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Brand new into road bikes(11 posts)

Brand new into road bikespatnaimee
Oct 29, 2001 12:33 PM
My husband and I are weekend mountain bikers. He recently expressed an interest in switching to road bikes. Possibly training for a small triathalon. I'm shopping around for an entry level road bike for his Christmas present.
I have no clue where to start. Can someone tell me the basics of what I should be looking for in a starter bike? Recommended brands. I'm not looking for a big investment, just a sturdy starter bike. Thanks so much.
couple ideasDog
Oct 29, 2001 12:44 PM

There are dozens of possibilities; I think these are examples of decent entry level road bikes, though.

re: Brand new into road bikeskushogun
Oct 29, 2001 12:57 PM
-Well this may not be what you want to hear but the single most important thing about purchasing a new bike, especially a first road bike, is the proper geometry (fit). Small incrimental adjustment is possible through maipulating certain parts of the bike like the stem, seat post height, and crank arm length. However, the main 2 triangles and their corresponding angles are the most important. If this is a starter bike, I wouldn't necessarily recommend something like a Cannondale with a more aggressive race geometry. Not quite as comfortable. I would go with something like Giant or Trek geometry, something that will set him more upright and thus more comfortable.
-Besides the fit the next important step is the frame material. Steel is the best bet for entry level. It's strong and has (depending on what kind of tubing) a pretty good amount of vertical compliance. What this equates to the rider is increased comfort. The other option for you is Aluminum. This is a lighter material, with much less vertical compliance resulting in a slightly harsher ride. The benefits of Aluminum, is that it flexes very very little and so sprinting and climbing are somewhat enhanced. The other materials like Carbon Fiber, Titanium, Scandium, and other "magic metals" are quite a bit more money and most likely not even worth the money at this stage of the game.
-The final step is how much you want to spend. After frame fit and material, a lot comes down to bells and wistles at the beginner level. The more you spend the lighter the bike gets. Again, at this beginning stage a $400-600 bike will get him through just fine.
Maybe others can add or revise any information provided within my above "humble" opinion.
-Some good "main" brands in your price range would be: Trek, Cannondale, Giant, Specialized, GT. If anyone on this post directs you to something along the lines of a Pinarello, Colnago, Waterford, Look, Serotta, Litespeed, etc, steer clear. These bikes can easily reach $2000-6000 range and is obviously more of a dream ride then basic starter. Good luck and I hope some of the info will be of some help. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Have a great ride today everyone!
Reasonably accurate...TJeanloz
Oct 29, 2001 1:21 PM
The previous post may or may not be great advice, since we don't really know a lot about the end-users. But the advice towards a recreational bike doesn't take into account the triathlon training that the original poster hinted they wanted to do.

In terms of a cash layout, I don't think anybody who currently rides a bike would be really pleased with a $400-$600 bike. I can't even think a manufacturer that makes a road bike that inexpensive. I would say that a Sora-equipped bike would be the least you could get away with, and that'll run $650-$850. The $999 price point is one of the best values in road cycling- though you might not want to spend that much.

Shopping around for a used bike can also be a great deal- and e-bay typically has a pretty good selection of deals.
Yep, look used...dsc
Oct 29, 2001 2:20 PM
as a 10 yr+ MTB'er, when I decided to look for a road bike, I knew that no way would I be happy with anything less than the quality / component level of what I was used to on my dirt bike. I'm sure this is the case for this lady's husband, too. On the other hand, being new to the road scene, I didn't want to drop several thousand $$$ on a mistake, either, so I started looking used. I bought a two yr. old bike that would cost almost $3000.00 new (adding up all of the upgrades that the prior owner had installed), for less than half that price.
And yes, let me second the statement made in an earlier post - with a road bike, fit is EVERYTHING!!! It may spoil the surprise, but get your husband involved in the fit of any bike that you are considering purchasing for him. Also, do NOT assume, for example, that a 57 cm frame from one manufacturer fits like any other, 'cause they don't. I tried many 57 cm frames that were comfortable, but the bike that I ultimately bought was a 55 cm (Lemond).
Good luck and happy shopping!
Reasonably accurate...kushogun
Oct 29, 2001 3:45 PM
I'm going on average price point of Sora equipped bikes in my area. Our price points aren't that far off, but if you look around you can find great deals. For instance, I got my 2000 Cannondale R1000 with Ultegra ders. cranks. STI. 105 brakes and B/B, Time Carbon Fork, Ritchey stem and TTT bars for a svelt $1350. it's not hard to find great deals. You could grab a R600 for around $750 here. Giant and Trek makes cheaper steel frame rides for around $550. I agree though that realistically $500-800 is more realistic compared to my underestimated 400-600.
Musings about used bikes on eBayElefantino
Oct 29, 2001 3:25 PM
First of all, it's very much caveat emptor. I was obscenelylucky, in that I got my rain bike (Giant OCR 1, full 105, probably about 100 miles on it), with tons of extra stuff thrown in (Performance rack, pro jersey, shorts, shoes, saddle bag, lock) for $780 in a divorce spat. I think the wife stuck it to the husband by selling the stuff. (Funny, but I never got positive feedback on that one!)

Anyway, it seems to me that low- to mid-range road bikes are all over eBay because there are those, like yourself, you decide to stick a toe in the water that is road biking, then decide they hate it and unload their bikes.

It's almost like the market for two-year-old cars being returned from lease. They're all in good shape and a lot cheaper than new.
re: Brand new into road bikesScot_Gore
Oct 29, 2001 8:02 PM
Rewind about 60 days...and I'm where you are now.
I knew enough about road bike components & equipment from cross over knowledge from mountain bikes that I was finding myself relatively disatified with the sub $1000.00 bike at my LBS. But, I was also unsure if I was going to enjoy the feel of the road enough to invest big money.

Here's my story:
I went to my LBS, shopped, took a half dozen test rides, and got fit advice. Settled on a brand and model, but couldn't bring myself to drop $1699.00+tax on this grand experiment in road biking. I gave up the idea of buying new. I proceeded to shop e-bay, the classifieds, the e-classifieds on this site and others for that exact brand and model. I managed to find the exact bike in the same model year for $1100.00 + 50 shipping inside of 3 weeks. Couple of things to bear in mind, 1) I don't have no warranty. If the frame goes, I'm out $1100.00. 2) I didn't gain a relationship with my LBS, however I live in a big city and my LBS dosn't remember me from my 2 previous MTB buys to this day.

I agree with the previous posts. Any of the major brands (Cannondale, Trek, GT, Giant, Specializied) in the $1000-2000 range will probably make you a happy experimental roadie, like me. I settled the FIT issue by trying on the new ones and buying used.

Good Luck
look at old(er) stuffmetonymy3
Oct 29, 2001 10:06 PM
Even look at older stuff, like Shimano 8spd or Campy 9, ~5 years old or so. Not old at all, but "obsolete", and therefore, cheap. GREAT deals, and only a little obsolete. You can probably get something with 600 or Dura Ace and a nice frame for your 500-600 bucks if you shop around. I'm sure you can. Then, if you get serious, you can turn around, sell, and buy that expensive bike that you want.

used v newMJ
Oct 30, 2001 2:12 AM
the used v new argument for a 'beginner' is a tough one

I agree with the poster who said that he wouldn't have been happy with a lesser 'specced' road bike than his mtb. - if you guys have been doing anything near serious/regular weekend riding you will notice things like quality - having said that I do think it's possible to get a reasonable bike for $500-$800 new from an LBS - the major brands suggested above are also where you should be looking for a ride

but - you will (obviously) get more for your money in a used scenario - the ideal would be an LBS that has used bikes (it provides some level of consunmer protection and warranties are often available) - also, the LBS may have a notice board with used bikes - it seems that those bikes are almost always 'known' by the LBS - whether it's because it's a club member/regular/or a mechanic's notice - hard to say

whatever happens - the primary consideration will be the fit of the bike frame - you can upgrade parts as they break and if you guys dig the road scene you'll eventually move up to a 'better' ride anyways - keep in mind that riding a 'lesser' road bike for a while will heighten your awareness of what you're after when you really splash out

most people here with great (read expensive) bikes have been through a number of cheaper bikes before they arrived at the bike for them - it's the bike for them cause they know what they wanted and know what worked (and what didn't) on the previous bikes

good luck - let us know how you get on
re: Brand new into road bikesMe Dot Org
Oct 30, 2001 10:01 AM
I agree with most everything said here. I have a steel bike, but there is nothing wrong with aluminum, and it probably represents the best "bang for the buck" if performance stiffness is your primary concern.

To paraphrase the real estate rule, the three most important things in a bicycle are fit, fit, and fit. For women, the next most important thing is fit, because a lot of frame geometry is designed for a man's body.

The good news is that this is a GREAT time of year to buy a bicycle (the beginning of the off-season) a lot of shops have clear-outs to make room for next year's models. So shop around, and don't be afraid to dicker.

Best of luck...