Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Middle Tennessee
Bikes: 1974 Schwinn Super Sport, 2003 Trek 7500FX and 5500
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When I started back riding in early 2003, I bought the 7500fx, then $700. Great bike for a lot of fun or a solid work out. If you will be riding ANY off road, then the road bikes will be a pain. The FX series will work okay. Not great, like a mountain bike, but okay.
The more I rode, the more I wanted additional positions for my hands. I added bar ends. That worked for a while, but I then converted it to drop road bars and brifters for even more hand positions and a more road bike feel.
There is nothing wrong with a low end road bike. The FX's will have similar quality components, just not road components.
This spring I bought a 2005 Specialized Allez, an entry level road bike, on closeout for $499. It has a geometry similar to the FX. I added clipless pedals and changed the stock wheels for better ones. Now I have a bike that I really love for longer and faster rides. They don't get easier, just faster and further.
The helmet brands recommeded are all good. Fit is critical. The more holes, the more air flow in the hot summer. Lighter colors are cooler on the head and can be seen better.
I bought a Cateye Astral 8 computer for the FX. It runs speed, cadence, trip distance, total distance, ride time, average speed, and max speed. When I bought the Specialized, I was able to purchase a set of wiring cables so I could use the same computer for both bikes. Nice savings.
Good shorts, either road or mountain, are a must. Gloves are nice. As are wrap around sunglasses to keep the bugs out of your eyes. If they come with light and dark lenses, so much the better.
Don't forget a rear blinky light, a bike pump and water bottles. (I have found the white ones reflect more sunlight to keep drinks cooler longer. The clear ones work like a greenhouse.) A wedge beneath your seat to carry your ID, cell phone, spare tube, snack, and bike tool is nice to have.
I use a cable chain with a 4 digit combination lock.
Hope this helps you some.