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newbie needs a hand(6 posts)

newbie needs a handdevotchka
Apr 5, 2003 1:53 PM
hi everyone--

so i'm new, to this board and to the cycling world in general. i'm doing a century ride in october and need a bike, but i don't know the first thing about what kind i need to purchase (except that i need a road bike). can someone kind of outline the basics of road bikes, in terms of composition and also the way the market works? are used bikes available and/or reliable?

i can't thank you guys enough in advance.

best,

kate
Oh boy, what you ask is a tall taskpurplepaul
Apr 5, 2003 3:03 PM
But I'd say the first thing you need to determine is how much you want to or can spend. Since you are unfamiliar with bikes, I would not recommend a used bike. You won't be in a position to determine what its true condition is. Best thing would probably be to go to your local bike shop and ask for their guidance. If you post a request for opinions of bike shops in your area, you'll probably get an idea of which ones, if any, to avoid.
Fit and budget.Spoke Wrench
Apr 5, 2003 3:13 PM
How you fit on the bike affects your comfort, efficiency and performance every minute that you are on the bike. It's the most important thing. I think that it's worth sacrificing a preferred frame material or a preferred component group as long as you are positive that the bike fits.

If you are looking at new bikes, you can usually pick out the bike that you want and leave it to the LBS to obtain the size that fits you. Honestly, if you have budget restrictions, that will probably limit your choices of frame material and component group quite a bit. Personally, I avoid entry level anything.

If you are looking at used bikes, there are some genuine bargains if you look hard enough. The same amount of money will usually buy you more frame material options and much better components. The drawback is there is usually only one so you have to know exactly what you need beforehand regarding frame sizeing. Don't waste your time looking at used bikes that are the wrong size. No matter how attractive the price, if it doesn't fit, it's not going to be comfortable to ride so it's not a good deal.

To get the best of both worlds, figure that you are going to save about half by buying used. Now take a portion of that saving, say $50.00 to $75.00 or so and go to the most professional road bike shop in your area. Tell them that you want to buy a "professional fit" and that you want their most professional "fitter" to do it. Wear bike riding clothes. For that money they should spend about an hour or so measuring your body and perhaps using an adjustable bicycle or stem device to determine your sizing needs. Don't feel bad about not buying a bike from them because you paid for the service that you got. If you do decide to buy a bike from them, be sure to ask them to knock off the cost of the fitting.
re: newbie needs a handjose_Tex_mex
Apr 5, 2003 3:14 PM
Kate,
There's just too many things to consider. The question I normally ask newbies is - how much are you going to spend. That will pretty much dictate what you should expect to receive.
Used bikes can be a great bargain. However, they do not have a warranty. Also, there can be problems such as: alignment, mushroomed head tube, and so forth that are hard to spot.
It's all up to you...cydswipe
Apr 5, 2003 6:49 PM
What kind of rider do you plan to be? Are you only planning to ride an occasional century, become an aspiring time-trialist, or get groceries twice a week? You have to decide how much riding/money you can deal with. For each style of rider there are several options for a bike. Not only in money, but design. I agree on a pro fit from a LBS. That is smart. For you Kate, the ride is in Oct. You've got time to research, test ride, and save up money. Don't settle or impulse buy. Keep in mind shoes, seat, and shorts are also important purchases. In most cases you get what you pay for. If you aren't sure what you are getting, post it here. Everyone and their opinions will help you at least get your feet wet. Every poster has favorites of brand or frame material. But none of us are going to PRESSURE you into spending one single cent. Good Luck!
re: I like your monikercyclopathic
Apr 6, 2003 7:34 AM
devotchka 8-P

anyways the standard advise I give to newbees is to spend 500-700$ and buy either used or new entry level bike, pref steel. Ride it for a year or two, then deside if and what you want to get.

First, there's a good chance you'll lose any interest in riding at all (then you only spent 500$); in first couple years your position on bike changes and what seemed a good fit won't be any more, etc, etc.

Why steel? Steel bikes are very comfortable; even if you get better bike you still be using it for centuries, training, commute. It'll be a kind of bike you wouldn't worry about getting stolen on your weekend ride to downtown.

In new bike 500$ buys you Sora/525 level bike one of the lesser brands like KHS, IronHorse, Mercier etc. Check retailers like www.bikeswholesale.com, www.bikesdirect.com, www.gvhbikes.com, etc

In used 500-700$ will buy you Ultegra level bike

Most importantly get fit either in LBS or here http://www.coloradocyclist.com/bikefit/ some instructions.

good luck devotchka