Utter Newbie Needs Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by stryker719, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. stryker719

    stryker719 New Member

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    First I want to say I'm utterly new to the road cycling scene, so I apologize up front if my questions seem rather obvious.

    I am looking to purchase a road bike for this summer. I would prefer not to buy a new bike - I'd rather learn on a used one and buy a new one for next summer. Before I do that though, are there any brands I should favor? What should be the determining factor in choosing a bike? What type of tires? What's a good price? I would very much appreciate any type of hand holding that you can offer.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Kelderek

    Kelderek New Member

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    The most essential factor to consider when buying a used bike is the fit. A road bike is to be fitted to your body and a poor fit can ruin the entire experience. Some adjustment can of course be made, e.g. saddle height, but is the frame size wrong to start with it becomes difficult.

    Brand and prizes? It all depends what you are willing to spend... There is a factor 10 between a cheap roadbike and the top of the line. A used Cervelo Soloist Carbon with Campagnolo Record groupset will set you off about four times the price for a decent new bike with less extreme spec. Make up your mind what you are willing to spend and try to find the best deal within that range.

    I would say that the frame is the most important since everything else can be changed. If you find a great frame you might even keep it and have your LBS equip it with entirely new stuff next summer. Then the groupset. Expensive to replace, so try to find a bike with a good one in good condition. Wheels are relatively easy to upgrade and buying a new saddle if the one on the bike doesn't fit is of course the easiest part.

    Type of tires? Go for clincher if you're not that experienced. Offers a good enough ride and easier to change.
     
  3. geo8rge

    geo8rge New Member

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    "I'd rather learn on a used one" Take a bicycle maintenance course if one is given in your area. Most used bikes have some maintenance issues that will need to be addressed.

    As to the bike you should buy I would suggest you consider a folding bike like Downtube.com. Folding bikes are more practicle to store and transport. In the full sized used category, basically lift the bike up, if it is light it was originally a good bike as crummy components are not put on heavy frames.

    I would suggest a steel not aluminum frame.

    As to road bikes, you probably mean you want a touring bike. If you put road tires on a mountain bike it will perform very well on roads. The distinction between road and mountain is not as much as you think.

    Best sites about bicycles:
    sheldonbrown.com
    parktool.com
    wikipedia.org search on folding bike for example.
     
  4. Frigo's Luggage

    Frigo's Luggage New Member

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    Don't buy a folding bike unless you have folding bike issues.

    I agree on the idea of taking a maintence course even if you are buying a new bike. You will have to know how to do simple repairs on the road like changing a flat, fixing a chain and adjusting a derailer or brakes.

    The factors to consider when buying a bike are in order as follows:

    1. Fit and Sizing
    2. Geometry
    3. Wheels

    If you get these things right, the importance of the other factors are diminished.

    Pick your shop based upon somebody that really knows how to fit a rider. Your shop should be willing to swap the stem and maybe even the handlebars to fit you. They should make sure that the crank lengths are the right size and make sure you are in a comfortable and effecient position. Ask an experienced cyclist in your area for recommendations. The very good shops may even charge $100+ for this service. However, it is well worth it.

    The geometry of the bike should also match your intended use. If you are looking for comfort, you should look for a bike with a longer wheelbase and a lower bottom bracket. These bikes will inherently absorb the road shock better and put you in a more upright position. If you want to ride agressively, turn fast and maybe even race, then look for a bike with a shorter wheelbase and a higher bottom bracket. To see the impact that frame geometry makes, you might want to test ride a Cannondale Six13/SystemSix and a Cannondale Synapse. Both bikes are made by the same company but are designed for two completely different types of riding and will have a different feel.

    I would also recommend test riding as many different bikes as possible. Choosing a bike because of an advertisement or a friends recommendation is like marrying a mail order bride.

    Once you have narrowed things down a bit, you will probaby end up making decisions based upon price and componants. If you have a choice of getting nicer wheels or a better groupset, always always always go with the better wheels. A good dependable wheel eliminates alot of hassles and may even increase performance. If possible, get a pair of Mavic wheels like Kysriums. They are very reliable and worth the upgrade price if your are going to ride much.

    I am not saying that groupsets are not important. It is just that there is very little difference between the high end groupsets and the lower end stuff. Just make sure that you buy at least 9 speeds because you can always upgrade some of the parts later. If you choose 8 speeds, some of the upgrades may be incompatable. If you get Simano 105 or better you will be more than fine.

    Ignore anybody who tries to tell you that frame material or weight is important for your first bike. Don't obsess over either of these. They are not important. Neither is brand name. Don't get focused on whether your bike is a Cervelo or the bike de jour. Get the basics of size, fit and geometry correct and you will be happy. You won't be happy if you are riding the Tour winners bike and it is the wrong bike for you.

    Oh yeah...color is really important. I'm serious.

    Have fun. Let us know what you choose.
     
  5. Frigo's Luggage

    Frigo's Luggage New Member

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    One more thing...pedals. If you've never ridden clipless pedals, go with Speedplay, preferably Speedplay Light Action. Don't get talked into Look, SPD or Shimano.
     
  6. Acesone

    Acesone New Member

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    I agree fit is everything. What size are you looking at? there are several interactive websites that convert your measurements into a frame size.

    www.wrenchscience.com is one. You'll have to register.

    If it is a small frame, you need make sure the seat tube is less than 74°.

    You want your hips to be behind the bottom bracket. This allows you to use the seat as an anchor to push the pedals forward from. Way more power and efficiency.
     
  7. Camilo

    Camilo New Member

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    I agree on some of your points - but is suggesting a folding bike really helpful to a person who wants a road bike? A folding bike is a specialized item for situations that require folding bikes! Not for general riders, especially someone who wants a dedicated road bike. IMHO of course.

    Also, while I don't disagree with your recommendation of steel vs. aluminum, aluminum bikes are very common on the used market, and are every bit as useful and comfortable as a steel bike - if the proper type of bike is selected and proper fit is accomplished. The OP should not disregard aluminum bikes.

    Finally, a mountain bike with nice road tires is an excellent all around bike and commuter. I have one in my garage right now. But it is not a road bike. In general, it is not as light, does not have the same gearing, and does not have multiple comfortable riding positions that are at all comparable to a road bike.

    If a person wants a road bike for road bike use, they should buy one - the only question is how "comfortable" vs. how "racey". This in itself is a pretty arbitrary distinction also - I have a full on racing bike (CAAD 7 Cannondale) and it is very comfortable, once I got it set up and my body used to it.
     
  8. geo8rge

    geo8rge New Member

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    "aluminum bikes are very common on the used market,"

    If you do not know how to inspect the welds and frame of an Al bike I would not buy a used one. The original poster said newbie + used.

    As to a folding bike, my guess is the original poster, newbie, wanted a road bike not for racing but to ride on roads. I would say a 20" bike folding bike without a suspension would be just fine. The suspension on cheap bikes if iffy IMO. In general my bike buying advice is first figure out where you are going to store the bike when not in use, how you are going to transport it, how you are going to maintain it, and if you can afford to replace it after it is stolen/damaged. After that, the fun part, what you are going to use it should be considered.
     
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