miles on the paved trails and 6 miles in the woods today. I can't decide what I enjoy more. So thankful I gave my cars to my kids.
 

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Tires are pretty easy to change so don't let the idea that a bike is tied to the tires that come on it when you buy it.

I've ridden a lot of trails with a drop bar, you just need to get the right bike with good versatility. I don't think you're after a road bike (road bike often meaning a road race bike or only for road) but there are many options that would look and act like a road bike that would easily be trail friendly. Gravel road bikes, cyclocross bikes, and even some of the touring road bikes would be drop bar options for you to look at.
 

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Gravel road bikes, cyclocross bikes, and even some of the touring road bikes would be drop bar options for you to look at.

These are good options to look at if you will be doing a mix of paved and non-paved riding. You may want to read up on this article on gravel/adventure bikes:

Buyer?s guide to gravel and adventure bikes plus 16 of the best | road.cc

Many worthy contenders here. They all have road bars as well as room for wider tires which enable you to ride dirt trails and dirt roads.
 

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I am currently riding a Trek Mt. Bike as a bicycle for my 25 mile round trip commute. I decided to give my kids the cars for college and ride my bike to work and home. I ride on a paved bike trail with moderate incline. The bike I am riding is one of my kids when they were between child and adult. It is a bit too small for me but I manage fine. I live in Michigan and have been told I should have a road bike for what I am doing. I am into my 3rd month and love it and take a detour to ride around the local metro park...a 12 mile extra ride on paved bike path with moderate incline. I don't know what difference a road bike would make for my ride and will be riding in some snow I'm sure as the weather changes. Thanks for any advice you can give.
The snow is the key point. You want to stick with the mountain bike style, or if you go for a new bike get a hybrid. The challenge is that many of these bikes will have useless (for you) suspension that add weight and cost but no value for a MUT commuter. A road bike on Michigan snowy streets and trails is not a good choice. You want wider tires for sure. And unlike a road bike, where tire tread is useless, some tread features will add traction in snow.
 
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