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Old 07-03-08, 06:20 PM   #1
Mike R.
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40 year old newbie. Help needed please.

Hi,
I have begun shopping for my first "adult" bicycle.

I am 40 years old, in very good shape (soccer two to three times a week) and looking for something I can ride on the road as well as occasionally take out onto the canal path up the Delaware river. I would imagine I might ride for example 15 to 20 miles on the road for exercise and fun. I could probably handle that distance to start and work up from there.

I know nothing about bikes and was looking online and have found a few that interest me.

I have no idea if they suit my purpose or not. I called a few LBS's and before I visit them, I want to educate myself on current offerings and gather opinions as to what might be best for me.

If anyone has any advice for a bike in the $600 range, I would be much appreciative. I plan on visiting the shops this weekend but hope to learn a bit more before I do.

I noticed the FUJI Newest and Absolute and the TREK FX series online. Are these they types of machines I should be looking at?

Thanks!!

Mike R.
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Old 07-03-08, 06:52 PM   #2
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If your going to be riding longer distances, I'd recommend a drop-bar bike like the Newest. Drops give you more and more comfortable hand positions and allow you to get in a more aero position as required. $600 will only get you the bottom-of-the line models. Visit you LBS's and take some test rides.

A road bike will be fine on canal paths.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:56 PM   #3
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A road bike will be fine on canal paths.
Not in my neck of the woods. 183 miles of the C&O says you'll destroy a road bike.

FX series are nice, it's a question of what feels comfortable to you. Upright like a Hybrid (Trek 7000 series as an example.) slightly angled like a mountain bike, or something with some more aero road feel.

With the usage you describe, I'd say a Cyclocross bike like the Trek XO or Specialized Tricross would be optimal, but alas, they shoot your budget in the foot. $600 will buy a decent (albeit not spectacular) mountain bike. . It's the starting gate for a road bike, will buy a nice hybrid.

Just some thoughts.

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Old 07-03-08, 10:08 PM   #4
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A few months ago, when I was in a very similar position (over 40 newb looking to get into cycling for fitness and recreation), I bought an FX 7.5. Its a really nice bike, and it got me very psyched about cycling in general. I quickly started riding more and more, and almost always on pavement, so the road bike bug bit pretty hard, and 8 weeks later, I convinced myself I needed a new Madone, which has been a dream ride. I ride the 7.5 in bad weather, and on gravel paths, and I've outfitted it with a rack and trunk bag, so it could do commuter duty. It's a great multi-purpose bike, and it sounds like that's what you say you're looking for. My advice would be to take some time to think through whether that' s REALLY your long term objective, or whether you'll be looking for something more before too long - more hand positions for comfort, more performance, more of SOMETHING. I know in my case, if I'd had a clue that I would end up wanting a good road bike so soon, I might have spent less on the hybrid, or skipped it all together. I feel bad that my $800 hybrid is getting a lot less use than it deserves, and in retrospect, a base level $350 mountain bike might have been a sufficient "#2 bike" .
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Old 07-03-08, 10:29 PM   #5
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I just got a Flatbar bike and I'm lovin' it!!
I got the Specialized Sirrus Comp. Very smooth.
The Trek FX are nice, too.
The Specialized Sirrus Sport has a carbon seatstay
as well as fork. I think you have to get to the Trek FX 7.6
to get the carbon in the back.
Anyway, I think these are great multi-purpose bikes, and
make no mistake, they are plenty fast.
Jamis has Coda, Cannondale has Road Warrior. Giant has one
too. And remember, it's cheaper to buy right the first time, upgrades will eat you alive.
Good luck and have fun.


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Old 07-03-08, 10:30 PM   #6
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any canal paths you would need industrial tires around here, goatheads would have you flat in 10 minutes, if you are riding offroad watch for thorns even ask the LBS what they have for that
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Old 07-04-08, 12:24 AM   #7
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You want to go fast or putt around and enjoy the scenery?

I recently got back into biking. 20 years ago I was riding 30 -45 miles every night after work and riding 50-100 mile rides every Saturday. Then I picked up a bug that put me in bed for a few weeks in late fall and still had me weak though winter and I just really didn't get back into it until recently. Dug out that old road bike and found that at 41 I just wasn't having an easy time getting back on it.

A hybrid or something like the FX 7.5 is a good riding bike. Its not a fast bike but the more up right position and the more forgiving balloon tires smooth out the jarring from expansion cracks is a little easier for me at 41 and and am a 4 day a week commuter now. I still am not in great shape but every ride on my bike make me a little stronger.

Too bad you didn't decide to this a few weeks earlier. The 09 bikes are already out for most brands and you missed the good closeout deals on the 08's if you are really set on a "New" bike.


Why not find out what you need for size. That's critical. Too small of bike will make you hate it. Same with too big. 6ft tall you need a road bike thats around 24 inches or a Mountain bike/ path bike around 22 inches.

THis looks like a reasonable guide for road bikes. Take 2 inches off for a Mountain style.

http://www.cbss.ca/Custom.htm

Once you know what size fits spend a little time on Craigslist and see what you can find used. You may find a great deal if you check it regularly.

There are so many "I think I will start biking" drop a grand or two thinking they will be Lance Armstrong in a week only to find "it is actually work and its really hot in the summer" and that "hauling my bike on my car to go to the bike path is a hassle" resales going on catalyzed with these gas prices that you can often pick up great bikes on the cheap.

Many people just don't find biking is something that they really commit to when the reality of sweating your brains out when its mid 80's and 60% humidity hits them in the face. Then the bike sits in the corner collecting dust till they decide to try and get some money back out of it. If it turns out you just can't get into it as a very big part of your life then you won't be out of pocket so bad. Reselling a light used bike you bought used you can often come close to breaking even.


If you go with a mountain style bike to use on the street...do yourself a favor and get a hard tail or full ridged. Full suspension bikes are for off road. They are designed to soak up bumps. On the road they waste energy going up and down when that would better be used to move you forward.

Good luck with it!
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Old 07-04-08, 07:00 AM   #8
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Not in my neck of the woods. 183 miles of the C&O says you'll destroy a road bike.


aw lawd, dat some hardcore offroad. better bring the full-suspension.
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Old 07-04-08, 07:11 AM   #9
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aw lawd, dat some hardcore offroad. better bring the full-suspension.
Yeah, there are the photo-op segments. Rest of it's two-track. You've obviously never ridden it.

Here's the "normal"and this looks good - throw in some roots and rocks for the real effect. And this is Mile 31. :



-R

Last edited by CCrew; 07-04-08 at 07:17 AM.
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Old 07-04-08, 08:47 AM   #10
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jgt madone newb and slackerprince give great advice.

If you are going to start at 15 and 20 miles and work up from there and considering the great shape you are already in, a pure road bike with Shimano 105 components is what you will eventually want.

You might want to consider the Trek Lime if all you do is ride the 15-20 mile path. Very simple design. You might outgrow this very quickly if you have higher goals. Trek FX series would be next to consider.
http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...ban/lime/lime/
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Old 07-04-08, 08:50 AM   #11
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Yeah, there are the photo-op segments. Rest of it's two-track. You've obviously never ridden it.

Here's the "normal"and this looks good - throw in some roots and rocks for the real effect. And this is Mile 31. :



-R
Those roots and rocks will destroy my bike, unlike the many, many potholes on the streets on Chicago.
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Old 07-05-08, 01:02 PM   #12
Mike R.
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Thank you for the replies. I appreciate all of your time.

I was at a LBS today and it looks like the new 2009 TREK 7.5 FX might be what I am looking for. It was a little higher budget wise that my original plan (a shade over $800), but the upgrades in components seem to make it a nicer overall purchase.

They fit me at a 20 inch frame (50.8cm), but if I use the sizing charts online, at a 32 inch inseam and 6 ft. tall, I get a number of 21.4 inches for the frame size (54.471cm).

Question: Will there be a significant difference between a 20 inch and a 21 inch frame?

Also, in your opinion's is the upgraded components on the 7.5 series versus the 7.2 or 7.3 FX series?

Thanks again for everyone's time.
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Old 07-05-08, 03:14 PM   #13
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I am not up-to-date on the bike models mentioned, but I bought my first "adult" bike at age 36, in 1998, and was glad I got mid-range components instead of something cheaper. (Campagnolo Veloce with some Athena mixed in; about equivalent to Shimano 105.)
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Old 07-05-08, 05:42 PM   #14
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Don't forget the carbon seatstays.
Really nice for absorbing shock and vibration.
You're already moving up, go all the way!

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Old 07-05-08, 06:53 PM   #15
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I road the 7.3 and 7.5 several times, and bought the 7.5 because IMO the upgraded components were worth the price, for smoother, quicker shifting in particular. The carbon seat stays which Slackerprince mentioned don't enter the picture until the 7.6 model. They would probably be nice.
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Old 07-05-08, 07:00 PM   #16
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Of course, spending somebody else's money is easy...and fun

have you seen the trick Satellite Elite carbon handlebars on the 7.9 ?
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Old 07-05-08, 07:31 PM   #17
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$300 for a minimally better front derailleur is not worth it to me when you can a 105 FD for $35. I would by the 7.3 and upgrade the FD. They should give you something back on the one they removed, $15\$20, but otherwise they are the same bike. If you feel you need the 9th gear go with the 7.5, otherwise 8 speed should be fine.
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Old 07-05-08, 07:41 PM   #18
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Look at folding bikes. Xooter.com swift for example or Dahon.
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Old 07-05-08, 08:01 PM   #19
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$300 for a minimally better front derailleur is not worth it to me when you can a 105 FD for $35. I would by the 7.3 and upgrade the FD. They should give you something back on the one they removed, $15\$20, but otherwise they are the same bike. If you feel you need the 9th gear go with the 7.5, otherwise 8 speed should be fine.
7.5 gets you the following upgrades over a 7.3:

Carbon fork vs. aluminum
Deore shifters vs. EF60
SSR wheels vs. Camino rims w/ "alloy hub"
Deore Front DR vs. C102
Tiagra rear DR vs. Deore
9 spd. Cassette vs. 8 spd.
Tektro brake levers vs. EF-50
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Old 07-05-08, 08:31 PM   #20
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They fit me at a 20 inch frame (50.8cm), but if I use the sizing charts online, at a 32 inch inseam and 6 ft. tall, I get a number of 21.4 inches for the frame size (54.471cm).

Question: Will there be a significant difference between a 20 inch and a 21 inch frame?
According to Trek's website, the 7.5 FX comes in sizes 15, 17.5, 20, 22.5". When you're in between bike sizes, it's usually better to go with the smaller size. You should also check to see if those sizing charts are for a horizontal top tube bike or a sloping tube bike like the FX.

And read this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/frame-sizing.html
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Old 07-06-08, 10:38 AM   #21
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Thank you everyone for your time. I really appreciate the help. Being new to biking, it is cool to have a forum like this. I think the TREK 7.5 FX is a good choice for me and will serve me well.

Thanks again for all the help!

Mike R.
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Old 07-06-08, 11:21 AM   #22
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Hi,
I have begun shopping for my first "adult" bicycle.

I am 40 years old, in very good shape (soccer two to three times a week) and looking for something I can ride on the road as well as occasionally take out onto the canal path up the Delaware river. I would imagine I might ride for example 15 to 20 miles on the road for exercise and fun. I could probably handle that distance to start and work up from there.

.
Cycle fitness is very different than soccer fitness. I would suggest to take it slow and short slowly easing up to your goal mileages. 40 year old patellar tendons (among other parts) need some time to acclimate to the repetitive stress of cycling.
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Old 07-06-08, 11:33 AM   #23
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Mike - At 6 feet tall with a 32 inch inseam I would suspect you have a pretty long reach so keep that in mind when you are looking at bikes... I'm 5 foot ten (with a 32 inch inseam) and ride a 20 inch Trek 7500 Hybrid that I converted to a cross / tourer and love it.

A 20 inch bike might be perfect from a stand over point but you may find the cockpit to be a little cramped and I would really get rid of any flat bars as they are not well suited for distance riding as they really limit your hand positions.

40 miles is a fair ride for someone who is not used to it (even if they are in shape) as cycling uses different muscles... aerobically you may be fine but there are parts that might hurt a little afterwards.

Mostly... no matter what you buy... ride it like you stole it.
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Old 07-07-08, 04:30 AM   #24
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They fit me at a 20 inch frame (50.8cm), but if I use the sizing charts online, at a 32 inch inseam and 6 ft. tall, I get a number of 21.4 inches for the frame size (54.471cm).

Question: Will there be a significant difference between a 20 inch and a 21 inch frame?
Most of the on line charts I have seen are the sizing for a road bike. A mountain bike type of bike you usualy go about 2 inches less. That's why you notice they only show the bike going up to 22 inches. Sounds like they fitted you correctly to me but you could get away with the taller frame.
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