Advice to the ignorant

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by ashinoakley, Jun 9, 2011.

  1. ashinoakley

    ashinoakley New Member

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    Hi
    I am sure that lot of you will find the question repetitive but I had to ask someone and so there you go.
    I will tell briefly about myself and what I am looking for.
    I am 45 year old man - slightly overweight and not very fit. I enjoy cycling and looking to do more of it to enjoy riding and also to get fit and loose weight. I live in Buckinghamshire in UK.
    Currently I have a specialized sirrus pro 2008 which ride to work (park and ride to work which is about 3 miles) and also on weekends (about 10 - 20 mile roundtrips on most weekends). I live in a small village about 15 miles away from my place of work. The route is challenging with at least 2 long steep climbs.
    My current aims are 1. To start riding to work from my village rather than the park and ride and 2. Go for longer rides on weekends 3. Participate in local cycling events and charity rides (eg 60 mile ride organised by cancer research).
    I also have a fascination for drop bars and would love to have it in my new bike. However age is not on my side when i see the aerodynamic stooping posture of the road bikes.
    I would love to own a relatively light drop bar good quality bike which would have slightly wides tyres (like 28) which I would use to ride to work and also for pleasure on weekends. Obviously it has to have a frame geometry to allow me to be slightly upright to save my back.
    A friend of mine has a specialized secteur which i quite liked.
    I would love to get some more ideas and suggestions.
    I feel that i am making my plans with lot of passion but not a lot of logic and pragmatism.
    Looking forward to hearing from you all.
    Feel free to ask any questions
    Ash
     
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  2. pluginprofits

    pluginprofits New Member

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  3. moosensquirrel

    moosensquirrel New Member

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    First off, I'm no expert. I'm in the bike buying stage myself. But let me tell you what I've found out so far.

    You obviously want something that is a cross between a road bike and a mountain bike. In my eyes, there are three options:

    1. Touring Bike - Way too clunky for you, not light enough
    2. Hybrid Bike - You probably don't need the comfort bike genes it has in it, also likely too heavy
    3. Cyclocross Bike - A mean combination of road speed and light-weight with mountain bike durability

    Unless you actually plan to participate in Cyclocross events, there isn't all that much difference between between a cyclocross bike and an expensive hybrid leaning towards a roadbike.

    So if you want a new bike, get a cyclocross bike. Someone on another thread described it to me as the "best of both worlds, urban road bike". You can (and should) put 28c tires on it. The bike I will be buying on Monday is the 2010 Fuji Cross Comp. People on the road are amazed you can keep up with them, and people on rugged trails will give you the weirdest looks wondering how you are following them on a road bike.

    However, I don't think you should get a new bike. I think you should get drop handlebars on your Specialized Sirrus Pro. It already has virtually all of the ingredients you are looking for, and new handlebars don't cost all that much (more if you need to get new brakes and shifters, they can be a little pricey). Maybe someone who knows more about bikes can confirm this?

    Whatever you choose, it is imperative that you take it into a good bike shop to get it fitted to you. A great bike shop will take over an hour to fit you and will do it for free if you buy the bike from them. If you buy the bike online and know how to build it, still take it into the shop and pay them to fit you. Everything you mentioned about your posture concerns, or "passion" vs "pragmatism", is all solved in the fitting. (The bike itself has less to do with the fit.) If absolutely necessary, they could install a new seat post or a new handlebar stem to make sure it is comfortable for you, but regardless you will ride out of the store comfortable.

    Lastly, these are the questions you should always answer when asking for bike buying advice:

    1) What is the most you could spend?
    2) If you don't need to spend that much for your needs, would you want to buy a cheaper bike?
    3) What is the terrain like on your ride?
    4) How far do you plan to ride? (Which you already answered)

    Best wishes.
     
  4. ashinoakley

    ashinoakley New Member

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    Thank you Moosensquirrel
    To answer your questions -
    1. £1000 is my max budget
    2. Obviously I would like to buy the best my budget can buy - especially to ensure that it will be good durable bike which I will be able to use for quite sometime
    3. The route to work and my weekend ride are all road - most of them are narrow country roads with few potholes here and there. The route has lot of ups and down with a few short steep climbs and a few long but less steep climbs. I would also like to continue to ride to work in winter (till it starts to snow) and even if wet
    Comfort is quite high on my list of preferences and also light weight. The bike should also have rack eyelets for a small pannier.
    I agree with your observations about my existing sirrus pro - I love this bike. It has served me well and continues to do so. I have of often thought of fitting a drop handlebar to it. I trawled through some of the forums and found only a few people who have done it. In all of those I felt that the cost of changing the brakes and shifters which goes with the change of the handlebars is a tad too expensive and i felt that it would be prudent to buy a new bike rather than spend so much to change an old bike.
    I quite like your choice of the fuji cross comp. Best of luck and I wish you lots of miles of happy riding.
    Unlike you, I am not yet so confident about my choice.
    I want something light, has the sporty look with a drop handlebar, sturdy to carry a light pannier, can run on wet and wintery roads and costs not much more than 1000 pounds.
    I am probably just chasing a dream
     
  5. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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    Idle opinion from a yank who lives in flat, smooth area...fwitw.

    I think you want to learn to love the classic English touring bike. Today you can get an internal hub with nicely spaced set of seven or eight or more gears.

    If you could borrow or rent such a bike for a day you might have your answer. You have bad weather there, so you want your mudguards,

    you have a couple of steep climbs...the going will be slow, and what is an extra ten pounds of bike, if you are looking to lose, say twenty pounds from yourself?

    Drop bars? Well, I see older guys on drop bar bikes and they do not look comfortable. The crouch also reduces aerobic (lung fill) capacity for an older guy.

    Look at 1899? Please run the book to pages 180 and 181. See the illustrations? What is new? How does your back and neck do in "scorcher" stance?

    http://tinyurl.com/69895be
    Look at the postures of then and today?

    A stripped road bike of that year ran about 16 pounds.
    A touring bike, singlespeed, mudguards, about 25 pounds.
     
  6. Reid2

    Reid2 Member

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    [​IMG] There are two positions in which a man can ride, the upright and the racing position.
    The first is that in which Nature intended a man to ride, and the only position in which it is possible



    Fig. 81 shows the first position
    and Fig. 82 the second, as seen on the road.

    So far as road work is concerned, this is another of those psychological questions,
    which, however, is usually more or less answered
    by the expression depicted on the countenance of the rider.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. moosensquirrel

    moosensquirrel New Member

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    If I understand that little currency symbol you used as the British pound, that converts to over $1,600 US dollars. That seems like quite a bit if money to me, unless you're planning to get a racing bike.

    One of the bikes I was looking at was the Jamis Bosanova. It is $1150 USD,or cheaper at some places. It is a touring bike with a steel frame, which gives it a comfortable ride. Also, it has road bars. The owner of my local bike store recommended I look at cyclocross bikes instead, saying a touring bike would be too clunky for me. But if you need mud guards and the ability to carry stuff, maybe a touring bike is the right choice for you.

    Remember, steel is heavier than aluminum, but it gives a very nice ride. Which is more important is up to you.

    As for getting or not getting road bars, maybe you'd want to check with an older cyclist who has been there and made his choice. But 45 isn't that old! And remember, there are many fits in between the two in those figures above. This is where a good fit is important from good bike shop. They will make sure you are comfortable in whatever you choose.

    You said comfort was the highest priority, but for rides as long as you are planning, you'll be more comfortable if you don't get a comfort bike. Those are comfortable for going under two miles, haha.

    Best wishes on our hunt.
     
  8. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Start your search by visiting your local bike shops(LBS) and see what they have to offer. Test ride a lot of bikes with different kinds of handlebars. If you want drop bars but are worried that you can't handle a saddle higher than the handle bars, look into getting a touring road bike. These generally offer the rider a more upright position but still have the drop handlebars that you want. In addition, they are very stable and have all the attachment points for all the racks and panniers to carry extra clothes and whatever else you need to carry to work with you. They are also very stable. One of the more popular touring bikes is the Surly Long Haul Trucker. I think that this will fall within your budget.

    You might also want to look into a "plush" road bike. These are a road bike that is designed to be comfortable but still deliver great performance. Trek's Pilot 2.1 is a good example of a plush road bike. This bike allows the rider to to sit more upright than a racing road bike, but not to the point where they have awkward steering or slow acceleration. It has a taller head tube and longer chainstays that make it more stable than a racing bike, but a steeper steering angle and tighter front triangle make for a lively ride. And with a $1400 MSRP, it is within your budget.

    Don't be afraid of drop handlebars because you are 45. I am 52 and all of my road bikes have drop handlebars and I do just fine. They are more comfortable to me and seem to give me the most control of my bike over any other style of handlebar. I meet a lot of riders older than me and many of them have bikes that have drop handlebars and none of them complain about the "arse over eyeballs" posture.

    Last but most importantly, make sure that the bike fits you. A good fitting will take two to three hours but will ensure that you get a bike that is comfortable for you to ride, but most importantly it will ensure that you get a bike that won't hurt you.

    Good luck with the hunt, but enjoy it. It is always fun to go bicycle shopping when you have the money to pay for it in your pocket.
     
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