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Old 04-19-09, 10:39 PM   #1
Rev8691
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General bike help for a noobie

Throughout my life i've only owned a child bike and a mountain bike, but I'm finding myself getting really interested in biking. I want to move on to a road bike but I know nothing of the sport, nor the technical terms, so I will try my best. I will try to paint a picture of the type of bike I want. I want to have a light framed bike that is quality piece. I want thin/sleek wheels. Ideally I would want standard [straight] handlebars, though this is something I am sure i will have to upgrade on my own. Brakes are a necessity. And I would like the ability to switch between freewheel and fixed gear. I don't plan on racing or riding on a track, my main interest is commuting and plain exercise purposes. I live close to a park in NYC, Brooklyn and that will most likely be my regular exercise route. What do you guys suggest is a good bike for me? I have these 2 bikes in mind, but once again I do not know much. A mercier http://bikesdirect.com/products/mercier/kilott.htm, and a IRO http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/182...plete-Bike.htm.

Thank you!
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Old 04-19-09, 11:05 PM   #2
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Well, the straight bars are easy--several companies are making road bikes with mountain-style controls, including flat bars and grip shifters. My wife got hers at REI. Once you're used to drop bars, though, they do offer several hand positions to ease the strain of long rides, and if they're set up properly (about level with the saddle), you still have the option of riding on the tops, similar to flat bars.
One problem with swapping wheels to go from a geared bike to a fixie is chain tension. With a freewheel (more likely a cassette, these days), the derailleur takes up slack in the chain, but when you run a fixed gear, the chain has to be snug. You can run a derailleur as a chain tensioner with a singlespeed freewheel, but I can't quite envision a fixie system where that would work.
When you're shopping, consider looking for a bike that has room for largish tires, at least 28mm and preferably 32 to 35. You don't have to use them if you'd rather run 23s, but on city streets you may change your mind after a few weeks, and it's nice to have the option.
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Old 04-20-09, 01:02 AM   #3
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The Mercier has a flip-flop hub that will allow a freewheel to be added, no chain tensioner needed.

Flat bars would be an easy swap, but I would also look into adding brakes.
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Old 04-20-09, 03:29 AM   #4
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The Mercier is a track bike, no brakes. Lots of other fixed gear w/ flip-flop hub (one side fixed, other side freewheel) available with brakes, so be sure to look for those.

In my opinion, you'll want drop bars. Especially with a single speed or fixed gear. The lower position helps with headwinds, with climbing, with quick bursts of acceleration from stop or low speed.
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Old 04-20-09, 04:32 AM   #5
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Just a word of experience: try out the drop bars first on a slightly longer ride. I started out wanting flat bars, and then got a road bike and now have converted my flat bars to drops as they are much nicer.
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Old 04-20-09, 05:10 AM   #6
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I believe either bike i posted links to have the ability to be free or fixed. the IRO is also steel compared to the Mercier aluminum. I am also not the tallest man, as i stand 5'5'', so i was told i would fit a bike size 51-54? I am also looking within the $300-$500 price range.

thank you for all the help already. Those 2 bikes were just some things ive discovered. i really dont know a good bike brand from another. if anyone has any recommendations of a bike they think would be good for me, i would highly appreciate it. once again i'll list my details/interests:
-light sleek frame
-thin wheels
-brakes
-straight handlebars, but willing to try the curve so no need to buy with that in mind, i can always do an easy swap out
-ability to switch between fixed or free, as i feel im sticking to a single speed bike for now. i suppose.
-i plan to use this for commuting, exercise, and well just plain enjoyment. i do not plan to race or go on tracks
-most riding will be on city streets or park streets
-i am 5'5''

thank you so much, and i do apologize if there are any typos in advance.
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Old 04-20-09, 07:21 AM   #7
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You can be as picky as you want for now. You might change your mind about some things later, so you'll become just like the rest of us and have a spare bike or three and a bunch of parts sitting around.

If I were seriously considering a singlespeed (and I did, before I decided that I need at least some more speeds for the terrain here), I'd get bullhorn bars, a frame with enough space for at least 28 or 32 mm tires and fenders, and -- this is the trial-and-error part -- a gear ratio that will let me handle the slopes without leaving me to pedal like a maniac before hitting just 20 mph.

The kinda-skinny tires are simply better for the cracked-apart streets here. Fenders would add to its role as a low-maintenance, all-weather bike. The gearing... well, I did some experimenting and didn't find what I'd be satisfied with, so I'd still use an internal gear hub of some sort.
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