Cyclists, I request your assistance!

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Abyssgh0st, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Abyssgh0st, Aug 27, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2011

    Abyssgh0st macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #1
    Hey everybody!

    I am in the processing of looking for a bike and I am relatively uneducated to the industry so I'm sure some of you helpful people here on MR will be able to help.

    Here is a quick rundown of my situation:
    1. I'm a college freshman who lives on a relatively large campus and most of my classes are anywhere from .75-1.5 miles away from where I live.
    2. Currently I have a hand-me-down Gary Fisher mountain bike. It's not a bad bike, but I find it's rather cumbersome and heavy for riding around campus, not to mention it's a little to big for me as my Dad is 2-3 inches taller than me.
    3. I'm basically dead set on a road bike with curved handlebars (not sure if there is a more technical name for them).
    4. I will be using this bike for exercising, somewhere between 3-10 miles on a regular basis.
    5. Looking to spend $300-500ish.

    I went to my local bike store today and they sized me up and said a 54cm frame would be best, possibly even a 52 or 52.5. I've been looking at mostly Trek and some Specialized bikes (used for both) as they fit into my price range. Today at the bike store I tried some new 2012 Model Trek that was something like $650 before tax. I rode around on it and loved it, feels so different from any bike I've ridden before.

    Basically what I'm asking is: Any brand recommendations or advice? Is buying a used model (some of the ones I'm seeing are from the 90s, and that sort of scares me- irrational?) really worth it for $200-300 less? Money isn't a huge factor but I don't want to spend a ton on this thing. I am just generally worried that some 1999 Trek for $300-400 is a silly purchase compared to a $600-700 brand new bike- but hey, I might be totally wrong.

    Thanks!

    EDIT: Here is something along the lines of what I'm looking at in the used market. HERE.
     
  2. Abstract, Aug 28, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011

    Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #2
    1. The "curved" handlebars are called drop-bars, because they drop. ;) They're what you'd find on a road bike, but you just need to choose the type of handlebar that feels comfortable for you. Drop-bars are good, but they're not particularly wide (i.e. your hands would be closer together while riding). That makes your bike more aerodynamic because YOU would be more aerodynamic/narrower. Then again, if you're wearing normal clothes, it doesn't matter at all. ;)

    What isn't obvious about drop-bars, at first glance, is that for casual riding, they're not as stable as a good-old "flatbar" (i.e. what you'd find on ANY mountain bike, or casual streetbike). You'll feel more stable on the bike if you use a flat-bar, but a downside is that when you're riding in the busy city traffic, and you need to squeeze between 2 cars, it's more difficult to do on a bike with a flatbar. Mountain bikes benefit from stability more than narrow-ness, so they use flat-bars.

    There are also "narrow flatbars", and you'll usually find these on fixie bikes. Fixies are single-speed bikes, except that you can't stop pedalling and coast. You literally need to pedal your bike all the time. You can pedal forwards or backwards, so many fixies don't need brakes. All you need to do is slow down your pedalling. I really dislike narrow flatbars, but I'm not a fan of fixies anyway. ;)


    EDIT TO ADD: I use bull-horns. They give me most of the benefit of dropbars anyway, since most people don't put their hands on the bottom of the curved section of the dropbars anyway. Just read through the article. :p


    2. As for bike sizing, every brand is a bit different. They're like pant sizes. You really need to try a bike before buying one. You said you were around a 54cm, but you could be a 52cm, or even a 56cm. It depends on the proportions of the bike frame itself.


    3. Where are you riding? Are you going to get a road bike with something like 24-speeds, or are you also going to consider getting a single-speed bike with a roadbike-ish frame? :confused:

    I know it sounds ridiculous to own a single-speed if you know nothing about bikes, but there are a lot of benefits of having one if you don't live in an area with really steep hills. They're far less maintenance than any geared bike, and they're more efficient (i.e. more of the energy you put into the bike is converted into forward motion).
     
  3. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #3
    Just don't do competitive cycling. It's insanely dangerous- and this is coming from an ice hockey goalie. I have seen some of my cycling friends sustain injuries I would not wish on my worst enemy.
     
  4. Abstract, Aug 28, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011

    Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #4
    ^^^You can say that about driving, riding a motorcycle, surfing, etc. :confused:



    Anyway, I forgot about recommendations.


    Well, I have no specific recommendations. :p If you're going to get a road bike, go for one of the "Endurance" road bikes. It's hard to visually tell the difference between an Endurance and Racing road bike, but Endurance frames are designed so that you're more comfortable when you go for really long rides. Racing road bikes require you to hunch forward more and stretch out so that you're low and more aerodynamic. Great for racing, but not great for 99% of riders, even ones who want to go fast sometimes!

    Then there's the components of the road bike. Most bikes use Shimano, and if you get a road bike, get something with Tiagra gearing if you can afford it. I believe Shimano's Sora line are what you'll get on budget road bikes, but going up to Tiagra components (it's one step up from Sora) may be better for you if you don't quit riding by next year. You can always upgrade later, but it's MUCH cheaper to do it right the first time!!!

    If you want to consider a single-speed bike, or if you can find a steel road bike, try to get a classic steel frame. They're comfortable, strong, and they look better (IMO). Aluminium bikes look sportier, but if you're mostly commuting, it's like wearing lycra cycling clothes to get to class. For casual riding, even for exercise, a classic steel frame is fine and doesn't make you look ridiculous. :p


    There are a lot of bike companies, but ones like GT, Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, Kona, Surly, Fuji, and EMC2 probably all sell something you'd want to ride.
     
  5. Abyssgh0st, Aug 28, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011

    Abyssgh0st thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #5
    Thanks for the advice.

    As far as where I'm riding, it is going to be a relatively flat, minimum hill terrain. I think most of the bikes I've looked at are somewhere between 12-18 speed. As far as one speed bikes go, do you think that would work out best for exercising/getting around campus? When I rode the bike I tested I was able to stay at a comfortable travel pace without changing gears.

    What I'm looking for now is, should I be wary of buying a used older bike for only a few hundred less than a brand new one?

    @Lee- definitely don't plan to do it competitively as I honestly don't have the time or motivation to do so!

    EDIT: Also, can someone give me a quick summary of maintenance on a non-single speed road bike? Would buying new alleviate some of these costs? Also, how often and how much are standard maintenance costs?

    Thanks!
     
  6. bbergie macrumors regular

    bbergie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2006
    Location:
    Calgary
    #6
    Hi there,

    Just a thought: it sounds from your description of needs that you're intending for this bike to serve mostly as a commuting bicycle, particularly to and from school. I'm a long-distance cyclist, who rides a road bike, as well as a daily cycling commuter.

    For long distances and hills, a road bike can't be beat: it's lightness coupled with an aggressive cycling posture makes for truly efficient and fast cycling. However, if you plan to commute with a backpack full of books and/or a notebook computer, you may find the road bike unsuitable. In my case, my back is nearly flat when I ride my road bike and position my hands on the brake hoods (not even the drops). Consequently, a backpack is prone to sliding around and shifting from side to side on my back, which is very uncomfortable. Shifting weight can also be dangerous for cyclists, particularly if top-heavy weight is shifting abruptly and from side to side.

    For commuting, I rely on a mountain bike which is set so my posture is less aggressive, which is to say my back is more upright and suited to supporting a backpack in a rather stable manner. However, if given the choice again, I would go after a proper commuting bicycle or hybrid.

    In more recent weeks, I've become very fond of folding bicycles -- check out Dahon: dahon.com

    Anyway, good luck with your bike purchase. You're doing your research, which is a sure bet to procure the right bike for you and its intended use.
     
  7. Abyssgh0st thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #7
    @bbergie- Thanks for the advice. I did test out when I was riding the store bike that I was able to maintain balance with my backpack (slimline, my laptop is an 11" Air, and books are minimal if any at all.

    I will check out Dahon as they have a huge dealer near me. Currently the bike I'm looking at is the Trek 1.1.

    Whatcha think guys?
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/sport/2_and_1_series/1_1_h2_compact/
     
  8. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #8
    for what you'll pay for a 2012 1.1 you should be able to get last years 1.5. I ride a 1.5 right now but I'm looking to get a madone over the winter.

    The main differences between the 1.1 and the 1.5 are as follows.

    1.1
    Sora components
    All aluminum frame

    1.5
    Tiagra components
    Aluminum frame with carbon seat post and carbon fork

    The tiagra components will allow you to shift from the drop bars or the tops in both directions. With sora you'll only be able to shift to an easier gear from the drops and both from the tops. This is because sora uses a small thumb shifter.

    The carbon seat post and fork will absorb a lot of road noise and make your ride a ton smoother and take stress off your arms and rear. This will help a lot with being comfortable on your bike.

    I wouldn't worry a ton about maintenance. Any new bike purchase will come with the shop agreeing to do a fair amount of maintenance in the first year or two for free.
     
  9. Abyssgh0st thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #9
    That 1.5 does look a lot more appealing for the same money. Where would you recommend buying one at this time? Used market or possibly a bike shop with old stock?
     
  10. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #10
    Just stop in a local shop, whichever you're most comfortable with. Tell them you're trying to pick up a 2011 or 2010 trek 1.5 and get a deal on it. I grabbed a 2010 trek 1.5 for about 850 at the end of the 2010 season after the 2011 bikes were released. I tested a 2011 version and for 200 bucks less got a different color. They'll be able to find out of trek has any in your size and order it for you if there are. They don't change much year to year on these bikes and the components are all the same. It's really just about color. They'll make a macro change every few years but its too expensive to do every year. If there aren't any available I'd ask about a 2011 2.1 or 2.3 for a similar deal before going with a 2012 1.1. The low level components on the 1.1 are going to be a hindrance and have you wishing for slightly more after you realize the major differences.

    Also.

    I don't know what you're planning to do for pedals, and shoes but if you want to do some form of clipless pedals and shoes I'd budget around $150 for that. Bottles and cages will run about 20 bucks for simple stuff. If you plan to use it for exercise as well, which I recommend, then you should budget for a decent pair of shorts at around $50 to protect your business.
     
  11. Abyssgh0st, Aug 30, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011

    Abyssgh0st thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #11
    I want to thank you all for the advice.

    Went to one of the local bike stores (my first of three stops) and asked about deals on older Trek models (they had no 2010s, only 2011s). I looked at some 1.2s as they had no 1.1s, but eventually the salesman and I looked at the 1.5 that @eternalgladiator suggested. Original MSRP was $1099, now marked down to $1049, on sale at their shop for $949, and sold to me for $899. :D

    Total ended up being $1,043 which was less than the current MSRP (after tax!).

    I ended up buying a trip computer (10% off, $22.50), Camelbak water bottle (10% off, $8.10), nylon water bottle cage (10% off, $13.50), and a very nice U-Lock with cable (~40% off, $20.00).

    I went for my first ride last night (about 1hr, probably around 10-12 miles) and my max speed was about 25mph. It felt like I was flying! This bike rides like a dream. It is so light, agile, and stupidly quick. I was on the sidewalk racing cars from a standstill at a traffic light (speed limit of 30, but still) and it was so much fun!

    Ordered some decent biking shorts and a front/back light combo as I was a little worried about others being able to see me. Overall, I love it!
     
  12. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #12
    that's awesome! congrats. you won't be disappointed. I'm a little unsure how you only rode 3 miles in one hour though. that has to be a typo? you could walk faster than that. :)
     
  13. ddeadserious macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #13
    I'm semi-new to regular cycling, just got my new bike a few weeks ago, but I'm in love with it. I just do casual cycling and I ride a fixed gear bike. I can't explain why I love it, it's just enjoyable to ride.

    After looking at used bikes on craigslist, etc, and going to my local bike shops, I wasn't able to find something that I was thrilled about so I started looking online. I came across www.bikesdirect.com and ordered the Gravity Swift 2. It has pretty much all aluminum components and weighs in at 18-19lbs, has a flip flop hub on the rear wheel(so you can ride fixed gear or freewheel), drop bars, etc.

    The gear ratio is really nice(46/16) and not having all the extra parts and shifters involved with geared roadbikes is nice. The simplicity is definitely appreciated. It's still plausible to climb hills with it, although it's not an ideal gear ratio for it, I've done it enough times now. It being lightweight is very appreciated for carrying up/down my apartment complex's stairs.

    I know some people will swear against bikesdirect, but my experience has been awesome. Any customer service emails sent(before and after the transaction) were replied to within 12 hours, they refunded me a portion of the cost for a scratch that was obtained during shipping(not their fault, it was packed well, UPS just isn't very gentle). It arrived in 3 business days.

    For a $300(free shipping) bike that was ready to rock(with a small amount of assembly), I'm super happy with it. I've had it looked at by a few cycling enthusiasts and they've been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the components and the bike as a whole.

    Just my 2¢.

    edit: Whoops, didn't read far enough to see you bought one. Congrats, enjoy!
     
  14. Abyssgh0st thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #14
    @ddead- Thanks for the advice! I am actually still going to check out that site because now my girlfriend needs a bike and they have some things that pique her interest!
     
  15. Abyssgh0st thread starter macrumors 68000

    Abyssgh0st

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2009
    Location:
    Norman, OK
    #15
    Thanks! The shop I got it from also offers free lifetime maintenance and cheap labor for things like a flat tire ($5 inc. labor).

    And whoops! That was definitely a typo. I run miles at a 5:45 pace, can't imagine only 3 miles on a bike in an hour! I'd have to guess that it was around 10-12 miles as I was just exploring campus at night.
     
  16. ddeadserious macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #16
    Cool :)

    Just make sure you have a few tools, the front wheel, seat post, pedals, and handlebars will/may need to be installed. I think all I needed was a multi-allen head tool, and a 15mm wrench for my bike. Only took 30-40min before it was ready to ride though.
     
  17. Xavier macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Columbus
    #17
    I would suggest that you head over to bikes direct and see what they have to offer. They have some cheap, relatively nice road bikes as well as single speeds, and fixed gears.

    What kind of riding are you most interested in? Getting around campus?

    EDIT: Just now read that you already have a bike
     
  18. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #18
    That's sound a lot better. Lifetime maintenance is huge and will probably save you around $100 per year. I'm sure they told but if they didn't, you need to put around 30-50 miles on and let the cables stretch and break in a bit then take it back in to get readjusted. That'll get everything set up really nice and it'll shift like a dream.
     
  19. avro707 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2010
    #19
    Very good replies so far - I'm also considering taking up cycling, some longer-distance commuting a few days per week, so I'm looking at one of the ligher road bikes - I hae a couple in mind which I'll go and see once my tax and a couple of other financial things are sorted out.

    I'd also recommend the message on the Whirlpool forums about cycling:
    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1621549

    Although it's Australian orientated - it's got a massive amount of decent information. I read through the whole lot of that the other day.
     

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