some general advice

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Bill Binkelman, Apr 11, 2003.

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  1. I need some advice. (I know...asking for advice on a newsgroup always proves interesting) ;-)

    Some background info: I am 49 years old and not in the best shape any more, although that's part of
    why I want to get back into biking. I'm 5'10" and weight about 180. Initially, I'll be using my bike
    mostly for commuting to work (about 4-5 miles, with only one sizable hill, probably 3 blocks long
    with a 10-20 percent - guestimate - grade) and some short neighborhood errands. I don't plan on
    doing any touring for awhile or many long recreational rides.

    I haven't ridden anything AT ALL in over 7 years and have done no _extended_ biking (such as daily
    riding or commuting) in almost 20 years. My last bike was a Sekai 10-speed, bought at a LSB (I
    assume that means local bike shop) in Milwaukee, WI called Rainbow Jersey in the mid 70s for
    approx $130.

    So, I'm completely lost as to what to shoot for with my purchase. Here are some essentials:

    1) I don't want to overspend because: a - I don't have that much money to begin with and b - I'm not
    sure if I'll feel like getting back into biking that much, since it's been a while. I don't want
    to buy a "good" bike and waste the money. I can always upgrade if I decide "Hey, this is FUN."

    2) I prefer something less complicated and more reliable, as I'm not the kind to tinker much. I've
    heard that 7-speed bikes are coming into vogue, is this true? Do I realy need 21 speeds for city
    commuting?

    3) I could give a rat's ass for style, so that has no bearing on anything.

    4) I want the bike to be a hyrbid/cross bike. I don't want a mountain bike. I want raised-up
    handlebars (or whatever you call them) so I'm sitting up fairly straight (back trouble), a fairly
    comfortable saddle, and low-rolling resistance tires, yet ones that can handle the rigors of
    urbal biking.

    That's it in a nutshell. I have gone to one LBS so far and the guy was sterring me towards some
    Schwinns that were going for $260 - $330. Can I get something else that's either cheaper or is a
    more respected brand (knowing that since the sale of the Schwinn label, there are questions of
    quality control).

    Thanks for any and all suggestions.

    Bill B
     
    Tags:


  2. I was about in the same boat as you, three years ago after my first heart attack. Hadn't been on a
    bike in about ten years. My first bike was a full-suspension mtb (traded it for a hardtail), then
    bought a roadie (sold it a week ago), and the third, my pride and joy, an older Giant Option hybrid
    that I bought from a pawn shop and re-built. I ride it nearly exclusively now. On to your
    questions...

    < 1) I don't want to overspend because: a - I don't have that much money to begin with and b - I'm
    not sure if I'll feel like getting back into biking that much, since it's been a while. I
    don't want to buy a "good" bike and waste the money. I can always upgrade if I decide "Hey,
    this is FUN." >

    2. Raleigh makes a few decent hybrids that might fit your bill. My brother bought a Gary Fisher
    Tarpon that looked like a good deal, too, for the price range you're looking at. Do some research
    on the 'net...loads of useful information can be found.

    < 3) I prefer something less complicated and more reliable, as I'm not the kind to tinker much. I've
    heard that 7-speed bikes are coming into vogue, is this true? Do I really need 21 speeds for
    city commuting? >

    4. Most bike shops give you a free first-time tune-up after a month or so. Routine maintenance
    really isn't that hard, and sites like www.sheldonbrown.com have lots of info on this. I
    think seven speeds are going the way of six- and five-speed bikes, with the exception of a
    lot of hybrids.

    < 5) I could give a rat's ass for style, so that has no bearing on anything. >

    6. Who does?

    < 7) I want the bike to be a hybrid/cross bike. I don't want a mountain bike. I want raised-up
    handlebars (or whatever you call them) so I'm sitting up fairly straight (back trouble), a
    fairly comfortable saddle, and low-rolling resistance tires, yet ones that can handle the
    rigors of urban biking. >

    8. Some hybrids come with riser bars and an adjustable stem, so it's relatively easy to raise the
    bars to give you the upright position you need. A good gel sprung gel saddle (I had one on a
    tandem, and found it pretty comfortable, but will swear by my Brooks B66 Champion) and a
    suspension seat post, and a set of street tread tires will give you a comfortable ride.
     
  3. >1) I don't want to overspend because: a - I don't have that much money to begin with and b - I'm
    > not sure if I'll feel like getting back into biking that much, since it's been a while. I
    > don't want to buy a "good" bike and waste the money. I can always upgrade if I decide "Hey,
    > this is FUN."

    $300 or so is entry level for a new, bike shop bicycle. You might be able to get it down to $250 if
    you can find a last year's model, even less if you go with a used bike. I'd still stress that a bike
    shop is a good idea in any event, you'll want the support.

    >2) I prefer something less complicated and more reliable, as I'm not the kind to tinker much. I've
    > heard that 7-speed bikes are coming into vogue, is this true? Do I realy need 21 speeds for city
    > commuting?

    7-speed is still in there, but it's on the way out. It's still common on freewheel (as opposed to
    freehub) equipped entry level bikes. 8-speed is common on MTBs, 8,9, and 10 on road bikes.

    You don't _need_ a 21 speed bike for commuting or general utility riding, but you may not have an
    option here. What you do need are appropriate gears for the terrain you'll be riding in, I ride a 21
    speed freewheel hybrid for exactly the uses you mentioned. Except for rare occasions I only use two
    or three of my available ratios, but it's pretty flat where I ride...mostly. It is very nice to have
    a selection of bailout or climbing gears if the need arises.

    >3) I could give a rat's ass for style, so that has no bearing on anything.

    Good attitude.

    >4) I want the bike to be a hyrbid/cross bike. I don't want a mountain bike. I want raised-up
    > handlebars (or whatever you call them) so I'm sitting up fairly straight (back trouble), a
    > fairly comfortable saddle, and low-rolling resistance tires, yet ones that can handle the rigors
    > of urbal biking.

    That shouldn't be too difficult for $300, there are plenty of good ones out there. Usually the tires
    that come with the bike are fine for street riding, unless they have a very aggressive tread
    pattern. The shop should be able to swap them in that case for more appropriate tires.

    >That's it in a nutshell. I have gone to one LBS so far and the guy was sterring me towards some
    >Schwinns that were going for $260 - $330. Can I get something else that's either cheaper or is a
    >more respected brand (knowing that since the sale of the Schwinn label, there are questions of
    >quality control).

    I haven't seen a new Schwinn yet so I can't speak to that (I have an old Schwinn that has no QC
    issues, though). If it's an LBS bike the shop should stand behind it, it likely has a warranty.

    >Thanks for any and all suggestions.

    FWIW.

    _______________________ALL AMIGA IN MY MIND_______________________ ------------------"Buddy Holly,
    the Texas Elvis"------------------
    __________306.350.357.38>>[email protected]__________
     
  4. Alan

    Alan Guest

    Just a couple of points:

    Look for a shop that offers rentals, and try some bikes out. You'll know what you like after
    riding a few.

    If you wan to save some money, ask if the shop has any quality used bikes for sale. They often a
    bargain compared to new.

    --

    alan

    Anyone who believes in a liberal media has never read the "Daily Oklahoman."

    "Bill Binkelman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > I need some advice. (I know...asking for advice on a newsgroup always proves interesting) ;-)
    >
    > Some background info: I am 49 years old and not in the best shape any more, although that's part
    > of why I want to get back into biking. I'm 5'10" and weight about 180. Initially, I'll be using my
    > bike mostly for commuting to work (about 4-5 miles, with only one sizable hill, probably 3 blocks
    > long with a 10-20 percent - guestimate - grade) and some short neighborhood errands. I don't plan
    > on doing any touring for awhile or many long recreational rides.
     
  5. Rich Clark

    Rich Clark Guest

    "Bill Binkelman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I haven't ridden anything AT ALL in over 7 years and have done no _extended_ biking (such as daily
    > riding or commuting) in almost 20 years. My last bike was a Sekai 10-speed, bought at a LSB (I
    > assume that means local bike shop) in Milwaukee, WI called Rainbow Jersey in the mid 70s for
    > approx $130.

    That would be about a $500 bike in 2003 dollars, based on 1975-2001 inflation. Just to put your
    budget in perspective.
    >
    > So, I'm completely lost as to what to shoot for with my purchase. Here are some essentials:
    >
    > 1) I don't want to overspend because: a - I don't have that much money to begin with and b - I'm
    > not sure if I'll feel like getting back into biking that much, since it's been a while. I don't
    > want to buy a "good" bike and waste the money. I can always upgrade if I decide "Hey, this is
    > FUN."

    What tends to make people not have fun cycling is a bike that hurts them to ride, and discomfort is
    mostly caused by poor fit. (Yes, there will be initial chafing and muscle soreness and such on any
    bike, but this goes away relatively quickly. Pain from poor fit tends to get worse until the rider
    just gives up.)
    >
    > 2) I prefer something less complicated and more reliable, as I'm not the kind to tinker much. I've
    > heard that 7-speed bikes are coming into vogue, is this true? Do I realy need 21 speeds for
    > city commuting?

    I'm guessing you're talking about internally-geared hubs versus derailleur shifting. (The term
    "7-speed" these days is more often applied to bikes with 7 cogs on the cassette, yielding either 14
    or 21 gear combinations depending on the number of chainrings in front. 8- and 9-speed drivechains
    are most common these days.)

    The answer to you question is no, they're not. They're available, but they're not in "vogue" because
    they're often not suitable for the type of utility riding you're describing, especially in hilly
    terrain where they don't offer sufficiently low gear combination for climbing. Modern derailleur
    systems are not terribly complex or difficult to adjust.

    > 4) I want the bike to be a hyrbid/cross bike. I don't want a mountain bike. I want raised-up
    > handlebars (or whatever you call them) so I'm sitting up fairly straight (back trouble), a
    > fairly comfortable saddle, and low-rolling resistance tires, yet ones that can handle the
    > rigors of urbal biking.

    Depending on exactly what's wrong with your back, you could be right and you could be wrong. I have
    spinal bone spurs, for example, and sitting upright too long is quite painful. My bikes have drop
    handlebars that are set relatively high (saddle height), and they allow me to distribute my weight
    more evenly and take some of the strain off my back.

    Nevertheless, a hybrid would be perfectly OK for you, and there are plenty of them in the $300-500
    price range that will do everything you need. Unfortunately, most of them have cheap shock-absorbing
    forks, but that's getting hard to avoid. What matters most is finding a shop that will give you
    plenty of time for test rides, and that spends plenty of time on fit. Avoid the mistake of being
    sold a too-small frame because it feels more secure on your initial rides.

    > That's it in a nutshell. I have gone to one LBS so far and the guy was sterring me towards some
    > Schwinns that were going for $260 - $330. Can I get something else that's either cheaper or is a
    > more respected brand (knowing that since the sale of the Schwinn label, there are questions of
    > quality control).

    You can find plenty of brand-name bikes, but buying cheap may be a false economy. For one thing, you
    can always sell a better bike and recoup much of the initial expense. For another, if you pursue
    cycling (which is more likely if you start with a good bike that fits) you'll want a bike that
    lasts. Even if you eventually get serious and move on to a more specialized bike for longer, more
    frequent rides (which happens a lot), a good hybrid can remain in service for many years as a
    utility bike.

    Look at Trek, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Jamis, Raleigh, Fuji. In this class of bike, the
    individual models differ less than the quality of the shop, so if you "shop for a shop" well you'll
    probably make out OK. Ask around among local cyclists to find which shops are well respected.

    RichC
     
  6. Greg Terry

    Greg Terry Guest

    You'll find all those brands in pawn shops in decent sized cities.



    "Rich Clark" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Bill Binkelman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    > > I haven't ridden anything AT ALL in over 7 years and have done no _extended_ biking (such as
    > > daily riding or commuting) in almost 20 years. My last bike was a Sekai 10-speed, bought at a
    > > LSB (I assume that means local bike shop) in Milwaukee, WI called Rainbow Jersey in the mid 70s
    > > for approx $130.
    >
    > That would be about a $500 bike in 2003 dollars, based on 1975-2001 inflation. Just to put your
    > budget in perspective.
    > >
    > > So, I'm completely lost as to what to shoot for with my purchase. Here are some essentials:
    > >
    > > 1) I don't want to overspend because: a - I don't have that much money to begin with and b - I'm
    > > not sure if I'll feel like getting back into biking that much, since it's been a while. I
    > > don't want to buy a "good" bike and waste the money. I can always upgrade if I decide "Hey,
    > > this is FUN."
    >
    > What tends to make people not have fun cycling is a bike that hurts them
    to
    > ride, and discomfort is mostly caused by poor fit. (Yes, there will be initial chafing and muscle
    > soreness and such on any bike, but this goes
    away
    > relatively quickly. Pain from poor fit tends to get worse until the rider just gives up.)
    > >
    > > 2) I prefer something less complicated and more reliable, as I'm not the kind to tinker much.
    > > I've heard that 7-speed bikes are coming into vogue, is this true? Do I realy need 21 speeds
    > > for city commuting?
    >
    > I'm guessing you're talking about internally-geared hubs versus derailleur shifting. (The term
    > "7-speed" these days is more often applied to bikes
    with
    > 7 cogs on the cassette, yielding either 14 or 21 gear combinations
    depending
    > on the number of chainrings in front. 8- and 9-speed drivechains are most common these days.)
    >
    > The answer to you question is no, they're not. They're available, but they're not in "vogue"
    > because they're often not suitable for the type of utility riding you're describing, especially in
    > hilly terrain where they don't offer sufficiently low gear combination for climbing. Modern
    > derailleur systems are not terribly complex or difficult to adjust.
    >
    > > 4) I want the bike to be a hyrbid/cross bike. I don't want a mountain bike. I want raised-up
    > > handlebars (or whatever you call them) so I'm sitting up fairly straight (back trouble), a
    > > fairly comfortable saddle, and low-rolling resistance tires, yet ones that can handle the
    > > rigors of urbal biking.
    >
    > Depending on exactly what's wrong with your back, you could be right and
    you
    > could be wrong. I have spinal bone spurs, for example, and sitting upright too long is quite
    > painful. My bikes have drop handlebars that are set relatively high (saddle height), and they
    > allow me to distribute my weight more evenly and take some of the strain off my back.
    >
    > Nevertheless, a hybrid would be perfectly OK for you, and there are plenty of them in the $300-500
    > price range that will do everything you need. Unfortunately, most of them have cheap
    > shock-absorbing forks, but that's getting hard to avoid. What matters most is finding a shop that
    > will give you plenty of time for test rides, and that spends plenty of time on fit. Avoid the
    > mistake of being sold a too-small frame because it feels more secure on your initial rides.
    >
    > > That's it in a nutshell. I have gone to one LBS so far and the guy was sterring me towards some
    > > Schwinns that were going for $260 - $330. Can I get something else that's either cheaper or is a
    > > more respected brand (knowing that since the sale of the Schwinn label, there are questions of
    > > quality control).
    >
    > You can find plenty of brand-name bikes, but buying cheap may be a false economy. For one thing,
    > you can always sell a better bike and recoup much
    of
    > the initial expense. For another, if you pursue cycling (which is more likely if you start with a
    > good bike that fits) you'll want a bike that lasts. Even if you eventually get serious and move on
    > to a more
    specialized
    > bike for longer, more frequent rides (which happens a lot), a good hybrid can remain in service
    > for many years as a utility bike.
    >
    > Look at Trek, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, Jamis, Raleigh, Fuji. In
    this
    > class of bike, the individual models differ less than the quality of the shop, so if you "shop for
    > a shop" well you'll probably make out OK. Ask around among local cyclists to find which shops are
    > well respected.
    >
    > RichC
     
  7. Jobst Brandt

    Jobst Brandt Guest

    Bill Binkelman writes:

    > I need some advice. (I know...asking for advice on a newsgroup always proves interesting)...

    ater an irrelevant life history has the gall to say:

    > That's it in a nutshell.

    You've got huge nuts!

    Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA
     
  8. "Greg Terry" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > You'll find all those brands in pawn shops in decent sized cities.

    top-posting, and not trimming: very BAD.

    Re: pawnshops. Pawnshop bikes are a good bet, IF you know exactly what you're looking for and IF
    you're confident at judging the condition of a bike, and IF you're OK with doing all your own
    adjustments, basic maintenance, etc. Peace of mind would suggest a new bike-shop bike at USD
    200-300, which should work well, be properly adjusted. A good shop won't charge you for minor
    adjustments and whatnot.

    In their favour, pawnshop bikes are a cheap way to get into the hobby. My first 'real' bicycle
    was/is a Raleigh Record Sprint that I coaxed home from the pawnshop for USD 75. Served me well
    enough to teach me what I wanted.

    -Luigi
     
  9. And another fine welcome by Jobst!!

    Wrong side of bed again??

    >Bill Binkelman writes:
    >
    >> I need some advice. (I know...asking for advice on a newsgroup always proves interesting)...
    >
    >ater an irrelevant life history has the gall to say:
    >
    >> That's it in a nutshell.
    >
    >You've got huge nuts!
    >
    >Jobst Brandt [email protected] Palo Alto CA

    http://members.aol.com/foxcondorsrvtns (Colorado rental condo)

    http://members.aol.com/dnvrfox (Family Web Page)
     
  10. Peter Cole

    Peter Cole Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Bill Binkelman writes:
    >
    > > I need some advice. (I know...asking for advice on a newsgroup always proves interesting)...
    >
    > ater an irrelevant life history has the gall to say:
    >
    > > That's it in a nutshell.
    >
    > You've got huge nuts!

    OK, this gets my vote for post of the month, maybe year.
     
  11. Drifter

    Drifter Guest

    There is no one right way to do it, of course, but I sort of did it the wrong way. I started riding
    about 5 years (47) ago commuting to work and for health. I purchased by bike for a few hundred
    dollars at a bike store. Most basic bikes these days are junk at the low end and decent but
    exctremely expensive at the high end. You would be wise to check out if your area has a community
    non-profit bike shop/self-repairs, etc. The people running the place are very knowledgable and
    practically live on their bikes. Our community bike shop told me next time to come to them - for the
    money I spent on new junk they could find me a good frame, and brakes, etc. I have had to replace
    most everything on my bike because it was all cheap - simply because I use it every day as my sole
    means of transportation and it is a low end Norco bike. Don't get me wrong it is not a bad bike, but
    for the "new bike money" I spent, I could have done far better with a used highend bike. If there is
    no community bike shop, you might contact a bike club or contact a local university. Unversities
    often have bike clubc or bike fanatics, do racing, etc. and could easily assist in you getting the
    most for your dollar and purpose.

    Bill Binkelman wrote:
    >
    > I need some advice. (I know...asking for advice on a newsgroup always proves interesting) ;-)
    >
    > Some background info: I am 49 years old and not in the best shape any more, although that's part
    > of why I want to get back into biking. I'm 5'10" and weight about 180. Initially, I'll be using my
    > bike mostly for commuting to work (about 4-5 miles, with only one sizable hill, probably 3 blocks
    > long with a 10-20 percent - guestimate - grade) and some short neighborhood errands. I don't plan
    > on doing any touring for awhile or many long recreational rides.
    >
    > I haven't ridden anything AT ALL in over 7 years and have done no _extended_ biking (such as daily
    > riding or commuting) in almost 20 years. My last bike was a Sekai 10-speed, bought at a LSB (I
    > assume that means local bike shop) in Milwaukee, WI called Rainbow Jersey in the mid 70s for
    > approx $130.
    >
    > So, I'm completely lost as to what to shoot for with my purchase. Here are some essentials:
    >
    > 1) I don't want to overspend because: a - I don't have that much money to begin with and b - I'm
    > not sure if I'll feel like getting back into biking that much, since it's been a while. I don't
    > want to buy a "good" bike and waste the money. I can always upgrade if I decide "Hey, this is
    > FUN."
    >
    > 2) I prefer something less complicated and more reliable, as I'm not the kind to tinker much. I've
    > heard that 7-speed bikes are coming into vogue, is this true? Do I realy need 21 speeds for
    > city commuting?
    >
    > 3) I could give a rat's ass for style, so that has no bearing on anything.
    >
    > 4) I want the bike to be a hyrbid/cross bike. I don't want a mountain bike. I want raised-up
    > handlebars (or whatever you call them) so I'm sitting up fairly straight (back trouble), a
    > fairly comfortable saddle, and low-rolling resistance tires, yet ones that can handle the
    > rigors of urbal biking.
    >
    > That's it in a nutshell. I have gone to one LBS so far and the guy was sterring me towards some
    > Schwinns that were going for $260 - $330. Can I get something else that's either cheaper or is a
    > more respected brand (knowing that since the sale of the Schwinn label, there are questions of
    > quality control).
    >
    > Thanks for any and all suggestions.
    >
    > Bill B
     
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