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  1. #1
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    New rider, what style of riding would you recommend?

    Hello, im new to riding, but with the cost of gas and my health in mind, ive decided to take up riding. I have some knee problems, but with braces the problem is minute. So, my question is, what style of riding is easiest on the knees? I was thinking about long distance riding. We have some LONG flat country roads near my house that look like a very nice ride. What kind of bike is best for this? (technical names please, to make it easier to search for them). Is there any hope of loosing weight if im doing pretty much all flat roads? Thanks.

  2. #2
    cycling n00b Black Shuck's Avatar
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    A touring bike is comfortable over long stretches and usually comes with, or can easily be modified to have a wide gear spectrum that lets you select the pace according to how your knees and body feels. Most touring bikes are however priced a bit high.

    I've lost 80lbs riding on mainly flat roads(and ofc changed my diet quite a bit) so it's definitely possible :-)

    Clipless pedals help a bit with spinning the cranks smoothly to further help reduce knee strain.

  3. #3
    Zan
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    it also depends on the conditions of the roads. if the roads are total crud, then you may want to stay away from the delicate road racing bikes.

    really, any bike can do the job for you. you are asking a very generic question. i'm going to ask you a few questions which will help anyone here on BF answer your question properly.

    1) what is your budget for a bike?
    2) do you plan on staying only on roads?
    3) what is more important? superior comfort or superior speed?

    as mentioned before, a touring bike may suit your needs. they are comfortable to ride, and won't shatter on hard roads. however, they are not the fastest bikes around. if you want a machine that will get you from A to B as quickly as your legs can get you, a proper road bike will be a better option. however, for the speed, you must sacrifice comfort. if you really don't care about comfort, then a road bike may be a better ride for you.

    if you want to go off the roads, and out on your local trails, a mountain bike may be a better bet. Yes, mountain bikes can be ridden on the roads - and they are comfortable too ... just harder to get the high speeds due to larger tires and increased weight.
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

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    Thanks, ill look into those. Is there any type of bike you would recommend that could be used for moderate-long rides, but could handle some offroad/dirt paths? Would that be like a road bike or something? I live in BC so we have alot of beautiful trails that i wouldn't mind trying to tackle. Im not referring to hardcore offroading kinda stuff btw.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    For bad knees, crank length may be a MAJOR consideration. Stay away from longer cranks. That can be difficult to do on mountain/hybrid type bikes. See my link-
    Are Your Cranks Too Long?

  6. #6
    cycling n00b Black Shuck's Avatar
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    A cyclocross bike might aslo be an option, built almost like a roadbike but with more generous clearace for wider tyres, so you can go on looser surfaces like forest trails. A mountain bike is of course better for this but generally a bit heavier and the big knobby tyres add a lot of drag, can of course be exchanged for slicks or semi-slicks that are more suited to road riding.

    I've gone down some pretty lousy roads and trails on my touring bike and while it manages them it's definitely not ideal, with 32mm tyres and full fenders.

    A cyclocross bike will not be as comfortable as a touring bike but still good for long-ish rides provided the saddle is comfortable and you get it set up properly for you by the shop.

    This will probably involve swapping out the stem for one with more rise and maybe a shorter one too. Many shops will do this for free or a small fee when you buy the bike, and most will give you a free tune-up or two after a few weeks and help you with any fitting issues you may discover while getting used to the bike.

    Proper fit is the most important bit, second maybe to appropriate style of bike for the riding you will do.

    Another way of getting around to this is to buy a affordable, non-suspension hybrid bike wich is a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike and ride it to get a feeling for what you really want. This is waht I did, and while I have some bad memories from my hybrid-days, I think it's a very good idea. I have 4 bikes now, all for different jobs :-)

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    to answer your questions:

    1. Is it unrealistic to find a good starter bike for under $300?
    2. Mostly roads i think, i think id pick up a cheap bike if i decide i want to do offroad stuff, so for now lets limit it to on roads.
    3. Comfort for sure, im not looking to brake any speed records here.

    Few things about me:

    21yrs old
    180lbs
    6'1 ft

    My knee problems aren't severe, i used to go for 3hr+ walks on a daily basis, but id like to minimize the amount of stress put on them. Also, can anyone suggest good knee braces by any chance?

    If i go to a bike shop, will they be able to recommend a good setup for my knee situation, or is that something they probably wouldn't know much about?

    Anything else you need to know to help with suggestions, just ask.

  8. #8
    cycling n00b Black Shuck's Avatar
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    I'd want to almost double that budget, get a bike with decent components that will last for a while, and be easier to adjust. Kona make some nice hybrids around the $5-600 mark, a decent cyclocross or touring bike will set you back around $1200.

    For the use you describe a front suspesion will be nothing more than extra weight and more parts to break.

    I'd look for clearance sales for last years model hybrids and such.

    Also, cheap bikes and offroad riding is a efficient way to lose front teeth.

  9. #9
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    Wow.. thats more than i was thinking it would cost K, well guess ill have to start saving :S

  10. #10
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If you really are interested in long distance cycling, head up to the Long Distance forum and have a look around.

    We've got a thread with our Century bicycles there. It might give you an idea what long distance cyclists ride.

    Here's the link to the forum: http://www.bikeforums.net/long-distance-competition-ultracycling-randonneuring-endurance-cycling/

  11. #11
    Zan
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    you speak about knee problems.

    knee problems could be anything, but generally speaking biking helps your knees if you're doing low-stress riding. the riding helps build up the cartilage in your knees, which helps with certain problems. if you suffer from some weird muscle setup (such as me, who used to have jumper's knee in both knees from an imbalance of muscles), biking may help you even out the muscles.

    if you have knee problems, i'd recommend clipless pedals or if you're on a tight tight budget, cheap plats with straps. why? it keeps your foot in the proper position for riding - you won't hurt your knees that way.

    for your question 'bout the 300$ mark, the only way you'll get a "decent" ride is by buying used, or salvaging garbage. Sounds lame, but the garbage route works - i picked up an older peugeot racing bike. spent maybe 120$ for new brake pads, new rims, sprocket, and bar tape. rides great! just need a bit of mechanical aptitude...

    i was working on another road bike... but then found the peugeot which was in better condition - just transferred the parts i wanted. i find bikes being thrown out all the time (maybe it's 'cause i ride through the subdivisions regularly!). if you see a ride, pick it up and check it out. 100$ will get you new rims, brake pads, and a chain.
    -- Zan

    "Every dog needs a squeak toy."

  12. #12
    cycling n00b Black Shuck's Avatar
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    I was about to recommend looking at used bikes too, but since the OP is new to cycling altogether, finding something good might prove a challenge, and learning to work on bikes before riding much takes a bit of doing or a lot of spending at the LBS for small fixes.

    If you take the time to read up, or contact a cycling club that might have members with extra bikes for sale, it can be a very good way to get into cycling and learning to do your own maintenanace work. Google Sheldon Brown(may he ride forever in heaven) and look at the Park Tool "Repair Help" section on their website for information about wrenching.

  13. #13
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    Ya, i was hoping to buy used, but am not sure what brands and such to look for. Ill look around for a local site and see what i find.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kawana View Post
    Ya, i was hoping to buy used, but am not sure what brands and such to look for. Ill look around for a local site and see what i find.
    Like I said ... go to the Long Distance forum (that link I posted in my post above) and have a look at the bicycles in the My Century Bicycle thread. You'll get an idea what brands to look for.

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