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  1. #1
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    New to biking - looking for opinion and input on brands I may not have considered

    Hi all. First post here, but I've been browsing around gathering info for a while.

    Went to a few bike shops this weekend and looked at Giant, Cannondale, and Specialized models in the $500-$800 range. One shop had a 2013 Sirrus Comp for $800 (normally $1,100) that felt pretty good. Before I commit to dropping the funds I was hoping to find out a few things from a more knowledgeable crowd:

    1) Is $800 overkill for a beginner? What will I notice as I ride more often in that type of bike over a $500 bike?

    2) I'm not attached to any manufacturer, are there other solid brands or models I may not have considered in that range or less?

    3) Is a more expensive bike or brand much more of a theft risk? I originally was looking for a nicely set up bike that looked a little junky, but it seems like I'd have to be quite a bit more knowledgeable on components than I am at the moment.


    ** For some background - I'm 31 and looking to get into riding as a hobby with the wife on weekends/weeknights, as well as the possibility of commuting in the near future. I rode BMX as a teen (seems like so long ago now) and am looking at hybrids for the more upright position to be able to hold conversations while riding. We're currently living in South Florida, but also looking to future proof and get something that can be used in other areas with inclement weather and more elevation change. Pavement/city riding mostly, not trails.

    Thanks in advance for any input. Let me know if I can provide any more info.
    Last edited by pofe333; 02-24-14 at 08:56 AM. Reason: formatting for easier reading

  2. #2
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    1. No,No more expensive bikes are usually more colorful but the upgraded components are for high mileage riders primarily.
    2. Whatever brand that feels the best to you and is carried by a reputable friendly LBS
    3. Yes depending on where you ride and park.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, I guess what I'm trying to say with #2 is I am willing to support my LBS, but also open to considering nicely maintained used bikes. Obviously I lose the advantage of the local shop's advise on brands they may not sell.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Welcome to Bike Forums, and back to biking after a hiatus of some years. So you want to know if and extra $300 or $400 is money well spent, and what other brands to consider. And finally, what bike would be best for hillier terrain than what you find in South florida.

    First, you get what you pay for. In general, a $1,200 retail hybrid is likely to have better quality, lighter, and somewhat more durable components than an entry level bicycle. Components include shifters, derailleurs, cranks, brakes, and especially, wheels. In the long run, you may save more money getting a slightly better quality bike up front than buying something entry level than trying to spend a lot of money upgrading components a year or two later, if cycling becomes your thing.

    So as far as future proofing, spending more now will probably get you more bike than you need as a newbie, but one that is likely to last you many years as you progress in the sport. As far as I can tell, the Sirrus comp is a performance oriented hybrid. At 23 lbs, give or take, light enough to do club rides, even multi day charity rides, but durable enough to do some light touring or commuting. In other words, it is a versatile bike from a reputable manufacturer. And, of course, more than enough bike for leisure or fitness riding. So, well worth considering, if it fits and if that style bike speaks to you.

    So no, $800 is not overkill for a beginner if you plan to ride a lot, or for a long time. I rode my '97 Bianchi hybrid every spring and summer for a decade before switching to another bike. At the time I bought it, it was a step or two above an entry level hybrid (cost maybe $400 in 1997, while an entry level bike back then was about $300) My son started riding the Bianchi last season and so I brought it into the bike shop for an overhaul, expecting to hear bad news about bearings, derailleurs, bottom bracket, wheels, or shifters. It was, after all, a 16 year old bike, was my regular rider for 10 years. Then after it became a spare bike, my wife sometimes used it, as have occasionally out of town guests. I even lent it to my niece for about 6 months a few years back and she used it to commute to work. And except for a few minor repairs, like tires, chain and brake pads, most of the bike was in excellent shape, according to the guys at the bike shop.

    As for other brands to consider, other than Giant, Cannondale, and Specialized, there is always Trek. And Raleigh, Kona, Bianchi, Jamis, Surly, Marin, to name just a few. But the brand name isn't as important as feeling comfortable with your purchase, the style of bike (hybrid, commuter, drop bar road, touring, mountain, or some combination of two or more of these), frame material (aluminum, steel, or carbon fiber) and finding a shop that will be there not just up to the sale, but after the sale to make (hopefully) minor adjustments to your new bike, and if the problem is more major, will work to resolve any problems.

    Theft is a problem with any new, or newish bike, whether it be a $500 bike, an $800 bike, or a $1,500 bike. Take precautions. Don't leave your bike unattended and unlocked for even a minute or two. I use a cheap cable lock even when just parking my bike to take a bathroom break. I have a U lock for longer periods where my bike is parked somewhere. I keep my bike locked in my garage when not riding it.
    Last edited by MRT2; 02-24-14 at 10:16 AM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pofe333 View Post
    Thanks, I guess what I'm trying to say with #2 is I am willing to support my LBS, but also open to considering nicely maintained used bikes. Obviously I lose the advantage of the local shop's advise on brands they may not sell.
    If you know what to look for, a nice used bike is a good value. And while you won't have a warranty, most decent bike shops will repair and work on brands they don't sell.

  6. #6
    Senior Member clarkbre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pofe333 View Post
    1) Is $800 overkill for a beginner? What will I notice as I ride more often in that type of bike over a $500 bike?
    I would say for a beginner bike, it is on the high side. If you're just getting into cycling, a $400-$600 bike will serve your purposes very well.

    Quote Originally Posted by pofe333 View Post
    2) I'm not attached to any manufacturer, are there other solid brands or models I may not have considered in that range or less?
    Like said above, pretty much any brand is good. One thing to consider is that bicycles are like lawn mowers. You can have any lawn mower you want but it will be powered by a Briggs & Stratton. In the bicycle world, you can get any frame you want, but it will have Shimano or Sram on it. While the fit is important, the name on the frame isn't of huge importance.

    The brands you listed are all good, common brands. Trek, GT, Fuji, Redline, and KHS are other name brands to consider as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by pofe333 View Post
    3) Is a more expensive bike or brand much more of a theft risk? I originally was looking for a nicely set up bike that looked a little junky, but it seems like I'd have to be quite a bit more knowledgeable on components than I am at the moment.
    Yes and no. A bike, by nature, is a risk to park and is open for an opportunistic crime. That being said, depending on where it's parked, how it's locked, and the bikes it's parked next to will also play a big role in the probability of having your bike stolen. In short, park your bike next to bikes nicer than yours and lock it up with multiple lock devices (a cable or chain and a u-lock). Make your bike the hardest thing on the rack to steal and the thief will more than likely go for lower hanging fruit.


    Quote Originally Posted by pofe333 View Post
    I'm 31 and looking to get into riding as a hobby with the wife on weekends/weeknights, as well as the possibility of commuting in the near future. I rode BMX as a teen (seems like so long ago now) and am looking at hybrids for the more upright position to be able to hold conversations while riding. We're currently living in South Florida, but also looking to future proof and get something that can be used in other areas with inclement weather and more elevation change. Pavement/city riding mostly, not trails..
    You've picked a good hobby to get into. The initial cost can be a bit but not a deal breaker. A hybrid isn't a bad choice to start with. That style is very versatile and allows for fitness or pleasure riding. As far as getting a bike for the terrain you're riding...

    A hybrid will most likely have a very wide gear range (allows you to go either really fast, or climb a hill really easy). With that in mind, for riding in a relatively flat area (such as S. FL) you could have the cassette changed to give you a tighter gear range. It doesn't cost much but the change in gear ratios can make the bike even better to ride.

    Just a few thoughts...hope it helps.
    1995 Giant Innova
    2012 Surly Pacer

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    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    If you know what to look for, a nice used bike is a good value. And while you won't have a warranty, most decent bike shops will repair and work on brands they don't sell.
    I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to look for in the hoards of junk on Craigslist. Mostly unfamiliar with component names and quality... I suppose that knowledge will come with time around others in the hobby.

    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    So no, $800 is not overkill for a beginner if you plan to ride a lot, or for a long time.
    Quote Originally Posted by clarkbre View Post
    I would say for a beginner bike, it is on the high side. If you're just getting into cycling, a $400-$600 bike will serve your purposes very well.
    I'm glad I'm not the only one who can see both sides of the argument. I just don't want to be that guy who buys overpriced equipment because I don't know any better. Sometimes the most known brands demand a higher price tag without providing the best function/performance. It's sounding like that shouldn't be a huge concern with these though.

    Also seems like alot of the local bike shops and Craigslist are mostly populated with the main three brands I mentioned. I'll definitely look into some of the other brands mentioned above to make sure I'm not overlooking any quality, lesser known companies.

    Thanks all for the input!

  8. #8
    Senior Member ps249's Avatar
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    Heres a good starter bike from Giant: http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...6191/#features
    Its the Escape 1. You can get it from your LBS for around $600. Has a carbon fork. For an extra $200 the only thing your going to get is better shifting components. I personally don't do much shifting on the flat paved rail trails- so this bike would be a no brainer for me if you wanted to keep your cost around $600. Unless you want to jump up to full carbon bikes- this is all the bike you will need.
    Last edited by ps249; 02-24-14 at 12:18 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pofe333 View Post
    I'm still trying to figure out exactly what to look for in the hoards of junk on Craigslist. Mostly unfamiliar with component names and quality... I suppose that knowledge will come with time around others in the hobby.





    I'm glad I'm not the only one who can see both sides of the argument. I just don't want to be that guy who buys overpriced equipment because I don't know any better. Sometimes the most known brands demand a higher price tag without providing the best function/performance. It's sounding like that shouldn't be a huge concern with these though.

    Also seems like alot of the local bike shops and Craigslist are mostly populated with the main three brands I mentioned. I'll definitely look into some of the other brands mentioned above to make sure I'm not overlooking any quality, lesser known companies.

    Thanks all for the input!
    The internet is your friend. You should be able to look up a model online if listed on Craigslist and get a feel for what it sold for new. The brands mentioned already have been making quality bikes for a long time. So if you look for those brand names, and a few others, you probably won't go far wrong. Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, for example, have all been making quality bikes for decades and continue to do so. Stay away from department store junk. Most recent model Magna, GMC Denal and unfortunately, formerly venerable brands like Diamondback, Nishiki, and Schwinn are department store junk. It gets a bit confusing because Schwinn sold bike store bikes and department store bikes, but it is something to be aware of.

    While there is a price point beyond which it is ridiculous for a newbie to consider for a new bike, $800 isn't that price point, if you like the bike. It isn't just shifters and derailleurs that a couple of hundred gets you, as I pointed out in my earlier post. That said, the Giant bike suggested by ps249 does look like a very good value for the money, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to one of my friends or family if they were looking for a new hybrid.

    The major bike brands don't charge huge price premiums for the brand. I have noticed you pay a slight price premium for Specialized and Trek, but very slight. And Giant seems to offer a good value for the money. That said, if the Specialized dealer offers better service, or is closer to home, or you just like the bike better, go with Specialized. Or vice versa.

  10. #10
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    Just wanted to update everyone - after spending much of my free time last week on the internet and the rest this weekend going to several nearby bike shops, we ended up with the 2013 Specialized Sirrus Comp (and 2013 Sirrus Vita Comp for her). We rode a fair amount of bikes in multiple price ranges:

    GT Traffic
    Cannondale Quick (multiple models in the range)
    Giant Escape (could only find the RX0 in our area - very nice bike)
    Scott Metrix 30
    Specialized Sirrus Sport
    Specialized Sirrus Comp
    Cannondale Bad Boy 5

    Maybe some others, I don't recall now. There really wasn't much difference between the entry level models of Cannondale Quick and Specialized Sirrus (both with aluminum forks), and the carbon forks on the step up Cannondale wasn't worlds better either. The GT felt much heavier than the rest and it was very noticeable getting up to speed. The Scott wasn't bad, but the seat was terribly uncomfortable. These were all pretty much equal.

    The Sirrus Comp and Giant Escape RX0 are in a different class however. Honestly, if I was able to justify the cost the Giant Escape RX0 would've won out. I liked it a little more, but unfortunately it was also over $450 more than I paid for the 2013 model Sirrus Comp on closeout. It certainly wasn't $450 better IMO. The Bad Boy was nice as well, a little heavy, but also more expensive. The Sirrus Comp is light, fast, and I found the right gear much quicker on the 2x10 vs the entry models. Overall very satisfied.

    In the end, I would've been happy with the Sirrus Comp, Escape RX0 or Bad Boy 5, but for the sale price the Sirrus Comp pulled way ahead. I also might have been content with the entry level models in several brands if I hadn't rode a few models up. If anyone is looking hopefully this will help them in some way. Now we're on to accessories and car racks... Thanks everyone for the help!

  11. #11
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    What brands can you test ride? all brands have multiple price points , so YGWYPF.

    Premium component groups cost more .. than the whole bike built to hit a lower target price.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    What brands can you test ride? all brands have multiple price points , so YGWYPF.

    Premium component groups cost more .. than the whole bike built to hit a lower target price.
    It still varies quite a bit. If I went with entry level I would have definitely purchased the $500+ model over anything up to $8-$900 MSRP that I tried out. It seems like there is a very small leap between models at that price point (not considering disc brakes). Once I got into bikes with an MSRP over $1,000 the difference was a huge jump and quite apparent to me even as a beginner.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    read the component build list .. the product managers spec the bottom line ..

    the component companies make several lines of components at various price points
    and its a mix and match in order to hit the target selling point

    and extract profit margins for the retail sellers and distributors that import the bikes.

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