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  1. #1
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    Bike Advice for Beginner

    Hello, I just did my first triathlon using my dad's old POS schwinn 10-speed from th 70's. I'm interested in buying an entry-level bike for about $800-1000. I'm just wondering what the major differences in tri and road bikes and wondering what people would recommend to start out with. As of now I plan on primarily do tri events, but possibly also some bike races. Also, I'm just trying to do my research on different makes and all the components, so If anyone has any specific recommendations(ie: gears, cartridges, brakes, pedal systems, or anything i might forget) of what I should look for, or advice of where I could go about doing this please let me know.
    Thanks a lot, Eric

  2. #2
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    I think I meant cassette, not cartridge.

  3. #3
    On Your Right ZackJones's Avatar
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    Toucan: Welcome. Tell us about the triathlon you did, distances, etc.

    Since you said you may do some bike races I would recommend against a tri-specific bike and go with a standard road bike. You can always add aerobars on the road bike but you can't use a tri-specific bike in a road race.

    As far as a specific bike, that's tough to say. What kind of bikes are sold at your local bike shop? Most entry level bikes are going to come with a mixture of components. The current Shimano line is Sora -> Tiagra -> 105 -> Ultegra -> Dura Ace. As you move up groups the more expensive the bike is going to become. If possible get a bike with Tiagra STI shifters. (Not that there's anything wrong with Sora - it is perfectly good stuff) but the Tiagra shifters shift just like the 105 -> Dura Ace shifters do and the Sora shifters shift differently and some folks have expressed a dislike for the way Sora shifters work.

    In the end you'll be the one that makes the final decision on which bike you get. We can offer advice on why bike X might be better than bike Y but if you're happier with bike X then get it. Afterall, you're the one that has to ride on it. Good Luck!
    "You never fail, you simply produce results. Learn from these" - Anonymous

  4. #4
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    Hey Toucan,

    I'm in a similar spot: looking for road bikes in the $800-1000 range, targeting my first Tri later this summer. I've narrowed my search down to 3:
    Trek 1200
    Giant OCR 2
    Specialized Allez

    I also looked into the LeMond Reno, but the fellow at the LBS gave me an odd look when I asked and informed me it was a woman's bike.

    Anyhow, all 4 have pretty similar components. The Allez has a carbon seat post, the other two come stock with clipless pedals, and the stock wheels and tires are different. The Trek frame is more of a traditional frame, whereas the OCR 2 and Allez are compact frames. In theory the compact frames will be stiffer (smaller triangles) In practice, I personally can't tell a difference.

    What helped tremendously was the salesperson and I heading out to this big parking lot with all of the bikes so I could swap quickly from bike to bike. The differences in the ride really jumped out when I did that.

    Long story short, the Allez felt best for me, and I'll probably pick it up this weekend.
    (but I'll watch this thread in the meanwhile)

    -b

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bveraa
    Hey Toucan,

    I'm in a similar spot: looking for road bikes in the $800-1000 range, targeting my first Tri later this summer. I've narrowed my search down to 3:
    Trek 1200
    Giant OCR 2
    Specialized Allez

    I also looked into the LeMond Reno, but the fellow at the LBS gave me an odd look when I asked and informed me it was a woman's bike.

    Anyhow, all 4 have pretty similar components. The Allez has a carbon seat post, the other two come stock with clipless pedals, and the stock wheels and tires are different. The Trek frame is more of a traditional frame, whereas the OCR 2 and Allez are compact frames. In theory the compact frames will be stiffer (smaller triangles) In practice, I personally can't tell a difference.

    What helped tremendously was the salesperson and I heading out to this big parking lot with all of the bikes so I could swap quickly from bike to bike. The differences in the ride really jumped out when I did that.

    Long story short, the Allez felt best for me, and I'll probably pick it up this weekend.
    (but I'll watch this thread in the meanwhile)

    -b
    The reason that there are so many makes and models of bikes is that each individual is going to have a different fit and perception of ride comfort. You have done well in riding serveral, as that is ultimately what matters; how they feel to you. Remember also that many components can be upgraded later, if necessary. I would go with the Specialized or the Trek. My wife bought an Allez last year and I think the it has great value and she loves it. Bottom line though, you have to go with the one that makes you smile the most.

  6. #6
    Senior Member jennings780's Avatar
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    I am also a newbie. I bought an '04 Specialized Allez Elite in February. I have a few hundred miles on it and so far I've been really happy with it. I agree with the above comments about fit being very important.

    A few things I have learned: (1) real road bikes only have double chainrings, not triple, (2) the whole compact geometry thing is for the benefit of the bike mfg and LBS so they don't have to carry as many frame sizes, (3) you pay a lot of $$$ for very small increases in quality, lower weight and speed, (4) a new road bike, regardless of its exact components and design is very very fast as compared to older road bikes, hybrids and mtn bikes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I don't know about the Giant, have raced on both the Trek and an allez elite. Much prefer the Specialized. Can change from road geometry to fairly agressive tri geometry very quickly and easily (Fast Forward seat post, remove spacers from headset).
    As noted above, the big question is how does it fit you.
    BTW, i have seen allezs w/ double and triple chainring set-ups (mine's double).
    Good luck!!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by toucan
    Hello, I just did my first triathlon using my dad's old POS schwinn 10-speed from th 70's.
    ask your LBS about the schwinn, it could be a Paramount...if it is, then you're golden. don't underestimate schwinn, especially if it was made in the 70's. post a photo of it on the 'classics' board, those guys will tell you all about it...

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