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taking the road bike leap(9 posts)

taking the road bike leapBluDog
Aug 11, 2001 3:46 PM
I've been mountain biking for several years and want to branch out - mostly for training rides in winter. I like to ride hard and fast on the road and am looking for a quick bike. Here's the trick: in the $800 or so price range. Something that can kick ass for an hour or two - heavy on hills and sprints - a couple times a week out on the highway. Suggestions?
re: taking the road bike leapmackgoo
Aug 11, 2001 4:39 PM
Check the used bikes at this web page, oh and make sure it has Campy:)
re: taking the road bike leapVictorChan
Aug 11, 2001 5:20 PM
Check your local bike shop to see what is on sale. You known, the end of the 2001 season and many vendors are clearing out this year model bikes.
re: taking the road bike leapBrianU
Aug 11, 2001 7:08 PM
I believe you could probably find a new Giant or maybe a even a Raleigh in that price range. If you are not familiar with the roadbike seen, I highly recommend test riding a bike before dropping the cash. I have been mountainbiking for 12 years and last year took the road bike leap. Do not let a supposedly good deal let you buy something that doesn't fit.
re: taking the road bike leapTrent in WA
Aug 12, 2001 12:13 AM
The first suggestion is to get the bike that fits you. This seems obvious in theory, but it's not as easy in practice.

Secondly, give yourself some time to sort out your options. Many, if not most, of the major manufacturers (and lots of the smaller ones as well) build good bikes in the ~$800 price range: C'dale, Trek, Specialized, Lemond, KHS, Giant, Bianchi, Fuji, and Jamis, among (many) others. Most of the bikes will come spec'd with Shimano Sora components, which are not as bad (in my experience) as some folks say. But it is heavy, and you will not be able to shift from the drops. Having given most of the above test rides, I can tell you that they all have markedly different ride characteristics, so try as many as you can. Oh, and one other thing: all of the above will come with saddles that you'll curse, regardless of whether you like firm 'n' fast or soft 'n' squishy. That'll be the first thing you upgrade.

Have fun trying out the bikes. I went with the LeMond Nevada City, fwiw.

some things you should look for...keith m.
Aug 12, 2001 5:36 AM
you should do everything you can to get 105 components, and a carbon fork. These two things alone will add greatly to your riding experience and the durability of your bike. Much more important than brand of bike. In 2000 I found a 99 blow out of a Bianchi Giro at Supergo with this setup for $879. Try and see if Gary can build you up something with 105 group in that price range.
some things you should look for...VictorChan
Aug 12, 2001 9:00 AM
Have to agree with you about the carbon fork. :-) It makes the ride smoother and stiffer. And, of course, it lightens up the bike too.
Aug 12, 2001 8:13 AM
The three most important things in a road bike purchase: Fit, Fit and Fit. It's great to talk about a good deal on a used road bike, but you should make an effort to find what frame geometry works for you.

Test ride several different bikes for at least 15 minutes each. Do some hills and sprints. Ride in different positions. LISTEN to what your body is telling you about what frames are comfortable.

BEFORE you go looking for a deal, know which bikes you have test-ridden are the most comfortable for you. Go to the manufacturer's web sit and look at the geometry for the frames you like, and make sure that any bike you might buy sight unseen has a frame that closely conforms to that geometry.
re: taking the road bike leapfiltersweep
Aug 12, 2001 12:05 PM
I was recently in your shoes, not certain about the road bike thing in the first place (knowing it would change the style of riding I did in a major way- where I rode, etc... ie. I don't take my road bike on paved bike trails, etc...). Anyway, that provided a degree of uncertainty (how much would I enjoy this compared to mountain biking). Then you add to the mix that the sky is the limit in terms of price, and the amount of perceived "elitism" (to a newbie like myself) on the boards here and at the LBS in terms of components, etc...

ANYWAY- I'll cut to the chase... even after riding a road bike for 25 miles or so, you really won't even be getting your feet wet unless you have done a lot of road biking- after mtn biking, all road bikes feel light and free. I purchased an entry level bike in your price range a few months ago, and only NOW know what I really want out of a bike. If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have spent twice what I spent, but there is that catch-22... a few months ago I would not have know WHAT to spend it on. Once you actually ride a road bike, your needs may suddenly change. For instance, I haven't touched my mountain bike since I purchased the road bike. Right now you might be saying "an hour or two" and "a couple times a week"- but I wouldn't be surprised if this changes once you buy a road bike... a short week for me is like 100 miles, and on a mtn bike that would have been brutal (ie. I can walk, and function as a normal human after a long road bike ride, rather than feeling like I was hit by a bus after a long mtn bike ride).

Realistically, fit is much more important on a road bike than a mountain bike- which should be obvious when you look at how many sizes road bikes come in vs. mtn bikes, so don't let a great deal on a bike that is not your size entice you- it is not as simple as just raising the seat.

I would avoid SORA components- not that they are terrible, but speaking from experience (I have them- thinking if they shift, they shift....)- the real issue with Sora is not the components themselves, but the bike they put them on (frame, wheels, etc...). Arguably a bike with sora isn't worth upgrading beyond pedals and the seat (sure you can stick high end upgrades on it, but what's the point?). On a sora bike you probably have an alloy fork and cheap wheels... replacing both will cost you what you paid for the bike, and you'll still have the heavier frame.

My goal at this point is to put about 2000 more miles on what I have, then buy a new bike... but the nicest thing about an entry level bike is that I don't have to worry about it- rain, scratching it, etc... if I had a $2000 bike, I'd want it framed over the sofa when I wasn't riding it!

Finally, I don't know that I would buy a used bike or a bike from an online retailer- at least not a FIRST road bike. You don't know what abuse a used bike has been subjected to. I did a ton of shopping around for a LBS, and found that like buying a new car, pricing was quite consistant from shop to shop. Some bike salesmen had that "used car saleman" attitude, but most were very cool and laid back. I know I haven't answered your question at all, but I did want to give you some food for thought about purchasing a sub-$1000 bike. I don't know what point of spending the law of diminishing return kicks in, but my guess is the more-bang-for-the-buck keeps climbing to at least $1500? After that, who knows?