Brand New to Cycling - Just visited my FIRST Pro Bike Shop

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by AlphaHelix, May 5, 2011.

  1. AlphaHelix

    AlphaHelix New Member

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    Hey all! - So as the title says - I'm new here (not only to the forum, but also to the world of biking). I simply found this forum through a google search - so hope it has landed me in the right place.

    That being said - let me just get into it! I am looking to get into cycling for the purpose of augmenting my exercise routine mainly for the upcoming warmer months. I've always liked riding bikes as a kid (I'm 29 now), and I thought now would be a good time for me to get more serious. Here are my overall goals:

    • Lose Weight (about 50 lbs - I'm 250 now, trying to get to 190-200 but without sacrificing too much muscle so I will complement cycling with a resistance training routine) Good Idea?
    • An excuse not to drive my car/take public transit everywhere - I live right outside of New York City - so it's pretty busy area, lots of people walking around/sidewalks and yes even some bike paths (pavement, not the trail type). Sometimes of the day you can get farther on a bike in shorter amount of time due to the driving congestion.
    • Preparation for Bike New York - In 2005 I rode in the 42 mile bike-a-thon (which is not a race or marathon of any kind, but simply an event that usually has about 35,000 attendees for which the City of New York shuts down major roadways and bridges. The bike tour goes through each of the 5 boroughs of NYC). It is usually held in May and this years event was held just this weekend, I believe. For a couple years now I've wanted to get back into it - but I feel I need to prep myself (physically) to get there.

    Anything else that happens after all this is anyone's guess - I will see where it takes me. I just want to get out and ride the bike and see what comes of it.

    Now, the bike itself. Here is what I feel - In general, I've been told by a couple salespeople/reps that a road bike is probably going to be better for my use as compared to a hybrid/fitness bike. The area that I am in does have a fair amount of paved roads (realistically no trails and neither am I trying to use this for any trails or anything anyhow). That being said, I guess I would say I am impartial to the feel of the road bike (i.e. being more stretched out, is completely fine with me) as compared to more upright w/ the hybrid. I've tried out some of the bikes at the store - and here are some details:

    Bike I tried:

    • Allez Elite (This I'd say was pretty much my favorite) - $1250
    • Allez Sport - (This was not bad till I tried the gears on the Elite, which were much better) $950
    • Trek Road Bikes Various Models (I generally did not have a good experience w/ Trek) - 950-1150
    • Sirius Models (Tried the base model to the higher end with much better shifters etc....Base --- Elite) $480 - $880

    My findings:

    Of all the bikes that I tried, the first was the Siruis Base Model. It was pretty good. Then I tried the Allez sport, and elite. The elite felt pretty good, and looked good too. I am almost 6' tall, and the 56" felt most comfortable to me. Don't know about the seat settings, etc....but 56" frame felt more proper for me. I think I am pretty set on getting Specialized as I feel the brand fits me pretty well but then again I've only tried those 2 brands.

    My Budget:

    Initially when I went into the store, my budget was around $500-600 - but now I notice I may need to augment that budget. I really don't know how much more I would need to spend, but I guess around $1000 for the whole package might be okay. I don't want to skimp on anything only to find out it's going to cost me more or become a headache down the road. So I will remain a bit flexible in this area. That being said - I also have to account for add-on's upgrades. Here are the upgrades in my mind:

    • Water bottle holder - def will need this.
    • Under Saddle pouch - Going to need this for cell phone, keys, wallet, etc.
    • Pedals (I guess they don't come w/ pedals?) I'd prefer a design than can be used with the "clip-on?" shoes, and also flipped over to be used with sneakers for more casual riding. I don't like the ones you have to slide your feet into or there are straps hanging off.
    • Helmet - The guy at the store really pushed it, but I'm not a big helmet fan - maybe someone can give me info on that?
    • Tools - I would like to be able to change out certain parts if it is not too big of a job, so I figure I would need some type of tool kit for basic things?) Or one of those swiss army type bike tool?

    So that is pretty much it in a big nutshell. I've done a bit of research online, and now ridden around on some of the bikes in the store. At this point I'm kind of in-between the high end Sirius (felt like it had great components), but for that price, I can snag a entry level Specialized Road Bike also - $850ish) - so what do I need to know here? Anyone that can help me, or point me in the right direction would be very appreciated. Anyone that can help me save some money would really make my day also. This is going to be the first bike I buy that is basically more than $250 (a while ago when I was younger), so I want to treat it as an investment and get the right one for me.

    Thanks in advance for anyone who takes the time to read my post and respond! :)
     
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  2. Morisato

    Morisato New Member

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    A helmet is like a seat belt. You can go without it, but if anything happens, you'll probably die. If you don't mind dying then you can go without one.
     
  3. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Before you buy a bike from any of these shops, make sure that they fit you. A lot of bike shops will have you stand over the bike and say "Yeah, it fits you". Actually there is a lot more to fit than that. That is the starting point but it gets a little more involved. This link will explain it better than I can:http://www.competitivecyclist.com/za/CCY?PAGE=FIT_CALCULATOR_INTRO . A properly fitted bike is comfortable to ride on, and an improperly fitted bike is usually uncomfortable to ride on, and in some cases can even damage your knees.

    You need a helmet. You live in the US so there is no law that mandates that you have to wear a helmet, but you should wear a helmet for your own protection. After all, you wear shoes to protect your feet and they are supposed to be on the ground. Don't you think that you should protect your head just in case it hits the ground? This will help you with the helmet decision: http://www.bhsi.org/plain.htm

    New bikes usually don't come with pedals. There are a lot of different pedal designs available and most of them require a specific cleat to fit them. Many experienced cyclists will remove the pedals that they have been using with one bike before they sell it and transfer them to their new bike, so they don't want pedals on the new bike. The convertible pedals that you mentioned are OK, but you will find that you won't want to use the platform side after you get used to the clipless side.(Clipless sounds sort of like an oxymoron. Clipless pedals are the pedals where you have a cleat on your shoe and you "clip in" and "clip out" of the pedals. The reason that they are called "clipless" is because they lack the toe clips and toe straps.)

    In addition to the items that you have listed, you will need to budget for some cycling shorts at a minimum. They have chamois padding where it counts and don't have seams where they might chafe so they really help keep you comfortable in the saddle. If you don't like the idea of the form fitting Lycra, ask your bike shop to show you touring shorts. These are made the same way but look like your standard everyday shorts. A jersey or two might be nice too. They are convenient and are usually brightly colored to make you more visible in traffic.

    Since you are starting out, the only tools that you will really need right now is a flat tire repair kit. For this you will need 2 tire levers, a spare inner tube, a patch kit, and an inflation device (either a CO2 inflator or a mini pump). These will need to go in your seat bag too. As you go along and see what else you might need personally, you can pick them up.

    One last thing, it may help you to go to your local book store and pick up a book on bicycle maintenance and repair. There are some good books out there and they will save you money in the long run. You will probably get a free tune-up with the purchase of your bike, but after that, you will either pay to have maintenance done or you will do it yourself. Bicycle maintenance is not rocket science. It is actually pretty easy once you get the basics mastered(sorry to all the pro wrenches out there). There are also a lot of online resources such as videos on YouTube and these two sites: http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help and http://bicycletutor.com/ .

    Well now, do you think that you landed in the right place? Good luck to you and enjoy your riding!
     
  4. AlphaHelix

    AlphaHelix New Member

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    Sincerely appreciate your reply - Thank You! I won't lie, I was getting a bit worried that perhaps I had written too much and it was daunting for some members to read through all of it - however as this is my first foray into the "semi-professional" world of cycling I wanted to include as much information as possible.

    That being said - I've been doing some thinking. I am unsure if my immediate selection towards a "road-bike" was even correct given all the things I've heard from others in addition to the advice you have given me. Honestly, I am looking for a bike which I can ride around town - initially I planning to ride it to the park where they have a few paved bike paths around the water, and I can literally do laps there to get comfortable with my bike. I think it will be a couple months of this type of riding before I feel I'll be comfortable enough to actually go riding with other people. I might just be hesitant because it is something new, and I don't know how I will be until I've actually had the bike for about 1-2 months. That being said, I want to make a cautious decision. For example - my mind right now tells me to learn towards a Hybrid bike - like the Specialized Sirius Comp (which I really liked in the Hybrid selection), but at the price being just $100 shy of $1K, I feel I can spend around that or a bit more and get a entry level road bike. I am hesitant to pulling the trigger on a decision because when I rode the hybrid - and the road bike - I could instantly tell that the hybrid is considerably more tough to get going and I feel like that could annoy me down the road when I become more proficient. Then, 2 separate salesmen at the LBS told me that most people who come in spending more than $600 on a hybrid are back in here within 6 months looking for a road bike. - So I guess my question is, is this true? And why?

    Other than that - like I mentioned before the fact of the handlebars being different and my body actually being "lower" on a road bike is something I feel I can just get used to. Sure, it's not how I'm used to riding around (being that my previous bikes were BMX and Mountain), but it does not feel so un-natural that I wouldn't be able to adapt. I actually liked riding the road bike with my hands at the top of the bar with one finger on each hand around the brake (if you get what I'm saying). Also, something about the vertical positioning vs horizontal on the hybrid is slightly preferential to me. Obviously I am slowly understanding that this is going to end up being an investment on my part - and the way the bike & accessory prices are being factored - my initial $500-600 budget might end up somewhere shy of $2K (EEK)!! So I don't want to rush anything or get into a predicament. Let's do this right the first time, so to speak.

    On the Fit - When I was at the LBP, they have a sizeable rear parking lot in which I was able to do a couple laps w/ the bikes. I tried variations of 58 & 56 inch bikes. At first I tried the 58, but I felt the seat was too high, and after the seat was adjusted, the salesman recommended that I try a 56 as that might be more suitable. The salesman was about my height as well (I'm 5' 11.5" to be exact). He said he rode a 56, and the 56 did feel better to me. I suppose the difference in the specialized/trek brands denotes 56 as Large and 58 as X-Large if I am correct?


    On the helmet - I got the hint - I will get a helmet. I noticed there was a decent Specialized Helmet that was $65 - I figure that should do the trick. Essentially what am I getting w/ those Giro (is that right?) Helmets that are priced $200+. I know they are lighter - but again I am not trying to race anyone or do time-trials here where I need weight reduction.

    Clothing - I will look into some shorts + tops. I guess if I could pick up a pair of shorts which can also be worn under something like gym pants/sweats that would also be good. Like I said, I don't want to only use the bike for heavy sport use, sometimes I just want to go out and have a nice joy-ride so to speak. Maybe grab a cup of coffee, etc.

    Tools & Repair - Well, I will def get a bike pump and the CO2 for the quick fix repairs. Other than that, the LBS I'm purchasing from offers lifetime tune-up warranty on all bikes over $600 (so basically any bike I am looking at would qualify). This doesn't sound like a gimmick does it? I've called other shops which only offer 1-3 years max. I still plan to get some tools to do basic stuff though.

    Accessories - I figure I would definitely need the water bottle holder, and at least an under the saddle pouch. I am not sure what other types of storage I can add to the bike - but I don't want to go overboard or add baskets or anything as I've seen some people have. I guess I'd need to get some sort of a bike computer of some sort to track speed/miles traveled, odometer suppose? Can I buy such items from online (such as Amazon), I've noticed pricing online on certain accessories (helmets, cpus, water cage, etc) are much better than in-store. Although the store did say they would hook me up on accessories if I got the bike from them and work with me to change out the saddle to a more comfortable one, etc.

    Bikes, Bikes, Bikes - So that being said now. Here are some choices that I have.

    • Allez Double or Triple - This bike is pretty much best bang for the buck from what I've read. Although they don't have one in stock at the LBS so they'd have to order. But pricing was around $850 give or take on the two models. I understand the main difference on these is the double has the 2 gears in front and the triple has 3?
    • Allez Sport - I don't think I really like this one, cause it's too "in-between"
    • Allez Elite - This is the one that I rode which I liked the best, I suppose it was the shifters and the smoothness which appealed to me. The LBS won't go under $1250 on this one.
    • Allez Comp - I'm tempting myself to think, If I was willing to spend $1250 on the Elite, they are selling the Comp for $1400, maybe which I can get discounted to $1350 even (making it just $100 more than the Elite (which they won't discount further). This one has SRAM components vs Shimano. Now is SRAM better? The LBS seems to tell me so.
    • Craigslist - Found a guy there offering a 2008 Allez Elite for around $700. He upgraded some of the components to Shimano's Ultegra (cassete, etc) and the shifters I think are still Tiagra (which i liked more than any of the Allez Sport, Double, Triple components). He also has Michelin Lithion 2 Tires, with a WTB Devo Saddle and tuned it recently. Is it worth buying a used bike? The frame is 56.5cm.
    • Specialized Secteur - A couple models caught my eye, but is it even worth it. It seems the newer higher end Allez has the E5 frame vs the A1 on teh Secteur and lower Allez models. The 2008 Used I saw on CL also has A1 - what's the big difference?

    So that is where things are right now - and I swear I am more confused than where I started. Sorry again for the novel of a post, but I appreciate all advice and input!
     
  5. AlphaHelix

    AlphaHelix New Member

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    I had totally put up a reply before this - but then I got some message that said it was being saved for Admin or something of that sort - no clue.

    But I thought that I would post that today I purchased a 2011 Sirrus Elite. Got it for $600 + tax so I suppose that is a decent price? I also snagged a couple water bottle cages, a bike lock (although i question the quality of it, meh), under the saddle carry bag and so far that is it.

    I didn't go overboard at the new LBS because after checking online, I noticed their prices on most accessories are literally double than a place like Amazon.com for example. Anyone that wants to recommend items to me can feel free - pumps, pedals, shoes, etc. Yes I will get a helmet, just have to find one online!

    On the Bike - I went in there and tried a few of the diff bikes (remember, this was a new LBS) - I will give my honest feel, and you guys tell me if I did the right thing. I will prelude by saying, that I purchased the Sirrus anticipating to keep it only for 1-2 seasons. I feel that within 1-2 seasons (so by next summer, or the summer following) I will be able to upgrade to a Road-Bike. There are a lot of changes I need to go through before I hit that level (at least this is what I am telling myself). Mainly, building of endurance and overall fitness. But also it has been a long time since I've been hunched over a bike (5 years I'd say). I'm surprised enough that I was able to jump on and get riding in the street when demoing the following bikes today:

    I Demoed:

    • Allex Comp - Sick bike. Really, If this makes sense to you - the handles were positioned downward (idk if that is - or +), for a more aggressive feel. I felt each and every bump in the road - the frame is quite stiff. I would have hoped for a bit wider tires - but I did like the bike. I could see myself owning a bike like this by next season. Although - at that point, I might go for a carbon version now that I know approx how much it will run me.
    • Allex Sport - Very similar to Comp - with the exception of the Apex Shifters on Comp. I preferred the Apex double-tap to be honest. I was told by LBS that the apex is an entry level SRAM as compared to mid level shimano gear on the other models. Don't know how this compares!?
    • Secteur Elite/Sport - Honestly. I really liked the Secteur. One salesperson told me it's an older man's bike. Not true IMO. The manager then spent some quality time w/ me and told me it is used in the Tour De France and others. Feel wise, I think this was probably my favorite road-bike, although was not available in my size. (it was 54, I was measured as 56). I think I also liked this because the handlebars/positioning were very forgiving and allowed me to sit just a bit more upright. Also, the frame was very forgiving and didn't feel the bumps "as much".
    • Sirrus Elite - So I went with this ultimately, because when I took it out on the road, it had the best feel of any of the bikes. Best feel in the sense that it dampened the road enough without making me feel like I was on a mountain bike. Sure, I am probably going to miss the vertical handlebar position from the Road Bikes - but I told myself I can "graduate" to that level. That being said, I figured that this Sirrus Bike is actually something I might just keep around, even after I get a road bike - because there may be times the occasion could call for something more "relaxed" to ride around on.

    Hope I made the right choice for me at this moment in time. I guess we will know soon enough. Till then I'll start piggy banking up for a carbon road bike :)
     
  6. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Helix, and welcome to the forums!

    You HAVE come to the right place. I love this forum group. Last Fall I was totally new to biking, to the point that I didn't know the difference between a cruiser and road bike and hybrid, or what clipless pedals were, etc. But this bunch welcomed me in almost to a man and proceeded to try to help this 60-year-old, 100-lbs-overweight wanna-be grandmother to learn to enjoy cycling! They are a great, great group of guys and gals.

    The ones here who are not as ignorant about biking as I am will continue to help you with technical stuff. I just wanted to encourage you on the weight-loss portion of your question. Biking is one of the very best exercises there is for weight loss, because it uses the largest muscle groups in the body, which require more calories to be burned. I was informed this by a physician who is a bariatric surgeon (he does the weight-loss surgeries), and he knows what he's talking about. He encouraged me to bike, because cycling doesn't cause the wear on the knees and ankles that walking does for overweight people. And I, who have never been able to lose weight in my life, have lost 50 pounds cycling, and am confident that I will eventually lose the 85 remaining that I need to get rid of. So I know you won't have any problems, the way you're diving into it! Adding resistance training or weight-bearing exercise is also important, though, because cycling doesn't do that part.

    The other thing I must say is please, PLEASE always wear a helmet. I learned this 30 years ago, when the wife of my husband's coworker went for a ride around her neighborhood. When she didn't come home, they went looking for her, and found her on the sidewalk just a few blocks from home. They never learned the cause of her fall; she wasn't hit by a car, and had no visible damage to the bike. But she had gone face-first into the concrete on the sidewalk she was riding on. She did live, after being comatose for months, but she was never normal again, physically or mentally. She was only 2 blocks from home, on a non-busy sidewalk. A helmet would have turned her life-changing catastrophic fall into a couple bumps and bruises. And you live in an area of traffic congestion -- which makes car drivers impatient and less careful than normal when aiming their 2-ton vehicle at your 20-pound bike. Do your family and friends a favor, and NEVER ride without your helmet.

    That being said, Congratulations on the new bike; you'll have to post a picture of her for us! And let us know how it goes. We'll look forward to your posts.

    Sierra
     
  7. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    I think that you encountered some sales people who were willing to bend the truth a little to make a sale. That is not as bad as outright lying though, and there are too many of them.

    That being said, you picked a good brand of bicycle. Specialized makes some very good bicycles and the Sirrus Elite is a pretty good one. It is basically a commuter bike but it will get you fit and build up your endurance. $600 is a good price for that bike. The MSRP is $100 higher.

    The Allez is Specialized's basic entry level bike and it is an OK bike. If you had bought this one, I am sure that they would have set the handlebars in a position that was comfortable. But it has an aluminum frame which tends to give a harsh ride. Also, about Sram, that salesman was feeding you a line. Apex is on par with Shimano's Sora components. OK for a novice but not for a serious rider. Also, a very much respected member of this forum, Peter @ Vecchios sells and repairs bicycles, and in his estimation, Sram is "junk with deep pockets for advertising". Some people do like the double tap system though, and if it works for you then by all means buy it.

    The Secteur Elite is a nice bike but is not used in the TdF. It is what is referred to as a plush road bike and there are a lot of older enthusiasts that ride it. It has a frame design that dampens bumps through the use of a carbon fork with Zertz inserts, a carbon seat post, and curved seat stays that have a little more give than straight seat stays. The manager may have meant that the Secteur Elite has the same frame geometry as the carbon fiber framed Specialized Roubaix which is a regular ride in the TdF and other competitions. But the Secteur Elite has an aluminum frame, has a longer steerer tube, and has a stem that can be installed one way to give the rider a very aggressive aero position, or flipped over to give the rider a more upright position.

    Buying equipment online is a good way of saving money, but you don't get any added value with it as you might by dealing with your local bike shop. Amazon might sell you a seat bag at a low price, but will they be there to show you how to install it correctly? If you need a bearing on a moments notice, will you be able to go to their location and have the owner hand one to you and say "No charge" because you buy a lot of other things from them? Will Amazon help you find those hard to locate items, that you don't know the name of and can only be found in obscure catalogs that they have under the counter? And last, will you send your bike to Amazon to have it serviced? There are a lot of good reasons to patronize your LBS, get to know them and let them get to know you. It pays off on the long run, it has for me.
     
  8. AlphaHelix

    AlphaHelix New Member

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    Hi Sierra,

    Thanks so much for your post, I really enjoyed reading it! :) And btw, Happy Mother's Day!

    Yes, losing weight is one of my main goals. That is what I've told my wife the bike is for at least, so I'd like to accomplish that, and more if I can. In general, running at the gym (especially on the treadmill, which also hurts my joints much more) can be quite daunting. Now for the fact related to the physical exhaustion - but I just feel that it takes an immense amount of discipline to do it. I still do it, I just don't enjoy doing it. I figure, my 30 minutes runs could easily be 60 or 90 minutes, if I actually "enjoyed" doing them. I've tried every variation from music, to tv, to partner jogging - it's just not the same on a treadmill. I am actually considering joining the "spin" class at my gym - I was hesitant at first because I thought it was a ladies class - but I've seen a few guys in there all the same.

    As far as the weight based training - perhaps you or someone else can tell me here how to integrate that along with biking into my workout. I'd say that I can easily go biking 3x a week. I mean it is all dependent on the weather. Yesterday, I was probably so excited I biked about 15 miles just for the fun of it :)

    I will most definitely get a helmet. I know I need to get one. Unfortunately, I was at the shop so long the first time and they were 15 minutes to close, and I just didn't want to get into helmet's and other accessories past what I already grabbed. I am also the type of person who likes to jump on the computer and research the different components which go into what I am going to purchase - because I make the final decision. Hey - everyone has their quirks!

    I'm posting a pic of my new baby to this thread - hopefully it shows up.

    Well, I'll be honest. I am the type of consumer who really believes in buying many many things online - as far as the end result (performance) is not affected. Obviously, I know that while Amazon (and other e-tailers) sell cycles - I just could not buy through them. I would have to be fitted, have things installed, and generally need to know where I could take it for that routine maintenance. That being said, the first LBS I went to, the gentleman who helped me, was VERY VERY NICE. He was extremely patient, although was also trying to help multiple customers at once. He did let me try out a few bikes. Unfortunately - that was my first time into a bike shop...and he pushed me into so many bikes that I got so confused and just decided that I would sleep on my decision.

    It just so happens, that in talking the next day I bumped into a friend who recommended this other LBS to me (making a total of 2 friends who had bought from them). So I called, they gave me an appointment to come speak with a consultant and in I went. The first guy I talked to almost made me want to leave the store. I felt he was flat out lying to me to make the sale. There is that very little chance that he might have just not known all the details. However, he talked very highly of his $10K Specialized road bike - so I figured between that and him being an in-store consultant he should know what he is talking about. LUCKILY for me, the manager freed up, and this gentleman had his next appointment come in while I was making up my mind. The manager was very nice, allowed me to try some other bikes (including the sirrus, which was not initially in the cards for me), and eventually I ended up getting that one because I felt it fit me best for right now. Again, my current mentality is to ride this one with the objective of getting a road bike as early as next year (this time). I figure if that is the case, I can start getting the little stuff that is common between bikes now - pedals/shoes/computer, etc. And also, this allows me to put aside a little bit more so when I do go back, I can go for a carbon frame bike as opposed to the aluminum.

    You say aluminum is going to be more bumpy than carbon, or am I not understanding that correctly? Mainly, I got the sirrus right now for the more comfortable ride. I thought it was a good starting point. Also, if you have ever been to New York - you will know some dampening of the road is very pleasantly received.

    On buying things at Amazon. Well, it's like this. The bike I purchased here comes with a 1 year warranty through the shop (for tune-ups) Maybe you can explain to me exactly what a tune-up consists of. I was told it is $59 per tune-up otherwise, and it is recommended at least 1x a year. The other LBS, who had their prices just a few bucks shy of MSRP, say they bundle in tune-ups for the life of the bicycle. While this may be interesting, I am at a time in my life where (due to my career and more the economy) I am not guaranteed to stay in this place my whole life. Also, while this may be completely irrelevant - I am a prime member with Amazon (so I save on shipping (2 day ship free, overnight is $4 - this will probably come in handy when I need a HUGE bike mount the next day at a steep discount). Yes, I'd have to install it myself - but I guess you just have to pick and choose. Since I buy A LOT of stuff from Amazon, they give me lots of leeway and freebies - points, merchandise, etc. Also, I have never had a problem returning anything to them that I did not like. The LBS where I bought the bike told me "once the item as left the store, and has been used we cannot take it back. (including helments/bike pumps, etc) --- also if the item has not been used we can only return for store credit". So I made a judgement call and said I could look for helmets and pumps online. I mean at this point - I could easily order from Specialized's website if I had to. Finally - the LBS prices on accessories are pretty crazy. I understand overhead and all, but there is no reason to have a $60 helmet priced at $100. Their accessory prices were more than Specialized's MSRP. I'm already so annoyed that I paid $30 for a bike lock only to find it online for $9. But such is life.


    So now for anyone that wants to recommend add-ons to me: here is what I need:

    • Pump (Portable and Floor Standing) - Portable being mountable
    • Helmet - Specialized or Giro - Which is better?
    • CO2 + Tube (should i keep one in my pouch, I hear it's a good idea)
    • Bike Computer (Although I am tempted to see if my iPhone has a bike app which I can use my GPS with - in which case I'll take a nice iPhone 4 mount)
    • Gloves (Don't even know what's what here)
    • Water Bottle - Preferably something Metal or can be plastic as long as it will keep the water cold on hot days. Drinking hot water when sweating is nasty - especially if it has that hot plastic taste! no no.

    I think that is all I have on my list now. If anyone else has recommendations - I am all ears!

    Thanks again, all!

    [​IMG]
     
  9. cyberlegend1994

    cyberlegend1994 Moderator

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    Welcome aboard, Alpha! I validated your post so it should be visible now. We've had quite a problem with spammers in the past, so there's a new spam trap in place, it definitely is a bit overzealous though - it's catching a lot of false positives and mail-bombing me and the others quite a bit...
     
  10. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    I'll start with your add-ons. There are a lot of good accessories so all I can really tell you is what works for me.

    The floor pump that I use is a Hurricane HP-Team. It will handle pressures up to 240 PSI so it is extremely easy for pumping up my tires to 100 PSI, less than 15 strokes into an empty tube. Don't go looking for the cheapest one. Look in the reviews and get one that will last you awhile, with a metal barrel, metal base, and padded handle. The mini pump that I own is an Innovations Second Wind. It is a combination CO2 Inflator and pump. To use it as a CO2 Inflator, you remove the pump barrel and thread in the CO2 Cartridge. To use it as a pump, you unfold the handle and pump away. It won't get to real high pressures in the pump mode and it takes some time to inflate a tire, but it is for those situations where you have exhausted all of your CO2 Cartridges. It is fairly easy enough to pump up a tire to the point where you can ride it to a facility to purchase new cartridges or to use an air pump. I carry two spare cartridges and the odds of getting two flats on one ride is slim, three is nearly non-existent, but I am prepared anyway.

    Any helmet that is ASTM, ANSI, Snell, CPSC, or CEN approved is good. There are only slight differences between helmet design and the least expensive ones give the same degree of protection as the most expensive ones as long as they conform to the standards set forth by ASTM, ANSI, Snell, CPSC, or CEN. There are variations in the number of vent holes they have, the graphics on them, and the strap arrangements. There are also some that are activity specific like TT/Aero helmets that are shaped a little differently, but for all intents and purposes, any approved helmet is as good as another.aaapp

    It is a good idea to carry a spare tube, some type of inflation device(CO2 or Mini pump), a patch kit, and two tire levers with you when you ride. Some people like to ride with a multi-tool too. This much stuff is too much to fit in your seat bag along with your ID, cell phone, and keys. A cycling jersey has 3 big pockets in the back that will help you carry the load. They are on the back so that there is less of a chance of things falling out than if they were in the front.

    Most i-phones do have bike apps. I don't use one so I don't know about mounts for it.

    Get gloves that have padding in the palms. They reduce hand fatigue. Also get ones that have leather palms so that if you do crash, your hands won't get all cut up. I have had it happen and it is not fun. You don't know all the things that you use your hands for until you can't use them for awhile. I like the fingerless gloves with a mesh back that aids in cooling.

    For hydration I suggest that you have at least one bottle that is filled with a sports drink and the other with water. This is a good thread about hydration: http://www.cyclingforums.com/forum/thread/484714/what-do-you-fill-your-bottle-with . Metal or plastic doesn't matter much. Just be sure to keep them clean. There are bottles called Polar Bottles that will keep your drinks cool for a long time :http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1024794_-1_1592508_20000_400027 . . . .
    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1024794_-1_1592508_20000_400027. There are other insulated bottles too. One thing that I have done on hot days is freeze one bottle and chill the other in the refrigerator. I drink from the one that has been chilled while the other melts.

    Here are a good selection of cycling shorts that are baggy rather than tight Lycra: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/SubCategory_10052_10551_400067_-1_400000_400020 . . All of my cycling shorts are of the baggy design because I get very uncomfortable in tight clothing. My jerseys are all a size bigger for the same reason.

    Aluminum is a very stiff material for a frame. It is light but it does not have as much flex as steel (Chrome Molybdenum) or carbon fiber. This makes for a harsher ride. Your bike has a CF fork with Zertz Inserts that go a long way toward dampening any bumps. The rear triangle is also designed to get maximum flex out of the aluminum tubing that it is made of. These design features have made your bike fairly comfortable to ride, but nowhere near as comfortable as a CF or steel. And Titanium.......well that is an altogether different experience/img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif.

    This link will explain a tune up for you. There is a video and also a written explanation: http://bicycletutor.com/tune-up/
     
  11. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Helix!

    Regarding your comments about how your 30-minute runs could be 60 or 90 minutes, if you enjoyed them -- you've hit the nail on the head about why most people don't exercise. They never find one they really LIKE doing! I've never seen joggers smiling as they run; they always look miserable. I would be, too. But when I bike. I find myself smiling as I go without even realizing it, because I'm enjoying myself so much. I could never make myself jog -- or even walk -- for 4 hours. But I rode the bike for 4 hours the other day, because the first 3.5 hours were a BLAST. (The last half hour? Not so much, lol. But I got through it, probably looking like most joggers look.)

    The bariatric surgeon I mentioned in my first post said that to lose weight permanently without surgery, you have to a) restrict calories in a healthy, pleasing-to-you manner, and b) find at least 2 exercises that you LIKE so you can continue to make yourself do them. I chose cycling and swimming, because neither put weight on my already over-burdened joints. But some people do tennis, or walking, or soccer, or football, or fast dancing, or whatever you can do that keeps your heart elevated and that you have fun with so you'll make it a habit. Don't be down on yourself because you have trouble making yourself do an exercise you don't like for 90 minutes. Instead, find another one you DO like and do it for 90 minutes. It'll be so much easier!

    As far as the weight training goes, if you're bicycling 3 days a week, then 2 days a week I would lift weights or use a Total Gym or whatever, and do the upper body one day and the lower body the other. And be sure to incorporate some stretching before and after your bike rides, which I'm learning is very important, having had leg cramps from over-extending myself last week on the bike. The weight-lifting isn't as much fun as the biking. But if you get a video and follow along on You-tube or something, it only takes a little while to do half of the body. It's doable.

    And now that I see your bike.... that's hot!! Nice choice.

    Have fun on her.

    Sierra
     
  12. sewupnut

    sewupnut New Member

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    Just checking new posts and ran across this helmet thing.
    Something I tell people who are resistant to helmets to try is this:
    Lie down flat on your back on a sidewalk or other concrete surface and then raise your head
    about 3" and let it drop. If you don't knock yourself out (and even if you do and then wake up), imagine how it would feel
    from the much greater height sitting on a bike. Never had any takers on this, but the point is made.
    If you ride anything on two wheels, you will crash at some point.

    sun
     
  13. ProdigalCyclist

    ProdigalCyclist New Member

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    Hey Alpha...

    Looks like you made your decision on the bike. You wont be disappointed in a Specialized. Looks like you need some advise on some accessories.

    You asked Giro or Specialized... if you are looking for the entry level Helmets I'd say you should definately go around to some of the bike shops and try them on before purchasing. A helmet can be a very annoying thing if it doesn't fit properly... and you don't want that because n annoying helmet doesn't tend to get worn, and you NEED to wear a helmet. The Specialized Echelon (MSRP $65 USD) and the Giro Transfer (MSRP $40 USD) are good entry level helmets to start with. Give those a feel and see what you like better... some helmet manufacturers tend to fit round heads better and others tend to fit oval heads better. I'm just getting back in to the sport after a lot of years and I decided on a Rudy Project Slinger helmet. But back in the day, when I used to race, I owned a few Giro helmets but my fav (back then) was a Specialized. The moral of the story is Specialized, Giro, Rudy Project, Bell all are good helmets... the one that is "better" is the one that's comfortable and the one you will wear.

    Next... YES, it is a good idea to carry a spare tube. I wont leave home with out one.... or two. And I don't leave home without a pump either. Even if you have a Cell phone in case of a flat, it would still be a drag to be stuck someplace waiting for someone to come get you, in the event of a flat... and that's if you can get ahold of someone.

    Next... A bike computer is pretty optional. But if you want to check your progress a CycleComputer is a good place to start. I decided to get a Polar CS100, it has a full function Cyclecomputer and a Heart rate monitor, and everything is wireless (MSRP $119) but you can get a wireless cyclecomputer for around $40 USD and a wired cyclecomp for around $30 or $35.

    Next... Yes... you will probably want gloves. Especially if you're new to riding. Gloves can make a world of difference in terms of comfort (at least they do for me) I almost never ride without them... But then again, I know guys that have raced for 20+ years who have always refused to wear them. But I think more people will agree that gloves are good, than will disagree. Specialized makes some good gloves, so does Giro, but my favorite gloves have always been Pearl Izumi.... actually, I think Pearl Izumi clothes (Shorts, Jerseys, Gloves, Arm warmers etc) in general are the best.

    Water bottles... you don't want metal... first of all metal isn't going to keep the water any cooler on a long ride than metal will. And if you think plastic taste is bad you wont like the taste of metal either. The best thing I can tell you is if you're going out for a long ride fill one of your bottles up 3/4 full and freeze it the night before, and fill the other water bottle and put it in the fridge overnight. That way you have a thawed out (cool) bottle to start, and by the time you're done with that one the frozen bottle will have started to thaw adaquately to drink.

    Last but not least... I'd suggest you look in to a pair of clipless pedals and maybe a pair of touring shoes. You'll be amazed at the difference. With the regular platform pedals you have shown in the picture and flexible shoes you'll find as you go longer distances the bottoms of you feet will begin to hurt like they are bruised. That added to the fact that with clipless pedals you'll be able to push AND pull in your pedal stroke you'll be much more efficient.


    If you get a chance... Follow a riders return to the bike after a 15+ year "offseason" http://theprodigalcyclistca.blogspot.com/
     
  14. AlphaHelix

    AlphaHelix New Member

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    Sierra, Thanks for the work out tips. I will try to vary my workouts to include some resistance training and biking 3-4x a week if possible. I would love to go swimming, in fact my gym does have a swimming pool and from all the Caribbean vacations I've been on I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the pool. Although I never formally or informally learned how to swim - I guess 30 years old is not a bad time to start learning, haha!

    Everyone else - Yes, yes - the helmet! You guys will be happy to know that today I just picked up a helmet! Finally!! I got the Giro Saros. I was initially going to order the Atmos online, becuase I was getting it at a pretty decent price. But then I got concerned about the fittings and so forth. Which was probably a good thing, because on the site my fit was supposed to be a medium - but in the store the medium was too high, exposing too much of my head and the large ended up being a better fit. I thought the Saros fit much better than the Specialized Propero. So that is done.

    I also picked up the Specialized Road-Bike Pump, rated to 120PSI. It's a basic pump that only does Presta valves and mounts to the bike frame. But it should work, matches my bike frame - and I'm happy with it.

    I also picked a pair of Specialized Pro gloves. They have the gel, but what I liked best was that they don't have a velcro strap - so less things to break/mess up or deal with. And I got $10 off, so I'm happy with that.

    My laptop battery is almost dead, but I will definitely reply to this post also Prodigal. Sorry...I'll try to come back on soon.
     
  15. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Helix.

    It's funny you said you never 'formally or informally' learned to swim. I had a deathly fear of the water created by parents who were afraid of it too, and then a near-drowning experience when I was 14, so had never been in water past my knees for 40 years until a couple years ago.... when I decided, on a trip to Hawaii, that I had to get over it so I could snorkel and see the tropical fish that fascinated me so on TV. So I took 6 months of swimming lessons.

    I still can't really swim worth a flying flip, not enough to do laps at any rate. But I can dog paddle enough to stay afloat, and I hang onto a boogy board and kick and paddle around to the best of my ability. We're in the process of moving to Phoenix -- ugh -- and once I have a pool there, I'm planning on resuming lessons so I can get good enough for it to actual be really aerobic for me. Right now, I just consider it kind of resistance training, like weight-lifting but without any stress on the joints, lol.

    So the moral is, if I can learn it, kind of, at 58, you certainly can at 30, lol. Enjoy!!
     
  16. AlphaHelix

    AlphaHelix New Member

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    I've been meaning to reply to your post - and am just now finding the time! Sorry....

    On the helmet - as I posted above (i think), I ended up scooping up the Giro Saros helmet. I got it for around $105 plus tax and it was this years model (box missing, so just the helmet). Size wise, Giro's site measures my 22" head as a medium - but the consultant in the LBS who sold me the bike showed me how the medium left open areas on a good part of my head. With the large, I have to tension the roc loc system all the way to it's highest setting to keep it snug on my head. But when tensioned and w/ the strap it will stay there and not go anywhere. Let's hope this is also true when riding, as I have actually tried it out yet. I was tempted by the $40 and $65 helmets - but after trying them on, I found them almost uncomfortable and definitely too heavy. That being said, I didn't want to buy a helmet that I was going to avoid wearing so I settled on this one, which is a compromising blend of price and functionality/weight.

    I will have to figure out about buying a tube, but I don't really know anything about tubes just yet. Is there a particular one I need for my bike model (Sirrus Elite 2011)? I did end up ordering the Hurricane Team pump online, and I picked up a Specialized frame pump in the store today and just mounted it on the bike. The frame pump does presta valves only and doesn't have a CO2 attachment, but that being said I think it should suffice, for now.

    Bike Computer - You know I am torn, and I have been so busy so haven't been able to adequately research this. At first, I really liked the bike computers in the store - they show you the basics, speed, distance traveled, etc. But then on second look, I really also liked some of the Polar (and other brands) options which integrate features like GPS and specifically heart rate monitoring (through a strap, or watch-like device). Of course they are costly so I am going to have to do some homework on which one is most suitable. I am also still keeping the iPhone idea on the backburner. The iPhone is a pretty powerful device, built in GPS and I am sure there are a multitude of apps out there specifically for bike riders. I found one mounting option manufactured by Topeak which allows for the iPhone to be handle-mounted inside of rainjacket mount. I might look into it after determining if the apps are worth the hassle.

    Gloves - I tried on a few, but eventually ended up w/ the Specialized Pro Gel (I think that's what they are called) gloves. They are the ones you just slip on, half gloves, not fill finger. They have a decent amount of gel, and don't have a strap - which I liked. I also liked the Pearl Izumi gloves, however the LBS did not have my size. They gave me $10 off the Pro gloves bringing them down to $29 - not bad I guess.

    Water bottle - $14 was the price for the specialized bottle. The guy told me it would be like drinking from a cup. I might have been swayed was it not for so many of them sitting in a box in the LBS collecting dust. Who knows how old these bottles were....so I passed. I will look for more "cleaner" options online - especially for something which will hold fluid which I'll be putting into my body at some point. For the time being, I like the idea of freezing one and cooling the other - I will do that for my next multi-hour ride.

    Clipless Pedals and shoes. Now, I've done some thinking about this and here are my thoughts. First of all, I think that on THIS particular bike, I am going to go with a hybrid pedal - I'm leaning towards the black Shimano Dual Platform pedal (amazon price: $56.99). My reason for this is because this bike is mainly used for fitness riding, but then I would also like to use it for those quick trips, maybe even to run errands instead of driving or taking a train. I don't want to have to lace in and out of SPD shoes to go just a mile or so. I may regret the decision later after learning I only want to ride w/ clipless pedals - but I guess right now this is my thinking. If the future, when I purchase a road bike - I will probably stick to solely clipless pedelas since that will be mainly for serious riding only. That being said - the pedals are the least of my worries right now - I don't know which shoes to get. The LBS carries mostly specialized. 80% is specialized. I am very confused w/ the road style and MTB style shoes, and the consultant seems to have confused me more. Essentially I'd like to get a shoe which can also be "walked" on. I'm not trying to keep it on for 8 hours and go to work in it, I'm just thinking that if I ride my bike to my local coffee shop, or the park - I'd like to get off the bike at some point and walk around - so I guess what I'm looking for is a recessed pedal connector (no idea what the technical term is).

    That being said - hopefully by next month I will have gotten myself to a good enough fitness level that I can start the Spin classes at the gym. From my brief stint of spinning at a previous gym, I know the spin cycles there are set up to accept SPD shoes - I believe they bikes are made by Schwinn. That being said, I can probably get a bit more usage out of the shoes. For the shoes themselves, I had liked the ratcheting lock system on some of the specialized (reminded me of snowboarding boots), and also the spin wheel system was really good. I suppose all this cool technology beats straight up laces!?

    And so far that is that! Now I will take a look at your blog and hopefully learn something further :)

    Thanks again!
     
  17. ProdigalCyclist

    ProdigalCyclist New Member

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    Hey Alpha...

    Sounds like you got yourself a really nice helmet. And a good deal to boot. The Saros helmet is a bit higher on the scale than the entry levels I suggested. And it looks like you got it for about $30 (or more) under MSRP. You did good choosing one that fits comfortably because like you said... more comfortable + more likely to be worn.

    Tubes are really no big secret. The size tube you'll need is printed on the side of your tire. If I'm not mistaken the size for your bike is a 700X23C presta valve... that's the size you're looking for.

    As far as Cyclecomputer goes you can get a Specialized Wireless direct from Specialized for as little as $45. I do know what you're saying about a Heartrate monitor though... I'm just getting back on the bike and I debated whether I need a Heart Rate Monitor at this point or not... (I always used one back when I raced though so I'm familiar with them) But my decision was made when I found a Polar CS100 on Ebay for $35 (after shipping) that was a deal that I just couldn't pass up... and it works flawlessly by the way. But the MSRP on a CS100 is normally about $120.00.

    The Specialized gloves are a good glove. You wont be disappointed... I'm just partial to Pearl Izumi is all (as far as clothes go) It's kind of odd... you didn't buy the Pearl Izumi Gloves because they were out of stock... I just happened to have bought myself a nice pair of Pearl Izumi gloves TODAY as a matter of fact... I spent $54 on mine so I think you got the better deal. I don't know why I went to the particular shop I went to today because I HATE THAT SHOP.... but I walked in, dropped about $15 OVER MSRP and said thank you on the way out.... I must be slipping! Argh. (My Fav shop hasn't gotten the new line of Pearl gloves in this season and I needed a pair so I can get back on the bike)

    Your idea of the dual platform SPD pedal is a very good one. Especially if, like you say, you'll have time off the bike where you'll need to get around. Another alternative to the Shimano SPD dual platform pedal is the Crank Brothers Candy pedal. It's similar to the dual platform SPD. But if you like the SPD forget what I said about the Candy pedals and just keep it simple.

    Shoes.... Take a look at these.... http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCEqProductList.jsp?sid=2011EquipShoesCasual&pscid=1009&scid=1019 that is the type of model shoe I think you are looking for if you want to be able to walk around a bit with your cycling shoes.
    Or something like these http://bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/products/shoes/road/product.-code-SH-MT22.-type-.sh_road.html
    or these http://bike.shimano.com/publish/content/global_cycle/en/us/index/products/shoes/road/product.-code-SH-MT33L.-type-.sh_road.html
    or these http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/products/men/ride/footwear/x-alp_footwear.-productCode-5765.html
    or these http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/products/men/ride/footwear/x-alp_footwear.-productCode-5791.html

    All of the shoes I listed are compatable with the SPD pedals you were talking about. (and if they are compatible with SPD they are also compatible with the Candy pedals as well)


    Hopefully this clears a few things up rather than making the water more muddy... let me know if it helps.


    If you get a chance... Follow a riders return to the bike after a 15+ year "offseason" http://theprodigalcyclistca.blogspot.com/
     
  18. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    Everybody has filled you in pretty well except for the shoes. Mountain Bike(MTB) shoes and Touring shoes are shoes that are usually designed to accept cleats but also have a sole and heel design that will allow you to walk comfortably in them. MTB riders often have to carry their bikes over certain obstacles so their soles tend to resemble hiking boots. Touring shoes tend to have a sole design similar to deck shoes or athletic shoes. All mtb shoes and most touring shoes have a recessed area for the cleat so that it does not impeed walking or get damaged from walking.
    road shoes, on the other hand, are not made to do any more walking than getting from a seat fairly close to the bike where you put them on to actually getting on the bike. Often times, the heel is a small knob and there is no protection for the cleat. It can get damaged from walking on it and it can damage the surface that you are walking on. There are covers that you can buy to cover the cleats on road shoes when you need to walk in them but it feels funny because your toes end up being higher than your heels, and you have to carry the covers with you.
     
  19. AlphaHelix

    AlphaHelix New Member

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    Prodigal - thanks once again for all the good advice. I looked through those shoes and found some styles that I thought were not too shabby! I think I am going to stick w/ the Shimano dual platform pedals for now - they are working out to around $60 so I think that is a pretty decent deal. I am really weary about the shoes though - because I do want to get something that I am 100% sure is going to work well for riding and walking around in while off the bike. I am not trying to substitute these for running on the treadmill or anything, but I do want to walk into a place without damaging the shoe or the floor.

    That being said - I am confused about one thing. I understand that you need the shoe, & the pedal to make this work. Now does either the show or the pedal come w/ the plate that actually attaches one to the other? Or is that something I have to purchase separately? Also, it is my understanding that specific pedals will not work with some shoes. That being said - is there anything in particular I should look out for?


    Well, I am particularly weary of damaging anything - either the shoe, or someone's floor so I am going to tread cautiously here. As I mentioned above, I am probably going to pick up the Shimano Black Dual Platform pedal. I think that fits my needs best at this time. If you have any particular recommendation for shoes that fit, I would be open to considering them. If possible I am trying to keep the shoes under the $100 limit. I figure if I am going to go around the $150 limit - I particularly liked the Specialized comp shoes which feature the rotary tensioning system.
     
  20. ProdigalCyclist

    ProdigalCyclist New Member

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    Alpha...

    Did you see my suggestions on shoes? I left links to quite a few different shoes I think you might be interested in. Not saying you "need" to get any of the ones I linked you to, but I figured it would be a good place to start. They are all compatable with the SPD type pedal you're looking at.


    If you get a chance.... Follow a riders return to the bike after a 15+ year "offseason" http://theprodigalcyclistca.blogspot.com/
     
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