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  1. #1
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    A Clydesdale from Vacaville, Ca.

    Hello there,

    This is Danny from Vacaville, about midway between SF and Sacramento. I'm new to cycling as I have spent the last 6 years running off and on (but ran enough to train for and complete a marathon in 2003). But at 250 lbs, I find that the wear and tear on my joints is too much for that weight.

    So I am trying to take up cycling to see if my body likes that better. I did cycle for cross-training during the early stages of my marathon training, but I got hit by a car and broke both bones in my forearm (right up near the wrist), so I have been a little skittish getting back into cycling.

    Being new to the sport, the I just grabbed my son's MTB (yes it was from a department store [Sportmart]) and I started riding that. Those knobby tires aren't worth a poop on the road I found out, so I grabbed some 26x2.0 road tires and I have been on those ever since. I am getting about 35-40 miles per week in right now.

    I have been looking at getting a road bike, but wasn't sure if I should spend the $$$ on a low end "legitimate" bike (about $530 or so from what I can see) or go to the 'dreaded' department store and pick up one of those Kent GMC Denali's for $150.

    After reading through this forum and doing other internet searches I am pretty sure what the response would be if I were to ask, so I won't.

    But what I will ask is maybe some ideas on the low-end 'real' road bikes. Is there a place to go to get an idea of what the low-end 'real' bikes are?

    I have heard that many of the frames are all built out in China, or Taiwan, and that the components that are put on them are the big difference. Is this true?

    Is a Fuji Newest 1.0 (or 2.0) similar to the low-end Trek's (just $100's cheaper)? That's what I was told at one of the LBS went I went in to look at the bikes (they had Fuji's in stock).

    Anyway, as I get familiar with the diffent thread areas maybe I can repost these questions, if I do not hear back.

    BTW - I like this forum so far. Keep up the good work.

    Danny

  2. #2
    Mooninite shakeNbake's Avatar
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    Hey Danny,
    I'm 240 lbs(down from 290 last x-mas), I use to ride a walmart MTB. Then few months ago decided to get a road bike.

    I got a Schwinn Fastback Sport, about the same spec as Trek 1000, for $539 out the door. Click the pic in my signature.

    I love it.

  3. #3
    Perma-Clyde (51)'s Avatar
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    I have a Trek 7200, which is a hybrid, but all I do is put road miles on it. It has held up well and I weigh more than you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Take a look at the Bianchi Volpe or the Surly Crosscheck (what I have). The best road bike for a big guy is a touring or cyclocross bike. You have the best of both worlds. It will take bigger tires (very important, your butt will thank you). The added benefit is that they will take knobby tires and can usually accomodate racks and fenders. We big guys like to ride to destinations rather than just go out on "training rides." In addition to carrying our very heavy selves, we also like to carry extra stuff on rides. And fenders enable us to ride all winter (I'm in Davis where my weather is exactly the same).

    A touring or cross bike will get you up Cantelow road or around Berryessa just fine, and still get you through all the construction on Peaceful Glen Road.

    I can't stress the difference that fatter tires make. Fat tires will save your rims and your butt.

  5. #5
    Clydesdale
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    Hola Danny. I'm just down the road from you. I will second MrCjolsen's post. I like the Volpe. Rode one the other day. I have an older Bianchi Hybrid, and wish I had started with a cyclocross. I'm looking to get a new road bike soon. BTW, if you are not happy with your LBS, try Velocity in Winters. Then you can plan plenty of rides to your LBS.
    -DavisClydesdale
    -2006 Cervelo Soloist Team
    -2002 Bianchi Bergamo

  6. #6
    Clydesdale
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
    A touring or cross bike will get you up Cantelow road or around Berryessa just fine, and still get you through all the construction on Peaceful Glen Road.
    Ahhh, but will it get you up "Mix"?
    -DavisClydesdale
    -2006 Cervelo Soloist Team
    -2002 Bianchi Bergamo

  7. #7
    nm+
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    Not to be a bike snob, but "real" road bikes are expensive.
    The problem is that shimano puts no thought in lower end groups. If the bike works, ist because someone assebling the bike (that used to be me) had to physically bend the sora derailuer into working.
    Look at a trek 520. That a touring bike. It retails for $1200, but the big secret is that no one pays retail. i paid $900. the key is to find I have issue with the 520 loaded (I weigh about tehs ame as you, but my gear is 50 extra lbs), but unloaded, it was the perfect clyde machine.
    Otherwise, get an MTB and put some slick on it.
    Look for cro-mo if you can, as it is stronger that AL. I've broken every rigid AL bike I've ever owned, but then, some say I'm cursed
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
    Titus Racer-X AL/Trek 520 (Cracked)/Trek 930

  8. #8
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    The Trek 520 is the only true touring bike made by the major manufacturers. The thing about touring bikes, is that they are designed to carry a lot of weight. You can't even say that for mountain bikes.

    One of my major beefs with the bike industry is that they focus on racing and wanabee racing bikes when most cyclists would actually be better suited to more of a touring bike. Of all the road bikes purchased, far more will see service on a century or charity ride than in a criterium or road race. And yet, that is what most bikes are sold as.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavisClydesdale
    Hola Danny. I'm just down the road from you. I will second MrCjolsen's post. I like the Volpe. Rode one the other day. I have an older Bianchi Hybrid, and wish I had started with a cyclocross. I'm looking to get a new road bike soon. BTW, if you are not happy with your LBS, try Velocity in Winters. Then you can plan plenty of rides to your LBS.
    And speaking of Velocity, take a look at Innerlight. Locally built frames by Kimo Tanaka are very nice. But pricey. Kens Bike and Ski in Davis stocks a few touring bikes. Last I looked, Ray's in Vacaville didn't have any. You can get a Volpe at B&L in Davis.

  10. #10
    nm+
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen
    And speaking of Velocity, take a look at Innerlight. Locally built frames by Kimo Tanaka are very nice. But pricey. Kens Bike and Ski in Davis stocks a few touring bikes. Last I looked, Ray's in Vacaville didn't have any. You can get a Volpe at B&L in Davis.
    If you're gonna go to Davis, you might as well go to Sacramento or even the bay.
    City Bicycle Work's been know to have tourers and the bay will have it. Note that you want to buy it in stock, special order means MSRP.
    Fuji and Cannondale also make tourering bikes. the Fuji is extremely hard to find but cheaper. The C'dale is pricer and has a AL frame.
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
    Titus Racer-X AL/Trek 520 (Cracked)/Trek 930

  11. #11
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Quote Originally Posted by deutsler
    ...Is there a place to go to get an idea of what the low-end 'real' bikes are? I have heard that many of the frames are all built out in China, or Taiwan, and that the components that are put on them are the big difference. Is this true?...
    Hi Danny!

    Go to several local bike shops, describe what you're looking for, and test-ride all the models they show you (even the ones that are out of your price range). The test rides will give you a good idea of what more $$$ feels like. You may like the difference, or may not care.

    Frames come from all over any more. Good quality is more important than country of origin. The parts WILL have a large impact on the reliability of the bike. Generally, for road bikes, Shimano 105 or Campagnolo Veloce groups are considered the "Toyota Camrys" of the bunch. If you spend more, you're getting decreasing value for more and more money. If you spend less, you're getting less reliability.

    For an entry level bike, however, you're NOT going to find much of either of the gruppos I mention in the previous paragraph. I'd suggest living with whatever comes on your bike till it wears out or breaks and then replacing the worn parts with the stuff mentioned in the previous paragraph.

    Good luck and happy shopping!

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