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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 04-29-13, 05:09 PM   #1
VastCrew
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Bike Recommendation

Well, it is that time of year and I'm looking to you good folks for a bike recommendation! I have been road riding for a few years and this has really turned into a family event! My mother even joined in the fun. Last year she slowly upped her mileage and found she really enjoyed riding. I took her to my local shop and had her fitted and she preferred and upright/flat bar road bike. I believe it was a Cannondale 800?? However she did not much like the price tag and went off to Dicks and now has a crazy heavy mountain bike! I worked for last year but is not a prime choice for increased mileage rides! We rode a couple charity events last year and she even completed a 45 mile ride with me, however I put her on my road bike for that one. She really enjoyed the lightness of the road bike but still felt a bit squirrelly on the drop bars. I very much enjoyed the time I got to spend with her and would live for this to continue as long as possible! Being the loving daughter I told her that for Mothers Day this year I would put her on a new bike! Now the tough part begins in finding her a good ride! Please let me know what bikes you are finding most comfortable. I would like to find a flat bar road bike with possible the ability to switch to drop bars? She is female approaching 60 with a slightly shorter torso with a bit longer legs. We will still visit the local shop, they are very good to us and will order bikes in for us to try. I would just like to have an idea ahead of time if there are certain bikes that others are very much enjoying and finding comfortable. Obviously speed is not going to be our man concern here.
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Old 04-29-13, 05:30 PM   #2
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I'm a guy but my wife rides. She likes the Specialized Ruby (carbon) for a women's road bike but the Dolce (aluminum with carbon stays) is made on the same specs and is much less expensive. Moderate price; good build quality;women's specific fit; lots of option levels. Can have your LBS rig it up with a flat bar if need be. However, I'd suggest just getting the fit right - maybe the drop bar a bit higher than normal - and seeing if she gets used to it. I know several people who ride on the upper part of their drop bars at least half the ride anyway!
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Old 04-29-13, 06:02 PM   #3
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Check out the Trek Lexa series. It's their WSD bike. I bought one for my 17 y/o daughter and she likes it as much as anything that doesn't have a Y chromosome. It's a fairly upright bike, for a road bike, with a longer head tube. Don't let her be intimidated by the drop bars. I almost always rest my hands on the top of the bar anyway.

The entry level Lexa was around $550, which really isn't much more than a Dick bike.
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Old 04-30-13, 01:02 AM   #4
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To change a bike from flat bars to drops is not cheap and is not worth the expense. So a decision to be made as to a flat bar bike or drops. Dudelsack has already made the point about riding on the flats on drop handlebars.

There are womens specific bikes (Normally designated WSD) that are manufactured for the female form but they do not fit or suit every girl. Only way to check is to test ride and it could be that a normal mens bike fits better.

Most of us agree that choosing the make of bike is not a problem but finding the right Local Bike Shop (LBS) is. The good LBS will listen to your needs-Offer you a few choices and then ensure that you get the right bike for you and that it will fit correctly. You will not get that from a department store or mail order OR from a bike shop that just sells bikes to get them out the door.

So first suggestion is to find that LBS. The brand of bike you buy will be dependant on what the LBS carries and there are plenty of good bikes out there So get out in your locality and window shop for the LBS that is going to treat you right and get the right bike for Mum.
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Old 04-30-13, 05:42 AM   #5
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Great that you are enjoying riding with your mother, that is time well spent. I'll caution you about just buying a bike and giving it to her, that is a risky proposition unless you can use her previous fitting to buy one. Maybe a letter or card saying you will take the time to take her to the LBS and find the bike that suits her fit and her needs, all as your gift. You seem to understand bikes pretty well and to be experienced as a rider so I think you can understand what I am trying to say, poorly at that, sorry for my clumsiness. I'd hate for her to feel a gift bike had to be kept if it didn't fit her or feel right for her riding needs. My wife is your mother's age, save a year or two, and I let her chose any bike she gets, and there have been bikes as gifts, just not a "bike with a bow on it" always a trip or three to the LBS for her new ride when that happens.

Please keep us updated on her N+1 and maybe get her to join us here after the surprise, whatever you chose to do.

Bill
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Old 04-30-13, 10:22 AM   #6
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The Dolce' is a pretty nice bike. And +1 you don't have to use the drops.
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Old 04-30-13, 11:28 AM   #7
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Thanks for the great advice so far! Oddly enough, the bike I put my mother on for the 45 mile ride was the Ruby! My daughter also rides the Dolce, so yes our shop carries Specialized! I think if she would give a road bike a bit more time she would eventually( near future) be comfortable with this style. I do not want to deter her progress or enjoyment by pushing a bike that she is not comfortable with. I actually think it is more the width of the handles that are creating the difference in handling. She tends to stay on the outer part of the grips on the flat bar.
My mother will certainly be with me and ultimately choose the bike she gets, no doubt. Our local shop is wonderful, we have bought many bikes and are on a first name basis with the owners! They will however order us bikes that they do not normally carry! They actually did this with a tandem bicycle when we were considering that avenue! Yes, we did start riding tandem last year, and LOVE it! The shop has mentioned possibly a Kona and a co-motion that is more of a touring cycle. This is why I'm asking here for pointers to get heading in the correct direction.
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Old 04-30-13, 02:36 PM   #8
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It sounds like you have the LBS part in place, nice sounding bike shop and people there. A Ruby is one great bike, if she would use one it would be a very good choice. Do you think that if she rode a road bike with a shorter stem and some spacers in it so it is a bit raised she would like that type of set up? Nothing excessive but with the stem raised a bit, flipped up and some compact bars that are the width she likes maybe she would enjoy the position, especially after it is fitted for her. As many bikes as Specialized has I would bet she can find the bike that just makes riding a pleasure. A Ruby or Dolce, properly set up and fitted could be the ticket. Hope she can find what will let her ride with pleasure and have fun while you ride together.

Bill
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Old 04-30-13, 07:34 PM   #9
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The Ruby would be a great bike (that's what I ride also), though somewhat pricey. The carbon frame does dampen a lot of unpleasant road vibration. The Trek Lexa, the Dolce, Cannondale Synapse are all good road bike choices.

I'm just a few years shy of your mom's age. I went from a heavy comfort bike to a Cannondale Quick 3, which is pretty nimble for a hybrid. I had to move up slowly - the jump from a comfort bike to a road bike was just too uncomfortable and strange to me. Perhaps one of the flat bar road bikes like the Quick series might do the trick. I've done upwards of 35 mile rides on that bike, and it's great for MUPs and rail trails too. When I decided to move up to a road bike I wasn't finding the aluminum framed bikes a heck of a lot faster than my Quick 3. Wasn't til I got into CF frames that I found what I wanted in a road bike.

As a total aside, my adult daughter rides just a hardtail mountain bike. She's used it in triathlons and on 50 mile hilly rides in Maine and NH. And she kicks my a$$. I would love to get her on a faster bike, but she enjoys the workout the heavier bike gives her.
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