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Old 07-23-09, 05:48 PM   #1
hagbard
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52yo looking for bike suggestions

hey, I'm nearly 52 (next month) and other than being big around the middle, in pretty good shape. I still remember how to ride a bike so I guess that's a start.

I want to do some riding with my 13 year old son around our small SW Ontario town, and down a very flat, gravel trail. I could use some suggestions for a bike. I'm still very old school and prefer the old road bikes I had as a kid with the downturned handlebars. Most hybrids I'm seeing have flat handlebars, the type we used to laugh at. Maybe I could get used to them?

Anyway, please fire away with recommendations. I'd like to keep it under $500cdn. Thanks!
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Old 07-23-09, 09:14 PM   #2
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You might check out Craigslist for some old road bikes with downturned handlebars. You should be able to get one for $150 or so. Or, for under $500 - a more modern used road bike.

Otherwise, you might want to read (if you haven't already) our thread in the stickies just for returning 50+ 'rs.

For the 50+ 'newbie' rider


Beyond that, for under $500, you are likely looking at a beginning mtn bike or lower priced hybrid. Also, you might check into having turned down handlebars installed on a hybrid. Never done this, but have heard of it.

Good luck.
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Old 07-23-09, 09:29 PM   #3
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Trek has their Tour De France sale going on now until the end of the tour. They have their hybrid 7.3 FX on sale for $499 US right now which is about $200 bellow list price. I rode one a couple of weeks ago and it was relatively light and resonsive. I am also a "roadie", but was looking for something for riding similar to what you described, and to go get the groceries, etc. I'm trying to go car free around town for the next year and my road bike is not suitable, nor do I want to leave my touring bike in front of the gym, library or stores. I picked up an early model Trek mountain/hybrid in really good shape, and I'm hoping that I'll get used to those "funny" straight bars! I also won't feel too bad if it gets stolen.
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Old 07-24-09, 04:44 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, that Trek is $669 here, which is only a hundred off regular. I've been looking in Kijijji and Craigslist for a bike without luck, and local garage sales. Someone recommended a Kona Dew but the only shop around here that sells it has only one, and not in my size.
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Old 07-24-09, 05:32 AM   #5
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"Gravel trail" That right there would stop me from considering a road bike.

Mountain bike without suspension or a hybrid maybe, both those options also have a more relaxed (upright) riding position too.
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Old 07-24-09, 07:53 AM   #6
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I would think about a cyclocross bike for the mix of riding you described. Or maybe an older road bike with room for 32mm tires. Or a touring bike.
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Old 07-24-09, 08:55 AM   #7
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Do it now.

I suggest that ASAP you try a few bikes, buy one, and ride a few thousand miles yet this season. If you live in a land of winter, consider this urgent businesses.

Delay is the enemy. Neither you nor your son is getting any younger.

If you happen to keep your first adult bike for years, great. Otherwise, your next buy will be much better informed.

(Unless it would take food off the table or eat into emergency reserves, do not sweat price. My current favorite rides cost $600 and $3,200. Both have proven bargains. Please do not tell the manufacturers, but given the combination of recreation, health and usefulness offered, I would pay five figures for a bike if necessary. And that's not even counting digits to the right of the decimal.)
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Old 07-24-09, 08:55 AM   #8
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I think you've come to right pace for informed views for your enquiry.

There, just recently, have been a number of similar questions, all receiving well informed responses, so a trawl might help.

If I can summarise according to my perception and recollection

Flat bar 'hybrid' bikes are as fast as road bikes 20 years ago
Road bikes still have attraction, but very few riders make use of the 'drops' even though it's nice to have them and they look cool.
Most manufacturers see the more upright Bikes ( labelled ' urban' or 'fitness' or 'allsport') are where their revenues come from, so they're very competitevely priced and spec.d

I just bought the bike o'my dreams a couple of years ago - drop bar steel/carbon. I have a hard time keeping up with spouse o'my dreams on her Trek Hybrid (FX7.5)
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Old 07-24-09, 08:58 AM   #9
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At least in Ann Arbor, MI, bike availability is very seasonal. We're approaching the end of the riding and cycling season, and at least my local shops will soon stop re-ordering sizes they do not have in stock. I assume it will be the same if not worse in your "small town in Ontario," unless it's small like Toronto or Hamilton are. If you know your size, I'd suggest just phoning around all the local stores and make notes on what they have, then target what you can look at.

If you are handy with tools, there's really nothing wrong with buying a good used bike off Ebay. There are a few well-known Canadian sellers. One is Randy Jawa, just a brief drive for you and a regular in BF on the Classic and Vintage Forum. The technology that worked well in the '70s and '80s still works well when maintained and adjusted right. If this approach works for you, you will be free of dependency on local bike shops. Use them when you want, and don't when it doesn't suit you.
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Old 07-24-09, 09:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wobblyoldgeezer View Post
I think you've come to right pace for informed views for your enquiry.

There, just recently, have been a number of similar questions, all receiving well informed responses, so a trawl might help.

If I can summarise according to my perception and recollection

Flat bar 'hybrid' bikes are as fast as road bikes 20 years ago
Road bikes still have attraction, but very few riders make use of the 'drops' even though it's nice to have them and they look cool.
Most manufacturers see the more upright Bikes ( labelled ' urban' or 'fitness' or 'allsport') are where their revenues come from, so they're very competitevely priced and spec.d

I just bought the bike o'my dreams a couple of years ago - drop bar steel/carbon. I have a hard time keeping up with spouse o'my dreams on her Trek Hybrid (FX7.5)
There is a potential ergonomic benefit to a drop bar bike, even if you never use the drops. When riding on the ramps or with your hands resting on teh hoods, the hand is in the "handshake position," which is more neutral for your arm and wrist if you have your bar adjusted for as well neutral wrist angle. Some physical therapists have told me this should be less stressful on your arm than straight sideways grips as found on hybrids and mountain bikes.

That said, Mrs. Road Fan has a flat bar road bike, and despite wrist and forearm pain is able to shell me at will, even if I ride my go fast bike. It's not fair.
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Old 07-24-09, 01:39 PM   #11
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I would think about a cyclocross bike for the mix of riding you described.
+1

A cyclocross bike is just what you need for riding on gravel.

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Old 07-24-09, 02:31 PM   #12
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If you know your size, I'd suggest just phoning around all the local stores and make notes on what they have, then target what you can look at.
Don't know my size, how would I find it?
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Old 07-24-09, 03:07 PM   #13
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Blues Dawg and RonH make a good point. The bike I use for touring is a Bianchi Volpe, tecnically a cyclocross bike. It came pretty well set up as a good all around bike. Our son races cyclocross on the single speed version of the Volpe, and the bike does well considering price. The point being: he beats the dickens out of the bike and it keeps on Ticking. I treat mine lot better ( the bike in the picture has been across the US and on several other multi-week tours), and I have replaced the stock drivetrain with all mountain bike components. It makes loaded climbing a little easier.

A crude way of getting at you second question is to stand up against a wall, and using a carpenters level and measuring tape to measure your inseam. Place the level snugly in the crotch, level it , and measure the distance from the floor to the top of the level. Then find the geometry specs of the bike you are interested in , or one that is similar that lists a standover height, and see if they list a stand over height. Ideally, you should have an inch or two clearance above the top tube. Note what size frame gives this standove height and you ishould be in the ballpark- probably close enough for test rides. The bike shop should also be a help in this.
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Old 07-24-09, 03:31 PM   #14
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I agree, cyclocross sounds like the right type of bike for me.
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Old 08-08-09, 08:13 PM   #15
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Okay, so I've been looking around. Was offered a 2009 Jake the Snake for $1200cdn out the door which is $200 below list before tax. But the bike was 58cm, and I'm 5'10" with a 32" inseam (83cm). So I figure I need at 56cm bike? I see today that the new 2010 JTS is going to be $1600cdn! I'm now wishing I jumped in.

Would the 58cm work? I did ride it, seemed okay. Not even sure at this point I can still get it for $1200cdn.
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Old 08-09-09, 12:35 AM   #16
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Inseam is not the only criteria for fitting a bike. Length of the top tube comes in aswell and so does your body. Only way to check this out is by getting to a shop and seeing what size does fit you.

And then remember that bike manufacturers size differently- so if you take a 56 in Kona- It might be a 54 or 58 in a Trek. Then there is the LBS- What size do they have in stock that they want to shift?

I ride Giants and I can fit frames that covers from 49 to 56 so even in one manufacturer there is still "Some" leeway in fitting. The size that is "Most" comfortable though seems to be a 51cm except for long rides where a slightly larger frame feels better. But that is probably down to the set up of the individual bikes.

So do the enjoyable bit of Bike shopping for a while- Try as many different bikes at as many different shops as you can. And try all the different types of bike aswell. Then you may find the right LBS- the right manufacturer- the right model and then finally the right size. And find them in that order as it may prove cheaper in the long run.
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Old 08-09-09, 01:42 AM   #17
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If you are willing to go to $1200 for the Jake, several doors open for you. Try you LBS's that deal in Trek, Cannondale and Specialized as well as they too offer good Cyclocross bikes at that pricepoint. I like the Specialized Tricross Sport in that range and 1200 is the msrp. You can do better with some negotiating. I don't know where you are but a trip to Waterdown (Bicycle Works) may be a good idea.

CX bikes are what you want for the riding described.
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Old 08-09-09, 03:33 AM   #18
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Specialized's US website lists the Tricross Sport at $1450 (no price on the CDN site). Think I could talk my LBS down to $1200? I did ride the Tricross, and it seemed okay except that the gears keep slipping. I'm actually surprised by how many bikes I've gone out to test have had issues with them (gears slipping, clunks in the bottom bracket, brakes that malfunction, etc).

It does look like the JTS has better components (Shimano 105 all around) at that price point.

Last edited by hagbard; 08-09-09 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 08-09-09, 06:22 AM   #19
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I am shocked that has been your experience on test rides. It is just sloppyness on your LBS's part to allow poorly setup bikes out the door.

Don't pay too much attention to MSRP's on line. Go out and talk to shops, someone may have an '08 in stock to unload cheap.

The 105 JTS would be a good buy if it fits. If they can't prep a bike though, I doubt they can fit one to you properly.

If you can wait for the fall bike show, there are deals to be had there too.

Good luck with your search.
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Old 08-09-09, 06:37 AM   #20
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Specialized's US website lists the Tricross Sport at $1450 (no price on the CDN site). Think I could talk my LBS down to $1200? I did ride the Tricross, and it seemed okay except that the gears keep slipping. I'm actually surprised by how many bikes I've gone out to test have had issues with them (gears slipping, clunks in the bottom bracket, brakes that malfunction, etc).

It does look like the JTS has better components (Shimano 105 all around) at that price point.

Look here

This is one of our local LBS - Tricross sport $999, so the answer is a most definite yes, the question is - can you get it for $850 - I bet you can if he has it in stock.
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Old 08-09-09, 06:44 AM   #21
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I just got one of these last weekend, $579 on sale. It sounds like a suitable bike for your needs.

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...=40433&eid=178


Slightly fatter tires, rack, fenders and lights, and a gigantic granny gear. I love this bike. I've made a couple 4 mile rides, a 13 miler and a 22 miler yesterday. The wider tires can handle a gravel road, grass, small dirt paths with ease. They take 90 pounds, hard enough to roll easy on the tarmac. The granny gear comes in handy to my 55 year old legs when hills get too big or riding over the lawn. Fenders are very light plastic and save your frame from rocks and your clothes from water. Riding position is upright with a slight lean forward.

I checked the Specilized website and Toronto is peppered with Specialized dealers. I don;t know how far that is from you, I know Canada is a place of a lot of space.

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Old 08-09-09, 07:25 AM   #22
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I am shocked that has been your experience on test rides. It is just sloppyness on your LBS's part to allow poorly setup bikes out the door.

Don't pay too much attention to MSRP's on line. Go out and talk to shops, someone may have an '08 in stock to unload cheap.

The 105 JTS would be a good buy if it fits. If they can't prep a bike though, I doubt they can fit one to you properly.
The JTS was well setup. It was the local Trek and Specialized dealers that messed up. In fact, the Kona dealer made a point of telling me the JTS was way too large for me. Was planning to buy the 2010 when they got those in, but not at $1600cdn!!

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If you can wait for the fall bike show, there are deals to be had there too.

Good luck with your search.
When and where is the Fall Bike Show?
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Old 08-09-09, 07:46 AM   #23
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http://www.bicycleshowtoronto.com/ht.../fallshow.html
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Old 08-09-09, 08:46 AM   #24
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Have I missed something, Hagbard, or you missing weeks of riding.

If you plan to investigate further, get yourself a cheap used bike to ride for the time being.
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Old 08-09-09, 11:09 AM   #25
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Thanks. Long way to travel.

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Have I missed something, Hagbard, or you missing weeks of riding.

If you plan to investigate further, get yourself a cheap used bike to ride for the time being.
My wife bought a Kona Dew, I'm borrowing hers for now.
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