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  1. #1
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    1st new bike in years, (new to forums too)

    Hey all,

    Just a brief introduction, I live in michigan in ann arbor (U-M) where i work and I've always depended on my bike to get me around town. Well my bike (an old trek 700 i think) is starting to wear out since it's almost 10 years old. I use the bike as general purpose, getting to work, running errands, biking to softball games, and general riding.

    http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/tle/bike.jpg

    The only thing i have on it extra are the aero-bars that i use to give myself better aero-dynamics.
    I don't use it offroad unless neccesary, but I do need sturdiness for sidewalks and curbs and such.

    So I am most likely going to stick with a mountain bike, but i had some questions i was wondering if you could help me answer.

    My budget will be most likely under $500 and ideally under 400, so i had a few concerns that I'm just not sure about.

    1. The aero bars i have are basicly bar ends that meet in an inverted 'V' in the middle, and for me, I really like the positions they give me to ride, where i can crouch down out of the wind. Is there anything else that might work better then those for me?

    2. Shocks: If i don't ride offroad and i want as much road performance as possible should I avoid shocks?
    (front fork or rear shocks or even seat).

    3. How much are toe clips and are they worth the investment? I've shyed away from them in the past because I wonder how I would be able to get out of them but one friend I have says it's no problem at all to use them. Would I need special shoes or are there ones that work with normal shoes that I would wear.

    4. Any particular brands of bikes good? The only ones I know of are mostly mainstream and that is probably all I can really afford anyway, Trek, Giant etc. come to mind.

    5. Would it be worth it to get non-nobby tires, and are all mountain bikes geared the same? I sometimes find I am at the highest gear combo on my bike but my legs still have a bit more to give.

    6. If my budget allows one thing I always wanted was a bike computer, mainly for speedometer and odometer readings, what are some good simple ones that you might suggest?

    Thanks in advance,

    Moomin

  2. #2
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    Just a brief introduction, I live in michigan in ann arbor (U-M) where i work and I've always depended on my bike to get me around town. Well my bike (an old trek 700 i think) is starting to wear out since it's almost 10 years old. I use the bike as general purpose, getting to work, running errands, biking to softball games, and general riding.
    Welcome to BikeForums. I'm an ex-A^2/ex-UM employee (worked at Merit). That 700's frame still looks pretty nice. I know it's probably not economically feasable to rebuild it into original condition but perhaps converting it into a singlespeed might be in the future. I'd hang on to the bike regardless. You can always use a backup just in case your new bike has to go to the shop or something.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    The only thing i have on it extra are the aero-bars that i use to give myself better aero-dynamics.
    I don't use it offroad unless neccesary, but I do need sturdiness for sidewalks and curbs and such.

    So I am most likely going to stick with a mountain bike, but i had some questions i was wondering if you could help me answer.
    Although you will want fatter tyres for the "urban jungle" and campus riding involves its own little hazards, you may be able to get by with a bit skinnier and smoother tyres than what you currently have. I'd suggest that for your next bike, you look into 1.5" Specialized Nimbus. For light offroad trails and mostly pavement, you don't need as an aggresive a tread and the smoother tyres will roll faster with less energy.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    My budget will be most likely under $500 and ideally under 400, so i had a few concerns that I'm just not sure about.

    1. The aero bars i have are basicly bar ends that meet in an inverted 'V' in the middle, and for me, I really like the positions they give me to ride, where i can crouch down out of the wind. Is there anything else that might work better then those for me?
    Without getting into drop bars, not really. Although, you might want to check out this concurrent thread on alternative handlebars for commuting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    2. Shocks: If i don't ride offroad and i want as much road performance as possible should I avoid shocks?
    (front fork or rear shocks or even seat).
    Yes. I would avoid shocks. Even for mild offroad excursions, you can get by with a full rigid if you have a steel or compliant fork and/or frame.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    3. How much are toe clips and are they worth the investment? I've shyed away from them in the past because I wonder how I would be able to get out of them but one friend I have says it's no problem at all to use them. Would I need special shoes or are there ones that work with normal shoes that I would wear.
    Toe-clips are pretty cheap. You can find them on sale for around $15 a pair. Personally I would opt for PowerGrips instead. Neither of them require special shoes although some shoes do work better than others. You may also want to consider clipless pedals. these do require special shoes. For commuting, I would recommend double-sided SPD-style MTB clipless pedals which allow you to clip in (yes I know that reads funny since they're supposed to be "clipless") from either side and use recessed cleats so you don't have to walk funny in the shoes. If your job requires you to wear fancy shoes and you don't want to have to carry around an extra set of shoes then I would suggest just leaving the work shoes at work and changing into them when you get there.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    4. Any particular brands of bikes good? The only ones I know of are mostly mainstream and that is probably all I can really afford anyway, Trek, Giant etc. come to mind.
    To be honest, it sounds like what you really want is a cyclocross bike. IMHO, that's the perfect Ann Arbor bike. However, given your budget and given that cyclocross is a much smaller market segment, I think it will be harder to find one in your price range. The next option would be to go with a comfort-road bike like the Specialized Sequoia or the Trek 1000C. If you go that route then I personally would suggest you ask them to swap out the suspension post for a rigid post but that's just me and my aversion to suspension seatposts. Those bikes seem better suited for what you have described as your type of riding because they combine some roadbike aero positioning and geometry for faster riding with mounts for fenders and racks for commuting. Also they will accept a little bit wider tyres with a bit more tread for light trails and the infamously poor Michigan streets.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    5. Would it be worth it to get non-nobby tires, and are all mountain bikes geared the same? I sometimes find I am at the highest gear combo on my bike but my legs still have a bit more to give.
    I think I expounded on the tyre issue above. As far as gearing goes, MTB gearing is geared pretty low. This is probably another reason you will want a more roadbike-like gearing. To be honest, cyclocross and touring gearing are probably best suited for what you want to do. They're not as tight and fast as pure road-race gearing and aren't all clustered on the low-end like that for MTBs but are more widely spaced out with some low range gearing as well as adequate top-end gears. The downside is that you will not be able to fine-tune your spin as easily because the jumps between gear ratios will be larger. Depending on your level of fitness, for Ann Arbor commuting, I would suggest a wide-range 12-23T or 12-21T in an 8 or 9 speed rear cluster with a 39/53 double or 30/42/52 triple respectively. The first combo will give you tighter gearing and more top-end and is more "race oriented".


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    6. If my budget allows one thing I always wanted was a bike computer, mainly for speedometer and odometer readings, what are some good simple ones that you might suggest?
    I'm currently using the Shimano FlightDeck computers on my bike. They integrate with my shifters but they're rather pricey although you may be able to find a good deal on them if you look hard. I don't think I've seen the computer and mounting kit together for anything under $50 though. However, you can find CateEye coomputers for the $20 range with nearly the same functions (sans the integration features). These include things like speedo, odo, trip-odo, stopwatch, auto-start/stop. check out the CatEye Mity and Astrale series. I've owned CatEyes in the past and have had very good experiences with them. Also check out the SigmaSports line of computers.


    I still end up in Ann Arbor quite often because my current employer maintains an office there (we're a "spinoff" from Merit/UMich) so maybe I'll see you on the road... assuming I ever am able to save up enough for my travel bike. Good luck and good hunting!
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  3. #3
    The Rabbi seely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    Hey all,

    Just a brief introduction, I live in michigan in ann arbor (U-M) where i work and I've always depended on my bike to get me around town. Well my bike (an old trek 700 i think) is starting to wear out since it's almost 10 years old. I use the bike as general purpose, getting to work, running errands, biking to softball games, and general riding.
    Couple recommendations for you here:



    Specialized Sirrus

    This is essentiall a flat-bar road bike. You get the fast rolling 700c road wheels, a lightweight frame and components with a flat bar mountain bike position essentially. Throw on some bar ends for more hand positions. These are definately an on-road machine but with some cross-tires they make decent cross bikes.



    Gary Fisher Dualsport 129/229

    These are 29" wheeled bikes so you get the speed of a larger diameter 700c wheel with the tire clearance of a mountain bike. The frame is more mountain bike than road bike as is the component set. These work really well on and off the road. You get suspension with the Dualsport which may or may not be something you want. I think the for may have a lockout for extended road rides if you don't want to have much bob.

  4. #4
    'possum killer chuckfox's Avatar
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    Hi Moomins,

    I used to commute from Ypsilanti to Ann Arbor when I worked at the University (1991-1995). Now I'm a commuter in Ames, Iowa. Both towns have similar weather--maybe a bit colder in Iowa.

    Anyway, Marin has a line of bikes they refer to as Urban bikes. I have seen them at my local bike shop and they are very nicely spec'ed with good components and none of the frills on the low cost models that are just likely to break or cause service problems. Here is a link to one that retails for $420, you should be able to get it for less.

    http://www.marinbikes.com/html/spec_04_muirwoods.html

  5. #5
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    "6. If my budget allows one thing I always wanted was a bike computer, mainly for speedometer and odometer readings, what are some good simple ones that you might suggest?"

    I'm fairly useless as far as the rest of the questions, but this one I got. For $12.93 from www.reioutlet.com you can get the sigmasport BC800. It has:
    Current speed
    Average speed
    Max speed
    Trip time
    Trip distance
    Total distance
    Clock
    Capability to set 2 different wheel sizes so that you can use it on two different bikes without having to reprogram the wheel size (you'll obviously need a 2nd mount/sensor on the other bike though).

    I've had it for about 2 months now, it's been through february and march in minnesota so you know it has to be somewhat durable. I'd recommend it. Oh, and you certainly can't beat the price.

  6. #6
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    Just go for a used touring bike instead...

  7. #7
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    My 0,02 euros:

    Quote Originally Posted by propagandrew
    For $12.93 from www.reioutlet.com you can get the sigmasport BC800. It has:
    <clip>
    Capability to set 2 different wheel sizes so that you can use it on two different bikes without having to reprogram the wheel size (you'll obviously need a 2nd mount/sensor on the other bike though).
    Make sure it is the old stock Sigma BC800. The new, current model (ingeniously carrying the same model number) has a redesigned hookup to bars and only 1 wheel size. I had the old model and two wireless setups for my two bikes. The comp died, and as a result I had to change everything. For some reason the old model is difficult to come by where I live. It was a nice comp and served me well, but I changed to VDO. I did not like the idea of being pushed to buy another complete setup for two bikes from Sigma within relatively short period of time.

    Re: clipless. You can get combo pedals, one side of the pedal is platform and the other has the clipless mount. That way you do not have to wear special shoes every time you ride the bike. If you ride all year round this may also save you some money, as you do not have to buy riding shoes for all weather conditions. Problem with combo pedals is the pedal will always have the wrong side up when you start from e.g. traffic light .

    Shocks: methinks a good rigid bike is better than one with a cheap set of springs. Less hassle.

    Tyres: by all means change to something smoother. You will enjoy the ride more.

    --J
    To err is human. To moo is bovine.

    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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  8. #8
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    Hey just an update, i made a webpage with links to all the bikes i'm currently considering.

    http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/tle/bike.html

    Links to the page at the local bike shop are there too, I went to the Trek shop yesterday, but I haven't gotten to the Giant/Specialized/Cannondale yet.

    Pricewise i really can't go over $800 and that's really pushing it, but I think i want the step up from entry level (carbon fork perhaps), since i do want this bike to last me for a long time without upgrading.

    Not leaning towards anything until i can go to the other shop and see most of the bikes on the list and see if they have anything better then list prices on stuff.

    Thanks again for the suggestions and recommendations and help, I feel like i need to do so much research on this so i don't screw it up!
    Last edited by Moomins; 04-16-04 at 09:01 AM.

  9. #9
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    If you're looking for a commuter, my suggestion would be a steel bike, rather than Aluminum. I didn't catch any on your list.

    The 2003 KHS Flite 300 might work, if it fits (Reynolds 520 steel and about $500)

  10. #10
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    Hey just an update, i made a webpage with links to all the bikes i'm currently considering.

    http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/tle/bike.html

    Links to the page at the local bike shop are there too, I went to the Trek shop yesterday, but I haven't gotten to the Giant/Specialized/Cannondale yet.

    Pricewise i really can't go over $800 and that's really pushing it, but I think i want the step up from entry level (carbon fork perhaps), since i do want this bike to last me for a long time without upgrading.

    Not leaning towards anything until i can go to the other shop and see most of the bikes on the list and see if they have anything better then list prices on stuff.
    First of all, I want to say that your list is an excellent one. I probably would have created a similar list. Secondly, I have visited both Two Wheel Tango and Great Lakes Cycling and they are good bikeshops. Of the two, TWT seems to have a bigger selection. When I was last there and looking at cyclocross bikes, they also had me try out the LeMond Poprad and the Gunnar (I forget which model) and were quite willing to work with me in swapping out parts and such to get the bike to the right level both specwise and pricewise. You might also want to inquire about those two bikes too. Also, I have friends who have excellent experience with TWT (they live just down the street from the main shop) and are quite loyal to them. I personally would stay away from Student Bikeshop though.
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
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  11. #11
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    Yeah I avoid the two student bike shops like the plague, they are a bit on the
    'shady' side.

  12. #12
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    Just got back from the bike shop, most of the shops around here have very little selectionwise, TWT has the treks (and lemonds) but GLC has specialized, giant, cannondale, and fuji.

    I test road the Specialized Sirrus Elite (they didn't have the sport) and it was very very nice. I also tested a cannondale R400 Sport 2003 that was on sale for 680, the first real road bike i've ridden since 1994 (i had a Peugeot "Marseilles that i bent the frame in a crash).

    A couple of things struck me.

    First, wow bikes are light these days.
    Tons lighter then hefting around my Trek 830 mountainbike.

    Second, the shifting is very very different then what I'm used to. I last used the old
    levers on my peugeot and then had the wrist twist shifters on my trek mtb.

    Now the shifting and brakes are combined, not only in the flat bar sirrus but also on the road bikes i looked at, with the brake handle actually being one of the shifting directions. Do you accidently brake while trying to shift, or is this something i'll just get used to? (just like i did to twist/grip shifting).

    Also it seems that you can't shift from the forward tuck position on the road bikes since you have to be 'on the hood' to reach the one shift position with your right hand, is that something else that's commonplace now?

    After taking the ride on the R400 sport i realized that it might not have as much maneuverability as I'd like so i might have to stick with a flat bar bike and use a bar end/aerobar solution like on my current bike. Sorta hoping my current bar will fit on the new bike if i get a Sirrus.

    Man I'd actually be almost totally in love with the sirrus if it came in something other then orange!!!!

  13. #13
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    A couple of things struck me.

    First, wow bikes are light these days.
    Tons lighter then hefting around my Trek 830 mountainbike.
    The progress of technology does have its benefits sometimes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    Second, the shifting is very very different then what I'm used to. I last used the old
    levers on my peugeot and then had the wrist twist shifters on my trek mtb.

    Now the shifting and brakes are combined, not only in the flat bar sirrus but also on the road bikes i looked at, with the brake handle actually being one of the shifting directions. Do you accidently brake while trying to shift, or is this something i'll just get used to? (just like i did to twist/grip shifting).
    Some people claim this is a problem and that they do accidently shift while braking and vice versa. Some others like it that way... so they can downshift and brake at the same time... such as while coming up to a stoplight. I am sort of in the latter camp and have never accidently shifted while braking or braked while shifting. If you are concerned about it, you might want to consider different shifter technology. The oldstyle downtube shifters still exist... as does bar-cons amongst others. Also, you might want to look at Campagnolo Ergo shifters. While they also place the shifters on the hoods, they do seperate the functions so that the brake lever itself is not part of the shifter.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    Also it seems that you can't shift from the forward tuck position on the road bikes since you have to be 'on the hood' to reach the one shift position with your right hand, is that something else that's commonplace now?
    It sounds like you were dealing with Sora shifters. Many people dislike them...especially those with smaller hands. I'm one of them. You practically need to have thumbs as long as your middle finger in order to reach the controls. The Sora shifters are the oddballs of the Shimano lineup. Look for bikes with Tiagra (next level up) and above shifters. Campy's thumbshifters on their Ergo levers are set further back along the hood and can be reached from the drops.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    After taking the ride on the R400 sport i realized that it might not have as much maneuverability as I'd like so i might have to stick with a flat bar bike and use a bar end/aerobar solution like on my current bike. Sorta hoping my current bar will fit on the new bike if i get a Sirrus.
    The roadbike position is different from a MTB position. The bike can be quite maneuverable but you need to adopt to it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    Man I'd actually be almost totally in love with the sirrus if it came in something other then orange!!!!
    You might consider letting the shop know. Maybe they would be willing to swap frames with a Sirrus Sport which comes in silver and rebuild it as an Elite. The two frames are identical except for the colour and decals.
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  14. #14
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    They actually didn't even have a Sirrus sport in the shop at all, I would have liked to compare it to the elite to see if i would miss the carbon fork, which seems to be one feature i'm going to try to get even if i have to save up another month to make the bike purchase.

    The plain sirrus looks sharp but is missing the carbon fork AND the front cog is only 48 max which means i could run out of gears like I do on my mtb right now.

    I'm still wondering if I do just want a road bike they had some nice deals on some 2003's.

    OCR-2 for 600, Allez 24 (03) 520, the R400 Sport was 680.

    Another shop I saw had a Trek XO-1 2003 for 800.

    Hmm one other thing maybe someone here would know, I was looking at the Sirrus Comp, (the next step up from the sport/elite) and it has clipless pedals. Does this mean i have to have special shoes to use them? Or would i be able to use them just like normal pedals if I didnt have the cleat on my shoes?
    (Are they dual purpose)

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    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moomins
    They actually didn't even have a Sirrus sport in the shop at all, I would have liked to compare it to the elite to see if i would miss the carbon fork, which seems to be one feature i'm going to try to get even if i have to save up another month to make the bike purchase.

    The plain sirrus looks sharp but is missing the carbon fork AND the front cog is only 48 max which means i could run out of gears like I do on my mtb right now.

    I'm still wondering if I do just want a road bike they had some nice deals on some 2003's.

    OCR-2 for 600, Allez 24 (03) 520, the R400 Sport was 680.

    Another shop I saw had a Trek XO-1 2003 for 800.

    Hmm one other thing maybe someone here would know, I was looking at the Sirrus Comp, (the next step up from the sport/elite) and it has clipless pedals. Does this mean i have to have special shoes to use them? Or would i be able to use them just like normal pedals if I didnt have the cleat on my shoes?
    (Are they dual purpose)

    If you're looking at road bikes, make sure you test ride the Specialized Sequoia. The suspension seatpost takes up a lot of the road buzz. Many people in my club have bought them. Remember to keep the adjustment fairly tight, or you will find yourself bobbing up and down with each pedal stroke.
    You can get MTB shoes with SPD or Eggbeater pedals, and still walk around town. The shop should work with you on the pedals, to get what you need.

  16. #16
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    I think I'm going to go test ride the trek 1200 and 1200c tomorrow, now that i have a better idea of the shifting differences, (i've never had to check specific components on bikes before) but from what i saw on the R400 sport, I want to see what shifting is like with something a step up from the Sora's, and that seems to cut out a lot of the cheaper road bikes from my list. (the 2003 specials etc), and the cheaper 2004 cannondale, specialized and giant road bikes.

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    Right now I did some component cuts, staying with Tiagra+ on shifters and updated my webpage worklist.

    http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/tle/bike.html

    I still have to go test ride the trek 1200c and 1500 (they don't have any 1200's right now but i want to see it for comparison.)

    I suppose I should go test the Specialized Alllez Sport Triple too, since that seems to be about the equivalant of the trek 1200/1200c.

    I might check another store and see if they have the Marin Mill Valley in,
    and I'm trying to find a Cannondale 600 roadwarrior to test as well.
    Both of these would compare to the Sirrus if i stay with a flatbar, but I'm leaning towards a road bike which means trek 1200/1200c or the Allez Sport triple.

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