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  1. #1
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    Need help picking a bike

    Here's my situation. I am a 40-year old male who didn't ride a bike from age 22 or so until age 38. Two years ago, my wife bought me a department-store bike (Schwinn entry level) so that I could ride with my kids. I ride with them often, but also have gotten hooked on my own. Last spring/summer/fall, I was riding 3-4 times per week, usually 10-20 miles ride. I want something better than my Schwinn, which never seems to stay adjusted properly and doesn't like hills all that much.

    My rides are very hilly, with regular inclines of 10 to 12%, and occasionally 15%. Conquering the hills is my favorite part of riding, so I'd like something that suits that purpose well.

    My longest ride to date was 30 miles. I'd like to be able to take longer charity rides, such as the 40 some-odd miles circling Manhattan, or eventually the 150 miles from Manhattan to Atlantic City.

    I don't know jack about maintaining a bike, so I'm inclined to buy from a LBS that can service the rig.

    I have about $700 to spend, but I want that to cover a new helmet, pedals, shoes, etc. Thus, I'm trying to stay in the $500 to $600 range. I've looked at the Cannondale Quick 5/6, the Gary Fisher Wingra, and the Scott T4/T5 at my LBS. Are these good choices? Or should I be looking at something else?

  2. #2
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    If you are certain you are going to be riding more, I'd see if you could stretch a little more on your cost. I was not impressed on the crankset and der's on the Cann. Quick or the others. I could not find the Scott. Take a look at REI if you can, or at least their website. They do a pretty good job of having a variety of middle level bikes.

    I'd step up to the Monona in the Giant, the Bad Boy in Cannondale, or look at the Trek FX series bikes (the 7.3 but the 7.5 is really nice but around 900 I think).

    Even if you dont know your bikes, you can still get a used bike for cheaper. I would look for the models you like on Craigslist. I wouldn't pay more than 75% of new at most for a used bike as you don't get the warranty of new. If you are not sure about the used route, look for a buyer that is willing to let you get the bike inspected at a shop before purchase.

    I don't know if you need a double or triple chainring. The double is enough for NYC, but if your style is less aggressive and meandering, then a triple would be good. There are reasons for one over the other.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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    Any of the bikes you mentioned should prove to be a step up from your current Schwinn, but I do like masiman's recommendations better if you can find it in your budget to step up just a bit further.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by masiman View Post

    I don't know if you need a double or triple chainring. The double is enough for NYC, but if your style is less aggressive and meandering, then a triple would be good. There are reasons for one over the other.

    Good luck
    What are the reasons for one over the other? I don't ride in Manhattan -- I ride 30ish miles west of there, along the Wachtung Mountain Ridge. It isn't the Rockies or Alps, or even Vermont, but it is quite hilly. My favorite thing about riding is being able to conquer the toughest hills in the area, and on my Schwinn I'm often in my last gear and struggling to get to the top. How much difference is there between a double and a triple in terms of getting up ever-more-difficult hills? To me, that matters more than top speed on a flat ride does.

  5. #5
    Senior Member ilmooz's Avatar
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    A triple chainring can get you into a range of gears that will help enable you to climb steeper hills with less effort.

  6. #6
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    You could also ask the folks in the General Cycling forum. They'll steer you to the right bike.
    Last edited by RonH; 03-07-09 at 08:39 AM.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---
    2013 Cannondale CAAD 10 2 "Racing Edition"--The bike shop owner said it's toast. R.I.P.
    2014 or 2015 CAAD 10 3 coming soon. Decision time.

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by njlonghorn View Post
    What are the reasons for one over the other? I don't ride in Manhattan -- I ride 30ish miles west of there, along the Wachtung Mountain Ridge. It isn't the Rockies or Alps, or even Vermont, but it is quite hilly. My favorite thing about riding is being able to conquer the toughest hills in the area, and on my Schwinn I'm often in my last gear and struggling to get to the top. How much difference is there between a double and a triple in terms of getting up ever-more-difficult hills? To me, that matters more than top speed on a flat ride does.
    If you are struggling with your current gearing then you are probably a good candidate for a triple. Double, triple or even single is not real issue. The real issue is what gear range do you need to ride according to your style. You might be the kind of person who could ride a single chainring with a megarange cluster on the rear to give you the gears that you need. Gearing is all about the ratios between the chainring and the cassettes. A triple would let you have a really low gear without sacrificing your middle and high gears. Don't expect to be able to spec what gears you want on the bike though. The shop may be able to work with you to get the range of gears you want but you may have to pay extra for that customization. However, off the rack with a triple should fit what you need. A double could probably work for you if the gearing emphasized the lower gears as MTB's do. If you count the teeth on your small chainring and the teeth on your large cassette plus know your tire size you can find out what your smallest gear is. Your next bike should have a gear smaller than that. Better yet you can follow the instructions on this site to help you get a gear map.

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