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  1. #1
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    Need help buying my first bike!

    Hello all. I'm new to this forum and I think I'm ready to devote a part of my life to biking. I live in New York City and ride mainly on the city streets and bike paths. I want a bike that's easy to ride fast. I do not want a mt. bike. I was thinking about road bikes, but the skinny tire worries me. I will have to jump on and off 1"-6" curbs.

    I've been reading lots and lots of topics here and I'm amazed of how much there is to learn about biking!

    My budget is around $700 (I know I know I know...you can't get a real bike for that right? )

    After net research, I've came down to these bikes:

    - Jamis Coda (don't know price)
    - Specialized Sirrus
    - Jamis Aurora or Nova (don't know prices)

    I thought the Sirrus was the perfect, but after reading lots of posts here, a few have complained about the handlebar's only position may get you tired.

    That was the reason I included the Aurora & the Nova. I have questions about the drops. I've never owned a road bike before...so this may seem like a stupid question, but please bear with me. When I see others riding on the drops (is that what it's called?), it looks sooooooo tiring. I can't imagine myself riding like that for a long period of time. When I ride, I usually go with my friends who are more into slower/group/chat/riding (yes, most of them are females). Would I look like a fool if I ride on the drops with them? Can I ride on the top or on top of the brakes for a long period of time? Is it comfortable?

    Are there bikes out there with the drops that have slightly fatter tires that I can use for the city? I do not want to worry about going on and off the curb. I also want a bike that would allow me to ride on easy dirt roads if I have to (roads such as parks, baseball fields, etc.)

    I know I'm asking lots of questions, but I really want to get started on biking and would like to keep this bike for the long term.

    Now in terms of frame materials....what's the difference between steal and the others? What can I get for my price range. How about the gears? What type is good and what should I stay away from?

    Please list other bikes that are in my price range that you feel is a good beginner's bike for me. Thanks

  2. #2
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    BTW, I'm 5'8 and a huge 120-125lbs (bikers' body?). Not sure if height and weight plays a factor on the bike or not.

  3. #3
    Powered by: meradi's Avatar
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    Hi,

    I like the Sirrus since it doesn't seem as fragile as some other more-racing type bikes (though I'm sure they're sturdy too). About the hand positions on the Sirrus, I plan on getting bar ends put on, so that should be fine for adding a little variety.
    I wrote more to one of your posts, I think in the introductions section.
    I was on a pretty tight budget. Actually it started much less than the Sirrus but I don't think there's much out there for what I was looking to spend. Anyway last year I was riding a thrift-store Schwinn, so I just think of the money I saved, or something like that, and rewarded myself this year
    Brian

  4. #4
    riding a Pinarello Prince orguasch's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Cadd
    BTW, I'm 5'8 and a huge 120-125lbs (bikers' body?). Not sure if height and weight plays a factor on the bike or not.
    I am 5'9" and i am using a52 cm center to center frame bike, with the as a yardstick you can go from there, but if your spending $700.00 that's serious money go to your LBS, ask them to help you out the size of the bike frame that will fit you to T, then bike the bike you want and will be comfortable with it.
    "Racso", the well oiled machine;)

  5. #5
    Dazed and confused Ellie's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Cadd
    When I ride, I usually go with my friends who are more into slower/group/chat/riding (yes, most of them are females).
    Hey, watch it! There are a few women on this site that would probably whip you in a race...


    Would I look like a fool if I ride on the drops with them? Can I ride on the top or on top of the brakes for a long period of time? Is it comfortable?
    I ride on the drops going slowly because I get more control that way. I also ride a lot on the brakes and the top. That's the point. You can switch position a lot more to wherever is comfortable. And I wouldn't worry too much what you look like. I shouldn't have thought you'll get any more comments riding slowly on the drops than you will otherwise.

    Good luck getting your bike. $700 is about 10 times what I spent on my last bike, but that was second hand and I have upgraded parts since.

    Ellie

  6. #6
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    HI
    I was in the same spot you are. My wife and I are new to biking this year. We went to many different shops and rode everything we could. By everything I mean from mt.bikes to x-country bikes and rode all the models we could find. When we started looking at bikes I was convinced I wanted a x-country bike untill I test rode a mt. bike. after riding a mt. I couldnt see myself riding a x-country. I spent alittle over 400.00 for my Raleigh m-60. My advice is do what my wife and I did and shop around and ride everything you can from Mt. to x-country to rode bikes. Then find one you no you will ride for a few years then if you want you can upgrade. Just alittle advice if you are looking at x-c for any reason you can always upgrade the tires to something with more of a bite.
    Just my 2 cents.

    Jason

  7. #7
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    Originally posted by Ellie
    Hey, watch it! There are a few women on this site that would probably whip you in a race...

    I ride on the drops going slowly because I get more control that way. I also ride a lot on the brakes and the top. That's the point. You can switch position a lot more to wherever is comfortable. And I wouldn't worry too much what you look like. I shouldn't have thought you'll get any more comments riding slowly on the drops than you will otherwise.

    Good luck getting your bike. $700 is about 10 times what I spent on my last bike, but that was second hand and I have upgraded parts since.

    Ellie
    Ellie, I apologize for that comment. I didn't mean anything by it, honest. I'm sure most females can out ride me. For a 24 year old, I'm not as fit as I would like to be. Again, I am sincerely sorry for what I said.

    Thanks for the advice I actually went to a LBS (local bike shop...I'm assuming) and looked around today after work...it went pretty well.

  8. #8
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    This is what happened at the bike shop today. I explained the situation and he pointed at the Specialized Sirrus and the Sirrus Sport.

    The Sirrus was for 500 (tax included)
    and the Sirrus Sport is 700 (tax included)

    First off, does anyone know if this is a good deal? Secondly, does the sport version justify the $200 increase in price?

    Can someone look at the specs of these two bikes and let me know....it would be real helpful if someone can give me an honest opinion here's the website for:

    Sirrus

    Sirrus Sport

    The guy in the bike shop said the main difference are the brake lever/shifter (one piece in sirrus vs. 2 pieces in sirrus sport), crank and the gears.

    Now my other question is: does anyone know anything about the Specialized Crossroad A1 Limited? It's a women's bike with thinner tires. He wants $300 for for that bike. This bike is for my girlfriend...he says it's a limited edition, which is why it's not in Specialized's website or catalogs.

    I also asked him about the Jamis Coda. He said the Sirrus and Coda are about the same...and that there isn't much difference. He carries Jamis, but doesn't not have any in stock. He can order bikes from Jamis if I want. I also asked about the Jamis Nova and Aurora, and he gave me the same answer.

    Could someone also check out these bikes for me and tell me what you think

    Jamis Coda
    Jamis Nova
    Jamis Aurora

    If someone who is bike savvy and can do this for me I would greatly appreciate it.
    Last edited by Cadd; 05-14-02 at 08:32 PM.

  9. #9
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    Another thing....sorry, but what else should I expect from the bike shop when I get the bikes? Any freebies (ie. water bottle, the holder, kick stand, gloves, shoes, helmet, etc.)....i know i know, i'm pushing it...but do they ususal give you free items if you ask for them? What should I ask for? What do they give?

    What did you guys get with your bikes? How about upgraded parts? Anything?

  10. #10
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Cadd
    Another thing....sorry, but what else should I expect from the bike shop when I get the bikes? Any freebies (ie. water bottle, the holder, kick stand, gloves, shoes, helmet, etc.)....i know i know, i'm pushing it...but do they ususal give you free items if you ask for them? What should I ask for? What do they give?

    What did you guys get with your bikes? How about upgraded parts? Anything?
    I got a good discount on the accessories I bought, but I wouldn't have had the cheek to ask for one-not to say you shouldn't.

    Richard
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  11. #11
    Senior Member Teding's Avatar
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    Bought a Coda last summer. I think you get a lot bike for your money. It's light, and has top quality components, and I love the polished (not painted) steel (cromoly) frame. The ONLY thing I don't like about the bike is the straight handlebar. I get numb hands, due to (IMHO) the lack of hand positions.

    Thinking about converting the bar to a drop, or switching to the Aurora, which is in the light touring class. Converting means new brake levers, barend shifters, HB, and stem.

    The Aurora lists arounf 550$, and the Coda 799$. Fuji Touring is very similar to the Aurora, but might be a little more expensive.

    Whatever bike you buy, be sure you get it from a GOOD LBS that has your riding pleasure and continued patronage at heart, not just a sale and inventory reduction.

    Hope this helps.

  12. #12
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    Finding an LBS (local bike shop I’m assuming….) shouldn’t be a problem for me….but finding a good one is might be because I have too many to choose from. Within a 30 mile radius, I have over 30 LBS here in Brooklyn, NY! Now, how would I know who to buy from. I don’t have many friends who ride. So getting an opinion is difficult. I guess the best way is to go in and take a look right? What should I look for? Which shops should I avoid? Most shops close around 7pm….most of the time I don’t get home from work until 7! I don’t want to go on weekends because of the volume of people who will be there.

    Please give me some pointers for choosing a LBS. Thanks

  13. #13
    Senior Member Teding's Avatar
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    There are a few sites that have good information on what to look for in a LBS. I'm at work and don't have those URLs.

    Basically, you need to feel good about the shop and the sales person. It shouldn't feel like a used car sales person. They should be willing to take all the time you need to decide. You need to test ride it more than just around the parking lot, a mile or so minimum. Feel confidant that they recommending a bike that fits you and your riding, not one that's "close enough" to one they have in stock. If they don't have your size in stock, they should be will to order one.

    Shop around, not for price, but for a shop you feel good about. Buying a bicycle shouldn't feel like buying a used car. If you decide on a brand, visit a couple shops that sell it, see if their suggestions match.

    Ted

  14. #14
    Senior Member Teding's Avatar
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    This site has some good information.

    http://www.bikesrnottoys.com/

    Look around this forum for suggestions about what to look for in a good bike shop.

    BTW, the standard saddle on the Coda isn't very comfortable. Ask the shop if they'll swap it something more comfortable. I have a Brooks B17 leather saddle. I also put narrower tires on it. I think they are 700x28 and smooth, no tread.

  15. #15
    Senior Member FROryder's Avatar
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    Of the bikes you listed, the Jamis Nova is the best one. I do not know what the bike retails for, but from the description of the frame and components it may exceed your price point. The most important consideration is proper fit. You could spend $6000 on a high zoot bike and if it does not fit you properly, you have wasted your money. To reiterate fit, fit, fit.

  16. #16
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    I went to another LBS today...just about 6 blocks from my house (1/4 mile away)....they carried lots of C'dale, Trek, Bianchi, Specialized, Reliegh, but no Jamis.....they told me that Jamis is a different breed of bike, they are not bad bikes, but different class...

    But anyways, they have lots of bikes. The sales lady showed me around and showed me bikes that may fit. She also mentioned that the Sirrus might not be that great of a bike for me because 28c is the fattest tires I can put on it. I asked her many many times and stressed to her that I'm worried about the curbs....she says that 28 is the fattest that bike holds....can anyone confirm this? Here are the Specs for the Sirrus again.

    She showed me a nice C'dale for $969 it was a 2001 Road Warrior 500. Is that a steal or is it "just an ok deal"?

    Thanks. Now, about fit....everyone tells me FIT IS EVERYTHING! That a $2,000 bike sold at a discount for $700 that doesn't fit well is worst than a $700 msrp bike. Is this true? How would I know if the LBS I'm buying from is fitting me properly? Is there anyway I can fit myself or just to give myself a guide line before I goto the LBS?

    Again, I greatly appreciate all of your help. I hope to become a bike addict one day....and there's no better place to start than here!

  17. #17
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    Originally posted by FROryder
    Of the bikes you listed, the Jamis Nova is the best one. I do not know what the bike retails for, but from the description of the frame and components it may exceed your price point. The most important consideration is proper fit. You could spend $6000 on a high zoot bike and if it does not fit you properly, you have wasted your money. To reiterate fit, fit, fit.
    Yes the Nova is out of my ballpark. I haven't personally seen the bike, but everyone tells me that it's the best bike on my list. It's $899. That's a little too much for me (remember this is my first "REAL" bike).

    Other than the Nova, who would say is second best (in terms of materal, components used, quality, etc.)?

  18. #18
    Senior Member Teding's Avatar
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    Don't know what she meant by "Jamis is a different class..." other than they don't sell Jamis, and she probably doesn't know anything about them. Kinda like asking a Chevy dealer what he thinks about the BMW.

    If you're still open to a Jamis, find a dealer and ride one, get their opinion. IMHO, any Jamis is a great value.

    Just to let you know my bias...My LBS carried Trek, it's a small shop and priced his bikes fairly. Last summer Trek pulled their bikes and gave the line to a large bike retailer. That store is notorious for running lost leader specials. They "fit" the customer to what ever size they have in stock.

    Compare the components, not the brand name.

    Ted

  19. #19
    Senior Member FROryder's Avatar
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    If the Jamis Coda falls within your price range this should be your next choice, the steel frame will offer a more compliant ride. Aluminium frames at your price point tend to be overbuilt and are too rigid for someone of your weight, after a few hours in the saddle you’ll be cursing your bike. In addition, switch out the suspension seatpost, adds a lot of unnecessary weight.
    Gustavo

  20. #20
    Senior Member Teding's Avatar
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    I agree, I was getting some bounce with the suspension seatpost. I also replaced the saddle with a Brooks b17 and put 28c smooth tires on it. I ride mostly bike path. I think the Coda comes with 35c tires and presta valves. The wheels are drilled to accept schrader valves, and I would suggest swapping out the presta tubes for schrader tubes.

    Ted

  21. #21
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    I know Jamis are good bikes...or a real good bang for your buck type of bike, my friend has a '94 Jamis mtb. But the Coda msrp for $800...I'm having a difficult time with $700 already....I'm not sure about $800.

    Actually, the lady at the LBS is a Jamis dealer but doesn't have inventory (and will not unless a specific customer orders one).

    How much negotiating room would I have on any bike?

  22. #22
    Powered by: meradi's Avatar
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    Cadd,

    Actually, I had emailed Specialized about the possible tire sizes that could be used on the Sirrus.
    Here's the reply I got from them:

    **
    I am running some 32 c knobbies on my Sirrus Pro and have no problem with clearance, I could probably run up to 38 c width. Thank you for your interest in Specialized.
    **

    For what it's worth!
    Brian

  23. #23
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    Originally posted by meradi
    Cadd,

    Actually, I had emailed Specialized about the possible tire sizes that could be used on the Sirrus.
    Here's the reply I got from them:

    **
    I am running some 32 c knobbies on my Sirrus Pro and have no problem with clearance, I could probably run up to 38 c width. Thank you for your interest in Specialized.
    **

    For what it's worth!
    Brian
    Wow! That's great!

    Let's just put it this way....I guess that LBS didn't know what they were talking about.

    I e-mailed Specialized too! This was what I wrote:

    "Hello, I'm in the market for an aggresive city bike (this will be my
    first "real" bike). When I saw the Sirrus (or sirrus sport), I knew
    it would be my next bike. I visited my LBS and voice my concern of
    the 28c tires. I live and ride in New York City. I mostly ride on
    bike paths, but occasionally I would have to ride on the streets
    which means going up and down the curb (1" - 5" curbs on average).
    Now the LBS told me that the Sirrus can not have any tires thicker
    than 28c on it. Would you please confirm this for me....if this is
    true should it be a concern of mine? I really like thinner tires for
    the speed, but I really do not want to have damaged rims to worry
    about.

    Thanks for your help and advice."

    This was the e-mail I got from them:

    "This is an automatic reply e-mail, please do not respond. Please read
    though,
    as
    it may help lead you in the right direction for questions not pertaining
    to the
    Specialized Online Store. We will however answer your e-mail as soon as
    possible.


    Thank you for your interest in the Specialized On-Line Store. We are
    available
    to answer your questions regarding the Store and its products during our
    regular
    business hours, M-F 7am to 4:00 pm Mountain Time.

    If you have received this message during business hours we are assisting
    other
    customers and will reply to your e-mail as soon as possible. If you have
    contacted us after hours, we will make every effort to provide a
    response as
    soon as possible, the following business day.

    Should you have a questions regarding anything other than an order you
    have
    placed or products currently carried in the Store, you may want to use
    the
    Dealer Locator feature, on our main website, to find the location and
    phone
    numbers of Dealers in your area. Your local Specialized dealer is going
    to be
    the best source of information for Specialized products. The URL to go
    directly
    to the Dealer Locator is:

    http://direct.where2getit.com/specialized/

    You may also want to use our "FAQ" page. You can find this feature
    located in
    the Support section of the main website or can go directly to it using
    this
    direct URL:


    http://www.specialized.com/SBCFAQ.jsp?a=b#


    The Specialized On-Line Store Customer Service Team"

    I guess you got human contact...

  24. #24
    Senior Member Teding's Avatar
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    The Serris has an alum. frame. Compared to steel, alum has a harsh ride, and when they fail, they go suddenly. Steel (CroMoly) will crack slowly. Going with the wider lower pressure tire will help the ride. The type of riding that you'll be doing is going to be rough on the inexpensive alum frame.

    Don't let a salesperson tell you that a CroMoly frame is cheap, heavy or old fashioned, custom frame makers like Rivendell (1000-2500$ frames) and Bruce Gordon (same price range) are steel frames.

    Try this site for info in steel frames:

    http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/bikes_riv9.html

  25. #25
    NCAA - DUAL CHAMPIONS! a2psyklnut's Avatar
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    You stated that you don't want a mt. bike, but then you looked at a Cannondale Road Warrior. Did you happen to notice the "Bad Boy"? What the Bad Boy is, is essentially a mt. bike w/o suspension and 1" tires on it! Basically a hybrid, and that's what you're looking at.

    What I'm trying to say is that you can take a decent mt. bike in your price range and put on a pair of 26 x 1.0" or up to 1.5" slick tires on it! Viola, a sturdy bike with high pressure (less rolling resistance) tires.

    This may open up more options for you and may get you into a more comfortable riding position!

    BTW, the Bad Boy has a MSRP of $799.99, but you can get a lot of mt. bikes in the $500-700 range!

    Just trying to "THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX".

    Also, bikes made by GIANT, TREK, GARY FISHER,....etc. have bikes similar to those mentioned and deserve a looksie!

    L8R
    "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW, What a Ride!" - unknown
    "Your Bike Sucks" - Sky Yaeger

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