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Thread: Bicycle shopping

  1. #1
    RandallIsland
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    Bicycle shopping

    My last bicycle was a Lotus Excelle purchased new in 1986. It's long gone.
    I'm looking to get back into road bicycling in big way. When I left off, I was still doing 45 miles daily without thinking twice.

    I see a whole lot has changed.

    Gone are the days of Performance Catalogs being the nearly sure deal, right?

    What tip do y'all have for buying a new bike? Or a really good used one?
    What's the best thing to get past all the new to me marketing?

  2. #2
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    the best bike is one that is used

    Know what type of riding you will do when you select a bicycle. The harder you push the more you will want a forward leaning position. If you want to just toodle around you might be happy with a cruiser with a "Mary Poppins" posture. Make sure you are comfortable on the bike. I like a larger bike than the formulas would indicate. Good bike shops will leave you with a demo for several days. If your shop does not do this go to another shopl

    Pay attention to your contact points and how they fit. The seat - there are lots of pretty comfortable seats with a cut-away to take pressure off of the nerves of your man zone, the perineum . Even a narrow seat can be comfortable if you get one that makes its contact with the points of the pelvic bone. That is where you want to put your weight. A soft seat, or a wide seat is not necessarily a comfortable seat.

    As a general rule Mountain bikes (trials motorcycle) steer quick and can be twitchy on fast pavement. Racing bikes (600 cc sport motorcycle) are likewise very quick steering and more responsive than you might want for a leisurly ride. Cyclocross style bikes (R12GS motorcycle) make good touring bikes because the wheelbase is a bit longer and the steering geometry a bit more relaxed. Cyclocross bikes are really tough and can be taken off road they also have some snob appeal to those who know. Of course a purpose built touring bike (R12RT motorcycle) is practicle for most everything from commuting to fast long rides to sunday joy rides with your honey.

    I am a big fan of steel frames. They are heavier than aluminum or carbon, but they have some flex to soften the ride and they are very strong. Aluminum frame bikes are lighter and stiffer. If you were to opt for a suspended bike aluminum would be good because the stiffness of the frame would not result in a harsh ride. Carbon fiber bikes are strong, light and compliant. Most are built into racing type bikes and they are the MVs of bicycles. I have stopped being concerned about shaving ounces off of my bike. If I lost 10 pounds that would be worth $5000 worth of carbon fiber components.

    About suspension. If you get a suspended bike get one that has a lock out on the forks so that you do not waste energy pogoing up and down when you want to go forward. My mountain bike has a lock out fork and no rear suspension. If rough down hills get too rough I slow down. I'm too old to be a hero. If you ride mostly on the road you don't need suspension.

    Components - Beyond a certain point the money spent on high end parts (derailers, brakes, hubs wheels etc.) is only buying snob appeal. There are lots of really excellent component groups (groupos) that work smoothly and only lack in appearance. On the other hand some of the really fine groupos (campagnolo or ultegra) are works of art and priced accordingly.

    Derailers - You do not need a 30 speed bike. These require lots of delicate maintenance. If you can't find the right gear with 21 speeds get a rocking chair.

    Finally, disk brakes rock. New bikes are so much better than old bikes in so many ways that it defies description, but disk brakes ice the cake. Hayes makes a sweet hydraulic brake as do others. Mechanical (cable) disc brakes are not as good, but still awesome. I was on a ride where people on a tandem bike crashed because the friction brakes clamping the rim heated up the air in the tires so much that the air expanded resulting in a blow out. With disk brakes, not a problem.

    I own a dorky specialized commuter bike, a Cannondale Mt. bike, a Waterford road bike and I am having a local bike geek build me a touring bike. Biking is good.

    Thanks for asking.

  3. #3
    USERNAME
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    how long did you spend looking for the shifters on the new bikes?

    i'd figure between 1k and 2K for a good aluminum road bike with mid-range components that you're going to put a lot of miles on. if you're hardcore and want to race you may want to spend more. and of course you can spend less.

    i think knary just bought a road bike in the last year. maybe he'll chime in.

  4. #4
    larrydk
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    riding since 86

    I've been racing/riding since 1981 and although it seems that the equipment has changed drastically...just like when you were riding heavily in '86..it's the motor.

    Just yesterday in a group ride the consistently faster guys do not always have the best equipment. Over the years it's kind of become a general rule that the riders with the best equipment usually are not the strongest and definitely not the fastest.

    Since you are getting back into it the most important thing to consider is fit. Make sure the bike fits. Get something used and not very expensive. Spend the next 1-2 years getting your legs back. During this time you can get a feel for the equipment scene.

  5. #5
    Registered User gfspencer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larrydk View Post
    Since you are getting back into it the most important thing to consider is fit. Make sure the bike fits. Get something used and not very expensive. Spend the next 1-2 years getting your legs back. During this time you can get a feel for the equipment scene.
    +1


    Fit is THE most important thing IMHO. I would go with a bike that you can afford . . . bought from your Local Bike Store. They can "fit" you with a bike that fits your needs and fits your body.

    And check out a good bike forum - http://www.bikeforums.net/

  6. #6
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    new road bike

    Randall:

    I researched road bikes, on an on and off basis, for about 10 years, and I just bought an aluminum Lemond Reno. I read the roadie magazines from time to time for "value" reports, and also talked to sales people at the bike stores. You can also search the internet for user reports.

    I agree with the posters that fit is very important, so I would only buy from a specialty store where they can pick the frame and set it up properly. What drove the selection of my bike the most was my skill and endurance level, which is not that great, and the fact that I don't ride much, because I am usually on my BMW during the summer.

    So as much as I would love to have a full Campy steel Colnago, I didn't want to lay out $6,000 for something I would use fewer than 40 times during the riding season.

    So set your bike budget accordingly.

    Have fun. There are hundreds of fantastic models out there.

    Rinty
    Last edited by Rinty; 07-11-2007 at 04:34 PM. Reason: add something

  7. #7
    RandallIsland
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    Quote Originally Posted by username View Post
    how long did you spend looking for the shifters on the new bikes?
    Yea seriously!

    And I guess size does matter after all!!! Who knew?

    Thanks for all the tips folks. I'll post a pic when I add wheels to the living room.

  8. #8
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    Take your time

    Quote Originally Posted by username View Post
    how long did you spend looking for the shifters on the new bikes?
    Shifters - time, experience and frequent trips to the bike shop have taught me all about shifters, so it did not take me long at all. My old 10 speed had friction shifters that were simple, fool proof and lovely castings. I may have the same 35 year old friction shifters put on my new touring bike. I have decided that the twist grip shifters are not good for me because one could shift inadvertently.

    The new shifters are factory set to move the derailer the measured distance between the gears. On gear clusters with fewer gears (7 or 8) the distance is greater, so the tolerances do not need to be a tight. On gear clusters with more gears (9 or 10) the spacing is close so the shifter needs to operate under tight tolerances. They all work great the first week, or if they never get wet, but moisture will migrate down the cables and cables will stretch and shifting can quickly become reluctant and imprecise. Of course this can all be addressed with maintenance, but why buy into a frequent maintenance cycle cycle.

    On road bikes the shifters on the bar ends are handy and not likely to break in the event of a fall. The shifters built into the brake levers are very slick. You can paddle through the gears like a F1 driver and the shifts are smooth and precise. These are intricate mechanisms and they are sticking out there in case of a fall, but they would most likely get scuffed and not broken in most tumbles. If you get carbon fiber shifters they are never cold to the touch

    Trek now has a bike with a generator built into the front hub that powers an electric shifter on the rear hub. (automatic transmission!!) This sport/hobby/lifestyle is a black hole for spending on gadgets. (sound familiar)

    With all that said and done, If it were me I would budget myself not more than $1500 for a new bike. For that money you can get a really fine ride. (For $1500 you could get an incredible used bike if you knew what you were looking for, or you could buy another persons problem or you could get a stolen bike and be punched at the Starbucks when the real owner forcefully reclaims it) (or you could get a beat up R90/6). The new stuff is just so superior to anything even 5 years old. I would test ride lots of bikes for miles (a 5 mile ride with hills and a glide should give you a feel for its function and fit) A friend of mine was buying a bike so we both went out on demos and swapped bikes half way then returned and did it again. I would ask the neighborhood shops if they have 2006s in their back rooms so you could get your best deal. Even then there are locks, rack, helmet, eye protection, special tool, spares and on and on.

    GREAT FUN!!
    Last edited by Bob_M; 07-12-2007 at 05:25 AM.

  9. #9
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    +1 on a steel frame. If you want carbon fiber bling, get some nice forks, but otherwise get a frame that will last longer than any other component, can easily be fixed if broken, and can actually be used without always having to be paranoid about denting a thin aluminum wall or cracking something even more exotic.

    In short, you want the BMW of bicycles - reliable yet technologically advanced.

    I'd suggest you first look to Trek. They have tons of R & D $$$ invested in the pro tour, having equipped Team Discovery Channel/US Postal Service team for like the past 20 years or so. Remember that guy named Lance? Guess what he rode for his victories?

    Trek makes great steel frames, right here in the US of A. If you can't ride an American motorcycle, at least you can ride an American bicycle. Don't settle for the cheap stuff Trek imports from Taiwan. Get the quality upgrade and make sure the frame has the "Made in the USA" sticker on it.
    Seattle, WA
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    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  10. #10
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    Before you buy a bike check rivendellbicycles.com. American bicycling has become polluted by racing bikes that no longer represent the type of cycling we all do. Rivendell has the best written explanations of the difference between recreational and racing bicycles that I know. Buying most of the the serious $$ bikes these days is like buying a Ducati 999. A full bore street/racing bike just isn't what most of us want to ride anymore. If you are reading a BMW forum, then you know what I mean.


  11. #11
    Dee G flymymbz's Avatar
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    Rivendell........mmmmmm.....with a nice Brooks saddle and them way cool boxy leather panniers........... **sigh** someday.

    Our main 'rides' right now are Giants and Treks. The better half has a full carbon Giant racing bike that cost almost as much as the R1200C. He doesn't ride it much, though. We do have a pair of Giant touring bikes. about $1000 each, they are a bit heavy, but they'll carry you over road and gravel and mud and streams and not let you down. They also come with them "attach points" for racks and panniers, if you so choose to put them on.

    I haven't done as much pedal biking as I'd like to, I'm just having too much fun on powered bikes.
    Too damn many bikes to list

  12. #12
    bmdubyou
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    I just got a deal on a Cannondale...aluminum Criterium frame with Dura Ace components at an auction. I didnt go to the sale for the bike actually but when I saw it I thought..."well, I'll just see what it goes for"...The frame is a good fit but the stem is a bit long and puts the handlebars out a ways for my liking but that can easily be changed. Anyway, I found myself bidding $125 and won it! I met the owner later & found out it was a $2000 bike 20 yrs ago. its still in pristine condition!

  13. #13
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    bicycycles

    McClimans:

    You hit the jackpot with that deal. And with the $1750 you saved, you can get a stem that fits you.

    Rinty

  14. #14
    BMW MOA co-founder bmwdean's Avatar
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    A shaft drive bicycle may or may not work for you:

    http://motos.home.att.net/bicycle.htm
    Jeff Dean − BMW MOA Co-founder (1972)
    '17 R1200RT, '15 R1200RT, '67 R60/2, '69 R60US, '55 R67/3, '49 R24

  15. #15
    R90S
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    Bicycles

    Huh. My other passion.

    I have been riding for a long time.

    STP, Swan River Valley, Whiskey Dick, Couer D'Alene trail are some of my favorite rides.

    Get the best bike FIT you can. Your bike will likely come with crummy wheels and pedals. Get the best WHEELS you can find and decent pedals too.

    Get shoes that fit, bike shorts and gloves, and a HELMET.

    Pump up your tires before each ride.

    When you start out, spin rather than mash the pedals. Your knees will thank you.

    Cheers,

    Jon-Lars
    Beverly, WA

    Trimble Panel Bike w/ full Mavic/ Specialized Tri-Spokes
    Independent Fabrication w/ Full Dura Ace/ 6 wheelsets
    Cannondale w/ Full Mavic
    Diamondback MTB
    Bacchetta Giro

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