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Old 07-03-06, 10:13 AM   #1
spingal
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Spinner converting-help buying bike

I am looking to buy my 1st "real" bike. i have been an avid Spinner for about 10 years and in pretty good shape. I did take the past 4 months off from all activity due to a car accident; and now just starting to get back to "normal" but looking for something easier on my joints than running...so given my backround with indoor cycling I thought cycling would be a good choice. Ok, all you diehards, ignore the fact that I am one of "those" Spinners, because I Really need help buying a bike!

I mainly want it for fitness and I plan to mainly ride on roads or perhaps Towpath but no real rough terrain. I admit I am not familiar with the gears and all the other technical aspects of the different bikes available, but I hope to increase distance and speed in the future; who knows it may replace spinning.

Anyways, went to LBS yesterday, very well known and reputable. Guy was very helpful but perhaps he did not really understand what I am looking for. He did take the time and answer all my questions and explained why he felt I didn't need a WSD model. After leaving there and starting to do some research I began to feel he may not have really suggested the most appropriate bikes. I know he didn't want to sell me something I didn't need (grateful) and I know I need to test ride the bikes; I did not test any of the bikes as I was wearing a skirt, but basically wanted to just get an idea of where to start and he gave me a Trek and Specialized catalog.


He recommended starting with the Specialized Crossroad and also mentioned a Trek (not sure which model- I believe something in the lower end of the 7xxx) but they were both hybrids. He said I could always upgrade later. I guess I would rather get a bike now to meet my needs(or more) than have to upgrade with a new bike in a year or two.

Well after reading it seems that a hybrid is not really what I may be loking for. I guess I am looking more of a Fitness bike, not so leisurely but not a true Road bike (yet anyways). I really don't think I need front suspension like the Specialized has; and don't want a truly upright riding position. Want something comfortable yet can ride good distances and get a good workout.

Any suggestions where to start? After reading alot on this site it seems that the Trek FX series seems popular, would this meet my current needs? What model? Or any other similar brands?
Price range looking for right now b/ $400-$700. Would spend more if the extras were worth it and save me upgrades in the future; but want to make sure this is something I will also do at least few times a week before I spend alot more money.

Supposed to go to bike shop today and test ride the 2 the salesman suggested but I don't think they are what I am looking for and would like more info so I can be more informed about what I need in a bike

Any help would be appreciated. Also, if you could tell me "why" you suggest a certain model/make and the added benefits/differences in features for the $$ would be helpful

Thanks

Last edited by spingal; 07-03-06 at 10:42 AM.
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Old 07-03-06, 11:01 AM   #2
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It sounds to me like you are looking for what the current lingo calls a 'flat-bar road bike' or a 'fitness bike'. Basically they are hybrids without front suspension, have flat bars, thinner tires and are geared more like a road bike. These bikes can be fairly inexpensive (relative to road bikes), in the 400-$1000 range.

Some suggestions:

Trek 7.3FX or 7.5FX
Jamis Coda (or Coda Sport, Coda Comp...better components)
Giant FCR series (FCR 2 seems to be a good value of components vs price)

There are many others...most of them are pretty similar in cost and components. The more you spend, the better components you get...though as you get to the high end the differences are not that great. The key is to give as many bikes as you can a good test ride to ensure that it fits you. Sometimes it's like picking out a puppy - one bike just kinda leaps out at you and says 'take me home'.

You might also want to seriously consider drop-bar type road/cyclocross bikes - they tend to be lighter and the drop bars give you more hand positions, but my recommendation, based on the kind of riding you mentioned, is to try out some of the bikes I listed to get you started...saving your money for clothing, accessories and to swap out components. There isn't any law preventing you from buying another bike later if you decide to become a roadie, keeping the hybrid for riding paths, bad weather, commuter, backup bike, loaner for friends etc.
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Old 07-04-06, 05:16 AM   #3
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Specialized Sirrus is another popular version of the flar bar road bike.
They are all pretty good for general riding along roads/commuting/light touring duty.
You mentioned WSD, how tall are you? These 700c (wheel size) bikes are best for riders above ~5'3" . For riders who are much smaller the wheel size can compromise the frame design so smaller wheels are preferable.
Take some different brands for a test ride and see which feels good.
Do ensure that the frame can accept bolt-on rear luggage rack and full fenders.
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Old 07-04-06, 04:55 PM   #4
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Well due to rain yesterday couldn't test ride any of the bikes, so probably not until Saturday but that gives me time to do more research. I was actually looking at the Trk 7.3FX and 7.5Fx. I still have to look up the Giant you mentined. But I know the LBS has both Trek and Giant. Is the Coda a harder bike to find? Also, you mentioned "better" components. Could you maybe explain exactly which components (why they are better and what that means) for me and how that will effect my ride.

For example in comparing the 7.3FX and 7.5FX same frame different material in fork. They both have lowrider mounts?!? Is this what you were referring to?? Different wheels and tires. 35c vc 32c..not too important? Other differences in front & rear derailleur (level of Shimano)...how important is this? Difficult to upgrade if needed later?

Also, difference in cassette? what is the difference in speed? and crank?
Sorry so many questions???? But I really feel overwhelmed with all the Lingo.
Just maybe want basics to know what each level/quality of parts is for/how important, so I can compare other bike brands. Opinion on better brands??

Notice these models of Trek also available with Mechanical disc brakes? Necessary? I didn't think so, but would like real cyclists opinions.

Asked how tall; about 5'5", so that is why salesman at LBS said that the WDS was not necessary-he also looked at my hands, apparently to see if I needed the shorter reach? and other things.

Last question, Difference in womens/mens size? I am pretty sure he mentioned something about not getting a WDS and going with a mens bike??? Could that be? Or did he just mean a regular womens? or is the womens the WDS?

Thanks for all the info
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Old 07-05-06, 10:26 AM   #5
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WSD (women-specific design) usually means a shorter bike for the height to suit riders with long legs/short torso and a higher bar position. They are also available in smaller sizes than std (ie mens ) bikes and may have useful features such as shorter cranks, narrower handlebars and women's saddle.
Some women can do without WSD details, it depends on your build and shape.
When you test ride a bike make sure that you are not too stretched out. If you are then consider WSD.
Disk brakes: great in mud and grime but overkill for general road fitness riding.
Component grade: they all work well and wont disappoint. Higher grade ones may be lighter and more durable with more metal and less plastic.
Gear ratios: all these fitness bikes have medium range triple gears which cover everything you need. Minor differences in range or spacing are something to fret over when you know what you are doing.
Tyre size: Can be switched by the shop when new. For fast road fitness riding a 28mm is ideal. 32 is good for rougher roads and light trails. 35mm is for off road or loaded touring.
Brands: they all feature Taiwanese frames & japanese components. No brand is better than any other, the bike shop is a more significant factor in service and backup.
Model differences: The frames are often the same (eg Trek 7.5 and 7.3) with different forks. You get carbon forks on high end ones and "hi tensile" steel at the bottom. Midrange forks should really be chromoly steel for lightness, strength and comfort. I'm dubious of using Aluminum for ridgid forks,they may be light but they have no natural spring.
Rack fittings: the front fork rack is to balance a very heavy load , the rear rack is the one to use for everyday commuting/grocery shopping etc. I never use a front rack even when touring. Look for threaded eyelets at the top and bottom of the rear seat-stays. You need eyelets at the forks for bolt on fenders.

Picking a bike used to be so simple. My first serious bike bike was purple.
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Old 07-05-06, 11:18 AM   #6
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If you've been spinning for 10 years, I'd be surprised if a comfort bike or a hybrid would interest you for very long. Virtually all of the enthuiast-level riders around here use drop handlebar road bikes. They come in two different handlebar heights now. I'd suggest looking at them.
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Old 07-05-06, 01:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spingal
Well due to rain yesterday couldn't test ride any of the bikes, so probably not until Saturday but that gives me time to do more research. I was actually looking at the Trk 7.3FX and 7.5Fx. I still have to look up the Giant you mentined. But I know the LBS has both Trek and Giant. Is the Coda a harder bike to find? Also, you mentioned "better" components. Could you maybe explain exactly which components (why they are better and what that means) for me and how that will effect my ride.

For example in comparing the 7.3FX and 7.5FX same frame different material in fork. They both have lowrider mounts?!? Is this what you were referring to?? Different wheels and tires. 35c vc 32c..not too important? Other differences in front & rear derailleur (level of Shimano)...how important is this? Difficult to upgrade if needed later?

Also, difference in cassette? what is the difference in speed? and crank?
Sorry so many questions???? But I really feel overwhelmed with all the Lingo.
Just maybe want basics to know what each level/quality of parts is for/how important, so I can compare other bike brands. Opinion on better brands??

Notice these models of Trek also available with Mechanical disc brakes? Necessary? I didn't think so, but would like real cyclists opinions.

Asked how tall; about 5'5", so that is why salesman at LBS said that the WDS was not necessary-he also looked at my hands, apparently to see if I needed the shorter reach? and other things.

Last question, Difference in womens/mens size? I am pretty sure he mentioned something about not getting a WDS and going with a mens bike??? Could that be? Or did he just mean a regular womens? or is the womens the WDS?

Thanks for all the info
OK Spin Gal.

Bike manufacturers really do not make all the parts of the bike unlike auto manufacturers. The bike company makes the frame only. The crank (what you stick the pedals onto), deraillers (the things that move the chain when it shifts), shifters (the things you push to make the deraillers move the chain so it will shift), brakes and all that stuff are added on. Shimano makes something like 95% of all the bike components (except for some odd reason the wheels). Shimano makes components for road bikes in all kinds of price points. I am familiar with the upper level stuff like 105, ultegra, and dura ace. But I think that might be a bit more than you want. Now the difference between Shimano 105, which is entry level racing, and Dura Ace which is professional level is about 1) 4 times the price for Dura Ace 2) Dura Ace is about 2 lbs lighter, which is not a big deal for recreational riders 3) a nicer finish on Dura Ace 4) Dura Ace shifts a tad bit smoother 5) Dura Ace impresses your friends. Really, even the more moderately priced stuff works pretty well.

As to frame materials, that varies with manufacturer. I have researched a few and found that again you pay a whole bunch to lose a little weight and maybe get a slightly better "feel".

OK cassettes are your rear cluster of gears. It runs from 8, 9 or 10 gears. You can have 2 or 3 chain rings up front. So if you have a triple chain ring set up and 10 gears in the back, you have 30 gear combinations but that is not functionally 30 speeds because you have duplication and you should not use a couple because of chain line.

Brands. Well some brands are sort of generic. They mean to give you a good bike for a relatively inexpensive price. There is a lot of competition in the bike business and the local bike stores will not stock stuff that isn't good for the price. In some brands, you get more of a generic approach and in others they try to give you a certain kind of ride but at a higher cost. It all depends on what you are looking for.

The big US companies are Trek and Cannondale. Trek has for years been carbon fiber oriented and Cannondale has been aluminum. Giant has been a bit more generic (at least my impression).

Women's bikes. Men and women have slightly different body porportions. Bikes are made for men's bodies since I guess they buy most of the bikes. Women tend to have longer legs and shorter torsos then men of their same height. So a women's bike has a shorter top tube to adjust for a woman's body. However, if you are not really short (like 5'), a man's bike can be adjusted to you buy putting in a shorter stem and getting the handle bars closer to the seat. Bikes are like shoes. If they don't fit. Don't buy them. A good cycle shop will be sure the bike is fit to you.

Disc Brakes are a mountain bike sort of thing or sometimes on road bike tandems. I have always used caliper brakes and found them adequate for even steep and long descents. Also I am a reasonably large guy so if caliper brakes can stop me, they can probably stop you.

The 35 mm vs 32 mm is the tire size. It varies with usage. A light racing bike tire would be 20 mm. 23 mm is pretty normal in road bikes. I put in a bunch of miles so for durability, I go with 25 mm. On mountain bikes, having big old tires makes it easier for the bike to go through mud, sand and so on.

In your case, it is hard to tell what to get. It depends on what kind of riding you fall in love with. I mean you could end up as a mountain biking fool and go for a high end mountain bike in a couple of years. Or you might fall in love with the road and performance and end up getting a sleek racing bike. It is almost impossible to tell. I am a confirmed roadie so it is hard for me to imagine why anyone would not want to get a nice efficient road bike.
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Old 07-05-06, 01:20 PM   #8
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SpinGal

From your description I'm going to guess you might like the relaxed geometry road bikes. These are not as aggresive as a pure road bike. They give you a little more upright riding position but not as upright as a fitness bike. Here are a few you could look at:

Specialized Sequoia
Trek Pilot series (these come in both normal and WSD models)
Specialized Dolce (this is a WSD model, my wife is about your size and loves hers)
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Old 07-05-06, 02:59 PM   #9
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Spin Gal,

I'm a 5' 4" woman who started with spinning and ended up with a men's road bike. The WSD geometry is great for some women, but body proportions have a lot to do with it. I have the typical relatively long legs and short torso, but I have long arms. Both Trek and Specialized men's bikes worked well for me, as they had slightly shorter top tubes than many of the other brands' men's sizes, but weren't as cramped for my long arms as the WSD models. If the only drawback is too-long reach on the shifters/brakes, Specialized makes a $10 set of shims that can take care of that problem.

So, keep an open mind on WSD vs men's geometry, and see how the test rides feel. And good luck!
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Old 07-07-06, 03:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
If you've been spinning for 10 years, I'd be surprised if a comfort bike or a hybrid would interest you for very long. Virtually all of the enthuiast-level riders around here use drop handlebar road bikes. They come in two different handlebar heights now. I'd suggest looking at them.

+1

I spin during the week and during the winter. If you're in the kind of shape that someone who's been spinning for 10 years no doubt is, I think you'll be happier w/a road bike. (I started on a hybrid, even before I was spinning, and grew out of it pretty quickly.)
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Old 07-07-06, 10:49 PM   #11
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Spinning classes caused me to hate my hybrid bike that I previously loved riding. It was too heavy, too slow, too upright. It was Spinning that made me realize that I needed a road bike and I went with the Trek 1000 WSD 54cm (I'm 5'5 as well) and I have been really happy with it! Good luck, you're going to love riding outside
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Old 07-08-06, 02:03 AM   #12
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Yeah, I don't think a "spinner" would be satisfied with a hybrid.
Get a road bike
I would recommend

Trek 1000
Schwinn Fastback Sport(click my signature)
Giant OCR

At this price point there is not a lot of difference between those bikes, just choose one that fit you best.
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