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Thread: Bike choices

  1. #1
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    Bike choices

    Hey everybody. I'm new (posted my intro already) so forgive my bike ignorance.

    I'm looking to buy a bike to add to the workout mix. I'm not looking to spend thousands of dollars but I don't want to buy a low end bike either. I am in good shape, thanks to the Army. I have been looking at BikesDirect but I don't know how good those models are. I have narrowed it down to 3 bikes

    1) Motobecane Record
    2) Motobecane Fantom CX Cyclocross
    3) Mercier Orion AL

    They all seem to be in the price range I want to start off with. I guess Cyclocross is a bit more of an off road bike? I like riding trails, but they don't look that rugged. Or are they?

    I do plan on giving the local bike dealer a visit to see what they have but my gut tells me I'lll be spending closer to $800 for a bike and based off of the prices from BikesDirect, I guess I could get a better deal from them.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.

    Thanks.. John

  2. #2
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    1. It's always a good idea to support your LBS. They will most likely be servicing your bike in the future.

    2. Cyclocross bikes are built to be tough. Have you ever seen a cyclocross race?

    3. Do you know for sure the bike you're looking at *fits*? If it isn't the right size and set up correctly you'll hate it.
    My bikes --> 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 (5) "Racing Edition"

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

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    Ron,

    I agree with supporting a local owner but I move all the time (I'm in the Army) and I'll be honest, I'm looking to save money. But as I said, I do plan on checking them out. I'm also concerned about your final point-- the fit. That's what concerns me with buying over the internet.

    I've never seen a cyclocross race but if the bike is designed to go off road, it's probably a better fit for me. I do want to get away from a mountain bike as I want the ability to do some more challenging road riding.

    Thanks for the input.. John

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    I gotta give 2 thumbs up to a nice cyclocross bike.

    I started out cycling with mountain biking. Then, when I moved to an area with few nearby trails, I moved over to road cycling. Recently, my wife and I decided to start doing some touring. Our road bikes were not suited well to touring, but we didn't want a "touring only" bike. We picked up a couple of Specialized Tricross Sports a few months back, and are LOVING them. They do great for light to medium trail riding (no crazy single track, stump hopping mountain biking), and are "quick enough" on the roads. Additionally, with a ~35lb load on a rear rack, they seem to handle very well.

    We now do quite a bit of road riding, as well as trails/gravel/easy double track type stuff. The versatility has added some of that initial "Whoa, I can go there?!?" fun back into cycling.

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    Well I tried going to the local bike store today and the guy told me "he was too busy". I would have understood had he worded it and acted as if I wasn't a nuisance. First impressions are lasting impressions.

    Waiting on a response from BD. If I don't get a response from them, I may just continue the search.

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    Go to wal-mart at least if someone steals it you didnt lose much.

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    Senior Member late's Avatar
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    You need a bike shop. You don't know what your size is, and someone who has never laid eyes on you would just be guessing.

    You will run into one problem after another when you start riding. The shop will help. Your cables will stretch, they'll tighten it for free, a wheel will go out of true and they'll true it free. Your saddle will blow and you will need a new one. They should have something you can try.

    But the biggest thing is that fit is tricky to get right. And if it doesn't fit, you will have blown hundreds out the window with nothing to show for it.
    We are as gods, we might as well get good at it.
    Stewart Brand

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    Quote Originally Posted by late View Post
    You need a bike shop. You don't know what your size is, and someone who has never laid eyes on you would just be guessing.

    You will run into one problem after another when you start riding. The shop will help. Your cables will stretch, they'll tighten it for free, a wheel will go out of true and they'll true it free. Your saddle will blow and you will need a new one. They should have something you can try.

    But the biggest thing is that fit is tricky to get right. And if it doesn't fit, you will have blown hundreds out the window with nothing to show for it.
    I second this and in all honesty is the truth. Unless you can wrench your own bike, a LBS is needed at various points from sizing to the "tightening" that is needed a few rides down the line.

    Also, you may be surprised some LBS's run specials and may be clearing out inventory. You may even get a better deal than something online. Doesn't hurt to check and doesn't hurt to get to know the people who will at some point will be working on your bike.

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    We don't have many LBS' up where I am stationed. I'll give them a second chance today.

    I'm not afraid of working on my own bike-- I own a Harley Davdson and do most of my own work on that. I also know how they clear out inventory and I can benefit from that. Many of you keep talking about getting "fit" for the bike. How much fitting can they actually do? I'm obviously showing my ignorance here but other than getting the right height, what else is there? Can I not rotate the bars front or back to compensate for my reach? What else would there be?

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    The first step in getting a bike fitted is the proper frame size/geometry. Once you pick a bike with the proper frame size/geometry, you now need to dial in things like:

    Seat Height, seat position, seat tilt, stem length, handle bar height, handle bar tilt, and if you have clipless pedals, cleat position on your shoe.

    A good bike shop will put the bike on a trainer, put you on the bike, and adjust all of these things to fit you. Having a bike properly fitted can make a world of difference in your comfort on the bike. For example, on my new bike, I started getting some pretty significant pain behind my knee on my right leg. I had neglected to tell the fitter when I bought the bike that my right leg is about 3/8" longer than my left. He had done the fitting mostly from the left side, and had adjusted my seat for my (shorter) left leg.

    I cycled on over to the shop, he raised the seat by about 1/8" to MAYBE 1/4". When I rode in, my knee was in pain, when I rode out, no pain at all, and it hasn't come back. At the very least, I would highly recommend you get a fitting done no matter where you buy the bike. Most shops will do a $40-$50.00 basic fitting, which is well worth the money.

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    BlueDevil-

    OK that makes sense. I didn't make it to the LBS today but based off of what you said, I can still find a bike and then have it fitted versus having to find a specific bike that has my measurements.

    I'm not into cycling like many others on here and I admit I am pretty ignorant about it. Now I ride motorcyces so I can appreciate the fact it's not just getting on and then riding it. I have made adjustments to my motorcycle to achieve a more comfortable riding position.

    When I did go to the LBS the other day, the only bikes I saw were in the $1000+ price range. That's not what I want to spend until I confirm I really enjoy it and use it. My gut is that I will as I am an active person. I would run for my cardio workout but I have pounded my knee from playing lacrosse and the Army-- 6 knee surgeries now and I need to preserve it as best I can as I am still in my 30s.

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    ArtyGuy-

    The one thing to keep in mind, the closer a frame is to being a "good match" to your body, the more tweakability it will have.

    For instance, my wife has longer femurs, and a shorter torso. She fits very well on a compact frame geometry, like a Specialized "for women" frame. On the other hand, she would not fit well on something like a LeMond that tends to have a longer top tube. I am in the opposite boat- longer torso, and so I do well on stretched out frames like the LeMonds. Sure, I can ride a more compact frame, but it is much more difficult to get it comfortable. For my wife, I dont think there is any way she could get a frame with a longer top tube to be comfy.

    You definitely want to make sure you end up with a bike geometry that fits well in the first place. At the very least, go to the LBS, ride some bikes, get measurements on the frames, and try to find something that is close if you order online. Though with all the time you'd spend doing that, and what you'd pay for the fitting (which should come free if you buy the bike from a good LBS), you're probably better off buying directly from the LBS.

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