NEW BIKER - few questions about Specialized Allez

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by johnnycab, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. johnnycab

    johnnycab New Member

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    Hello All,

    I am a completely new biker i.e. not touched a bike for almost 10-12 years. However, since I lost my car a couple of months back - I have been dreaming of getting a road bike, rather than go back to driving.

    I went to a couple of 'very well known' dealers/shops and received absolutely f**k all advice about how to decide on a bike. So, I ended up here, and it has been a revelation. In order to put the combined knowledge to test, I went ahead and bought a Specialized Allez '04 Triple (Black) today - it was quite a quest to find one, as they are completely sold out and out of stock! I did not like the 2005 Silver version and the specs seem the same. I also test rode the Trek 1000 - although it is aimed at a beginner, it is not my cup of tea.

    I was brave enough to take the bike out of the shop today, ride down Oxford Street and make my way to Victoria. However, I have a few questions, which need answering:

    - Do new bikes come with any instruction manuals?
    - If a chain pops out, what am I supposed to do?
    - In order to be prepared, what accessories should I be looking at to begin with? e.g. tubes, oil, gloves, air-pump etc.
    - The stock pedals are very fiddly, and I could not get my foot inside the 'cage' - there were a few good looking clipless pedals by Shimano & Look in the shop - which one should I go for?
    - The shop offered a FREE first service - to check the bike, what does that mean?

    I would be extremely grateful and gracious in receiving any advice; you can give me to help me along, and become a good biker.

    Cheers
     
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  2. insung

    insung New Member

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    First of all, congrats on getting a new bike. I don't work in a bike shop or wouldn't call myself an expert, but I did have the same questions when I first got into cycling 6 years ago. Now I'm on my 6th bike and riding almost every day.

    - New bikes sometimes come with instruction manuals. It depends on the brand. They usually have pretty basic explanations about shifting gears, adjusting things on the bike and safety explanations. There's more in depth info on the net.

    - You chain will almost never pop out. In the rare case that it does come off the drive train, lift the rear wheel, place the chain back on the ring and turn the pedal forward.

    - You definitely need a repair kit. You can buy them seperate or you can find a pack. The basics are an extra tube, tire levers, and a pump. You can get a simple portable mini or frame pump, or you can get a c02 pump. You should also get a set of allen wrenches to make some adjustments on the bike.

    - I've always liked Shimano SPDR pedals. Easy to clip in and easy to maintain. You can probably find some for cheap online.

    - Most shops offer free first service to make sure that all the bolts are still tight and the shifting is smooth. New cables tend to stretch out and you want to make sure that the shifting remains nice and crisp. Definitely go after about 30 days to get things checked out. A good shop will offer a full year of free service.

    Hope you enjoy your new bike.
     
  3. johnnycab

    johnnycab New Member

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    Thank you very much insung.

    I usually do not bother with instruction manuals. However, after years of giving advice to other people i.e. RTFM. It felt weird to own something, which is quite technical and I do not know enough about it, and to walk out of a shop with just the receipt...and the bike! in space of about 20mins. But, it is all good!

    I ask about the chain popping out, because when I tried the bike for a quick run around the corner - the chain popped out after I changed the gears. The guy mentioned, that it was probably already in a different gear before I took it out and had it checked out, before I left.

    I will start looking at a new repair kit, and learn how to use it.

    I was also looking at the Shimano R540 or the R600. Nevertheless, when I saw the Look pedals - they looked quite nice (no pun intended) and wanted to know if they perform the same way.

    With regards, to the service - it is much clearer now, once you have explained it. I will try to break-in the bike over the next few weeks and then take it in.

    I suppose a new lock(s) need to be added to my list of things to buy!

    I LOVE MY NEW BIKE!
     
  4. insung

    insung New Member

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    If you're getting a new lock, make sure it's not the old Kryptonite U lock. Apparently, you can open those things by using a Bic ball point pen. Also lock the bike up where you can see it every once in a while. A bike thief can open almost every lock given enough time.

    You might also want to look into Shimano's SPDR (mountain bike) pedals. They're easier to get in and out of and you can walk around easier in mountain bike shoes.

    Always wear a helmet and be careful.

    Check out Sheldon Brown's website for cool tips. Never mind the freaky picture of him.
    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/beginners/

    -Insung
     
  5. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    The sheldon brown site is a good one, another one is www.parktool.com. You might also pick up a book -- Zinn and the art of Road Bike Maintenance is a good one. This forum also has a lot to offer, searching pedal types or shoes for instance will reveal that there are a lot to choose from with folks who like more or less all of 'em...don't look for specific 'recommendations' but rather pro's and con's associated w/each. The allez isn't a bad bike...but from what you describe (chain dropping?) make sure it has left the shop with properly adjusted deraileurs and learn how to do it yourself, it's easy.
     
  6. ishiwata

    ishiwata New Member

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    if the chain comes off frequently, you're front derailleur stop might need adjustment.. to get it back on just use your fingers to get it started then rotate the crank forward to get it on all the chainring all the way.

    accesories: all that you mentioned (the necessity of gloves is debatable; but they're certainly convenient if you fall), plus a few tools. A good multi-tool such as the topeak alien will usually cover you, but I'd also get a set of tire irons (i like the ones that park makes)..

    pedals are a very personal choice.. shimano and look both have nice pedals (i use looks, mainly because that's what i started with many years ago, but also because i like the large cleat), and there are others that are worth attention, such as speedplay (i'm considering converting to them myself)

    free first service SHOULD be a check-up a basic tune-up, but since it's free, they might try to get away with as little as possible. i guess it just depends on how good of a shop it is.

    have fun
     
  7. jdc2000

    jdc2000 New Member

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    For pedals, the newer SPD-SL system is much better than the SPR-R setup.
     
  8. johnnycab

    johnnycab New Member

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    insung - I had chosen a Kryptonite lock. However, I notice from their website that there is a recall in progress. It does not fill me with confidence. The Bob Sheldon site is truly excellent for someone like me.

    RC2 - The Park Tool guys seem to have the definitive collection of tools available. I remember browsing the Zinn's maintenance guide, in Borders a while back - it was quite informative.

    ishiwata - I am not too fussed about gloves - it is just to save my hands from callouses or sweaty palms. However, I will definitely go check out the Topeak Alien tool - as it will give me a peace of mind.

    As all of you mentioned about the chain 'popping off' issue - I will keep an eye on it. I cannot wait until morning - so I can ride the bike some more and put it through some rough testing. I am leaning more towards Shimano pedals R600 SPD-SL (£43/$25 approx. - online) - and will be the first thing I change on this bike. Even as a complete beginner, I know that the stock pedals are no good.

    The shop I bought my bike from, makes it's own range as well. The person who served me was genuinely helpful, answered all my stupid questions and gave me some confidence too. http://www.condorcycles.com/
     
  9. Randybaker99

    Randybaker99 New Member

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    I would be very surprised if you could get SPD-SL pedals for that price, they retail for 5 times that. They are great pedals though.

    BTW, did anyone tell you that you need special cycling shoes to go with "clipless" pedals like the SPD-SLs, Looks, etc? They have bolt holes for cleats to attach to the underside. Some cleats have two bolts and some like the SPD-SL have three.
     
  10. johnnycab

    johnnycab New Member

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    They are being sold in UK shops for around £59. I did not know, that you need special cycling shoes to go with the pedals. I rather foolishly assumed that I can use my normal shoes with these pedals. So which pedals, would be advisable - If I wanted to use any old shoes e.g. trainers/sneakers, trekking boots etc. ?
     
  11. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    I was actually suggesting the website's maintenance instructions... pretty basic and easy to follow descriptions. Yes Park makes fine tools but a tool's a tool in my book. (No 'takes one to know one' puns please.)
     
  12. wangatang

    wangatang New Member

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    If you want clipless pedals you have to have special shoes for it to be effective, they'll still work as pedals with regular shoes, but none of the advantages. If you don't want to get clipless, then you can go with regular clip pedals with cages for your sneakers. These are better if you don't really plan on wearing clipless shoes and don't have to worry about getting in and out of clipless. btw, a pound is about double the dollar, so 69pounds would be about 135 dollars, depending how crappy our economy is at the moment.
     
  13. johnnycab

    johnnycab New Member

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    Sorry about the conversion rate - got carried away there...
     
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