Advice for someone completely new to cycling +

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by Dyella73, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. Dyella73

    Dyella73 New Member

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    Hi everyone. I am currently looking to purchase a road bike. I am completely new to this so in all honesty I don't really have a clue about what I am doing. My budget is $700-$1000. Ideally I want to start cycling as a new hobby to supplement my running (loveee running) and possibly work up to a duathlon in the future. I have gone to a couple local bike shops and I have tested a Trek Lexa, Giant Defy (liked both of those) and also a cannondale that I really didn't love. One of the stores also recommended a Ridley Yana but I didn't try that one. Just for reference, I'm a 5'1 female. Couple questions and concerns for you all. 1. Out of the bikes I mentioned, do you have any you'd recommend or steer away from? Any additional suggestions that I haven't looked at? I don't need women's specific if that helps. 2. I'm still confused as to what size bike I need. Some stores told me 48, another 46. I feel like what I've tried are too big for me, but I don't really know for sure. 3. Along with 2 above, I'm also finding that I feel very awkward and wobbly when testing out the road bikes. I'm getting nervous - is this normal? Like I said I'm completely new so I've never tested a road bike before the last couple weeks. Even my boyfriend pointed out that I just didn't look right. I can't tell if its just me and my un coordinated self, or if there is a "learning period" for people new to road biking. I'm determined! Lol I would appreciate whatever advice you can offer me. Thanks for reading this long post :)
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Choosing a bike is pretty personal but I can say with confidence it's very hard to go wrong in that price range. All the brands you mentioned make fine bikes.

    Does the feeling "too big" part equate to feeling too stretched out, i.e. that you are too far forward?

    One thing comes to mind in that those new to the road bike scene may be used to previous bike experiences of being bolt upright like on many commuters, or beach cruiser type bikes, or even the bikes we rode as kids. After the purchase fit can be tweaked to some degree by a shorter/longer stem (that bit connecting the handlebars to the bike), but it's good to be feeling somewhere in the size ballpark before making the purchase.

    It's tough to say without seeing but 48cm is certainly in the ballpark, and some size charts (here is just one example: http://www.ebicycles.com/custom/content_files/ebicycles-bicycle-sizing-chart-road-bikes.pdf) would put 46 on the smaller side of size range for your height but seems like it's still in the range.

    In my own experience, sometimes being to stretched out leads to a feeling of vague handling, as do handlebars that are too narrow but that's not necessarily a universal thing. But like many activities, experience never hurts, and sometimes we don't know what works until we know what doesn't. Sorry for any ambiguity in that last sentence.

    Lastly, having had some girlfriends I've seen through the hobby, feeling like one is leaning too far forward can put more pressure on the delicate umm lady bits (for lack of a better expression ), there are some women specific saddles which may accomidate if that is the case. Aside from those, slightly shorter stems and top tubes are occasionally only what separates plain old bikes from women's specific designs.

    If the bike really doesn't work out, some bike shops will allow you to swap for a different size at no extra cost if minor component changes (like different length stems) don't do the trick, but that is worth confirming up front if you are still really unsure.

    Hope some of this helps.
     
  3. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Wow "D" - the ocean is vast at this point. We have just a drop of information to steer you with at this point, but we do know you are committed to sail the open seas (or open roads). /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    You're in a reasonable ballpark for frame size, but depends on many factors like frame geometry and how all the specific components (stem, handlebars, seat post, saddle, crank length, etc.) add up to form a final "cockpit". Without experience, this becomes an exercise in "you don't know what you don't know". Therefore, finding a trusted and experienced shop/staff can be invaluable.

    You didn't say if you have ever ridden a bike regularly ... as a child? If not or if it has been a long time, no doubt anything is going to feel a little awkward. Road bikes pitch you forward by design and many find that a bit unnatural at first. Did the shop personnel make adjustments prior to having jump on and ride away? If not, the experience might very well have been uncomfortable and ill-fitting.

    Beginners often aren't comfortable with a seat at the "proper" height. Generally the ideal leg extension for maximum pedaling efficiency requires the seat to be higher than you can comfortably stop and reach the ground while seated. If you're uncomfortable dismounting the saddle, this can be unsettling until you build balance/handling skills and confidence. Does this relate at all to your feelings of the bikes being too big? (Conversely, a seat too low can make pedaling a chore)

    Your price target gets you into the area of reliable, good quality name-brand bikes (especially if on sale). Brand isn't terribly important. All those you mentioned are good quality bikes - maybe not the one for you, but no junk in the bunch.

    There are many bikes in your price range. To avoid more expense due to swapping out parts to customize a bike to you, keep trying bikes and go with the one that fits the best "as is". OR that a shop will fit to you without a lot of additional expense. A good shop will work with you patiently and give you options without pressure. Except for "mega-stores", most local bike shops carry a few primary brands. Largely that is due to manufacturer's marketing strategies and distribution agreements. Each shop will promote what they have.

    In your price target, the components (shifters, gears, etc.) are most likely going to be one or two models - Sora, Tiagra,105 from Shimano or Apex, Rival, Force from Sram. The bike manufacturers blend components and wheels to hit a specific price target. Again, nothing bad in the bunch - just particular features (and some compromises) to appeal to different buyers. Doesn't matter how much you spend - there are always compromises to be made - which ones you want to live with and which ones are not for you is personal.

    Congratulations on your determination and goals - no doubt there is a duathon in your future!



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  4. Dyella73

    Dyella73 New Member

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    Thanks for the replies! I ended up purchasing my bike this weekend, and I ended up buying a bike that I didn't even mention in my original post! It was a little more than my original budget, but my birthday is in about 3 weeks so I felt that I could justify the purchase. I purchased a Specialized Dolce Compact, and after I tried it I knew it was "the one" haha so to speak. It just "felt" better than the others I had tried, so I decided I would get that one. I also bought a 51 cm... go figure, as I previously mentioned some of the smaller ones felt too big. Anyway, so far I am very happy with my purchase :) Thanks for your help!
     
  5. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    Congratulations! Nice bike.

    Putting a little extra skin ($) in the game can return bigger rewards. Sometimes going with a bike that doesn't hurt a little in the wallet makes it easy to let it sit in the garage. I say all in or all out. You're all in and committed!! :) Enjoy it and have fun.
     
  6. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    Nice bike choice.
     
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