waterpolodan
Topic Author
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Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:03 am

I'm assuming at least a few people here are avid cyclists (the non-motorized variety, so no "Get a Ducati!" tips, sadly), and I'm thinking of saving up and getting myself my first "nice" bike in the near future. I know almost nothing about bikes and bike tech except how to ride and that I enjoy it, so assume I'm a beginner and don't worry about every component being the best thing for a race or whatever.

I'm not really sure what type of bike I'm looking for... I'm probably going for a road bike, as my main use would be riding to work (about 4 miles on smooth pavement) and riding around Miami on the weekends for exercise. I won't be racing, so things like carbon forks and the lightest $2000 wheels are out of the question. I'm also not adverse to buying a used bike, I'd probably prefer that to save money, so if anyone has had a good experience or a horror story getting a used road bike I'd like to hear about it (I've been hounding craigslist with no luck, I'm much taller than most riders in Miami it seems). What sort of brands should I look for or avoid, and what components are the most important to put money into? From what I've read, the world of road bikes gets very expensive very quickly so I'm sort of intimidated by it all, considering I'd like to spend less than about $600 (hence used being a good thing).

Also, what frame size should I be looking for? I'm 6'3" and my jeans have a 33 inch inseam if that helps, I used a "frame size calculator" and it told me between 60 and 63 cm is my range, but if someone here is my height and is much more comfortable on a 58 cm that'd be interesting,,,

Anyway, any help would be appreciated as I'm dying to stop driving my car so much and stop wasting money on gas and repairs.
 
Kent350787
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 2:16 am

This is my bike http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bikes/model/crx.2/5292/39057/ , although I went for a slightly larger profile 32C tyre as I have a child seat on the back. RRP is a little more than US$1k, although bike shops are always ready to deal.

I upgraded from a commuter bike with front suspension and the lighter frame, more aggressive angles and better gearset make it much, much easier to ride. The reality is that nearly all my riding is on roads or bike paths, so the suspension was just dead weight (as my child is, but he's more difficult to get rid of   )

As to frame size, I got the L (55.5cm) and I'm almost 6'3" with long legs. However, I've got the seat post way up high and may have been better with the XL

Kent
 
johns624
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:17 am

Get Shimano 105 components. Anything less (Sora, Tiagra) won't last. It's near the end of the season and you can get alot of bike for $1000. It will be many times better than a $600 bike.
 
Kent350787
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:42 am

Dan - I suppose I wasn't suggesting my bike in particular, just that I've found a flat bar road bike (rather than a drop bar) to be a great compromise for the type of riding I do - it's still fast, but not as focussed as a drop bar. It doesn't have the comfort features of a hybrid, which add weight, but can still be fairly comfortable. Better gearsets etc do make a real difference, if you can afford them.

But if you're commuting more over rougher roads, maybe a hybrid/commuter woudl be worth looking at.

Most brands are launching their 2011 ranges, so you should be able to do a great deal on a 2010 at a bike shop. Whether you can get a $1k bike for $600 you'd have to see, but my experience has been that my $1k bike is much better for what I want than my $700 bike was.

Also, as with any sport, specialist stores know theirr stuff, and can guide you on the gear that best suits your needs. Think about what you really want to do, talk to a specialist, and then go from there.

[Edited 2010-08-16 22:42:52]
 
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fxramper
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:40 pm

Cannondale makes awesome road bikes. Get a Cannondale or equal in that series. Their cyclocross product is tops in the business for the price you pay. You can get one loaded with upgrades for under $2,000. A Cannondale hybrid has a road bike look and setup but you can buy an additional set up wheels and throw some tubeless mountain bike tires on them if you every wanted to go off road.

Quoting waterpolodan (Thread starter):
I'm also not adverse to buying a used bike, I'd probably prefer that to save money, so if anyone has had a good experience or a horror story getting a used road bike I'd like to hear about it

Just take the bike to your local shop before buying one. Craigslist has awesome deals. I got a 2008 frame Rocky Mountain Slayer ($3600 bike) for $1800 on the site. The guy had used some tired cleaner and ruined the brake pads (disc) but he knocked off $40 so I could get them replaced. A guru at a bike shop will be able to tell you if the frame is bent or been welded.

Trek is also a very popular and reputable brand for a road bike. You could get a nice set up for $1,200 new with Trek. I own 2 mountain bikes and 2 road bikes if you got more questions let me know if I can help. I'm not expert, but Austin, Texas is huge for cycling and I've got a lot of friends on my cycling team that know a lot more than I do.

Let us know what you buy!   
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:41 pm

Quoting waterpolodan (Thread starter):
assume I'm a beginner and don't worry about every component being the best thing for a race or whatever.

Just because you're a beginner doesn't mean you shouldn't value things like comfort, durability, and surefooted handling.

Quoting waterpolodan (Thread starter):
I'm not really sure what type of bike I'm looking for... I'm probably going for a road bike, as my main use would be riding to work (about 4 miles on smooth pavement) and riding around Miami on the weekends for exercise.

The first decision to make is whether you'd like a "hybrid" or a true road bike.

Hybrids come in many variations but essentially, a hybrid is a bike with a flat, mountain-bike style handlebar, and relatively upright riding position. They have tires that roll smoothly, and are larger than those on a road bike, yet narrower than those on a mountain bike.

The best hybrids (in my opinion) are the Trek "FX" bikes. They start at $439. These bikes are designed for pavement riding. Compared to a true road bike, they are a bit heavier and have fewer hand positions. They are overall less efficient than road bikes, but they are still very impressive....when you stop pedaling to coast, they roll for quite a long distance. They are lighter than most hybrids, and they are very efficient. People use them for commuting, fitness riding, and even some longer-distance touring.

A true road bike will start out at around $700. For the premium over a hybrid, you'll have many hand positions that you can rotate through on longer rides. You'll have nice integrated brake/shift levers. You'll have more precise and comfortable sizing (more on that later). And you'll have a bike that goes further and faster for the same effort. Road bikes also generally have higher-level (lighter, more precise, more durable) components than hybrids.

After you decide what style of bike to get, focus primarily on fit and positioning. The bike should be fit specifically to you. A good shop will find your frame size and will then swap the handlebar and/or stem to further perfect the fit.

When you find your specific fit (which will vary greatly among brands...a 58cm in one brand does not necessarily equate to a 58cm in another brand), don't worry too much about components. If you're after an entry-level bike, just get the best bike you can afford from a good, proven manufacturer like Trek and leave some room in the budget for some necessary accessories (more on that later).

Higher-level components, wheels, etc will make your bike lighter, more precise, and more durable, but proper fit and positioning is about 8000 times more important. You can always upgrade parts in the future if you'd like, but you can't easily upgrade a poorly-fitting frame.

Quoting waterpolodan (Thread starter):
I'm also not adverse to buying a used bike, I'd probably prefer that to save money

Remember, the single most important aspect of buying a bike is FIT. Fit is critical. Just one or two centimeters off in length can result in very uncomfortable, painful rides. Even for beginners.

The odds of finding a bike that fits you well on the used market is extremely slim...particularly with regard to road bikes. Road bikes are usually offered in many more size options than hybrids or mountain bikes, so it's especially important to be properly fitted by a professional.

So if you value comfort, and if you value stable, surefooted handling, buy a bike from a professional bike shop with people who are trained in bike fitting. Yes, it will hurt to spend an extra $100-200 over a comparable used bike, but in the year 2015, when you're out on a 30-mile ride, you'll have long forgotten about the money and you will have been happy and comfortable on your years of memorable rides.

Quoting waterpolodan (Thread starter):
I used a "frame size calculator" and it told me between 60 and 63 cm is my range

Ignore any such "frame size calculators". They are 100% worthless. Go get fit by a shop with knowledgeable professionals.   

---------------------------------

Finally, remember to leave a bit of room in the budget for some necessary gear. If you buy nothing else, buy the following:

HYDRATION
- Either a water bottle or a hydration pack. A hydration pack is cool because you can fill it with ice and also carry a spare tube/chain tool.

INFLATION
- All bike tires naturally lose air over time. A high-pressure road tire will lose close to 50% of its pressure in a week or so. You’ll need a “floor pump” to top your tires off at home. If you have an air compressor, that’s fine...just make sure it inflates to a high-enough pressure, and be sure to check your tire pressure about twice a week or so.
- If you want to be self-sufficient out on rides, buy a “flat pack”, consisting of a small mini-pump, spare tube, patch kit, tire levers, and multi tool.

PROTECTION
- Helmet
- Gloves (hand protection is important...not just for comfort, but also for when you fall and put your hands out to cushion the impact)
- Padded shorts (baggy or loose)
- Good eye protection – Tifosi glasses are nice...about 90% of the performance of Oakley at 30% of the cost. Remember, you only have one set of eyes, and a tiny piece of gravel can become a destructive little bullet when flung up from a passing car.

Finally, I recommend a dedicated jersey. It took me YEARS to try one...I always thought t-shirts worked fine. But then I gave a jersey a shot and they are great. They really keep you cool and dry. And cycling-specific ones are cut to be comfy in a cycling position. Never again will I deal with a soggy cotton t-shirt that rides up in back and balloons out up front.

As you get used to your bike, consider getting clipless pedals and shoes. Clipless pedals are pedals that allow you snap in and pop out, similar to ski bindings. They are widely considered to be the single greatest upgrade you can make to your bike. Plan on spending around $90 for shoes and $70 for pedals.



And, in case you've forgotten.....

FIT, FIT, FIT! Fit is everything!
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Aesma
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 10:48 pm

Can you park a bike safely at work (and home) ?
New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
 
tommy767
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:12 pm

I live in LA and road bike for fun. I'm pretty much set on Bianchi as they make an incredibly light steel frame with great components. Last week my Bianchi Limited 022 (Maroon, Japanese built, mid 1980s) got jacked from outside my apartment while locked up at night. I was immediately set on buying another one. I got my limited off craigslist in Orange County for $220 in 2006. Keep in mind this was before the big road bike craze. I loved that bike with a passion.

Last Sunday I found a Bianchi Celeste road like (mid 1980s, Italian made) which, arguably is better as this one has a rarer paint scheme, was actually made in Italy, and the components are Shimano one of the best component brands.) I got it for $300 off craigslist in West LA, which apparently is an incredible deal. I later found out that bike could have easily sold for $400-500. It's currently in the shop for a tune up which will cost me $82.

You can't beat triple branded, reenforced, Italian steel for a road bike which Bianchi makes. I won't do aluminum for road bike, however back in Jersey I have a 1999 Trek 1600 mountain bike which is great bike as well.

There other great brands out there but I highly recommend to you a Bianchi. And buy used, don't buy a brand new one!
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 12:32 am

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 7):
I got my limited off craigslist in Orange County for $220 in 2006. Keep in mind this was before the big road bike craze.

The "big road bike craze" started well before 2006. Road bike sales really started to increase around 2002. Since 2006, sales have been relatively flat.

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 7):
You can't beat triple branded, reenforced, Italian steel for a road bike

There is no "best" material. Only materials with characteristics that match each person's individual tastes.

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 7):
And buy used, don't buy a brand new one!

Used can work well. But the likelihood of finding a good used bike that is a good fit is very slim, especially for someone just starting out, with little knowledge of bicycle fitting. For someone just getting into it, a new bike from a good shop will come with a proper fit and good education to get him started off on the right foot. All too often, the $100-200 saved on a used bike is far outweighed by the frustrating lessons learned.
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waterpolodan
Topic Author
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:32 am

Thank you for the responses, guys, I'm getting pretty excited about finding a bike for myself and getting out there. It's also a chance for me to join a club or group and do some rides and make new friends, which can sometimes be a challenge in this city if you don't own a Maserati convertible.

Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):
Can you park a bike safely at work (and home) ?

I can, I'll just keep it in my apartment and it's safe at work as well. I had 2 beater bikes stolen while in college off of crowded bike racks because I forgot to use the lock, so I've learned my lesson.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 5):

Very good information, that's exactly what I was looking for, I found a road bike-specific forum and every person giving advice to newbies there mentioned the all-important first fitting, so I guess I can't skimp on that if I actually want to enjoy riding.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 8):
All too often, the $100-200 saved on a used bike is far outweighed by the frustrating lessons learned.

Maybe so, but some of the bikes I've seen on craigslist would represent savings of much more than $200 compared to what I'd be paying for a similar bike in a new condition... Like you said, you get what you pay for, so if I see a bike that is too good to be true on craigslist I'll go check it out in person and give it a spin around the block after having a sizing done at a bike shop before I hand over any cash...
 
ajd1992
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:59 am

I'm actually glad this came up as I've got a bike and I want to get into riding it. Not to hijack the thread, but what's the best way of building up my stamina? I want to eventually do some long distance riding for charity and at the moment I'm about 14lbs over weight and very, very unfit. I'm 5'10 and 185lbs (14st) and I'd like to be around 175 but muscle rather than 100% fat.
 
johns624
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:40 am

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 7):
I live in LA and road bike for fun. I'm pretty much set on Bianchi as they make an incredibly light steel frame with great components.

Bianchi currently makes very, very few steel bikes. They, along with almost everyone else, is into carbon fibre and aluminum.
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:48 pm

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 10):

Finally, I recommend a dedicated jersey

I would add one more final recommendation: If you plan to bike for fun and/or to commute do your prostate a favor (and the rest of your "equipment" in that part of the body as well) and buy a special saddle, designed for males which allows proper blood circulation while sitting on a bike.

Specialized BG Sonoma



Selle SMP Strike TRK

Quoting waterpolodan (Thread starter):
I used a "frame size calculator" and it told me between 60 and 63 cm is my range, but if someone here is my height and is much more comfortable on a 58 cm that'd be interesting,,,

I would recommend you to pay a visit to specialized biking store and let them help you. The staff often bike themselves and if they are reasonable they won't be too pushy and making ridiculous claims like "buying anything below $XXXX is a waste of money" meaning other than high-end models.
Online calculators etc. are fine, but in reality quite useless as nothing compares to actually trying several bikes and you will see yourself how each frame "feels" differently. As with jeans, each manufacturer has a slightly different idea what e.g. 19" frame looks like in reality.
I don't know how it works in the US, but the specialty stores here are usually willing to "trade-in" original components of the bike if you want for example different tires, saddle (see above), handlebars, etc. and offer free service after riding couple hundred km/mi after all those new components get slightly worn and everything finally "settles down".
 
tommy767
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 8:41 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 8):
All too often, the $100-200 saved on a used bike is far outweighed by the frustrating lessons learned.

Used road bikes with a good tune up would be cheaper than going to a bike shop, getting ripped off, and then a some point you'll have to bring it for some sort of repair. Brand new road bikes can cost upwards of 1G -- That's ridiculous.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 8):
There is no "best" material. Only materials with characteristics that match each person's individual tastes.

Right but there are some people who ride "fixies" who have a lack of personal taste for the get go.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 8):
The "big road bike craze" started well before 2006. Road bike sales really started to increase around 2002. Since 2006, sales have been relatively flat.

I meant the "craigslist" used road bike craze which started within the last few years in large metro areas like LA.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
waterpolodan
Topic Author
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:38 pm

I've yet to go get a fitting, but my brother is friends with the owner of a local bike shop so I think I'll head over there after work tomorrow to get sized up... If it turns out I can be comfortable on a 58cm frame, I might seriously consider this, if I can get him to knock $150 off the price-
http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/bik/1905385487.html
It looks like a nice bike, not a name brand frame but the components seem to be top of the line (ultegra gear and such), and it's very close to me so I can check it out in person and ride it around the block to make sure it doesn't have any massive faults... Is this a good bike for the money? Keep in mind he's asking $800 but I'll make it very clear that I won't be willing to pay more than $650-$700, because I still have to go out and buy the accessories mentioned in 2H4's post...
 
johns624
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:59 pm

Quoting waterpolodan (Reply 14):
It looks like a nice bike, not a name brand frame

Maybe you need to do a little more research. Dean is one of the best regarded of the small "boutique" custom titanium makers.
I'd take that over any of the name brand factory bikes. If you go in there insulting his bike, he might just knock you on your keister.
Other great small brands to look out for include Serotta, Merlin and Moots (among many more).
 
waterpolodan
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:08 pm

Quoting johns624 (Reply 15):
I'd take that over any of the name brand factory bikes. If you go in there insulting his bike, he might just knock you on your keister.

Good to hear that the brand has a nice rep, but I'd never go in there throwing insults, I know that I know next to nothing about road bikes so I defer to anyone that's owned one for a while and put in the time and research to buy a nice one like that. I only meant that it isn't a name brand as in I don't recognize it, not a bad thing or particularly surprising, I only know the big manufacturers like Trek, Cannondale, ect. I sent him an email asking if he's had any takers at $800 and if he'd be willing to part with it for $150 less if I come by, try it out, and take it for cash in the next couple days. I hope he has a bill to pay on Friday so he'd be willing to let it go soon for less!
 
johns624
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:18 pm

First of all, just asking him to come down that much is an insult. Secondly, don't get all hung up on brand names. All the big makers make both great bikes and junk. Just like Mercedes makes S-class and the Smartcar. Look at the components. They are just as important as the frame. Ultegra is Shimano's second best component group. The only ones better are DuraAce and Campy's Record and Chorus.
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:03 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 13):

Used road bikes with a good tune up would be cheaper than going to a bike shop, getting ripped off, and then a some point you'll have to bring it for some sort of repair. Brand new road bikes can cost upwards of 1G -- That's ridiculous.

My point stands. The likelihood of him finding a good used road bike that fits properly and puts him in a position that is optimized for his style of riding is extremely slim. The vast, vast majority of the time, people who are get their very first road bike from Craigslist or some other second-hand source end up with a bike that does not fit properly.

And although brand new road bikes can cost upwards of 1G, you can find good starter bikes from Trek (for example) that retail for $629-$689, depending on what MSRP level the dealer in question decides to sell it for.

It is entirely possible to get a good-quality beginner road bike for under $700 from several reputable brands.

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 13):
Right but there are some people who ride "fixies" who have a lack of personal taste for the get go.

I'm not sure how that's relevant here, but still...there is no "best" material. Only materials with characteristics that match each person's individual tastes.

Quoting johns624 (Reply 17):
Look at the components. They are just as important as the frame.

I respectfully disagree here. Although the parts (and wheels, especially) are indeed important, the frame is usually the most important piece of the bike. So since it would be most expensive to replace the frame, and because the frame defines the fit and handling, it has been my experience that the frame is indeed the most important part of the equation.   
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iakobos
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:13 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 12):
I would add one more final recommendation: If you plan to bike for fun and/or to commute do your prostate a favor (and the rest of your "equipment" in that part of the body as well) and buy a special saddle, designed for males which allows proper blood circulation while sitting on a bike.

Could you post some pics of saddles made for ladies, please !
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:18 pm

Quoting iakobos (Reply 19):
Could you post some pics of saddles made for ladies, please !

They look very, very similar. Just shorter in length and wider in width.
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canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:19 pm

Quoting johns624 (Reply 2):
Get Shimano 105 components.

Not really necessary. I'm a 5,000 mile a year, 4 season bike commuter and Deore has worked just fine. The Ultegra rear derailleur I put on broke after 3 months and I put the original Deore back on. It has well over 10k miles on it.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 5):
The first decision to make is whether you'd like a "hybrid" or a true road bike.

I think there's even more options. Many first time bike commuters purchase a mountain bike to commute because they figure they need a stronger frame and shocks to deal with the urban environment. I made that mistake myself when I started riding regularly. After a year I sold my Diamondback and bought a cyclocross bike. Which, technically is a "hybrid" bike because it's right in the middle of a road and mountain frame, but it has drop bars, smaller tubing than a mountain bike, and better gearing for hills than a road bike.

You may have already purchased a bike, but here's what I ride here in the Pacific Northwest.
http://surlybikes.com/bikes/cross_check_complete/

I couldn't recommend a cross bike more. In that price range there are a number of really good steel frame bikes. If you think you'll be riding it regularly I always suggest not getting an entry level bike and paying a little more for something that #1 will last and #2 you won't have to replace later if you decide you want a better bike.

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 5):
Finally, remember to leave a bit of room in the budget for some necessary gear.

Absolutely. Decide if you need fenders, a rear rack, panniers, blinkies, bike helmet, etc. Best of luck.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
johns624
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:37 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 21):
The Ultegra rear derailleur I put on broke after 3 months and I put the original Deore back on. It has well over 10k miles on it.

Deore is to offroad as Ultegra is to road. If you're Ultegra broke, something was wrong with it. They are good for many thousands of miles.
 
waterpolodan
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:53 am

Quoting johns624 (Reply 17):
First of all, just asking him to come down that much is an insult.

Well, he wasn't insulted but he did respond by saying that $800 is already a heavily discounted price, so he won't go lower than that. I could probably stretch and get it if it were on ebay or something where I could use a credit card and pay later, but I can't scratch that cash together at the moment thanks to my car eating up all my savings so I had to pass  .

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 21):
Which, technically is a "hybrid" bike because it's right in the middle of a road and mountain frame, but it has drop bars, smaller tubing than a mountain bike, and better gearing for hills than a road bike.

A hybrid has some appeal, but I figure that I might as well go for a full on road bike because Miami, especially in my area, has absolutely no hills, and all the roads I'd be riding on are smoothly paved. Also, my friends are trying to talk me into training for a triathalon with them, so having a full road bike rather than a hybrid would be useful if I'm going to be doing some semi-competitive riding at some point with it.
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:32 am

Quoting johns624 (Reply 22):
Deore is to offroad as Ultegra is to road.

Deore XT would be equal to Ultegra but not Deore. My point is that the vast majority of people who ride bikes will never know the difference between a middle of the road bike component or a high end. Given the rate at which they wear out the only benefit is weight and if you're not biking 20+ miles a day there's little benefit to saving a few ounces, but paying a significantly higher price for your bike and/or replacement parts.

Quoting waterpolodan (Reply 23):
A hybrid has some appeal, but I figure that I might as well go for a full on road bike because Miami, especially in my area, has absolutely no hills, and all the roads I'd be riding on are smoothly paved.

The big difference between a cyclocross bike and a road bike is gearing. Given where you think you'll be riding here's a suggestion:
http://surlybikes.com/bikes/pacer_complete/

In the end, buy a bike that's good for the main purpose you think you'll use it for. If it's commuting buy it for that, you can still use just about any road bike for a triathlon. I road my cyclocross bike in the Seattle to Portland Classic this year and had no problem at all.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
johns624
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:20 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 24):
Deore XT would be equal to Ultegra but not Deore. My point is that the vast majority of people who ride bikes will never know the difference between a middle of the road bike component or a high end.

And my whole point, if you read my original reply, was to get 105, which is one step below Ultegra. 105 IS middele of the road.
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:49 am

Quoting waterpolodan (Reply 23):
Also, my friends are trying to talk me into training for a triathalon with them, so having a full road bike rather than a hybrid would be useful if I'm going to be doing some semi-competitive riding at some point with it.

This is important. If you're able to ride, train, and race with friends, you could be in for a very good time indeed. It could turn into a social hobby as much as a sport.

Also, listen to canoecarrier. He knows what he's talking about. He's very sensible. And he has very good taste in bikes.
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canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:04 am

Quoting johns624 (Reply 25):
And my whole point, if you read my original reply, was to get 105, which is one step below Ultegra. 105 IS middele of the road.

I would argue that Tiagra is, but lets not hijack the thread. Feel free to buy an Ultegra rear cassette that will last 3K miles for 3-4 times the amount of a SRAM or Tiagra component that performs the exact same function and lasts just as long.

My point is that you can get a very competent bike in the 800-1100 dollar range without having to worry about durability even if it has less than 105 components. Hell, I've ridden over 15K miles on my Surly purchased for under $1100 and it has an original Andel crankset, Sora front derailller and Deore rear derailler. If I was spending my own money on an everyday commuter it would be on a good steel frame. A number of great bikes would suit you well: Trek Portland, Soma Doublecross, Salsa Casserole, and even the Cannondale Cyclocross 6 ($1099), which by the way has Sora and Tiagra components. A very good bike for what our thread starter is looking for, my guess is he would finish with about the same time in a triathlon with that bike even when compared to a road bike.
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tommy767
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:09 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 18):
The vast, vast majority of the time, people who are get their very first road bike from Craigslist or some other second-hand source end up with a bike that does not fit properly.

I got my first road bike on craigslist and I'm certainly not the only one either. All you have to do is go to a shop and have them tailor the bike around you and your height measurements. It's not very hard all, but it just takes some effort. My friend saved up a whole summer to get brand new Cannondale road bike at a local bike shop. It cost something like 600-800 dollars. Not only did he get ripped off, he hardly ever rides anymore. It was just a phase.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:17 am

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 28):
All you have to do is go to a shop and have them tailor the bike around you and your height measurements.

It can be that easy, but in my experience (nearly 15 years of operating shops and working in the industry), it's usually not. What I mean is, you can modify a frame's fit, but only to a point.

For example, you can install a 400mm seatpost and 150mm stem on a frame that's too small, and get the saddle and handlebar in the right positions relative to the pedals, but the bike will handle miserably.

Used bikes can be a good option, but again...in my experience, the majority of beginners who buy used their first time agree that they would have been better off getting an entry-level new road bike with perfect fit and positioning.

After a few years on a new bike, the couple/few hundred bucks is long forgotten. After a few years on a used bike that doesn't fit so well, the pains and cramps are there for each and every ride.
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canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:21 am

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 28):
I got my first road bike on craigslist and I'm certainly not the only one either. All you have to do is go to a shop and have them tailor the bike around you and your height measurements

Most cities have a local bike club, and most bike clubs have forums that you can use to find a good local bike store (LBS) to help you with this task. Any idiot can go to a REI, Performance Bikes, or big bike store and buy a bike. My experience has always been better finding a good LBS off a bike club forum and having them help you. I've taken a number of bike maintenance classes at mine, developed a relationship with the mechanics and always leave satisfied whether they are truing a wheel or doing major reconstructive surgery on my bike. A good LBS will direct you to the right bike and fit for you.
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2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:24 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 30):
A good LBS will direct you to the right bike and fit for you.

      

Indeed. Support a good local shop, and that will help to keep them in business so they can support you when you need them.   
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Kent350787
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:03 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 30):
A good LBS will direct you to the right bike and fit for you.

Agreed entirely!!!
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:48 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 18):
I respectfully disagree here.

I respectfully disagree here . I'm an April-October biker (the weather is too crap for my lazy ass for the rest of the year) with about 4000 km/year and if anything ruins my trip it's always the moving parts. I basically stopped paying attention to the frame when I found one that I liked.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 21):
Not really necessary. I'm a 5,000 mile a year, 4 season bike commuter and Deore has worked just fine.

   Deore/Deore XL/Deore XT provide really good value for money, imho, and it's more important to have the components properly aligned than going for the top-notch stuff (or have someone who can do it for you for a reasonable price) which I doubt most casual bikers will evem be able to fully utilize its advantages. I have to rely on the latter when it comes to servicing my bike since my manual skills maxed with learning how to tie my shoelaces...  
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:45 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 26):
Also, listen to canoecarrier. He knows what he's talking about. He's very sensible. And he has very good taste in bikes.

Good to see another Surly fan in the forum   They make fantastic bikes.
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canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:38 pm

Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 13):
Used road bikes with a good tune up would be cheaper than going to a bike shop, getting ripped off, and then a some point you'll have to bring it for some sort of repair. Brand new road bikes can cost upwards of 1G -- That's ridiculous.

It really depends on how much you ride your bike. Since unlike a car you don't have to put gas in it any mile you bike rather than drive helps offset the purchase price. I figured it out one time that biking to work saves me around 40-50 cents a mile over the cost of driving. A guy in my office has had his bike for around 10 years. He figures it costs him less than a penny a mile to ride. Personally, I enjoy not getting stuck in traffic and spend the hour and a half a day on my bike decompressing from office work.
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waterpolodan
Topic Author
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:17 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 35):
It really depends on how much you ride your bike. Since unlike a car you don't have to put gas in it any mile you bike rather than drive helps offset the purchase price.

This is a big factor, especially considering my car might well have coughed and died for the final time on the way home from work tonight, so a bike is suddenly not just a nice thing to have, it's a necessity. I stopped by a couple of bike shops earlier today to see what they had on offer... One shop had a used 5 year old Trek with all new components for sale, 58cm and the previous owner was my height and build so it should fit, the guy said he'd sell it for $600 which I think is a terrific deal. I said I'd call him back this weekend. I went by another and the "cheapest" new bike they had was an $800 Giant, which looked and felt great, but in all honesty I'd rather use the extra 200 to buy accessories that I'll need anyway. I'll let you guys know what it's going to be, I should have something by the end of the weekend if everything works out and I can ride to work on Monday! ("Hey Dan! Nice bike! Where's your car?" "Dead permanently!"... That'll be bittersweet).
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:04 am

Quoting waterpolodan (Reply 36):
This is a big factor, especially considering my car might well have coughed and died for the final time on the way home from work tonight, so a bike is suddenly not just a nice thing to have, it's a necessity.

Granted I live in a much more bike friendly city (Seattle) then you do, but it is entirely possible to do a majority of your travel by bike. I do own a car, like most bicycle owners/commuters, but since a majority of most peoples driving is commuting to work if you can do that by bike you dramatically reduce the amount of money you spend on gas.

To put it in perspective, I drive my car almost exclusively on weekends now. I bike to work and stop at the local grocery store if I need something on the way home. I went from driving something like 15K miles a year on my car to less than 2K miles. Granted some of that is in my wife's car during vacations and skiing during the winter, but I now buy a tank of gas about every 2 months. I'm not like everyone, I have a feeling that 2H4 is a little like me and has made cycling much more than a recreational sport. It's more of a lifestyle.

I hope you find what you're looking for in a bike, and hopefully you'll find what I and many others did that cycling can be fun, relaxing, a great social atmosphere and save a lot of money.
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2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:53 am

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 33):
I basically stopped paying attention to the frame when I found one that I liked.

It's easy to stop paying attention to something when it's functioning so well. It sounds like you successfully got what I consider to be the most important part (frame) out of the way. After all, the best mechanical parts are those which work so well they go unnoticed, and allow the user to focus on other things.

Now, had you wound up with a poorly-fitting frame, or one that is extremely flexy, or one that breaks from time to time, I bet you'd re-prioritize your 'most important parts' list.   

If your moving parts are ruining your trips, I suggest taking some repair classes and carrying a few tools. With the right tool and some know-how, moving parts can be fixed and tuned up. Unless you carry welding equipment, however, frames and forks generally cannot. Another testament to their importance.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 37):
since a majority of most peoples driving is commuting to work if you can do that by bike you dramatically reduce the amount of money you spend on gas.

...and you become healthier and have a heck of a lot more energy throughout the day! The only downside I've found is the (sometimes greatly) increased appetite.   

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 37):
I went from driving something like 15K miles a year on my car to less than 2K miles.

I'm something of a motorhead (love my German car and Italian motorcycle), but I love hearing this kind of stuff. Well done, sir!

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 37):
I have a feeling that 2H4 is a little like me and has made cycling much more than a recreational sport. It's more of a lifestyle.

Ha, you could certainly say that about me!
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canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:34 am

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 38):
It's easy to stop paying attention to something when it's functioning so well. It sounds like you successfully got what I consider to be the most important part (frame) out of the way.

So true. Bike manufacturers try to hit a 600-1000 dollar price point by either loading up an aluminum bike frame with high end components or building a steel or composite frame and putting middle of the road components on them. In my opinion aluminum bike frames are horrible for everyday use. They may be light but bend easy. I chose steel because carbon fibre fails catastrophically and aluminum wouldn't handle the every day potholes and urban streets. You can bend back a steel rear wheel support but carbon fibre frames are molded as a whole. If one part fails the entire frame is trash. Same with aluminum.

To put it in perspective, I got hit by a car 2 years ago on my steel frame bike. I have no doubt I would have been looking for a new carbon bike, but my steel frame bike only had a bent derrailler hanger. A derrailer hanger that would have ment buying a new carbon bike frame.
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MasterBean
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:18 pm

I've got a Kona Dew with some pannier bags on the back, does perfectly well and got me from my home to London, 90 or so miles so I suppose I'd recommend it. I've put some upright bars on it to aid comfort and help me up the hills. It cost £320 brand new without the bags.

So you should buy a hybrid, second hand is good since bike prices drop like a stone, that said if you're gunna keep your bike for a while it doesn't matter.
 
lszb
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:35 pm

http://www.bmc-racing.com/ch-de/bikes/mountainroad.html

those are awesome bikes.

My own commuting bike is a 2009 cannondale bad boy model with sram x7 components and disc brakes.
I bought it 3 month ago and i'm very pleased with it.
because it was in the showroom for a year i got a great deal on it. it's a wonderful bike and fast like hell.
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:40 pm

Quoting MasterBean (Reply 40):
I've put some upright bars on it to aid comfort and help me up the hills.
Quoting MasterBean (Reply 40):
So you should buy a hybrid

I think you're the first person I've encountered who finds a higher handlebar helpful in climbing. Everyone I've ever worked with prefers a lower handlebar for climbing, as such a position redistributes your weight over the pedals

As for positioning - first, determine your range of motion. This is determined by your flexibility and influenced by many factors, such as general level of fitness, past injuries, etc.

After you find your range of motion, base your position (higher versus lower handlebar) on the average level of exertion you foresee yourself using. In other words, if you suspect you'll do a lot of fast, strenuous riding, a lower handlebar (or road bike) will most likely be the right choice. If, on the other hand, you suspect you'll more often opt to ride in an easier, more relaxed manner, a higher handlebar (or hybrid) will most likely be the right choice.
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waterpolodan
Topic Author
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Sun Aug 22, 2010 10:15 pm

Little update for those that took an interest in my search- I looked around on ebay and found myself a used cannondale for a reasonable price. I wasn't sure it would fit so I didn't bid, but I noticed that it was in my area so I decided to email the guy and arrange to see it in person so I could avoid the shipping charge and the problem of buying a bike that doesn't fit. He was about my size so that was encouraging. After a spin around the block I bought it on the spot. It's an R300, which was the entry level bike about 10 years ago, so it's not new, but it's in perfect shape and the components have been replaced since new so I thought $300 was a great price. I took it to a bike mechanic friend and he tuned it and cleaned everything till it was shiny, so with the extra $300 I had saved for this I got myself a nice set of pedals and the appropriate shoes, a new helmet, a nicer seat, and some cushioned bike shorts and a shirt and I still had a little money left over. It's not going to win me any races but I just road it to my friend's place and back and I love it, it feels so much faster than any bike I've ever ridden before and the only downside is a rough ride over cracked pavement but I expected that with the tiny tires and stiff frame. Here's a pic-
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs374.snc4/45738_624183209709_2802703_36110834_2094241_n.jpg

Thanks again for the advice and opinions, guys, definitely made my search much more informed. My roommate is about to pull the trigger on a new ultegra equipped bike out of jealousy of mine, so I guess I'll be able to ride one with nicer stuff and see if the $1200 he's spending are four times as nice as what I have  
 
2H4
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Mon Aug 23, 2010 3:59 pm

Wow, nice job! That will be a good, solid bike that will last many years. Yes, the frame has a harsh ride, but you'll have a great time with it. Great to hear you picked up some of the more important gear to go along with it.

One more tip - some of the nicer bike shops offer inexpensive repair classes that are very worthwhile. For the price of a movie ticket or two, you can learn how to become self-supporting out on the road. Instead of having to call for help when a mechanical issue occurs, you'll be able to fix a broken chain, a flat tire, or poorly-shifting derailleur and get home.

Have fun out there!
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canoecarrier
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RE: Want To Get A Bike... Suggestions?

Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:44 pm

Quoting waterpolodan (Reply 43):
It's not going to win me any races but I just road it to my friend's place and back and I love it, it feels so much faster than any bike I've ever ridden before and the only downside is a rough ride over cracked pavement but I expected that with the tiny tires and stiff frame.

Check with your LBS and see if you can put some slightly larger tires on. Tires falling into a crack in the road and weather veining is a big reason for crashes. I run 28s on mine and rarely have any trouble at all. You can't tell a difference in speed as far as I'm concerned between them and smaller tires when you're bike commuting. Tires generally are cheep.

Congrats on your new/new to you bike. Feel free to ask again if for some reason you run into a maintenance issue you want to fix yourself or if you ever want to buy another. I, like most, have been there before and will try to save you the embarrassment of walking into your LBS with a half disassembled rear cassette that I just knew I could fix myself, or not  
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