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  1. #1
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    New Rider wanting opinions on a "cheap" starter road bike

    I'm new to cycling, and I know that it is something I want to get more into. I'm 5'10" and currently 250lbs. Obviously my main goal is to lose weight. As of now, I have been riding a NEXT Mountain Bike. I know it's a "piece", but it's all I have to use right now, so been doing what I can on it. I'm basically looking for advice on a good starter road bike, for around $500-$600 or so. That's about all I will be able to spend right now on a bike. I know road bikes can cost a lot more than that, which is why I thought I would post here to see if anyone had any insight on something that will give me the most bang for my buck, while I save for something better. I have been checking Craigslist everyday in my area, but there just isn't anything. Gotta love small town USA's. I have checked with my 1 local dealer, and they don't really have anything in that range right now.

    Sorry for a wall of text, but just looking for some ideas from you guys. Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    Ride what you got. Be patient and you will find a used bike in that price range that will serve you well. Keep riding and you will benefit from getting stronger. By improving your riding then you will have more choices in bikes and know what feels right. What feels right today may not be the best choice next spring. You can make small purchases such as clothing, shoes, tools and stuff to satisfy your need to speed. These items can then be used on the road bike.

    Keep pedaling and good luck.

    PS there is a search function where you can read through past threads about this.

  3. #3
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    Hi, welcome to the forums!

    Unfortuantly there really isn't much of anything availible in that price range. You really are best off just riding what you have and continuing to save your money up. Once you get into the 1k range, you can start looking at some pretty decent new bikes. Look at it this way. If you settle for something in this price range...you're going to end up offing it in a year anyways. Then you're out the 600 you put into it already.

    Maybe you could buy a new set of semi-slick tires for your current bike to pick up some speed. Keep on saving, mow some lawns, shovel snow...it shouldn't be a stretch to double your current budget in the spring time!

  4. #4
    Tilting with windmills txvintage's Avatar
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    Considering it's about to get cold in most of the world, the used bike market will be saturated with more bikes than are buyers. If you know your bikes well enough, or have a friend that does, some good deals can be had, If you don't have a pretty good understanding of what you are looking for or don't have a friend who can go along with you be careful. You can end up on a bike that doesn't fit you and may not be well maintained.

    The other option is keep plugging away on what you have and start a bike fund aimed at getting you into the bike shop entry level roadie come spring time.

    Either way, keep on pedalling, and Welcome!

  5. #5
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    OP what area are you in?

  6. #6
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    How comfortable are you buying used? Craigslist is a decent way to pick up something inexpensive. I've seen plenty of nice Alu bikes in your price range and the choices will only get better as the weather cools.

    Even at $600 you will be hard pressed to find something new with decent parts and weight. If you save a little more and can put $800-$1k into a new bike then by all means there are lots of options.
    Weight (April 2010) 200lb -> Goal (Nov 2010) 145lb Achieved -> (Aug 2011) 132lb 10%BF

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  7. #7
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    I was in the same position back in January and bought a brand new single-speed from "bikesdirect" for $300. It was a pretty decent bike for the money and all nice and new. I was silly to buy a single-speed at 315lbs and eventually sold it this summer for the same money I paid! The buyer was thrilled.

    However, they have many multi-speed bikes at your price point that seem like a great deal to see if you will be bitten by the bike bug or not. If you wish, you can always upgrade later and you havent lost a ton of $.

    This one looks nice at your price:

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...e_record_x.htm

    As I say, "bikesdirect" were both responsive and courteous and I got more than I expected for the low price point.

    HTH, magohn

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies! Seems like the majority said what I was afraid of, save and wait, lol. In my head, I know it's the right way to go about this, but being an impatient person, I want to go buy now! Might have to hold myself back though. The whole cold weather issue makes a lot of sense. I knew $600 would not net me a great bike, etc, but was looking to see if there other options out there other than the Trek 1.1. My only local bike shop would sell me one for $639.00. The problem I have with sticking with what I have for now, is it is honestly a piece of crap. This is a bike that has sit out in the rain for a couple years, etc. It feels like I'm riding a horse, weighs a ton. I love to ride though, makes me feel great, and I look forward to it daily. But with my current bike, sometimes the bike itself makes me want to just not go that day, etc. I don't know if that makes sense, but I just don't want my bike to be the reason I don't go for a ride that day, etc.

    dbikingman-I live in NC. Mt.Airy to be exact. Ever see the Andy Griffith Show? Yeah, Mt.Airy and Mayberry are one in the same. Even as I type, "Mayberry Days" Festival is going on downtown, lol. This town is basically a shrine to the show. Want a haircut at Floyd's Barber Shop? We have it covered! Lots of people think it's neat when they learn what this town "is about"....but they don't live here and see it everyday! Back to the point though, it is indeed a small town, with 1 bike shop. Craiglist hardly ever has anything for my area, other than what I could go to Wal-Mart and buy myself.

    Magohn
    -I will check that site out, thanks for the link!

  9. #9
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I'd also probably go the bikesdirect route. Ask the local shop what they'd charge to build it up for you if you're not up to setting it up yourself.
    I'd probably go with the Galaxy for $400, which will leave plenty of room for assembly cost and accessories.
    That Moto Record that Magohn posted is one sweet bike, too, if you can swing it.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  10. #10
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    if you want to buy something now you should. don't suffer on a sucky bike - you will get discouraged and maybe give up riding.

    check Craigslist first. so many good deals there - I've bought my last two bikes there - it's not too hard to inspect a bike (unlike a car).

    if you are ok dropping $600 then a Trek 1.1 might be close to that at least if you can find last year's model. but I'd spend that money on a higher quality used bike.
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  11. #11
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    Your realistic options were already well laid out: Craiglist, Bikesdirect, or save up to $1200 or so.

    I would only add that it might be worth checking Craigslist outside the local area. I once saw a deal in Miami (2+1/2 hour drive). When the guy, to my surprise, returned my call, I left work early and got a ride to Miami to pick it up. I was lucky all around and got a good deal. If you are pretty sure it's a deal and it fits you, maybe it would be worth the trip to, what, Raleigh, Charlotte, Mount Pilot?
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  12. #12
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    If you have a good relationshiop with your LBS see if they have a used bike in your size. I know several LBS that sell used bikes, although they don't adviertise it. You might find what you are looking for used at the LBS and then when you are ready to upgrade you might be able to trade it back into the LBS.

  13. #13
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    Here you go a 56 cm Caad8 asking $650 http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/bik/1969882857.html

  14. #14
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
    Here you go a 56 cm Caad8 asking $650 http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/bik/1969882857.html
    So this bike has a Shimano 105 component group, which is "entry level racing." This is probably a step up from what the $650 Trek you were looking at would come with. This bike has a carbon fiber fork, which you'll want to look over closely for signs of damage, but which doesn't weigh much, and has some amount of "shock" absorption. ( I really like carbon. ) It also has a computer, which is a great thing to have. Knowing how fast you're going is important, and it can help push you to know how far you're riding, etc.

    The one thing that might be a downside is that this bike has upgraded pedals. It seems to come with the cleats, but you would also need to buy a pair of bike shoes. I would personally count this as a plus; when I changed to clipless it cost me $200.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  15. #15
    Auburn Fan jasonball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
    Here you go a 56 cm Caad8 asking $650 http://winstonsalem.craigslist.org/bik/1969882857.html
    that is a really good price for that bike

  16. #16
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    I got my bike from www.bikesdirect.com, price wise you cannot get any better, they have a wide choice with them, they have bikes in the 400 price range that is the same class bikes that your LBS will sell for 900. Look at their site and you will get yourself a good bike at a good price.

  17. #17
    Senior Member redvespablur's Avatar
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    Put up a wanted ad on Craiglist. I had good luck flushing out some good finds. Be specific enough to stop the walmart bikes from being offered up.

  18. #18
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    KHS make some decent looking road bikes in a lower price range. If there's a dealership near you it might be worth checking them out. Otherwise, a bike shop that takes trade-ins might get something in that would work for you, and might be less of a gamble than buying one on Craigslist or Kijiji.

  19. #19
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    There are many threads on the same subject.

    Talk to your local bike shop and ask them for advice

    Yard sales and recycling days may yield almost free bikes.

    Consider a folding bike, Dahon, as they are easier to store and transport.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member boy scout 161's Avatar
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    My 2 cents; I mainly ride MTB on gravel, but wanted a entry level Road bike. Did some comparison shopping and went with a Trek 1.1. Paid $630.00. I am completely satisfied. That said, one must be realistic. As my Dad used to say, "You can't have champagne tastes on a beer budget." The 1.1 is a good entry level bike, nothing more, nothing less. I always find it interesting when people buy entry level bikes of any flavor and then complain that they don't shift as smooth as -insert group- or are heavier than -insert frame-.

    Good luck with whichever route you go and have fun!!!
    Be prepared. Do a good turn daily.

  21. #21
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Why do you want a road bike? Do you plan to ride with other roadies, or just by yourself? Do you want to race? If you just plan to ride alone for exercise, there's no immiment need to change bikes. If the mountain bike is comfortable to ride, just keep using it. If you want to ride mostly on pavement and want to go farther or faster, aside from the obvious answer of doing it through practise and exercise, you can also replace the knobby off-road tires with slicker street tires.

  22. #22
    Senior Member carlspeed's Avatar
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    First off, if you haven't, you need to ride a real road bike. Once you do, you will never want to get on a mountain bike again. Recently, I did this exact same thing. Doing it over again, I would still go the route I did. Buy used.

    Do NOT buy a used carbon fiber bike. You will see them pop up for a great deal, but finding cracks can be hard. (that happened to me, and I took the bike back tot he guy and got my money back). I ended up finding my Giant TCR2 for $600. The bike probably has about a thousand, maybe fifteen hundred miles and rides great. It came with a computer and Look pedals. Granted I didn't have cycling shoes nor cleats, (just recently got them) but in the mean time I picked up a cheap set of pedals from a bike shop for $15. They worked great, and I'm still going to keep them as a spare even though I got cycling shoes and cleats to use with the pedals I got.

    If you are not comfortable buying a used bike, get a new one. You are going to hear a lot on bikes direct. You'll hear pluses and minuses. The pluses are that it's a GREAT deal, and overall is about half the price of a name brand equivalent. The negatives are that it is that, not a name brand. If that's important to you, don't buy one. If value is important, it is as good as bikes twice as much in price. I had no opinion on the quality of them until a couple of weeks ago I talked to a guy who had a Motobecane. The bike was lighter than mine, had 105 components, and looked no different in terms of quality. It weighed 3lbs lighter and he paid $700 shipped. What a steal.

    The one thing I will say when picking out your new bike is that you are going to hear a lot of stuff about components. Sure, quality means speed in shifting, but the biggest thing that I noticed was where you shift at. My wife's bike is brand new, and the retail price was about the same as my used Giant. The biggest difference is that it weighs about 5lbs more, and you can't shift it when you are riding in the drops. (if you don't know, that means leaning over the bike, with your hands in the bottom part of the bars). May not be important to you, but it is to me. At least keep it in mind. Good luck!

    EDIT: Saw the craigs list post for the Cannondale. That bike is a steal. If you buy it and don't like it, you won't lose any money. Go that route! Take some cash over there this weekend and see what kind of deal you can make! On the way home swing by walmart and buy some cheap pedals so you can ride with regular shoes. In a few months, splurge on a nice set of road shoes on sale from Nashbar and you you'll have a great package that will be able to handle anything you would want to do for the forseeable future!
    Carl
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  23. #23
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    I bought a 2008 Schwinn Letour (the red one) - Tiagra rear and Sora front, about 22lbs - nothing flashy $500.00 on sale....... I've put around 1500 miles on it and love it......

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