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  1. #1
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    tips for a newcomer?

    I'm just getting back into biking. I've purchased a Trek 830 Antelope, I figure if cycling sticks I can upgrade, but I know Trek is a good name and I enjoy this bike.

    My questions are on the accessories. I see a lot things offered by Bell, is that a good company? I like a $15 wireless 15 function speedometer they offer. They also have some nicely priced helmets. I don't have a lot of money to spend on state of the art stuff.

    Looks like Schwinn has some accessories in my price range also. They were the bike to have back in my day, but I don't see the Schwinn name tossed around in cycling forums very often. Have they slipped? Do they make decent accessories?

    Also, one thing I wish my bike had is the vertical grips I've seen on some bikes. They stick out of the end of the handlebars and look like they would provide a comfortable alternative grip. Do those have a name? Can I buy and install them on my handlebars?

    Do the gel covers for saddles (just picked up that bit of lingo) work?

    Is it worth it to get a 'bike kit' or cycling shorts?

    Thanks for your time, I really appreciate your help,
    JTN

  2. #2
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    Welcome to cycling! I think your bike sounds just fine, and you should get a lot of use out of it.

    As far as accessories....

    I have a Bell Metro commuter helmet, and I like it a lot. A cheap certified helmet is just as good as a fancy one - it's all about style, really. So a Bell would be fine there.

    Other Bell accessories.... not so good. Especially the lights. With lights, I think you have to spend a little more, or they just won't last. (Exception is the Planet Bike rear blinky - cheap and good). I don't know about the computer, but based on my experience, I'd stay away from it.

    I think Schwinn sold out to a Taiwanese (?) company, some time ago, so they don't have the brand cache' they once had. Frankly, based on my own frustrating experiences with accessories purchased from big box stores, I recommend against them.

    Cheaper options can be found on Nashbar or Performance Bike. I've found that the generic Nashbar stuff works just fine. Watch for coupons on this forum and wait for the free shipping days.

    Gel seat covers? Most people don't like them. Paradoxically, a firmer saddle is often more comfy for most riders. (see the almost universal acclaim for leather Brooks saddles here) But you have to find the saddle you like. If you're not riding a long distance and you're pretty upright on the bike, a gel cover MIGHT work. I've used them in the past when my saddle was ripped and I couldn't afford a brand new one. But it really depends on you, and how long you're riding.

    Properly fitting bike shorts are really nice especially on rides longer than 10 miles.

    Frankly, it you're just starting out, some comfy shorts might do you fine for a while, until you get your bike legs going and want to go longer distances. Nashbar is a good place for entry-level clothing too.

    You'll figure things out as you get more experienced, but right now, go out and ride and have fun!

  3. #3
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtn3833 View Post
    Also, one thing I wish my bike had is the vertical grips I've seen on some bikes. They stick out of the end of the handlebars and look like they would provide a comfortable alternative grip. Do those have a name? Can I buy and install them on my handlebars?
    They're called bar ends. There are many to choose from and they will fit on your bike, but you'll need to move your hand grips in a little and/or maybe cut off the end of them. Talk to your bike shop.

    Oh yeah, have fun riding!
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  4. #4
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Eventually, you'll probably want to carry more on your bike. Backpacks are okay, but then you end up with a sweaty back all the time, and they don't really hold that much. Most cyclists opt for one of two methods to carry heavier loads:

    1. Get a messenger bag.
    2. Put a rack on your bike, and use panniers (er, saddlebags). Make sure they're waterproof.

    I use panniers. So do a lot of other cyclists. They're comfortable, you don't get a sweaty back, and you can carry a lot. But they turn the bike into a minivan as far as performance is concerned. If you're into performance, use messenger bags. For much bigger loads, such as a propane tank for the BBQ, trailers help a lot. (I tried using my rack and nylon straps to transport a propane tank, and it worked, but I'll never do it again, thank you.)
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtn3833 View Post
    I'm just getting back into biking. I've purchased a Trek 830 Antelope, I figure if cycling sticks I can upgrade, but I know Trek is a good name and I enjoy this bike.
    Good solid bike. What are you using it to do? Commute? Recreational riding? Trails?

    Quote Originally Posted by jtn3833 View Post
    My questions are on the accessories. I see a lot things offered by Bell, is that a good company? I like a $15 wireless 15 function speedometer they offer. They also have some nicely priced helmets. I don't have a lot of money to spend on state of the art stuff.
    Don't waste it on the computer then. Instead, buy things that are useful. I would say a good u-lock is more useful than a computer. So is a good helmet. So are fenders if you ride in wet weather. Lots of things to buy, and unless you're training for competition (and you're not, or you wouldn't be riding that Trek 830), a computer isn't as essential as other accessories.

    Quote Originally Posted by jtn3833 View Post
    Is it worth it to get a 'bike kit' or cycling shorts?
    A kit, only worth it if you want the look (and it would look ridiculous on a Trek 830). Jerseys and cycling shorts? Absolutely worth it. In fact, I'll take a guess that gel shorts will be a better upgrade than a gel saddle cover.

  6. #6
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order View Post
    Don't waste it on the computer then. Instead, buy things that are useful. I would say a good u-lock is more useful than a computer. So is a good helmet. So are fenders if you ride in wet weather. Lots of things to buy, and unless you're training for competition (and you're not, or you wouldn't be riding that Trek 830), a computer isn't as essential as other accessories.
    I disagree. As a newbie it's nice to see the improvements in performance. Since your performance will increase the most in the beginning, and basic cycle computers are only $20 or so, I say get one now. You won't regret it, they're fun to monitor.
    Last edited by AlmostTrick; 07-27-07 at 12:21 AM.
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  7. #7
    BF's Level 12 Wizard SingingSabre's Avatar
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    I suggest prioritizing your accessories.

    I don't think of a helmet as an accessory. Or a U-lock. Those are necessities in my book (although some disagree about the helmet, I know of no U-lock dissenters).

    What do you want to do with riding? Race? Off-road? Commute? Ride for fun? All the above?
    How far will you be riding?
    What kind of weather will you be riding in?

    Questions like these will help determine which accessories you need. For instance, if you're riding anything over 3mi, you'll probably want some sort of bike shorts to keep the dreaded saddle-sweat from getting on your clothes. Wet weather almost necessitates fenders. Things like that.
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  8. #8
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    I really appreciate everyone's help in this thread. Thanks for the links also, nashbar looks like a great resource.

    I'm in loose training for a super sprint triathlon (400yd swim/18mile bike/3mile run) in October. It's given me a focus to shape up, I'm not in bad shape now but I want to tone up and lose a little weight. I'm not interested in winning the triathlon, I just want to complete it.

    I have the other aspects of the triathlon covered - a friend with a large swimming pool and a good route to run. Once I bought the bike I rediscovered how much I enjoy riding. I know the 830 is heavy for a race, but I just needed a bike and it fits me well for right now.

    I also plan on biking to work occasionally, it's only about five miles, and recreational biking with my girlfriend.

    Thanks again,
    JTN

  9. #9
    Senior Member RussB's Avatar
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    lots of good questions. First , goog choice on a brand of bike, I love my Trek. Schwinn has become more of a dept. store type bike. There are quite a few nice brands out there that have spent alot on R&D.

    Can't tell you about bar-ends. I have drops and have quite a few hand positions to choose from.

    Gel saddles? don't waste your money. I tried them a couple years age. It will only help if you have a really hard saddle, but thats only temporary. The cover will keep moving around on you.

    Your best choice will be either a medium padded saddle of a hard saddle while using padded shorts. I hear some bike shops have cheap used saddle you can buy. Or try Ebay to buy saddles cheap. Finding a comfortable saddle is mostly trial and error. Try this link for more saddle info:
    http://active.com/story.cfm?story_id...tegory=cycling It's called "The quest for the perfect saddle".

    As far as storing accessories, I use an under the saddle wedge bag for tools and a spare tube. I also had a small triangle shaped bag right under my top bar for keys, cell phone etc. Also don't for get to buy an air pump.

    Nasbar.com and performance.com both have a wide selection. Just one thing, Don't but the following items on line. Gloves, helmets and shoes. This is only because these items you need to try them on first for a good fit. Also for clothing try a sports clothing shop. You'll find much more resonable prices.

  10. #10
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    Cycle in jeans, roll them up if you wish.

    Bell is a good name. Computer wise don't know. Cadence is the real deal, you want one that shows candence. Strada Cadence by Cateye is good. $35.. Otherwise if you want cheap computer find one on eBay.


    As far as helmet, Bell all the way. Get a cool looking helmet. Bell mountain bike helmet and Sweep XC are pretty much coolest looking helmets from Bell. Others don't look that good. One is $25 and the other $90+. Again eBay.


    You going to need cages and bottles.


    A pump with a hose. Don't get small pump without a hose. Get a good pump, such as Topeak Road Morph or the like, the one that has a hose with it.


    Get a saddle bag, wedge bag. For holding a multi tool, a spare tube, and a patch kit. Plus a pair of gloves and a plastic pulix bag for changing tube and carrying old dirty tube once changed.


    A light is a must. But beware, most lights (tail lights) a plastic and fall off when the bike falls off.


    Your most important equipement are your shoes or the pedals you use. If SPD pedals, must have SPD shoes. If no SPD pedals must have ties that hold your feet to the pedals. That's what makes you fall off most of the time, but also allows you to ride faster and easier. Safer too. Nothing to hold your feet down will make them come loose from pedals when going over bumps, bad.


    You might also opts for carrying a back pack. If you do, have several more tubes in there and some more tools.


    Hydrate. 24 oz bottle should last 5 miles, no longer. Add good mix drinks, propell or gatorade. You need a lot of sodium. Pure water won't cut it.


    Get a bar end mirror. This shows drivers behind, thought body language, when you see them and when you don't see them. Helmet mirror is ok, but not as safe.



    Another thing, if going SPD get mountain shoes with spikes. A) they provide traction on oily urban roads. B) Spikes provide traction on oil wet urban roads. and C) spikes look dangerous and keep drivers with bad intensions away from you. Last one is my personal observation.

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