Economical road bike for commuting/fitness/group rides

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by ktreus, Mar 12, 2012.

  1. ktreus

    ktreus New Member

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    I want to start biking and am finding myself really overwhelmed with choosing the right bike for me. During college I frequently used a cheap mountain bike for trailbiking and transportation, but it got stolen when I accidentally left it unlocked on campus. Since then I've been saving up and thinking about getting a better bike that I can use when I move away for grad school this summer. Basically I want it for commuting, fitness, and going on group rides with the city's cycling club. For this I'm sure that I need a road bike, but I'm also on a budget and don't want to pay over $700. The best I've found so far is a good road bike on sale at REI for $583 (haven't bought it yet because there is no REI near where I live, though there's one close to where I'm moving). I want something light enough and fast enough so I can keep up on group rides and have fun with a cycling club, but I don't want to pay big $$$ for performance because my day-to-day activities will mostly consist of commuting around the campus area and to and from my apartment.

    ALSO, I'm getting discouraged and overwhelmed looking at all the GEAR that seems to be involved. Are cycling shoes absolutely necessary? I will probably end up getting some if I start going on frequent long group rides, but for my first time I don't know if that's necessary. Same for other cycling clothes. Looking at websites like REI and whatnot I start to get the idea that this is a "rich man's sport" and because I'm a grad student on a budget I can't really afford to get into it. Hopefully this is not true!

    Any suggestions or advice?
    Thanks!
     
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  2. Zovelo

    Zovelo New Member

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    Hi,
    Just wanted to say don't panic!
    There's so much choice it can overwhelming, especially when you're just getting back into riding in a way that's new to you.
    The best idea if you're unsure is to visit a local independent bike shop, as they are always the best source of advice for "newbies" and once they know your budget and intended use they'll be able to suggest a choice of appropriate bikes.
    Don't be put off by their array of $6k road bikes either, as they'll also have $600 models from the major suppliers.
    Sounds like a comfortable road bike would suit both your commuting needs and you club riding aspirations, so something like an entry level Giant Defy or Specialized Roubaix style of bike would come in within your budget.
    The bike is of course the main thing, so don't panic about all the gear.
    Yes, you can spend a fortune on clothing and accessories if you want to, but you can also live without it. Sometimes people get a bit spoiled with all the great equipment that's available and forget that actually a bicycle is still fun without all that. (myself included).
    No, cycling shoes are not a necessity. I commute on a comfortable, cheap steel road bike in sneakers with normal flat pedals.
    I also sometimes ride in a t-shirt and jeans or normal shorts, although mostly I prefer padded lycra.
    You don't need special pedals or shoes or clothing, and as a beginner the best advice is just get a bike and if you find yourself eventually joining the local club runs or riding longer distances where performance and long distance comfort are an issue you can start to gradually add the extras over time.
    Of course, if you're moving not far from a REI store then there's always bargain gear to be had.
     
  3. nycfastsights

    nycfastsights New Member

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    i was in the same boat i wanted to buy a road bike and i was a little overwhelmed by all the choices so instead of guessing online i went to my local bike shop and they really helped me out i ended up getting an entry level road bike jamis 2011 venture sport, i payed around 630 but wiith tax it was closer to 680 , i absolutely love my bike the components arent the best but for the price i cant complain plus i get free tune ups at my lbs so i guess moral of the story go to your lbs sure you may pay more but you'll know what your buying, you'll meet people in that community and also they may even offer a lifetime tune up just for buying it there like mine. also a little note i noticed on road bikes i get flats alot quicker the mountian bikes, i mean i also live in nyc and i ride for 1 borough to another and the streets here are notoriously messed up especially on the bike lane, just yeah just thought i mention that. as for the clipless pedals and all that tottally not nessesary especially if your just getting into the road biking get to know your bike beat her a little bit and slowly get stuff like that i ride to school and work in jeans which i roll up and sneakers with a regular tee, ofcourse when it colder i layer up and if its raining i have a super thin rain jacket, also i would reccomend the jamis venture sport its a really nice looking bike and its so comfortable, it's ment to be. ive been using this bike since december and the other thing ive had to change is the tires but ive put so many miles on my bike in a short time is rediculous about 730 miles in a 4 month span give or take.
     
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