Bits & Pieces new bike
As some of you know I have begun the enviable task of researching for a new bike. The Ol' P8 has been a great workhorse, a steel steed!. However the time has come to find something with brakes etc. I'll keep the P8 in original equip for rides with my children on Sundays, polished to a sheen!
In speaking with a good friend this week, he mentioned to me that the most important item was the frame, fit, etc. (even I knew that). In his research he listed the second most important component to be the wheels (hubs & rims). bye the bye, his midlife crisis bike is a Colnago. The last concern was the gear components, (as long as reputable).
I was surprised by this order. There is a logic to it, but I want to know the thoughts of the rest of my expert forum friends. In anticipation I thank you for your input
Before I comment on your friend's priorities, I'd want to ask what do YOU want to do with this bike? Is it to be for commuting? off road riding? loaded touring? racing?
The use makes all the difference. Now to friend's comments - I agree that frame fit is the most important category. Make sure you can safely stand over the frame - then make sure the top tube is the right length for your body.
As to seconds, wheels are important - but know your priorities! If racing (and ONLY if racing) light weight and stiffness are paramount. If general purpose riding, I'd say just look for double-wall, deep-V rims. The number of spokes you need will depend on your weight (and whether the bike is to be loaded with panniers). More weight = more spokes, generally.
Any more, almost all makers use components that are (at least) adequate. More money generally gets smoother action and longer life. You pays your money, you takes your choice...
Another factor to consider is how the bike feels to you. I've ridden some bikes that "read well" on paper, but just didn't feel the way I wanted them to on the road. A long test ride is critical if you're like me.
Good luck & happy shopping!
Of course road test will be the deciding factor. I know I am looking for a road bike, I am what I refer to as an aggressive recreational rider, (ie I am not a racer). I may stay with steel, Lemond "Croix de Fer", or try aluminum, or steel aluminum, carbon combo. Weight is not critical it is a road feel thing. As for my weight I am at 164 and dropping so I do not have the Clydes problem of heavy weight bearing wheels. I guess I was just most surprised by his appraisal that wheels should be looked at prior to gears. I had never thought of wheels as being so critical.
Budget is not a true concern. I tend to be frugal, but if it is right I will buy it. However my frugality will not allow me a custom handbuilt frame.
there are a bunch of nice frames around a grand. Btw, what do you mean by aggressive? At our age, I'd go with the sporty models rather than the race models. I ride a Gunnar Sport. I really liked the Habanero Road frame. A bike you might want to try is the carbon Trek Pilot. All these will come out to about $2K, give or take a couple hundred...
Is that a reasonable ballpark?
Time for a change.
Your friend has his priorities right in the Frame and wheels. I would even go so far as to say get a specialist wheel builder to build your wheels, If he does not build your wheels, then get him to tweak your wheels after a couple of rides
Originally Posted by p8rider
Where I would differ slightly is that I would put components before Gear train- but only just. I know there is not much to consider, but are the bars comfortable and up to quality, same with the bar stem, seat post , saddle etc. These are parts that will stay on the bike for the rest of its life, so get them right in the first place. The gear train has to be up to your standard, but this is an item that will be replaced eventually. So if the crankset is not right, wear them out by usage, and when they fail replace with the quality you want.
Why put wheels after frame? Well built wheels are a dream, they ride and roll better. Then you get weight on wheels. We used to call it unsprung weight, but a heavy set of wheels do take some moving. so does a hub that is not up to standard for type of use or quality. A good wheel builder, and they even exist in some local shops(But take some hunting out) will put a lot of quality into a wheel. Most bikes on sale will have a stock wheel and that will be machine built. You can buy a bike with say an XT hub and mavic 217 rim and DT spokes. This is the standard for a good wheel for a mountain bike. That wheel as new on the bike will normally be machine built. A wheel builder will build the same wheel with the same components, but it will be a different beastie. It will be truer, be tensioned better, and work better- and for longer before it needs sorting again. It will definitely be stronger and may even be lighter.
Last edited by stapfam; 10-08-05 at 01:16 AM.
FWIW, I met a couple of hard core riders a couple of years ago. I did not recognize their bike brand name and asked them about it. They told me it was a custom hand built frame and bike from a local builder. The price they quoted was no more than I would pay for a "regular" high-end bike.
Originally Posted by p8rider
You might want to check this out.
Just checking the web for local bicycle builders, I see custom frame-only prices in the neighborhood of $1,000 for Ti.
Last edited by DnvrFox; 10-08-05 at 07:17 AM.
Let's do a Century
p8-It sounds like you're going down a very similar path as I've been. I need to warn you that I'm on my 4th bike in 5 years. I started on a older steel frame with downtube shifters and felt the need to modernize. My next bike was a aluminum frame with a chromoly fork and 32 spoked wheels-purchased for value reasons. After riding that a couple years, I traded for an all carbon frame/fork bike with aero wheels. My 4th and present bike is a newer model of the carbon frame and fork and I just moved all the components over from the first carbon bike to my present bike.
Steel is a great ride-many folks still prefer it. The aluminum frame I had was a very "harsh" ride. It was a fast bike but after 50+ miles on a ride it just beat me to pieces. Essentially it picked up all the road vibrations and then some. My neck, shoulders, elbows etc were getting in pretty rough shape.
They have greatly improved Al frames today by incorporating carbon into the fork and also the seat stays. This really helps to dampen the road vibrations.
The carbon bike has been perfect for me. It has proved to be extremely comfortable on long rides (100+ miles) and stiff for standing up out of the saddle and sprinting. I use the same aero wheels for my regular road rides but purchased a lighter weight version of the same wheels for longer mountain rides where there is a lot of climbing.
As far as components, I prefer the higher end rear derailler along with the higher end STI's as that is what you use to shift gears the most. However, since I'm doing more mountain rides, I'm more concerned about overall weight and I take that into consideration on component choices. I'm not a weith weenie but am conscious of weight and try to make intelligent choices.
One other thing I would add that I think is critical is sizing. It's critical to know the frame size you need along with corresponding, seat height, top tube length, etc. This will greatly enhance the overall ride experience!! I spent the money to get fitted and it was a very good investment.
Time for a change.
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Several years ago I built a custom bike up. The frame was built by a small builder in the East of London, and I had to visit him to get measured. Three weeks later I collected the frame. Built to his style, my spec for frame fittings, Nickel plated as that was his only choice of finish, it weighed 3.1 lbs, (At least 12 ozs less than the supposed top quality frame available then off the shelf) and did not cost a great deal of money. He has now retired so no chance of what I regard as the best Bike I ever had.
Then it came to components and these were selected from my own personal experience and choice, but it was my bike they were going on. That bike built up into a 21lb Mountain bike. That was light and still is, but the big advantage of this bike was that it was not weak and it had all the right bits on it for me. My riding style has changed and I let this bike go to a friend a couple of years ago, and that bike still works.
At this point in my riding career, I don't think a custom frame is in the cards. I feel I have enough to research just going through what is available commercially. I appreciate everyone's input so far. If you have any great favorites for hubs and wheels I would love to know it. I am looking for a mix of good performance paired with longevity. I don't want all out racing wheels. Someone had asked what I meant by aggressive recreational. By that I mean I ride for excersize and enjoyment, yet I continually monitor my avg. spd etc. on my computer and am always working to improve my speeds, or runs up particular hills. I am sort of driven. The only time I really relax on the bike is when riding with my children and on my longest rides where I worry about stamina to finish.