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Beginner(11 posts)

Sep 30, 2002 8:12 PM
I'm a college freshman who has become incredibly interested in road biking and bike racing. I came from Tennessee, where the hills make it really hard to get into the sport, but I have always enjoyed it. Now, I'm in Maryland and the riding is great. The problem is that right now I'm riding a Specialized Crossroads hybrid that is way too small for me. The bike has 700X28 tires on it, so it sort of works for road purposes, but I'm looking for something a little better. I don't have too much money to spend, but am interested in getting something good. I've been looking at the Specialized Allez and they sound like great bikes, but I really don't know. Any advice you have for a beginner would be appreciated, specifically what's good or bad and what's important or not.

re: BeginnerSpoiler
Sep 30, 2002 8:31 PM
A Specialized Allez would be better than what you have now, if you get one that fits. There are so many good affordable bikes with so many wheel and component choices that it's easy to get confused and think it's not worth the time.
Right now, your time is best spend figuring out what size bike you need. There are lots of sites that can help you. Here's one-
When you know what size bike you will need, you can open yourself up to looking at used bikes. There's plenty here in the this site's classified section.
I'll only give you one specific thing to buy. A good maintenance book called Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance. If you know how your bike works, and how to fix it, you can save a lot of money.
Listen to Spoiler . . .Look381i
Oct 1, 2002 4:05 AM
Nothing is as imporant as fit (assuming a sound bike) and there are great deals in used bikes out there. If you are willing to spend close to $1000 for new Allez, for that amount you can find a recent model of a higher end bike (say sold at $1700-2500 new) in the classifieds or on ebay. If you really like the Allez, you can probably find one for half price or slightly more. Your timing is right, also. Fall and winter usually see a lot of guys shedding their current rides in preparation for building up a new one over the winter.

So, learn your fit requirements and how to translate them to various frame geometries (use internet sites or the seller for that) and be patient about finding a good deal that appeals to you.

I have helped several of my students and my son go this route. We have scored some very good deals.

If you really want to consider a new bike, try Gary Hobbs at He has a lot of choices, can help you fit it properly, and build it up as you like. He had a good deal on a Alu Raleigh/Ultegra for $995 a while back.
Search this Discussion board too.fbg111
Oct 1, 2002 4:30 AM
Lots of advice on this topic has already been disseminated to previous noobs, myself included. Just search Discussions for "new bike advice" or "bike buying advice" and you'll get a ton of good info, entry-level road bike suggestions, and links to stores and other sources of info. If you have any specific questions, feel free to post.
Three steps:MXL02
Oct 1, 2002 5:37 AM
1. Fit kit- best $40-$60 you will ever spend on this sport.
2. Test ride all types of bikes: steel, carbon, aluminum, and Titanium. Even if you can't afford them, try them out.
3. Once you have the size and type frame you want, go to classified here and find a used one in you price range. Unless you can find a really good deal on a new one, used is often the best bang for the buck.

Test, test, and retest. Shop, shop, and reshop.
My own guess is that the best bike for a young racer is something like a Giant TCR. Aluminum compact frame, very light and very fast, but not too expensive.
I'm sorry, I have to disagree about buying classifieds. Maybebill
Oct 1, 2002 6:21 AM
he gets a great bike, maybe he gets a POS. Maybe he pays too little, maybe he pays too much. At least if you go to a retail establishment, he's got some chance of recourse.
Go to a bike store. Pick out something you like. You probably will make a mistake either way, hopefully only some small ones, but you'll learn more from the retail route, and you'll have a place to go back to if something ain't right.
All he has to do is run it by the folks on this board.MXL02
Oct 1, 2002 10:43 AM
In general, I have had great luck buying and selling in the classifieds on this board. The people here are honest and forthright. That doesn't mean there won't be a shyster out there, but in general, he has a pretty good chance of making a decent deal. And he can always ask the people on this board about the deal ahead of time.

Whereas, I have personally been through efforts of LBS's trying to sell more bike than I need for more money than it is worth. Going to an LBS is no guarantee of not being hosed. (sorry for the double neg)
wait wait wait. Don't go to e-bay to buy a bike. don't buy onbill
Oct 1, 2002 6:14 AM
the Internet at all. Go to several different bike shops (where in Maryland are you? although I've never been to them, I know that College Park has one or two bike shops with great reputations), get to know the guys a little, hang out, talk up the bikes, ride something cheap, ride something ridiculously expensive (you're not buying it -- just for comparison), look for a bargain (good time for them), and definitely buy from the shop.
Will you get the best price? Probably not. But you don't want to be worrying about anything but picking a decent bike (you will, there are lots of them out there) with fully compatible parts, fit to you, and then, if something does go wrong, having someone to consult/try to fix it/whatever. Then you not only will have a decent bike, you'll have a resource and some friends.
The Internet is great if you know what you're doing and can afford the occasional mistake. You don't, and you shouldn't have to worry about it.
What's important to a total newbie? Yeah yeah yeah, fit is important, etc. Like I said, though, finding a good resource is key. If you find that, you'll be able to manage your next steps as well as this one.
Not true for everyone.Sintesi
Oct 1, 2002 8:10 AM
If you do your research thoroughly and take the time to figure out what you need and want you can get "up to speed" on cycling in a couple months. This place is a good start.

I bought my first bike online, got a fantastic deal (saved hundreds of dollars) and a great bike that fits and functions perfectly.

You merely need to have some common sense.
Agreed: lbs for first bikefbg111
Oct 1, 2002 7:18 AM
Find a good local bike shop (lbs), and buy your first bike there. My lbs was great - they offered a 30 day satisfaction guarantee that I took advantage of. I bought a Giant OCR1, rode it for a month, then realized that the Giant TCR2 met my racing and triathlon needs much better than the OCR1. Exchanged the OCR1 for the TCR2 at the lbs for no extra cost other than the difference in retail cost of the two bikes. They were very cool to do that, and that's a service you won't get from classifieds or Ebay. Also, my lbs offers free tuning and mechanical for the first year after buying the bike, another very useful service you won't get from the internet or classifieds. Experienced riders don't need this, as they generally know what they want and know how to work on their bike, but such services are very useful for noobs. Take it from one who knows. ;)
Oct 1, 2002 10:07 AM
I agree 100%. Unless you know what you are looking for, buying your first bike (used) or sight unseen is a bad idea. Unless you have a friend that knows a lot about bikes and fit, and is willing to spend time with you in your search, trust your LBS.