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First Road Bike(6 posts)

First Road Bikeharveyboy
May 29, 2001 5:11 PM
I am researching for the purchase of my first road bike. I'm a runner and a swimmer and am entertaining the idea of participating in some triathons. I don't want to break the bank. I want to keep it under a grand. Should I buy a new lower end/entry level type bike, or find a used higher end bike? I tend to be a little rough on things so this may be a factor when considering a lower end bike. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
re: First Road Bikenotes_clp
May 30, 2001 6:39 AM
I think the most important thing when getting started road ridding is to have a bicycle that is a good fit. The only place you will be able to get that is at your LBS (Local Bike Store). I would shop around and find one that is interested in helping you in the long run and not just looking for a quick sale. Check out this article posted at http://www.chainreactionbicycles.com/buyroad.htm They also have other articles that are very interesting and were very helpful when I was looking for my first road bike.

Good Luck
re: First Road Bikeharveyboy
May 30, 2001 11:28 AM
Thanks for the info, I was beginning to think nobody cared about poor little old me.
re: First Road Bikemk_42
May 30, 2001 12:39 PM
I was just in similar shoes a few years ago (I had been riding forever but I decided to get my first real road bike). I have a couple of tips for you:

About used bikes: Get it from the LBS. Unless you have an eye for it in general, or experience with bikes specifically, it'll be hard for you to tell what shape certain part of the bike are in. If you get it from a person/classifieds you might discover that you need to replace stuff after you figure out what to look for and see problems you didn't even know you could have. If you DO find a bike that is a good fit in the classifieds you could take it to a bike shop for inspection--you could offer to buy your accessories there (shoes, helmet, etc.) or even offer to pay for the service. If the guy selling the bike is on the level he won't mind if you have someone check it out.

About new vs. used: I agree with going to an LBS for a fitting but which store will depend on your budget as well as their service. Most stores have a loyalty to one or two bike brands and therefore only carry only one or two entry level (price) bikes. I'm sure you can imagine how used bikes would be limited in selection.

Read reviews (on this site and others). You'll be surprised about how many individuals have bought and reviewed the specific bike you're looking at no matter what it is.

Other suggestions: It's all about the fit. If you get a crappy fitting bike you'll get turned off of biking. If you get a cheap bike that feels good, you'll get into it and a few years down the road you might be more willing and able (and knowledgabe about) getting a new, better, bike. This is the route I'm taking....I'm just waiting to have to income to get a new ride.

Specific Suggestions:
Fuji bikes are a great "economy" bike in my opinion. The components will need some adjusment on their own, and won't be the quietest or smoothest even at their best. But if the frame fits you I think it's an incredible value (most of the reviews on this site say more or less the same). Beware...there is a certain elitism among road bikers and you might get looked down on some for having a Fuji (but so it will be for most entry level bikes...) I ended up getting a Fuji.
Cannondale and Trek: Rather pricey compared to others but even their low end bikes have good components and many bike shops carry them so you could shop around. These were my runner ups.

It'll be tough to keep it under a grand. In addition to a bike you'll probably need to get pedals, shoes, a helmet, and shorts (unless you already have some of these things). While you don't need a neon biking jersey you'll want padded shorts if you're not used to riding a lot. Pedals and shoes might also seem like a luxury if you're new but are a very basic part of biking (it's just a different world with your foot attached).

Good luck,
_42
re: First Road BikeLen J
May 30, 2001 12:58 PM
My 2 cents.

1.)Find someone you know who rides (alot) and let him help you find a used Bike. For $1,000, you can get a pretty good 1 or 2 year old Bike that you can grow into as you ride more. IMHO there is nothing worse than spending $1,000 and outgrowing your ride quickly, especially since you will now have to sell a used bike and get 55 cents on the Dollar, or be stuck with a bike you've "Overridden". If you stick with riding the amout of change in your riding habits, & capabilities is dramatic in the first year. So I advocate buying used. Previous posters hit it on the head though about not knowing what you are doing. That's why I recommend help from another rider.
In addition there are an awful lot of people who buy great bikes that they end up not riding. Good deals galore.

2.)Fit is everything. You will need help with this as a new rider doesn't know what a good fit is. Read alot talk to Biker's alot but get help with fit. A good fit goes a long way to increasing your enjoyment.

3.)Plan on spending at least $300 on accessories (over & above the cost of the Bike). These include Helmet, Shoes, Shorts (at least 2 pair) (BTW these are worn Without underpants, a fact no one told me 20 years ago when I started riding, Imagine my surprise when I found out how comfortable cycle shorts were when worn properly DUH) Pump, spare tubes, Patch Kit, Tire Irons, Bottles, Tools, Lubrication etc.

4.)Reviews are a good place to start, look for the negative comments within positive reviews, especially recurring comments, as most people seem to use the reviews to reinforce what good decisions they make (IMO) Reviews do tend to slant to the positive side.

Good luck, I hope this helps you.
Welcome to the club.
re: First Road Bikemr_spin
May 30, 2001 4:58 PM
I can't recommend a specific bike, but I can recommend a path to take. For a "first" bike, don't search endlessly for the "perfect" bike. It doesn't exist. Your best bet: go down to your LBS, try out a bunch of bikes in your price range, buy one, ride it for a year or two, then upgrade. You'll have a much better idea what you want by then, and you can buy a bike that will last you a long time.

If you plan to do triathlons, consider setting the bike up for time trialing. Your positioning will be different, and you'll want time trial bars. In fact, if your town is big enough, go to the local shop that deals with triathletes--they will likely serve your needs better than a regular LBS. Ask around at the pool or on the trails--other triathletes will tell you where to go.