ALMOST made a big mistake...

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Cappy, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. Cappy

    Cappy New Member

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    Hey all I am new to this forum so I figured I would tackle two things at once and introduce myself, as well as tell you an ALMOST fluke. So my name is Jay, originally from Maine but now in Wyoming by way of Colorado. I have been biking my whole life, since I was three years old. When I was younger I broke many bones dirt jumping and downhilling. Recently I have decided I have too many screws in my body for DH (although I still ride my KHS Descent FXT every day lol) and have decided to take the plunge into road biking.

    I spent a term as an aircraft mechanic in the USAF, three years machining in the aerospace industry, and have my AA degree in welding/metallurgy, so am familiar with mechanics and metals and whatnot.

    So now for the ALMOST fluke. I had myself believing that the methods of frame production these days are probably better and cheaper than they used to be due to the 'trickle-down' effect, and that, if carefully studied, i might find a decent bike to start on on a dept. store website. I will be honest, I wanted to see if i could better the folks that knock on these bikes without ever having ridden them, and I was hoping to find a diamond in the rough. SO, what I came across was the Schwinn Varsity 1500. Looked like a decent base frame to start from, although it was impossible to find out whether or not the frame was butted anywhere, which was unnerving to say the least. I swallowed my pride, having never even entertained the idea of a big box bike in my entire life, and bought it.

    I WILL TELL YOU... this was stupid. A few hours after I got home i had deduced several things; the 'carbon' on this bike is actually carbon-wrapped aluminum (i knew this was the case w earlier models, but Schwinn reassured me over the phone that it was full carbon...however that's not what the radiograph test at work showed), the 56cm frame was just too raked for my height (admittedly my fault), the microshifters-although they didn't have the annoying thumb shifter like other 2300 series- the front d shifter had 3 gear setting, but was running a compact crank, which made me aware of the slapdash piecing together of this bike.

    Now, I know Schwinn is no longer what it used to be, but as i said i was looking for a 'hopeful'. Take other people's advice and skip these crap bikes. I had been sweating dropping another few hundo on a Trek 1.1, but I have a 12 year old Trek that is made of crap hi-ten steel, and I've put it through the paces. Its still solid as hell.

    Went to my LBS, dropped the 800ish on the new 2014 1.1, and to my surprise, i now feel WORLDS better. This bike doesn't come with a warranty, it comes with a lifetime GUARANTEE. Also the relief of having the backing of the LBS for adjustments and whatnot is priceless.

    I know its been said a million times, but I've checked it myself, and MAN.... is the extra quality, support, and good feeling worth the extra dough!!
     
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  2. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Well, yeah. You get what you pay for.

    Another fine entry level road bike is Raleigh's Revenio 1.0.

    Here's my disclaimer. I work for a dealer that sells Raleigh and Trek. But you can't go wrong with any of the first- and second-tier brands that you find in bike shops.

    These days Schwinn is trying to have it both ways with two lines of bikes, one for the big-box stores that have kept them alive for the last two decades and one for the independent bike dealers, who remain skeptical.
     
  3. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by Cappy:
    "I spent a term as an aircraft mechanic in the USAF, three years machining in the aerospace industry, and have my AA degree in welding/metallurgy, so am familiar with mechanics and metals and whatnot."

    Welcome!

    A&P guy...I approve.
    Aerospace machinist...I approve.
    Welding certs...I approve.

    Service to our nation...I thank you!

    I've spent the last 24-1/2 years as an aerospace design engineer, primarily in turbine components, but also in weapons systems delivery and some airframe components, detonators and we had two parts fly on every space shuttle main engine.

    Smart move. Skip a big box store junk. Those bikes are OK for children and families that ride once or twice a year. For any type of serious riding it takes the correct tool for the job. You'll enjoy that 1.1 and I predict you will keep it for awhile and also buy another upmarket road machine sometime in 2015! I hope you get hooked on road riding and training and I wish you many safe miles ahead.
     
  4. Cappy

    Cappy New Member

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    Thanks for the warm greetings! Yep,definitely get what you pay for... why bother getting into something I might not be able to get out of?

    One thing that really became clear immediately to me was that the bike itself could hold ultimate sway over whether I begin to hate riding, or become addicted. I want the one that will make me a hopeless addict.
     
  5. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Should have been 34-1/2 years....yeah, I'm old!

    You are right on the money with your assessment of what the cycling experience might have been like as opposed to what it will likely be aboard a bike built with better quality from the tires to the saddle.

    There have been an untold number of prospective and enthusiastic riders turned off by a bad experience with a poor quality first bike. Like I said, a big box store bike is not a bad choice for a once or twice a year bike path rider, but beyond that the rewards are few.

    And speaking of saddles, do not be afraid to change saddle if after a few rides to get your posterior in road ready condition and you are still not comfortable. A bicycle doesn't need to be a torture machine. see your local shop for at least a quick analysis of your riding position and discuss any adjustments to your riding position (suggested by you or the experienced guys on the other side of the counter) with them.

    I always advise new road riders to find riding partners or a local club to ride and train with. You'll find much of the casual advice offered to be invaluable and riding with others can be safer and more enjoyable than going solo.
     
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