need help choosing & sizing new bike for upright riding position
New user, great forums here.
I used to ride a lot as a teenager, got back into it this year (male, age 41, size 5'8"). Riding approx 11 miles per day, paved bike trails and small town riding. Reasonably hilly terrain. I am looking for a comfort/hybrid/cafe style bike as an upgrade to the 10yr old Route66 Prospect bike that I bought at Kmart 2003. My issue with the current bike is that the handlebars do not raise high enough, and I am getting far too much neck strain. I require an upright riding position.
I am looking for suggestions regarding 2 issues:
1) How to size the frame?
I see the general size charts and I understand them, but since most riders do not seem to want to ride "as upright" as I do, I wonder whether this changes the equation. Since every bike is different, I do not see how going to a bike shop (closest one for me is 1 hr away, approx 30 miles) is going to help much.
I am concerned that if I choose a small frame -- even one sized to my height according to its chart -- the handlebars will be lower. I am thinking that if I buy a larger frame, at least the handlebars will be a little higher, so with a riser, they should fit my needs. I am not worried about touching the ground, I am a good rider with good balance. I keep my seat elevated quite a lot for best leg extension, but that causes me to lean over even more... more neck strain.
2) Bike model suggestions?
There are 3 models that have the style and have MOST of the features that I want/prefer on my next bike: Motobecane Cafe Express 8 (missing disc or rollerbrake brakes, missing shock-type front forks), Motobecane Jubilee 8 (missing large tire size, missing disc/rollerbrake braking), Schwinn 411 IG5 (non-Shimano internal hub, reviews consistently say bike is not geared properly for hilly riding, no riser bar on handlebars). I do not want a Cruiser.
-- Required features: Shimano internal hub 8 speed or better, riser bar on handlebars for upright ride, reasonably smooth tires for paved riding, lightweight frame
-- Wanted features: shock-style front forks, disc or rollerbrake brakes, large tires (29in / 700c)
I am willing to spend a fair sum of money for this next bike, but not too far over a grand. I'll start to make compromises before I spend beyond that sum.
Your thoughts appreciated, thanks.
One inexpensive fix to a bike you like is to install a shorter stem and a stem raiser. The former brings the handlebars closer to you and the latter will bring them up higher. There are several brands of stem raisers (Delta, Origin8, Satori) that you can look at on Amazon by simply entering "stem raiser". Avenir also makes an adjustable threadless stem that allows you to set the stem angle for the handlebar Avenir Threadless Adjust-A-Stems - 125 mm, -10 Degrees to 40 Degree Rise, Black $21.06 at Niagara Cycle online store. The Delta stem raiser is the easiest to install. Takes less than 5 minutes with no special tools.
If you live near a populated area and have a friend who is bike savvy you might consider using Craigslist and the friend to find a much better used bike than buying a new one for the same amount of money. There's nothing wrong with a bike that uses derailleurs. Good quality ones don't require a lot of maintenance and work extremely well as long as you learn how to use the gears correctly. I've had bikes with both and I prefer standard gearing. Internal gears add complexity, weight, and take a price when it comes to efficiency. The cost of the Shimano Nexus hub is about 1/4 the total you allocate for the bike. If you move up to the better Alfine model it is even more. It means you will have to take a lot of compromises on the quality of the other components.
I just bought a stem raiser (haven't installed it yet), so we were thinking the same thing. That said, with the mileage that I am putting on this cheap bike, I am seeing too many issues -- rear hub bearings are wearing (having trouble keeping them snug), and the derailleur needs to be adjusted a couple times per month (probably because it is a cheap Shimano system).
With the amount of riding that I am doing now, this Kmart bike needs too much constant tweaking to keep it running smooth. I have nothing against a used bike, but I live in small community and chance of finding a style that I really like seems remote. I have been looking on CL, though.
FWIW, today I found (and bought) at a local bike shop a very slightly used 2011 Raleigh Detour Deluxe. Bike has drum brakes front & rear, Nexus 8-spd hub, Alfine trigger shifter, dynamo-powered lights, rear rack, 700c road tires, and integrated key-locking mechanism. Previous owner added some kind of small digital speed-odometer -- haven't had a chance to play with it. I got the dealer to include a new wide comfort saddle and adjustable stem to raise the handlebars. Price $500 + tax. I am happy. I'll keep my old bike -- which is smaller -- for when I go riding with my GF (which is rare) because I cant haul the new bike + hers in my vehicle.
Youtube has some great videos for learning to remove the Nexus IGH (looks WAY easier than a lot of forum posts seem to suggest) and for adjusting the shifting of the IGH (which is extremely simple).
So much more direct to go to a bike shop and test ride things , than talk about them here .
except you may be posting from work so get paid while writing..
Bizarre reply, you must be unfamiliar with IGH bikes. Visited 2 LBS and several sporting goods stores, and I got to see a grand total of *2* bikes that had IGH's. Luckily 1 fit my needs. When I had called several weeks before posting, they didn't have any. If I got paid to write posts from work, I'd have more than 4 posts, unlike someone else that has 27,500 of them.
Originally Posted by rpesq
I am impressed you kept the kmart bike going for 10 years.
With regular maintenance & treating it with respect, I didn't have that much problem keeping it going. To me, the problem is that the inherent quality was not there, so adjustments are frequently needed. That much maintenance zaps the joy out of cycling. On this old bike, the cheap Shimano freewheel & derailleur is it's main Achilles hill. The rest of it is showing wear but maintenance timetables have been acceptable.
My guess is that a 2003 kmart bike is a better quality bike than a big box store bike from 2013. But yeah, neither are of high quality.
Originally Posted by rpesq