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Comfortable road bike for my girlfriend under 500 dollars?(17 posts)

Comfortable road bike for my girlfriend under 500 dollars?DoothaBartman
Mar 24, 2003 6:28 PM
It's not like I won't spend more than 500, I've got over 3500 in my two bikes, I just want to keep the cost low in case she doesn't stick with it, somewhere between 300 and 400 would be nice. Anybody have good experiences with the inexpensive models out there? I want to keep it steel for comfort. I don't really want to go with a hybrid just to come under the price, I want it to be a regular road bike. We can do without upper level parts groups as long as the ride is comfortable. I'll most likely end up going used to stay within my budget.

The LBS has a KHS Flite 300 with Reynolds 520 steel and a wanna-be carbon fork for 500 bucks. Besides it weighing a ton and having wheels that look like they'll break in ten minutes, it seems like a good buy.

Any suggestions for new or used bikes to consider will be greatly appreciated.
Not sure you're looking for used or new.Scot_Gore
Mar 24, 2003 7:06 PM
At that price point, you need to go used to get any kind of reasonable choice IMHO.

If you're looking new and are willing to break the $500.00 barrier. The Specialized Sequoia Sport might be a good choice. Not steel but a few components to help a new rider into road riding but still not demand a total road posture and riding style.

It's got a composite suspension fork, suspension seat post, top side brakes that allow fulltime (or most of the time) riding on top of the bars, rack mount points, the stem is adjustable and it's a triple. She'll be able to ride in the drops or hoods, adjust the stem to classic road or comfort riding and it still looks like a road bike.

Here's a description off an LBS site.
'03 Specialized
Sequoia Sport (Triple chainring)

The Sequoia Sport features an anatomically designed aluminum frame that feels great on every ride. Its carbon-fiber fork with elastomer damping, fully adjustable stem, plush suspension seatpost and Body Geometry saddle, give this bike comfort to spare, too. Plus, its Shimano Tiagra/Sora drivetrain has a triple chainring and all the gears you need to get up steep hills.

Good Luck

Jees, another pinhead cheapskate boyfriendtheBreeze
Mar 24, 2003 8:01 PM
See post on this topic from Jan 29 '03.

Tell me, how much did you spend on YOUR first bike? (and the one from your first paper route doesn't count!) Were you not sure you were going to stay with it and spend less than $500 on yourself? Do you think she's going to like cycling on something that "weighs a ton"? Will that make her want to stick with it?

Look if you really want her to ride with you, or enjoy cycling period, get her involved in this decision. Don't presume to tell her what she'll like, want or need. She needs to try out bikes to make sure they fit her.

If you don't want to pony up more than 500 bucks, maybe she can come up with the rest. Then she'll have something invested too and be more likely to ride. There is a huge difference in quality between a bike for <500 and one around $1000.

If your gonna do this, do it right.

OK I'm done now.
Jees, another pinhead cheapskate boyfriendDoothaBartman
Mar 24, 2003 9:53 PM
Since I got flamed...

My first bike was a Univega Rover 2.0 and bought it so I could have a method of getting around town when I went away to college. It cost 350 dollars. I fell in love with cycling because of that bike.

Did that mean that the bike was comfortable? No. It was stiff and brutal at times, but it allowed me mobility without a car and I liked the way the world looked from a bike. Did I see myself getting into cycling as a pursuit instead of a method of transportation when I bought the bike? No. I enjoyed it for what it was. It could have been the stiffest bike in the world and the heaviest at the same time but I would have kept riding it because I liked it. I didn't know squat about components, weight, cadence or lactic thresholds and I didn't know that one bike could be more comfortable than another. I didn't care that mine was uncomfortable because I loved riding so much. I can't be sure she'll have that same desire, so I want to take all the steps I can to make sure her bike will be comfortable.

I got a 3000 dollar bike at dealer cost about three years ago and put less than a thousand miles on it because it turned out to be incredibly uncomfortable. You can't tell from a test ride around the parking lot at the bike shop how you'll feel riding a particular bike in the 40th mile of a 62 mile ride knowing you've still got 22 to go. Expense doesn't instantly translate into comfort. The Univega was more comfortable than the next one that cost ten times as much. Even with my desire to forge ahead, I eventually just couldn't bring myself to get on that bike anymore.

I bought a Gunnar frame off ebay because I heard that steel was comfortable. When I finished the parts swap, I was amazed at the difference and I love that bike, no matter how many people think Gunnars are lame.

As far as my mentioning the weight of the Flite, I figure for the short distances and low speeds she'll ride, weight added would be a good sacrifice for comfort gained. The bike I had that cost 3 grand weighed 19 pounds and I hated it. And for the difference in quality between a 500 dollar bike and one that cost a thousand, I'd say my 300 dollar Gunnar frame and the crappiest, cheapest components would still be more comfortable than a aluminum Trek or GT costing 1200 dollars. Also, just because a bike fits properly doesn't mean it's comfortable.

If I had the money, I know what I would get her, and after we made sure through proper measurements what size frame, cranks and stem she needed, I KNOW she'd like it. If I had the money AND time, I'd buy parts one at a time and build her a bike, but after all the searching and shipping fees plus the hassle of putting it together, it's easier just buying a bike at the shop. I'm not cheap, I'm looking for suggestions on good a good steel bike within my budget. Steel is inexpensive in some cases, and our one and only LBS doesn't have all the world's different steel framed bikes at our fingertips. I was looking for other people's experiences with inexpensive steel frames. This place is a forum for information as well as an arena for people's rude behavior.

Also, some might call me foolish and wonder why the hell I won't just go ahead and buy a 1200 dollar bike when I say this... 2800 on a ring and 1200 on a string quartet for the ceremony out of my pocket isn't cheap.
I hear youfiltersweep
Mar 25, 2003 6:01 AM
There are a few issues- if she is like my wife, she WILL resent it if you are hauling up a hill on your $3000 bike while she chugs away on her $500 ride (and think that it IS the bike).

If a cheapo bike has some limitations, if may AFFECT how much she actually rides it, and result in your (self-)fulfilling prophesy that she doesn't stick with it.

The main issue is swap-ability of components- if you get some Sora equipped bike for her, it might make things a bit of a hassle for moving things around (and this goes BOTH ways- lets say you break a spoke and want to borrow a wheel- I've seen wheels on $500 bikes that are literally untruable... if that is even a word)- I'd spend a bit more, get at least a 105-level bike, and if she doesn't ride it, sell it!
..She really likes my Lemond. OOPS! ;-) nmSpunout
Mar 25, 2003 6:21 AM
Try www.bikeswholesale.comfracisco
Mar 24, 2003 9:01 PM
They advertise here on RBR. They have some different choices in their inventory. I don't think it would hurt to check them out. - click thru Hot Deals and make usre store in your areateamsloppy
Mar 24, 2003 9:31 PM
REI will service a novice woman the way she wants: lots of foreplay, talk, she can change her mind at any time, patience and respect. Sort of the 'Nordstroms' of the sporting goods world. It is a class outfit. I see quality private label (Novara) bikes there for less than $500. I think their private label is made by Cannondale. You can return anything at anytime for a refund.

Use the Hot Deals link here to get there and maybe buy.

There are no bikes at the now. But if you click on through to REI.Com
you will see the bikes.

REI is best if you buy a deal on the Internet, but have a local store to return it to.

And it is a co-op. If you join, you get a 6 to 12% refund at the end of the year (depening on profits). I think it is 5 or 15 bucks to join.
versatility - get her a CX bike!rockbender
Mar 25, 2003 12:07 AM
How about a CX bike? I guess it depends on whether you yourself have one or not, or do any mountain biking / gravel road riding.

The Jamis Nova is a great value, especially if you can find one of the past model years. It has all sorts of braze ons for fenders, racks, etc. if you ever decide to go that route. Also, a CX bike will handle a lot more stable than a typical twitchy road geometry.

My GF and I probably get more use out of our CX bikes than our roadies and mountain bikes just due to their versatility (her CX bike IS her road bike, BTW).

Another thing to consider would be making Tiagra the low end of the component spectrum. Sora works just fine, and the thumb shifters might even be nicer than double paddles for a beginner, but having the 9 speed option means that when you upgrade parts you can easily pass yours down to her.

It sounds like you are very aware of fit, so make sure that is a priority. Have her try out several bikes and see what feels right. Also keep in mind that you might be forking out $50 to $100 on a decent saddle too.

good luck!
re: Comfortable road bike for my girlfriend under 500 dollars?abelson
Mar 25, 2003 6:08 AM
You can pick up a new giant OCR3 for about $550. Its a decent starter bike if the compact frame sizing works for your girlfriend.
Ummm minor point about the Giant OCRRoadnMtn
Mar 25, 2003 6:48 AM
The OCR series is not a compact frame design....that is the TCR series. The OCR is more of a "normal" frame geometry, and it is alum...not steel.
Mar 25, 2003 7:07 AM
The OCR is indeed compact geometry, with headtube length and TT slope very close to the TCR.

You are right that they are aluminum however.
There is however....RoadnMtn
Mar 25, 2003 8:02 AM
A distinct difference between the two...having ridden both before choosing the TCR frame. Failing anything else...pull up a picture of both style bikes and look at the back wheel in relation to the seat tube. There is a (at least I felt like) a distinct difference in how they rode.
No such a thing as a girlfriend under $500...LactateIntolerant
Mar 25, 2003 7:41 AM
...and if she becomes your wife, the tab goes much, much higher. :-)
If she's really going to ride, sell yours, get 2 similar bikesContinental
Mar 25, 2003 7:48 AM
I ride a $450 Fuji Finest (steel) It's a nice bike that does not limit my cycling pleasure or performance. Bike quality has improved dramatically while prices have dropped. Unless you race, a $500 bike is all you really need. I would look for 32 spoke 3 cross wheels at that price. Big question--does she really want to ride, or does she want to spend time with you? If she doesn't really want to cycle, do something else together and save your $500.

Sell your expensive bike, and get used to sacrifice. It's worth it in the long run.

I take no responsibility for advise leading to pre-marital disputes.
couple of things, in a similar boat right now...dante
Mar 25, 2003 7:55 AM
helping my gf pick out a bike, and the first thing I can say is test ride. She had set out a $500 limit (or so), so we were looking at used bikes and lowest model road bikes w/ Sora shifting/der/etc. Something like the Fuji Finest, retails for 600, comes in WSD, steel frame/fork, 650 wheels. However, after test riding a Cannondale R500 from a shop, she was frustrated that the shifting (Tiagra) wasn't great, but could deal with it, so decided that Tiagra was as low componentry as she should go.

We've since upped the max amount, and are looking at Fuji Newest (Alu Frame/Fork, Tiagra, WSD, 650 wheels) which retails for 899, and recently started looking at the Jamis Novara (520 Steel frame, Carbon fork, Tiagra, 700/650 wheels on 47cm frame) which retails for 850!! Have been checking ebay but the prices are going WAY too high, a (barely used) Cannondale R500 went for over 800 a month ago. You could buy a new one for a grand.

Basically, I'd say up your price to the $700 mark, have her ride it for a year, if she doesn't like it you can sell it and get most of your money back.

Good luck, and hope she likes it!


PS - If you've got the parts left over from some of your bikes, one option would be to build it from scratch.

PPS - "Weigh's a ton" is relative. You'll notice that the bike weighs 23lbs instead of 18. She probably won't. And if after a year she decides she really likes riding, sell the bike and get one that's 18lbs.
In case she doesn't stick with it:djg
Mar 25, 2003 7:59 AM
How about spending a little more and doing a little leg work to track down a good, used steel road bike at a good price. I've seen some very nice rides going for 750 or so, with previous generation parts. The thing about getting a good value on a used bike is: (a) she'll get a better bike; and (b) you may not lose any money at all if she doesn't get into riding it--it's still a used bike of roughly the same vintage and condition as when you bought it.