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Old 09-22-12, 09:45 PM   #1
ZippyZ
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Bike recommendations

Looking to purchase a bike. New to the sport, but would like biking to be a serious hobby. I suspect I'll primarily ride on paved roads and flat, well-maintained dirt roads/trails near my house.

If it matters, I'm 5' 9", have a 36" inseam and a short torso. I'm a woman and at my ideal body weight.

I have a few questions:
  • Should I be looking at road bikes? Hybrids? Something else?
  • What is the purpose of women's bikes? Why can't I just ride a man's bike?
  • Any particular brands you would recommend and why? (I don't want to have to buy another bike in a year for better performance, but I expect I'll primarily be a serious recreational biker. Might consider half triathlons down the road for fun.)
  • New or used? Is there a difference? If used, where are good places to find these?
  • What is a crank? I see a lot of discussion about crank size on bike sites, but I have no idea what this even is.
  • Do you worry about the brand of brakes? Any you'd recommend if you do? How about other bike parts?
  • Besides just biking, how have you improved your biking skills? Magazines? Chat rooms? Biking clubs? Friends? Classes? Basically how can I quickly become a better cyclist and more knowledgeable?
  • Seats? Recommendations on how to get a comfy ride?
  • Anything else I should consider in picking a good bike?
I think that's it for now.

Thanks for any pointers!
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Old 09-22-12, 11:28 PM   #2
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Visiting a good bicycle co-op or store will answer those questions far better than any of us.
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Old 09-23-12, 12:20 AM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestion. I had planned to do that.

I figured it might be helpful to go in with some knowledge. Chances are a bike shop's recommendations will be limited to the inventory on hand. Also if profit margins vary by brand, sometimes recommendations are skewed to what's favorable to the salesperson and the store, rather than being based solely on what's best for the customer. I know that sounds cynical, but it's true in purchasing electronics and in some other areas of retail.
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Old 09-23-12, 02:27 AM   #4
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I bought a Hybrid, a road and a touring bike. Reason N + 1 Long rides over 60 miles i like the comfort of a touring bike. On shorter rides i use the road bike for local paved roads with shoulders.

The hybrid I use to ride new roads, MUP's and to the store. Rides of about 15 miles or less.
I started out years ago with used bikes . I don't recommend it unless you just want a bike for short rides . . go to a bike shop and rent bikes to try different types .

For the sport you have chosen to do a bike with handlebars that put the rider in the most aerodynamic position. Not versatile enough to use to go to the store and use to compete.

Read this forum older threads is a good start to learn terminology A crank is what the pedal fits on they have different lengths depending on the riders physical size and type of bike .

IMO Riding is the only way to improve riding skills and know And obey traffic laws . .
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Old 09-23-12, 03:41 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyZ View Post
Looking to purchase a bike. New to the sport, but would like biking to be a serious hobby. I suspect I'll primarily ride on paved roads and flat, well-maintained dirt roads/trails near my house.

If it matters, I'm 5' 9", have a 36" inseam and a short torso. I'm a woman and at my ideal body weight.

I have a few questions:

Should I be looking at road bikes? Hybrids? Something else?
What you don't want is any suspension, so that eliminates many bikes. If you're always on the flat, and you don't want to focus on the highest speeds possible, you could do well with a single speed bike. If you want maximum speed and efficiency on smooth, paved surfaces, you'd want a road bike. If you want high performance on more varied surfaces, you'd want a cyclocross bike. If you want to see the scenery and not worry about pushing the envelope, a hybrid is okay. If you want more comfort and less speed, then a cruiser. There are other kinds of bikes, too. It's not likely you'll pick the perfect bike the first time around, because there's a huge subjective element, and you simply need to ride a lot of bikes to know what you like.

Quote:
What is the purpose of women's bikes? Why can't I just ride a man's bike?
I think women's bikes are designed to accomodate a wimple.

Quote:
Any particular brands you would recommend and why? (I don't want to have to buy another bike in a year for better performance, but I expect I'll primarily be a serious recreational biker. Might consider half triathlons down the road for fun.)
There are too many good bike brands to mention. I advise you to ask here about any particular bike you want to buy, in order to get specific opinions.

Quote:
New or used? Is there a difference? If used, where are good places to find these?
Well, used bikes are cheaper, but they have no warranties or free tune-ups. I think the best place to get a good used bike is a non-profit bike co-op. There's one in my city that I absolutely love, but if you have no relationship like this, and if you don't know a lot about bikes, you might be best off buying new from a reputable local bike shop (LBS).

Quote:
What is a crank? I see a lot of discussion about crank size on bike sites, but I have no idea what this even is.
I'm a crank. Get off my lawn. Oh, wait. You mean the part of the bike where the work is applied. The pedals are attached to the crank arms. For a rough idea of bike nomenlature—



Quote:
Do you worry about the brand of brakes? Any you'd recommend if you do? How about other bike parts?
Well, the nerdier you get, the more things like this matter. Some people live for components. Others just ride their bikes.

Quote:
Besides just biking, how have you improved your biking skills? Magazines? Chat rooms? Biking clubs? Friends? Classes? Basically how can I quickly become a better cyclist and more knowledgeable?
There's a ton of good cycling information online. Search/read/query these forums, and you'll pretty much get all you need.

Quote:
Seats? Recommendations on how to get a comfy ride?
This is somewhat subjective, but it depends on how you ride. The plushy seats are okay for trips to the store, but not so good for distances. You generally want good support for your sit bones without adding pressure to the softer underparts that can go uncomfortably numb.

Quote:
Anything else I should consider in picking a good bike?
Avoid implulse buying, and seek opinions here. It's best if you have a cycling friend to help you, but like I said before, don't expect your first bike to be perfect. You need to learn what you like for yourself.
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Last edited by hamiltonian; 09-23-12 at 03:56 AM. Reason: concision
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Old 09-23-12, 08:14 AM   #6
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Even though it is only about road bikes, I highly recommend reading this link:
http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/a...er-1000-29719/

It will give you a good start as to what drives the differences between bikes (and, by type of bike). Reading the various reviews will likely give you a better idea as to what type of bike you are looking for, as well as features you want. From there, you will have a decent foundation to research further.
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Old 09-23-12, 11:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyZ View Post
Looking to purchase a bike. New to the sport, but would like biking to be a serious hobby. I suspect I'll primarily ride on paved roads and flat, well-maintained dirt roads/trails near my house.

If it matters, I'm 5' 9", have a 36" inseam and a short torso. I'm a woman and at my ideal body weight.

I have a few questions:
  • Should I be looking at road bikes? Hybrids? Something else?
  • What is the purpose of women's bikes? Why can't I just ride a man's bike?
  • Any particular brands you would recommend and why? (I don't want to have to buy another bike in a year for better performance, but I expect I'll primarily be a serious recreational biker. Might consider half triathlons down the road for fun.)
  • New or used? Is there a difference? If used, where are good places to find these?
  • What is a crank? I see a lot of discussion about crank size on bike sites, but I have no idea what this even is.
  • Do you worry about the brand of brakes? Any you'd recommend if you do? How about other bike parts?
  • Besides just biking, how have you improved your biking skills? Magazines? Chat rooms? Biking clubs? Friends? Classes? Basically how can I quickly become a better cyclist and more knowledgeable?
  • Seats? Recommendations on how to get a comfy ride?
  • Anything else I should consider in picking a good bike?
I think that's it for now.

Thanks for any pointers!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ben4345 View Post
Visiting a good bicycle co-op or store will answer those questions far better than any of us.
Yes, since you are just starting out do it the right way. Visit a local bike shop of your choice and work with them to select ,and set up, the best
bike for you and your needs. A bike shop will adjust and fit the bike to you so that all you have to do is learn to ride well.
__________________
My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 09-23-12, 01:14 PM   #8
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New or used? Is there a difference?
manufacturers warrantees tend to go away when a bike is resold a 2nd time ..

and like a used car , the miles of use wears moving parts ..
relative amount and conditions are an unknown until on site inspected.

go bike shopping in proper bike shops, the show and tell works better 1st hand.
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Old 10-02-12, 07:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesw2 View Post
I bought a Hybrid, a road and a touring bike. Reason N + 1 Long rides over 60 miles i like the comfort of a touring bike. On shorter rides i use the road bike for local paved roads with shoulders.

The hybrid I use to ride new roads, MUP's and to the store. Rides of about 15 miles or less.
I started out years ago with used bikes . I don't recommend it unless you just want a bike for short rides . . go to a bike shop and rent bikes to try different types .

For the sport you have chosen to do a bike with handlebars that put the rider in the most aerodynamic position. Not versatile enough to use to go to the store and use to compete.

Read this forum older threads is a good start to learn terminology A crank is what the pedal fits on they have different lengths depending on the riders physical size and type of bike .

IMO Riding is the only way to improve riding skills and know And obey traffic laws . .
Sorry it's taken me so long to respond. Thanks for the input and the suggestion to rent different bikes before buying. I had not even thought of that, even though I always do that before purchasing a tennis racquet!

I live in a small town, about an hour away from a large metro area. Would you go to a bike shop in a small town? Or would it be better to make the trip to a larger shop? (I don't mind the trip. I'm more concerned with level of service and selection.)

BTW, what does N+1 mean?
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Old 10-02-12, 07:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by hamiltonian View Post
What you don't want is any suspension, so that eliminates many bikes. If you're always on the flat, and you don't want to focus on the highest speeds possible, you could do well with a single speed bike. If you want maximum speed and efficiency on smooth, paved surfaces, you'd want a road bike. If you want high performance on more varied surfaces, you'd want a cyclocross bike. If you want to see the scenery and not worry about pushing the envelope, a hybrid is okay. If you want more comfort and less speed, then a cruiser. There are other kinds of bikes, too. It's not likely you'll pick the perfect bike the first time around, because there's a huge subjective element, and you simply need to ride a lot of bikes to know what you like.
First, THANKS for the diagram and your thoughtful answers. These were so helpful! I'll probably rent and try different bikes first. I'm a little overwhelmed by all the choices. I had no idea there were so many types of bikes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonian View Post
I think women's bikes are designed to accomodate a wimple.
Not a nun, at least not yet despite the current state of affairs on the dating front.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonian View Post
There are too many good bike brands to mention. I advise you to ask here about any particular bike you want to buy, in order to get specific opinions.
I now appreciate the wide range. Still, I would prefer not to walk into a bike shop, and say, "Gee I want a bike." If you did that when purchasing a car, and were clueless about features and car prices, the sales guys would have a field day with you. I'd like to have some information before making a purchase. I'll rifle through the forum for tips. Really glad I ran across this site!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonian View Post
Well, used bikes are cheaper, but they have no warranties or free tune-ups.
Very good point!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamiltonian View Post
I'm a crank. Get off my lawn. Oh, wait. You mean the part of the bike where the work is applied. The pedals are attached to the crank arms. For a rough idea of bike nomenlature—



Again, thanks for the advice.
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Old 10-02-12, 07:45 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
Even though it is only about road bikes, I highly recommend reading this link:
http://www.bikeradar.com/road/gear/a...er-1000-29719/

It will give you a good start as to what drives the differences between bikes (and, by type of bike). Reading the various reviews will likely give you a better idea as to what type of bike you are looking for, as well as features you want. From there, you will have a decent foundation to research further.
Thanks. Although that caused some sticker shock. A cheap bike is almost $1,000?!? I need to rethink what I expected to spend! Otherwise, very useful article!
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Old 10-02-12, 07:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Yes, since you are just starting out do it the right way. Visit a local bike shop of your choice and work with them to select ,and set up, the best
bike for you and your needs. A bike shop will adjust and fit the bike to you so that all you have to do is learn to ride well.
Thanks. I'm getting that this is not going to be a do-it-yourself, pick a bike off the web and have it shipped to you deal! I'll head to a bike shop as everyone suggests.
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Old 10-02-12, 07:47 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
manufacturers warrantees tend to go away when a bike is resold a 2nd time ..

and like a used car , the miles of use wears moving parts ..
relative amount and conditions are an unknown until on site inspected.

go bike shopping in proper bike shops, the show and tell works better 1st hand.
Did not know that. Thanks!
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Old 10-02-12, 07:54 PM   #14
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BikeRadar/CyclingNews, Those UK guys like covering the Pro Racing level stuff.. where $10K is common.


Yea, shipping itself requires taking your bike apart, some,
so none really arrive ready to ride..

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-02-12 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 10-02-12, 09:09 PM   #15
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[RE: bike brands]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZippyZ View Post
I now appreciate the wide range. Still, I would prefer not to walk into a bike shop, and say, "Gee I want a bike." If you did that when purchasing a car, and were clueless about features and car prices, the sales guys would have a field day with you. I'd like to have some information before making a purchase. I'll rifle through the forum for tips. Really glad I ran across this site!
If you don't know exactly what you want, it's generally a good idea to choose the LBS (local bike store) first, then let them help you choose the bike that suits you. Choose a store that you've heard good things about, or even just go in—see how they treat you and how you feel. You can also try asking here about bike stores in your area. A bike store that's willing to work to take care of you is arguably more important than the brand.

If you like the people you're dealing with, and if they're diligent in pleasing you, you'll likely have the best possible experience. And you can always check here before you drop the hammer on anything.
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