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Old 03-25-11, 04:55 PM   #1
Mastermindjo
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Hello all! In need of knowledgeable help.

Hello! This is my first time on these forums and Id like to start by saying hi. I'm hoping someone here can really set me down the right path and onto a bike that can really benefit me and what id love to do with it. First off I'm 23, 6' and around 130. I have never owned a bicycle, surprising I know, but do own a 600cc cbr sport bike. I actually purchased the sport bike, 10,000+, before I had ever even set foot on a pedal bike. I had no sense of balance nor gear shifting nor any fundamental knowledge that should accompany any bike owner. I can proudly say Ive never laid down the sport bike and 10k miles later I'm extremely confident.
I would like to go about buying a bicycle more or less the same way. Just jumping right in. However I can already see that there are FAR more aspects to take into consideration when purchasing a bicycle. From road types and conditions to geometric riding preferences and tires and gear types and shifting mechanisms and OMG its alot. Since I have absolutely no access to any human beings with any practical knowledge of bicycles I'm here asking for your help. First and foremost here's what I plan on doing with my bike.

For the summer I will be taking a trip, following the coast line from Oceanside ca to San Francisco California. Primarily riding beach paths. That said, when I'm home and around my area I do ALOT of hiking. I would absolutely love to have a quality bicycle that I can take on these paths. Since there are a large variety of paths here, and ever more-so in surrounding areas, I need a bike that can handle mountainous terrain.

So in summary, I am in need of a quality bicycle that can handle touring around the state and perform well on mountain trials in needed. Also, my price range is up to around 600. Just perusing around has lead me to believe I most likely will not get away with that. I suppose I could do up to 800 but beyond that I just dont see it happening. Please keep in mind I have little to no idea what most of the terms dealing with bicycles mean. So if anyone here can translate thier suggestions into layman speak I would greatly appreciate it. I do learn fast but am admitting not very mechanically inclined.

Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions, help, or services. I look forward to purchasing the perfect bike for my needs and incorporating it as a hallmark of my life.
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Old 03-25-11, 05:04 PM   #2
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I need a bike that can handle mountainous terrain.

Road or Off road?
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Old 03-25-11, 05:26 PM   #3
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I'm assuming you mean dirt or street road. In that case dirt roads mostly. No trail blazing just yet lol.
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Old 03-25-11, 05:33 PM   #4
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I moved your post to your area in So Cal.
Your local riders should be able to help you best.

I toured through there in the summer of 2009 and loved the ride.

You are welcome to ask in any of the other fourms.
Touring may be a good one.
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Old 03-25-11, 09:14 PM   #5
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Sounds like you want a touring/mountain bike. I don't know if there is such a thing.

Also, "just jumping in" is not the wisest thing. With bicycles, you really need to be comfortable first (perhaps not as big a consideration in motorcycles?). Jumping in without being comfortable will result in a waste of money and possibly walking away from the sport.

Going from LA to SF, following the cost, there's not too many "beach paths" except in the "Beach" cities. And riding such a long distance on a mountain bike will not be too comfortable.

I think you'll have to make up your mind: do you want a road bike or MTB? For touring from LA to SF, no question: you want a road bike. (Check out my brief post on the subject.) Maybe get a touring bike now, and a MTB later?

You can find cheap quality bikes on Craig's List or maybe even eBay (harder). But keep in mind, you're gonna need some accessories: helmet, floor pump, quality shorts, shoes, water bottles, tire iron, 2-3 spare tubes, frame pump (or CO2 inflator). That's at least $200 of accessories by itself, and these are just the "needs" not the wants that will make it more comfortable & fun. And if you take your stuff with you on this tour up the coast, you'll need even more, unless you stop at hotels every night.
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Old 03-25-11, 10:04 PM   #6
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Going from LA to SF, following the cost, there's not too many "beach paths" except in the "Beach" cities. And riding such a long distance on a mountain bike will not be too comfortable.
+1 Have you ridden from Oceanside to Dana Point or Newport Beach? You are riding mainly on the coast highway, not beach paths.
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Old 03-25-11, 11:36 PM   #7
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If you're pretty sure you're going to be riding dirt roads, but not really trails, you should check out cyclocross bikes. If you think you won't be on dirt roads except in an emergency, then a touring bike would be a better option. In your price range you can get a pretty good used bike. Look for a steel framed bike that has Shimano 105 or Shimano Ultegra. There's obviously a little more to it than that, but it's a starting point.
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Old 03-26-11, 01:51 AM   #8
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If you don't plan on riding really rough trails, I second the idea of a cyclocross bike. They can handle dirt fire roads easily, and with a different set of tires, can make for a pretty comfortable road bike. Even touring bikes can handle smooth dirt roads if needed. At your budget, consider educating yourself on the levels of components (as said above, 105, Rival, Veloce, and Ultegra are good mid-range components) and start browsing craigslist. For new bikes around that price, I'd try to look for previous years discounted models with Tiagra or 105 components.
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Old 03-26-11, 08:28 PM   #9
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Ok, I'm going to say it bluntly, you aren't going to find a bike that can do what you want for less than 3X your budget. A decent touring or road bike with quality components will cost you at least 2500 clams USED.

Yeah, there are less expensive bikes out there. Less expensive means less something - usually lower quality parts and a heavier frame.

And, without access to knowledgeable bicycle people buying used isn't a smart idea for a newbie. So, the price goes up from there.

You'd be better off buying a $1500 bike, getting into shape and getting to know your local bike club members, and then buying a new bike a couple/three years down the road when you have knowledge and information to get what you want & not get burned on the deal.
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Old 03-26-11, 11:41 PM   #10
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Sorry if I offend Rob, but he's either off his rocker or he's teasing you. I have been riding road bikes for 20 years now, including state and national level competition, and in my experience, the law of diminishing returns starts way below that figure. Of course most of us WANT the fancy carbon frames with super light components and aerodynamic wheels, but those things are only NEEDS if you're being paid to get in first place at a big time race. When I broke the top tube on my very light scandium frame with Ultegra components and lightweight fork, stem, saddle, and bars (which still cost less than $2500), I was on a tight budget and settled for a $1100 Specialized Allez with 105 components, and I love riding it just as much as the previous bike. I also know people competing in elite level races on bikes they bought for less than 2 grand.

Somewhere around the 105 level, the rising costs generally equates to lighter weight (maybe smoother operation) and not durability or longevity. I think perhaps some hardcore enthusiasts such as Rob sometimes forget the concept of the term "entry level". I'd also like to point out that only 1 of the 4 bikes in his signature ever cost more than $2500.
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Old 03-27-11, 11:13 AM   #11
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I'm a big fan of hardtail mountain bikes. Relatively cheap & easy to find. You can spend $600 for a decent used bike & complete gear if you shop carefully. Swap the tires for street tires. A mountain bike is a bit more effort than a road bike, and you won't be going as fast. It will do what you want. All bikes are a compromise.

I did motorcycle touring on a GPZ 750 sportbike for many years, even after experts told me it was impossible. It wasn't optimum but I had more fun & adventure using it than I would have waiting to get the Goldwing I was told was required.

The cyclocross bike is a good suggestion. Bit harder to find in your budget range.

And get a good tire pump. Most bikes I see are struggling around on under-inflated tires.
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Old 03-27-11, 01:45 PM   #12
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You guys are awesome! So after some asking around and personal research Im becoming more familiar with different types of components and features and options ect. Whats everyones opinion on Trek hardtails? Specifically a Trek 4 series. Im thinkin its in my price range. And judging by reviews it appears to be a well rounded good all purpose bike with quality components, especially the 2011's. Any personal experience with these or there-alike?
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Old 03-27-11, 02:49 PM   #13
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You guys are awesome! So after some asking around and personal research Im becoming more familiar with different types of components and features and options ect. Whats everyones opinion on Trek hardtails? Specifically a Trek 4 series. Im thinkin its in my price range. And judging by reviews it appears to be a well rounded good all purpose bike with quality components, especially the 2011's. Any personal experience with these or there-alike?
Not the best choice for a coastal tour. Have you been talking to a sales guy? If so, I don't fault the guy for trying to sell you a new bike, it just doesn't seem to fit your intended use very well. The 4 Series would be more of an around-town plus light trail use bike.
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Old 03-27-11, 03:27 PM   #14
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As others have mentioned, you're not going to be happy if you get just one bike and try to tour on it and take it on dirt trails. A cyclocross bike might be a good compromise but if you plan to ride anything beyond flat fire roads, a mountain bike is recommended (doesn't have to be a fancy one, though). For touring, you'd need to look into touring-specific frames if you want to be self-supported. If you just want to do hotel tours with minimal loading capacity, any regular road bike should suffice. If I were you, I'd look for a used touring bike and then if you have any more funds, pick up a used hardtail mountain bike (a good one can be had for <$300 on CL).
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Old 03-27-11, 03:48 PM   #15
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check out bikesdirect.com for touring and cyclocross bikes in your price range
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Old 03-27-11, 04:01 PM   #16
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check out bikesdirect.com for touring and cyclocross bikes in your price range
This is a pretty good option if you don't want to buy used. You may want to call around to some bike shops first to find one that is willing to do the final assembly for you if you don't want to do it yourself.
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Old 03-28-11, 08:04 AM   #17
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Yeah, I think you need to decide if you want to ride mostly on roads or on dirt. If you're going to spend a lot of time on dirt, a hardtail mountain bike is a good starter. You can ride it on the street, and if you take the knobbies off and install road tires, it won't be that bad. However, if you're going to spend most of your time on the road, get a road bike. Get an entry level roadie from a good local shop and ride the heck out of it. If you get addicted to riding you'll probably want to upgrade eventually, but you'll have a nice bike to ride in the meantime. If you go the roadbike route, keep your eyes open for a used mountain bike. It's best to have both!
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Old 03-28-11, 09:21 AM   #18
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Did I understand your first post correctly - you've never ridden a bicycle before?
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Old 03-28-11, 10:40 AM   #19
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Did I understand your first post correctly - you've never ridden a bicycle before?
Yeah well not all of us get to have fathers you know? Maybe you dont. Regardless, what I haven't done is no measure of what I can do.
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Old 03-28-11, 11:46 AM   #20
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Especially at 6' and 130lb. You've got the build of a Tour de France King of the Mountains!
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Old 03-28-11, 12:01 PM   #21
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Yeah well not all of us get to have fathers you know? Maybe you dont. Regardless, what I haven't done is no measure of what I can do.
Indeed. How was it learning to ride a motorcycle without a bicycle background?
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Old 03-28-11, 12:09 PM   #22
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Anyone remember the poster who had never ridden more than a couple of miles before, but was going to ride from Alaska down to San Diego?

He was a bit upset at the skeptical reaction, and said he already booked his plane ticket up - and would post reports.

Haven't heard from him since....
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Old 03-28-11, 12:16 PM   #23
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Anyone remember the poster who had never ridden more than a couple of miles before, but was going to ride from Alaska down to San Diego?

He was a bit upset at the skeptical reaction, and said he already booked his plane ticket up - and would post reports.

Haven't heard from him since....
That's no excuse to be a downer. Give the guy a chance!
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Old 03-28-11, 12:53 PM   #24
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Anyone remember the poster who had never ridden more than a couple of miles before, but was going to ride from Alaska down to San Diego?

He was a bit upset at the skeptical reaction, and said he already booked his plane ticket up - and would post reports.

Haven't heard from him since....
I believed he could do it. The riding was mostly DOWN. If he had tried to ride from San Diego UP to Alaska, then I'd have thought he was crazy.
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Old 03-28-11, 01:28 PM   #25
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I believed he could do it. The riding was mostly DOWN. If he had tried to ride from San Diego UP to Alaska, then I'd have thought he was crazy.
Crushed in the grip of logic, I wriggle helplessly.


If the OP can ride a motorcycle, he can ride a bike. Might not set record time, but I didn't see mention he wanted to. It's an adventure. If he really wants to complete it, he can. He'll come out with good stories. Anything that goes wrong can be righted. Any mistakes can be corrected.

And furthermore- bicycles are simpler than motorcycles. I've ridden the former for 44 years, the latter for 38.
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