Recreational & Family - Looking for bike recommendation, Cyclocross, Hybrid, Roadie
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08-01-04, 06:43 PM
I am 5'6, 180lbs. Looking for a bike for recreational use and more. I would like to get into biking for health reasons and not to race necessarily. The amount of time I wish to put on this bike will be about 30 minutes per day, three to 4 times a week; maybe longer time and distances over the weekend if I decide to explore the trails with someone. Most of the trails in my area are paved or hard dirt and I don't have any intentions of going mountain biking, much too daring for my wife who will worry for my life or broken bones.
I have a cheapie mountain bike and can't get it going fast enough. I also don't like the feel of it. In the past I have had cheapie road bikes. I am used to the handle bars in both configurations and would assume that the roadie configuration is more efficient. I am flexible enough but a nice saddle is a must. The current bike hurts my arse like no one's business :)
I think my range is from a hybrid to a cyclocross to a road bike. I am leaning more towards the road bike but I question the comfort of it at my age (38). I can see on this forum that steel bikes seem to be more comfortable?
Finally, the budget, I will spend more if I need to but ideally I would like to purchase it for an OTD price of $600, including tax (not including a helmet). I wish I could spend a grand or more like others but I need to see if I will stick to the hobby first and therefore not have a $2000 plus bike sit idle in my garage gathering dust. I am figuring if I stick with it, I can always sell this, not waste too much money, give it to my wife, whatever and go spend more money.
I have heard and looked at Trek on the website, a few others. I plan to visit a bike shop shortly as well but needed some input from someone here.
My wife and I recently bought Specialized Expedition Sports. I'm pretty pleased with them, although the gearing is kinda low for my tastes. Another option might be the Crossroads line from Specialized, which has taller gearing, although the saddle isn't as comfy as the Expedition. With what you are looking to spend though, you can easily replace the saddle with something more comfortable. The riding position is more upright on these "comfort bikes" which is nice for us, as we've both had carpel tunnel.
We haven't been serious riders, although I think that is quickly changing. We've been doing short rides the last couple of weeks, as in less than 10 miles. Yesterday we did just short of 30 miles averaging 10 mph with a short break in the middle. We both got a little sore in the back side but nothing too drastic. Good biking shorts with a chamois makes a big difference too.
Just my input...that being that I am happy with what we bought.
08-02-04, 12:25 AM
Look at the trek 7100, and 7300. The 7100 has 11-34 cassette which will b a good for climbing hills. and a price is about 300 dollars. If you want to spend more on a bike. The 7500 is nice.
08-02-04, 12:29 AM
I plan to visit a bike shop shortly as well but needed some input from someone here.
You will probably get better, more focused advice here after you have visited your bike shop and narrowed down your choices. To start with, you are not sure what kind of bike you want yet. It has to be capable of riding on dirt, but you don't plan to do any serious off-road or technical mountain biking. This narrows you to hybrid, mountain bike or cyclocross (I am not familiar with that type, sorry for my ignorance). That is still a pretty broad selection. If you are used to cheaper department store bikes, I'd be willing to bet you are more than pleased with the bike you can buy for $600 or less.
I am 5'6, 180lbs. Looking for a bike for recreational use and more. I would like to get into biking for health reasons and not to race necessarily.
What are "health reasons"? Have you suffered a heart attack and your doctor says you need to lose weight quickly, or do you feel just a bit overweight for your height and want to get in better shape? For $600 or less, you can get a bike good enough to have tons of fun and get some great exercise. But you probably cannot race with it.
I am used to the handle bars in both configurations and would assume that the roadie configuration is more efficient.
Correct -- road bike position is more efficient. Whether or not a road bike is right for you depends on MUCH more than the efficiency of the bike style. Just like a hybrid car being more efficient does not mean it's the best choice for a family of 10. A $600 mountain bike will be exceedingly more comfortable and efficient than a $150 mountain bike.
I need to see if I will stick to the hobby first and therefore not have a $2000 plus bike sit idle in my garage gathering dust.
Don't worry -- there is absolutely no shame in not owning a $2000 bike. Bikes in that price range are very specialized, and only desirable or practical or useful for a very small percentage of the bicycling population. Bicycles are great machines, and can be enjoyed in one form or another by 7 year olds and 77 year olds. If you consider how diverse the cycling population is, a $600 bike is a very luxurious option for at LEAST 50% of the bicycling population.
I am flexible enough but a nice saddle is a must.
Don't get your hopes up! :D It is hard to find a comfortable saddle - period. Much less find a bike that comes with a comfy saddle. You can like find saddles in the $50-150 range, however, that are much more comfy than what you are used to. Find one and put it on your Xmas list.
I plan to visit a bike shop shortly as well but needed some input from someone here.
Many of your questions will be answered by a 30-minute trip to the bike shop. There you can test ride a variety of styles, and probably get some customized input from a sales rep. That's the great thing about a local bike shop, and a reason to patronize them frequently, even when a few bucks can be saved online. Personally, I like to spread my purchases around to different stores in my neighborhood, and, occasionally online.
Get a road bike. You won't regret it.
Propperly outfitted some recumbents can do dirt, bike path type stuff, although not technical trail riding. They are more expensive than other bikes although you can get an entry level one for under a grand. The seat is generally well padded, nice and wide, with a backrest. You ride relaxed. Just a thought, you might want to check one out.
08-02-04, 01:01 PM
You a right to consider a spectrum of bike styles. For your kind of riding, you want a more general purpose mount than a pure race bike.
For non-racing use, either a light-touring bike (racy, but with triple chainring and fender eyelets), a std touring bike (fatter tyres and sturdyer frame), or a cyclo-cross are ideal. You can switch to 25mm tyres for a fast racy feel, or fit wider rubber for ruff-stuff.
Fuji make a good value tourer that is well proven. Bianchi do the Volpe, a good all-rounder.
If you aren't intending to ride for more than an hour or two at a time then flat bars will be fine and you can get STI shifters at a far better price than drop ones. Likewise if you don't intend to do serious mountain biking then suspension is a waste of time and money.
Something like this maybe? http://www.specialized.com/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=5996 The RRP is $770 so should be able to find it for less. The 700c wheels mean you have the choice of road, cyclocross or touring tyres which as you aren't into DH is fine. The cassette ratio isn't ideal but this can be changed.
The only other thing you might want is a suspension seatpost or a sprung brooks saddle - if you negotiate with a bike shop they should swap stuff for the difference in price.
I think the Bianchi Volpe has a MSRP of around $700 US. At your age, I would strongly suggest that you get a bike where the handlebars are no lower than the saddle. Don't let the bikeshop cut the steerer tube until you check this.
08-02-04, 08:03 PM
My girlfriend and I each picked up a Jamis Explorer 3.0 for biking similar to what you describe and have had no complaints. The 24 gears seem to work just fine for the moderate hills we climb and the bike is comfortable on paved surfaces and hike and bike trails of the packed dirt/clay and gravel type. While the knobby mountain bike tires increase drag and slow you down on pavement the bike does balance well if you haven't sat on one in years. At $400 after tax it was enough bike to have quality while we improve and not so expensive that I'll regret the purchase if I move on to a nice road bike in the next year or so.
I would avoid an extremely cheap bike since buying one almost insures that you WON'T enjoy cycling but you can pretty good quality in the $300 range at your local bike shop. At that price point there seems to be little functional difference between manufacturers since they seem to use a lot of the same components so it would come down to what fits you best.
Hopefully things will work out for you. I'm really enjoying MY new hobby. :)
08-04-04, 01:20 AM
Ok, been doing some homework. Getting there.
I testrode two bikes today, Giant Cypress LX and Giant OCR3, two different animals as you can tell. Here is my quick review although do remember I am newbie who has a crappy $190 MTB, so YMMV.
Felt every bump (obviously), 25c tires
Love the breaks on the handlebars and on the drop down. To me this is a great feature if you had to react quickly.
Shifter took me a little getting used to because it's different than what I have had but it's fine once you do. Shifts great. I did however had a rattling noise on the smallest of the sprockets (in the front). Could be a tuning issue.
Wish it had slightly bigger tires (which you may not want if you want a true road bike)
Around $600 plus accessories
Giant Cypress LX:
It rode better than my current MTB
I don't think it was faster
Did have upgraded components, disc brakes although the front was noisy. Again, maybe an adjustment was needed.
Shifting was good.
Decent price, $470.00 plus accesories
I think I did learn that I prefer the road bike type handlebars versus mountain bike (flat).
I know bigger tires, 700 x 30 would be probably what I would like to see on my choice of bike.
I did see some Trek models as well but I am not sure if I am sold on the shifting (twist) on the 71xx through 73xx. What has your experience been? I haven't rode them yet but I am not sure if I want a mountain bike type handle (flat?).
I did see the Trek 1000 and 1000c. I am reaching the upper limit of my budget (and then some) but may take the dive if I really love it. I can't tell from the pics if it has breaks like the OCR3 and don't recall.
The frame size recommended to me was 17-18" with one guy trying to sell me a 2003 Fisher bike with a 14" frame. Glad I didn't buy that one.
The OCR3 looks like a far better bike. As I keep saying - if you want on road suspension then get fatter tyres and a sprung brooks saddle (http://www.brookssaddles.com/frames/atb_trekking.htm). I would suspect though as you ride more you will get used to using your legs as shock absorders and lightening the weight on the bars as approporiate. The crosstop levers are great and you can retrofit them to most bikes (cane creek sell them).
Just to tempt you to spend more money ;-) then OCR2 has better gearing in the form of tiagra versus the sora on the OCR3. Not too sure about the funky wheels but if you wouldn't be repairing them yourself then it probably doesn't matter. Sora is okay but not fully compatible with the rest of the shimano road range making upgrading/replacing harder and more expensive in the long run.
08-12-04, 11:14 AM
Decided to go with the Jamis Satellite. To me it was a better ride even though I am living in the 80s with oldish componentry and a steel frame. Almost bought a Quest with 105 group but I can always upgrade in future if I really get hardcore into biking.
Thanks for everyone's help.
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