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  1. #1
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    new to bikes...what is good for offroad + onroad?

    Hi guys. I am going to get a bicycle to use for recreation daily, and sometimes for going to school. I want something that can handle crappy dirt and rock roads and offroads, but I will also ride on pavement through the city. What is a bike like this called, and what are some good examples? I need something with heavy duty and good quality, and made in Europe or America.

    I have never had a bicycle since I was a little kid, and only have ridden a Airdyne daily, but now want to get outside. I really don't know anything about bicycles though. I only want to spend about $2000 to $3000 USD since it's my first bike. Thanks for any tips guys..

  2. #2
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    At 2-3k you are looking at high end bikes. For the first bike I would recommend not spending as much, because you might not like it or decide you want a different type of bike. So you want waste 2k, but hey it's your money.
    When you say made in America what do you mean? Do you mean it's assembled in America, or do you want the frame and components to be American made too?
    Anyway look in to cyclocross bikes. There are plenty of brands Cannondale, Trek, Fuji, Specialiazed, etc. I think all of them offer cross bikes.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

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    blithering idiot jhota's Avatar
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    Poprad Disc would be my suggestion.

    http://www.lemondbikes.com/2006_bikes/poprad_disc.shtml

    probably be able to get one under $1600-1700, leaving plenty for a second wheelset (for skinny road tyres) and any incidentals.

    though $2-3k does seem like a lot to spend on a first bike.

  4. #4
    fmw
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    It sounds like you would benefit from a Cyclocross bike. Your budget will allow you to get a very nice one.

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    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    You probably want a mountain bike if you are going to ride a lot on rough, rocky trails. It can certainly ride on roads too, while a road bike doesn't do as well offroad. Cyclocross bikes are basically road bikes that can handle some off road riding but not as well as a mountain bike. You certainly don't need to spend anwhere near what you are suggesting on your first bike - $500-$1000 will get you a perfectly good bike and even less is necessary for a good second hand bike. You can browse this site or www.sheldonbrown.com for lots of information.

    How old are you, what do you weigh, what seasons do you expect to ride in?

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    Senior Member Bugtussle's Avatar
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    Thank you for the replies guys. I appreciate the information.


    What exactly is a cyclocross bike? Is it like a mountainbike with smaller tires put on? Some of the roads I will be riding are not good, and they have some with big rocks, some small rocks, some with sand added, some with dirt or mud. Inside the city the roads are paved. I would like to ride year round, even in snow. I guess about half of riding time will be done on pavement.

    When I looked at some bikes they were $5,000 to $8,000 for top-of-the-line, that is why I estimated $2,000 to $3,000 USD for my bike. I will be happy to pay less, but when paying less, don't the bikes fail more easily and have more problems and cheaper parts? I need some bike with hubs and wheels that will not break under severe use, and that sort of thing.

    Will a pure mountain bike not be good on the pavement, or what are the downsides to using a mountain bike on the streets? Like, what would be the difference onroad between the Cannondale's Bad Boy Ultra and Scalpel 1000? Will the Scalpel be more uncomfortable on paved roads?

    I am early twenty years old, weigh 90kg, 188cm height, and I am a athlete. Does my size dictate a certain bike?



    By American made, I mean the frame and assembling. Anything from Europe or America is good with me, but I won't buy something from china/taiwan.

  8. #8
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -RS-
    Thank you for the replies guys. I appreciate the information.


    What exactly is a cyclocross bike? ...


    I am early twenty years old, weigh 90kg, 188cm height, and I am a athlete. Does my size dictate a certain bike?
    Cyclocross is a bike racing sport that has been around longer than mountain bikes. The bike looks like a road racing bike with the "dropped" handlebars that curve under. The tires are larger and skinnier than a mountain bike's, but fatter than a road bike's. The race involves racing on road, some dirt, and some clambering on foot carrying the bike. People who want a road bike that can handle bad roads and some off-road conditions might get a cyclocross bike, but if you plan to do some really tricky and rough off-road riding, you may prefer a mountain bike. They have slightly smaller diameter wheels but fatter tires, and a flat handlebar. Usually they have front suspension and maybe rear as well. They can ride over any terrain and are more maneuverable than a road or cyclocross bike in winding single track courses.

    The reason I asked about age and weight is that some of the "Newbies" asking for advice are quite overweight older and out of shape, and might start with a more upright, cushy "comfort" bike. Obviously that isn't for you.

  9. #9
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    A cyclocross bike is based on road bike geometry, but with a slightly stronger frame and wheels for riding on light trails. Cyclocross is a pretty popular (and very grueling) race event. You can probably use google to find out more pretty quickly. There is also a class of bikes known as hybrids that are supposed to be a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike, but I haven't been impressed with what I've seen of them, and their popularity seems to be limited.

    From what you describe, I suspect a cyclocross bike may work for you, but personally (and I am biased because I am a mountain bike rider) I would tend to encourage a good hardtail (front suspension only) or rigid (no suspension) mountain bike. Perhaps if there are any bike shops in your area the staff can give you some suggestions on what would be best for you. The main disadvantage of a mountain bike will be less efficient riding due to the larger tires and less agressive riding position. You can easily, however, switch the mountain bike tires out for a set of semi-slicks that will improve your efficiency.

    It's hard to pick a bike size simply based on your height. Wrench Science has an online tool that can help people figure out what the best size for them is, but the best way is to actually test ride bikes and figure out which one feels best. That is, you don't have to stretch to far to reach the handlebars or they don't feel too close to you, and you have clearance between the top tube and your crotch when standing over the bike. Generally for someone of your height a Large or maybe an X-Large frame size (18-20 inch or 46 to 52 cm) ends up being the best fit. A bike that isn't the right size will be less comfortable to ride.

    Oh, and one thing not to overlook when you figure out what bike to get: get a decent lock. You don't want to spend $2-3000 on a bike only to have someone steal it.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  10. #10
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13
    . Generally for someone of your height a Large or maybe an X-Large frame size (18-20 inch or 46 to 52 cm) ends up being the best fit. A bike that isn't the right size will be less comfortable to ride.
    188 cm = 6'2", and for a road bike I would guess you are looking at a frame size more around 60cm but of course you will have to investigate further to be sure.

  11. #11
    Ridin & Livin Wherebob's Avatar
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    I'd recommend an entry level Cannondale mountain bike. The frames are great and a good base if you decide to upgrade.
    Check out they're site
    http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/index.html

    I'd start with a hardtail
    http://www.cannondale.com/bikes/06/c..._hardtail.html
    Bob
    1989 Cannondale SM1000 -- 2006 Cannondale F400 -- 1990 Diamond Back Ascent

  12. #12
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -RS-
    By American made, I mean the frame and assembling. Anything from Europe or America is good with me, but I won't buy something from china/taiwan.
    That can be very tricky... Most frames now days are not made in U.S. I think Shimano components are not made in U.S. either. Cheaper doesn't always mean worse quality. My first bike cost me $700 bucks. Came with Tiagra stuff. I upgraded drive train to 105 later, because someone rear ended my car with the bike attached to the trunk. Anyway it survived that, my Tiagra shifters survived several crashes, they still work. Frame is still solid, fork is still solid. So to sumrise you don't have to fork over 2k to get a good quality bike. Usually on higher end bikes you are paying for weight reduction, not for a drastic increase in quality.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  13. #13
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooker
    188 cm = 6'2", and for a road bike I would guess you are looking at a frame size more around 60cm but of course you will have to investigate further to be sure.
    Sorry...you are right...for road bikes. I was thinking about mountain bikes, which of course have a shorter effective seat tube length to give the rider more room when things get dicey.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  14. #14
    Banned. sngltrackdufus's Avatar
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    From what you have stated,a good reccomendation would be a hard tail Cross Country type mountain bike.
    You really have no bearing or insight on what type of bike or preferences to geometry you want.
    It would not be wise to sling that kind of money into a bike soley based on a brand "bling" type thing.
    Your dream bike may very well be someone elses nightmare & vicey versey.
    then again you might pick just the right one the first time around.

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    You say that you need the bike for urban transport as well as rough trail use.
    You can do all this on a hard-tail MTB. Dont ride a high-end bike to school, it will get stolen.
    All the big brands (Trek, Giant, Specialized, etc) make good entry-level MTBs ($3-500)with threaded eyelets for fenders and luggage rack. They are OK off road. If you go midrange ($5-800) you will get something lighter and more fun.
    There is no need to go higher unless you have lots of money. If you do have cash to burn, get 2 bikes, one fully rigged for everyday commuting and one for fun.

    There is no problem with the quality of Taiwanese-made frames.

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    Thanks guys.. I have it parred down to a mountain bike, XC style, probably hardtail. Why's the hardtail recommended, is it for offering more efficient pedaling for riding on the street than a bike with rear suspension?

    Michael, nobody where I go to school would steal a bicycle, and I would feel fine to leave it in front of city shops also, even with no lock. My conscious tells me no to buy chinese or taiwanese stuff. I would rather put my money to good people.



    Right now I am leaning to the Cannondale F1000..HERE. It looks like a decent bike that should hold up to some poundings.

    I have seen too the Ellsworths Specialist and Enlightenment that both look cool from USA. Probably would make something like that a second bike if I get into it, and build myself from the frame up..the anodizing job on them looks so coool..

  17. #17
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    F1000 is a good bike. Perhaps a little bit of overkill, but you're looking at roughly the right type, I think. Other bikes you should look at if they are available in your area are the Specialized Stumpjumper hardtails, the Trek 8000/8500, and Giant Xtc. You'll probably also see other bikes in the same price range that are directly comparable. Seriously, at the price you've suggested, you'll be getting a good bike pretty much regardless of the brand. The Ellsworth's you mention are also very (very) nice bikes, but designed mainly with racing in mind, so they're pretty spendy. I've toured the place where their frames are made. I could stare at their welds for hours.

    Slight suspension movements take away some of your pedaling energy, making hardtails and rigids more efficient than full-suspensions. Plus, obviously, the extra parts on a full-suspension bike add a little extra weight. From what you've described as your intended riding, there's no need for a full suspension unless you think you'll be getting into fairly serious off road riding (lot's of rocks, small drops, etc) later on.

    While probably no one you know would steal a bike, but there are plenty of other people out there who would do it in a heartbeat. I don't think any corner of the world is completely free from sleezes with no respect for other's property. I know my school gets targeted by thieves because a lot of students have nice stuff, but not enough sense to take care of it. Trust me, spending $30-$50 on a decent U-lock and shackling your ride to something solid whenever it is out of sight is worth it for a $2000+ investment. I've heard plenty of stories of someone walking into a store for just a minute or two, and coming out to find their bike gone.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  18. #18
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    You can't fit a proper luggage rack on a full sus, only those seatpost clamp-on racks. Even many higher end hardtails lack the threaded eyelets.
    Luggage racks allow you to carry quite heavy loads so you can haul groceries, books and go touring. You dont have to fit them but the capability expands your biking horizons. The downside is a few extra g of metal, nothing else.

  19. #19
    ROM 6:23 flipped4bikes's Avatar
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    How about saving some money and spending only $1500: Specialized Tricross Comp. Yep, I'm pimping it cuz I own one. It's CX bike, and you can fit tires up to 38c. Sweet. Full fender and rack eyelets. Third bottle cage bosses. Tour, commute, singletrack (to a point), race, ride! Smooth, powerful, fast. Nuff said.

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