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  1. #1
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    Buying First Big Boy Bike.....

    Hi all,

    I am a recent college graduate now into my professional career and I am looking for a quality bike with a reasonable price point. I will use this bike to 95% commute during the winter and 65/35 commute during the other seasons. My commute isn't quite as long, but the many errands I will be running on this bike make it worth the extra cost to have something versatile, durable and fun. Just to throw in, I will be riding rail trails and compacted dirt trails in the summer months.

    So, about me: I am rookie cyclist (as you will soon find out), but I am tired of owning box store bikes that weigh 50 lbs and that improperly shift in the most inconvenient times. I am a bit of a bigger guy (I mean, I could drop 20-30 lbs, so we aren't talking hundreds here...) and I absolutely require being in a somewhat upright position.

    I have spoken to some bike shops and I am about 90% certain that I want either the Specialized Crossroads Sport or Specialized Crossroads Elite model. The shop is offering me 10% off either with an all cash purchase, Making the Bikes around 460 or 594. (links to the bikes at the bottom of the post). But before I buy, I have several questions:

    1)Is the Elite model really worth the extra $134? Why?
    2)What are the benefits of having a 9 speed cassette compared to an 8 speed?
    3)Are there any other bikes within a $650 or below (new only) price range, in similar or better quality from other brands I should check out?

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...ossroads-sport
    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...ossroads-elite

  2. #2
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    You need two bikes.

    1) the nice one (big boy bike) for recreational and fun day rides

    2) the craigslist beater / not as nice bike for your running errands & commuting. If your $1400 bike gets stolen while you're in the grocery store you're going to be much more pissed than if it was the bike you got for $150 on craigslist. which by the way doesn't need to be garbage, just a cheaper used bike that is not a huge deal if it gets run over by a car on the way, or stolen.
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

  3. #3
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    1) The Elite has an aluminum fork. This will be lighter, but won't absorb bumps as well as steel. It also has upgraded components and a different crankset (48/36/26 vs 48/38/28). Fewer teeth up front means you'll be able to tackle some bigger hills, but to put things in perspective, I'm running a 48/38/28 and have never needed to drop to the lowest gear, even on the bigger hills in my area. Finally, the tires are upgraded to "Armadillo" which I assume means it has some sort of puncture protection. Depending on the level of broken glass and gravel on your routes, this may or may not be worth it.
    2) More gears means you're more likely to find one to match your situation. I'm running a 7 speed cassette right now, and there are times when I wish I had gears in between.
    3) Maybe something in Trek's DS line or Giant's Roam line? Most bicycle manufacturers have lines that will fit your usage and budget. At that level, they're pretty much all equal, so pick the one you like the best.

  4. #4
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    And for your "good" bike I would highly recommend a Trek FX 7.1 or 7.2 depending on your price. (based on the two bikes you posted above)
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    You need two bikes.

    1) the nice one (big boy bike) for recreational and fun day rides

    2) the craigslist beater / not as nice bike for your running errands & commuting. If your $1400 bike gets stolen while you're in the grocery store you're going to be much more pissed than if it was the bike you got for $150 on craigslist. which by the way doesn't need to be garbage, just a cheaper used bike that is not a huge deal if it gets run over by a car on the way, or stolen.
    Assuming this isn't an option (and it isn't), the other questions still remain...
    For what it is worth, my bike will be stored indoors both at home and work...and I never mentioned anything about a $1400 bike.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by spivonious View Post
    1) The Elite has an aluminum fork. This will be lighter, but won't absorb bumps as well as steel. It also has upgraded components and a different crankset (48/36/26 vs 48/38/28). Fewer teeth up front means you'll be able to tackle some bigger hills, but to put things in perspective, I'm running a 48/38/28 and have never needed to drop to the lowest gear, even on the bigger hills in my area. Finally, the tires are upgraded to "Armadillo" which I assume means it has some sort of puncture protection. Depending on the level of broken glass and gravel on your routes, this may or may not be worth it.
    2) More gears means you're more likely to find one to match your situation. I'm running a 7 speed cassette right now, and there are times when I wish I had gears in between.
    3) Maybe something in Trek's DS line or Giant's Roam line? Most bicycle manufacturers have lines that will fit your usage and budget. At that level, they're pretty much all equal, so pick the one you like the best.
    Thanks! It sounds like there isn't too much to look forward to after paying $140 more.

  7. #7
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoastalBiking View Post
    Assuming this isn't an option (and it isn't), the other questions still remain...
    For what it is worth, my bike will be stored indoors both at home and work...and I never mentioned anything about a $1400 bike.
    well i was obviously exaggerating for effect about the price, but the point still stands. but it's good that you'll be keeping it inside at work - but i mentioned it because you also mentioned doing other things like running errands which will mean it will inevitably locked up outside somewhere.

    either way I still recommend the Trek FX 7.1
    I'd also look at the Giant Escape 3, and the Specialized Sirrus.
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    well i was obviously exaggerating for effect about the price, but the point still stands. but it's good that you'll be keeping it inside at work - but i mentioned it because you also mentioned doing other things like running errands which will mean it will inevitably locked up outside somewhere.

    either way I still recommend the Trek FX 7.1
    I'd also look at the Giant Escape 3, and the Specialized Sirrus.
    Why? Why do you recommend all of those over these models?

  9. #9
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoastalBiking View Post
    Why? Why do you recommend all of those over these models?
    well, as a matter of opinion, i think the specialized bike you posted in your first post are ugly. they appear to be more of the upright cruiser variety of bike, and i dislike those. i also think you'd find it harder to commute on given its geometry.
    if you want a specialized that's good for commuting and other things, but don't want a road bike, look at the hybrid type bike like the Sirrus http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/fitness/sirrus

    the Trek and the Giant i recommended are the same kind of bike. hybrids that offer the best of both MTBs and road bikes, and are built for urban street errands and commuting but can also ride some light gravel trails as well.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ss/fx/7_2_fx/#
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...specifications

    these are higher level bikes of their product lines for each company so they have slightly better components that the lower models.

    all of these fit at or below your $650 budget as well.
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
    well, as a matter of opinion, i think the specialized bike you posted in your first post are ugly. they appear to be more of the upright cruiser variety of bike, and i dislike those. i also think you'd find it harder to commute on given its geometry.
    if you want a specialized that's good for commuting and other things, but don't want a road bike, look at the hybrid type bike like the Sirrus http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bikes/fitness/sirrus

    the Trek and the Giant i recommended are the same kind of bike. hybrids that offer the best of both MTBs and road bikes, and are built for urban street errands and commuting but can also ride some light gravel trails as well.
    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ss/fx/7_2_fx/#
    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...specifications

    these are higher level bikes of their product lines for each company so they have slightly better components that the lower models.

    all of these fit at or below your $650 budget as well.

    Gotcha. What do you think about the crosstrail models?

  11. #11
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    I agree with Sci Guy for the most part. Horses for courses. Heck people have different vehicles for different kinds of activities. I don't, however, think Craigslist is the best source for a beater bike. Unless its hot, there is usually a hidden reason the seller wants to get rid of it. Some choice , stolen property or compromised in some way. Maybe its me, but I'd rather get gouged by a local co-op or LBS that does a consignment trade or refurbishes trade ins. I haggled a full $100 off the asking price for a very nice vintage Team U.S.A. that was built up by an LBS. On Craigslist similar bikes have all kinds of substitutions of components from the stock ones and a 'newbie' won't spot them. Even if you can't get the price down you can usually make up some of the difference between what you paid, and what you should have paid, in after-sale service. Try doing that with the Craigslist guy who insisted on meeting you in a park somewhere..."no names, ok, it's better that way...". FWIW.

    H

  12. #12
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoastalBiking View Post
    Hi all,

    I am a recent college graduate now into my professional career and I am looking for a quality bike with a reasonable price point. I will use this bike to 95% commute during the winter and 65/35 commute during the other seasons. My commute isn't quite as long, but the many errands I will be running on this bike make it worth the extra cost to have something versatile, durable and fun. Just to throw in, I will be riding rail trails and compacted dirt trails in the summer months.

    So, about me: I am rookie cyclist (as you will soon find out), but I am tired of owning box store bikes that weigh 50 lbs and that improperly shift in the most inconvenient times. I am a bit of a bigger guy (I mean, I could drop 20-30 lbs, so we aren't talking hundreds here...) and I absolutely require being in a somewhat upright position.

    I have spoken to some bike shops and I am about 90% certain that I want either the Specialized Crossroads Sport or Specialized Crossroads Elite model. The shop is offering me 10% off either with an all cash purchase, Making the Bikes around 460 or 594. (links to the bikes at the bottom of the post). But before I buy, I have several questions:

    1)Is the Elite model really worth the extra $134? Why?
    2)What are the benefits of having a 9 speed cassette compared to an 8 speed?
    3)Are there any other bikes within a $650 or below (new only) price range, in similar or better quality from other brands I should check out?

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...ossroads-sport
    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...ossroads-elite
    Go used: Get two bikes

    http://bend.craigslist.org/bid/4165528363.html

    http://bend.craigslist.org/bik/4207083922.html

    http://bend.craigslist.org/bik/4205767421.html
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  13. #13
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    Ok, what am I missing? I keep re-reading the o.p. trying to find where he gave his location as being in Bend, OR. Your avatar says you are from coastal Texas. WTH? In any case, the first bike listed is a nice bike... but for $300 a person could get a pretty nice bike new. The other two are ugly junk and priced accordingly. The o.p. appears to be aspiring to some of the finer things, I don't think he will be tempted.

    H

  14. #14
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    Ok, what am I missing? I keep re-reading the o.p. trying to find where he gave his location as being in Bend, OR. Your avatar says you are from coastal Texas. WTH? In any case, the first bike listed is a nice bike... but for $300 a person could get a pretty nice bike new. The other two are ugly junk and priced accordingly. The o.p. appears to be aspiring to some of the finer things, I don't think he will be tempted.

    H
    OP has many options..
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  15. #15
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    If you're planning to commute regularly, without regard to weather, you'll want to make sure you can fit decent fenders on the bike. I couldn't tell from Specialized's site if there are attachment points on the back -- you usually want one down near the bottom bracket, and one up around the brake bridge.

    For running errands, you'll want a rack. Dump stuff into panniers, lash big stuff on top, etc. Looks like these models lack rack mount points.

    Touring bikes aren't fashionable, but they have everything you need. Just saying...

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    Ok, what am I missing? I keep re-reading the o.p. trying to find where he gave his location as being in Bend, OR. Your avatar says you are from coastal Texas. WTH? In any case, the first bike listed is a nice bike... but for $300 a person could get a pretty nice bike new. The other two are ugly junk and priced accordingly. The o.p. appears to be aspiring to some of the finer things, I don't think he will be tempted.

    H
    Yeah...why did you post my location as Bend, OR?

  17. #17
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    Bend is a Ski town , Now. it's in the high ground, long ways from the coast.

  18. #18
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    I'd seriously consider checking out what your local bike shops have to offer, especially in the way of used bikes. A good used bike - particularly one that is well maintained by your LBS - could offer you a lot more value for the money, and as others have said, you won't be heartbroken if it gets damaged or stolen.

    A new bike shop in my town specializes in urban bicycles for commuting and just general riding, and they have a several, older Raleighs, etc. that they repair, restore, and clean up for resale. These never last too long. They are classic bikes, ride great, and because they don't look like the latest or greatest, are not as obvious targets for bike theft.

    Unless you plan on moving up to "hardcore" riding or racing, my personal opinion is to not buy more bike than you think you can handle. I'm no mechanic, but I used to maintain my cheap, big box road bike when I was a kid. A pain, but easy to do. Since then, I've gotten more bikes, including a fat bike with "modern" components: thumb shifters, disc brakes, aluminum frame, etc. But technology creep can be deceptive, and the latest and greatest doesn't necessary benefit the ordinary person in normal riding conditions. And under most riding conditions, the difference between say, 8 gears and 9 gears, is pretty insignificant. But I like my Rivendell bikes - nice and simple technology, clean lines, easy to maintain. And don't be fooled: some of the older bikes can go pretty bloody fast too! Your mileage might vary, of course.

    Good luck with your decision!
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  19. #19
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    I like the sci guy's recommendations. If you do buy a new bike, you can hardly go wrong with Specialized. I'm not one to steer people towards or away from any particular brand, but I really like the lineup of Specialized bikes. Dumb name, though.

    Trek is the biggest bike company, and their bikes are good, though I'm sure I can find a few of their models that are either boring or dumb. (Do I have to specify that this is merely opinion of one insignificant person?)
    Please email me rather than sending me a private message. My address is noglider@pobox.com

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  20. #20
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Cannondale Bad Boy 9

    The only thing I don't like about it is the tires.

  21. #21
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    so bike shops actually sell used bikes near you? I have a couple of bike shops here but I have never seen them selling used bikes...

  22. #22
    bill nyecycles the sci guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by e0richt View Post
    so bike shops actually sell used bikes near you? I have a couple of bike shops here but I have never seen them selling used bikes...
    i think it's a niche thing because i've been to quite a few shops and have never seen used bikes. unless they're "in the back" and you have to ask to see them
    Twitter@theSurlyBiker

  23. #23
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    The Elite has a RED STRIPE. That's scientifically proven to make it go faster. Also it has a black stem (which I think looks uglier). Armadillo tires, as noted above, will be more flat-resistant, so that's useful for an all-rounder. Also, looking at the drivetrain, not only is it 9-speed, it's a step or two up the ladder in the Shimano mtn hierarchy from Altus (or below) to Acera. May perform a little better, although nowadays even the lower tiers perform pretty decently. 9sp vs 8 doesn't make much difference; both have a rear tooth range of 11-32, as noted above the 48-26 in the front gives you a hair more on the low end for hills. That 9th speed just gives you one more in the back so at one point you get a closer shift. Some people get annoyed if their is a perceptible 'wide gap' and they can't be in the perfect gear for their cadence.

    Of course, the shop will certainly let you try both of them out. Leave your wallet or drivers license or something, and take them each on the same course around a few blocks. If the cheaper one seems to shift poorly, or the slightly closer gear step on the elite makes you happy, then you know which is the right one to buy.

  24. #24
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    I don't, however, think Craigslist is the best source for a beater bike. Unless its hot, there is usually a hidden reason the seller wants to get rid of it. Some choice , stolen property or compromised in some way. Maybe its me, but I'd rather get gouged by a local co-op or LBS that does a consignment trade or refurbishes trade ins. I haggled a full $100 off the asking price for a very nice vintage Team U.S.A. that was built up by an LBS. On Craigslist similar bikes have all kinds of substitutions of components from the stock ones and a 'newbie' won't spot them. Even if you can't get the price down you can usually make up some of the difference between what you paid, and what you should have paid, in after-sale service. Try doing that with the Craigslist guy who insisted on meeting you in a park somewhere..."no names, ok, it's better that way...". FWIW.
    That's nonsense. 90% of craigslist sales are good people who meet you in their houses and just want a little cash for something that's been cluttering up their house and hasn't seen much use. Try googling yourtown.craigslist.org/bik for "thought" and see how many near-new bikes are up for sale from some idiot saying "I thought I would get into biking, but..." 50 miles and 3 years later, you get a new bike for half price.

  25. #25
    Senior Member gregjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
    Try googling yourtown.craigslist.org/bik for "thought" and see how many near-new bikes are up for sale from some idiot saying "I thought I would get into biking, but..." 50 miles and 3 years later, you get a new bike for half price.
    The owner of the closest shop to me says that the number of bikes that get ridden like that then hung from the rafters in the garage is a lot higher than you would imagine.

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