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  1. #1
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    Where should I start out? (No bike yet)

    I have no bike. I'm 21, 6ft tall and 140 pounds. I live in a smoggy California city 150 miles from the coast at 300 feet above sea level. I work 5 miles from my home and gas is 2.65 for regular right now and my VW Jetta only gets 17mpg and says I should use Premium. I think it would be cool to be strong enough to bike to the coast (I have friends there I could stay with). My budget for a first bike + gear + clothing + accessories is... technically about 2 grand but I don't *want* to spend that much. I'm thinking more like $500 and $600 on a bike if it were *really* sweet. I don't know if I should get a road-bike or a cyclocross bike or a mountain bike or whatever!

    There are so many different brands/styles of bikes out there and I know next to nothing about any of them so I need lots of help! If I spend more than $300 on a bike I want it to last quite some time so hopefully it would be multi-purpose enough to do that. I don't intend to go into the mountains (off road) so I don't think that I need a mountain bike. Perhaps a bike where I could swap out the wheels for different tasks (commute through city vs. long trip to the coast)? P.S. I want to go fast. P.P.S. People drive cars like maniacs and idiots here.

    I've been reading these forums for almost a week now and although there is a TON of information here very little of it makes sense to me (yet). Everything (just about) shoots right over my head.

    I would like to get a bike and start riding within a month. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start, based on what I've described? What accessories are a must-have? Should I get a "biking outfit"?

    Are there any good tutorials out there for me to read? Books? I thought the < $600 thread in Road-bikes was interesting but like before nothing in there makes any sense. LOL give me a computer and I can do anything, talk about bikes and I become a n00b.

  2. #2
    cab horn
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    You're not going to get a multi-purpose bike. Get what you think "fits you" the best right now. As you ride more and more, you'll start realizing I also need a rain bike, commuting bike, fixie, beater, time trial bike, road bike, bmx, recumebents and tandems.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    cab horn
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    Road bikes don't get parked anywhere Merton.

  4. #4
    Toyota Racing Dev. PWRDbyTRD's Avatar
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    Do you plan on riding just on the roads or do you want to do trails? do you plan on carryiing gear with you? Just to start off, a simple multi tool, gloves, helmet, shoes (if you run clipless) will easily bring you to 200 bucks, so be prepared for that.
    Linkage...My 2004 Kona Hoss Dee-Lux My Mindless Banter
    Disclaimer: I'm 425lb...I put unnormal loads on my bike. This should help you in answering any of my questions.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    Spend the most money on the bike itself, that's my opinion. $5-600 will get you in the range of the better bikes. $8-900 even better. Then just start riding. You'll figure out pretty fast what gear you need/want to go with it. Go to a few local bike shops (LBS's) and start asking tons of questions. Have in mind what you want to do with your bike. Let them know. On any bike the most important thing is the wheels. Make sure you get strong ones that'll be good enough for what you want. At your light weight that will be easy. If you want to do longer distance riding, make sure the bike has mounts for front and rear racks. Your bike shops will help you understand what you want.

    Another thing. Use the search button here for some questions that you might have. Alot of it has been discussed before and could be helpful to you. I do that quite a bit.

    Have fun!

  6. #6
    Senior Member rykoala's Avatar
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    I also forgot to add: CONGRATS!!!!! You are making an excellent decision for yourself. With gas prices the way they are, I don't blame you for thinking of a bike. Lots of us started out riding bike for that reason. Have fun bike shopping!

  7. #7
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    Thank you all so much for the advice (Quick, Too!)

    I'm going to start scouting around more actively and hit up a few of the LBS in my area to see what they have and recommend. I'll report in when I have a better plan drawn up.

    Thanks again!

  8. #8
    Duct tape won't fix that slotibartfast's Avatar
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    Going in and talking to your LBS is the best way to go. They'll have a better knowledge of what type of bike you need for the roads and terrain in your specific area. Be prepared to talk to them about what type of riding you expect to do - that will make all the difference in the world concerning what type of bike you need. The forums are a great place for advice and seeking help, too, but a good LBS person will be able to help you the most. Welcome to the wonderful world of cycling. I look forward to your future posts.
    It's no matter, no distance, it's the ride.....Stephen Stills...Throughfare Gap

  9. #9
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Have your bike shop fit you to a frame size. write down the number, should 56 to 58 depending on how long your legs are. One of the most important things will be getting the right size frame, riding pleasure will be greatly enhanced with a good fit. Don't be tempted by a used bike unless it is the right size.

    Test ride, test ride, test ride. You'll be amazed how much difference there is between bikes/brands. Talk to everyone about pedal and shoe combinations, see what's available.

    Look at REI's website, they carry bikes, clothes, accessories, a good way to compare prices at stores.

    Take your time, know what you want before acting. Ask us anytime for help.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  10. #10
    Lifelong wheel gazer ... BookFinder's Avatar
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    Fit is highly important. Fortunately, I stumbled into a properly fitting bike when I got back into it about 18 months ago. I walked into Wally World, did a stand-over check, and said, "I'll take this one." But in hindsight, I don't recommend anyone do it like I did.

    One of the chief benefits of going with a mainline bike from an LBS is long-term repairability. Everything on nearly any bike will work great at first. But on a mainline LBS type bike, you will be able to find parts and get repairs done nearly anyplace. But that may not be the case with a department store bike. Also, if you can work a deal with your LBS, you will be a jump ahead in terms of what is known as "good will." Like any business, they tend to remember their "got it here" customers with a subtle degree of gratitude that shows up on various ways.

    My next suggestion is to see if you can locate a recent copy of the Bicycling Magazine 05 buyer's guide. Several hundred different bikes of all types are reviewed there, and you can glean a lot about what might suit your needs & interests, and what are the merits of different frames, handlebars, crankset, cassettes, brake configurations, etc., just from reading that particular issue.

    Also, locate the thread on the commuter section of this site with pictures of the various member's rides. You might get some good ideas there.

    Getting back into cycling, I decided to go as cheap as possible "in case I didn't like it." As a result, I did not really drop a lot of coin in the purchase, and the low budget bike has not hurt me because it works fine and fits right. But, I'm all but addicted to a daily, rolling "fix" on two wheels, and am constantly meditating on what my next bike will be. And there are several in the buyer's guide that will allow me to do my exercise riding, make an occasional jaunt with some locals, or even hang bags on it for a weekend tour. I've read my copy at least three times now, and am down to making notes on specific models.

    Today, I am lusting after a Specialized Sirrus ...
    '80's era Cannondale Police bike
    '97 Giant ATX 840 project bike (gave it to a nephew...)
    '01 Giant TCR-1 purebred road bike
    '03 Schwinn mongrel MTB

    Status quo is the mental bastion of the intellectually lethargic...

  11. #11
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakemoffatt
    I have no bike. I'm 21, 6ft tall and 140 pounds. I live in a smoggy California city 150 miles from the coast at 300 feet above sea level. I work 5 miles from my home and gas is 2.65 for regular right now and my VW Jetta only gets 17mpg and says I should use Premium. I think it would be cool to be strong enough to bike to the coast (I have friends there I could stay with). My budget for a first bike + gear + clothing + accessories is... technically about 2 grand but I don't *want* to spend that much. I'm thinking more like $500 and $600 on a bike if it were *really* sweet. I don't know if I should get a road-bike or a cyclocross bike or a mountain bike or whatever!

    There are so many different brands/styles of bikes out there and I know next to nothing about any of them so I need lots of help! If I spend more than $300 on a bike I want it to last quite some time so hopefully it would be multi-purpose enough to do that. I don't intend to go into the mountains (off road) so I don't think that I need a mountain bike. Perhaps a bike where I could swap out the wheels for different tasks (commute through city vs. long trip to the coast)? P.S. I want to go fast. P.P.S. People drive cars like maniacs and idiots here.

    I've been reading these forums for almost a week now and although there is a TON of information here very little of it makes sense to me (yet). Everything (just about) shoots right over my head.

    I would like to get a bike and start riding within a month. Does anyone have any suggestions on where to start, based on what I've described? What accessories are a must-have? Should I get a "biking outfit"?

    Are there any good tutorials out there for me to read? Books? I thought the < $600 thread in Road-bikes was interesting but like before nothing in there makes any sense. LOL give me a computer and I can do anything, talk about bikes and I become a n00b.
    I know you said that you don't plan on going into the mountains but here's my standard suggestion to all the people who ask me for advice. Buy the best mountain bike you can afford. A $900 hardtail will be a very good bike, a $1200 will be outstanding. Relatively light weight with good components. Avoid disc brakes if you can - they add weight and cost without that much benefit.

    My reasoning behind a mountain bike is that they are rugged, popular, they can go just about anywhere and they are fun. You don't need to go into the mountains to have a lot of fun on one. I use them for dirt roads and hardcore mountain biking. They offer you a way of exploring old dirt roads and historic areas that you can reach by other kinds of bikes but aren't nearly as comfortable. They have the upright ride of a hybrid but have a wider selection of tires and equipment and they will preform better in rough terrain. Sure they aren't as fast as a road bike but the speed difference is rather small if you really want to look at it. It takes me about 55 minutes to ride to work on a road bike and about an hour and 10 minutes on a hardtail with full knobbies - including messing around on trails going in! The mountain bike makes the ride a bit more enjoyable.

    Now I have all kinds of bikes -race bikes, touring bikes, cruiser bikes and mountain bikes but if I could only have one, it'd be a mountain bike.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  12. #12
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I would get a mountain bike. If your getting into cycling your probably not totally sure of what you want to do with it yet. Well for under 50 dollars you can get a set of slicks (road tires) for your MTB bike which will allow you to go on road still fast. And you can change out tires to go on the trails. This way you can try what works best for you. Get a nice hardtail though, it will do better on the road. It wont be as light as a road bike, but say you want to go over that patch of grass, a road bike wont be too great for that either
    C://dos
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  13. #13
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    Most bikes can have a main use and an alternate use. If your alternate use is touring then make sure the frame has fittings for rack and fenders. These are pretty essential on a commuter/utiutly bike as well.
    A touring-derived CX bike makes a good all-rounder: Bianchi Volpe type of thing.

  14. #14
    Obeying Gravity
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    Quote Originally Posted by phantomcow2
    I would get a mountain bike. If your getting into cycling your probably not totally sure of what you want to do with it yet. Well for under 50 dollars you can get a set of slicks (road tires) for your MTB bike which will allow you to go on road still fast. And you can change out tires to go on the trails.
    Thats exactly what I do. I dont have enough money (yet) to buy a seperate road bike, so i just change out tires. If i want to go on road, I put on my 1.5", and lock out my fork. I feel like trails, I put on my 2.5", I feel like a little bit of both, I put on my 1.95".

    But, the best thing to do, is go to a LBS, ask questions, help them fit you to a bike, and then look around at other LBS's for the best price.

    -Matt

  15. #15
    Name's Ash ...housewares Doctor Morbius's Avatar
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    If I had a budget of $600 and were only going to buy 1 bike it would be an MTB as they are so versatile. Yes they stink if you're trying to keep up with a group of seasoned roadies. Big deal. You can get just as much exercise on an MTB as you can on a road bike. Also, they also offer a pretty good bang for the buck these days and tend to be pretty durabile.
    I did not achieve this position in life by having some snot-nosed punk leave my cheese out in the wind. - Ed Rooney


    It's not that I'm lazy. I'm just highly motivated to RELAX!!

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