I want to purchase a road bicycle. Advice? Suggestions?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Adam Bluhm, Mar 9, 2004.

  1. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    About nine months ago I began eating healthy (off and on [​IMG] ), exercising and lifting weights now and then. I want to mix in more cardio into my workout, other than the same old treadmill workout.

    Basically, I don't know much about bikes (road bikes). I don't know of any good manufacturers, options/features to look for or how much a good bike runs. I do know that I originally wanted to spend $500, but am willing to move up to as much as $700. I don't usually put a pricetag on an item I want to buy and get whatever I can afford, but rather (like many of you, I'm sure) research it all I can and make an educated decision. I usually end up spending more than anticipated. However, not knowing what to look for, I didn't want to go hog wild on it.

    I live in Northeast PA and the roads are not great by any means. I'd likely use the bike for 85% cardio/workouts and 15% commuting (workout commuting [​IMG] ).

    Can anyone give me suggestions toward good names, good sites, good gear, etc etc etc? Also, I'd like to go to a local shop and ride some, but the closest is a Dick's Sporting Goods (an hour away. yes, I'm in the middle of almost no where) and they have mostly mountain bikes.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Joe S

    Joe S Second Unit

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    4
    Adam,
    I'm no expert on bikes (I bought my 18 speed FUJI in 1985), but I know the $500 to $700 range might be the low end for a GOOD bike. The good names I can think of are Trek and Cannondale. I find it disturbing that places like Dick's carry mainly Mountain bikes. I couldn't find road bike tires there a couple years ago after I got a flat.
    The best thing would be to talk to several bike shops, but your location seems to prevent that.

    Search the web, read and study. I'm sure someone else here will have some good suggestions.

    I've been riding for enjoyment and exercise in the Summer for about 20 years. I won't win any races, but I just enjoy being out on a warm, sunny day.

    Now, I have to relate this story- shortly after I got that bike, I rode with a friend up this mountain road (very steep in places). We reached the top and after a while, proceeded to go back DOWN the mountain. I poured on the speed, then hit some rough spots on the road. My friend, who was a ways back, told me my bike looked like it was bouncing around under me. It was a little scary...I finally got on a stable surface. When we reached the bottom of the hill, I looked at my cyclometer. It had recorded a max speed of 51 mph.
     
  3. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trek says these are the bikes for me. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the post, Joe. Any further input is appreciated!
     
  4. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    0
    A bike is a long term investment, so it may be worth spending closer to $1000.

    For starters, I would recommend NOT going to a general purpose sporting goods store, but instead someone who specifically sells just bicycles (though REI has some good stuff). At a bike store the employees will actually know what their talking about, and will be much more helpful in finding a bike the works for you. Out of the chain bike stores, Performances is decent.

    I haven't ridden a road bike in quite a few years, so I don't feel qualified enough to give any advice on a particular bike, but Kona, Cannondale and Specialized all make great bikes.

    Here's a good guide on buying road bikes:

    http://bicycletherapy.com/site/page.cfm?PageID=43
     
  5. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    4,368
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    "on a little street in Singapore"
    Real Name:
    Yee Ming Lim
    That's a nice guide!

    It's been years since I bought my old 10-speed (maybe 18?), at that time there was no internet so my guide was Eugene Sloan's excellent book (which also teaches you maintenance). Back then 10-speed was standard, maybe Dura-Ace level components would allow 14-speed, and shifters were all friction, with index shifting just coming in at the top end.

    My 2-cents? If it's a one-time purchase, get the best you can, as the guide says, upgrading isn't cost-effective. But if you do want to go incrementally (HT enthusiast's mindset, perhaps?[​IMG] ), start with the best frame and wheels you can afford, since these have the largest impact on weight, and therefore performance. That's what I did, though I didn't upgrade much (poor student at the time, by the time I graduated and started working I hardly had time to ride anymore anyway).
     
  6. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    So you would recommend buying parts and not a fully assembled bike?
     
  7. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    0


    For your price range, that isn't practical.
     
  8. Roy Jenkins

    Roy Jenkins Auditioning

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    for a bike that is for exercise $700 is fine. dont blow money unless your gonna get serious about it as a sport. you dont need to win races or anything, the point is to get a workout.
     
  9. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 1999
    Messages:
    12,792
    Likes Received:
    1,461
    I think that spending closer to $1000.00 is a good thing. As was said above, if you're going to get into biking, and you find that you enjoy it enough to want to really ride a lot, then it is a long term investment.

    The better bikes have matching component groups that work well together, so a built up bike is the way to go to get started. I have not been to the bike shop in a year or so, but they pretty much have shifters integrated into the brakes, so you can have your hands on the handle bars and shift too. Excellent for safety and handy when standing and climbing.

    Things to keep in mind, $50 to $100 for a good helmet. If you find that you are really into biking, and the bije does not have clipless pedals, you'll want to consider adding clipless pedals to the bike which will require biking shoes that have cleats that engage into the pedals. The advantage is that the shoes are locked in the pedals so your feet are one with the pedals. Adds greater efficiency when pedalling, and power too. When one foot is on the down stroke, the other can lift a little. So figure in about $50 to $180 for shoes. For my money, my favorite shoes are by Sidi, but they are pricey. When you first use these kinds of pedals, it's awkward to get in and out and there's a natural fear you'll fall over and not be able to disengage the shoe. A good bike shop will show you how to get in and out and will adjust the tension to make disengagment easy.

    Good bike brands I would consider that have bikes set up like this include Bianchi, Specialized, Trek and Cannondale to name a few off the top of my head. The components on these bikes are dominated by Shimano. My bike is an old Bianchi retrofitted with new Shimano 105 with a triple ring in front for added lower gearing to climb. Helps us older riders. My newer bike is a Specialized Allez with Shimano 600 components. My next bike will likely be a higher end Bianchi with Camponello components. The better components work better in that they shift right each time and last longer.

    That's a lot of stuff. So I'll end it here. Good luck with your bike search. And get out there and ride!

    Try these sites: http://www.performancebike.com/ and http://www.supergo.com/

    Specialized and Bianchi

    Nelson
     
  10. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,654
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Pittsfield, MA
    Real Name:
    Jay
    Be still my aching heart... Another commmuter??? GREEEEAATTT, love to hear about another commuter, you'll find it absolutely a blast to have so much fun going to work. I look forward to going to work and I need no alarm to get up at 5;30 every day to get to work. It's so fun, it feels like it should be illegal.

    15% commuting, how far and how do you plan on packing gear, messenger bag, rear rack? backpack? If you ever have plans on touring or commuting more, like year round. (I live in Northern NJ and I commute year round) I would get a specific bike only for commuting and perhaps maybe a single speed for winter commutes (ease of maintenance) But say if you plan on biking to work only 15% of the time, I would simply concentrate on getting a good road bike WITH eyelets. Not all road bikes (especially the higher prices racing models) are going to have eyelet mounts for fenders and racks so if you have even an inkling of commuting, I would first look for a bike that has rack mounts. Fender mounts are even more iffy. I would think most rec. bikes would have lower eyelets for racks, but definitely check. You can put racks on bikes without them but why do that when you can get bikes with them already on. Steel bikes can be easily modified to add eyelets too from a qualified welder but again, why go through the cost and trouble.

    A backpack in the summer will be hot, no matter what it's made out of so you might consider a small rear rack for commuting, or perhaps a large saddleback from Carradice that you can take off when you're just out for a ride. Sounds like that is the best deal cause seems like you will mostly be doing fitness rides.

    Trek makes decent bikes, popular, can't go wrong, they are starting to make a bunch of commuting and more rec. bikes now. The LXXX series is a very interesting commuting option with internal geared hubs and a more upright position, as well as racks already sold with the bike and fenders.

    Don't worry about frame material although if you plan on riding in the winter and rain, an AL bike should last longer. Fenders is great if you plan on commuting in the rain, so check that out. So the number one thing to do is try on a different bikes and find one that is comfy. Trek, Bianchi, Lemond, Giant, Speciallized, etc. etc. etc. etc. all make good bikes and are big enough to make enough volume to keep the costs down.

    Where in NE PA are you? How close are you to High Point, NJ?

    Happy commuting!

    Currently my commuter is in the shop after my rear derailleur exploded. (literally). Had to shorten the chain to get home and bent my der. hanger in the process...

    If you aren't too far from me, I can show you some good shops in NW NJ....

    From your list, the 1200 seems like it would be my choice for best value. Tiagra is probably the lowest set of parts Shimano makes for general use... and I'm not to keen on those semi-radially laced Bontragers on the 1500 for commuting or for bad roads like around here. Wheels are going to be your most important asset on bad roads and commuting.

    I forgot to mention too, if you plan on commuting, find out the largest wheel you can fit that your bike will support, (the fork legs and brake clearance). The bike should be able to support road tires of 700x30 or more, 700x35 is probably really good for commuting, but not all bikes will support that and that is another thing you should look at if you plan on commuting any length of time..

    Feel free to email me anything, I've been commuting by bike for 3 years and 2 winters, I do on a mountain bike but I road bike and tour like a madman anyway...


    Jay
     
  11. BradleyS.

    BradleyS. Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    The main thing you need to decide for yourself is if you are buying the bike for exercise and fun or if you think you might want to start competing. That will determine your price range. For just general excercise and riding the 500-700 range will get you a very good bike. The more expensive bikes are a little lighter weight and might have slightly better components, but any bike you get over 500 will have good stuff on it anyway. You might also want to look into a mountain bike. They will work fine for commuting and will offer you more versatility for excercising. If you have any off-road trails near you those are a great source of excercise. I would recommend a trek or specialized bike and if you look at mountain bikes gary fishers are also very good.
     
  12. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2000
    Messages:
    1,224
    Likes Received:
    0
    $500 will get you entry level in a road bike, so consider it good for working out and the occasional stroll around on the weekend. It will have the lowest end component groups on it and there will be a mix of some generic components as well.

    $700 will get you into the mid-price range, the component levels rise pretty good in terms of quality, the frame will be a little lighter, a little stiffer, etc.

    Don't get to hung up on price tags, you are better off riding a $500-700 bike than not riding a $1,500 bike because you haven't bought it yet.

    If you are commuting I would certainly look at getting a mountain bike and putting "street" tires on it, they are quite a bit more rugged, take more punishment and can haul more stuff.

    The most important piece is fit, fit and fit, get the bike fitted to you, if you aren't comfortable on the bike you won't ride it.

    Andrew
     
  13. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well I'll try to answer some questions here so you fellas know what I'm looking for.



    I didn't even think of that. [​IMG] Kudos.
     
  14. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would also second looking into a mountain bike (specifically a hardtail) if you're going to be doing a good bit or riding on city streets.
     
  15. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2002
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
  16. Seth--L

    Seth--L Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2003
    Messages:
    1,344
    Likes Received:
    0
  17. DonRoeber

    DonRoeber Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2001
    Messages:
    1,849
    Likes Received:
    0
    Because of the roads here in Suburban Philadelphia, I decided to get a Trek Hybrid bike, instead of a road bike,when I purchased mine last year. I don't use it for commuting, just exercise, and have been very happy with it. I don't recall exactly what model it is, but I -think- it's a Trek 7300.
     
  18. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,654
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Pittsfield, MA
    Real Name:
    Jay
    Hi Adam, the hybrid would be OK if you were doing more commuting and want a flat bar. Do you know whether you are more comfy with the flat bar like a MTB or the drop bars like a road bike? If you are only going to be 15% commuting, how are the roads you would go when you are just riding. Frankly, I think you would be happier getting a pure road bike and just use that to commute. 2.5 miles is NOT long so I don't think you would get too beat up commuting on bad roads on a pure road bike. You can even eventually get a different set of wheels with fatter tires, perhaps tougher tires (for glass and stuff) and just commute on that. If you're spending 85% of your time riding to train and excercise, I think it would be more fun to get a road bike than a MTB with slicks or a hybrid. I commute on a MTB because 70% of my commute is off road and I also do commute in winter where the MTB tires are a necessity. When I first started to bike commute, I only did it in the summer and on the roads, and I used a racing bike. A Lemond Zurich which I still use to commute and run errands now and then when space is not an issue. I have this rack/pack for it:

    http://www.riversidecycles.com/Aero.html

    Great pack, great folks (slow wait!) because it's small but is pretty aero as your body shields most, if not all the cross section. It's also pretty good sized for commuting, I can fit a whole set of clothes, my lunch and my bike tools in there.

    But in either case, if you enjoy cycling and perhaps think you might enjoy riding dirt rail trails and paths, a hybrid or a mountain bike will do well for you. That's the problem with a compromise, like a hybrid, it isn't the best for neither the road or the trail so if you see yourself getting into cycling more for the sport of it, you might want to go with a full mountain bike and use slicks to commute, like mentioned above. But based on your first post and the assumption that it's all road riding, I'd suggest a road bike with provisions to commute.

    [​IMG]

    Jay
     

Share This Page