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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 07-14-12, 10:53 AM   #1
Mark.from.Texas
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Looking for a bike for my wife

Finally got my wife on her (old Walmart special) bike again a few weeks ago and she's liking it enough to want a new, decent bike. When I bought my bike all I knew about was the LBS. I like what they did for me, but with bikes direct and other sources it seems like there is more bang for the buck out there, I just don't know the brands that are offered.

Budget is ~$500 for her 'starter bike', as with myself we'll splurge on something nice when we reach our goal weight and we know a bit more about bikes to pick exactly what we like and don't like.

Anyone able to recommend something that is decent and sturdy ? She's looking for a hybrid/flat bar road bike.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old 07-14-12, 03:46 PM   #2
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The benefit of going to an LBS is that they assemble the bike from the box, lubricate and adjust it.
You have to do this yourself if you get a bike from Bikes Direct.

I bought a new bike on the internet a couple years ago. To get the warranty, they insisted on shipping the bike to an LBS and having the store set it up. Cost me an extra $90.
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Old 07-14-12, 04:44 PM   #3
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Yeah I have to second the lbs here. Think about it, even if the Internet bike is 10% cheaper it's only 50 bucks and having it set up, working properly and having someone to go to for warranty service may be worth 50 bucks.

I would at least go try some and see if you click with any of the sales guys.
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Old 07-14-12, 06:18 PM   #4
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I agree about the LBS. My husband and I both got bikes below MSRP at our repective LBSs. We are both happy with them and have someone to take them to when there are problems. We both visited our LBS this weekend for minor adjustments. My husband has a GT road bike...don't know the model but it's and entry level road bike and seems to be a very good bike for the money. Mine's an entry level TREK-- just a tad above your budget, but not much. I love my bike (and really appreciate the boys at the shop).
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Old 07-14-12, 07:44 PM   #5
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If you are an REI member they just sent coupon's for 15% off Novara bikes.
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Old 07-14-12, 07:51 PM   #6
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$500 budget? You can get a pretty decent ride for that level. Just have your wife ride a bunch of bikes in that price range and get her the one she likes the most. Anything you look at from an LBS will greatly exceed that walmart bike, I can assure you.
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Old 07-14-12, 08:09 PM   #7
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The Specialized Vita base model lists at $500 and my LBS has it for $450. That is a nice bike. The cannondale quick 5 is listed at $550, maybe available for about $500. The base Trek FX is the 7.1 at $450 and the 7.2 at $550. All good and similar bikes. I know Giant has a hybrid too but I don't recall anything about it. EDIT: Giant has the escape, base model at $470 and one up from there at $530.

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Old 07-15-12, 01:14 AM   #8
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My wife has the vita and absolutely adores it. I "made her" test ride about 5 bikes and when she rode the vita she was instantly sold. The 4 bikes prior to it she said she couldn't really tell the difference but the vita was a whole different story. In fact I went on a ride with a cousin of mine (a guy) and he rode her vita rather than take my old mtb and he was so impressed that he just went out and bought the sirrus which is the male version of the vita.
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Old 07-15-12, 06:23 AM   #9
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The benefit of going to an LBS is that they assemble the bike from the box, lubricate and adjust it.
You have to do this yourself if you get a bike from Bikes Direct.

I bought a new bike on the internet a couple years ago. To get the warranty, they insisted on shipping the bike to an LBS and having the store set it up. Cost me an extra $90.
Don't forget post-sale support, too. Most bikes need the derailleurs and cables adjusted after the first 150-200 miles. Many shops will perform other minor services for a period of time after the sale. My wife (chaapa here on the Clydes forum) and I both bought new bikes this spring, and both have needed some work. I can adjust a derailleur, but if the LBS is nearby and will do it for free, that's worth the trip. My bike developed a bad rattle recently, and the shop owner spent the better part of an hour troubleshooting it. Time he could have spent working on another bike at shop labor rates. By process of elimination, the problem was found and fixed. So far, neither of us has spent a penny on repairs.

An entry level aluminum frame bike from a LBS is not going to cost much more than $600 assembled. When you add in what they'll charge to assemble a BD bike (unless you can do it yourself), you're pretty much breaking even. Don't be afraid to ask about post-sale support. One of the times that chaapa had her bike back in, she had her debit card ready, and the guy told her to put it away, and said, "That's why you buy your bike at a LBS".
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Old 07-15-12, 06:37 AM   #10
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what kind of bike are you looking for?
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Old 07-15-12, 07:45 AM   #11
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Bikes Direct has a few of its own LBSs. I have one here in Jacksonville, and I have heard that is more in Texas. They also go by the name of Cycle Spectrum, so do a search for both of those store names in your area. I bought my fixed gear in their store here and have been super happy with it.
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Old 07-15-12, 08:49 AM   #12
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The LBS is the preferred way to go for sure! My wife chose a Giant Cypress a couple of years ago and now really likes it. She preferred the mens small frame for its geometry over the ladies where her toes tended to touch the front wheel. Of course the LBS let her try a variety of bikes and sizes.

The LBS was also helpful at providing advice and gear to customize the bike to her wants and needs. Curved European handlebars, rear rack, 16L saddlebags,Serfas LED lights etc. The whole bill was around $500 and worth every penny. We ride often together and travel 10 to 30 kilometres most days.

Good luck and have fun, thats whats its about!
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Old 07-15-12, 09:33 AM   #13
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My wife has the vita and absolutely adores it. I "made her" test ride about 5 bikes and when she rode the vita she was instantly sold. The 4 bikes prior to it she said she couldn't really tell the difference but the vita was a whole different story. In fact I went on a ride with a cousin of mine (a guy) and he rode her vita rather than take my old mtb and he was so impressed that he just went out and bought the sirrus which is the male version of the vita.
The Vita looks like a winner with one sight change to the bike.

The handle bars.

For anyone past 18 yrs old those flat bars are going to be murder on the riders arms, hands, wrist, lower back, butt, and shoulders for a ride much past around the block.

I'd suggest a change over to this bar to put your wife in a real comfort zone.....

http://www.amazon.com/Nirve-Cruiser-...cle+handlebars
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Old 07-15-12, 12:12 PM   #14
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The Vita looks like a winner with one sight change to the bike.

The handle bars.

For anyone past 18 yrs old those flat bars are going to be murder on the riders arms, hands, wrist, lower back, butt, and shoulders for a ride much past around the block.
I am 57 years old, with arthritis. I ride a hybrid similar to the Vita with flat handlebars. I added Ergon grips and I can go 40 miles with no issues, even without gloves. I might be able to go further but I haven't tried.
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Old 07-16-12, 11:03 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the replies. After reading all of them we found an LBS that sells the Vita and she'll try that and a few more sometime this week and will be riding together this coming weekend!

I'm curious about the LBS bias though. Is this more of a 'I want to ride it, not wrench on it' or are the bikes from BD.com and other online vendors simply crappy and should be avoided? I am new to bikes, but coming from a car culture, saving 10% on something only because it needs to be lubricated and assembled was kind of a no-brainer when buying parts for my cars.
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Old 07-16-12, 11:25 AM   #16
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Thanks for all the replies. After reading all of them we found an LBS that sells the Vita and she'll try that and a few more sometime this week and will be riding together this coming weekend!

I'm curious about the LBS bias though. Is this more of a 'I want to ride it, not wrench on it' or are the bikes from BD.com and other online vendors simply crappy and should be avoided? I am new to bikes, but coming from a car culture, saving 10% on something only because it needs to be lubricated and assembled was kind of a no-brainer when buying parts for my cars.
Well, if you wrench your own car, nothing on a bike is going to throw you for a loop. And no, BD carries quality products. There's nothing wrong with them. Bike shops do more than sell bikes and support you post-sale. They hold group rides, hold clinics for various aspects of cycling, sponsor local races and charitable rides, and employ your friends and neighbors. They pay local property taxes (or the building owners do if the LBS is a tenant) at commercially zoned rates. BD, Nashbar and the other online giants do none of that. Unless they have their own retail outlets.

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Old 07-16-12, 11:56 AM   #17
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I'm curious about the LBS bias though. Is this more of a 'I want to ride it, not wrench on it' or are the bikes from BD.com and other online vendors simply crappy and should be avoided? I am new to bikes, but coming from a car culture, saving 10% on something only because it needs to be lubricated and assembled was kind of a no-brainer when buying parts for my cars.
I have nothing against BD or ordering online. However, my experience with my wife is that she is very sesitive to fit. It is like shoes. 90% or more of the time, I can grab a pair of size 13s and they'll fit me just fine. Same with bikes. I can look at specs and pretty much know what will work for me. My wife, on the other hand, can try on a dozen pair of shoes in several sizes and not find one pair that "fits". Same with bikes. She rode lots of bikes before she found the one that "fit". It was worth the effort and extra expense to get a bike she will ride.
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Old 07-16-12, 02:31 PM   #18
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I have nothing against BD or ordering online. However, my experience with my wife is that she is very sesitive to fit. It is like shoes. 90% or more of the time, I can grab a pair of size 13s and they'll fit me just fine. Same with bikes. I can look at specs and pretty much know what will work for me. My wife, on the other hand, can try on a dozen pair of shoes in several sizes and not find one pair that "fits". Same with bikes. She rode lots of bikes before she found the one that "fit". It was worth the effort and extra expense to get a bike she will ride.
I too come from an old car background, a lovely little Triumph TR7 ragtop and do my own car and bike work. When I need advice or special assistance my LBS is usally very helpful. My wife likes to touch and feel what she buys and bikes are no different. On-line sales are okay for ipods and stuff but a nice bike is a work of art and should be appreciated up close and personal.

As an aside, my wife is riding a lot more since we ditched the flat bars (as suggested by our LBS) in favor of the curved european bars. She claims her wrists and hands are at a more comfortable angle. A set of alloy bars at the LBS was $14.99. Money well spent.
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Old 07-16-12, 02:36 PM   #19
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Have you been to Bicycles Inc.? They have have several locations in and around Fort Worth, have a wide variety of bikes, and do a decent job of informing without over-selling. They aren't my favorite bike shop, but my wife (as a beginner) really likes them. You might also look into Trinity Bicycles downtown.

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Thanks for all the replies. After reading all of them we found an LBS that sells the Vita and she'll try that and a few more sometime this week and will be riding together this coming weekend!

I'm curious about the LBS bias though. Is this more of a 'I want to ride it, not wrench on it' or are the bikes from BD.com and other online vendors simply crappy and should be avoided? I am new to bikes, but coming from a car culture, saving 10% on something only because it needs to be lubricated and assembled was kind of a no-brainer when buying parts for my cars.
EDIT: Ah... looks like that's what you did.

One benefit of buying from a shop is that they will assemble and set up the bike for you, and offer service and tuneups (usually free for basic stuff for the first year). If you buy a bike online and then take it to a shop for adjustments, wheel truing, etc., they will probably charge you $60-100. So when considering buying online, think of that. Also, consider the shipping and handling you pay for an online transaction.

If you're interested in finding group rides, let me know; there are a lot of groups in Fort Worth that vary from very relaxed social rides to hard training rides and everything in between. And depending on what part of town you live in, I might be able to recommend some rides not far from where you live; my wife and I have been doing a lot of exploring since this spring when she really started to get into cycling.

As far as the paying a premium for cycle stuff at a shop versus buying online, to me, saving 10% isn't worth it; I will gladly pay that much at a shop that can give me good advice. To me, it is money well spent.
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Old 07-16-12, 02:55 PM   #20
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Trek Navigators sell well , a 26" street tire 1.0 is a 8 x1, 2,o is an 8 x3.
upgrade includes suspension seatpost and fork and adjustable angle stem.
casual riser bars.
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Old 07-18-12, 04:14 AM   #21
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Not counting my child and early adulthood in Holland ~20 years ago where I was on a bike everyday for one thing or another, I've only been riding since June 1st. I'm OK doing my own pace when I want it, not sure if I'd be able to keep up with a bunch of roadies. As far as suggestions and routes, yes, I am open to anything. The 2 routes below are my current weekend and workday routes. I might add, subtract some depending on weather and how I feel.

http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/sjYUDmza4n4
http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/s_b27UIDgKo

I don't mind spending the money at an LBS, was just curious about the enormous support for LBS vs do it yourself. I guess the dollar amounts spent at an LBS are significantly lower then bringing your car to a stealership or tuner, so it makes sense.

Quote:
If you're interested in finding group rides, let me know; there are a lot of groups in Fort Worth that vary from very relaxed social rides to hard training rides and everything in between. And depending on what part of town you live in, I might be able to recommend some rides not far from where you live; my wife and I have been doing a lot of exploring since this spring when she really started to get into cycling.

As far as the paying a premium for cycle stuff at a shop versus buying online, to me, saving 10% isn't worth it; I will gladly pay that much at a shop that can give me good advice. To me, it is money well spent.
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Old 07-18-12, 07:37 AM   #22
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Thanks for all the replies. After reading all of them we found an LBS that sells the Vita and she'll try that and a few more sometime this week and will be riding together this coming weekend!

I'm curious about the LBS bias though. Is this more of a 'I want to ride it, not wrench on it' or are the bikes from BD.com and other online vendors simply crappy and should be avoided? I am new to bikes, but coming from a car culture, saving 10% on something only because it needs to be lubricated and assembled was kind of a no-brainer when buying parts for my cars.

I've bought five bikes in the past few years for other family members - 2 kids, wife, my parents. Of those, I bought three online (one from Bikesdirect), and two at the LBS. There are benefits and tradeoffs to both ways.

Benefit to online - imo - is that I got better spec'd bikes cheaper than I would have locally. Plus the BD bike I bought for my wife was spec'd in a way that the LBS didnt' even have available (cross bike with Apex) or if they did it was more than 2x the price (Specialized and Cdale dealer). My wife did not like the Sora shifters on the Tricross she rode. So I gambled on fit and went BD route and it worked out great.

Benefit to LBS for me has been in buying bikes for my parents for their 50th anniversary -- I took them to test ride some Globe (Specialized) Daily (2 I think) models - and frankly I would have gotten the sizing all wrong if I'd tried to do it online. The LBS gave me a great deal on two bikes, and when my parents left for Florida for the winter they checked them over and made a few minor adjustments for free. My mom even took her bike in when the reflector on the wheel came loose...ha. My parents are thrilled with the bikes, and they know if they have a problem that the LBS will take care of it and not charge them too much even if the bike is past warranty. And the guys at the shop have been great - genuinely happy to hear that my parents ride almost every day.
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