Author Topic: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?  (Read 10489 times)

smiller088

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New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« on: December 30, 2014, 04:58:15 AM »
I've started biking around town and really enjoy it. But my bike is exhausting and very strenuous to ride.  I has a full tune up and the knowledgeable man fixed quite a bit of problems that were giving the bike drag. It's a mountain bike that I bought on a whim a few years ago at a big box store. Could this be the reason, that I'm using a mountain bike on the road? I can't afford a road bike at the moment but I could start saving for one.

kpd905

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2014, 06:04:57 AM »
You are having to overcome a crap-ton of rolling resistance by using knobby tires on the road.

Go to your local bike shop and pick up a set of slick or semi-slick tires similar to this: https://www.biketiresdirect.com/product/kenda-k193-kwest-26-inch-tire

You are also going to have to slowly develop the muscles and endurance to ride.  Even if you bought a road bike you aren't going to be able to just jump on it and bike for hours without getting tired.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 06:09:43 AM by kpd905 »

Primm

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2014, 06:28:31 AM »
Before I got my road bike I used to regularly ride my mountain bike >100km on the road. But like kpd said, I used slicks, not knobby tyres.

It is amazing the difference that much less rolling resistance makes. New tyres aren't exorbitantly expensive, and they are absolutely worth it.


netskyblue

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2014, 07:59:45 AM »
Slick tires, skinny tires, and big tires all make a positive difference.  Slick and skinny are both about less resistance.  Big tires because you're going a further distance with each pedal pump.  Most mountain bikes have 26" tires, whereas road bikes/hybrids often have 700c (29").

Then of course there's the weight of the frame (and the weight of you, the rider!).

And last, make sure your bike is properly fitted.  Your leg should be almost fully extended when the pedal is at its lowest point.  If your knee is more than just the tiiiiniest bit bent, you're not sitting high enough and you're working too hard for each pedal stroke.  You shouldn't be able to put both feet flat on the ground from the seat.

frugaliknowit

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2014, 09:00:06 AM »
Besides what others have mentioned, are you sure you have the correct frame size?  An incorrect frame size makes for a less than efficient ride (harder work).

Check this out:  http://www.cyclesuperstore.ie/shop/pc/viewContent.asp?idpage=40

Eric

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2014, 09:59:13 AM »
Before you rush out and get new tires, make sure yours are fully inflated!  Even big knobby ones shouldn't be that hard to ride with if they're pumped up to the max.  That makes a big difference.

smiller088

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 11:57:50 AM »
Thanks everyone! The tires are fully inflated. I'll have to check the seat height- I know my feet aren't flat on the pavement but I'll double check and adjust. I'm not in amazing shape, but I'm in decent shape. It just seems like riding a bike shouldn't be this hard!

BlueMR2

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 02:40:34 PM »
You are having to overcome a crap-ton of rolling resistance by using knobby tires on the road.

Swapping my original 26x2.25 fully knobby tires for a set of 26x1.95 (fit same wheel) with a center rib and knobs on the side made a tremendous difference in effort/speed.

gooki

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2014, 07:10:33 PM »
Are you in the right gear? By that I mean cog/not clothing.

Keep lowering your gears till it's easy to spin the pedals (don't pay to much attention to the speed you are going). As you get fitter/used to biking slowly move up the gears. The goal is to keep you legs spinning at a consistent rate.

Other helpful tips is ensuring you are putting the right part of your feet on the pedals (Google it).

johnintaiwan

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 07:55:41 PM »
^ this

I would check the gear. You should be able to pedal very easily. it is tempting to use a harder gear and go faster, but it wears you out much more quickly. On road bikes you should be riding with a cadence of at least 90rpm. im not sure if there is any rule of thumb for a mountain bike.

Returnoftheyeti

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 11:15:41 PM »
I just replaced the bottom bracken on my Trek Hybred and I can not believe how much faster, smoother the ride is.

It was clunking, that's what made me get it replaced, but is one thing to think about.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bottom_bracket

APowers

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 11:56:06 PM »
^ this

I would check the gear. You should be able to pedal very easily. it is tempting to use a harder gear and go faster, but it wears you out much more quickly. On road bikes you should be riding with a cadence of at least 90rpm. im not sure if there is any rule of thumb for a mountain bike.

Interesting. I rode my bike all around my hometown growing up, and would regularly go on long-ish rides (5-10 miles)-- I almost always found that lower gears were much more tiring because SO much more motion was required-- I much preferred getting up to speed (15-20 mph, depending on the bike) and cruising in top gear (nowhere near 90 rpm, maybe 30-45 rpm).

BrooklineBiker

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2014, 05:37:26 AM »
Hi,
The upright handlebars of a mountain bike mean you have increased wind resistance. You could look into getting some used "drop" handlebars from CraigsList or EBay. With lower handlebars, your body would be lower thereby cutting wind resistance and increasing speed.  That might require some significant changes to your shifters, brakes, and accompanying cables. That could run you say $100 in parts plus labor to install. (Less if you have tools and DIY).

To increase your power with pedals, you could try installing toe cage pedals ($20 for parts) or "clip in" pedals ($80 and up) with clip in shoes (also $80 and up). The latter would require some getting used to but would definitely help your power quite a bit.

UnleashHell

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Re: New cyclist here- why is my bike is hard to ride?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2014, 06:01:33 AM »
it may be the bike.

my wife decided that my boy needed a new bike so she bought one from Dicks. a couple of hundred for a big heavy mountain bike that is a POS to ride. cheap crap at best.  I bought him one earlier this year on craigslist - 2nd hand Giant mountain bike and its much lighter and far better engineered and better to ride - he way prefers the Giant.