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Decisions, decisions...(30 posts)

Decisions, decisions...Kristin
Apr 16, 2001 9:17 AM
I went down to CBike on Friday. Nice shop--as evidenced by a steady stream of shaved legs and only 2 frame options for me. I spoke with Ben--who was awesome. He didn't think I needed the complete Serota fit, but he setup the serotta fit cycle to match the Bianchi and Lemond. Bianchi is out. The Lemond is acceptable, but just barely. The De Bernardi is a good fit.

I took the Alle (columbus steel) for a spin. Fast bike, but I was VERY aware of the road...every little nook and cranny. We chatted about changing the wheels to soften things, but how much will this do? I didn't ask about swapping the fork--I'm not sure that's even an option. Would this bike kill me on long rides?

After riding the Tourmelet again on Saturday I dropped it from my list. It's a suppler ride, but Ben made a good point. If I set it up with a shorter stem, I limit the amount of adjustments I can make later. Plus, I couldn't argue with my neck this morning--it has a long reach.

By the way, whats the differnce between Columbus Steel and 853?

Buying a bike is a lot like buying an evening gown. Must try on every gown in the city before going back to buy the first one you tried. For that reason, I am going to test ride a Jamis Quest tomorrow. I'll lose sleep if I don't!
You're amazing!Lazy
Apr 16, 2001 9:25 AM
I commend you on your patience. I'm sure it will pay off in the end.

If it were me, I'd be going nuts by now. How long have you been after a bike now? Seems like 2-3 months at least. Good luck and stay patient.
Have you tried compact geometries?boy nigel
Apr 16, 2001 10:26 AM

Forgive, but I haven't followed all of your threads from the beginning. Are you, like me, built "low to the ground"? Is standover clearance a problem? Do you want, specifically, a steel frame (vs. al/ti/carbon)? Do you have "unconventional" leg/torso/arm dimensions?

I ask since I was able to--on first try--find a great, comfortable fit with a Giant TCR (total compact road). I've sung their praises a lot here, and I feel them to be great bikes. The company also offers the less-expensive OCR (oversized compact road) line with solid components (albeit not high-end) at very reasonable prices. Just putting it out there for you. Alternately, many other companies are doing the compact thing with strong success; the frame concept offers many performance benefits besides realistic standover clearance for shorter riders (this just happens to be a nice fringe benefit). The frames tend to ride VERY nicely.

Best of luck with finding that perfect bike for you, and happy--and fast--riding.

Just Do It!Brian C.
Apr 16, 2001 10:50 AM
Before you know it, it will be fall. :-)
This is advancing beyond the range of normal behavior.Alex R
Apr 16, 2001 10:55 AM
Hey PsycDoc, what's the difference between obsessive and compulsive?
This is advancing beyond the range of normal behavior.john de
Apr 16, 2001 11:34 AM
i think obsessive is mental and compulsive is physical behavior.
Shut up, whore!Pimp
Apr 16, 2001 3:12 PM
what are you, a psychiatrist or psychologist or psychotherapist? Maybe you ought to change your screenname to dr. de?
re: Decisions, decisions...AJB
Apr 16, 2001 11:19 AM
Have you looked at a custom frame? At least go to and look at this builder. He is getting a lot of good reviews and has good prices. Have a buddy with one and he loves it. Good luck!
Apr 16, 2001 12:10 PM
I had to rule out a custom frame because of my budget ($1200--slowly increasing). I could go custom, buying the frame this year and the group next year, but that would be a bummer. Then again...I could jog around the loop carrying the frame! :)
Why are you so difficult to fit? Please explain.boy nigel
Apr 16, 2001 12:26 PM
Sure, fit is very important, but all of us have to be able to fit on SOME type of production frameset. There are "women's" bikes, compact ones, 650cc-wheel models, etc. Are you putting TOO much thought into fit? Having to wait an additional year seems kinda silly to me.

What's causing you to reconsider time and time again? I'm interested.
Why are you so difficult to fit? Please explain.Kristin
Apr 16, 2001 1:02 PM
lol... Yes, I'm putting too much into it. My confusion seems to stem from the sheer amount of information overload, and the pressure to make a good selection. Since I only get one shot at it. Everyone has an opinion and they all vary.

The first bike I've been on that seems to fit well is the DeBernardi, but I wasn't sure I enjoyed the ride. For the sake of statistics...I'm 5'6 w/a 82cm inseam, 57cm torso and 59 cm reach.

I was just kidding about the frame. Of course I'm not gonna wait a year...then again...the clock is ticking.
The tock sure is ticking.boy nigel
Apr 16, 2001 1:43 PM
You can always tweak your fitting with seat positioning and stem reach. Pick the one you like best, in the size that gives you proper clearance, and tailor it from there. Now get out there and RIDE the thing!!

i second the JUST DO ITjohn de
Apr 16, 2001 11:26 AM
i forget if you wrote in previous posts if you have strange dimensions or not..even if you do, and you are trying to find the "perfect fitted frame" there are other factors besides the frame that could be tainting your experiment including wheels (which you mention) probably know but bar reach and drop, stem length and angle...and the one i find the most important when enjoying a bike, a comfortable seat....tire pressure makes a huge you already have a seat in mind.......avoid the neck pain at all costs, a sore neck and ass are no fun..
i recommend the classifieds on this site, i shouldve bought mine through them.. carbon i have found to be the best ride of everything ive ever had,if youre concerned about comfort they are hands down the best.. the treks are kinda cheap too..ugly yes, but you can get the decals off with a bit of time...
get the recommended frame size, switch out the stem or bars if you feel EVEN SLIGHTY streached out...i recommend switching the bars to shorter reach instead of the stem, especially for womens shorter hands, Salsa poco is my favorite... can be completely comfortable and go for a good hundred miles and only be sore in the muscles if you pay attention to what your body it now..
you hore (sic)nm
Apr 16, 2001 12:01 PM
Apr 16, 2001 12:51 PM
grrr. this is my third time trying to post this!

I am gonna buy a bike--probably the DiBernardi even! But I have a couple questions about it. So, if anyone has answers.

Is this just a stiff/unforgiving bike by design? What will the affects of that be to my precious inards? Does one get used to such a ride? What can/should be done to create some shock-abs.?

Perfectionism is fine, to a pointBrian C.
Apr 16, 2001 1:11 PM
At the risk of being lambasted for giving you bad advice ...
The Colnago Master X-Light I recently bought is not a perfect fit, but I've learned to adapt to it in a few small ways. It's a 55cm - one centimetre too big - but after a couple of months of research and test driving, I went for it, figuring it would take too long to order another one with the paint job and set up like this one.
And, yes, after that first 85-mile, break-in ride, my lower back ached for a day. But it felt fine after after the second long ride. I think my body is adapting to the new ergonomics.
The LBS owner and I will fiddle with the neck a bit and I'm still trying to find the perfect seat position but, all in all, this imperfectly fitting bike makes me feel like a million bucks.
You too can - and will - adapt to your new DiBernardi. As for cushioning the ride, Robert Millar in the April edition of procycling, suggested Spinergy Spox wheels, along with 23-section 'tyres.'
You're buying a bike here, not a house.pmf
Apr 17, 2001 8:01 AM
It strikes me that you're analyzing this way too much. I don't spend this much time when I buy a car. I've got a friend that's just like you. She's been talking about buying a bike for over a year now. All bikes are going to treat your precious inards just fine. Get the DiBernardi. Its a steel bike (right?). It'll be great. No doubt you may end up changing the stem or getting a new saddle, but so what, those are minor expenses. You'll either love riding it, or give up on biking altogether and let it gather dust somewhere.

But first, you gotta sit on the pot if you want to take a sh!t.
Apr 17, 2001 8:43 PM
I too just bought a new bike and my day in and day out quest seems like an overnight at a bed and breakfast compared to your echo challenge.

First off - EVERYONES ASS HURTS. Your butt is going to get abused for a while until you build up some tolerance to it, in fact your ass, shoulders...most parts of your body not used to going over bumps in the road at 20mph on an 18lbs frame are gonna hurt a bit. Also, watch out because a lot of stock seats in your price range (same as my price range) really suck. I personaly like the Flite but it is small and unforgiving and not for everyone. Some people with back and ass problems I know use the Specialized Body breaks in to be very soft...too soft for my liking. Also the Terry seats are a good choice for the ladies out there. Your seat will make a pretty big difference so try to get the LBS to swap this out when you buy.

Anyway, find one or two that you really feel good standing over and which have a decent top tube reach for you. Then have the bike shop adjust the stem to get the feel just is where threadless stems are a disadvantage because you have less height adjustment. Whatever the case you should be able to get a really good feel by changing stems and adjusting the seat position. I wouldn't worry about being able to have more adjustment in the future or whatever you where talking about before. Unless you plan on growing or shinking the frame should always fit you even if you riding style changes.

Take these bikes for a ride and see which one you feel best riding. Then work with the store until you get this bike for the price you want...remember...the markup on a $1200 bike is probably close to 40/50% so don't feel bad and think you are low balling them, you may be suprised by what they will not even blink at saying YES too.

Wheels also make a big diffence in how the bike rides and how heavy it is but I don't think they will give you a more cushy the better wheels are usually stiffer.

Depending on your shoulder size you may want to look at what size handlebars they have on the bike. This can make a big difference in making the front end feel twitchy or unresponsive. One of the bike I rode had very large handle bars and it change the entire feel of the bike.

Anyway, I lemented and lemented and ended up with a Bianchi...yes, the one you took off your list :( I have the Veloce simply because I loved the idea and feel of the all Italian classic styled cromo frame over the harsher aluminum frames I tried. I also tried the Lemond but they are way to streached out for my upper body. I tried a compact Giant frame but the LBS was really bad at fitting these frames and they never got the bike to feel just right. My final choice was between two Bianchis and a Specialized. Everyone will have a few that just feel good...make your choice between these based on which is the better buy.

I usually rate bikes in this order: frame, wheels, group, accessories, paintjob.

But they (this board) are just need to take the plunge. If you don't feel really akward on a frame then everything should be tweakable to your liking. You will fact, I think you already do. So just get won't be sorry.
bikes, bikesET
Apr 16, 2001 12:53 PM
Since your absolute positive max budget limit keeps moving up, you may want to try the other two De Bernardis listed on cbike's web site. The Zona should ride real sweet.

Like some others said, it may be time to actually, well, you know, like, buy a bike! Otherwise you'll never ride. While you may have proved that nothing fits theoretically perfect, something close will work, e.g. by swapping stems; if you're close, it seems not to make that much difference. If, after you've been riding for a long time and have a lot of money for a custom or whatever, you can do that at that time.
man, i didn't go through this much trouble....dustin
Apr 16, 2001 1:17 PM
i had about $1200 when i was looking for a bike. i went to my shop and listened to them and what they had to say. they suggested a Specialized Allez. it's a good bike with good components and fit my price range perfectly (with a little left over actually). the only riding i did on it was when they put it in a trainer so i could get used the pedals. well, i also rode a Marin something...the yellow, blue, and red one, to see if i'd rather have Campy or Shimano. and after that, i got the Allez. were there better bikes? i'm sure there were. were there different materials that i could've tried, yep. there's a million things i could question, but it's not like i'm going to be unhappy with my bike. i got the bike i was happy with at the time. if i were a serious racer, and all that good stuff, i'd go out and try everything to see what works best. but since i'm not, i'm fine with getting the bike that fits, looks cool, and fits my $$ range.
re: the bike whispered softly to her, "buy me."Turtleherder
Apr 16, 2001 1:21 PM
First of all, please buy a bike Kristin, you are driving us all crazy! Next as to the question of ride quality the steel bike should ride very well. You might want to ask about what size tires were on the bike. A 25 width tire would ride a little better than a 23. Also air pressure does make a big difference. Check out the Columbus website at for the info on their tubes. It will be more than you ever wanted to know about tubing. Might as well check out Reynolds at while you're at it.
re: Decisions, decisions...grz mnky
Apr 16, 2001 2:47 PM
I can relate - my wife wasn't happy with her custom bike for at least a year! Why? The fit was perfect, but she was so used to her 20 year old Motobecane that it was a shock to her. Now, she loves it and will allow me to clean and maintain it, but I am not to make any adjustments under the penalty of a slow and painful death.

I'd suggest that you give strong consideration to getting a custom frame and *never* look back. I personally ride a Serotta and can't say enough good things about them. Several friends have gone this route with no regrets - even a single mom with two kids and a modest income. You may even get lucky and fit on a stock size.
Buy the friggin bikelook271
Apr 16, 2001 3:30 PM
Any new bike is going to feel strange to you and will have a period of adjustment, even a custom. You like the Debernardi? Buy it. The ride may seem harsh, but you'll get used to it. If not, you can get a different wheelset,different tires, a different saddle, or maybe a CF seatpost. You're wasting precious time with your inability to come to a decision. It seems (painfully) that you've thought this out; you're not making an impulsive decision. Buy the bike, ride it, and let us know how much fun you are having riding it, ok?
re: Decisions, decisions...Skip
Apr 16, 2001 3:37 PM
You sound as much a perfectionist as myself. Take whatever time you need to research the project, to make the decission, that you know will make YOU happy. Don't be rushed or felt pressured into a decission that you may regret later. Call it OCD, perfectionism, or whatever - do what feels right to you, in your time frame. Best of luck. The research, comparison, learning, etc. can be just as much fun too.
re: Decisions, decisions...dug
Apr 17, 2001 5:14 AM
I wonder how much money the LBS is losing because of 'customers' like you. Please spare us further details.
Hey, guys, give her a break. The music hasn't stopped yet.bill
Apr 17, 2001 6:59 AM
When it does, she'll buy a bike.
My own two cents, though, is that, whatever bike you buy, Kristin, you'll learn to love it, and then, after a little while, you'll figure out some things you don't like about it, and then you'll buy another bike. I don't think that you can approach this sport as diligently as you approach it and buy something for $1200 that will keep you satisfied for very long (for, you know, years).
I guess I'm saying that there is no perfect bike, they all involve some compromises, and there are more compromises at that price point. Maybe there are more at that price point than you are willing to make.
Regardless, I probably wouldn't spend more on a first road bike that $1000-1500, because I think that you need a couple of years experience before you even figure out what the cognescenti (sp?) are talking about. Than you can spend the big bucks. In other words, give yourself a bit of a break, too. You're not going to get it perfectly the first time around, and you don't have to.
re: Decisions, decisions...bikeshopbill
Apr 17, 2001 7:43 AM
Please, come into my shop and take up hours and hours of my time, my emps time. Customer service is fine, it is expected, etc., etc. But time is money (and very little of it in the bike world) and enough time and no money has so far been exchanged. Enough already! She needs a custom like I need a hole in the head. She's looked at a DeBanardi and a Jamis in the same day (are they made on the same planet?).

Sorry, I was venting...but she's the type that makes employees run for lunch break. $1200 is a chunk of change, but c'mon......

I guess as I read more and more of this, it's a great diversion and quite comical..let's about the merits of a custom Seven versus a recumbant?
re: Decisions, decisions...leeju
Apr 17, 2001 9:53 AM
Can anyone else spell K-O-O-K?
Man Alive!Kristin
Apr 18, 2001 6:02 AM

Thank you for being nice--I appreciate it. Same to everyone else who refrained from reeming me! I attempted to go back into the archives--which have gone missing--and pull up a message from ET who told me (paraphrased) to not feel like I need to make a quick decision on Friday and to post again if I had any more questions. And that's what I did!!!!!!

A couple thoughts:

Buying a road bike is not like buying a house. I've lived in houses my whole life and have a better idea of the ins and outs. Though I will probably spend three months looking for my first home as well.

Buying a road bike is not like buying a car. Same logic. Plus, I expect to take a number of cars on test rides and I expect the LCS to be accomidating and pleasant if they want me to buy their car--that's what they get paid to do, no? Should I expect less from and LBS???

Now, if your an LBS in the Chicagoland area and you do NOT want my business, just post a reply stating your store name...I will be sure to avoid your shop. I don't think spending 45 min. test riding one or two bikes is alot to ask of someone. I NEVER ride the same models in various shops, so if I ride your C-Dale, and I decide to buy a C-Dale, I will buy it at your shop--not someone elses.
I think most mean wellET
Apr 18, 2001 7:20 AM
They just may not share your approach, which is fine. Cyclists, and this board in particular, are sometimes a bit on the opinionated and high-strung side, and add in the internet dimension and some posts are bound to rub you the wrong way. Don't let it spoil your day. If you want to take a lot of time with your decision, more so than others would, and post a lot of questions, you can keep doing so. You just may have to live with wading through some posts you don't appreciate. There's different types of people, different types of customers. And someone with a bigger budget who buys a new bike almost yearly will have yet a different outlook.

I think most mean well. But many have a valid point too, and this is it: It is wise to spend some time zoning in on general fit to avoid buying the wrong bike (many on this board and others learned the hard way by buying even super-expensive bikes that didn't really fit at all), you have done that already. But fit isn't an exact science, especially for your first go-round. Not even the Serotta size cycle is guaranteed to get it exact (mine missed by a bit), which is why I anyway wouldn't buy custom the first time around. And once you ride regularly, your fit may even change, e.g. you may get more stretched out with riding time. Your road feel will develop too, although I'd be wary of a bike which did not feel good on a test-ride compared to another. So if you want to ride, it may be time to buy. Their view is that it's not worth missing another half-year of not riding to then face the Chicago winter and winds yet again. That doesn't mean you have to take the first bike that comes along. Given your budget and fit limitations, though, I suspect you don't have that many choices. So give some a test-ride and select the one that feels the overall best within your budget, and that's it. That's what I think they're saying here. If you want to take however much longer, it's OK, you can do that too. BTW, you may even want to consider buying used (check the classifieds here for starters) where you may get more bang for your buck.