Need a road bike- but have no clue!

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hsorlando
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Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#1 Postby hsorlando » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:32 am

This year I've decided to start training with a tri group. This of course entails running, swimming, and cycling. I already run, and swimming gear doesn't cost much, so now all I need is a bike. I asked the head coach about buying one, and all he said was that a road bike would cost me (a beginner) about 400 or 500 dollars on craigs list. I however have no idea what to look for, as far as different gears, height, etc. The last bike I had was when I was a 12 year old kid, so I am definitely a beginner rider. I just don't want to put hundreds of dollars into a bike that isn't right for me. I know there are experienced cyclists out there that can help! Hint, hint. Thanks!
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#2 Postby livedandlost » Thu Jan 15, 2009 12:17 pm

I would go to a local bike shop or EMS (eastern Mountain Sports) and ask them for their opinion. I have a schwinn road bike with drop bars but I need to get the shifts built in with the bars because its more convenient when I have to quickly change gears. Its really important that you know the proper measurements of the bicycle that fits your body type. Regardless of whatever bike you get, expensive or not, Id def recommend getting a heavy duty chain. Dont get a trek bike though since your main focus is to be on the road.

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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#3 Postby Nathan Nearing » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:21 am

livedandlost wrote:Dont get a trek bike though since your main focus is to be on the road.


That makes no sense. Trek makes road bikes, and solid ones at that, so there's no reason to avoid them.

400-500 will not get you a decent road bike, it will get you a broken one, haha. I bought an '07 model last year and it cost me 1600 after everything, and that includes a nice discount since my dad used to ride with the owner. If you intend to ride in the coming years then make a good investment. Don't buy something for 500 that will last you a year. Spend the extra and you'll get so much more back.

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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#4 Postby thendanisays » Sun Jan 18, 2009 1:33 am

my suggestion haley would be to rent a bike for a few days and see how you like it. no one can know what will be comfortable for you except you. and the people you rent from will probably be able to give you good information too. Just in case you hate road bikes ( i do. i know its just me, but i am petrified to be so hunched over with cars whizzing past me. freaks me out) it would be better to find out what works for you and what doesn't BEFORE investing 4-5 hundred.
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#5 Postby Tasha » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:01 am

I've seen ppl race on mtn bikes in tri's before. You shouldn't have to spend a lot of money on bikes especially for your first triathlon. But just shop around I'm sure something will catch you eye
I have a Giant Tri bike. Very light and areo. How tall are you ?
The ppl there will fit your bike. (just like ppl in a running store fitting the right shoe for you)
Also check around for places, for bikes that are on consignment.
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#6 Postby vivalasvegans » Sun Jan 18, 2009 11:56 am

You don't have to spend a gazillion dollars to get a good bike. Try looking at craigslist, checking out yardsales, and second hand shops. I've had good luck doing those things and just putting the word out. Instead of EMS or a fancy schmancy $$$ bike shop, making friends with your local bike mechanic shops is fun and useful. There are a shit ton of them here, are there any around where you live?

You don;t have to actually get a whole "bike" you can just start with a frame... Look for something light. Don't be afraid of an old light frame, if it's straight, you can customize it with the price level and type of components you like, hopefully used. You want to make sure not only the height is right for your body, but also the reach.

I always wanted a terry bike though. Mucho $$$$. Their website http://www.terrybicycles.com/ says you can find them here:
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#7 Postby Tasha » Sun Jan 18, 2009 2:14 pm

vivalasvegans wrote:You don't have to spend a gazillion dollars to get a good bike. Try looking at craigslist, checking out yardsales, and second hand shops.


I worry about things like this, I would be really careful going to any of these unless they have papers that a bike mechanic has fully inspected it and it's safe to ride on the roads. Even the smallest dent in the frame or something being cover up could lead you in a dangerous situation. Please be really careful.
Accidents will happen. A friend of mine was in a race. While She was descending and her fork crack.
So just be super careful Hayley ;)

vivalasvegans wrote:You don;t have to actually get a whole "bike" you can just start with a frame... Look for something light. Don't be afraid of an old light frame, if it's straight, you can customize it with the price level and type of components you like, hopefully used. You want to make sure not only the height is right for your body, but also the reach.


I don't think she's looking to build a bike. And do be careful of an old frame.
She will be training so it's a lot different then having your bike for leisure.

Hayley, I also like Dani's idea. check out renting a bike and then take it from there.
I'm sure there will be a posting in your tri club that someone is selling parts, or bikes. Just make sure to look at the year of it. Usually if it's more then three or four years old, it's been ridden a lot. Look for something less then three years old.

Cool, good luck with your first race. PM me if you need anymore help.
My very first road bike was at a place like REI. It was new, clunky, and really heavy. But it was only $200. It helped me actually get stronger because it was so hard climb hills with. And when I got my other one, it was a breeze lol
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#8 Postby vivalasvegans » Mon Jan 19, 2009 2:02 pm

Tasha wrote:
vivalasvegans wrote:You don't have to spend a gazillion dollars to get a good bike. Try looking at craigslist, checking out yardsales, and second hand shops.


I worry about things like this, I would be really careful going to any of these unless they have papers that a bike mechanic has fully inspected it and it's safe to ride on the roads. Even the smallest dent in the frame or something being cover up could lead you in a dangerous situation. Please be really careful.
Accidents will happen. A friend of mine was in a race. While She was descending and her fork crack.
So just be super careful Hayley ;)


Definitely be careful. Whenever you get a bike, it's always best to have someone who knows what they're doing take a look at it.

Even if the bike has papers or credentials or whatever, it's better for you to take control and get it done yourself, have it looked at by someone you trust.

Tasha wrote:
vivalasvegans wrote:You don;t have to actually get a whole "bike" you can just start with a frame... Look for something light. Don't be afraid of an old light frame, if it's straight, you can customize it with the price level and type of components you like, hopefully used. You want to make sure not only the height is right for your body, but also the reach.


I don't think she's looking to build a bike. And do be careful of an old frame.
She will be training so it's a lot different then having your bike for leisure.


It might be different in some ways, but in a lot of ways I don't think it is. Obviously bikes should be ready to handle everything, especially if they're going to be out on the street at all. I can't tell you the amount of times I've had to hop a curb or steer into a ditch to avoid someone who decided they need to take an emergency left hand turn without signaling. For safety's sake, even for nonracing rigs, bikes don't have to look good, but they should be safe and ready for anything. Cars are killing machines.

Am I missing something? How is safety stuff different for tri training than for people who are forced into lines of oncoming traffic because downtown drivers are clueless about your whereabouts?

We found my daughter a bike when she needed a commuter for her high school across town at a yard sale for $35 bucks. We got it checked out, repaired what it needed, pimped out a few components but not many, and she rode more than 100 miles a week on it for years. I would not put my kid on anything short of safe for any amount of money if I have the resources. My personal philosophy is: there's no reason to spend tons of money you don't have to, and be consumptive instead of learning about your machine and your local community of mechanics and experts.

A good bike shop can help you figure out what size(s) to look for though!
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#9 Postby hsorlando » Mon Jan 19, 2009 3:03 pm

Wow, this is much more involved than I thought it would be! :?
I'm thinking maybe I'll have to get more advice from some of the people in the tri club as to what bikes most use. Maybe even get someone to go with me when I look around. Thanks for all the help.
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#10 Postby livedandlost » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:37 pm

Nathan Nearing wrote:
livedandlost wrote:Dont get a trek bike though since your main focus is to be on the road.


That makes no sense. Trek makes road bikes, and solid ones at that, so there's no reason to avoid them.

400-500 will not get you a decent road bike, it will get you a broken one, haha. I bought an '07 model last year and it cost me 1600 after everything, and that includes a nice discount since my dad used to ride with the owner. If you intend to ride in the coming years then make a good investment. Don't buy something for 500 that will last you a year. Spend the extra and you'll get so much more back.


It does make sense; if this person is really interested in riding on the road, I would not recommend getting a trek bike (used for both road and off-road). Unless it is used for fun, go for it, but the way the post was written I am assuming it is with a group of professional cyclists.

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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#11 Postby Nathan Nearing » Mon Jan 19, 2009 9:23 pm

livedandlost wrote:It does make sense; if this person is really interested in riding on the road, I would not recommend getting a trek bike (used for both road and off-road).


Trek makes road bikes. They makes off-road and hybrid bikes as well, but they do make strict road bikes.

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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#12 Postby livedandlost » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:02 am

Nathan Nearing wrote:
livedandlost wrote:It does make sense; if this person is really interested in riding on the road, I would not recommend getting a trek bike (used for both road and off-road).


Trek makes road bikes. They makes off-road and hybrid bikes as well, but they do make strict road bikes.



Alright(?), I just don't recommend a Trek bicycle.

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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#13 Postby vivalasvegans » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:11 am

I :love9: my trek road bike alot.
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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#14 Postby vladamiraaron » Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:38 am

So, I'm a cyclist.

I ride all kinds of bikes, makes, models, vintage etc. I ride Mountain, road and race from time to time.

Tri bikes are specialized/ geared towards the unique needs and demands of the dicipline. They have geometry, gearing and materials that have been refined and built with this single diciplines needs in mind. They are different from a road, mountain, cross or track bike.

Some people use these other styles of bikes for multiple disciplines. They do this because on a certain level a bicycle is a bicycle is a bicycle and they are not the best of the best where the differences of a true tri bike would make or break their placement in the upper echelons of the discipline.

You will find folks who use track bikes to race on the road as opposed to the velodrome, or mountain bikes to race cross, but at the elite levels, you will generally find only cross bikes for cross, road bikes for road, track bikes for track, tri bikes for tri and MTBs for 4x, downhill or cross country.

That said, if this is going to be a big part of your life and you are going to make a go of it, you need to go to a LBS (local bike shop) and be properly fitted to a tri bike. Only a handfull of dealers will know how to properly do this and your best bet is to ask other serious Tri competitors in your are where they go. You will need to go there in person.

Almost every major manufacturer of bicycles makes a bicycle for every discipline. Brand should not matter. Fit is what is going to matter. Trek, Giant, Specialized are generally the big three and they make as nice a bicycle as you could ever afford. There are other brands who make equally nice bicycles (truth be told they are usually made by the big three named above and in the same factory) and then there are custom builders who will build one just for you based on your body and needs. You can pay 500 to as high as youd ever like to go.

An entry level bike will start out between 5-700 dollars new. They will have standard and utilitarian parts. They will almost always be heavier. They will not shift as crisp, their wheels will not be as strong or stay as true as long as a mid-range bike. They will still have a very nice frame generaly speaking and will serve as a platform for replacements and upgrades to midrange parts as time and wear takes its toll. Midrange bikes will go from 800ish to just under 2 grand. Here you will get a strong, fairly light and durable machine and parts that are intended to last a while while providing lighter weight. Their parts are much more durable than the entry level bikes and the shifting is pretty close to on par with the high end machines. High end machines that you see the elite racing on are expensive and their parts and frames are very light and shift with precision. They are also throw away and are replaced every racing season. They do not buy these bikes but are sponsered by Trek or Specialized or whoever. You should not buy this kind of bike. You will break it and the parts will fail quickly relative to midrange bike. You will likely not be able to appreciate the refinements of the higher end bikes either. You will see people with money to burn who will buy the same Trek bike that Lance Armstrog races in the TDF. They will go on at length about their machine. You must remember that you are engine. Most of these racers would be better served by losing a few pounds from their bodies rather than spend two thousand extra dollars to save a few grams on the bicycle, but I digress.

You will always find an exception to what I've written above but for your purposes as a beginer, and until you learn more, you would do well to purchase a midrange machine. Tri bike s are always going to be more expensive simply due to supply and demand. I think youd do well to spend under 2000.00 new for a decent tri bike.

Get thee to a number of local bike shops, find one you like based on how they treat you and their level of knowledge and service of tri bikes. Try out as many models and brands as you can. Then get the one that fits the best. If it's a less expensive model then great, if it's little more expensive then so be it. Request a womens specific saddle and/or bike if you are woman. They will accomodate your deminsions better. Do not be afraid t buy a non-womans specific bike as long as it fits though. You can always adjust the cockpit such as reach, bar and saddle height, stem length, crank length, Q factor etc. and when being fitted to the bike, this is what they will do. Do request a womens specific saddle or saddle that is comfortable be swapped for the one on the bike if it is uncomfortable.

P.S. Don't be afraid to shop used but you must educate yourself as to what you are looking for. Until you gain in knowledge, especially working knowledge, you be better served to buy new.

Good luck!

Here are some links:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=436387 (read this first).

http://www.bikeforums.net/ (they have a tri specific sub forum)

http://www.roadbikereview.com

http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/ ... kefit.html

if you are a woman: http://www.teamestrogen.com/content.ep?file=wsdBikes

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Re: Need a road bike- but have no clue!

#15 Postby hsorlando » Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Thanks for all the info. I've been into a couple of bike shops but the people didn't seem to know much or else they just didn't care. Anyway I'm taking into account pretty much what everyone says, and I'll see how it goes.
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