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Old 01-01-12, 10:33 PM   #1
flipmack
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new rider in Irvine - seeking advice on purchase

Hi all,

I just posted a bit about myself on the introductions forum.

Anyway, new here and new to cycling in general. I still don't have a bike, but I do need one very soon.

Basically, I've been running consistently for the past three years but a recent bout with plantar fasciatis will force me off my feet for quite a while - so, I'm probably going to have to start cycling.

I live in Irvine and I typically run on bike trails and I intend on riding the same trails. If you're familiar with the area, the bike trail I'm speaking of the is the Mountains to Sea - which is paved.

Anyway, here's a route I'd like to ride:

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=5236308

I plan on doing this just for fun but who knows - it may turn into an obsession. That's what I said about running and look at me now, my body is suffering as a result. I don't run competitively, unless you count running against myself.

I'm going to be realistic - I don't plan on racing or doing large group rides. I don't keep up with the joneses. Even though my good friend rides a Kestrel full carbon road bike, I'm not going to play catch-up. Literally.

I'm not going to do tours or races. Chances are, once I find a nice route, I'll stick with that route and just work on my pace/speed. I'm going to ride a bike for my benefit because I'm hoping that I'll enjoy it.

My issue is - I don't have a bike yet and my budget is miniscule ($500 MAX).

So, I don't know what kind of bike to get, what kind of geometry, size, etc. I'm a complete newbie.

I walked into Jax at Culver/Walnut and asked about road bikes in my budget and the sales guy was flabbergasted at my price range. I couldn't have felt more like a fool. I could have sworn I heard him snickering.

With running, I just put one foot in front of the other. With biking, there's two wheels and a whole lot of technology involved.

PLEASE help me out here folks. The road is calling me and my stupid feet won't let me run!

I don't need a high-end bike. I just need two wheels and the ability to get to a good speed. I don't even know if I need gears, what with these kids in tight pants and black glasses riding around on fixies.

Craigslist is quite frustrating and though the deals are great, having to assemble a BikesDirect bike has me questioning my mechanical ability. I used to tune my own MTB in college and I had issues with having it hold gears. It was quite a lesson in frustration.

I really don't know what I need or how to go about getting a bike that won't injure me.

some help? thanks in advance!
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Old 01-01-12, 10:40 PM   #2
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Maybe your friend can help you with a used bike from craigslist. Besides the bike you're gonna need a decent pair of shorts, probably clipless shoes, maybe a computer and some basic roadside repair tools. Buying new you'll never get one at that price range but you should visit a bike shop so you can get a basic idea on what size you'll need before you shop craigslist. For $500 you're gonna be looking at around a five to seven year old aluminum bike.
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Old 01-01-12, 10:46 PM   #3
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Looking at CL right now there's a 2011 Masi Partenza with shoes and a helmet in Coto de Caza for $600. Doesn't give the size but looks like about a 56, which should fit if you're about 5'10" to 6'. If you need some help let me know.
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Old 01-01-12, 10:57 PM   #4
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You might want to give Performace Bikes a look. Here's one that might do the trick for you. The buyer reviews look favorable.

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...5#ReviewHeader
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Old 01-01-12, 11:03 PM   #5
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Maybe your friend can help you with a used bike from craigslist. Besides the bike you're gonna need a decent pair of shorts, probably clipless shoes, maybe a computer and some basic roadside repair tools. Buying new you'll never get one at that price range but you should visit a bike shop so you can get a basic idea on what size you'll need before you shop craigslist. For $500 you're gonna be looking at around a five to seven year old aluminum bike.
thanks for the reply.

I went to Jax with that intent and they said that the bike fit is the LAST thing they do. Sounds kind of backwards if you ask me. Another local bike shop in Irvine said they can get me into a bike for $600-$700. But I'd like to explore my other options before I commit to my LBS.

I already have tools from my previous bikes (cruiser and MTB) - would just need a spare tube for whatever bike I get.

I have a Garmin Forerunner that I can use to track my speed and distance - so no need for a computer there.

shorts and shoes are easy to come by, but you're right, I need to budget for those.

My friend told me to go the BikesDirect route and get a $300 bike from there. Like I said, I'm probably going to have to take it in to a shop (not Jax) to get the gears shifting correctly.
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Old 01-01-12, 11:10 PM   #6
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Looking at CL right now there's a 2011 Masi Partenza with shoes and a helmet in Coto de Caza for $600. Doesn't give the size but looks like about a 56, which should fit if you're about 5'10" to 6'. If you need some help let me know.
I was looking at the same thing!

I'm 5'7" but mostly torso...so I'm probably good between 50 and 54 for a bike?
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Old 01-01-12, 11:10 PM   #7
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Well you could go to Jax, pretend you're going to buy and see what size they put you on and then look for used from there.
.
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Old 01-01-12, 11:33 PM   #8
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If you have time: Keep on looking on Craigslist, until a deal pops up.
If you don't: This is a pretty good bike for the price http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../liberty_2.htm

This if you want to save some money to spend on clipless shoes and other gear: http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/.../liberty_1.htm

But most importantly make sure you get the right size.
I got a size too large, and riding my bike was very uncomfortable. I have grown a little so now the bike fits me perfectly.
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Old 01-01-12, 11:47 PM   #9
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Yes, I agree with tjclay. Go to a reputable lbs and have them measure you to give you an idea of what size of bike to look for. If they don't do this for free, this is a bike shop to stay away from. All they do is measure your inseam and they tell you what you should look for. You could even take a test ride on their bike and tell them you will think about it. Then you can look for a used one, or go back and get one from them. Good luck.
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Old 01-02-12, 12:43 AM   #10
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I had pretty much the same experience with Jax. He asked me my size and said you need a 54. I'd done a bit of research and knew that might be a bit tall. He had me ride a 54 and it indeed felt big. I looked around and didn't find a single bike on the floor in my price range or lower that was a 54. The guy wouldn't let me take the bike out - I had to ride it around in the store. And the shifting on the floor bike was badly tuned.

I went to performance in Tustin, and the guy had me try a bunch of bikes out. "Don't worry about the price tag just yet, let's get the size and geometry right first and then see what we have in your price range". He gave me a loaner helmet, did a quick setup and sent me out into the parking lot. They will more than likely have something in your range. Pay the extra for the performance club, because you'll get $1 for every $10 you spend. Doesn't seem like much, but you buy a $500 bike and then next day you go back and use your points for a $50 pair of shorts or extra tubes and tools or something else you need.
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Old 01-02-12, 01:54 AM   #11
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so I talked to my friend who's a very avid rider and he thinks that I should get this:

($350 shipped) 2012 Mercier Galaxy SC3:
http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/..._al_xi_sc3.htm

but I countered and said that for a bit more, I could get these locally:

(@ $480 after tax) 2010 Jamis Ventura:
http://revocycles.com/product/10jami...rt-63309-1.htm

or

(@ $545 after tax) 2011 Fuji Newest 3.0:
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._20000__400309

so, for someone who is probably going to ride less than 30 miles once a week, which bike is the better deal?

I can easily put a bike together and spend maybe $20-30 to get it retuned if necessary. So, the frugal side in me sees amazing value in the BD bike - which has the same specs as a bike costing $150 more. Plus, I'd get to build it myself and tailor it myself.

BUT, the cautious side in me sees that $150 spent wisely by getting the bike fitted just right for me...and the bike would already be put together and ready to ride. I'd probably ride it home after buying it from the shop!
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Old 01-02-12, 02:27 AM   #12
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Bike store snobbery can be educational.

Now you know where not to spend your money - and you will probably remember that when you have more money to spend. Something like that meant that I have not bought a tank of Shell gas since the '70s. I remember.

Sales guy was expecting to hear another zero on your price range. Remember who treated you well and who did not. With social media, bad treatment can be widely publicized.

I walked into Jax at Culver/Walnut and asked about road bikes in my budget and the sales guy was flabbergasted at my price range. I couldn't have felt more like a fool. I could have sworn I heard him snickering.

Maintenance -


REI stores here holds a monthly bike maintenance seminar, limit 4 persons. You spend 5 hours in their shop working on your bike with their tools. For about $70, it is money well spent and good instruction. I usually take it in the spring (reserve very early) and overhaul the MTB for the season. Failing that, get a book. There are a number of good detailed How To bike maintenance books. Buy one and read away.

What type of bike...

Depends what you want to do with it and where. The Roadies will tell you - a road bike. These are the fastest. Had one. I found a mountain bike more comfortable - more upright posture. I worked up to a fully suspended Specialized (bought on sale). A MTB will go any place a road bike can and lots of places a road bike cannot. As I ride all over the west, that worked for me. Now I am riding a full suspended recumbent trike that is pure comfort.

I'd put together a list of bike brands and models that I would like to buy and start hunting the lists and the stores for used with my choices narrowed down. Ask on the forum - Need a bike, got 500 - what to get?
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Old 01-02-12, 09:48 AM   #13
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Sometimes a used bike can be purchased locally. Did you try UCI bike club? Its a campus club but maybe a graduating senior may want to sell his bike.

http://clubs.uci.edu/bike/doc/UCI_Cycling_FAQ_05.pdf
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Old 01-02-12, 02:36 PM   #14
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I started off with a Trek 7.3fx hybrid bike for ~$600, and it seems like a fine brand new bike for the price. Maybe look at some of the flat bar road bikes (aka hybrids) for a more entry level price point. I think I'd steer clear of the steel 7.1fx (my wife has one), but the 7.2 and up have decent aluminum frames.

Once I put a thousand+ miles on the hybrid I knew I was serious about cycling, and at that point I could justify spending 4 digits on a nice road bike. Now I use the hybrid for family rides or neighborhood cruising.

Either way, the hybrid was great for rides exceeding 100mi, and it was only marginally less comfortable and only slightly slower than a road bike at newbie speeds.
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Old 01-02-12, 05:46 PM   #15
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For all-around non-competitive riding, consider a hardtail MTB. I put about 50 miles on my 30 year old Schwinn hybrid. Slow but steady. $500.00 CAN get you riding. Might be a used bike with low end clothes, or a decent new bike and Target sourced gear.
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Old 01-02-12, 07:14 PM   #16
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For all-around non-competitive riding, consider a hardtail MTB. I put about 50 miles on my 30 year old Schwinn hybrid. Slow but steady. $500.00 CAN get you riding. Might be a used bike with low end clothes, or a decent new bike and Target sourced gear.
This is actually excellent advice. I started on a hybrid I bought for $70 from the guy in Anaheim who sells police repo bikes. I spent another $50 putting slicks on it, and I pretty much road that as is for 8 months. It's since gotten a new chain, new crank, and a new seat - so I probably have $300 total into it now. Even though I have a newer full-carbon road bike, I still ride that bike all the time. As a matter of fact I took it for 20 miles just yesterday.

Just make sure you get something WITHOUT suspension. You can replace any knobby mountain bike tires with 1.5"x26" slicks (I use the Forte Metro's which you can get at Performance for about $15 each).
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Old 01-02-12, 08:20 PM   #17
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FYI my sister had the same thing and uses soft gel inner soles and she is much better. She got it from a backpacking trip.
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Old 01-02-12, 10:24 PM   #18
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FYI my sister had the same thing and uses soft gel inner soles and she is much better. She got it from a backpacking trip.
I'm already wearing prescription orthotics from the first flare up. It's going to be a lifelong condition - it's just such a pain when it does rear its ugly head.

I actually like the idea of a MTB with road tires now that I think of it...I ran the San Diego trail (did a 10K by myself) from my house to the edge of Newport Beach and I saw several people riding road bikes and MTB's. I think for my needs, I could just get a MTB and just start cycling from there.

Let me start looking through CL. I did see the bikes from the guy who sells police-auctioned bikes.

I think if I get a MTB, my budget can be considerably lower and just work on upgrades...
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Old 01-03-12, 11:08 AM   #19
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based on the type of riding you described i suggest getting a hybrid bike. you might want to check the hybrid forum to get ideas
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Old 01-05-12, 09:50 AM   #20
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thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advice.

I bought/traded a bike from Craigslist yesterday - I traded my aluminum cruiser + $100 for a Vilano single-speed road bike (not a fixie). It's sized just right (50cm frame), the price was right, and the investment was low enough that if I decide to pursue this further, I could resell it and move on to another bike.

I know that single-speed bikes on this forum aren't highly-regarded, but since I'm using the bike to augment my runs, I really don't want to take it 'easy' on a bike...if I have to work to get up a hill, then it's better for me.

I sat on my brother-in-law's hybrid and I didn't like it - it was way too upright and pedal feel was similar to my cruiser.

I looked at a MTB from CL and that sucker was heavy - it would have been an upper-body workout just getting that thing on and off my wall-mount bike holder.

Anyway, I am going to replace the handlebar of my newly-acquired bike to bullhorns. It currently has a hilariously narrow straight bar that would make it difficult to hold on to for the type of riding I want to do. A dropbar would be quite uncomfortable but with the bullhorns, I could use the extra leverage for climbing hills and there's probably some other positioning that I haven't thought of yet.

But, no major hills in my future beyond Shady Canyon in Irvine. I'll probably take it easy this weekend and just ride the San Diego Creek trail (14 mile loop) to start...
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Old 01-05-12, 11:08 AM   #21
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I loved my single speed conversion. Like you said, ride it. If you don't like it, sell it. There's a lot of different hybrids out there from the sublime to the ridiculous. I do trips of about 30-40 miles on my early 80's Schwinn hybrid. Way heavy but comfortable.
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Old 01-05-12, 04:14 PM   #22
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For the kind of riding you're saying that you'll be doing, the single-speed is a good choice. I prefer fixed gear for that sort of thing, but in either case it's important that it's geared correctly. You didn't say how yours is geared (or did I miss it?), but I'm using a 42t x 15t, and that works out well for me.

In any case, on a single speed it's fairly easy to change the gearing up or down, given that you have some kind of chain tension mechanism (or horizontal dropouts!).

My wife loves her single speed for bike paths and MUP riding, but she's not keen on fixed gear either. Chances are your single speed could be converted to fixed in the future without too much trouble or expense . . . if you just wanted to give it a try.

In any case, I agree, good choice, and good idea to change out those handlebars too!

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Old 01-05-12, 05:47 PM   #23
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+1 I love my SS. I have my currrent one set up Rando style with with a 48cm drop bar. Many hand positions with some added leverage. Comfy bike at +60mi as well.
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Old 01-05-12, 05:47 PM   #24
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The bike is 46x16. Since I'm just starting out, I wouldn't know what I need at this point. I'm just going to pedal and see if it goes forward at an acceptable rate. The hub is flip-flop, so I can change it out to a fixed-gear should the curiosity appear.

It does have horizontal dropouts - which is completely new to me - all the bikes I've ever had in the past had vertical dropouts.
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Old 01-06-12, 12:03 AM   #25
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Congrats on the purchase. It should work out well for you. I picked up a used LeMond road bike on CL for $490 and I love it. The only extra outlay I've had for the bike was tires and cleats. The thing rides great, shifts great and it's fast. CL is great for finding bikes, but you do have to keep looking.
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