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Re: bike riding

I have 2 mountain bikes, an old raleigh that I have had for over 20 years and a new co-op 2.1

I am looking for a high quality road bike. One that I can use for speed and endurance. 

I want to go fast and long but I don't want to spend too much ($1000-$2000).

Any suggestions?

Also what is the best way to build leg size, road riding with a mountain bike or or road riding with a road bike?

I look forward to an experienced persons advice.

1 Reply

Hi @Joey !  Thanks for your great question and awesome to see you expanding your quiver of bikes and exploring getting a road bike.

There are some great options that will fit your needs.  The challenge is that there tends to be a bit of a trade-off between comfort and performance, especially if you are not putting in a lot of miles. The performance focused bikes tend to have a more aero body position (especially compared with mountain bikes), which can be uncomfortable for some.  They also have narrower tires, which don’t provide as much cushion as larger tires.  Since you have a few bikes, you can go with a more performance focused bike without feeling you are compromising comfort all the time.  With that said, if you like mountain biking, you might consider getting a bike that can do road and gravel.  Gravel is growing and lots of fun!

A few recommendations for bikes:

CAAD12 Disc 105

This is a light weight, performance focused road bike at the top of your range.  Fast, but comfortable enough for longer rides.  With that said, it is performance focused, so may not be as comfortable as some other options.

Cannonade Synapse AL 105 Disc  

Solid choice.  Comfortable ride with the wider tires, but also still light and agile.  More comfortable than the CAAD12, but not as quick and agile.  You can even hit some gravel with it if you are interested, but a great all around road bike.

Co-op Cycles ARD 1.4 

Another great choice and on sale!  It’s got disc brakes and a carbon frame.  It can do it all.  It will not be quite as fast as the CAAD12, but fast enough and comfortable for longer rides.   It can also do gravel, so you have a lot more options when finding fun rides.

I suggest you go into your local REI and get fit and test ride some of these options.

To your other question about building leg size.  I can be done on either bike.

The most important thing to improve your riding performance is to build strength without adding too much bulk.  Speed comes from a good balance of leg strength and core strength.  The key is to embrace your body type and focus on building strength and endurance.  Skinny legs when cycling is not a bad thing.

To increase your strength, a good balanced training plan is important.  Work with a coach or find some online training guides to build a plan that has a good balance of longer, slow rides (to build endurance – this is where road bikes can really help) and short interval work (to build quickness and speed – this can be done on a road bike or mountain bike).  

Don’t forget work off the bike.  Focus on your core, which will help both speed and endurance (exercises like planks really make a difference).  Also focus on lunges and squats (but with low weight and high reps).  You will find your power and endurance will increase quickly through a good balanced training plan that includes work on and off the bike. Consistency is also key… even if you are just getting on the bike for an hour or choose the gym over a short ride, being active as often as possible can dramatically impact your fitness and speed.

Best of luck! 

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.