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Friend wants to get into road biking- need advice, please!(3 posts)

Friend wants to get into road biking- need advice, please!globalhelipimp
Jul 29, 2003 6:06 PM
My friend Jenna (girl) wants to start road biking, and I
told her I would go to the shops around the city with her
and look at bikes. However, being a woman, should she be
looking at women's road bikes, or regular road bikes?
Also, she wants to spend right around $600; would her best
bet be trying to find something used? If not used, any
decent bikes in the $600 area? I myself just started road
biking, and don't know a whole lot.

Any advice, suggestions, etc greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Dave
re: Friend wants to get into road biking- need advice, please!jhart11
Jul 29, 2003 7:20 PM
Hi Dave,

While some companies (Trek) make women's specific road bike frames you shouldn't consider your road bike search to be limited to women's specific designs. Because women (usually) have shorter torsos and longer legs, relative to men, a man's frame might end up stretching her torso out too much (women's specific road frames often have shorter top tube lengths than men's frame do). What is her height? Her Inseam? These are numbers that may be helpful while hunting.

While you can certainly make 600 dollars travel further if you purchase a used bike, or a bike from the internet, you may end up losing the saved money with trips to your local bike shop (sometimes shops aren't as financially forgiving when you take a used or an internet bike to them for service). If you have a friend who can help you with maintainence and the installation of new parts, then this may not be an issue.

600 dollars might be a bit low if Jenna wants a bike that can keep pace with her should she find herself enamored with the sport. However, I understand that more than 600 is quite a commitment for entering a new sport. For that price you might (and I mean might) be able to find a closeout on a 2002 or 2003 bike with Shimano 105 components attached to some kind of aluminum or steel frame. If she gets an aluminum frame, then be sure that it has a replaceable rear derailleur hanger because an aluminum frame without one of these will have a very short lifespan if it is crashed and the hanger is bent. Note: a steel bike, purchased from a shop in the 600 dollar price range--will likely be quite heavy, but the hanger would not be a necessity because when steel bends, you can often bend it back. Carbon and Titanium are prohibitively expensive (unless you can find a deal on a used bike) so you might have the best luck on an aluminum bike.

800 might get her alot more bike for the money. I've sold and raced bike for several years and my shop always stocked road bikes in the 500-600 dollars range, but I always steer customers away from these because the 800-1000 dollar bike were REMARKABLY better in quality and value. So, if you trust the seller and have a shop that won't stick it to you, then used bike may be the best bet if 600 dollars is Jenna's limit.

Your question opens a pandora's box of possibilites, so you may want to reply with her inseam/height, and perhaps make mention of any particular makes or models that you had questions about.

Just to get an idea of what kind of deals are out there you may want to check out the entery level road bikes at the below website to get an idea of what kind of bikes are available in the entry level, to mid level area:

www.supergo.com

I hope this gives you a laucn pad from which to begin your search for Jenna's bike
-John H.
re: Friend wants to get into road biking- need advice, please!hoopshot
Jul 30, 2003 8:11 AM
Depending on your friend's height, she may or may not need to look at women-specific models. The Giant OCR-3 and the Felt F85 both have aluminum frames with Sora components for an MSRP of $599. While the Sora components are not great, they work and should last your friend for quite a few miles. If you look at shops in your area, you may be able to find an older model Giant, Raleigh, Iron Horse, Felt, or other decent low-end bike with nicer components in your price range.

She will get more for her money used, but will need to know what size bike she'll need and what she likes in order to look effectively. Also, if she needs to change the stem or handlebar or cranks to get a better fit she could end up spending more on the used bike -- a good bike shop will often swap out parts for free or minimal cost to get a better fit when selling a new bike.

--Will