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Old 02-03-07, 03:28 PM   #1
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What to start with?

I am just wanting to get into cycling. I am a 27 year old woman and have no idea what kind of bike to purchase. I know I want to get something pretty basic and versatile. I'm looking for something to ride mostly on the road. I don't want to spend tons of money, but I now getting quality makes a difference. Please give any suggestions for a woman's starter bike.

Thanks!
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Old 02-03-07, 03:42 PM   #2
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What type of riding are you planning (specifically) and what's your budget? Road riding with a club, road on your own, road/gravel trail, etc. You can go the hybrid route for $250-400 or a decent road bike new will put you into $800+ range. You can buy a used for less. Go to your local bike store (LBS) and tell them your needs, then ride everything. Personal preference is a big thing- like buying a car a bit. Don't let them limit you to "women's specific" bikes unless you are very short. You may have to change out parts on a man's bike to make it comfortable for you however. Good luck!
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Old 02-03-07, 04:42 PM   #3
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+1

My son recently bought a trek 7000 for $700, but I have bought nice used road bikes on e-bay for $200. Look around, ask questions... if you are not plainning to take really long rides, a hybrid might be best.
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Old 02-04-07, 12:34 PM   #4
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Yes, what kind of riding is it going to be? For a leisurely weekend 20-mile ride through a park a hybrid will do just fine, but if you're looking to do longer/faster rides, perhaps join a cycling club - a road bike might be best. You may also want to consider touring/cyclocross bikes if you're going off road some or if you want your bike have a bit of cargo capacity... commuters love those bikes.
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Old 02-04-07, 01:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Macker
I know I want to get something pretty basic and versatile. I'm looking for something to ride mostly on the road. I don't want to spend tons of money
Hybrid.
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Old 02-04-07, 02:00 PM   #6
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What brands do the best LBS' in your area sell, and what is your budget? Drop bars or no?
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Old 02-04-07, 02:39 PM   #7
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Visit two or three local bike shops. When you find a sales person who speaks your language and seems to make sense, buy a brand of bike they sell and you'll never go wrong.

I think you'll find that, at a price point, there is more difference in the bike shops and the service they provide than there is in the bikes.
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Old 02-04-07, 03:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macker
I am just wanting to get into cycling. I am a 27 year old woman and have no idea what kind of bike to purchase. I know I want to get something pretty basic and versatile. I'm looking for something to ride mostly on the road. I don't want to spend tons of money, but I now getting quality makes a difference. Please give any suggestions for a woman's starter bike.

Thanks!
Treat yourself to a bit of shopping by visiting your local bike shops and test riding to your heart's content. Let each know what your budget is and what type of riding you want to do. Come back here with a list of what bikes you liked best and we'll argue amongst ourselves while giving you our opinions of what the best choice is. One thing to pay attention to is the knowledge, friendliness and customer service of the bike shop, which is more important than which particular brand you end up with.
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Old 02-04-07, 03:28 PM   #9
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You can find a decent used road bike for under $300, or a new one for about $500. You could also get a hybrid for just a little bit under these prices, but you might find you enjoy a road bike more. It all depends on how you find yourself riding.

In my opinion if you're riding on the road you ought to get a road bike. The only positive aspects of hybrids, in my opinion, is that they're cheap. I was going to get one until I happened upon an old road bike at a thrift store for $15. I'm so glad I'm into road cycling now, it's sort of like having a sports car when other cyclists have SUV's (mountain bikes that never go offroad!).
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Old 02-04-07, 09:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Treat yourself to a bit of shopping by visiting your local bike shops and test riding to your heart's content. Let each know what your budget is and what type of riding you want to do. Come back here with a list of what bikes you liked best and we'll argue amongst ourselves while giving you our opinions of what the best choice is. One thing to pay attention to is the knowledge, friendliness and customer service of the bike shop, which is more important than which particular brand you end up with.
+1
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Old 02-04-07, 09:51 PM   #11
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Since your new to cycling I would buy a inexpensive bike for around $400. You may have the means to afford a better bike but the problem with "most" people (not saying this is you just saying most people) is that when they get into a sport like biking or running or tennis or join a gym whatever, they have a tendancy to do full heartly for about 3 to 6 months then quit (gym's actually count on people doing this so they can sell the annual memberships without worrying about overcrowding the gym because they know most people won't last more then a couple of months).

If after a year your still riding, and riding a lot, and loving it more and more, then treat yourself to a better bike. And also by the time a year is up and read this forum a lot over that time period and asked questions you will have a better idea of what kind of bike you want.

Then after you bought your better bike you can use your $400 bike to commute to work and not worry about it getting stolen...if you decide to use a bike for commuting.
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Old 02-05-07, 07:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blickblocks
You can find a decent used road bike for under $300, or a new one for about $500. You could also get a hybrid for just a little bit under these prices, but you might find you enjoy a road bike more. It all depends on how you find yourself riding.

In my opinion if you're riding on the road you ought to get a road bike. The only positive aspects of hybrids, in my opinion, is that they're cheap. I was going to get one until I happened upon an old road bike at a thrift store for $15. I'm so glad I'm into road cycling now, it's sort of like having a sports car when other cyclists have SUV's (mountain bikes that never go offroad!).
Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom
Treat yourself to a bit of shopping by visiting your local bike shops and test riding to your heart's content. Let each know what your budget is and what type of riding you want to do. Come back here with a list of what bikes you liked best and we'll argue amongst ourselves while giving you our opinions of what the best choice is. One thing to pay attention to is the knowledge, friendliness and customer service of the bike shop, which is more important than which particular brand you end up with.
Blickblocks and chipcom have distilled wisdom here!

If you think you will mostly ride on the road, get a road bike. If you are good at tinkering, and don't mind getting a bit dirty (which will happen to you anyway, trust me), try looking in your local thrift shops for a decent older road bike, or check out your local Craigslist. The quality to be found in older steel bikes can be considerably higher than a new 'budget' priced bike.

If you don't want to mess with the tinkering around with an older used bike (and if you look in the Classic & Vintage forum you will see that a LOT of us do enjoy it ) you should go to the local bike shops and see who pays attention to you. Unfortunately, depending upon where you live, you may be ignored at some LBS not just because you are female (and sadly that still does happen, although not nearly as much as it used to), but because you may not be a hardcore 'roadie'. You can also find threads here at BF which deal with another aspect--"I love the bike selection at my LBS but they don't have good wrenches", or "I love the mechanics (wrenches) at the LBS but they don't have a good selection of clothing or bikes"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by race newbie
Go to your local bike store (LBS) and tell them your needs, then ride everything. Personal preference is a big thing- like buying a car a bit. Don't let them limit you to "women's specific" bikes unless you are very short. You may have to change out parts on a man's bike to make it comfortable for you however.
Also an excellent bit of advice! It's possible to get 'women's specific design' bikes that take into account that women generally have dimensions which men do not, and still get a traditional diamond shaped frame. You may find that you don't need the WSD, and will do just fine on a 'man's bike', with a bit of tinkering (i.e., brake handles may need to be adjusted if you've got really small hands). Try to ride a lot of bikes. Don't be afraid of drop bars--you will discover that those flat bars can start getting uncomfortable after a ride of more than ten or fifteen miles.

Oh, one last thing, if you have a REI anywhere around you, don't forget to check them out.

Next up: the saddle discussion!

Good luck and we'll expect to see you post some more .

East Hill
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Old 02-05-07, 07:51 AM   #13
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Blickblocks and chipcom have distilled wisdom here!
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Old 02-05-07, 01:44 PM   #14
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If you are a sporty type who might race then a road bike is a good option. If you just want to get active and pootle around a hybrid is more sensible. A lot of people do longer touring style rides on hybrids.
Most "serious" riders have an expensive play bike and a sensible workshorse for commuting/shopping/going to the pub.
Pay attention to the size. If you are taller than 5'3" you should have no problem getting a good fit, if you are on the small size you need to make a special effort to get the correct size.
Budget for some accesories: helmet, gloves, lock, repair kit, maybe some padded cycling shorts and some luggage for carrying bits.
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Old 02-05-07, 11:02 PM   #15
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If you are a sporty type who might race then a road bike is a good option. If you just want to get active and pootle around a hybrid is more sensible. A lot of people do longer touring style rides on hybrids.
I have to disagree, road bikes aren't just for racing. That's why there are so many non-raceable budget road bikes. I'm just of the opinion that if the OP is going to spend anywhere near $400 then it makes sense to buy the right tool for the job, which would be an entry level road bike, not a hybrid. People tour on pretty much any bike with slicks, but touring is far different than doing +20mph rides on a bikepath in a park or on the road, in the city.

I'm sorry if I'm being a road bike zealot, but with the low prices of a used road bike, why not get the most for your money?
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Old 02-08-07, 09:20 PM   #16
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My wife and I ride our hybrids usually a twenty mile minimum, with our longest ride being 56 miles. We certainly aren't fast, but we enjoy the more relaxed riding position. People don't seem to like hybrids which are a Jack-of-all-Trades Master of None, but I enjoy mine and have commuted on it three times (40 mile round trip).

As I've ridden more I find I lock out the suspension fork for riding on the road but it can be nice for rougher surfaces like Towpaths. I've also switched the tires from 35's to 32's to speed things up a bit.

My wife got me into biking several years ago and suggested the hybrid since that's what she had and we wanted to ride together. I like it so much she says she's created a monster.

Are you planning to ride with others? What do they ride? Hybrids aren't just for "poodling"
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Old 02-08-07, 10:09 PM   #17
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I would recommend getting a bicycle you are going to be comfortable in riding. If you aren't comfortable, you won't be riding. A lot of people prefer the upright riding position of a hybrid or mountain bike. Some prefer the road bike, for speed and better aero.

Try them out before you buy. If they won't let you go for a decent ride to test it, don't buy the bike.
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