Looking to purchase first road bike



Tim05

New Member
Dec 28, 2010
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Hi all. My first post on these wonderful forums.

I've been riding the past 2 summers on a Raleigh hybrid bicycle. I enjoy it but I'm looking for something more serious. I want to train to ride in a few charity rides from 75-150 mile rides, something out of the range of my Raleigh hybrid.

I'm not looking to compete for times against other competitors, meaning I don't need the best and fastest bike available. Long charity rides is just something I've always wanted to do for myself, and this is the summer I'd like to attempt a few.

Does anyone have any suggestions on road bikes from the $700-$800 range that would be a great upgrade for me this summer? I've heard Cannondale and Trek make some pretty good mass produced bikes in this range, but I have never tried either brand.

Thanks for any help you can provide me with!

EDIT: I forgot to mention I'm debating between a single speed and a bike with gears. What would you recommend for the type of riding I'm looking to do? Typically when I ride my Trek I don't use many of the gears, only when I get very tired.

-Tim
 

CalicoCat

Member
Jan 10, 2010
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Go to your LBS and test ride bikes in your price range. The best bike is going to be the one that fits best.

gears or single speed? Definitely gears. So much more versatile, especially if you think you might ever encounter a hill.
 
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kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
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Defintely gears for longer rides. You might not use them on your hybrid, but when you come to a long uphill at mile 80, you will be glad that you have lower gearing. Calico is right about starting your bike search at your LBS. They can fit you and give you pointers. If you have multiple bike shops in your area, don't be afraid to shop around. Sometimes you'll go to a shop where nothing seems really interesting, but you stop at another shop and a bike just jumps off the rack at you and says "Take me home".
 

Tim05

New Member
Dec 28, 2010
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Thanks a lot for your advice guys. I will go for a bike with gears. You're right about them coming in handy on long distance rides when you are worn out.

I know of a few bike shops around. There is a rather large Trek retailer close to my home. I wasn't sure if you could ask them to test ride the bikes before you buy them. Thanks again!
 

bgoetz

Member
Nov 25, 2010
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A bike shop should definitely let you at least ride the bike on a trainer or on roads around the shop before you buy. I would not buy from a shop that will not let you spend some time on it before you buy.

The $700-800 price range for most makes will get you pretty basic components that I would personally stay away from. Spending $900-$1100 will start to get you in to much better components that will last much longer and be well worth the extra $. Spending $1100-$1400 will get you some really quality components and will be much lighter than a $900-$1000 bike (the new Shimano 105 components fall in this price range and are a great "bang for the buck") . You are going to find that regardless of the make the price ranges are going to get you basically the same bike, just a different name on the frame.

My recommendation would be to:
-set you budget at at least $1000
-since you seem to want to get the best bike for as little $ as possible don't be afraid to buy a 2010 or even 2009 model. For what you are after things have not changed to much, and shops will be marking things down in preparation for the 2011 lineup (the only catch is they would have to have your size in stock).
-If you are stuck on two or even three different bikes then go with the best shop, a good LBS is priceless. And when I say best I don't mean the largest or one with best selection, I mean the one that seems the most knowledgeable and takes the time to properly educate and fit you into your new purchase.

Another thing to think about is what you plan on doing with the bike or think you may do with the bike, and discuss this with the shop. Some manufactures offer a couple of different lines that are geared towards making long tours or long rides more comfortable as opposed to their race line which offers a more race oriented geometry (Cannondales Synapse vs. their Caad 10 line is a great example).
 

doctorold

Member
Dec 14, 2010
345
8
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North Carolina
I, too, am in the market to find a bike for much the same purpose. I am currently riding a Trek FX 7.3. I would like to get away from the generic popular name bikes and I have been told to consider a steel frame for ride quality. Thoughts?
 

bgoetz

Member
Nov 25, 2010
816
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Really depends on what you are looking for. A good quality steel frame has a great very unique feel that is completely different than a carbon frame or aluminum frame. Many people looking for a steel frame don't care to much about weight or stiffness and are more focused on a very comfortable ride. Many of the good quality steel frames are marketed to those who want a steel frame bike that has a lot of detail and character, sort of like an art piece. Steel frames for function really are not being made anymore because the carbon technology has advanced to the point that you can get pretty much the same comfort from a affordable carbon frame and it will be significantly lighter and stiffer. Honesty, aluminum frame technology is to the point to where if carbon is out of your price range you can pick up a nice aluminum frame that is reasonably comfortable bike that uses carbon at key locations (fork, seat post).

So my opinion would be unless you are looking for a steel frame as a novelty I would look in carbon or aluminum market, depending on your price range.
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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Aluminum normally gives a harsher ride because it does not flex much. Some people find that CF bikes flex more than they are comfortable with. Steel bikes feel like the bikes that you grew up with, and are fairly light as long as you get a bike made of steel alloys like chrome-molybdenum or manganese-molybdenum. Also make sure that the tubes are at least double butted or better, triple butted which is a process where the tube diameter, thickness, and shape are manipulated to put strength and rigidity where they are needed and reduce weight where they are not. The best thing for you to do though, is to test ride bikes made of each type of material and decide for yourself which you like best.

My personal favorite is titanium which has a unique ride quality, but it is very expensive. CF is OK, but if you do your own maintenance, you have to invest in several good torque wrenches because one slightly over tightened nut or screw will ruin the brittle frame of a CF bike.
 

doctorold

Member
Dec 14, 2010
345
8
18
North Carolina
You know, I think I do like the novely/uniqueness of the steel frame bikes. The Redline Conquest Classic has caught my eye as well as the Surly. But I know I need to get on more bikes and compare, contrast. The idea of a light bike that I could go fast on DOES tempt me but at my age, I need to be practical. "Medium" speed is where I'm comfortable. And while I'm not going fast, a bike that has character doesn't hurt! This will be a cool venture to pursue.
 

Reid2

Member
Jan 6, 2011
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A bike that makes you feel good is the bike buy that you should.

cheers,

rw


Originally Posted by DMJYwyg .

I want to buy a bike,but I don't know what kind of bike shold I buy.
 

maddogbubba

New Member
Jul 5, 2010
77
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Originally Posted by DMJYwyg .

I want to buy a bike,but I don't know what kind of bike shold I buy.
ask yourself a few questions . do I want to ride road or dirt ? is this going to be serious exercise or more casual / social .maybe a little of both . picture yourself riding somewhere , what do you see? maybe some questions such as these might help with figuring out what type of bike to have . (road, mountain , hybrid , cruiser etc ) . talk to a few bike shops see what they have to say and what they can do for you .
 

kdelong

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2006
3,477
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Originally Posted by doctorold .

You know, I think I do like the novely/uniqueness of the steel frame bikes. The Redline Conquest Classic has caught my eye as well as the Surly. But I know I need to get on more bikes and compare, contrast. The idea of a light bike that I could go fast on DOES tempt me but at my age, I need to be practical. "Medium" speed is where I'm comfortable. And while I'm not going fast, a bike that has character doesn't hurt! This will be a cool venture to pursue.
I'm not gonna dump on you because you are sorta new to this forum, but speed on a bike is not really a function of weight of the bike. It is a function of the rider. ( will concede that the design of the bike does make a difference, ex. a road bike versus a MTB). A bike does not go fast by itself, it just sits there. A reasonably light bike is not going to make an unfit rider faster, and a reasonably comparatively designed heavier bike is not going make a fit rider much slower. Its all about the engine, aka rider. And, for what its worth, at 52 I still average 22.7 mph on my old 1996 chrome-moly Centurion so a person can still ride fast on a steel bike. And when I ride the bike trails, I pass a lot CF bikes ridden by younger weekend warriors who either don't have the time or desire to train and improve their speed. All it takes is a little work and you can ride "fast".
 

davereo

Well-Known Member
Jun 17, 2010
1,639
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Originally Posted by kdelong .


Quote: Originally Posted by doctorold .

You know, I think I do like the novely/uniqueness of the steel frame bikes. The Redline Conquest Classic has caught my eye as well as the Surly. But I know I need to get on more bikes and compare, contrast. The idea of a light bike that I could go fast on DOES tempt me but at my age, I need to be practical. "Medium" speed is where I'm comfortable. And while I'm not going fast, a bike that has character doesn't hurt! This will be a cool venture to pursue.
I'm not gonna dump on you because you are sorta new to this forum, but speed on a bike is not really a function of weight of the bike. It is a function of the rider. ( will concede that the design of the bike does make a difference, ex. a road bike versus a MTB). A bike does not go fast by itself, it just sits there. A reasonably light bike is not going to make an unfit rider faster, and a reasonably comparatively designed heavier bike is not going make a fit rider much slower. Its all about the engine, aka rider. And, for what its worth, at 52 I still average 22.7 mph on my old 1996 chrome-moly Centurion so a person can still ride fast on a steel bike. And when I ride the bike trails, I pass a lot CF bikes ridden by younger weekend warriors who either don't have the time or desire to train and improve their speed. All it takes is a little work and you can ride "fast".



I agree with KD but would also like to add that terrain is a contributing factor to average speed.
 

doctorold

Member
Dec 14, 2010
345
8
18
North Carolina
I definitely understand the "engine" portion of the equation(and, KD, I'm almost your age). And from what I can see, many bikes that are lighter have the design to help one ride faster. But I get what you are saying. I have been three-season riding for four years on a fitness/hybrid aluminum frame bike and my avg. speed is around 16 but like Dave said, terrain is a big factor. I have many hills that I have to traverse to simply get to any flat/rolling riding ground. When I get to that terrain by avg. is between 18-21. I feel fairly certain that there are many types of bikes that with this "engine" could travel at a slightly higher rate of speed, be it steel, aluminum, cf,Ti. I think now the decision is what is my target ride. Mostly I'll be riding alone but I'm very interested in doing some touring and maybe some group rides this year. I just don't want to get involved with that and not have the equipment to keep up. Physically, I should be able to. I ride decent mileage every week (weather permitting) and I play basketball weekly at a very competitive level with guys half my age and I'm considered one of the better players who participates. So with my conditioning being above average I just want to put some versatile equipment under me so I can have some fun. I'm looking forward to it.
 

Reid2

Member
Jan 6, 2011
2,236
7
0
So true. I am older, too, and happen to ride slow
(averaging15mph at best on my cruiser bike)
here in flat-Florida. Agreed:

weight of bike does not much matter...instead,
yes, grades do matter, headwinds matter,

fatter riders on uphills find that
personal pounds matter.

Parental cares matter,
[COLOR= rgb(105, 105, 105)]as if my fave remains alive,[/COLOR]

[SIZE= 10px][COLOR= rgb(128, 128, 128)]"What bike should I buy?"

The bike to start with is the bike that makes you as happy as a child.

I recall the first bike of my very own a rusty beat-up

Huffy that my dad brought home from the police

unclaimed stolen bike auction for ten dollars.

He took me to the hobby shop.

We picked out spray paint special Candy Apple Red.

The sanding and painting supplies may have cost nearly as much as the ride.

Silver is our base coat.

Then transparent red glaze atop to make the candy apple glow.

The bike looks new and rich as any Rolls in '63.

I loved my dad when I was eight[/COLOR][/SIZE]

[SIZE= 10px][COLOR= rgb(128, 128, 128)]for all these years to come.[/COLOR][/SIZE]





Quote:
Originally Posted by kdelong .


Originally Posted by doctorold .

You know, I think I do like the novely/uniqueness of the steel frame bikes. The Redline Conquest Classic has caught my eye as well as the Surly. But I know I need to get on more bikes and compare, contrast. The idea of a light bike that I could go fast on DOES tempt me but at my age, I need to be practical. "Medium" speed is where I'm comfortable. And while I'm not going fast, a bike that has character doesn't hurt! This will be a cool venture to pursue.
I'm not gonna dump on you because you are sorta new to this forum, but speed on a bike is not really a function of weight of the bike. It is a function of the rider. ( will concede that the design of the bike does make a difference, ex. a road bike versus a MTB). A bike does not go fast by itself, it just sits there. A reasonably light bike is not going to make an unfit rider faster, and a reasonably comparatively designed heavier bike is not going make a fit rider much slower. Its all about the engine, aka rider. And, for what its worth, at 52 I still average 22.7 mph on my old 1996 chrome-moly Centurion so a person can still ride fast on a steel bike. And when I ride the bike trails, I pass a lot CF bikes ridden by younger weekend warriors who either don't have the time or desire to train and improve their speed. All it takes is a little work and you can ride "fast".
 

maddogbubba

New Member
Jul 5, 2010
77
0
0
Originally Posted by Tim05 .

Hi all. My first post on these wonderful forums.

I've been riding the past 2 summers on a Raleigh hybrid bicycle. I enjoy it but I'm looking for something more serious. I want to train to ride in a few charity rides from 75-150 mile rides, something out of the range of my Raleigh hybrid.

I'm not looking to compete for times against other competitors, meaning I don't need the best and fastest bike available. Long charity rides is just something I've always wanted to do for myself, and this is the summer I'd like to attempt a few.

Does anyone have any suggestions on road bikes from the $700-$800 range that would be a great upgrade for me this summer? I've heard Cannondale and Trek make some pretty good mass produced bikes in this range, but I have never tried either brand.

Thanks for any help you can provide me with!

EDIT: I forgot to mention I'm debating between a single speed and a bike with gears. What would you recommend for the type of riding I'm looking to do? Typically when I ride my Trek I don't use many of the gears, only when I get very tired.

-Tim
bgoetz has some good info (1000.00 $ range ) .
Tim , if you are going to be doing charity rides ,it seems like gears would be the way to go.I have not payed any attention to bikes in this price range but if you add a few hundred dollers to that price you had in mind , their are some nice cannondales . have you checked out the cannondale CAAD 8 series or the synapse ? 2010 models would help you save a few bucks .both these bikes seem to fit the bill . what do you think ?
 

Tim05

New Member
Dec 28, 2010
13
0
0
bgoetz has some good info (1000.00 $ range ) .
Tim , if you are going to be doing charity rides ,it seems like gears would be the way to go.I have not payed any attention to bikes in this price range but if you add a few hundred dollers to that price you had in mind , their are some nice cannondales . have you checked out the cannondale CAAD 8 series or the synapse ? 2010 models would help you save a few bucks .both these bikes seem to fit the bill . what do you think ?

Yes, thank you for the info bgoetz.

I actually was looking at the Cannondale CAAD 8 Bubba! It was on the top of my preliminary list. I really like the look of it, and I found it online offered at around $800. I could bump the spending up to $1,000 or $1,100 if I was taken away by a particular bike.

I also was suggested by a friend to search on bikesdirect.com He said they offer expensive frames without the name brand but use top notch components. I wasn't too thrilled with the site, honestly, and not being able to try the bike before purchasing it is also somewhat sketchy to me. At this point, I'm leaning towards a CAAD8. Is it a bike that uses cheap components? I found one for $750, and I really like the look of it, but I would definitely be willing to spend an extra $250 or so if it is worth it...