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New rider advice(9 posts)

New rider adviceKirbdog
Dec 31, 2001 3:15 PM
I'm in the market for a road bike. I'm a new rider, have done a bit of Mountain bike riding in the past but now want to get a roadbike. I'd like it mostly for riding to work (20 miles each way) a few times a week. The terrain has some hills but is mostly flat. I go into the bike shops and find it's a bit daunting. I want to get a bike that I won't think sucks in a year or so if I really get into it, but on the other hand, I really dont feel like dropping 2+ grand on a bike right now. If anyone wants to chime in with some advice, whats the best value out there that has really solid components etc, I'd sure apprciate it. One shop in town has a Buenos Aires by Lemond that they tell me is just what I need, but that's around 1500.00. Is this bike too good for a novice?


re: New rider adviceDavidS
Dec 31, 2001 3:57 PM
One thing that I would recommend is to look for a used bike in your size (correct fit is the most important quality in a bike the way i see it.) Bikes drop a great deal in value after a year or so of use, and you can probably get a lot more bike for your money used. This way you can get a good or great bike at a decent price. Then you can figure out what you really like in a road bike, and, if you like being a "roadie" then you can go get what you really want later.

If you can't find a good used bike, then my advice would be to narrow your search to only new bikes that fit, and then test them all- alot. Everyone has a favorite brand and model, so take advice with that knowledge in hand. Here are some of my picks: Trek, Serotta, LeMond, Bianchi, Specialized, no particular order. Look for good components: Anything Campagnolo, or Shimano 105 or better (Ultegra or Dura Ace). The rest of the stuff on these bikes (seatpost, stem, bars, pedals, saddle, tires etc.) should be servicable, but if you are like most of us, you will change almost everything on a factory bike at some point anyway, so don't worry if everything isn't perfect. One thing to look for however: Wheels. Get the best wheels you can afford- then you can move them to your new bike if you like.

Hope this helps. If I didn't help, someone else here will!

-David S

PS-That LeMond is not too good for a novice. Some guys start with a Trek OCLV or Colnago C40 ($$$$$$$$$$!)
re: New rider advicegtx
Dec 31, 2001 4:29 PM
I'd decide what you want to spend and stick to it--don't let someone talk you into spending a bunch of money if you have a hunch the bike may end up sitting in the garage (lots of great bikes sitting in garages). Used could be a very good way to go (for this very reason) if you're patient and know what you're looking for. Another way to go would be to buy something like the Giant OCR 3 for about $600--a lot of bang for the buck (if it fit you well). Then ride it for a year or so, and if you get really into it, then spring for a super nice ride. By then you'll know a lot more and have a better idea of what you want. You can sell the Giant or whatever, or keep it as a backup bike. My $.02.
re: New rider advicefirstrax
Dec 31, 2001 4:42 PM
I will second the Giant recomendation. You wouldnt want to race it but for 600.00 its untouchable.
Theres also some good deals on schwinns over at with Ultegra components and velomax wheels for a grand.
re: commuter bikeguido
Dec 31, 2001 6:39 PM
Giant OCR is great value. The LeMond Tourmalet is a racing bike, and a bit delicate for a commuter. I wouldn't trust those wheels. The LeMond Alp Duez has more bullet proof wheels, and is also cheaper.

But for a much better commuter bike, check out the Trek 520. It has a longer wheel base for very stable ride and carrying stuff in a rack over the rear wheel, strong wheels with slightly larger tires for real world roads, and eyelets for fenders, which sooner or later you'll appreciate when a half hour before quitting time it starts to rain but you still have to ride home.

On the other hand, a nice racing bike will get you there in style. You can carry stuff in a backpack, or have clothes stashed at work and ride unloaded. A race bike also won't get as easily dropped on that weekend club ride you'll be wanting to do after you get in awesome shape from riding two 20 milers in one day.
Cyclocross BikeBlair
Dec 31, 2001 11:18 PM
One option is to consider a cyclocross bike with road tires. Lemond, trek and surly all have options under $1000 with reasonable components. The disadvantage is the bike will probably be a little heavier than the cheap "race" road bike. However fitness and pack riding skills are more important, for hanging in a pack. The advantage would be:
*minimum cash outlay
*options to run fenders and rack for commute
*When you want a full race bike you will know what you want
*this could be a do-everything bike, and still very useful after you get the race bike.

good luck, Blair
As far as new bikes are concerned...Leisure
Jan 1, 2002 5:41 AM
I like Lemond and Gunnar between the $1500-2000 range. Decently good frames that are worth upgrading if you so choose. I think the Gunnar Roadie frame is a bit more of an overacheiver at ~$550 for the frame for full Reynolds 853. I got mine with Campy Daytona (pricewise like Ultegra) and a pricey Woundup fork for $2000. You could likely get one with 105 and a somewhat less pricey fork for $1700. If you truly expect to be riding 40mi/day for a good while don't sell yourself short thinking you're too novice or whatever. The novice stage doesn't last very long, and you'll quickly be wanting to upgrade. It's better to get some decently good equipment right off the bat, like everybody else says, 105 or better.
re: New rider adviceTrent in WA
Jan 1, 2002 10:30 AM
My recs:

1) Make sure that the bike fits you properly.
2) Figure out your budget. Since you already ride MTB, you probably have the basic set of accessories you need, so you can spend yet more money on the bike itself. :)
3) Start looking at / test-riding bikes that seem appropriate for your bike-riding purposes. Since you're starting out and will be using the bike for a variety of purposes, including lightly-loaded touring (a/k/a commuting a 40 mile round trip), the ideal bike design for you is what's commonly called a "sport touring" model. Sport tourers typically have somewhat relaxed angles for comfort and ease of handling at lower speeds, longish (43-44cm) chainstays, and clearance for tires in the 25-28mm range with fenders. Unfortunately, sport tourers are hard to find in today's world of purpose-built fantasy bikes , so your options are somewhat limited, though some cyclocross bikes might work.
4) Finally, make sure that the bike fits you properly.

Specific recommendations: Some of the Bianchis, particularly the San Remo and the Eros, would suit your purposes perfectly. Among cross bikes, check out the Surly, the Soma, and the Gunnar. LeMond bikes are really set up for racing or fast group rides, but you can at least mount 25s and fenders on them if you're really determined. I second another poster's recommendation of the Alpe d'Huez, at least this year's model; the Buenos Aires uses the same frame, but is spec'd more as a race-ready bike. With the LeMonds (or any race-designed road bike), you'll have to find a workaround for carrying your stuff: something like a saddlebag might work for you, or a seatpost-mounted rack and trunk. Also check out some of the bikes designed for loaded touring; they can feel really, really slow and sluggish in handling, but you might like them.

Lastly, don't get too hung up on components: the entry level Shimano groups these days (Sora and Tiagra) are heavier than the more expensive lines, but they work well and are cheap.
Think hard about thisKEN2
Jan 1, 2002 11:00 AM
You say "mostly to ride to work" and it's 40 miles RT. You don't say where you are or what the roads are like, also what dressing options you have. I commute 30 miles RT and I have showers and wardrobe options at work, i.e. I don't need to carry anything besides wallet, keys, etc. plus lunch.

In any case, but especially if you plan to carry anything and/or travel in all weather and/or roads are not great in your area, I would strongly encourage you to look at cyclocross bikes. My road ride is a GT ZR1, but I have only ridden it to work a half-dozen times, usually Saturdays. On regular days I much prefer my Specialized 'cross bike. It has the same drop bars as the road bike, but you can run wider tires for stability (I have used up to 38s--try that with a road bike-not!) plus fenders (you're gonna need 'em unless you live in Vegas). Get yourself a Timbuk2 messenger bag or similar and you're good to go.