Switching sports - need some advice


New Member
Mar 13, 2003
I wonder if anyone can give me some good advice?

I've been rowing for years and am now looking to move into road racing and triathlon. However, I know nothing about bike equipment.

I have always borrowed bikes whenever I have had the opportunity to cycle but now want to get my own.

What should I do? where do I start? I'm conscious that I could spend a fortune on getting a bike but don't think I would notice the difference between the best and entry level bikes at my level. I asked in a shop earlier but felt they just wanted to sell me the most expensive kit they had....

I'm looking to do about 100-200 miles/week (about half on rollers) as I'll also be covering some distance swimming, running and erging. I do take my training seriously, so wouldn't want something that isn't durable.

I guess I can afford between £300-£500 ($500-$800) - not a lot from what I can tell - but money is tight.

I just don't know where to start - can anyone help?
I understand about money being tight and wanting the best value for it.

first, recognize that money is weight. on higher quality bikes, losing a pound of bike weight will cost about $1000. on an $800 bike, it will be tough to be competitive with others of similar abilities who are on $2500 bikes. theirs will weigh less. it will be especially telling going uphill.

that said...my advice is...

1. buy the best frame you can get. other components (drivetrain, shifters, wheels, etc.) will eventually wear out and can be upgraded then (or when you have extra money).

2. get a carbon fork. it will make the ride more comfortable.

3. get a nine speed drivetrain. 8 speed is foolish on a new bike as any upgrades will be nine speed.

good luck!
Thanks rv

problem is - what type of frame is good? are Giant better than Specialized? are Coppi better than Butler? I don't know where to begin....it would be good if there was a "top five" in each component category that I could refer to - that way I could try and get the best in each - balanced against my budget....which would you go for?
speciallized allez elite 18 (or 27 for a triple) ... 105 drivetrain
cannondale r600

both have aluminum frames, and carbon forks. the speciallized has a better drivetrain. neither bike weighs a ton, making you more competitive. the speciallized has a compact frame.

the bad news is...they're $1000 bikes. look around. ask your local bike shops (lbs) about last year's models for less money.

again, good luck.
There are no truly bad or dangerous frames out there, unless you have an aluminium one with crash damage. The biggest mistake you can make is to get something the wrong size. You need to get fitted for reach, so that you aren't stretching over the bike, or hitting your knees on the bars. There is a small amount of leeway available by changing stems and moving the saddle... but this begins to affect the handling if you go to extremes.

You can't do this yourself, you need someone to look at you on the bike... or a big mirror. Ideally, your arms should be at 90deg to your torso on the drops, but that's just a guide.

As I've said elsewhere, don't start with your bars too low, you'll just suffer and give up.

Don't skimp on tyres or you'll spend a lot of time at the side of the road.

Otherwise, don't get hung up on equipment. Most expensive gear just makes you feel better, not go faster.
Thanks guys. Once I've got myself measured up and know exactly what type of bike I am after - is it worth buying the equipment on-line - or ordering through my lbs?

If you recommend the on-line route - can you sugget the best on-line stores?

If I opt to spend a bit more (which it looks like I might need to) - I want to make sure I'm getting the best deal....

Thanks for all your help on this....
buy from your local bike shop. you'll get their friendship and knowledge. if you're just starting out, you'll need the knowledge.

plus, after a week, if you need to change the stem length or handle bar width, the lbs should help you out. also, they should make minor adjustments (adjust shifting, cable stretch, etc.) for the first year.

go lbs!
In the price range you suggest there is little choice for decent bikes when wanting new. You might be lucky and catch a downpriced 2002 model. But better if you know someone who's a little in to cyling ask him/her to help you find a second hand regular cyclist should now where to look at concerning wear and quality of gear.
i am currently having a frame done.

what i did is buy an old cromoly frame. and had it rebuilt to my exact fit.. just cost me 80 dollars including painting. old frame costs 40 dollars. it may be cromo, but it [will] fit great -- hopefully.

if your budget is 800 dollars.. you have about 600dollars for components and wheels. that would be enough to get a decent group.
Don't forget to allocate some of your budget to clothing and other essentials:

shorts, helmet, gloves, pump, water bottles, some spares etc.

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