Newbie Athena in Brisbane - help me decide!
My name is Erin, and I am looking at buying my first bike.
I have lost a fair bit of weight over the last 2 years, started trying to lose weight in 2007 at 140kg (~308lbs), and as of now am at 100kg (~220lbs).
I've tried a few bikes at different LBS' and have pretty much decided on what I want, I just thought I would get some opinions before committing to buy!
The two I have narrowed it down to are the Apollo Shoreline for AU$460, or the Apollo Altura for AU$590. They both use the same frames, afaik the only difference between the two is the Altura has slightly better running gear, is it worth the extra cash?
I will be using it mainly on bikepaths around home and work, but will not be commuting by bike at this stage, as there are a series of bloody great hills between here and there :lol:
The better running gear is always worth the extra cash, Erin. :D
By the way, welcome to the forums, and congrats on your progress to date. :D
You can also look at the Shadow which is the exact same running gear, but has a standard frame (not the 'step through' low top tube). Maybe you can get a better deal on one of these as they might have more stock of the more 'normal looking' frame. While the standard frame is in theory stiffer, I don't think you'll actually have any trouble with the women's frame unless you start going bush with it!
Avanti bikes also have a wide range in that price point.
The Apollo bikes you mention have front shock forks. You probably don't need these if you are on paths and trails, so a bike without them may have better parts elsewhere for the same price.
The current edition of the Bicycling Australia magazine has a buyers guide that has extensive listings of all the bikes (and specs, prices etc) available in AUS.
The Altura has 3 more speeds than the Shoreline and the lowest gear, which is the one you'll be using to get over those great hills, is 28/30 (F/R) vs. 28/28 for the Shoreline, so the Altura has a lower, easier hill climbing gear. IMO, the running gear isn't worth $130 more, and the suspension fork may smooth out cobbles and rough pavement, but is usually unnecessary. As a starter bike, either is fine, but if you're worried about getting over those hills, the Altura will be slightly easier due to the lowest gear and you may thank yourself for spending the extra $$$ when you're climbing those hills.
I agree with comments in the thread about going for the Altura simply because of the lower gearing available and higher spec components. You may find you don't need the gearing in the long run but it will be invaluable as you get used to riding and grinding up the hills. My girl puts the low gears to good use when we are climbing hills on the bike paths around Wollongong. She ended up buying an oz model Giant Cypress 2. We looked at the Apollo offerings and others we found in the local bike shops but chose the Cypress because the components were higher spec / quality. If memory serves the Cypress 2 was around $AU650.
The Apollo Altura looks like it would be a fine bike.
What LBSs have you visited? You should be able to get better bikes than that for the price. It may depend on if you like that deep step through design. Generally Apollo don't have the best of reputations.
The Kona Dew range and Smoke are worth looking at. There are also the Trek Hybrids and the Avanti Spirit range. PM me if you would like LBS suggestions.
Okay, so of the two Apollo bikes the Altura is the better pick but I may be able to get a similar spec bike for less if I shop around a bit.
The step-through design is an unfortunate necessity at the moment, I'm just not able to swing my leg up over the seat :(
The shops I've been to already are River City Cycles in Yeronga, Balmoral Bikes and Carina Cycles. I also had a nice chat on the phone with the staff at the Uni Bike Shop, they have a Cypress 2w in stock in my size (M) so I'm going to go give that a spin tomorrow.
Those are dreadful bikes. Apollo? Isn't that a rocket or something? Those bikes are terrible.
Here's a tip: You don't need a step through bike because you don't "swing your leg over" a bike
to get mounted on a bike.
Here's the proper way to get on a bike: Stand to the left of the bike and hold onto the handle bars, step away
from the bike a bit and lean the bike over about 45 degrees towards you, now the bike is much lower than
it was a second ago. Take your right foot and step over the frame and put your foot firmly on the right pedal, the pedal
should be at the bottom part of the stroke. Now lift the bike back up and now you are astride the bike
and no fancy gymnastics was required.
The seats on those Apollos are awful and suspension seat posts are always a bad idea. You could get a decent mountain
bike that you could actually enjoy, neither of those bikes could be ridden over 20 miles without lots of discomfort.
Stick with name brands, if Apollo was such a great brand, you'd see them sponsoring Tour de France teams.
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