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  1. #1
    creaky old bones FZ1Tom's Avatar
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    How to go about getting a first road bike?

    While I'm happy with my Trek 7200 for now, I grew up riding a Schwinn Varsity in high school and first part of college, and I'm still pretty convinced that I'll enjoy a road bike again...whenever.

    The problem is that a) I'm still way too heavy (300 or so right now) and b) they ALL cost WAY too damn much! Sorry, I'm not a bike snob (nothing personal) but I've never made more than 20 grand a year in my life (and that's before taxes). So yeah I know - get a real job, etc. But back to the original issue at hand.

    Question: In YOUR opinion, at what cost point does a bike become worth buying with upgrading components in mind?

    For example, a Specialized Allez Compact or Double retails at about $880....okay, even at my pay grade I can save up for that in 90 days.

    A Cannondale Cyclocross 7 is $1350, if one can be found anymore. That's stretching it for me.

    Much beyond $1500 MSRP and everything just seems awfully rich for my blood no matter how nice.

    These are just the 2 bikes that merely happened to come to mind first, but I'm sure there are many many other good options. I've heard the Cannondale CAAD frames are very popular choices for Clydes as a base to build up on...true?

    Is it even possible to get the framesets anymore? I'm 5'10" and very short of inseam, probably about a 51 or 52 cm frame would be my size. But regardless, I'd rather ride it with cheap components than spend a year saving up for a groupset and not be able to ride it.

    I'm just trying to figure out how to make it all worthwhile and get a good bike that can be upgraded as time goes on without spending money merely for the sake of it, something I suspect people do a lot (espescially people with too much money ).

    Any thoughts and advice is appreciated.

    Tom
    Last edited by FZ1Tom; 03-23-09 at 07:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    Find an old Varsity and build it up to meet your needs. Varsities are STEEL and would work for you.
    Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're probably right

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZ1Tom View Post
    While I'm happy with my Trek 7200 for now, I grew up riding a Schwinn Varsity in high school and first part of college, and I'm still pretty convinced that I'll enjoy a road bike again...whenever.

    The problem is that a) I'm still way too heavy (300 or so right now) and b) they ALL cost WAY too damn much! Sorry, I'm not a bike snob (nothing personal) but I've never made more than 20 grand a year in my life (and that's before taxes). So yeah I know - get a real job, etc. But back to the original issue at hand.

    Question: In YOUR opinion, at what cost point does a bike become worth buying with upgrading components in mind?

    For example, a Specialized Allez Compact or Double retails at about $880....okay, even at my pay grade I can save up for that in 90 days.

    A Cannondale Cyclocross 7 is $1350, if one can be found anymore. That's stretching it for me.

    Much beyond $1500 MSRP and everything just seems awfully rich for my blood no matter how nice.

    These are just the 2 bikes that merely happened to come to mind first, but I'm sure there are many many other good options. I've heard the Cannondale CAAD frames are very popular choices for Clydes as a base to build up on...true?

    Is it even possible to get the framesets anymore? I'm 5'10" and very short of inseam, probably about a 51 or 52 cm frame would be my size. But regardless, I'd rather ride it with cheap components than spend a year saving up for a groupset and not be able to ride it.

    I'm just trying to figure out how to make it all worthwhile and get a good bike that can be upgraded as time goes on without spending money merely for the sake of it, something I suspect people do a lot (espescially people with too much money ).

    Any thoughts and advice is appreciated.

    Tom
    You know it's just like buying a car, if you can't afford a new one, or a new one sufficient for your needs, then consider an experienced one. Most steel frames can last quite a while, so even a bike that is 20 or 30 years old, can give trouble free riding, for a long time.

    Some things to look for in a used bike, rust, a little surface rust is fine, this can be sanded off and repainted. Look for paint bubbles, this is an indication of rust working from the inside out, and that usually means a frame failure is not too far off.

    Check for creased, bent or otherwise damaged frame tubes and cracks at the joints, while these can be repaired, especially with brazed frames (ones that have lugs, look like endcaps at tube joints), it can be very expensive to repair. Look for either cottered or cotterless cranks, Ashtabula cranks ( the old one piece style, common on kids bikes), can be expensive to upgrade to modern parts.

    -- disclaimer --

    Some people will debate the following, it's my personal opinion and I give logical reasons as to why it's my opinion. Some will disagree, that is their opinion and they have the right to it.

    -- end disclaimer --

    Look for a steel frame, that is one that will attract a magnet, avoid Aluminum or carbon frames on used bikes. While I would consider either on a new bicycle, I would not consider either on a used one, where you don't know the bikes history.

    Let me explain why, first carbon, carbon is short for carbon fibre reinforced plastic, in a crash some of those carbon fibres can be broken, this can weaken the material enough that it will at some future point fail. Replacing the frame is the usual solution, and some companies will replace it for free, but they do not cover the cost of stripping the old frame and putting the components on another one. So some less then honest people, rather then paying to strip the frame and put the components on a new one, will fix it up to hide the damage and sell the bike, they then buy a new one, cheaper.

    Aluminum when it flexes repeatedly, can suffer from a fatigue failure, you never know with a used bike whether it's been ridden 5 miles or 50,000 miles, so that frame could be 20 years from failure or 20 days from failure. Some people will upgrade components and keep the old ones, when they sell the bike, they put the relatively low mileage original components back on.

    I don't know of a good way to tell a Titanium (Ti) frame, unless parts of it are unfinished, Aluminum must be finished or it will turn dark, eventually black. Sometimes they will clearcoat Ti though, even though it doesn't really need it, it's not magnetic, and it's a darker and duller grey then fresh Aluminum treated the same way. Sometimes though they will clearcoat Ti, but Aluminum may be painted so it looks the same. Sometimes with Ti, they will use the smaller diameter tubing like steel, but they may also use the larger diameters like Aluminum to make the frame stiffer, as Ti can be flexy.

    It used to be that looking at the frame sticker was an indicator of the material used, however the decal sets for some bikes are now available on fleabay, so for $5 you can turn a mild steel frame into a Chromo frame worth much more. The best indicator is weight, a bike that is 20-25lbs with a magnetic frame is likely Chromo steel, a bike that is
    25-30 lbs probably has something better then mild steel but less then Chromo in it, can also have Chromo in the main tubes, and mild steel in the stays, more then 30lbs for a road bike, is probably mild steel. Note, touring bikes with racks and fenders are heavier, and can exceed 30lbs even though they are Chromo steel, they are also built heavier duty, then race purpose bikes.

    Other then the frame, check that the wheels are reasonable true with no spokes missing, that it can shift into all gears, the brakes can stop a lifted wheel and if you turn the bars, that it turns smoothly. If things seem rough, it usually just needs a tuneup, and your dealer can do that for you, for a small fee. If the bike has totally flat tires, then it hasn't been ridden in a while, replace the tires, tubes and brake pads. These can be damaged from sitting too long, replacing them means that there will be no issues. If the bicycle looks like it's been ridden recently, look at the chain, a rusty chain means poor maintenance, I would pass on that one. A rusty chain on a bicycle that has sat for a while, is not, but should be replaced.

  4. #4
    "Purgatory Central" Wino Ryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZ1Tom View Post

    Any thoughts and advice is appreciated.

    Tom



    Pretty much what the others have said, but here's my take.

    You need a good steel bike, with no less than 36-spoke wheels. A good, used steel bike from the 80's made in Japan with decent components off e-bay will run you $100 - $250. A new bike today, with the same level of components will be three to four times that, and the frame will be garbage compared to a good lugged steel frame. For your first road bike I wouldnt worry about anything lightweight, leave that to the weight-weenie racer boys. A good used 25-30 lb road bike is just as fast as a high dollar Orbea, and will still be around after that plastic bike has turned to dust.

    I started off (this last go-round) with an 80's Fuji road bike that weighed 27 lbs. It was lugged steel of Ishiwata tubing and I loved that bike. I weighed 267 lbs then, and put 1600 miles on it in six months. Sadly, I sold it to a friend who wanted to get into road bikes just like you.

    Forget new. Forget aluminum, and forget carbon. Nothing, on god's green acres has the resiliency, strength and durability of steel. I've been riding road bikes my whole life, so I know a thing or two about 'em.
    ~ "I like the way the brake cables come out of the top of the levers and loop around to the brake calipers!...I like those downtube shifters too!...No no no, don't take 'em off, don't take 'em off,...leave 'em on, leave 'em on! - Thats right baby!!

    ~BF - Steel Club Member #00051

  5. #5
    Member eloist2's Avatar
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    agreed with the steel bike recommendations.

    I found a 1990 Bridgestone RB-3 in perfect working condition minus one rear tube for $40 at a thrift shop in Nashville.

    That alone with new 105 derailleurs would be under 300 bucks.

    I did get lucky, but if you look long enough you'll find a gem. Craigslist should be your homepage for a while.



  6. #6
    Member Nocturnal's Avatar
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    I am also over 300lbs and I spent some time at Harris Cycle shop in mass which seems to be one of the highest rated shops around...they definitely liked the Surly Long Haul Trucker, Cross check or the Bianchi Volpe for me. The LHT just seemed to fit so that's a matter of preference. They all run about $950-1100 complete though you have to add a few other things.
    Otherwise look online for models you like that might be a year or two older.

  7. #7
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wino Ryder View Post
    Nothing, on god's green acres has the resiliency, strength and durability of steel. I've been riding road bikes my whole life, so I know a thing or two about 'em.
    What he said........

  8. #8
    POWERCRANK addict markhr's Avatar
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    Hope you can find what you're looking for in these - it's not in any order (price, alphabetical, color, etc.) though. They're just great and versatile bikes.

    drop bar, discbrake, 700c, off the peg

    trek portland - http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...land/portland/

    cannondale cross xr7 - http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/08/c...del-8XR7C.html

    Brodie Ronin '09 - http://www.brodiebikes.com/2009/bikes/ronin.php
    Brodie Ronin '08 - http://www.brodiebikes.com/2008/2008_bikes/ronin.php

    rocky mountain solo cxd - http://www.bikes.com/main+en+01_102+...tml?BIKE=606#2

    kona sutra - http://www.konaworld.com/08_sutra_w.htm
    Kona Sutra - http://www.konaworld.com/09_sutra_en.cfm
    Kona Dew Drop - http://www.konaworld.com/09_dewdrop_en.cfm

    Orbea Diem Drop Disc (2009) - http://www.orbea.com/en-gb/productos...icicletas.aspx (see road bikes > fitness > diem drop disc)

    focus cross disc - http://www.focusbikesuk.com/focuscyc...cross_disc.php
    focus mares disc 2009 - http://www.focusbikesuk.com/focuscyc...mares_disc.php

    Devinci Caribou2 (2009) - http://www.devinci.com/11628_an.html

    Raleigh USA Sojourn (2009) - http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/road/sojourn/

    Rei Novara buzz road bike (2009) - http://www.rei.com/product/779985

    rotwild rs1cx - http://www.rotwild.de/en/ (street bikes section)

    Fixie Inc. Pureblood - http://www.cycles-for-heroes.com/bik...oss/pure-blood
    fixie inc. pureblood - http://www.cycles-for-heroes.com/200...pureblood.html

    Salsa la Cruz - http://www.salsacycles.com/laCruzComp08.html
    Salsa Fargo - http://www.salsacycles.com/fargoComp09.html

    Opus Sentiero - http://opusbike.com/site_route.php?lang=en (see 2009 bikes > road > cyclocross)

    Genesis Croix de Fer - http://www.genesisbikes.co.uk/series/croix_de_fer

    BikesDirect Motobecane Fantom Cross Outlaw - http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...ane/outlaw.htm

    Baron bicycles - http://baronbicycles.com/spec.htm

    Marin bikes toscana - http://www.marin.co.uk/2009/bikedeta...?ModNo=3965-1F
    shameless POWERCRANK plug
    Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
    Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
    Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!

  9. #9
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Check out used but unlike everyone else I am going to recommend something a little newer. A lot of road bikes from the 80's ran 27 x 1_1/4 tires which are still plentiful to buy a bike shop but there is hardly any selection. Variety is the spice of life and whatnot. Rims on the other hand are going to be a bit harder to get ahold of. Also, the rims tend to be steel which is very slippery when wet. Don't ride that bike in the rain as you won't be stopping in a hurry. The other issue is frame spacing. Say you find yourself a nice 80's Panasonic or Bridgestone, you ride the tar out of it and fall in love with her. Components have worn out and it's time to replace...only there are no replacement parts anymore. The amount of money you will spend in upgrading a frame of that age to modern components will cost you an arm and at least 1/3rd of a leg. Modern 700c wheels might fit depending on the reach of your brake calipers, a modern cassette won't fit unless you have the frame spread, modern brifters could work but man alive they are expensive, modern crank set is unlikely to fit, same with crank arms, and I'm not sure what all could be done should you wear out the bottom bracket.

    Therefore, I would recommend something a little newer in the used category. If you can save up the cash for a newer entry level road bike then go for it. If you know your size or can locate a fit calculator you can go with something new from Bikes Direct so long as you are comfortable knowing you are on your own for repairs and other issues that crop up. Well not on your own, your bike shop would be happy to take your money for repairs.

    You can also get a part time job to save up some moolah if time, family, and lifestyle allows.

  10. #10
    Senior Member bike4life's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wino Ryder View Post
    ... You need a good steel bike, with no less than 36-spoke wheels. ...
    Absolutely 1000%! I rode with "standard" spoke count wheels and kept busting spokes, because I was too much man for the wheel. Make sure the wheels you buy are approved by their manufacturer for your weight.

    I also recommend steel over aluminum or carbon. You might also want to consider a cyclocross bike as a transition between your Trek and a racing road bike. A cyclocross bike is more versatile, but provides the road style drops.

  11. #11
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    I've had a couple bikes, then I got my Long Haul Trucker. I'll never ride another aluminum road bike again, and probably never another aluminum bike period. It's tough as nails, rides smooth as silk, and just overall an amazing bike. I've done roadie rides with it, commutes, and "gravel" endurance rides. I just want to hug it.

    I'd suggest steel, and 36 spoke wheels. I've been there, done that, and that's the route I'll go in the future. I loved my Trek FX aluminum bike as well, but I just couldn't stand it breaking any longer, so I got the LHT.

  12. #12
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    There are several good bikes out there for less than $1000. The Cannondale Caad9 5 is around $900. It has a good frame and is worth upgrading. The Jamis Ventura Sport is an excellent value at $620. The Fuji Newest 4.0 is okay at $500.

    Don't look at your first road bike with an eye to upgrading. Look at it as something you'll ride, enjoy, outgrow and move on to something better. You aren't marrying it, you're going to ride it! Life is long and there are many bikes out there waiting for you.
    Stuart Black
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bautieri View Post
    Check out used but unlike everyone else I am going to recommend something a little newer. A lot of road bikes from the 80's ran 27 x 1_1/4 tires which are still plentiful to buy a bike shop but there is hardly any selection. Variety is the spice of life and whatnot. Rims on the other hand are going to be a bit harder to get ahold of. Also, the rims tend to be steel which is very slippery when wet. Don't ride that bike in the rain as you won't be stopping in a hurry. The other issue is frame spacing. Say you find yourself a nice 80's Panasonic or Bridgestone, you ride the tar out of it and fall in love with her. Components have worn out and it's time to replace...only there are no replacement parts anymore. The amount of money you will spend in upgrading a frame of that age to modern components will cost you an arm and at least 1/3rd of a leg. Modern 700c wheels might fit depending on the reach of your brake calipers, a modern cassette won't fit unless you have the frame spread, modern brifters could work but man alive they are expensive, modern crank set is unlikely to fit, same with crank arms, and I'm not sure what all could be done should you wear out the bottom bracket.

    Therefore, I would recommend something a little newer in the used category. If you can save up the cash for a newer entry level road bike then go for it. If you know your size or can locate a fit calculator you can go with something new from Bikes Direct so long as you are comfortable knowing you are on your own for repairs and other issues that crop up. Well not on your own, your bike shop would be happy to take your money for repairs.

    You can also get a part time job to save up some moolah if time, family, and lifestyle allows.
    While it's true about some parts on old bikes being hard to upgrade, a lot of riders have bought an '85 road bike for $100, and when they want something more modern, buy a new bike and sell the old one for $100....

    Some things are completely upgradeable, cranks is one, you can replace a 30 year old cottered crank with a new cotterless one, Ashtabula cranks are NOT compatible, although there is kit on the market now (*I think Harris Cyclery has it) that will downsize a Ashtabula frame to fit a cotterless crank.

    You can get aluminum 27" rims, you can also get or make a drop bolt, you need a piece of metal strapping, say 2mm thick, Aluminum or steel would work well and a bunch of washers. Bend the strapping so that it forms a U around the brake bridge, drill a hole so that you can put a bolt through the strapping and the existing hole in the brake bridge. Hold the brake up against your piece so that it fits the wheel, and mark your metal strap. Drill a hole, to match both ends, put the brake bolt through using the washers as spacers so that it's not squished together much. If you want you can paint the gizmo to not show, paint it the same colour as the bike. You can use a piece of scrap wood to make drilling easier. This would allow the use of 700C wheels. You can always do things one at a time, so one year you convert the crank to a modern one, keeping everything else the same, the next year you respace the frame and replace the back wheel. If the old bike has downtube shifters or barend shifters, you simply keep those, and swap the RD when you do the rear wheel. Surprisingly little has actually changed enough that a bike built in 1978 can't use modern components, the only exception might be some French and Italian bikes, that are older might have headset and bottom bracket incompatibility issues.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    I don't know of a good way to tell a Titanium (Ti) frame, unless parts of it are unfinished, Aluminum must be finished or it will turn dark, eventually black. Sometimes they will clearcoat Ti though, even though it doesn't really need it, it's not magnetic, and it's a darker and duller grey then fresh Aluminum treated the same way. Sometimes though they will clearcoat Ti, but Aluminum may be painted so it looks the same. Sometimes with Ti, they will use the smaller diameter tubing like steel, but they may also use the larger diameters like Aluminum to make the frame stiffer, as Ti can be flexy.
    There are a number of ways that titanium and aluminum frames can be distinguished. In most cases, the easiest way it to look at the weld beads. Aluminum weld beads tend to be very wide and blobby, while titanium weld beads are narrow and smooth. Here are some pictures:

    Titanium weld
    Aluminum Weld

    You can see that the aluminum weld beads are much wider and taller than the titanium beads. If you can see the weld beads, it's pretty easy to spot aluminum.

    Lately, I see more and more aluminum frames where the weld beads have been ground down or filled before painting. If you can't see the weld beads, the next thing to look at is tubing thickness. Aluminum isn't as strong as steel or titanium, so aluminum tubes have to be significantly thicker. Pull the seat post and look at the top of the seat tube. On a titanium bike, the tubing will probably give the impression of being very thin; to me the tubes look like they're about as thick as a can. Aluminum will look 2-3X thicker; more like a galvanized pipe that you'd use for plumbing.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca View Post
    Surprisingly little has actually changed enough that a bike built in 1978 can't use modern components, the only exception might be some French and Italian bikes, that are older might have headset and bottom bracket incompatibility issues.
    There are also wheel spacing issues to consider. Older bikes are often designed to have only 120mm or 125mm of space between the rear drop-outs. Modern road bikes and wheels are designed for 130mm. Similarly, spindles on older rear wheels may only be designed to accommodate 5- or 6-speed cassettes. Steel frames can often be spread to accept modern wheels, but it's easy to break the bike or screw-up the alignment if you don't know what you're doing. I don't know of anyone currently making 120 or 125mm hubs for road bikes, though I'll admit I haven't looked very hard.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to deal with these issues and would only consider buying a used bike if it could accept modern 130mm wide 700c wheels and an 8-, 9-, or 10-speed cassette.

  16. #16
    Rabbit Habbit! Jerry in So IL's Avatar
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    I was at 315 at the 1st of the year. I swore I wouldn't have a road bike because I hate drops.

    Then I dropped weight (down to 275 as of Saturday) and took a road bike out in Feb and I haven't looked back. I've dont it "all wrong" I guess. Its a Giant OCR2 with carbon fork and seat post. It only has 24 spoke back wheels. I'm waiting for it to taco up on my and rattle my filling out, but it hasn't yet. Guess 30 miles a day on it isn't enough to get non steel to hurt you.

    I did swap out the stock 23mm tires for 32mm CX and a different seat, but that's just me. I ride on gravel, bad roads, and routes. I due stay away from potholes and singletracking with it.

    Does steel ride better? I think so, but not enough for me to pay more for it. If I could have gotten a steel bike with the same componets and fit for the same, would I have gotten it? Yea, but I didn't find one and I like mine.

    I think the wider tires will give you the more comfortable ride over frame material. IMHO, so YMMV.

    Good luck in your purchase.

    Jerry
    I'll be needing that for squirels and such....

  17. #17
    Senior Member SmokedDeathDog's Avatar
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    I still have bad dreams about getting a drop bolt for the front brakes of my Peugeot when I went to 700c wheels and that was many years ago. I agree with some posters and say get a used bike that is still current. Something that has 130 spacing in the rear and takes 700c wheels. Whatever bike you get, get something that is stretched out, not a crit bike with tight geometry so you can be comfortable.
    Ron

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  18. #18
    Senior Member
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    Steel treks from the 80s are a good bargain. I've got a 1985 460 that I just took outside for the first time last week. I put a few hundred dollars of upgrades on it, but it was way cheaper than any new road bike that's worth owning.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    There are also wheel spacing issues to consider. Older bikes are often designed to have only 120mm or 125mm of space between the rear drop-outs. Modern road bikes and wheels are designed for 130mm. Similarly, spindles on older rear wheels may only be designed to accommodate 5- or 6-speed cassettes. Steel frames can often be spread to accept modern wheels, but it's easy to break the bike or screw-up the alignment if you don't know what you're doing. I don't know of anyone currently making 120 or 125mm hubs for road bikes, though I'll admit I haven't looked very hard.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to deal with these issues and would only consider buying a used bike if it could accept modern 130mm wide 700c wheels and an 8-, 9-, or 10-speed cassette.
    Spreading a frame is fairly easy, but if there is a frame builder relatively close that has an alignment table, that might be a better option and the cost would be fairly reasonable. 5mm is about 3/16ths of an inch, lots of people simply force a 130mm hub into a 125mm frame, tougher if it's 120mm, but then see the item about a frame builder, above. If you have an old frame you really like and go to a frame builder for this, you can also get them to add some additional brazeons, might even be able to move that brake bridge down a little or add some canti brake posts, put a canti brake on the back and your good to go. Forks are easier in that you can just swap for a modern fork.

    Although if your going to do all this, it's probably better to sell the bike as is, and get a different one. Hopefully in a year or so the economy will be coming back and the OP can get a better paying job and then buy a new bike.

    Although pretty much any name brand bike shop bike (Trek, Canondale, Specialized, Rocky Mountain, etc.), built in the last 10 years, will alleviate almost all of the concerns, and should, in reasonably good condition, be available for a reasonable cost, depending on the level and age,

    As I said earlier, for anyone new searching through, if money is really tight, you can often get a 1980's bike, ride that for a while and when you get good as a rider and want something better, sell it for as much as you paid for it and step up. Your only cost to ride being a little maintenance.

  20. #20
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Grab an old bike (70s or 80s) and ride the heck out of it. Some time later, you will know what you want in a road bike and can start looking for THE bike for you. May take a couple of tries to get THE one but just take your time and enjoy the journey.

  21. #21
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FZ1Tom View Post
    While I'm happy with my Trek 7200 for now, I grew up riding a Schwinn Varsity in high school and first part of college, and I'm still pretty convinced that I'll enjoy a road bike again...whenever.

    The problem is that a) I'm still way too heavy (300 or so right now) and b) they ALL cost WAY too damn much! Sorry, I'm not a bike snob (nothing personal) but I've never made more than 20 grand a year in my life (and that's before taxes). So yeah I know - get a real job, etc. But back to the original issue at hand.

    Question: In YOUR opinion, at what cost point does a bike become worth buying with upgrading components in mind?

    Is it even possible to get the framesets anymore? I'm 5'10" and very short of inseam, probably about a 51 or 52 cm frame would be my size. But regardless, I'd rather ride it with cheap components than spend a year saving up for a groupset and not be able to ride it.

    I'm just trying to figure out how to make it all worthwhile and get a good bike that can be upgraded as time goes on without spending money merely for the sake of it, something I suspect people do a lot (espescially people with too much money ).

    Any thoughts and advice is appreciated.

    Tom
    They only cost way too much because you are looking at new bikes. I have bought many nice road bikes off Craigs List and similar, most for $100 or less.

    As for size, even with a short inseam, a 51/52 is too small for you. I guess you are thinking about standover height. Worry less about standover height and more about top tube length. You will find a 51/52 road bike to be very compact for your size. I would say a 54 as a minimum, and a 56 max.

    As far as cost point, my favorite ride is my 84 Lotus Classique (six speed), Tange 1 frame. I picked it up last year for $16. It has 700c wheels. Many but not all bikes from the 80s had 700c wheels.

    My second favorite bike is my Colnago Master Lite, picked up off Craigs List in January. Lets just say it cost significantly LESS than any new road bike you can buy at a bike shop. And its all Ultegra components. It has 700cm wheels as well.

    My third bike is a Trek 950 rigid mountain bike (seven speed): $75 (26 inch wheels).

    All three bikes are steel cromoly frames: Tange 1, Columbus, and True Temper.

    I really don't understand why people buy new bikes when you can buy ready to go used bikes for so much less. Bikes rarely get ridden much, so a bike that is 20 years old might have only been ridden 25 miles. There really is no advantage to buying new, unless you have more money than time (time to spend looking for a good used deal).

    None of these bikes needed component upgrades. The Colnago is all nine speed Ultegra, the Lotus is Suntour ARX, and the Trek is Deore LX and DX.

    As far as speeds, OK the Lotus is only a six speed. I don't really understand the "need" for nine or ten speeds. And if you do decide to spread the rear to accept more speeds, thats pretty easy to have your local shop do for you. I have been considering going to seven speeds on the Lotus, only because I happen to have a real sweet set of Suntour Superbe Pro hubbed wheels that are seven speed.


    Last edited by wrk101; 03-28-09 at 07:27 PM. Reason: clarification, typo on wheel size

  22. #22
    crash 5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post

    All three bikes are steel cromoly frames: Tange 1, Columbus, and True Temper.

    I really don't understand why people buy new bikes when you can buy ready to go used bikes for so much less. Bikes rarely get ridden much, so a bike that is 20 years old might have only been ridden 25 miles. There really is no advantage to buying new, unless you have more money than time (time to spend looking for a good used deal).
    i respectfully disagree with this for a couple of reasons.

    we as a group, are not little pirates, dancing up pyrenees, wagging our 120lb rear ends.

    the older frames you speak of are really cool, but theyre all, standard (non-os) tubes of the older milder cro-mo.

    while the ride is supple, forgiving, sweet, magnificent, etc... many of us will twist these old frames like ramen noodles. i like those qualities in a frame, just not so much of them. theres going to be a point where youre overloading your frame to the point where it starts to do funny things like ghost shift, rub the big ring, shimmy on descents and the dreaded rubbing of the fork on the downtube while braking.

    you will sacrifice some things riding on those old sweet steel frames of our youth, but it just depends on what someone looks for in a bike. i personally am so slow, i need all the energy i put out, being converted to forward momentum, or as much as possible.

    dont get me wrong, i like, love, steel. 3 of my 4 bikes are steel, 853, max and max or. the last one is ti becasue i got if so very cheap and it fits my long torso/short legs well, but it was about to be a gunnar 853 stock frame, cause steel is freakin sweet.

    older frames are cool, theyre plentiful, theyre forgiving and very comfortable to ride, they WILL move around on you, especially the uber-clydes. memory tells me sl was rated for 160lbs max and sp was recommended for heavier riders. id venture to guess that 531 had similar "recommendations".

    a new frame will most likely be noticeably stiffer although uber-clydes might thrash anything short of a tree. you KNOW it hasnt been crashed and you know there isnt any internal rust, from neglect.

    edit: and im not built to ride a short top tube, long seat tube, "old school" italian geometry. i need something thats been tweaked or is slightly compact to get a long enough top tube. ie, ride the biggest compact frame i can stand over. that colnago is beautiful.

    edit: btw, im all for buying used stuff as long as you do your homework. there are some sweeeeeeeeeeet deals to be found online.
    Last edited by grimace308; 03-29-09 at 03:07 AM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
    They only cost way too much because you are looking at new bikes. I have bought many nice road bikes off Craigs List and similar, most for $100 or less.

    As for size, even with a short inseam, a 51/52 is too small for you. I guess you are thinking about standover height. Worry less about standover height and more about top tube length. You will find a 51/52 road bike to be very compact for your size. I would say a 54 as a minimum, and a 56 max.

    As far as cost point, my favorite ride is my 84 Lotus Classique (six speed), Tange 1 frame. I picked it up last year for $16. It has 700cm wheels. Many but not all bikes from the 80s had 700cm wheels.

    My second favorite bike is my Colnago Master Lite, picked up off Craigs List in January. Lets just say it cost significantly LESS than any new road bike you can buy at a bike shop. And its all Ultegra components. It has 700cm wheels as well.
    I think you mean 700mm wheels, 700cm means a wheel almost 23' in diameter!

    Craig's List can be funny though, some cities $100 will get you a very nice older European or Japanese made road bike, with good level Campy or Ultegra level components. Other cities all it will get you is a Chinese made gas pipe Huffy that sold new for $65 and has sat in someones garage for the last 5 years, with components, where it's comparability to Shimano is cosmetic at best...

  24. #24
    crash 5
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    its called 700c, just not cm

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