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  1. #1
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    bike recommendations for century ride

    I am planning to do a century ride to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society this coming August. My old 10 speed bike is wrecked so I need to buy a new one. I would like to keep the purchase price down to $750 (or lower). Some experienced riders that I know have told me that this price will get me a decent bike with an aluminum frame but I should get a bike with a steel frame. Steel frame bikes are easier on the body I am told. Unfortunately, I also understand that bikes with steel frames cost over $1,000. I would appreciate any insights as to aluminum versus steel frames and also, recommendations for steel frame bikes at the lower end of the cost range. Thanks in advance.
    - Brad's Dad

  2. #2
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    Look into the thread on the Road Cycling portion of BF for under 700$ bikes. Nothing wrong with Al frames, but that is your choice. A frame has a given ride based more on inherent design than material choice. In the long run, tire width probably has more to do with ride than anything. I do have Ti bike that does ride smoother but it was designed to do that (and the wheels are more flexi...need to fix that). Many "road" bikes will not accept tires wider than 23 or 25 at most. Going up to 28 wide lets you get the tire pressure down and smooths out the ride. I am an old fat git and put most of my miles on a Douglas Fusion (Al) with 700cX23 tires. But I am pretty out of it I hear.

  3. #3
    Knows Bigfoot's Momma
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    Quote Originally Posted by BradzDad
    My old 10 speed bike is wrecked so I need to buy a new one. I would like to keep the purchase price down to $750 (or lower). ... Steel frame bikes are easier on the body I am told.
    - Brad's Dad
    I say get yourself a "classic" sport-tourer from the '70s! Something like a near-mint Raleigh International would be perfect, and cost about what your limit is... They have a long wheelbase, Reynolds 531 tubeset, chromed Nervex Pro (fancy/pretty) lugs, and a full Campagnolo Record group (but Weinmann brakes). They ride great, and if well kept, will resell for around what you paid! '74-'75 copper colored models seem the most common. There are lots of other '70s bikes in that same class, some better built, and for the same or less money. The main thing is to find one in original, nearly perfect condition.... They're out there... Keep looking on eBay, and you'll see at least one good sport-tourer from the '70s in your size, about every two weeks. They don't make 'em like they used to... (unless you want to spend the $$$ for something like a Rivendell)
    nice lugs baby!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for your input.

  5. #5
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    I think REI is still selling their touring bike in steel for less than what you want to pay for a bike. You can put 28mm or 32mm tires on it and have a very smooth riding bike.

  6. #6
    Bicycle Luge Racer khackney's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with aluminum frame bikes. Most of the beginner/enthusiast level bikes have carbon forks now which really helps the aluminum ride quality. While I too love older bikes, I would recommend a newer index drivetrain for someone wanting to do a first century. Lots of used bikes out there in the price range your looking at as well. Don't get hung up in groupset names. Any of them will work well if set up correctly. The difference in ride between steel and aluminum isn't really all that huge. The biggest thing about riding comfort for me is the saddle. Don't be shy about spending for a good saddle. Some bike shops have test saddles that you can try before you buy.
    '78 Raleigh Competition GS (Original Owner)
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  7. #7
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Hi,
    you might also consider used bikes 5-10 years old. Bikes depreciate very quickly, but with steel they can last a long, long time.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khackney
    Nothing wrong with aluminum frame bikes. Most of the beginner/enthusiast level bikes have carbon forks now which really helps the aluminum ride quality. While I too love older bikes, I would recommend a newer index drivetrain for someone wanting to do a first century. Lots of used bikes out there in the price range your looking at as well. Don't get hung up in groupset names. Any of them will work well if set up correctly. The difference in ride between steel and aluminum isn't really all that huge. The biggest thing about riding comfort for me is the saddle. Don't be shy about spending for a good saddle. Some bike shops have test saddles that you can try before you buy.
    What he said! The debate over materials (steel/aluminum/carbon/titanium) while interesting is way out of proportion to reality.

    I'd suggest trying an LBS (local bike shop) for something that's a year or two old. Then pay for the best fitting (setup) that you can get - this will make a much bigger difference in comfort than materials.

  9. #9
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    There are lots of good new bikes for your price range. The only used bikes I see at the 6 lbs in my area are in the shop for maintenance not for sale. Do go to a good lbs and get fitted properly. Most cross bikes now have a front suspension. These will smooth even the harshest aluminum frame bike. Unless you are a good wrench or know someone who is donít buy an older used bike until you feel comfortable fixing it yourself. The lbs will take care of the minor problems and keep you tuned up. Get what is most comfortable and get riding.
    Phil

  10. #10
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
    I say get yourself a "classic" sport-tourer from the '70s! Something like a near-mint Raleigh International would be perfect, and cost about what your limit is... They have a long wheelbase, Reynolds 531 tubeset, chromed Nervex Pro (fancy/pretty) lugs, and a full Campagnolo Record group (but Weinmann brakes). They ride great, and if well kept, will resell for around what you paid! ... They're out there... They don't make 'em like they used to... (unless you want to spend the $$$ for something like a Rivendell)
    Spot-on, although I would go for mechanically sound but somewhat scratched/shopworn/beat up in appearance, for cost reasons. I would consider my PKN-10E and my Capo to be century-worthy.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
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  11. #11
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    I'd suggest anything with wider tires! For long distance, 26 to 37 mm wide tires provide comfort that narrower models can't match.

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    A century is not that long for any bike that is in good condition, and is not that long for the rider as well (providing the rider is in good condition). There are different types of routes and this will have to be taken into consideration when setting the bike up, or buying a new bike.. I have one 100miler that I do where I never get out of the middle ring, and another where the 22t front sprocket is a godsend.

    I would ensure that the bike is comfortable to ride, in fact this is the priority, you have enough gear range to cope with the hills, everything about the bike is in A.1. condition and that you have set yourself up for the distance.

    This does not mean that you have to get a new bike, as even new bikes may need some fettling to get the "newness" out of them. Make certain that the gears work crisply, the brakes are properly set up, but the best tip is the wheels. At the start of the season, I check my wheels for trueness and spoke tension, and usually change the tyres at the same time. On the tyres, I go to a very narrow tyre. Good reason for this and that is rolling resistance. A big wide comfy tyre will have more drag and over 100miles that will wear you out. While you are out training for the ride, you will also be setting the bike up for you. Raising the stem a fraction, adjusting the saddle position, finding the faults with the bike that you will have to adjust to get comfortable.

    I do not have one but a particular type of bike springs to mind and this bike is in the UK is called an Audax. It is a style of road bike that is basically set up for the long road rides that you are thinking of. Normally a bit heavier than the race type bike, but gearing set up for the hilly parts of the rides, silly little comfort things on it like mudgaurds and a comfy saddle, and they ride very well with no vices.

    Good luck on the century by the way, and you never know, the double century may be on for next year.

  13. #13
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    BradzDaddy-O,

    TheOtherGuy and John-E are giving good advice. A lot of cool medium weight '70's era bikes out there. I ride a 1968 Peugeot with 700x23 tires most of the time. Recently rode a similar Peugeot with 27 x 1.25's and was amazed at how cushy it felt. You could go all day on one of those.

    Tyson

    PS Buy a nice one and it will be durable and not loss its value. You will get many years enjoyment.

  14. #14
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TysonB
    BradzDaddy-O,

    TheOtherGuy and John-E are giving good advice. A lot of cool medium weight '70's era bikes out there. I ride a 1968 Peugeot with 700x23 tires most of the time. Recently rode a similar Peugeot with 27 x 1.25's and was amazed at how cushy it felt. You could go all day on one of those.

    Tyson

    PS Buy a nice one and it will be durable and not loss its value. You will get many years enjoyment.
    Agreed on all counts. My main squeeze bike is a bit younger--1983 Trek "sport touring" model which I bought new and still rides very nicely. It's built from nice Reynolds 531 tubing and after more than 15,000 miles many of the parts are still original. I will say that I lowered the gearing to compensate for my aging knees. Your LBS could help you with that (but you may not need it).
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

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