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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

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Old 08-05-07, 12:56 PM   #1
MS847
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50+ what kind of bike should i buy???

Hi
I am 53 and I am looking into buying a bike.
I never realized how expensive and how many options there are.

I would like a bike that I can take out and just ride for a bit.
The only real specifics that i want are racing handles.
I would really prefer the curved racing handles over the straight ones.


I looked at a trek 1000 and it was around 650.00
Its a little more than I want to spend. My price range was 200-400.
I also bought a schwin 700c varsity from walmart for 200.00 it was just a piece of crap.
So i would rather pay a little more and get something thats worth the money.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.


Mike
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Old 08-05-07, 01:26 PM   #2
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You might want to check out Craigslist.com for your area for a good used bike. Sounds like you may want a road bike. Generally, a lot of folks on this list grow sort of addicted to bicycling. I can think of a whole lot of folks whose first post was like yours, and are now riding thousands of miles per year. That's why getting an appropriate bike is a great idea!

With a road bike, "fit" is especially important.

Here is a good article on "fit" and choosing a bike:

http://www.rivbike.com/how_to_pick_your_bike

and another good one on fit

http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm

Read those and then you will know what other questions to ask.

Good luck.
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Old 08-05-07, 01:34 PM   #3
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The purpose of a first bike is to teach you what you want or need in a second bike.

That speaks towards buying at the lower end of the spectrum. As you've learned, you can also go too low and end up with a POS bike.

The Trek 1000 and similar models in the Specialized and Giant product lines are all fine bikes, and about as low-priced as you're likely to find without getting into iffy quality or cast-iron weight.

I've been pleased (Nay, delighted!) with my Trek 1000 and have put nearly 2000 miles on it since early April. I see no reason why this bike won't last for many seasons and tens of thousands of miles. Except, of course, for what it's teaching me about what I want in my next bike...

If you're unable (or unwilling) to spend that much, the other alternative to buy used. Did I mention that my Trek 1000 is seven years old and that I'm its second owner?

Last edited by tsl; 08-05-07 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 08-05-07, 01:42 PM   #4
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Always spend a few dollars more for better quality frame and components. If you do decide on upgrading to a better bike, you can always have a second for a rainy day bike or backup.
Shimano 105 is the least I would go with components. Or a 105/Tiagra mix for your price range.
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Old 08-05-07, 02:35 PM   #5
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Some good advice already posted. Based on your description of dropped "racing" handlebars you are probably looking for a road bike as DnvrFox has stated. If you like what you see in the Trek 1000, you can certainly find one used in your price range. Check Craigslist as has been suggested as well as eBay. You may be surprised what you can find. Determine the correct size bike you are looking for so you don't waste time looking at something that will not fit you.
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Old 08-05-07, 03:03 PM   #6
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At age 53, most riders have several reasons for riding. In the top 5 reasons, one is usually for fitness...aerobic fitness which brings about a host of good things. Spend the money for that Trek. My doctor told me to keep riding because of all the changes he saw in me. Yours will too.
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Old 08-05-07, 05:26 PM   #7
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... Spend the money for that Trek...
Yes, in today's market, circa $600 is the minimum ante for a decent road bike. If your budget is lower, your best option (and my perennial first choice) is a good used bike.
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Old 08-05-07, 05:45 PM   #8
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The trouble with the Trek1000 is that the handlebars are much lower than the seat and at 53, just getting into (or back into) cycling, the chances of you being flexible or strong enough to handle that are pretty low. A better choice would be the Pilot 1.2 - still drop bars but with more relaxed geometry and built so you can have the bars at the same height as the seat.

A short term measure that bears thinking about is to buy an eighties road bike. Sure, it'll have only a 5 or 6 speed gear cluster and down tube shifters that are probably friction, but you can get them very cheaply. That will get you on the road. Do a thousand miles on that and you will be stronger and fitter - that does affect the fit of the bike (can move you up a frame size - it happened to me dammit) and can affect the type of bike you want eg, you may find you can ride the Trek1000 or you may find you can't ... it's best to find this out before you buy the wrong bike. More importantly, you'll have a far better idea of what sort of riding you'll actually be doing - you can't predict this, many have tried and all have wound up with different riding patterns to what they expected. When you do buy your nice, new bike, you'll be able to buy it with more confidence and you'll have a 'beater' to ride up to the shops or to leave chained to a fence where you wouldn't want to leave the good bike.

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Old 08-05-07, 06:05 PM   #9
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$200-400 will go a long way toward a real nice used bike on craigslist. It will only buy an entry level bike at the store. The only problem is getting a good fit. Going shopping at a few Bike Stores and engaging sales staff will get you dialed in on the right size. It will also give you a better idea of what you want. One word of caution; the 'bent over' ride position of road bikes may not do it for you now that you are over 50. Do some test rides. bk
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Old 08-05-07, 08:04 PM   #10
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The advantage of the "drop-bar" typical on road bikes is a variety of hand positions for comfort and different situations. You also have numerous places to adjust the fit of the bike, and different manufacturers have slightly different frame geometries that can make a big difference. +1 on the suggestions to try a lot of bikes and figure out what you want and what fits comfortably.

Something else to look at are the so-called "fitness bikes" or "performance hybrids". They are basically road bike style frame with a mix of road-style and some less-expensive (larger sales volume) MTB components and a flat handlebar. Some of them (Jamis Coda line) also come with drop bars or could be retrofitted ($$) later. In my experience, these bikes seem to be more forgiving of fit than a road bike, will give you a nice ride, and may be a good compromise between performance and cost for you. Some bike shops are starting their end of season sales, so you may be able to find something on close-out.

Craigslist is certainly an option - my son's bike (Jamis Coda- that's how I found out about them) was a Craigslist buy. If you can, bring someone who knows bike with you - they can spot the problems that look bad but are easy to fix, and the ones that are expensive. In my experience, good bikes reasonably priced will go quickly.

Good luck!
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Old 08-06-07, 07:23 AM   #11
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Save your money for a big flat panel TV. This biking stuff is too hard.

Seriously, your best bet in that price range is to go used. I recently sold a 55cm Windsor in perfect condition for $200.00.
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Old 08-06-07, 09:59 AM   #12
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Any bike that does not fit correctly is a waste of your money and will end up hanging in the garage. Go to several LBS(Local Bike Store) and get some advice. With the end of the season approaching you may be surprised to find some deals close to your price range. There are some Raleigh Cadents out there at very good prices.
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Old 08-07-07, 10:49 PM   #13
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Thank you for all the help!!
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Old 08-08-07, 07:51 AM   #14
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If you want drop bars, get 'em. Unless you have some real physical issues there's no reason not to. Certainly not age. I know an 80 year old who rides 'em. Handlebars too low? Simple: replace the stock stem with an adjustable stem, or buy a "stem riser".

With the adjustable stem on my Giant OCR2 the bars are just a smidge below saddle level. Works for me. Did a century on that bike a few weeks ago and felt just fine.

Look into "relaxed" road bikes like the Trek Pilot line, the Giant OCR line, and Specialized Sequoia (I think). All are bikes with a more upright riding position than the Trek 1000 etc. At your budget the low end of each line should be in your range. I think the already mentioned Raleigh Cadents also fill the bill. Also see Schwinn Fastbacks.

The manufacturers won't say it right out loud, but all the bikes above were made with us aging boomers in mind. According to a news item I read recently bicycling is taking off in popularity with "mature" consumers so you can bet the makers are all over that trend.

And this time of year the bikes are on sale as dealers are clearing inventory. Bargains can be had. Start shopping!

I may be a minority here, but all those bike fit calculators/formulae only serve to confuse you. You will quickly determine the approximate frame size you need by simply trying bikes with some help from the friendly LBS. Then test them with more than a tootle around the parking lot to find the one that feels best.

TSL speaks truth:

Quote:
The purpose of a first bike is to teach you what you want or need in a second bike.

More to the point: You probably won't get or even be able to recognize a "perfect" fit right out of the shop. Once you get 80% or 90% there fit-wise, the niceties of fit will reveal themselves after many hours in the saddle and you can make further adjustments like stem length, bar height, seat position etc. A good LBS will be able to get you closer to 90% there off the bat.

Then, once you're well and truly hooked, you will know exactly what you want and need for your next bike and that last 5% or 10% of perfection; probably a carbon-fiber rocket that weighs less than a fart and costs more than a divorce.*

---

*stolen from one of the better sig lines around here. Hopefully a divorce will not also be involved.

Last edited by bcoppola; 08-08-07 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 08-09-07, 04:03 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
Any bike that does not fit correctly is a waste of your money and will end up hanging in the garage. Go to several LBS(Local Bike Store) and get some advice. With the end of the season approaching you may be surprised to find some deals close to your price range. There are some Raleigh Cadents out there at very good prices.
I'm 58, and that's exactly what I bought as my first road bike last year. I put an adjustable stem on it, and it has been a perfect fit for me.
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Old 08-09-07, 06:21 AM   #16
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My first bikes (note the plural-I am now a bike junkie) were hybrids with the straight bars and I enjoyed the heck out of them until I found a low-end vintage Fuji on the cheap ($10) at a thrift store. Two tires and some new cables later I had my first road bike. It was a tank by modern standards, but the fit was right and the ride was sweet and I haven't looked back.

Most of the people who participate in this forum seem to be proponents of newer bikes and modern gear (The right tool for the right job), but I take a different approach. While I appreciate the beauty and engineering of the new materials (read light weight) and new designs, I personally have great fun tracking down vintage lugged steel bikes from garage/estate sales, doing some light wrenching/cleaning to get them up to snuff and if I don't keep them, pass them on to someone who is looking for a bike but doesn't have the budget to buy new. But that is just me and I am definitely in the retrogrouch camp as suredly as is a gearhead who is into '70s muscle cars.

If you think a vintage bike might be an option for you, spend some time over in the Classics and Vintage forum to learn what to look for. Keep in mind there are many different levels of quality in components and materials in old bikes too. A good bike from the '80s will probably net you the best bang for the buck in terms of materials and component design. With a modest budget, used is definitely the way to go whether vintage or modern. I am always astonished at how many people buy a good bike and seldom use it, except to hang in their garage. Of course, more people buy crappy bikes and NEVER use them. The bargains and the gems are out there, buried among the Magnas, Huffys, Murrays and other Wallmart specials. Happy hunting!
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Old 08-09-07, 06:35 AM   #17
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A better choice would be the Pilot 1.2
Or perhaps a Pilot 1.0, at the same price point at the 1000.

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Old 08-09-07, 12:25 PM   #18
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TSL has mentioned it- But your first bike will not be your last. It will show you what you want on a bike so you can make your second decision better.

At the price point you are looking at- Second hand may be your best bet but in the main- get a bike that fits- Is in ridable condition and that you like. By going Craigs list or the like- and spending a bit of time hunting them down- There will be a variety of bikes to choose from. Perhaps not your ideal but after a lay off from biking the first thing to do is get bike fitness back. That can be done on a Raleigh Shopper if necessary- The bike does not matter what type it is. All it has to do is fit and be reliable. Now if you could spend $1,000 on a bike- You can go to any shop and get one off the shelf- It still will not be your ideal bike- That will be the second one you get.
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