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Old 01-21-12, 05:59 PM   #1
kotraro
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Advice on Bike Upgrade

I have this old bike that was found at a garage sale and given to me, a Raleigh "Marathon." It looks about like this:


I ride about 10 miles daily in an urban environment of bad roads and bad sidewalks, and the ride is rough with my Raleigh. The bike also gives me some trouble by shifting gears on its own (like if I spin the pedals backwards at a stop or after pulling it out from a bike rack) and slipping (like if I pedal too hard). I rode a higher-end modern road bike, and the difference was huge. Technology has definitely improved, and I feel like there is much to be gained by upgrading.

Admittedly, I really like the look of modern road bikes, and I don't really ever plan to take my bike off-roading beyond maybe riding through little patches of grass connecting sidewalks. So cyclocross bikes caught my eye. Does that sound like a good idea to you all for my environment and desired comfort?

I looked around and decided a TCX 2 seemed like a pretty good choice. Is that a decent bike? Are there others in the price range that are better? Ideally, I would like to find it used for $350, but I don't care for the TCX look until 2011. Maybe there are other similar bikes with similar designs that are a couple years older that I might find for that price? Anyway, just knowing other similar models would help me narrow my search so I can be on the lookout for good deals.

Any other advice is also welcome. Thanks!


Last edited by kotraro; 01-21-12 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 01-21-12, 07:54 PM   #2
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The Giant is a great bike. And there are many many other great bikes available. The most important consideration is the fit of the bike, so yoyu should look at nd sit on and/or test ride a few before you make up your mind.

Cyclocross bikes like the TCX are a pretty hot item right now, but were less common 5 years ago. Therefore there may not be too many great deals on used models just yet. Other similar bikes are the Specialized Tricross, the Kona 'Jake' series, Surly Cross Check, and many others. Starting price for a new one is around $1000 or so.

While you are waiting for a used one in your siize to come available, you should figure out what is wrong with the Raleigh and sort that out. The skipping under hard pedalling might be a drivetrain wear issue; the 'jumping gears after backpedalling' might be caused by what is sometimes called 'a loose nut behind the wheel' (user error).
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Old 01-21-12, 09:57 PM   #3
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Can you fit bigger tires on the Raleigh? That will help the ride. Cyclocross frames are nice in that they allow you a much greater range of tire width than do most road bikes. I agree with Regicidal that it might not be that hard to fix the skipping in the Raleigh.

Also, if the roads are really that crappy there, you could consider a MTB with smooth street tires? It won't be as fast as a road bike, but far better suited to potholes. When you take the knobbies off and put something like 1.25 smooth tires on a MTB its not going to be nearly as slow as you might expect, and they typically have great shifters.

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Old 01-21-12, 10:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
The most important consideration is the fit of the bike, so yoyu should look at nd sit on and/or test ride a few before you make up your mind.
How long should I test ride for and what should I be looking/feeling for to know if the size is right? I've only had the bike I'm using now, so there's a good chance I'm used to a bike that doesn't fit.

Quote:
Other similar bikes are the Specialized Tricross, the Kona 'Jake' series, Surly Cross Check, and many others. Starting price for a new one is around $1000 or so.
Perfect. Is there a more complete list out there of similar bikes? I'm not really sure how to go about searching for them. It might be stupidly simple, but I still need to be told!

Quote:
The skipping under hard pedalling might be a drivetrain wear issue; the 'jumping gears after backpedalling' might be caused by what is sometimes called 'a loose nut behind the wheel' (user error).
I fully expect that it's drivetrain wear, but I don't want to put money into it, and it's more embarrassing than anything. Now this loose nut behind the wheel... Lol. I don't really see how it could be me. I'm not touching the shift levers at all when it happens. I don't honestly understand how shifting works though, and it didn't come with an instruction manual. I just slowly lift or lower the lever until the gear catches. Sometimes it makes like a rattling noise like it's not completely in a gear, and I fine-tune the lever until it mostly goes away, but sometimes I just end up going up or down to a gear that doesn't do that. The backpedaling is a problem because the last time it happened I was taking off across a street with cars coming and it shifted into a very high gear. Anyway, I can't wait to ditch this in favor of the clicky shifters...


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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
Can you fit bigger tires on the Raleigh? That will help the ride. Cyclocross frames are nice in that they allow you a much greater range of tire width than do most road bikes.
I don't honestly know, but I'm on a tight budget and would rather endure the rough ride and limit my speed than put any more money into this.

Quote:
Also, if the roads are really that crappy there, you could consider a MTB with smooth street tires?
Well, I'm kind of fixated on the modern road bike aesthetics, but I might consider this if you're suggesting that a cyclocross bike isn't going to be that much of an improvement over what I have now. It feels like my butt takes about 95% of the shock. I've learned by now to just raise up off my seat over every little crack and bump, otherwise I'm hurting for a good day after.
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Old 01-21-12, 11:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by kotraro View Post


I fully expect that it's drivetrain wear, but I don't want to put money into it, and it's more embarrassing than anything. Now this loose nut behind the wheel... Lol. I don't really see how it could be me. I'm not touching the shift levers at all when it happens. I don't honestly understand how shifting works though, and it didn't come with an instruction manual. I just slowly lift or lower the lever until the gear catches. Sometimes it makes like a rattling noise like it's not completely in a gear, and I fine-tune the lever until it mostly goes away, but sometimes I just end up going up or down to a gear that doesn't do that. The backpedaling is a problem because the last time it happened I was taking off across a street with cars coming and it shifted into a very high gear. Anyway, I can't wait to ditch this in favor of the clicky shifters...



I don't honestly know, but I'm on a tight budget and would rather endure the rough ride and limit my speed than put any more money into this.


Well, I'm kind of fixated on the modern road bike aesthetics, but I might consider this if you're suggesting that a cyclocross bike isn't going to be that much of an improvement over what I have now. It feels like my butt takes about 95% of the shock. I've learned by now to just raise up off my seat over every little crack and bump, otherwise I'm hurting for a good day after.
A cyclocross with 38 tires would be significantly smoother riding.

If you pedal backwards when the gears are significantly cross-chained, it is to be expected that the bike will try to shift at the rear.

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Old 01-21-12, 11:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
If you pedal backwards when the gears are significantly cross-chained, it is to be expected that the bike will try to shift at the rear.
This is often true if the chain is not perfectly aligned with the gear it is on. This is less likely with a newer bikes that, when properly tuned, automatically align the chain with the gear. Cross-chaining is still possible if you aren't paying attention though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
A cyclocross with 38 tires would be significantly smoother riding.
Cyclocross (CX) bikes are made by many manufacturers. The other style of bike that might be appropriate is the 'touring' bike - also with the aesthetics and drop handlebars of a road bike but able to fit larger tires like a CX bike. Touring bikes are also generally better at carrying loads, although are a little heavier and less 'racy' than most cyclocross bikes.
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Old 01-21-12, 11:49 PM   #7
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Well, I read an article on cross-chaining, and I have no idea what it was talking about. I couldn't tell if gear selection meant selecting gears to install or choosing a gear while riding. It almost sounded like there are gears that I should avoid (smallest-largest and largest-smallest). Or maybe there are certain gears I shouldn't shift to if I'm in certain ones... I don't know...

Thanks for all the help to both of you!
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Old 01-22-12, 12:04 AM   #8
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Simple explanation of cross chaining.

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Old 01-22-12, 12:19 AM   #9
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Thanks, BHOFM. From the picture, it doesn't look like cross-chaining is the issue, but I'll look for it the next time it happens.
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