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Old 07-02-10, 11:15 AM   #1
nancyj
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Some questions from a returning biker

Over 50 overweight, quit riding when the first kid was born and a whole lot of life got in the way.
Granmda now just wants to ride bicycle.

Although fixing up the old Paramount- we just want to get something newer for around town, trails, etc. - looking at hybrids - low end - something I can park outside shops, not worry about scratches, etc. and would sincerely appreciate some advice here. I don't want to spend a lot of money because we both want to fix up and start back on the tandem next year.

My husband has a nice old Raleigh Pro but he just wants to bang around and was never into it as much as I was and, honestly, I may just get a trainer and hook that bike up to it and leave it there and get us both new bikes.

I rode the old bike both as a serious camping/touring bike with normal road bars and as a commuter with upright flat bars. And a standard brooks pro. I think that position and weight on the bars probably made the pro so comforatble and the flat bars so uncomforable.

I dont ever remember my ass hurting - but the flat bars did not work for me for anything but around town. I am more comfortable with my thumbs looped over the brake hood, or on the flats, sometimes the drops of the road bar. I liked being able to move around. I would not mind a simpler shifting system (always had to trim the front cage when changing the back gears and the old Rally derailleur requires some finesse and good timing to shift) and a more upright position than on the old bike but am concerned the hybrid frame may be TOO upright and the single hand position bars too limiting. For my husband - he always liked the upright and had the wide brooks saddle with springs

I have been spinning at the gym 80rpm getting ready again and hate the wide-ass seat on that bike.

--------------------------------------

So recommendations for (a) the cost point for a decent bike (b) hybrid or non hybrid alternatives? (c) good suggestions. Thanks.

Oh, I put the question here and not in the hybrid section because I think returning older bike riders may have a unique perspective......................

Last edited by nancyj; 07-02-10 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 07-02-10, 11:34 AM   #2
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Two ways of looking at a Hybrid

Amalgamation of two styles and not the best of either

OR

Amalgamation of two styles that give the best of both worlds.

That is for you to decide- but the only way out is to get to a Bike shop and test ride.

I am an EX mountain biker and it took me a while to adjust to the full Road riding position. I still ride on the hoods more than any other position (Like most here) but do find the drops and flats usefull.

Gear shifting has changed to something that is easier to use along with a lot of innovations that you will like on modern machinery. The old adage of you get what you pay for still applies so if price is your main concern- Look around for second hand as you seem to know what you like in a bike.

Welcome back.
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Old 07-02-10, 12:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by nancyj View Post
Over 50 overweight, quit riding when the first kid was born and a whole lot of life got in the way.
Granmda now just wants to ride bicycle.
Okay...that sounds exactly like me...except for the Grandma part!

Welcome back to cycling!

I started re-riding this past January. I bought a Raleigh Cadent FT-2 hybrid (about $750) as my "re-introduction to the bike" bike. It worked...very well. Last month I completed my first century in 20 years.

That said, I quickly found that I was more interested in returning to a drop-bar bike rather than continuing the hybrid. The hybrid was comfortable (after I changed the grips to Ergon and added bar-ends), but I knew that I'd be more comfortable and more efficient on a road bike. I put my '88 Specialized Sequoia sport-tourer back on the road and eventually cashed in some frequent flyer miles and got a Specialized Roubaix. Very happy I did.

What helped me immensely was joining a local club that did a "Century Training School". It's targeted at new cyclists, and starts at the point where "you know how to ride a bike" and goes from there. While a lot of the material they covered in the talks before each ride was stuff I knew, it didn't hurt to get a refresher. Each week we rode a bit further in a very structured group, and after doing 80 miles, our next ride was a very flat, one-way with-the-wind century (unfortunately I crashed...long story...not very interesting). I didn't complete that one, but did a fairly flat out-and-back century the next month. Riding with new cyclists was interesting and there were all types in the group. Young to old, in-shape to overweight, etc. What was really nice for me was seeing their enthusiasm, and to be honest, it rubbed off on me as well.

While I don't ride the hybrid as much anymore, it's nice to have it for a quick ride with my neighbors/family. I have SPD pedals on it that have a platform on one side and the clip on the other, so I can ride with or without cycling shoes.

If I had to give advice, I'd say try and figure out what you want to do...is it just ride around a bit, or really get back into cycling. If it's the former, then you might be happy with a hybrid. If it's the latter, then go for a road bike. One of the things that has happened since you and I last rode seriously is the segmentation of the bike market. It used to be road bikes were either racing or touring bikes. While you can still get that dedicated tourer, you'll find that the road bike have further segmented into performance and a category called "plush" (and I'm sure there are other categories I'm not aware of). If you're looking to ride FAST, think performance. If you're looking to ride further, maybe plush is for you. One thing to note is that it seems a lot of the plush bikes are more expensive, so that might be a concern.

And if you want to throw some chum in the water for the BF sharks, just open a thread asking whether your road bike should be steel, titanium, aluminum, carbon, or whatever.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but you have come to a good place to ask these questions. At the end of the day, it seems most people here just want people to ride and love it like they do.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Charles
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Old 07-02-10, 01:07 PM   #4
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My wife loves her hybrid and hated her road bike. But, she didn't learn ro ride until in her 60's. And she never goes much beyond 20 miles, and at a slow pace. The road bike (Cannondale R300) felt to her to be very unstable, and the hybrid very stable.

Perhaps a used hybrid for a bit and then moving to a road when you feel ready? It never hurts to have 2 bikes.

The cost point is very subjective, depending upon your own $$ value system.

Just be sure that whatever you get fits you, and by that I mean having someone knowledgeable looking at it with you on it. Road bike fit is an art in itself and much more challenging than a hybrid fit, and your fit changes as you get older. A lot. At age 70.5, I just had a major - much needed - rework in stem, gooseneck and a few other things.

Welcome and good luck.
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Old 07-02-10, 03:42 PM   #5
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If you were comfortable on the drops on the Paramount, I might consider getting the shifting system up graded and ride that. You can get a Shimano 105 Group on eBay for around $400. The 105 is Shimano's mid line group, but will be much better than what's currently on the Paramount (in terms of ease of shifting). If you decide you don't like the Paramount with 105 you can easily get your investment and more back selling it. My experience has been that anyone who really enjoyed road riding and returns to it without any major functional limitations is eventually going to want the thrill of a drop bar road machine. So, IMHO your Paramount is a great foundation to get you there. It's a top notch frame that a good LBS can easily epgrade for you.
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Old 07-02-10, 04:02 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the advice............The Paramount is definitely going back up............the old gearing system should work just fine, though....kind of like driving an old stick shift vs a new one I imagine. I know folks hated the Rally but it always worked well for me though I would not let my husband touch it (because he would not trim the front, and then his timing on the back was so bad-he was not good at aniticipating the shift and doing it without being under pressure, that I controlled the gears on the tandem (though I see all kinds of options for THAT bike!)----------One thing that helped me was setting up my gearing so that there were very few crossover options. So I would cover the entire functional range with one chainring shift.

That still makes for a 26-27lb bike which I guess still is not too awful bad........

I was more into early morning long peaceful rides in the country than pack/club riding. May still look at the hybrids for banging around town. Guess I need to see if I can ride one for a few hours to get a feeling for the handgrips as it sounds like a road bike is still probably a better option. and I could use a hybrid with the dogs for excercising them and for riding with the kids and grandkids.
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Old 07-02-10, 04:31 PM   #7
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Looping your thumbs around the "Bar Ends" on a flat bar bike is "almost" akin to riding on the hoods - just food for thought when looking at flatbar bikes. And, you can even get some bolt on mini drops from Origin 8.
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Old 07-02-10, 04:50 PM   #8
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Nancyj, I doubt that a hybrid is going to best 26 lbs. by enough to matter, but a second bicycle (or more) is always a good thing, IMHO. Tune up your Paramount or have it tuned at a LBS for reliability and throw a rack and lights on a hybrid for shopping and meandering in town. Bar ends on a flat bar bike can make a big difference. A hint for your husband, find a bike with an internally geared rear hub.

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Old 07-02-10, 06:28 PM   #9
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Yeah - we get the cheap bikes and if HE wants to fix up his Raleigh Pro he can or buy a used road bike. The internal hub and disk brakes are definitely some things I want to consider for the tandem. I just want to enjoy the ride - since it is a 21 x 21 we can both captain but I would like the captain to handle all controls. Plus gives us an excuse for getting going with the grandkids.
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Old 07-02-10, 10:34 PM   #10
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In April 2009 at age 54, I dug my Ciocc San Cristobal out of the boat port after a 17+ year cycling hiatus. I put new tires and a new computer on the bike but otherwise left it as-is. My advice is to ride what you're familiar with and what worked for you (it should still work).
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Old 07-02-10, 10:45 PM   #11
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Have both the Raleigh & Paramount serviced in the bearings. Headset, Bottom bracket, and hubs. The old grease is likely hard and useless from years of sitting. Probably want to replace the old rock hard brake pads too.
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Old 07-03-10, 06:32 AM   #12
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Yeah - I am digging for my old tools! I do have them for the BB and cranks. I have never trusted my bearings to anyone else. This is hard.

You know - Granny make be looking at a mountain hardtail. Not sure. I used to love taking my bike down dirt roads and riding downhill fast (no wont do that now). Shhhh didnt' know you could do that to a road bike? (Well I was a lightweight) - I am in the woods a lot so trail riding (nothing crazy) is definitely something I would want to do as well as bike trails, city, roads. ...........

It is evolving. We have to fix both road bikes.

Well going in today after going to the gym. Every minute on the computer is a minute not moving.
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Old 07-03-10, 06:57 AM   #13
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"Every minute on the computer is a minute not moving." --nancyj

Works well for that first cuppa, tho'.

+1 on the MTB.

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Old 07-03-10, 06:57 AM   #14
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Nancy,

Let me first say welcome to our little world. Then let me follow up and say that just from reading what you have said in this thread it is obvious to anyone that you have a ton of bike knowledge.

Without a lot more information it would be impossible to give good advice, however let me try giving you a few thoughts.
As far as upgrading your current bike's drive train, depending on the age your options may be fairly limited, unless it had a wide enough rear hub spacing to accommodate the 9 or 10 spd groups I would not go there - IMHO just not worth the money unless the bones are real good. I would just fix it up and keep it around as a spare.
I would go to the LBS and ride a lot of bikes and see what is going to work for you - road/hybrid/MTB/etc. If you find something that works but you are not sure it will be what you want in the long term, find a used version and ride it until your ready to move on/up. Since you apparently are a good wrencher (tackling a bottom bracket is not for the faint of heart) you should be able to bring a used bike if even fair condition back to health. The new index shifters on MTBs and hybrids and the new brifters on roadies will remove most of the shifting woes you mentioned, sometimes you still need to feather them but with every thing right at your normal hand position there is no futsing around.
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Old 07-03-10, 04:17 PM   #15
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Thanks again for the warm welcome from another 50 +++++

The paramount is *in the shop* met the fellow who was recommended to me on another section of the forum and he is clearly knowledgeble. So I am getting all the bearings repacked along with the wheels trued and new brake pads----did find the old wheel tools but not the bottom bracket ones or the crank puller. And I want to ride.

Thing about that bike is was never *all that* during the day. And it should not have been - I had a trek at the same time with racing frame, campy nr group, and tubulars that was much peppier and, of course, a bit more spriited to ride...

....the Paramount was a compromise between a racing frame and a touring frame and not the choice of serious riders for either. At least not in the Atlanta/Athens area in the late 70s.

So the ugly yellow paramount with a 21 inch frame was collecting dust when I bought it for a good price. I dont know how many miles I put on it - enough to be planning on buying new chainrings for it.

The older guy at the bike shop - He said he would be the one working on it. The kid showed me some bikes - and seemed really interested in selling me a woman's frame. Eeeeek. An any regard - doing some more research on the Trek 7.3 FX for a bang around bike. They are already short coupled enough in the mens frame. ....looks adequate...... Still not ruling out a cheap mountain bike but doing the research. The more I think about it - dirt roads and grassy areas and trails are definitely in scope. Just not jumping over logs (though I could and did jump that old paramount over potholes and ride it on plenty of dirt roads)

But the main point is to get back on a bike ASAP!

-----------

Oh, I never saw the logic behind kazillions of gears. My low is a 42/32 that got me across the Rockies with frant and rear panniers and a loaded rack and I never stood up or did anything but spin lightly. I am no spring chicken but surely that will be adquate around here on an unloaded bik. The tandem has a triple - but just to have a granny gear . To be honest, most people would do fine with 5-6 speeds and there is so much overlap you are doing good to actually get that on a 10 speed.

Last edited by nancyj; 07-03-10 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 07-03-10, 10:12 PM   #16
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Based on the description of your riding, I think this would work: http://www.diamondback.com/bikes/per.../insight-2-10/

I have always thought that hauling around front suspension forks on a rail to trail was a waste.
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Old 07-04-10, 01:12 AM   #17
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Problem with mountain bikes is that they are heavy. Fine if you are doing real offroad but on smooth trails and the road- the weight of the thing- the Knobbly tyres and front suspension do not help. Losing the knobblies to a "Smoother" tyre helps and losing the front suspension makes things easier.

Now if the "Offroad" is not too severe- then a robust Hybrid with treaded tyres can do it. Then there are the cyclocross bikes. Probably a bit above your price range but it does sound as though you ought to be looking at one- if only to decide that they are too expensive.
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Old 07-04-10, 06:33 AM   #18
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Well, have some time. I am intrugued by the dual sport bikes and want to check out a katai or utopia when I go back in. I realize at 5'6" I may be at the lower end of height - of course size and weight on the wheels would not make it a "road machine" - but then speed is not what I am interested in. The katai comes in at 26lbs which is about the weight of my old classic road bike. Not too heavy. I realize the front fork is.

From what I gather the "29 inch" wheels are still 700c, which is smaller than a 27 - it is just more frame clearance for larger tires which are both wider and taller (of course that rubber would add considerable weight but you could still have an intermediate tire option)

I also have to scope out road conditions and what is around with some friends - they do have front suspension bikes -We do have some rails to trails here but a lot of dirt roads/logging roads/powerline clearcuts that I have driven on while doing dog training
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Old 07-04-10, 06:54 AM   #19
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Just ride the Paramount when the old guy gets it fixed up.
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Old 07-04-10, 08:02 AM   #20
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nancyj, Don't worry so much about weight. Once the Paramount is tuned ride it everywhere. Saddle time will tell you if another bike is appropriate for some situations.

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Old 07-04-10, 08:14 AM   #21
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Good advice - yep the only purchase I will make when I pick up my bike is new helmets.
Not sure I trust my ancient bells.

Digging out the parts for the Raleigh Pro too...........it is a bit rougher..........bad sweat rust on top tube............it was a 531 DB frame as well but with a "lesser" component group (The old classic huret derailleurs are long-gone - replaced with asuntour in the early 80s).....It goes in next so we can ride together.
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Old 07-05-10, 09:20 AM   #22
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I was surprised to see on my neighbor's new bike GF Zebrano - low-mid hybrid - that it came with an adjustable front suspension & lockout. Just a couple of years ago that feature would have been only high end.

I do notice when riding my hybrid (not very often) that the suspension really does make a difference on our beat up pavements around here.
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Old 07-05-10, 09:40 AM   #23
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See Nancy ride, ride Nancy RIDE!

I restarted my riding after entering the GRAND parent realm. You are off to a good start of riding on a sleek saddle. Fix up the Paramount and Raleigh until Christmas. By then you will have figured out the style and price point question. You will know what you want to find under the tree. Play with all kinds of ideas. I personally like riding dirt trails and am surprised by the women now days.

This is a helpful bunch, hang around often. Training and nutrition is also a helpful thread for me.
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Old 07-05-10, 11:14 AM   #24
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No, the Paramount is junk, send it to me and I'll dispose of it properly
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Old 07-05-10, 12:38 PM   #25
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No, the Paramount is junk, send it to me and I'll dispose of it properly
Hahaha - all those years I was told it was junk but we stuck together with too many memories to trade for something else.

I have this bike longer than my husband by about 3 years.

I am looking forward to getting on it next Saturday.
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