Would This Be a Good Touring Bike for Beginners Like Me?

Discussion in 'Bike buying advice' started by SierraSlim, Oct 7, 2010.

  1. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Good Mornin', Y'all!

    This is another used bike I'm thinking of looking into for training and going on easy bike tours. Do you think it would work and be a good buy? What questions should I ask the seller that aren't answered in the ad? Here's what they say about it: (And THANKS!) SierraSlim

    TREK ROAD BIKE 14spd 54cm fits most adults, steel frame, all SHIMANO

    I know how proud the parents of college kids are, they want the young lady/young man to have the best equipment for school, and if they made it to Davis, well, then, they deserve the best. Dual pivot alloy sidepull brakes, Shimano lever shifters, yes, the brake levers ARE ALSO the shifters, 14speeds, 700c Mavic alloy wheels, comfort TREK saddle, this bike has lights and computer that are removeable while in class, they unclip and stow in the backpack. quick release wheels, Shimano finely crafted in Japan alloy everything, Chrome-Moly steel butted frame, this bike is a beauty queen, all original, even the tires, you can see how it has low mileage and has always been stored indoors. The $400. price is a cash bargain, so cash firm. You just wont find a comparable 54cm bike out there with this level of components, for this low of a price. This bike was lady owned and seldom ridden, never abused.
    This size, 21" or 54cm is the most sought after size, there is a shortage of this size steel framed roadies, it fits 5'4" to 5'9" riders. this is just about 90% of all college age young adults nowadays.

    email your contact phone number if you are seriously interested in a really fine road bike and have $400. to spend on it.

    Original URL: http://sacramento.craigslist.org/bik/1987187877.html

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  2. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    IMO outdated and overpriced. I know you can find a better deal than this. I am 5'9" tall and ride a 54CM bike if I was 5'4" I would most likely ride a 52CM bike. Keep looking you will find the perfect bike.
     
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  3. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    I agree with Dave that it's probably too big for you and overpriced. And it's a drop-bar bike. Nothing wrong with that, but it would probably be a big change in position for you, going from a cruiser to drop bars. When you're test riding, you can try one and see how you like it. The flat-bar bikes that we've been talking about are kind of a halfway point from a cruiser to a racing bike. That's not to say and all drop-bar bikes are racing bikes: They are also touring, commuting, fitness, sport, etc. Many people are happy with flat bar bikes; some eventually want to go to drop bars. (Yes you can convert from one to the other, but it's an expense--there are threads here discussing just that.) So go ahead a test-drive one and see what you think. Steve
     
  4. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hey, you two!

    Thanks for the help again! I'm about 5 feet, 7.5 inches, so taller than average for a woman, but not tall enough for that, evidently, lol. I'm glad you pointed that out, Dave, because one link I went to said that I would NEED a 54 cm bike. It's nice to have someone to compare it to, so I will look for a shorter bike than that. And you mentioned it was outdated. How can I tell what year they are? When I try to look them up online, a lot of the years look the same to me, and I can never seem to find the exact model they have.

    And now for my terminology lesson. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/redface.gif I thought that 'drop-bar bike' referred to the top crossbar, but from your reply, Steve, it would seem to refer to the level of the handlebars. THAT is a biggie, because having rolled my truck and landed on my back years ago, I don't think there is any way my back would take that bent-over position for very long periods of time. A couple miles, maybe. Thirty? Nope. So it looks like I definitely want a flat-bar bike (meaning higher handlebar than those low ones). REALLY good to know. Are the flat-bar handlebars, or their stems/poles, adjustable up and down at all, to make it maybe even a little higher? And you anticipated my next question, which would have been if you could convert them. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif Good to know you can; but I think I'd rather not mess with that -- or pay to have somebody else mess with it.

    I'm also glad to hear that it was overpriced. I don't mind spending that much at all; I just want it to be a really good deal, if I spend that!

    Whew! My head is spinning with everything I'm learning, but I do appreciate all your help, y'all. I will be heading to REI this weekend to try on a few flat-bar bikes. I may even get brave and try one with derailleurs. Yay!!

    Have a great one.

    Sierra
     
  5. Steve_A

    Steve_A Member

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    Yes, you can raise any bar up or down, but you most likely have to buy a new stem (the "pole" that attaches the bar to the bike) in order to do that. So when you buy from a dealer, they should be willing to work with you to fit you properly, including changing the stem if necessary. There are also adjustable stems, the dealer can show you those and how they work.
     
  6. kdelong

    kdelong Well-Known Member

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    The way that we determine the approximate age of a bike is by the number of "speeds" that it has. A 14 speed bike would have a rear cassette that has 7 cogs on it and 2 chainrings on the crankset. Most newer bikes have either 9 or 10 cogs on the cassette, giving you either a 18 or 20 speed bike. A cassette with 7 cogs would date this bike to the late 1980's into the early 1990's. (Note: this information does not apply to internally geared hubs). Another lesson in terminology: older bikes, pre-1990's were refered to as a 10 speed, 12 speed, or 14 speed based upon the number of gear combinations that you could get out of them. This was determined by multiplying the number of rear cogs by the number of front gears. For more modern bikes, most people in cycling circles refer to a bikes gearing by stating the number of cogs on the rear cassette, so it is not uncommon to hear of a modern bike being referred to as a 9-speed or a 10-speed. This just means that they have this number of cogs on their cassette, but you can actually get 18 or 20 gear combinations with a double chainring crankset.

    So this bike would probably be a little over 20 years old. If it has been sitting around all this time, rarely ridden, you can expect to replace the tires and tubes, true the wheels, replace the cables and cable housings, maybe replace the chain if it has corroded, and lube everything along with a host of other things. This is not a problem if your hobby is restoring old bicycles, but would cost you a minimum of $200 in servicing fees to have all of the issues taken care of by a bicycle shop. Even more if all of the bearings are cup and cone bearings. I have even found a couple of my LBS's that won't touch a bike that has all cup and cone bearings due to the amount of work that they require and a diminishing number of wrenches who know how to properly adjust them. Anyway, this bike is way overpriced for what it is. $150 tops is what I would offer for it, and I rebuild vintage bikes for a hobby.

    As to the bicycle size, Slim, you really need to get fitted by a bicycle shop like REI. You really cannot compare yourself to Dave when looking for the right size bike for you. Women are different from men in reach, torso length, and leg length in addition to the more obvious differences. Even two women of the same height would not use the same size bike. To ensure that you are gettting the right size bike for you, get fitted before making your purchase.

    Flat bar bikes are all the rage now! There are more than four times more flat bar bikes sold than drop bar bikes in the US each year. There are adjustable stems available for flat bar bikes, and there are riser handlebars available that will allow you to ride in a more upright position than a true flat bar bike.

    Don't be afraid of derailluer bikes. Most quality derailluer drivetrains that are adjusted correctly shift smoothly and crisply with little noise. By quality, I mean any drivetrain that is higher quality than Shimano Tourney. Shimano Sora and Tiagra would be the next higher step, with 105, Ultegra, and Dura Ace rounding out the Shimano offerings. Mid to upper level Sram and Campaglono is good too. Campaglono is probably the best component grouping but it costs a lot more than Shimano or Sram.

    Anyway, REI is a good choice for test rides, and they won't steer you wrong if you purchase a bike from them. This is the best time to go looking for a bike from a bike shop. The shops are looking to unload last years bikes before the tax time so they will usually offer all kinds of mark downs, and it is usually fairly easy to get freebies thrown in as they try to sweeten the pot.
     
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  7. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

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    This is the best advice as far as bike fit goes. I was only making the comparison to my hieght to show you that the listing on the ad was somewhat misleading. I did not intend to have you select a bike based on me. As KD has pointed out bike sizing is rider specific and you need to be fitted at the bike shop for the best result.
     
  8. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, you two!

    It's okay, Dave and Kdelong; I didn't mean I was going to go buy a shorter bike without getting measured or anything. I just meant that it was nice to know from Dave a general guideline for what size bike I might need, since the ad had said it would fit me. (People LIE, lol.). At this point, I would never buy one without being fitted by the bike shop first. I bought my cruiser from REI, and I don't remember any major fitting or anything, but they must have done something right because I love how it feels. So hopefully they can help me find a tour bike that also makes me smile just riding it.

    Delong, I really appreciate what you said about flat bar bikes being all the rage now and how there are four times more of those sold than the drop bar bikes each year; it's helpful to know I won't be the only one without drop bars! And it's great that there are adjustable stems available with riser handlebars so I can be more upright! I'm not only sure I will be more comfortable physically that way, but I'm also all about the scenery. I will probably drive my tour group crazy with how many times I stop and take pictures and moon over how pretty everything is. Being more upright will help out with that a LOT. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    I will have to print out your paragraphs about how to tell a bike's age and keep it with me, lol. It blew me away when you said that that bike was 20 years old; here I was thinking it was probably 5 or less! I'm so ignorant about things like that that it makes buying a used bike scary. Therefore, I will make sure I get fitted, first, so I know what size I need; and then, if I don't buy a new bike (which I probably will, lol), I will at least ask to see the paperwork on any used one to make sure it's not stolen or 20 years old!

    I'm gonna head to REI on Saturday with my hubby and ride a few bikes. And how awesome is it that this is the time of year to get good deals; how did I luck into that! I'm so excited, I can hardly wait. If only they weren't all so doggoned PRETTY that it dulls my senses. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    Thanks for all your help, y'all. You'll get me onto the right bike yet!

    Sierra
     
  9. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Flat bars are not comfortable on long rides for most people because you have a limited area and position to move your hands. On drop bars you put your hand on the tops like a flat bar, but then you can move your hands to the hoods, and then to the drops; so by having more hand positions available you would be more comfortable the longer the ride becomes.

    Just because the bike is 20 or 30 years old doesn't mean it's not a capable bike. In fact a lot of touring bikes are older like the one you were looking at, or modern interpretations of the same design still touring across the globe today!! So you could have easily been alright riding bike like that touring. Trek made a 720 back 25 years ago or so that was one of the best touring bikes ever made and still is to this day. (Note I said one of the best, not the best) And there are still many 720's still on tour today.

    Size can be a problem if you don't test ride it first, but this was a Craigslist bike so you should have been able to ride it to see if it would fit. The biggest issue with fit is to make sure the top tube is about 3/8ths of an inch to 1 inch from your crotch. The seat and handlebars can be raised or lowered to make it fit better, or worse case scenario you may have to buy a longer seat post and/or longer stem and a different reach on the stem to get it fit "perfectly". Even a factory built bike won't fit perfectly, and an LBS will do the same thing you can do, find a bike that will meet the 3/8th to 1" distance and adjust the saddle and stem to fit.

    I couldn't tell from the photo which Trek it is, but if it was the 720 that bike was worth way more then a $150 a poster gave, in fact on E-Bay a decent original Trek 720 lugged steel bikes sell for about $800 to as much as $1,500; which means the Craigslist guy was under selling it; there's one right now on E-Bay with a buy now price of $1,350 and the current bid is $406.
     
  10. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Hi, Froze!

    Wow, I get a lot of information on this board. That was fascinating abuot the Trek 720. I had no idea a good bike could last that long. Or that a bike that old could sell for that much!

    My search continues. I'm about to post a question about a bike my hubby is suggesting I get, and would welcome your in put on that too.

    Thanks!

    Sierra
     
  11. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Sierra, my oldest bike I bought new in 1984, a Trek 660, which I raced for 5 years before I quit racing. That Trek has about 150,000 miles on it, I still ride it! My second oldest bike is a 87 Miyata 612, that bike has about 35,000 miles on it and I still ride it. Most bikes your going to find on E-Bay or Craigslist have been stored in garages or basements for years and saw very little use, thus their still fairly fresh. I don't necessarily buy into all that frame wear out crap because mine haven't wore out. In fact Chris Davies has 906,900 miles on his bike! AND HE STILL RIDES IT!!! http://www.worldrecordsacademy.org/sports/most_miles_pedalled_world_record_set_by_Chris_Davies_101857.htm

    There were a lot of older touring bikes that were very well made, Miyata made one, as did Fuji, Bridgestone, Nishiki (Azuki's rebadged), Univega are just some of the examples,
     
  12. SierraSlim

    SierraSlim Active Member

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    Wow, Froze, I'm not feeling so old after all, LOL.

    Maybe I should GET one of those older bikes; we'd probably be a good fit for each other. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif It IS encouraging to know that if I actually manage to find a good bike, it can last a very long time -- could probably outlive me, from the sound of what you said! Though I'm now planning to live a lot longer, getting healthy through my pedaling.

    Most of the bikes on Craigslist, as you said, DO say they've been stored and not ridden much. I didn't know whether to believe that. But after what you pointed out, I thought it over, and remembered that MY bike sat in the garage for 2 years after I bought it new, before I really started riding it. So it does happen!

    It would be really nice to luck into one of those. I'll keep an eye out.

    Thanks!

    Sierra
     
  13. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    It's good to know I'm in good company! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
     
  14. i12ride

    i12ride New Member

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    .....and the steel frame is going to be more comfortable ride than aluminum frame would be. Nothing wrong with freshening up vintage quality. Cup & cone stuff is no magical mystery to adjust or work on. I would still steer you towards something like the bike you posted in the other thread based on your physical state comments, newness to riding, & that other bike being able to handle anything from moderate trail to touring to cruising around the neighborhood. Again, I wouldn't buy any specific type bike until you see where you wanna take things.
     
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