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  1. #1
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Road bikes for teenagers?

    NB I've already checked out recreational and family on this subject. None of the posts quite hit this topic.

    My daughter has ridden a Trek 3700 for a few years. It's not a great bike and she knows it.

    Now she's almost 17 and wants a road bike. We would use it for riding around the neighborhood and on the Louisville Loop. There would be a hill or two.

    My fear is that I would get her a decent bike and then she wouldn't ride it.

    There are deals to be had in Cyberland but I think I'd be wise to get it at an LBS for fitting issues and maybe component swap-outs, especially the saddle. That means spending more $$$.

    Anyone here try to get their teenage daughter/grand kids/etc interested in road cycling? What was your experience? Did it have a happy ending?

    And can you recommend a brand?

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    And can you recommend a brand?
    narrow it down to what brands your favorite bike shop sells.. You get service after the sale..

    Out here.. Trek has WSD geometry frames in several types, for women..

  3. #3
    West Coast Weenie Esteban58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Anyone here try to get their teenage daughter/grand kids/etc interested in road cycling? What was your experience? Did it have a happy ending?
    4 kids, all 17 or older now, trying to get them interested in biking failed miserably... (too busy with other sports, and all the other activities that
    we push kids into now-days?).

    One option to consider if its available for you is to rent a bike (if the price isn't too steep) - I looked into that here and found prices all over the map.
    Alternatively you could always check out e-bay and craigslist - if you find something, and it doesn't work out, just turn around and list it for the same price.
    Finally, ask around and see if someone has something sitting in their garage that they're not using and are willing to loan / sell...

    Good luck - riding together is a great way to stay in touch.
    there is no signature.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    NB I've already checked out recreational and family on this subject. None of the posts quite hit this topic.

    My daughter has ridden a Trek 3700 for a few years. It's not a great bike and she knows it.

    Now she's almost 17 and wants a road bike. We would use it for riding around the neighborhood and on the Louisville Loop. There would be a hill or two.

    My fear is that I would get her a decent bike and then she wouldn't ride it.

    There are deals to be had in Cyberland but I think I'd be wise to get it at an LBS for fitting issues and maybe component swap-outs, especially the saddle. That means spending more $$$.

    Anyone here try to get their teenage daughter/grand kids/etc interested in road cycling? What was your experience? Did it have a happy ending?

    And can you recommend a brand?

    Your post is confusing. You say she wants the road bike but you then ask how to get a youngster interested in road cycling. Is she, or is she not, interested in road biking?

    If she wants the bike tell her how much money she has to spend and let her do the transaction. It will be HER bike so what someone else thinks really doesn't matter except for budget.

    As for how long she will stay interested: Who Knows? We all change as we live. This isn't a life long purchase. It is a parental give the kid a chance to learn purchase. Assuming she is in fact motivated now. If not; forget it. At 17 you either understand her wants and she wants a road bike, or not.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  5. #5
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    You already mentioned the intertubes, so I won't bother mentioning bikesdirect.com. What about used?
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    You said a road bike, are you talking drop bars or upright bars? Is she sold on commuting around the neighborhood and to the shops in your area or will she punt riding when she can drive as much as she needs? You know her much better than we do, or will, so the decision is up to both of you. You could explain the various types of road suitable bikes available now, hybrids, touring based, racer like, hipster SS/FG, etc, etc. Maybe some of the local women could allow her some test rides of their bikes, as said there are good women's specific geometry bikes available from most manufacturers, she could get an idea of whether or not that bike suits her needs and wants (be careful with getting the two confused.)

    I like the idea of setting a budget and letting her research the market for what she thinks is best and letting her execute the transaction within the budget. If it goes bad for her it isn't your fault. You could monitor the activity and offer advise when necessary and stand back when it is better to do so. The above replies covered the new v. used and the various places for each to be purchased from. She is close to her majority age so this could be valuable experience for her and a chance for you to see where she is headed in life.

    Bill

  7. #7
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    I understand Dudel's problem. Teens often want stuff and seem interested but that doesn't mean they are committed. Yeah adults can do it too before anyone gets their boxers bunched up.

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    to old age and infirmity. You first.
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  8. #8
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
    I understand Dudel's problem. Teens often want stuff and seem interested but that doesn't mean they are committed. Yeah adults can do it too before anyone gets their boxers bunched up.
    Exactly. She wants a bike with drop bars....and her own car, and a new pony, and Prince Charming, and...

    Anyone who doesn't get that vibe either hasn't had teenagers or has had saintly children.

    Our stores generally sell Trek. Their basic Lexa looks decent...if she'll ride it. I've not seen one on display but I've never really looked for them, either. I've never seen one on Craigslist either. As I said, probably best to stick with the LBS because of the fit issue.

    I think she's at a point where she might ride more if she gets a decent bike, and won't ride if she is consigned to the 3700 with crappy wheels and heavy frame and such.

    PS I had a decent wheel set to give her, but the hubs, which fit all of my mountain bikes, won't fit her frame, I guess because the 3700 is basically a kiddie bike.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Get the Iphone 5. I bet she'll use that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    My daughter has ridden a Trek 3700 for a few years. It's not a great bike and she knows it.

    Now she's almost 17 and wants a road bike. We would use it for riding around the neighborhood and on the Louisville Loop. There would be a hill or two.

    My fear is that I would get her a decent bike and then she wouldn't ride it.
    Sounds like she's already very familiar with bikes and now has a definite interest in road cycling. I'd say that it would be money well spent if you can keep any seventeen year old interested in a healthy family activity like cycling for even just another six months or a year. When/if she does give up the road bike, you can always sell it to recoup a good bit of the cost.
    2012 Trek 5.2 Madone
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  11. #11
    Senior Member nkfrench's Avatar
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    When I was 14 (1970) I bought my first road bike with my summer job wages. Cheap entry-level Huffy 10-speed, ended up giving it to my younger sister and I bought a nicer Fuji 10-speed age 15 (1971).
    That bike taught me how you always lock up your bikes, even if it's your own driveway in a nice neighborhood and you're only going into the house for a minute.
    So I bought my 3rd road bike at age 17 (1973), an even nicer new Fuji 10-speed. It cost over 100 hours of my parttime college job wages. I loved that bike and rode it year-round getting me between home, job, and college classes. The nicer bikes were more fun to ride and were more reliable. Dang, the movers stole that 1973 Fuji when I relocated after graduation. The next bike I got didn't fit well (frame was too big) and I didn't ride it much at all.

    I had similar concerns to what OP is expressing when I was 52 (2008) and wanted to upgrade. I knew my post-college bike wasn't fun to ride, but did I really want to pay for a nice new bike based on only riding 1000 miles over the past 30 years? I went to the store with a modest budget in mind, didn't like what was in my pricerange, and ended up with a top-of-the-line road bike that cost 2x my budget (and was a great deal at 1/2 price). I've got 13,000 miles on that bike and it is sheer joy to ride. I've never regretted the decision. The 30-year-old too-big bike got sold at a swap meet and I got a good price for a vintage steel road bike in excellent condition.

    Later I bought a less-expensive road bike as a backup / put on the trainer; and while it fits me fine, I just don't enjoy riding it so much. The shifting is clunky and slow, the bike frame/cranks seem too flexy, the brifters have a gap where my gloves get caught.

    Let your daughter take all or some of the financial responsibility for the new bike; and remember that a bike that's reliable and fun to ride will see more use.

  12. #12
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Exactly. She wants a bike with drop bars....and her own car, and a new pony, and Prince Charming, and...

    Anyone who doesn't get that vibe either hasn't had teenagers or has had saintly children.

    Our stores generally sell Trek. ...snip.....
    Whatever you do, DON'T get her the pony!

    If you can afford it, I think I would risk getting her a bike. The upside, though chancy, seems pretty big to me. There are some decent Felt youth bikes for <$1k that might be worth a look. I think they are called the F95Junior or some such.

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  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    The bike is worth a risk- especially if there is a club nearby that has enough young lads of her age to keep her interested

    6 years ago I went road and after 16 years of MTB's- I did not know if I was going to be interested in the dark side. Got a lowly bike from a known manufacturer and spent the next year learning to adapt to the bike- get the body adjusted and learn the different type of riding. The bike was nowhere near top knotch but it was not in the "Cr*p" region either.

    The main problem is that she may not stay cycling and if she does- will that first bike be the right one. All the first bike is for- is to tell you what you should have bought in the first place. So I suggest starting basic and be prepared to upgrade in the year if the interest is still there. Either that or if she is nearly able to ride one of your bikes- then get a bike that can be adapted to fit you and can be your N+1 when the other interests take over.
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    we are the parents of two boys, now 21 and 13, both have ridden with us since they were big enough to do so. it is hard getting the "right" bike; rider fit, size and mood is constantly evolving. the older one seemed easier, a couple of mountain bike - then at 19, my cross check commuter seemed to "fit him perfectly". it is some place in texas with him now. the younger one has been harder, four bikes in 6 years & still growing - will need a new bike for next season. a flat bar road bike was good, for a while. when that got to small & he wanted a drop bar bike - we went to a bike swap. he found a nice little entry level road bike - the fit seemed really good. in another year - then too small, lbs had a vintage road bike in a racy red color, it caught his eye and fit fine - it needed tires, brake pads and a tune up - he put 2000 km on it last season and understands the difference in ride between an AL and steel frame. He really liked the steel framed bike, similar experience to my older son - liking the steel cross check - their choice. A mountain bike the older one used the longest, we got at year end, a bike shop was selling their rentals - at the time got a nice deal - the bike was his choice. An echo of other's comments - the choice has to belong to the rider. Dad can help create the opportunity to go bike shopping, set the budget, help verify the fit; but mostly keep his mouth shut. Let the rider choose.
    Last edited by martianone; 12-08-12 at 02:55 AM.
    ride long & prosper

  15. #15
    Senior Member John_V's Avatar
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    She might get some use out of the bike if she gets it before she gets a car. My 17 yo grandson's flat bar road bike has been hanging in their garage, unused, ever since he got his driver's license and especially now that he has a car. He used to come out and ride with me, but I guess those days are gone.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    My daughter is 24 and my son is 22. I've bought them both bikes since they were little kids. My son loves to ride; my daughter not so much. My approach was to get them good bikes and hope they'd take to the sport. In my daughter's case I eventually gave up. She has a bike - a "comfort" bike that she pickd out herself - but I don't think she rides it more than occasionally, and not further than a mile or two. I built up a nice road bike for her when she was about 14 from an old Bianchi frame my neighbor gave us. She never took to it, so I sold it. My son kept riding so I moved him through a series of mountain bikes, then a touring bike my dad wasn't riding anymore. He was loving that but wanted something a little better, so a couple of years ago I found him a nice Specialized Allez I found on Ebay. He loves that bike and rides it all the time - at least 2 or 3 times a week.

    If my daughter really wanted a road bike, I'd be thrilled. I'd probably take her to my local bike shop and buy her something nice, knowing that she might lose interest and I'd end up selling it. Sure I'd probably lose some of my investment, but I'd consider it worth the risk.

    I like the idea of involving her in the bike selection process. Teenagers are much more likely to love things they've had a hand in choosing, at least in my experience.

    Having a daughter who wants a road bike is a problem I wish I had!

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    Agree with Billydonn about the pony/horse, we went that route for 6 years. Bikes have no comparison in cost to owning a horse. The Lexa is a pretty nice bike for the money. If the LBS is a good one let her get a fit if they will do it for you. The 8-speed and other components are stone reliable and the compact crank would be easy on her starting out if Loovul has hills. I'd spring for the extra dollars and get the Lexa Sport, 1 model above. It would be easier to sell with the upgraded components if she punts on riding.

    Bill
    Last edited by qcpmsame; 12-08-12 at 07:20 AM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Now she's almost 17 and wants a road bike. We would use it for riding around the neighborhood and on the Louisville Loop. There would be a hill or two.

    My fear is that I would get her a decent bike and then she wouldn't ride it.
    That's always a risk.

    If you don't buy her the decent bike that she's asking for what will you spend the money on?

  19. #19
    Free Velo Vol! Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    That's always a risk.

    If you don't buy her the decent bike that she's asking for what will you spend the money on?
    That is a fantastic question! The people who say money is fungible are wrong. It's phantasmagoric, illusory at best. The stuff just disappears. No one knows where the heck it goes.

    A Lexa would run about $800 or so. If it were a bust I could turn around and sell it, or if I were feeling charitable, donate it. Some kid out there would love to have it.

    If I didn't use the money for that I would maybe pay down my son's tuition, or put in in a 401k now that I'm eligible for it, or put it in an account to pay my fair share of the investments in the infrastructure of this great country.

    As I ponder this, I would have the most fun blowing it on a new bike, even if it were for my daughter who might only ride it twice.

  20. #20
    ES&D t4mv's Avatar
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    I think bike riding with our kids is like throwing stuff up on a wall and seeing what sticks. We started our two boys off very young with a kiddie adapter on our tandem so they were riding with us well before they could take training wheels off their own bikes. Now both of them will go on family rides with us, and both have ridden centuries while in HS.

    I'd take that chance with your daughter, but I agree you should do it before a car comes along. Our kids aren't that interested in cars and driving so maybe yours will be the same. Involve her in the decision-making process and see what happens. Do you folks not have police auctions and stuff over there? Where I went to school there were so many bikes that the campus police had at least one if not two auctions/yr, and the city police had their own auction. The point being, you could get something inexpensively, and your daughter can get some dirt under her nails. Think about it.

  21. #21
    Saved by Grace lphilpot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    As I ponder this, I would have the most fun blowing it on a new bike, even if it were for my daughter who might only ride it twice.
    Sounds like you've pretty much answered your question.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member mprelaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Our stores generally sell Trek. Their basic Lexa looks decent...if she'll ride it. I've not seen one on display but I've never really looked for them, either. I've never seen one on Craigslist either. As I said, probably best to stick with the LBS because of the fit issue.

    I think she's at a point where she might ride more if she gets a decent bike, and won't ride if she is consigned to the 3700 with crappy wheels and heavy frame and such.
    I'd agree with that. My wife was riding an old Specialized Expedition hybrid, and not enjoying it. She decided that if she was going to ride with me, she wanted a road bike. She bought a Lexa, and loves it. I was in the shop earlier this week on another issue, and they were pleased (and a little surprised) to hear that's she's put over 2,000 miles on it. Everyone should have a bike that makes them want to ride. Your daughter has clearly outgrown that 3700. It sounds like she's riding it enough to justify getting her what she wants (within limits, of course. No Pinarellos yet ).

    I'd suggest the mid-level Lexa, the one that's equivalent to the men's 1.2 model. Carbon fork and Sora components.

  23. #23
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    I agree about not getting the kid a pony!!! (Even though I think the remark was in jest.) Getting a teenage girl a horse or pony, even just as a lease, is like introducing them to crack. It's an addiction that they never outgrow. OTOH, being addicted to cycling is like being addicted to broccoli - people may look at you strangely but it won't ruin your life.

    Treks typically group their models, with several models sharing the same basic frame but with different component levels. Get her one with a nice basic frame but the lower-end components. You can always upgrade it if she gets more serious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudelsack View Post
    Exactly. She wants a bike with drop bars....and her own car, and a new pony, and Prince Charming, and...

    Anyone who doesn't get that vibe either hasn't had teenagers or has had saintly children.

    Our stores generally sell Trek. Their basic Lexa looks decent...if she'll ride it. I've not seen one on display but I've never really looked for them, either. I've never seen one on Craigslist either. As I said, probably best to stick with the LBS because of the fit issue.

    I think she's at a point where she might ride more if she gets a decent bike, and won't ride if she is consigned to the 3700 with crappy wheels and heavy frame and such.

    PS I had a decent wheel set to give her, but the hubs, which fit all of my mountain bikes, won't fit her frame, I guess because the 3700 is basically a kiddie bike.
    Very familiar with "that vibe". Just like many of us adults she doesn't Really know what she wants. I've seen people of all ages fall in love with and idea but be turned off by the reality. So, all I can say is to pay your money and take your chances. Extremely few people know what the future will bring when they buy something. At worst one of you will have a good bike to sell in a couple years when the money is needed for something else.

    Figure out how much is will cost to get a good bike. Give her the money, or tell her what budget she has to work with, and go buy the thing. Spend too much time analyzing and all the fun and pleasure will be sucked right out of it.
    It is better to smell the flowers than taste the roots.

  25. #25
    Senior Member oldbobcat's Avatar
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    No big deal. I was a teenager when I started road biking. Bought the bike with mad money left over from my summer job. It was still cheaper than the electric guitar I'd bought the previous year. And I rode the crap out of that thing.

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