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Old 03-11-10, 08:06 PM   #1
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Advise on the right style of bike

Hello everyone. I hope I got this question in the correct forum.

I am new to cycling and am looking to buy my first "real" bike. I am 32 years old and in reasonable shape. I am looking for a bike for general fitness riding on roads. Some of the roads that I will be riding on aren't the smoothest, but all are paved. My current thoughts are that I will be riding 10-30 miles at a time maybe twice a week. I have been looking at entry level bikes and am considering a true road bike, a hybrid, or a cyclocross. I would like to stay within the $500-$800 range, but would be willing to spend up to $1000.

I have tried out both a hybrid and a road bike. The riding I did to try them out was just a short ride on city streets. I wasn't on each bike very long, and I was turning and slowing down more than I would be on a normal ride. On the hybrid, I liked the stable handling and that my hands were at the brakes. I thought the seat was a little uncomfortable. I am not sure if that was the particular seat or that I was more upright. I didn't like only having one place to put my hands. On the road bike, I actually thought the ride was pretty comfortable in all hand positions. I liked the speed I got from the bike a lot, the variety of hand positions, and that I would be able to get down out of the wind. I didn't like that I had to "search" for the brakes at times.

It was after these test rides that I first considered a cyclocross bike. Though I didn't have time to test ride one, they looked to be somewhat of a blend of the two. Drop bars for hand positions, but with an extra set of brake levers (at least on the ones I saw) at the flat portion of the bars. It was more sturdy (like the hybrid), which might be better on the rougher roads.

Basically, I like parts of all 3, but I am not sure which direction to go for the price range and type of riding that I plan to do. I would appreciate your opinions and advise.
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Old 03-11-10, 08:44 PM   #2
doctor j
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I resumed cycling a few years back by riding my mountain bike primarily on paved roads. By chance I met a group on the road and began riding with them. Shortly thereafter, I changed the tires on the bike from knobbies to slicks. After several months, I realized that that I enjoyed riding paved roads much more than I did trails. I bought an entry level Fuji Newest road bike and have never regretted it. I've since purchased a carbon fiber road bike, but I kept the Fuji and still ride it.

Our group is social/recreational. No racers. No one training for anything in particular. We ride 25 to 50 miles on Saturdays. I'm glad I bought the entry level road bike. It helped me to learn just what I wanted in my next road bike.

If you will be riding paved roads, get a road bike. I've been over some fairly rough pavement with both bikes. They can handle it. Don't break the bank on the purchase of the first road bike. Save some money for shorts and jerseys. Your first road bike will show you what to look for in your second one.
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Old 03-11-10, 08:55 PM   #3
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You can fit the extra brake levers that you saw on the cyclocross bike to a road bike. They are called "cross levers" or "interupter levers" sometimes, there's probably a proper name for them, but a bike should figure it out from that.
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Old 03-11-10, 09:01 PM   #4
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I used to say that if I had to limit myself to one bike, it would be a road bike. I've ridden more miles and had more fun on my various road bikes than anything else.

An unfortunate accident has limited my ability to ride road bikes anymore so I'm in the process of acquiring both a single and a tandem recumbent. They are both going to be road oriented machines.
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Old 03-11-10, 09:29 PM   #5
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For an all around bike, I would go with the Cyclocross bike. It will be as fast as a road bike if you run 25mm tires, but you have more options. If you want fatter tires for a smoother ride, they fit. If you want to start commuting or touring, fenders and racks will fit too. If you want to go out and check out some trails through the woods, you won't break it.
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Old 03-12-10, 08:16 AM   #6
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I think the cyclocross bike would be your best bet, because of its versatility. The Surly Cross Check is worth considering; it's a little over your price range but it's sturdy and well equipped. I have a personal preference for bar end shifters, too, which the Surly has. Almost any local bike shop can order a Cross Check, because Surly is owned by Quality Bicycle Parts, the major parts wholesaler in the USA. However, Surly's website lists dealers who specialize in their bikes. I own a Long Haul Trucker, also from Surly, and I like it very much.
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Old 03-12-10, 10:56 AM   #7
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The easiest way might be to decide if you are going to ride with a group and see what they are riding. If you don’t have a group to ride with or check out then you have to decide what kind of riding you will like to do. Road bikes are best for road riding, MTBs are best for dirt riding. Anything else is a compromise that you may or may not like over the long run. I know people that love their flat bar road bikes. I even bought one because of recommendations I have read. But it was best for short commutes and coffee shop rides at least for me.
If you get a drop bar bike you will get used to bifters and riding on the hoods so you are close to the brakes much of the time. If you get a flat bar you will learn to search for the right grips and sooner or later end up with bar ends to increase hand positions as you ride farther.

But the truth is if you discover that cycling is for you this will not be your last bike. It will simply be the bike that teaches you what bike you really want. You will be infected with the N+1 disease and there is no real cure.
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Old 03-12-10, 06:50 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advise everyone. It sounds like it is basically just a compromise, and I have to decide what I most want to give up on and how much I am willing to spend since "entry level" in the 3 styles are each at a different price point. From what you have said, the cyclocross seems to be a little more versatile with the different wheel options.
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Old 03-13-10, 09:20 PM   #9
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good choice
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Old 03-14-10, 12:22 AM   #10
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Two words for ya:

Redline Conquest.
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Old 03-14-10, 07:54 PM   #11
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Buy something used and go from there...
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