hobby cyclist looking for my first real bike

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by disaster999, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. disaster999

    disaster999 New Member

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    Hi all. My name is Lawrence and I am from Hong Kong. A little intro about my self, I recently picked up biking and I’ve been out biking with my friend for around 5-6 times. Each time we travel 50km+ exploring different part of town. My current bike is this old hand me down bike my dad’s friend gave him. It’s a “mountain bike” with city tires on it. The only thing I can say about it is it moves and stops and that’s about it. The shifting on the bike sucks, takes forever to get into gear, it might skip gears at times and I can’t go into all the gears. The bearings are shot and I don’t think the wheels are perfectly straight, it wobbles a bit. I feel that since if I’m going to do quite a bit of biking, I should at least get the right equipment for it. I went to check out a shop, and within my price range they suggested 2 bikes. One is called Java Limited (I cant find any info on the bike what so ever). 20” wheels, road tires, disk brakes, aluminum frame, 16 speed with shimano gears
    [​IMG]
    and the other is a Giant Boulder mountain bike and change out the tires for road tires.

    I’ve asked around and I get a mix responds. Some people say the java bike looks like a joke and it’s a weird ass bike. Others say small bikes like that are inefficient and I’ll be better of with a normal bike. Then some tell me that the java seems like a sweet looking bike. This is where I start to get confused on how would the Java be an inefficient bike. That’s one thing I don’t quite get, and if its so frowned upon, why have companies like Dahon start developing small and foldable bikes? My friend has a Dahon and he really likes the bike, he said it’s easy to ride and has potential of going a lot faster.

    I have a mixed feeling of small bikes, they look pretty cool in my books and seem like they would ride the same as more traditional bikes, but I like the big bikes as well. I will consider second hand bikes, I just I haven’t looked into it. I’m always up for a good deal if I can find it.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
     
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  2. disaster999

    disaster999 New Member

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  3. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Bikes with small wheels/tyres do not ride as well as bikes with larger wheels/tyres. The benefit of their smaller size is a good-thing if your storage space is limited AND you don't want to remove the front wheel after each ride.

    There is a HUGE cost penalty with smaller tyres ... they wear out much more quickly than larger tyres; so, if you're planning on riding a lot, then it is something to consider ...

    The hubs will need servicing sooner, for the same reason (i.e., more rotations per kilometer).

    To go as quickly on the JAVA or a DAHON you'll need a 60t chainring.

    Going downhill on the roadways will be hair-raising if you were to try to keep up with someone who is riding a regular bike.

    Tar strips & cracks in the road will be amplified by riding on a bike with small wheels.

    Your current bike may simply need maintenance ... ALL bikes eventually need maintenance unless they aren't ridden; so, it is something you should learn how to do BEFORE you buy a new/replacment bike.

    That doesn't mean you shouldn't buy one of the bikes you are considering ... but, you will have a much better idea of what you want out of a bike after another month-or-two.

    What is your "price range" and what does your hand-me-down bike look like (post a pic) and/or what brand is it and what components can you identify on it?
     
  4. disaster999

    disaster999 New Member

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    Thanks for your reply. I'll take your advice into consideration.

    As for my hand me down bike, here is a picture of it.
    [​IMG]

    From what I've gathered from this bike, I need a new seat, seat post (I'm 6'1" and the seat is too low), new grip (the old ones are hard as hell and hurts my hands), new wheels and tires, new derailleurs and rear gears. both front and rear shifter (they are just old, the rear one cant go to all the gears even after bringing it to a shop, they told me the shifter is broken). From what I gathered, getting a good seat+gear sets, that would cost quite a bit of money already.
     
  5. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Were you riding the hand-me-down bike with the seat as low as in the picture?!?

    Even with the saddle jacked up, it's hard to imagine someone taller than 5'10" riding on that frame.

    Regardless, at 6'1" you're going to need a different seatpost with EITHER the hand-me-down frame OR the JAVA ...

    The longest "consumer" seatpost that I know of is 400mm ... that doesn't mean that longer seatposts aren't available. By my reckoning, with either the JAVA or the hand-me-down bike you are going to need a seatpost which is 500mm long-or-longer.

    So, there is no point in fixing the hand-me-down bike because it is just too small for you unless you were planning on using it to do some circus tricks.

    Since you & your friends are inclined to riding on paved roads, you should consider a ROAD bike or a HYBRID which has a solid fork (vs. suspension fork -- a suspension fork on a non-MTB is dead weight at an added cost).

    Look for a ROAD bike with a 58cm TOP TUBE (c-c) ...

    Although the Giant BOULDER is a MTB, it will be "okay"/(BETTER!) if that's what the shop has in your price range AND the size on the frame is 'L' ... or, even XL. A "solid" fork is better than a suspension fork for riding on the road.

    A used Giant Boulder should (hopefully!?!) only cost a couple of hundred Dollars (US)/(~1550 HKD) by my reckoning; so, hopefully, that is the approximate price (or, less) of the bike your shop is trying to sell you.
     
  6. disaster999

    disaster999 New Member

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    Oh no, I only had the post to fit inside the car. I have it up when I ride, I would kill myself if I have to ride like that for 50+km

    Thanks for the advice on the bikes, I had no idea there's different sizes for bikes, I thought it was a one size fit all deal. I guess fixing up my bike is a waste of time and money. I'll have to raise up my budget and keep an eye out for a second hand bike.

    I had my eye set on the Giant FCR3 road fitness bike, but quickly turned it down because of the price. Would that be a good bike? There was also some second hand road bike at the shop for just a little more than my original budget, but how do I know if that frame size is right for me? What should I look for when finding a second hand bike?
     
  7. garage sale GT

    garage sale GT New Member

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    Try a few online fit calculators.

    I like old road bikes from the 1970s and 80s but they are difficult to ride in the city because you have to release the handlebar to shift.
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    What is your budget?

    What type of bikes do your friends ride?

    As I mentioned before, you probably want a road bike with a 58cm top tube (c-c, center to center) ... REAL if horizontal, VIRTUAL if the top tube is sloped ... stem length of 100mm-to-120mm depending on how fit you are. A 57cm top tube is also okay, but usually the frame will be closer to a 56cm (seat tube, measurement based on a horizontal top tube), but may be too small because the stem would probably be that much lower.

    A seat tube of 57cm-to-58cm (c-c) with a horizontal top tube would probably be an "okay" fit for someone who is 6'1" +/- 1".

    If you choose a bike which does NOT have a "drop" bars, then the top tube length is apparently often 2cm longer ... so, I think an equivalent HYBRID frame would be a 60cm, or longer, because there is no forward reach on a "flat" bar so that distance is made up for by a longer top tube.

    However, I think that you/(that is, 'I') can/(would) size a Hybrid the same way you would a road frame if you are allowing for a future possible intallation of drop bars in the future ...

    So, if you choose a bike like the Giant FCR3, then I would recommend that you choose the one with the (virtual) top tube which is closer to 58cm with the anticipation that you would want to install drop bars in the future.

    BTW. Never buy a Hybrid with a suspension fork ... a suspension fork on a non-MTB is dead weight and an unnecessary added expense.
     
  9. disaster999

    disaster999 New Member

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    Thanks for taking your time to reply. I will need to do some searching. Originally my budget is around $350, since talking to my friends who bikes, they all said that I can probably find a decent road bike, for that price. But I'm thinking they didnt know how much those bikes cost now a days. They probably still thinking back in the old days.

    So right now with my budget, the giant boulder or a second hand bike that fits my size (which might be near impossible to find since not too many Hong Kong people are 6') my only option so it seems. Im sure when I change out the tires to road tires, that bike would suit my needs very well since its only for recreational use...thats another question, how important is a well fitted bike to an average biker like myself?

    Thanks
     
  10. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Well, the better a frame fits, the better the riding experience.

    However, you need to know that a large part of choosing a frame size is COSMETIC ...

    The frame calculators still seem to be based on how frames were fitted 40+ years ago ...

    And, two different "professional" frame fitters may choose to fit a rider differently from the other ... three frame fitters may come up with three different fittings, etc.

    I'm 5'9" ... and, was probably a little shorter when I wheeled my first "real" bike away from the shop -- they sold me a 60cm GITANE! No measurements were taken ...

    Fortunately, the top tube was only 57cm ... and, the stem was 9cm ... and, that 66cm 'reach' was accidentally the right "fit" for me!

    So, while my current frames range FROM a frame with a 53cm top tube + 130mm stem TO a frame with a 57cm top tube & 90mm stem ... with a variety of other bike sizes in between ... MY position on all of the bikes relative to the pedals & the 'reach' to the handlbars from the saddle is as close to the same as I can reasonably achieve (allowing for different handlebar shape) for how I feel my "ideal" bike fit should be for the given moment in time.

    THAT last remark is to infer that a person's "ideal" fit may change slightly over time ... or, from the beginning of the "season" to the end, etc. The variation won't/shouldn't be great if you find your ideal fit.

    So, I think that a frame only needs to be within 5cm (as measured by the traditional seat tube ... '5cm' is an arbitrarily chosen number) of the forumula "calculated" size on a bike with a horizontal top tube because you can probably adjust the components (stem/bars, saddle fore-and-aft position, etc.) so a person can effectively ride the bike ...

    The top tube length is the more important measurement; but, you don't want a seat tube that is too short on a frame with a 'horizontal' top tube because the head tube will be lower by whatever the amount may be.

    If the frame is 5cm too large, the saddle may be right on top of the top tube, if it is 5cm too small, then a really long stem may be required; but, the bike will be rideable.

    AFAIK, the Giant Boulder only has 26" wheels/tyres. Nothing wrong with that ...

    My impression is that the OTHER Giant you were considering has 700c wheels/tyres. That's a good thing ...

    I presume the $350 you are referring to is either US or AUD ... which is it? IF it HKD, then you need to find more money!

    In the States, a person can often get a better-than-decent USED road bike for $350US if one isn't concerned with having the latest & greatest; but, availability certainly varies from country-to-country as it does from one part of a country to another.

    The two pics are of two bikes which have different size frames & cranks, but where the "fit" the pretty close to the same (for me). The Raleigh is a 58x56 with 170mm cranks & the Olmo is a 53x55 with 175mm cranks. Note how the "drops" on the bars are approximately the same relative to the lower headset cup to maintain as much continuity as possible in the "fit" (for me)...
     
  11. disaster999

    disaster999 New Member

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    Thanks for the detailed explanation. I think I have a some idea on the fit and size of the bike I need. I would need to do more shopping around and research for a right bike.

    That being said, I'm not sure I am more aware after learning more about bikes, or is it because continuously riding a crap bike. I went biking again this past sunday, and I feel like the bike is really cramped, my whole upper body weight is supported by my arms and they got tired really fast. I was seriously thinking of chucking the bike into the river after yesterday.

    Then I got a chance of riding some quality bikes afterwards when I met up with my Dad's golfing buddy who are also into bikes. It was a night and day difference between their bikes and mine. Top of the line equipment, Titanium frame, proper riding position. It was so easy to ride. He then introduced me to his biking buddies and started showing me more bikes, one of them who owns a bike shop started tempting me with a second hand bike he has at the shop and called his friend over to bring his bike over which has almost the same components as the used bike. Took a ride in it and it was the second best handing bike ive tested that day with the Ti bike frame being the best.

    The used bike has Cycleking full carbon MTB 18" frame, carbon front fork, carbon handle bar and seat, full Shimano XT components, hydrolic disk brakes, road tires...for USD $1280. If only I can afford to throw that amount of money into buying a bike...
     
  12. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Okay, with the understanding that the following is JUST MY OPINION, if a friend of your Dad's or a friend of a friend of your father owns a bike shop, then he should be able to cobble something together from USED parts that he has for $350US, or whatever your current budget is, without actually doing any special favors other than scrounging through his used parts for stuff that is mechanically sound enough to put on a bike ... it might not have the latest-and-greatest components, but certainly should be rideable.

    Regardless, forget the carbon fibre MTB ...

    Forget the hydraulic disc brakes, even if you get a MTB unless you are planning on riding in a lot of wet-or-muddy conditions.

    In fact, if ALL of your riding is on the road, then there is no reason to even look at any MTB frame unless you are planning on using it as the foundation for a road bike.

    Having said THAT, the attached picture is what I put together with SPARE PARTS that I had + an alloy Hardtail MTB frame (medium size, 56cm virual top tube) that I wasn't using (I have a lot of spare parts). Other than needing to lace up a 700c rim on a 135mm rear MTB hub, everything is straight off-the-shelf (so to speak). The fork is the most expensive part on the bike, and may have been equal in cost to all the rest of the components + frame/wheels, combined ...

    Because it was built with spare parts, I don't know how much money is actually in the bike, but I think I could replicate it for under $500US ... less, with a lesser fork.

    Only the ISIS crank & BB are suspect (a disappointment) ... and, I'm going to change those at some point in time.

    The guy who owns a bike shop should be able to 'find'/order a suitably sized frame (58cm top tube) for ~$100US ... OR, he should be able to tell you where you can find a suitably sized frame that you can build up ...

    And, you should be able to put something together that is fairly nice for between $350US-to-$500US, too.
     
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