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    Default beginner road bike???

    I have recently became interested in buying a nice road bike as the woman I am with is a pretty serious bicyclist. I was shocked to see the distances some people ride and recently watched my g/f do 150 miles for a multiple sclerosis fund raiser....good lord I can not imagine riding that far in one day but the idea of being able to maybe do so intrigues me.

    I searched here but only found info on bike lights and an internet search just confused me more. From what I have been told I am not really built for road riding as the better ones tend to be very thin and lean and I am pretty much all muscle at 5-8" and 190lbs. I am really not looking to be the next Lance Armstrong either but I would like to start riding just to be able to share some of my G/F hobby with her.

    Now the problem I found real quick was that one can spend some big money on bikes if they do not know what they are doing...and that would be me. Considering my heavier more muscled frame is there one type or brand better suited for me? Also if I have say 700 dollars as a limit can I even consider this figure to get me well set up to ride with other groups?

    Basically I am seeking any advice for a beginner and would like to have opinions I trust rather than a bike shop who is trying to just get me to buy their bikes. I recently saw a Trek Madone that was "on sale" for 3500 dollars and this certain custom shop had very few bikes cheaper than this so again I am lost here.

    Thanks for any suggestions as always and wish me luck.....
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Good on you for wanting to do it. The mental pic of your avatar on a bike is an entertaining one.

    Does your girlfriend know what she's doing when it comes to bicycles? Would she be able to assist you in buying a bike or do you want to surprise her?
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    She is an experienced rider however is also very muscular so she does not ride in competition but just usually for fun. She does know much more than myself and she spoke of things like sizing to fit, carbon fiber parts, hybrids, different speeds or gears,..ETC: so really she confused me as well.

    I believe her bike is made by Scott and cost something like 1100 dollars. She also spent much on riding gear so maybe she has close to 1700 dollars invested. She was the one who suggested visiting her bike shop and I did just that. The costs of all those bikes hanging there kind of shocked me so I decided to do a lot more research before I jumped in.

    I am not opposed to buying a used bike however from what I have read if an inexperienced rider does not know what they are looking at they can get really burned on a used bike. The shop did not seem too interested in suggestions for a used bike but again I assume this was due to them hoping I would buy new from them.

    I was first shocked at the few new bikes I looked at were all closer to 3k and did not even come with the damn pedals....these are extra money and yes I know this is due to the many styles but for the cost one would think you could simply pick out the proper pedals and they would throw them into the purchase for free.....holy smoke this can get to be a very expensive hobby.

    I was also looking around the shop and saw all the special shoes sold there were all over 100 dollars and even saw a plain old pair of padded spandex type shorts for 195 dollars.....not to mention the trip computer....extra tubes and repair kits....bottle holders....well you get my point.

    I think I will take my G/F advice and maybe attend a learners class offered by the bike shop. She recommended talking with a few of her friends who ride and see if any had a loaner bike I could try just to get an idea of my comfort level or style or bike I like. I think what facinates me the most is being able to hop on a bike and ride 30 miles in a day. It would be nice to just ride without the worry of rising fuel costs and I was again shocked to see some of the distances covered on road bikes....even by beginner riders such as myself.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    I also was really suprised to see just what an experienced rider can really do on a bike. On the 150 mile ride I spoke of earlier I was a spectator only however my g/f went as a rider with many of her riding friends.

    One of these friends is a husband and wife team with the woman being very thin and wiry. She is maybe 5-2 and 105lbs while her husband is over 6 foot and maybe 270lbs but kind of out of shape looking. If I just glanced at the guy no way in the world would I ever think him to be an accomplished rider.

    He freely admits to being fat and out of shape however put that man on a bike and he is a great rider. He has long been a coach to other riders and just knows his stuff....this is how he met my g/f as he was her riding coach long ago.

    Well we talked a little and he said there are many things to riding other than brute power and endurance. He spoke of pedal technique and pulling and pushing as well as breathing and a host of other stuff. Long story short this bad out of shape man who could not run a mile if he had to beat many very thin and younger riders on that 150 mile ride and I was truly shocked....of course his bike was said to cost over 8k but none the less he could ride the crap out of that bike but he sure looked funny in those spandex shorts. He is a good sport and a great guy so maybe I can also go to him for advice.

    Wit a little training....a decent bike....and some time I think I could be a good rider but more than anything could learn to really enjoy the sport.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop View Post
    One of these friends is a husband and wife team with the woman being very thin and wiry. She is maybe 5-2 and 105lbs while her husband is over 6 foot and maybe 270lbs but kind of out of shape looking. If I just glanced at the guy no way in the world would I ever think him to be an accomplished rider.

    He freely admits to being fat and out of shape however put that man on a bike and he is a great rider. He has long been a coach to other riders and just knows his stuff....this is how he met my g/f as he was her riding coach long ago.

    Well we talked a little and he said there are many things to riding other than brute power and endurance. He spoke of pedal technique and pulling and pushing as well as breathing and a host of other stuff. Long story short this bad out of shape man who could not run a mile if he had to beat many very thin and younger riders on that 150 mile ride and I was truly shocked....of course his bike was said to cost over 8k but none the less he could ride the crap out of that bike but he sure looked funny in those spandex shorts. He is a good sport and a great guy so maybe I can also go to him for advice.
    All very true. I probably couldn't run anything worth a bit either (I hate running anyway). The only time this guy's weight is a factor in cycling is going to be uphills. For a given power output he'll be going slower uphill than a lighter person. I even notice the difference the extra 25-30 pounds I'm carrying now makes. One hill which is roughly about 1 in 22 I used to climb at 17 mph when I was 165-170 pounds. Now at 200 or close to it I'm lucky to do 13 mph up that same hill, even though my speeds on level ground haven't changed much in the last 15 years.

    Wit a little training....a decent bike....and some time I think I could be a good rider but more than anything could learn to really enjoy the sport.
    Enjoying is the most important part. If you enjoy cycling, being good at it comes in time.

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    robo, good to hear you are considering taking up cycling. wish you were a little closer, so I could fit you up with a loaner bike. as we are about the same size.

    price points have really come down. technology trickle down. sure it's nice to ride a 17lb $3k state of the art carbon bike. but not for a total beginner. at least not yet...

    what you need to do is find where the price/performance break points are. discounting the $100 department store bikes, which weight like a ton of bricks. 30lb+ range

    next up is entry level bike shop bikes. say $300-$400 range. then we get into next level up.. $700 range... then $1100 range. , then $1,500 and so forth. good grief... you can spend a lot of $$$ very quickly!!! accessories can rack up quickly. you need to get hooked with a discount mail order outlet. but don't let local bike shops know that. they generally will be 2x or more higher. they generally don't make that much selling bikes, but a killing on accessories.

    use to be that most of the gains showed up in $700 range bikes. so bikes costing more, gains in performance would get you less return on $$. performance is measured on bikes by weight. this is really a broad statement. but generally true.

    a riding buddy just listed for another friend, a trek carbon bike 18lbs, for $900. it's only a few year old, with original costs of $2,500. if you want a high end bike for cheap. that's the way to do it. it's 56cm or slightly too large for you.

    depending upon how long your torso/legs are. you will probably need a 52cm-54cm frame. for example my ancient Giani Motta road bike w/full Campy is 53cm, 19lb with sewups, 21 with bomber training wheels (used to be state of the art). my favorite pedals has been mountain bike time pedals. there's been sooo much high tech equipment come out. I've long since loss track.

    it's been awhile since I did any shopping, numbers above is probably off, but principle is still valid. I've long since geared up for road bikes. I'm riding a fully enclosed Lightning F40 these days.

    my last long ride was from Colorado springs to Tulsa, OK. that was done self contained riding the bike centennial route that spans across US.

    JTR, your bike frame is sized way too large and your seat angle looks like torture. but what ever makes you comfortable. general rule of thumb is to fit to smallest sized frame that you can get a proper fit on. 57k miles enh... you must live on your bike..

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by TorchBoy View Post
    The mental pic of your avatar on a bike is an entertaining one.
    The funny thing is, he actually looks like a human version of his avatar. (same size and bulk) (muscle, that is!)

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    My size did worry me at first however I really do not plan on ever racing so I will simply ride to stay in shape and have a little fun trying out the hobby of my g/f. I have been visiting shops locally and trying to learn the ropes of riding....you know how to be courteous and steps to follow in a group. I have been really amazed at some of the athletes I have seen at the local bike shop scene.

    Every serious rider I have seen is very thin with good muscle tone and man do these guys have crazy endurance. Many of them have taken time to speak with me and every one has commented on my muscle mass saying weight is a killer for racers. Yes at 200 lbs and barely 5"8 I am short and stocky however I have fooled many 18 year old street punks after I run them down within 2 city blocks. I will never pretend to have the endurance of these seasoned riders however I believe I can hold my own against all of them as far as pedal power.

    What I have found thus far and also by talking to my g/f is that in the large groups of riders here there are maybe 4 or 5 riders that always ride like speed demons. The other 20 riders kind of enjoy themselves and set a good healthy pace never trying to be first to finish. Regardless I am impressed with the sport as there is much more to it than I ever imagined....and with any hobby,sport or simple past time there are those who are the hard core type. I plan to simply get a decent bike and ride hard enough to keep in shape and learn a new hobby.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Holy smoke if I was not confused enough already I now have found one more player to add to my list.....The Trek 2.1 and Scott Speedster S30 are nice and I dropped the Lemond however today I looked at a new maker called Felt.

    I found a Felt F75.. http://www.feltracing.com/08/product...,1515&pid=8665

    This bike is on sale at yet another shop for 1100 dollars. From what I can tell it has the 105/Ultegra set up on parts and physically handling this bike shows it to be the lightest. I am now test driving all 3 tomorrow however on paper the Felt is thus far my favorite. In a way I am beginning to feel as if I may be over analyzing this entire ordeal. Time will tell I suppose and thanks again for all the help.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop View Post
    Holy smoke if I was not confused enough already I now have found one more player to add to my list.....The Trek 2.1 and Scott Speedster S30 are nice and I dropped the Lemond however today I looked at a new maker called Felt.

    I found a Felt F75.. http://www.feltracing.com/08/product...,1515&pid=8665

    This bike is on sale at yet another shop for 1100 dollars. From what I can tell it has the 105/Ultegra set up on parts and physically handling this bike shows it to be the lightest. I am now test driving all 3 tomorrow however on paper the Felt is thus far my favorite. In a way I am beginning to feel as if I may be over analyzing this entire ordeal. Time will tell I suppose and thanks again for all the help.
    +

    Robo, FOCUS!!

    Get the Trek 1.2, because of slightly beefier wheelset. They will be easier to keep true for you.
    Then get some step-in pedals & shoes and cycling shorts.

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    I don't really have specific recommendations in terms of brands but I've noticed people just getting into cycling often have a tendency to way overspend on equipment. You're smart to realize this possibility before ending up with thousands in equipment you'll never fully utilize. I've ridden over 57,000 miles since starting college back in 1980. Believe it or not, most of that was on really low-end steel-framed bikes like Huffys (but with better components which I added). My only "real" bike is my Raleigh. Even that I got second hand from my cousin. My point here is if you want to ride you'll ride regardless of the equipment. That being said, I do heartily recommend avoiding "department store" $99 bikes. The components are usually crap and will wear out after a few hundred miles. My general recommendations:

    1) Buy a bike computer. This is the only way you're going to be able to accurately gauge your progress. When you cover x miles over the same route faster than the week before you'll know you're getting in better cycling condition.

    2) Get integrated brake/shifters (called brifters). Most decent bikes have them anyway. Well worth it from a safety and ease of shifting standpoint.

    3) Get decent wheels. No need to go with super expensive carbon fiber ones. A decent set of alloy wheels will suffice. Forget any bike with steel wheels. Those get dented to hell over anything but the smoothest roads.

    4) Consider airless tires if you'll be riding anywhere with lots of glass or thorns. While it's true they might be a bit slower than pneumatics, fact is any other solution to mitigate flats such as heavier tires, rim strips, "goo", etc. all increase rolling resistance to some extent. Thin road bike tires have little rolling resistance, but they are also very prone to flats. The downside to airless tires? Probably the company that makes them. I'm still waiting since last August for my order. Then again, you may do fine with regular road tires depending upon where you'll ride. I just know I can't. Flats for me are a weekly occurance.

    5) Consider getting one of those aero wheel disks (see the picture of my Raleigh below). Combined with an aerospoke front wheel, they'll probably give you a 2 to 3 mph speed increase. Since you're new to this, you'll need all the help you can get to keep up with your other half who does 150 mile rides.

    6) Get a seat you find comfortable. This is probably one of the most important things since you'll be sitting on it for long periods. You may have to try several before finding one you like. Also, some are more sensitive than others to seats. My rear is so hardened from years of cycling over potholes that I can probably sit on a bare seat post without being too distressed.

    7) Cycling clothing may or may not be for you. A lot depends upon your budget (you can spend as much on clothing as on the bike itself) and how comfortable you feel without it. I wear the same clothes and sneakers to go cycling as I do for everything else. The only thing I might recommend is to slightly underdress on cool days. You'll feel cold the first few minutes of the ride until you body warms up from the activity, but it beats sweating for the remainder of the ride. Wear gloves of some sort if you'll be cycling in temperatures much under about 45°F. Trust me, frozen fingers are not fun.

    8) Buy tools such as a spoke wrench, chain tool, cone wrenches, set of Allen keys. You'll save a fortune learning to fix your bike yourself.

    Here's a good site for further reading.

    That's all I can think of for the moment. I'm sure you already know this, but don't expect to be flying along until you get at least few hundred miles under your belt. Even for someone like myself, if I don't ride for a few weeks it takes a while to recondition myself. It takes literally thousands of miles to feel really comfortable on a bike under all circumstances. Although exact numbers vary depending upon the person and terrain, if you reach the point where 20 mph is a comfortable pace which you can maintain for a few hours, and can burst up to 30 to 35 occasionally, then you'll know you have "arrived". Note though that with traffic and hills even if you cruise at 20 mph you'll never average 20 mph. Even on my good rides I'll seldom average more than 17 mph even though my normal cruise is 22 to 24 mph on level ground. As for long rides, that may or may not be your thing. I prefer to just do quick 15 to 30 mile rides staying within about 5 miles of where I live. When the airless tires come I might attempt something more adventurous. As hard as it is to believe given how many miles I've ridden in total, the most I ever rode in one stretch was 60 miles. The most in a day was I think 70.

    Here's the promised pic of my "wheels":


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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    1) Buy a bike computer. This is the only way you're going to be able to accurately gauge your progress. When you cover x miles over the same route faster than the week before you'll know you're getting in better cycling condition.
    Can you recommend a couple good bike computers and where to get them? I'd like to get one for a mountain bike but don't know anything about them.

    Ideally it would be under $50, wireless, and have a big display. I don't need a heart rate monitor.
    Last edited by 9volt; 04-06-2008 at 08:55 AM.


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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by 9volt View Post
    Can you recommend a couple good bike computers and where to get them? I'd like to get one for a mountain bike but don't know anything about them.

    Ideally it would be under $50, wireless, and have a big display. I don't need a heart rate monitor.
    If you can live without Average Speed, check out this one: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...nd%3A%20Cateye Cateye's displays aren't the biggest ones you'll find, but the flip side is they have excellent durability and reliability, unlike Some Brands Of Wireless Computers I Could Name


    Robocop, I took a peek at the three bikes you linked and the Scott looks most attractive to me.

    What is a good weight for a bike in the 800 to say 1100 dollar range?
    About 20-21 pounds is typical. I agree with the other guys, don't focus too much on bike weight per se.

    If you do want to save weight, wear out the original tires and then upgrade to light tires and tubes, because rotating weight at the edge of the wheel must be accelerated rotationally, not just linearly, making it the most important place to cut weight on a road bike.

    An example of a decent light tire: Continental Grand Prix 4-Season which is a higher-mileage variant of the Grand Prix 4000 with additional puncture resistance. I'd recommend the 700 x 25 size (25 is the nominal width in millimeters) for your size & weight, because the slightly larger size reduces your chance of a pinch flat if you hit a pothole or whatnot. I use 25's myself and I'm only 160lbs. Continental and other companies also make extra-light inner tubes in the 70-gram range which are quite reliable, such as Conti's Race 700 Light or Specialized's Turbo Ultralight tubes.

    In the big picture, however, don't expect radical changes in performance... this is simply the best place to start if you want to reduce bike weight. The process of riding enough to wear out the original-equipment tires will do far more for your speed than the tire upgrade at the end

    Oh, and top off your tire pressure before every ride. Normal seepage can lower your pressure enough to make you vulnerable to pinch flats.
    Last edited by mechBgon; 04-06-2008 at 11:34 AM.

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    robo, cave dave is giving some very sound advice! in fact I'm agreeing with pretty much everything cave dave has posted.

    reason I was able to predict 52 - 54 cm earlier, we are both are aprox same size. like cave dave said, different mfg measure slightly different. so don't worry too much about difference between 52-54cm. seat hight from frame to saddle and frame reach from saddle to bars is the main difference. this can be adjusted by size of handle bar stem used.

    used to be when most high end bikes used cro-moly. bike sizes were more standardized. now days with fat aluminum tubes, molded carbon, round carbon and the like.... then throw in non traditional geometry. frame sizing can be confusing indeed.

    another vote for a triple front chain ring and mountain bike clipless pedals. I've been using Time mountain bike clipless for both road and trail for many years. yes you will want the recessed cleats.

    the guy that took time to measure bone sizes sounds like he knows what he's doing. a 20lb bike is really light! what you need to be concerned with is toughness of your wheels.

    you already know that your mass is heavier that most your height. so wheels is where the extra beating will take place. then factor in beginner bashing pot holes. until you get your road legs, you will be bashing some holes. no way around it

    after you get some miles under your belt, then you will automatically avoid holes and/or bunny hop over them at speed.

    again agreeing with cave dave. prefer 9sp over 10sp due to durability. some riders prefer 8sp over 9sp for same reason. these are rabid mountain bikers who bash their gears much harder than roadies.

    again... once you have shopped enough to find out what you will get for each price point. say all the $800 ranges bikes and $1200 range bikes. then try to find a deal on last years model $1200 range bike marked down to $800.

    in case you haven't noticed... long time bikers are tough shoppers

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by cy View Post
    robo, cave dave is giving some very sound advice! in fact I'm agreeing with pretty much everything cave dave has posted.
    Wow that almost never happens!

    I'm a dyed in the wool traditionalist. I run 7spd and 8spd bike that I can get parts for cheap! I still run friction shifters on two bikes because I can. (Its requires a learning curve but once you learn its no harder than shifting a manual transmission car)

    1/3 of the collection:
    http://home.att.net/~dejmtb/

    The latest bike craze among hard core cyclists are single speed Mtn and Fixed gear road bikes. I'm not quite there yet. But fixed can be incredible light, responsive, cheap and fun!
    Last edited by cave dave; 04-06-2008 at 07:24 PM.
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by 9volt View Post
    Can you recommend a couple good bike computers and where to get them? I'd like to get one for a mountain bike but don't know anything about them.

    Ideally it would be under $50, wireless, and have a big display. I don't need a heart rate monitor.
    This one on eBay seems pretty nice. All the info in on the screen at the same time.

    Any reason you need wireless? The pitfall with wireless computers are that they drain batteries way faster that wired ones. And in general you get more bang for your buck with wired computers. You can get decent wired computers for under $10 these days. And the wire is usually thin, unobtrusive, and to me really not a big deal.

    The most important thing about bike computers is calibrating them. Almost all of them have some means of calibration based on wheel circumference. Sheldon Brown describes the procedure and various common types of calibration here. You can enter the numbers he suggests directly, or for better accuracy do a rollout test. Also note that most cyclocomputers these days read speed to the tenth of a mph or kph. If you want to be accurate to that level (not necessary but fun nonetheless) then you definitely need to do the rollout test.

    More fun with bike computers-I put a backlight in this one, and powered it via a small wire from the 4AA cells in my bike headlight (this is a computer from the early 1990s without tenths in the speed display):



    I did this one also:



    And the same thing with no backlight:


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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Of the three I'd probably go with the Scott Speedster by virtue of the 10-speed rear cluster. You'll be more likely to find a suitable ratio without jumping from one front chainring to another while still getting a very wide range. The only downside I'm seeing is that it has 34/50 chainrings in front. A 30/42/53 triple would be better. I have a 34/50 on one of my bikes. I find that the 50 is a little too high for normal riding given that my largest rear cog is 25 teeth. I can still take off from stoplights pretty quick, but only by virtue of my strong legs. I would imagine a beginner might want a lower first gear. I can get around the low-gear problem by running on the 34 tooth front chainring. However, the downside there is that I'm spinning out by the time I hit maybe 23 mph, a speed I often exceed. The Scott Speedster does have an 11-tooth rear cog though, so spinning out in the 34/11 combo wouldn't be a problem until around 25-26 mph. Unless your riding involves lots of downhills, you probably won't exceed this speed very often. A 42 tooth chainring is probably best for all around riding. You get a decent low gear but can also exceed 30 mph in top gear without spinning out. A 30/42/53 triple really gives you the best of all worlds. You can go super low on the 30-tooth chainring, and super fast of the 53-tooth one, while using the 42 for most riding.

    Also, note that all my talk of gearing is biased by my own personal preferences. Some people don't mind going between front chainrings often. I hate it. It's not as quick as shifting in back. Besides that, the front ratios are widely spaced. Jumping from one chainring to the other means you have to shift down one or two gears in back anyway. For example, when I'm spinning out in my 34/12 combo and jumping to the 50-tooth front chainring, I have to shift the rear to the 15 tooth cog to keep my cadence within a decent range. That's why I usually stick to one chainring. I'll use the small one first part of a ride to spin and warm up. After that I'll jump to the big one for the rest of the ride. It would be easier if I had a 42-tooth ring that I could just remain in all the time. Also, remember that all of my riding is on urban roads where I need to change gears constantly. You may not experience the issues I've outlined if you ride on relatively flat roads with little need to slow or stop. And a lot depends upon your riding style. Mine is basically powering out of stoplights quickly until 20 mph, creeping up a more few mph over the next block or two, and cruising until I need to slow or stop again. Unfortunately, it's hard to cruise steady around here for more than a few blocks at a time unless one rides late at night.

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    As far as gears go I really have no idea as to what I would require or even like best. For some reason I have been more focused on weight of my choices however have found it hard to locate the total weight of many bikes I have seen online.

    I had many questions for the shops I visited and most all agreed that my height to weight ratio would be hardest for longer uphill climbs. I have great muscle density and strong legs however I assumed proper gearing and lighter weight would be my best solution for this problem.

    Seems as if the average weight of bikes in the 8oo to 1k range was about 20 lbs. Considering my weight of almost 200lbs would I really notice the difference between say an 18lb bike vs a 22lb bike on deep hill climbes? As a more stocky rider should I really be worrying about the lowest weight model?

    I was also a little lost when it came to parts or attatchments such as shifters,brakes, forks ...etc: Most all shops advised I could go for a lighter bike with less quality parts or an average bike with better parts for close to the same budget. As an average rider with weekend rides and no desire to race would I really need super fancy shifters and derailers or other stuff?

    Of all the bikes I looked at Trek suprised me the most as far as cost. With no experience Trek was the only name I recognized and I thought all Trek road bikes would surely be out of reach for me. I saw several in the 800 dollar range and many more jumping up to 1k or maybe 1200 dollars. I was also suprised to see many shops to allow financing a bike with no interest. I can afford to pay 200 per month and within half a year have a higher cost and quality bike paid for.

    I also had no idea as to proper fit and the details involved with obtaining this fit. The best shop I found actually measured the length of my leg bones while I sat on a bike machine thing and also used some type of sliding ruler to measure the angles of my arms while leaning over pedaling. They said this was a basic fit and would go much more in depth after I actually chose a bike....amazing and much more involved than simply hopping on a bike and riding with a few friends.

    So basically for me I guess an important question to ask is how important is the weight of a bike when choosing a model? What is a good weight for a bike in the 800 to say 1100 dollar range?
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic*
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    Nov 2003
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Gearing is important insofar as you'll be less fatigued if you can find a gear you're comfortable in. With more ratios it's more likely you will. Not so in the good old days of 3-speeds. Even the five-gear rear clusters on older 10-speeds often didn't let you find the right gear. They tried to do a 2:1 range (14-28 teeth) with only five gears. The result was that the gears were too widely spaced, especially on the high end. You can get away with a 15% or even 20% jump in ratios in your lower gears, but for your higher cruising gears 10% or so between gears is optimal. A ten-gear 11-25 rear cluster gives you all this, and even has a wider range than the older five-gear clusters.

    Regarding weight, let's put it this way-I'm maybe 30 pounds heavier than I was in my early 30s, and yes, I do notice that much weight, but mainly on the hills. For example, a hill I used to take at 17 mph now I can barely take at 13 mph, although to be fair probably 1 or 1.5 mph of that is due to poorer conditioning from riding less than I used. So once you factor out the difference in conditioning, we're talking at most a 3 mph difference on a fairly steep (about 4.5%) hill, or put another way, 30 pounds makes me about 18% slower on this hill. 4 pounds would make me less than 3% slower, or under half a mph, and only on a few of the steeper hills. So no, 4 pounds would hardly make any difference at all. You and the bike would weigh roughly 210 pounds give or take. 4 pounds is only 2% of this. On a really steep hill where you might only be going 8 or 10 mph 2% is not something even I would notice. On the level the extra weight will make zero difference. I'd say for the price range you're looking at 20 or 21 pounds if just fine. Weight in bikes is like speed in racing. You can get very light if you want but it'll cost you big time, and past a point there really isn't much advantage. The biggest gain really is going from a 30+ pound steel framed $99 department store bike to the ~20 pound $800-$1000 bikes that you're looking at. That's a noticable gain even for the casual rider. However, paying another $1000 to save perhaps 2 or 3 more pounds really isn't worth it unless you're in competition. Bike weight is probably more important for a lighter person. If you were a 4' 9" 80 pound female rather than a 5' 8" 190 pound male I might say 4 or 5 pounds would be fairly noticeable as it would be around 4% to 5% of the total weight. In your case, it will barely be noticeable, if at all. Besides that, in your price range it appears the variation in weight among different models is probably only 1 or 2 pounds. You won't notice that at all.

    As for shifters, the main difference between the high and low end stuff is probably durability, although the high-end parts might also function a little more smoothly. For your uses, or even mine, something like the Shimano 105 will do just fine. No need to go with anything better here. Note that you'll still have a way better shifting experience than you would back when I started nearly 30 years ago. Back then, all they had was friction shifters where you basically hunted for the right gear. Indexed shifters came along later. Eventually, you had ratchet-type shifters where you can just click to go up or down. The integrated brake-shifters on the bikes you linked to are the final evolution of this. I wish this stuff existed when I first started riding.

    Yes, it's amazing how much is involved properly fitting a bike. That being said, I never was, yet I've managed to do OK by adapting to whatever equipment I could afford, and adapting the equipment to me via small adjustments. However, this isn't something a beginner is likely to be comfortable doing.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic*
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    Aug 2001
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    3,655

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Fit:
    I am so glad you found a bike shop that was willing to fit you out. Yes it is very very common for even experienced cyclist to be riding ill fitting bike. I used to work in a shop and hang out in shops alot and saw all sorts of things, like selling the wrong size bike because thats what was in stock. The most common issue is bikes too small. 54 is the seat tube length in cm not inches. Not every manufactures measure the same way so one brands 52 may be the same as another brands 54. Trek and the otehrs you mentioned ares measuring center to top. Some brands measure center to center. More important is effective top tube length and Head tube length. As a beginner rider you will want a shorter top tube and a longer headtube so you have a more comfortable reach to the bars. (these two things conflict when it comes to sizing) If your elbows are locked while riding the handlebars need to be raised and the stem shortened. The Lemond also has a stem with a greater angle. If you flip it over you will get higher bars than the other bikes. I notice the Lemond is also available in a womens model in your size. If its not pink you might want to try it out. It has a shorter toptube and slightly more relaxed geometry. That will make it more comfortable and more stable to ride.

    Weight:
    Don't worry about weight, you all always giving up something to get a lower weight, always money and usually durability too. Fit and ride is much more important. Most of the weight difference between say the Trek and the Lemond is the wheels. With your bulk you might want the stronger 32 spoke wheels of the Trek.

    Ride:
    Have you ridden the bikes? A good shop will set them up for you first including adjusting stem. (have them put it as high as possible) Also a good shop will let you go for a long ride. I have had a shop tell me to not come back for at least a half hour and bring the bike back muddy. (cross bike) Try to find some steep hills and tight curves. If you dare, try riding each no handed. Some bikes shimmy or will veer off course no handed. A good bike will track straight and easy no handed. (some experience required) If one of the bikes has a more comfortable seat than the other tell the bike shop guy, he will probably swap it out. Almost all bike shops have a bin of take off seats you can try as well. Saddle can weigh as little as 150g to a couple lbs. longe ride comfort is the most important thing here. Squishy saddles can be comfortable for short rides but the gel can squish up into your blood vessels and cause numbing on long rides.

    Gears:
    Is Alabama hilly? I would recommend the bike with the tripple crank. 9 or 10 speed doesn't matter in practical usage. The 10 speed stuff is less durable and more expensive to replace. I would go with the 9.

    Money:
    Lemond is owned by the Trek company. Expect similar pricing. If one bike is on sale (last years model) and the other isn't, the sale bike is probably the better value. Save some money for Pedals, new stem (shorter and higher), water bottles and cages, and a new saddle. You will also need helmet, gloves, 2 pr riding shorts, pump, toolkit, shoes, etc.

    Pedals
    If it doesn't come with pedals DON'T buy road clipless pedals and shoes. If you go clipless (click in like ski bindings) get some mountain bike pedals and shoes with a recessed cleat you can walk in. You will thank me for this advice.
    Light is the activity of what is transparent - Aristotle

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