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Advice for a newbie (me), and whether to buy a new ride?(12 posts)

Advice for a newbie (me), and whether to buy a new ride?hrs
Jun 12, 2002 9:14 AM
I've recently embraced cycling as a fun way to improve my personal fitness, get outside, relieve stress, etc.

Anyway, I'm currently riding an old (late 80's) Bianchi I bought used last year. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. I made the mistake of test riding some bikes and fell in love with a Colnago (it felt like it was wired into my brain when turning, accelerating, etc.). I can't decide whether to take the plunge now or wait til next spring. I figure the Bianchi does the job, plus having to reach down to the downtube to shift makes me work on my balance and having fewer gears (7 speed cassette) forces me to get stronger.

So, the question isn't really if, but rather when? Does my theory about the Bianchi making me a better rider hold?

Also, what are some ways to improve my riding. I'm currently working on strength and conditioning with hill repeats, riding with stronger riders, etc. But what should I be focusing on technique-wise (like dragging the toe at the bottom of the pedal stroke and rolling the barrell at the top)? Also, I've ridden rollers a few times and am going to start doing more...what does everyone do to keep entertained while doing that (think I might pop a movie in and ride em tonight)?

Oh, yeah...when I do get the new bike what cassette should I get (Campy 10) 11-23 or 12-25? I currently have 11-23 on my Bianchi and so far the 23 has been enough for every hill I've encountered (1 beat me on one of my first rides, but I've since conquered it and now use it for hill repeats). I'm in eastern Mass. so there aren't a lot of major climbs compared to some areas, but climbing is certainly not one of my strengths.

I've been mostly lurking here for a while and the information I've gained so far has been great.

Don't go equipment-crazy, and remember to have fun.Silverback
Jun 12, 2002 9:30 AM
It's useless to say you don't need a new bike, even though you probably don't. I didn't need one, either, and I have five of them in the garage. The Bianchi probably WILL make you a better rider at this stage, and logically it doesn't make sense to buy a new one until the old one is holding you back. If I practiced what I preach, I'd still be riding a 1970 Peugeot....
What occurs to me, though, is that you're at a very high level of enthusiasm now, doing a lot of work (which sounds like you've chosen it wisely, by the way). Don't push so hard that you lose interest or burn out. For years, I started my training programs in January or early Feb, got in great shape by June and then crapped out through July and August, so I finished the summer tired, a little heavy and not riding very well or having any fun.
Who needs to ride rollers when it's light until 9 p.m.? EVERYBODY hates riding rollers, and if I were you, I'd stay off them until the weather forced me to use them. Vary your riding, maybe try some mountain biking, whatever you have to do to stay fired up. In the long run, I think you'll benefit more from that than from hammering the rollers an extra two hours a week.
As for cassette choice...I'll never buy another bike without a triple, so I'm not your best guide on gearing. Sounds like you're able to handle your terrain with the 23, but there are sound reasons to have a bailout gear, too (if you bonk, for one). The difference between a 23 and 25 is small enough, though, that you could have BOTH--just buy an extra cassette. Swapping them is a one-minute job. If it were me, I'd probably get a 23 and a spare with the largest cog the derailleur would handle. That way when you decide to ride to Salt Lake City, you'll have the gears.
Don't go equipment-crazy...heh heh, easier said than donehrs
Jun 12, 2002 10:36 AM
I've spent more on upgrades, new equipment, gear, etc. than I paid for the Bianchi.

I definitely don't like rollers, but when the weather is bad (like tonight) I like it better than riding the bike at the gym.

Thanks for the advice
re: Advice for a newbie (me), and whether to buy a new ride?JBurton
Jun 12, 2002 9:53 AM
No you don't need a new bike. But that's not going to stop you from getting one, is it? Seriously, a new bike might help to keep your enthusiasm. When I bought my bike (I had borrowed a 88 Cannondale for two years before taking the plunge) it immediately felt like I was stronger. Granted, if I hadn't bought the new bike, I would've still kept riding. But it did recharge my batteries to get a new ride. Colnago? Maybe a bit too much right now. It is very hard to ignore all the shiny, expensive toys out there. And I don't want to steer you away from a bike that you love, but do test more bikes. You really sound like I did four years ago. Can't get enough to read, ride, hear, watch of cycling, huh? I still compulsively go to the "sports" section of the bookstore first, though I know that I've seen every book there.

Keep your enthusiasm. But don't make a purchase that may be too much bike for you. What am I saying? There is no such thing as "too much bike"! I don't know who said that, but all who know me would guarentee it wasn't me!
re: Advice for a newbie (me), and whether to buy a new ride?MXL02
Jun 12, 2002 10:27 AM
I pretty much agree with the other posts. I rode an $800 bike for the first 6 months, and fell in love with the sport (sound familiar?), and bought a Colnago MXL. It is a fantastic bike...problem is it is so fast and efficient, that when I try to commute with it, I don't get much of a work out, because I can't go far enough or fast enough. Kind of a I am back riding my old bike for commutes and my MXL on my weekend workout rides.
MXL... drool (Homer Simpson gurgling). That's the one NMhrs
Jun 12, 2002 10:47 AM
Nope, it's not going to stop me :-)hrs
Jun 12, 2002 10:45 AM
I went through that debate with myself and while I definitely don't NEED a new bike (now or even a year or two down the road), I know it's just a matter of time. I did ride a couple of bikes and the others were good (Bianchi Boron XL and TREK 5200), but the Colnago just felt like it was on another level (especially on descents). Definitely more bike than I will ever need, but what the heck, besides it looks nice too ;-).

Yup, I'm definitely hooked...I almost didn't know what to do at night once the Giro was over.

One of my concerns about buying the Colnago now is that it is too much bike for me...I don't want to show up at a group ride with a bike like that and not have the skills, strength, speed, and endurance to go with it.

Thanks for the info,
Jun 12, 2002 10:44 AM
If you are struggling justifying the economics of buying a new ride, consider waiting for the end of the model year and saving a couple or hundred or so on a 2002 model. That will also give you time to get past the initial enthusiasm and decide whether you will stick with it.

Required disclosure: When I started, I planned to buy a used bike. I rode some new ones and bought one (hey, it was on sale!). Not great personal discipline, but I have no regrets.
re: Don't marry the first pretty woman who says yes.dzrider
Jun 12, 2002 10:50 AM
Take some time to learn what you like and don't like. You may find your passion is for racing, touring, endurance rides even the hard-packed dirt roads in the midwest. As you get into more expensive bikes, they are a less and less generic and more and more suited for specific tasks. Whatever you decide to buy, plan on keeping the Bianchi for utility riding.
re: Advice for a newbie (me), and whether to buy a new ride?Oneheart
Jun 12, 2002 11:51 AM
Oh hell Rodney, buy the Colnago. You're right that it's too much bike for you. The advantage is that when you ride it you'll hear it whisper "Let's go Rodney... that all you got???" and you'll push to become worthy of it. Best of luck.
re: Advice for a newbie (me), and whether to buy a new ride?mwood
Jun 12, 2002 12:19 PM
What the hell, you only live once...if it isn't going to be too much of a stretch, go for it.
I recently replaced my old Cannondale with a Colnago Asso. Am I "good" enough for the bike? I don't know, I enjoy riding it!
I also would suggest a 12-25, if you plan on riding distance with serious hills.
Douglas Frame and Ultegrajose_Tex_mex
Jun 12, 2002 7:37 PM
For a little more than what you quoted I saw a bicycle at It was an Ultegra equipped Douglas frameset for $1500. This is an excellent machine and in case you "get into" the sport you will not need to upgrade any time soon.
If you don't go with Ultegra at least do not go lower than 105. Also, stick with Shimano. Choose a 39 -52 crank and a 12 - 25 casette and most hills will not be a problem.