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Thread: beginner road bike???

  1. #91

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    So the verdict on low-spoke count wheels basically depends upon how they're made? I'm asking because I bought some aero rims for my Raleigh last year with low spoke counts (24 rear, 20 front). If/when my airless tires get here and I finally set that bike up then you're saying they'll be as good as any other wheel? I certainly hope so-I'm around 190-200 pounds, and I ride pretty aggressively. I was little hesitant of the low-spoke count wheels but some feedback I've read basically confirms what you said.
    Low-spoke-count wheels have their own issues, such as spoke-flange breakage and rim cracking if the design isn't good. I have some Bontragers laying around the shop illustrating both points. Shimano doesn't have those woes, however. In general, low-spoke-count wheels try to make up for their lack of spokes with a beefed-up rim.

    Regarding your airless tires, to be blunt, I think you'll regret them (if past experience is anything to judge by). Airless tires violate the way bicycle wheels are designed to bear a load, because where a pneumatic tire primarily carries load by suspending the wheel rim from the tire beads, and spreads out the load, an airless tire primarily operates in compression at the road contact patch. This puts heavy, focused load/unload cycling on the spokes and rim at the contact patch, resulting in accelerated fatigue and spoke unraveling. They also ride badly and corner badly, and are difficult to install and remove.

    As an alternative, I'd suggest Schwalbe Marathon-series tires or Specialized Armadillos, and perhaps add some Mr. Tuffy liners (feather the ends of the liners on a grinder or sander). If your area has extreme thorn problems, add self-sealing tubes as well. If you have impact flats ("snakebite"), use larger tire casings, keep the tires at max pressure, avoid obstacles better, and consider super-thickwall "thorn-resistant" inner tubes that are very difficult to pinch.


    One thing I've been doing for a long time is putting a little weight (i.e. small washers) on the spoke opposite the valve stem. I made a gizmo with an old sewing machine motor to spin the wheels up to high speeds (i.e. 55-70 mph depending upon type) to check my balance. This pretty much gets rid of any high-speed shimmy problem, so long as the rim stays true (but that's another story on NYC's potholed streets). Not many opportunities here for 45+ mph speeds, but at least balancing the wheels eliminates the shimmy problem you mentioned when the chance to fly does occur.
    Shimmy is not a simple matter of wheel balance alone, unfortunately In the case of my own bike, for example, it was fine at speeds from 0 to 60mph+ without the aero bar, but adding the aero bar produced the magic combination of weight, geometry, and moment of inertia around the steering axis to produce the shimmy.
    Last edited by mechBgon; 04-20-2008 at 03:17 PM.

  2. #92
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Congrats on the new acquisition Robocop. Sounds like you're all set with the essential accessories as well.

  3. #93

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    And if you still need to score a full-sized floor pump for at home, that's another must-have goodie for topping off your tires before each ride


    The clipless pedals have a learning curve, so don't be discouraged if they're tricky to engage at first. Most clipless pedals have a fixed-position front "claw" and a hinged rear "claw," and the normal way to engage is to get the nose of the cleat (metal part on shoe) under the front "claw" of the pedal, then push down so the hinged rear "claw" swings back to let the rear of the cleat in. If you look at the rear edge of the cleat, you see it's beveled so it pushes the hinged claw backwards when you push down to engage it.

    So imagine an aircraft landing all wrong, nose down as it approaches the runway, putting the nose wheel down first and then the rear landing gear afterwards. If the airplane doesn't land successfully on the first try, have it lift off and come in for another landing You'll develop a muscle memory for the engagement motion before long.

    Have fun!
    Last edited by mechBgon; 04-20-2008 at 02:16 PM.

  4. #94
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    The accessories almost blew this deal as I had no idea this was such a costly sport. A good pair of shoes is over 100 dollars, specialized riding shorts are all close to 80 dollars, the helmet was 150 dollars, I also bought an unlimited 5 year service plan for 75 dollars, bottle cages 16 dollars, not to mention extra tubes and a pump......holy smoke it really suprised me.

    I like the bike and the shop I chose took all day allowing me to be fitted for several different bikes and allowed me to ride each for as long as I wished. They even agreed to allow me to return the bike if I had any problems with fit after riding for a weekend. I now see just how important a good shop is when buying a bike.

    I will get some photos as soon as possible and this weekend will be my first weekend ride with a group. I will keep you all posted as to the distances and results.

    I also have a question about computers for my bike.....The shop has pretty nice ones that show distance,speed and various other functions for about 40 dollars. I did not get one yet and noticed a few at Target this weekend that cost 10 dollars. The 10 dollar ones claim to show speed and distance and this is really all I would need. Is there any difference between the lower cost bike computers vs the fancy shop versions?
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  5. #95
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    yep.. that's why I was going on earlier about costs of bike accessories... it's easy to drop $500 getting setup. bike shops normally make a hefty markup on accessories.

    items like shoes almost have to be done locally until you get to know what brand/size is fits. but other accessories like bike shorts are easy fit mail order at 1/3 costs. gloves, bottles, cages, pumps, tubes, tires, etc are all easy places to save $$.

    here's a couple of sites to get started on for better deals. others will probably post more...

    http://www.pricepoint.com/
    http://www.nashbar.com/

    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop View Post
    The accessories almost blew this deal as I had no idea this was such a costly sport. A good pair of shoes is over 100 dollars, specialized riding shorts are all close to 80 dollars, the helmet was 150 dollars, I also bought an unlimited 5 year service plan for 75 dollars, bottle cages 16 dollars, not to mention extra tubes and a pump......holy smoke it really suprised me.

  6. #96

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Is there any difference between the lower cost bike computers vs the fancy shop versions?
    Yeah, quite a lot in that particular area.

    This one's worth a look: Cateye Velo 5 I use the similar Velo 8 on my commuting bike. It replaced an ancient Cateye Velo 2 from ?10 years ago?... pretty reliable stuff.

    Another online store to check out is aebike.com. This is a consumer portal to the Quality Bicycle Products catalog, basically (QBP is a major distributor that most bike shops routinely order from). Even if you want to buy locally, their website is a great research tool to see what's available (for example, checking out different gearing options for a drivetrain).
    Last edited by mechBgon; 04-20-2008 at 09:12 PM.

  7. #97
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop View Post
    I also have a question about computers for my bike.....The shop has pretty nice ones that show distance,speed and various other functions for about 40 dollars. I did not get one yet and noticed a few at Target this weekend that cost 10 dollars. The 10 dollar ones claim to show speed and distance and this is really all I would need. Is there any difference between the lower cost bike computers vs the fancy shop versions?

    I also saw the $10 computer at target, but it didn't have an average speed function, which I think you'll probably want. It may not have even had a Max Speed function, which isn't as important, but is still an interesting piece of data to have. I'm not sure if it had auto start/stop (riding time stops when you're not moving), either, which is a nice feature. I do believe, however, they had a Schwinn branded computer for around $20 and it had all the bells and whistles. On my mountain bike, I've got one made by Sigma and it has everything I need. I just moved into an apartment and don't have space for my mountain bike, so I bought a nice folder. It really moves for a 20-inch wheeled bike. It has 24 speeds and is actually as fast, if not faster, than my mountain bike, and feels pretty much the same, with the same fit. I'm currently looking for a good computer for it. I just purchased a Cateye Micro Wireless, but, being a folding bike (Dahon Mu P24 http://www.dahon.com/us/mup24.htm ), the bars to too far from the wheel for the transmitter to communicate with the receiver. I'll probably, either, resort to a wired unit, which are said to be more reliable, but may not be the best choice to use with a folder, as I've heard of people cutting the wire while folding/unfolding their bikes, or just, eventually, spring for a Garmin Forerunner 101 GPS unit and get the handle bar mount for it.

    If anybody wants my Cateye, it's for sale, cheap. I never used it outside, and only mounted the transmitter for testing (I held the receiver in my hand to see if it'd work from my bars, while spinning the wheel). I got two clear replacement zip ties from my LBS for the transmitter, so it's complete. PM please, if interested, no replies here!
    Last edited by Trashman; 04-20-2008 at 11:53 PM.

  8. #98
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Awesome bike story! I enjoy biking a lot and it was fun to read how you found out about the industry and the little things like how shops treat you, etc. Glad you found a bike you like. I have heard very good things about the Lemonds (regardless of his behavior).

    I have 3 bikes right now. 2 fixed gear bikes, one speed demon and the other a commuter/errand runner. My 3rd bike is a really light and fast Bacchetta Corsa recumbent - it's like driving a Dodge Viper! I love all forms of biking and enjoy being outside and moving, and I love going really fast with no motor! Just got back from a 20 mile ride earlier (Sunday) and had a blast!

    Have fun on your new bike Robocop! I'm jealous of the fun and experience you have had! Definitely post a picture of your bike!

  9. #99
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop View Post
    I also have a question about computers for my bike.....The shop has pretty nice ones that show distance,speed and various other functions for about 40 dollars. I did not get one yet and noticed a few at Target this weekend that cost 10 dollars. The 10 dollar ones claim to show speed and distance and this is really all I would need. Is there any difference between the lower cost bike computers vs the fancy shop versions?
    Even the cheapest computers nowadays seem to have basic functions like average speed, ride time, trip distance, and total distance. For example, this one on eBay for $6.88 shipped is good enough for a beginner. Here's a better one which has a lot of additional features, including cadence and a backlight, for only $32.49 shipped. Wireless is cool but not really needed unless you might be riding offroad in places where vegetatation is likely to snag the wires. As a general rule you get way more bang for your buck with wired computers. The batteries last longer, too.

    Regarding cycling accessories, to this day I ride in my regular clothes and I do fine. Being that bike stores usually overcharge for accessories if I was into this stuff I would buy anything I need from either eBay or online cycling stores. Cycling clothes are way too expensive for my tastes and for me personally, I don't see the point. I'd rather spend the money on better equipment instead. If you want to be attached to the pedals but don't want special clip-on shoes/pedals then caged pedals are the way to go. Cycling shorts? I haven't worn shorts of any kind since I was in grade school. The normal pants I wear work fine for me. Some people get chafing but special underwear is available. Helmet? There are some decent ones available for way less than $150. Again, I don't wear one personally but I do recommend them to all new riders, and would wear one if I rode in group rides like you plan to. Accidents are more likely in a pack of riders going wheel to wheel than a single rider along mostly deserted streets at night. Also, the accident rate is higher until you get more experience. I had my share of falls the first few years, mostly from not watching for potholes or otherwise not being careful. Those decreased drastically after a while. Now it's down to zero for all intents and purposes. It's been at least seven or eight years since I've fallen off my bike. Water bottle? Good idea if you'll be riding several hours in warm weather. Again, I never bought one. Never needed it, even on 3 hour rides. I just fill up on water before the ride, and when I return. My preferred cycling weather is high 30s to low 50s where I don't sweat much. In summers I never ride during the day. Gloves? I actually wear regular leather gloves when riding in cooler weather but maybe cycling gloves are one accessory worthwhile if you'll be riding over bumpy roads. My point is that a cycling shop will make you think you need all this stuff, yet many people ride just fine without some or all of it. Don't forget most of these accessories didn't exist at all, or only in rudimentary form, when I started cycling 30 years ago. I've gotten used to doing without them. So did lots of others. On my budget I can't afford them anyway. But if the accessories get you more into the sport they're money well spent. I'm sure you'll be hearing opinions both ways from riders you'l encounter.

    Since this is CPF, one accessory definitely worth looking into are lights. To me night riding is great. Traffic is greatly reduced, the air is cleaner. Overall cycling is much more pleasant. Chance of crashes is greatly reduced. In warm weather the temps are lower. I highly recommend it to anyone.

    Anyway, it looks like you're off to a great start! The bike itself is the most important thing. You made the right decision to spend good money on a decent bike. I've seen too many people buy $99 bikes at Target, and then give up riding in frustration. One thing you might want to learn doing once you start putting on the miles is to learn how to true wheels. It's only a matter of time before your wheels will develop minor wobbles. Correcting these with a spoke wrench before they become major ones will make your riding more enjoyable.

  10. #100
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    Regarding your airless tires, to be blunt, I think you'll regret them (if past experience is anything to judge by). Airless tires violate the way bicycle wheels are designed to bear a load, because where a pneumatic tire primarily carries load by suspending the wheel rim from the tire beads, and spreads out the load, an airless tire primarily operates in compression at the road contact patch. This puts heavy, focused load/unload cycling on the spokes and rim at the contact patch, resulting in accelerated fatigue and spoke unraveling. They also ride badly and corner badly, and are difficult to install and remove.

    As an alternative, I'd suggest Schwalbe Marathon-series tires or Specialized Armadillos, and perhaps add some Mr. Tuffy liners (feather the ends of the liners on a grinder or sander). If your area has extreme thorn problems, add self-sealing tubes as well. If you have impact flats ("snakebite"), use larger tire casings, keep the tires at max pressure, avoid obstacles better, and consider super-thickwall "thorn-resistant" inner tubes that are very difficult to pinch.
    The problem where I ride is mainly glass and debris along the roads. No way to see it in time to avoid it. I've tired a lot of the things you've mentioned already. Kevlar tires and heavy inner tubes made little difference other than increasing rolling resistance. Tire liners and heavier tires I heard give a harsher ride and also greatly increase rolling resistance (pretty much the same disadvantages attributed to airless tires). It's not like my 110 psi tires ride that smooth anyway. After years of getting on average a flat a week I'll gladly take a harsher ride and possibly less service life from my wheels over having rides interrupted. In fact, I blame flats for a lot of my weight gain. Often I'll get flats one or two days in a row. I get disgusted, then the bike just sits for the next week until I finally get around to fixing it. And it's almost always the back which flats, never the more easy to repair front. You might want to read this review on airless tires. They're not as bad as they used to be. I know the ones from ten or fifteen years ago deserved the bad rap they got. Things have improved since them. The new high-rebound elastomer tires are even better than the ones in the review. They solve any remaining problems with ride and rolling resistance.

    Believe me, I didn't make the decision to go airless lightly. After nearly 30 years of dealing with flats I've had it. I'd rather spend my time and energy cycling, not repairing flats. If the ride is unduly harsh I can always leave the airless on the rear but stick with pneumatics in front, where I need the most shock absorption. Being that 98% of my flats are in the rear, this would give me the best of both worlds. I'll let you know how the airless work out when they arrive.

  11. #101
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Thanks again for the continued help on this and I am also enjoying this learning curve.

    As far as the accessories go I did much research on this and have decided that there are a few things I can do without and a few that are must have for any rider. I may not go with the 150 dollar helmet however one thing I have found is that all helmets are not created equal. Much like my weapon for duty I will not go cheap on something that may one day save my life so a helmet is worth the cash to me.......but 150 did sound very high for such a small and flimsy looking helmet however I am still looking at other brands.

    I never knew that pedaling was such a science and the shop explained much of it to me. For years as a kid riding to work I was cheating myself by only pushing when pedaling. If I had clip in shoes I could have also used the pulling stroke of the pedals as well. I did pay for some good Shimano shoes with those clip in cleats and the pedals came with the shoes. I believe they were right at 100 dollars but with a few years of use and the added efficiency of the pedaling while clipped in I believe them a good investment.

    JTR1962 you are correct as to the adjustments to wheels and maintenance in general will be often needed. One of the most studied thing with this purchase was the actual shop itself. The one I liked best is really being helpful and they had a service plan that really could not be matched by any others shops. All other shops I found gave the first service for free and charged anywhere between 50 and 60 dollars for all others.

    The shop I bought from has a deal on any bike over 1000 dollars and the deal is for the cost of 75 dollars one can get unlimited free service for 5 years. I asked if this was limited to simply adjustments of the brakes and minor stuff and they said no it includes everything...flat repair, adjusting spokes and the making wheels true, tightening all cables, cleaning and lube,....etc: They even told me if I wished to simply bring it in every week for a visual inspection and lubing it was just fine with the plan.....no limit to visits at all for 5 years and from what I have read this is a good deal.

    I rode a demo bike this weekend and my actual bike is being assembled now. It will be ready Monday morning and my g/f is picking it up however I can not ride it until this weekend. The shop advised me to go ahead and pick it up and visually go over the bike. They said to take it out this weekend and if any problems arose to bring it back. If fine tuning the fit did not correct it or if I simply did not like the bike I would get a full refund of credit towards another bike if I wished.....now this is a shop I will do business with again and I plan to send any who ask to this shop. Thanks for all the advice on the shop as it was advice well taken. I loved the Scott bike both for looks and ride but I hated the staff at the shop where it was. I decided I would rather pay a little more for a better shop than to get a great deal on a bike but have to use the crappy shop for service. This was my best decision in this entire ordeal by far.

    I have a few things I could wear and actually did get a team jersey on the MS-150 ride my g/f did a few months back. I am pretty much set with the exception of a computer however this first weekend I plan to ride with my g/f and she has a very nice computer......On a side note she liked the shop I chose so much she actually traded her Scott bike for another from the same shop and yes she also got the same service plan I did. Her bike is awesome and very light and she told me she noticed a huge difference from her old bike which was a 2007 Scott Speedster S30. Her new bike is the full carbon Trek Madone...... http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...e/madone47wsd/

    What a crazy weekend it was however now maybe I can get some riding time in this weekend. I also forgot I am now very excited that I can apply my first hobby of lights to this new hobby of cycling. Just a quick search showed so many threads about bike lighting so I have some reading to do for sure....thanks again to all of you who helped out.
    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
    I may not go with the 150 dollar helmet however one thing I have found is that all helmets are not created equal. Much like my weapon for duty I will not go cheap on something that may one day save my life so a helmet is worth the cash to me.......but 150 did sound very high for such a small and flimsy looking helmet however I am still looking at other brands.
    Here is a list of various helmet standards. CPSC is the minimum standard all helmets sold in the US must adhere to. Snell has the toughest standards. Helmets meeting it are usually the most expensive, but if you're going to wear a helmet, might as well buy one with the best protection.

    The shop I bought from has a deal on any bike over 1000 dollars and the deal is for the cost of 75 dollars one can get unlimited free service for 5 years. I asked if this was limited to simply adjustments of the brakes and minor stuff and they said no it includes everything...flat repair, adjusting spokes and the making wheels true, tightening all cables, cleaning and lube,....etc: They even told me if I wished to simply bring it in every week for a visual inspection and lubing it was just fine with the plan.....no limit to visits at all for 5 years and from what I have read this is a good deal.
    That's an amazing deal! I doubt any shops local to me offer anything comparable. I remember once paying $8 to have a rear freewheel removed. Next time I just bought the tool for $10 and did it myself. However , it's not worth it doing things yourself for only $15 a year. That shop would have lost money on me with the amount of flats I get! Truing wheels I kind of enjoy actually, but if the shop does it for you with the service plan so much the better.

    I also forgot I am now very excited that I can apply my first hobby of lights to this new hobby of cycling. Just a quick search showed so many threads about bike lighting so I have some reading to do for sure
    Bike lighting can be just as involved as buying the bike itself. My next project is a 3x Q5 Cree bike light, perhaps running off two A123 cells.

  13. #103
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    I was very puzzled as to their service plan and thought it must be a scam as no one else could come close. The staff was very up front and told me many purchase the plan however many do not utilize it fully. They believe many ride so little or maybe get tired of riding and simply do not put that much wear on their bikes that they never require much service.

    They also told me that it saves them money to actually do a very complete and good service on a bike. They explained that a very good service on a bike would allow it to go many more miles than an average service thus decreasing the service appts. for this shop. Sure they could be blowing smoke to me however my gut tells me they are good to their word. They were the ones who encouraged me to ride from other shops and other brands. They even told me if I did buy from another shop they would be happy to service my bike at their shop.....however it would cost me more.

    I am so happy I went with a good shop as it showed in the fit.....with each test ride I simply had to say what I was feeling and the shop knew exactly what to change. My first ride after fitting I had a feeling of being heavy of weighted down and the ride was not as smooth as others. Without even checking the shop employee said I bet the tires are low. Sure enough one was at 80 PSI while the other was at 79. He filled them to something like 110 and the difference was amazing.

    2nd test ride on same bike was much longer and I had a small pain to my wrists. Once again the shop employee said he believed the bars needed to be moved slightly upwards and did just that by only a few degrees. Once again the difference was incredible with only a small adjustment.

    The biggest improvement was made after I tried to get the Trek 2.1 to ride nice for me. After making all the adjustments possible it still did not feel right to me. The shop asked me to try another brand and encouraged the Lemond just to see how it did feel in comparison. He tried to explain "geometry" to me and said Lemond had a slightly more relaxed position. Well he was so correct and with the first few seconds I immedietly noticed a difference. He later made the small changes I spoke of and changed out a "stem" I think and man was this a different feeling than on the other bikes.

    I am not a rider and even without any experience the difference was easily noticed. He explained with even a proper fit some bikes will never feel right to some people and once he found my style he made several suggestions as to certain brands....and yes some were sold by other shops. In the end I chose the Lemond and thankfully it was a brand this shop carried.

    The shop really took time with me and in total it musy have taken me 4 hours to do all this testing and fitting. They explained it was to their benefit to ensure I was happy with my purchase and also properly fitted. They explained that many riders will start riding on an average bike or even an expensive bike with a poor fit or even poorer accessories. Mnay riders will have a bad experience with soreness or just plain old bad experiences with riding and lose interest only to never return. They explained if they can give good experiences and good service riders will always return and often trade up on other bikes or products. The shop is in a win win situation as they get many return customers with good used bikes to sale and are making additional sales on more expensive bikes as well.

    I have learned much in a few short weeks and no doubt will return to this shop with any future bike purchases. The entire thing has put a smile on my face and I am very excited to see just how well I do once I get to ride an entire day. The guys there may have been trying to simply encourage me however when I was testing the bikes they said I had very good form and incredible power. My g/f is a seasoned rider and she also said my power was amazing and she could not keep up in the sprints......now we shall see how I do at the 20 mile mark as somehow I think this will be entirely different for me. My g/f does 30 miles like it was walking so power or not I feel I have some searching to do before I can find my road legs.

    The gearing really helps out however again I am still learning just what gear to use for each situation. I also am trying to decide just what type of gear to carry as I would like to keep it as lite as possible. I have 2 cages with water bottles already and think I am going to get one of those little packs that go under the seat to carry a spare tube with those little Co2 things and tire tool. I believe the bike was 19 lbs as is so surely a few small things will not make much difference.

    This has turned out to be a very informative thread for me and I knew my friends here would be a good source to go to.....thanks again for your time.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  14. #104

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    A chain tool and an appropriate-width master link for your particular chain are a couple more items you might want in your gear bag. Chain failures aren't super-common, but it's nice to be able to fix them when they do occur. Park Tool's CT-5 is a good reliable one that's small and lightweight. Grease the threads before stowing it, since it might be exposed to moisture many times before you actually need it.

    Nylon tire levers are another must-have item, used to remove the tire when fixing a flat. The shop probably got you set up with those when they set you up with the tubes and pump, but otherwise make sure you get some.

    On the topic of lighting and visibility, you may even find something informative in my cycling visibility information site. As a blanket recommendation, a Planet Bike Blinky 5 taillight would cover your rear-reflector and rear-light requirements in one shot, and a TwoFish lockblock plus your favorite thrower would make a nice headlight. Got a DBS?

    Tire liners and heavier tires I heard give a harsher ride and also greatly increase rolling resistance (pretty much the same disadvantages attributed to airless tires).
    My experience has been that Mr. Tuffy tire liners are an exceptionally-effective countermeasure and don't really affect ride much. In ...what, 19 years as a mechanic, I've seen Mr. Tuffy liners punctured three times, and IIRC two of those were by nails. I haven't found that the Armadillos make a major difference in ride or rolling resistance either. Neither of those, nor both together, will break spokes in your rear wheel and leave you on the side of the road wishing all you had was a flat tire but anyway, I'd be happy to be wrong for once, despite having heard the same song & dance over and over, as the airless tire keeps being dragged back out of its grave by yet another startup company. So I wish you good luck!
    Last edited by mechBgon; 04-21-2008 at 09:53 AM.

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    robo, forgot to say congrats.... congrats

    sounds like an excellent shop! $75 for ALL maintenance 5 years is a killer deal. you will need it too... reduced spoke wheels needs more maintenance than beefier wheels.

    less spokes means, each spoke takes on a greater share of total load. high tech wheels means a special tool called a tensiometer has to be used. there's a fine line between correct tension and too much tension. too much tension = damage to hub/rim, not enough tension = spokes loosen prematurely.

    my sugar 1 mountain bike has thousands of trail/road miles logged with 16 spoke front/20 spoke rear combo. aprox. 560 grams frnt, 750 gram rear. in other words a feather weight wheelset doing full on slamming off-road duties.

    now to the point of story above. for above featherweight wheelset to survive such harsh duties. loads of maintenance was performed. especially at first when spokes was still stretching out. a tensiometer was used tensioning spokes every time.

    here's a pic of my tensiometer originally designed to measure aircraft control cable tension... one of my best garage sale finds ever!


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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    +

    Robo, I hope your gear works out well for you.

    You mentioned about the pedal stroke ect...

    I can't stress this enough;
    when using step-in pedals, focus on your foot that's in the down position, pull it Back and up.
    ~ Like scraping mud off your shoe.

    {So when one foot is pushing down on your pedal, the other is pulling back & up. You nearly double your power => full cycle}

    Yesterday I went riding and there was an older woman biking,
    she was trying to push the biggest gear she had....I gave her a quick tip to use a lower gear..

    p.s. Robo, stretch your hamstrings before you ride.

  17. #107
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Sounds like you found yourself a really good bike shop - that alone is worth the time you spent looking for a bike. Yes, the accessories can really add up but some of them like the shoes & pump will last you a long time as compared to running shoes if you're an avid runner. Others like the bottle cages will pretty much last forever unless you're in a crash (let's not dwell on that possibility).

    With regards to helmets, $150 is a bit steep but if fits well and is comfortable don't dwell on it - just focus on having fun. Again, it will last you a while barring any mishaps. Sometimes though, the more expensive helmets cost more because of the tech. that goes into making it light and aero while still providing adequate protection so a helmet closer to $100 doesn't necessarily provide less protection. Just make sure it's fitted properly - many casual riders wear it tilted back too much so that it exposes the forehead or adjust the straps so that its too loose.

    All I can say with regards to computers is that I've had my Cateye Astrale for over 10 years. I used it in all kinds of weather and it is still going strong. I bought it mainly for the cadence function so if you don't need that you can probably go for a cheaper model.

    mechBgon - I still remember the first time I tried clipless pedals.. clipping in wasn't a problem, it was remembering I was (still) clipped in when I first came to a stop

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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Out of all the gear I bought the helmet suprised me the most. I have been a sponsored rider long ago on both dirt motorcycles as well as street bikes so I am no stranger to the value of a good helmet.....however the range of prices is amazing. I saw many helmets locally at Target and even a few lower end sporting good shops that were 40 dollars and seemed very well done and rated the same as the 150 dollar one.....I will say that the expensive helmet did feel the best on my head as it moved alot of air to my skin and was hard to notice I even had a helmet on as it was just comfortable to wear.

    I had a chance to actually handle the finished bike today however I was on duty and could not make it fit inside my patrol car...LOL.

    I actually plan to pick it up this Friday and the shop said they would do a full custom fitting of all the other minor details. It was all decked out with the clip in pedals and water cages and still had the reflectors attatched. I plan to remove those as I will ride only in daytime hours at first anyway. I was amazed to see the bike on the shops scale as it came in at only 20.53 lbs. That is just amazing to me and the black and white color is beautiful in person. The shop guy said after I remove a few reflectors the bike should hit right at 20 lbs. I just can not believe something so rigid and strong could be that lite.....and my g/f bike weighs a few pounds less than mine.....thats just incredible.

    I was poking around Wal-Mart looking for gloves and found a Schwinn computer with something like 11 functions. It had time,temp,speed,average speed,max speed,clock, and a few others and it was 10 dollars!! The wireless version was 19 dollars as well. I figure I may try it as after this much investment how bad could it be if I lost 10 bucks on a computer. It is this computer and a search shows it to have decent reviews.
    http://www.schwinnbike.com/products/...tail.php?id=53
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  19. #109
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by Robocop View Post
    I was poking around Wal-Mart looking for gloves and found a Schwinn computer with something like 11 functions. It had time,temp,speed,average speed,max speed,clock, and a few others and it was 10 dollars!! The wireless version was 19 dollars as well. I figure I may try it as after this much investment how bad could it be if I lost 10 bucks on a computer. It is this computer and a search shows it to have decent reviews.
    http://www.schwinnbike.com/products/...tail.php?id=53
    That computer is fine even for an experienced cyclist. Just remember to do a rollout test for best accuracy. I don't know if this computer uses cm or mm for the calibration. mm are more accurate but even with cm you'll only be off at most 0.5 cm out of ~220 cm, or less than ¼%. To put this into perspective, that's 5 blocks off if you ride a century.

  20. #110
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    I used to have a GT Tequesta that looked a lot like your commuter. It's vintage was around 1983. It was solid as a rock. It's since been "handed down" a couple of times, but it's still in service!

    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    I know that's the Conventional Wisdom™, since I routinely dispense it myself as a bicycle mechanic of many years But while I wouldn't run my drivetrain in the big-to-big combo for extended periods of time, I do routinely use that gear combo when it suits me better than shifting to a different chainring. I'm not repentant about it. My commuting bike's not a shelf queen, it's a tool with a job to do, and despite what people may have been told, using the big-to-big combo does not automatically make stuff blow up, it's just not the gear combo you want to use ad infinitum So anyway, to each his own. For me, the small chainring is for climbing hills, the big chainring is for everything else. Maybe I'll sing a different tune in another 30 years



    I undoubtedly used the big-to-big combo on this ride. Probably doesn't matter much.


    Robocop, here's another tip for road cycling in groups. When a rider stands up to pedal, the act of standing up tends to make his bicycle itself jump backwards about six inches. In the event that you have someone riding in your slipstream, if they're closer than six inches, you could take them down. When riding in that scenario, if you're going to stand up, try to ease into the standing position and/or conciously apply enough extra speed to counteract the effect. Tangentially, be aware that this could happen if the person in front of you changes from seated to standing (although as a newcomer, you probably don't intend to get that close). Also, if you're in a group which is riding in a "paceline," try to avoid sudden changes of speed, particularly braking.

  21. #111

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by chimo View Post
    I used to have a GT Tequesta that looked a lot like your commuter. It's vintage was around 1983. It was solid as a rock. It's since been "handed down" a couple of times, but it's still in service!
    The bike in the picture is still out there somewhere, now sporting a salt-&-pepper powdercoat finish and serving another guy as a commuter bike I'm using another bike in that role now:




    Robocop, I hope the bike shop did a comprehensive helmet-fitting job when you got the helmet, but I thought I'd mention that in case. It's very important.

    1) The shell should be the smallest size that still fits your head without crimping somewhere (with the rear retention band fully relaxed). The reason is that the closer the helmet shell sits to your head, the sooner it can begin to decelerate your skull if you hit your head. The more gradually your skull can be decelerated, the less G-forces your brain will experience and the less likely you are to have a brain injury. Using the snuggest shell that fits your skull is like wearing your seatbelt snug versus loose. If you can bang your head around loose in the helmet's shell to any significant extent when the rear retention band is fully relaxed, look at the next-smaller shell size.

    2) The junction of the front and rear straps should be located so that the helmet resists being lifted upwards by hand at the forehead and at the rear. That usually means the junction being located approximately where mine is shown in this photo, with the temple straps coming fairly straight down your temples towards the chin strap.


    winter expedition mode. yeah, that's an L2D Q5.

    3) The chin strap needs to be snug, not draped loose below your jaw. If the helmet can be lifted up at the front, unlock the Y-buckles (the buckle where the temple straps and the rear straps meet to form the chin strap) and move the junction points forward. If it lifts at the rear, unlock the Y-buckles and move the junctions rearward. If you still can't keep it from lifting and the shell isn't a size too big for you, your chin strap's probably not tight enough.

    4) Once the strap adjustments are made, snug up the rear retention band.

    5) Re-check the tightness of the chin strap every ride or two, as they tend to drift loose with time.


    My experience with el-cheapo helmets from box stores is that it's often difficult to get them fitted well enough that they'd stay put after an initial hit. So if anyone's considering one, take a critical look at that aspect. A $39 Giro Transfer that's been fitted properly is better than any helmet at any price that's been fitted poorly and won't stay on your head properly after the first hit.
    Last edited by mechBgon; 04-22-2008 at 12:14 PM.

  22. #112

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    no matter what you do don't go over to bikeforums to ask for advice.
    those people are rude over there to new people most of the time.
    they're elitest over there. but they do have some good info when they're not insulting you hahah

  23. #113
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    I am still debating the helmet situation and have a few options. I saw maybe ten of the 40 dollar helmets in this shop and maybe 15 that were 69 dollars and about 5 that cost 80 dollars....then there were maybe 3 helmets that jumped to 150 dollars. I think there was one or two that were even over 200 dollars. I am considering changing my choice from the 150 dollar helmet and going with a similiar one costing 80 dollars. This will give me a little credit to use for a few other things.

    I did go to bike forums only as a lurker and read all kinds of information. I was a little intimidated as I knew nothing so I chose not to ask any questions on that forum. They did seem to be very passionate towards their sport and some were a little inpatient with newbies but for the most part they seemed like a decent bunch of people.

    My g/f has already put 100 miles on her Madone and she says it is like night and day difference from her old bike. I have to wait until this weekend to ride and plan to start in the 25 mile range. I have no plans to ride with a group until I learn a little more as to conduct in a group and I also need to learn about feeling the bike more. I thing traffic will be the biggest problem as there are few places to ride with out cars everywhere. I know a few places such as old country towns but the roads are poor. I am searching now for known bike routes in the area as I know my g/f has a group ride twice weekly and they always find places.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  24. #114
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    mechBgon I have to say that bike looks like you sure do get plenty of use from it. It is amazing to see the snow all built up like that on the frame. It must be very hard to deal with the weather there and riding a bike.....I can not even imagine but it looks as if you are used to those conditions.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  25. #115

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    what madone does your g/f have?
    i have the 2007 5.2sl

    and iono if you should aim for 25miles your first time out.

    i'd aim for 10 or something to get the feel for the saddle and do minor adjustments as you go.
    bring an allen wrench with you when you ride for the first time so you can make those adjustments. for the handlebar and the seat

    and i'd stick with a helmet below 80bucks, i personally think 150 for a helmet is wasting money that could be better spent.

  26. #116
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    my g/f has the 2008 Madone 4.7 womens frame design...
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...e/madone47wsd/

    She traded in her 2006 Scott for this bike and she thus far really likes the Trek. She went from an aluminum frame /carbon fork to a full carbon frame and claims the difference is amazing. Plus she bought from the same shop as myself and they fit her better to the new bike than she was on her old bike. Her old bike was also a mens version and the shop explained that there is a difference in mens and womens geometry....regardless after only a few minutes on the new one she noticed a huge difference.

    As a beginner I probably would not notice the difference and the Tourmalet should do me fine. Every one I spoke with who rides told me after a few years I too would wish to upgrade as well.....we shall see but for now I am very happy with my choice. I really liked the Trek I rode mostly for the color scheme but after exhausting all fitting options it just did not feel as good as the Lemond geometry.

    The shop put both bikes side by side and I could see very small differences in the angles, wheelbase, and seating position. I can not imagine such small differences could make such a difference in feel but they really do. After much testing and research I can now see that bikes have came a very long way from 20 years past. The technology involved is really interesting to me and I am enjoying learning a new hobby.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  27. #117

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    yep small adjustments matter quite a bit. but no matter how they set it up for you it doesn't mean that it's correct for you. they can only guess what is comfortable for you. so when you go ride some distance you're gonna have to tweak it a bit.
    yea i hear that the WSD has a shorter top tube vs. seat tube relative to the mens geometry or something...i bet she has long legs compared to her upperbody if that other frame didn't feel too good. or maybe it's just the carbony feel of the new bike

    but comfort is the important part man, not the color scheme. althought i bought mine cuz i like the red
    but i swapped out the seat immediately that bontrager crap pained my jewels

    edit: WAHHH just looked at the bike thats one white frame i like!
    Last edited by scaredofthedark; 04-23-2008 at 02:53 AM.

  28. #118
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Well I admit as a beginner all I had to judge a bike by was looks however after much research and help from members here I began to see many other factors. Basically at first I assumed by sticking with a popular high end brand such as Trek I thought surely they would feel great to ride.

    I know as of now Lemond and Trek are all made by Trek but I guess the Trek brand just did not fit my riding style. It was the same with the Felt I rode....on paper it was a great deal and in person it was lite as a feather. A test ride however showed it just did not feel good even after changing various settings and parts.

    I actually rode a cheaper Lemond Etape but the shifting was not as smooth and it had a heavier feel but the riding position was much better than any of the true Trek brands I tried. My plan is to first learn to appreciate the differences in bikes and to also learn to truly enjoy the sport. I figure maybe if I can make this bike last 4 years I will maybe upgrade then.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  29. #119
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    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by scaredofthedark View Post
    and iono if you should aim for 25miles your first time out.

    i'd aim for 10 or something to get the feel for the saddle and do minor adjustments as you go.
    I agree with that. After not riding much in February I started out with 10 mile rides. Now I can do 15 easily, 20 if I'm feeling good. I think 25 is too much for a beginner. Even for a seasoned cyclist it's too much unless you've been riding a few times per week. I'll grant though that not all mileage is equal. My "city miles" involve constant changes in speed. It's rare I can go more than 10 blocks without needing to slow or stop, even at night. In fact, it's a standing joke with cyclists here that by the time you get up to speed you need to start slowing down. And in order to keep up a halfway decent average speed I need to do "subway train" accelerations (i.e. 0-20 mph in 6-7 seconds) out of every stoplight. Doing 20 or 30 of those in a ten mile ride wears you out. On the other hand, if the miles involve just cruising along I'd say doing 20-25 miles is about equal to 10 city miles. Still, it's a good idea to not go too far first few rides just in case there are any issues with the bike. Nothing worse than being stranded 10 miles from home, with no way to get back but walking. Those miles which flew by when you're pedaling crawl along when you're walking a nonfunctional bike back the other way.

  30. #120

    Default Re: beginner road bike???

    Quote Originally Posted by jtr1962 View Post
    After not riding much in February I started out with 10 mile rides.
    hehe that's what i did...
    except my layoff period was from middle december to april hahah
    it was chilly here and i don't wanna buy winter clothes. in the words of BF i should HTFU but screw that i'll read a book

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