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Recommendations for new road biker?(6 posts)

Recommendations for new road biker?Preston
Apr 8, 2001 5:21 PM
Hi folks,

My girlfriend has gotten pretty heavily involved in road biking and coming from a mountain biking background it seems appealing. I tried it out this weekend on a borrowed bike and had a great time.

What are the recommendations (brand, models, etc). for a good solid road bike (not necessarily the hottest thing on the road)? I'm looking to keep it under $1,000 so used is probably my best option.

Second, what are the important things to look for when purchasing a used bike.

I live right outside of Boston near one of the best bike shops around and they have given me some pointers but I am wondering what you guys would recommend.

Thanks,
Preston
Used is probably a great option. I can't say I've ever donebill
Apr 9, 2001 7:13 AM
it myself, but I know some people who've SOLD pretty hot bikes (with some outdated stuff, no doubt, but it all worked) for less than $1,000.
The more you get into it, the more you will be sucked into spending more and upgrades and such. So, when buying, I think that the choices begin with whether you are going to go for the most bang for the buck all around or go for the best frame you can get, realizing that you are going to upgrade this and that.
As you will know from reading for ten minutes anything on bike selection, including this board, fit is obviously the most important consideration and is more important on a road bike than on a mountain bike. Lots of repititive motion in one position on a road bike as compared to MTB. Also, lots of help on sizing all around; focus on it, and figure out a little bit about what size(s) will work for you. Even then, if you think that you've selected something, be aware that nominal sizes can mean different standover height and top-tube length, etc. from different manufacturers. Check the dimensions.
Then you will want to focus on the frame itself. The world of used bikes under $1,000 is huge. Too many choices to make any sort of generalizations. Just from my perception, you can get something pretty cool that someone just no longer has much use for because they've bought a new dream machine or whatever.
Then you need to look at the components. Seatposts, stems, skewers, and bars matter almost not at all but for some minor weight differences and, although they can be quite expensive, are no reason to buy a bike. The seat you'll probably end up changing anyway.
Which leaves wheels, forks (and headsets), and drivetrain. Lots of choices here, too. The most bang for road bike buck is in the wheels. Next is probably fork. Carbon is great for smoothing out the road, but steel is still around, and some manu's, like Waterford, prefer steel. It's all about feel. Different rakes are going to feel more different than different materials. Even though you don't really steer a road bike the way that you do a MTB, the differences can be surprisingly dramatic. Headset is overlooked, but a bad, grindy one has to be fixed eventually. Hate that.
Lots of good component groups. Go for 105 or above Shimano or Daytona or above Campy and you have something really pretty good. The differences above those groups are in finish and weight mostly; maybe to some extent durability and smoothness, but you pay much for the privilege. Drivetrains probably change more than anything else over time, so consider whether you think that you're going to want to spend $500-$1000 (or more) on an upgrade eventually. If not, go for the best now. If you will, hit a minimum quality and realize that you're going to spend the cash in a couple of years.
ConcurLazy
Apr 9, 2001 7:35 AM
Depending on your budget and how much of a cyclist you already are (or are sure you will be) a professional fitting might be a worthy investment. It usually costs around $100, and assuming you're a full grown adult type, you only need to do it once.

Also, remember to budget for all the extras you'll need like shoes and pedals, unless you plan to change stuff back and forth from your MTB.

And another thing, IMHO, you shouldn't get too caught up in the brand of frame you're gonna get. Most frames at a similar price point will offer similar performance. This is not a 100% true fact, but will hold true most of the time.

What bill said above about upgrading everything in sight is pretty true. I'm not sure how prevalent this disease is in the MTB world, but it's an absolute epidemic among roadies. You'll feel the undeniable urge to replace a perfectly good part sometime within a year of purchase. There is no known cure for this. Soooo...if it were me, I'd get the best frame possible because I'd be succumbing to the disease soon anyhow. (admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Now, where's that catalogue?)

Good luck and let us know how it goes.
Bill's way pickier than I am; I've had good luck usedRetro
Apr 9, 2001 7:41 AM
Just got a new Atlantis, but it was my first NEW new bike in 10 or 12 years. Even in a city of 100,000 people, and needing a 64cm frame, I've always been able to find what I wanted in a few weeks by reading the newspaper classified ads (you'd probably do better online, but I don't have much experience buying bikes that way).
The market for road bikes is coming back where I live, but until recently nobody wanted anything but mountain bikes, so used roadies were really cheap. Couple of years ago I got a two-year-old Allez, barely ridden, for just under a third of the new price, because the guy was tired of it.
I'm more comfortable seeing the bike in person than using, say, e-bay, but you don't have to be Lance to check a bike over pretty thoroughly in just a couple of minutes.
One thing NOT to worry about with a 1-, 2-, 3-year-old bike is that the components are "outdated." Most of the year-to-year changes, especially from Shimano, aren't improvements in any significant way--it's just marketing hype. Ride the bike; check it over, and if you like it, buy it.
re: Recommendations for new road biker?Erey
Apr 9, 2001 1:11 PM
Hey,
It's funny you say this because I had the exact same thing happen to me last summer. I actually am a student in Boston, and my girlfriend got really into road riding and being from a fairly wealthy family her father picked her our a Trek 5200, I borrowed a friend of my fathers bike and tried it and fell in love with it. Unlike her I had to find a bike on my own time and money, so the hunt began.I ended up looking everywhere for something under a grand and found a 99 Lemond Buenos Aires for 600$ with less than 500miles on it. I definitely recomend it because for a rider just starting out, though I had experience off road, I didn't need anything better. Plus once you get it started you can upgrade parts left and right. Anyways, find a decent quality used bike, one from a good owner, and go from there. Its definitely worth it.
re: Recommendations for new road biker?Bart
Apr 10, 2001 10:03 AM
Check the reviews on this site to get a feel for pricing and how well riders like a particular bike. You can then narrow your choice to two or three models and look for them used on this site or ebay. Often you will wind up paying half of list price for a bike in almost new condition.

IMHO, fit is the first thing to consider. Nothing good about a great bike that is uncomfortable to ride. In addition, stay away from low end componants. Mid range componants (e.g. Shimano 105)cost much less than high end, but are fine for most riders.