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Old 08-28-08, 11:00 AM   #1
PaulRos
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Bicycle question

Hi,
Glad to be part of the forum. I am not a rider at this point and my experience is limited to 3-4 mile rides every couple of weekends. My son and I are determined to do a 100 mile diabetes ride next summer. I don't think we will become devoted cycylists (though you never know) except for the training over the next year. We do plan on taking that very seriously. Anyway, I know my Wal-Mart $79 bike won't do, but I want to spend as little as possible, but make it through the training and ride. My local bike store recommends Trek. Question 1) Do you agree that this would be a good choice. 2)What model do you recommend? 3)Any other brands/models that you would suggest?

THANKS,
Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 11:13 AM   #2
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If it's not terribly hilly, and if that's a 100 miles over two days, you could do it on just about any bike sold, assuming it didn't fall apart (maybe with the exception of some little BMX bikes). I just rode the Hotter-n-Hell Hundred on a single-speed cruiser bike.

I don't have a specific recommendation, but some of the Electra bikes are pretty cool looking. Try two or three different bike shops and get an idea of what's out there and what general style of bike you'll want. If you have an REI store in your area, stop by there as well.
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Old 08-28-08, 11:17 AM   #3
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I would recommend test riding as many bikes as you can at the local shop. Trek is a very large bike company and offers a large variety of styles and price levels. Also try Giant, Specialized, Jamis, etc.
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Old 08-28-08, 12:27 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply. Its a 1 day 100 mile, but there is personnel to take you back from wherever you are. My son (diabetic) and I are committed to do our best and whatever happens, happens.

Thanks again,
Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 12:34 PM   #5
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if you are living in an area where it snows during the winter, you may want to consider getting an indoor training unit.

if you train hard during the "on" season (say march onwards), and the ride is in july, you'll be fine. however if the ride is in may or june, you might be stretching it (once again, depends on how hard you train).

an hour, or even a half hour on the trainer every day will help you build up the strength you need to be successful.

---

the members here on BF will have a hard time recommending a bike to you. you want to spend as ltitle as possible; that's understood. however, does that mean 1000$ is too much? is 800$ too much? is 1500$ too much? really all you can do is check out your LBS's
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Old 08-28-08, 01:02 PM   #6
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Zan,

Thanks for the reply! I thought about not posting here because I'm sure this forum's users are WAY past where I want to be so recommending an "inexpensive" bike may not be a practical question. Since I need to buy 2 bikes, I would love to stay at $500 per. Any advice is greatly appreciated. My LBS is recommending the TREK 7.2 or 7100.

Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 01:24 PM   #7
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I think I'd go for a Jamis Coda. Steel is real. Around $500. And the Zaffiro 700x28 tires would be better for the longer distances.
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Old 08-28-08, 01:30 PM   #8
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Zan,

Thanks for the reply! I thought about not posting here because I'm sure this forum's users are WAY past where I want to be so recommending an "inexpensive" bike may not be a practical question. Since I need to buy 2 bikes, I would love to stay at $500 per. Any advice is greatly appreciated. My LBS is recommending the TREK 7.2 or 7100.

Paul

Paul, if you really like the 7000 line of Trek bikes, I'd skip over the 7100 and go with at least a 7200. I have ridden both and the gearing differences are the most obvious difference. If you like to go faster, the 7200 has better gearing for more speed as well as lower pitched gears for hill climbing. The 7100 seemed to have the same gearing as my old Schwinn Ranger mountain bike. I always found myself spinning fast in final gear on flats. My brother made the same observation about the 7100 after riding it when I was testing out bikes. That was a deal breaker for me. If you are more of a low speed cruiser or take only shorter rides, the 7100 will do fine. I ended up settling on the 7200 and it has been flawless. If you don't mind the 7100's gearing, I'd get a 7000 and have a rigid fork. Hybrids are great bikes to get you back into biking, but doing 100 mile rides will be far more challenging on them than on a road bike.
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Old 08-28-08, 01:37 PM   #9
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Zan,

Thanks for the reply! I thought about not posting here because I'm sure this forum's users are WAY past where I want to be so recommending an "inexpensive" bike may not be a practical question. Since I need to buy 2 bikes, I would love to stay at $500 per. Any advice is greatly appreciated. My LBS is recommending the TREK 7.2 or 7100.

Paul
i'll be honest with you; i don't know too much about road bikes (i am more familiar with mountain bikes). i do know that that is what you will probably want, though. road bikes, although not the most comfortable rides around, are the fastest. however, for such a distance, you may want to sacrifice some speed for comfort. no point in getting the speedy gonzales bike if you can only ride it for an hour before it's too much pain to take.

i figure you'll be on the road 5 hours, or more. of course, this depends on how strong you are, but assuming a new rider starting training, i figure you'll be able to average 25km/h-ish indefinitely. you might want to take this into account.

something really simple you'll want to look for are skinny tires. skinny tires roll faster, more aerodynamic, and lighter, but they're less cushy and more "slippery" than their fatter friends. however, they're perfectly safe for someone who knows a bit about riding.

if you find a bike you like, but has the fatter tires, you can always exchange them for skinnier ones (might need new rims to do this though; more $$$).

---

a trainer would run you about 180$ for something decent brand new, at least in my area (i mention this since you're budget-oriented.
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Old 08-28-08, 01:51 PM   #10
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Zan,

Thanks for the reply! I thought about not posting here because I'm sure this forum's users are WAY past where I want to be so recommending an "inexpensive" bike may not be a practical question. Since I need to buy 2 bikes, I would love to stay at $500 per. Any advice is greatly appreciated. My LBS is recommending the TREK 7.2 or 7100.

Paul
For that budget, you may want to look for something other than Trek. The bikes you are looking at are flat bar bikes which are okay for riding around town but they aren't that great for a 100 mile ride. The 7100 in particular is not a good bike for this kind of event. The front shock just adds weight and robs you of energy without doing much for your ride.

For 100 miles, you don't want your hands locked into the position that the bars put you in. You will end up with numb hands at the very least and possibly nerve damaged hands.

Look at a regular road bike with drop bars. These are actually better on your hands and ride comfort than they look. They let you place your hands in more positions and reduce numbness. A good, inexpensive one to look at is the Jamis Ventura Sport ($550). Not the best road bike on the planet but not that bad either. Look at a Giant OCR3 for $750 too. If you have a Performance store nearby, look at them for one of their house brands for a little more than $500 each.

For training, go for rides as soon as you get the bikes. Have fun with them, 10 or 15 miles of riding will seem like a lot. Gradually increase the distance but don't go over board. Once you get to around 15 weeks before the event, start following a training schedule like this
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Old 08-28-08, 02:25 PM   #11
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WOW!!!! I am so impressed with the immediated and helpful advice. Thanks to everyone. I do work out regulary and I am a runner. I know it will be quite different, but I am up for the challenge. That said, any training and equipment advice is greatly appreciated.

Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 02:39 PM   #12
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Hi cyccommute,

Do you like the Trek 7.2 (no shocks) any better than the 7100 or would you stay away from Trk?

Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 02:48 PM   #13
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Personally, I am not a fan of flat bars. They would give me hand and wrist pain within 10 miles. I can't imagine riding 100 with them.

However, some folks like them very much. If you do get a flat bar bike, you may want to have bar extensions installed.
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Old 08-28-08, 03:06 PM   #14
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Stay away from flat bars for long rides. Think about how it might feel to keep you hands in the same position for 6+ hours. Riding 2+ hours can feel a lot different then 30-60 mins. Whatever bike you get make sure its a good fit. Also how old is you son.
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Old 08-28-08, 03:27 PM   #15
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+1 on the no-suspension suggestion.

you would be surprised how much power you lose with a suspension fork... the problem is amplified more-so when it comes to a rider who isn't smooth (you pick it up over time). a rigid fork, imo, is highly recommended.
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Old 08-28-08, 03:54 PM   #16
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Thanks for the reply. Its a 1 day 100 mile, but there is personnel to take you back from wherever you are. My son (diabetic) and I are committed to do our best and whatever happens, happens.

Thanks again,
Paul
I don't mean to be the wet blanket around here but no one is addressing the more important issue. I don't see how you are going to pull off 100 miles in one day by riding 3-4 miles every couple of weekends. Hilly or flat 100 miles in a day is a challenge.

Before picking out a bicycle, you might want to either reconsider your goal or what you are willing to do to obtain it.

With your son's health issues, he will want to be in especially good condition. There is no reason why either of you should not be able to do this, you just need to be prepared.

Last edited by spinnaker; 08-28-08 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-28-08, 04:34 PM   #17
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Hi cyccommute,

Do you like the Trek 7.2 (no shocks) any better than the 7100 or would you stay away from Trk?

Paul
The 7.2 is better than then 7100 (lighter, no shock, a bit sportier) but it still has flat bars. I've had a couple of incidences on long rides and flat bars that have left me with numb hands for up to 6 weeks. Drop bars are better in that they offer more hand positions and less numbness. Do a google on cyclist's palsy.

The issue then becomes one of cost. Trek bikes are just fine qualitywise but Trek doesn't have road bikes in the $500 range. Few companies do. If you are willing to spend around $800, you'll probably be in the Trek range. The Jamis I referenced is a very good, very inexpensive bike but a bit harder to find.
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Old 08-28-08, 04:40 PM   #18
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If you are planning to ride the Tour de Cure you might want to start training first before you decide on the distance. 100 miles is a wonderful goal but the riding together is the real reward.
In the last year thanks to riding I beat type 2 diabetes myself. I was taking insulin 4 times a day. I have lost 70 lbs and I am off all diabetic meds now. Remember whats most important is the quality of life that bicycling can have on your son (and yourself). Make cycling a lifestyle change not just a goal for next summer. It could add years to your sons life. Sorry I sound like I am preaching but I sure its added years to my life.
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Old 08-28-08, 05:05 PM   #19
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I would say you may be better off getting fitted so you know what size you need and buy a used road bike off Craigslist. If you decide road riding isn't for you, you can probably resell it for what you bought it for. A new bike will be worth half of what you paid for it as soon as you leave the store with it. You could get a nice road bike ready to ride for half your budget.
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Old 08-28-08, 05:06 PM   #20
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Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the post so far and any to come. To answer a few comments/questions. My son is 15. As I mentioned early on, we are going to take this completely seriously and train very hard starting this winter. In the early spring we will start building up our endurance on actual rides. We are both physically fit and capable with the right training. We are also joining a group that trains together for the JDRF rides. The "3-4 miles every other weekend" comment was simply to establish that I'm really looking to buy these bikes for the training and riding of this event not necessarily for many years of cycling afterwards.

Thanks again,
Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 05:13 PM   #21
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Hi lbear,
I really do appreciate your comments. I do want to stress that the riding together is ABSOLUTELY the true gift. My son and I are extremely close and we do a lot together. We feel that setting the goal of 100 miles is the best way to mentally prepare but we will be happy with any distance. The goods news is that since he was diagnosed (2 yrs ago) we have formed a great team to manage his Type 1 the best we can. Our last A1C was 5.6! Deep down, if I ride 20 miles, raise some money for the cure and have a great day, that all I would need. I do feel that setting 100 miles as our goal will help get us to the fitness center during the cold, ugly winter in Chicago.

Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 05:17 PM   #22
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congats to your son on the 5.6 A1C!!
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Old 08-28-08, 05:49 PM   #23
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Thanks, lbear and best of luck to you. We agree that staying physically fit and always maintaining a teamwork approach has helped us a ton. We've come a long way since our 10.5 first A1C.

Thanks again,
Paul
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Old 08-28-08, 07:35 PM   #24
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It may honestly be easier than you think on a comfortable bike. My wife and I did an 89 mile ride together and I was on a bone stock Trek 3700 mountain bike, not an ideal choice for a long ride. She was on a Schwinn Frontier Sport X Mountain bike. The longest ride we did before that was 2 months prior and was 26 miles. We were averaging riding between 3 and 8 miles per day on local rails to trails paths just to unwind after work for about 3 months before our big ride.

Build up your length of ride slowly to let you body get used to it and you will do your 100 with no problems. Especially if you are on a confortable and much lighter bike than either of us were riding.

Oh, and by no means were or are we the picture of health. We were smoking a pack and a half a day each and hungover from the night before when we started the ride.
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Old 08-28-08, 08:03 PM   #25
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A road bike with drop bars is definitely a better choice than a flat bar hybrid. Make sure that it has handlebars that can be raised as high as the seat. That position is best for touring style distance riding as opposed to racing. Racing bikes are often set up with the handlebars well below seat level for aerodynamic purposes, and the steerer post they attach to is cut short, and you have to get special adaptors if you want to raise the bars, so it's best to ensure the handlebars can be raised high enough when you buy the bike.

You will need a comfortable saddle. However, note that it should be firm, not squishy - otherwise you sink in and get numb. A firm seat is better for long rides to avoid numbness and possible sexual function problems.

Gloves really help with hand comfort on long rides.

Some people will insist you need clipless pedals - where a cleat on the bottom of your shoe locks to the pedal, but if you are riding at a non-racing pace, you don't really need them. I've ridden a lot on both, but I don't race. I did a 50 mile ride last year in ordinary platform pedals with no difficulty, and didn't find it any harder than the previous year when I was clipless. However, clipless pedals do add a zen-like feeling of connectedness to the bike, and they certainly do offer a bit of extra efficiency for racers.

Proper lycra bike shorts will really help. They have a fuzzy pad in the crotch that helps prevent chafing and heat rash. You wear them without underwear. They are form-fitting and as a result may be embarrassingly revealing, but you can wear normal shorts over them or get mountain bike shorts that have a baggy outer layer if you are modest.
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