New Rider, Need Bike Help

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by WatchTheSky, Aug 14, 2010.

  1. WatchTheSky

    WatchTheSky New Member

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    Hi all,

    Please forgive me if this is in the wrong section, I scanned through and looked and I believe it is.

    I've read the introduction that talks about most the parts of the bike (though I'm sure it gets more complicated than that). However, it doesn't talk brands, etc... at least that I could find. One of the links was broken to another article in it.

    I'm a 22 year old male and I've been riding my dad's old peugeot (bought it in france in early 80's) for a couple months now. Chain has broken, it's solid steel, and it really likes to skip a few gears. Needless to say, I'm getting pretty tired of it, but I try to ride at least 15 miles a day.

    The MS150 is coming up here soon in September, and I'd like to take a step in the biking area - learn more about brands, clipping in, etc. And hopefully, buy a new bike. What's the next step or next thing for me to read? This clunker has been gettin' me around, but I'd really like to move on!

    Thanks for any information! Cheers
    Chris
     
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  2. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Thing is, once you start talking brands you quickly begin to move away from the realm of quantifiable data and into the world of personal opinions. Meaning what you can "learn" can easily be rather questionable.
    Basically once you're away from the department store bikes you pretty much get what you pay for, regardless of brand, and "best" becomes a matter of preference and usage specifics.

    Sheldon Brown-Bicycle Technical Information is a great place to read up on bikes, both general and specific. The site does a good job of pointing out areas of controversy, where differences are significant and where they are marginal.

    I'll try to give a few pointers that I think are fairly valid though:
    -Shimano is likely to offer the greatest/cheapest degree of cross-compatibility if you need to change the set-up of the bike for some specific purpose.(long cage derailers, for wide range gearing etc)
    - wheels with plain round spokes in decent numbers are easiest to maintain. Spokes do break every now and then, and bladed spokes are usually much harder to get hold of.
    -for a rookie rider, where/who you buy the bike from can be far more important than what you actually buy. The greatest bike in the world, gotten at a bargain price can still suck immensely to ride if it doesn't fit you or your riding. You're far better off with an average bike that's suits the rider and the riding. Buying from a store that offers fitting and a tune-up or two can save you loads of grief and irritation compared to buying online.
    -Expect to tinker around with some parts. Saddle and stem in particular are things that often require changing out.
    -When it comes to cleaning and lubing, frequency is more important than what specific products you use. A drivetrain serviced weekly with regular engine oil is likely to last longer than a drive train that sees only boutique products every month.
    -bike parts are much more expensive bought piecemeal than when bought as a complete bike, so don't buy cheap with the intention of upgrading later. It will cost you more,and quickly too. It's not an impossible route(through ebay bargain hunting etc), but you need a fair bit of knowledge about what parts will fit your bike and play nice together. If you haven't got that knowledge, try getting your buy as right as possible the first time round.
    - used bikes often offer great value for money, unless they've been run into the ground. But then there is the skill factor of needing to know what you buy, and after-purchase support....
     
  3. WatchTheSky

    WatchTheSky New Member

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    Your advice on brands is well spoken... it's like my hobbies of cameras. They really all do the same thing, and you get what you pay for, but the deeper you go into it the more people hack it out over "which is best." I just wanted a direction to head in... most people have told me I won't be looking at Schwinn, but will probably look more at Trek, Giant, and a few others.

    I appreciate the time you took for your response. I will check out the link you left me and hopefully go from there! Thanks.
     
  4. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Remember that the performance curve in the same price bracket is more of a gentle hump than a defined peak.
    I'd say let where be more important than what you buy.
    If you find a store that seems to take good care of you as a customer, buy there, and don't concern yourself too much with whether the frame says Trek or Giant.
    If you visit Shimanos site you can read up what they think the various groups are meant to be suited for, and IMO that info is surprisingly accurate. It'll allow for easy comparison between brands.

    Lower end Shimano may be seriously lacking in bling value, but even something like Sora is quite solid and reliable for most riders and riding.
     
  5. Crazymike

    Crazymike New Member

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    My recommendation is a bit simpler:
    When walking into a local bike store ask to see entry level road bikes. There should be more then one model in this category.
    The bike will come with toe clips which is a good place to start. Try riding with the toe clips as this is all you would need for the MS150 anyway.
    A road bike will be lighter then a hybrid or mountain bike and yes, it has gears to make climbing hills a bit easier. This will help make those 150 miles easier to complete.
    Most likely, your bike will have 9 or 10 rings in the back which is good too.
    Just those few small changes and you will be very happy going from the Peugeot to a new bike. You will feel like you are riding on the wind.
    After riding your entry level bike for a year, then you can think about changing components or whatever.
     
  6. celia123

    celia123 New Member

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    why it is a year??
     
  7. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Because if you haven't ridden regularly and seriously before it will take a while for your body to get adapted, and for your mind to figure out what you want the bike for.
    A rookie rider might think that he needs a triple to start with only to find that a few months later the granny gear is nothing but pointless clutter. Or the other way around, if the rider gets more adventurous with more experience.
    Or a matter of frame sizing.
    Although starting from a fairly well established cycling habit, I've spent 18 months going to longer and longer stems on my commuter.
    As it's looking right now I probably would have been better off with a one size larger frame.
    What all this says is that it's good to have a decent experience base before making expensive decisions about what to ride.
    A year sounds about right to get your basic preferences sorted out.
     
  8. WatchTheSky

    WatchTheSky New Member

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    Thanks for the input, guys. Greatly appreciated. From what I've read on this and other sites, a lot of people hash out frame vs. gearsets. I read one forum where 90% of people told someone to go with a CAAD 9 Tiagra over a CAAD 8 105. In my mind, I would have gone with the 105... but everyone mentioned upgrading parts later and getting the frame in the beginning. Right now I'm pretty darn focused on getting a 105 setup and having it last for awhile. Would you agree?

    And I know frame size is important... I've been trying a few bikes. I'm either a 54 or 56. Let's say hypothetically I purchase a 54mm and it "turns out" I"m a 56, are the 2 close enough than I can adjust the seat and ride like that for awhile? Or do you recommend getting it dead on right away (just because I'm looking on ebay for some nice deals).

    I agree with what you both have said, it will take time to get adjusted and know what I want. But I'd also like to have a bike that can be used if I DO get further into it, which is why I think the 105 is a good fit. So I'm looking at around $1000-1300, used and new.

    @Crazymike - rode a specialized and a trek the other day ... wow. Seriously, compared to my peugeot, I nearly couldn't feel the bike beneath me. I can't SAY how revolutionary it felt. 2 fingers to lift a bike vs 2 hands (seriously... 2 hands, and I need a 3rd to put it in my car) ... just, damn. Amazing feeling.
     
  9. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Re: upgrade
    Buying with upgrading later firmly in mind is false economy, unless you're good at bargain hunting and know enough to be certain that whatever you score will fit the bike.
    I'd even go so far to say that it's better in that case to shoot for a two-bike stable already from the beginning. One entry-level bike, which later turns into your rainy days bike when you buy your nice bike.

    The only kind of planned upgrade that makes sense is to upgrade when parts have to be replaced due to wear, which for a road bike can take quite a while.

    Re: in-between sizes

    It's not saddle height that's the main issue, it's reach. Reach is adjusted by buying stems of different lengths. I'd generally recommend against tweaking reach by sliding the saddle back & forth, as that changes the geometry for the pedalling action. I for one really don't want to leave my sweet spot in this matter.

    On the whole I think I'd suggest the slightly larger though. There are less detrimental effects from a shorter-than-average stem than from a longer-than-average stem.

    Still, it's not like the bike is going to self-destruct and catapult you into the ditch if you get it wrong a bit. That gentle hump of the performance curve again.
     
  10. Crazymike

    Crazymike New Member

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    I've had some success with upgrades with an entry level bike.
    For example, changing the seat for new lighter weight and comfort. Changing seat stem for light weight.
    have changed out front fork for better handling.
    have changed out wheels for less rolling resistance
    have changed out handle bars for lighter weight.
    have changed out cassette

    (did not make all these changes at one time but over time)

    it really comes down to what can you afford. upgrading to next price range of bike or make a small change, less expensive and keep enjoying the ride.
    Usually people are riding to enjoy the ride and do something slightly challenging. Not because they intend on riding in the TdF
     
  11. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    OK, changing the cassette doesn't count. Those wear out and needs to be replaced evey now and then anyhow.
    And seeing whether you're compatible with a new saddle is always a gamble.
    And you can always spend some time bargain hunting.

    But at regular retail prices, how much have those upgrades cost you?
    And how much farther would that money have taken you if had added it to the initial purchase instead?

    Sometimes it's even better to buy a bike on a finance plan than to do the piecemeal upgrades.
     
  12. WatchTheSky

    WatchTheSky New Member

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    Hey dabac and CrazyMike,

    Thanks for all your input and help. I weighed a lot of options and in the end chose a Cannondale. I greatly enjoy a lot of its characteristics, and decided to put a little more money into my bike now than later. And let me tell you... being able to lift a bike with one finger is SO amazing compared to a solid steel Peugeot. I can't even describe the step up from 5 speed to 10!

    Kind of emptied my bank account (May 2010 college grad here... ha), but check it out. I snapped a photo:

    [​IMG]

    I'll be riding it the next few weeks to break it in and train for the MS150! Also got some nice Mavic shoes and I've been enjoying clipping in.

    Maybe I'll post this somewhere else... but you have any experience with heart rate monitors and gauging where you need to be? Just reading some magazines and getting some ideas.

    Thanks again for the help!
     
  13. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    Nice bike dude. You really made a good choice. I love the black anodized frame. Good Luck riding in the MS150.
     
  14. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    I've got a Polar CS300. Good things: double as a cyclocomputer, but can be used off the bike, has cadence. Bad thing: sensitive to power lines.

    If I were a bit less stingy with my money I'd go for one of those Garmin GPS combos instead.

    A decent HRM will come with instructions and some generic pointers. Start there, then listen to your body. I find that I like to stay above the recommended interval. Seems to be more of a genetic thing than anything macho/masochistic, my brother is the same. And my mother is simply off the charts for her age.

    If your college has a good athletics section they might even be able to offer you a work load test. They're painful, but good if you want to be specific about your training.
     
  15. WatchTheSky

    WatchTheSky New Member

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    @Davereo - thanks bud. I'm definitely excited and have been enjoying my bike for sure. I get at least 20 miles in a day if I can.

    @dabac - thanks for the advice. I will check out my LBS or a trainer store to see what I can find. I'm actually OUT of college now - hence my being even poorer - so the workload tests are probably out of the question, and I'm probably going to be fairly frugal with my watch purchase. Thanks for the advice; if you think of any of good monitor/watches or ideas, I'm all ears. Thanks again for all your helps.

    Chris
     
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