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  1. #1
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    bikes for beginners on a budget

    I have tried to research for several days (and get quotes) on several bikes in my price range. I have found a raleigh sport at a local bike shop, and a windor leeds (from bikesdirect)(not many reviews of this bike). Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Well, I ride a Raleigh, among others and I'm pretty happy with it! I use it right now as a dedicated trainer bike, but have put a couple of thousand road miles on it on the road this Summer alone! As to the Leeds, I can't answer.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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    Senior Member DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wagglesmc
    I have tried to research for several days (and get quotes) on several bikes in my price range. I have found a raleigh sport at a local bike shop, and a windor leeds (from bikesdirect)(not many reviews of this bike). Any suggestions?
    As I understand it, the Windsor Leeds is no longer the bike it used to be. I bought one of the last Leeds actually made by Windsor. I believe they then sold their name brand to someone else.

    I use it as my "utility road bike." I have a rack and panniers, etc. It is significantly heavier than my other road bike. The wheels, although 36 spoke, were not well built, and I have replaced the wheel set. However, the wheels did last a couple of years ok.

    But, if it has a least "Sora" components, it would likely be ok, depending upon the price. It is a nice looking bike.

    I bought mine on EBay for $285.00.

  4. #4
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    Any suggestions?
    Beginner on a budget SCREAMS "used bike". You'll get more bang for the buck and not begrudge the fact that in six months your needs/wants have changed as you grew into the sport and out of your now oversized pants.
    Mike
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ronjon10's Avatar
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    I'd check around for used bikes in the usual spots (craigslist, classifieds, ebay, but only if it's local) that would let you get a better bike for the $$. Just make sure you can test drive it in person.

    I'd go with the LBS option second (or maybe even first depending on your mechancal competencies). They are salespeople and can be snooty, but the bike should come with some sort of basic service plan (tuneups for a year or something) and a good lbs is an invaluable resources.

    Just make sure they know you're there to buy, and not try something on for fit before running off to an online site to buy it. I find that letting a salesperson know you're there to make a deal gets their attention. Let them know what sort of riding you're interested in doing, if you have specific goals in mind etc. If you don't get a good vibe, go elsewhere (see above, good LBS = invaluable resource)

    I wouldn't go with a bike purchased online for a first bike. Too many variables, sizing issues, fitting etc just makes it too much of a gamble.

    As mentioned above, you should expect to want to upgrade eventually, it's usually just the reality. As your body gets fit, you'll find yourself riding further and doing different rides your bike may not be suited for. So, start saving

    Most important thing, go ride!
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  6. #6
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    Destroyer of Wheels Air's Avatar
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    Also - check out my sig. There's a few fitting sites on there that will help you figure out what size to get (you may need some help).

  7. #7
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I'd look at what used bikes are in your area. For example, here in the Madison area, a person is selling a mid-80's Cannondale SR500 58cm road bike for $125 on Craigslist today. Those deals don't pop up everyday, but they are around from time to time.

    And my LBS is selling new 2005 low-end Fuji League road bikes for $349 just to clear them out.

  8. #8
    By Necessity. RDRomano's Avatar
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    I'm a bit newbish myself, but I've just been through this process, so I'm gonna go against the grain here, and say find a good Local Bike Shop first. Emphasis on "good." Not just nice, or cheap, but good. (Nice and cheap can be good, too!)

    There are many threads on these august forums debating the business sense or human decency of LBSs who give customers grief over servicing bikes bought elsewhere (esp. online), but I found five shops who thought that way, and I don't want to crusade to them about how I think they should do business, so I just avoid them. Even if I intended to buy a bike from such a shop, that attitude really turns me off, personally.

    I have come to belive that bike fit (esp for us Clydes?) is really important. And unless you're pretty mechanically handy (I'm not) or already have a good relationship with an LBS, I just don't know how you're going to get that really good fit buying used or shopping online. Yeah, you can get the right size frame, but there are myriad angles between the bottom bracket/seat/bars that maybe don't NEED to be accounted for, but certainly would help if you did take them into account. I found a shop that has a fit specialiast guy trained by Serotta (high end, full-custom, Italian road bikes), and he tries to do the two-hour Serotta fitting session on every customer that buys from him. It takes into account not just size, but flexibility, intended use, (un)fitness levels, and so forth. Now, I'm not saying that you MUST find something like this or else be lost to the dark side, but as a fellow Clyde and a fellow Newb, I believe that a good LBS is just gonna know more than I am about what's good for me. That said, you're kinda putting yourself in their hands, and that means trust, so I wasn't shy about saying that I was looking for a SHOP FIRST that I could establish a relationship with, and a BIKE SECOND.

    That said, I bought a Kona Dew. It's a $400 bike flat-bar road bike, stoutly made. A good bit heavier than many road-going bikes (~25 lbs.), I got full fenders, a rear rack & panniers, lights, an upgrade to a Brooks saddle (B17), bottle/cage, flat tire kit (tubes, levers, CO2), helmet, gloves, and a pair of bike shorts for longer rides. I know many people poo-poo the idea of hybrid bikes as having the worst attributes of both road and mountain bikes. And yeah, I don't intend for this to be a forever ride, just a starter ride. I figure it should last as long as I need/want it too, do 80%-90% of what I want to do, and not cost an arm and a leg. If I decide later I want to race, then I can get a Colnago. If I want to tour, I can get a Rivendell. But I wanted to start by commuting and maybe tooling aorund in the local parks. The Dew has 37mm raod tires (nice for my weight). But I know I can trade them out for 35-37mm semi-knobbies, and do a bit of (light) trail work. It doesn't have to be an X-Treme downhill mountain bike. In other words, your first bike should do most things tolerably well, but you shouldn't require it to do everything conceivable thing masterfully, or it will cost too much (if such a thing is even made).

    That's more than enough for one reply, I'd reckon.
    --Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer, whose brother is a district judge, once observed that, "The role of a district judge is to decide quickly, wisely, and fairly. This is not to say that the role of an appellate judge is to decide slowly, foolishly, and unfairly, for that would usurp the function of the Supreme Court."

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    Super Course fan redneckwes's Avatar
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    If you have some concept of tool use, Used is a great option, start hanging out in the C&V section.

    My everyday bike cost me $12.99, came with new tires, Suntour Derailleurs, ect. Vintage is not for everyone, but it's allways there.

    Steel is Real

  10. #10
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDRomano
    I know many people poo-poo the idea of hybrid bikes as having the worst attributes of both road and mountain bikes. And yeah, I don't intend for this to be a forever ride, just a starter ride. I figure it should last as long as I need/want it too, do 80%-90% of what I want to do, and not cost an arm and a leg.
    Preach on RD.
    I am a Uber Clyde and I ride a Trek 7300 hybrid. It has helped me become a lot less Uber and I figure once I lose a lot more weight, I will have earned a nice regular road bike. Right now I am drooling over the Orbea Orca in orange, but until then, this little $495.00 hybrid is going to take me to the promise land where ever that might be.
    Last edited by jaxgtr; 12-30-06 at 06:58 PM.
    Brian | 2015 Cannondale Synapse Carbon 3 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix (for sale)
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    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  11. #11
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    I agree bike fitting is important, but it is my experience that unless one is paying a lot for a bike, the fitting you receive from a LBS is rather simplistic. Three LBS's in my area only spend about 10-15 minutes fitting you to the bike if you buy a bike in the $300-$500 range. They do allot much more time on bike purchases of $1000+. Two of them charge $80-$100 for a custom fitting, on top of the cost of the bike.

    But even the 10-15 minute fitting can provide a great deal of valuable information to someone who isn't well-versed on the subject.

    If one isn't good at making adjustments, they can hurt themselves on a used bike that doesn't fit them and that they are riding incorrectly.

  12. #12
    By Necessity. RDRomano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil
    I agree bike fitting is important, but it is my experience that unless one is paying a lot for a bike, the fitting you receive from a LBS is rather simplistic. Three LBS's in my area only spend about 10-15 minutes fitting you to the bike if you buy a bike in the $300-$500 range. They do allot much more time on bike purchases of $1000+. Two of them charge $80-$100 for a custom fitting, on top of the cost of the bike.
    I did have the relatively cheesy BodyScan ten minute fit done at two other LBSs. But a not insignificant part of why I settled on the shop I did was because they offered a much more indepth, thorough fit service. They charged me $200 to do the full-custom fit session, they same bike fit they do for buyers of $10,000 bicycles. But I bought that information. I have a folder with six pages of numbers about me. And I was taught how to read it.

    It seems weird to spend that much on a fit, sure, but think about it; those little niggles that seem insignificant in ten minutes of riding around the shop's parking lot can baloon into aches and real irritations later. My fitting had me pedaling for more than an hour, until there were no more niggles. Most importantly, all but fifty bucks of that was rebated back to me when I purchased my bike from the same shop. In hindsight, I feel it was worth it, though I suspect I'm in the minority.

    BTW as to the flat bar thing, I was told about bar ends. But a couple of days ago I was trolling through the forums and came across a mention of Scott AT2 "mountain combination bars." (They ahve other models, too.) It's essentially a flat bar, but with the bar ends already built in, as one piece. Congratulations, mountain bikers, you've just invented the bullhorn bar. But the Scott is measured to fit mountain and flat bar clamps, and trigger shifters and so forth. It's like 28 bucks! Good Luck, OP.
    --Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer, whose brother is a district judge, once observed that, "The role of a district judge is to decide quickly, wisely, and fairly. This is not to say that the role of an appellate judge is to decide slowly, foolishly, and unfairly, for that would usurp the function of the Supreme Court."

  13. #13
    Senior Member Hambone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RDRomano
    I did have the relatively cheesy BodyScan ten minute fit done at two other LBSs. But a not insignificant part of why I settled on the shop I did was because they offered a much more indepth, thorough fit service. They charged me $200 to do the full-custom fit session, they same bike fit they do for buyers of $10,000 bicycles. But I bought that information. I have a folder with six pages of numbers about me. And I was taught how to read it.

    It seems weird to spend that much on a fit, sure, but think about it; those little niggles that seem insignificant in ten minutes of riding around the shop's parking lot can baloon into aches and real irritations later. My fitting had me pedaling for more than an hour, until there were no more niggles. Most importantly, all but fifty bucks of that was rebated back to me when I purchased my bike from the same shop. In hindsight, I feel it was worth it, though I suspect I'm in the minority.

    BTW as to the flat bar thing, I was told about bar ends. But a couple of days ago I was trolling through the forums and came across a mention of Scott AT2 "mountain combination bars." (They ahve other models, too.) It's essentially a flat bar, but with the bar ends already built in, as one piece. Congratulations, mountain bikers, you've just invented the bullhorn bar. But the Scott is measured to fit mountain and flat bar clamps, and trigger shifters and so forth. It's like 28 bucks! Good Luck, OP.
    dude, your first post made it sound like a 2 hour fit session was comp'ed for buying a $400 bike. I was going to say you found the best bike shop in the country.

    Fit sessions are a good thing if you have the resources.

    I've never done one but I'm handy and willing to put in the sweat equity (aka time) to figure out most of the stuff for myself.

    But let's be honest, if I was so body aware that the ideal fit was an issue, I probably wouldn't weigh 300#. That is me but I'm sure that this is not unique in the clydesdale forum. (Hell, I bet it is pretty true for a lot of the road forum guys on their $4,000 bikes too.) An ideal fit and a good fit are the same thing for most of us.

    And let's be honest, once you start riding your core strength and flexibility make many of your initial fit stuff no longer reliable, right? My handle bars are now several inches lower and further out than when I began riding. My arms didn't get longer.

    So, if you have the resources, get a detailed fit session but I would say if money is a constraint- use the online sites, get a used bike in the ball park of what you need, ride for a season, THEN drop some coin.
    Inside me is a thin man dying to get out.
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