Friday Group Ride #334

Friday Group Ride #334

I wanted to ride, but I had loaned my road bike to someone for a special project that I thought would end sooner than it has. I have two other bikes, but one is a mountain bike and the other is in a state of flux vis-a-vis its rideability. It needs about two hours of my attention, and that is not a quantity that I currently possess given the (entirely reasonable) demands of suburban, American, middle-class existence.

So I found myself standing in the kitchen wondering why I don’t own two road bikes. I used to. I used to have three or four at any one time, but then I got one so good that the others sat dust gathering month after month, and I decided to let them go. They weren’t remarkable. I have no regrets. Except.

I have just reread the preceding paragraphs and laughed at myself for couching this as a dilemma. It’s testament, really, to how good my life is. For the sake of argument, let’s go on with this like we’re solving a problem. Suspension of disbelief isn’t just a courtesy we afford television and movies.

I have a soft spot for old steel frames, but that’s mostly a visual and nostalgic effect. When I’m actually holding one of those frames I normally wonder what plumber stuck them together and why they weigh more than the moped I used to ride into my job in the city.

I wonder if some sort of exotic carbon race machine would excite me enough to be worth acquiring, but that project requires a larger budget than “second bike” probably justifies.

This weeks Group Ride asks…so, a second road bike. What would that look like? How would I do it in right enough a way that the bike would get ridden occasionally? Neo or retro? How many road bikes do you own? Do you ride more than one? What is compelling about your not-primary bikes? Or have you just accrued too many machines by virtue of time and unwillingness to part with them?

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  1. Miles Archer

    Ride your mt bike on the road. It won’t kill you.

    The only reason I have a second bike is that I never sold my last bike when I got a new one. That was 8 years ago. The old one is 20 years older, but I got it used. It lives on the trainer and I’ve ridden it on the road maybe once a year if there’s something wrong with my main bike.

    If you’re going to buy a second bike, buy a new first bike, or a bike for a different purpose (commuting, off road, heck I don’t know) that can be a road bike substitute in a pinch.

    Sunshine is calling, got to go ride.

  2. Lyford

    Currently have one road bike and one mountain bike. Recently got rid of two old bikes I had been keeping for nostalgic reasons.

    Perhaps not useful where you live, but one practical option is a rain/winter bike with full fenders, training tires, reflective tape, lights, etc. Full fenders make riding in the wet vastly more comfortable but are too fiddly to swap on when you’ve got limited time to ride. It’s also a way to save your “good” bike from road salt.

    My next/second road bike will probably be a “gravel” bike, or at least have the ability to accept wider wheels & tires for more dirt use. My current road frame is limited to 28s and many of the the roads around here — both dirt and pavement — would be more comfortable on wider rubber.

  3. Craig Peer

    I have 3 road bikes. Road bike #1 is a Masi PC4 – my first carbon bike ever. It got me back into cycling, and helped me go from a person that occasionally rode a bicycle, to wanting to become a cyclist. I did my first Century on the Masi 3 months after I bought it, in May 2014 ( and 6 more since then ). I won’t get ride of it since it cost less than my other two bikes. It goes on American River Bike Trail rides where the chance of collision with any number of people / things is higher.

    Road bike # 2 is a Spec. Roubaix with hydraulic disc brakes and Di2. Road bike # 3 is a Bianchi CV Infinito also with hydraulic disc brakes and Di2. I built the Bianchi completely myself from parts last Feb. for my 60th birthday. Why 2 nearly identical bikes, and do they both get ridden ? You bet they do, and they do ride a bit different ( same HED Ardennes wheels on both bikes ). But this way I always have that back up road bike in case something happens to one. And with common parts between them ( same saddles, same 3T bars on all three bikes ) I always can keep them in perfect working order – even if I needed to borrow parts from one ( not likely as I usually have a pile of new spare parts on hand ).

    I guess the really reason I have 3 bikes is I have a new found love affair with cycling I never had before, and plan to ride the hell out of all 3 bikes over the next 10 or 15 years ! I’m 60 years old – if not now, when ? !!

  4. Elizabeth

    Funny, I read this whIle out on a ride on my “other” road bike. Main one is a 2014 Trek Domane. The other one is a recently acquired bike the same model as a regretted sale 8 or 10 years ago. Neither modern nor retro, it’s one of the Lemond spine bikes; half steel, half carbon. 12 years old or so. Smooth, unusual and fun. Also it didn’t cost me so much I worry about occasionally needing to lock it up outside for a bit. Perfect second bike.

    1. SBarner

      I have one of those LeMonds. I got the frame from a friend who had a squirrel run into the front wheel, resulting in a stretched headtube, which I repaired after putting his parts on an eBay frame. I really like the ride of that bike and it has a benefit in being designed for a triple, so I keep it setup with that way for long, multi-mountain (we call them “gap”) rides. The only limitation I find with it is the lack of fender clearance, but that makes it a little tighter, quicker, and a better climber. With a 30 x 26 low gear, I can get up anything with an inexpensive, older drivetrain and without having to resort to compact gearing, which I have never liked.

  5. Jan

    One bike, road, aluminum, so nothing fancy.
    A second bike would either have to be amazing (and so become the primary bike), or maybe a more off-road sort of bike, “gravel grinder” maybe? Or a commuter?

    (I used to have a steel road bike, but since getting the new bike with index shifting and all, I didn’t ride it and gave it to a friend.)

  6. bryan davis

    Road bike number 1: titanium frame, carbon fork, 25c max tire, light fast & fun
    Road bike number 2: lightweight steel frame, carbon fork, fenders w/ 28c, medium reach brakes. Can take 30c tires and ride roads (paved, dirt or otherwise).

    I have to admit there is a cross bike in the mix too… This was a dedicated race bike w/ canti brakes that doesn’t have fender mounts but does have water bottles. I like riding it with Panaracer Gravel King SK 35s and it’s currently set up as a single speed. It’s a light, fast and fun town bike that isn’t the most versatile but I don’t have to get rid of it and truth be told, I don’t want to.

  7. Ransom

    I only just got my exciting, new “proper” road bike. Just in time for the weather to suggest that most of my riding for the next half a year will be on my “improper” road bike: The ‘cross bike that’s been my almost-everything-but-mountain bike for the last four-ish years. It’s a cyclocross bike. It’s a rain bike. It’s a gravel bike. It’s a commuter. It’s whatever you need it to be. It’s also next on my list for an upgrade; disc brakes are where it’s at for a rain bike. Or a ‘cross bike.

    It’s harder to justify a second pure road bike. I’m too big a fan of modern shifting and braking to go retro, however pretty some of the older stuff may be. If I hit the lottery I may have to figure out how to put functional guts in C-Record Delta brakes…

  8. Dave

    I’m pretty happy with my current rides.
    Primary road bike: carbon w/ dura-ace (light, fast, yada-yada…)
    Second road bike: 853 steel with 105 (fun, has a bell on the handlebars)
    Commuter: steel touring bike with all the fenders, racks, lights …
    Winter bike: aluminum cross bike
    I don’t feel the need to get another ride, and if I were to buy a new bike it would probably be to replace one of the above.

  9. Robert

    I own two road bikes and one mountain bike. The mountain bike doesn’t get ridden much. In fact is so old it has V-brakes and 26″ wheels!! Now the road bikes do get a lot of action. I have a Cannondale SuperSix with full Campy Record group and a sweet custom Seven Airheart with C&C couplers that I take everywhere. The Cannondale used to be the #1 until the Seven arrived about 1.5 years ago. Now the Seven is the #1 because even though is 1.5 lbs heavier than the Cannondale, it rides like a dream so I prefer that one. With all that said, both bikes are always dialed and ready to ride at any given time. And they do get ridden on a weekly basis. I often switch between the two but for long rides, the Seven always gets the call. I’ve made the mistake before of only having one road bike available and when one happens to be on the shelf for whatever reason, is almost as there’s no way out of a dark labyrinth. So I clearly understand your dilemma.

  10. Hoshie99

    We are lucky if we have nice equipment and the time and health to ride – right?

    Number 1 is a Scott Addict – great road bike but getting on in years now. Has newer parts as the older group was shot. Still rides great.
    Number 2 is my ex cross race bike converted for gravel use (wifi rear and larger cassette, tires) but fine to cruise on the road.
    Number 3 is an old steel Merckx I park at my mom’s house.

    So, if something is mechanically wrong, I ride the cross bike. If we are visiting grandma during a weekend, I don’t bring a bike and ride the Merckx. Occasionally, it becomes a conversation starter since older steel isn’t abundant these days among the trendier parts of SoCal.

    If / when I get a second road bike (will be the new first anyway), it will be a custom steel with a carbon fork with room for 30s. Already know which subset of builders I have earmarked for it; just waiting until the new year.


    1. Lyford

      Good point — the second bike for a different location. There’s a bike shed at work and time for a lunch ride, but in the summer there’s also a morning and evening option. I’ve considered a “leave at work” bike so I’m not loading and unloding one every day.

  11. Tracy Wilkins

    I guess I’m a little eccentric, in that I’m moving in the opposite direction.

    Three months ago, I had a nice carbon fiber Trek Madone for the road and a very basic steel Surly Straggler for gravel, touring, commuting, and whatever came up. It got to the point where the go-to bike for everything was the Surly, and the Madone never came off the wall. Obviously, fast road rides were not high on my agenda.

    Then, I got a lucky break, and even though I wasn’t in the market for a new bike, I found a killer deal on a new Titanium Salsa Vaya, which is a really nice adventure bike perfect for gravel and light touring. I decided to go for it, and after consideration, also decided that I would learn to live with just the Vaya. So far, I’ve not regretted it a bit. I may not be able to hang with those fast road rides, but I’ve got a really fine bike for the kind of riding that I enjoy most.

    1. Spider

      agree. I think these CX/Gravel bikes have the ability to cut down the quiver if set up right….also possible to have 2 sets of wheels (with tyres/cassetes/skewers ready) one at 25c and one at 30+ and could take care of alot of riding situations!

      Well done!

  12. Fearless Kevin

    I have a steel 1989 Eddie Merckx Seven Eleven bike which gets ridden several hundred miles per year. Most rides, in Seven Eleven kit, are special occasions for events where people will appreciate what it stands for. For example, it enjoys the attention received at a visit to a Tour of California stage. Serves as 2nd bike if main bike, nondescript Giant Defy, is incapacitated or when I feel the need for good old steel bike ride.

    1. Paul Thober

      I have a steel 1989 Eddie Merckx Seven Eleven bike (ha!) that I’ve owned since new is my daily commuter. My other bike for going on “rides” is a 2014 Sworks Tarmac.

  13. Scott G.

    Now that fall is here

    1. Tuesday Night go fast bike, for group rides in the dark. dyno light , lots of tail lights
    2. Saturday, no so fast group, Ellis Briggs, 1986 with skinny tires, and yee hah handling.
    3. Sunday, hill climber bike, with room for clothing change. (big temp changes here during winter)

  14. Aar

    I currently have 1 bike – a carbon road bike. My next bike will be a modern custom steel road bike. The carbon bike will spend many months on the trainer after I get my next one.

  15. SBarner

    I have to come at this question from a different direction, as I have so many bikes that most people would recommend some type of interventionist therapy. My excuse is that I’ve been biking longer than most people have been alive, and I still ride more and in a wider range of conditions than the vast majority of cyclists. Instead, I’ll come at it from the standpoint of how I would rebuild my stable of mechanical steeds, if that unhappy task were to become necessary.

    When I started my serious riding, around 1970, it was common knowledge that one should have at least three bikes; a quality road bike, a foul weather bike, and a fixed gear: the latter being the least necessary, but almost always found in other riders’ collections. We still called them track bikes back then, as that’s what they were, if not homemade. I think that logic still holds up well, for a wide variety of reasons, but that was before mountain bikes, so we need to add an off-road bike of any type to the list. The foul weather bike must have fenders (mine would include a rack and lighting, as well), and could easily be the gravel bike for those don’t ride all their bikes on dirt, as I am forced to do.

    It would be so nice not to be moving bikes every time I need to get from one place to another in my basement, but I know that any rebuilding of my collection would not stop there. I would certainly want a tandem and would actually place that higher in priority than a track bike. I would also want to have at least one special, classic bike. It could be one of the jewels that I let slip away decades ago, like my Cinelli Mod. B or ’74 California Masi, or something like what I currently have from one of the storied small shop builders, like the Sachs, Moulton, or even an old Paramount.

    I’ve found that you can show up at a group ride on a classic racer and find yourself in more interesting conversations than the guy with a $7,000 super bike. You don’t get that cold shoulder treatment from people who envy your bike, or resent not being able to justify the expense—just genuine interest. And due to the very nature of bicycles, you’ll find that any performance disadvantage to be marginal, at best, and you’ll benefit from not burning up your reserves doing silly things to defend your investment, early in the ride. Many is the ride where I’ve taken long pulls at the front in the last 20 miles on a steel DeRosa or Colnago, while others shot their arrows early in town line sprints and KoMs.

  16. Scott D Gilbert

    My “2nd” bike was my Hamspten custom steel frame which was thoroughly destroyed this Summer in a stupid crash (not my doing) so now what was bike #2 is now bike#1 until I can replace the Hampsten.

  17. Winky

    2 proper road bikes. My “new” one (C59) that I bought 4 years ago, and the one it replaced that’s about 10 years old (BMC SLC01). Both get ridden. The old one gets the bad weather use (which is 100% this time of year). It’s not really a proper winter bike, but that’s what I use it for. They’re pretty similar really. Carbon “race” frames and Campag SRx11 and Rx10 respectively.

    Also a tourer and a 26″ V-braked mountain bike. Both nice enough bikes in their day but they don’t get ridden much. Plus a 1976 cromovelato Wilier on the wall as a piece of art.

    I have a Ti bike on order from Naked. It will be “one bike to rule them all”. Discs, and clearance for biggish tyres and winter fenders, but otherwise a proper road bike. Will replace at least 2, possibly 3 of my current set. Likely switch from Campag to DA for that one (not wanting to be part of Campag’s test team for hydro discs), but the delivery isn’t until September 2017 so I have time to decide (and to save up).

  18. Jackalope 55

    I have become emotionally attached to each bike I have acquired over 38 years so the quiver has evolved into a collection. Only fellow riders would not see that comment as deranged. I don’t know nor do I care what will happen to them on the day I can’t ride any one of them as I hope I will be in that place where the rides are endless, partners strong, and climbs effortless. My first new bike was a 1980 Motobecane Grand Jubilee that nowadays would be seen as a L’Eroica Special. Numerous carbon race bikes for climbing, crits and foul weather training illustrate that period when being “Pro” was somehow an important thing. (They still see lots of miles) I can’t forget the Lynsky-built Litespeed that is just more classic than ever and to my eyes is what a road bike should look like. My latest is a Kent Eriksen Gravel Grinder that seems to be pushing every other bike into the background, especially as the weather gets cooler and wetter.

  19. Austin

    I used to have two bikes: a 2012 Specialized Allez (I still have this one) and a commuter fixie that I built up with a used huffy step-through frame (orange with frog stickers!) and 26 inch wheels. It was an ugly franken-bike, but still my beautiful little fixie creation that was perfect in any weather. The steel frame plus thick tires made for a very comfortable ride. Sadly, I gave it away when I graduated from college and moved away.

    Now I use my Allez for commuting, long rides, short rides, etc. (I don’t race). With about 6000 miles on my Allez, there is still plenty of riding to be done on it! I had told myself that if I ever did get a second bike, it would be something like a cross/gravel/light off-road bike. But then recently… a beautiful steel road bike stole my heart, leaving me to rethink my second bike choice.

    Do I need a second road bike? Not really. A cross bike might even be the better choice for the Wisconsin winter. But I can’t stop dreaming about long weekend rides on that dream bike (while keeping my Allez for commuting and harsh weather since it already has fenders). Sure, I could find a steel cross bike to satisfy that itch for steel, but it won’t be thaaat dream bike.

    For now, I ride my trusty Allez and continue to decide if I want to save up for a something new. The timing of this article couldn’t be more perfect for me!

  20. Alan

    2 road bikes (1 newish, 1 old classic) and 2 mountain bikes (1 light hard tail, 1 full squish). And a TT bike. And a cruiser. And a commuter. And a vintage MTB. And a semi-retired vintage road bike not in working order at the moment.

    I have a problem.

    To be fair, I won the cruiser this year?

  21. Tom Cannon

    1st bike – Carbon Lemond Victorie with 11 speed Ultegra.
    2nd bike – Lemond Poprad Disc with two wheelsets, one cross/gravel, the other 32 road.
    There is also an ’84 Cannondale ST500 that I keep meaning to update for use as a winter bike, and two MTBs.
    The Poprad is not the lightest, but it does make me grin the most.

  22. Jake

    I have the stainless IF racer of my dreams, and a couple CX bikes to round out the road work. What I am supremely interested in is all the talk about the new breed of aluminum crit bikes. The CAAD 12s and Allez coming out with great parts and prices that don’t make me nauseous and maybe actually be able to afford to buy from an LBS.

    I feel like a 1X Allez rolling on fast tubeless 28s would just be an absolute blast for under 2 large.

  23. Rick

    I keep 2. #1 is A 2013 Ridley Helium ISP with Enve 3.4’s and Dura Ace Mechanical. #2 Is a 2014 Cervelo S3 with a Quarq power meter and a mix of Dura Ace and Ultegra Mechanical. This is the 2nd time in my life that I’ve had two at once and I’m really picky about everything feeling the same. Bars, saddle and measurements must all be the same or I won’t ride the other. The Ridley is set up for the crazy steep hills here with compact gearing and the Cervelo has your standard 53 x 39 set-up. Love them both but I would sell the Cervelo if I had to.

  24. jh

    The bike I currently ride the most (and love) is an F. Moser 51.151, bought new in 1986/87. I rode the hell out of it during high school and college, then upgraded framesets every few years. Although the Moser spent 20 years in closets and attics, I kept it. Any bike I ride is always against the Moser, fair or not. Several very nice CF framesets that rivaled the Moser, which were above my budget. I ordered an ’09 Tarmac which was my only bike. I insisted it’s a nice bike and simply a tool, ignoring the fact that there ARE bikes that have snappy and sublime “alive” feel my Tarmac is simply a tool. I “tried” to buy new bikes a few times to replace the Tarmac but bailed at least 3 times because of creaking pressfit bottom brackets. I bought a Fondriest X-Status-(steel with Carbon)…. A wonderful and silky smooth ride reminiscent of the Moser, but slightly lacking when out of the saddle and hard cornering (unlike the robust Tarmac). I installed an Enve fork which transformed the Fondi so much that it’s rendered the Tarmac to the rafters..
    after the new year, I’ll buy a Ti frameset built with geometry to clone or mimic the Moser, with anEnve fork, mechanical Chorus 11, Eurus wheels, room for wider rubber, and most importantly a threaded (T-47) bottom bracket.

  25. TB Determined

    Consider building a travel gravel bike.

    I use a BreakAway (Steel Cross) as a second, winter, gravel, travel, fun bike. It has over 250,000 air miles and has been to Europe, Asia, Central America and all over the US. Here in Colorado there are plenty of rural roads and trails that keep us busy.

    The Ritchey geometry is second to none and it rails decent on the road better than most modern carbon. I flew to California, rode the Levi Grand Fondo on it with tubeless 28s and dropped plenty of guys on top shelf carbon road bikes. On 35s it will keep up with any carbon disk-brake cross bike.

    Sure it’s not going to get a lot of attention in a beauty pageant. But it will get noticed; there have been a number of times people have commented about my steel cross travel bike as I pull through in a road group. Skinny steel tubes are a shock when you are use to oversize carbon and it weighs a little more, but there is nothing smoother or more fun.

  26. Lawrence M Brooks

    Well, I own at least five “road” bikes by the strictest definition, and some others like time trial and gravel bikes that get ridden on the road regularly as well. So, I am perhaps not the best person to talk about setting up a second road bike as I passed that decision many decades ago. However I will defend the inordinate number of bikes I own by saying that they all get ridden – some more than others of course. In my experience all bikes have an individual feel that is unique to them. This alone justifies having more than one. Bikes are not just about getting you down the road. They have an aesthetic both visually and kinesthetically if you will. Each bike returns a slightly different feel to the rider and thus gives a different experience to the same ride. Variety is after all one of the spices of life so i say forget the concept of the perfect ideal bike and instead enjoy the uniqueness of each bike you get the privilege of spending time on.

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