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  1. #1
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    Please suggest a fast bike

    Hello all!

    I need a faster bike. Right now I ride my commute bike (used to ride to high school, but school is now over), cheap $100 walmart bike. I rode this type of bikes for the last 4 years.
    My current
    Bike

    I ride on asphalt along the bayou here in Houston. There is approximately 20 mile stretch of normal road (after that asphalt ends on both sides). I "smoke" everyone on this (cheap walmart) type of bike, and only people to pass me are on sport/road and recumbent bikes.
    I'm 6ft tall and slim (145lb). Ride with huge headphones and banging tunes.
    I feel like this bike is holding me back: in highest gear it's too easy (I want to spin slower but harder) and seat is too low - my leg is bent even in the lowest position.


    What bike could you recommend that is fast and cheap? Don't want a recumbent. Someone suggested to get a hardtail bike, because full suspension (see pictures above) that I got in walmart loses the energy.
    I don't have a budget, but I want to know what my options are. Buying used from craigslist is fine by me, my ex-teacher bought a $300 bike (several years old, new it was $1500) and it owned.

    I am not looking to spend X dollars, I just want good price/performance ratio. I am tired of slow walmart bikes that also break often.

    Thank you!

    edit: budget is up to $600 and I do not ride off-road or on bad surfaces.
    Last edited by megavovan; 05-19-07 at 09:47 PM.

  2. #2
    The Guadfather Lecterman's Avatar
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    Without a price range, it is diffifult to suggest anything.

    How about the ultimate suggestion for a starter road bike, the Trek 1000....or a myriad of others.

    Visit your local bike shop and they can help you pick on out what will fit your needs and your body type.

    Fred
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  3. #3
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    My funds are not unlimited. Let's say the budget is $300-600. If I really like that, I'll sell it and buy a more expensive one

  4. #4
    M_S
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    This or this.

    If you don't like Trek, this might do the trick.

    These will allow you to own everyone even more than you are already doing

  5. #5
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    There isn't really such a thing as a 'fast' bike... there are just fast riders.

    That said, it sounds like what you need is a decent quality road bike - that is, if i'm understanding you correctly and you only ride on the road, not off. If the roads you ride on are bad or you ride on gravel and other rougher surfaces (but not trails with boulders and roots etc), then you might consider a cyclocross bike or something with clearance for fatter tires.

    If you do ride off-road a lot, then yes, a hardtail mountain bike might be a good bet. Full suspension is nice and all, but unless you spend at least about $1400, you're better off without it as the cheap ones suck.

    As for what to buy... you kind of have to specify a budget, since there are too many choices. Usually if you buy new, you should expect to pay more than $500 for something good. Used, it depends on your luck...

  6. #6
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    lecterman I want to visit the shop when I have at least some money saved
    The guys at the shop rock - they did a tune-up for free for my walmart bike few months ago, and it hasn't broken down since! But on their displays they have pretty expensive bikes, $900 to couple grand!
    The trek 1000 seems to be under $600 new? Hmmm

    M_S: These bikes will be mine when I become rich.

    robo: I edited original post: budget =<$600, no offroad driving, only on smooth asphalt/concrete. Hardtail is good for normal road riding also, right?

  7. #7
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Well, you can always look for a used road bike through Craigs List or Ebay.

    Just a thought, but basically, you can get a great older Road bike for a lot less money!
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  8. #8
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe
    Well, you can always look for a used road bike through Craigs List or Ebay.

    Just a thought, but basically, you can get a great older Road bike for a lot less money!
    What if it doesn't fit me? I.E. handlebars too close to seat? Then just don't buy?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by megavovan
    What if it doesn't fit me? I.E. handlebars too close to seat? Then just don't buy?
    Yes. Bikes will come in a large array of sizes for a given make and model, so if it doesn't fit, don't buy it. There are many things that can affect sizing and frame geometry such as flexibility, the length of your torso, your legs, and your arms, as well as the kind of riding you want to do. You may want to go to a bike shop and try out several sizes of bikes to see what works best for you since a couple of centimeters difference in frame size can make a big big difference in your comfort and power while riding. Frame geometry can also make affect sizing. A 56 cm from one brand may fit differently compared to a 56 from another brand. Substitute cm for inches if you're looking at mountain bikes. Just try as many bikes as you can and get the one that fits best and offers what you need.

    Road bikes tend to be more fickle about sizing and riding position than mountain bikes or hybrids.

  10. #10
    Recovering Retro-grouch CRUM's Avatar
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    Suggest a fast bike?

    One with Lance on it.
    Keep it 'tween the ditches

    My Blog - Lost in the Bo Zone

  11. #11
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    Sounds like it's time to start hitting all of the bike shops you can find and riding all of the bikes you can ride.

  12. #12
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    There are no fast bikes. I've seen so very fast riders though. I ride twenty mile circuits on the bike trails along the Houston bayous on bikes that range from light road bikes on up to heavy (very heavy) beach cruisers. My times are about the same on each bike, because the same guy is turning the cranks.

    Each of my bikes has been set up to provide a similar riding position that enables me to ride in a "semi" aero position with my back at a 45% angle to the top bar. (The much lower aero position that pros use is not comfortable for extended periods of time, nor is it safe to use on a bike path or road that is crowded with lots of traffic).

    Air resistance is your biggest opponent at speeds above 15 mph, not the weight of the bike or the width of the tires. Therefore, your goal should be to get a bike that fits you perfectly, and that enables you to ride in efficient positions for extended periods of time.

    I have no idea why anyone without a racing license cares about "speed". Unless you are getting a racing license, you ought to be more concerned with riding to get fit and to relax. Oddly, so-called "fast" fifteen pound bikes with ultra-light wheels and very narrow tires are the WORST bikes for getting fit and for relaxing.

    "Racing" bikes don't provide a good workout for a fit person until you are riding more than 20 mph, which is too fast for a bike trail littered with moms pushing baby strollers, and elderly people on walkers. Their narrow tires transmit every bit of road shock, leaving you beat-up and tired at the end of the ride.

  13. #13
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    There are no fast bikes. I've seen so very fast riders though. I ride twenty mile circuits on the bike trails along the Houston bayous on bikes that range from light road bikes on up to heavy (very heavy) beach cruisers. My times are about the same on each bike, because the same guy is turning the cranks.

    Each of my bikes has been set up to provide a similar riding position that enables mean to ride in a "semi" aero position with my back at a 45% angle to the top bar. Air resistance is your biggest opponent at speeds above 15 mph, not the weight of the bike or the width of the tires.

    I have no idea why anyone without a racing license cares about "speed". Unless you are racing your bike, you ought to be more concerned with riding to get fit and to relax. Oddly, so-called "fast" fifteen pound bikes with ultra-light wheels and very narrow tires are the WORST bikes for getting fit and for relaxing. They don't provide a good workout for a fit person until you are riding more than 20 mph, too fast for a bike trail littered with moms pushing baby strollers, and elderly people on walkers. The narrow tires transmit every bit of road shock, leaving you beat-up and tired at the end of the ride.
    Yeah, air resistance (especially wind) is a pain, and maybe you can suggest me nice roads around here? (Houston)

    What bike would you suggest then, to get fit, if not light road bike?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by megavovan
    Yeah, air resistance (especially wind) is a pain, and maybe you can suggest me nice roads around here? (Houston)

    What bike would you suggest then, to get fit, if not light road bike?
    I ride in the inner city, which has the problem of stop signs and stop lights every hundred yards or so. The neighborhoods around Kirby and West Gray (River Oaks area) do have the advantage of motorists who are polite and considerate. As you ride east toward downtown Houston, motorists become more hostile and aggressive.

    The bike trail that runs from the University of Houston over to Hermann park is fun to ride, and has little traffic between 9 a.m. and noon. There are a small group of "regulars" (five or ten folks) who seem to ride that circuit every day, but often you will be the only bike around.

    That same trail continues from Hermann park out west through Meyerland to Highway 59. As you go west, the trail fills up with moms pushing strollers, dads walking dogs, and old folks with walkers. To be safe, you need to pass them at THEIR speed, which is very, very slow. That slowing down, speeding up is actually good for getting fit though.

    If I had only ONE bike, I'd want a tough mountain bike (not a complex, expensive mountain bike with rear suspension, etc.). Most mountain bikes from the best companies (Trek, Specialized, Giant, KHS) in the $400 price range are made to be very durable and reliable.

    The key to effective riding is getting a good fit. Most folks ride bikes that are too small, which puts their hands lower than the saddle and causes neck pain, hand pain, and wrist pain. Spend time at three or four shops and get their advice about a good fit. But, make sure the bike will enable you to have your hands as high as the saddle after the saddle is raised to its best position.

    Bike messengers in Houston like to run their mountain bikes with 1.5 inch wide slick tires. Most think that these tires are as tough as the 2 inch wide mountain tires, but get better traction on pavement (especially wet pavement).

    Fast? I've seen bike messengers downtown cruising along at 20-25 mph on mountain bikes with slick tires. Of course, those guys are some of the fittest cyclists in town.

  15. #15
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
    I ride in the inner city, which has the problem of stop signs and stop lights every hundred yards or so. The neighborhoods around Kirby and West Gray (River Oaks area) do have the advantage of motorists who are polite and considerate. As you ride east toward downtown Houston, motorists become more hostile and aggressive.

    The bike trail that runs from the University of Houston over to Hermann park is fun to ride, and has little traffic between 9 a.m. and noon. There are a small group of "regulars" (five or ten folks) who seem to ride that circuit every day, but often you will be the only bike around.

    That same trail continues from Hermann park out west through Meyerland to Highway 59. As you go west, the trail fills up with moms pushing strollers, dads walking dogs, and old folks with walkers. To be safe, you need to pass them at THEIR speed, which is very, very slow. That slowing down, speeding up is actually good for getting fit though.

    If I had only ONE bike, I'd want a tough mountain bike (not a complex, expensive mountain bike with rear suspension, etc.). Most mountain bikes from the best companies (Trek, Specialized, Giant, KHS) in the $400 price range are made to be very durable and reliable.

    The key to effective riding is getting a good fit. Most folks ride bikes that are too small, which puts their hands lower than the saddle and causes neck pain, hand pain, and wrist pain. Spend time at three or four shops and get their advice about a good fit. But, make sure the bike will enable you to have your hands as high as the saddle after the saddle is raised to its best position.

    Bike messengers in Houston like to run their mountain bikes with 1.5 inch wide slick tires. Most think that these tires are as tough as the 2 inch wide mountain tires, but get better traction on pavement (especially wet pavement).

    Fast? I've seen bike messengers downtown cruising along at 20-25 mph on mountain bikes with slick tires. Of course, those guys are some of the fittest cyclists in town.
    Luckily for me, I do not have to drive to work or college by bike (don't have a job yet, and college is too far = drive a car).

    The trail that runs from UH Central campus to Hermann park - is it by the bayou? There are rarely any people. Does it go along the bayou, past buffalo speedway (LOL @ 30mph limit on parts of it), then still along bayou past the golf links in Hermann park, then it dips under a highway (don't know what hwy it is), then you drive up to the Calhoun Rd and to the left of you there will be UH (which is on Calhoun Rd)?

    Can you be more specific where this trail is? Got map? I just rode to the golf links (without a shirt, in 1 pm sun ), rode around the golf links but didn't find any bike trails, asked 2 people if they know bike trail that goes to UH other than the bayou one I described above, and they didn't know...It is getting boring to ride the bayou, same short (about 35 min round trip) road all the time.

    Slowing down is mostly done by the brakes, not the rider However, speeding up (rocketing away from the people I just passed) is fun! That tempts me to get a manual transmission car, lol.

    $400 new mountain bike that fits me well, possibly with slicks sounds like a ticket! Do you mean a hard tail mtn bike with front suspension only? I wouldn't want a no-suspension bike around here, bayou roads are regularly flooded with our tropical rains, and therefore are not smooth, they have bumps and cracks and dips. And I always jump the curbs, and sometimes pass people on the unpaved portion of the road.

    Also, I always wanted to try disc brakes, are they good?

    As for shoulder/neck pain, I do not feel it unless I ride over one hour - I am also a swimmer, been swimming in competing teams since I was 7 - so my shoulder muscles are a bomb! . My bike is too small and therefore I don't like it...

    Whew, that's a long post.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by megavovan
    Hello all!

    I ride on asphalt along the bayou here in Houston. There is approximately 20 mile stretch of normal road (after that asphalt ends on both sides).I "smoke" everyone on this
    Damn!! You're fast!!

  17. #17
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    Thanks!
    Everyone except dudes on road bikes.

    This is why I want to get a bike that fits me - so I can smoke the hell out of road bike riders too!!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by robo
    There isn't really such a thing as a 'fast' bike... there are just fast riders.

  19. #19
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    But their bikes fit them! And mine doesn't, my seat is too low!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by megavovan
    Thanks!
    Everyone except dudes on road bikes.

    This is why I want to get a bike that fits me - so I can smoke the hell out of road bike riders too!!
    Well not bragging in the least whatsoever but since you brought it up....
    I "smoke" alot of people on road bikes( Calfees,Litespeeds Lemonds & whatnot) with my HT mtb.
    *keeping it at a 25 to 30 mph speed on flat ground that is*
    Last edited by _beaver_; 05-20-07 at 04:12 PM.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by megavovan
    But their bikes fit them! my seat is too low!
    Raise it.

  22. #22
    Senior Member megavovan's Avatar
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    Can't, it's the tallest position, and if I buy another seat (or stick it's on), the seat will be much higher than handlebars.
    Look at the pics in 1st post - seat is already on level or a tad higher than handlebars.
    And won't the stick seat is on just break if I jack it up even higher?

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    Quote Originally Posted by megavovan
    Can't, it's the tallest position, and if I buy another seat (or stick it's on), the seat will be much higher than handlebars.
    Look at the pics in 1st post - seat is already on level or a tad higher than handlebars.
    And won't the stick seat is on just break if I jack it up even higher?
    the "stick" you are referring to i presume is the seat post? If so, no it wont break if you get a longer post. Dont however go more than the max line on the post. Some people run the seat way above the bar (couple inches or more), more aerodynamics & weight on the front to keep it planted on the ground for climbing.
    Last edited by _beaver_; 05-20-07 at 04:41 PM.

  24. #24
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    For $600 you can get a good flat bar road bike or an entry level traditional road bike. Here's a couple leads that I think would be good for what you're describing. Of course, there's always Craigslist, but it's hit or miss for whether or not you find anything, and buying from a shop gives you easier access to some valuable knowledge and service (size recommendations, 30 day tune-up, frame warranty, etc). Worth it unless you find a killer deal elsewhere. In no particular order:

    Giant OCR 3
    Novara Buzz
    Marin Fairfax
    K2 Mach 1
    Specialized Sirrus
    Specialized Allez
    Trek 1000

    You may have to enter a country and language on the trek and specialized sites before they take you to the bikes...

    Some of the above stretch your budget a little bit, and it's far from an exhaustive list of comparable bikes, but I think they'll be good for the kind of riding you describe: commuting and bike path. You'll be able to go faster, farther, and much much more comfortable than on your current rig. If you take reasonable care of whatever you get, it will last you for years or until the itch to buy a really nice ride strikes you.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

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    BTW, the "stick" portion of the post i think you are refering to is the seatpost mast.

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