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I've been cycling for about six months now, and am looking to get into some distance cycling and want to get my speed up on my commute.

I currently ride a Globe Vienna http://www.globebikes.com/gb/en/globe/GlobeBike.jsp?pid=10VNA2 and was wondering if it was worth upgrading my current bike or just biting the bullet and buying a new road/racing bike.

Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

T

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How long is your commute? Over what sort of terrain? How often do you commute via bike? –  Commodore Jaeger Oct 13 '10 at 22:29
    
I changed the title to reflect the question. –  Neil Fein Oct 14 '10 at 2:41

3 Answers 3

You mentioned long distance ridding. Here is what I would be thinking about:

Comfort

When I think about comfort there are two things that I think about. Most importantly I think about handlebars and more specifically how many places you have to put your hands. Drop bars are nice because you get three positions, but I don't like drops when I am riding socially. Check out the handle bar page to have a look at your options.

Also thinking about your saddle will be pretty important.

Point: probably it is possible to upgrade your bars and saddle to achieve a more comfortable ride

Speed

  1. Put on some slick tires
  2. Weight of the bike is important (especially in hilly areas)
  3. How aerodynamic can you become on the bike?

Cargo

  1. Will you want to mount saddle bags?
  2. How many water bottles can your bike hold?

Other

  1. When I do longer rides I usually bring along a friend. What will your friends be riding? You don't want to have a bike that is too fast (or too slow).
  2. What kind of terrain are you going to be riding over? Do you want to have slick tires (and narrow wheels) or wider tires? Will you be riding in winter? Most road bikes do not have enough room for studded tires.
  3. Are you going to leave you bike locked up outside (while you are at work, getting groceries, etc)? You don't want to have to worry too much about your bike.
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The two upgrades which make the biggest difference are the wheels and the frame itself. (I know, better shifting is fun but it won't change your speed/distance much) You could also look at getting better tires, but since you have a commuting bike they should already be fine.

Given the price of a good wheel set you might be better off with a complete bike. Now the type of bike really depends on the road you're cycling on. You mention commuting, if the majority of your time is spent riding in the city you'll enjoy a higher-end commuter more than a race bike.

Also, since you started cycling quite recently, you'll probably get faster with time as your "bike muscles" and your cardio get better. I don't know how fit you were to begin with or how frequently you've ridden your bike in the last 6 months, though.

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I'll be blunt. If you want to go faster and you are interested in road cycling, buy a different bike. No matter what you do to the bike you have, which is an excellent hybrid, it will never be a road bike. It will always be a nice hybrid.

The #1 issue you need to deal with when road cycling is fit and a flat bar hybrid will rarely give you the proper fit you need to increase your speed and maintain your comfort over the long term.

If you are looking for something more durable than a pure road bike then I would recommend perhaps looking at a cyclocross bike which will fit most of your needs. I would only caution against the 'cross bike if high intensity group rides are going to be a part of your future.

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