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Old 04-24-07, 03:12 PM   #1
Stringrazor
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Getting Back in the Saddle @ 52

Bikes have changed a lot since I bought a 10-speed when I was 17. I've missed riding so I put together a 10-speed from parts and did a couple of short rides. While it felt good to be riding it was obvious I needed to get a bike that fit my 250+lbs 52-year old self and not the 17 year old kid I used to be.

So I went to some local shops and tried 3 bikes yesterday: a Trek 7200, Specialized Crossroades Elite and Sirrus. The experience was great but it didn't answer the question of what's the right bike for me.

I live on a hillside so any riding I do will involve moderate hill climbing. I'll probably do most of my riding solo but I have a buddy who's deep into road training and does century rides often. I don't aspire to join his club but would like to be able to ride with him casually once in a while. My goal is weight loss and enjoyment.

I thought I wanted a hybrid bike but after riding the Sirrus, I wonder if I'd tire of the hybrid quickly. The Sirrus was certainly lighter and its skinny tires gave much less resistence. It also felt familiar but was also not nearly as comfortable as the hybrids. I doubt I'll do much if any trail riding though. I'm anxious to get out and ride soon but don't want to buy a bike I'll tire of. Several folks in the General thread suggested picking up a cheap used bike and riding for a while before spending money on something more permanent. Not knowing bike brands and prices, buying used/ebay would be a crap shoot.

Advice, suggestions, comments?

---- Gary ----
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Old 04-24-07, 03:20 PM   #2
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Welcome back to the fold, Sting! For some, a used bike is a good way to go, but I think a good approach is the same I take to musical instruments. Spend the money, get a good (guitar, violin, piano, bike, etc.) and see how you like it. You're more likely to enjoy a bike and stick with it if it's of good quality. Not that you can't do that used, but I think you're better off new.
That said, have you thought about a cyclocross? They're not as light as a roadie, but they have the feel of one- you might be more comfortable on one than a roadie with 23c tires (cross bikes go from 32-40, usually). IMO, they're more comfortable than a roadie. You might give them a try.

Good luck and happy shopping!
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Old 04-24-07, 03:21 PM   #3
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At least you are looking at a Road orientated bike. The only way to see what bike is suitable for you is to Find a Good LBS (Local Bike Shop) and try sitting on the bikes initially. You may want an upright position that a Hybrid gives - or you may be happy with a full Road bike. Then on the road bike- there are different set up for comfort- sport- touring- racing. Gets more difficult you see. I would suggest you look at the Specialised Sirrus and the Sequoia, as two well known bikes that offer a sensible riding position, good specification on parts- sensible price and they ride well. All you have to decide is how much you want to pay.

If you can afford new- Even if is at the Budget end (Which is what I would suggest), then leave the S/H market to others.
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Old 04-24-07, 03:24 PM   #4
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Hi,
there is no getting out of it. You simply have to hit several bike shops and try their
bikes. Having gone through this myself, I suggest flexibility in the budget. That way you won't
be buying a new bike every year or two until you finally arrive at a good one.
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Old 04-24-07, 03:29 PM   #5
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All I can say is I rode a Hybrid for 3 years and it was good enough I guess but as I started doing more and more charity rides and riding with people I am getting a new road bike in a few weeks. I think you'll like the hybrid but if you think you can skip that step then do so..

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Old 04-24-07, 03:43 PM   #6
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I seem to be catching a theme with my reading and discussions: get a road bike. I need to visit the shops again and try a few more out.

Also, how do I determine of an LBS is good or not (besides attitude/friendliness)?

Last edited by Stringrazor; 04-24-07 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 04-24-07, 04:46 PM   #7
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It doesn't matter what bike you get first. It will NOT be permanent. A lot of us can attest to that here. I'm on bike number 6 in 7 years.........

Find something you really like and don't second guess yourself. Ride it and enjoy it until you are ready for something different.

There are some really good deals on used higher-end bikes as well........Nothing is as cheap as you'd like for it to be though.
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Old 04-24-07, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringrazor
I seem to be catching a theme with my reading and discussions: get a road bike. I need to visit the shops again and try a few more out.

Also, how do I determine of an LBS is good or not (besides attitude/friendliness)?
Hi,
depends on what you mean by road bike. A touring bike is a road bike.
I ride a Gunnar Sport which is halfway between a touring bike and a performance/racy road bike.
I left things unspecified because there is just so much we don't know about you.
Try some different bikes, tell us what you think.
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Old 04-24-07, 06:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jppe
It doesn't matter what bike you get first. It will NOT be permanent. A lot of us can attest to that here. I'm on bike number 6 in 7 years.........

Find something you really like and don't second guess yourself. Ride it and enjoy it until you are ready for something different.

There are some really good deals on used higher-end bikes as well........Nothing is as cheap as you'd like for it to be though.
+1, except in my case, six bikes in two years. Nothing fancy, mind you. But one is a mountain bike, one is a flat bar road bike hybrid, two are beach cruisers, one was a road bike converted to a single speed, and one is a vintage road bike.

At least, I think The Diego is a vintage bike.
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Old 04-24-07, 07:00 PM   #10
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+1, except in my case, six bikes in two years. Nothing fancy, mind you. But one is a mountain bike, one is a flat bar road bike hybrid, two are beach cruisers, one was a road bike converted to a single speed, and one is a vintage road bike.

At least, I think The Diego is a vintage bike.
I still have my original mtn bike - 1998, and works great. (Gary - a bike like your mtn bike is great for touring - many folks use them. Don't sell it.) Specialized Hard Rock

I still have my original roadie - the Lemond BA - 1999.

I still have my original "utility road bike" - Windsor Leeds - 2004

and I still have my (bought very used) "trainer bike" - 2006

And to the original poster, I didn't start riding until I was 58yo.

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Old 04-24-07, 07:04 PM   #11
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Gary - a bike like your mtn bike is great for touring - many folks use them. Don't sell it.
Care to expand on that? Isn't it a rather heavy bike to use for touring -- and if it was used for touring, I'm assuming you'd use slicks, not knobbies, right?
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Old 04-24-07, 07:09 PM   #12
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My original bike was a hybrid and I still have it. I mostly ride my Cannondale R1000 road bike, but still ride the hybrid on the greenway trails in the area. I don't see any problem with a reasonably priced hybrid as a first bike. It'll help you get into shape, lose a few pounds, etc.
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Old 04-24-07, 07:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
Care to expand on that? Isn't it a rather heavy bike to use for touring -- and if it was used for touring, I'm assuming you'd use slicks, not knobbies, right?
Yes. Slicks.

They are heavy duty. Nicely geared. Carry weight. Don't break. Many folks use them.

One day at a park I met a guy who had toured the world on his mtn bike. He had a Bob trailer.
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Old 04-24-07, 07:45 PM   #14
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Your biggest problem is that you don't have bike fitness and don't really know what you'll be doing with the bike. Sadly, none of these will come until you've spent some time on the bike. This means that the first bike must be regarded as temporary (even if you do wind up riding it until you wear out from old age - that happens too). That suggests buying cheap but believe me, if you buy a cheap, horrid bike, you won't ride it. My story with going this route is described on my website here in my story about the Sow's Ear.

My advice is to do a loooooot of shopping. Go to as many shops, far and near, as physically possible (and a few where it's not). Ride as many bikes as you can, sit on as many as you can. Yes, you will get confused, very confused and distressingly quickly, but after awhile, your bulldust detector tunes in and you start to pick the good advice from the rubbish. You will also find yourself walking into a shop and going to a particular type of bike - that's when you start to get an idea of what your heat wants though it's not a precise tool - I always head straight to the top end racing bikes though I have no desire to own one, I just love them. But you'll find that after awhile, you will be pulled to a style of bike and that's when serious test riding pays off.

Two things are critical in buying a new bike - buy the bike you fall in love with, seriously. A rationalised decision will always be the wrong one unless you find that love later. The other is the fit of the bike - fit is more important than anything else, and that's the message in my Sow's Ear story - the bike was too small and it effectively kept me off the bikes for a couple of years (and about 10kg of added ballast).

How do you find a good bike shop? By visiting a lot. The shop for you is the one that listens to YOU and your individual desires and needs. It's the shop that understands you for the cyclist you are, not a customer with a wallet. It's the shop that will go straight to their catalogues if they don't have what you need on the floor.

Have fun. Buying a new bike is confusing and hard work, but by cripes it's fun

Richard
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Old 04-24-07, 07:53 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jppe
It doesn't matter what bike you get first. It will NOT be permanent. A lot of us can attest to that here. I'm on bike number 6 in 7 years.........
I don't think I will be buying many more bikes in my lifetime. I don't really expect to develop a passion for riding like I have for guitars. I just want to ride for enjoyment and excersize. Granted, I know a lot of people here started that way but I don't expect to dive into cycling as a way of life. I tend to keep the things I buy for a long time. I still have the parts to the 10-speed I bought as a kid. I drove my previous car for almost 15 years and my current SUV is nearly 6 years old. I am hoping to buy a bike that is enjoyable to ride and will last.

I think the next step for me will be to ride some other bikes similar to the Sirrus by other manufacturers and also the next step up Sirrus Sport which has some carbon components for a bit more $. Maybe, demo something in a full-on road bike to feel the difference.
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Old 04-24-07, 07:55 PM   #16
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What you want here is a bike that will make you fall in love with biycling all over again. So first, you want something comfortable, and second, something fun. When you get on it you think, yes, this is a blast, I remember this.

Get that, and go ride.
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Old 04-24-07, 08:47 PM   #17
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jppe is right. Odds are your riding style and habits will change with time. Research and make your best guess now, buy a bike and get started, realizing that in a year you may be shopping again. Welcome back.
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Old 04-24-07, 08:58 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringrazor
I don't think I will be buying many more bikes in my lifetime. I don't really expect to develop a passion for riding like I have for guitars. I just want to ride for enjoyment and excersize. Granted, I know a lot of people here started that way but I don't expect to dive into cycling as a way of life.


Let's save this post for a good laugh this time next year.
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Old 04-24-07, 09:14 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg


Let's save this post for a good laugh this time next year.
OK, and if that does happen, great, I'll be laughing right along with you.


I think I want to ride a Trek Pilot next...
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Old 04-24-07, 09:21 PM   #20
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All in fun. And the Pilot is a good choice. With its higher handlebar position, it will be a better comparison to the other bikes you've mentioned than a more sport oriented road bike. The Trek 520 might be another good one to check out. Be sure to try at least one steel bike.
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Old 04-25-07, 12:06 AM   #21
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Besides strength, what's the advantages of steel? Doesn't a steel frame make for a heavy bike?

Also, weighing in at about 250lbs, should I be concerned about frame, fork, or stem with composite parts?
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Old 04-25-07, 05:30 AM   #22
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A steel frame may weigh 2 lbs more than a beer can frame at a similar quality level. Add the rest of the parts for a bike and lets say you are talking 21 lbs. vs. 23 lbs. Add your 250 lbs. and you are looking at 271 lbs. vs. 273 lbs. How much difference do you think that makes?

Frames of different materials have subtle differences in feel, handling and ride qualities. Most bikes you will see are aluminum. I'm just suggesting that you try other materials as well to see for yourself if you like one more than another.
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Old 04-25-07, 06:19 AM   #23
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...You will also find yourself walking into a shop and going to a particular type of bike - that's when you start to get an idea of what your heart wants...
+1000
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Old 04-25-07, 06:36 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stringrazor
I seem to be catching a theme with my reading and discussions: get a road bike. I need to visit the shops again and try a few more out.

Also, how do I determine of an LBS is good or not (besides attitude/friendliness)?
Look at my list of bikes. It's an interesting mix and at 51 years old, I'll doubt that some of these bikes will ever leave my shed. These are the bikes that I love and have some attachment too. They aren't fast, they are not all that special, but they are to ME.

Is a road bike in my future? I can't say for sure. I like Steel and love Titainium, but to get what I want, it is too far for me to reach. I had a Road bike about 5 years ago. I bought it from a friend who road it one year and then hung it up. A very nice light weight Peugeot from about 1986. After some cleaning, new tires, tune up and a few updated parts, I rode it for a year before I sold it. That was a mistake! This was the quickest and best feeling bike I had ever owned. Even better than the 73 Schwinn Paramount that I had in the day.

So as the others have said, a Road Bike may just do it for you. You will need to ride as many as you can and find out what you like in the ride and fit of the bike.

As for what shop and how to know if it's a good shop? Do they listen to your needs as a more Senior cyclist, or are they a bunch of rippers that want to only go downhilling? Do they understand your needs? Can they relate? I am lucky that almost all of my LBS have at least one 50+ employee that still has a passion to ride. Some of these folks can still beat the lycra off these young guys and that is cool in my book. Search these folks out and talk with them, they know the score.

Good Luck!

Chris
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Old 04-25-07, 06:54 AM   #25
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Frames with Reynolds 853 steel are hardly any heavier than an aluminum frame.

http://www.fujibikes.com/techinfo.asp?yr=2004

REYNOLDS 853
Reynolds 853 when introduced in 1995, set new standards for steel bicycle tubing. The strength to weight ratio of 853 is equal to that of quality titanium frames. Normal chrome molybdenum steel will lose strength in the joints after welding, 853 actually increases in strength as the frame. This unique air hardening property of Reynolds 853 provides additional stiffness through reduced micro yielding at the joints, allowing stiffer frames with excellent fatigue strength (when compared to standard chrome molybdenum) and excellent ride quality.
-------------------
http://www.trailfire.com/pages/form....ck&bubble=6775

And finally, just a few years ago, new super-strong steel tubesets (most notably Reynolds 853) came on the market that allowed not only less-expensive means of building frames (no more lugs- these tubes could be tig-welded) but also lighter-weight as well...new 853 LeMond frames weigh a scant 3.5 pounds, compared to 4-5 pounds for top-quality steel frames just a few years ago!* And, I must admit that these new frames ride quite nicely, although I still feel there's a significant gap between the best steel frame and a TREK OCLV carbon.

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