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VERY new newbie needs help(12 posts)

VERY new newbie needs helpComputerman
Dec 13, 2002 9:38 PM
I am just getting back in to bikeing after over 20 years of being off a bike. I have big plans and big goals. I want to be able to do long distance rides on good roads and sub-standard roads. I live in the DEAP DARK country of Mississippi. I live on a gravel road and there are a lot of hills. I would like to eventually get in to duathalons and triathalons but that will be a ways away. I was told at one bicycle store that I should get a road bike. I was told at another store that I should get a hybrid bike. And I was told at yet another store that I should get a Cyclo-cross bike. I tend to believe that a cyclo-cross would be best since I plan on doing most of my rideing on asphault but I'm not sure. All these different types, styles and brands are very confusing to me. I would very much appreciate any help and guidence on what I should do. Since I'm just getting in to it, I don't want to go overboard on the price but I do want to get a bike that will last and do a good job for me.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
re: VERY new newbie needs helpmotta
Dec 14, 2002 4:00 AM
Based on your long term intended use I would say go for a cyclo-cross or a road bike. With the cross bike you can get a second set of wheels for racing and/or asphalt road training and keep the knobbie tired wheels for rough stuff. The road bike will do just as well with a set of fatter tires, say 25 or 28(if they fit). People tend to baby road bikes too much, believing them to be delicate, in reality they can stand just as much abuse as any bike. Take a look at the conditions of the Paris-Roubaix race. The proper fit is more important then frame material and brand, so find a shop you can trust and if it costs extra for a professional fitting, pay it.
Cyclocross bike sounds like a good idea . . .Look381i
Dec 14, 2002 4:19 AM
for several reasons. It will accomodate a variety of tires, including ones that will handle unpaved roads and trails and ones that will be efficient on pavement. In the short run, a spare set of tires will do. In the long run, you would probably get a second set of wheels to switch for different riding conditions.

A CX bike can also be fit out for touring and commuting -- fenders, racks, etc., more easily than a road bike.

CX bikes range in price, like all bikes, but good ones can be had in the lower ranges. For example, Redline has two models (Conquest and Conquest Pro) that list complete (perhaps no pedals?) for about $900 and $1200, respectively, I think. Surly has an inexpensive option as well. Perhaps your LBS has others.

If you have competent assistance to help you decide on fit and components, you might also consider buying a used CX bike or frame. If you know what you are after, you can save a great deal of money buying used.

On the downside, you will find that CX bikes are often slightly heavier than road bikes, dollar for dollar, but a pound or three should not be a big deal at this point.

If money is an issue, remember that your budget should allow for pedals, shoes, cycling shorts and jerseys, helmet, gloves, etc. Those items may sound like options, but they are essential to comfortable and safe riding.

If you find you like cycling, you will eventually buy a road bike, perhaps several, an amazing array of clothing, accessories and tools, all financed by mortgaging your home, selling your children and sticking up banks. Your weekends will be consumed with group rides and your vacations will involve rides across states and countries. Crack addicts have less allegience to their habit. Your neighbors will wonder about you, especially as you ride by in lycra and loud jerseys, on your way in from a 100 mile ride. On the upside, you'll probably be a lot fitter, maybe even thinner and better looking, than you are now. Have fun. I hope Mississippi has as many fine country roads as Georgia.
Great advice (nm)GeoCyclist
Dec 14, 2002 6:09 AM
lmao...fbg111
Dec 14, 2002 8:51 AM
If you find you like cycling, you will eventually buy a road bike, perhaps several, an amazing array of clothing, accessories and tools, all financed by mortgaging your home, selling your children and sticking up banks. Your weekends will be consumed with group rides and your vacations will involve rides across states and countries. Crack addicts have less allegience to their habit. Your neighbors will wonder about you, especially as you ride by in lycra and loud jerseys, on your way in from a 100 mile ride. On the upside, you'll probably be a lot fitter, maybe even thinner and better looking, than you are now. Have fun.

That's a keeper. :D
Redline and Surley are good 'cross choices. -nmTig
Dec 14, 2002 1:14 PM
re: VERY new newbie needs helpgeeker
Dec 14, 2002 6:21 AM
Agreed on CX bike. I ride one in a (Northern) rural area, climb a *lot* of hills, and am not bothered by any weight penalty. Only (very small) negative is that the high bottom bracket feels a little strange when descending. The Soma CX frameset (www.somafab.com) is a solid inexpensive alternative to Surly.

Another possibility is an "all-rounder" or "sport touring" design, which also gives clearance for fatter tires. Heron Bicycles (Todd, the proprietor, often posts here) and Rivendell make some models. [Don't recall the URLs, but they come up on search engines.] GVH Bikes (gvhbikes.com) has some nice sport touring frames built by Jeff Lyon. These options will probably be more expensive than buying a stock CX bike.
re: VERY new newbie needs helpgodot
Dec 14, 2002 8:01 AM
I would completely agree with cross bike recomendation.They are a ton of fun, very stable, very comfortable. (I'm not sure I'd own a road bike if I'd bought my cross bike first) Can ride anywhere, some days it's fun to avoid traffic and go explore dirt roads.
Cyclocross sounds like the way to goB2
Dec 14, 2002 12:29 PM
I just recently purchsed a new Soma Double Cross frame on Ebay for very reasonable price. I built it up with Ultegra triple, 700x35 tires, rack and fenders. My main use will be for commuting, but without the rack and fenders and a little skinnier tire, it would be well suited for paved or gravel roads as you have described. I'm hoping it will generally be a good "all rounder".

Anyone have any experience/comments regarding the stability (or lack of it) associated with the higher BB when touring with a full load?

Bryan
Interesting article on bottom bracket height vs. handlingTig
Dec 14, 2002 1:13 PM
"The Stilstep Factor"
-How bottom bracket height affects bike tilt, and a guess as to why

http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/rr_stilstep.html
Keep it simpledaz I
Dec 15, 2002 11:48 PM
Will rec you buy a fully built up bike. I bought a Redline Conquest Pro cross bike in November and brought it down to Port Harcourt, Nigeria. This is my first road/cross bike. I use it on the road and we have a variety (gravel, dirt, smooth and most with lots of bumps) No problems so far and I don't feel the extra weight (never been on a road bike so I dont know what I am not missing)
Make sure the bike fits and get good quality riding shorts. You will need the padding on the bumpy roads.
Welcome to the club.
re: VERY new newbie needs helpComputerman
Jan 2, 2003 12:30 PM
Thank you all for your replies and your help. I was seriously leaning toward the Cyclocross bikes and I believe you all have won me over. Now that Christmas is over I plan on finding the right Cyclocross bike for me and my wife.

Thanks again.
Ronnie Welch
Computerman@smcc.edu