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Old 09-11-08, 07:33 AM   #1
dguest
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Newbee Questions

I am not sure where to start here. First My wife(53) and I(50) started bike riding about 2 months ago, we did this because our employer has a charity cycling team and was having an informational meeting, We had discussed riding bikes for about 4 years but never followed up on the idea. Well neither one of us had riden a bicycle since we were 15 years old. So at the informational meeting the team director brought in one of the long time LBS owners to show the equiptment thas was required and to show the selection of bikes that werte around. Now here is where some of my questions come from, The LBS owner (63) stated that in order to ride properly you must have clipless pedals, and in his expert opinion if you were looking for an all around bike you needed to buy a mountain bike. He flatly stated that the "so called Hybrid bikes were nothing but junk" He went on to say it did not matter what company they came from. When he was talking about road bikes he emphaticly pointed out that you should always ride a road bike with drop bars in the drop position, again he insisted that it was never safe to ride with your hands on the hoods since you would not be able to get to the brakes. I can tell you that we bought big box mountain bikes to start with and have enjoyed riding so much that we have ordered Specialized Cross Trail elites for both of us. No they did not come from the LBS that was at our employers meeting, they came from the only other LBS in the area. I guess what I am wandering is, his thinking and recomondations common place or are they a mis guided attempt to impart poor advise on prospective customers. Second is I know bike brands are a lot like car brands, If you like Ford then they are the best or if you like chevys then they are the best. But what is the general overal opinion of the choices I had. The LBS where I bought the bikes only caries Specialized and the LBS that was at the meeting caries TREK. They are the only 2 LBS with in 80 miles of where I live.

As far as the type of riding we have in the area and that we will be doing. 75% will be either gravel multi use trails or true mountain bike trails and 20% will be on tar and gravel rural roads with about 5% on actual asphalt.
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Old 09-11-08, 07:45 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dguest View Post
The LBS owner (63) stated that in order to ride properly you must have clipless pedals, and in his expert opinion if you were looking for an all around bike you needed to buy a mountain bike. He flatly stated that the "so called Hybrid bikes were nothing but junk" He went on to say it did not matter what company they came from. When he was talking about road bikes he emphaticly pointed out that you should always ride a road bike with drop bars in the drop position, again he insisted that it was never safe to ride with your hands on the hoods since you would not be able to get to the brakes.
What an idiot!! You made a wise choice in NOT buying from him.
I'm also 63 and always tell new cyclists to start off with platform pedals on a new bike. Once they get used to the bike they can upgrade to toe clips or clipless if that's what they really want to do.
I do 95% of my riding with my hands on the hoods or on top of the handlebar, whether I'm riding my road bike or my commuter bike. (You can see them by clicking on bicycles in my signature.) Never ever had a problem reaching the brake levers or shifting.
Some hybrids are junk (usually below $300). We sell lots of hybrids at the shop I work at. They are well built and will give the rider many years of enjoyment, if properly maintained.
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Old 09-11-08, 07:56 AM   #3
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For my 2 cents, you did well to ignore the first LBS owner, clipless pedals are over rated and the Specialized Cross Trail looks to be a fine selection for your use. Now go ride.
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Old 09-11-08, 08:12 AM   #4
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You done good. You have a built in BS filter. Now go ride and have fun.
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Old 09-11-08, 08:25 AM   #5
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I agree, stay away from that guy's shop!

1. Clipless pedals are nice. They let you have a more efficient pedal stroke and keep your feet from slipping off the pedals on bumps. But they're not a requirement. Use flat pedals until you're comfortable with riding, then consider them. If you have problems with sore feet using tennies, get some bicycle touring shoes that can be converted later to clipless, just in case.

2. There's nothing wrong with hybrids. Sure, they often come with lower-end components, but if that bothers you, you can always upgrade things. Hybrids really do make good all-around bikes. And if you're uncomfortable with drop bars you can get a flat-bar road bike, which has the nicer components along with more road-specific wheels.

3. Riding on the drops is for when you're battling a headwind or sprinting. Actually, having your hands on the hoods is where your hands are the closest to the brakes - like right on them! Bottom line is, ride with your hands where they're comfortable.

4. I'll bet the guy never mentioned recumbents; of if he did, he dismissed them as unworkable contraptions that only kooks ride. If comfort is an issue, do yourself a favor and look into them; if it's not then you're money ahead getting more mainstream bikes.
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Old 09-11-08, 08:38 AM   #6
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1) Since most of your riding will be on dirt or gravel, a mountain bike is a great choice. If you do not envision technical single-track riding, a hard-tail or even an old school non-suspension mountain bike (such as mine ) would be ideal.
2) The whole purpose of drop bars is to provide a variety of hand positions. This is what I miss most with my mountain bike's flat bars, but I have compensated by adding bar end extensions.
3) Old school toeclips and straps are great. Keep the straps just barely loose enough to permit you to yank your foot straight back and out of the cage.
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Old 09-11-08, 09:00 AM   #7
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Sounds to me that you have one great load of Mis-Information from that shop owner- So as you get the questions you want to ask- Ask away here and get more mis-information

There is no one set bike- and no one set way to set it up. Only advice I will offer is to find another LBS and stay away from the Wally Mart bikes.
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Old 09-11-08, 04:55 PM   #8
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The LBS owner who spoke at your company brings to mind the medical profession. WHAT you say! Well almost any 'expert' has both fact and opinion at his disposal and if the advise given by the expert affects either your pocket book or your health, a second opinion or a third opinion is worth seeking. You have to pick which of the 'experts' you choose to believe. Sounds like you made a good choice. BUT there might be a thread of truth in some of what the LBS guy said. That's where the other opinions (2nd LBS, 2nd or 3rd Dr, forum participants, etc) comes into play.
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Old 09-11-08, 05:17 PM   #9
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So that LBS is overstocked in Mtn. Bikes this year!?!?

dquest It sounds like I can get advice from you in regards to common sense bike shopping.

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Old 09-11-08, 05:20 PM   #10
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Where do you do most of your riding? Is it all pavement, some limestone trails, all gravel trails, all off-road?
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Old 09-11-08, 06:04 PM   #11
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An 'expert' is a know-it-all and an 'expert opinion' is just that: an opinion by a know-it-all.
Disagree with the LBS owner and probably have ridden more miles in one year than he's ever ridden (that's 13,000+ miles).
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Old 09-11-08, 07:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dguest View Post
The LBS where I bought the bikes only caries Specialized and the LBS that was at the meeting caries TREK. They are the only 2 LBS with in 80 miles of where I live.

As far as the type of riding we have in the area and that we will be doing. 75% will be either gravel multi use trails or true mountain bike trails and 20% will be on tar and gravel rural roads with about 5% on actual asphalt.
Trek and Specialized both make a wide range of very good bicycles. I wouldn't totally rule out the guy who spoke to your meeting, even if he is too strongly opinionated. There is a thread of truth behind some of his opinions, but he needs to be more open minded and flexible. There may be other people at his shop who could be more helpful when you are looking for your next bikes.

I think the Crosstrail Elite bikes you ordered will be very good for the kind of riding you plan to do. I hope the LBS worked carefully with you to determine the right size as the Crosstrails are sized very oddly.
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Old 09-11-08, 10:12 PM   #13
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Okaaaaay, that will teach me to read the entire post. The stock tires on the Crosstrail should be perfect for the riding you do. I was going to suggest you get Armadillos, but there doesn't look to be one with a tread pattern as good for your use.
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