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Old 01-14-10, 10:05 AM   #1
jfkittredge
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First timer - feeling overwhelmed!

Hi all,

As the heading would suggest, I am super new to the sport and am planning on participating in my first sprint tri in a couple of months. I am in decent shape after losing more than 100 pounds (my goal, once I reached my desired weight was to start training for a tri). I think I basically have the running and the swimming in hand, but I am getting stymied by the biking, specifically the bike purchasing.

I have read through the "What bike to buy" thread and a couple of other miscellaneous threads on the board, but could still use some help.

Basically, I am looking to spend $1k or less on a bike, so I can get something serviceable that will get me through a season or two to help me decide if I like/want to stick with the support. After visiting pretty much every LBS in town and riding countless bikes over the past couple of weeks, I am feeling completely overwhelmed with decisions.

Some of my triathlete friends say that Sora components are crap and that I owe it to myself to spring for a bike with the 105 grupo. Others tell me they have ridden their sora bikes for 5+ years with no problems.

Some tell me that, as a beginner, I should get a bike with a triple crank. Others tell me that, since Tucson is so damn flat, that a compact crank makes much more sense.

Some tell me that most entry-ish level bikes are terrible for racing purposes and are little more than glorified cruisers. Others tell me that their 20 year old MTBs with crappy components do them just fine.

I'm starting to feel like I don't know up from down or black from white. Can anyone offer some guidance, or suggest some questions that I should be asking salespeople at the LBS?

For reference, the bikes I have ridden and hated were the Fuji Newest 1.0, the Fuji Roubaix, the Raleigh Sport/Grand Sport.

The bikes I am thinking most about right now are:

Specialized Secteur Sport, Trek 1.5, Trek 2.1 (probably a bit out of my reach), Giant Defy 2 & 3.

Any thoughts/guidance would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-14-10, 10:13 AM   #2
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Buy the one you like.
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Old 01-14-10, 10:18 AM   #3
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Buy the one you like.
I would be a poor man, indeed, if I did that. I rode a Specialized Roubaix Elite yesterday for giggles and just about exploded, due to how fun it was to ride.
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Old 01-14-10, 10:19 AM   #4
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It is all about Fun...
Now go get the bike.
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI
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Old 01-14-10, 11:44 AM   #5
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Are you planning on doing primarily triathlons, or are you looking for a road bike, along the lines of those you listed? That first purchase can seem a bit overwhelming, but it can also be lots of fun! Buying a new bike, just under 1k is going to put you just above entry level for most bikes. I like to recommend buying used. If you are looking for a triathlon bicycle, a used Cervelo P2SL can usually get you in around that price range, and is far from a beginner only tri bike. Just keep in mind all of the other items you might need for your first race when you are mapping out that bike budget. Since you asked for opinions, if you are in the flat lands I would go with a double instead of a triple crank. I personally find them to be less "fussy." I race with a compact and have one on my road bike as well. I have not had a desire to go back tot the standard 53/39 set up (Big chain ring 53 teeth, small one 39) I run a 50/34 FWIW.
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Old 01-14-10, 01:06 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice, Plainsman. As to your question, I'm going to be using the bike for occasional tris this season (I think I'm doing two sprints later this year) and it will also be my everyday commute ride (short 5 mile commute to work) and my recreational weekend rider. I've been trying to go the used route, but craigslist and ebay have just not been agreeing with me. Really, I'm at the point where I'm sooooo burned out on shopping that I just want to buy something and start riding.
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Old 01-14-10, 01:11 PM   #7
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for $1000 bucks I would reccomend getting familiar with what size bike you need then look on craigslist for a super clean bike deal. you can probably get into a bike someone else paid nearly double for and even if you have to get it tuned up your way ahead of the game on a much better bike. recently i found a full suspension cannondale bike that when i got there to look at it my jaw hit the ground as it was in brand new condition and i got the bike for half what the guy paid. so many people are dreamers and buy expensive bikes that sit in a spare bedroom. who cares if it is a couple years old as long as it is still relevent and not a dinosaur...... just my .02 cents.


btw any bike with a few hundred miles is a brand new bike the one i just bought had maybe 50 miles on it......

another craigslist deal i got was a nearly new set of mavic wheels for my road bike for 400 bucks complete with tires and cassette again with almost no miles on them for $400 sure beats paying 1100 retail....
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Old 01-14-10, 03:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jfkittredge View Post
Some of my triathlete friends say that Sora components are crap and that I owe it to myself to spring for a bike with the 105 grupo. Others tell me they have ridden their sora bikes for 5+ years with no problems.
Sora isn't great, but it works and it's not crap. For $1000, you can easily get a new Tiagra bike and not worry about it.

Quote:
Some tell me that, as a beginner, I should get a bike with a triple crank. Others tell me that, since Tucson is so damn flat, that a compact crank makes much more sense.
If it's flat, pancake flat, get a standard double.
If it's hilly, get a compact double.
Never get a triple - just extra stuff you don't really need - a compact double will get you almost all the gears a triple will unless your climbing walls.

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Some tell me that most entry-ish level bikes are terrible for racing purposes and are little more than glorified cruisers. Others tell me that their 20 year old MTBs with crappy components do them just fine.
Depends on what they mean - some entry-ish level bikes ARE cruisers. Anything with true road geometry - Specialized Allez, Trek 1 series, etc - is entry level but perfectly fine for racing.
A tri does come down to the run. A nice tri bike might gain you 3 minutes on the bike over a sprint, but you could very easily lose that on the run.

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I'm starting to feel like I don't know up from down or black from white. Can anyone offer some guidance, or suggest some questions that I should be asking salespeople at the LBS?
My suggestion: go to the LBS you liked the best and buy the one they sell that feels the best under you.
A good LBS is much more important than what your riding, especially for a first bike.
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Old 01-14-10, 04:20 PM   #9
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Depends on what they mean - some entry-ish level bikes ARE cruisers. Anything with true road geometry - Specialized Allez, Trek 1 series, etc - is entry level but perfectly fine for racing.
A tri does come down to the run. A nice tri bike might gain you 3 minutes on the bike over a sprint, but you could very easily lose that on the run.


if your a slow runner but strong biker you can even the playing field on a bike....
my last race (duathlon) i think just about everybody passed me in the first run. by the end of the bike i had passed just about everyone except the few elite guys. ended up with 24th overall out of 100+ entries. I am a slow runner.
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Old 01-14-10, 09:29 PM   #10
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I think I've settled on a 2007 (but still new) Giant OCR A1 ( http://www2.giant-bicycles.com/en-us...llections_id=2 ) I test rode today at an LBS I like. Aside from the pie-in-the-sky carbon bike I tested the other day, it's the first bike I've ridden where I thought "Yeah, this is it." Is there any reason y'all can think of not to buy a 2+year old (but still new) bike?
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Old 01-14-10, 09:41 PM   #11
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The specs look good, especially if you are doing this for 1k - Carbon Fiber, 105 ten speed is good stuff, and I think you will like the 50-34 compact. How it felt to you says a lot. Personally, I would not hesitate to buy something new old stock. It's not outdated. Add some clip on aero bars and you are in business! Congrats! Be sure to post a pic when you bring her home!
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Old 01-14-10, 10:01 PM   #12
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Yeah - I need to work on the price a bit. The guy at the store is trying to sell it to me for $1200, which seems a bit stiff. If I can get him down to 1k, I'll take it. Otherwise, the search continues, I guess.
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Old 01-15-10, 06:45 AM   #13
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honestly it being a carbon frame 1200 is a good price especially since it is new and probably has lifetime tune ups... id say get it, just remember proper fit is everything and as long as it is the right fit....
1200 i would guess they are not making money on the deal just trying to move a bike out the door
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Old 01-15-10, 10:57 AM   #14
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The Giant looks like a damn nice bike. And I think the bike store can come down a bit yet and still turn a profit.
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Old 01-15-10, 09:05 PM   #15
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I walked after the LBS guy acted like a proper jerk today...and I fell in love with a Cannondale Six 6 at a different store.
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Old 01-16-10, 09:19 AM   #16
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I am also new to triathlon, and am training for an olympic distance this year. I have several bikes but wanted a tri bike. But, like the OP, didn't want to over-commit to a sport I was uncertain I'd enjoy. So I bought a used Felt S22 in great condition from someone posting on Craigslist for about a third of it's original price. And I can always re-sell it for about what I bought it for.
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