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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-16-08, 08:24 PM   #1
tigereye
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Flat bar now or keep saving for drops?

I've been saving for a while in order to finally purchase my first bike to try to get in shape. At this point, I've got about $650 saved for a bike, and can probably stretch it a little more. Oddly enough, I've already got helmet, shoes, gloves, jerseys, etc, etc that I've picked up along the way, so the budget is strictly for a bike.

I was hoping to save around $1000 or so to pick up a cross check or something along those lines. Problem is since spring has sprung around here, I'm starting to get the itch (coupled with constant prodding from my 9 yr old ) to buy a comparatively cheaper flat bar bike to get riding now, rather than losing a couple more months of riding while I save for the cross bike.

I've ruled out all of the online/used sources, as I'm not confident that I could get something adjusted/setup properly, and would prefer to have a shop backing me up on this first purchase.

Since it seems like a lot of flat bar riders wish they'd gone with drops, I'm afraid that I'd be losing money on a flat bar in the long run, as I'd probably still end up with a Cross Check down the road, but I'm losing time waiting on a drop bar bike.

Anyone have any thoughts either way?

Thanks,

Mike
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Old 04-17-08, 05:16 AM   #2
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I would consider checking all the used places (craigslist, goodwill, yard sales, or even Walmart if your really not picky, exct.) with the intention of buying a sub $100 bike that you can go threw and clean up. When you are really close in your saving for the better bike sell the one you bought. Who knows your dream bike might go on sale some where while your riding you cheap bike.

Besides lets say that the $100 dollar bike sets your goal back by a month or two, at least thats time you get to spend riding with your 9 year old. What do you think will stick in your memory longer, the short time you waited for your dream bike or time spent with your 9 year old? I don't have kids but if I did this is what I would do.
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Old 04-17-08, 05:23 AM   #3
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Is there a special reason you want a cyclocross bike?

You can get a decent road bike for the money you have available now and will last you forever as long as you take care of it. I haven't seen a cyclocross bike on craigslist for my area, but it wouldn't matter as I can't afford any at this time. Have you talked to any of the LBS' in your area, as they may have a past model year that they can get at a lot lower price.

Good luck and remember to think of the 9 year old also. Those are the memories they like to have also!!!!!
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Old 04-17-08, 06:41 AM   #4
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Hold out and get the bike you really want. I have flat bars and wished I had drops. I would agree with the above, you can get a cheap bike for 50 - 100 and ride with the kid (do it.) It will make you appreciate your new one more as well and you should be able to get about 50% back out of it when you resale. Or see if a friend has an extra you could borrow.
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Old 04-17-08, 07:08 AM   #5
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I'd say to save for the bike you want so you don't end up with a case of buyers remorse.

In the mean time buy or borrow something inexpensive and get riding with your child.
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Old 04-17-08, 07:14 AM   #6
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Yea avoid buyer's remorse. Dont' settle for flat bar if you're really dreaming for a drop bar roadie. Hanging on to save the cash for "your" bike is better than buying now and wishing the bike wasn't yours
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Old 04-17-08, 07:20 AM   #7
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I agree to save and wait for what you want. However, when I was in the mood for a new bike I was sure I wanted a drop bar road bike. I went to the lbs and rode some on a trainer. I didn't particularly like the positions any of the road bikes I tried put me in (both Specialized and Trek) in my price range. Still too much of a gut to crunch IMO. Then I got on an Trek FX and really liked the position. I put bar ends on it to primarily vary my hand position but found Ii liked the riding position better as well. That said, I'm looking at different Aero Bars soooooo ride 'em and try 'em. If the drops are comfortable for you...save and enjoy!
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Old 04-17-08, 07:23 AM   #8
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Tiger,

Have you ever actually rode a road bike to know that is what you want? I had the road bike bug awhile ago (ok, still do ) and test road a few modern road bikes at the LBS. What I found is while I strongly desire a road bike, my small hands make it very difficult for me to operate brifters and effectively squeeze the brake levers. I'm sure there is some type of customization that could help me but custom generally means a lot more money. I have rode a Trek FX series flat bar road bike and found it much easier for me to operate. This might not be an issue to you, but why not go to the LBS and ride a drop bar and a flat bar and see which one you feel better on. If you like the drops and your local dealer happens to be a Trek dealer you could put the 650 down and finance the rest, 6 months at 0%.

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Old 04-17-08, 07:27 AM   #9
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+1 on the hands. I rotated my shifters just a tad to make my thumbs more comfortable and positive.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:04 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by b_young View Post
Hold out and get the bike you really want. I have flat bars and wished I had drops. I would agree with the above, you can get a cheap bike for 50 - 100 and ride with the kid (do it.) It will make you appreciate your new one more as well and you should be able to get about 50% back out of it when you resale. Or see if a friend has an extra you could borrow.
+1

And I'll second the whole "buy what you really want" thing. I bought a Trek FX last year that's a great bike, but at the time I wanted a Surly Long Haul Trucker. In fact, I've wanted one since they announced the "complete" build. So I spent the year riding the heck out of my Trek, but always wanting drops and that steel frame.

Now I'm selling my Trek so I can buy a LHT, and taking a pretty big hit on the money I've put into my Trek trying to make it a LHT. Make sense? Kind of? Maybe? LOL - basically buy what you want, even if you have to wait.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:16 AM   #11
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I'd definitely keep saving. I did what you're thinking about last year, and regretted it when my wrists got sore and my hands went numb after 20 minutes on the bike and I had nowhere else to shift my grip to. I have bad wrists so maybe you wouldn't have the same issue, but all I can give is personal experience.
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Old 04-17-08, 08:25 AM   #12
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http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bik/

Look through there, you may find a starter bike to get you going

In particular
http://cincinnati.craigslist.org/bik/644195032.html
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Old 04-17-08, 08:47 AM   #13
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I would also echo the wait and get what you want. I got a flat bar road bike last year. The bike is very rideable after I added ergo grips & bar ends but I am still longing for drop bars. Sometimes in the wind I feel like a parachute when I ride . I too was anxious to get out and ride and got the first thing I could afford. I don't hate the bike. Just wish I had a different one (actuall another) on now. I am saving oh so slowly for a new one. It will probably be Christmas before I get it

I also second finding something used and cheap meanwhile. Get out and ride with your daughter. That's the main reason I was in a hurry to get a bike to. To ride with my daughter (she's now 8). Those are great times, so find a way to do that ASAP.

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Old 04-17-08, 09:03 AM   #14
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+1 to the advice on this thread. Wait to buy the bike you really want and try to pick up something cheap while you wait.

Just a side note. I started riding last August and bought a Trek 7100 to get started. If I had it to do over, I would have probably bought an Trek FX 7.3. This is because as my fitness has increased I want something I can ride farther, faster and longer, but I went cheap to get started. Don't get me wrong, I really like my 7100 for commuting into Boston and doing short rides with my children. I have over 1700 miles on my 7100 already, but for distances over 30 miles I want more hand positions, speed and efficiency.

I am now looking at trying to convince my wife that a CrossCheck or Salsa Casseroll custom build is a good idea, but that is my problem not yours.
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Old 04-17-08, 09:54 AM   #15
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I just got that FCR yesterday (just got done with a ride) and ordered some Nashbar Trekking handlebars so I can change hand position. I tired drop bars but right now they aren't for me. Each person though is unique, so take everyone's opinion and go find out for yourself if you truly want drop bars on a bike. I gotta lose more weight before I'll be completely comfortable with them.
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Old 04-17-08, 10:23 AM   #16
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I like having the drop bars for multiple hand positions. I ride for hours at a time, but change my hand postions to make it a lower chance of causing wrist problems. I am trying to prevent problems, as I don't have any wrist problems currently and I don't want to have any.

There are multiple brands of road bikes with drop bars for the money you have available. If you are saving for the Ultegra/105/etc... groupo, then I understand. If you think you need the better components, then save up. If you don't know the difference, and don't think you will feel the difference, look at the bikes with the Sora components and save more money. That is your decision to make. My point was that the money you have already saved, will allow you on a road bike now, and if you talk to your LBS, you might get a 2007 or maybe even a 2006 that is still in the box in the basement in your size. Just an option.
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Old 04-17-08, 12:28 PM   #17
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I wouldn't wait (no reason to keep you or your 9 year old waiting) but I wouldn't "settle" either. As others mentioned, there are plenty of decent road bikes that can be had for what you've already got saved up. I recently purchased an '07 Schwinn Le Tour GS (Sora/Tiagra equipped 24 speed w/ carbon forks) for $500 and am very happy with it. And there are others out there.

If you really don't want to lower your standards on the quality of the road bike for whatever reason, buy an inexpensive used bike to use for a few months till you've saved up for the bike you want. If you can find a decent MTB (I picked up 2 Diamondbacks last year for $50 or less each off Craig's List) it will give you something to ride now and still be worth having as an alternate bike after you get your road bike.
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Old 04-17-08, 01:02 PM   #18
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I don't want to necessarily encourage debt, but many shops are offering financing, and between that and potentially finding a previous year model at a good price, start shopping now. With what you have saved up, it could cover most of the purchase, and if you pay it off as quickly as you would have saved the money, the finance charges should be minimal.

Let the shop owner/sales guy know what you are looking for, and test ride a few bikes... It may be tough to really know what is best without having ridden in a while, but you can definitely tell if something just doesn't feel right.
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Old 04-17-08, 02:56 PM   #19
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There are options for good bikes in your price range. Just off the top of my head I can think of the Redline 740 which I think is about $650. Lots of other entry level bikes should be in your price range as well. See the Under $750 thread in the Road Bike forum. If steel is your thing the Jamis Satellite has an MSRP of $785. A little closer to your budget.
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Old 04-17-08, 05:42 PM   #20
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+1 on Craigs List. While my experience selling on Craigs List has been mixed at best (a lot of no shows), buying on Craigs List is a great option. If you watch it for a couple of weeks, you will quickly begin to figure out which bikes are the deals. There are always a lot of flat bar bikes on there, even if later you figure out it was a mistake, that can get you started. You should be able to find a good flat bar bike around $100, often even less.

Thrift stores are even cheaper yet, but you can end up looking for a while before anything decent appears. Garage sales are about the same as thrift store, really good deals when they are out there, but it can take a while.... My last garage sale bike buy was $10, for a pretty good bike that needed some TLC.

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Old 04-17-08, 11:08 PM   #21
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Save for the cross check. It is a good bike.
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Old 04-18-08, 07:12 AM   #22
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If you want to eventually ride dirt as well, you can find inexpensive mountain bikes, and then wind up getting a drop bar later, and having a second bike for trails and dirt... never a bad thing.
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Old 04-18-08, 09:29 AM   #23
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Wow, thanks to everyone for the great responses. I hadn't thought about a super-cheapo bike to start with. Although, I had considered the possibility of a mtn. bike now, and save for later, which, I suppose, is still a possibility.

To answer a couple of questions.

I was looking for a cyclocross bike, specifically a cross check, as I had inferred during my reading that an all steel cross bike was essentially the default choice when someone of my size (6'4, 300) is looking for something with drops, hence the reason I had been avoiding the lower end Sora-type roadies.

I was looking at drop bar bikes because I'm interested in eventually riding longer distances, and from what the shop guys tell me, and what I read, hand positions are a big deal. I'm not completely averse to the idea of trekking bars on a flat bar bike, but wasn't sure if that was appropriate or not.

I have only test-ridden two bikes with drops - a Giant OCR 3, which felt twitchy and not comfortable to me, and an '07 Fuji Cross Comp, that, even at a size too small, was nice, and in my price range, being an '07 closeout. The carbon fork and the fact that they would need to get the right size from another store, were somewhat worrisome, though.


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Old 04-18-08, 09:40 AM   #24
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I think a touring bike makes as much sense for us clydes as a cyclocross bike.

Just jumping in so that you don't pass up a potential deal on a touring bike by being focused on the cross bikes. Give any cross or touring bike you run across a test ride, and you'll figure out what works for you.
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Old 04-18-08, 09:53 AM   #25
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I was looking at drop bar bikes because I'm interested in eventually riding longer distances, and from what the shop guys tell me, and what I read, hand positions are a big deal. I'm not completely averse to the idea of trekking bars on a flat bar bike, but wasn't sure if that was appropriate or not.
I have trekking bars on a flat bar bike and they're great. I've got lots of hand positions, inluding a stretched out position that gets me out of the wind a bit.

The Scottish bloke that just went 18,000 miles round the world in 195 days had trekking bars, which is a much better endorsement than me saying they're good.
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