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new to the world of road bikes....any advice/suggestions????(7 posts)

new to the world of road bikes....any advice/suggestions????pierced77
Feb 22, 2002 7:50 PM
My friend and I will be doing our first road bike event for the aids foundation, but we are very new. Trying to determine what the best bike for the buck would be, what products to look for, which ones to shy away from...basically an overview of what we should expect. I know that is a vague request...but I guess we need somewhere to start....thanks in advance
Some places to startElefantino
Feb 22, 2002 8:34 PM
If you look through this board over the last week, you will see a number of questions similar to yours. Collapse your threads and look 'em over. There is a lot of good advice on this board.

My advice is always the same for newcomers: "Buy used." (You'll see that response often if you look through the threads.)

Good luck and welcome to the road.

FWIW,
Mike
Disagree strongly!Spoke Wrench
Feb 23, 2002 5:53 AM
By a huge margin, the most important single factor which affects the comfort, performance and enjoyment of your new bicycle is how well it fits you. Whether you ride fast or slow, over smooth roads or rough, whether you are shifting, brakeing or coasting, fit affects you every single minute that you are on the bike. No other single factor, brand name, frame material or component selection even comes close. Until you have the experience to be comfortable in your ability to size yourself, buying used can be a big mistake.

When you go to a local shop to buy a new bicycle, you can shop for bikes that meet your needs and budget and then get one in the size that fits you. When you buy a used bike, each case is unique. Your first cut should be "Is it the right size?" and ONLY then should you even consider if the frame, components and price suit you. You will definitely get a lower price on the frame and components used, but if it isn't the right size, it's still never a good financial deal.

Shop for the right bike sales person first. Find someone, who you are comfortable talking with, who wants to talk about you, how you plan to use the bike, your experience, how you fit on the bike, your budget, etc. When you find the right salesperson, buy a brand they sell and you will NEVER go wrong.

A $100.00 more or less that you paid for the bike won't matter too much to you a year from now, but you'll still have the bike. A year from now the question will be "Is my bicycle comfortable and fun to ride?"
Amen, Brother! nmcyclaholic
Feb 23, 2002 6:30 AM
1 more point..merlinguy
Feb 23, 2002 6:31 AM
Totally agree w/ Spokewrench. That's how I got into road riding. I had a lot of people try to sell me what I didn't want(they wanted to sell what THEY wanted to sell) or not sell me what I did want.
What city do you live in? There me be some people on this board who are from the same place. They can tell you which shops to try and even which people to talk to. Also, go to the "Reviews" section on this site and look at comments on bikes you may be interested in. Help yourself by gathering some info and then find somebody at a good shop who's willing to help you sort it all out.
Also, there's little difference in similarly priced new bikes. Don't be swayed by the name of the brand. You can line up 4 or 5 $1000 bikes from different manufacturers and they're all roughly the same thing. What distinguishes them from each other is how they fit (frame geometry) -and how you feel on them. Then you get into frame material v. ride quality, weight, trade-offs on components and wheels etc..
Don't buy a bike unless you have time to spend a some time on it. A ride around the parking lot in front of the shop is really NOT sufficient. See if they'll let you take one out for a longer ride -25 miles or more. Or see if they have demo bikes.
Good luck.
Yes, fit is important, but......Scot_Gore
Feb 23, 2002 7:54 AM
....When your new there's alot more decisions besides fit that are important as well.

It wasn't that long ago that I was the new guy trying to learn (re-learn from a 1970's era education in my case) about road bikes. Before I felt comfortable making a bike choice I felt I had to figure out the differences between frame materials, triples vs doubles, 700-20's vs 700-23's vs 700-25's (vs 650's if I was small), compact vs standard geometry, what's a cyclo-cross bike, what's the difference between Sora and 105, where did the lugs go (my 70's background here) etc, etc etc.... I did most of this kind of work before I ever stood over a bike (oh yeah..how important is standover height?). That way I felt I could walk into a bike store with some specific requirements and give the sales person some good answers to qualifing questions they might ask.

Most of this education I got by lurking around this board and.....
How did I find the on-line bike fit calcultors? - this board
How did I find Sheldon Brown? - this board
How did I find the Rivendell education pages? - this board
Where did I find out why the Schwinn's and GT's seemed so cheap last summer? - this board
......Among other things.

So I agree with Mike, before anyone goes trying to fit onto a bike, read the archives. If you spend enough time at it (also read "have enough time for it") you might find yourself educated enough to make a decent used bike decision. I did.

my 2 cents

Scot
Clarification...Elefantino
Feb 23, 2002 8:03 AM
I have never suggested that someone "buy used" blind. I certainly haven't, nor have those of my friends who have done so.

I would only "buy used" if I had ridden the model already and found that I liked it.

Now this gets in to murky territory — do you ride a bike at the LBS and then turn around and buy his model online for half the price? I don't like that practice at all. We recently had a poster ask if he/she should try on Sidi shoes at the LBS and then buy them from Totalcycling.com. In his case, and because he/she was buying a new three grand bike from the LBS, I would have asked for a discount, if possible, from the LBS. Most shops would be happy to oblige. (When I bought my OCLV, the shop threw in a Flight Deck and upgraded stem, free, when I asked them too ... about $120 worth of freebies.)

If the newbie in question doesn't have access to friends bikes or others on which to ride and make comparisons, then buying used is no more than a pig in a poke and could, as you suggest, wind up in dissapointment.

But if a newbie rides, say, a buddy's Lemond Zurich and decides he/she likes it, I would advise them to look used first before going to the LBS.

As I have said many times, your butt is the ultimate arbiter of what's right and wrong on a bicycle. How you arrive at that decision is EXTREMELY important, whether it is for a new bike ... or used.

Ultimately, we're saying the same thing.

FWIW,
Mike