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  1. #1
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    New to Road Biking

    Hey guys I have mountain biked for one year and absolutely love it. Ive decided to also dip my hands into the road biking aspect of cycling have found a bike that I'm going to purchase however I just have a few questions before I totally follow through. First off I'm a 18 year old at 6feet tall and weigh about 240-245 (if i got down to 210/215 i would be ripped as im just a thick guy to start with and this is my end goal) In the summer i usually cycle at least 5 days a week and can get out for good periods of time such as 2/3 hours. This is why I think trying my hands at road biking would be good. Anyways I found a brand new Specialized Tarmac Comp 2008, it is 56cm which Im told for my height is around where it should be. The link to the specs is here: http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkM...008&spid=34009
    Has 105 components which are acceptable, I dont really want to put any money into the bike when I first buy it as I'm a student at university. However is there anything I really need to upgrade ASAP? Im thinking the wheels because snooping around has shown me that a rider at my weight can cause untrue wheels or snaped spokes pretty easily. As well what is a good computer to get for road biking that will tell you the distance and speed you are going nothing to fancy as I dont want to spend alot.
    Anyways thanks in advance for everyones suggestions and hope to talk to you about doing 300/500miles a month perhaps even see some of you out on the trails/road.

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't bother to upgrade wheels unless you start having problems with them. If you're paranoid, pay a bike shop to true, tension, and stress-relieve the spokes. If the wheel is true and the spokes are properly tensioned, you may not experience any problems.

    Are you in good shape now? Do you have strong legs? Do you ride in an area with lots of hills? Personally, I'd be more worried that the bike you're looking at has a 53/39 crankset rather than a 50/34 compact crank. If you ride hills and don't have strong legs, you may find yourself wishing for some lower gears...

  3. #3
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    If you have a limited budget (and who doesn't), why not start looking at the used market? Start watching Craigs List. Buy right, and if you change your mind, you will be able to get all of your money back out of it. I saw a nice Trek 5900, full Dura Ace components, in a 56cm size, at a local shop for $599.

    The other problem with a bike that costly is security. I have sold several bikes this year to students that had their prior bikes stolen.


    At your weight, I would think any of the 1980s vintage steel bikes could handle you just fine.

    The bike you picked is pretty low in spoke count for your weight.

    +1 Compact crank or triple would be better if you have hills.

    As far as bike computer, do a search of the electronics forum, you will get more information than you need!
    Last edited by wrk101; 02-03-09 at 10:20 AM. Reason: clarification

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    The bike you picked is pretty low in spoke count for your weight.
    IMO, people on this forum make too much of the low spoke count thing. I wouldn't hesitate to ride a set of well-made 16/20 spoke wheels at 200-250lbs. By the same token, I've seen some low-end, machine-made wheels that made me nervous even though they had a lot more spokes!

  5. #5
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    im in pretty good shape now, like i said in the summer i biked about 30km at least 3 times a week and 10km at least 2 times a week which is all mountain biking so this includes a good number of hills. i hope now with a road bike i will be able to do 50-60km at least 3 times a week and a good 20-30km at least 2 times a week and maybe sub one of these days for a long 75-90km. so im doing alrite and can go for a long time.

    what problems will i have with this crankset? i think i will be fine, if i have any real problems i will grab a compact.
    and as for wrk101, i have road biked before, used my friends and i do enjoy it so investing this much into a bike i think will be fine.

  6. #6
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    If you ride in a hilly area, you may want the compact crankset so you can spin up the hills more, but nothing wrong w/ a standard double on hills either. Some people need all the help they can get and others just tough it out.

    To answer your original question, the first thing I'd upgrade is the saddle and that's only if the stock saddle left me feeling numb or uncomfortable. Other considerations are matching the clipless pedal type to your mtb pedals if you run clipless on your mtb. That way you can wear the same shoes on either bike. As for the wheels, bring the bike back after 100 km and have the LBS check and re-tension the spokes. After that, check the tension and true periodically and don't worry about them.

    wrk101 brings up a good point about security. If you're going to leave the bike unattended, make sure you have good chains and u-locks and that the saddle is secured to the frame so it doesn't go missing.
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  7. #7
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    this bike would not be used for commuting i have a beater for that.
    and i already planned on making the clipless pedals that same on both bikes so i can use the same shoes thanks for the point though
    i will stick with the oringinal cranks and see if i can tough it out if not i will switch to the compact.

    and why after 100km go get the wheels checked? should i not wait until a good 500 or so are on it?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    IMO, people on this forum make too much of the low spoke count thing. I wouldn't hesitate to ride a set of well-made 16/20 spoke wheels at 200-250lbs. By the same token, I've seen some low-end, machine-made wheels that made me nervous even though they had a lot more spokes!
    It all comes down to spoke tension. A 100lb rider with a 36 spoke wheel simply needs the spokes attached, and it will never give a problem. However as rider weight increases and/or spoke count decreases, spoke tension becomes more and more critical. Also as spoke count decreases the chances of a catastrophic wheel failure from a broken spoke increases. Lots of riders break a spoke on a 36 spoke wheel, bend the bits out of the way, and continue riding. Break a spoke on a 16 spoke wheel, and even a much below clyde level cyclist can be looking at a catastrophic sudden wheel collapse.

  9. #9
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    How much is that bike? If you have your heart set on carbon it could be a great deal. A CAAD9 5 equipped with 105 is a bad mofo, and the rims will hold up to a clyde. I'm 278 and have 800 miles on the bike and no issues so far. i know not that many miles but they seem to be holding up fine.

    The tarmac is a great bike though.

  10. #10
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    are you guys suggesting i should buy a spoke wrench and tighten all my spokes constantly?

    and im paying 1900 canadian for the bike. brand new.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kent View Post
    are you guys suggesting i should buy a spoke wrench and tighten all my spokes constantly?

    and im paying 1900 canadian for the bike. brand new.
    Uh, no, spoke tension has an optimum value, too high and you can pull the spokes through the rim, too low and you break spokes. A good wheel builder knows how to get it right, then check it on occasion, typically at the 100km/3 month mark, then again at 300km/6 months, if it's fine on the second check, then annually checks should be fine. Usually the wheel builder will include the first check or couple of checks in the price of the truing/tensioning.

  12. #12
    Senior Member c_m_shooter's Avatar
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    The bike should be fine. I would question whoever told you a 56cm is your size though. At 6 feet tall, I would suspect you would be more comfortable on something a little bigger.( I am 5'8" and my most comfortable bike is a 55cm) It all comes down to personal preference though, so ride a few sizes before you put down any cash.
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  13. #13
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    The bike should be fine. I would question whoever told you a 56cm is your size though. At 6 feet tall, I would suspect you would be more comfortable on something a little bigger.( I am 5'8" and my most comfortable bike is a 55cm) It all comes down to personal preference though, so ride a few sizes before you put down any cash.
    +1 Fit is everything. Not saying it is the wrong size, although it is on the small size for your height (but could be a perfect fit).

    I use this chart someone else posted, ONLY as a ROUGH guide and starting point.


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    I use this chart someone else posted, ONLY as a ROUGH guide and starting point.
    I'd be careful of reading too much into this chart... It looks to me like it's probably designed for bikes with "traditional" geometry (e.g. horizontal top tube) as opposed to "compact" (e.g. sloping top tube) geometry.

    In my experience, the length of the seat tube is far less important to fit than the effective length of the top tube. I'll suggest that the Fit Calculator over at Competitive Cyclist is a much better starting point. The only caveat is that even their most "relaxed" fit assumes a pretty decent level of fitness.

  15. #15
    The cat says Merry Xmas Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c_m_shooter View Post
    The bike should be fine. I would question whoever told you a 56cm is your size though. At 6 feet tall, I would suspect you would be more comfortable on something a little bigger.( I am 5'8" and my most comfortable bike is a 55cm) It all comes down to personal preference though, so ride a few sizes before you put down any cash.
    I wish fit worked that easy... I am also 5'8" and on different bikes I fit anywher between 52 - 58. The bike I ride is 53cm because it has a very long top tube.

    You can't assume if on one bike you are a 54cm and will then ride that same size for all bikes. There are several critical measurements, the top tube more than standover. It won't matter if you can properly stand over the bike if your hands can't reach the brakes.

    If you already purchased the bike, ignore this... if not, my 2 cents... try and find a bike with Ultegra not 105. You will thank me for it later. I am personally not a fan of carbon. It can and does break and then your money is out the window but materials are a personal thing. I prefer steel, Ti if I can afford it. If you have been doing alot of moutnain biking and your legs are strong, then you will probably do fine with a double especially since you are young. You don't have to worry about your knees blowing out. But it is a fitness thing. If you struggle on hills, consider a triple. It doesn't make you any less of a man. When you lose your weight, get stronger and want to buy a new bike, then get your double.
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    I am 6'1 and ride a 58. My bro is 5'11 and rides a 56. So a 56 should be fine. The toptube is what you typically want to focus on the most.

    IF you are buying this bike new, many bike shops will let you 'trade' parts for other parts. One thing to trade for immediately is a Thomson seatpost. They don't break or let the seat slip while riding which can happen to heavy, torquey riders. Also trade them the stock wheelset and get something stronger. You will later call these training wheels. I really like Velocity Deep V's. When you get really fast then go get an extra pair of race wheels. Or be like my buddy and ride 404s when riding with me on my open pro's...
    Last edited by Meek; 02-04-09 at 04:56 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I'd be careful of reading too much into this chart... It looks to me like it's probably designed for bikes with "traditional" geometry (e.g. horizontal top tube) as opposed to "compact" (e.g. sloping top tube) geometry.

    In my experience, the length of the seat tube is far less important to fit than the effective length of the top tube. I'll suggest that the Fit Calculator over at Competitive Cyclist is a much better starting point. The only caveat is that even their most "relaxed" fit assumes a pretty decent level of fitness.
    Such charts are a starting point, if the chart says a 56, then it's a good place to start, doesn't mean that it's perfect, just a good starting point, it's probably close enough that a good bike fit can work with it.

    The real issue is that bicycle sizing is FUBAR, really a 56 in a traditional geometry road bike and a 56 in a mountain bike and a 56 in a ladies frame cruiser bike should all fit the same size individual, the problem is they don't, they also seem to vary between manufacturers.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    The real issue is that bicycle sizing is FUBAR, really a 56 in a traditional geometry road bike and a 56 in a mountain bike should all fit the same size individual, the problem is they don't, they also seem to vary between manufacturers.....
    They'd be incredibly different since mountain bikes are measured typically in inches and not cm 56 cm and 56 in...

    Sorry.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    Such charts are a starting point, if the chart says a 56, then it's a good place to start, doesn't mean that it's perfect, just a good starting point, it's probably close enough that a good bike fit can work with it.
    Again: this is only true if you buy a bike with a horizontal top tube. If you buy one of the numerous bikes that feature a sloping top tube, the chart most likely will not work.

    In my case, all of the frames I looked at recently had sloping top tubes. The chart says I should be riding a 56-58cm frame. If I'd blindly purchased a 56cm bike, I'd have been in trouble! I test rode several 56cm frames and believe that there's absolutely no way they could have been made to fit me. And I've never seen a bike of any design where a 58cm frame would fit me. I ended up buying a 54cm frame which has an absolutely perfect fit. Not surprisingly, the geometry ended up being almost exactly what the Competitive Cyclist Fit Calculator suggested...

  20. #20
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    Wrench science has a good calculator too..

  21. #21
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meek View Post
    They'd be incredibly different since mountain bikes are measured typically in inches and not cm 56 cm and 56 in...

    Sorry.
    That is true, it's also another one of the problems, other then the United States, and some old fogeys in the UK and Canada, nobody even uses inches anymore. Although I think the real solution to the problem is a completely new sizing system, that isn't based on a specific measurement, but a group of measurements, that are within specific ranges, sizes would be far apart enough, but close together enough that normal bike adjustments would be able to work within the space between sizes.

    Sizes would be described in how to take the measurement, then could be read off a chart. For example rather then seat tube length, you might have something like this:

    Ttop tube height, is measured from the ground, where the top tube is at it's highest point, with the recommended size tires installed and inflated to the proper pressure. This would mean that whether the top tube is slanted or not, the measurement would be the same. Another important measurement would be the distance from the handlebars as measured from the point where the bars intersect the steerer to rear most part of the saddle clamp, with the saddle level with the bars. The bars must be adjusted to be 75mm above the top tube. Yes, I know that almost no bicycles would be set up that way, but it's designed so that all bicycles would measure the same way. Whether road, touring, mountain, cruiser, etc. A similar but different set of measurements would be used for recumbent bicycles, with the idea that if you take a size 7 upright bicycle, then you would take a size 7 in a recumbent.

    A similar description system would be developed for riders, with the leg length, arm length and height to shoulder measurements. You would then have sizes ranging from 0 to 9, with sizes being for riders where the leg length is a larger portion of total height. A set of charts would be developed to match measurements to sizes for both bicycles and riders. The idea is that sizes would cover from around 150cm to 200cm (5' to 6') total rider height, Yes I know there are people who are shorter and people who are taller, but they probably need custom bicycles anyway.

    The size descriptions would then be made ISO standards, officially using metric measurements, so that all bicycle manufacturers globally would use the same sizes. Rider measurements would be available in both metric and inch sizes, so you walk into a bike shop, they measure you and tell you what size you need. Because sizes are described, and public knowledge, someone with an older bicycle, can easily do the same measurements to their bicycle, to come up with the closest size.

  22. #22
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    I'm confused: why do we need an overly-complex ISO standard for bicycle sizing? The current sizing system (visit your LBS, sit on a bike, see if it fits) has been working pretty well for the last 120 years...

  23. #23
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I'm confused: why do we need an overly-complex ISO standard for bicycle sizing? The current sizing system (visit your LBS, sit on a bike, see if it fits) has been working pretty well for the last 120 years...
    Because the current system doesn't work, I can go into a bike shop and it's a 56cm, go to still another shop and their 56 is the same as the first shops 54, go to a third shop and their 58 is the same as the first shops 56, same goes for inch based sizes, it's as if each manufacturer has a different size ruler. A large part of this is due to there being no standardization in where things are measured from, and the measurement that is normally used (seat tube length) no longer making sense. Although it did 30 years ago when top tubes were parallel to the ground.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    Because the current system doesn't work, I can go into a bike shop and it's a 56cm, go to still another shop and their 56 is the same as the first shops 54, go to a third shop and their 58 is the same as the first shops 56, same goes for inch based sizes, it's as if each manufacturer has a different size ruler.
    Who cares? I can't remember the last time I needed to have an LBS employee pull more than two bikes off the rack before I found the size that fit me best. I could care less whether that size is labelled 54cm or 56cm or Medium or Large. In fact, when I bought my last bike (Oct. '08) I was able to look at sizing/geometry information online and immediately figure out what sizes would work for me. Just about every manufacturer provides the same information these days. The only thing that really differs is how the seat tube is measured. Given that the effective length of the top tube is more important, I really didn't find this to be a problem...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Who cares? I can't remember the last time I needed to have an LBS employee pull more than two bikes off the rack before I found the size that fit me best. I could care less whether that size is labelled 54cm or 56cm or Medium or Large. In fact, when I bought my last bike (Oct. '08) I was able to look at sizing/geometry information online and immediately figure out what sizes would work for me. Just about every manufacturer provides the same information these days. The only thing that really differs is how the seat tube is measured. Given that the effective length of the top tube is more important, I really didn't find this to be a problem...
    An LBS sold my 5'9 father a 60cm I recently took it from him since he could barely straddle the top tube. I recently put him on a 54cm that fits perfectly. The 60 is even a little big for me and I am much bigger than him. Don't always trust your LBS.

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