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Old 06-28-07, 03:26 PM   #1
mixie
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I need a bike, Please help!

Hi everyone, I'm new here and I need some serious help! I got talked into doing a Sprint Tri Sept 23rd. I had been planning on really training for a tri next summer but someone said to me " You have the summer off work, why wait!?" and being the crazy person I am, I agreed with them. Now, Im a decent swimmer and my primary sport is running (well, really it's kickboxing but that dosent count for a tri does it?) I currently swim 3 times a week and I run about 20mpw so I have a decent base. Im starting a 12 week training program monday. It's designed for someone with limited fitness (which is not me) to just complete the thing. Now my goal for this race is to complete, but I know how I am. I have a feeling I will be addicted as Im a competition nut.

So here is the major issue I have, until this week when I went and rode my friends MTB and did some basic bike shopping I hadn't ridden in oh....I dont know..TWNETY YEARS?!?!?! Unless you count my weekly spin class, yeah. And the only bike I've ever owned was a Hot Pink Diamond Back Dirt Bike when I was ten. Lucky for me what they say is true, you don't forget how to ride. Once I was on the bike(s) I was cruising around the street like I was ten again. IN fact, the sales guy was like "hey wait, come back!" The only problem was I kept trying to pedal backwards looking or those coaster brakes.

So here is the thing, I can spend probably 500-1000 all in for a bike and accesories. I do have a bike lock, but thats it. I'd need EVERYTHING. Now Ive spent the better part of this week going to every bike shop in my town and decided if I'm to keep this up as a hobby, its probably more about where I get the thing and developing a relationship with a LBS than it is with which bike I get. From my limited knowledge it seems entry level bikes dont have that much to seperate them. So the store that I felt the most comfortable with reccomended to me a Marin Larkspur which felt good when I rode it. I know this is a hybrid/commuter and not a true road bike. These guys were very very nice, took a lot of time explaning stuff to me. I even dragged my friends MTB in there and asked them what it would cost to fix it up and make it road worthy. (Way too much) Ive been in there three times now and I really want to buy from them as I try to support my local business as much as I can. It seems to be more of a high end shop and they don't have much under 500. If I am to do this I need to start training Monday, technically my plan dosent call for riding until Wedensday but I was hoping to spend some time this weekend getting used to riding. I told the guys at the shop Id be back tomorrow, besides my friends MTB is still in there getting laughed at, even with my limited knowledge I can tell its pretty crappy.

Sorry this has all been so long so far, so here are my questions.

Will the Larkspur get me thru the 12 mile, mostly flat race in once piece and not destroy my legs for the run? It's right on the ocean so it will be windy but it should be flat.

This shop carries Specialized, Marin, and a bunch of Italian brands that start out of my price range. Are they any other models I should look at?

Should I consider a true road bike that has me in a more race worth position and if so can I get one in my price range?

Is 12 weeks enough time to try to get into clipless pedals or should I wait on that? (I want to get the shoes for spin class too)

I relize I sound completely crazy here and I fully admit to that.

Last edited by mixie; 06-28-07 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 06-28-07, 03:57 PM   #2
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Look for used. Bikesdirect.com is another resource (taiwanese frames but the components are good, and technically the frames arent THAT bad, mines lasted 20000 miles). For the price you are looking at I would look at a roadbike and some aerobars off ebay. Ebay is an amazing resource for all the little knick knacks.
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Old 06-28-07, 04:43 PM   #3
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I'm surprised the shop recommended a city bike for triathlon! Didn't they have any entry level road bikes on the floor?

You have to decide how serious you might become about triathlon and what else you might use the bike for. If you think you might continue triathlon after September 23, I recommend considering a real road bike. The Larkspur can get you through the 12-mile bike leg of the triathlon, but what happens if you catch the triathlon bug and you decide you want to go faster? You'd either spend a lot to revamp the Larkspur or buy a whole new bike more suitable for racing.

Also, a road bike is better for general road riding. If you think you might start riding longer distances, say 25, 50, or even 100 miles, definitely go with a road bike. You can also ride long on a city bike, but...

1) it will be quite a bit slower because it puts you in a more upright, less aerodynamic position.
2) the upright position will also put more pressure on your seat. A road bike will put you in a position that more evenly distributes your weight between your hands, feet, and seat. It may seem counter-intuitive but an upright bike which might feel more comfortable than a road bike for short rides will probably feel less comfortable for long rides.
3) the single handlebar position of the upright bars can also cause problems with your hands. I rode my MTB 110 miles once and did some minor nerve damage to my palms. The drop bars of a road bike offer many hand positions which enables you to relieve the pressure simply by moving your hands to a different part of the bar.
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Old 06-28-07, 04:47 PM   #4
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People often say the Trek 1000 is a good place to start at that price point. I think the Specialized Allez is a comparable bike. These are aluminum framed road bikes with drop bars and integrated brakes and shifters.
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Old 06-28-07, 05:17 PM   #5
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As I was reading through your post it struck me that you are probably training for the Pacific Coast Triathlon in Crystal Cove and that the bike shop you're going to is Laguna Cyclery on Thalia...is that correct?

For starters, it's totally lame of them to suggest a hybrid to you if you are planning to get into tri's and I think it's a horrible choice for that course as it's pretty challenging for a sprint. I'm not at all a fan of that shop as they have done some VERY bad things with my friends' bikes (like swapped out parts and put them on other people's bikes!!!!).

You can do much better in your price range. If I hit the nail on the head and you are interested in more, post here or send me a PM.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:12 PM   #6
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Hi! No and no. Im going to do the Long Beach Tri in Long Beach and I didnt tell the bike shop about the fact I am going to ride this bike in a tri. Thanks tho! Im more concerend with the 1/2 mile swim. If anything that might make me drop out of this race.

Please do tell me more tho.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:17 PM   #7
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Long Beach...Ack!!! Long story but that's a race I will never do again. In my opinion it is one of the the most dangerous races out there with a very poor race director. Pacific Coast is a much better race IMO.

Anyway, I would still not get a hybrid if you plan on doing more tri's. As for the swim, don't stress about it, you have plenty of time to train and 1/2 mile is really not very far. Just be careful not to step on a syringe on the beach...not joking, I saw a couple of them when I did that event in 2004.
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Old 06-28-07, 07:09 PM   #8
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Ebay is good if you know what you are looking for. But you have to be careful. plus the shipping can bite your wallet.

I'd try local Craig List or bike shop flyers or newspaper classifieds. Try to find a friend (or friend of a friend) who knows bikes, and bring them along. Check local riding clubs, someone may have a good used bike they'll let go cheap.

Just by chatting bikes in the office, I got a nice old cannondale racer from a co wroker who had just bought a new bike for $100. It was a mid 80s 12 speed but he'd upgraded it to STI brifters and threw in a computer. I found my current commuter, an '86 Trek 12 speed for less on CL than I'd have laid out w/shipping on ebay.

There are deals out there, just keep looking. You're better off with a nice old well maintained bike than a newer beat up model imho, even if the technology is dated. Whatever you get, make sure it fits you well!! Good luck!
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Old 06-28-07, 08:44 PM   #9
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Long Beach...Ack!!! Long story but that's a race I will never do again. In my opinion it is one of the the most dangerous races out there with a very poor race director. Pacific Coast is a much better race IMO.

Anyway, I would still not get a hybrid if you plan on doing more tri's. As for the swim, don't stress about it, you have plenty of time to train and 1/2 mile is really not very far. Just be careful not to step on a syringe on the beach...not joking, I saw a couple of them when I did that event in 2004.
Eek! Im scared now. Im only doing that one becasue it times well with my training program. Maybe I'l search for another race , it is getting late in the year.


Gonzo Bob, I do hope to do another tri after this one, but not until next season. Which will give me time to figure out exactly what I want and need for a bike. And save up the $$ I am ok with buying a second bike later, as I feel like I don't have enough time to reseach a serious road bike. And I really would like to complete a race this season. I tried looking at some entry level road bikes and the details and specs made my head spin. I feel lucky in that dropping $400 for the larkspur (for me) isn't a lot of money and the acessories will like a helmet and bike rack will work with any future bikes. Of course I can always sell the larkspur later if I have to. Im kicking myself for not thinking about this a lot sooner and I would have more time. So are there any decent road bikes for 400-500 dollars out there that I should look at?

I don't want to do the ebay/craiglist thing for two reasons. 1. I'd like bike sooner than later. and 2. I failed to mention before, but I am VERY short. 59" to be exact. Yes, Im under five feet tall, but hey at least Im a chick From what Ive seen, short people don't list their bikes for sale

Last edited by mixie; 06-28-07 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 06-29-07, 05:35 AM   #10
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I lucked out - I am a guy, 5'8" but with very short inseam (about 28.5"). So I need a bike that's low to the ground and long in the top tube. Most bikes that are short enough for me vertically also bunch me up in the upper body reach, regardless of stem length.

I had had an old Japanese steel bike that just plain wore out and after missing it for a few years started searching on CL and ebay. I passed on ebay after reealizing the shipping would jack up the price beyond what I wanted to pay, and after only a week or two I scored a 48cm bike with relatively long top tube in near mint coindition for $200. It is very old school but with your budget you could throw new wheels and an aero bar and be in good shape.

Point is there are alot more small bikes and compact frames and womens bikes out there these days - I urge you to seek out women's racing groups and clubs; someone must be selling an old bike, especially if they have just bought or are about to buy a new one. If you move fast you could get it shipped in a few weeks tops.

My wife lives on this site:

http://forums.teamestrogen.com/

Scroll down and you'll find boards for Tris and also gear for sale. I would think you could buy with confidence there and you could get lots of good info regarding the fit. As long as you can stand over the bike with a little clearance (subtract an inch or two from your inseam) and the top tube is right (this will depend on your torso length and what kind of aero bars you'll be using, although it's obviously the top tube that counts most as stem and bars can be swapped) you'll be good to go.
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Old 06-29-07, 06:19 AM   #11
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The people on this forum and another forum suggested that I look for a road bike also. I rode a hybrid, and ended up with a Jamis road bike.

I would suggest the road bike also. Multiple hand positions, and once you tell the LBS that you are wanting to do some tri's they will move you away from the hybrids and head you to the road bikes.
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Old 06-29-07, 07:19 AM   #12
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sure - just clip on some aero bars and you're good to go. If u are serious later on down the road and want to splurge on a real tri or TT bike, you'll have a better idea of what you like/dislike about the starter bike's features, positions, ride, handling, etc.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:36 PM   #13
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People often say the Trek 1000 is a good place to start at that price point. I think the Specialized Allez is a comparable bike. These are aluminum framed road bikes with drop bars and integrated brakes and shifters.
sorry, I totally missed this post. thanks. I'll look at that bike today. And thanks for the Team Estrogen link


thanks everyone for the help. i am now the proud owner of a Specialized Dolce!!!

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Old 06-29-07, 04:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
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i am now the proud owner of a Specialized Dolce!!!
This post is worthless without pics

Congrats!
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Old 06-29-07, 04:45 PM   #15
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Nice! Or should I say "Sweet"
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Old 06-29-07, 04:54 PM   #16
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Sweet! A friend of mine got one of those and it looks like a great bike. Is that a female specific design, no?
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Old 06-29-07, 07:05 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mixie
i am now the proud owner of a Specialized Dolce!!!

CONGRATS!!! enjoy!
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Old 06-30-07, 07:41 PM   #18
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I really hope you enjoy the new bike. I know I am enjoying mine.
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Old 07-02-07, 03:25 PM   #19
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I have been. I put about 30 miles in over the weekend. I totally love my ew baby. It was hard to do my running yesterday! i wanted to be on the bike going FAST!
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