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  1. #1
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    Help A Newb: Road Bike Around $2K ?

    Hi. I知 new to the forum, and new again to biking after ten years, three kids, thirty pounds...

    I知 wanting to get back into road biking this year, and I知 thinking buying a decent road bike for around $2K. I知 open to minty used or a great deal on something new.

    I知 planning on riding mostly in and around Portland Oregon. I don稚 see myself as doing a lot of very long distance stuff, but I do enjoy hitting some of the local hills- maybe being about for ninety minutes at a time.

    fifteen years ago I had a nice steel Bianchi that I loved, but it seems like most new bikes are carbon now(?), and in just a few minutes of searching I saw a few posts about carbon frames cracking. Is that fairly common? Is that repairable? I would imagine that makes a good warranty a big consideration...

    Any help in narrowing down of materials, brands, etc, is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    You can get a decent road bike for <$1,000. (leaving plenty of cash for bike shorts, and energy bars!)

    They make road bikes from steel, aluminum, titanium, carbon fiber, and if you want to get really exotic, bamboo. Frame materials are a personal choice. The characteristics of each are a little different but there is no one clear choice that is "better" than the others.

    If your primary goal for riding is short distance fitness riding you might consider a hybrid bike rather than a true road bike. the primary differences between hybrids and "road bikes" would be the use of flat bars and a more comfortable/relaxed geometry.

    As for brands- Most cyclists will tell you that [my brand] is better than [your brand]. I'm partial to Raleigh and Felt because i have been happy with the bikes from each manufacterer I have owned; YMMV.

    My advice would be to chop your budget (at least) in half, then go talk to some of your local bike shops about what you want from a bicycle. They will be able to show you the differences between bikes and help you make an informed choice.

    Again I want to stress... there is no reason for a beginner to spend $2000 on a "first" bike.

  3. #3
    59'er Mariner Fan's Avatar
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    Good point.

    I replaced my saddle, seat post, pedals, and added a computer. That's was an extra 500 bucks, and haven't even gotten into shoes, clothes etc. Adds up pretty fast.

    You an buy a pretty nice bike for around 1500 bucks.

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    Find a good shop, then buy whatever brand they sell.

  5. #5
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    Just to add commentd to the above. Carbon will crack if exposed to extremes that would severely damage steel frames (ignoring the nay-sayers and their rumors of exploding carbon).

    If it does break, you are done. You can actually send it away for repair, but for a bike in the range you are talking, it could cost as much as the bike.

    Aluminum is also usually toast if broken.

    Steel can be repaired in more places than carbon, but it is also expensive... You basically have a custom builder replace damaged tubes.

    For minor tweaks, a steel frame can be realigned. Typically not aluiminum, and I don't know about titanium.

    I ride steel and aluminum.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the advice so far.

    As for price. I still think I’d like to get a bike for around two grand. I have the dough, and I just kinda like having fairly nice stuff... I feel like if I got a beginner bike now, I’d probably want something better fairly soon, so that would probably cost me more money in the long run.

    I’m not sure I follow the just “find a good shop and buy whatever they sell” thing. I have several very well regarded bike shops walking distance from me here in Portland, but I don’t know if I can just let go like that. Clearly they have an interest in selling me want they have on hand or what few companies they represent. Or are you saying that bikes are more similar than I think-more of less the same component brands,etc- and I should be more focused on warranty and service?

    Any brands notorious for bang for your buck? Or the opposite?

  7. #7
    Senior Member madfiNch's Avatar
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    You might want to try posting (and even searching) in the Road Cycling forum. http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/
    A lot more people surf that forum, and they'll be more road bike-centric than posting here in general cycling.
    Good luck!

  8. #8
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    As for price. I still think I壇 like to get a bike for around two grand. I have the dough, and I just kinda like having fairly nice stuff... I feel like if I got a beginner bike now, I壇 probably want something better fairly soon, so that would probably cost me more money in the long run.
    I'm not suggesting you buy a $60 walmart bike to start on but two grand will buy you a couple of nice bikes. Since you don't seem to know much about exactly what you want; what if you drop $2000 on a carbon bike then decide you prefer the feel of steel?

    If you think buying a more expensive bike will get you style points on group rides you are also mistaken. Any serious cyclist will be more impressed by a rider who can ride the tires off a lower end bike than a rider who buys the most expensive bike in the LBS and can't ride it worth a flip. It's your money do whatever you want but there is a saying- "Money can buy you a nice bike but it can't teach you to ride it".

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    I知 not sure I follow the just 吐ind a good shop and buy whatever they sell thing. I have several very well regarded bike shops walking distance from me here in Portland, but I don稚 know if I can just let go like that. Clearly they have an interest in selling me want they have on hand or what few companies they represent. Or are you saying that bikes are more similar than I think-more of less the same component brands,etc- and I should be more focused on warranty and service?
    Finding a good LBS is a great start because the people there can show you different bikes and explain the component levels and what each bike is suited for (touring, fitness, racing, etc.). Once you find an LBS that you get a good vibe from, look at all the models of bikes from the manufactures they sell. Any LBS worth buying from will gladly order whatever bike you want from the lineup of bikes they sell.

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    Any brands notorious for bang for your buck? Or the opposite?
    Nope. Mostly all frames from the major manufacturers are all made at the same 3 or 4 factories in Asia.

    --------------------------------------------------

    I'm not trying to be rude with my answers but you have to understand that you come across as extremely pretentious when the only thing you seem to know about bikes is that one costing less than $2,000 won't suit your needs. I love bikes and I love biking and I could be just as happy on a freebie dumpster find bike as I could on a $7,500 Specialized S-Works Roubaix SL SRAM. If you need fancy things to enjoy a sport, you might be happier playing golf or racing horses because most bikers do it for the love of the sport, not status. Just my humble opinion.

  9. #9
    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    Around 2K...

    I have a Gunnar Sport.. wonderful bike.

    Specialized Roubaix

    Habanero Road (not easy finding a dealer) www.habcycles.com
    Very sweet ride

    Rivendell Bleriot.. a revival of the classic 650b size wheel. My wife has one and loves it.

    Be sure to try a Lemond or two.

    Trek Pilot

    Take your time, try a bunch of different bikes, buy the one you love.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    Hi. I知 new to the forum, and new again to biking after ten years, three kids, thirty pounds...

    I知 wanting to get back into road biking this year, and I知 thinking buying a decent road bike for around $2K. I知 open to minty used or a great deal on something new.

    I知 planning on riding mostly in and around Portland Oregon. I don稚 see myself as doing a lot of very long distance stuff, but I do enjoy hitting some of the local hills- maybe being about for ninety minutes at a time.

    fifteen years ago I had a nice steel Bianchi that I loved, but it seems like most new bikes are carbon now(?), and in just a few minutes of searching I saw a few posts about carbon frames cracking. Is that fairly common? Is that repairable? I would imagine that makes a good warranty a big consideration...

    Any help in narrowing down of materials, brands, etc, is appreciated.
    What's wrong with the steel Bianchi that's 15 years old? Maybe all you need is a good tune up, a new set of wheels. Then if you want to change to a new bike, you will already have the wheels but may need a new rear gear cluster cassette.

  11. #11
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Comes here asking for advice yet the OP does not take it.

    Take the advice above, If you spend more than $1k on your bike you are really not getting much more "bang for the buck". You just might end up with a $2K clothes hanger. Then what do you do?

    Personally I would ride the Bianchi for a year or so, then make my decision.

    Carbon frames just aren't worth the hassle IMHO. You shouldn't need to worry about every little spill and if you go clipless, your going to fall. I'd rather scratch that old Bianchi and know I can pick it back off the ground without a problem.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    ...
    I'm not trying to be rude with my answers but you have to understand that you come across as extremely pretentious when the only thing you seem to know about bikes is that one costing less than $2,000 won't suit your needs.....If you need fancy things to enjoy a sport, you might be happier playing golf or racing horses because most bikers do it for the love of the sport, not status. Just my humble opinion.

    Slow down my friend.

    I really do appreciate your advice, but please don’t think me pretentious.

    Certainly I hope in my original post I didn’t imply that a bike for under $2K wouldn’t be good enough for me. I’m just trying to figure it all out right now. Where I’m coming from is that I just saw a few bikes at the bike store round $2K that got me really excited about biking again, and I can spare around $2K right now, but I’m a little overwhelmed with all the options these days. I don't need fancy things to enjoy a sport, per say, but it’s ok if I might want a little bling right?


    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    What's wrong with the steel Bianchi that's 15 years old? Maybe all you need is a good tune up, a new set of wheels. Then if you want to change to a new bike, you will already have the wheels but may need a new rear gear cluster cassette.
    I sold that bike years ago. Regrettably.

    Right now I’m riding an older Gary Fisher mountain bike. It’s a fun bike, but I’m wanting a road bike again.

    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    Comes here asking for advice yet the OP does not take it....
    I haven’t taken or rejected any advice yet. And I do appreciate it.

    What is an “OP”?

  13. #13
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    I can spare around $2K right now, but I知 a little overwhelmed with all the options these days. I don't need fancy things to enjoy a sport, per say, but it痴 ok if I might want a little bling right?
    I was talking to my wife about this thread last night (she has a bike but is not an avid cyclist). She said "If you had $2,000 laying around can you honestly say you wouldn't buy the nicest bike you could afford with that?" It gave me a bit of interspection but my response to her as it will be to you is- I know enough about bikes to make an informed choice about what I like. If I had that cash sitting around I'd buy a steel framed touring type bike such as the Fuji Touring, or a lightweight aluminum Cyclocross bike. Based on the questions you came here to ask it does not sound like you know enough about bikes to make an informed choice about exactly what you will or won't like yet. No one at this website is going to be able to tell you "this is the best bike for you" you just gotta ride a bunch of them and see what feels best to you. I'm not saying no one should ever be able to enjoy their wealth, but I'd hate to see you blow a serious chunk of cash and then decide that the bike you bought isn't the best fit for you. If you want bling, build low-rider bikes, if you ride road bikes you'll be judged by your peers on your speed and endurance, not your component set while you are standing next to the bike at the bottom of a tall hill.

    The downfall of text based communication is the lack of inflection in what we write. I'm sure in real life you are not pretentious, but based on what you posted, you came across that way. I can however assure you I am as much of a judgmental ***hole in real life as i am on the forums.

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    I haven稚 taken or rejected any advice yet.
    You rejected the advice that a bike in the $800-1,200 could be every bit as nice as a bike costing twice that.

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    What is an 徹P?
    OP = Original Poster, the person who started the thread.

  14. #14
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    You will get much different answers in the various forums here at bikeforums.net.

    If you go to Road Cycling, the bulk of the messages will be "For only $300 more you can get XYZ" That forum will lead you toward faster/lighter since it has a high population of racers and racer wannabees. Most messages there seem to be focused on riding faster/longer.

    If you go to the Classic & Vintage (C&V) forum you will get some good advice on a less expensive vintage bike. Maybe one like the Bianchi you used to ride.

    If you ask in the Touring forum, you will get advice in the direction of long chain stays (for the load bearing) and comfort/durability.

    Obviously in this forum the answer is likely to be "Anything over $xxxx is unnecessary".

    And so on, and so on...

    However, in most cases the bottom line useful advice (other than C&V) will be to go test ride as many bikes as possible, and then make a choice. Most manufacturers have similar bikes at the same price points with some different compromises.

    If you are not into speed, I would lean toward a touring bike for the comfort, which is what I have done by buying a vintage Schwinn Voyageur and replacing almost everything with modern components (Shimano 105). Although I had 27" wheels built so that I wouldn't have to worry about brake reach. The bike was a 1986 that I got for about $150 on Ebay (very nice condition... the bike shop asked if it had ever even been built up). I then spent about $900 upgrading it. Total cost was about the same as a similar new bike, but it is unique. And it is lugged Columbus steel.

    Good luck on your search. With as popular as cycling is in Portland, I am sure you can find several bike shops, and take many of test rides to determine what you like. I would suggest looking at bikes in the $1000-1200 range (remember the hobby will cost more money as you ride for pedals, clothing etc) and then ride a $2,000 bike to see if it makes a difference to you. If it does, then you will know.

  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    Thanks for the advice so far.

    As for price. I still think I壇 like to get a bike for around two grand. I have the dough, and I just kinda like having fairly nice stuff... I feel like if I got a beginner bike now, I壇 probably want something better fairly soon, so that would probably cost me more money in the long run.

    I知 not sure I follow the just 吐ind a good shop and buy whatever they sell thing. I have several very well regarded bike shops walking distance from me here in Portland, but I don稚 know if I can just let go like that. Clearly they have an interest in selling me want they have on hand or what few companies they represent. Or are you saying that bikes are more similar than I think-more of less the same component brands,etc- and I should be more focused on warranty and service?

    Any brands notorious for bang for your buck? Or the opposite?
    Part of the reason for finding "a good shop and buy whatever they sell" is that the differences between bikes really isn't that great. At any give price point, the Unobtainium 4.6 really isn't that much different from the Panache 300 or the Wunderrad 78. Each may fit you a little different or may have one thing better than the others but have something worse. It's best to go and ride everything you can throw a leg over, then buy the one with the color you like best.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Then just take the first step and buy a bike, carbon or whatever. My first road bike was steel and I still have it and use it as the backup bike. I did an organized century last summer with it. Don't over analyze the bikes. Spend money on a good fit, a professional fit. The older you get, the less forgiving your body becomes. Life is short, don't spend two months trying to figure out what's "best".

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    Don't over analyze the bikes. Spend money on a good fit, a professional fit.
    +1

    I did that. I went round and round with aluminum/carbon vs. all carbon thing over and over again. I read opinions on both sides of the fence and wasted a LOT of time.

    I had a little bit bigger budget then the OP, but when it came down to it, I found a shop I liked, that did a ‘complete’ bike fit, I test rode several bikes they sold in my price range (ignoring weather or not they were aluminum/carbon mixes or all carbon), and I bought the one I enjoyed riding the most that felt comfortable for the short amount time I spent on it. It’s now a done deal and I’m extremely happy.

  18. #18
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    I know it's under your price point, but my brother just bought a last-year's-model Trek 1500 for around $1,000, and it's a really nice bike. I've ridden it a few times (we're about the same size), and it's light, comfortable, and it works great. Decent mix of components, mostly (crank is Bontrager, derailleurs are Shimano 105 in front, Ultegra in back, Tektro (I think) brakes), good geometry, not too race-oriented. And he had enough left over to tweak it a bit and buy some kit.

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    for 2 grand you can get a lot of bike at bikesdirect

    something comparable to a 3 or 4 grand bike elsewhere in frame quality, component spec, and weight

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    .... I'm not saying no one should ever be able to enjoy their wealth, but I'd hate to see you blow a serious chunk of cash and then decide that the bike you bought isn't the best fit for you. If you want bling, build low-rider bikes, if you ride road bikes you'll be judged by your peers on your speed and endurance, not your component set while you are standing next to the bike at the bottom of a tall hill.....

    The downfall of text based communication is the lack of inflection in what we write.....


    You rejected the advice that a bike in the $800-1,200 could be every bit as nice as a bike costing twice that.....


    Just to clarify, because I guess I kind of blew it in my original post, I’m a newb to this forum, but I’m not a complete beginner to biking. I do bike quite a bit know (on my old mountain bike) and in years past I rode about 200-300 miles a week the aforementioned Bianchi racing bike. Probably nothing compared to what a lot of you guys do, but riding was one of the most important things in my life for quite a while.

    So it’s not like I’m a beginner per say, and it’s not like I don’t know at all what I want, it’s just that now that I’m at point where I can and want to get back into it in a more serious way, road bikes have seemingly changed quite bit. There’s all these makers I’ve never heard of, and, seemingly, new materials from which they are made...

    I still haven't rejected any advice. Subsequent posts did in fact get me thinking maybe I can get a decent bike for less than I thought... though it is still had to imagine there isn’t some objective difference after the $1K price point- I mean I’ve been seeing bikes for five times that. Besides weight, their has be some difference in quality of build, components.... maybe not.

    For the record, I’m not wealthy. I’m a full-time jazz musician, so two grand is a good amount of money to me and my family. It’s just that kids are getting older, I have more free time... my price range speaks more of my love for the sport than the size of my wallet. I truly couldn’t care less what other people would think about my bike at the bottom of hills.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Part of the reason for finding "a good shop and buy whatever they sell" is that the differences between bikes really isn't that great. At any give price point, the Unobtainium 4.6 really isn't that much different from the Panache 300 or the Wunderrad 78. Each may fit you a little different or may have one thing better than the others but have something worse. It's best to go and ride everything you can throw a leg over, then buy the one with the color you like best.
    Thanks for that. That makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by edzo View Post
    for 2 grand you can get a lot of bike at bikesdirect

    something comparable to a 3 or 4 grand bike elsewhere in frame quality, component spec, and weight
    Very cool. Thanks

  21. #21
    Senior Member edp773's Avatar
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    I would suggest looking for 105 or Ultegra components or the Campagnolo equivalent. You probably will not notice much difference.

    Try riding a more relaxed frame geometry like a Trek Pilot, Specialized Seqouia/Roubaix, or Giant OCR. Then try riding a more aggressive (racing) road bike geometry. As suggested select the bike you enjoy riding the most.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Welcome back! My experience after being mostly away from biking for about 15 years or so is that it was pretty hard to find a non-racing bike that was still kind of racer like. This was in 1999 or so. Seemed everything was pure racer at that time. especially in the local shops. Finally ended up with a Specialized Allez Sport, part Ultegra but with a triple road crank. Worked pretty well, but the short stiff all aluminum frame beat my poor old bod to death. Mostly its the tires that will fit on it that are the cause of that, 23mm is the widest thing that will fit. I later bought a Sports Tourer style frame and built it up the way I wanted, that allows me 32 mm, and I ride 28's mostly and its a night and day day difference. I also wold look in the 105/Utegra range. One other shock to me is how much faster chains and cogs wear. That's a price of going from 5 rear cogs to 10 over the years, as well as the search for ever lighter materials.

    As far as carbon, if you really look at it, there are a lot of carbon bikes being ridden and they are great. In a sever crash, they may break/shatter, but then again so do you. I don't much care for aluminum as it does tend to be very stiff/rigid, and I don't believe that "the stiffer the better" school works for general riding. You want comfort. And look for something that you can get the handlebars up to within and inch or two below the seat level. Try to get the longest test ride you can, look for comfort.

    That's my 2c, and feel free to use it or not, its only worth what you paid for it.
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  23. #23
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Part of the reason for finding "a good shop and buy whatever they sell" is that the differences between bikes really isn't that great. At any give price point, the Unobtainium 4.6 really isn't that much different from the Panache 300 or the Wunderrad 78. Each may fit you a little different or may have one thing better than the others but have something worse. It's best to go and ride everything you can throw a leg over, then buy the one with the color you like best.
    Shop is as important as the bike- Mainly for the advice they can offer on buying the bike- and then for the after sales advice aswell. Most bikes within a given price range are about the same- so two choices. Try as many bikes as you can- then buy the colour as suggested- Or start cheap and ride it for a year.

    Reason for this advice is that you do not know what you want right now. Most of us have found that all the first bike is----Is an indicator to what the second bike will be.

    I changed after 15 years of Mountain biking to road. I did not know anything about road bikes so just bought a sensible one to start with. I went with a low priced bike that would work. It did work and taught me a lot about road riding.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-US/...ad/1243/29271/

    Then within a year I started on the bike I wanted. I went over the top and got a frame and fork package and built up from there. I finished up with such a good bike- The OCR went up for sale and I got another good bike.- cheaper and for winter use- but set up to fit the same as the frame package.

    Then again- there are such good bikes around for $2K- that you may strike lucky and get the keeper first time out
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  24. #24
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    Just to clarify, because I guess I kind of blew it in my original post, I知 a newb to this forum, but I知 not a complete beginner to biking. I do bike quite a bit know (on my old mountain bike) and in years past I rode about 200-300 miles a week the aforementioned Bianchi racing bike.
    After riding that mountain bike around you'll be one happy dude to get some skinny tires underneath you.

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    Probably nothing compared to what a lot of you guys do, but riding was one of the most important things in my life for quite a while.
    I think most of the nut jobs who hang out here (myself included) would probably be in the loony bin by now if it wasn't for bikes. If you are looking to bikes as a way to keep focus in your life you'll be in good company here at BF.net.

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    So it痴 not like I知 a beginner per say, and it痴 not like I don稚 know at all what I want, it痴 just that now that I知 at point where I can and want to get back into it in a more serious way, road bikes have seemingly changed quite bit. There痴 all these makers I致e never heard of, and, seemingly, new materials from which they are made...
    If you liked steel before, then getting a steel bike now is a pretty safe bet.

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    I still haven't rejected any advice. Subsequent posts did in fact get me thinking maybe I can get a decent bike for less than I thought... though it is still had to imagine there isn稚 some objective difference after the $1K price point- I mean I致e been seeing bikes for five times that. Besides weight, their has be some difference in quality of build, components.... maybe not.
    If I were you, I'd look at bikes in the $800 to $1200 range. I'd use the loot I saved to go on a shopping spree for all the other stuff I need to ride in comfort and style:

    6 pairs of Aerotech Designs Pro Shorts
    6 jerseys
    Gloves, socks, and sunglasses
    Clipless pedals (I like SPD's, but you should pick whatever kind you like)
    Clipless shoes
    Winter and various rain gear
    New helmet with LOTS of vents
    Bike rack for car
    spare tubes, lube, and energy bars
    Rollers/trainer
    depending on what you'll use the bike for- rack, fenders, lights, locks, and panniers

    Quote Originally Posted by min7b5 View Post
    For the record, I知 not wealthy. I知 a full-time jazz musician, so two grand is a good amount of money to me and my family. It痴 just that kids are getting older, I have more free time... my price range speaks more of my love for the sport than the size of my wallet. I truly couldn稚 care less what other people would think about my bike at the bottom of hills.
    So you are a musician... I played trombone for about 7 years and I married an accomplished trumpet player. I understand you want a quality bike that will do everything you ask of it and there is nothing wrong with that. I think you'll find that all these new technologies have made high quality bikes more afforable than they were a decade ago. I look at it like this: If I buy a decent frame, everything else will wear out and need replacing eventually so I'll ride the bike till I break it/wear it out and upgrade as needed to keep up with the level I'm riding at. Regarless of what kind of bike you get, we want pictures as soon as you get it!

    pedal on!

  25. #25
    Hooligan Abneycat's Avatar
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    These days, I have to agree with what people are saying: at fair prices and around the same pricepoint, bicycles are very similar to each other in quality. When picking one, let the fit and feel guide you. Take them out and ride. The answer will come to you much better than any suggestion off a forum, I think.

    I would think you should go around and not just look at the bikes, but ask questions about them, build up a set of important (not wasteful) questions on things you'd like to know and ask them at each bike shop. Get a feel for the shop itself, and the employees, the coherence of their responses. You'll quickly come to realize that shop A isn't interested in helping, shop B isn't your style, shop C might be the one, and shop D is run by a bunch of guys who might know freeride, but know nothing about road cycling.

    Finding a good shop to deal with is important. The good ones will work with you, not push you, will provide advice and service, not just fix your problem to make you go away. This, along with your test riding, should really define your possible choices over the brand name on the bike.

    Now, if *I* had $2000 to spend on a bike, it would be on a Rans Stratus. That isn't very helpful to you though, as its not really a road bike at all.

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