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New to Road Biking(32 posts)

New to Road Bikingdgully
Jul 16, 2002 5:49 PM
I would like to get into road biking. But obviously i need a bike to start ;). I would like to keep it under $500 if possible. Does anyone have any recomendations on what bikes to look at. It does not have to be new.

Thanks alot.
Not Possiblejose_Tex_mex
Jul 16, 2002 6:03 PM
For $500 you will have to have a friend selling a used bike. To be frank, you would have to spend at least $1500 to get yourself a "nice" aluminum bike with Ultegra compnents.
That's just the start. Then there's helmet, clothes, gloves, shoes, maybe pedals.
In short, expect to drop $2000 to have a decent setup. You could go less. However, anything under the $1500 range will probably get thrown away if/when you get "into it."
Best of Luck
Jul 16, 2002 6:19 PM
Whoa. Just because many of us have been riding for years, and/or race, and/or have too much disposable income, does not warrant telling people that they can't get a bike for under $500. Although the best bang for the buck is had in a used bike, there ARE bikes on the market in this price range, and they'll do pretty much whatever most riders need.

I saw Trek 1000s on the Triple Bypass. I saw KHS Flite 300s on Ride the Rockies. And a friend with a Bianchi Brava does the occasionally amateur race. Telling someone they "have to spend at least $1500" and have Ultegra components smacks of snobbery to me.

To the original poster... you'll get lots of good advice to make your bucks go farther by looking at late model used bikes. If you have a knowledgable friend who can help you shop, that is definitely the way to go. Otherwise, several major manufacturers offer at least one bike at the price point you are describing, and sales will be offered soon.

Good luck.
whoa there Tex!gregario
Jul 16, 2002 6:22 PM
I think that is very very unrealistic. I almost think you're joking. I would think a decent road bike, new, can be had for $800 or so. Although I am not real familiar with what is available in that price range, someone new to road biking in no way has to spend $2,000, nor do they need Ultegra! I'm sure one of the big names, like Trek, Schwinn, Bianchi, etc. has a bike in the $800 range with perhaps Shimano 105 that would be fine for a beginner.
I agree with the dissenters can spend $500-$800 USDAhimsa
Jul 16, 2002 6:38 PM
...and be just fine. It just depends on what you expect to get for the money.

You WILL get a decent bike compared to anything from a department store. It will likely be a bit heavier and without "race" componentry.

You will not get a carbon fibre, titanium, sub 17 pound, Lance Armstrong approved full on race steed.

What do you want it for?

What do you expect?

What do you think your interest level will be a few years from now?

Do you have alot of unused sports equipment in your garage?

For 5oo greenbacks you can find a decent new bike.

You can find a really good used bike.

I'd do more research.


Try RBR classifieds or E-BayOffTheBack
Jul 16, 2002 6:18 PM
I think if you go "retro" you can get something pretty cool for five bills, like maybe a mid-80s racer with campy or shimano parts. It will have downtube shifters and a steel fork, but will be much higher quality and much cooler than anything new at the same price.
re: New to Road Bikingjtkirk15
Jul 16, 2002 6:40 PM
Ignore the Ultegra nonsense...first get a bike, ride it and then discover if you like it or not. If you do, then great, go out and get a better bike and use the "cheapo" as a beater/commuter/trainer. If you get into it, the pump, helmet, etc will carry over. Look at the reviews section on this site. It lists road bikes and you can sort by price. That way you can get an idea of what stuff costs. You didn't say what type of riding you want to do, so just get a bike, ride it, and then find out if you're hooked. If not, sell it, someone just like you will be looking for a cheap intro road bike.

I started my search with a budget of $500 as well. I bumped it up to $1k and got a Bianchi Campione. It's not the fanciest but I like it a lot. Good luck!
re: New to Road BikingTurtle Boy
Jul 16, 2002 7:27 PM
I just got into road biking this year and got a great deal on a new bike that was last years model. My budget was around $600-700 -- and there are many decent bikes in that range to get started on TREK 1000 or KHS 300 or Lemond Nevada city. But I found a new 2001 Lemond Tourmalet normally around $1100 for $899. So I put up the money. I know there are a lot better bikes out there - and some day I'll ride them - but this thing really cooks.

Biggest thing - go to a couple of bike shops have them fit you see what size they come up with - then test drive bikes you can afford - some you can't afford - and some you might be able to afford. Then make a decision - also consider the choice of steel vs. aluminum. I went with steel to get the smoothest ride and because I'm a big guy at 6'2" and 210lbs.

Keep im mind that upgrades are always possible - the $1100 Tourmalet is the same frame as the $1900 Buenos Aires model. So I can upgrade the wheels and shifters over time.

Good luck
$800 can get you a decent bikeI Love Shimano
Jul 16, 2002 7:51 PM
I opted to go custom and got my steel frame (Tange, quite heavy though) for $140, and built the whole bike up with Mavic OPs, and Shimano 105. Whole thing cost $800.

Wish I could get a Bianchi Reparto corse frame with Shimano DA and DA wheels though!
re: New to Road BikingBill is in Denver
Jul 16, 2002 7:56 PM
I just this month read a review saying the ironhorse cyclone is a very good beginners bike...for UNDER $500. I think it's this months bicyclist or one of those. The reviews on this site of it are good as well. Don't listen to the 'I think I'm elite' what you want and ride it. Hell, in mountain biking I can drag out my old back up rigid framed diamondback and dust off a large chunk of the people I see on the trails with their full suspensioned big dollar bikes. Once in a while I park my full suspension and ride that old beater just for the fun of it...still going strong, diore groupo and all. As in all things, buy the nicest you can afford and be happy with what you have...then go out and smoke some jerk who thinks his italian unobtanium one off custom pro wind tunneled handmade mega dollar bike is all that. It's NOT all about the bike...

re: New to Road Bikinggerwerken
Jul 16, 2002 9:25 PM
It will be a little tougher to find a bike under $500, but I don't think it is impossible. You can usually find a better quality used bike than new. Good places to try are: friends, e-bay, the classifiedes on this page (although most of the bikes listed are priced higher than your budget), and some local bikes sell bikes on consignment, or will give you a deal on accessories if you buy your bike from them (it never hurts to ask). You might also consider buying a bike new or used with cheaper components, but a descent frame. This will allow you to up grade the bike later if you really get into the sport. The most importnat aspect in your bike purchase is your comfort on the bike (if it is not comfortable, you won't ride it). Most bike stores will fit you for a bike, and allow you to test ride bikes (friends will probably also let you test ride their bikes, just make sure they are the right size). Try to ride multiple brands to see which you like best, because they are all made differently.
re: New to Road Biking (Update from poster)dgully
Jul 16, 2002 9:33 PM
Like Bill in Denver said - In this months Bicycling magazine they have a review of the Ironhorse Cyclone for $450. Now why would that not be somthing good to start out on? Also at my local bike shop they has a Schwinn for $520. Are neither of these good choices?

BTW: I am not a total beginner, I have been heavily into mountain biking for several years now. But, recently I decided to check out road biking. I am just not ready to shell out $1000 for another bike. So I do have knowledge of biking in general, just not road bikes.
Okay then, let's see these $500 bikes...jose_Tex_mex
Jul 16, 2002 9:46 PM
First of all, please do not misquote me. I did not say that you "HAVE" to have Ultegra nor spend $1500. However, I do stand by my inference that spending $500 to get into the sport is not realistic.

As for Snobbery. Pleeeeeeease, you guys obviously do not cycle in my area. More newbies on 5K Colnagos than you would ever believe possible. If you think spending $1500 is snobby - what can I say?

What I did say was that to have a "nice" bike with Ultegra (the best bang for anyone's buck) you HAVE TO spend $1500. Let's not lull the newbie in to a false idea that this sport is cheap. It's not. If the newbie was planning on shopping at the KMart reopening sale I do not think s/he would be asking us for advice.

For those of you that think a decent bike can be bought for $500 - let's see what you reccomend.

Some others noted bikes in the $800 range. This IMHO is more realistic and where the decent rides start - might be the best for an unsure newbie. The $1500 ride will get years of use and be respectable in races in addition to holding its value unlike a $500 bike.

As for a newbie buying used, best of luck. I hope the bike's headset isn't mushroomed or the frame alingment tweaked. Hope they have experience in judging welds, worn parts, over trued rims, et al.

For the newbie,
If you walk into the bike shop they are not going to tell you the realistic sum required to have a good start. If you have $500 then they will sell you a $500 bike and let you figure out the rest. As time goes on and you enjoy the sport you will need many, many more things. They will do whatever it takes to get you to avoid the sticker shock of spending over a thousand dollars

As someone else stated - it depends what you want to do. If you want to get out there and see the scenery in a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers a $500 bike will do. If you have plans on training, joining a club, or entering a race -FORGET THE $500 rides. You may hate me now but next season you will understand! I am not being snobby but realistic. The $300 difference between the two rides is really a big leap. Getting over a thousand is a quantum leap.

When you ride do you want to get decked out like a cyclist? You can ride with sneakers, no gloves, a t-shirt and whatever. However, to get a decent start here's a look at what you will probably want:

Bike $800
Shoes $60
Pedals $75
Helmet $40
Shorts $35
SHirt $35
Gloves $10
Bottles, cages, Seat Pack, tubes, tube kit, levers $50

Now we're up to $1105.

This will get you on the road. But don't forget taxes and shipping costs which could tack on another $100 - $200 dollars.

Now we're in the $1205 - $1305 range.

As for your original question, look at Treks, Cannondales, and the like. You might find a good deal on Schwinns or GT's as the companies are having bankruptcy problems. I would stay away from KHS, Iron Horse, Mongoose, and many of the on-line deals like Scattante, EPX's. They may appear like a good deal now but if you get anywhere near serious they will quickly go to the wayside. Stick with a name brand that will stand behind their product.

Component wise, Shimano 105 is the lowest you should go. Sure the people on this board will argue that their Sora or Tiagra is great but you get what you pay for. The next step up from 105 is Ultegra. Ultegra is probably the best bang for the buck. I highly recommend spending the extra bucks to get in to this range as it will last and be race ready.

Finally, my best advice is to make a check list of all the items you want to buy and/or need to buy. Go to,,, or and check out all of their sales and see how far $500 will go.

Factor in shipping and taxes and $500 gets eaten up fast. I am sorry to say, it will not go far for anyone wanting to do anything more than touring. But if that's
Okay then, let's see these $500 bikes...dgully
Jul 16, 2002 9:54 PM
As for the accessories.. I allready have all that equipment from mountain biking... So like I said.. I really only need the bike..

And if I buy local I avoid taxes. No sales tax in my area..
That helps...jose_Tex_mex
Jul 16, 2002 10:08 PM
You could get a decent $800 bike or you could buy the GT Lotto frameset and Ultegra buildkit from Supergo for $1019 and literally have a Tour de France bike - watch the 2001 and check out the Lotto boys. Have a look at the components and the wheels they are offering. This does not factor in the cost to build in ship. However, it's just an example of the leaps you can make with just a few dollars more. Let's say the whole lot comes to $1250. There's just NO WAY you will ever compare an $800 bike to something like this.

What kind of mtb do you ride? This might shed some light on the quality of a ride you expect.
That helps...dgully
Jul 16, 2002 10:15 PM
I ride a Klein Pulse Pro 1998. A little bit old but I love it to death, and has been a GREAT bike. Wont get rid of it till I absolutely have to.
A Klein!!!jose_Tex_mex
Jul 17, 2002 4:11 AM
If you are used to a Klein, I would say that you would be absolutely disappointed in a $500 bike and probably the same for the $800. I have no reservation in saying that a Klein frameset ranks up there with the exotics. You are obviously used to quality. You will notice the difference when you buy a cheaper bike. I don't think you could even touch a Klein frameset for $500. I saw a Klein with 105 not too long ago for $1800.

What group is on it? If it's XT or XTR than expect your mtn bike to be lighter than the $500 and $800 road bikes. To be honest, I would prefer to invest the $500 in the Klein and use it on the road. Buy some slicks and a lockout fork and you would probably have a better bike for the road.

Again, it's what you expect to get out of the bike. Getting a comparable road bike will not be done cheap. IMHO a comparable frameset and group will run you over the 1K mark.
so long as you have realistic expectations..Jekyll
Jul 16, 2002 10:17 PM
Try someone like for $500 bike. My big reservation about bikes in the $500 price range are Sora components.
Take a look used bikes locally or online (though I would be very cautious buying anything used over the web).
The part that everyone leaves out is that though most people here have thousands wrapped up into typically more than one bike (I have 4 with a combined insured value higher than most Korean automobiles), most of us got started in the sport on something less than a C-40 with Record and Zipps. In my case, on a $250 Schwinn World Sport.
If you buy a $500 bike and like the sport - you will get $250 for it next season as a trade in or a sale towards something else (and by then have a good idea of what you want). If you buy a $1500 bike and hate it you will get $750 back for it next year.
so long as you have realistic expectations..dgully
Jul 16, 2002 10:22 PM
Are the sora components really that bad?
so long as you have realistic expectations..Jekyll
Jul 16, 2002 10:30 PM
they will work. You won't be able to down shift from the drops.
They are not the lightest thing going. Its 8 speed which makes it more difficult to upgrade.
Since you're familiar with MTB world think of it this way (roughly):

Dura Ace - XTR
Ultegra - XT
105 - LX
Tiagra - Deore/Alivio
Sora - Alivio/Acera
Okay then, let's see these $500 bikes...Tschako
Jul 17, 2002 4:53 AM
Sounds like you are in Delaware with the no sales tax! It's a great place to buy a bike and gear!

I did the same thing that you are considering a few years ago. I bought a $700 dollar bike with predominantly Sora componentry on it. I bought a lower end bike with a better frame. My thinking was that if I enjoyed road biking (originally a mtb'er) I could upgrade the Sora parts as they wore out. I have had no trouble with my Sora. I upgraded my shifters so I could shift in the drops and that has been the only change that I have made.
I admit that 'bike envy" comes into play every once in a while....but I try to ride more so that I can wear out my components and require a repair/upgrade.
Good luck in your search!
If you are in DE, let me know. I know a very good mechanic at a local shop that gave me and my wife lots of help.
Jul 16, 2002 11:10 PM
I got a 98 Colnago Master-Light with 8sp ultegra for $800 right here on RBR. Its a great bike that fits me well, a little heavy but I have a blast on it. Certainly you can find a bike with lesser pedegree for ~$500

I think that if you do buy a used bike go for good components over an expensive frame. The components are more likely to fail and you will have fewer problems with the good stuff.
Gosh darnitBreakfast
Jul 16, 2002 10:26 PM
If this fellow wants to ride for under $500 then more power to him.

I did it in 1980 with a Nishiki and I thought it was a good bike, although I'd hate to look at one now since my standards have changed so much. I didn't have much in gear either, I rode it in town, to work, and on 50 milers.

Ride the crap out of it and some day you will want a real road bike.

I have no idea of the age or experience of this person but if he has a decent income and is serious about riding then he needs to consider a bigger budget, if not, $500 will be a true learning experience, cheap yet very valuable.
Does he really have to go the Sora route?I Love Shimano
Jul 16, 2002 10:49 PM
What if he fixes up a GT frame (they come cheap nowadays due to the bankruptcy and all) with 105/OPs and Shimano RSX or even downtube shifting groupsets? I have a friend whose Vitus is set up with an old Shimano Dura Ace that uses indexed downtube shifters and it looks sooooooo fine.
the golden questiondgully
Jul 16, 2002 10:59 PM
If I were to get a $500 bike, sora or not, to get my feet wet, go on a few group rides/races, and simply goof arrond and see if I like road biking. Will a $500 bike not give me this experience? I can always buy a new one next year. Like a previous poster said, If I buy a $1500 bike now, and dont like it im taking quite a hit and selling it for $750 next year. But If I buy a $500 bike, I dont take quite a hit, and if i like it i can use the money to buy a new bike next year.
Jul 17, 2002 2:45 AM
A new $500 bike will satisfy all the needs you just mentioned. As JTolleson pointed out she saw that range of bikes on any number of what I presume are pretty tough group rides.

If you're new to the road I recommend buying new as opposed to used. There are geat used deals but my advice for your FIRST purchase is to be as risk free as possible. Later hit the whole market and get what you want.

I've been riding since the later 1970s and the "cheap" bike today is alot better than the introductory bikes I had to choose from. You'll get a 23-24# bike with dual pivot brakes and trouble free shifting. That's infinitely better than the 28-29# Motobecane I started on but you know I loved that Moto, rode it to death and learned about a great sport that I've been partaking in for 25 years.

KHS, Motobecane (not the same as the 1970s but they have some nice looking steel bikes in your range) and KHS seem to be the main brands that cover the introductory market though I've seen some Giants in the $600 range. Check them out.
the golden questiontaar44
Jul 17, 2002 4:02 AM
Dude, get the $500 iron horse cyclone. If Bicycling gives it 4 out of 5 starts, then it's good enough for what you need it for!! Dont listen to all those who expect you to spend upwards of $1500 or to get a "name brand" bike just to enjoy road riding!
re: New to Road BikingJackDanielsFSU
Jul 17, 2002 6:52 AM
I just wanna say I was in the same boat as you. I am a collge student on a very limited budget. I am a mountain biker also and know how to work on bikes. I bought a cheap frame from (only $45 for a steel frame) and a bunch of parts on ebay and mail order. I put it all together myself and use my mountain bike shoes and pedals, helmet, and shorts and jersey. I spent less then $400 total and have a great bike that I take on group rides and keep up with all the $1500 and more bikes. The most expensive part I had to get was the wheelset and I got a great deal from my LBS on that. It can be done just need to spend some time findign good deals on parts. Good luck
that's an excellent way to go.mlbd
Jul 17, 2002 8:00 AM
If you've got the patience and the know-how, do what JackDeanielsFSU did. I've seen new and used frames around for very cheap (chucksbikes, ebay, RBR classifieds, supergo, nashbar etc). You can also get great bargains on parts on ebay and elsewhere. You won't have a race machine, but you'll have a low cost introduction to the sport. You won't have a well tuned frame, but you won't know the difference because you're new to road riding. Just because you ride Klein off-road, doesn't mean you'll need or like "Klein quality" on the road. Each bike rides a little differently and the only way to learn about that is to ride. If you're unsure about whether you'll like it, there's no reason to drop $1500+. Sora, Tiagra, 105 will perform just find as an introduction.

Good Luck!
good work fellascruffyduncan
Jul 17, 2002 8:07 AM
looks like a decent bike, well done!!
re: New to Road Biking94Nole
Jul 17, 2002 9:59 AM
You guys really blew it. My wife will likely see this thread and there is no way now that I'll get to spend $1500-$2000 on a new bike. Thanks alot.

Really, I am in the same position as dgully. I want to start riding too but am really hung up on what to buy. I have ridden an entry level alum bike (e.g., Giant OCR3) and several others up through the LeMond Alpe d'Hues (or is it Huez?). Anyway, I am absolutely paralyzed from my education over the past couple of weeks and from reading different opinions on this board. Don't get me wrong, you all have taught me a tremendous amount but I am simply scared to death to pull the trigger.

I don't want to buy used for purposes of warranty service, etc. I find myself saying "for only $200 more"... I too started at $500 and was right on the verge of dropping $1500 (before equipment, gadgets, etc.). Too many choices.
If you do not mind Sora, try this...jose_Tex_mex
Jul 17, 2002 11:29 AM

It's a bike at for $399.99. Join their buyer's club ($20 a year I think) and immediately get 10% or $40 in coupons towards the other stuff you will want to get