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  1. #1
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    New to cycling looking for some suggestions

    For the new year my wife and I decided to start getting into better shape together and we decided that riding bikes would be something we would really enjoy doing together. We have started to look at the all the different kind of bikes out there and came to the conclusion that a cyclocross bike would be good because we could ride on roads and also trails. We visited a couple bike shops to ask some questions and check out all the different brands and bikes and now we are in information overload.

    Since we are buying two bikes we don't have a very big budget to work with and most of the bikes that were recommended to us cost the entire budget we had for two for just one bike. We are really not looking to race or anything like that right now but in the future if we really enjoy it we could always upgrade to better bikes.

    Reading around I keep reading that for component group Shimano Tiagra or 105 is the way to go and to keep away from Sora but all bikes we saw with Tiagra or 105 were a lot more than what we want to pay right now. So I have been thinking about just getting something with a nice frame where we could always upgrade to a higher group down the road in a year or so. I saw that ebay has complete Ultegra 6700 groups.

    One of the bikes that caught our eye was the Redline Conquest Sport which has a Shimano 2300 group but I don't know what kind it really is because the Shimano website does not list a 2300 but they do have a 2200 which I am guessing is even lower than Sora. Does the Redline have a good frame that would be worth upgrading down the line? Are there any other bikes in that range that you guys could recommend? I don't know if what I am asking makes much sense so please bear with me as I am completely new to this sport. Ohh and as far as budget we wanted to stay in the $1500 range for both bikes which is what the Conquest Sport falls under ($700ea).

  2. #2
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    The Sora works very well, but cant be shifted to smaller cogs while in the drops, so is unsuitable for racing. It has cheaper construction in the pivots than 105 so will wear quicker - should last years (not decades). I havent had 2200 so dont know how much lower level it is. Look at Bikes Direct and if you dont want to do the assembly it may be worth paying the bikeshop $100 to do it - discuss with them.

  3. #3
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    The Redline Conquest Sport would be a good first bike for you and the wife.
    Important to get the right size for each of you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    The Redline Conquest Sport would be a good first bike for you and the wife.
    Important to get the right size for each of you.
    Yeah all the local shops we went to said they would fit us to the right bike. It's just hard to narrow it down between bikes because all the brands we are looking at are not sold by just one shop. So the Conquest Sport frame would be a nice frame that would be worth upgrading components later on?

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    $700 each is going to be a hard price point to find anything higher than Sora. Sora works just fine though. Try and look at more than just Redline. There are several manufactures that product bikes in that range so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding something that'll work. Redline is a good bike though and a good value. Others that would fall in that line would be Fuji and the new 2010 line of Specialized Tricross models. Ask you shops for any models they are wanting to off load like the 2008/2009 models. You can get some good deals that way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by knobster View Post
    $700 each is going to be a hard price point to find anything higher than Sora. Sora works just fine though. Try and look at more than just Redline. There are several manufactures that product bikes in that range so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding something that'll work. Redline is a good bike though and a good value. Others that would fall in that line would be Fuji and the new 2010 line of Specialized Tricross models. Ask you shops for any models they are wanting to off load like the 2008/2009 models. You can get some good deals that way.
    I went to a couple more shops today to check out the Felt F95 and see what else they had. So far I have yet to find a shop that has any cross bikes in stock to actually ride. The closest I have gotten is a shop with a Kona Jake but it was too small for me. The guy at the Felt shop told me though that the 2010 model F95 is inferior to last year's model and costs more. So far it looks like the Kona Jake seems to have the best price and components out of all the others and one shop is selling them for $799 right now which if I am not mistaken is $100 off. Having a strict budget kinda sucks so we are seriously contemplating holding off a couple of months and going with 2 Jakes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member meanwhile's Avatar
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    Unless you're racing, don't worry about power train components. Low end components are generally servicable and last for years.

    *Do* worry about getting bikes that fit, are well assembled (a task performed by the store) and don't have the notorious fork judder problem or more brake squealing than you can stand. (Do a forum search.) Oh - and getting the right tyres for the conditions you are riding. Check what fit you need with some online research: never rely on the bike store - some are awful.

    Jakes are usually considered a very safe bet, as are Cross Checks. You might want to consider having the cantilever brakes swapped for squeal and judder free Mini-Vees - this is a very cheap change. Plus adjusting cantis to get reasonable braking power seems beyond a lot of stores and casual riders - and braking is obviously a major safety issue.

    Don't discount buying used bikes, especially if you can get someone to help you and you can take your time. I picked up an almost unused 800 crosser for 220.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sourpuss Magee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
    So far I have yet to find a shop that has any cross bikes in stock to actually ride.
    I'm having the same problem. The shops don't seem to care that I actually want to buy a bike.

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    I went to performance bicycle today and they had a 2009 Fuji Cross Comp on clearance for $1099. It had all Shimano 105 components except for the rear derailleur which was Ultegra. It had an aluminum frame with carbon fork as well. Tomorrow I am going to other location in town that has a 56cm frame built for me to test ride. The top of my budget was around the $800 range but for $300 more the upgrade in components and carbon fork is worth the price I think. Do you guys think this is a good deal for $1099?

  10. #10
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    Wait for a performance coupon (10-20%), that doesn't sound that great. Also, join the performance club to get 10% back in store credit, buy some stuff, then cancel the membership before it renews the next year.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by black_box View Post
    Wait for a performance coupon (10-20%), that doesn't sound that great. Also, join the performance club to get 10% back in store credit, buy some stuff, then cancel the membership before it renews the next year.
    How do you get a performance coupon? I was going to join the performance club already because with the store credit I got back I could get a pair of pedals and helmet for free. Also for some reason the local shop was selling the bike cheaper than online. This is the link to the bike
    http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...1_20000__61000

  12. #12
    Infinite Member ahsposo's Avatar
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    I advise going to your regional forum and see if you can get advise on a good shop in your area maybe out of town. I shopped four cities before I found a sales guy that wanted to put me on the right bike not just what he had in stock. IMO it's good to have someone help you get a comfortable bike so you'll ride it.

    When I got back into riding I bought a hybrid for the local streets and some trails and fire roads I wanted to ride. I've put fenders and racks on it and still get a lot of use out of it even though I spend most of my cycle time on a road bike. A hybrid can do a lot of things a cyclocross bike can do but a lot slower. If you aren't racing it's a optional place to start.

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    Well he didn't have the bike in stock so that is why he directed me to their other location so I could actually test ride one in my size before buying it. As far as finding a comfortable bike it has been very hard where I live because no one has any cyclocross bikes in stock. I have to either put down a deposit for them to order one so I could try it or test ride something that is not the right size. I am getting to the point that I really have no more options left so that is why I am going tomorrow to try out the Fuji at the other store which they have in my size already built.

  14. #14
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    you can try this thread for performance bike coupon codes. Make sure to get one that works on bikes (not all of them do). Definitely check for other local shops, maybe call around to see what size they have (or can easily obtain). A 56cm shouldnt be that uncommon?

  15. #15
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    I am test riding the Fuji today and I am looking for some pointers on how to know if the bike is a good fit for me. I know it should feel comfortable but other than that have no clue on what to look for while riding. I am brand new to this so I have no clue on how to tell if a certain geometry will work well for me or not.

  16. #16
    Downtown Spanky Brown bautieri's Avatar
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    We honestly have no way to say if a specific geometry will work for you or not. From a comfort stand point, look for a bike that has it's handlebars about even with your seat. For speed, look for one whose handlebars are lower than the seat. Everything is relative. I'll give you a free bit of advice: Your first bike will not be your last. Buy whatever feels best to you and don't over think it. No matter what you buy, odds are in 2 seasons you will want something else. Don't waste money upgrading things for the sake of having the latest bike bling. Only upgrade things as they break or wear out.

    Is there a specific reason why you want/need a cross bike? Not to further muddy things up for you, but a hybrid with proper tires could do everything you outlined above for hundreds less.

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    I thought about a hybrid bike but they all come with flat handlebars and I want something with a drop bar. The reason I didn't go with road bike in the first place was because there is a big park nearby where I live and I want to take it on trails as well as riding on the road.

  18. #18
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    Well I just got back from test riding the Fuji Cross Comp and it went pretty well. I felt comfortable riding the bike and shifting was pretty seamless and downshifting didn't feel as harsh as the Kona Jake. The frame felt pretty stiff and solid. The best part about it was that after riding it the sales guy told me that at their location the bike was actually cheaper than their other location. For $899 I get all shimano 105 and ultegra for the RD. I don't think I will be able to find a better deal than this so I think I am pulling the trigger this weekend.

  19. #19
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    Really nice bike but will it fit your wife, or are you buying two?
    If not you will have to buy her a better bike next month.

  20. #20
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    I took her to check out some cross bikes and she didn't like any of them. She then saw a Trek FX and really liked it. I think she is leaning now more towards a hybrid bike because she said she prefers a straight bar over a drop bar. When I go buy the Cross Comp this weekend she is going to test ride an Absolute 1.0 and then we going to another shop so she can test out the Trek FX she liked. I think that from the get go she wanted more of a casual bike to ride with me sometimes.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Unagidon's Avatar
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    gus6464 - performance has a 10% sale on their bikes ride now. I think their Scattante x560 is a pretty good deal - right now 10% off $899 (so around $810) for an aluminum cross bike with Shimano 105.
    2012 Niner Jet9 RDO, 2008 Cervelo RS, 1998 Ritchey Road Logic
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gus6464 View Post
    I took her to check out some cross bikes and she didn't like any of them. She then saw a Trek FX and really liked it. I think she is leaning now more towards a hybrid bike because she said she prefers a straight bar over a drop bar. When I go buy the Cross Comp this weekend she is going to test ride an Absolute 1.0 and then we going to another shop so she can test out the Trek FX she liked. I think that from the get go she wanted more of a casual bike to ride with me sometimes.
    Rock and roll! Sounds great. Enjoy!

    Do you guys know how to change a flat? Definitely learn how and carry a spare, pump, patch kit, mini-tool, etc. Getting stranded sucks. Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance is a great guide.

  23. #23
    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    Thats the trick, stack the discounts. 10% off = 810, then another 10% back from the performance club membership. Use that to buy your helmets, gloves, pedals, and flat-changing equipment. Practice replacing the tube before you get out there too.

  24. #24
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    I bought a 2008 Fuji Cross Comp (silver & black) in early 2009, rode it for a few hundred miles, gave it to my son. Nice bike. I got it clearance for around $500 from a LBS that had to move it, so it shows you what the mark-up is. He's ridden the heck out of it, zero problems and it still looks new. But I wouldn't obsess about components, fit and comfort are everything unless you are racing, hill training or into distance touring. As far as the components on that bike, we did a wheelset swap and some minor stuff, but I don't see why you would ever need to upgrade unless you were into upgrading as a passion. Bikesdirect is another option, but I would caution you that you really need to know what you are ordering to buy a box bike, it is not a no-brainer.

  25. #25
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    Get bar ends for your wife's bike, to give a comfy palms in alternative riding position.

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